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And She, Waits For You

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And She, Waits For You

Chapter One

Present Day - Saturday 21st December – 1 AM

Elly struggled as she opened her eyes. The pain she felt at the back of her head was blinding but she forced herself to open her eyes. As soon as she did her surroundings confused her. Darkness surrounded the soon-to-be-mum.

What's happened to me? Where am I?

Elly was lying all alone in a dark confined place that she didn't know. Elly tried sitting up from her position but the pain she felt in her head extended to the rest of her body. She quickly reached out her hand to her baby bump, relieved when she felt the baby kicking almost immediately at her silent panic.

What's going on?  What do you remember last?

Getting the mail from the mailbox, seeing Chloe arrive home from work to the Brenaka's but then we waved awkwardly to one another as she walked over to Pierce's place...urgh to probably spend the night at his...I hate knowing she's in his bed...that she is most nights when she stays with him.

I wonder how much longer it'll be before Chloe moves in with him after Pierce…don’t think about that…it doesn’t matter that the only good thing about Chloe waving to you means you know that…

It’ll happen sooner or later…I have to accept that I've lost Chloe for good. 

That wasn't the last thing I remember...I was at home I think...in the kitchen...talking to Finn...but I was in a foul mood after seeing Chloe going to Pierce's house because of the reminder that Chloe is with her billionaire prince Pierce instead of with me...her 9 months pregnant semi-ex who couldn't come to terms with my feelings for her...like I stand any chance in the world of winning Chloe back.

I shouldn't be making such a big deal out of just seeing Chloe walking over to Pierce's.

It could’ve been worse…like the other day…that was a tough one…I'm glad I had Susan to talk to about it and she helped me cope with my thoughts on the situation I found myself in...but knowing what I know...it's only going to lead to an even tougher day...and I'm just waiting around for it to happen because I can't stop it.

Try not to be jealous, Elly, Chloe isn't yours...you messed that up months ago when you couldn't commit to being all-in in a relationship with her and convince Chloe that you could prioritize her along with your pregnancy.

Chloe's moved on and she's happy...you need to let her go.

The last thing I remember...I think I got into an argument with Finn...I don't know what it was about...why don't I remember anything else? When was that? Is it still the same day, just late at night? Is it the next day? How long have I been unconscious?

Where am I?

Elly suddenly grunted when she heard the sound of metal scrapping against something. A door opened to her side and she found herself noticing the darkness of the sky and the stars in the sky for the briefest of moments, before the metal scrapped again, the door closing back to where it was. 

Elly blinked as a torch flicked on, pointed directly at the brunette.

"Hello, Elly. Glad to see you're awake," Finn announced cheerfully.

"Finn?" Elly sighed in surprised, "What's going on? What am I doing here? Where is here?"

"All good questions to be answered in time, my love," Finn smirked back at her.

Through the darkness, the light provided by Finn's torch was enough to show the glint gleaming across Finn's facial structure.

'My love'...what the hell is going...on? Oh, my fucking God, I was right!

Two days earlier - Thursday 19th December – Early afternoon

Elly sat across from her younger sister Bea at the dining table at the Kennedy household. The pair had shared lunch together with Bea returning home from work for her lunch break to spend it with her sister who was on maternity leave. Elly and Bea lived with their Aunt and Uncle, Susan and Karl, as well as Bea's boyfriend, Finn Kelly.

Finn was as complicated as men could ever get. Up until just over a year ago, he had dedicated several years of his life to extracting revenge on Elly for 'ruining his life.' Finn had meticulously plotted and acted out crimes upon Elly and her family, including abusing Bea into believing that he was a disabled man by the name of Patrick whom Bea became engaged to.

Finn terrorized the Conway/Kennedy/Nilsson family for months, setting up Elly to take the fall for a hit and run, tricking Bea into the position of looking like Elly and getting caught on camera so it looked like Elly was near the scene of the hit and run, messing with Susan's MS medications, abusing Bea emotionally to the point that she almost didn't trust another man again. Locked Elly, Bea and Susan up in a shipping container to die only for them to be rescued by Karl and Elly’s boyfriend-at-the-time, Mark. Then on top of all that, Finn nearly killed numerous students at the High School where Elly and Susan worked.

You'd think Finn would be rotting in jail for his crimes, right? Not so. During Finn's last acts of rampage, luring Elly, Susan, Bea and their friend Xanthe to the top of a cliff, intending to lead them to their deaths, the tables were turned on Finn.

When, in an act to protect the three young women, Susan had pushed Finn off the edge of a cliff. 

Finn survived. Barely. He spent months in hospital in a coma. Then when he did finally wake up, though he was still dealing with severe physical pain from the clifftop fall, emotionally he was a different man.

Literally.

Finn had suffered amnesia and as a result woke up believing he was a 19-year-old boy, having now celebrated a birthday was now a 20-year-old boy, that didn’t remember a moment of the torture he had inflicted on Elly or her family. To avoid incarceration for the crimes that he committed, regardless of his memory, Susan found herself offering Finn a home to stay in with her husband and nieces, feeling guilty for nearly killing the young man.

As the month’s passed, Finn had somehow managed to convince Bea that he really was a changed man and won her heart so they began dating again to Elly’s disgust.

Elly seemed to be the only one who had not forgotten what Finn had put them through. But who would listen to Elly, when Finn continued to prove every day that he had reformed?

In that time, Elly had found herself pregnant to Finn’s younger half-brother, Shaun Watkins, via a one-night-stand. Not that Elly had known who Shaun was when she had hooked up with him. Now she was only days away from giving birth to her baby and Elly had suspicions that Finn was not all that he appeared to be but Elly couldn’t find a way to voice her concerns to her family without inciting them to defend the criminal whom had lived with them for most of the year.

As Elly sat there finishing off her meal in silence with her sister, she wondered how she should voice the concerns that she had found herself having for the last week.

There’s something different about Finn, I know I only recognized it last week but now I look back over the past few weeks…he’s different…I can sense it. Surely Bea can too…she’s the one in a relationship with him…

I think it’s finally happened without Finn letting anyone in…his memories…I think Finn’s got them back…why wouldn’t he tell us?

Because Finn knows what it means…he was spared jail due to his circumstances…he’ll be locked up if there’s any hint that he isn’t as reformed as he keeps suggesting he is…

I have suspicions but no outright proof that Finn is evil…I can’t leave Bea unknowing of my concerns. As hard as they will be to hear…I know a part of her has fallen back in love with Finn…I can’t let her be blindsided…by not seeing the monster within…so how do I tell Bea my concerns about Finn…?

That he’s possibly regained his memories and he’s not that that innocent 20-year-old boy that Bea has fallen back in love with?

Okay…you can’t just stay quiet. Bea…and well, all of us could be at risk if…I am right and Finn remembers all his past misdeeds and could possibly be pretending not to be the monster that he truly is.

Just break your suspicions to Bea in a calm and caring but assertive way. Bea needs to know that your serious but she also needs to feel compassion from you and that you will support her no matter what. Especially if Finn has returned to his former self…you can do this.

“Hey, Bea,” Elly broke the silence with her younger sister as they sat together having eaten their lunches and were just hanging out until Bea needed to return to the garage for work that afternoon, “Can I talk to you about something?”

Bea looked up from the magazine she was reading, feeling surprised that Elly had broken the comfortable silence they had been sitting in. Not for any particular reason, but Bea was enjoying the quiet. Bea finished the final mouthful of food she had before nodding at Elly, “Sure, what’s up?”

Okay…take a deep breath…stay calm and explain that you have fears that Finn may have gotten his memories back and we need to work how we address this with Finn before any further damage can be done.

Before Elly could stop herself, she blurted out, “Finn is evil!”

Chapter Text

And She, Waits For You

Chapter Two  

Thursday 19th December – Early afternoon 

"What?" Bea screeched at Elly when Elly had blurted out to her that her boyfriend was 'evil.' 

Elly screwed up her face, knowing she had immediately blown her chance of having a reasonable conversation with her younger sister over her concerns that Finn had regained his memories of his past misdeeds, "I didn't mean to say it like that." 

Bea threw the magazine she had been reading down on the dining table, "What did you mean then, Elly? Because y'know 'Finn is evil,' what other way were you meant to say something like that? Why would you say something like that?" 

Elly sighed before leaning forwards, trying to find a comfortable position on the chair she was sitting in opposite Bea at the dining table, "I was trying to work my way up to talking to you, Bea, in a much more calm and relaxed way...but also addressing to you that I have concerns about Finn that I need you to hear." 

Bea shook her head, "Finn isn't evil, Elly." 

"I know that's what you want to believe and trust me I wouldn't bring this up, Bea, if I wasn't incredibly worried for you...for all of us," Elly replied calmly. 

Bea tried not to roll her eyes, needing to be serious, "This is about what happened to Shaun, isn't it? Finn had nothing to do with that. Elly, I know you are an emotional mess after the past week with everything that happened with Shaun but--" 

Elly screwed up her face even more, "I'm not an emotional mess about Shaun. I feel bad about what happened but if I'm an emotional mess it has nothing to do with Shaun." 

I've been in a perpetual emotional mess about Chloe for the last four months...not that I've been able to open up to you about that, Bea...   

Bea stared at her sister, "Elly, are you still in shock over Shaun's death?" 

Elly immediately shook her head, "No. I feel bad about it but it doesn't change things that much for me." 

"Elly, you are now going to be a single mum when your baby is born and your child will be growing up without it's father in his or her life. I think your still in shock about how this is truly going to affect you and your looking at other ways to distract yourself from that," Bea told her sister calmly. 

Elly ran her hand through her hair, "Bea, I've been preparing to be a single mum pretty much the entire length of my pregnancy. Shaun's death hasn't changed that for me at all. Okay, yes, when I first found out I was pregnant and the baby wasn't Mark's and it was Shaun's...I was living in a fantasy world in thinking that Mark would forgive me and in time he would come around to wanting to raise this baby with me. Of course, he wasn't going to do that. I knew that despite all the lies to Mark. Then Shaun returned and he wanted to be involved in the child's life despite the fact he would still live overseas and would be here for our child as much as he could. Then..." 

Then there was that time that I thought maybe Chloe and I could...but that was pretty much over the moment I was trying to come to terms with wanting Chloe to help me raise this baby...before I could even find out if Chloe would be ready for that…before I could even work out how I feel about her. 

"Yeah, but Shaun was going to be part of your child's life, Elly. He was going to be there to help you raise the child," Bea replied, and when Elly responded with a gentle shrug, “Or is this to do with Shaun’s mum and what she said to you after the memorial service we held for Shaun two days ago before Mrs. Watkins returned to Switzerland with Shaun’s body for a funeral? Are you emotionally distraught from your encounter with her?” 

“Bea, that woman was nasty but I am in no way distraught by Claudia Watkins, I told you that after I let you all know what she said,” Elly sighed, “I’m not affected by it, she can think what she wants.” 

Bea pursed her lips, “That Mrs. Watkins doesn’t believe the baby you are carrying is her grandchild? That she wants a paternity test done as soon as the baby is born with DNA the coroner has from Shaun after his death? Or the fact that even if the child is Shaun’s, his assets and fortune will in no way be provided to the child to help you raise the baby?” 

Elly chewed on her lip, “Claudia can think what she wants. This is Shaun’s child. Just because she thinks I’m some two-bit hussy that lured Shaun into our one-night stand to force him into giving his fortune to me to provide for the child, doesn’t mean I care about her opinion of me. I don’t want anything from Shaun’s personal assets or fortune. I can do this on my own because I have my family to support me. I don’t need any from Claudia so if she wants to believe this isn’t her grandchild, she can walk away and never meet my child, if that’s what she wants. I’ve got all the support I have right here.” 

Except, of course, Chloe’s support. 

“That’s good, I’m glad you feel that way because you’re right, you have what you need from us and you don’t need anything from Mrs. Watkins,” Bea smiled gently as she reached to pick up her magazine. 

“Bea, we haven’t addressed what I wanted to talk about,” Elly pointed out, halting Bea from been distracted once more by the magazine, “You deviated this conversation away from Finn to make it about me and what you think I’ve been stressing about the last few days.” 

Bea exhaled loudly, “You think Finn is evil! What, so, you think Finn had a part in Shaun’s death?” 

“Finn was the only one there when Shaun died, Bea,” Elly reminded her younger sister. 

Bea shook her head, “Shaun’s initial cause of death has already been ruled an accident, his abseiling rope snapped and he died on impact when he hit the ground. Finn was spotted by witnesses as quite lower than Shaun on the abseiling mountain so it’s not like he was in the vicinity of Shaun to tamper with the rope. Not to mention, we were here when they planned the adventure. It was Shaun’s idea and Shaun bought the gear they took with them. What, you think Finn predicted Shaun would come up with this day trip of brotherly bonding before Shaun prepared to spend pretty much the rest of his life putting your child’s needs ahead of his own and somehow managed to intervene to get Shaun killed?” 

Elly breathed deeply, “I’m aware that any involvement Finn had in Shaun’s death might be circumstantial but that’s really not the only thing that has me concerned, Bea. Shaun’s death and the way Finn has been since, it’s opened my eyes to even the past few weeks with the way Finn has been.” 

“And what?” Bea asked defensively. 

“I think Finn’s got his memories back,” Elly confessed, “And I think he’s had them back for at least a couple of weeks.” 

“If Finn had his memories back, Elly, I would know,” Bea assured her sister but at the look of disbelief on Elly’s face, Bea continued, “I’m the one who spends so much time with Finn. I wake up next to him every morning. If anything had changed in Finn’s persona, you don’t think for a second that I wouldn’t notice? Finn’s still doing his sessions with David, David would have a fairly good idea if Finn was lying through their sessions. They had one yesterday where Finn got to talk to David about the emotions he’s been feeling since Shaun’s death. What could possibly make you think that Finn has his memories of his past back but that he would be hiding it from all of us?” 

Elly swallowed her pride, “I don’t have any proof but there’s just something different in Finn’s eyes whenever he looks at me…and you but I’m starting to read more into the way he looks at me. It’s like…he knows more about me than he should…that he remembers the past of dating me. Since Shaun passed, I also sense that Finn is acting a lot more emotionally mature than a 20-year-old young man would at losing his technically younger brother so suddenly.” 

Bea shook her head in frustration, “So, that’s it? You sense something in Finn’s eyes that somehow makes you convinced that Finn’s gotten his memories back? Finn’s reaction to Shaun’s death…you’re seriously making out like that his emotional response to that is a sign that he’s going to turn back into the man who wanted revenge on us no matter the cost…lots of people have different reactions to losing a family member. In some way, Shaun was about to be your family member, Finn could say the same way about your reaction to what happened.” 

“Don’t turn this around on me, Bea, you don’t know what I’m going through,” Elly insisted, “I know I can’t really explain this Finn thing any more than what I have but I know I’m right about this. Something’s changed in Finn and it happened before Shaun died. C’mon, Bea, you know I wouldn’t bring this up unless I had some serious concerns about what this could mean for us if Finn has gotten his memories back.” 

Bea nodded reluctantly, “I know…and I get it’s out of concern for me but I don’t see how it’s possible that Finn has regained his memories and been able to keep it quiet for any length of time. Why would he do that?” 

“Because Finn knows what will happen if his memories have returned and people find out about it,” Elly answered, then at Bea’s slightly blank look, “Finn is still in a form of custody living here for his rehabilitation. Finn getting his memories back and turning back into the monster that he i…was it’ll change that arrangement. The judge might put him back on trial and that will likely put him straight back in jail. So, he’s staying quiet.” 

Bea chewed on her lip, “I don’t think so, Elly. I get your concerned…but Finn’s not evil, Elly, and he doesn’t have his memories back.” 

Sitting back in her chair, Elly realized she was never going to be able to convince Bea otherwise, “Okay…I’m still convinced that Finn has changed…would you mind if I spoke to David about my concerns?” 

“Why worry David about this when it’s more than likely nothing?” Bea asked, “Seriously, David will then be required to talk to Finn about it, put him through some tests or something about his memory when that is the last thing Finn needs right now. He’s grieving, Elly, we all are.” 

Elly ran her tongue over her lower lip, “I’d like to tell Karl and Suze my concerns then so we’re all aware and not going to be surprised if anything regarding Finn’s memories does come to pass.” 

Bea disagreed, “I don’t want this house to feel like there’s so much tension around and that’s what’s going to happen if all four of us are secretly accusing Finn that his memories have returned and questioning every little thing that Finn does wondering if there’s an agenda behind it.” 

Elly didn’t answer her sister, feeling more deflated than ever that Bea could not share her concerns. 

Chloe is the only person who would believe me without ever doubting me…I wish I could talk to Chloe about this. 

Bea continued to insist to Elly that she had more important things to worry about, “Not to mention, you’re gonna give birth to your baby any day now. Do you seriously need this kind of stress after the past week that we’ve had dealing with Shaun’s death and memorial service because that’s all its gonna cause, Elly. Finn’s not gonna be happy that you doubt him so much and with the baby due any day now, you need to focus on the baby and being a single mum in a few days’ time.” 

Elly gave in but requested, “Will you at least do me a favour, Bea, and focus on Finn for the next few days?” 

“And by that you mean?” Bea queried. 

“Be cautious around him, don’t be obvious like you’re trying to trip Finn up on details he shouldn’t remember but might, just…look out for yourself when he’s around…now that you know that I’m concerned that he might have his memories back…I want you to be aware…that Finn could possibly be trying to hide that from you and I don’t want to see you get hurt,” Elly answered. 

Bea shrugged, “You’re wrong about Finn, Elly, he’s not going to turn back into the man he used to be.” 

“Bea…” Elly said softly. 

Bea nodded reluctantly, “I know. I’ll be cautious…and if I notice any kind of change in Finn…I’ll tell you, okay.” 

“Thank you,” Elly settled on, despite feeling unsettled that her sister could possibly be so blind to what could be going on with her boyfriend. 

I can’t ask Bea to do anymore…and the timing of all this…it couldn’t be worse as I’m due to give birth within the week. What else can I possibly do to make sure Bea is safe? 

I don’t want to wait until after my baby has been born to bring this up again…if Finn has regained his memories…we might not have that kind of time. 

I wish I could go to Chloe about this mess…she’d be able to tell me what to do. 

Chapter Text

And She, Waits For You

Chapter Three 

Present Day – Saturday 21st December – 8AM  

Bea jogged up the steps of Pierce’s house.  

The former house of the Brennan’s, Bea and most of their neighbours could still barely wrap their heads around the fact that Pierce had snapped up the house and moved into the street so quickly with his 17-year-old son, Hendrix. Less than 3 months’ ago, Mark Brennan, the local resident cop, moved back to his hometown of Adelaide to help his younger brother, Tyler, and his girlfriend, Piper, care for their mother, Fay, whom was suffering from Huntington’s disease.   

Mark is Chloe’s eldest brother and even she was shocked when she found out that her older boyfriend, Pierce, had moved so quickly and brought the house from Mark without even telling her his plans. Pierce had wanted Chloe to move into the house with him and Hendrix as soon as the father and son had moved in but Chloe had been resistant.  

Chloe lived with her third brother, Aaron, his husband, David, and their housemate, Kyle. Chloe had only been dating Pierce for less than a month when he had purchased the house from Mark and asked Chloe to move in with him and Hendrix.  

Chloe was also still wrapping her head around the fact that Pierce had two teenage children. She’d known the brooding businessman for close to a year and whilst he had left for 6 months after his first quick stint in the town, Chloe had been left stunned when she came across the flirty, bratty, Hendrix in Pierce’s previous house 3 months earlier. Then to find out from Hendrix that Pierce also has a teenage daughter.

When she confronted him, Pierce explained the children’s mum, Lisa, was older than the young-20’s Pierce, when she told him to leave their family for her to raise the children on her own as Pierce wasn’t happy with life with them and wanted to strike out on his own.  

So, that’s what Pierce did and he became an absentee father to his children, until years’ later and Hendrix got expelled from his 5th private school in 4 years and turned up on his father’s doorstep. Regretting all the time that they had missed, Pierce wanted Hendrix to stick around and with Chloe’s help, enabled his son to be enrolled into Erinsborough High School.  

Now, Pierce was living with Hendrix on Ramsay Street but was upset by the constant rebuttal of Chloe moving in with him when instead she preferred to base herself across the street from him at Aaron and David’s house though did still spend most nights at the Grayson’s.  

Bea knocked on the front door of Pierce’s house quite forcefully with her fist. Hendrix opened the front door, smiling brightly at his gorgeous neighbour, “Good morning to you, gorgeous Bea. What can I do you for?”  

Bea screwed up her face in disgust at Hendrix’s flirty nature, “Do you hit on anyone with a pulse, Hendrix?”  

Hendrix shrugged, his smile growing wider, “Only on gorgeous women like yourself but I know you’ll never go there as you’ve told me a bunch of times and I keep promising to knock off my flirtations with you as we’re mates. What brings you here, bright and early on this fine morning, mate?”  

Bea relaxed in Hendrix’s presence; glad he immediately knew he was in the wrong as she did like the young man. They had struck up a bit of a friendship over the past couple of months when Hendrix had found himself stopping by the garage Bea worked at once or twice a week. It had started out with Pierce wanting to help his son to get involved in his passion for cooking and had arranged with Karl that Hendrix would spend time after school one or two days a week at the 82 Café practicing his craft in exchange for Pierce paying for the ingredients Hendrix used up.  

The café was based across the road from the garage. Hendrix hated to admit to his father that he appreciated the help he had received from Pierce that allowed him to indulge in his love of cooking, creating a range of different menu items, some of which were atrocious and others seemingly worked for the café. Hendrix had talked Bea into been his taste tester for his meals, finding himself trusting Bea’s instincts over Gary and Kyle, the father and son duo who ran the café with Karl.  

“Is your Dad home…and…uh…Chloe?” Bea asked Hendrix as they stood at the front door of his place.  

“C’mon in,” Hendrix gestured, curious to know what Bea could want from the couple, immediately getting the feeling that Bea wasn’t there for Pierce at all but for some reason felt weird about turning up at Pierce’s house to ask to see Chloe.  

Bea walked past Hendrix into the entry of the house before turning back to Hendrix as he closed the door behind them, “So, Chloe’s here then?”  

Hendrix nodded at the subtle confirmation that he was right that Bea was chasing Chloe and not Pierce, “She sure is, you can’t hear her?”  

Bea came close to screwing up her face once more, immediately thinking Hendrix was making an inappropriate sexual comment about his father’s younger girlfriend. Bea was quickly relieved when instead she overheard the murmurings of Chloe and Pierce yelling at one another from one of the rooms at the back of the house, Bea assumed their bedroom, “Right…maybe I should come back in a bit…”  

Hendrix gestured with his hand for Bea to stay, “It’s all good. Here…I’ll be happy to interrupt them…I do it quite often,” before Hendrix yelled out, “Yo! Dad!”  

“Not now, Hendrix!” came Pierce’s clear loud reply that Bea was now certain came from the bedroom.  

Hendrix rolled his eyes, before yelling back once more, “Chlo! You got a moment?”  

“No!” came Chloe’s answer.  

“I’ll come back,” Bea decided taking a step towards the front door but Hendrix sighed, “Just give me one minute, I’ll be back with them.”  

Bea stood around the entry of the house awkwardly, still feeling like this house belonged to the Brennan siblings instead of Pierce’s new pad. Her sister, Elly, had lived in the house for a time after she had married Mark, but was kicked out when Mark learnt that Elly had fallen pregnant to another man. The cheating with Shaun had occurred as the result of their strained marriage with Elly having admitted to Mark five minutes after exchanging vows that she had slept with his sister, Chloe, when Mark had cancelled their wedding and ran away to a town in the middle of nowhere before he returned on the morning of the wedding to beg Elly for forgiveness. Mark had kicked Chloe out of the house when he learnt what his sister and fiancé had done behind his back.  

Now, at the end of the year, Chloe was dating the plain, sensible, billionaire, Pierce, with an active role in Hendrix’s upbringing, and whilst not living with Pierce, spent a lot of time at the house that she previously used to live at.  

Hendrix jogged to Pierce’s bedroom, knocking on the shut door, “Dad, Chlo, you’ve got a--”  

“What part of not now do you not understand, Hendrix?” Pierce shouted from inside the room.  

“Dad, there’s--” Hendrix tried again to inform his father that Bea was there to see them and could hear the couple arguing.  

“Hendrix, we will be out in a few minutes, let us finish this!” Pierce yelled back to his son.  

Hendrix slunk back to the front of the house to Bea, “They are…uh…gonna be a few minutes. Can you stay ‘til they are done with their fight?”  

Bea went to shake her head but then noticed the look on Hendrix’s face and realized he hadn’t asked her to stay if she had the time to wait for Pierce and Chloe to finish their argument, he was asking her to stay because he didn’t want to deal with been alone with the couple as they yelled at one another, “Sure, of course.”  

Hendrix smiled at Bea, thankful for the brunette distracting him from his Dad shutting him down instead of listening to him. Hendrix motioned to the couch as he sat down on the single sofa chair next to it and Bea joined him in the living room on the couch.  

Hearing the couple restart up their argument, the voices more muffled now and unclear what they were saying to one another as they kept interrupting one another, Bea tried to smile at Hendrix, “Do they ah…do this often? Argue like this?”  

Hendrix nodded, “Yeah, all the time. Dad likes to portray to the world that he’s perfect…I mean that his relationship with Chloe is perfect…but they fight with one another all the time. Don’t tell anyone.”  

Bea nodded at Hendrix’s pleading, “I’m sorry, kid, must be tough to be around them when they are like this. I feel like asking what the pair fight about when they always look so happy together but I probably don’t really want to know.”  

Hendrix shrugged, “Anything and everything with these two. They can’t go a day without yelling about something. What does bring you here to speak to Chloe?”  

Bea raised her eyebrow at Hendrix realizing she wasn’t there to speak to Pierce, “Uh I needed to ask her about something with Elly…it’s important. And if this fight doesn’t end in a couple minutes, I might go interrupt them myself to talk to Chloe.”  

Hendrix’s lips curled into a smile at the instant reminder to Chloe’s former flame, “Tell me more about Chloe and Elly. I’m always keen to hear more about those two.”  

Bea shook her head at Hendrix’s cheekiness, knowing she was there for a more serious matter, “It’s not like that at all, between Chloe and Elly, anymore. You know that, they’re friends.”  

Hendrix pursed his lips, before admitting to Bea, “Sometimes I wonder…why Chloe’s with my Dad…? I know I annoy the crap out of Chloe because I can’t help it when it comes to Chloe. But she deserves so much more than this relationship she’s in with him…it’s a pity things couldn’t have worked out between Elly and Chloe.”  

Bea tilted her head in agreement, continuing to ignore the arguing coming from the bedroom as she chatted away with Hendrix, “Yeah, it is.”  

Chapter Text

And She, Waits For You

Chapter Four  

Present Day – Saturday 21st December – 8AM  

Chloe sighed as she had once again found herself in another argument with her boyfriend, Pierce. She was sick of them; they couldn’t go a single day without yelling at one another over something. Today’s topic they were arguing about was about Pierce’s unexpected business trip.  

At least that’s where it started, turns out there were several topics that blurred into the same argument the pair were having as they stood in Pierce’s bedroom yelling firmly with one another. With the door to the bedroom closed, their voices had a muffle to them so Pierce’s teenage son, Hendrix, who lived with Pierce, couldn’t hear everything they were saying to one another.   

“I want you to come with me, Chlo!” Pierce told Chloe firmly.  

“I’m not going to drop everything and fly halfway around the world because you’re needed to go fix problems going on with your business in New York. It’s bad enough that you’re skipping out on your first Christmas in some time with your son, plus you’ll probably miss New Years’ too from the sounds of all the problems going on that you need to get sorted so the company doesn’t go belly up,” Chloe pointed out in frustration.  

“What about our first Christmas and New Year’s together?” Pierce picked up from Chloe’s words.  

I don’t really care or need to spend the holidays with you, Pierce, I’ve got Aaron and David I can celebrate with.  

“I thought it would be more important for you to spend it with Hendrix considering you two still need a bit of help to get along. I mean I was going to pop by to check in and spend some time with you boys but I was planning on been at home for the holidays,” Chloe answered.  

“Didn’t I already tell you last week that I’m sending Hendrix up to Sydney on Christmas Day morning so he can spend the holidays with his mum and sister?” Pierce asked.  

Chloe shrugged, “Maybe, I dunno, guess I wasn’t paying attention too well if you told me you were already planning on shafting your son to Sydney and wouldn’t be celebrating with him like he would prefer.”  

“I’m not shafting my son anywhere, he’s been here 3 months already, it’s time he went back to Sydney to spend the holidays with his mum and sister,” Pierce insisted, “With Hendrix in Sydney, that’s why I want you to come with me on this sudden trip I need to take to New York so we can spend our first holidays as a couple. C’mon, Chlo, Christmas and New Years’ in New York City, there’s nothing like it.”  

“What part of, ‘I can’t drop everything’ do you not understand? Christmas to New Years’ is one of the busiest times at the hotel, Terese needs me there,” Chloe replied with exasperation.  

Pierce ran his hand through his hair, “I’ll talk to Terese and organize--”  

“Don’t you dare, Pierce!” Chloe yelled as she interrupted him, “How many times do I have to tell you to stop interfering with my job? You do this all the time. Plan dates and outings when I’m supposed to be working and insist that I work from home where I don’t get any work done. You just call Terese and organize the time off for me before I even know about it. I’m supposed to be Terese’s EA, not yours. You have no right to keep making excuses to Terese as to why I’m not coming into work. You’re ruining my reputation at the hotel as everyone thinks I don’t care about been a professional career woman. They just think all I care about is impressing you.”  

Pierce threw his hands up, “I just like surprising you with romantic gestures, Chlo. I mean, it’s not like you need the job.”   

The couple were suddenly interrupted by Hendrix yelling out from the living room, “Yo! Dad!”  

“Not now, Hendrix!” Pierce bellowed back loudly, his voice crossing the house clearer than it had been as he argued with Chloe.   

Hendrix replied back with an equally loud, “Chlo, you got a moment?”  

“No!” Chloe yelled back to the teenager, instantly feeling terrible but she was getting fed up of Pierce always handballing Hendrix’s issues onto her when he was capable of dealing with them himself.  

Chloe turned back to Pierce and pointed her finger at him, “Did you just tell me I don’t need my job? I am fed up of you telling me I should just quit my job because you can provide for me! Every week or two you bring it up and I’m over this argument. I won’t be quitting my job so you can just pay for everything and then I can...what hang out all here all day and be bored? You want a baby sitter for Hendrix?”  

“You know what I mean is that you can come up with your own career that you can build yourself with the time you’ll have and you’ll be happier forging your own...” Pierce suddenly trailed off at the look on Chloe’s face.  

“What? I’ll be happier doing something else as opposed to running around after Terese like my job as her EA isn’t good enough for you! I love my job! I’m not changing it because you want to date someone who isn’t, as you perceive, a slave!” Chloe rambled off irritably.

“I didn’t mean it to come across like that,” Pierce tried to backtrack.

Before he could try further to turn their argument around away from this fight, they had found themselves in, Pierce heard Hendrix knock on his bedroom door.

Hendrix’s voice called out to them, “Dad, Chlo, you’ve got a--”  

“What part of not now do you not understand, Hendrix?” Pierce interrupted his son, not bothering to hear him out.  

“Dad, there’s--” Hendrix tried again.  

“Hendrix, we will be out in a few minutes, let us finish this!” Pierce yelled back to his son.  

As Pierce was distracted by Hendrix for the briefest of moments, Chloe took a step back from her boyfriend and glanced around the bedroom. It still felt odd to her spending time with Pierce in the room that was previously the bedroom that her ex Elly shared with her brother Mark when they were married for several months earlier in the year.

Pierce had swanked the bedroom out with his own style of bedroom furniture and an expensive bed but that didn’t stop that odd feeling washing over Chloe every time she spent the night with Pierce.

Not that I can ever tell Pierce that, he’d get annoyed at me bringing up Elly and the idea that even when I’m with him I’m thinking of her…I mean that I’m thinking of the weirdness that Elly used to sleep in this very room…with Mark. At least Hendrix moved into Aaron and David’s old bedroom instead of my old room here…that room always reminds me of Elly…and our night together we spent making love to one another…

Don’t think about that…you’re with Pierce now…Elly was never going to come to terms with her feelings for you…

Pierce regained Chloe’s attention, “I’m sorry, okay. I just really want you to come with me to New York City. Despite the fact, I’ll be there working, I just really wanted us to have this holiday together. What if this is the last time that I overstep on your job? You do this for me and next year, I’ll respect you and your decisions regarding your job every moment?”

Chloe instantly shook her head, “I’m not dropping everything to go to New York City with you, Pierce. You fly out in a matter of hours, you only told me about this trip 10 minutes ago. You get one email from the company first thing this morning about the crisis going on and you’re booking flights, a hotel, a car and your bag is already practically packed before you even told me what you were doing. How can you possibly think I would go with you when my family are here to spend the holidays with and I’ve got a job to do at the hotel for Terese over the holidays?”

Pierce ran his right hand through his hair, before placing both hands in his pockets of his suit pants, his fingers grazing against the item in his pocket, “This is not how I planned this morning to go at all.”

Chloe sighed, “Whatever. Look if you are going on this trip to go fix your business, can we just end this fight now? I don’t want to be sitting on this argument whilst your away.”

Pierce shifted his hands out of his pockets, reached out as he took a few steps forward and hugged Chloe gently, “Of course. We’ll talk properly about everything as soon as I get home.”

Chloe found herself falling into his embrace, despite never feeling completely right when Pierce held her in his arms, “Sounds good.”

Pierce pressed his lips to Chloe’s forehead, “I’ll call you every day. I know you don’t live here, Chloe, but would you mind staying each night until Hendrix flys out to Sydney on Christmas morning? I’ll email you his flight details, if you can…ah…also take Hendrix to the airport too? Then you’re free to spend the rest of your Christmas with your family.”

Chloe nodded her head, “Sure, no problems, I’ll do that.”

Pierce pulled back gently, reaching down and kissing Chloe. Pierce sighed when Chloe didn’t return the peck on her lips that he gave her, instead of deepening the kiss, Chloe pulled further out of the embrace.

“We should go see what Hendrix wanted,” Chloe pointed out to Pierce.

“Right,” Pierce reluctantly agreed.

A minute later, Chloe followed Pierce out to the living room. He’d taken her hand as they strolled out of the bedroom but Chloe dropped it quickly, finding herself fiddling with her hair instead of holding onto his hand. She never felt comfortable with his signs of affection and yet put up with them regardless most days to show she was into the relationship as he was.

I’ll never be comfortable with Pierce…he’s not Elly…but he’ll do…

As Pierce entered the living room ahead of Chloe, he was immediately incensed when he overheard his son talking to someone, annoyed at the thought that his argument with Chloe had been overheard.

Spotting Bea sitting on the couch, chatting away with Hendrix, Pierce immediately took aim at the teenager, “Hendrix! Why didn’t you tell me Bea was here?”

Hendrix glanced up at his father and Chloe as she followed behind him, “I did try, Dad, you didn’t list--”

“You should have told me,” Pierce interrupted in annoyance that his relationship problems could’ve been aired to Elly’s sister.

Bea screwed up her face at Pierce’s irritation, “The kid did try, Pierce, twice. He called out to you, then went to get you but you ignored him, again. Not his fault you were too involved in your own issues, whatever they may be.”

Pierce went to respond but looking back and seeing the look on Chloe’s face that she seemingly agreed with Bea’s assessment, knew he didn’t want to spark another argument with his girlfriend directly in front of Bea, “What are you doing here, Bea?”

Hendrix couldn’t help but intervene with the answer, knowing it would annoy his father to no end, “Bea needs to talk to Chloe about Elly. It’s important, she didn’t want to leave without seeing Chloe and she was willing to go interrupt your fight to talk to her.”

Chloe immediately raised her eyebrow the second Hendrix uttered Elly’s name. The mention of Chloe’s ex-girlfriend brought a wave of feelings over Chloe that she almost didn’t know how to process them. But knowing Pierce was standing next to her, Chloe couldn’t let her emotions get the better of her in front of him.

Bea stood up from the couch, ignoring the incensed look on Pierce’s face, she addressed Chloe, “I don’t think Elly came home last night, Chlo. Her phone has been switched off. I don’t know where she is…”

Chloe’s face fell immediately.

Elly didn’t come home last night…she’s nearly due to have her baby any day now…what the hell could have happened…?

I miss her so much…

Chapter Text

And She, Waits For You

Chapter Five

Present Day – Saturday 21st December – 8:15 AM  

Chloe stood next to Pierce but she took a gentle step back, as Bea’s words that Elly hadn’t come home the previous night settled in, “What do you mean you don’t know where Elly is, Bea?”

“I mean just that, Chlo. I can’t get a hold of her, her bed wasn’t slept in last night, her handbag with her purse and everything are still sitting on her dresser in her room,” Bea rambled off quickly, her worry for her sister obvious, “Have you seen Elly since yesterday afternoon? Last night or anything?”

Chloe was interrupted by Pierce scoffing, “What are you asking if Elly was with Chloe last night? My girlfriend was with me, thanks, Bea. She was not with Elly. So, if that’s all you came to ask then I suggest--”

Bea took a step forward, incensed by Pierce’s complete disregard for her sister, “I’m not insinuating anything going on between Chloe and Elly or Elly spending the night with Chloe. I really don’t care or have any time for your worries that you might think Chloe could be seeing Elly behind your back.”

Pierce puffed out his chest and crossed his arms in front of them, readying himself to fire back at Bea, “Why’d you come here to talk to Chloe about this?”

Bea shook her head at the businessman, “Because my very heavily pregnant sister might have gone missing. I am going around the street to ask all the neighbours if they’ve seen her.”

“Has anyone else seen her?” Chloe asked, the worry in her voice evident, overriding the annoyance at her boyfriend not taking this situation seriously.

I need to know Elly is okay…

Bea paused for a moment, “Well, I haven’t…yours is the first house I came to check...”

Pierce chewed on his lip, “What? Just because Chloe is here and you think for one second that Chloe and Elly--”

Bea interrupted him, “Chloe is still one of Elly’s friends. My sister…my nearly-ready-to-give-birth-to-her-baby-any-day-now-sister didn’t come home last night. Or it appears that she did as her handbag is in her room with everything but her phone in it so that must mean that she left and didn’t make it back again. I’m worried about her and I wanted to know if Chloe has seen her since I last have.”

Chloe ran her hand through her hair, stressing at the thought that Elly wasn’t at home preparing to give birth to her baby, “I haven’t…wait no, I did but only for a moment. When I came home from work yesterday and came over here, I saw Elly outside your place checking your mail box for…well…mail. We waved to each other but we didn’t talk to each other.”

“You didn’t tell me that,” Pierce said quickly.

Chloe raised her eyebrow at Pierce as she looked up at him, “Why would I?”

Trying to remind his father not to ignore him, Hendrix piped in with a quick, “Yeah, Dad, why should she? I don’t report to you when I see Ms. Conway on the street.”

Ignoring Pierce’s apparent jealousy of the simple interaction between Chloe and her ex, Bea continued, “So, Elly was at home early evening yesterday…?”

Pierce shrugged at Bea’s worry, “Sounds like you got the answer you were looking for. Why don’t you get on your way to the rest of the neighbours to see if they know anymore?”

Bea ignored Pierce, “Chloe, has Elly come to you the last couple days to talk to you about Finn?”

Chloe shook her head, “No. Why would Elly need to talk to me about Finn?”

Bea put her hands up, “Elly just…she said some things to me about Finn the other day…I thought maybe she needed to talk to someone else about it…I thought that person might be you… The thing is…I didn’t want to worry about this too but Finn didn’t come home last night either…”

Chloe blinked her eyes at the news but again before she could react Pierce intervened with his thoughts, “Well there’s your answer, Elly’s gone off with your boyfriend. I mean it’s a little gross seeing as though Elly is that heavily pregnant but she is Finn’s ex so maybe they rekindled things after Shaun passed away the other week.”

Chloe and Bea stared at Pierce incredulously, both of them raising their voices at him, “Elly is not hooking up with Finn!”

Pierce shrugged, “Not from where I’m standing. It’s entirely possible.”

“Bea, why didn’t you mention Finn wasn’t at home last night either?” Hendrix piped up again, trying to remain involved in the conversation.

“I didn’t think it was connected as I got a message from Finn early yesterday evening saying he was going to the city for the weekend just to spend some time on his own to deal with his grief over Shaun. It didn’t sound out of the ordinary to me considering what he’s going through and he was texting me this morning so it’s not like he’s gone radio silent like Elly. Though his messages did kind of stop weirdly when I thought we were chatting a way a bit,” Bea explained.

“Bea, what did Elly tell you about Finn that you thought she might come to me about?” Chloe asked, the worry in her voice beginning to break.

Bea chewed on her lower lip, before glancing into Chloe’s eyes guiltily, “Elly thinks Finn’s memories have returned.”

“Are you kidding? What do the Kennedy’s and David think about this? Is it possible? If Finn’s gotten his memories back, he always wanted to hurt Elly,” Chloe realized, her voice unable to stop breaking at the idea of Elly been hurt.

This has to be some kind of coincidence…Elly can’t be hurt…not by Finn…

Bea’s guilt compounded her, “Nobody else knows…I didn’t believe Elly when she told me…”

“Bea, how could you not believe Elly over something like this? Finn’s memories coming back is her worst nightmare,” Chloe pointed out with distress.

“How do you know Elly’s worst nightmare?” Pierce asked.

Blanking Pierce’s question, Bea addressed Chloe, “I didn’t think it was possible. Finn hasn’t seemed out of the ordinary to me at all and I’m the one who knows him the best. He’s been out of sorts a little since Shaun’s death but not to any kind of point that his memories are back and that he would ever do anything bad to Elly.”

“What do you need me to do?” Chloe asked quickly.

Pierce starred down at the blonde, “Why do you need to help out?”

Chloe glanced up at her boyfriend in disgust, “Because Elly’s still my friend and she’s due to have her baby any day now. If Finn’s done something to Elly because his memories are back then I need to help in whatever way I can.”

“But you have work today at the hotel, you were just telling me how important your job is,” Pierce pointed out.

“Terese will understand,” Chloe told him.

“Oh, so, when you need time off it’s okay for you to call Terese but when I do it, you get annoyed,” Pierce began to argue.

Chloe rolled her eyes at him, “Are you not comprehending this, Pierce? Elly thinks Finn has his memories back. The real Finn, not the naïve young man that he’s been most of this year, he hates Elly and wants to hurt her at all costs. I’m…nobody should want that to happen so if there’s anything that I can do then I’m here to do it.”

Pierce reached out and took Chloe’s hand, trying to drag her back a few steps but Chloe stood firm where she was standing, “I thought I made things clear that I don’t want you to spend time with Elly alone.”

Bea looked at Pierce in surprise, “You told Chloe not to spend time with Elly? What are you so scared of?”

Pierce scoffed, “It’s not like that, Bea. I just don’t want Elly getting any ideas.”

Chloe shook her head at Pierce, “Whatever. Now’s not the time for any of that, Pierce. I want to help Bea. I can go with her to check with the rest of the neighbours if they saw Elly last night at the very least. If no one has, then I can go with Bea to the police station to ask them what the next move is. I can call Mark and he can maybe pull a favour with his former colleagues.”

Pierce sighed, “I think Mark made it clear he doesn’t really care for Elly after what she put him through,” then giving in, “But okay, fine, go check with the rest of the neighbours and the police station. I don’t really want you involved any more than that, okay?”

“Don’t worry, I’ll have Chloe home for you within the hour,” Bea sassed at Pierce.

Pierce grunted, “Well, actually I’m…I’ve got a flight to catch to New York for work as there’s a crisis at one of my companies over there. I need to finish packing and I’ll be out of here within half an hour.”

“What a shame,” Bea muttered under her breath at the way Pierce treated Chloe.

Ignoring whatever Bea had whispered to herself, Pierce turned to Hendrix, “Mate, Chloe will stay here the next few nights to look after you, then she’ll get you to the airport Christmas morning to spend the holidays with your mum and sister.”

“Don’t call me ‘mate’,” Hendrix whined, “And I don’t need looking after.”

“Yes, you do!” came the agreed cry from Chloe, Pierce and Bea.

“Fine, whatever,” Hendrix sat back on the couch sulking, that even his friend Bea agreed with his father on the matter.

“Right, let’s go,” Chloe turned to Bea as she stepped forwards and grabbed her own handbag off the table in the entryway.

“Uh, Chlo,” Pierce motioned Chloe to turn back to him, “I won’t be here when you get back.”

And…

When Chloe looked at Pierce blankly, he continued, “We should say goodbye.”

I’d much rather be out trying to find out where Elly is…but…I guess…

“Oh right,” Chloe said in surprise, before strolling back to Pierce, pecking him on the lips, again refusing to deepen the kiss when Pierce tried to place his hands on her hips, “You’ll call me tomorrow, right? Or just send me a text when you land in New York?”

“I’ll call you when I’m on my way to the airport, you can…ah…update me on the whole…Elly situation,” Pierce decided.

“Sure,” Chloe agreed rushing back to the front door and motioning Bea to follow her.

“And I’ll call you every day I’m in New York,” Pierce promised, “I love you, Chloe.”

Chloe opened the front door, turning back to her boyfriend, “Me too.”

As Bea brushed past Chloe to exit the house, she rolled her eyes as Pierce called back out to Chloe stopping them from leaving, “Why don’t you ever say the words that you love me?”

Chloe paused at the doorway, Bea standing next to her but neither of them leaving as Pierce had just called out a habit Chloe had formed since she began dating Pierce.

Really, Pierce? Now is the time to bring that up…? I had kinda hoped you never noticed…

“What are you talking about? I just did,” Chloe played dumb.

Pierce placed his hands back in his pockets, his right hand gently clasping the item inside, but knew it wasn’t the right time, “No, you didn’t. You said ‘me too’. You always say that or ‘you too.’ You’ve never said the words ‘I love you’ to me the entire time we’ve been together.”

Bea looked at the awkward look on Chloe’s face, realizing instantly Chloe didn’t feel as strongly for Pierce as he did for her, before whispering subtly, “We kinda gotta go, just tell him so we can get outta here and find Elly.”

Ignoring Bea’s request because she refused to lie to her boyfriend, Chloe stared over at him, “Pierce, now really isn’t the best time for this discussion. I need to go find Elly and you need to finish packing so you can make your flight. We’ll talk about this when you get home after the holidays or we can talk about it when you give me a call.”

“I love you, Chloe, I want you to feel the same way,” Pierce pleaded.

Chloe walked back to Pierce, pecking him on the lips once more, “Pierce, I am…deeply…deeply in like with you…I’m getting to that love stage…I just need a little bit more time. I’ll get there, I will, okay, but I can’t say those words until I know I mean them.”

Hendrix snorted from the couch gently, repeating, “’Deeply in like with you’…that’s a love story if I ever heard one.”

Pierce ignored his son, looking bewildered at Chloe, “That’s all you’ve got for me?”

Chloe chewed on her lip, “Right at this moment…yes…I really have to go. I’ll speak to you soon. Have a good flight, I’ll miss you.”

Will I?

Pierce lent down and captured Chloe’s lips with his passionately, before pulling back, “Okay…you’re right, I don’t want you to say the words until you mean them. We can talk about this more when I call you and when I get home.”

Chloe forced a smile on her face at the thought, “Great, enjoy your trip. I’ll speak to you soon. Bye, Pierce.”

Without another word, Chloe turned on her heels and exited the house, with Bea by her side as they headed down the steps to the driveway.

Out of hearing from the two Grayson men, Bea glanced over at Chloe, “So, things between you and Pierce seem to be going…?”

Nowhere…

“Nowhere,” Chloe blurted out accidentally, “Ugh I mean…I don’t know what I mean but now’s not really the time to think about it. I’m worried about Elly. I want to find her and bring her home safely…I really hope you’re wrong about Finn, Bea.”

I’m deeply in like with Pierce and I’m still in love with Elly…there is nothing else to think about...except that Elly will never get there with whatever feelings she does have for me…

“I know, me too, I’ll never forgive myself if Elly was right about Finn and her or her baby get hurt because of him,” Bea confessed, “We’ll start at Terese and Paul’s and work our way around the street to see if anyone saw Elly after you did yesterday?”

“Or Finn,” Chloe pointed out, before reassuring Elly’s younger sister, “We’ll find her, Bea…we have to.”

Chapter Text

And She, Waits For You

Chapter Six

Present Day – Saturday 21st December – 1:15 AM

Elly blinked wildly as she stared at Finn in front of her. He was pointing his torch in her eyes as he glared down at her menacingly.

Unable to be in denial about her situation, Elly knew deep down that she had been right all along about Finn.

This isn’t Finn…he has gotten his memories back…this isn’t the guy that’s been living with us most of the year…the man who fell in love with Bea for real this time…he’s not Finn at all…this man standing before me…he’s the guy that was obsessed with doing everything in his power to destroy me…

This is EvilFinn!

Elly stared up at the man, desperate to work out exactly what he was doing, “What are you doing, Finn? Where are we?”

EvilFinn stared down at Elly, then walked over to the corner of the room, throwing several pillows across at Elly, “I picked these up earlier, I don’t want you to be uncomfortable whilst you are here. If the blankets aren’t enough comfort to sleep on please let me know and I’ll make it better in the morning. Take the pillows and try to fall asleep, Elly.”

Elly reluctantly yet instinctively let go of her baby bump, raising her hands to catch the two pillows EvilFinn had thrown at her. Holding them in her hands, unsure what she was meant to do, she addressed EvilFinn once more, trying to get an answer out of him, “What is going on, Finn? Answer me now!”

“Now why would I do a thing like that?” EvilFinn answered with his own question, intrigued to see the panic that was continuing to wash over Elly’s face.

Elly placed the pillows besides her as she continued lying on the blankets that were splayed out on the concrete floor, “Answer me Finn! Where have you taken me?”

EvilFinn pointed the torch around the place then smirked at Elly, “You don’t recognize this place?”

Elly’s eyes followed the light provided by the torch in EvilFinn’s hands, the face falling quickly as she saw the place was surrounded by metal walls, “A shipping containment unit? Again! What the hell are you doing Finn?”

“C’mon, Elly, you’ve figured it out by now. I know you have,” EvilFinn remarked.

Elly ran her hand across her baby bump, relieved to still feel her child kicking against her, letting Elly know that she or he had been unharmed in whatever had happened that had left Elly unconscious, “You have your memories back.”

The grin on EvilFinn’s face grew even wider, “It’s so good to remember every little thing that I hate about Elly Conway!”

I was right…I didn’t want to be right…

And the problem is…only Bea knew of my suspicions…how long will it take her to notice that I’m not at home?

Elly’s eyes widened in fear, “You got your memories back…when?”

EvilFinn shrugged at Elly, “A while back…I felt you getting suspicious of me…you changed when you were around me. Your eyes…I sensed it.”

Elly chewed on her lip, “Could say the same about you…it was all in your eyes.”

“So…who’d you tell?” EvilFinn asked, almost in a sing-song tune of voice.

When Elly didn’t answer, EvilFinn narrowed his eyes as he continued, “C’mon, Elly, I know you and you would never be able to keep quiet about your secrets…and well everything really. I heard about how you caved and told Mark five minutes after he married you that you had bedded his sister when he’d run away and cancelled the wedding. Then there was the paternity over your child…that took a lot longer but you didn’t hold back when Shaun figured out, he was the father. Then when everything got too much for you, your lies and guilt caught up with you, so you eventually told Mark he’s not the father…people might mistake you as a liar and just a cheat…but you manipulate people…you’ve done so your whole life.”

Elly shook her head, “You don’t know me at all.”

EvilFinn smirked at Elly once more, “And yet I know you told someone your suspicions about me.”

“Bea,” Elly gave in.

EvilFinn seethed for a moment, “You told my girlfriend!”

Elly was surprised, “Finn, do you actually still care about Bea?”

EvilFinn shook his head immediately but there was a feeling of doubt in his tone to Elly, “Of course not…what’s to care about the skinny little brunette that can kinda sing?”

“Don’t insult Bea, Finn, I can see it in your face how much you care about her which does surprise me,” Elly insisted, “I knew it was a terrible idea Bea starting to date you again. I knew you would regain your memories and turn into the man you always were. I never wanted Bea to be hurt by you…now she will be.”

EvilFinn stroked his chin with his index finger and thumb, “Bea is not going to be hurt by me. Look around, Elly, the only person whom I am gonna hurt is you. You’re the only one I need to take my revenge out on now.”

“Finn, whatever you do to me, is gonna hurt Bea,” Elly pointed out, “You’re not going to get away with this. Whatever you plan to do with me. People will figure you out, y’know. This anger you still have for me…get past it, Finn, let me go before anyone notices that you’ve taken me away. Then you can take off, go on the run as far away from us as possible if you want to keep your freedom.”

EvilFinn rolled his tongue against his bottom lip, “I’ll never get past it. You can dream on if you think I’m just going to let you go. You don’t deserve happiness, Elly. You never did.”

Elly swallowed hard trying to suppress that EvilFinn was getting to her.

Chloe…I don’t deserve happiness with Chloe…even if I did…Chloe’s moved on…she’s happy…it’s too late for us.

As EvilFinn stood back up and took a few steps back, Elly stared up at him, “What’d you do to Shaun, Finn?”

EvilFinn twitched for a moment but didn’t respond.

“You lead Shaun to his death, didn’t you?” Elly accused.

“That little prat monkey had it coming!” EvilFinn finally snapped.

“Why?” Elly asked simply, feeling weird that she didn’t feel an overawe of sadness at the thought of Shaun’s death.

I’m sad my baby won’t get to meet Shaun but did I at all care for Shaun…? Not really…not compared to the way I feel about Chloe…

I was planning on being a single mum anyway…Shaun’s involvement in my child’s life was always going to be limited with him living in Switzerland. I’d have never kept him away but I guess I was never going to go out of my way to the point of flying overseas all the time to see him… I wanted my child to know his or her father but that’s not going to happen anymore…because of Finn!

“Because of you, Elly!” EvilFinn yelled down at Elly as she still laid on the floor on the makeshift bed EvilFinn had provided her with.

“Why?” Elly repeated her question, her right hand still gently stroking her baby bump as she wondered how she was going to escape EvilFinn’s grasp.

“Because you don’t deserve to be happy, Elly, and neither does Shaun, for that matter,” EvilFinn explained briefly.

Elly stared at EvilFinn, “What are you talking about? Shaun was never going to make me happy. I was never going to make Shaun happy. It was always about the baby for Shaun and I…you didn’t think that Shaun and I were going to…?”

The only person who can make me happy is Chloe…was Chloe…Pierce is the one who gets to make Chloe happy now.

EvilFinn ran his hand through his hair, “I didn’t get Shaun killed on purpose because I thought you’d end up lonely and sad enough to start things with him. You might be desperate for love but even I can see you’re not that desperate to have gotten with Shaun, your hearts not with him, it never would’ve been.”

It’s with Chloe…I only hope Finn hasn’t worked that out…

EvilFinn continued, “You ruined my life, Elly, and so did Shaun. He was the reason I was abandoned in Cambodia and tortured all those months. He could’ve convinced my mum to pay the ransom to set me free but he couldn’t do it. He was the reason I became the man I am and did the things I did to you and Bea.”

“How’d you do it?” Elly asked weakly.

EvilFinn shrugged, “Tampered with Shaun’s abseiling equipment, made sure when we were going down the cliff that I was much lower than Shaun so I wasn’t suspected as doing something whilst abseiling alongside him. Turns out the guy investigating the incident barely even looked at Shaun’s equipment…let’s just say he’s no longer in the amount of debt he was before Shaun plunged from the cliff. It really wasn’t all that hard. Guess the Switzerland embassy didn’t care much that one of their own died here to have seen the guy investigating it was a suspect of bribery. Besides, I wanted to stop Shaun before his visa to live her permanently came through.”

At Elly’s silence, EvilFinn planted a smile on his face as he stared down at her, “You should’ve seen it, Elly. Shaun falling…it only lasted a few seconds but it was glorious…I only wish I had been close enough to see the look of fear on Shaun’s face when his rope began to snap. Served him right after abandoning me to be tortured all those years ago. Shaun created the man that I am…I had to take him away from his child before he or she made the same kind of impact on Shaun.”

Elly stared down, unable to look at EvilFinn, “I should’ve known there was more to it…I knew in my gut there was more to it…I was just afraid of saying anything because of the reports that stated it was nothing more than an accident…I still told Bea. Bea will figure this out, y’know.”

EvilFinn pursed his lips, “Bea might…but she’ll be too late.”

“Finn, why have you brought me here? Locking me up in a shipping container once more…are you just going to leave me here to die like you did last time?” Elly asked shakily looking back up at him, fearing she was going to die all alone.

Without Chloe by my side…before I have any chance to even tell her how I feel about her.

EvilFinn crouched down next to Elly, his voice calm yet completely unnerving, “You’re not going to die here, Elly. You have me completely wrong. I’m going to call for help to get you rescued and you’ll live a long and happy…yet lonely life without the person you love the most by your side.”

Chloe…but Finn doesn’t know that I still have feelings for Chloe…does he?

If Finn doesn’t mean Chloe then he must mean…

Elly’s fears grew the moment EvilFinn voiced his plan, “Your child.”

Elly’s jaw dropped and her heart plummeted. There weren’t words to describe what she was feeling.

But it didn’t stop EvilFinn from explaining further, “I’m here to take you away from your child because you don’t deserve to be happy, Elly. You don’t deserve this baby and to watch him or her grow up to be a better person than you’ll ever be.”

That’s not true…I do deserve to be happy and ensure my child will never make the types of mistakes that I have…my child will never let the person they love the most go…

EvilFinn reached out his hand, slipping his fingers against some strands of Elly’s hair despite her retracting from him, “You are going to lie back against all the pillows and the blankets, get yourself a nice night of sleep because you might be here a while. It might take a night or two…it might take a few days. You’re going to stay here in this storage unit and give birth to your baby, with no one around to help us. Then I am going to call for help so you can get to a hospital but not before you take a few moments with your baby to tell him or her that you love them and then I am going to take your child from you…and you’ll never be able to find us ever again…”

No…

Chapter Text

And She, Waits For You

Chapter Seven

Flashback – almost 2 months ago – Wednesday 30th October

Elly sighed as she headed over to Harold’s Café to get a decaf coffee before she was due to work at Erinsborough High School in half an hour. As she approached the café, Elly sighed verbally louder as she came across Chloe seated out the front of the café with a coffee on the table.

God Chloe’s beautiful.

Elly’s sigh wasn’t directed at Chloe’s beauty, it was about the fact that seated on either side of Chloe was her boyfriend, Pierce, and his teenage son, Hendrix.

Why do they have to look like the perfect little family? And Chloe…acting like a step mum figure to Hendrix…there was a moment a couple months ago that I thought Chloe could end up being my baby’s step mum…but that was over before I could blink when Chloe ended things with me as I couldn’t come to terms with my feelings for her…

And now here we are, I’m 7 months pregnant, single, struggling to deal with what exactly my feelings are for Chloe when Chloe moved on to Pierce within 2 weeks of ending things with me. Pierce had his 17-year-old son rock up out of nowhere the following day. Pierce the absentee father whom had left Hendrix and his younger sister when they were very young with their mother to raise them. Who saw that coming? Certainly not Chloe, she had no clue her boyfriend had kids.

Despite that, Chloe’s accepted it and adjusted to having Hendrix in her life whilst she’s with Pierce…she’s happy…and I’m…I dunno, I can’t figure out how I feel about Chloe…I’m not happy that Pierce is the one making Chloe happy…

Unable to stand the idea that she wouldn’t be able to walk into Harold’s without Chloe spotting her and wanting to avoid an awkward run in with her ex around her ‘perfect little family,’ Elly quickly changed direction, heading to the Waterhole for her decaf coffee.

Outside of Harold’s Café, Chloe sat around drinking her coffee as quickly as possible, wanting to get to work instead of spending the early morning before work and school with her boyfriend, Pierce, and his son, Hendrix. Though deep down, though she didn’t know why, Chloe felt like she should stop by the Waterhole before work.

I’m not sure I want to be here…why aren’t I finding myself happy with Pierce…? Why am I not happy that Pierce is the one trying to make me happy? Because…I still want it to be Elly whom makes me happy…

Pierce’s voice interrupted Chloe’s thoughts, bringing her back to earth with his announcement, “So, I’ve got some big news for the both of you!”

Hendrix glanced at Chloe, seeing the lack of interest in his father’s girlfriends’ face but deciding to keep that to himself rather than use it to annoy his father like he usually spent most of his time doing.

"I bought Mark's house!" Pierce enthused.

Chloe blinked wildly, "Wait, you...what?"

All Hendrix could do was roll his eyes. He should've known his father would decide that moving into the street where Chloe lived was his way of keeping the blonde close to him.

Pierce grinned from ear to ear, oblivious to the look on Chloe's face, "I know! It came to me the other day when you got back from your trip to Adelaide. I called Mark yesterday morning, made him an offer he couldn't refuse, my settlement agent has already emailed the pair of us a copy of the contracts, I'm headed to her office shortly to sign mine, Mark will be able to get his signed at their Adelaide branch today. Money will close out Mark's mortgage with a tidy sum leftover for him to enjoy by the end of the week. We're moving in on the weekend!"

"Gee, great, can't wait to bump into Harlow every day," Hendrix groaned, "Though I guess it means I can go hang out with Bea to get away from the place."

Chloe raised her hand in a gesture that told Pierce to slow down, "Wait...you arranged to buy my brother's house...without even talking to me first?"

Pierce reached out and placed his hand on Chloe's shoulder, "It just made perfect sense to me and the second I had the thought of it I called Mark. Plus, it helps him as he no longer needs you and Aaron to check on the place, he doesn't need to pay hefty commission fees to a real estate mogul or return to deal with an auction or any of that nonsense. Not to mention I'm paying overs on the place so he can still have a life outside of caring for your mum and he'll be able to set himself up when the time does come that 24-hour care from Mark and Tyler isn't enough for Fay. He's happy with my decision and he's thrilled for you and I."

Chloe side-eyed Pierce and Hendrix, "You and Hendrix? To move into Ramsay Street?"

Hendrix almost groaned verbally as he could see what was coming next and the fact that his father was blind to the fact Chloe didn't see it at all.

Pierce smiled brightly at Chloe, "Well, yes, obviously Hendrix will be moving in there too but Mark's thrilled that you and I will be living there together as a family."

Chloe's eyes widened, "Say what? I'm not moving in with you and Hendrix."

Hendrix snorted to himself, fully aware neither adult was paying any attention to him, glad that Chloe's response couldn't have been more accurate to what he predicted and that Pierce was oblivious to have seen it coming.

Pierce was taken aback but squeezed Chloe's shoulder gently, "Why wouldn't you? Mark's place was yours at one point and you and I we're going so well together. And, no offence, but do you really want to stay shacked up in a share house with your brother, his husband and a bunch of random friends for much longer?"

Chloe shrugged out of Pierce's hold on her shoulder, "Those bunch of random friends along with Aaron and David are my family, Pierce. I love living at the Brenaka's, so what if it's a share house, it suits me. As for why I wouldn't move in with you...Pierce..."

I don't want to...I don't love you...I'm nowhere near ready to form any kind of commitment to this extent with you...I'm not over Elly...

Chloe settled on telling Pierce, "Pierce, we've been dating about 5 weeks now and 2 of those weeks I was in Adelaide."

"Chloe, we've been together for nearly 8 weeks now," Pierce corrected his girlfriend gently, "And, yes, a couple of them you were away."

Hendrix smirked quietly as he leaned back in his seat, admiring how little Chloe was on the same page as his father.

Chloe pursed her lips in thought, "Right...8 weeks..."

Has it been that long? Feels like only yesterday I made the mistake of breaking things off with Elly...can't go back on that now...Elly still hasn't figured out her feelings for me...

Chloe cleared her throat, "That's still my point, Pierce, we haven't been together long enough or know each other well enough to be ready...for me to be ready for the kind of commitment that comes with living together."

Pierce faltered in his disappointment but was still determined, "I'm offering you security and commitment, Chloe. You'll never have to worry about a single thing ever again with me taking care of everything for you."

Why can't I be happy to have someone like Pierce want to give me everything even though it's not what I'm about...? Because he's not the person you want them from... 

Chloe planted a smile on her face, "I know you mean well, Pierce, I do...but I don't need to be taken care of and the level of commitment you are asking from me after such a short time of being together...I...I'll let you know when I'm ready...okay?"

Pierce sighed half-halfheartedly, "Okay...but you're still good with Hendrix and I moving in across the street from you?" then picking back up into a smile, "You can stay over my place every night!"

Hendrix couldn't help but roll his eyes again at his father despite not having any attention paid to him by the couple.

Chloe nodded gently, "Yes, I'm glad you and Hendrix can settle down in Ramsay Street, it will be good for the both of you to get out of the mansion. But I'm not staying over every night, Pierce, as that's the same as me moving in which I've already told you I'm not ready for."

"Right, of course, sorry," Pierce backtracked. 

Feeling the awkward tension between the couple, Hendrix chipped in, "This will be good for us, means I can spend even more time lazing about in the Brenaka pool living across the road from you, right, Chlo?"

Chloe side-eyed Hendrix, unsure if he was still attempting to flirt with her like he had when he first arrived, "Uh...I guess. Anyway, I've got to head to work."

As Chloe stood up, Pierce looked up at her, "Chloe, would you mind walking Hendrix to school?"

Chloe now side-eyed Pierce before pointing to the hotel, "Uh...my work is just over there, Pierce, I start in 5 minutes."

"Dad, I don't need anyone to walk me to school," Hendrix whinged.

"Yes, you do!" Pierce and Chloe both exclaimed to the young man at the same time without even looking at him, knowing full well he had a terrible habit of skipping out of school or classes if he could, before Pierce continued talking to Chloe, "I've got my meeting at the settlement agent's office and if you want Mark to have settlement with the money in his bank account by COB Friday I have to get to this meeting. Can you please take Hendrix?"

Chloe was annoyed at her boyfriend as this wasn't the first time, he had interrupted her work schedule for his own errands, "What about my work--?"

"I'll call Terese and sort out you starting late today and make it up to Terese personally myself," Pierce promised and before Chloe could argue any further, Pierce stood up, leant over, kissed Chloe's cheek, then told her, "You're the best, Chloe. Have a good day at school, Hendrix."

Hendrix sniggered at the look Chloe gave the departing Pierce as his father took off without any acknowledgement that Chloe wasn't thrilled at being handed the task of walking him to the local high school, "You don't need to bother walking me to school, Chlo."

Chloe rolled her eyes, regretting taking out her annoyance at Pierce off on his son, "Yeah, I do, let's get over there so I can get back here to work."

Ten minutes later, Chloe arrived with Hendrix to Erinsborough High School. Despite Hendrix’s pleading, Chloe insisted on walking him to the entrance, refusing to let the teenager have any chance of skipping attendance.

As they rounded the corner, Chloe bumped into Elly who was coming from the other direction, with the former couple colliding into one another before they even realized whom it was, they had crashed into. Elly’s open-palmed hands gently found themselves resting against Chloe’s shoulders to balance herself. Whereas Chloe, finding herself trying not to tangle herself into another person, had intended on reaching her hands out to the woman’s hips to steady them both but instead her hands landed on either side of Elly’s baby bump.

Chloe! Damn this is awkward…I need to remove my hands from her but I don’t want her to take her hands away from me…

Elly! Woah, not who I expected to see this morning much less bump into…bump…baby bump…I should…wait did the baby just kick my hand? That’s…wow that was amazing.

Elly slowly pried her hands from Chloe’s shoulders, blushing at the close proximity she was to Chloe, then blushed even darker when she felt her baby kicking.

Did Chloe feel that…? Ugh even if she did, it’s not like she would be in any way awed by my baby kicking at her hand.

Amazing…I don’t have any other words for that momentary second of Elly’s baby kicking against my hand…okay I do…right…it felt right…to be close to Elly…and her baby like that…

Chloe swallowed hard as she felt the baby kicking against her once more, before she gently removed her hands from Elly's body.

Okay, Chloe definitely felt that...don't make a big deal about it...you'll freak Chloe out...don't mention it at all...

Amazing...and right...

"Chloe...hi, how are you?" Elly eventually found her voice as she took a step back and wasn't in Chloe's face.

"Elly...hi...I'm good, you?" Chloe stammered out as she felt the distance between them.

Elly cleared her throat, "I'm doing well...I just ah...forgot some of my class notes in my car...baby brain."

Chloe nodded in understanding, "Driving to work now...? Obviously...that makes sense."

Elly pursed her lips, "Yeah...still stopping off for my morning decaf coffee to the complex..."

"Oh...I was there earlier but I didn't see you," Chloe responded quietly, trying to hide her disappointment at not bumping into Elly earlier but then immediately wondered if Elly had seen her with Pierce.

As the two women stared at one another with a nervous air surrounding them, they had completely forgotten that Hendrix was still standing next to Chloe, having watched their interaction over the past minute with curiosity. 

Finally deciding to interrupt them, Hendrix gently nudged Chloe's arm, "So...you two know each other...Chlo...Ms. Conway? More than just living on the same street as each other."

Chloe appeared almost surprised to find that Hendrix had been standing next to the pair of them the whole time as her mind had been swirling with nothing but Elly. Turning to the teenager, Chloe instructed him, "Get to class, Hendrix."

As Hendrix opened his mouth to argue with the blonde, his curiosity over what he was seeing between the two women getting the better of him, Elly addressed him too but didn't take her eyes off Chloe, "Class starts in a few minutes, Hendrix, go and get to class."

Hendrix rolled his eyes, tired of every adult telling him what to do, "Fine...you'll just need to tell me all about you two when I get home from school, Chlo. I’m sure Bea will if ya don’t."

Chloe shifted uncomfortably at the idea of Hendrix learning of her love for Elly especially since she had moved on with his father.

Have I though? It's still Elly for me...if she came to terms with her feelings for me...

Hendrix walked away from the pair but as he walked into the school entrance, he found himself turning back to look at Chloe and his teacher. Staring at the pair through the window, Hendrix watched on for more than a minute as Chloe and Elly continued to talk to each other but he could sense there was more to their conversation than two friends catching up with one another.

Hendrix watched as Elly shyly tucked her hair behind her ear and though he couldn't quite see it, he swore he could feel Chloe's blush. The blonde and brunette continued making shy glances at one another, smiling gently not realizing Hendrix was still watching on trying to establish why they were acting like anything but two friends and neighbours.

Hendrix’s lips curled into a smile as he suddenly remembered overhearing his father arguing with Chloe the other night about someone from Chloe’s past that Pierce didn’t want her seeing.

As Hendrix fixated on the way Elly stared into Chloe’s eyes, he realized, “She’s the ex!”

Hendrix’s smile curled into a mischievous grin as he turned away from the pair to head to his class, “This is gonna be fun!”

Chapter Text

And She, Waits For You

Chapter Eight

Flashback – almost 2 months ago – Wednesday 30th October

After bumping into Chloe earlier that morning, Elly couldn’t stop analyzing every second of their interaction. As she sat in her classroom during her lunch break, Elly sighed as she noticed several of the boys in the hallway beginning to mingle outside her classroom, the door still open a fraction allowing her to overhear them. Not that Elly wanted to listen into the teenage boys’ conversation and especially not when she realized Hendrix was involved.

Hendrix positioned himself outside of Elly’s classroom on purpose towards the end of his lunch break, chatting away to his friends about nothing in particular but hoping he might be able to encourage his friends to take off so he could chat to Elly to see if he could confirm his suspicions that there was more to her ‘friendship’ with Chloe.

Was Hendrix trying to protect his father from getting his heart broken if it was true? Absolutely not after seeing the way the pair had looked at one another, Hendrix knew that Chloe had never looked at Pierce the way she looked at Elly and Pierce would never be able to look at Chloe the way Elly did.

When one of his friends asked the group what they were doing after school that day, Hendrix immediately came up with an idea to see if he could rile up his teacher into telling him what her history with his Dad’s girlfriend was as opposed to simply asking her outright once all the boys took off.

Hendrix pumped out his chest, “You lot can go hang out at Harold’s or something boring like that. Me, I’ve got a pool at home with my name on it and a hot chick to watch over me. I ain’t turning that down. Have you boys seen my Dad’s girlfriend? She is smoking hot!”

Elly gritted her teeth as she overheard Hendrix’s comments about Chloe.

Yes, Chloe is smoking hot…but you are not the person who should ever be commenting on that.

As Hendrix’s friends preceded to tease him that he’d never stand a chance with Hendrix, the teenager continued, knowing full well the only person he wanted a reaction from was Elly, “Stranger things have happened. Besides the pair of us are always out there by the pool when the old man is still stuck at work. Getting to see Chloe in a bikini most days is…she wouldn’t flaunt it if it wasn’t an option. I’m hot, Chloe’s hot, it’d be hot!”

Elly closed her eyes as she tried to ignore Hendrix’s suggestion that Chloe could ever have any kind of interest in him, focusing instead on the image of Chloe in her mind.

God it feels like forever since I’ve seen Chloe in a bikini…that body of hers…why was I so ashamed to admit that I wanted her? I’m not some teenage kid like Hendrix who will never stand a chance with Chloe…no you’re just a heavily pregnant ex jealous over the fact that Chloe has moved on to a billionaire worthy of her and you…will probably never get the opportunity to see Chloe in a bikini or get anywhere near that exquisitely perfect body of hers…argh you need to come to terms with your feelings for Chloe…but what’s the point when Chloe’s got this perfectly put together family that has nothing to do with me?

But Elly was soon distracted once more by Hendrix’s comments and almost couldn’t believe what she was hearing from the teenager, before she remembered he was Pierce’s son.

Like father, like son.

Hendrix grinned wickedly, sensing that without even looking at Elly that she was definitely getting jealous over the way he spoke of Chloe, and was prepared to rile his teacher up even more to see if she was jealous by lying through his teeth over an incident that had never happened, “Boys, you should’ve been at my place this morning! Talk about flaunting it! I was this close to seeing the delicately smoking hot Chloe naked! She came out of my Dad’s room in only a towel after her shower this morning as I was walking down the hallway and we crashed into one another. The towel started coming apart but the damn thing was caught by Chloe before it could fall all the way! Urgh I only wished it had fallen from her body cause a naked Chloe Brennan…beyond smoking hot!”

Elly sat there at her desk, reeling from the way Hendrix was talking about Chloe, her mind unable to ignore the images flashing to the night she’d made love to Chloe.

If only I could’ve accepted my attraction and feelings for Chloe after that night…broken things off with Mark before I married him…I could’ve had the chance to make love to Chloe every night of my life…then again if that had happened, you wouldn’t be pregnant with this baby I’m already completely in love with…and you wouldn’t be sitting here listening to a punk kid degrading Chloe!

Without thinking it through to what he was saying, having expected Elly to have some kind of reaction when she could clearly hear what he was saying, Hendrix again stepped over the line by lying to his friends once more, “You should hear Chloe at night with my Dad! That girl is so wild in bed! I don’t know how my drip of a father wound up with a girl who is willing to scream at the top of her lungs when she’s riding hi--”

Chloe wasn’t so wild and screaming at the top of her lunges with me…it was gentle, passionate…love making…urgh the idea of Chloe riding Pierce like that and this little twerp getting to overhear it! It makes me sick…God how would Chloe feel if she knew Hendrix was talking about her like this? She’d be mortified! Like I am!

Hendrix was interrupted when Elly rushed to the door of her classroom, finally fed up of the way the teenager was talking about the woman she still cared so deeply about.

“Hendrix!” Elly bellowed at the teenager as she yanked the door to her classroom wide open, surprising the young man that she was about to take him to task more forcefully then he predicted, “I’ll see you after class for detention.”

Hendrix’s jaw dropped as his friends sniggered at him, “What? What for Miss Conway?”

Elly lent against the door of her classroom as she stared down the young man, “Because I heard what you were talking about here, Hendrix, and it was inappropriate.”

Hendrix ignored his friends as he turned to Elly, “What, for talking about Chl--?”

“For being degrading in the way you talk about a woman, how do you think Chloe would feel if she knew? Not to mention your father. Detention, today after class, I’ll see you back here,” Elly instructed in frustration at Pierce’s son, that Hendrix seemed to show no remorse for how he was talking about the woman she still couldn’t admit she had feelings for and that Hendrix was turning more into Pierce that she couldn’t stand by without calling him out.

“But Miss Conway…” Hendrix tried to weasel his way out of detention but then realized he’d get to spend more time with his teacher to niggle Elly into trying to work out what was going on between her and Chloe.

Elly didn’t notice Hendrix trailing off, turning back to him once more, “It’s not appropriate to talk about Ch—anyone in the middle of school to your classmates about their sex life and boosting about wanting to see them naked. I will see you after school for detention, Hendrix. If you have any complaints about my choice of punishment, you or your father are more than welcome to take it up with Principal Kennedy. You’ll have to tell her how you spoke about Chloe…so feel free kid. Otherwise I’ll see you after class.”

Elly turned around, closing the door back to its position of being partly closed as she headed back to her desk for the remainder of her lunch break as she tried to ignore the thoughts of Chloe being with Pierce.

Why couldn’t you come to terms with your feelings for Chloe? Then she wouldn’t be stuck with these Neanderthal Grayson men…

As Hendrix’s friends decided to clear out after he’d been told off squarely by Elly, Hendrix rolled his eyes at them, still looking forward to the prospect of niggling at Elly further in detention about Chloe. Hendrix pulled out his phone, typing up a message to Chloe, “Chlo, Dad can’t pick me up from school today. Can you come get me or shall I go hang out with the boys for the arvo? What’s with Miss Conway? She’s incredibly tired, dunno if she should even be working.”

Several hours later, Hendrix was walking through the school hallway with his friends, as he swaggered past Elly’s classroom, he groaned purposely when Elly stepped out of the classroom, calling out to him, “Hendrix, not trying to skip detention, are you?”

Hendrix waved off his friends, before turning back to Elly, “Of course not, Miss Conway, wouldn’t miss it.”

As Hendrix swaggered past Elly into the classroom, Elly instructed him, “Place your mobile phone on my desk. You told your Dad to pick you up late today?”

“I got it covered,” Hendrix dismissed before turning back to his teacher as he slipped his phone out of his pocket onto her desk, “What, am I the only one in detention today?”

Elly nodded as she closed the classroom door behind her, sitting back at her desk shuffling some reports on her desk she intended on marking whilst she had to sit through an hour with Hendrix for detention, “Looks like it’s just you and me, kid. How about you get some homework out and have that completed over the next hour? Let me know if you need any help.”

As he sat down at one of the desks in the 2nd row, Hendrix placed his feet up on the desk in front of him and grinned at Elly, “You can definitely help me out, Miss Conway…you and Chloe…what’s going on there?”

Elly tried to hide the blush that crept across her face at the mere thought of her and Chloe, but then she remembered there was no her and Chloe, “If you need any help with your homework, Hendrix, let me know.”

“I don’t but I do need help understanding why you and Chloe were looking at one another this morning all…heart eyes…you two a thing? I won’t tell Daddy Dearest,” Hendrix niggled at Elly.

“There were no...heart eyes,” Elly claimed, “My personal life is not up for discussion, Hendrix, get your homework out and start working on it before I give you another detention for tomorrow.”

Oh…there were total heart eyes…not that Chloe noticed me giving them to her…I really need to learn to turn them off when I’m around Chloe.

“Ooh more time to spend with you…Chloe might get jealous of me,” Hendrix crowed.

“I doubt that very much,” Elly countered, wishing he was correct, “I’m not going to ask you to stop prying into my personal life one more time.”

Hendrix sighed as he gave up on pushing Elly’s buttons but as the teacher looked down at her paperwork and began marking her reports, he kept staring at her trying to figure out if he could possibly be right that his teacher and his father’s girlfriend had indeed dated.

Five minutes later, Hendrix looked up with a grin as he spotted Chloe walking down the hallway and the slight look of relief on Chloe’s face when she saw him through the window sitting in the classroom. Chloe knocked on Elly’s classroom door lightly. Elly looked up surprised, having been deep in thought over her school reports, she assumed it was only her Aunt Susan, the Principal of the school, checking on her.

Hendrix ran his tongue against his upper lip as Elly got up and opened the classroom door, the look of surprise on her face evident, even though she was facing away from him.

“Chloe!... Hi…what are you doing here?” Elly gulped gently the second she came face to face with Chloe.

Chloe smiled shyly at Elly, before realizing that Hendrix was watching her from across the room, “I…ugh came to pick Hendrix up from school. I couldn’t find him out the front…so came to…check with you. What’s going on?”

Elly sighed softly, “You’ll need to come back in an hour, Chlo, Hendrix is on detention…I thought he notified Pierce…my mistake, I should’ve been the one to tell Pierce.”

“What’s he done this time?” Chloe asked, the frustration in her voice evident.

Boosted in front of his friends about nearly catching you naked, talked about your…urgh…sex life with Pierce…you wouldn’t want to know that…though maybe it would help you decide to leave these two that don’t deserve you…

“Hendrix was degrading women to his friends, I told him that he or Pierce can take it up with Susan if they don’t agree with my stance on handing him detention,” Elly settled on explaining to Chloe.

Chloe nodded as she closed her eyes for a moment, before staring back into Elly’s, “I trust your decision…I should…go back to work…come back in an hour…I already owe Terese extra time…not like I can hang out here with you for the hour…”

I so wish I could let you…but Hendrix is already asking questions…

I want to spend time with you, Elly, but…that could just confuse this situation more…I don’t even know what this situation is…why is Hendrix smirking at us…?

Elly held back from reaching out to Chloe, “I can message Pierce and make sure he knows Hendrix is here in detention, tell him to pick Hendrix up. Pierce is the father…dropping and picking Hendrix up from school when you have work…it shouldn’t be on you.”

“It’s all good,” Chloe tried to play off, knowing Hendrix was watching her and she couldn’t exactly work out what his deal was, then Chloe looked down at the coffee cup she'd been holding in her hand since before she arrived at the school, "Oh...I...ah...picked this up for you...it's decaf...it's probably a bit cold from the walk over here."

Elly glanced down at the coffee cup that had Chloe's name scribbled down on one side, "Thanks...how'd you know I could do with a coffee?"

Hendrix told me...and now I'm beginning to think he asked me to come here on purpose instead of telling me about his detention because he sensed there was something between us this morning...

"Intuition," Chloe lied, wishing that she hadn't lost her closeness with Elly and that she still had that intuit nature with her former best friend.

"Thanks, that was sweet of you," Elly whispered as she reached out for the coffee cup Chloe held out to her.

As Elly's hand wrapped around the coffee cup, her fingers gently lingered on Chloe's as Chloe found herself unable to let go of the cup and the sensation of Elly's fingers against hers.

The electricity between us, Chloe...it doesn't go away...are we really only friends?

Damn...how does Elly still do this to me? There's not even a flicker like this between Pierce and I ever...

Hendrix smirked at the pair and the unease of Chloe to let go of the coffee cup whilst Elly's fingers were against her own, feeling proud that he felt this proved there was more going on between the pair or that there used to be. Lifting his wrist up in front of him, Hendrix glanced at his watch for the time.

Hendrix whispered to himself, "C'mon, Dad...now would be the exact right moment for you to turn up like I wanted you to. Let's see if these two spark some jealousy that means Elly is Chloe's ex, the one you don't want her seeing."

As if on cue, Pierce entered the high school hallway, annoyed at having waited outside the school for Hendrix only for him not to show. Pierce decided to see if any of the teachers knew where his son was, fearing Hendrix has skipped out early.

Instead Pierce blinked wildly as he came across his girlfriend and her ex standing in the doorway of Elly's classroom, their hands joined by the item they were holding between them.

Chapter Text

And She, Waits For You

Chapter Nine

Flashback – almost 2 months ago – Wednesday 30th October

“Chloe,” Pierce called out loudly to his girlfriend as he spotted her standing in the doorway to Elly’s classroom, holding onto something between her and her ex-girlfriend. Chloe immediately dropped her hand from the coffee cup she was handing Elly but still had a hold on because she hadn't wanted to let go when Elly's fingers glided against her own. Turning to Pierce, Chloe squeaked, "Pierce! What are you doing here?"

Pierce strolled down the hallway to the pair, "I'm picking up Hendrix from school, what else would I be doing? The question here is why are you here, Chloe?"

Chloe opened her mouth to reply but no words came out.

Elly, noticing Chloe struggling, nudged her ever so slightly before answering Pierce, "There was a mix up and Chloe was led to believe that she needed to pick up Hendrix but it doesn't matter anyway as you'll need to come back in an hour to collect him as Hendrix was given detention this afternoon."

Pierce glanced over through the windows of the classroom to see Hendrix sitting at one of the desks. Upon locking eyes with his son, Pierce blinked as Hendrix waved at him with a huge smirk on his face. Pierce ignored the gesture and looked at the two women who were still standing awfully close to one another, "I wasn't talking to you, Elly."

Chloe sighed, "There was a mix up, I got the wrong message to come pickup Hendrix as you couldn't. I found Hendrix here with Elly in detention. I didn't know he was going to be here."

"You're not going to ask why your son is in detention?" Elly pointed out to Pierce.

Pierce ignored Elly, "Go home, Chloe, I've got this from now."

Chloe was off put by Pierce telling her what to do but gave in anyway as she didn't want to cause an argument in front of Elly that could cause her any stress, "Okay...or I mean, I'm gonna head back to work as I've still got a lot I didn't get to today."

"Will I see you tonight at home?" Pierce asked, more than happy to flaunt his relationship with Chloe in front of her ex.

Pierce was then disappointed by Chloe's reply, "No...I'm...I'll be having dinner with Aaron and David tonight. I haven't spent much time with them lately. I'll see you tomorrow at work."

Chloe tilted her head gently to Elly in a silent goodbye, wishing she could actually hug Elly goodbye but knew with Pierce standing there, it would set him off.

I wish Chloe was having dinner with me tonight…I just want to hug her goodbye so badly…I don’t even know the next time we could possibly see each other.

Turn around and walk away, Chloe, you have to…it’s so hard…I just want to spend more time with Elly…but that’ll only confuse the situation more because I still have feelings for Elly…and she…doesn’t have those same feelings for me that I needed her to get to…if we were ever going to be together…

As Chloe took a step away from Elly, Pierce stopped her, "Aren't you going to take your coffee?"

“What coffee?” Chloe asked absentmindedly.

Pierce pointed to the cup in Elly’s hands, “The one marked ‘Chloe’ that I assume you just handed to Elly to let her have a sip.”

“Well, actu--” Chloe started but Elly swiftly interrupted, “You’re right, Pierce, I mentioned I was tired and Chlo thought if I took a sip of her coffee it would perk me up to ride out staying here through detention. Thanks, Chlo.”

Before Chloe could say another word, Elly handed the coffee cup back to Chloe and when Chloe didn’t react to taking it, Elly placed it in her hand and then with her other hand curled it around Chloe’s until Chloe was gripping onto the cup firmly then let go.

Chloe and Elly couldn’t say a word to one another about the gentle touch between them as Pierce seethed silently at them, wishing he had left Elly with Chloe’s coffee. Before Pierce could say anything about their interaction, Chloe turned on her heel and walked away from the pair.

Remaining completely silent through the entire interaction, Hendrix sat back in the classroom watching every little movement between Chloe and Elly, plus the looks that his father gave the pair. Hendrix still had his feet up on the table in front of him, as he leant back in his seat with his hands behind his head. Hendrix whispered to himself, “I knew it! There’s nothing innocent about the way Chloe acts around Miss. Conway. Dad must be so pissed seeing what’s between them.”

As Pierce turned to Elly, Elly surprised him by taking a step forwards into the hallway, closing the classroom door behind her, “We need to talk, Pierce.”

Pierce immediately looked over Elly’s shoulder at Hendrix still watching them from inside the classroom, “You’re right, we do, Elly. I don’t want you and Ch--”

“About Hendrix,” Elly interrupted Pierce, not wanting to talk to Pierce because she didn’t want him to know she was still struggling to work out what her feelings for Chloe were.

Pierce sighed, “What’d Hendrix do? Disrupt your class? Try to skip out of school again? Whatever it is I’m sure detention isn’t necessary and isn’t going to change him. You should just let me take him home.”

“You’re not getting Hendrix out of detention because you don’t think it’ll change him, Pierce. You can come back in an hour to collect him,” Elly instructed before continuing, “We still need to talk about Hendrix’s behavior so we can do this now whilst Hendrix can’t hear us or I can make a time to see you when you’re available.”

Pierce shook his head, not wanting to have to listen to Chloe’s ex about his son, but relented, “Fine. What’d he do?”

Elly leant back to look back at Hendrix for a moment, who was still staring at her with curiosity, before turning back to Pierce, “Hendrix was boosting to his friends about wanting to see Chloe naked and talking about your sex life with her to them.”

Pierce smirked down at Elly, “So, this is about Chloe and you’re jealous?”

Elly pursed her lips, “Your son was being degrading about the way he spoke about Chloe. It’s not about jealousy, I’d have given Hendrix detention if he was talking about any woman like that.”

“Whatever,” Pierce dismissed, “So, Hendrix was been cocky to his friends, it’s not degrading Chloe. I’ll deal with this at home, he doesn’t need to be given detention from you.”

“I guess Hendrix really is your son,” Elly replied through gritted teeth.

“Meaning?” Pierce queried.

Elly shook her head, yet wasn’t surprised Pierce wasn’t getting her drift, “Meaning the way you treated Chloe last year when you came to Erinsborough, pressuring her to be with you, paying her with expensive gifts, paying off the debts that Chloe owed Fay…your behavior it’s left an impression on your son. That he can get what he wants, when he wants it.”

“I’ll deal with it my way,” Pierce shrugged.

Elly ran her tongue against her teeth, “You’re not the least concerned that your son…wants to see your girlfriend naked? That Hendrix is spreading rumours about your sex life with Chloe to his friends? You live with your son, Chloe is at your place all the time. Hendrix is nearly an adult, he should be treating Chloe with respect. Not degrading Chloe in front of his friends, he shouldn’t be degrading any woman like that. You need to sort him out and I suggest you do so before the next time Chloe stays at your place.”

Pierce nodded reluctantly, “I’ll think about it. He’s a teenage boy, he’s just boosting in front of his friends about how amazing Chloe is. It’s not like he’d actually do anything to see Chloe naked. He knows I’d tear him apart if he’s gonna be a creep like that. As for my sex life with Chloe, I’m sure Hendrix is just exaggerating to make it sound like his father is more exciting than most of his other friends’ parents’ lives. None of this warrants detention.”

Elly blinked without surprise that Pierce wouldn’t see the issues with Hendrix, “As I told Hendrix when I issued him with detention for his behavior…if either of you have a problem with my decision you can take it up with Susan. I’m sure Hendrix would love to repeat to the principal the words that he said about Chloe. You want to explain that to her that you don’t think the way your son spoke about your girlfriend is degrading? How do you think Chloe would feel if she knew what Hendrix was saying about her to his friends?”

“Are you going to tell Chloe all about it? Make out like she needs to steer clear of Hendrix whilst he gets over whatever innocent crush, he might have on her,” Pierce demanded before changing his mind, “Y’know what, Elly, none of this is your business. I will deal with this in my own way. Hendrix can stay for this detention, it might actually do him some good.”

Elly nodded, “Good, I’m glad you can see that, Pierce. Now, if you don’t mind, I should get back to--”

“I’m not finished yet, Elly,” Pierce abruptly told her, “I still have a problem that I need to deal with and that problem I have at the moment is you.”

Me? Damn it, I didn’t want Pierce to bring up Chloe and I…I’m not ready to discuss whatever it is that I feel for Chloe with anyone…let alone claim that I don’t have feelings for Chloe…as I’d be lying…

“Me?” Elly repeated her first thought.

“You shouldn’t be hanging around Chloe, I don’t want you spending any time with her,” Pierce declared.

I knew this was going to turn into some jealous issue Pierce has of Chloe and I…even though there isn’t a Chloe and I…which is kind of the problem…for me…

Elly crinkled up her face, “I’m not hanging around Chloe. I work here at the school your son attends and if you can’t find the time to drop him off or pick him up when you don’t trust him to be able to attend on his own, and you get Chloe to do so then chances are we’ll run into each other…which is gonna happen anyway, Pierce. We live on the same street, remember. We can’t never see each other living so close to one another.”

Pierce leant forwards into Elly’s space, “I don’t want you around Chloe, Elly.”

“What are you afraid is going to happen if I spend any amount of time with Chloe?” Elly asked with a hint of cheek in her tone that Pierce should be worried one day once she had worked out exactly what her feelings for Chloe were.

You should be worried, Pierce. Whatever Chloe feels for you doesn’t hold a candle to the way she feels about me. If my feelings for Chloe ever get anywhere near as strong as the feelings she has for me…you’ve got no chance, Pierce.

Hendrix continued sitting silently in the classroom, staring out at his father and teacher, watching their interaction curiously. There was nothing about the way Miss. Conway and his Dad were acting that told him the obvious love triangle between the pair of them and Chloe had to do with anything happening between the pair arguing with one another outside the hallway.

Hendrix then sighed as he spotted Principal Kennedy and another teacher that he hadn't had in any of his classes, coming down the hallway from behind Miss. Conway and his father, figuring that his teacher’s Aunt would break up whatever was going between the pair.

But instead, Elly saw her Aunt over Pierce’s shoulder approaching her down the hallway, and with Pierce distracted as he thought for a brief moment how to respond to Elly’s question, Elly placed up her hand to signal the Principal not to intervene.

This is my fight! I know I didn’t want to bring up my feelings for Chloe but now that Pierce has…I’m not going to let him break me…and I don’t need Suze to interrupt.

Upon spotting her niece talking firmly with her ex’s boyfriend, and Elly’s hand in a stop motion, Susan didn’t feel any need to come to Elly’s rescue. Even though she had only just found them in the hallway together, Susan realized Elly and Pierce clearly had a few things to get off their chests. Slowing down to stop outside one of the other classrooms, Susan turned to the teacher beside her, making casual conversation with him for a brief minute before he took off and Susan stood there in the hallway on her own, pretending to read through some papers in her hands, whilst keeping an eye on her niece.

Hendrix scratched his head at the actions of all the adults.

Pierce smirked at the mere suggestion, “Elly, I’m not afraid of anything when it comes to you and Chloe. Why would I?”

Elly simply raised her eyebrow at Pierce, wondering if she had to point out the feelings Chloe held for her.

Pierce’s smirk only widened, “Look at you, Elly. You’re heavily pregnant. Do you seriously think Chloe would go there with you?”

Elly swallowed hard at the thought that Chloe would reject her once more, this time because of the pregnancy, not because Elly didn’t have the time to work out her feelings before she gave birth to her baby and settled into life as a mum.

Even though I still haven't figured out my feelings for Chloe so I've got both things going against Chloe wanting to be with me...but there is still a strong part of me that does want Chloe to be with me...

Pierce continued at Elly's silence, "You're about to have a baby before the end of the year. A baby that will take all your time and energy. Chloe deserves more than that, she needs someone to be there for her any time she needs. I'm the one who can give Chloe that, you can't.”

Elly frowned as she stared up at Pierce, "Chloe's not that delicate, Pierce, she doesn't need to be with someone who drops everything every time to be by her side. Chloe loves being independent, which is a quality in Chloe you should know if you know her as well as you think you do. Or maybe if you realized that Hendrix could do with a lot more of your attention than Chloe does, then Hendrix wouldn't keep getting himself into trouble as a means to get your attention. Inste--"

Pierce interrupted Elly, "The attention I show to my son has nothing to do with you, Elly."

"It does if it's affecting Hendrix's school work or his behaviour at school, Pierce, I'm his teacher and if I see something like this going on with him then I will bring it up with you. Whilst I should've done so in a more formal setting with you, I'm bringing up the concerns I have with you now," Elly replied confidently, glad to have the conversation veered away from Chloe.

Susan raised her eyebrow in support of her niece telling Pierce like it is with his son. Hendrix sat impatiently in the classroom, unable to hear a word of what was being said between the pair as his curiosity continued to pique over the fact that his father clearly had an issue with Elly and Chloe.

But Elly sighed internally as Pierce didn't let the discussion swerve away from her feelings for Chloe, "I concede that you do have influence to tell me when there are issues with Hendrix in the setting of school...but you have no influence over Chloe and my relationship with her, Elly. You need to stay away from her!"

Elly gritted her teeth, "I'm not doing anything to influence Chloe or your relationship, Pierce. I'm not actively trying to do anything to come between you, I barely spend any time with Chloe because..."

It's too hard to be around her and not be with her...but do I want to be with her...? I think I do...but 'think' isn't good enough...

"Because my focus right now is all about my baby," Elly lied to Pierce.

Pierce lent in further to Elly, towering over her in an attempt to make his feelings clear, "Well I hope that's true because Chloe doesn't need you messing her about ever again."

"Is that what you think I did?" Elly asked quietly.

"That's exactly what you did to her, Elly, and you know it. Chloe doesn't need that crap from you or anyone," Pierce insisted, "I'm the one who can give Chloe anything and everything she's always wanted. You can't even come close to providing Chloe with the life that I'm capable of. You'll never be able to make her happy like I can, you'll never be able to put her first like I can, and you'll never be able to love her the way I love her, Elly."

...he's right...

Elly struggled to hold herself together, fearing she would burst into tears at the reality that even if she did figure out her feelings for Chloe, she'd never have a chance with her again, "How about you stop worrying about me interfering in your relationship with Chloe...unless you really are scared that Chloe will walk away from you if I gave her the opportunity to?"

I shouldn't have done that...pushed Pierce's buttons by telling him Chloe would walk away from him if I ever came to terms with my feelings for her and gave her the chance to be with me...

In the background, Susan was still keeping an eye on the situation, listening in to their conversation, despite holding back from intervening. Susan knew her niece had struggled most of the year for her feelings for her best friend, and whilst she had finally begun to come to terms with them several months ago, Chloe had ended things before they had really started between them. She was silently proud of the fact that Elly wasn't afraid to tell Pierce that he must be scared of Chloe leaving him if Elly was the one to give her the opportunity to.

Pierce clenched his jaw at the thought of Elly giving Chloe a reason to leave him for her even though the life and love Elly could offer his girlfriend was nothing compared to what he could. It angered him, he didn't like to admit how much it did, a small part of him wondered if Elly wasn't pregnant would he lash out at her more? Pierce knew he couldn't, pregnant or not, that would be a sure fire way of losing Chloe. Maybe not to Elly but she wouldn't give him a second chance.

Pierce finally spat out, "There's nothing to be scared of when it comes to you, Elly. Even if you think for one second that you could give Chloe that opportunity...you're not good enough for Chloe!"

Is he right...?

Elly took a step backwards; she'd heard enough from Pierce to refuse to engage the businessman any further without him upsetting her even further than he already had. She turned away from Pierce, opened the classroom door and headed back inside the room. Pierce stood there outside the classroom on his own for a moment, left wondering if he had taken things too far before deciding that ‘protecting’ Chloe from the mess that was Elly’s life was worth it.

Staring over at Hendrix one last time through the window of the classroom, Pierce shrugged as he headed off down the hallway, already not looking forward to coming back to collect his teenage son in an hours’ time.

Susan sighed as she stood at the back of the hallway, having witnessed her niece been broken down by Pierce with the assertion that she’d never be good enough for her best friend. Susan resisted the urge to check in on Elly, whilst she was still completing her job monitoring Hendrix’s detention. Susan settled on talking to Elly about the incident at home that evening.

Elly closed the classroom door behind her, closed her eyes as she leant forwards against the door, letting her thoughts to Pierce’s words eat at her.

I’ll never be good enough for Chloe, I mess up everything I—

“So, how long have you been in love with my father’s girlfriend?” Hendrix announced from behind Elly as he continued sitting at the desk with his feet up on the desk.

Elly whipped around, nearly surprised to see the teenager there, having practically forgotten about him as she’d argued with Pierce, “You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Hendrix stared at Elly skeptically, “You’re in love with Chloe, Chloe definitely has feelings for you and my Dad is scared you’re gonna steal her back…tell me I’m wrong, Miss. Conway.”

“You’re…w…wrong,” Elly stuttered as she walked back to her desk and sat down.

Hendrix smirked, “If you say so…in your unconvincing tone, Miss. Conway…and I’m guessing you doubt your ability to win Chloe back because of your pregnancy.”

“We’re not talking about this, Hendrix, do your homework,” Elly instructed as she went back to her marking, refusing to look at Hendrix, afraid he’d see the truth in her eyes.

Hendrix nearly gave in before pushing one last time, “So if I told you this whole detention thing was a set up for you and Chloe to have a meet-cute when I told Chloe to pick me up also knowing that Daddy dearest would show up. To see if he would spark some jealousy between you. It all played out, like I thought it would, well played, Miss. Conway.”

Little shit…how did I not see what he did?

“Oh, and in case you were wondering, I never meant what I said about Chloe at lunchtime. I was just pushing your buttons to get a reaction out of you to work out if you are Chloe’s ex…I didn’t bump into Chloe nearly naked this morning and…Chloe’s sex life with my Dad…let’s just say I don’t hear anything about it,” Hendrix commented to Elly.

Well at least that’s something…little shit got just the reaction he wanted out of me…and Chloe…and Pierce…

“Get on with your homework, Hendrix,” Elly dismissed, refusing to be drawn into his need to know what was happening between her and Chloe.

Hendrix finally dragged his feet off the table, leant over to his schoolbag to pull his books out, before looking over at Elly again, “The way you and Chloe were with each other out there…you really shouldn’t doubt yourself as much as you do.”

Elly finally gave in glancing over at Hendrix just as he put his head down and started paying attention to his homework.

I’m always gonna doubt myself…I still don’t know what my feelings for Chloe are…and like it or not…Pierce was right…I’m not good enough for Chloe…

Chapter Text

And She, Waits For You

Chapter Ten

Present Day – Saturday 21st December – 8:20 AM  

Chloe and Bea walked across Ramsay Street from Pierce’s house, desperate to start asking their friends and neighbours if anyone had spotted Elly or Finn the previous night. Chloe had decided that her and Bea should stick together as opposed to going off on their own even though they were desperate for answers as to why Elly hadn’t been home the previous evening and if it had anything to do with Finn taking off to the city for a couple days.

Crossing the street, Chloe decided they should start at her place, before going around the court, one house after the other, hoping someone had seen something that would help them track down Elly.

Chloe opened the front door to the house she shared with her older brother, Aaron, his husband, David, and their housemate Kyle. Bea followed Chloe into the house, keen to speak to the guys as quickly as possible to get whatever answers they could get before they could speak to their other neighbours.

Chloe and Bea immediately found Aaron standing in the kitchen making breakfast. Chloe immediately asked him, “Aaron, did you see Elly or Finn last night?”

Aaron looked up at his younger sister, raising his eyebrow at Chloe’s abruptness, “Hi, Aaron, how are you this morning? Oh, I’m great, thanks, Chlo, thanks for asking.”

“Aaron, have you seen Elly or Finn or not?” Chloe asked again, not bothering to accept that Aaron was annoyed at her.

Before Aaron could answer, Bea spoke up, “Are David or Kyle home? I want to talk to them too.”

Aaron frowned at the seriousness of the pair, then pointing to the backyard, he answered Bea first, “Yeah, the boys are outside having breakfa--”

Bea didn’t wait for Aaron to say anymore as she rushed out outside to speak to Chloe’s other housemates, leaving Chloe alone in the kitchen with Aaron.

“You’re welcome, Bea,” Aaron complained as he rolled his eyes.

“Aaron, did you see Elly or Finn last night or not?” Chloe asked again, her frustration level growing.

“What’s going on?” Aaron asked without answering and then when Chloe groaned in frustration at him, “No, Chlo, I didn’t see Elly or Finn last night.”

Chloe sighed as she sat down on one of the bar stools at the kitchen bench, opposite Aaron, before looking up at her brother sadly, “Elly’s missing, Aaron.”

“Missing?” Aaron blinked several times at the news.

Chloe elaborated, struggling not to think of the worst, “Elly didn’t come home last night…or I mean she was at home early evening but she wasn’t there when Bea got up. Elly’s handbag is in her room and the only thing that appears to be missing is her phone…and well…Elly. Finn took off last night, sent Bea a message that he needed time away after what happened with Shaun. The timing of it is just weird.”

“But you’re…concerned about…Elly?” Aaron asked with a bit of trepidation to the answer, unsure how to take Chloe’s concern given her history with Elly.

Chloe nodded immediately, “Are you kidding? Of course, I’m worried, Aaron. Elly’s due to give birth in a few days’ time. Do you really think Elly would just up and leave with her phone this close to when she’s preparing to have her baby?”

“I see your point,” Aaron conceded, before trying to calm his sister, “Elly’s been through a lot the past couple weeks. She’s been a bit quiet since Shaun’s death.”

Chloe looked away from Aaron, “I wouldn’t know…I haven’t…been over to check on her…”

“You two still struggling to be friends since you…kinda dated then ended things?” Aaron asked and at the immediate look of sadness that washed over the blonde’s face, he apologized for bringing it up, “Sorry.”

“I don’t know what we are…we said we’d be friends but it’s too hard…for me anyway,” Chloe admitted, refusing to acknowledge when Aaron grimaced at the fact being friends with her ex still hurt her when he had never approved of their relationship in the first place, “All I know is I’m incredibly worried about Elly and I need to find her so when Bea told me Elly may not have been at home last night, I needed to help. We’re going around the street to ask if anyone saw her or Finn last night. If not, we’ll go to the police station and see what they say about a possibly missing heavily pregnant woman and what they can do.”

“Sounds like a plan to me,” Aaron replied gently, before chewing on his lip, “Does Pierce know you’re…worried about Elly?”

Chloe zoned out the second she heard Aaron state Pierce’s name as she leant back on the stool to look out the window at Bea to see she was still talking to David and Kyle, “What is taking Bea so long? It’s a simple ‘yes or no’ question and if ‘yes,’ ‘when, where, did Elly look okay’?”

A part of Aaron wanted to ask Chloe why she was so worried about Elly and if his sister still had feelings for the pregnant brunette but was afraid of the answer and what that would mean for his family since Elly, for a brief period, was married to their eldest brother, Mark.

Aaron decided against it, bringing up Chloe’s boyfriend, Pierce, once more, “Chlo, did you tell Pierce you were out looking for Elly?”

Chloe shrugged as she sat back on the stool, looking up at Aaron, “Yeah, he wasn’t happy about it, he really doesn’t like me spending time with Elly but even he has to admit that Elly not been at home and Bea unable to contact her is a really bad sign.”

“How are things going between you two…you and Pierce, I mean?” Aaron asked quietly, hoping his sister would see that Pierce was a good man and could be perfect for her.

Chloe again got distracted checking on Bea again, seeing her chatting with David deeply whilst Kyle seemed to be only listening in without contributing to their conversation.

Chloe soon looked back up at Aaron, “I don’t know, Aaron, things with Pierce are…complicated. He’s still pushing for me to move in with him and Hendrix but I’m…I’m just not ready. We had another argument about it again this morning. Also, about how he keeps interfering with my job at the hotel. He thinks me being Terese’s Executive Assistant isn’t enough…for him. He thinks I could come up with my own idea for a company to run and he’ll fund the whole thing.”

“That wouldn’t necessarily…be a bad thing,” Aaron tried to assure.

“Yeah, except I love my job and don’t want to change for Pierce,” Chloe declared, “I can deal with him not thinking my job is good enough but it’s the him trying to get me to move in with him…it’s a bit too much. I love living here with you guys but Pierce just sees it as a share house with a bunch of random yet related to me guys. You guys are all my family, Pierce doesn’t get that. Again, it’s about it not being good enough for him.”

Starting to feel bad for his sister and the relationship with Pierce she was in, Aaron asked, “Hey, did you ever…call Pierce out for buying Mark’s house after…lying to him?”

Chloe shook her head and sighed, “Oh you mean when Mark told me that when Pierce approached him to buy #24 from him after he had moved to Adelaide that Pierce had told Mark he’d spoken to me about it and that the pair of us would be moving in together with Hendrix?”

“Yeah, that,” Aaron whispered gently.

Chloe rolled her eyes, “No. There’s no point now, anyway. Pierce lied to Mark to make him think I wanted Mark to sell him the place as I was committed to my relationship with Pierce. Once I decided I wasn’t ready to move in with them there, Pierce had to have known Mark would question me over it. He knows I know that he lied to our brother but what’s the point of me bringing it up to cause another one of our fights? How’s he going to defend what he did?”

“That Pierce loves you and is only trying to give you the best life you could ever have,” Aaron insisted, trying to praise the way that Pierce treated Chloe to make her see what a good guy he was.

Chloe shrugged, “Pierce is sweet the way that he wants to give me everything I could possibly want…but I’m just not quite there where he is in our relationship. This morning, when Bea came over to check if I’d seen Elly…Bea overheard Pierce and I arguing plus then as I was leaving to come here, Pierce called me out in front of her and Hendrix that I haven’t said the L word to him…”

Aaron raised his eyebrow, “You…haven’t told Pierce that you…love him…yet?”

“We’ve only been together not even three months, Aaron, and I refuse to say it just to end an argument, I’ll say it when I feel it in my heart that I do love him,” Chloe explained to her brother.

Aaron chewed on his lip, “You and Pierce…you don’t sound like you’re…that your relationship is…on the same page.”

Chloe breathed deeply before admitting, “Aaron, I don’t think Pierce and I are reading the same book.”

Aaron blinked a couple times as Chloe’s words actually sunk in, “That sounds…quite serious…is that how you really feel?”

Chloe shrugged, “I dunno, Azza. I just feel like Pierce wants just a bit more commitment from me than I’m…ready for."

Because my feelings for Pierce will never be as strong as those for Elly...but she's never going to get there with whatever feelings she has for me...

Chloe ignored the thought that her feelings for Elly would cloud her judgment over her relationship with Pierce when it was Elly who didn't feel the same way about her as she continued, "You know there's this part of me that could see myself just getting completely tied into this commitment Pierce wants from me...moving in together, telling him I love him, getting engaged...possibly rush down the aisle...but none of it would be for the right reasons. It'd just be me using my Huntington's to live every day like it's my last and be with Pierce because he does love me and he's willing to care for me when the time comes... Maybe the break will do us some good.”

“Break? What break? Have you broken up?” Aaron suddenly asked, his panic over Chloe already ending her relationship and being single overrode the realism of Chloe not being on the same level as Pierce's commitment had sunk in with him.

I'm not opposed to that...I don't mean that, I'm happy with Pierce, he cares for me and he's a good man...I don't want to leave him...do I?

Chloe waved her hand in a gesture that reassured her brother, "Oh no, sorry, I didn't mean that at all. I should've told you; Pierce is packing right now to get on a flight to New York. He got some urgent emails and phone calls first thing this morning about one of his businesses over there that is...I dunno about to collapse I guess so he's got to get straight over there to fix it."

Aaron felt relieved at the news, "Oh okay, is Pierce just going to be there for a couple days?"

Chloe shrugged, "I don't know to be honest. It sounded pretty serious and he's definitely not going to be back for Christmas...actually he's not going to be back until the new year as he was talking about us spending New Year’s Eve there."

Aaron blinked his eyes again, "Wait, so Pierce wanted you to go with him but you're not because...of this thing with...Elly?"

If I had of known about Elly missing before I already turned Pierce down then yeah...I would've stayed here for Elly...probably a good thing it didn't play out that way as Pierce wouldn't have been happy with that. What is taking Bea so flipping long? I need to find Elly!

Chloe shook her head, "No, Azza, I found out about Elly after I'd already turned Pierce down to go with him. Christmas to New Years is the busiest time at the Lassiters complex, there's no way I can just drop everything with Terese and take off on this joy trip with Pierce who will be busy working over in New York anyway."

"Sounds like it would've been a good opportunity for you two as a couple," Aaron posited, "I'm sure Terese would understand."

Chloe chewed on her lip, "No, I can't. I'm already getting a hard time at work about...Pierce. The whole dating one of the hotels biggest investors hasn't exactly...done wonders for my career when it comes to my co-workers. It's not the dating him, that sounds bad, it's more the Pierce constantly dragging me out of work for spontaneous dates, making me late for work constantly, taking me for lunches that go far too long, occasionally getting me to drop Hendrix off at school or pick him up if he has meetings that are more important than my job. All of it has just made it feel like my co-workers don't take me seriously anymore or that I care about my career."

"I get it, I'm sorry," Aaron sympathized.

"So no, I'm not going to make things worse by taking off halfway around the world at the drop of a hat because Pierce wants me to," Chloe stated firmly, "Plus Pierce and I got into an argument over everything this morning and I'm just not in the mood. Pierce was being all weird with me as well. Like he said something about this morning not going to how he had planned. I don't know what the hell that was about but I could tell he was completely annoyed more than he should've been at the fact he had to get to New York as soon as possible. Besides this chance away from Pierce...it's kinda a good opportunity to have a small break from our relationship...it's not over, nothing like that but I think I need a moment to evaluate a few things...and when Pierce returns I want to sit down with him and make it clear to him that I need a bit more independence when it comes to dealing with my career and that when I'm ready for the next stage in our relationship he'll be the first to know."

"That sounds like the sensible thing to do," Aaron agreed, then he grinned at his next thought, "So, we get to have your lovely presence here on Christmas Day and for New Years?" 

Chloe grinned up at him, "You certainly do! You won't be able to get rid of me!"

Maybe I can get away for a little while to wish Elly a happy Christmas...because she will be here for Christmas...

"What's happening with Hendrix...is he going away with Pierce, too?" Aaron asked.

Chloe pursed her lips, "What do you think, Azza? Of course not, I don't even think Pierce thought about that. No, Hendrix was already booked to go up to Sydney to spend Christmas with his mum and sister. Apparently, Pierce told me last week but I don't remember. Anyway, he's got a flight booked Christmas morning, Pierce is texting me the info so I'll be looking after Hendrix for at least the next couple days and I’ll make sure he catches his flight, then I am all yours for Christmas Day…if work doesn’t need me."

Aaron rolled his eyes, “Work is not going to need you on Christmas Day, Chlo, but we will,” then when Chloe stared down at the table quietly, “Hey, Chlo…this whole…break for a week or so to have a think about your relationship with Pierce and where you want to go with it…is any part of that because of…Elly?”

But Chloe was too deep in thought to hear what Aaron was saying.

Where is Elly? I need to find her...what is Bea still talking to David about? Does he know something? Why hasn't she come back in to get me? I don't want to talk to Aaron any more about my dramas, I want to get out of here and find Elly!

“Chlo,” Aaron tried again, “Is this thing with…Elly--”

Aaron was cut off by Chloe as she groaned in frustration, “C’mon, Bea, what is taking so lo--?”

Chloe herself was then cut off when Bea finally came back into the house.

Finally! Where is Elly?

“What’d you find out?” Chloe immediately asked turning to Bea.

Bea got distracted by the incredibly worried look on Chloe’s face but then quickly realized Chloe was desperate to find Elly, “Kyle hasn’t seen either Elly or Finn but David did. Finn turned up at the hospital just as David was leaving yesterday arvo so David stayed back to do a session with Finn.”

“I knew Boo Boo was home late yesterday, forgot to ask why,” Aaron intervened.

Chloe and Bea didn’t look up at Aaron or pay his comment any attention as Bea continued, “David wouldn’t say much other than Finn wanted help coping with his grief over Shaun. After the session, David drove Finn back here to Ramsay Street and they got back here just before 6pm.”

Chloe chewed on her lip, “About half an hour later than I saw Elly outside at the mailbox. What was Finn like when he saw David? Does he think Finn could have anything to do with Elly not being at home last night?”

Bea put her hands up to try and calm Chloe, “David wouldn’t say…the whole doctor, patient confidentially.”

Chloe stood up from the stool, “I’ll show David doctor, patient confidentially if he knows anything about Finn that could lead us to--”

Bea placed her hands against Chloe’s shoulders for a brief moment, holding her back, “Don’t go off at David about this. He’s going to go back over his notes that he wrote on the session and if we haven’t found Elly by the time we need to go to the police station to report her missing, David will meet us there, okay? Depending what questions they have for him, how serious they take a heavily pregnant woman not being at home for a night, and Finn’s track record with Elly…David will make a decision on what he can and can’t tell them.”

Chloe sighed, “Okay…I guess…did you ask David about Finn’s memories?”

Bea nodded, “David doesn’t think Finn has them back but he hasn’t completely ruled it out.”

Aaron looked shocked, “Wait, Finn has his memories back?”

Bea avoiding looking Aaron in the eyes, “Elly suspected the other day that Finn has them back but I…I dismissed her suggestion…if Finn’s done something to Elly, I’ll never forgive myself.”

Chloe gently pulled Bea into a hug, “Nothing is your fault, none of us would want to believe Finn’s memories are back…we’ll get Elly back,” then as she pulled back from the hug, Chloe decided, “I don’t think we’re going to get anymore info from David so let’s get out of here and head around the rest of the street to see if anyone else knows anything.”

“Okay, let’s go,” Bea agreed, then to Aaron, “Tell David to call us in about half an hour to see if we need to meet him down at the police station.”

Before Aaron could formulate an answer to the girls, Chloe and Bea bolted out of the kitchen and were out of the house within seconds.

Aaron stared after then, contemplating going and asking David about Finn, as he was uncomfortable by the suggestion that Finn’s memories had returned.

Chapter Text

And She, Waits For You

Chapter Eleven

Present Day – Saturday 21st December – 8:45 AM  

Pierce sighed as he stood in the kitchen of his house, his phone against the side of his face, as he heard the voice of his girlfriend through the phone but was frustrated that it was her voicemail message talking to him instead of her.

“Chloe, sweetie, can you give me a call? I’m all packed for my trip and I really want to hear your voice before I’m on the plane in a couple hours. I know your busy worried about Elly but I’m sure she’s perfectly fine and has just gone away for the night with Finn. Elly will be fine. If you’re still in the area, can you come home for a moment? I really don’t like how we ended things and I need to make it up to you, Chloe,” Pierce left his message, before hanging up the phone, annoyed that Chloe hadn’t answered his call.

Hendrix was lounging out on the couch in the living room, staring at his father’s annoyance that he couldn’t get hold of Chloe.

Pierce stood there silently in the kitchen for a minute, staring down at the watch on his wrist for the time, knowing his ride was picking him up in ten minutes time.

Before he could stop himself, Pierce dialed Chloe’s phone number again, breathing deeply when he got her voicemail once more but this time, he didn’t leave a message.

Hendrix rolled his eyes at his father, “Oh my God, Dad, give it a rest. Chloe will call you back when she can. Leave her alone.”

Pierce glanced at his phone again, unable to listen to his son as he started texting Chloe:

‘Chloe, can you please call me? I want to hear your voice before I head to the airport. I want to clear the air again after our fight this morning. Today really wasn’t meant to go down like this, Chloe. I’m sorry that I have to take off to New York like this. If you change your mind about coming with me, call me, I’ll get you booked on the next flight. Christmas…New Year’s…there’s nothing like it!’

Hendrix shook his head as he watched his father rapidly texting Chloe, “Are you texting Chloe and begging her to come with you to New York?”

Pierce finally glanced over at his son, “No…I was just offering to get Chloe on the next available flight if she changes her mind. And I needed her to know how sorry I was about our argument this morning. I had much better plans for us today that have been derailed by this company debacle.”

“What plans?” Hendrix asked.

Pierce blinked a couple times, “Doesn’t matter…not important.”

“Way to not include me in your life,” Hendrix muttered under his breath, before speaking up a bit louder, “And what if Chloe changed her mind? You just gonna ship me off to mum’s earlier?”

Pierce sighed, “I didn’t mean it like that, Hendrix. I’m sorry, I just really wanted to be able to change Chloe’s mind.”

“You can’t change someone’s mind over something like this,” Hendrix insisted.

Pierce shook his head at his son, “What would you know about it?”

Hendrix smirked, “I know enough to know that you calling Chloe multiple times isn’t the way around it.”

Pierce slipped his phone into the empty pocket of his suit pants, both pockets now occupied with important items to him, before placing his hands in his pockets, “You know, what, Hendrix. You’re right. I’ve still got a few minutes before I need to head out so I’m going to see if I can find Chloe still around in the street.”

Hendrix groaned loudly, “Dad, that is not what I meant. Leave Chloe be, for God’s sake. She’s busy at the moment, if she’s not answering your calls, she’s not gonna want to see you after your fight, she probably needs a bit of space…and y’know Chloe’s worried about…”

“Elly?” Pierce finished for Hendrix through gritted teeth.

“Jealous, are we, Dad?” Hendrix asked, almost licking his lips at the thought that his father was uncomfortable at Chloe rushing off in aid of her ex-girlfriend though he hadn’t put his foot down to stop Chloe going after her with Bea.

Pierce scoffed, “What’s there to be jealous of?”

“Chloe running after her ex-girlfriend at the first hint of something being wrong with Miss. Conway,” Hendrix answered, wiggling his eyebrow at his father.

Pierce pursed his lips, “Chloe’s just concerned about a friend, that’s all.”

“If you say so,” Hendrix replied with little confidence, “But if you ask me…there’s a reason why Chloe ran out of here with her ‘worry’ about Miss. Conway…and there’s a reason why you feel threatened that Chloe shouldn’t spend time with Miss. Conway as it’ll bring back Chloe’s feelings for Miss. Conway.”

“I didn’t ask you,” Pierce replied brashly, "There is no reason in the world for me to feel threatened by Elly. Chloe's feelings for her are in the past. Even if they weren't...Elly's in no position to ever win Chloe back. I'm the one who can give Chloe everything she'll ever need in life."

Hendrix held back a snigger at his father's expense, not believing for a second that Chloe's feelings for Elly weren't in the present.

Noting his son's silence, Pierce took a few steps forward, "I'm going to see if I can track down Chloe before my ride comes to take me to the airport."

Hendrix lounged back on the couch, his action making Pierce stop walking towards the front door, "Geez, Dad, would you take a hint? Chloe isn't answering your calls or texts as she is preoccupied with whatever has happened with Miss. Conway. She's worried about her and going around to all the neighbours to see if she can track her down. She doesn't need you hounding her because you're worried about another one of your little fights."

“I’m not hounding Chloe, I just want to make sure she and I are good after the fight we had this morning and that she doesn’t hold it against me for up and abandoning her over Christmas and New Year's to go fix things at my company in New York,” Pierce claimed.

"I don't see you bothered about up and abandoning me over the holidays," Hendrix muttered under his breath before speaking up, "Chloe's a bit busy now, Dad, trying to track down Miss. Conway. I mean even you have to admit it's completely strange that a pregnant woman who is due to give birth within the next couple days wasn't at home last night and only her phone is missing."

Pierce shrugged, "Not really, Elly's been under a lot of stress I'm sure since Shaun died. Raising the baby on her own must be a hard thing to come to terms with."

"Mum managed it, I'm sure Miss. Conway can too," Hendrix steadfastly asserted.

Unable to admit his son was right and not wanting to get drawn into an argument over abandoning his two young kids in the past, Pierce changed the subject back to his girlfriend, "I just want to make sure Chloe is okay...you know maybe I should try to make sure that I'm only away for a couple days and try to fly back here for Christmas Day."

Hendrix threw his head back against the couch for a moment, “Dad, you’re not getting it. I reckon Chloe needs a mini-break from you what with all your fighting most days. She didn’t want to go with you to New York, I think she’ll be fine for more than a week without you. Are you seriously going to go all that way for a day or two? Somehow, I don’t even think you’re capable of fixing all the problems your company is in within a day or two. Go to New York until it's solved properly, otherwise you'll just be back here on the phone or your laptop during their business hours fixing whatever the mess is and not concentrating on Chloe anyway. Do you think she wants to spend her holidays like that?”

Pierce sighed, "Okay, fine, Chloe deserves more during the holidays than me being too distracted by work. I guess at least while I'm in New York then I can make time to stop working and call Chloe for an hour or so every day."

"I'm sure Chloe will be looking forward to those calls," Hendrix lied, feeling frustrated that Pierce didn't even bother to mention wanting to call him whilst he was away then wanting to get another dig in, "Oh and while you're at it with the backing off Chloe whilst you're away, how about when you get back you back off asking Chloe to move in here with us?"

"What do you mean?" Pierce asked defensively.

Hendrix rolled his eyes, "Dad, Chloe gets it. You want her to commit to you and live with us. Stop pushing her on the issue. When she's ready, she will let you know. You don't have to keep bringing it up as all it does is spark a fight between the pair of you and probably puts her off from making the decision on when to move in."

Pierce sighed, "I know I've got to stop bringing it up, I just don't see what Chloe sees in living in a share house with a bunch of guys when she can be here with me like she is most nights anyway. I want to give Chloe all the commitment that she deserves."

Hendrix looked up at his Dad, wondering if he should point out that Chloe might not be ready for Pierce's commitment after such a short amount of time, "I'm sure Chloe knows all about how much you want the pair of you to be committed--"

"I'm sure I can still manage to surprise Chloe with how strong my commitment is to her," Pierce intervened with a smile.

Hendrix ignored his Dad's statement, not giving it much thought, "But if you keep pushing Chloe for more than she wants to give...you're just going to push her away and make her walk from you."

Pierce opened his mouth to argue that his son didn't know the first thing about Chloe, but his phone rung, interrupting them. Slipping the phone out of his pocket, Pierce didn't look at the caller ID before answering, "Chloe...? Oh right...sorry...yeah I'm ready, I'll be right out and meet you in a moment."

Hendrix glanced away from his father, "Ride's here early, huh?"

Pierce nodded as he hung up the call, "Damn it, I really wanted to go find Chloe before I headed to the airport."

Hendrix rolled his eyes for what felt like the hundredth time already that morning, "You can't keep the driver waiting. Give Chloe a call once you're at the airport or in the car if you're that desperate to make sure things are good with the pair of you."

"You're right, I will," Pierce agreed as he walked over to his suitcase, taking hold of it to pull it behind him before turning to Hendrix, "I'll see you in a week or so, alright mate. I'll give you a call as soon as I land in New York City. Enjoy spending the holidays with your mum and sister in Sydney. Your flight details are on the fridge, I'll text them to Chloe to make sure she takes you to the airport Christmas morning, okay? And mate, please behave for the next couple days whilst Chloe's looking out for you. I don't want any trouble or else I will need to return early. Got it?"

"A hundred and one," Hendrix muttered under his breath as he rolled his eyes again, "I got it, Dad. I'll speak to you when you land. Don't worry, there's not much trouble I can get myself into in this boring little town."

Pierce smiled at his son, grabbing his keys and wallet, he left the house not wanting to say anything more in case he sparked another argument with Hendrix.

A few minutes later, Pierce was in the front passenger seat of the luxury car that had picked him up at the driveway. As the driver pulled out of the court to round the corner onto the next street Ramsay Street was next to, Pierce frowned as he thought for a moment he'd seen Finn standing at the end of Ramsay Street, hidden from complete view, standing by Mrs. Punt's house on the corner.

Pierce wasn't sure it was Finn but thought it was odd if it was him since Bea was adamant her boyfriend had gone away for the weekend and even if it wasn't Finn, he found it strange anyone would be standing there partially hidden at the corner of the street. As he picked up his phone to call Chloe to let her know, an incoming call from his New York City company came through, and distracted him throughout his ride to the airport.

Arriving at the airport, Pierce tried numerous times to call Chloe without getting a hold of his girlfriend, and by the time Pierce had checked in for his flight, he was too frustrated that Chloe wasn't answering his calls, he'd forgotten all about seeing Finn...

Present Day – Saturday 21st December – 9:00 AM  

EvilFinn stood at the corner of Ramsay Street at the former home of Mrs. Punt. He was partially hidden but not by much. He had witnessed Pierce drag a suitcase into a luxury car that had pulled into his driveway before getting into the passenger seat. When the car had driven off from the street, EvilFinn was positive Pierce had spotted him but what reason did the business mogul have in thinking it was strange that his neighbour was hanging around the street?

A few minutes after Pierce had disappeared from the street in the car EvilFinn theorized was taking Pierce to the airport, EvilFinn smiled gleefully from his position as he spotted Bea exiting the Rebecchi’s house. A part of him hated that the very sight of Bea still brought a smile to his face, he couldn’t stand that he still had feelings for the girl who was part of the reason he ended up in a coma.

EvilFinn’s smile soon faded as behind Bea, Chloe stepped out of the Rebecchi’s house. He’d never really paid attention to Elly’s ex before but the look on Chloe’s face being heavily upset with a stroke of panic intrigued him.

“Maybe it’s not so one-sided anymore as I thought,” EvilFinn muttered to himself.

As he watched them from afar, EvilFinn grimaced as he watched Bea and Chloe cross from the Rebecchi’s house, walking quickly past the Kennedy’s house and heading straight for the Canning’s household.

EvilFinn sighed in frustration, “I guess they noticed Elly’s missing sooner than I thought and are now trying to find out who’s seen her last.”

EvilFinn couldn’t help but focus on Chloe as she followed Bea up the driveway of the Canning’s. Even though he couldn’t see her face, the demeanor she was projecting through her body language told EvilFinn just how worried Chloe was.

EvilFinn continued focusing on Chloe as she walked up the steps to the Canning household and was soon out of sight, then realized quietly Chloe was just about as worried about Elly as Bea was, “Isn’t that interesting…”

Present Day – Saturday 21st December – 11:00 AM  

David stood outside the Erinsborough Police Station. Taking his phone out of his pocket, he dialed the number he knew by heart for his husband, Aaron.

“Hey, Boo, Boo,” Aaron greeted cheerfully as he answered the call, despite the fact he was busy at work at the Shed, and his next PT client was just walking over to the gym from across the street.

“Hey, Boo,” David replied, before chewing on his lip, “Sorry, I know you’re probably busy but when you spoke to Chloe and Bea before they left our place, the plan was for them to call me as soon as they’d checked with the rest of the neighbours if they had seen Elly or Finn, right?”

“Yeah, what’d they say? Have they found her?” Aaron asked as he waved at his PT client to give him a minute.

“Nothing, they never called me. I haven’t heard from either of them, no one was answering at the Kennedy’s or Pierce’s when I went by the check half an hour ago. Both their phones are switched off. I thought maybe I’d gotten your message wrong and they meant for me to meet them at the police station as even if someone saw her, it might not explain her not being at home last night,” David answered.

“Okay,” Aaron replied, “I’m guessing Chloe and Bea aren’t there.”

“No, they aren’t here and they haven’t been here, I just spoke to a couple of the cops at the station. This is the first they’ve heard about it. I got them to try Elly and Finn’s phones, they are both switched off. The police are going to send an officer to the street to see if anyone has seen anything, repeating what I thought Chloe and Bea had already done but it’s their process, they won’t do too much more unless Elly officially gets reported as missing and they want to speak to her family first. I’m really worried, Boo,” David explained.

Aaron ran his hand through his hair, “This doesn’t sound good for Elly, does it?”

David shook his head, even though Aaron couldn’t see, “No, it doesn’t, but now I’m worried about Chloe and Bea…I haven’t mentioned this to the police yet but…since when would they go searching for Elly only to not tell us if they had found her, be nowhere to be found at home, not reporting Elly possibly missing to the police on top of now they’ve switched off their phones?”

Aaron paused at the thought for a moment before responding, “Boo, Boo…are you trying to tell me that…you think Chloe and Bea have gone missing too?”

David grimaced as he answered, “That’s exactly what I’m saying.”

Chapter Text

And She, Waits For You

Chapter Twelve

Flashback – just over a month ago - Sunday 17th November – Chloe’s Birthday

Elly awoke early with the first thought that came to her mind:

Chloe.

Elly’s lips curled into a smile at the thought of the blonde but then she sighed as she remembered Chloe was nothing more than her friend and was dating business mogul, Pierce Grayson, instead of her.

As Elly lay alone in her bed, Elly’s disappointment over Chloe’s choice of romantic partner turned back to Chloe herself and this day.

It’s Chloe’s birthday!

I’ve barely been able to contact Chloe about everyday things I need my best friend for let alone spend any time with Chloe since we broke up. Not that I expect to spend any time with Chloe today for a party of anything, I haven’t been told anything has been planned for her birthday…unless she is doing something with Pierce, Aaron and David and the boys don’t want me to know about it.

But I can at least drop around Chloe’s place later today to drop her off her birthday present. Any chance I can to spend at least a few minutes’ time in her presence…what’s that about? That need to spend any time with Chloe? What does that even mean?

For now, I can send Chloe a text to wish her a Happy Birthday. I shouldn’t mention wanting to drop off her birthday present…I want to surprise Chloe. But I can message her now…maybe she’ll want to catch up for a drink to celebrate.

I should message Chloe…or I should wait…it’s too early. Is it too early? It’s far too early. Chloe would barely be awake by now…great now the image is in my head of Chloe waking up next to Pierce in his bed.

I’m not jealous, I’m…I dunno what this feeling is for Chloe…I can’t work it out. I hate that she broke up with me…I hate that Chloe’s dating Pierce…ugh just concentrate on the fact you can’t not get in contact with Chloe today and see her face light up at your present for her.

It’s too early to contact Chloe and I’m probably going to spend most of the morning obsessing over how to word my birthday message to Chloe. I need a distraction—

Elly grinned as she ran her hand over her pregnant belly as her baby gave her a few light kicks.

That’ll do it. Everything with Chloe might be confusing me but I’ve only got another 6 weeks left until I get to meet this little person…or peanut. I can’t wait!

Several hours later, Elly sat at the dining table at home. Finn and Bea were in the kitchen preparing lunch but Elly had pretty much drowned them out for the last fifteen minutes as she had sat there on her own concentrating hard on the text message she was crafting to Chloe. It was driving her crazy, she didn’t want to be too friendly but she didn’t want to come off like Chloe wasn’t one of the most important people in the world to her.

After long internal deliberation of her thoughts, even though it really was only such a short message, Elly finally sent her message to Chloe:

“Happy Birthday, Chloe! I hope you have an amazing day and get to celebrate with the people you love! xox”

‘People you love’…I want that to be me…I don’t want that to be Pierce! I don’t want Chloe to consider him in that way…I want her to consider…I mean do I maybe want Chloe to…?

I should tell her I want to see her today as I have a present for—ooh Chloe’s texting back, she’s texting back!

“Thanks!”

Elly blinked as she stared at the reply from Chloe.

That’s it…? ’Thanks!’…after I’ve spent most of this morning worrying about the best way to wish Chloe a Happy Birthday because I finally had a reason to get in contact with Chloe that Pierce couldn’t possibly get jealous over…and I get…’thanks!’

Desperate for more contact from her former best friend and girlfriend, Elly shot her another message:

“I hope we can catch up soon!”

But there was no reply from Chloe as Elly sat there staring at her phone for ten minutes before her frustration grew at feeling completely disconnected by the one person who meant so much to her.

Standing up from the table, grabbing her handbag from the entryway table, knowing Chloe’s birthday present was already inside, Elly yelled over to Bea and Finn, “I’m going out for lunch,” and was out the door before either of them could point out they had been making lunch for Elly too.

Twenty minutes later, Elly was so frustrated at herself. She felt like she was overreacting to Chloe’s simple reply as well as at herself for agonizing for hours over the message she’d sent to Chloe. Elly’s desperate need to see Chloe overruled her feelings of annoyance at Pierce being the one who was in a relationship with Chloe, and she had gone to both the Brenaka’s and Pierce’s houses to track down Chloe to give her the birthday present. To no avail, no one was home at either place so Elly decided to head over to the Lassiter’s complex to see if she could track Chloe down.

As Elly approached the Waterhole, she was bewildered to see the venue completely empty, all the outside tables had the chairs packed around them, there was no one around. Elly then saw a sign out the front of the entrance to the pub – ‘Closed for Private Function’

As Elly was about to turn around and head to Harold’s to see if there was a chance Chloe was there or anyone had seen her that day, Elly spotted Shane exiting the Waterhole with a bag of recycling that he took to the bins around the corner.

“Hey, Elly,” Shane greeted, “Sorry, we’re closed today if you were hoping to get a meal here.”

Elly placed her hand over her baby bump as she planted a smile on her face, “Yeah, guess I wasn’t expecting you guys to be closed. I get closing the inside venue for your function but even the outside too. Sunday sessions are your busiest time of the week to turn down paying customers hanging outside for their chance to have a drink with their friends…non-alcoholic drink in my case.”

Shane nodded, “Yeah, I know, we don’t normally do this but…client insisted on having the entire venue to himself.”

Of course…damn it.

“It’s Pierce, isn’t it?” Elly asked through gritted teeth, “He’s treating Chloe to a private lunch for her birthday.”

Is that why Chloe’s message was brief? She was having lunch with Pierce and didn’t want to feel like she could be too distracted from him…even for me…? Or maybe Chloe just doesn’t want very much to do with me anymore as she’s falling for Pierce?

Shane saw the upset look that flashed across Elly’s face, having known that the two women had dated for a brief period and it was clear that Elly wasn’t thrilled that Chloe had moved on so quickly, “Yeah, they’re in there having lunch from some private caterer that…wow he was fussy over things in our kitchen but he seemed to do the trick. Chloe loved the food he created, she…um I mean she…Chloe gets excited over just about anything, I wouldn’t read into it.”

Elly nodded sadly, “Sure…um…do you know how long they are gonna be…? I’ve got a birthday present for Chloe and kinda didn’t want to just leave it at her doorstop at home. Not that I’ll wait outside here until they are done, just maybe thought I could wait at Harold’s if you could possibly let Chloe know to come see me after.”

Shane hesitated at the hopeful look on Elly’s face and desperation to see Chloe, “Well, actually…I don’t really know the details but…Pierce already has plans for them for the rest of the day…he told me all about it when Chloe went to the bathroom. Something about surprising Chloe with a limo coming to pick them up here…taking them to a helicopter that’ll fly them over the city, before the limo will catch up with them to take them to a handful of private bars and finally a…um…rooftop bar for a private dinner and a band…one of Chloe’s favourites…I can’t remember who…but they’ll be there as they have dinner to…”

“Serenade Chloe,” Elly concluded, her heart breaking at the thought, “Sounds like Pierce has…planned the perfect day for Chloe…and all I did was buy Chloe…doesn’t matter. I don’t want to be around to see Chloe being incredibly excited by Pierce’s perfect Birthday Day for her. I'm betting his birthday present for Chloe was a piece of jewelry worth more than my monthly income."

Shane grimaced at the thought of how much Pierce had spent, "And then some...I think it was a necklace and bracelet he got her...it possibly came with matching earrings."

At least it wasn't an engagement ring...

Elly shook her head in embarrassment at the present she had gotten Chloe, "Don’t bother telling Chloe you saw me. I’ll just…forget about giving her my present. I’m gonna takeoff and…”

Pretend I can offer Chloe even a remote possibility of the kind of life that Pierce can offer her…I can barely offer Chloe more than…Pierce can offer Chloe the world…and I’m…nearly 8 months pregnant…still cannot come to terms with what my feelings are for Chloe…

Ten minutes later, Elly walked through the front door at the Kennedy’s. Before she could barely look up, Finn yelled out from the kitchen, “Elly, glad you’re back! I’ve been speaking to Shaun, trying to work out when he should book his flight back here to be here for the birth of your baby. I was hoping you could give him a call and let him know what you feel is best for--”

Elly rolled her eyes, the last thing on her mind was having a conversation with her baby-daddy, Shaun, “I’m not in the mood, Finn. I’ll call Shaun later in the week.”

Finn was disappointed as he looked over at Bea, next to him, “Yeah but--”

Elly groaned loudly, “I said I’m not in the bloody mood, Finn! Leave me be, I’m going for a nap!”

Elly stormed out of the open-planned living area of the house, heading for her bedroom.

Finn glanced at Bea, “What’d I say?”

Bea placed her hand on Finn’s shoulder supportively, “I think Elly’s just…going through some stuff right now. She’s not even talking to me about it. We just gotta let her be to sort through it on her own.”

In her bedroom, Elly threw her handbag down on her bed, curled up into a ball as she laid down on the other side of the bed. Elly hated to feel tears welling up in her eyes at the constant thoughts of comparing herself to Pierce.

Why am I even doing this to myself? There’s nothing I could ever do that would ever compare to Pierce…

Despite the tears welling up in her eyes, Elly closed her eyes and eventually found herself falling asleep and having a dream about Chloe…

Chapter Text

And She, Waits For You

Chapter Thirteen

DREAM – just over a month ago - Sunday 17th November – Chloe’s Birthday

Elly smiled brightly as she skipped over to the front door at her place the second she heard the knock at the door. Her smile widened even further when she found Chloe standing on the front doorstep, “Hey, gorgeous, get in here.”

Elly reached out for Chloe’s hand, pulling the blonde into her arms, “Happy Birthday, Chlo!”

Chloe immediately wrapped her arms around Elly, nuzzling her face into the crook of Elly’s neck before leaning up and kissing Elly softly, “Thanks, baby.”

Elly entangled her hands with Chloe’s as she kissed the blonde again, “How’s your birthday been so far, gorgeous?”

Chloe grinned as she stared into Elly’s eyes, “Pretty average. Aaron and David made a big breakfast for me. I spent time on the phone with Mum as she’s having one of her good days and I got to talk to Mark, Tyler and Piper. They are all doing so well over there. Your text message this morning was the highlight of my day so far. Well up until I got here to spend the day with my girl. My girl and peanut, of course.”

Elly blushed as Chloe shifted her hands to either side of Elly’s baby bump, “I’m glad you’ve had a good day so far. Hopefully, I can make it even better. Or I…probably won’t, I’ll probably just end up blowing this whole birthday date since I kinda didn’t plan anything but the two of us hanging out here for the day…which is lame and an awful way to spend your birthday. I can’t believe it took me until now to realize I should be treating you to a much better day. We’ll go to the Waterhole for lunch, then we can head to the City for some mocktails, maybe see if we can catch a band playing.”

Chloe ran her hands gently up and down Elly’s sides, “Don’t be ridiculous. I didn’t expect anything other than hanging out with you here today. I don’t want my baby and her baby getting tired, which you will by the time we’d finish up at the Waterhole.”

Elly slipped her hands to Chloe’s hips, “I wouldn’t get that tired going to lunch with you at the Waterhole.”

Chloe smirked, “Yes, you would. There’s no need for you to go to so much trouble for me, Elly. You’re pregnant, I get there’s only so much you can manage in a day before you tire yourself out.”

“You are the sweetest girlfriend,” Elly whispered, feeling comfortable that Chloe had accepted her pregnancy and that once the baby was born, her priorities would all lie with the baby.

"Not as sweet as you," Chloe praised as she glanced over to the living room, "Ah, I spot a bunch of DVD's and snack food on the coffee table and extra pillows on the couch. Hanging out here with you watching DVD's and eating terrible food is the perfect way to spend my birthday."

Elly took Chloe's hand in her own as she led her over to the couch, "Oh please, Chlo, this is not even close to what I should be doing for your birthday. We hang out like this all the time; I should've done more."

Chloe turned to face Elly as they stood next to the couch, "Would you stop that? I hate making a big fuss out of my birthday anyway. I don't need a good meal, fancy drinks or going to the city to see some band. That sounds like a date night date to me, not how I'd want to spend my birthday with you."

Elly chewed on her lip, hoping she wasn't going to scare Chloe away with the reality that date nights weren't going to be on her priority list with the baby, "Maybe sometime in the next four to six months I'll be able to take you out on a proper date night like that...if that's not like...a million years away from now for you."

Chloe smiled at Elly, "It'll be the best date ever, I can't wait."

Elly returned Chloe's smile for a moment then let it fall again, "I kinda screwed up with your birthday present, Chlo. It's the most basic present in the world. It's just all the costs with the baby finally caught up with me and I couldn't affor--"

Chloe raised her index finger and placed it to Elly's lips to stop her rambling, "I'll love it. Whatever it is, I'll love it because it's from you."

Elly sat down on the couch, with Chloe following suit, as Elly handed Chloe a small wrapped present, then looked away in embarrassment as Chloe ripped away the wrapping paper and opened the present, "It's just a...DVD..."

Chloe slid her hand to Elly's chin to gently coax her to look back at her, before kissing her gently, then breaking away and giggling excitedly, "I love it! Special Edition of E.T. It's only like my favourite movie in the whole world and the Special Edition version, I don't have this one. Let's watch it together now."

Elly eyed Chloe gently, "You're been far too cool over this crappy gift. I should've gotten you a necklace or a bracelet, something that actually means something."

"It does mean something because it's from you. I don't need some fancy jewelry when I know there are so many more important things you need for the peanut. Stop thinking I'm going to be disappointed in you, Elly," Chloe replied sincerely.

"Really?" Elly asked with doubt.

"Spending time with you on my birthday is the best present you can give me and the fact that you know me well enough that you know this is my favourite movie of all time means so much more than any other present you could possibly buy me," Chloe assured, "Now, let me get this DVD going so we can snuggle up together and watch it."

Elly chewed on her lip, trying to feel positive by Chloe's assurances. After Chloe had set the DVD up in the player, switched the TV on and begun to play the movie, she returned to the couch. Settling herself with her back against the side of the couch, she scooted up, slipping her legs on either side before motioning for Elly to nestle herself in the space between her legs. Elly did so, leaning her back against Chloe's body. Leaning her head up gently, Elly nuzzled her face against the crook of Chloe's neck, unable to resist nibbling at the skin gently. Chloe leant down and kissed Elly, before resting her head against Elly's and ran her hands down Elly's side until they rested on Elly's baby bump.

Maybe I didn't plan the worst birthday celebration after all.

Several hours later, Elly was staring into her girlfriend's eyes with surprise, "Again?"

Chloe pouted her lips, "Why not, baby?"

Elly giggled up at Chloe, "We've watched E.T. three times in a row, Chlo! You still want to watch it another time?"

"It is my favourite movie and it is my birthday," Chloe continued pouting.

Elly reached up to kiss Chloe's cheek, "Your pouting won't always work on me but I suppose we can watch one more time before the rest of the family are due back from...wherever it is they cleared off to today."

"My pouting will always work on you, baby," Chloe smiled wickedly, before softening, "I'm so glad we're together. I can't believe I nearly broke up with you after the first week or so of dating. I'm so glad you fought for us to push through until you got to the place of accepting your feelings for me."

"Me too, I'd hate to see where we'd be if I just allowed you to break up with me," Elly replied.

"Let's not think about such things," Chloe whispered as she went to take her hand away from Elly's baby bump to grab the DVD remote, Elly felt the baby kicking against Chloe's hand.

Chloe giggled at the feeling, "I love when peanut kicks me."

"I kinda love it too," Elly agreed before looking deeply into Chloe's eyes, "You know there is absolutely zero pressure on you in the role in this child's life. I am more than happy if you just want to--"

Chloe brought her hand up, slipping it against Elly's cheek, "I know, sweetie. We've talked it over and I do want a role in this baby's life as I love you so much. The baby could need another cool Aunt like Bea or maybe...a cool step mum."

"Wherever you fit, you'll most definitely be cool," Elly smiled.

"Is it still okay that we wait until the baby's born before I have my head sorted on how I feel about the peanut?" Chloe asked shyly.

Elly brought Chloe's hand down and entangled it with her own, "I told you there's no pressure. You can take your time with this but if you--"

"Elly, I'm not going to end things because you're having a baby. I get how important this is to you and I am absolutely going to be there for you. I'll find my way through this on what my role in the baby's life will be plus we have to consider Shaun as the baby's Dad," Chloe pointed out.

Elly sighed, "Let's not talk about Shaun," before immediately changing the subject, "Are you staying over tonight? I think Bea was going to cook but since it's your birthday I should cook for everyone and for you if you're staying over."

Chloe pressed her lips softly to Elly's, "Is it even a question me wanting to stay the night with you? I spend most nights with you here or at mine. Falling asleep with my arms wrapped around my babies...I mean...my baby, you, and your baby...it's the best feeling in the world."

Elly blushed softly, “Waking up in the morning with your arms wrapped around us is the best feeling in the world to me...or well second but only to peanut kicking me and that will only be for a few more weeks. Thanks for taking things slow in our relationship with me."

Chloe was unable to avoid licking her lips at the mere thought of being with Elly, “Of course, Elly, we can take things at whatever pace you are comfortable with.”

Elly sighed as she nuzzled her face against Chloe’s jawline, “Sometimes I wish I wasn’t pregnant cause I really want to ravage you but I'm far too self-conscious to even consider you to do the same to me. Not that I could blame you, gross pregnant belly in your way.”

Chloe shook her head, smiling widely, “No, you don’t. You love this baby and you can’t wait to be a mum. You’re gonna be the best mum. Stop telling me you're gross. You're gorgeous, you being pregnant does not change that for me and we can wait until you are ready.”

Elly continued to blush, “I can only hope that I am, with you by my side. I’m so lucky to have you as my partner. I couldn’t imagine being with anyone as supportive as you.”

Chloe shrugged gently, “Me either, I know you think you're not as supportive because you have other important things going on with the baby but everything I need you give me. Except you, baby, are not lifting a finger tonight to cook me dinner. I'll cook tonight instead for everyone."

"You are not cooking for my whole family on your birthday, Chlo," Elly scolded.

Chloe rolled her eyes at her girlfriend being adorably demanding, "Okay, fine. We'll just stay here curled up on the couch and let Bea cook for us and everyone. You know she just loves how couplely we are with one another."

"Deal," Elly agreed before staring away from Chloe, "I'm sorry I couldn't make your birthday special in any way. Maybe next year I'll be in a better position to make this day perfect for you."

Chloe lifted her hand and ran it up and down Elly's arm, "Would you stop thinking that this has been anything short of perfect? What makes you think I need anything more than what you've done for me today?"

Cause I have this feeling in my gut that if I wasn’t with you, you’d be with Pierce, and he’d be treating you like the Princess that you are, Chloe, and doing a hell of a lot more to celebrate this day with you.

Elly shrugged, “Because I’m sure if you were with…anyone else they’d be able to treat you to the perfect birthday you could ever imagine.”

Chloe lifted her hand, gently placing her fingers under Elly’s chin to shift her face until they were staring into one another’s eyes, “Elly, baby, I love you so much. Believe me when I tell you that today has been the most perfect birthday I could ever ask for. There is nothing else you could do that could make it even better.”

Are you sure?

Elly smiled shyly at her girlfriend, “Chloe, I am truly, madly, deeply in love with you.”

Chloe blinked several times at Elly’s words, “Except maybe that…I think I’m gonna need you to repeat that to make sure I heard you right.”

Elly pressed her lips to Chloe’s softly before settling back to stare into her eyes and repeating the words that Chloe had used in her Christmas card to Elly the previous year to express her feelings for her, “I am truly, madly, deeply in love with you.”

Chloe pressed her forehead against Elly’s unable to hide the tears welling up in her eyes.

Chloe’s wanted me to say those words to her for so long.

Elly slipped her hand to the side of Chloe’s face, “I know it took me a really long time to come to terms with my feelings for you, Chloe. I feel it now, every single thing you feel for me, I now know in my heart that I feel the same way for you. I’m so sorry that it took me this long to figure it all out that I love you just as much as you love me.”

Chloe placed her hand over Elly’s, entangling their fingers, “You don’t need to remind me of our past and trying to apologize for how long it took you to get here. We’re here and that’s all that matters. Now it’s official, this is the best birthday I could ever possibly have. I love you so much, Elly.”

Elly smiled widely at all the feelings swirling around her for the woman who held her in her arms, repeating once more just in case it hadn’t quite sunk in yet, “Chloe, I am truly, madly, deeply in love with--”

Elly awoke with a sharp intake of breath.

Elly blinked several times as she looked around her bedroom almost trying to get a handle on her surroundings.

Elly sat up, wiping the reminder of the tears from her eyes as everything came rushing back to her.

I was just dreaming…it was so…real…every moment…every touch…every single thing Chloe and I said to each other…

Elly swallowed deeply as one moment from her dream hit her harder than a tonne of bricks.

‘Chloe, I am truly, madly, deeply in love with you.’

I’m in love with Chloe!

Oh!

Chapter Text

And She, Waits For You

Chapter Fourteen

Present Day – Saturday 21st December – 6:15 PM

Aaron and David stood around at the Kennedy’s in front of their kitchen island as Susan and Karl sat on the kitchen side of the dining table with two policemen sitting on the other side of the table.

“So, none of you have seen your niece, Elly Conway,” one of the policemen pointed at Susan and Karl, indicating them as Elly’s Aunt and Uncle, “Or Finn Kelly, who currently lives with you all under a court supervision arrangement, since around about this time last night?”

Before Susan or Karl could answer, Aaron intervened, “Or my sister, Chloe, and Elly’s sister, Bea, since early this morning. Don’t forget about them.”

The other policeman nodded over at Aaron and David, “We’re not, Mr. Brennan. We have 4 suspected missing persons, 3 from this residence and your sister from across the road. We need to go through the details of each missing person one at a time.”

David placed his hand on Aaron’s arm to try and hold his husband back but it didn’t work, “It took you guys all day to send the pair of you here to start asking questions after one officer came over earlier and aside from asking our neighbours on the street if anyone had seen Elly, Finn, Chloe or Bea, he didn’t do much of anything.”

“We’re doing what we can, there is a process in place when people go missing and we’re following that process,” one of the policemen insisted.

“A process in place for 3 missing women, one heavily pregnant and due to give birth in the next week, and a missing man who may or may not have gotten his memories back from the time that he terrorized two of these women. Let’s not forget Chloe was there too when Finn ran Xanthe down in Elly’s car. Chloe easily could’ve been a victim of Finn’s too. What process could you possibly have in place to deal with this situation?” Aaron demanded.

“Aaron, please calm down and let the officers do their job,” David whispered to his husband, then raising his voice to his normal tone, “I’m prepared to give the officers my perspective on Finn’s emotions when he came in to see me at the hospital late yesterday. We don’t have any proof at all that Finn’s memories have returned or that he has anything at all to do with the 3 girls going…missing.”

“All of you need to wake up and see exactly what has happened. Finn has somehow managed to take all three women to God only knows where and is doing God only knows what to them. This isn’t normal for all three of these girls to just up and disappear and have all their phones switched off,” Aaron replied in frustration, “I want my sister found safely. I bet if Mark was still part of your police force, he’d have gotten the entire community rallying to find these women the second we realized Elly didn’t spend the night at home yesterday.”

Susan and Karl glanced at one another, the guilt washing over them that they had led their nieces into this situation with Finn by allowing him into their house and their lives when they truly believed he was an innocent man without his memories of terrorizing the family. The thought that Finn’s memories had been restored and he had taken off with three young women terrified them about what Finn could be doing to them.

“I can assure you, Mr. Brennan, we do have officers out on the streets looking for them. Your husband already provided us with photos of all four missing persons. I know you may not like it but Mr. Kelly, whilst a possible suspect, is still going to be listed as a missing person alongside the three women. Now can we continue to take down as much information as we can get on all four missing persons and the last time they were seen?” the second officer insisted.

An hour later, Karl saw the police officers out from their house. Aaron had his arms crossed in front of him, as David rested his hand on his husband’s shoulder reassuringly.

“How could we be so blind to Finn getting his memories back and taking all the girls?” Susan said as soon as Karl closed the front door.

Karl glanced over at David first before trying to reassure Susan himself, “We don’t know for sure that Finn has him memories back. He could’ve done as he said and taken off to the city for a couple nights to come to terms with Shaun’s death on his own. Something else could’ve happened…I mean Elly may have decided to take off too and Bea and Chloe have just gone off to track her down.”

“And they all conveniently switched their mobile phones off at the same time so we can’t get in contact with any of them?” Aaron pointed out.

Karl walked over to Susan at the table, standing behind her with his hand on her shoulder, “You heard the policemen, we need to stay calm and think positively. They have their people out there searching for all of them and as soon as daylight hits in the morning they’ll have a crew of SES volunteers out searching for them. We know Finn took Bea, Elly and Susan up to that cliff, they’ll send a team there and have others roaming from our street in an outward direction as far as they can. If there’s no sign of Bea or Chloe by early morning the police will send the information to the news channels, put together a media release about the girls missing and Finn being a suspect. We’ll find them, I’m positive.”

“Listen to Karl, none of this is anyone’s fault, the girls will be found and they’ll be home before we know it,” David insisted.

Susan nodded, “We must remain positive they’ll be found soon enough. You boys should head back to your place, in case Chloe turns up there. I forgot to ask, how’s Pierce handling the news?”

Aaron glanced at David awkwardly, “Ah…we can’t let him know yet. I should’ve mentioned it to the police but it’s not like Pierce has anything to do with any of this. Pierce flew to New York City this morning. When Chloe came over to ours this morning searching for Elly, she mentioned Pierce got some phone calls first thing this morning about his business over there collapsing and he was forced to head over there on the first flight he could get. He’d still be on the flight through the night…if we don’t hear anything by mid-morning…I’ll call him. Really wish Chloe was on the same page as Pierce in their relationship and she’d gone with him when he asked her too as maybe she wouldn’t have been caught up in this Finn mess.”

“You sure there’s no way Chloe changed her mind and got on the flight with Pierce instead without telling us?” David asked.

“What do you mean about Chloe not being on the same page as Pierce in their relationship?” Susan enquired gently before Aaron could even answer David.

Aaron looked at David, “Chloe’s impulsive but she was incredibly worried about Elly when I saw her, there’s no way she’d abandon trying to find Elly for a trip to New York City on the fly without telling anyone,” then glancing at Susan, “Just something Chloe said to me this morning…that she’s not on the same page…or well even on the same book when it comes to her and Pierce. Pierce will be away for a couple weeks in New York City and Chloe wants to take this time apart to work out where they stand…I know I’ve being quite pushy with Chloe to make things serious with Pierce but ah…I guess when she said they aren’t…reading the same book it kinda made me see that…maybe Chloe isn’t…as happy as I thought she was.”

“I’m sure Chloe will work things out with Pierce as soon as he comes back early in the new year,” David insisted, “First we gotta get Chloe home to our family. We should head home, in case Chloe turns up there.”

Aaron shrugged, “Actually…I’m going to spend the night at #24. Can’t leave Hendrix on his own. He was really upset and worried about Chloe when I told him what we believe has happened before the police officer came to the street earlier. Never know, if Chloe does turn up, that might be the first place she heads. We’ll be over here first thing in the morning.”

“We’ll see you both early in the morning,” Susan agreed.

“Call us if you hear anything,” David urged as he and his husband headed for the front door.

Present Day – Saturday 21st December – 7:30 PM 

Elly groaned as she sat awkwardly amongst the pillows and blankets in the storage container. She hadn’t slept the entire previous night. Whilst the sleeping arrangements in the lack of comfort with blankets and pillows were the last thing on her mind, she was panicked over how long EvilFinn was going to contain her. She was too fearful of falling asleep if EvilFinn was to return and do something to her. 

EvilFinn had turned up at daylight, bringing her a bag full of food to keep her sustained. She'd refused to eat any of the food, fearing it had been laced with some kind of poison but had eventually given in and eaten a small portion after was she presumed was around lunchtime. She hadn't had a substantial to eat since the previous day's lunch.

After EvilFinn had dropped off the food for her, barely saying a single word the time he was there, before he had taken off again. Not that Elly wanted to talk to him. She had pleaded with him to let her and her baby go but he'd ignored her.  The thought that she was due to give birth in a weeks' time and might be forced to stay locked up for that long, terrified Elly.

Once he had taken off, Elly had spent hours standing at the door, pounding on it, yelling out for someone to rescue to her. But no one came, she didn't even know where the shipping container was and was slowly coming to the conclusion it was in the middle of nowhere. Her voice was getting course by the time she gave up yelling from the inside of the container but continued pounding on the inside walls until her fists hurt.

As nighttime began to set in, Elly felt the cool air more than she had the previous night, curling herself back amongst the pillows and blankets. 

Not ten minutes later, Elly's ears perked up as she overheard the sound of a car driving up towards the outside of the shipping container. Elly held her breath, feeling in her gut that it wasn't going to be anyone come to rescue her and that it would just be EvilFinn back with some more food for her to eat.

Has anyone noticed me missing yet? Does anyone care?

Elly sighed as she heard the footsteps shuffling to the shipping container, seemingly dragging more than normal but still matched EvilFinn's movements. Elly groaned when EvilFinn unlocked the door of the shipping container and yanked it open, annoyed that due to her pregnancy it would be impossible for her to try to charge at the door to get past him once he opened it or attempt to fight him off when he eventually caught up with her. 

Elly glared at EvilFinn as he closed the door behind himself but he didn't really attempt to slam it shut. He had his torch with him, and threw another bag full of food over at Elly as he walked over to an empty bench that was on one side of the container. EvilFinn placed the torch down sideways on the bench, turning it so the light shone into Elly's eyes, she blinked into the light.

"There's some candles, holders and a lighter in the bag for you. Figured I shouldn't just leave you here in the dark all alone and once the torch battery dies, you can use them instead," EvilFinn explained.

Elly rolled her eyes at him, "What if I attempt to hit you over the head with the torch instead or light all the pillows/blankets on fire? Anything's better than giving birth to my baby with you here and taking the baby away from me."

EvilFinn rolled his eyes right back at Elly, "You're not going to have much strength in smashing me over the head with a torch, Elly, and you're not going to set this place on fire to kill yourself and your baby. You've got plenty to live for! You'll just be doing it without your baby. Besides, be happy, Elly, I've brought you three presents to keep you distracted."

Elly raised her eyebrow, "A torch, food and candles...such a distraction to being kidnapped and threatened to give birth to my baby in a shipping container so you can steal my baby away from me."

"No, silly, I'll be back with your real presents," EvilFinn promised as he exited the shipping container.

Less than a minute later, he returned, and Elly realized why he'd been dragging his feet earlier when he had turned up as he carried with him a mattress.

EvilFinn smirked at Elly as he let the mattress fall from his grip next to the blankets and pillows Elly was nestled in, “Saw this on my way here, abandoned on the side of the road, bit gross but thought you at least deserved some small amount of comfort to sleep on over the coming nights and to give birth to your baby on.”

Before Elly could form any real opinion, EvilFinn took off again, this time locking the metal door behind him. It took him several minutes to return, unlocking the door, Elly glanced back up at him as he stood awkwardly at the entrance, his arms out to the side, and out of Elly’s view.

“Looky, looky what I found this morning!” EvilFinn sung song as he dragged Chloe into Elly’s view, his fists holding her up from the front of the jacket she was wearing.

OMG! Chloe! No!

“What did you do to her?” Elly yelled out at EvilFinn as she realized instantly the way he was propping up Chloe, that the woman she loved was unconscious.

Chapter Text

And She, Waits For You

Chapter Fifteen

Present Day – Saturday 21st December – 7:40 PM 

EvilFinn dragged Chloe into the shipping container, throwing her unconscious body down on the mattress, “Don’t worry, Elly, I’m sure Chloe will wake up in the morning.”

Elly didn’t hesitate to shuffle immediately over to the mattress, lifting Chloe’s head, she rested it on her lap as she cradled Chloe in her arms. Slipping one hand to her neck, Elly pressed two fingers against Chloe’s neck to feel her pulse.

Please be alive, Chloe! I’ll never forgive myself if he---thank God, I feel your pulse beating. What the hell did he do to you?

Elly sat there cradling Chloe against her lap, tears suddenly streaming down her face at the thought EvilFinn had come after Chloe, “What did you do to Chloe? Why Chloe? Why would you bring her here with me?”

EvilFinn leered down at Elly as he watched silently for a minute as she clung gently to the blonde, settling herself with Chloe now curled up in Elly’s lap, “You’re in love with her.”

Elly’s tears stopped briefly as she stared up at the man with hate in her heart for him as he could see the love she had in her heart for Chloe.

Finn knows…how? I didn’t think anyone…well except for…knew how in love with Chloe I am. It’s not a question from him, it’s a statement, he knows I’m in love with Chloe. I can’t lie and hide my feelings from him. He’s hurt her because I love her.

Elly swallowed hard, “You wanted to hurt me, you already have, you don’t need to hurt Chloe.”

“You’re in love with her,” EvilFinn repeated, a hint of jealousy this time in his voice, unable to completely hide that he hated that Elly was in love with someone else, “And that love you have for Chloe might get her killed. Think about that!”

Never.

“Almost forgot about your third present, that would’ve been bad,” EvilFinn realized as he abruptly shot off again, closing the door and once more locking it behind him.

Elly stared down at the woman in her arms. Her tears began falling again as she slipped her hand to the side of Chloe’s face, hating the fact that Chloe being unconscious meant that she at least wasn’t aware of Elly’s feelings for her, “I can’t believe he did this to you, Chloe, I am so sorry! I’m sorry you got caught up in all this…all because I am so in love with you…and it’s best that you never find that out.”

I’m in love with you, you’re with Pierce and I’m in no position whatsoever to attempt to win you back when I have a baby on the way in the next couple days.

Elly leant down, pressing her lips to Chloe’s forehead, hating the fact that a small part of her was happy to have Chloe close to her.

Elly soon glanced up as she heard a ruckus of screaming outside the shipping container with a familiar voice arguing with EvilFinn.

Bea!

As the door eventually re-opened again, with Elly sensing that EvilFinn struggled this time to unlock the door, Elly’s eyes widened as EvilFinn dragged Bea into the shipping container. Unlike Chloe, Bea wasn’t unconscious, as she came in kicking and screaming at EvilFinn, pleading with him to let her go, “Let me go, you sick son of a bitch!”

“Bea!” Elly immediately called out to her younger sister.

Bea was stopped in her tracks at her sisters’ voice, she found herself feeling relief that Elly was alive, yet hardly safe and sound, “Elly! What are you doing here?”

“Ask him, he kidnapped me yesterday, he’s trying to steal my baby from me,” Elly grunted as she began stroking Chloe’s face in an attempt to wake the blonde up as well as calm her own nerves from the situation.

Bea had one arm free from EvilFinn’s grasp and she used it to attempt to slap him across the face but he caught it, showing his anger at his girlfriend, “Now Bea, that’s not going to work.”

“What the hell have you brought us here for?” Bea demanded as she struggled in EvilFinn’s grasp, “Who are you?”

“I’m taking Elly’s baby away from her because she doesn’t deserve to be a mum to this child. She’s staying here until she gives birth in a few days’ time. As for you, my sweet girl, Bea, you shouldn’t have gone looking for Elly, you left me no choice but to take both you and Chloe,” EvilFinn raged.

Bea struggled against EvilFinn but he tightened his grip on her arms, “I can’t believe you would want to do such a thing to Elly…to me. I can’t believe I didn’t see that you really are a psychopath again! You’re not getting this baby. You’re not going to keep the three of us stranded here for days on end until Elly gives birth to her baby. People already know Elly’s missing and you’re suspected. You're an idiot if you think taking Chloe and I won't have even more people up in arms over where we are. They'll find us.”

"Not before that baby is born. Don't worry about Elly and Chloe, I'll let them live. Chloe so she can go off and live a life of boredom with Pierce. Elly so she can live a long lonely life without the two people she loves the most...or maybe three people...I haven't figured out if I should let you live or die, Bea," EvilFinn threatened. 

‘Without the two people I love…or maybe three people’…well if Bea doesn’t figure out Chloe is one of the first two people…she’s clearly not listening to what Finn is saying. I swore I wasn’t going to let anyone else find out…if Chloe finds out everything is going to unravel because I don’t have a chance in hell of winning Chloe back.

Before Bea could try to fight against him once more, EvilFinn gripped her arms tighter before tossing her across the room straight into Chloe and Elly onto the mattress.

In the few seconds Elly had before Bea was tossed towards her and Chloe, she leant over the blonde’s unconscious form in an attempt to protect her whilst also protecting her baby bump, but grunted at the impact as Bea stumbled on top of her and Chloe.

“Sorry, Elly,” Bea mumbled as she struggled to disentangle herself from her older sister and her friend, before eventually rolling off the pair and onto the mattress next to them.

“That’s okay,” Elly whispered as she shuffled back to her position of sitting upright, whilst cradling Chloe in her arms, whom she was surprised was still unconscious in her arms.

EvilFinn smirked at the three women as they huddled on the mattress together, “I’ll be back before dawn.”

Bea placed her hand on Elly’s shoulder, glancing at Elly, deeply concerned as EvilFinn exited the shipping container, locking the door behind him.

With EvilFinn out of sight, the girls remained silent for a moment as they overheard EvilFinn return to his car, start the engine and drive away from wherever they were.

Comprehending that her boyfriend had kidnapped the three women and abandoned them in the middle of nowhere to steal her future niece or nephew, Bea stared down at Chloe then back at Elly, “This is like a nightmare.”

Elly allowed her hand to drop from Chloe’s face, gently wrapping it around her little sister, “It’ll all be okay, Bea, we’ll get through this. Even though this feels like a nightmare…I’ve got the two people I love the most here with me…you’ll both help me want to survive this mess for my baby.”

Bea smiled shyly as she picked up, “’The two people you love the most’--”

“Figure of speech,” Elly dismissed immediately.

I don’t need anyone else, even Bea, to know I’m in love with Chloe let alone Chloe herself. It won’t do any good, she’s moved on and is happy. I’m in no position to take that from her…I took too long figuring out my feelings for Chloe…it’s my own fault I lost her.

Bea tried again with her sister, desperate for Elly to open up to her, “Yeah but Finn mentioned just before about taking the baby and leaving you without the two people you love the most…then he mentioned taking me away so I’d be the third one you love the most that you’d lose.”

Damn it, Bea, let it go!

“How’d Finn even bring you two here?” Elly asked, immediately changing the subject and sidestepping Bea’s inquisition about her feelings for Chloe, “What did he do to you?”

Bea sighed at her sister’s obvious desire to avoid opening up about her feelings for Chloe, wondering if Elly would ever come to terms with the feelings she did have for her best friend, “Chloe and I were going around the street, trying to find out who had seen you last or if they’d seen anything between you and Finn. I got some info from David that Finn had an unplanned session with him yesterday before David drove them both back to the street. Nobody at Toadie’s or Sheila’s had seen anything. We were heading over to Terese and Paul’s when…when Finn struck us. I woke up a couple hours ago, Chloe’s been out all day long.”

Elly stared down at Chloe’s form, placing her hand back to the side of her face, holding her gently, “People don’t just stay unconscious all day long…he must’ve brutally hit her…he hurt Chloe to hurt me…and you…he hurt you to hurt me.”

Bea watched on as several tears slipped down Elly’s cheek, clearly deep in thought about Finn hurting Chloe, “Yeah, he hit Chloe first, I didn’t see it, just her collapsing. I woke up a couple hours ago. Finn’s car was parked in some middle of nowhere bush area. No one was around. I tried to reason with him but it was useless. I should’ve listened to you the other day. You knew Finn had regained his memories. I should’ve let you tell Suze, Karl…David. Maybe then they could’ve done something or--”

“This isn’t your fault, Bea,” Elly looked back over at her sister to reassure her, “You said you told Aaron, David about me going missing. Plus, the Rebecchi’s and Canning’s. It won’t take long for people to come searching for us. You couldn’t have stopped this. Finn still would’ve taken me; he would’ve found a way to get at me like he has. Came after me for my baby. Came after the people that I lov…care about to hurt me.”

Stop nearly dropping the fact that you love Chloe!

“So, what do we do now to escape? We can’t stay trapped here,” Bea insisted.

Elly shrugged as she returned her attention to the woman in her lap, “We’re in the middle of nowhere. I was pounding on the door, screaming out for hours. No one came. We’ve got food and water that he’s gotten for us, there’s a bucket in the corner for us to use when--”

“Ew, gross,” Bea screwed up her face.

“Tell me about it, I’m pregnant, I pee all the time but have been trying not to as much as I possibly can,” Elly reminded her sister, “The realities of being kidnapped for possibly days on end are revolting.”

“We need to get out of here. We can’t stay trapped in here for days on end until you give birth to your baby,” Bea decided, “What else have we got to try and escape with?”

“A torch to smash Finn over the head is about all we’ve got. Candles with a lighter but fire isn’t going to save us,” Elly replied, “But first we need to get Chloe conscious. What was she even doing with you this morning? Finn shouldn’t have come after her.”

Bea smiled shyly as she nudged her sister, “I told Chloe you weren’t at home last night, she completely freaked out when I told her you were missing. She ditched Pierce quick as she could to come with me to try and track you down. Chloe cares about you, Elly, a lot. You need to know that.”

Not enough.

“Not enough,” Elly muttered.

Stop saying this stuff out loud!

“Enough to take off from Pierce when he wasn’t keen on her helping me. Don’t tell Chloe this but Pierce is a moron, he actually suggested you didn’t go missing last night but instead you and Finn were hooking up in some romantic liaison…on second thoughts, tell Chloe that Pierce is a moron,” Bea explained.

Elly raised her eyebrow in disgust, “Romantic liaison with Finn…? I’m due to give birth within the week for crying out loud…that’s revolting. Urgh whatever, we need to focus on Chloe and waking her up. Then the three of us can make a plan of attack on Finn as soon as he turns up in the morning. You two can take him, right? Clock him with the torch? Maybe light one of the pillows on fire the second we hear him unlocking the door, throw it at him to distract him for a moment then hit him with what we’ve got?”

Bea smirked, “Well it’s better than anything I can think of. We’re not staying here until you have your baby and as much as I’m positive the guys will all be looking for us with the police force by now, I don’t want to spend days here trapped with you.”

Elly started running her hand up and down Chloe’s arm, in an attempt to rouse the blonde in her arms, “Chloe, baby, we need you to wake up and help us get out of this place before Finn comes back!”

Bea didn’t miss her sister’s word, “Bab--?”

For crying out loud! Could you contain your feelings for Chloe before Bea works it out?

“Chloe!” Elly interrupted her sister, desperate to hide her true feelings for her friend, but also relieved when Chloe happened to make a small grunt, indicating she wasn’t unconscious anymore, “Chloe, ba—Chloe, we need you to wake up now.”

Elly and Bea both watched as Chloe grunted once more and squeezed her eyes shut firmly.

“Chloe, we kinda need you to wake up,” Bea attempted to rouse her friend.

Elly continued her movements of running her hand up and down Chloe’s arm, “Chloe, c’mon, wake up. Let me know you’re gonna be okay.”

Chloe eventually blinked her eyes open, staring up at the woman holding her, “Elly? What are you doing here? Ow my head. Wait what I am doing with you?”

Not waking up in my arms every morning like you should be, Chloe…maybe I shouldn’t have woken you up so quickly…enjoyed the feel of holding you in my arms as you wake up like I want…

“I’m here too,” Bea pointed out.

“Ah…hi,” was all Chloe to manage before she tried sitting up.

Elly was quick to shift her hands to resting against Chloe’s neck as the blonde sat herself up, “Woah, Chlo, slow down. Bea told me you’ve been unconscious all day. Don’t rush to get up.”

Chloe leaned back, slipping her right hand to her neck, entangling it with Elly’s that was holding her, encouraging Elly not to let her hands drop, “I’m not getting up. Sitting up is one thing, standing up. Ow I’m in a bit of pain. I don't want to know where we are, do I?”

"Here, lie back down a bit, rest your head on my shoulder," Elly encouraged, silently joyed when Chloe shuffled closer to her, leaning her upper body against Elly's, her head against the crook of Elly's neck, with Elly placing her arm around Chloe's shoulder and making circular patterns with her fingertips to Chloe's skin.

Damn Chloe smells so good...and I...probably smell like I haven't showered in a day and a half...I hate this! Everything about Chloe is perfect and I'm a complete utter mess to ever think she'd give me a chance one day when she's got Pierce making her life perfect. 

Bea glanced sweetly at the pair to her side, the happiness that seemed to emanate from her sister was obvious and she wondered if having Chloe was enough to take Elly's mind off the horrifying thought of EvilFinn stealing her baby.

Then explaining to the blonde so Elly didn't have to, "Finn's kidnapped us all and trapped us in another bloody shipping container. He's planning on keeping us all here until Elly gives birth to her baby and he can steal the baby from her. Don't worry, you're in no danger of being killed by him, he's happy for you to live a life of bore--I mean spend your days with Pierce. Elly's safe too as he wants her to suffer the loss of never knowing her child. He might kill me off, he hasn't decided yet, more pain for Elly to lose all the people she loves in different ways, I guess. Oh, and he'll be back before dawn. I dunno what time it is now. Early evening, I guess."

Really, Bea? You tell Chloe she's included in the people I love!?

Figure of speech. Elly doesn't love me... Was Bea about to say a life of boredom with Pierce...? Elly hasn’t lost me…has she?

"I think I liked it better when I was unconscious and didn't know about this nightmare," Chloe whispered.

"I didn't," Elly whispered back, "I was worried Finn had killed you. Sorry you got caught up in all this because of me..."

Because Finn worked out I'm in love with you...

Chloe shrugged against Elly's collarbone, "Not your fault. So, what are we doing to escape before we're stuck here for days on end when your baby is due?"

Bea smiled gently at the pair as the friends huddled up to one another, "So far our plan is that we have a torch to beat Finn over the head with and a lighter to set alight a pillow to throw it at him as soon as it's lit to distract him."

Chloe was unable to resist raising her eyebrows at the thought of those ideas, "Alright, we're gonna need some time to work shop those ideas into an actual workable plan otherwise we're going to be stuck here for days."

Elly smiled down at Chloe for been honest that her plan needed a lot of work to escape the situation EvilFinn had put the three women in. But her smile quickly faded, "Uh I don't think we're going to be stuck here for days..."

Bea gave a small fist pump, "See that's the positive spirit we need that we'll get out of here before Finn comes back and--"

"That's not what I meant," Elly yelped out in fear, "I think my water just broke."

Bea and Chloe both glanced at each other then immediately at Elly to see the panic written on Elly's face.

Wait! Elly's going to have her baby here...now!? Are we going to have her help her deliver this baby? Holy crap this could be amazing!

Noooooooo! Nooooo! I cannot give birth to my baby here! Days earlier than due! In the middle of fucking nowhere! Trapped in a shipping container! With Bea and Chloe to help instead of doctors and nurses and anyone who knows what they are doing! This could be an absolute disaster!

Chapter Text

And She, Waits For You

Chapter Sixteen

Saturday 7th December - Two weeks ago - late arvo

Elly was in line to order a tea at Harold's Cafe when her phone rang. After digging it out from her handbag, Elly answered, "Hey, Suze!"

"Elly, just checking what time you'll be home as Shaun has arrived and thought you would've planned on being here when he landed?" Elly's Aunt Susan explained.

"Ah I guess I'll be hour or so, just at Harold's getting a tea and was planning on having it here. It's not like I forgot Shaun was arriving back today but I never said I'd be waiting around to greet him at the door or anything," Elly rolled her eyes.

"Okay, do you want to talk to Shaun?" Susan asked.

Elly raised her eyebrows, "Why would I do that? I'll see him in an hour."

I really don't care for Shaun. He might be the baby-daddy and he'll be here for the birth and first month or so of our child's life but then he'll be going back to Switzerland. Suppose I'll need to sit down with Shaun in the next week or so to work out just how often he plans on visiting to be involved in our child's life. Shaun's the one with the money, I don't really plan on going out of my way to travel to him more than once every year or two. 

I've got enough to deal with accepting that I'm in love with Chloe and that I have zero chance of being with her.

Susan grimaced a little at her nieces tone and slight disregard for Shaun, holding her hand over the phone, she whispered to Shaun who sat across the room from her, "Elly's just waiting in line to order at Harold's, she'll be here to catch up with you soon," before returning to Elly, "Finn and Bea are cooking up a storm for a welcome home dinner for Shaun. Bea bumped into Hendrix today at the tram and invited him along as Chloe and Pierce have plans tonight."

Welcome home? It's not Shaun's home! Ugh of course Chloe and Pierce have plans and are ditching Hendrix for them! Just another bloody reminder that I'll never stand a chance whilst Pierce is in Chloe's life.

"Has anyone told Pierce that Hendrix will be at our place tonight? Cause he went off his brains at me the last time Hendrix was at our place and hadn't told Pierce or Chloe and I'd only just rocked up a minute before Pierce did. Like it was all my fault," Elly reminded her Aunt.

"Pierce should never have blamed you for that," Susan agreed.

"Pierce just wanted any excuse to tear into me. He hates that Hendrix has struck up a friendship with Bea and spends time with us as he thinks all I'll do is use it to try and spend time with Chloe. I'm already keeping my distance from my friend as it is," Elly groaned in frustration.

"I know, Elly. It's a good idea, I'll give Pierce a call and let him know Hendrix will be at our place tonight," Susan decided.

Elly shrugged, "Y'know what, I need to talk to Pierce about Hendrix's English exam as he just scrapped in on a pass mark by 1 point and I really think he needs some tutoring before he struggles with Year 12 next year. I'm 2 minutes from Pierce's office at the hotel. I'll swing by and let him know. If he's not there then you can give him a call about Hendrix been at our place for dinner tonight and I'll sort out another time to talk to Pierce about the exam result."

"Are you sure, Elly?" Susan asked, knowing her niece had a disdain for her ex's boyfriend.

"It's fine, Suze, I have no problems with Pierce even though he seemingly has one with me, if he's not there I'll let you know," Elly decided.

Twenty minutes later, Elly had been directed by Ned at the front desk as to the whereabouts of Pierce's office at the hotel complex and was headed down the hallway on her own to see the businessman.

As Elly approached the slightly ajar office door she frowned as she overheard Pierce's voice wafting down the hallway until she was close enough to make out what he was saying.

"Chloe, you're my equal. I feel like you are so brave whenever you're around me. I love your smile and the way you smell. I love that you freak out but don't hate me for leaving hair balls in the bathroom...and there was something else...but I forgot what it was...so I'll just say this...I love you. Chloe Brennan, will you marry me?"

NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!

Elly threw herself down the few meters of hallway between her and Pierce's office, throwing the door open, "Chloe, don't---"

Elly stopped short when she surveyed the scene in front of her.

Elly blinked wildly as her heart was pounding in her chest.

Elly stood there at the door of Pierce's office staring at the scene laid out for nearly a full minute in complete awkward silence.

Elly eventually cleared her throat enough to utter the only two words she could muster, "Where's Chloe?"

Pierce stared at Elly, narrowing his eyes at the brunette as they both felt the awkwardness of the situation, but he couldn't seem to respond to Chloe's ex-girlfriend.

After what felt like another moment of silence between them, Elly finally broke the silence once more, "Could you please stand up because you are really weirding me out kneeling in front of me on one knee, holding out the most ridiculously huge engagement I've ever seen, Pierce?"

Having my ex-girlfriend's current boyfriend on bended knee holding out a ring that is not for me might just be the most ridiculous thing I never thought I've ever have to experience.

"You're not exactly the woman I planned to go down on one knee for, Elly," Pierce finally uttered as he stood up from the position he'd held in the middle of his office.

"Where's Chloe?" Elly repeated.

Pierce stared around the office as if to say "Duh" but eventually answered, "Chloe's not here."

"What the hell was that all about then?" Elly asked quietly.

"I was practicing," Pierce explained.

Thank God I didn't walk in on the real thing.

"Practicing?" Elly was surprised, "With smell and hair balls...treating Chloe like an equal after what you did to her last year...?"

"My speech is a work in progress...I need to workshop it a bit...a lot more," Pierce claimed.

Ya think!

"Hmm," Elly grunted, still feeling the effects of throwing her heavily pregnant body down the hallway in an attempt to stop what could've been the worst moment of her life.

"What are you doing here, Elly?" Pierce asked.

Elly shook her head, still trying to come to terms with the fact Pierce was set to propose to the woman she loved, "Susan called me to let me know Hendrix has been invited over to our place tonight for dinner and after your arrogance last time I thought it best to let you know since I was only over at Harold's. Besides I needed to talk to you about Hendrix's exa--"

"Are you going to tell Chloe that I'm proposing to her?" Pierce suddenly interrupted.

"Why would I do that?" Elly replied quietly.

"To spoil the fact that I'm about to propose to my girlfriend who is your ex," Pierce pointed out.

"I'm not going to spoil it for you, Pierce, I'm not that petty," Elly shot back, before unable to resist asking, "What makes you think Chloe's ready to marry you? You've only been together a couple months."

Pierce puffed out his chest, as he closed the engagement ring box and put in in his pocket, "Because I can give Chloe the future that she deserves and I know how I feel about Chloe...you never did."

I have, I just figured it out way too late and now Chloe might decide to marry Pierce and I'll have no chance to ever tell her how I feel...

"How do you mean?" Elly whispered, cursing herself for even broaching the topic of her feelings for Chloe.

Pierce smirked, "I know that I'm in love with Chloe and can give her the best future she will ever have. You, Elly, have been messing her about for a year now and you still haven't figured out how you feel about Chloe. You don't want to be attracted to Chloe. You probably aren't even attracted to Chloe at all. You just like the attention Chloe paid you. Why you even slept with Chloe and got her hopes up there was something between you I'll never understand. You don't want her to call you her girlfriend, you'd never want to hold her hand or kiss her in public when there's people around. You only like the idea of Chloe because she clung to you and you're struggling to deal with your situation that you're about to become a single mum to your baby with your baby daddy residing overseas and you are going to have no one to rely on who will care for you the way Chloe and I care about each other."

Can I even argue with any of that? I know I love Chloe, I am attracted to Chloe, I want to show her all the love I have whenever I want...but Pierce is right, I messed Chloe about for a year...it's too late to ever have a chance with her...

"You don't know what you're talking about," is all Elly could manage to reply with.

"Keep telling yourself that, Elly. You're never gonna figure out your feelings for Chloe as you're too---" Pierce started before stopping to think back, "Wait, back up...when you threw yourself into my office after hearing my practice proposal speech from the hallway...were you about to say...'Chloe, don't'?"

Crap! Chloe don't marry him, I love you, too...yeah...that's what I was about to say...before I realized Chloe wasn't here...

"Well, I...I mean I was...Chloe don't...you think Pierce's office is hardly the most romantic place to get engaged speaking as someone who did so in a parking lot..." Elly stumbled before finishing lamely.

Pierce narrowed his eyes at the brunette in front of him, "Did you want to try and stop Chloe from agreeing to marry me?"

Yes!

Elly placed her hand over her baby bump, struggling to come up with a reason to leave this conversation with Pierce, "It’s not my business what Chloe does. You’ve made it perfectly clear you don’t want Chloe and I spending time together. Look I’m gonna head--"

“I don’t want you spending time with Chloe and messing her about,” Pierce interrupted as he insisted to Elly firmly, “Whatever your feelings might be for Chloe…you’re forgetting what I told you a month back…you’re not good enough for Chloe.”

Elly swallowed hard but was unable to respond to Pierce.

“Why would you even think you have a chance with Chloe, Elly? You’re about to have a baby any week now. You won’t have time to ever give to Chloe. You think she’d ever want to waste her time with you when you’ve got more important things to deal with raising your baby. You can’t give her anything like what I can. You can come to terms with whatever your feelings are for Chloe all you want…you’re nothing to Chloe.”

Elly scoffed and was about to reply when Pierce came at her again.

“I’ve won alright, Elly! Chloe’s mine, I’m going to ask her to marry me tonight and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. There’s no use you trying even if you wanted to. I’m going to give her everything she’s always dreamed of. You’ll never be able to offer her the same. So, how about you forget all about Chloe and concentrate on nothing more than the life you’ll be providing for your baby on your own. I’m marrying Chloe!” Pierce announced confidently.

Pierce is marrying Chloe…if she says ‘yes’…why wouldn’t she? Pierce is everything I’m not. He’s rich, he can care for Chloe through her Huntington’s, he can give Chloe all the attention she deserves when I’ve got my baby to worry about…and he loves her…he’s not afraid to tell the world…I am…

Elly didn’t bother to reply to Pierce, he’d said enough to break her down and make her feel worthless when it came to Chloe. Elly turned away from Pierce, walking away from him down the hallway and away from his office as quickly as her body would allow her to.

Elly made her way out of the complex and walked through the lake area as she headed home. As she walked across the boardwalk over the lake, Elly burst into tears.

Elly felt like the last year of struggling to deal with her feelings for her best friend had finally came to a head. Right when she had finally accepted, she was in love with Chloe, she knew she was about to lose her for real to Pierce the second he proposed to her ex.

I’m not good enough for Chloe. I’ll have to sit back and watch her plan this wedding, marry Pierce and God forbid start a family with him…Chloe won’t have her own biological children with the risk of passing on the Huntington’s gene…but it doesn’t mean they won’t be able to try another way.

I’ll have to sit back and watch all this play out…and I won’t be able to stop it…I’ll spend the rest of my life in love with Chloe…and I’m not going to be able to tell her…

By the time Elly got home to the Kennedy’s she was a mess, tears streaming down her face, her mascara and eyeliner liquid wet and botchy all around her eyes. She wanted nothing more than to collapse into bed, forget the rest of the day and the inevitable feeling she’d have to endure if Chloe agreed to marry Pierce.

As soon as she entered the house, Elly had hoped to be able to slip into the house unnoticed but cursed under her breath as she glanced sideways and spotted Bea and Finn standing in the kitchen. Elly groaned loudly as she then spotted Shaun, with a smile on his face, bounding over to her, not quite picking up her mood.

Before Shaun could even open his mouth to greet his baby-mumma, Elly dragged her hand through her hair as she glanced up at Shaun with the tears streaming down her cheeks, “Leave me alone, I don’t want to talk to anyone at all for the rest of the day…or week…or forever. Whatever, just don’t talk to me.”

Shaun stood there in front of Elly awkwardly as she stormed off towards her bedroom, burying her tear covered face in her hands.

When Elly was out of sight and hearing, Shaun turned back to his older brother and his girlfriend, commenting to Finn and Bea, “I can rule out something I said.”

Finn stared towards the hallway Elly had just gone down, unable to resist smirking to himself at the pleasure he felt for the pain Elly was in.

Bea didn’t notice as she tried to reassure Shaun, “It’s not about you, Shaun. Elly’s just…going through something. I’ve heard her crying a few times in her room the past couple weeks. Elly won’t talk to me about it. Whatever it is…I think you just need to give her some space for a day or so. I know you want to talk to her about what the arrangements are going to be between the pair of you once the baby is born but I think you may need to do that later in the week.”

Shaun nodded, “It’s all good. The baby’s not due for another three weeks, we’ve got plenty of time to work out how often Elly is okay with me visiting and being involved raising our child together. Besides I was thinking maybe tomorrow Finn and I could go do something together. I know it might seem early but I think Elly and I are going to be busy sorting out all the baby preparation we need to make for the baby’s arrival. Kind of a last hurrah as brothers before my life turns upside down.”

Finn winked at Shaun, wondering how long he’d be able to hide his hatred for his younger brother since his memories had slowly been returning to him the past few days, “Sounds great, what do you want to do?”

Shaun smiled at his brother, “We love adventure. How about rock climbing or abseiling at a local mountain or cliff area?”

Finn grinned at the thought that Shaun was walking right into his plan to get rid of him, “I’m in. You look up where we can go and organize the equipment, we’ll need from the local sporting store in the morning. We’ll head out by lunch time for the arvo.”

“Maybe by tomorrow night, Elly will be willing to talk to me,” Shaun contemplated.

In her bedroom, Elly collapsed on her bed, curled up with her face buried in her pillow as her tears continued to fall.

I love Chloe so much…but I’ll never have a chance with her now…I’ve lost Chloe to Pierce and it’s no one’s fault but my own for taking so long to accept I love her…

Chapter Text

And She, Waits For You

Chapter Seventeen

Saturday 7th December - Two weeks ago – 7pm

Susan knocked on Elly’s bedroom door, “Elly, dinner’s almost ready. Are you coming out to eat?”

Susan frowned as she heard the muffled choked up response, “Go away, Suze. I don’t want to talk to anyone right now. I’m staying locked up in this room for the rest of my life.”

Not to be deterred, Susan knocked again lightly, but this time when Elly ignored her, Susan opened the door, poking her head in and quietly letting Elly know, “Elly, I’m not just going to leave you alone. Bea’s worried about you. She said you’ve been in here for more than two hours and you are refusing to talk to anyone.”

“Go away, Suze,” Elly repeated, her face buried in her pillow.

Susan ignored her niece, opening the bedroom door properly, closing it behind her and moving over to Elly’s side of the bed where she sat down on the edge of the bed.

Looking down at her niece, Susan wondered what had upset Elly so much that she was curled up on her bed, tears streaming down her face, “Elly, I’m not just going to go away. I know you don’t want to talk about whatever is going on with you but I’m not going to leave you on your own.”

“I’m not talking about it,” Elly muttered.

Susan reached out and placed her hand on Elly’s leg for a few moments, gently reassuring Elly, before pulling away from the contact and placing her hands in her lap, “Elly, I’m not leaving this room until you do talk to me. So, either we’re both missing out on dinner tonight or you and I are going to talk about whatever it is that’s been bothering you the past couple weeks.”

“I don’t want to think about food tonight so if you want to stave then that’s what you’ll be doing,” Elly replied.

Susan persisted, “Bea’s worried about you, Elly. You haven’t been yourself for a few weeks now. We’ve all noticed but you won’t talk to us about it. Bea said you blew off Shaun as soon as you got home. I know having Shaun around even for the next couple months is a huge reminder of why things with Mark fell apart but--”

“I don’t give a stuff about Shaun,” Elly mumbled as she tried wiping away tears from her cheek, “Shaun’s not the reminder of the biggest mistake I’ve ever made in my life.”

Susan thought for a moment, “Did you see Pierce today?”

Elly shrugged as she continued crying.

“What did Pierce say to you that’s got you this upset?” Susan asked quietly.

“Forget it, I’m not talking about it!” Elly claimed.

Susan suggested, “Do you want me to get Bea? You can talk to her about it? Or I could ask Chloe to come over if you--”

“Don’t waste your time going to Chloe. She’s got far more important things happening tonight that I’d never be able to stop,” Elly revealed.

“So, this is about Chloe?” Susan deduced.

Elly found herself nodding unable to hide it was the truth.

“What happened? Did you see Chloe instead of Pierce at the hotel?” Susan asked.

Elly shook her head, “I don’t want to talk about it.”

Susan exhaled loudly, “Elly, you cannot keep doing this. Bottling up your emotions, shutting down and keeping things from people. This is the kind of thing that led to Mark being blindsided that Chloe loves you when you married him. Not to mention how long you kept it from all of us who your child’s father is which we understand why you did what you did but it still hurt you couldn’t come to any of us.”

“Chloe doesn’t love me,” Elly whimpered through another set of tears.

“What happened with Chloe?” Susan asked.

Elly wiped her tears from her eyes, finally shifting until she had sat up, swung her legs off the mattress until she was sitting next to her Aunt on the side of the bed, placing her hand over her baby bump, “Nothing happened with Chloe and it’s never going to.”

Susan placed her hand on Elly’s knee in support, “What makes you say that? Do you not want it to?”

I want it to…more than you’ll ever believe…but it won’t.

Elly dodged her Aunt’s second question, finally admitting, “Pierce is proposing to Chloe tonight. They’re going to get married.”

“I see,” Susan nodded, “How did you find that out?”

Elly sniffled, “I walked in on Pierce practicing his proposal speech…I thought it was the real thing…ended up walking in on Pierce on bended knee holding out a ridiculously overpriced ring to absolutely no one…well except me when I entered his office. That was awkward.”

“So, Pierce is proposing to Chloe tonight…it doesn’t mean she’s going to say yes,” Susan pointed out.

“Doesn’t mean Chloe will say no either…why would she say anything but yes…? Pierce can give her the world,” Elly retorted.

“You don’t want Chloe to marry Pierce, do you?” Susan determined.

Elly chewed on her lip unable to answer.

Susan stared at her niece, and the anguish all over her face, “How long have you been in love with Chloe?”

How does Susan do that?

Elly frowned as she glanced over at Susan. She wanted to lie to her Aunt, claim innocence over her feelings for her best friend but she’d already spent much of the last year lying to her family over one thing or another.

I need to tell someone…don’t I?

Elly looked away from Susan as she admitted, “A few weeks…that’s a lie…the entire last year, it just took me until a few weeks ago to accept it myself. I'm a fool.”

"What makes you think you're a fool?" Susan queried, squeezing Elly's knee.

"Chloe was in love with me a year ago, it's taken me too long to accept I love her too cause I'm just a fool. She's with Pierce, she's gonna marry him and there's nothing I can do about it," Elly decided.

"Why did it take it you so long to admit to yourself you're in love with Chloe?" Susan asked curiously.

"I didn't want to be," Elly admitted, "I thought people would treat me differently. I was so focused on what other people think of me I ignored how I thought and felt about Chloe myself."

Susan didn't reply, silently urging Elly to continue which she did.

"Chloe was so brave when she told me she loves me. She wrote it in a Christmas card to me. I didn't want to lose my friend and kept needing her in my life but I couldn't work out why. I hated Mel when she showed up. Then...all the mess that happened leading up to the wedding to Mark with him shutting me out and taking off that I spent the night with Chloe. I shut her down brutally that I only slept with her for comfort back in March because I didn't want to face that what happened between us did mean something. It took me over half the year to even admit I'm attracted to her and there is something between us...then it took her less than a fortnight to realize I was never going to come to terms with my feelings for her so she cut her losses and ran...to Pierce," Elly explained.

"Have you come to terms with your feelings for Chloe?" Susan asked simply.

"Yes," Elly answered before elaborating, "I'm in love with Chloe, Suze. She's all I think about. I want to be with her."

"Then you need to tell Chloe," Susan advised quietly.

"How can I?" Elly asked as she glanced at her Aunt with tears in her eyes, "Chloe's going to marry Pierce."

"You don't know that," Susan reassured, "Pierce hasn't even asked her yet. Hendrix hasn't turned up for dinner yet, he's not due for another 10 minutes or so which means Chloe and Pierce haven't gone out for...whatever fancy dinner Pierce has planned to ask Chloe to marry him--"

"What if he's not going to make it fancy? What if Pierce's plan is to propose to Chloe with Hendrix there...make it a big family affair?" Elly pointed out sadly.

"This is Pierce we're talking about. He's going to make a big song and dance about it in front of as many people he can. In fact, I'm surprised he won't be doing it in front of all of Chloe's friends and family. Perhaps there is a part of Pierce that feels Chloe might turn him down and proposing in front of strangers is the safer option. They haven't been together tremulously long, Chloe might not be ready to settle down into marriage...with Pierce. Anything could happen before Pierce gets a chance to propose tonight," Susan replied decidedly.

"Not with my luck," Elly sunk lower on the bed, struggling to avoid curling back up again and bury her head into her pillow.

"Chloe hasn't been proposed to yet and even if she does, there's still a chance she won't say 'yes,'" Susan countered.

Chloe wants security, safety...someone who is unafraid of declaring their love for her...that's Pierce in a nut shell.

Elly glanced at Susan with her eyes wide and expressive, "How am I supposed to watch Chloe marry him? Chloe watched me marrying Mark knowing how she felt about me...I don't think I have it in me to do the same."

Susan leant over and nudged Elly's shoulder with her own, "You could tell Chloe you're in love with her."

Elly grimaced at the thought, "There's no use...I can't offer Chloe anything."

"What makes you say that?" Susan asked.

Everything.

"I broke her heart, took a year to accept I'm in love with her, I'm eight and a half months pregnant to a one night stand after cheating on her brother for a second time, I have no time to offer Chloe as her girlfriend as I will be far too wrapped up in raising my baby, I'm terrified of spending my life with Chloe only to be forced to lose her to her Huntington's, I'm close to being broke having spent my savings on a disaster of a wedding and being unemployed for the better part of the last year, will be living on the minimum wage for my maternity leave from the school, I live in a packed house with my Aunt, Uncle, sister, her boyfriend and about to add a newborn to this house, Pierce has an entire house and a mansion with no mortgage payments and oh yeah a billion dollars to buy Chloe anything she'll ever need or take her to anywhere in the world she'll ever want to visit. If that's bad enough, whilst I think I'm comfortable being in a relationship with Chloe in front of my friends and family, I'm still not completely confident I could be in an open public relationship with Chloe just yet without fear of been judged by strangers for who I love...so yeah...what do I possibly have to offer Chloe that she can't already get with Pierce?" Elly rattled off sullenly.

"True love," Susan answered without hesitation.

Elly came close to rolling her eyes at her Aunt at the mere thought.

"You don't think for one second that any of that pales in comparison to true love...? I mean I'm not going to lie, you having a baby soon and needing to focus all your attention on him or her might be the biggest problem you'll face but it's not like Chloe broke up with you because of the baby, she did so as you weren't coming to terms with your feelings for her and you have now," Susan explained.

"What about the dating possibly marrying a billionaire versus an incredibly broke school teacher?" Elly asked uneasily.

"You're not broke, Elly, you're just...conservatively paid for a very important job to the community. Not everyone can be a billionaire like Pierce. Do you think Chloe honestly cares about that kind of stuff?" Susan continued.

Elly shrugged, "Probably not but it's something she needs to consider especially when it comes to the care she'll need for her Huntington's. I won't be able to afford anywhere near the level of care Pierce can. She needs to consider that. I couldn't even buy her a birthday present, Suze, not really. All the baby stuff I left it too long and after I bought it all I was unprepared that I hadn’t planned to set money aside for her birthday last month. I got her a DVD of her favourite movie. Pierce got her jewelry worth more than my monthly wage plus splashed out to shut down the Waterhole for hours then for an entire day out on the town...limos, helicopter trip, private concert with her favourite band. You should've seen the ring he's got her, Suze. More expensive than probably 2 to 3 years worth of my wage. I'm not even sure if I had another place to move to that I could cover basic rent and costs. I blow through money on stupid things I don't need to impress people who don't care. Now I'm going to be a mum is when I realize it and it's too late to go back and not make those same mistakes again."

"How did Chloe react to the present you did buy her?" Susan asked calmly.

"Once I learnt what Pierce had planned for her...I was too embarrassed to give it to her cause it's pathetic in comparison. I just left it on the doorstop for her at the Brenaka's, didn't even bother to leave the card I wrote with it as I didn't want her to know it was from me. Didn't help, I got a 'thank you' text from her the next day, she didn't say anything else but it had to have been about the DVD. Must've felt sorry for me that I got her a worthless gift," Elly sighed.

"Not the way I see it," Susan replied decidedly, "You got Chloe a present you knew she would like, a present it's doubtful Pierce would think of because he probably doesn't know Chloe as well as you do to know her favourite movie. Chloe knew it was from you without needing to be told. She knows you’re the only person in the world who knows her that well. Elly, you need to stop focusing on everything you can't offer Chloe and focus on the one thing you can. You can't bottle this up, you need to tell her how you feel."

Elly stared down at the floor, "I was planning to after I had my baby and had settled into being a mum...it's too late now...Pierce is proposing and I've missed my chance."

"Anything can happen, you don't know at all that if Pierce proposes Chloe will say 'yes,'" Susan said before jumping gently when her phone beeped with a text message. After pulling out her phone and reading the message, Susan placed her hand on Elly's knee again, "See, what did I just tell you?"

Can't be Chloe turning down Pierce's proposal...why would anyone text Susan about that?

Elly glanced up her Aunt blankly.

"Hendrix isn't coming to dinner anymore. Chloe's sick so her dinner with Pierce has been called off and Hendrix is making them all home-cooked soup to make her feel better. See, I told you, anything can happen," Susan pointed out happily.

Elly rolled her eyes, "Chloe being sick isn't going to stop Pierce proposing."

"It will tonight, I told you, it's Pierce, he's going to make a big deal out of it. He's not going to propose to Chloe amongst chicken soup, stacks of tissues and Chloe doped up on cold medication," Susan insisted, "You still have time to tell Chloe how you feel."

Elly bit her lip, "I can't...not 'til I have the baby and have my life sorted. I'm been given reprieve from tonight but I can't pray to the heavens Chloe remains sick for months on end so Pierce can't propose to her. I'm still going to spend the next few weeks immediately glancing at her hand to see if there's a ring on it on the random occasions I do manage to bump into Chloe. Pierce will probably have that ring sitting in his pocket everyday just waiting for Chloe to get over her cold and he can spring the big surprise on her at a better time."

"Proposal or not...you still need to tell Chloe how you feel about her, Elly. You hiding things and bottling things up to the point that you shut us out and want to curl up in your bed to cry yourself to sleep. It's not healthy for you, it doesn't help your stress levels with the baby," Susan pleaded.

"I can't tell her," Elly whispered, "I don't have a chance to win Chloe back after everything...please don't tell anyone."

Susan sighed gently, "Only if you promise me that you won't keep all your feelings for Chloe bottled up. You need to find a way to express them in whatever way you feel comfortable with. Telling me is one thing but you need to find some other outlet to be honest about how you feel."

"O...kay...how exactly am I supposed to do that as I don't want anyone else knowing...not until I'm settled as a mum...if Chloe isn't engaged or married by that stage?" Elly asked in confused.

"You’re an English teacher, Elly, you'll figure it out," Susan told her.

What does me being an English teacher have to do with any of this?

Susan squeezed Elly's knee, "Now, you need to get yourself together for dinner. Try and make casual conversation with Shaun...you two are about to be in each other’s lives for the rest of your lives. If you want to avoid awkward conversation with him after dinner, I will be writing out all the Christmas cards to the family this evening and you are more than happy to join me doing them."

"Christmas cards," Elly repeated.

Susan stood up, telling Elly, "Think about what I said, we'll see you out there in 5 minutes," before exiting Elly's room.

Elly shook her head and groaned in frustration.

How am I supposed to find a way to express my feelings for Chloe without telling someone else how I feel about her or any kind of way that means Chloe won't find out?

Chapter Text

And She, Waits For You

Chapter Eighteen

Present Day – Saturday 21st December – 8:30 PM 

"Elly, please you just need to calm down for one minute," Bea pleaded with her older sister.

"When in the history of the world has anybody ever calmed down after being told to calm down, Bea? I'm not going to be calm. I am not going to give birth to my baby stuck in a shipping container alone with the pair of you. I need a hospital, I need doctors, nurses, my birthing plan of a water birth! I am not doing this now! Get me out of here!" Elly shouted at her sister and best friend, even though she knew she shouldn't be taking it out on them that EvilFinn had trapped them alone and her water had broken nearly half an hour ago.

Chloe was still sitting next to Elly but had shifted from leaning against her ex-girlfriend to holding her hand and running her free hand up and down Elly's back, in a small way to try and comfort her, "I know you want a hospital and everything you should have to give birth to this baby but I don't see how we can get out of here until Finn comes back and unlocks the door. At least Finn isn't here, Elly, if you give birth to your baby before Finn comes back, we're here for you and Finn won't be here for the birth."

"I love you, Chloe, but don't think for a God damn second I want you and Bea to be the ones here with me to help me give birth. I need professionals who know what they are bloody well doing! I can't even think about how good it is that I might have this baby before Finn gets back because it's not good at all! What I get to spend a few hours cuddling my baby before he gets back here and takes my baby from me?" Elly shouted, her frustration growing every minute that she barely knew what she was saying.

"We are not going to let that happen," both Bea and Chloe claimed at the same time, before Bea continued, "Chloe and I will find a way to stop Finn from taking this baby, you have our word. We'll fight him to the death to protect both of you."

"We're not leaving this shipping container without you and your baby with us, no matter what it takes, got it, Elly?" Chloe promised.

Wait what did Elly say about me a minute ago...? Ah...stress is causing Elly to say all kinds of things she doesn't mean...

"You're really not comforting me in anyway, either of you," Elly complained in her panic, before groaning loudly as she felt a contraction.

Chloe wrinkled her face as she tried not to wince in pain at the way Elly had clamped down on her hand, "What was that? Was that a contraction?"

"No! I told you I am not having my baby here! Get us out of here and get me to a hospital now!" Elly pleaded.

"Elly, if your contractions have started, I don't think you are going to have a choice in where you give birth. This could take hours...hopefully the baby arrives before Finn comes back in the morning," Bea told her sister.

"There is always a choice! This baby is going to wait until you get us out of here and I am in a hospital, got it!?" Elly insisted.

"Elly, why don't you lean back a bit? Let Chloe hold you from behind and I can...I mean if you'll let me...I'll remove your underwear and you can spread your legs and I'll see if...I have any idea what I'm doing," Bea tried to be confident but realized quickly she was out of her depth.

Wait am I going to be like the birthing partner to Elly? That's amazing and special...I mean if Elly would even want me to...she probably still wanted it to be Shaun...RIP...

Nobody is taking off my underwear here...unless it's months and months from now and it's Chloe and we're alone and just shoot me for having a thought like that at a time like this! Hormones! Guess I should be glad Bea is the one offering to...the last thing I want is to scar Chloe for life of ever wanting to be with me by sitting where Bea is watching me give birth to this baby...which is not going to happen because I am not giving birth here now!

Elly clamped her legs together in desperation to stop the inevitable, "Precisely, Bea. You have no fucking idea what you're doing! The only births you've seen have been on TV and movies and I can tell you right now those cows pretending to give birth have never felt the pain I'm in right now. Get off your asses and find a way out of this fucking place now!"

Bea sighed before standing up, "Chloe, do you want to help me...over here?" Bea nodded her head towards the door of the shipping container.

"Sure," Chloe agreed as she went to stand up but was held back by Elly gripping her hand, "Uh...Elly...my hand...I mean if you want me to stay..."

Why did I have to be so scared of Chloe's hand and all the things her hand...I mean the things Chloe herself made me feel that night we slept together...? I wouldn't be in this situation if I did! Urgh...stop thinking about Chloe that way! She's not yours! She's Pierce's...! Wait did I tell Chloe I love her a few minutes ago...? Get a grip on your emotions!

Elly reluctantly let go of Chloe's hand and Chloe walked over to Bea by the door, asking her in a whisper, "Are we trying to work out a way to get out of here?"

Bea crossed her arms in front of her, whispering back, "Chlo, there is no way out unless Finn returns and opens that door or someone happens upon us. We have a torch and implements to create a fire...that's not going to help us with a locked door."

"What do you suggest we do?" Chloe asked quietly.

“You two planning our escape or talking about me behind my back?” Elly groaned out to the pair.

Bea and Chloe both gently smiled at Elly awkwardly before continuing with their conversation.

“Elly’s stressed to the max. We do what she says, attempt to find ways to get out of here. Time her contractions, once they get down to…I don’t know 10-15 minutes apart…we sit down with Elly and we…prepare her to have this baby here. She’s not going to have a choice. You need to be her birthing partner, keep her as calm and reassured as possible. I’ll…help more with the baby being born,” Bea whispered.

“Are you sure you know what you’re doing?” Chloe asked.

“I don’t have a clue what I’m doing but we have no options. I don’t think there is a way to open the doors from the inside. Unless someone stumbles upon this shipping container in the middle of nowhere in the next few hours, this baby isn’t going to wait until Finn returns at sunrise, we attempt to fight him off to get away, we find a way to get transport or find someone who will help us get to the hospital in time for Elly to then give birth,” Bea pointed out.

“So, Elly’s going to have her baby here,” Chloe concluded, “And we’re going to help her.”

“How’s the plan coming along for escaping?” Elly shouted over to the pair.

Chloe shrugged at Bea before turning to Elly, “Elly, were you conscious when Finn brought you here?”

“No, he knocked me out at home, I woke up in here,” Elly answered.

“I was conscious, yelling and screaming at him when he dragged me in here, why?” Bea spoke up.

Chloe glanced at the shipping containers two doors, “The doors open outward from the inside, is the way to lock the doors some kind of bar that goes horizontal in the middle or some kind of pins at the bottom that plug into the ground?”

“I’m not sure…I wasn’t exactly paying attention,” Bea sighed.

Chloe pushed past Bea, before placing her hands against the right door, shoving against it but the door didn’t move. She then moved to the left door and found that it budged forward a couple centimeters before jamming against its lock. Chloe quickly jogged over to the table in the shipping container, picked up the torch and headed back to where she’d been standing.

Pointing the torch to shine a light as she stared down at the gap between the door and where it had been, Chloe announced, “Okay, so it’s a pin that is plugged into the ground. That’s good, a bar in the middle would’ve been impossible to budge from the inside. The pin on this door is looser and I can make out the other one.”

“So?” Bea asked in confusion.

“We either attempt to shove the left door open or since I can just see the pin on the right side if we have something that we can squeeze through the gap and hook it around the pin to lift it…we’ll be free,” Chloe answered.

“I like it, I love it, Chlo, you two get working on that. I’ll be over here not having this baby,” Elly told them positively, “What do we have lying around that you could hook it around the pin?”

Bea looked around the place, “I can’t see anything around here. We could try my necklace?”

“I think it has to be stronger than a necklace, sorry, Bea,” Chloe decided, “Hey, what about the bench? Can we push that up against the loose door and…hope it and us are strong enough to snap the pin?”

Without waiting for an answer, Chloe and Bea walked over to it but upon trying to lift it from either side they immediately realized it had been bolted to the metal floor of the shipping container.

Bea groaned as she stared down at the bolts, “Urgh these look new…Finn thought to bolt down the table, of course he did. What are we going to need to hook it around the pin to try that instead?”

“It’s got to be thin enough to squeeze through the gap of the doors but strong and long enough to loop around the horizontal handle of the pin that I can drag it up without snapping. I don’t suppose that bag of food magically has a ball of string in it?” Chloe rolled her eyes.

Bea picked up the bag of food, rummaged through it before tossing it aside, “No such luck, nothing remotely useful. Our only choice is for the pair of us to put pressure on the door that has the pin that’s loose and hope we can somehow snap it or loosen it til it…magically lifts up by itself…I don’t know.”

“Don’t forget to pound on the door, make lots of noise so if anyone comes by, they’ll hear you and rescue us,” Elly reminded the pair.

Chloe and Bea walked back over to the left door and begun doing exactly that, pounding, kicking, pressing their body weights at the door but it was no use. It didn’t budge more than the few centimeters it opened.

Four hours later, Chloe and Bea were still at it but were tiring quickly as they’d achieved nothing. Though to be honest, they spent more time focusing on Elly and counting how often she was having contractions. In the first hour, Elly had tried to contain revealing she’d had two contractions, desperate to avoid giving birth in this situation. But by her fourth contraction several hours ago she allowed the pain to show and was panting heavily as she sat alone on the mattress.

When her contractions were only five minutes apart, Bea finally glanced at Chloe and whispered, “It’s go time.”

Without another word, Chloe and Bea abandoned their attempts to escape the container and walked over to Elly.

“What are you doing? Don’t give up, someone could still come, I’m fine over here,” Elly insisted, groaning loudly at the end.

As Bea crouched in front of Elly, Chloe sat down next to Elly and wrapped her right hand around Elly’s shoulder, “Elly, you’re not fine. This baby is coming. You’ve been in labour for hours and now is the time to accept it. You are going to have this baby any minute now.”

Elly tried to shirk out of Chloe’s grasp but Chloe gripped onto her tighter, “I can’t…not here…on my own, not without someone who knows what they are doing.”

Bea sat back and allowed Chloe to convince Elly, knowing the blonde was more likely than her to be able to convince her older sister, “You’re not on your own, Elly. Bea and I are here for you. I know we’re not who you wanted to be here but we are and you can do this, Elly. You’re about to be a mum, this is what you’ve wanted most of your life. You’re gonna do great at this.”

“I’ll screw it up like I’ve done with everything in my life,” Elly claimed.

“No, you won’t,” both Bea and Chloe retorted before Chloe continued, “You were born to be a mum. You and the peanut will have an amazing life together and you have so many people in your life who will support the both of you. Now, are you going to let this birth happen naturally or keep fighting us?”

Elly groaned as another contraction hit her, gripping onto Chloe’s hand tightly until it ended, “Okay…okay…I can do this…with your help.”

“Always,” Chloe promised, rubbing her hand up and down Elly’s lower back.

Elly sat up a bit more, shuffling a bit awkwardly as she allowed Bea to remove her underwear, “You sure you know what you’re doing, sis?”

Bea threw the underwear to the side, “Not a blasted clue, sis! I guess…when you feel it’s right…push.”

Elly almost rolled her eyes, “Not the inspiring confidence I was hoping to hear from you, Bea!” Elly then felt Chloe pull away and immediately glanced at her anxiously, “Where you going?”

“Nowhere,” Chloe reassured as she then began taking off her jacket and handed it over to Bea, “You need something to wrap the baby up in. Your dress won’t do anything. I don’t think I trust those blankets Finn must’ve picked up from the local Vinnies charity and…well I was the only one stupid enough to wear a light jacket today even though it was pretty hot.”

“You want me to wrap my baby up in your jacket…but it’ll ruin it,” Elly pointed out before suggesting, “I can have it dry cleaned.”

Chloe let out a small chuckle, “It’s just a jacket, Elly, I don’t need it back. The baby needs it more than I do.”

Elly smiled as Chloe curled back up to her, resuming the motion with her hand against her lower back, “I really didn’t mean I was going to give the jacket back to you, I’m just trying to do anything I can to distract me from the pain I’m in right now and the pain I’m about to be in trying to give birth here.”

Chloe leant over and pressed her lips to Elly’s forehead, “That’s why I’m here, to distract you as much as I possibly can. I’m good at that.”

Yeah you are…damn those lips against my forehead…I need that again and again and again…

“Yeah you are. Alright let’s…do this…promise me you’ll get me and my baby out of here safely in the morning,” Elly pleaded.

“Of course, I will,” Chloe promised, “You and the peanut will be home together before you know it.”

Elly squeezed Chloe’s hand tighter, before gently spreading her legs, “Okay…okay I can do this.”

Almost an hour later, after lots of screaming from Elly, in a world of pain, nearly crushing Chloe’s hand in the process, Elly finally breathed a sigh of relief when she heard her baby crying for the first time. Bea and Chloe continued to encourage Elly to push until her baby was born.

Finally, Elly found herself leaning her head against Chloe’s, as she felt Bea pull the baby from her as the baby continued crying.

Bea grinned as she held the baby up for Elly to see for the first time, “I got a nephew!”

Elly closed her eyes for a moment, almost in disbelief that her baby was finally born, before staring at the baby boy Bea held up, “I got a boy? He’s perfect.”

“He is,” Chloe whispered in agreement.

Bea silently shifted the baby into her lap as she reached for the jacket Chloe had given her and wrapped the baby into it, umbilical cord still attached as she didn’t have anything to cut it with nor knew if she should.

Bea gently held the baby boy in her arms for a few seconds before handing him over to Elly, “He’s all yours and he’s always going to be, okay? We’re going to get you both out of here and you’ll never have to worry about been separated from him ever.”

Elly reluctantly released Chloe’s hand as Bea handed her the bundle of joy but felt relieved when Chloe shifted to place her hand on her shoulder, squeezing it reassuringly and leaning her head against Elly’s.

Elly stared down at her son as she cradled him in her arms, watching him cry as he laid there wrapped up in Chloe's jacket. Tears filled Elly's eyes. Feeling Chloe's other hand gently swirling around her lower back in comfort, Elly relaxed gently into Chloe's embrace, feeling like the only good thing to have come out of the horror Finn had inflicted on her was the closeness she felt to the woman she loved.

“He’s gorgeous, Elly. You’re a mum now, you’re so in love with him, aren’t you?” Chloe smiled at Elly.

Elly took her eyes off her son as she smiled over at Chloe, “I’m so in love with him…as much as I’m in love with you, Chloe.”

Before Chloe could make a coherent thought to Elly’s confession, Elly leant forwards and pressed her lips deeply against Chloe’s, kissing Chloe passionately.

Chapter Text

And She, Waits For You

Chapter Nineteen

Sunday 22nd December – 1:30 AM 

Chloe held her eyes closed as she felt Elly’s lips kissing against her own before gently pulling back, Elly’s lips still millimeters from her own.

“I’m so in love with you, Chloe,” Elly whispered.

“I…uh…” Chloe struggled to make out her shock and disbelief at the confession by her ex-girlfriend.

Chloe slowly opened her eyes, finding herself staring into Elly’s eyes, seeing the shy smile on her face.

“Um…I…uh…” Chloe stammered again, completely at a loss for words.

“Chlo…” Elly narrowed her eyes at Chloe’s response.

Bea stared at the pair, watching the uncertainty on both their faces at Elly’s confession and yet so much certainty in her sister’s words. For the first time in months she felt like she knew what Elly had been going through but hadn’t been able to open up to her about it.

As Chloe continued starring at Elly in surprise, Bea finally interrupted the former couple’s awkward silence, “I think you two need to talk so I’m going to give you some privacy.”

Bea stood up, turned away from pair and walked about five steps away from them towards the shipping containers’ door.

Elly and Chloe both stared over at Bea as she still stood so close to them and both women raised their eyebrow at Bea’s action.

Bea eventually spun around back to them, pursing her lips, “Well I can’t…actually give you two privacy on account of…locked in a shipping container together. I mean if you two want to sit there whispering to one another over my crying nephew feel free or you can just…pretend I’m not here…cause you two really need to talk.”

As Bea turned back away from her sister and friend, Chloe opened her mouth but still couldn’t seem to find words in response to Elly.

Elly stared back at her baby boy in her arms, softly trying to rock him as he continued crying gently.

Ignoring any need to keep quiet with her sister standing a couple meters away, Elly glanced over at Chloe and confessed all without taking much of a breath, “Chloe, I’m so in love with you. I get it okay, everything you feel for me, I feel it too. I want to be with you. I know this is complicated and messy. You’re with Pierce and I just literally became a mum. I need to give almost everything I have to my son and I won’t be able to give you all the attention and focus you deserve. There’s no way I could ever give you anywhere near the life that Pierce can give you but if you give me a chance, Chlo, if you give us a chance…I’ll love you just as strongly as you love me. Cause I do, okay, I love you.”

Chloe blinked wildly, her mouth trying to catch up to her brain but failing to, and all she managed to do was open her mouth then close it again before finally uttering, “I…ah…”

“Chlo, did you hear what I said?” Elly asked, frowning at Chloe’s lack of response, “I’m in love with you.”

Chloe exhaled deeply but still couldn’t find the words to respond.

“Did…did I say something…wrong?” Elly questioned, before finding herself rambling, “Because I thought…like you needed me to come to terms with my feelings for you and I have, okay, I have. I know we have so much to work through and maybe you don’t want the hassle of dating a new mum cause I can’t give you want you want and I don’t even know if you want to be part of a child’s life. Maybe what you have with Pierce is more than what I think it is…or maybe…you aren’t even in love with me…anymore.”

“Well…I…” Chloe stuttered, still completely unable to comprehend Elly’s confession.

Chloe silently removed her hand from Elly’s shoulder and placed it behind her on the mattress as she leant back gently on it.

Elly stared down at her son still cradled in her arms, praying he wasn’t the reason for Chloe’s inexplicable inability to respond to her love declaration, before looking back at Chloe, “Chlo…I could really do with you to say…anything right about now.”

Chloe chewed on her lip, before finally managing to talk, “See the thing is…this is really bad timing…but I think I have an idea of how to escape from here…”

“Huh?” Elly replied completely flummoxed that Chloe had blanked her love confession.

“Just hold your thoughts…I’ll get back to them,” Chloe promised as she put Elly off, “So…the idea that just came to me…”

By this stage, Bea had turned back to Chloe and Elly, but was annoyed at the blonde for refusing to acknowledge the feelings Elly had confessed for her.

When neither girl responded showing much of an interest in her thoughts, Chloe explained anyway, “It just kinda called out to me…the mattress coils.”

“What?” Bea stared at Chloe in confusion.

“We need something strong enough to pull up the pin, long enough that we can squeeze it through the gap and loop it around the handle of the pin…mattress coils, made of metal, should be able to flex one into a loop to reach the pin and it might be strong enough to yank out the pin,” Chloe answered.

Elly rocked her son gently as she continued holding him whilst he cried, his first moments of life unterrifying for him as he was unaware of the danger he was in, “Shush, baby boy…we’re gonna get you out of here,” then glanced at Chloe, “I mean right now I’d kinda prefer us to keep talking about--”

“Elly, why don’t you let Chloe…stumble along with her plan to…” Bea interrupted, fearing more than anything how Elly could react if Chloe was set to break her sisters’ heart, “How exactly do you plan on even getting one of the metal coils out of this mattress without a knife or scissors to cut through the fabric?”

Chloe pulled away from Elly, ignoring when the brunette stared away from her at the loss of contact, reaching for the bag Finn had dropped off for Elly. Rummaging around in the bag, Chloe finally produced the lighter, “With this.”

“Are you crazy? You’re going to light the mattress on fire!” Bea squealed.

“C’mon, Bea, I’m not insane. I just need to light a small corner of the mattress on fire to rip into the fabric enough to be able to pull out a metal coil. I can put out the fire in time,” Chloe assured, then removing her joggers from her feet, “See, I can whack the sparks of fire out with my shoes.”

“You’re going to get us all killed,” Bea shook her head.

“No, I’m going to get us out of here. Make Finn regret bringing us this mattress for comfort so Elly could give birth on when I’m gonna find a way to use it to unlock the container’s door,” Chloe claimed.

Bea glanced down at Elly who was distracting herself from Chloe ignoring her by reaching her hand out to get her son to wrap his hand around her fingers, “Okay, fine, but go try and burn the hell out of one of the corners of the mattress as far away from Elly and my nephew as you can get. I’ll be here with them…where you should be.”

Bea immediately sat down next to Elly, where Chloe previously sat. Wrapping her arm around her older sister, she rocked Elly gently as Elly ignored Chloe brushing her off in order to focus on her baby she cradled. Bea and Elly faced away from Chloe who sat behind them on the mattress.

Chloe stared at the pair for a moment, regretting her decision to give up providing Elly and her son with the comfort she was before Elly blurted out feelings for her.

I’m just trying to find a solution to rescue Elly and her son…I promised I would make sure I got them home safely…I need to do that first. And also, can’t I have five minutes to myself to react to the bomb Elly just dropped on me?

Chloe soon shifted over to one of the corners of the mattress and knelt down on the shipping containers metal floor next to it. Flicking the lighter at the corner of the mattress fabric, it took multiple attempts until she could set the fabric alight. Immediately grabbing her shoe, she put the flames out within seconds. Chloe tore at the fabric but it still wasn’t enough to rip apart.

It took two more attempts with the lighter, setting the fabric alight for a few seconds before putting the fire out, that Chloe could then rip into the fabric of the mattress. Chloe blew her breath on the fabric after she burnt her fingers on it the first time she tried to pull it apart.

Should’ve seen that coming…definitely an amateur escape artist…why couldn’t I just leave the rescuing to when Finn turns back up and be there for Elly instead…? Cause I can’t risk Finn coming back and stealing Elly’s baby from her…she’d never forgive Bea or I if that happens…whether it’s Finn’s fault or not…deep down she’ll always blame us.

Cause I have no bloody clue how to react to Elly’s declaration and I’m putting off dealing with it until I can’t anymore…

Chloe glanced back over at Elly and Bea, as she ripped into the mattress fabric and eventually after tugging hard enough pulled one of the metal coils loose, “Got it! See if I can bend this into a loop it might be strong enough…or I might need to pull two together…but either way, our escape plan is coming together.”

Bea looked back at Chloe, not quite as impressed with Chloe as the blonde expected, “Okay. You work on that. I’m staying here with Elly.”

Chloe sighed gently as she walked past Elly and Bea, watching as Elly avoided her gaze but tried to remind herself Elly had to focus on her son than worrying about her.

Chloe sat down in front of the shipping container doors with her metal coil. Chloe tried to ignore her worries over Elly’s reaction and focusing on getting them freed to safety instead of all her feelings for Elly swirling around in her mind confusing her over what to do. Chloe fiddled around with the metal coil, gently unbending it from its coil shape and shifting it until she created a loop out of it.

Looking back at Elly and Bea, seeing them focusing their attention on the baby cradled in Elly’s arms, Chloe exhaled as she ignored them to focus on her plan of setting them all free. Pushing the left door open the few centimeters it could, Chloe squeezed her hand through the gap between the two doors as much as she could. Chloe grimaced as her hand was pinched between the metal doors but she worked to try and loop the metal coil around the handle of the pin, finding herself concentrating on the sound of Elly’s son’s cries as she worked.

Back on the mattress, Bea squeezed Elly’s shoulder, finding Elly burying her face in the crook of her neck in response.

“This is the…thing you didn’t want to tell anyone about…what’s gotten you all…bad moody the last month or so?” Bea queried quietly, “You’re in love with Chloe…why didn’t you tell me?”

Bea glanced down at her sister as she suddenly felt tears against her neck, realizing Elly was crying, much as her nephew in Elly’s arms was.

Elly mumbled out in whispered tone, “I didn’t want anyone to know…now I’ve screwed it all up. I shouldn’t have told Chloe.”

Bea tried to convince Elly to lift her head but she refused to, “You haven’t screwed up anything.”

Elly sniffled against Bea, “Yeah, I have. I’ve fallen in love with Chloe and she didn’t even want to know about it. I messed her around for an entire year, I’m now a mum, Chloe probably doesn’t want to deal with that, Chloe’s with Pierce…she doesn’t love me anymore.”

“You don’t know that,” Bea whispered.

Elly shrugged, “Chloe blew me off as quickly as she could do so…she doesn’t love me anymore.”

Bea held Elly closer to her, wondering if Chloe could make out any of their conversation but figured she couldn’t over the baby crying, “Give her a chance, Elly. You dropped a bombshell on Chloe not fifteen minutes ago. She needs time to react, she’s panicking over making sure that we escape this hell hole…and she never thought in a million years that you would fall in love with her…like she is with you.”

“She’s not,” Elly sobbed, “That’s why she reacted as she did. She got over me and fell in love with Pierce cause I was too stupid enough to not realize how I feel about her a year ago. I’m a fool.”

“Don’t say that,” Bea whispered, “Let Chloe concentrate on getting us out of here and then once we get you and your son to the hospital, Chloe might then have a moment to talk to you about it properly. Maybe she’d rather do so without me around.”

Elly finally removed her head from the crook of Bea’s neck, staring down at her son, “Maybe Chloe would rather not have anything to do with me and my feelings for her. At least I still have my son to focus on…so I don’t fall into a complete mess over the fact that I’m an idiot for ever thinking I had a chance with Chloe.”

Bea stroked her hand against Elly’s back, realizing she wasn’t going to be able to talk Elly out of her belief, “I wish you would’ve told me you’d been feeling this way. Not keeping things bottled up…that’s something you need to work on.”

Elly exhaled, glancing at Chloe briefly, “Think I’d rather go back to keeping things bottled up…reckon I learnt my lesson after this I need to control my emotions.”

Bea pursed her lips at her sister for wanting to revert back to form, then at Chloe as she stood up and walked past them, uttering, “Need another metal coil, one isn’t strong enough. This pin is locked tight into the concrete.”

With Elly ignoring Chloe in order to focus on the baby she was cradling, Bea nodded silently as she watched Chloe rip another metal coil from the mattress then return back to the metal doors. Chloe sat back down, working to bend this coil into the same shape as the previous one, before holding them together and reattempting to slip them in between the two doors to loop onto the pin keeping them trapped.

Hours later, Bea was suddenly jolted awake to the sound of Chloe’s joy, “I nearly got it, I’m so close.”

“Huh? What’s…what happened?” Bea asked in confusion.

Elly smiled down at her sister, “You fell asleep a couple hours ago. Sun started rising a few minutes ago. Been watching the small amount of light coming through the doors.”

“You doing okay…? You should’ve woken me when I fell asleep. Hey, the baby’s stopped crying!” Bea suddenly realized.

Elly grinned as she held her son’s hand, “Yeah I’m doing fine. Thought you could do with the rest. I think I’m getting the hang of this…holding him ‘til he stops crying…could really do with getting out of here before he needs to be fed…or be changed…or anything more than just being held.”

As if on cue, Chloe squealed out to the pair, “I’ve got the pin pulling out of the concrete finally!”

Bea narrowed her eyes, “Jeez, you still working on that? What, have you been doing that the last four or five hours?”

Elly nodded as she gave a shy smile to Chloe, knowing Chloe wasn’t looking at her, “Determined as anything to get us out of here.”

Wish I could say Chloe’s been doing all this to protect her family…but Chloe doesn’t see me…us…that way...guess I just have to accept it’s me and him only from now on…

Chloe knelt down on her knees as she yanked as hard as she could on the metal coils wire around the handle of the pin until it finally pulled loose and out of the hole in the concrete, “I got it, I got it! We’re gonna be free!”

Having dragged the pin out and flipping it to the ground, Chloe finally dropped the metal coils she’d been gripping for hours on end. Grimacing as she wiped her sore hands against her hips, having ignored the pain she’d been feeling in them hours ago.

Standing up, Chloe smiled back at Elly and Bea as she pushed open the shipping container door, letting the early morning sun light shine through the darkened metal box, “Freedom!”

Chapter Text

And She, Waits For You

Chapter Twenty

Sunday 22nd December – 6:00 AM 

Elly smiled shyly at Chloe, feeling relief that the blonde had found a way to release the locked shipping container door that would allow them to escape, “I knew you could do it…thank you.”

Chloe returned Elly’s look as she took several steps outside of the shipping container, “Don’t thank me yet…I still gotta find a way to get you and the peanut to the hospital…and then you can thank me.”

“Okay,” Elly agreed.

“Do you think you’re capable of walking? Not far but just far enough that we can put this shipping container out of our sight before…” Bea frowned as she heard a noise, “What is that sound?”

Chloe threw up her hands, “Don’t tell me I spent all bloody night unpicking that pin only for someone to come by as soon as I do!”

Elly’s smile was wiped from her face as she remembered, “Finn said he’d return for us at sunrise…that’s not someone…Finn’s back.”

Chloe turned back to the sound of EvilFinn’s car driving down a makeshift path towards them, “Finn’s spotted me…we’re not going to have time to run away from him or even pretend I didn’t just get this door open for us to escape. What do we do?”

Elly and Bea stared at one another, unable to come up with an answer.

EvilFinn glared at Chloe as he spotted her standing in front of the opened shipping container door, “What in the bloody hell is happening here?”

EvilFinn slid his car into park as he panicked seeing Chloe standing outside the shipping container. Yanking the parking brake lever, he didn’t bother to turn off the ignition or close the door as he tore out of the car as fast as he could.

“What do I do?” Chloe yelled out to Bea and Elly, seeing EvilFinn jumping out of his car.

“Run!” Bea shouted at Chloe.

“Oh right, good idea!” Chloe replied as she bolted away from the shipping container.

Bea groaned immediately, “Not that way, Chloe! Ugh! Can you believe her? This is the woman that you love?”

Elly lifted her shoulders in response.

“That’s all you got for me!” Bea stared at Elly blankly, “You’re in love with the woman that when I say ‘Run!’ instead of packing it in the opposite direction to run away from Finn and maybe giving us a minute to get out of here…she runs straight at Finn like a moron!”

“Still doesn’t make me love her any less,” Elly admitted to Bea.

Bea shook her head as she released herself from cuddling up to her sister and stood up, “Least you’re aware you’re in love with a moron. Chloe’s gonna get us killed. Now, where’s that torch?”

Chloe silently cursed herself for dropping the metal coils back in the shipping container, feeling like they could come in handy against EvilFinn, as she rushed at him.

What the hell am I doing? It’s not like I can take him…growing up with 3 brothers, I know how to fight dirty…but doesn’t mean I can stop him getting to Elly and peanut…oh and Bea…

EvilFinn ran full pelt at the blonde, terrified Chloe was just a distraction and Elly and his girlfriend had already escaped and he’d lost his chance at stealing Elly’s baby.

As Chloe got to EvilFinn, she managed to time her run at him, by raising her knee, slamming it into his groin, knocking him backwards. EvilFinn didn’t let that stop him as he grappled with Chloe and pulled her down to the ground with him.

EvilFinn groaned at the pain inflicted on his groin, then yelled as Chloe scratched her fingernails at his face, splitting his skin from two of them across the side of his face. Chloe threw an elbow to EvilFinn’s face, causing him to yell out in pain once more.

Finally gripping hold of Chloe’s wrists, EvilFinn rolled her over onto her back, “Nice try, bitch! You’re just lucky you’re not the one I’m after! You better hope to hell you haven’t let Elly and Bea escape as they’re the ones I’m after or I’ll make you pay!”

EvilFinn struggled as he stood up, dragging Chloe to her feet too, where she promptly kicked him in the shin. EvilFinn growled at Chloe in response, “Bitch, you keep fighting dirty and I will take you away from Elly, see how she copes without you and the baby, she’ll wish she was dead without the people she loves!”

Finn knows Elly loves me…? Am I the last to know…? So not the point!

As EvilFinn pulled himself together, he dragged Chloe beside him as he forced the pair of them towards the shipping container. Chloe began planting her feet firmly in the ground every few steps, making it as difficult as possible for EvilFinn to drag her along with him.

“Would you stop that already, you’re an absolute pain!” EvilFinn exclaimed.

Chloe continued kicking at EvilFinn’s legs when she could, until he finally turned to her. As EvilFinn went to yell at Chloe again, he was suddenly surprised to hear the baby crying.

“Elly had her baby?” EvilFinn grunted.

Crap!

“Well, I…” Chloe started before EvilFinn interrupted her, “Guess maybe your freedom won’t be short-lived if I get my hands on that baby!”

Oh no you don’t! You are not getting your hands on the peanut!

Before Chloe could do anything to stop him, EvilFinn dragged her by the wrists behind him and stormed over with her to the shipping container.

But as EvilFinn stepped foot in the shipping container, he was immediately walloped in the face by Bea with the torch as she had stood off to the side behind the still locked door.

EvilFinn fell backwards from the impact, taking Chloe with him as she fell to the ground next to him. Bea immediately popped around from the closed door, torch still in her hands ready to whack EvilFinn but she was surprised to find that she’d knocked EvilFinn out so easily.

Bea took her right hand off the torch and reached it out to take Chloe’s hand, helping her to stand up.

Bea was almost taken aback, expecting Chloe’s appreciation but instead Chloe riled at her, “How the hell did you know Finn would walk through that door first, Bea? You could’ve smashed me in the head, Bea!”

“I took a risk,” Bea admitted.

“You could’ve hit me by accident!” Chloe raged.

Bea shrugged before folding her arms in front of her, “Not like you couldn’t have done with a smack in the head!”

“Meaning?” Chloe frowned.

Bea rolled her eyes at the blonde, “Talk to my sister or I will smack you in the head.”

“I sincerely hope you’re joking, Bea,” Elly grumbled at her younger sister.

Threatening Chloe into talking to me…even jokingly…how am I meant to believe she actually does want to talk to me if it comes after Bea threatening her to?

Chloe rolled her eyes back at Bea, “How about you smack Finn in the head instead?”

Bea glanced down at EvilFinn lying near them unconscious before looking back at Chloe, “I already did, he’s unconscious.”

“Hit him again, anyway,” Chloe told Bea, then when Bea looked at her blankly, “Haven’t you ever seen a scary movie? Y’know the part at the end of the movie where the good guys take out the killer except the killer isn’t really dead and comes back for one last scare?”

“This isn’t a scary movie, Chloe,” Bea told her.

“Ah hello, kidnapped an entire day by an amateur psycho and locked in a shipping container overnight where your sister was forced to give birth to her baby. What part of this, isn’t a scary movie? Would you hit Finn over the head again so we know he’s unconscious before we rush off to hospital and call the cops? It’s not like he doesn’t deserve it! If you’re worried about being blamed for it, give me the torch and I’ll smack him myself to make sure he’s out,” Chloe insisted.

Bea’s eyes widened as she stared down at the ground next to them, “Smack who?”

“Are you freaking kidding me?” Chloe groaned as she saw that Bea was staring at the empty ground next to them.

“What? I can’t see anything, what’s going on?” Elly asked in concern.

“Finn’s gone,” Chloe announced in frustration, “I knew you should’ve hit him again to make sure he was unconscious. Now, he’s gonna turn back up again when we least expect it.”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Bea mumbled, “He’s just…okay I don’t have a clue how Finn’s managed to disappear. Flips sake we were standing right here! How did Finn manage to disappear right out from underneath us?”

“Maybe cause you two were too busy having it out with each other,” Elly answered for them, before suggesting, “Can we get the hell out of here before the scary movie comes true and Finn comes back for one last scare?”

“It’s a good idea,” Chloe admitted, unable to stop looking at the ground where Bea had knocked Finn out, “I can’t believe he just got up and disappeared without us noticing. We were standing right here! Bloody scary movie move!”

“Well we can’t do anything about it now,” Bea sighed, “Finn’s car is still here. Are we just going to stand around and wait for him to do this scary movie act and get us or are we gonna get the hell out of here?”

Chloe glanced over at the car and all around the surrounding area, looking for any sign of EvilFinn, “I don’t think Finn took the time to turn the car off when he saw me so the keys should still be in the ignition for us to get the hell out of here to get Elly and the peanut to hospital,” then looking back over at Elly cradling her baby, “Do you think you can walk to the car?”

“I think I’m probably going to need some help,” Elly replied quietly, feeling anxious at needing to rely on Chloe after she’d blown off her love declaration.

Before Chloe could respond, Bea held up the torch, “Alright, you go help Elly and my nephew stand and start walking out of here. I’m standing guard here with the torch in case Finn springs his surprise return on us.”

Chloe cleared her throat, “I think Elly…and I…could ah…use your help, Bea.”

Bea stood firm, “No way in hell am I letting all three of us stand back in that shipping container when Finn has managed to get up without us even noticing and has gone God knows where. I’m standing right here with the torch outside the container so I can at least try to stop him if he tries to lock us back inside.”

Chloe glared at Bea’s staunch approach.

“You’re the one going on about killers in scary movies coming back,” Bea pointed out with a wink, “Go help Elly and bubs. I’ll wait here. We’ll be at the hospital in no time.”

Chloe breathed deeply before walking over to Elly and her son, still sitting on the mattress. Chloe knelt down next to Elly, “I’ll help you stand up, you right to hold onto the peanut…? You don’t have a name yet for him, do you?”

Elly smiled gently at Chloe before looking back at her son, “Yeah I got him…kinda don’t want to let him go…ever. And I…kinda…do have a name for him…I’m just gonna wait ‘til we get to the hospital and get him checked out to make sure he’s perfectly healthy before I…is that okay?”

“Absolutely. He’s going to be just fine, Elly,” Chloe assured as she shifted until she was next to Elly and reached out her arm around Elly’s waist to help lift Elly to her feet.

“Thanks,” Elly whispered, as she continued cradling her son in her arms still wrapped up in Chloe’s jacket, trying to concentrate on anything except having Chloe’s arm around her body.

Stop it…Chloe’s not yours…she doesn’t want to be…you took too long to figure out your feelings for her…

“No problem,” Chloe whispered back as she slowly led Elly and the baby out of the shipping container, “Let’s just get you to the hospital and you’ll both be home before you know it. You’ll get to celebrate Christmas as a new mum for the first time. That’s gotta be something to make up for this horrible experience.”

Chloe not even having the heart to bother rejecting me…?

Oh…she means giving birth in the middle of nowhere locked in a shipping container…that was a horrible experience…

Worse than having my heart stomped on…? That’s up for debate…

As Chloe and Elly, reached Bea, the younger sibling held the torch in her right hand, still prepared to swing it should it be needed if EvilFinn attacked them. Bea slipped her left arm around Elly’s waist and helped Chloe led the new mother towards EvilFinn’s car.

As they trod up the bush path, Bea continued glancing behind them, to their sides and everywhere around them, looking for EvilFinn, expecting him to pounce on them at any given moment.

“I think he’s gone, Bea,” Chloe tried to reassure, “I mean I know I was the one who brought up the whole ‘psycho coming back for one last scare when you think he’s a goner’ in movies but I don’t think he’s gonna do that. He heard the baby crying so he knows we’re gonna do what it takes to protect Elly’s son. He knows we’re going straight to the cops too…or well the hospital where we can report Finn to the cops…get them to meet us there…Finn’s gonna need a head start if he doesn’t want to be caught. I think it’s safe to say he’s gone.”

Bea continued staring around the area as they reached the car, “We really need the cops to find him and arrest Finn for what he put us through. I’m not sure I’ll be able to sleep until I know he’s not going to spring us a surprise return when we’re least expecting it.”

“Finn can’t hurt us, okay, Bea. We got through this okay and he didn’t hurt any of us. The cops will find him and we’ll all be safe,” Elly assured.

“I hope you’re right,” Bea decided, “Let’s just get you to the hospital as soon as we can and we can put this whole nightmare behind us.”

Chloe ran her hand up and down Elly’s lower back, “You okay to sit in the back seat with the peanut? I’ll drive us to the hospital. Do you want Bea in the back seat with you?”

Elly nodded, “I think that’d be a good idea.”

Bea and Chloe helped Elly and her son into the back seat of the car, where Bea soon joined her. Chloe walked around to the front of the car and after taking one last look around the deserted bushland for any sign of EvilFinn, got in the car and shifted the seat and mirrors to suit her.

Elly glanced at Chloe nervously, catching her eyes in the rearview mirror, “Chlo…can you make sure you don’t speed, or run any stop signs, or drive too closely to any cars in front of us, or when the light turns amber can you stop for the red light instead of putting your foot on the accelerator and just like…drive safe?”

“Wow, you really are a mum now, aren’t you, Elly?” Chloe smiled shyly.

“Was that too much?” Elly asked.

Chloe shook her head as she shifted the car into drive, “Peanut’s first car ride…you’re anxious, I get it. I’ll get you to the hospital safely, Elly, I’m not going to let you get hurt.”

Elly sighed gently as Chloe drove them away from the scene of EvilFinn’s horror.

Then tell me you love me too…

Chapter Text

And She, Waits For You

Chapter Twenty-One

Sunday 22nd December – 2pm

Aaron jogged through the hospital ward he realized he knew far too well. Upon locating Chloe’s hospital room, he broke out of his jog awkwardly and placed his hands through his hair before leaving them on the back of his head.

Chloe glanced up from her hospital room bed at him, “Geez, bro, you look worried.”

Aaron let out a sigh of relief, “Course I was bloody worried, Chlo.”

Chloe shrugged, “I was only gone for a day.”

“Took you long enough to call me to let me know you were here. It might’ve been nice to know several hours ago when you got here,” Aaron scolded.

“Didn’t think I’d be here long, certainly not admitted to hospital but the doctors dragged me in to check me over before I could even think to call you,” Chloe told him.

Aaron entered the hospital room and sat down in the chair next to Chloe’s bed, “Are you okay?”

Chloe held up a fluid IV plugged into her arm, “Apparently I forgot to drink water the past 24 hours what with the whole getting kidnapped and needing to escape so I’m dehydrated. Docs won’t let me go ‘til I get this bag of fluid all in me. Should be able to go home soon.”

Aaron sat back in the chair, “I was more talking about being kidnapped by Finn but I’m glad to know you’ll be discharged and get to come home with me soon.”

Chloe reached out her hand and took her brother’s hand, “Oh right, the kidnapping…that was a drag…not the best experience of my life. But I’ll be back home soon and everything will get back to normal soon enough.”

Except for the part where Elly kinda told me that she loves me and kissed me and I…did not deal with that at all…I can’t wrap my head around it…I need to talk to her.

“Yeah, it will,” Aaron squeezed Chloe’s hand to reassure her, “You’ve spoken to the fam in Adelaide?”

Chloe almost rolled her eyes at Aaron, “Yes, I called them after seeing all the missed calls on my phone. I spoke to mum, Mark and Tyler. Thanks for sending them all into a spiral of worry for a day about me.”

“You’d been kidnapped by a psychopath; I didn’t know if we were ever going to see you again. The cops didn’t appear to be doing much. I was going crazy not knowing if you’d be okay,” Aaron admitted.

“I am okay,” Chloe insisted, “It’s nice to know that you care that much.”

Aaron breathed a sigh of relief, “You really went through the ringer last night. Kidnapped, locked in a shipping container for an entire night…Elly had her baby…and you and Bea rescued them and you all got away from Finn but Finn disappeared into the day.”

Elly and her baby…I miss them already…

“Do you know if Elly and the peanut are okay? I lost track of them when the doctors dragged me away from them to check on me. I told Elly I wouldn’t be gone long. I don’t want Elly worrying I went home without checking on her. I really need to see them as soon as I get the rest of this fluid into me and I can get out of here,” Chloe told Aaron with an element of panic in her tone.

Aaron frowned gently at Chloe’s demeanor, “I haven’t been in to see them. I saw Karl at the front desk when I was asking the clerk which room you were in. Karl told me they were doing fine but Elly would need to stay here a few nights…what with the small amount of food and water she’d had for nearly two days…and the traumatic birth she went through. You were really there to help Elly give birth to her baby? What was that like?”

Incredible, amazing, beautiful, loving…it felt right…

Chloe smiled shyly at her older brother, “It was really special. Elly had a little boy. She’s gonna make an amazing mum. I hope I get the chance to be there for them…”

Aaron chewed on his lip, unsure how to read Chloe’s comment, “What’s he like?”

Chloe pursed her lips, “He’s gorgeous, has Elly’s eyes. I didn’t really get much of a chance to meet him…Elly was kinda protective of him understandably…she hasn’t even let Bea hold him…unless she has since she got here. I haven’t had a chance to make sure he’s safe and healthy…”

On account of freaking out when Elly made her little love confession…

“I need to get out of here so I can go talk to Elly,” Chloe declared.

“What about?” Aaron asked curiously.

That Elly loves me…possibly…

Chloe found herself staring into the distance in the opposite direction of Aaron, too busy thinking about the one thing that had been on her mind for hours on end – Elly.

Aaron interrupted Chloe’s silent distraction, “How did Pierce take the news of your kidnapping and brief hospital stay?”

Chloe blinked in surprise then frowned at Aaron, “Oh I…haven’t called Pierce…yet. Just a little dehydration, no point in worrying him when he’s halfway around the world…besides time difference. It’s too late to give him a call now. I’ll call him in the morning.”

Maybe…

“Chloe, you were kidnapped for an entire day and locked up in a shipping container! Pierce will want to know about that, he’ll be worried about you like I was all last night. What’s the time difference to New York?” Aaron frowned back at his sister for her lack of interest in her boyfriend.

Chloe shrugged, “Uh…sixteen hours I think…”

Aaron paused for a moment as he did the time zone math in his head, “But that’s like…8pm New York time isn’t it?”

Crap I was hoping Aaron wouldn’t notice…

“Is it? Guess I didn’t work it out correctly,” Chloe lied, “Pierce will be busy working on his company and trying to save it from collapsing anyway. There’s no point me telling him at this hour, he’ll be worried all night long and won’t get any sleep. Besides the last thing I need right now is Pierce rushing back home here cause I’m in hospital for dehydration.”

And also, when I’m trying to figure out my feelings for Elly…I need to work all that out before I even speak to Pierce…

Chloe smiled politely at Aaron, then before he could argue, insisted, “I’ll call him first thing in the morning so he knows I’m back home and I’m safe and I’m no longer in hospital…and…crap! Hendrix! I was supposed to look after him last night, I completely forgot about him whilst I was…”

Having Elly confess her love for me and kiss me…I mean…whilst I was kidnapped…

Aaron gently reached out to his younger sister once more to calm her, “It’s all okay. I stayed at #24 last night on the couch watching out for Hendrix. He was really worried about you, Chlo. I was with him when I got your call, I should’ve brought Hendrix with me but I think he didn’t want you to see how worried he was. But you’ll be back tonight to look out for him…or I can always stay with the pair of you if you--”

“Actually, Azza, do you think you can get Hendrix to crash at ours tonight? Either on the couch or the sun room. I don’t want to stay at Pierce’s…at the moment, I just want to be at home with you guys. You shouldn’t be put out at Pierce’s away from David on account of…me, it’s just for a couple days ‘til Hendrix goes to Lisa’s on Christmas morning. If you need me to explain to Hendrix I can,” Chloe requested.

The idea of being at Pierce’s after knowing how Elly might feel about me…I’m not comfortable with that…

Aaron reluctantly nodded, “Okay…I mean, I guess. I’ll speak to Hendrix. I can make sure he’s set up at our place for a couple nights…after we get you home, okay? How’s that IV going? Nearly ready to get discharged and come home?”

“I’ve got to speak to Elly before I go home,” Chloe reminded Aaron abruptly.

“O…kay…about anything important?” Aaron asked curiously, wondering if Chloe’s talk yesterday of needing a break from Pierce with him being away, having spent the night with Elly whilst she gave birth to her baby, and now was desperate to talk to her was in any way connected.

Only perhaps one of the most important conversations of my life…

Chloe tried to downplay it to her brother, “I just wanta…check in on Elly and the peanut…make sure they are going to be safe before I head home…okay?”

Aaron nodded in agreement but couldn’t help but be concerned there was more going on that Chloe wasn’t telling him about her experience the last day.

An hour later, as Chloe was rushing her doctor into letting her be discharged and Aaron was trying to slow her down, Bea was with Elly, sitting on the edge of her hospital bed.

“How long do you think you’ll be here, El? How’s your son going?” Bea asked her older sister, having just being discharged herself.

Elly sighed, “Yeah the doctors said he’s fine, they are just keeping him with the other newborns to give me a chance to rest for a few hours. They’ll bring him back in a few hours for me to spend time with him, make sure I’m getting the hang of feeding him. Managed to when they first got me in here but it took some time. As for me, a few days my doctor reckons. I went through a lot with the birth…more than most mothers…plus the insubstantial amount of food and water over the last two days, lack of sleep…which I better get used to…I’ll be lucky if they release me by Christmas. I don’t want to be stuck here for Christmas. I want to spend the holidays with you, Suze, Karl…my son…”

Chloe…

“Don’t worry about where you get to spend Christmas okay, no matter where it is, you’ll have your family around you, most importantly your son,” Bea reassured, “You just concentrate on resting up and getting back your strength back so you can be the best mum you can be.”

Elly nodded before turning her head and staring off into the distance.

Bea pursed her lips before asking, “Has Chloe been in to see you?”

Elly felt a tear slip down her cheek, she tried to subtly wipe it away before addressing Bea, “No, been here for hours and she hasn’t come in to see me. She doesn’t want me…to talk to me. She probably went home hours ago…”

In the arms of Pierce already…I’m so jealous Pierce gets to be the one to support Chloe through…everything.

“I’m sure I saw the doctors drag Chloe away to check on her like they did with me. I only got the all clear not long ago. Maybe Chloe is still here too. Or the police could be talking to her about the report they are putting together on Finn. They’re on the manhunt for Finn but they still need our reports of our experience. Susan and Karl were with me briefly when the cops questioned me over Finn before they got dragged away for…slightly more professional questioning down at the police station,” Bea informed her sister.

Elly glanced back at Bea with worry, “Susan and Karl are at the police station?”

Bea reached out for Elly’s hand, “Don’t worry, it’s all good, Karl called Toadie and he was to meet them there. The police…just want to get as much info about Finn from our Aunt and Uncle down at the Station. They did agree to house Finn as part of his court order. It’s not like any of us knew Finn’s memories had returned. You did…or you suspected they had. Karl and Susan aren’t gonna be responsible for not knowing that or any crimes Finn has and will commit. I think Karl just felt better having Toadie on their side in the interview. I take it the police haven’t swung by your room to take a statement from you?”

Elly shook her head, “Not yet, suspect they are giving me a few extra hours before they question me over…what Finn did to us and…”

Bea swallowed gently, “Maybe this whole thing with Finn is…if I could just have a chance to talk to him maybe I can make him see that being the old Finn isn’t the way he can live his life. Maybe I can remind Finn of all the good he’s done this last year, that he has a nephew to live a better life for. I mean I’m not expecting us all to forgive and forget the kidnapping but he hasn’t done anything so terrible that he can’t come back from it…”

Yeah Finn has…I just haven’t told Bea yet…to think Bea believes a simple conversation with Finn will change him back…she’s in denial that her boyfriend has turned into a monster…she still loves Finn…I get Bea can’t just switch that off in a matter of hours…

Finn’s never going near my son ever…I refuse to let him…

Elly reached out and took both of Bea’s hands in her own, “I have to tell you something…about Finn. I didn’t tell you earlier cause…I didn’t know how. No amount of love that you still have for the man Finn once was…will change him for the better. Finn has his memories back and he’s never going to be guy you love again, Bea, he--”

Bea interrupted, “Elly, he could change, I know what he did was horrible but he loves me, I truly believe that and if I can just talk to him I can--”

“Finn murdered Shaun,” Elly suddenly blurted out, then grimacing as she had wanted to tell Bea in a much calmer way.

Bea pulled her hands out of Elly’s grasp, “What? Finn didn’t…Shaun…it was accidental…the report on Shaun’s abseiling accident it wasn’t…”

“I’m so sorry, Bea,” Elly apologized, “I know you don’t want to believe it but Finn’s a murderer…he admitted it to me the other night after I woke up in the shipping container. It wasn’t an accident. The guy that ruled it an accident with Shaun’s equipment…Finn paid him off to change the report.”

“But why?” Bea asked quietly.

“Cambodia…Finn never got over Shaun being released when his parents paid the ransom for Shaun but not him. I guess…he thought Shaun could’ve done more. Then there’s me…Shaun’s the…was the father of my baby…I’m Finn’s obsession. The idea of his little brother starting a family with me…he didn’t want that so he killed him,” Elly revealed.

I didn’t want that either…no offence to Shaun…he was a nice enough guy despite the initial blackmail to get Finn out of jail and I did want our baby to have Shaun in his life…in a ‘live overseas, come visit once or twice a year for a month or so’ kinda way…I want Chloe in my son’s life…

Bea blinked wildly, reeling from the revelation, “Are you sure?”

Elly reached out and brushed Bea’s hair behind her ear, “Finn admitted it to me. When I make my statement to the cops…I need to tell them, okay? They’ll do their own investigation into the claim that Finn paid the guy off who ruled Shaun’s death an accident…and if it’s true…Finn will be charged with his murder…when he’s caught, of course.”

Bea chewed on her lip.

“I know you still love him, Bea,” Elly whispered.

“How can I…after this?” Bea asked.

Elly stared at her sister with concern, “Cause you don’t just fall out of love with someone in an instant…even learning what Finn has done…you need time, Bea. You’re not alone in dealing with any of this…we’re here for you, okay?”

“Thanks, I think I’m going to need you all. I want to hate Finn for everything he did to us the past couple days…you weren’t even meant to give birth for another week…he was going to lock us up there for like a week until you did. Now knowing what he did to Shaun…I do hate Finn for all of this but…” Bea trailed off.

“You still kinda love him too…or the man that he was,” Elly finished for her.

“Yeah,” Bea agreed, “It might take me a while to come to terms with my feelings on all this…I guess you know what that’s like because of…”

Chloe.

Elly sighed, “Yeah, I do…I’ll be okay…I’ve got you by my side and we can support each other through all this. You don’t need Finn and I don’t need Ch--”

A knock at the hospital room door interrupted Elly. Elly and Bea flung their heads toward the door.

That was a lie, I do need Chloe.

“Hey…can we talk?” Chloe asked nervously.

Chapter Text

And She, Waits For You

Chapter Twenty-Two

Sunday 22nd December – 3.30pm

Chloe found herself staring at Elly and Bea as the younger sibling was sitting on Elly’s hospital bed, then noticed that Bea looked like she was close to tears over something.

Chloe decided, “I’m interrupting, I’ll come back later.”

“No!” Elly yelled out, immediately embarrassed by how desperate she sounded.

Bea couldn’t help but almost half-smile at her sister’s reaction to Chloe’s arrival, “We were just…it doesn’t matter. You two really need to talk so I’m gonna go.”

“Bea, if you and Elly are talking about something important, I can come back. I can see Elly in the morning,” Chloe suggested.

In the morning! Christ, Chloe, if you’re gonna break my heart, do it now!

Yeah...I don’t want to wait ‘til morning…I was just being polite.

Bea stood up from the bed, trying to reassure Chloe with her actions, “It’s all good. I should head home anyway; Karl and Suze are chatting to the police about Finn and someone here needs to go get Elly her hospital bag that she packed with all her spare clothes and whatnot that she made with the expectation of giving birth here. That didn’t work out but the bag is still at home so I’ll go pick it up and bring it back here since Elly’s going to be stuck here for a few days. You two talk…you two really need to have a moment alone to talk.”

Chloe nodded graciously at Bea, finding herself silently switching places with Bea, standing next to Elly’s hospital bed, before turning back to Bea before she left the room, “Hey, Bea, if Karl and Suze are tied up talking to the police and you don’t mind waiting a few minutes, Aaron’s waiting for me by the entrance to drive me home. We can give you a lift home, if you want. Hopefully, Karl and Suze will be done not long after that and can bring you back here.”

‘Few minutes’…well at least Chloe isn’t planning on dragging out breaking my heart…

“Sure, that sounds good. I’ll wait for you outside, thanks Chlo,” Bea replied before leaving the room.

Chloe turned back to Elly, “Is Bea okay?”

Elly shuffled in her hospital bed, feeling awkward having Chloe standing so close to her, “Yeah…she just…I just gave her some bad news about Finn. She’s gonna need some time with it, is all. So…”

Chloe sat down on Elly’s bed, unable to work out if Elly was happy for her to do so, knowing she’d treated Elly badly after blanking her love confession, “So…”

Elly stared up at Chloe, knowing she had to be direct with her ex-girlfriend, “Chlo…about what I said last night to you…the way you reacted…”

“I blew you off,” Chloe remembered her actions, “I got the idea in my head how to rescue us from the shipping container and I got so overly focused on that instead of talking to you about what you said.”

After a few seconds of silence, Elly replied, “Chlo…if you’re gonna break my heart, do it now…don’t draw this out cause if I need to get over you then--”

Chloe frowned, “Wait…you think I’m gonna break your heart?”

Elly glanced away from Chloe’s eyes, “I get it, Chloe. You’re over me, you’re with Pierce, you don’t want me, you don’t want to be with a partner who has a newborn, you don’t want to be with someone who has to put all their energy and time into their child instead of you, you don’t want to be with someone who can’t even afford to buy you a birthday present when you have a billionaire who can give you any luxury in the world that you want and give you the care and treatment that you’re gonna need one day when you--”

Chloe held up her hands, “Woah, Elly, slow down…is that what you think? You think I avoided talking to you last night about all this cause…I’m over you?”

“Well, yeah…aren’t you?” Elly asked trying to mask her broken heart at the thought.

Just break my heart, already…

“Elly, I’m not over you,” Chloe told the brunette quietly.

“You’re not?” Elly turned back to Chloe, full of hope.

“What you said last night…when you told me that…you’re in love with me…I…see the thing is I…I have reservations about it,” Chloe tried to soften her feelings to Elly.

Elly narrowed her eyes, “That I’m in love with you or that I’m in love with you as deeply as you love me?”

“All of it,” Chloe decided, before telling Elly, “I don’t know what to trust.”

“Trust?” Elly repeated, “That I love you?”

Chloe reached out and took Elly’s hand in her own, “It’s the timing of it…your confession that you love me.”

“I wasn’t really thinking about the right…time to tell you that I love you…I thought you just needed to know,” Elly pointed out, “What was so wrong with the timing?”

What, was I actually supposed to wait for the right moment to tell you, Chloe? I’m sure there’s worse times I could’ve done so. Wait for Pierce to get around to proposing to you…interrupt you when you’re walking down the aisle to marry him?

Chloe ran her tongue over her upper lip, “Elly, you had just given birth to your son. You were…vulnerable.”

“Vulnerable?” Elly raised her eyebrows.

“Elly, I’m worried that you’re not in the right place to be declaring feelings when you’re vulnerable after just giving birth. It feels like…you wanted Shaun to be there, you wanted the family moment with a partner you’re in love with, you wanted…or should I say you don’t want to be single and doing all this…raising your son on your own. I’m just concerned in your vulnerable state that’s where it all came from,” Chloe admitted.

Elly sat there in the hospital bed, listening patiently to what Chloe had to say, before wondering, “Is that what you really think? That I’m…so desperate not to be a single mum…that I…made up that I have feelings for you?”

Chloe sighed, “Okay, when you put it like that, it sounds harsh. I don’t know what to think, okay? I’m really confused where this has all come from…I’m too afraid of this being for the wrong reasons…I’m afraid you don’t feel how you told me you do.”

“Chloe, I get your confusion but this is for the right reasons and I do love you,” Elly tried to reassure, but sensing Chloe’s hesitation, asked, “Can you let me explain some more?”

Chloe nodded silently.

Elly breathed deeply, “Chlo, I didn’t just realize last night how I feel about you. I’ve felt this way for you for more than a month now…since your birthday…or it’s more like…I came to accept that I love you. I think…I know I always have…it just took me a really long time to come to terms with it.”

“A really long time,” Chloe agreed.

“I know, okay, it’s taken me a year to accept my feelings for you. I see exactly why you would doubt me after all I’ve done most of this year is hurt you…and most of the people in my life by lying to them but what I feel for you is real, Chloe. I love you,” Elly declared.

Chloe found herself staring at Elly, trying to work out if she was telling the truth, hoping something in Elly’s expression or eyes would tell her either way.

Elly took Chloe’s silence as hesitation in feeling the same way, “I get why you’d be scared to believe me this time after how I hurt you after the wedding but you broke up with me several months ago because you never thought I’d get there with my feelings for you…and I have, Chloe. I got there with my feelings for you. I want to be with you.”

Chloe ran her free hand through her hair, “I’m just not sure what to believe after all this time. And it’s not just trying to work out what I believe over your feelings for me, Elly, it’s…”

“I know this is complicated,” Elly whispered, “It’s not just about the fact that it’s taken me so long to come to terms with my feelings for you and you need to find a way to believe me. You’re…with Pierce, there’s so much more in the world he can offer you that I can’t--”

Chloe raised her eyebrow, “Elly, I’m not materialistic, I don’t need--”

“No, I was more about to point out that Pierce can’t offer you true love,” Elly decided to use the line her Aunt had used on her a few weeks’ earlier to make her see she might stand a chance with Chloe.

Chloe blushed shyly, “Good line.”

“It’s more than just a line, Chlo, it’s how I feel about you and you know deep down Pierce isn’t who you’ll feel that way about,” Elly reminded the blonde.

Unless I’m completely wrong and you do love him like he loves you…

“How I feel about Pierce…” Chloe tried to form her words on him compared to Elly but couldn’t find the way to.

Is not how I feel about you, Elly…why can’t I just say those words?

“But it’s not just Pierce that makes things complicated, Elly,” Chloe found herself saying instead.

“I know…I…just became a mum barely 12 hours ago and that’s…the biggest complication that we might have between us because I can’t give any time to you that you deserve. Not to mention having a newborn in my life will change absolutely everything and that may not even be anything that you even want to be involved in,” Elly said, finding herself looking away from Chloe.

“We didn’t break up because you were having…okay that you’d now had your baby,” Chloe reminded her, “And I…probably haven’t given much thought to the idea of…being a…role model in a child’s life…”

But it doesn’t mean I can’t…why can’t I tell Elly that? Would it give her too much hope when I don’t know…how to deal with this entire situation…why can’t I find a way to believe Elly is in love with me? Why do I need more than her telling me that she loves me because I still feel like the timing of this might be all off cause Elly needs someone now?

Elly glanced back at Chloe nervously, “I know the timing of this is probably all wrong. The last thing I need to be focusing on is any kind of romance. I need to focus on my son and being the best mum, I can be. I get where you’re coming from believing that I could be too vulnerable for this, wanting you because I don’t want to be alone but it’s not about that at all…”

Elly paused expecting Chloe to have some response but she didn’t.

Elly squeezed Chloe’s hand, “Whatever timing or complications there are with this…it doesn’t change the feelings that I truly have for you, Chloe. I’m in love with you…and I want us to be together.”

Please tell me you want us to be together too…please, Chlo!

How can I tell Elly that…? I can’t even work all this out in my head. I want to believe Elly…God I so want to but I’m so scared my heart won’t recover if this isn’t what Elly truly wants…how do I find a way to believe Elly really does love me?

“This…all of this…it’s huge and I need to make sure I make the right decision…for you as much as for myself. I need some time to think about all of this, Elly. Can you give me that?” Chloe asked quietly.

“I made you wait an entire year for me to figure out I love you…my feelings for you aren’t going to change…ever,” Elly replied, not afraid to continue to remind Chloe of her feelings in the hope it would get through to the blonde that they are real, “Least I can do is give you some time.”

“Thank you,” Chloe whispered, before squeezing Elly’s hand once more and standing up to leave, “I’ll be back to see you here in a day or two, okay? I’m not going to leave you hanging.”

At least there’s that…Chloe won’t leave me hanging like I left her for more than a year…whatever Chloe decides, I’m not going to fall out of love with her. However long it takes and whatever else I need to do…I’ll have to find another way to make her see that I am truly, madly, deeply in love with Chloe…unless…

“Hey, Chlo,” Elly called out to Chloe before she left the room, “Any chance you can do me a favour?”

“Always,” Chloe offered.

“The favour is for Bea, actually,” Elly half-lied, “Bea’s fragile right now…I…when you got here before…I’d just told Bea that…Finn murdered Shaun.”

Chloe’s eyes widened in shock, “Wow, seriously?”

Elly nodded, “Yeah. Finn confessed it to me the other night after he took me. Shaun’s death wasn’t an accident, Finn set it up, messed with Shaun’s equipment, paid off the guy who made the report that the death was accidental. Finn murdered Shaun as he didn’t want to see his brother spend a life tied to me…his obsession. I told Bea that when the police come to take a statement from me, I’m going to report this to them so they can investigate it further. If…when Finn gets caught, there’s a good chance he’ll be charged with murder.”

“It’s the right decision, Elly,” Chloe assured.

“I know. Bea knows too but she’s…fragile and struggling to deal with everything that Finn put us through the last couple days and what he did to Shaun. Bea doesn’t know how to separate Finn from the monster that he is again from the man she loves,” Elly explained.

“You don’t just fall out of love with someone in an instant,” Chloe realized, “You want me to keep an eye on Bea, make sure she’s coping, whilst you’re in here?”

“Not quite…I mean if you wouldn’t mind, that’d be great but I was more thinking of a smaller favour. Bea doesn’t need to be running errands for me, not tonight. She needs to be at home with Suze and Karl for support to deal with what she’s going through. Can you help me by getting Bea to stay at home with them tonight and you bringing my overnight bag here…later this afternoon?” Elly asked.

“Sure,” Chloe agreed quietly.

“Cause like I don’t want you to feel like you have to when you’ve been through a lot too all because of me and I know you probably want to go home to Pierce and curl up in his arms to reassure him you’re okay but I could really use your help for Bea’s sake,” Elly rambled, trying to convince Chloe to help her, having barely registered that Chloe had already agreed.

Pierce? Go home to him and curl up in his arms…? Oh…I haven’t told Elly that Pierce is half way across the world right now… It’s not important.

“Elly, I already said I would,” Chloe smiled gently, “I’ll be back in an hour or so, okay?”

Elly blushed gently at Chloe before biting her lip, “Chlo…since you’ll be…well you may as well…your Christmas present is in the top drawer of my bedside table. I want you to have it now.”

“It’s not Christmas, yet,” Chloe pointed out.

Elly shrugged, trying to be casual, “Yeah I know but…I’ll probably still be here over the holidays and…I want you to have it now.”

“Okay,” Chloe agreed, “I feel bad cause I haven’t gotten you a Christmas present yet. Typical me leaving the important Christmas gifts to be bought a day or two before Christmas…and not to put the blame on Finn and all but I was planning on getting it done today but that’s not happening now.”

“Don’t feel bad, plenty of time up your sleeve over the next few days…I’ll see you in a few hours,” Elly replied.

“I’ll see you then,” Chloe promised before turning away and leaving Elly on her own.

Chapter Text

And She, Waits For You

Chapter Twenty-Three

Sunday 22nd December – 4pm

Chloe walked down the hallway after leaving Elly’s hospital room, meeting Bea at the end of the hallway before the waiting room, “Hey, you ready to find Aaron and head home?”

Bea nodded as she strode in line with Chloe through the waiting room, “Sure thing.”

“Oh, Elly told me that you’ve been through a lot with everything that Finn has done. She asked me to get you to stay at home for the evening with Karl and Susan and not to worry about getting her overnight bag. I’ll get it for her and bring it to back here for you,” Chloe told Bea.

Bea smiled shyly up at the blonde, “Can’t stay away from your girl for long, can you? You’ll be back here within the hour making eyes at my sister the way you two do.”

Chloe raised her eyebrow at Bea, “’Your girl’? What are you talking about?”

Bea wiggled her eyebrow back at Chloe, “You and Elly? You’re finally going to be together, right?”

“What gave you that impression?” Chloe asked gently.

Bea immediately frowned at Chloe before taking her right hand and swiftly slapping Chloe across the back of her head.

“Ow! What was that for?” Chloe complained but continued walking alongside Bea.

“What the hell’s the matter with you?” Bea demanded, her tone firm but annoyed.

“I’m sorry if you thought that talk with Elly meant we’re going to be together,” Chloe told Bea.

Bea rolled her eyes at the blonde, “What else was I supposed to think?” then glared at Chloe, “Did you just break my sister’s heart cause I swear to God if you just--”

“What? No, it wasn’t like that,” Chloe assured.

“Then why aren’t you two together?” Bea asked, “You’ve been in love with Elly for more than a year, now she loves you back and you don’t want her? What cause you think Pierce is your great love? Or is this because of my nephew? You don’t want to be with Elly because of him?”

Chloe stopped walking, turned abruptly to Bea, stopping her in her tracks too, “It’s not like that, okay? But what it is, is complicated. That’s what I told Elly, that I need time to think about this. Elly dropped a bombshell on me because I never thought she’d feel the same way.”

“Elly does feel the same way, do you really need time to think it over? You still love her,” Bea commented.

Chloe sighed as she looked away from Bea, “I don’t know how to trust that Elly does love me, okay. Elly said it in a heightened emotional moment. She’s vulnerable, last thing she should be thinking about is romance. What if this isn’t how she really feels? What if she’s just…substituting me for Shaun cause she wants a partner to help her raise her son and I’m just…here cause she knows how I feel about her? How am I supposed to believe Elly truly loves me? That this isn’t just something that came over her last night? She says she’s felt this way for weeks now, since my birthday, but this is all so complicated and I need…to know this isn’t something Elly is responding to after our experience last night and giving birth to her son. Has Elly spoken to you about this?”

Bea relented to Chloe’s need for assurance, “Okay…I get where you are coming from that you need to know Elly means it and perhaps the timing wasn’t great as Elly should be putting all her focus into her son. I don’t believe for a second Elly would even consider using you or anyone for that matter cause she doesn’t want to be alone or raise her child alone. Elly never felt anything for Shaun, yes, she wanted him in the baby’s life as the baby’s father but that was as far as Elly would have taken things had he been alive. And no…Elly never spoke to me about the way she feels for you…but you said your birthday…Elly’s been moody, crying herself to sleep some nights…since about that time. I get you needing more than that…but I know my sister and she would never declare her love for you unless she knew that’s how she felt. If you need Elly to tell you she loves you every day until you finally trust her…my sister’s gonna do that…she’ll do anything to prove how she feels.”

“I still need time to think about all this,” Chloe mumbled.

“Do you love Pierce?” Bea asked tersely.

Chloe shrugged, “Pierce loves me.”

“That’s not what I asked,” Bea pointed out.

No…

Chloe didn’t answer Bea.

“Then this is about my nephew,” Bea concluded.

“Of course, he plays a big part in this and that is why I need time to make sure whatever may or may not happen between Elly and I is also what’s best for him. I don’t know if I’m cut out to be a parent,” Chloe admitted.

“Elly doesn’t need you to be a parent,” Bea pointed out.

“Elly told me when we were dating that whomever she does date she needs to make sure the person is right for her and her baby because that person will be a step mum or step dad. Being a role model to a child is one thing but I can’t just rush into this with Elly,” Chloe insisted.

Bea nodded, “I get this is a big decision but you need to trust Elly doesn’t need you to be a parent, start with being a role model. You both love each other and because of that you can make this work.”

Chloe sighed before she restarted walking with Bea towards the entrance of the hospital to meet Aaron, “I still need time, Bea, I can’t rush into anything with Elly. Besides I’m still not sure this is really how Elly feels about me and this isn’t some reaction to last night or not wanting to be alone.”

“Fine, take your time. If I know my sister, then she’s not gonna give up on proving how much she loves you just cause this is complicated and you need to be sure how she feels about you,” Bea decided.

“Who feels about you?” Aaron suddenly interrupted the pair as they came upon him quicker than they realized.

“Nothing,” Chloe answered quickly.

Aaron narrowed his eyes at the pair as he started walking in front of them out of the hospital, “But didn’t Bea just say to you, Chlo, ‘feels about you’?”

“Pierce,” Chloe lied, praying Aaron hadn’t heard the pronoun and was pretending not to have.

Bea shook her head at Chloe, swiftly back handing the blonde across the back of her head once more. Aaron heard the sound but when he turned back to the girls, he saw them glaring at one another, couldn’t work out why but decided it might be better to ask his sister later at home.

Chloe ignored the glare from Bea and the curious look Aaron had given her, “Bea needs a lift home and she’s going to stay there as she needs to be with her family tonight. I’m going to their place to pick up a bag for Elly with all her stuff she needs over the next few days then I’m coming back here to drop it off to her.”

“Do you need a lift back here with Elly’s stuff?” Aaron asked, realizing that telling Chloe not to spend time with Elly when Pierce was away was hardly the way to get Chloe onside.

“I’ll be fine, Azza, I need your help to sort out Hendrix staying at our place for a few nights anyway,” Chloe reminded him.

Bea elbowed Chloe in the side, “Thanks for helping Elly. She’s gonna appreciate seeing you again so soon…y’know after you’ve had some time to think things over.”

“What things?” Aaron asked his sister.

“Christmas present for Elly’s son now that I know it’s a boy, I’ll have to think about what to get them for Christmas,” Chloe lied then before Bea could say anymore, Chloe pointed to Aaron’s car, “Look, Aaron’s car, let’s get back to Ramsay Street as soon as possible.”

Bea waited for Aaron to jump in the car as she stood on his side of the car with Chloe walking around to the passenger side, to add to Chloe, “So you can get back to Elly, as soon as possible right?”

Chloe sighed as she hopped in the car with Bea doing the same.

Maybe…

Ten minutes later, Bea led Chloe into the Kennedy’s household. Pointing to the hallway that led to Elly’s room as she herself headed to the kitchen to make a cup of tea, Bea instructed Chloe, “Elly’s overnight bag for the hospital should be next to her dresser in her room.”

“Thanks, I’ll grab it,” Chloe replied.

Bea put the kettle on, “Oh since Elly was only planning on staying at the hospital for a night when she gave birth and she’s now going to be there a few nights, you might want to help her out by getting together some extra clothes…y’know…underwear stuff like that.”

Chloe turned back to Bea, “You are not at all subtle, Bea. Good thing at least Aaron isn’t here. I’m not going through Elly’s underwear drawer. Can’t you come help me grab the extra things Elly will need?”

Bea fake yawned, “Can’t. Too tired after last night’s kidnapping, might fall asleep in the middle of this water boiling for my tea. Be a grown up, Chloe.”

Chloe rolled her eyes at Bea, “Fine, I’ll be the grown up, if you could stop hassling me for five minutes and give me an actual chance to think about what Elly said about her feelings for me.”

“The part where she loves you and wants to be with you?” Bea reminded Chloe, “Okay, fine, five minutes is just enough time to get what you need from Elly’s room for her.”

Chloe left Bea in the kitchen, heading to Elly’s bedroom.

Why did you say ‘five minutes’? It’s going to take me a lot longer than that to find a way to trust that Elly really does have feelings for me or even if this is the right time to even think about starting anything romantic with Elly…when I’m with Pierce…and also cause Elly is probably not in the right space for this.

A few minutes later, Chloe had grabbed Elly’s bag and added a few extra items of clothing. As she was about to head out, she noticed the book on Elly’s bedside table, figuring Elly might need something to occupy her time, headed over to get it. Unzipping the bag, adding the book to it, Chloe suddenly remembered Elly telling her to get her Christmas present.

Right Christmas present…just what I need. Did Elly tell me to open it now? I think she did.

Chloe opened the bedside table drawer.

This isn’t a Christmas present…it’s a Christmas card…with my name on the envelope. I don’t see anything else in here that resembles a present. Elly must’ve mistaken what she said…or there’s a present inside. Oooh maybe a lotto ticket! If I win the fair thing to do would be to split the winnings with Elly…wait why would anyone get me a lotto ticket?

I’m dating Mr. Lotto…well some people would think that what with Pierce being a billionaire and they think he’d buy me anything in the world so there’s no need to buy me something that will win money. Especially when I’ve got Pierce wanting me to quit my job so I’m not even making my own money…to go do something a little less slave like on his dime that is.

Ooh I bet it’s a concert ticket!

…to a band that Pierce will hate and it’ll be for a date several months from now when Elly will be settled with the peanut so I’ll choose to take her instead…ooh Elly’s good. I know she’s going to have gotten me exactly what I need. She knows me better than anyone else.

And if Elly does love me, she’ll have made sure it’s the present I’ll need.

Chloe hesitated for a moment, feeling bad that she was getting her present days earlier than Christmas, before finally taking the card out of the envelope.

Chloe leant against the edge of Elly’s bed as she opened the card, holding it out, expecting a ticket or something to fall out of it but was disappointed to find nothing in the card. Flicking it back in front of her, Chloe raised her eyebrow as she realized there was only a handwritten message from Elly covering both sides of the card inside…

Chapter Text

And She, Waits For You

Chapter Twenty-Four

Sunday 22nd December – 4.30pm

Chloe began reading the Christmas card Elly had written to her.

“Chloe,

When we first met, I thought you were a skank.”

Chloe immediately paused reading the card, stared up from the card then frowned and side-eyed in confusion, “Okay…ouch…”

Chloe then proceeded to continue reading Elly’s message.

“After our catfight over you pinching Mark’s wallet and breaking my handbag, you then proceeded to ask me to mix it up with you and I told my friends, ‘Chloe Brennan’ is a nut job!”

Chloe looked up, again speaking to no one as she was alone, “Okay, why would Elly ever think I need to read this? Is she trying to make me feel…like a skank and a nutjob? Maybe I’m imagining this terrible message from Elly…let me re-read it…”

“Chloe,

When we first met, I thought you were a skank.

After our catfight over you pinching Mark’s wallet and breaking my handbag, you then proceeded to ask me to mix it up with you and I told my friends, ‘Chloe Brennan’ is a nut job!”

Chloe paused to side-eye once more realizing that she hadn’t made up the hurtful message and Elly had written it, “Alright, I’m giving this Christmas card one more sentence from Elly to see if she insults me again before I’m throwing this in the trash.”

“Thinking you were a skank and a nut job is the first in an incredibly long line of mistakes I’ve made about you and a part of me wishes I could take it back but I don’t want to as its led me to where I am today - not thinking that you are either of those things. When the truth is you are the woman that I am truly, madly, and deeply in love with, Chlo.”

Chloe blushed gently as the words in Elly’s handwriting washed over her, “Okay that’s…better.”

“I have treated you so badly for the better part of this entire year, all because I’ve been hiding behind the truth that I’m so in love with you.

You have no reason to believe me after all this time but it’s how I feel about you. I’ve always felt this way about you, I was just so afraid what it would mean for me. I’ve come to accept it, now.

You’re all I think about, I love you and I want to be with you.

There was a time I thought I was meant to meet Mark because he was gonna be the most important person in my life.

I was meant to meet Mark but it was because I was destined to meet you and you, Chloe, are the most important person in my life.

I am truly, madly, deeply in love with you.

Yours always,

Love, Elly”

Chloe sat back on Elly’s bed, silently unable to do much but stare at the Christmas card as she read it over and over again multiple times until the words were ingrained in her memory.

Chloe breathed deeply as she eventually put the card back in its envelope, holding onto the card tight in her hand.

Okay I see the point in Elly sending me here to get this card…

I have to go talk to Elly about it…

Chloe turned around, picked up the bag she’d put together for Elly, clutched onto the Christmas card in her free hand and left the room.

As Chloe entered the living room area of the Kennedy’s, Bea was standing in the kitchen drinking her cup of tea, “About time, I was wondering where’d gotten to. Hope you didn’t get lost in Elly’s underwear drawer.”

Chloe reviled at Bea’s comment, “Would you stop being so crude, Bea? You’ve made your feelings perfectly clear that you think Elly and I should be together. It’s not up to you, Bea. It’s for Elly and I to decide if us being together is the right thing for us and Elly’s son. I’m going back to the hospital to drop this off to Elly. I’ll tell her you guys will be by in the morning to check on her.”

Bea took another sip of her tea as Chloe left the house, then pursed her lips once she was alone, “Chloe already referring to her and Elly being an ‘us’…they’ll be back together by the end of the day.”

Chloe bit her lip as she walked through the hospital hallway back to Elly’s room. She had Elly’s bag with her clothes and belongings slung over one of her shoulders, with the Christmas card still clutched in her other hand.

As Chloe reached Elly’s room, she found herself standing in the doorway for a moment, watching Elly lying in her hospital bed. Elly was fiddling with her fingernails, clearly nervous over something.

Chloe eventually knocked on the door, watching the anxious look continue on Elly’s face as she turned to her, “Hey. You look nervous, everything okay?”

I’ve been sitting here for an hour freaking out at the idea of Chloe possibly reading the Christmas card I wrote her…and also when the nurses are bringing my son back to me cause I’m worried I’m going to mess up this whole being a mum thing…

Elly cleared her throat, “Yeah…just waiting for my son to be brought back here.”

“I thought you were meant to be resting without him for a little while,” Chloe replied quietly.

Elly shrugged, “Little hard to do, I miss him already and I think I need to get used to not sleeping so I’m kinda okay with waiting around until they bring him back to me before I actually take a nap. Anyway, did you...ah…manage to get my bag…?”

Elly trailed off and blushed when she saw Chloe was holding the Christmas card in her hand but couldn’t make out if the envelope had been opened or not.

Chloe finally stepped into the room, slinging the bag off of her shoulder as she reached Elly’s bed, and placing it down on the bed next to Elly, “Bea made a point that you’d probably only packed enough clothes for a one night stay and since your birth plan didn’t turn out as you wanted, I grabbed you some extra clothes and a book to read when you aren’t looking out for your son…though you’ll probably be spending all that extra time without him sleeping. I didn’t think about that.”

“Thanks, Chloe, it’s the thought that counts,” Elly told her, still trying to get a better look at the envelope because Chloe wasn’t giving her any clues if she’d read the card or not.

Chloe bit her lip, “Full disclosure, Bea made me go through your underwear drawer to get you some extra…well…underwear. I don’t know what Bea’s been like to you but she’s making it quite clear she wants us to get back together. I told her it’s our decision to make, it’s not up to anyone else.”

“Right…” Elly whispered as she glanced away from Chloe, finally seeing that the envelope had been opened and was waiting anxiously for Chloe to react to it.

I don’t know how I’ll cope if Chloe breaks my heart.

Chloe stood by the bed, awkwardly shifting from one foot to the other, before finally holding up the Christmas card, “So I--”

Chloe was immediately interrupted by a nurse entering the room, pushing a trolley in front of her that held Elly’s son, swaddled up, on it.

The nurse announced, “Here’s your son, Miss. Conway, do you want to spend an hour or so with him? Try feeding him again before I come back for him?”

Elly sat up from her position of lying in the bed and was surprised when Chloe reached out to adjust her pillow and put her hand on Elly’s shoulder to comfort her, “Sure, I’d love to.”

Great, now, it’ll be even longer until I work out if Chloe’s going to break my heart…I can’t be too upset that my son is the reason Chloe will probably take off now.

As the nurse picked up the newborn, she suddenly looked at Chloe fussing over getting Elly comfy, “Would you like to hold him first?”

“Me?” Chloe’s eyes widened, before glancing at Elly with uncertainty.

Chloe doesn’t want to…that’s fine…that’s entirely not a sign that even if Chloe does want to be with me…having a newborn in my life is not something she wants.

What if I hurt him? Mess this up, Elly won’t trust me near her son again!

Elly swallowed hard at the look of fear on Chloe’s face, “Chlo, you don’t--”

“Can I? I mean is that…okay…with you if I…?” Chloe stuttered.

Elly smiled softly, “If you want to…I’d love you to. Just maybe don’t tell my family as they haven’t held him yet. They’ve met him but haven’t…thought they could wait until they all come back in the morning.”

“Oh, I don’t want to step on their feet and take this moment away from them,” Chloe retorted.

“You can hold him, Chloe, it’s fine. I want you to,” Elly decided.

The nurse lifted Elly’s son out of the trolley, handing him to Chloe, who was immediately forced to drop the Christmas card next to Elly on the bed. After a minute of settling the newborn into her arms, then so she could sit down in the chair next to Elly’s bed, holding him upright with her hand supporting his head and leaning him against her chest.

The nurse soon left the pair alone in the hospital room.

“You doing okay, there?” Elly asked quietly.

“Freaking out I’ll drop him and you’ll never forgive me,” Chloe admitted as she settled into the chair a bit more now that she had Elly’s son comfortably against her chest, “Don’t take offence if I hand him straight over to you if he starts crying. I’ll be too afraid I won’t know how to settle him or have a single clue what he needs.”

“You’re not the only one. I guess it’ll take me time to get used to his cries and what they mean,” Elly realized, as she awkwardly found herself clutching at the Christmas card, Chloe had abandoned next to her on the bed.

“Do you have a name for him, yet?” Chloe asked.

Elly nodded shyly, “Only if you’re okay with it…”

Why does Elly need me to be okay with her son’s name?

“Elliot,” Elly whispered to Chloe.

Chloe glanced down at the newborn then smiled over at Elly, “I love it. Why are you worried I wouldn’t like it? Cause it’d be Elly and Elliot? I think that’s an adorable pairing of your names.”

“No, because it’s your…nickname…your brothers call you cause of your favourite movie,” Elly blushed, “Is that…okay?”

Chloe raised her eyebrow, “Oh right…so it is. Been a while since they’ve called me that. I love it. I’d be happy to share my nick name with him.”

Elly smiled back at Chloe, “Good…cause I kinda didn’t have a backup name for a boy. When Shaun was here last before he…I’d sat down with him that morning that he…we started talking names and we settled on Aster for a girl as it’s his favourite flower. I only just realized when I went into labour we never even discussed boy’s names so I never got the chance to ask him if he’d be okay with Elliot.”

Chloe found herself pressing her lips to the top of Elliot’s head, “I’m sure Shaun would’ve loved it. I know you didn’t know him well and his association to Finn now might make you want to forget Shaun but you’ll find ways for Elliot to remember his father.”

“I will,” Elly agreed, unable to stop blushing at the sight of Chloe affectionately cradling her son.

“I’m surprised this little guy hasn’t burst into tears yet,” Chloe told Elly, “Bet I just jinxed it and he’ll start crying any second now.”

“Nah I think he’s good. I think he likes you,” Elly replied.

Chloe stared down at him, “You got all that by Elliot not crying all over me?”

No, I’m just hoping against hope you want to me with me, he’ll fall in love with you as much as I have and you’ll be okay with that.

Elly nodded, before taking a deep breath and gently holding out the Christmas card, “Did you read it?”

Chloe stared at Elly, the anxiousness written all over her face, “Yes, I did. I got the point of you getting me to read it.”

“You did?” Elly questioned, trying desperately to believe Chloe wasn’t about to break her heart.

Chloe ran her tongue over her lips, “You meant what you said to me last night. It wasn’t just a reaction to the situation we were put in and you don’t just want to be with me cause you don’t want to be a single mum.”

“I did,” Elly quietly confirmed.

“Because it’s not like you knew you were going to make your love declaration, knew I needed time to free us rather than talk about it, knew that when we did talk about it that I would accuse you of being too vulnerable to know what your feelings really are for me, that I would need time to come to terms with all of this, somehow manage to get your hands on a Christmas card whilst stuck in hospital here, write your feelings in it, then get the card to your bedroom without me knowing so I could read it and finally accept that you meant what you said to me last night,” Chloe concluded.

“I wrote the card a couple weeks ago, Chlo. Actually, the night before Shaun…died. I didn’t know I was going to be a single parent then,” Elly revealed, “And yes, that was the point of me asking you to read it now so you would find some belief that everything I said last night and earlier this afternoon was the truth.”

“If the ordeal we went through didn’t happen, would you have given me the Christmas card?” Chloe asked curiously.

Elly breathed deeply, “I’m not sure. I wrote it to express my feelings for you. I needed to stop bottling them up. I told Suze about my feelings for you a few weeks ago. She made me see that I couldn’t keep it to myself…I needed to find a way to reveal the feelings I hold for you. Even if that meant not giving you the card.”

“Why wouldn’t you have given me the card?” Chloe questioned, as she started rocking Elliot gently when he started to fuss in her arms, “I gave you my Christmas card last year…or I did and then your mum pinched it and I realized I shouldn’t have given it to you but you found it anyway…”

Elly chewed on her lip, “I didn’t want to blow up your whole life. But apparently I did so last night anyway by telling you how I feel about you.”

And now I’m waiting for you to blow up mine by not wanting to be with me or choose to be with me…

“You really did mean how you feel about me?” Chloe confirmed.

“I meant it, Chloe. I know things are more complicated than how we feel about each other for us to get back together without another thought and we have a lot to work through,” Elly replied softly, “But I know what I want. I think you truly believe me when I tell you that I’m in love with you. I want us to be together.”

Chloe stared at Elly thoughtfully for a moment, trying to feel perfectly secure that Elly really loved her, “What if I said…I just want to be friends…?”

Elly dropped her gaze from Chloe, heartbroken at the mere thought.

I hate my whole life.

Chapter Text

And She, Waits For You

Chapter Twenty-Five

Sunday 22nd December – 5.30pm

What if I said…I just want to be friends…?

Those words from Chloe swirled around Elly’s head the second the blonde had uttered them.

Elly immediately turned from Chloe, who was still seated next to Elly’s hospital bed, cradling her son against her chest. Elly rolled over onto her side away from Chloe, curling up gently, bringing her hands to her face as she burst into tears uncontrollably.

How can this be happening? I thought Chloe still loved me…

Chloe stared in surprise at the reaction Elly had to the suggestion of them being nothing more than friends.

Chloe shifted in her position on the chair, struggling for a moment to balance Elliot on her chest with one arm holding him, gently resting her chin on top of his head as she freed one of her hands to briefly reach out to place her hand on Elly’s shoulder, “Elly…”

Elly shrugged Chloe’s hand from her shoulder, not noticing that Chloe then went back to having both arms cradling her son against her chest, and continuing crying heavily.

“Wow…you are really completely and utterly heartbroken at the thought that all I could possibly want is to be your friend,” Chloe realized.

I’ve never been so heartbroken in my life. How do I ever get over this…over you, Chloe?

Elly mumbled something in between her tears, with her hands covering her face, Chloe couldn’t even make out a single word.

“I don’t want to be your friend, Elly,” Chloe finally said.

Chloe expected Elly to have reacted to her words but Elly continued crying uncontrollably.

“Elly,” Chloe said louder this time, “I don’t want to be your friend.”

Elly continued sniffling but pulled her hands down from her face, “What?”

“I needed to be sure without a single doubt in my mind that your feelings for me are just as strong,” Chloe explained before repeating again, “I don’t want to be your friend.”

Elly uncurled herself and rolled back onto her other side, facing Chloe and her son, “Were you…testing me?”

Chloe grimaced, then hesitantly nodded, “Yes. After I read your card, I believe you do love me…I just…needed to know…that the idea of not being with me…wouldn’t make you give up. That you’d keep fighting to be with me anyway…I didn’t expect this…you to be so utterly heartbroken… I’m sorry for making you think that I could possibly only want to be friends with you.”

“What are you saying, Chloe?” Elly whispered.

“I want us to be together,” Chloe whispered back.

Elly broke into a gentle smile, “Really?”

“Really,” Chloe confirmed.

Elly sat back up in her hospital bed, wiping away the tears that were still moist on her cheeks, “You want to be with me? For us to be together?”

Chloe shuffled forwards in her chair, cradling Elliot carefully one handed as she reached her other hand out and stroked it against Elly’s cheek, “Yes and yes.”

Elly reached out too, her hands on either side of Chloe’s cheeks, trying to be mindful that Chloe still held her son against her chest, he was now settled between them and she didn’t want to squash him, “The only answers I needed.”

Elly leant forward to brush her lips against Chloe’s but just as she was finally about to kiss the blonde, Chloe pulled back, “We can’t.”

“We can’t?” Elly repeated, still cradling Chloe in her hands, “I thought you said…”

Chloe pulled back further, her hand dropping from Elly’s, Elly reluctantly letting go of her cheeks, finding herself staring down at Elliot.

“It’s because I have a newborn that I need to put all my energy and focus into, isn’t it?” Elly assumed sadly.

Chloe gently stood up and quietly handed Elliot to Elly, helping to settle him into Elly's arms before sitting back on the edge of the chair, reaching out and placing her hand on Elly's shoulder reassuringly.

"It's not about your son at all as to why we can't. I'm not going to pretend I have any clue yet on how much I would even want to be involved in Elliot's life. I need some time to figure all that out, if that's okay," Chloe confessed softly.

"Of course, I'd never ask you to do or be anything more than you'd ever be comfortable with to Elliot. We don't have to have any of this worked out about how this will work between us anytime soon. We can take our time. I just need to know you're willing to take the time we need to figure out how you and I together will work and that you want to be with me and we can do this," Elly offered.

"Right...except we can't...not yet," Chloe whispered, before sighing, "I can't cause of Pierce."

Elly shrugged, trying to appear relaxed in her tone, "Go home and break up with Pierce. I'll be here waiting for you. I know you don't want to cheat on him, I don't want us to cheat on him, that's not how we start what's between us."

"If only it was that simple," Chloe sighed again.

"You don't want to...end things with Pierce?" Elly asked, nearly breaking at the thought.

"I'm not going to say I'd be jumping with joy to have this conversation with Pierce. I will end things with him so we can start to figure all this stuff out between us. It's just I can't have that conversation with him right now...Pierce is in New York," Chloe eventually informed Elly.

"Oh," replied Elly with disappointment, not really sure how to take that news.

Chloe ran her hand through her hair, "Pierce flew out yesterday morning when I went looking for you. I should've mentioned it earlier but didn't really seem to be anything worth mentioning until now. Pierce is there to--"

Set up a grand proposal to you there, fly you over there? Move over there? Get you to move over there?!?

"Is Pierce moving to New York? Are you going too? Is Pierce trying to take you away from all this craziness that happens in Erinsborough? Is he taking you away from me?" Elly asked with rapid fire, not even halting when Chloe put her hands up to slow Elly down, "We don't have to be together, if the only way to keep you here is to be your friend only and you stay with Pierce then I'll do that. I can't handle you moving to New York, Chlo! I couldn't bare it, I--"

"Elly!" Chloe finally intervened, "I'm not moving to New York. Whatever gave you that idea?"

Elly glanced downwards sheepishly, "Pierce can do that kind of thing for you...I won't ever be able to. I panicked at the thought of..."

"Losing me to the big city," Chloe finished then when Elly looked back up at her, "I love my life here, I'm not going anywhere. I don't need any huge life in another city just because Pierce can provide that.”

“I’m glad,” Elly replied quietly, trying to remain calm after her freak out.

Chloe explained further, “Pierce is over there for work. One of his businesses is about to collapse and he was needed to try and save it. He flew out yesterday...right around the time Finn found Bea and I. Pierce did ask me to go with him, make it a romantic getaway but I didn't want to. I didn't want to go on a romantic getaway with him, not when it's the busiest time of the year at Lassiters and I'm needed for my job there...which is kind of a moot point now as I called Terese after I spoke to my family to let her know what happened to us and the first words out of her mouth were 'Chloe, you've been through a traumatic experience, go see a counselor, we'll reimburse you and you can come back to work...let me look at my calendar...Monday 6th January. Come back then as I'm not having an employee resume work before we know you don't have PTSD.'”

“Terese is a pretty understanding boss,” Elly recognized, trying not to giggle at Chloe's impression of her boss.

“Yeah she is,” Chloe agreed, “Now I have time off work that I hadn't planned for but it might be nice...it could give us some time to spend together and work this whole thing out...or some of it at least."

"That'd be really nice," Elly smiled.

"But whatever this is and how it's going to work between the pair of us and your son...it can't happen until I've broken up with Pierce," Chloe informed her.

Elly found her eyes drift to the telephone next to her bedside table.

Chloe immediately caught on, "I can't break up with Pierce over the phone, Elly. I may not be in love with him but I respect him enough to know that he deserves to hear this from me in person. Besides I haven't even had a chance to call him about the ordeal I went through due to the time difference over there so I can't exactly call him to say this massive thing happened whilst he was on his flight over there and because of all that...it made me see that what I feel for you never went away."

And also, the last thing I need is Pierce flying back here at the thought that I need him when what I really need is this break from him before I end things once he returns. I need some time to figure out how I need to make things work with Elly now that I know she loves me and what Elly having a newborn even means for us...me... 

"I know, he does deserve that respect," Elly conceded, "How long will he be away for? I mean he'll be home for Christmas, right?"

Chloe shook her head, "It's doubtful. Whatever business problems he's having, when he asked me to come with him, he was talking about the opportunity for us to spend a white Christmas...and New Year's over there..."

Elly sighed but tried to distract herself by rocking her son, "So Pierce is going to be over there for a while…? I don’t suppose you would want to…jump on the next flight out to New York, break up with Pierce there then get on the next flight home? Quick round trip and you’ll be home in time for Christmas to be with us…okay maybe not back in time for Christmas. You gain a day there, you spend a day or so there depending on flights, you lose a day on the way back...but y'know Pierce finds out and you come home to us."

Chloe almost smirked at Elly's suggestion and her clear impatience for them to start working on being together as a couple, "Elly, I can't fly all the way to New York then come straight back just to break up with Pierce. It's a cute idea but a little on the extreme side."

"Okay," Elly pouted, "So, how do you want...this to work between us until Pierce gets home? I mean you said you now have time off work and we could spend time together..."

Chloe leant back towards Elly, slipping her hand to Elly's cheek and being comforted when Elly fell into the touch, "We spend time together...as friends. We haven't spent a whole lot of time together of late with...me being with Pierce and you preparing to have your baby. I can come in and see you here until you get discharged. Then once your home with your family, settling into your new life as a mum...we can hang out together...the three of us. However this thing between us is going to work, it needs to work for all three of us otherwise we're just going to end up hurting each other plus Elliot in the process."

"I like the sound of that. You're right, we need to make sure this works for all of us. I don't want to get my son hurt if I stuff things up like I always do and you're the last person I'd ever want to cause any hurt. We do this right, take our time and we'll find the way to be together that works for all of us," Elly agreed.

"Precisely," Chloe smiled at the pair.

"But until we work out how this will work between us and Pierce returns so you can tell him it's over between the pair of you...we're not together?" Elly clarified.

"We're not together, just two friends spending time together with your son and getting to know things about each other that we don't already know," Chloe confirmed.

"And when you do see Pierce on his return so you can end it with him...we'll be together then?" Elly once more needed assurance.

"We'll be together then," Chloe agreed.

Chloe stood up, leaning over Elly and her son, slipped her arm around Elly's shoulders and pressed her lips to Elly's forehead.

Who am I kidding? I can say I want to wait until I break up with Pierce properly but that's not going to stop Elly and I being emotionally together for the next few weeks.

I'm already completely in love with Chloe...as if I'm going to be able to resist falling more and more in love with her everyday...broken up with Pierce or not...

When Chloe gently rested her head on Elly's, Elly leant over, kissing Chloe's cheek.

Pulling away, Elly closed her eyes for a moment, feeling peaceful in Chloe's embrace. 

Peacefulness didn't last long as Elliot immediately started crying, bringing Elly to focus on trying to settle her son.

Glancing up at Chloe, Elly said, “I’m gonna have to get used to this.”

“So am I,” Chloe whispered.

Elly nervously asked, “You sure you don’t just want to walk away from all this?”

“Not for the world,” Chloe decided. 

Chapter Text

And She, Waits For You

Chapter Twenty-Six

Wednesday 25th December – 8.00am

A few days later, Chloe was outside the Kennedy house in their driveway in Elly’s car attempting to install a baby capsule into the back seat of the car.

Chloe nearly jumped when she heard her brother and brother-in-law come up behind her when she was leaning into the car.

“Hey, Chloe,” David greeted, “We were heading for a walk around the neighbourhood. Didn’t expect to find you over here.”

“Chlo,” Aaron gently barked at her, “I thought you said after our Chrissy breakfast together you were going to Pierce’s with Hendrix so he can pack for his flight in a couple hours?”

Chloe didn’t look up at them, “Hendrix is over there at Pierce’s packing the rest of his stuff. I’ll get him shortly to take him to the airport so he can get his flight to Sydney to spend the rest of the day with Lisa and Alana.”

Aaron glanced at David nervously, “Right…so…you’re here…?”

Chloe frowned as she looked over at her older brother, “I’m playing soccer. What does it look like I’m doing Azza? I’m trying to install this baby capsule into Elly’s car for her.”

As Chloe turned back to the contraption, Aaron noted Chloe held the instructions for the capsule and was trying to safely secure it into Elly’s car, “Okay…but why?”

“Weren’t you listening to David and I when we told you this morning that Elly and the peanut are getting discharged this morning and are coming home? She needs this baby capsule installed into her car. Shaun was meant to do it for Elly…but he…you know…didn’t get to it before…anyway Elly needs it in her car so she can be picked up from the hospital,” Chloe answered.

Sensing a bit of weirdness from Aaron over Chloe’s involvement with helping Elly, David interjected, “Elly and Elliot are pretty lucky to get to come home today. Elly probably did need an extra day to recover from the traumatic birth, lack of food and water during the kidnapping ordeal. But y’know, it’s Christmas, the pair of them deserve to spend the day at home with her family. As long as Elly--”

“Takes it easy, spends most of the day resting…well as much as she can with having a newborn to take care of. Elly heard you and the other doctors. Karl’s home today too so he’ll make sure she’s doing everything right,” Chloe told the boys.

Aaron leant his hand on the rim of the car’s roof, “So, Karl’s home…and…you’re the one trying to install this baby capsule? Why?”

“Because I’m helping Elly and I want to be able to show I can do this,” Chloe answered vaguely.

Because if Elly, I and the peanut are going to make things work once Pierce returns and I end things with him then I need to be able to do things for Elly like…installing a flipping baby capsule that has instructions I swear make no sense! If I’m going to be a big part of their lives, I need to sort stuff like this for them.

“Do you want some help?” David offered.

“No, I got this,” Chloe insisted.

I think I got this…

“How’s Pierce?” Aaron suddenly interjected.

Chloe balked for a moment before turning to her brother, “He’s good,” before immediately turning back to the baby capsule, flipping through the instructions.

So…I still haven’t told Pierce about the kidnapping ordeal…he’ll rush home and I need time with Elly and Elliot to figure out how this will work between us. Can’t tell Aaron that but Pierce is good…I’ve ignored the few calls he’s made to me, responded to messenger texts with short, non-committal answers, given him the like button on texts I don’t want to bother answering… Maybe by the time Pierce returns he’ll have gotten the hint.

Aaron gritted his teeth at Chloe’s lack of interest in her boyfriend, “What time will you be taking Hendrix to the airport? Will you be back for lunch at ours?”

Chloe glanced at her watch, still ignoring looking at the boys, trying to focus on the baby capsule, “I’ll grab Hendrix in about half an hour, get him to the airport for his flight. I probably won’t be home for lunch but we all know we'll be having a normal lunch. It's the big ol' Brenaka Christmas dinner celebration that we do better than most that I'm hanging out for. No way am I missing that. I’ll be round for dinner and will even help you cook or cleanup after.”

Aaron frowned, “Taking Hendrix to the airport shouldn’t take you that long?”

Chloe ran her hand through her hair, “It won’t but after I drop Hendrix to the airport…I’ll be going to the hospital…to pick up Elly and Elliot to bring them home. The Kennedy’s are putting on a lunch, I’ll just get something quickly from them. I’m sure they won’t mind.”

David gave Aaron a look trying to get his husband to remain calm, knowing he was about to overreact.

And overreact Aaron did, “You’re picking up Elly and her son to bring them home from hospital?”

“That’s what I said,” Chloe replied quickly, fearing Aaron pushing this.

“That…that kind of sounds like the…sort of thing a partner to the mother and parent of the baby does,” Aaron said awkwardly trying to understand.

“Does it?” Chloe asked innocently.

“Why isn’t Elly’s family picking her up? Are they that busy on Christmas morning with their plans?” Aaron asked.

“Elly got told late yesterday she was being discharged this morning. Elly asked me to come and pick her up when I was there at the hospital with her and Elliot yesterday. What’s the big deal?” Chloe challenged.

“Chloe’s just being a good friend,” David tried to claim but Aaron couldn’t let it go, “The big deal, Chlo, is it seems like since your ordeal at the hands of Finn…you and Elly…have become inseparable. Instead of hanging at ours with Hendrix looking out for him like you promised Pierce you would, you’ve left Hendrix to David and I to spend time with whilst you…have spent almost the entire last two days at Elly’s bedside. I’m sure you’ve spent way more time there than even the Kennedy’s or Bea have. Why?”

Because Elly and I are in love with each other and we’re spending time with one another to try and figure how this whole us being together with Elly having a newborn will work once I’m free to be with Elly.

Chloe turned to the boys again, “Because I’ve been handed unexpected time off work and Elly’s stuck in hospital on her own with her son. We’ve kind of been apart since we broke up so we’re just…getting to know each other again as…friends. I’ve been spending time every morning with Hendrix and getting dinner with him the last three nights. So, I haven’t been around during the day. Guess I’m trying to get used to this…having a teenage boy in my life.”

“Since you’ve been a bit absent with Hendrix the last couple days…why don’t you take him to the airport and David and I can fit this baby capsule into Elly’s car and we’ll go pick her and Elliot up from the hospital for you?” Aaron offered.

“No,” Chloe growled at her brother, “Go and enjoy your Christmas together, both of you. I can handle this on my own. Fitting the capsule into this car, getting Hendrix, taking him to the airport, picking up Elly and Elliot from the hospital and bring them back here.”

I can multi-task and get everything I need to do done today without anyone else helping me…parents…I mean partners of someone with a baby…can do all that.

David placed his hand on Aaron’s shoulder, “Look why don’t we let Chloe do what she’s gotta do and if she needs help then she’ll ask for it?”

“Exactly, thank you, David,” Chloe replied gratefully.

Aaron reluctantly nodded, “Okay, fine, we’ll leave you to it. Are you sure you don’t at least want us to get this baby capsule installed for you?”

Chloe held out the instructions, “I’ve got the instructions, Azza. I mean yeah, the font is tiny and barely reads like it’s in English but…I can manage this. I can do all this and get everything organized that I need to this morning so I can make sure Elly has a good start to her first Christmas with her son.”

Aaron put up his hands in defeat, “Alright, I get the message, you want to do all this on your own. Call us if you need anything.”

“I will,” Chloe replied, waving the two boys off as she held the instructions back up in front of her trying to decipher how to install the baby capsule securely, “I swear Finn brought Elly the most complicated baby capsule on purpose to send Elly bonkers trying to install this. I wish Elly had listened to me when I suggested she buy something else not related to Finn. I can do this, the quicker I get this done, the quicker I can see Elly.”

As Aaron and David walked away from the Kennedy’s down Ramsay Street, Aaron glanced at David, “Should I be worried by how much time Chloe is spending with Elly and how much she’s doing for both Elly and Elliot…at a time in which Pierce is away and she should be paying more attention to Hendrix?”

David shrugged, “Well they did go through a pretty hefty ordeal together so it’s understandable they might be connected by that and they were friends before they slept together. Chloe is more than capable of making her own decisions…and if the two decide…all I’m saying is nobody’s going to be able to step in their way. Not you, not Pierce, not anyone. I know Elly messed things up terribly with Mark and really hurt him with lying to him that the baby was his…but Mark’s moved on from that. It’s time you let Chloe and Elly decide what they to each other.”

“Okay,” Aaron reluctantly agreed, “But what about Elliot? If…anything happens between Chloe and Elly again…do you really think Chloe…is remotely capable of having a newborn in her life?”

David took Aaron’s hand in his own, “I think your sister might surprise you. Whatever happens is going to happen and if it doesn’t…Chloe and Elly being back to being best friends might help them both.”

“I’m still hoping that’s all it is between them. I don’t want to see Chloe getting hurt,” Aaron decided.

An hour later, Chloe finally sighed with relief and accomplishment at finally installing the baby capsule securely into the back seat of Elly’s car. Grabbing her mobile out of her handbag that was sitting on the passenger seat, Chloe saw a text from Elly that she hadn’t heard the phone beep with nearly half an hour earlier:

“Got the all clear to be discharged with Elliot. Just getting changed, all my stuff together and some supplies the hospital have given me for Elliot. Can’t wait to see you soon. Am I allowed to sign off with ‘I love you’? Or is that too soon or not allowed until we’re actually together cause we’re still just friends for now? Let me know. xox”

Chloe smiled giddily at the message, unable to hide the feelings she felt with Elly’s spiel about love. Chloe quickly messaged back:

“Sorry just saw your message, got the baby capsule installed. I’ll see you soon. I love you, too.”

As Chloe closed the passenger side door, she saw another text from Elly pop up:

“Great. Can’t wait. I love you.”

Chloe walked around the back of the car to the drivers’ side of the car, smiling as she stared at the message from Elly before shooting off a final message:

“I’ll never tire of hearing you say that.”

Putting her phone back in her handbag, Chloe started the car and reversed out of the driveway, feeling excited at the thought of being the one to bring the new family home.

Chloe arrived at Elly's hospital room in no time, knocking on the door Chloe greeted, "Hey you, you two ready to go home?"

Elly who had been lying on the hospital bed, cradling her son, glanced up at Chloe and immediately broke into a smile, "Hey you, I'm so ready to get out of here and go home with my baby and you. I just got to set Elliot up in the pram, sign some discharge paperwork and then we can get out of here."

As Chloe walked into the room, Elly sat up from the hospital bed, holding Elliot against her chest.

I kinda just want to wrap my arms around Chloe and hug her but I don't know if that's allowed as we're only friends until Chloe can break up with Pierce. I know Chloe's given the okay to say we love each other in text messages but I feel like there is so many things we need to work out with the whole only friends’ thing.

Chloe walked over to the pram, sitting in the corner of the room and brought it over to Elly's side of the bed, "Good thing Bea brought this from your place yesterday ready for you two to come home. Why don't you get the peanut in here and I will grab your bags."

Elly gently placed Elliot into the pram, tightening his blanket he was swaddled in, "How did the baby capsule installation into my car go?"

"Good, great...took me an hour. Those things need to come with better bloody - ahem not bloody cause I shouldn't say bad words in front of the peanut - um instructions," Chloe admitted.

Elly gently giggled at Chloe trying to change her language already with a newborn around, "I thought I told you to get Karl to help you install it. You would've had to hear him yarning on about how expensive all the baby supplies are nowadays but he'd have had gotten it done with you in less than that time."

"I know but I wanted to prove I could to it on my own without anyone's help," Chloe insisted, "David and Aaron found me installing the capsule. Aaron has already noticed our increased time we've spent together. I don't know how he's going to take the news after I...well that when Pierce gets back I'm breaking up with him and we're...trying to work things out between us."

"You're always very determined," Elly replied in appreciation, "As for Aaron...it's not up to him. It's your decision…and I’m pretty biased but I think you’ve made the right decision."

Chloe smiled at Elly as she picked up Elly’s hospital bag, bag of baby supplies and handbag, “How’s the peanut? You right to head home after we sign those discharge papers of yours?”

“We’re all good over here. Here let me put the handbag on this hook thing just under the handle of the pram,” Elly said, blushing as Chloe handed her the bag and they grazed hands.

A few minutes later, Elly had signed her paperwork, and the pair of them were walking down the hospital hallway. Chloe holding Elly’s bags, with Elly pushing the pram with Elliot in front of them.

Elly smiled at Chloe as they walked, gently leaning towards her, “It’s too bad you haven’t broken up with Pierce, yet, cause if you had, I’d totally be holding your hand now.”

Chloe blushed as she looked over at the brunette, “You would? Like…you wouldn’t be afraid to…hold my hand in public like this?”

Elly shook her head, “I wouldn’t be. I’m done being afraid of strangers judging me because of who I want to be with and how I intend on showing that when we are together.”

“You really know how to surprise me,” Chloe smiled.

"I do," Elly agreed, then as she spotted the hospital cafe up ahead Elly slowed down, "You know what, as soon as we get back to my place my family are going to be all over Elliot and I like they haven't spent hours with us here the last two days. Any chance you want to grab a quick bite to eat here even though it's far too early for lunch so we can just have a few extra moments alone? Or do you need to rush back home to have lunch with the boys for Christmas?"

"A quick bite to eat, more time alone with you and the peanut before the craziness of your family fawning over you and Elliot as soon as we walk through the door of your place sounds perfect. I was hoping to spend a bit of time with your family before I head home. Aaron and David have a massive dinner planned so I'm skipping lunch to prepare for it," Chloe decided, "Besides there is nowhere else I need to be, except with you two." 

A little while later, as Chloe and Elly had finished their bite to eat at the hospital café and were sorting out getting Elliot in the car to take him home, Hendrix was chilled out on the couch at his Dad’s house. Hendrix took his headphones off as he looked over at the clock on the wall.

“Oops, would you look at that? Guess I missed my flight to Sydney! Such a pity! Sorry, Mum, not really interested in being turfed back to you to spend the holidays just because Dad didn’t want me around. Guess Chloe forgot all about me too. I really am surprised she didn’t come back or text me or…anything,” Hendrix said to himself.

Standing up, Hendrix headed to the kitchen to find something to put together for lunch, “Nothing I can do about it now. Missed my flight and now it’s Christmas Lunch for one at the Greyson’s.”

Chapter Text

And She, Waits For You

Chapter Twenty-Seven

Wednesday 25th December – 11.00am

As soon as Elly walked in the front door of the Kennedy’s, carrying her son in the baby capsule from the car, she was beset upon by her family. Chloe had walked up the pathway from the car to the front door next to Elly but as soon as they walked in the house, Chloe hung back, closed the front door behind them.

Elly had barely been able to walk to the dining table, a few meters from the front door, to put the baby capsule and Elliot on the table for her family to look at her son when they all launched at the pair.

Bea wrapped her arms around Elly in a protective hug, “I’m so glad your home! How’s my nephew?”

Susan and Karl had already walked over too and were also standing next to Bea, staring at the newborn in the capsule. Susan asked, “How are you feeling, Elly?”

Like I have my son here but Chloe’s backing away from us…

Elly subtly reached out her left hand behind her back, waving it at Chloe to come join them. Elly felt relieved when she felt Chloe walk over to her, standing by her side. Elly smiled at Chloe, glad to see the same look on her face, before turning back to her family who hadn't even noticed as their attention was all on the new arrival.

"I'm feeling good, little exhausted...okay a lot exhausted and probably need to have a nap soon. If I can get Elliot to settle first," Elly told them.

"You rest, we can look after him," Bea suggested.

"No, I need to be able to do this on my own. I wouldn't have been discharged if I wasn't okay to look after my son," Elly pointed out.

"Elly's right," Karl agreed, "As long as she takes things easy, she'll be fine."

"Do you want to get Elliot settled in now so you can rest?" Bea asked.

Elly glanced at her sister disbelievingly, "Oh please...you practically pounced on the pair of us when I walked in the door. Like the three of you haven't been waiting around for me to come home so you can spend time to cuddle Elliot even though you've all been doing that when you came to see me in hospital. I'm fine, Bea. Why don't you make us all a cup of tea and we all hang out on the couch for half an hour or so? The three of you can get in all the cuddles with your nephew and... Actually, I don't know the relation between my son and my Aunt and Uncle...it's kinda like grandchild but not. Not important, you can spend time with him and then I'll start getting him settled after that, okay?"

Susan smiled at her niece, "Pretty sure that makes us his great Aunt and Uncle so possibly great nephew but you know we'll always treat him like our grandson."

"Right, okay, that'd be amazing. I know you both will. Okay, let's get this little bundle out of the capsule so you guys can spend some time with him," Elly decided as she reached her hands into the baby capsule to gently take him out.

Chloe reached out and placed her hand on Elly's shoulder, "I should--"

"Stay," Elly immediately interrupted as she turned to Chloe, "Stay for a little while with us?"

"Sure," Chloe shyly agreed. 

Bea rolled her eyes at the pair, and how obvious their feelings were for each other, still trying to work out what was going on between them. She had spoken to Elly the previous afternoon, when Chloe had left them alone at the hospital to go get some food.

Elly had been vague, not confirming nor denying if anything would happen between the former couple. Elly had simply told her that her and Chloe are friends who will spend some together with Chloe being off work but once Pierce returned from New York, Chloe needed to work out where her heart lay, and Elly was prepared to wait for Chloe to decide because their situation was "complicated." 

But there was something about the way Elly spoke of Chloe working out where her heart laid, that made Bea feel like Elly already knew.

Soon the family plus Chloe were hanging out on the couches in the Kennedy living room. Chloe had perched herself on the couch arm of one of the couches, sitting next to Elly, curled into the corner of the couch. Elliot had been passed around between Bea, Karl, Susan, Elly and Chloe as they hung out and had a very laidback Christmas morning together.

Elly had spent time chatting to Bea about how she was coping with what had happened to Finn and that the police had still yet to track the psychopath down to arrest him. Bea had admitted to having trouble sleeping but was hoping now that she knew her sister and nephew were home and safe that she would begin to move past it.

Bea couldn’t help but notice during the conversation with her sister, Elly kept leaning into Chloe who was perched behind her on the couch arm. Or Elly would casually place her hand on Chloe’s knee when she was talking to the blonde.

Bea decided it would be best not to draw attention to it in case either girl became uncomfortable.

Nearly an hour later, Elly was yawning and Susan realized she needed to start prepping the Christmas lunch for the family to serve it out to them soon. As Susan and Karl started fussing about in the kitchen, Bea observed as Chloe placed her hand on Elly’s shoulder, “I should get going, head home.”

Before Elly could say anything, Susan asked, “Have you got Christmas lunch with the boys back at home?”

Chloe shook her head, “No, we’re just doing a normal lunch. We’ve got the big Brenaka Christmas festive feast for dinner tonight so we’ll be celebrating then.”

“Do you want to stay for lunch with us?” Susan offered.

"Thanks for the offer, Susan, but I'm not all that hungry. Elly and I had a bite to eat at the hospital cafe before we got here. I think I should probably get home. Leave you all to your own celebration as a family," Chloe decided.

If Chloe and I are going to be together then I want her to feel welcome as part of my family.

Elly, who was now cradling Elliot after Bea finally relinquished him to her, looked up at Chloe, "You know what, I'm not hungry either and I need to get this little man settled into his cot and sort through all the stuff the hospital gave me for him before I attempt to take a nap if Elliot will let me sleep for like...ten minutes without crying or needing me to feed him or change him. Chloe, any chance you would mind helping me with my hospital bags and sorting through them before you head home? I'm sure Susan can entice you with the promise of some Christmas pudding that she cooked last night if you come back after your Christmas dinner with the boys to have dessert with us to thank you for helping me today."

"Sure," Chloe shyly agreed, "I can do that."

Elly quickly stood up, cradling her son, with Chloe soon following suit. Elly led the way towards the hallway, stopping to wait for Chloe to pick up her overnight bag and the bag with the hospital supplies provided to her and Elliot.

As Chloe picked up the bags, she glanced over at Elly's family awkwardly, "Well, we're just going to be...sorting some things out...before I...go home..."

Alone in Elly's room...could you be more awkward in front of Elly's family? 

As the girls left the main living area of the house, Karl looked over at Bea, "Is there something going on between the two of them?"

Bea shrugged, "I know as much as you do...but I think they have some things to work out between them and we...might be seeing a bit more of Chloe around here as they do."

Bea then noticed the look on Susan's face, "Wait, do you know more about what's going on between them, Suze?"

Susan shook her head, "I'm sure all I know is as much as you do, Bea."

Karl stared between the two, feeling completely out of the loop but eventually shook his head and went back to helping Susan prep their Christmas lunch to be served.

As Elly and Chloe entered Elly's bedroom, Elly felt Chloe hesitate by the door, "Y'know you can come in and close the door behind you."

"Right," Chloe replied, realizing how awkward she was now being around Elly, as she did as Elly asked, "Sorry...I just wasn't sure what your family would think about..."

"About...us hanging out in the comfort of my room with my son?" Elly asked, "Unless...am I been pushy? It's Christmas and you should be with your family. You should go and head home to spend time with them. We can catch up later tonight or tomorrow or whenever you want."

"You're not been pushy, Elly. I want to spend time with you and Elliot," Chloe reassured as she gently placed the two bags down on Elly's bed, "It's more...do your family know...y'know that we're...trying to work this thing out between us? I guess I feel a bit awkward because...I'm still with Pierce...technically and I don't want anyone to think I'm cheating on him."

Elly shrugged, "I don't think so. Suze and Bea both know I'm in love with you but I haven't told them about us working on how this is going to work with the pair of us and my son or that we will be together once you break things off with Pierce. You can relax, Chlo, they aren't going to think that the pair of us are cheating on Pierce just because we're alone in my bedroom. I did just have my baby only a couple days ago."

"Do you want to tell them?" Chloe asked thoughtfully.

Elly smiled at Chloe before walking over to the cot in her room, "If they ask me then I won't lie to them. I'll tell them the truth, we're working on things, once you've ended things with Pierce and the pair of us are both comfortable with how our relationship will work when I have my son to take into consideration...then we'll be together. If they don't ask...they're not going to think we're cheating on anyone. I know I have a very checkered past when it comes to cheating but that's not what you and I are about this time."

Chloe watched as Elly carefully placed Elliot in his cot, fussing over his blanket swaddling him, "So...you feel...confident to tell your family about us...whenever they either ask or need to know that we're...together?"

When Elly stopped fussing over her son, she stood back up and reached out her hand to Chloe. Chloe walked over to the brunette and took her hand, surprised when Elly slowly positioned her in front of her so they were both facing the cot, with Elly standing behind the blonde.

Chloe was even more surprised when Elly wrapped her arms around her waist, nuzzling her face against the crook of Chloe's neck. Chloe instinctively placed her arms over Elly's, holding Elly's hands around her stomach.

"I am not afraid to tell anyone that I love you, okay. I meant what I said that I'm done letting my fears of people judging me stand in the way of what we have between us. I know we still have a lot to work on, most of which involves this little guy in front of us and how I can fit you into our lives without making you feel like I have no time or energy for you. I will need your understanding that I might not be able to drop everything to be there for you every moment of the day for anything that may come up. But if we promise each other to work on how our relationship will work, then there will never be a single moment that I'll ever feel anything but proud to be with you," Elly assured.

Chloe turned her head, facing Elly as much as she could whilst being cuddled from behind by the brunette, "I will be the most understanding person you've ever met. I need this to work between us. I won't put any pressure on you to ever have to choose between Elliot or me. You put him first no matter what. He's amazing, just like you, and I can't wait til he's old enough to figure that out."

Elly blushed at the thought of Chloe being there for both of them as her son grew up and gently leant forward to press her lips to Chloe's cheek.

This is the only thing I want in the world, Chloe giving us a chance to be a family with Elliot and I. Will we get that chance?

Chapter Text

And She, Waits For You

Chapter Twenty-Eight

Wednesday 25th December – 12.30pm

Still standing behind Chloe with her arms around the blonde’s waist, Elly pulled back from kissing Chloe’s cheek, unable to resist licking her lips, "Is this breaking your rules...me holding you like this and kissing your cheek? Is that a...more than friends kinda thing that...I shouldn't be doing until you're all mine?"

Chloe blushed deeply as she found herself staring at Elly's lips momentarily, "Friends cuddle all the time...but you are so close to breaking the rules...if you keep looking at me like that and licking your lips then I'm going to want to kiss you and that would most definitely be something I don't want to do as it would mean cheating on Pierce."

Elly pouted at the blonde, "Waiting a few weeks to kiss you will be pure torture but holding you in my arms and kissing your cheek," Elly broke off her words to press her lips against Chloe's cheek again, "Will just have to do...or maybe I'm just a rule breaker..."

Chloe closed her eyes as she felt Elly softly trail kisses up her neck. 

This is exactly what Chloe did to me in my dream earlier this year that finally woke up my feelings for her. That dream changed everything and now here I am with Chloe kissing her like I dreamt she was kissing me.

Chloe soon snapped her eyes open, giggling playfully, "Alright that's enough. No more kisses. You’re breaking the rules and it's just not fair. We have all the time in the world for this as soon as I've broken up with Pierce. But until then...cuddling is fine, saying you love me when we're alone or in a text message is fine...but no more kissing...even if it is innocent not kissing my lips kissing."

Elly shifted until she rested her chin on Chloe's shoulder, "Okay...no more kissing...just lots of holding you in my arms when my arms aren't already full with this little guy in them. Y'know...I don't think it's going to take my family long at all to know just how in love with you I am."

"Are you attracted to me?" Chloe suddenly blurted out without thinking then paused as she felt Elly loosen her grip on her waist, "Sorry...I didn't mean to...say it like that. It’s just feelings are one thing but if you aren't attracted to me...physically..."

Elly took a breath before squeezing Chloe's waist once more, "I am attracted to you, Chlo. I know I messed things up after we slept together that one time and I ignored wanting to deal with why it happened. But like I did tell you on our date, I’m attracted to you. You’re the only woman that I am attracted to and it took me a really long time to come to terms with that but now that I have accepted it, I won’t be scared of it ever again. I want you, Chloe."

Chloe nodded gently, “Right…I know you are…I just get scared thinking…this isn’t what you want.”

Elly nuzzled her lips against Chloe’s neck once more, “If it wasn’t for the fact that we’re not together until you can break things off with Pierce…and okay mostly the part where I gave birth to Elliot three days ago…then I’d want to be with you right now. You know we're probably going to have to wait awhile before we can...be together...it's just giving birth...my body is a complete and utter mess right now. I don’t even feel like I’m me, right now. I don’t think I’m going to be…feeling confident in my body to not feel like my insides are going to fall out for at least a couple of months…and I just killed any romance…”

Chloe squeezed Elly’s hands, “Elly, there is no rush for us to get to romance. I would never pressure you in any way to. I know having a baby is a massive change to your body and you’ll need time before feeling like you can be you again. You’re not killing any romance mood by being honest about how your body is making you feel. In fact, I like how open and honest you are being. I want you to feel like you can tell me anything. I’m happy to wait until you are ready for us to be together physically…I’ll wait however long it takes for you to feel confident in your body again.”

Elly blushed at Chloe, “You’re amazing. I just needed you to know so we’re on the same page. I know after the way I reacted to the first time we slept together made you think that I…didn’t want you. I do want you, Chloe, I was just scared because of how I thought everyone would judge me that I never stopped to realize how much I want you. If it takes me a couple months before I can…get back in the groove so to speak I don’t want you feeling like I don’t want you like that when it’s all about my issues with my body.”

“I get it, I promise,” Chloe decided.

Elly raised her eyebrow at the blonde, “My issues with waiting for my body to feel like it’s back to normal doesn’t mean that I can’t with you…once you’re officially mine I can show you just how much I love you…” then Elly sighed as she glanced down at her son, “What am I even saying? I’m not going to have the energy or probably the time to focus on you at all for like…months. Last thing I’d want is to embarrass myself by falling asleep during the middle of showing you that love.”

Chloe couldn’t resist giggling at the thought, “Elly, you could never embarrass yourself with me. I love you and I get it, that us being together is going to take some time to work out how it all works. With the lack of sleep, needing to settle into being a mum, learning everything you need to about your son so you can be the best mum to Elliot that you can be. You and I need to take things slow. You’re a mum, Elly, and you need to put your son ahead of me…and probably ahead of yourself as you’ll soon find out too.”

Elly entangled her fingers with Chloe’s, finding herself pressing her body further against Chloe’s back, “I know, I will have to do that. I need to focus on being a mum instead of my love life with you…that I will have with you. Things with us…once we are an us…will just have wait to take their time before we can be together completely. Will you wait for me?”

“Of course, I’ll wait for you,” Chloe answered immediately, “Elly, there is no pressure here. I’m aware of what being with you means. We need to take a lot of time to work out how a relationship between us will work. I don’t want to get into this with you and then have it all fall apart because we rushed things. I’m in this with you for the long haul. When we finally will be together…when you’re ready for us sleep together…it’ll be amazing and well worth the wait.”

“I love you,” Elly whispered as she leant down and pecked Chloe on the cheek.

Chloe blushed once more as she stared into Elly’s eyes, “I love you, too. Are you breaking the rules again?”

“By kissing you on the cheek even though I’d much rather kiss you on your perfect lips?” Elly gently teased the blonde.

“Yes, that, stop that! Rules! No kissing or touching more than hugging until I end things with Pierce and we can officially be together,” Chloe reminded Elly.

“If Pierce is going to take a week or so to come home then you may just have to accept I am a rule breaker and my love for you is going to get me into trouble when all I want to do is kiss you,” Elly smirked.

Chloe rested her forehead against Elly’s, “If you keep trying to break the rules then I’m going to end up feeling bad about how us starting begins…and I don’t want to feel that way about us ever.”

“Okay,” Elly whispered into Chloe’s ear, “I can play by the rules for a week or so as it means I get to be with you forever. You’re worth waiting for too.”

Chloe smiled up at Elly before staring down at Elliot in his cot. Chloe gently disentangled her hands from Elly’s, instead placing them on the edge of the cot. Chloe felt comforted when Elly’s hands wrapped around her waist and they stood there staring at the infant.

“Do you need to go home to your family soon?” Elly asked quietly.

I couldn’t think of a better way to spend Christmas day than more time with Chloe and Elliot.

Chloe ran her tongue over her upper lip, “I think I want to stay here with you two for a little longer.”

Maybe one day…these two will be my family too.

Elly smiled at the blonde, “I’d really like it if you staye--”

Their conversation was cut off when Chloe’s phone started ringing.

Chloe immediately pulled back a little from Elly’s embrace, rushing to grab her phone out of her pocket, only to cancel the call as soon as she saw Pierce’s name appear on the caller ID.

Chloe glanced back up at Elly as she slipped the phone back in her pocket, “Sorry, I didn’t want the noise to unsettle Elliot and get him crying when you need some rest soon. I should learn to switch my phone on silent when I’m around Elliot. The last thing you need is unexpected noise rousing him and making it hard for you to get him to settle. And also…that was Pierce.”

“You can…answer it, Chlo…or call him back. It’s okay, I know he’s your boyfriend…for now,” Elly whispered.

Chloe turned around in Elly’s embrace so she was now facing the brunette, and wrapped her arms around Elly’s lower back, “Pierce is probably just calling to wish me a Merry Christmas. It’s still early evening on Christmas Eve in New York…he can leave me a voicemail…I can call him back later this arvo.”

“Are you sure?” Elly asked.

Chloe bit her lip, “How can I? I can’t talk to Pierce when I’m standing here with you…holding you like this…trying everything I can not to kiss you…”

Elly was unable to resist leaning her forehead against Chloe’s, “Resisting kissing you until you’re finally mine…we can get through this.”

“We have to,” Chloe decided, “I won’t cheat on Pierce…and we still have a lot to work out between us to know that this is going to work for us and Elliot. It’s just a week…or so…”

“And if we kiss once…then we’ll want to kiss again…and again…and whilst kissing would be as far as we can take things…cheating on Pierce, neither of us can do that. So, we wait…until we are in the right place with each other and we’re free…to kiss each other without anyone being in our way,” Elly decided.

“Exactly…we wait,” Chloe agreed before resisting the urge to kiss Elly and rested her head against the crook of Elly’s neck. Chloe felt comforted when Elly hugged her tighter and the pair both glanced down at the infant in the cot, feeling peace with one another.

Their moment was almost broken by a text message alert from Chloe’s phone. Chloe didn’t move to check it, “Probably Pierce’s voicemail. I’ll call him back in a few hours.”

“You sure?” Elly asked softly.

Chloe squeezed Elly’s waist, “You mean would I prefer to call my…boyfriend back or would I prefer to stay here with you, cuddled up in your embrace, not breaking any rules by kissing, as we stare at your gorgeous boy before you need a rest? It’s an easy choice.”

Elly smiled at Chloe’s words.

“Besides…whatever it is…can’t be that important…” Chloe decided as she stood there with Elly.

Meanwhile, in New York City, Pierce grimaced as he got Chloe’s voicemail, leaving his message to get his girlfriend to call him back:

“Chloe, I know you’re probably with the boys enjoying Christmas lunch but I need you to call me back as soon as possible. Lisa’s called me in a panic because Hendrix didn’t meet her at the gate for his flight. Hendrix isn’t answering his phone and she didn’t have your number. Lisa doesn’t know if he managed to slip by her to play hooky with his Sydney mates before getting to Lisa and Alana’s on his own or even if he made the flight. The airline won’t tell Lisa if he was on board as even a 17-year-old has right to privacy unless we report it to the police. We need to know if you got him on the flight when you took Hendrix to the airport. Call me back, Chlo.”

Pierce shook his head as soon as he hung up the phone, pausing for a minute before immediately dialing Chloe’s number again…

Chapter Text

And She, Waits For You

Chapter Twenty-Nine

Wednesday 25th December – 12.45pm

Chloe nearly jumped when her embrace with Elly was broken once more by the sound of her phone ringing once more.

Chloe sighed as this time the sound of her phone awoke Elliot from being settled in his cot and the infant immediately started crying. Chloe and Elly both pulled out of their hug, with Chloe grabbing her phone back out of her pocket and instead of cancelling the call she set her phone to silent without vibrate.

Elly stood back from Chloe as she reached into the cot to scoop her son up into her arms as she attempted to settle the infant back to sleep.

“I’m so sorry,” Chloe apologized as she put the phone back in her pocket, “I said I should keep my phone on silent around Elliot so he doesn’t get disturbed by things like this and then I went and left it on anyway.”

“It’s fine, Chloe. I’ve got my phone on too. It happens, it’s not a big deal. Guess Pierce wants to get a hold of you,” Elly replied.

“I’ll call him back later, it’ll just be Pierce calling to wish me a Merry Christmas, that can wait. Is there anything I can do to help you with Elliot to settle him?” Chloe offered.

Elly shook her head, “No, it’s okay. I think he’s due for a feed anyway so he was bound to wake up crying without your phone waking him. I should feed him and then put him down for another nap. Maybe then I should try and get some rest.”

Chloe bit her lip nervously, “Do you want me to give you some privacy?”

Elly glanced up at Chloe as she rocked her son gently, “I don’t mind you staying ‘til I’m resting and you can go spend the rest of your Christmas with the boys…ooh do you mean privacy to feed Elliot…? Cause I haven’t…done that yet with you around as when we were in the hospital the nurses would always shoo my visitors away so I could feed him on my own and bond with him.”

“Yeah that…I can give you privacy if you want or I can stay…I just want you to be comfortable,” Chloe offered.

Elly smiled at the blonde, “I am comfortable having you around whilst I do stuff like this,” then unable to resist smirking, “Or is this breaking your rules? Me getting my boobs out in front of you? I don’t think Pierce would be happy if he knew I had them out in front of you.”

Chloe smirked back at Elly, “Oh, please, Elly, this isn’t you getting them out for me. You’re feeding your son. Pierce would be a moron to call that an act of us cheating on him by you doing it in front of me. There’s nothing rule breaking about that…I won’t be the one sucking on them.”

“Oh, I bet you want to,” Elly teased, seeing Chloe blush, “Though I’m sure by the time you’ll get the chance to, they’ll be rather gross having this little guy ruining them…the perks of motherhood. Are you sure you want to put up with a woman whose body won’t ever be the same?”

Chloe nodded, “You’re not scaring me off on account of your body being different. I’m not looking to be with you for your body. I love you regardless of how you perceive your body. You’re never not going to be perfect to me. Now, go sit down on the bed or your chair and feed your son. You wanted to sort out the supplies the hospital gave you for your son so that is what I’m going to do. I’ll unpack everything and start sorting through some stuff for you. Then we’ll put Elliot down for a nap, you can take a rest, I’ll head home and I’ll stop by again this evening to check on you and the peanut. Deal?”

Elly agreed, “Okay, you’re the best. Oh…ah…first could you hold him while I…take my shirt off?”

Chloe immediately reached out and took the crying infant into her arms, paying attention to him as Elly slipped her shirt over her head and placed it on the bed

Elly silently shifted, sitting down on her bed with her back up against the bedhead, as Chloe then leaned over and handed the boy to his mother, “Thanks. It might seem like a small thing but having you here…it helps.”

Chloe smiled at the pair, “I’m glad to be here…for both of you.”

As Elly slipped her bra loose and commenced feeding Elliot, Chloe went over to Elly’s bags on the end of the bed and set about removing the contents from both of the bags. Putting together the pile of clothes from Elly’s hospital bag to be washed before going through the contents of the supplies the hospital had put together for Elliot and walking around the room to put them on the shelves, baby table and cot.

Chloe found a small baby blanket for Elly to use whilst feeding her son and passed it to Elly as the new mum has finished feeding Elliot. Elly redid her bra up, placed the blanket over her chest and shoulder as she worked quietly to burp her son, relieved when he didn’t throw up the milk, she’d given him.

Elly then laid down on the bed, placing her head on her pillow, resting her son on her chest over the blanket, pressing her lips to the top of his head.

“All done? Do you want to put Elliot back in his cot so you can have a rest?” Chloe asked as she smiled at the pair.

“Nah…I think I want to rest here for a bit with him before I put him down properly,” Elly decided, before chewing on her lip, “Will you stay here with us for a little while longer?”

Chloe smiled as she reacted to Elly’s question by putting the bags down on the floor, then crawling onto Elly’s bed next to her. Chloe laid down next to Elly, placing her head on Elly’s shoulder, curling her body around Elly’s side and gently reaching out her hand to slip it under Elliot’s tiny hand. Chloe smiled at the infant when he responded by gripping her fingers with his own.

Yeah…like this isn’t breaking the rules…

These rules…are not getting any clearer…

“What are you thinking?” Elly whispered as she stared at the interaction between the pair.

Chloe ran her tongue over her teeth, “About your future with the peanut…I’m not sure where I fit in. I don’t know if I should…”

“How do you mean?” Elly asked quietly, fearing Chloe was pulling away from their decision to be together.

Chloe glanced up at Elly, “My Huntington’s…I don’t think I should fit into your future with you and Elliot.”

Elly found herself releasing her arm and wrapping it around Chloe, pulling her tighter into her side, “Chloe, I’m well aware of how your life will be affected by your Huntington’s. It doesn’t change things for me.”

Chloe resumed staring at the infant napping peacefully on Elly’s chest, “What if I fall in love with him like he’s my own and I don’t want to leave him? Don’t want to put him through living with my symptoms when they appear? Don’t want him losing me…or put you through losing me? Or put myself through losing the both of you because when my disease gets really bad then I’ll be losing myself as well as what the pair of you mean to me? What if…sticking it out with Pierce so he can be the one to lose me and it not affect me as much is the better option?”

“Chloe…do you want to spend your life in a loveless relationship…well loveless from your side anyway? Or do you want to spend your life with the love of your life and this little guy who will no doubt fall as madly in love with you as I have? And just so we’re completely clear on it…I’m the love of your life,” Elly smiled as she heard Chloe snigger softly at her declaration.

“I’m afraid,” Chloe whispered.

When Elly didn’t reply, Chloe continued, “I’m afraid if I…spend my life with the pair of you…it’ll hurt us more…I’m scared of falling so completely more in love with you…becoming a parent to Elliot only to…end up not knowing who either of you are. I don’t want that to happen…to put you both through that pain… We can stop this…now…we can…you can live your life with Elliot without either of you feeling the pain of losing me and I can…go back to Pierce and let him lose me instead. We can stop this…”

Elly felt tears well up in her eyes at the thought, “It’s too late for that, Chloe…you know it is. We love each other. If you think spending your life with Pierce because you won’t end up hurting me twenty/thirty years from now when you succumb to your Huntington’s…you’ll be wrong. I’ll still be as in love with you that day as I am right now and I will be just as heartbroken…more so. I’ll be more heartbroken because I will have missed out on spending our lives together like we were meant to.”

“I know it’s too late to stop this,” Chloe admitted, “We’re not even together and already…I can’t even imagine not spending my life with you. Are you really sure about this…that you’re prepared to…spend your life with me…knowing you’ll lose me in a really horrible fashion?”

Elly ran her hand up and down Chloe’s back, “I’ve never been more sure of anything. What’s the alternative…I let you go and we miss out on an entire life of loving one another because we’re too scared of how it will end? Nothing’s set in stone…I could bite the dust before you even do.”

“Don’t even joke about that,” Chloe cried out, “I wouldn’t be able to live without you.”

“Neither can I, Chlo, but we can’t stop this thing between us because we’re afraid of how it’ll end when we could have an amazing life together and get to enjoy years…decades together before it happens,” Elly insisted, “I want that with you…decades of loving you…of living our life with each other.”

“I want that too,” Chloe decided.

"So, you're not going to let your Huntington's ever get in the way of us being together just because of your fear that us going through that with you isn't worth us spending our lives together? I'm all in with you, Chlo, I'm afraid to lose you and go through that with you but I'm more scared of wasting our lives not being together," Elly confessed.

Chloe nodded gently, "Okay...I'm all in too...I don't want to waste decades with the wrong person just because I'm afraid of how us will end due to my disease.”

Before Elly could feel relief from Chloe’s decision, Chloe asked her, “Are you sure…we can put Elliot through this…that he won’t hate us one day because not knowing me is an option we could make right now…save him the pain?"

Elly stared quietly for a moment as she watched Chloe. Despite the seriousness of her question, Chloe was smiling at the infant, lifting her hand ever so gently and watching Elliot grip her fingers more.

“What about the pain of not knowing you…not loving you? Do you want him to feel that?” Elly asked.

Chloe frowned, “If the peanut doesn’t know…how’s he going to feel it?”

Elly lifted her hand, running it through Chloe’s hair, “Because Elliot will feel that I’ve been missing something from my life…you. Even if I did force myself to move on to...some guy just because said guy might be a decent role model to Elliot, my son is going to know deep down whatever I feel for the guy isn't love because it won't be. He'll know it's because I'll forever be in love with someone else...you. He'll one day ask me who that person is. He’ll know I loved you…that I should never have let you go. He’ll know he’ll have missed the chance to fall in love with you. Decades with you loving us and us loving you…it’s worth the pain. He’ll love you just as I do and know we made the right decision for us…and for him by being together.”

"You really think that?" Chloe asked softly.

"It's a choice we can make right now about Elliot's future...he'll either grow up with me only loving him as much as I can or with some guy where my love for my son won't change but my heart won't be in it with the guy or...he can grow up in an open and honest environment where he can look up to two people who love each other fiercely but know that our happily ever after won't last as long as it should," Elly whispered.

"You're going to make a great mum," Chloe commented.

"What makes you say that?" Elly asked with hesitation.

"You can reason with anyone and make them see you're always right," Chloe answered, "I'm going to tell the peanut to look out for that trait when he's old enough cause we can't always have you tell us that you're right and be able to reason with us why you are. I need the peanut to help me gang up on you when you do that cause we're going to team up as you can't always be right...except in this scenario...where you are right...stopping this before it begins because I don't want to hurt him...I can't stop this...we can't stop this."

Finally feeling reassured that Chloe wasn't going to let her future get in way of them being together, Elly giggled at the blonde, "I really shouldn't but I'm looking forward to the day the pair of you gang up on me but don't think for a second that there won't be plenty of times it'll be him and I teaming up on you."

"I want to help you with him," Chloe suddenly uttered.

Elly waited a moment until Chloe looked up at her, unsure what to make of Chloe's comment, "You want to..."

Don't get your hopes up, don't push Chloe too far, too soon. Yes, I want Chloe to help me raise Elliot but it doesn't mean Chloe's ready for that. Chloe might be talking about the dynamics of teaming up and spending decades of loving us but it doesn’t mean she’s ready to…be anything more than my girlfriend anytime soon. Just let Chloe come to whatever decision she wants about how she wants to help me with Elliot…and hope that it means we’ll be a family one day.

Chapter Text

And She, Waits For You

Chapter Thirty

Wednesday 25th December – 1.00pm

Elly felt like she was holding her breath as she was waiting to hear from Chloe on how the blonde wanted to help her with her son, praying it would lead them to be a family.

"I don't think I'd be anywhere near ready to be a co-parent to the peanut...not yet. I know we can't just be a couple and not be a family at some stage in the near future. Maybe in a few months when I've wrapped my head around...us being a family. But 'til then I want to help you with him," Chloe finally decided.

We can make that work, Chlo!

Elly leant her head against the top of Chloe's, "There is no rush for you to be a co-parent or the three of us to be a family. I just need to know it's not a future you don't want and one day we will be a family. If you want to help, then I'd more than love you too. Maybe when you've ended things with Pierce and it wouldn't be too much you could stay here with us for a night. See if the sleepless night, endless baby needing one thing after another...that hopefully won't scare you away from us forever. It'd just be nice to have you here for a night to hold you in my arms for all of an hour or two that I might manage to get to sleep for."

"That'd be nice," Chloe whispered, "I know this is confusing and we shouldn't before I end things with Pierce but I...I want to be here for the both of you as much as I can be...I don't want to wait a week or so for Pierce to get back before I start helping you with him."

“So…you want to help by…?” Elly wasn’t sure what Chloe meant.

“I’ve got time off work for the next few weeks so I could be here for you both. Help during the day look after Elliot…and you, help look after you as you adjust to being a mum,” Chloe suggested before biting her lip, “And maybe…would it be wrong…if I…was to stay here with you overnight to help you out with him with everything you need to do for him?”

“Overnight…here?” Elly repeated with uncertainty.

Chloe widened her eyes, “Oh I didn’t mean…me staying here in your bed overnight here to help you with Elliot because…if we share a bed then that is definitely cheating territory…even though nothing between us could even happen because exhaustion and body issues…the temptation would be there to hold you in my arms and that’s…not something we should be doing. But what about if I was to…stay here at the Kennedy’s…on their couch for a few nights?”

“You’d do that for me…I mean for us?” Elly asked in surprise.

“I want to be that person that will be there for the both of you. Help you to adjust to this change of being a mum and help with Elliot...settling him when he won't fall asleep, changing him, bathing him...pretty much everything aside from feeding him cause that I can't do,” Chloe decided.

"You really want to do this for us?" Elly was still shocked.

Chloe nodded, "I'm not saying I'll be any good at it and won't make a million and one mistakes but yeah I don't want to let you do all this on your own. I don't want to just...date you on the side and not be involved in helping with your son. Me being here under the same roof, on the couch until things have been ended with Pierce, if you're having trouble settling Elliot then you can bring him to me and we can try together. Is it too much? If you want to do everything on your own please just tell me and I'll back off--"

"No, no, it's not too much at all. I want you to help as much as you want to. I'd love you too. I want us to work and for that we need this to work for the three of us. If you are all-in on helping me with my son and don't want to wait for Pierce to return to do this then I honestly didn't think I could love you anymore but this proves that I really can fall even more in love with you," Elly confessed, "Though...you do know if you stay here at Susan and Karl's on their couch...we're going to have to tell them about us...that we will be together as soon as Pierce returns? Bea will need to know too."

"I know. I did want to keep it between the pair of us until Pierce does come home and I can end it because I hate the idea of other people knowing more about my relationships with both you and him before he does. It feels cruel...them knowing he'll be dumped when he gets back. I'll likely have to tell Aaron and David too since I'll be here during the nights...Aaron might need some time to come to terms with my decision. How do you think Susan and Karl will take it? Would they even want me sleeping on their couch? Would they even want us to be together?" Chloe asked.

"Susan and Karl will be fine with it. They only want to see me happy and besides my son you are the only person in the world who can do that for me. Susan and Bea both know I'm in love with you. Karl didn't have any issues when we were dating earlier this year. They love me and want what's best for me. That's you and I being together and taking our time to work on...the three of us one day being a family," Elly reassured.

"Then it's decided...I'll stay here with you to do what I can to help you and...take those first steps to us being...a family. As long as Susan and Karl...and Bea are comfortable with me staying here. When I come back over later tonight for dessert...we can talk to them then about it. If they are happy for us to do this...I'll tell Aaron and David after that," Chloe decided.

"You are so incredible to want to take these steps and that you want us to be a family," Elly whispered, before finding herself yawning.

Chloe looked up at Elly as she heard her yawn, “I think it’s time you have that rest the doctors told you to when they agreed you could be discharged this morning.”

Elly squeezed her eyes shut for a moment before re-opening them, “Okay…I’ll nap. I don’t want to move Elliot as I think he’s deeply sleeping…for the first time ever…and I’m pretty much setting myself up for being up all night long now if he’s sleeping like this during the day. I’m too tired to try and change that now and I don’t want to ask my family to keep him awake if I can’t be to feed him and change him for the next few hours. Note to self, work on a better routine to settle Elliot into so he’s not sleeping more in the day than at night or we’re going to have a hell of a time with him.”

“You said ‘we’re’,” Chloe smiled, “And that feels so right. We’re going to do this together…all of this. You, me and Elliot…we’re going to do all of this together…hell of a time…to the most amazing experience in our lives. All of it…and I’m going to shut up and let you nap already.”

“Stay with us ‘til I fall asleep,” Elly whispered.

“I’ll stay with you,” Chloe promised.

Elly leant down and pressed her lips to Chloe’s forehead before settling back on the pillow.

“Rule breaker,” Chloe whispered as she rolled her eyes at Elly.

“You wouldn’t have me any other way,” Elly teased, before closing her eyes and falling asleep within minutes.

Chloe stared at the pair who held her in their embrace, finding herself closing her eyes too for a minute, not realizing she’d soon be asleep.

Or that her phone was ringing once more.

Hours later, Bea knocked on Elly's bedroom door. Upon getting no answer she knocked again before opening the door enough to poke her head in, "Elly, are you...?"

Bea trailed off as soon as she found Elly sleeping soundly on her bed with her infant son resting on her chest. But it was the blonde woman curled up next to the pair that surprised her the most.

"I thought Chloe had gone home hours ago," Bea whispered to herself as she shyly smiled at the pair and the way they were curled up against one another like they were a couple.

Not wanting to wake them but knowing she needed to, Bea knocked on the opened door again to try and garner their attention.

Instead of waking the sleeping women, Elliot awoke suddenly screeching as he burst into a crying fit.

Chloe and Elly immediately awoke at the sound of the infant, both placing their hands to their foreheads in surprise at being woken. Chloe blinked wildly, "What--did I fall asleep?"

Elly immediately unwrapped her arm from around Chloe's body and went to soothe her son from crying and trying to settle him.

Chloe shifted so she was leaning over the brunette and infant before she then realized they weren't alone, "Uh...hi...Bea."

"Sorry," Bea apologized to the pair, as she opened the bedroom door further, seeing her sister glance up at her before returning her attention back to her son, "I was trying to wake you girls, not Elliot, and um...sorry Chloe I didn't even realize you were still here. Suze will have Christmas dinner on the table in 5 minutes and I know you skipped lunch, Elly, so you need to eat to keep your energy up."

Chloe's eyes widened, "Wait, dinner?! What time is it? I swear I only closed my eyes for a minute. The boys are going to kill me if I've missed Christmas dinner with them."

"It's 6pm, Chloe," Bea told the blonde.

Chloe sighed in relief, "Susan serving your Christmas dinner earlier than the boys, thank God. I was supposed to be at home by now to help them cook the final few things as they were gonna have it all ready by half past seven. I did not mean to fall asleep. Wow I'm so tired now that I have."

As Elly shifted herself until she was sitting up against the bedhead, cradling Elliot against her chest trying to settle him, she looked at Chloe, "I'm so sorry, Chloe, I didn't mean to mess up your entire Christmas."

Chloe frowned up at her, "You didn't ruin my Christmas. I've had the most amazing Christmas with the pair of you. It's just...I hadn't planned to spend all day with you...the boys are going to be asking a lot of questions when I go home. Ugh now I kind of just want to stay here with you two since they are gonna bust me for spending all day with you."

"You should head home if you want to, Chlo. I don't want to get you in trouble anymore," Elly insisted before fussing over her son, "How did you fall asleep for hours and not wake us, lil man? You need a change and a feed. Bea, do you want to tell Suze I'll be out for dinner as soon as I've got this one sorted?"

Bea found herself leaning against the doorway, "I'll let Suze know. I think my nephew fell asleep like that cause you two were...all cozy with the snuggling one another cause you two are so in love with each other. He felt safe with the pair of you to fall asleep."

Chloe cleared her throat, "We weren't...snuggling one another, Bea. We just fell asleep is all. I shouldn't have even been on the bed."

"It's fine, Chlo, we didn't do anything wrong," Elly reassured the blonde, "Bea, we'll be out in a few minutes…and would you stop putting pressure on Chloe and I?"

Bea rolled her eyes at her sister before leaving the pair alone.

Elly stood up from the bed, shifting to the change table, proceeding to change Elliot’s diaper, but still focusing on Chloe, “You okay?”

Chloe chewed on her lip as she stood up, “I shouldn’t have been on the bed. I shouldn’t have curled up around the two of you. I need to keep a distance between us. I don’t want to cheat on Pierce.”

Elly sighed gently, “Are you reconsidering staying here? If you want us to keep our distance, Chlo, please say so. It’s only a week or so, we’ll be together after.”

Chloe walked over to Elly, wrapping her arm around Elly’s hip, watching her with her son for a moment, “I’m not going anywhere but this is why…I need to stay on the couch, not be on your bed for any reason because the temptation to cuddle up to you…it’s too much. I’ll want to kiss you and I can’t do that.”

Elly raised her eyes as she glanced at Chloe, “You know you’re cuddling me right now, right?”

Chloe shook her head at herself, yet didn’t let Elly go, “I should head home. I’m feeling rather hungry as we didn’t have lunch.”

“I thought you said your Christmas dinner wouldn’t be for a while yet? Why don’t you stay here with us for a little bit of food before you have your dinner with the boys?” Elly offered.

“You really can’t let go of me, can you?” Chloe teased before deciding, “Okay, maybe I can spare another half an hour. The boys are going to kill me…may as well make it worth it by getting in as much time with you and Elliot as I can.”

“Feels like you can’t let go of me, either,” Elly pointed out, “Okay, I promise it’ll just be for a little while. I like the idea of you spending time with my family, I could get used to that.”

Chloe squeezed Elly’s waist, “You better get used to it. I’m always going to be there for you, both of you.”

“We’re always going to be there for you too,” Elly assured, “I know you didn’t mean to spend all day with us…but you really did make this the most amazing Christmas I’ve ever had. It wasn’t just because it was my first Christmas with Elliot. I hope this…y’know…this is the first of many Christmas’s we’ll all spend together.”

“There’s no doubt in my mind we’ll have so many more to come over the years and all the other holidays and milestones we’ll get to enjoy for years to come,” Chloe smiled at the thought, “Now, let’s get this little guy fed and settle him in his cot so we can spend a little bit more time together before I have to go home.”

Chapter Text

And She, Waits For You

Chapter Thirty-One

Wednesday 25th December – 6.15pm

“Chloe, love, what are you still doing here?” Susan asked in surprise as Chloe and Elly walked into the Kennedy’s main living area from Elly’s bedroom.

Elly immediately raised her eyebrow at Bea who was also standing in the kitchen with their aunt and uncle bringing plates of food to the dining table, having expected her little sister to have explained that Chloe hadn’t gone home as they thought.

“Oh I…uh…we accidentally fell asleep when Elly needed a nap…and I…I shouldn’t have fallen asleep but I did and we…just fell asleep. Elliot didn’t wake us…when I mean he did but…I thought babies didn’t sleep like that for hours on end,” Chloe stumbled over her words.

“I told you both, Elliot was comfy enough to fall asleep with the pair of you,” Bea winked at the pair as she shifted back to the kitchen for more supplies.

Elly sighed at her sister, before addressing Susan and Karl, “We fell asleep, okay, it’s been a long few days. We got Elliot to settle down for a nap in his cot and I got the baby monitor so I can run back when he needs me. Anyway, Chloe’s still got a bit of time before she needs to have dinner with Aaron and David, do you mind if she stays for a little while? Has a bit to eat with us as she skipped lunch?”

“Not at all, love, take a seat,” Susan agreed, “Bea, can you get Chloe an extra plate?”

Elly led Chloe to the dining table and indicated for Chloe to sit at the table next to her before sitting down and placing the baby monitor on the table next to them. As the rest of the family milled around for a couple minutes, bringing plates of food to the table, Elly found herself placing her arm on the back of the chair Chloe was sitting in and leaning over to the blonde, “Thanks for spending time with my family for Christmas. I know you have your own to get back to but I want you to feel like this will be your family too one day.”

“You’re welcome, I’ve had the best Christmas I could ask for with you, Elly. I will feel that way about your family…I hope they feel the same about me and you…being together when we are,” Chloe whispered.

“They will, I’m sure of it,” Elly leant over and whispered into Chloe’s ear, blushing when she caught Bea’s eye at her interaction.

Ten minutes later, Chloe was enjoying her time having dinner with Elly’s family. Whenever Elly was talking about something, she tended to leave one of her utensils on her plate and place her hand on the top of the back of the chair Chloe was sitting in next to her. Bea smiled shyly at the action every time Elly did so, feeling like her sister just wanted to wrap her arm around the blonde without a care in the world.

Elly dropped her hand from the chair when she heard Elliot crying on the baby monitor but before she could move anymore to go and check on him, Chloe was out of her seat, “I’ll get him. See if I can work out what he needs.”

“You will?” Elly was genuinely surprised by Chloe’s enthusiasm to check on the newborn, “What if he needs another change or a feed?”

“I can change a diaper. Not that I ever have but I gotta learn how to pretty much now,” Chloe insisted, “And if it’s not a diaper change or settling him again that he needs and it’s a feed…then I’ll come get you cause that I can’t do for him.”

Elly smiled shyly at the blonde as she rushed off to her bedroom without another word, then blushed as she turned back her family and saw them staring at her, “Chloe’s just…enthusiastic to help me with Elliot. Hoping a diaper change doesn’t make her change her mind.”

Elly quickly reached out for the baby monitor, switching the volume down until it was nearly muted.

Last thing I need is Chloe saying something to Elliot in her attempts to settle him that tells my family we're going to be together before I get the chance to tell them.

Bea eyed Elly's action suspiciously.

Seeing the look on Bea's face, Elly immediately restarted eating, hoping her family wouldn’t comment on Chloe’s offer to help her with her infant, her decision to turn down the baby monitor so they wouldn't overhead Chloe settling her son or their inability to seemingly separate from one another when Chloe should’ve gone home to spend Christmas with her family hours ago.

Bea stared at her sister across from the table, noticing that Susan and Karl had also seemingly stopped eating for a moment as they had watched the interaction between the pair.

“Sooooooo…” Bea drew out in a long breath, “You and Chloe…? What’s happening there?”

Elly continued chewing on her food, glad to have an excuse to give her a moment to catch her thoughts but she still felt the need to put her family off as she wanted to have the discussion with them about Chloe staying with them with Chloe by her side, “Chloe and I…? What do you mean?”

Bea widened her eyes at Elly, “Oh c’mon, Elly! You know what I mean. You and Chloe haven’t been able to stay apart from one another all day long. Now you’ve got Chloe having dinner with us when she’ll be going straight to dinner with Aaron and David from here and Chloe is hopping at the bit to go check on your son. Soooo I ask again…you and Chloe…? What’s happening there?”

"Bea, why don't you leave this alone for a while, we're trying to have Christmas dinner?" Susan decided.

Bea shrugged, "All I want to know is if I should expect to find the pair of you cuddled up on your bed asleep when I check on you."

Elly blushed, "We fell asleep, Bea, we didn't mean for that to happen."

"So, the pair of you weren't already cuddling up to one another before you fell asleep?" Bea pointed out, and when Susan glared at her, "What? I just want to know what's happening in my sister's life. We all know they're in love with each other and I just want to know if my sister will get a chance to be with the person she loves."

"I didn't know that," Karl whispered to Susan next to him, "Am I always the last to know?"

Susan shushed him by saying, "Well I would've told you but...I thought maybe you'd figure it out yourself."

Elly breathed deeply, "Okay...look I was trying to wait until Chloe and I could discuss this with you all together but since Chloe needs to get back to her place for dinner very soon...then you may as well know that...Chloe and I...we're working on things so that we will be together. It's complicated because of what we've been through already together and because I have a newborn who I need to focus on. Chloe understands that we need to work on this carefully, take our time until we know how a relationship between the pair of us will work. At the end of the day...we're in love with each other, we want to be together and we will be."

"Are you sure now is the best time for the pair of you to make this decision?" Susan asked quietly.

"Yes," Elly nodded, "We've spoken about it extensively...we both want--no, we both need to be together. We're going to take our time to make this work because we don't want to stuff this up. We know we need to do this right, not just for ourselves but my son is an important part of this. We both want to do what's right for him and what's right by Elliot is Chloe and I being together. We won't be rushing into a relationship. We need to work out the best way that this works for all three of us. And I could really use your support for the pair of us to make a relationship work."

"You know you've got mine," Bea replied instantly.

"If this is really what you want and you're not rushing into a relationship then all you'll have is our support," Susan assured.

"What about Pierce?" Karl asked quietly, "Has Chloe br--"

"I haven't broken up with Pierce yet," Chloe interrupted as she returned to the dining area, quickly sitting back down at the table next to Elly, "I don't want to break up with Pierce over the phone. He deserves more respect than that. But as soon as Pierce gets back...I'll tell him I can't be with him anymore because I'm in love with Elly and I'm going to be with her."

Elly smiled at Chloe, quickly whispering, "How's Elliot?"

"The peanut's fine, he just needed a cuddle I think, he's napping again. You didn't hear on the monitor?" Chloe asked, trying not to worry that Elly thought she wouldn't be able to settle the infant.

Elly chewed on her lip, looking at Chloe apologetically, "I kinda got scared you might not think of the monitor and would say something about us before I told my family so I...switched the volume down on the monitor. Sorry, I should've trusted you not to do anything like that."

"It's fine, I get it," Chloe whispered back, "I got scared I wouldn't be able to settle Elliot and would need you to do it and that I'd just be a useless help to you with him."

Elly quietly moved to turn the volume back up on the baby monitor, "Sounds like you did perfectly fine."

"Could you two attempt to stop being so cute together if you want anyone to think Pierce would've ever stood a chance with you, Chloe?" Bea asked with a mouth full of food.

Chloe blushed at Elly before glancing at the rest of Elly's family, "How much...exactly did Elly tell you? I kinda walked in on Elly wanting support for our relationship."

Elly comfortably reached out and entangled her hand with Chloe's on top of the table between them, "I told my family that I'm in love with you. You and I will take our time to work on a relationship between the pair of us. That we need to do this right for my son. When we have figured it all out...long after you've split from Pierce...we'll be together...officially."

Chloe beamed at Elly, almost feeling like she didn't recognize the proudness that was emanating from the brunette.

Elly glanced at all her family, "But until Chloe and I are...together as a couple...officially, then the pair of us are friends."

Bea raised her eyebrow at the two sitting opposite her, deadpanned with disbelief, "Friends?"

"Yes, that's right. Until we are both free to be with one another, we have figured out exactly how a relationship between us will work between us when my focus needs to be on my son and that Chloe knows how she fits into the life I have with Elliot...Chloe and I are just friends," Elly repeated, squeezing Chloe's hand.

"You're literally holding hands with one another right now, you two aren't friends," Bea pointed out.

Elly didn't drop Chloe's hand as she reiterated to her family, "Yes, Chloe and I aren't friends because we're in love with each other but there is still a lot that we need to work out before we are together. Until then...we're not a couple. We don't want anything to start with us until Chloe has ended things with Pierce as we do not want us to start anything between us based on cheating...not after...everything that happened the first time we... I don't want any of you to think we're going behind Pierce's back. It's not even just about Pierce not knowing Chloe is ending it with him until he gets back to Erinsborough. There's a lot we need to work on because I've become a mum and we need to make sure this relationship will work for the three of us. We've spoken about all of this, we've set boundaries so we don't risk jumping into this far too soon."

"Will these boundaries mean you spend a little less time with one another until at least Pierce has been told of your decision?" Karl asked gently, "I'm not against you two being in a relationship, I do support you...I guess with my history...I don't want to see anyone else make a similar mistake."

Chloe glanced at Elly awkwardly, but Elly squeezed her hand once more.

"Yeah...it's kind of the opposite," Elly revealed to her family, "Chloe wants to help me with Elliot...not in a co-parent way, nothing like that anytime soon, just in a partner of a mum who has an infant way. Just helping me with Elliot, supporting me and maybe one day in the future...the three of us can be a family."

“I do want the three of us to be a family…one day, I just want to take my time because I can’t jump in to this like I’m ready to be a co-parent. That’s not fair on Elly or Elliot to rush into just because I love Elly as that’ll only mean I’ll end up hurting the both of them,” Chloe informed them, “But I don’t want to not spend time with the pair of them. I want to be here for both of them to start to learn how the three of us can one day be a family…and by ‘here for both of them’…I mean I’d like to stay here at your place for a while until we can work out how this…relationship with an infant will work for the three of us.”

Susan raised her eyebrow, “You’d like to stay here at our place with Elly…while you’re still technically with Pierce?”

“Oh, not quite like that. Not with Elly as in…with Elly in her bedroom. Couch, I’d want to stay…on the…couch,” Chloe fumbled in her correction.

“Chloe wouldn’t be staying in my room. We know us falling asleep on my bed wasn’t right, not until Chloe has ended things with Pierce. That won’t happen again. We have boundaries set, no kissing, no being on the bed together, just two friends…helping one another with an infant…during all the nightly things Elliot will need, helping to take the pressure off me doing this all on my own,” Elly clarified.

“You’re not alone,” Bea whispered in support.

“I know that but Chloe and I want to make our relationship work…for when we can be together and for that we need to spend time together. Chloe and I…and Elliot…we need time together in those important moments of me settling into becoming a mum so one day…we will be a family,” Elly asserted.

Susan and Karl looked blankly at the girls as Bea simply smiled at them.

“C’mon, guys,” Elly pleaded, “This is what I want. I can’t do everything for my son on my own. If Shaun was here, he’d be helping out too with Elliot but…in all honesty if Shaun hadn’t passed away…I’d be asking you for exactly the same thing. I know Finn’s bedroom is free but I wouldn’t want Chloe staying in there. If Chloe’s on the couch here then when I’m struggling to settle Elliot then I can bring him out here to the living room for Chloe to help me. Getting out of my bedroom with him might mean you get more sleep. I know this is complicated…but we don’t want to wait a week to be there for one another. I could really do with your support.”

“You’re sure that the pair of you…won’t fall into a relationship or break your boundaries of being friends only?” Susan asked softly.

“I love Chloe and she loves me. We’re not starting our relationship out the wrong way, we’ll do this right,” Elly promised as she smiled lovingly at Chloe.

Susan glanced at Karl, nodding gently, “Then I guess after dinner, I’d better make up the couch.”

“You will? Really?” Chloe asked with surprise.

“As long as you promise what is between you…stays platonic until Chloe ends things with Pierce,” Karl decided.

“We will, I promise,” Elly agreed, lifting Chloe’s entangled hand and pressing her lips to it with a soft kiss before placing their hands back on the table in between them.

Bea smirked at the pair, “Twenty bucks the pair of you end up kissing before Pierce comes home,” then off the looks Elly and Chloe gave her, “I’m just saying! I’ve never seen Elly this happy and in love before…it makes a nice change.”

Elly grinned at Chloe, “Yeah it does. Now, let’s finish this dinner so Chloe can head back to her place and she can be back here before I know it.”

Bea smiled at the girls and how Elly could barely want to be apart from Chloe for a matter of hours.

Chapter Text

And She, Waits For You

Chapter Thirty-Two

Wednesday 25th December – 6.15pm – Adelaide (6.45pm Erinsborough time)

As Chloe and Elly were enjoying their Christmas meal at the Kennedy’s, over in Adelaide, Mark was putting some finishing touches on the Christmas dinner he had spent most of the day preparing for the family, Fay, Tyler and Piper.

Mark’s phone rang and after washing his hands quickly from the food he’d been handling, Mark answered, “Pierce, Merry Christmas! I wasn’t expecting to hear from you over the holidays. How’s New York City? Chloe told me you ditched an Erinsborough Christmas for a New York White Christmas. Not sure that was the right--”

Pierce cut in on Mark’s ramblings, “Mark, finally someone answers their damn phone! Sorry that was a bit…Merry Christmas, hope all is well with the Brennan clan in Adelaide. Have you heard from Chloe today? What’s going on with her?”

“Yeah I got a very quick Merry Christmas call from Chloe and the boys first thing in the morning but they should be having Christmas dinner in an hour or so and we’ve lined up to do a Skype call soon after that so all of us can check in since we couldn’t all be together for the holidays,” Mark replied, “Wait…what do you mean ‘what’s going on with her’?”

Pierce shook his head in frustration, “Chloe, Mark, I’ve been calling her for hours and she’s not answering my calls! It’s midnight over here and I need to get in contact with her urgently. Hendrix isn’t answering either. I just called both Aaron and David and left messages for them as neither answered. I feel like Erinsborough are shutting me out and you’re the only other person I could try to get onto Chloe for me.”

“Calm down, Pierce, mate, I’m sure everything’s fine and Chloe’s just being busy spending her Christmas with the boys,” Mark tried to reassure.

“Well that’s well and good, Mark, but Hendrix is missing! Chloe was dropping him off to the airport to take a flight to Sydney to spend Christmas with his mum and sister. Hendrix didn’t meet Lisa at the gate disembarking from the flight. Lisa’s being rope-able at me for hours now! Her entire Christmas has been ruined by either Hendrix pulling a stunt and skipping past her before she could see him get off the flight or he never got on the flight to begin with. I need to get in touch with Chloe to find out if she got Hendrix to board the flight or not!” Pierce explained to Mark in desperation.

Mark ran his hand through his hair, “Okay, I’m sorry buddy, I didn’t realize how serious this was. I’m sure Hendrix is fine. His phone is still on when you ring so that’s a good sign. He’s probably pulling a stunt and will turn up at Lisa’s before you know it. Have you spoken to the airline on if he boarded the flight?”

“They won’t tell Lisa or I anything. Even a 17-year-old has privacy. We need to get the cops involved for them to do anything but I don’t want to call them until I speak to Chloe first. Lisa’s at her wits’ end with me not able to get in touch with Chloe. Another hour and she will call them. What am I supposed to say to the cops? I’m in New York, my fiancé was dropping Hendrix off at the airport but she hasn’t been answering my calls for hours now. Are they going to send a patrol car to Aaron’s to get a hold of Chloe? I’m losing my mind here, Mark. I’m worried about Chloe, I’m worried about Hendrix. Why isn’t Chloe answering my calls?” Pierce asked, trying to mask the hurt he felt at not being able to get a hold of Chloe.

“Take a deep breath, Pierce,” Mark recommended, “I will call Chloe and the boys for you. I’ve got all the Ramsay Street neighbours numbers in my phone. I can send out an urgent plea for help if I don’t get onto them so they can go around to your place and Aaron’s to see if they can find Hendrix or Chloe.”

“Thanks, Mark, it’s not easy been so far away. I get why Hendrix would pull a stunt like this, it’s what he does, him not answering my calls is normal. Less normal to ignore Lisa’s but still if he’s met up with his Sydney mates, he’s riling us on purpose. Probably out of anger that I wasn’t there to spend Christmas with him,” Pierce laminated, “But it’s Chloe ignoring all my calls that I don’t get. Before I tried you, I even called Lassisters to find out if Chloe was working today but the staff told me she’d been given a few weeks off work. I don’t get it, Chloe refused to join me in New York because it was the busiest week of the year at the hotel. If Chloe’s phone was switched off, I’d be thinking she’s on a flight over now to surprise me for Christmas tomor…okay well today now. Instead, I’m left with all these crazy theories like Chloe can’t answer my calls as she’s been kidnapped or something.”

“Look I know Finn hasn’t been caught or arrested yet but give Chloe some credit, she’s not going to be kidnapped by Finn twice in the space of three days,” Mark replied decisively.

Pierce narrowed his eyes at Mark’s words, “What are you talking about?”

Mark shrugged, “Chloe, she’s not going to be kidnapped again by Finn. Look I’m sure you’re worried about what happened but there’s no way Finn would do that all--”

“Mark! What are you talking about?” Pierce asked again.

Mark frowned, “Well, you know, Chloe was kidnapped by Finn.”

Mark blinked gently as there was nothing but silence from Pierce.

“You do know…right?” Mark finally asked awkwardly.

“Chloe was kidnapped by Finn?” Pierce finally uttered in shock, “What? When? Why? How? Why the hell didn’t anyone call me?”

“I thought you did…know,” Mark spluttered in surprise, “Aaron called us the evening Chloe went missing then Chloe got onto us as soon as she was in the hospital to let us know she was fine. It’s why she’s got the time off work, Terese is worried she could have a bit of PTSD from the kidnapping.”

“Chloe’s in the hospital? She has PTSD?” Pierce asked with concern.

“No, it’s not like that. Chloe was kept in hospital for a matter of hours because she was dehydrated. She’s perfectly fine. Terese was just being cautious so gave her time off to spend with her family and see a counselor,” Mark explained, “I really thought Chloe would have told you.”

“Why didn’t she?” Pierce asked in distress, “I should’ve been the first person she told.”

Mark thought for a moment, “Maybe she didn’t want to worry you. You’d want to fly home immediately to check on Chloe and she knows how important it is that you’re over there. I know the kidnapping was a really big deal but Chloe’s safe and home now…I mean yeah, she’s not answering her phone but I’m sure as soon as we clear up why, things will be fine. There’s no way Finn could do what he did all over again.”

“What even happened? Why would Finn kidnap Chloe?” Pierce queried.

“It wasn’t just Chloe; Finn took Elly and Bea too. He took Elly first, he had Elly locked up in a shipping container the other night then Finn returned and saw that Chloe and Bea were starting to raise the alarm so he took them too. They all spent the night locked up in the shipping container. Two nights in there for Elly. Then Chloe McGuyver’d her way to unlocking the door from the inside and the four of them escaped and got themselves to the hospital,” Mark recapped.

“Four? Who else did Finn take?” Pierce blinked trying to work out how Chloe could keep this from him.

“Oh, right, sorry, huge part of the story missed there. Elly gave birth to her baby the second night she was in the shipping container. Chloe and Bea helped her deliver the baby. Elly had a little boy. I don’t really know any other details on him. Name or anything,” Mark then cleared his throat, trying to forget the feeling that hurt him because for nearly three months he had believed he was the father of Elly’s baby, “They’re all good. Bea, like Chloe was dehydrated. Elly and her baby spent several days in hospital…they um…Chloe filled me in quickly this morning that they were going to be discharged to go spend their first Christmas together.”

“Chloe was there…when…Elly had her baby? That must have been…” Pierce trailed off, not wanting to think about what Chloe could’ve thought about the experience.

“Special,” Mark finished for Pierce, “Chloe told me that it was…special. But it’s got nothing to do with why Chloe didn’t call you to tell you about…everything. Look it’s late over there, why don’t I get onto Chloe to track her down and get her to call you… Wait…back up…before when you were talking about when you were considering calling the cops about Hendrix…did you call Chloe your fiancé…?”

Pierce remained quiet on the other end of the phone as he took the engagement ring box out of his pocket, staring at it thoughtfully.

“Are you two engaged?” Mark pressed further, feeling confused because Chloe hadn’t mentioned anything when they’d spoken several times since Pierce left for New York.

Pierce eventually cleared his throat, “I didn’t mean to…blurt it out like that by calling Chloe my fiancé…in fact I…I always intended on calling you first before I… Mark, I’m going to propose to Chloe when I get back to Erinsborough…and I’d like your blessing.”

Now it was Mark’s turn to be silent, surprised by Pierce’s decision.

Pierce popped the engagement ring box open as he smiled at the ring inside before realizing Mark hadn’t responded, “Mark…?”

Mark snapped out of his thoughts, “That’s…I mean wow…that’s…wow. Are you sure about this?”

Pierce frowned at Mark’s question, “I love Chloe, why wouldn’t I want to marry her?”

“No…I just meant…that’s really fast, Pierce, isn’t it?” Mark asked.

“When you know, you know, and I know,” Pierce replied decisively.

Mark pursed his lips, “Yeah I get that, mate, but you and Chloe have only been together for a few months. Is Chloe at that…’when you know, you know’ stage?”

Pierce tried to ignore the thought that Chloe had yet to tell him that she loved him, “I’m not going into this thinking she’s going to reject my proposal, Mark. I was…actually planning on asking her the day that I had to fly out here. I was planning on calling you for your blessing that morning but then things went down south with my business and here I am. So…do I have your blessing?”

“Is Chloe ready to move in with you and Hendrix? And y’know we are going to have that conversation about you lying to me when you purchased my house from me and I doubt Chloe ever pulled you up on,” Mark said sternly, sidetracking Pierce’s blessing request.

“I’m sure Chloe will be as soon as we’re engaged,” Pierce replied positively, then with less enthusiasm, “What lie?”

Mark rolled his eyes, “You told me when you were buying it that Chloe had already agreed to move in with you and Hendrix. I believed when I sold my house to you, I was setting up my little sister for her life there. Did you not think that I wouldn’t pick up on that when Chloe didn’t move in with you? Or that I wouldn’t tell Chloe you lied to me?”

Pierce grimaced, “I’m sorry, Mark, you’re right. I should’ve told you that I was yet to ask Chloe to move in with me…I just thought she would. I got it wrong.”

Mark raised his eyebrow, slightly annoyed that Pierce couldn’t see his reluctance, “And what makes you think that…proposing to Chloe won’t be…getting it wrong?”

“Because I love Chloe and there’s no one that can offer her the love and care and support that I can for the rest of her life,” Pierce replied assuredly, “So…do I have your blessing?”

Mark thought for a moment before answering, “I’m sorry, Pierce, I can’t give you my blessing. I don’t think Chloe is ready for marriage.”

“Well…that’s…incredibly disappointing to hear, Mark. I disagree, I think Chloe is more than ready to settle down and be a family with me and Hendrix,” Pierce insisted.

“Without my blessing will you be proposing to Chloe when you return home anyway?” Mark asked.

Pierce snapped the engagement box closed and placed it back in his pocket where he’d been carrying it around for weeks, “If the right moment strikes…yes, Mark, I will be proposing to Chloe. Are you going to let her know?”

“No, Pierce, I’m not going to spoil your proposal plans…but…if Chloe’s not ready for marriage…I’m not sure your relationship will survive a misstep like that. Are you sure you want to risk that before Chloe has agreed to move in with you?” Mark asked honestly.

“I am,” Pierce decided cockily, “Look we got quite side-tracked here. I need to get an answer back to Lisa within the hour or she’s reporting Hendrix missing to the cops. Can you reach out to track Chloe down for me and get her to answer my calls?”

“Right, absolutely, I’ll get onto Chloe or the boys as soon as I hang up,” Mark agreed, “Do you want Chloe to call or text you as I know it’s the middle of the night over there?”

“Mark, my son is missing, until I find out where he is, I won’t be able to sleep. Get Chloe to call me asap,” Pierce instructed.

“I’ll get Chloe to call you as soon as I can. Don’t panic too much, Hendrix likes to pull stunts, I’m sure that’s all this is…and Chloe’s just busy…with her family for Christmas. Bye Pierce,” Mark said as he hung up his phone.

Shaking his head for a moment, Mark worried that maybe something was wrong which is why Chloe wasn’t answering her phone, then insisting to himself, “Chloe’s fine…she’s just busy with the family today.”

Mark immediately dialed Chloe’s number, listening to the phone ring out to Chloe’s voicemail.

Chapter Text

And She, Waits For You

Chapter Thirty-Three

Wednesday 25th December – 7.00pm

Aaron was taking the turkey out of the oven to rest when his phone rang, “Hey, Mark, I thought we weren’t doing the Skype call for another two hours, after we’ve all had our respective dinners. Chloe’s not even back for dinner yet. David’s out the back in the dug out, getting the drinks from our beer fridge out there.”

Mark bit his lip, hoping that wasn’t a bad sign that something had happened to their sister, “Hey, mate. No, we’re still doing the Skype call later with the rest of the family. Chloe is actually the reason for my call. Do you know where she is?”

Aaron shrugged, “I got no clue. Chloe should’ve been home hours ago. We didn’t have any plans for lunch but she still said she’d be home. Chloe went to the hospital to bring Elly and the baby home to the Kennedy’s. David and I only found out when we saw Chloe installing a baby capsule into Elly’s car for her. Can you believe our little sister, installing a baby capsule? Please have that image ingrained in your head like I have. Maybe Elly didn’t end up getting discharged or…Chloe’s spent the day with her at the Kennedy’s.”

Mark sensed Aaron’s hesitation in his last line like he didn’t want to think that’s where Chloe was. Mark was unsure if it was for his benefit considering he had married Elly before finding out she had slept with his sister, Chloe, when he had run away before the wedding with cold feet. Whilst Mark had reestablished his siblingly relationship with Chloe it had been hard on him when Chloe had begun dating Elly for a short time before they ended with Elly not coming to terms with her feelings for Chloe.

“What about Hendrix?” Mark asked.

“That’s a bit random from you, Mark, to be asking after Hendrix’s whereabouts. Probably sitting down to Christmas dinner with his mum and sister in Sydney as we speak,” Aaron replied.

“Actually, Hendrix isn’t, you missed a call from Pierce before and Pierce called me…Hendrix didn’t make the flight or he did and he ducked past Lisa at the gate when she was waiting for him to get off the flight. Did Chloe take Hendrix to the airport this morning?” Mark queried.

“Yeah, Hendrix was at his Dad’s place, packing his stuff when we saw Chloe at Elly’s car. Chloe was taking Hendrix to the airport before picking up Elly. Do you think Chloe only dropped Hendrix off at the car drop off point, didn’t actually go in and take him to the departure gate to board his flight? Seems like a rookie error for Chloe to make but she’s still getting used to this responsible for a teenage boy thing. Maybe Hendrix took a later flight or maybe he booked another flight somewhere else for the fun of it? That boy is full of stunts. Wait, why is Pierce calling you about this all the way from New York instead of calling Chloe?” Aaron realized.

Mark sighed, “Chloe isn’t answering her phone. Pierce has been calling her for hours, most of the afternoon. Hendrix’s phone is on too but he’s not answering either. Lisa’s going off her nut at Pierce for this, is close to reporting Hendrix as missing to the Sydney police. Pierce tried you and David. He didn’t have a number for anyone else in the street so called me. He’s worried sick, it’s past midnight over there and he’s gonna be up all night if he doesn’t hear from Chlo or Hendrix. He knows Hendrix pulls stunts so he’s not as concerned that something bad has happened to him. With Chloe not answering her phone for hours, he’s worried something’s happened to Chloe now.”

Aaron raised his eyebrow, “What, like Chloe getting kidnapped by Finn again?”

“That’s what I said!” Mark exclaimed at Aaron thinking the same thing, before clearing his throat, “Which…kinda lead to an awkward moment…Chloe never told Pierce…about the kidnapping. I accidentally spilled the beans thinking he knew.”

Aaron frowned, “Chloe told me she called Pierce. When we were in the hospital, she put off calling him due to the time difference but the next day when she was back at home, she told me she’d spoken to Pierce…why wouldn’t she tell him?”

“I guess maybe…Chloe worried too much that Pierce would rush home to be with her. Thought his business collapsing should take more priority, Chloe was out of hospital within hours,” Mark posited.

“Yeah but telling me she had told him…Chloe doesn’t lie to me…does she?” Aaron worried.

Mark sighed, “I don’t know…I’m not even in the same state and I somehow feel like something’s going on with our lil sis. Hey Azza, how are Chloe and Pierce doing…as a couple?”

“They’re…okay,” Aaron replied unconvincingly.

“Say that again with less feeling,” Mark narrowed his eyes, “Are they okay or not?”

“I think so…okay so there was this thing Chloe said to me a few days ago…when Pierce took off for New York, before she was kidnapped by Finn…I think…no I know…Chloe mentioned to me about being happy that Pierce and her would have some time apart so she could…figure out where she stands with him in their relationship,” Aaron confessed.

“Chloe was happy…to have time away from Pierce…to work out where things stand?” Mark repeated.

Aaron sighed, “You know I think of Pierce…that he’s a great guy and he’d be perfect for Chloe…if it was up to me…what am I saying? It’s not up to me. Chloe needs to work it out for herself. From the sounds of it…no not from the sounds of it…Chloe told me that Pierce is pushing for her to move in with him again. Apparently living in a share house with David, Kyle and I…Pierce doesn’t think that’s good enough for Chloe…that our family set up here isn’t…good enough. He’s trying to convince her to quit her job as he doesn’t see being an EA worthwhile and he’ll just pay for Chloe to open her own business in whatever she wants to do in life… Also, Chloe admitted that she hasn’t even told Pierce she loves him yet…and he’s pushing her to get there with her feelings for him. A lil bit in the way of Elly not quite getting there with feelings for Chloe so Chloe ended it with Elly. Chloe said…and this has kinda stuck in my mind since she said it…it’s not just that her and Pierce are on the wrong page when it comes to the level of investment in the relationship…Chloe said they are reading different books.”

“Pierce is going to propose to Chloe!” Mark blurted out, before pulling the phone away from him, “Azza!”

A few seconds later, Aaron apologized, “Sorry bout that…dropped my phone and it smashed on the kitchen counter, lucky it didn’t break the screen. Pierce is proposing!”

“Maybe Pierce should’ve called you to get his blessing,” Mark joked, “Yes, in amongst all the Hendrix missing, Chloe not answering her phone…Pierce asked me for my blessing for him to propose to Chloe when he gets back home.”

“What did you say?” Aaron asked with trepidation.

“I didn’t give Pierce my blessing. It didn’t feel right to me. It felt rushed because Chloe doesn’t even live with Pierce…I made that mistake myself marrying Elly before I’d officially lived with her. Crashing at his house most nights…the way Elly did with me, it’s not the same thing. I guess the different level of investment…I felt it too in a way…I don’t think Chloe’s ready to get married, raise a teenage boy…be part of a family like that. I didn’t even know about the rest of it,” Mark explained.

Aaron sighed in relief, “Good thing you nipped that one in the butt before Pierce goes and messes up his relationship with Chloe by proposing far too early.”

Mark ran his hand through his hair again, “Oh my lack of blessing won’t stop Pierce, he’s still going to pop the question when he gets back. He’s a lil bit stubborn that man. Guess that’s how you get to be a billionaire, don’t let the lil people get in your way.”

“If Chloe says no, that’s going to seriously affect their relationship…probably end it. Is that really worth the gamble for Pierce before Chloe’s even felt that what she feels for Pierce is love?” Aaron asked.

“Apparently Pierce is willing to gamble it all on this,” Mark admitted, “Hey, Aaron, thanks for being honest with me about where Chloe stands in her relationship with Pierce. I know you want them to work out because Pierce is good for Chloe. I just needed to know it wasn’t just me who thinks…Pierce is making a mistake.”

“No problems,” Aaron replied happily.

“I guess I shouldn’t need to tell you to keep this proposal plan a secret from Chloe,” Mark pointed out.

“It’s locked in the vault,” Aaron decided.

“Good…so about Hendrix and Chloe…can you go to try and find them at Pierce’s or Elly’s…let Pierce know right away if you track either one down. If you could let me know too that’d be good…I worry about our lil sister, y’know,” Mark revealed.

“Absolutely, I’ll just let David know and I’ll get over to Pierce’s right away to see if Hendrix is there, then I’ll work on tracking down Chlo. I’ll keep you in the loop and speak to you again via Skype with the rest of the fam in a couple hours,” Aaron agreed.

“Thanks, Azza,” Mark replied before hanging up.

Chloe was standing in the Kennedy’s entryway when Elly returned to the room, cradling Elliot against her chest, “Here’s the peanut to say goodbye to you before you go home for Christmas dinner.”

Chloe smiled wildly at the pair, “You didn’t need to wake the peanut to say goodbye, I’ll be back in a few hours.”

“Actually, he’s not awake at all, he’s fast asleep but I still wanted you to say goodbye to him before you go home and I feel like Karl’s still a touch…touchy over believing we won’t cheat on Pierce. I didn’t want to risk you being in my room to say goodbye upsetting Karl. He won’t have an issue with you being in there to help me with Elliot but more…non-baby helping ways…I think he just feels bad for Pierce because they are…sorta kinda…friends,” Elly admitted.

“Maybe I shouldn’t stay here,” Chloe hesitated.

“Yes, you should. Susan will make up the couch for you shortly. It’ll all be ready for you when you get back,” Elly told her.

“You sure cause Susan, Karl and Bea…cleared right off from here the second we finished eating…didn’t even do the dishes,” Chloe pointed out.

“We’re usually fussy about doing the dishes and cleaning around here but I think my family knew to give us a moment alone. They’ll be back out here sorting out the couch and the dishes in ten minutes time,” Elly insisted, “Besides…I need you here tonight…and so does he.”

“The peanut is the cutest baby,” Chloe gushed before agreeing, “Okay, I’ll be back in a couple of hours. Now, is there anything at all I can do for you or the peanut before I go?”

Elly opened her mouth to answer then shook her head, “No, it’s all good, you go enjoy your dinner with the boys. Try and pretend like you haven’t already eaten dinner with us. Elliot and I will be waiting for you to come back.”

“Elly, if there’s something I can help you with, you only have to ask,” Chloe insisted, reading into Elly’s hesitation.

“Can you hold Elliot and look after him for 5 minutes so I can have like…a 2 to 3-minute shower?” Elly asked, before changing her mind, “No, you know what, I’m still a single parent here without Shaun around, you’re not Elliot’s parent…yet. I’ll ask Bea or Suze or Karl to watch him or I’ll just put him back in his cot and hope that he doesn’t need me for 5 minutes. You need to get home, I’ve already kept you away from your family for far too long, on Christmas Day no less.”

Chloe reached out and ignoring Elly trying to hold back, scooped Elliot from Elly’s arms, carefully shifting the napping infant so he was cradled on her chest, “I’m already going to be called out for not coming home hours ago, 5 more minutes won’t hurt. I can look after the peanut for 5 minutes. Go and shower. You might be a new mum but you’re still a human being, Elly, you deserve 5 minutes on your own to shower. Your family are already doing enough by letting me stay here. Don’t ever feel like you’re keeping me away from my family…one day…you and Elliot might be my family…officially.”

“I don’t deserve you,” Elly smiled as she leant forwards, kissing her son on the top of his head, before surprising Chloe by sneaking a kiss to Chloe’s right cheek. Pulling back, Elly winked at the blonde, “I know I’m a rule breaker, you love me anyway.”

Chloe pursed her lips as Elly skipped away from her without giving Chloe a chance to respond.

Chloe glanced down at the infant she held in her arms, “Your mum is going to get me in a world of trouble, I just know it. Part of what I love about her. You’re lucky, y’know that lil man, your mum loves you so much and she’s going to be an amazing mum to you. You’re gonna love her so much too and going to love having her in your life.”

Chloe pressed her own lips to the top of Elliot’s head as she cradled the infant against her, not realizing that Aaron had walked up the pathway to the Kennedy’s house and was standing outside the security door screen.

Aaron spotted Chloe standing inside the entryway and was about to open the door when he overheard her talking to the infant in her arms.

Chloe chewed on her lip, “Are you going to love having me in your life…? I hope you are…I hope I don’t mess everything up…things with your mum. After everything your mum and I have been through, I can’t mess it up. It’ll be one hell of a story when you ask your mum and I about it one day. I don’t even know what you’re gonna call me. You’ll have your mum, Elly,…and then me…will I always just be Chlo or Chloe to you, peanut? Truth is…nothing scares me more than messing things up with you, peanut. You don’t know it but I’m kinda terrified by you…in that I’m kinda already falling in love with you but I really shouldn’t be falling for you this hard…when I’m not even sure I’m ready to raise you with your mum--”

“Say that again, Chlo, cause I am really lost right now,” Aaron interrupted as he opened the door, stepping foot inside the house.

Chloe’s face fell as she turned to find Aaron standing there.

Crap…not the way I planned on telling Aaron I’m going to be with Elly and help her with Elliot…how the hell is he going to take this?

Chapter Text

And She, Waits For You

Chapter Thirty-Four

Wednesday 25th December – 7.15pm

"What's going on here?" Aaron asked Chloe a little bit more relaxed than the blonde expected having overheard her talking to the infant she held in her arms.

Chloe turned to her brother as they both stood there in the entryway of the Kennedy's house, "Aaron...hey...I was...just on my way home...any minute now I promise. I just got tied up."

"Yeah I can see that," Aaron replied quietly.

"You and David met Elliot at the hospital yesterday, didn't you?" Chloe asked gently.

"Only for a moment, yes. We didn't want to crowd Elly and take up too much of her time," Aaron reminded Chloe as he reached out and softly ran his hand down the infant's back, "He was sleeping then too so we didn't really get to meet him properly."

"It's a pity that he's napping right now then cause Elliot needs a proper introduction to his Uncle Aaron," Chloe said quietly.

"'Uncle Aaron'?" Aaron repeated, "What's going on, Chlo? Where's Elly?"

Chloe shrugged, trying to sound casual, "Maybe one day you'll be...Uncle Aaron. What are you doing over here, Aaron? I was on my way home for Christmas dinner. I'm just holding onto Elliot for a handful of minutes so Elly can take a shower. She'll be back in a moment and then I can meet you over there."

"Chlo, I'm not here to hassle you over why you haven't turned up for dinner yet. I'm here because you forgot something this morning," Aaron told her.

Chloe frowned, "I don't think I forgot anything. Was I supposed to pick up something for Christmas dinner?"

Aaron shook his head then off Chloe's blank look, hinted, "It's moody, kind of a brat and wears too much cologne."

"Huh?" Chloe asked in confusion.

Aaron sighed, "Hendrix."

"What do you mean I forgo--?" Chloe started to ask before opening her mouth wildly, "Oh no!"

"Oh yes...Hendrix...you forgot him," Aaron informed Chloe.

"Please tell me that Hendrix is sitting down to dinner with Lisa and Alana in Sydney right now," Chloe pleaded.

"Can't do that...but I can tell you Hendrix is at home with David...he's going to join us for Christmas dinner," Aaron explained before pushing his sister, "How could you forget about him, Chlo? You were meant to take him to the airport to catch his flight this morning. Hendrix is really upset that you just forgot all about him. I mean yeah he could've spoken up, asked anyone else to drive him to the airport or caught an uber but he decided to be stubborn and didn't want to go to Sydney to see Lisa and Alana so he didn't. What the hell happened this morning?"

Chloe felt Elliot shift against her chest and began rocking the infant softly to try and get him to go back to sleep before he woke up crying, "Firstly, Azza, language. Don't use the word...H. E. L. L. in front of the peanut," Chloe surprised Aaron by spelling the word out before admitting, "I forgot...I didn't mean to. I got distracted messaging Elly back and forth about picking her and the peanut up from the hospital and I just...forgot. Did Hendrix turn up at our place looking for me?"

"No, Chlo, I got a call from Mark that Hendrix didn't make it to Sydney," Aaron half-explained, narrowing his eyes as he watched his sister trying to re-settle the infant in her arms, having never imagined Chloe to ever have a baby in her arms.

"Mark? How did Mark find out Hendrix didn't go to Sydney? Did Hendrix call him?" Chloe asked in confusion.

"Did you leave your phone at the hospital, Chloe? Pierce has been calling you for hours...most of the afternoon since Lisa called him to tell him Hendrix didn't meet her at the gate for his flight. Hendrix has been ignoring their calls too. Do you have any idea how much stress you've caused Pierce? And Lisa, you don't even want to know the stress you've put her through. She thought her son was missing, Chloe, she was about to report it to the police because Pierce couldn't get a hold of you. You owe them both one hel--big apology," Aaron stumbled when Chloe immediately looked at him with daggers when he was halfway through saying 'hell' again, "Pierce tried me and David but we were busy with the cooking dinner, something we thought you'd offered to help with except you never turned up. Pierce called Mark. When Mark called me, he asked me to go find Hendrix and you. Hendrix was just at Pierce's place, has been all day playing video games, spending Christmas alone because you forgot about him."

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to," Chloe apologized, "I'll make it up to him. And Pierce and Lisa."

"Why didn't you answer your phone?" Aaron asked again.

Chloe pressed her lips to the top of Elliot's head, "I was with this guy. My phone woke him from a nap so I turned it on silent without vibrate that could wake him too. I had no idea Pierce had been trying to call me because I messed up big time by not taking Hendrix to the airport. I just thought Pierce was calling to wish me a Merry Christmas...it didn't feel right to answer it when I was with..."

My soon-to-be girlfriend and her infant son...

"I'll call him back as soon as I get back to our place to apologize and explain I wasn't checking my phone all day. Let Pierce know that Hendrix is fine and at ours," Chloe offered.

"There's no need," Aaron sighed, "I called Pierce as soon as I found Hendrix at his place, told him that Hendrix will be at ours for Christmas dinner before you go back to stay with him at Pierce's tonight."

Aaron frowned at Chloe grimacing at his words but didn't ask why, "We'll need to have a chat with Hendrix over dinner to work out if we can book him on a new flight for the morning or if he's better off staying with you at Pierce's for the week until Pierce comes back."

Right...except I don't plan on spending the night at Pierce's ever...again...and I already have this little guy whom I want to look after.

"Right...that's something we can discuss tonight...but I think it'd be for the best we get Hendrix up to Sydney...to spend the rest of the holidays with his family," Chloe agreed vaguely.

"Why'd you lie to me and tell me that you told Pierce about the kidnapping ordeal you went through?" Aaron suddenly asked.

Chloe was caught off guard but cleared her throat, "I didn't mean to lie to you, Azza, I just...I didn't want Pierce to worry about me when I'm fine. He'd have rushed home and I didn't need him to."

Not when I'm working things out with Elly.

"Mark told him thinking that he knew. Pierce was so worried about you when you weren't answering your phone today...more worried about you then about Hendrix because Hendrix pulls stunts like this all the time. He loves you," Aaron reminded Chloe.

"I don't feel the same way about Pierce," Chloe whispered.

Aaron nodded, feeling disappointed but acknowledged he couldn't make Chloe feel the same way as Pierce does, "Were you here all day with Elly and Elliot? Because I don't want to push but I swear when I was standing outside that door you were talking to Elliot about...whether or not he'll love having you in your life...that you don't want to mess things up with his mum...that you don't know what he's going to call you...that you're terrified of falling in love with him even though you have...but you're not sure about raising him with his mum. What's going on, Chlo?"

"I was going to tell you and David tonight," Chloe whispered.

"Tell us what?" Aaron pushed.

"I'm ending my relationship with Pierce as soon as he gets back home next week," Chloe informed him.

"Why do I feel there's a lot more than that?" Aaron asked.

Chloe stared down at the infant who had fallen back asleep against her chest, "I'm giving a relationship between Elly and I a go...and I'm going to be there for the peanut...and maybe one day...I'll be his parent and the three of us will be a family."

Aaron widened his eyes but didn't know how to respond.

"Elly got there, Aaron, with her feelings for me. She got there, she's in love with me, and I'm still in love with her. We're going to be together," Chloe resolved.

"How can you be so sure?" Aaron wondered.

"That's a story for another day or maybe over dinner tonight. It's real, Aaron, Elly's feelings for me are just as strong as mine are for her. I can't pretend that my feelings for Elly ever went away. We love each other and we want to make a relationship work so I'm going to end things with Pierce as soon as he gets back. I'd have ended things with Pierce already if it wasn't for the fact he's on the other side of the world. He deserves a lot more respect than me calling him to tell him," Chloe replied.

"Pierce deserved your respect today by being able to get in contact with you and instead you were setting up your future for yourself with Elly and Elliot," Aaron accused.

"He did and I'm sorry about not answering my phone but I won't apologize for spending my Christmas Day with these two and talking to Elly about how a relationship with the pair of us will work when she has this lil guy to take care of," Chloe decided.

"Have you cheated on Pierce?" Aaron asked swiftly, "I won't lie for you if you have."

Chloe nodded, "I'm not going to lie to you, Aaron, not about this. I am very much cheating on Pierce emotionally with Elly but nothing physical has happened between us. We haven't even kissed yet...okay technically there was one kiss when Elly kissed me whilst we were kidnapped after giving birth to Elliot but I was completely unprepared for her to do that to stop it. But we have not kissed since then, the temptation has been there to, believe me. Elly's...surprisingly affectionate with me...in a cuddling, kissing my cheek or top of my head kinda way. And okay there was a moment earlier this afternoon that Elly was nibbling my neck with kisses before I stopped her and we did...accidentally curl up on the bed and fell asleep together for most of the afternoon. I'm prepared to tell Pierce all this because he deserves the truth. It's emotional cheating...but I won't act on my feelings for Elly until I've broken up with Pierce."

"Are you sure?" Aaron wanted to know.

"Yes, Aaron. I won't let Elly and I start a relationship based on...cheating. Be real, Aaron, Elly only gave birth a few days ago, she is not going to be back in the groove for a physical relationship for months to come and I'm prepared to wait as long as it takes. And just because that wouldn't stop Elly being with me for the same reason...grow up, Elly...and I...are going to be beyond far too tired for anything to get really physical for months to come on account of settling into life with an infant. I can resist Elly wanting to kiss me even though I really want to kiss her. We've set boundaries between us so we won't let anything happen between us before I'm free to be with Elly. I know you may not agree with my decision but it's mine to make and I'm going to be with Elly...I can't not be," Chloe confessed.

"And what about Elliot? Where does he fit in to all this? Because no offence, Chlo, but David and I are ready for children...you've never expressed the slightest interest in having a family. I know you love Elly...or I believe you do...not quite sure I'm ready to believe Elly returns your feelings after the mess she's caused our family," Aaron put his hands up in defense when Chloe was about to interrupt, "It's just how I feel about her. Elly's a great friend but I don't want you throwing away what could be a good relationship because she's decided she might have feelings for you. I don't want to see you getting hurt. I don't want to see you invest in this when there's a baby involved if it'll only lead to you getting hurt."

Chloe ran her hand up and down the infants back, "Aaron, I have thought long and hard about this. All of this. I can promise you Elly's love for me is real. She shows it to me in every word and action she does because she's not afraid anymore. I'm not throwing away what could be a good relationship for Elly, I'm going to end a relationship that will never work because I love Elly and I don't love Pierce. As for this lil man...I am terrified of falling in love with him and being completely useless when it comes to helping Elly with him. But I'm willing to try. I want to help Elly with him...and maybe one day...he'll love me like he'll love Elly."

"That's still a really big decision," Aaron commented.

"And I've made it," Chloe reiterated, "I love Elly, Elly loves me, and the pair of us are willing to do whatever it takes to make this work between us. We know Elliot is a massive part of this. I can't just be dating Elly on the side but I also need to take my time in wrapping my head around having an infant in my life who might one day look up to me like I'm his...mum. Elly and I will be taking our time with a lot of things to do with us being in relationship. Elly and I need to make this work...we'll do what we can to...for our sake as well as the peanuts."

Aaron finally nodded, "It sounds like you're taking a reasonable approach to this...that you've thought it through...and this is really what you want."

"It is, Aaron," Chloe confirmed, "Only there's one more thing--"

"Another bombshell for me, sis?" Aaron panicked.

"Hendrix will either need to go to Sydney tomorrow...or we might need to get him to stay at ours until Pierce gets back home...I'm not staying at Pierce's," Chloe told him.

"I guess that would feel a little...off...to stay in his bed when you know it's over," Aaron realized.

Chloe bit her lip, "Yeah...and also I've...or Elly and I have asked the Kennedy's if I can...sleep on their couch here for the week because I want to start helping Elly now with Elliot. She'll need support. I know she has her family here to help her. Had Shaun still being alive I probably would hold back on wanting to help her or I might not have any place to help Elly like I want to if Shaun was here but he isn't. I don't want to wait because I'm held back due to Pierce been overseas and I can't end it with him until he gets back. Elly and I can't work out how a relationship between us will work when she has to give all her focus and attention to Elliot if I'm not prepared to help her and include him in mine...even if it isn't in a parent way...yet."

"Are you really sure you're prepared for everything that comes with being in a relationship with Elly and having Elliot in your life...in a one day you might be his parent way?" Aaron finally asked.

"I am," Chloe answered confidently.

Chapter Text

And She, Waits For You

Chapter Thirty-Five

Wednesday 25th December – 7.20pm

Aaron still stood with Chloe at the entryway to the Kennedy’s as he was trying to accept Chloe’s decision to leave Pierce for Elly and be a part of Elliot’s life as a family with Elly and the infant.

Aaron thought for a moment how Chloe’s decision would affect more than just Pierce, "You know if you do this...if you decide to be with Elly and help her...raise Elliot...you need to tell Mark, Chloe."

"I know, I've been avoiding trying to think about how to find the words to tell Mark...but he needs to know and he needs to find out by me," Chloe decided, before staring down at Elliot, "I don't know how Mark will take this."

Aaron crossed his arms in front of him, "Mark thought he was Elliot's father for the first few months Elly was pregnant with him until she told him the truth. Mark married Elly, stayed married to her despite her cheating on him with you because he wanted this baby. He was devastated when he found out Elly cheated again and this baby wasn't his. And now..."

"I'm what, taking over the life Mark could've had with Elly if he had of found a way to get past Elliot not being biologically his by being in a relationship with Elly and helping her to raise her son?" Chloe questioned.

"A little bit, yeah," Aaron replied honestly.

"I can't tell Mark tonight, not if it could ruin his Christmas but I'll ask him if I can Skype him in the morning so I can tell him then...and hope that he takes this news...as well as he can," Chloe remained hopeful, before sighing, "Y'know this morning, Elly and I were going to keep our impending relationship between the pair of us. Then I decided I didn't want to wait a week before I could start helping her with Elliot and now...it feels like everyone's finding out. Bea, Susan, Karl, you...which also means David because as if you can keep a secret from anyone..."

Aaron raised his eyebrow at his sister, thinking that he was managing to keep Pierce's proposal secret from Chloe, feeling relieved that Mark had known enough to reject giving Pierce his blessing but now wondered how Pierce would take the news of Chloe deciding to be with Elly.

"Now Mark will know...I don't know yet if that means I should then tell mum, Tyler and Piper or wait until it's official between Elly and I. And if Hendrix refuses to go to Sydney tomorrow, am I going to have to explain to him why I'm sleeping on Elly's couch? What if he goes off and tells Pierce?" Chloe rambled.

"Breathe," Aaron instructed, "You know all these people had to find out eventually."

"It's not about everyone I care about learning Elly and I will be together...I hate all these people knowing Pierce is going to get dumped the minute he returns to Erinsborough. I don't like that everyone knows more about my relationships with Elly and Pierce than Pierce does and he's the one who I am still in a relationship with," Chloe lamented.

Aaron shrugged, "It is what it is, Chlo, if you don't want to wait to help Elly with--"

Aaron was cut off when Elly all but skipped back into the room with a smile on her face, "Where's my soon-to-be-girlfriend and adorable son of mine--? Best friend, where's my best friend and...?"

Chloe and Aaron both raised their eyebrows at Elly's attempt at backtracking as Elly's skipping came to a halt upon noticing Aaron was there.

Chloe couldn't help but smile shyly at Elly calling her 'soon-to-be-girlfriend' then blushed as she stared at the silk dressing gown Elly was wearing that barely made it halfway down her thighs, "It's okay...Elly, I told Aaron about us."

Elly sighed in relief as she walked over to the pair, immediately settling herself behind the blonde and placing her hands on Chloe's shoulders where she began to massage them, "Oh thank God because if I had to try and explain what I meant by 'girlfriend' I had nothing. Sorry I took so long showering, 2 to 3 minutes turned into a bit longer as soon as I felt the water on me. You were right about needing a teensy bit of time to feel like a human being with something so basic as a shower. I knew my boy would be safe with you, my love."

Aaron watched Chloe immediately fall into the massage Elly was giving her and hearing the way Elly spoke of his sister realized, "Chlo, you really weren't kidding when you said Elly's not afraid to show you how she feels with her actions and her words."

Elly beamed at the woman in front of her, "You said that about me?" Elly leaned over and pressed her lips to Chloe's cheek, "I plan on showing and telling you every single day for the rest of my life."

Chloe pouted as she turned her head so she could look back at Elly, "Again with the kissing. Didn't we agree to not do that until I'm free to be with you?"

Elly continued massaging her fingers against Chloe's skin, "No, we agreed we couldn't kiss each other's lips until you're all mine. You wanted me to agree to stop kissing the rest of your beautiful face but I keep telling you I'm a rule breaker and will continue to do so because I can't not show you how much I love you."

Chloe leant her head against Elly's, whispering, "Stop with the massage of my shoulders, you're driving me crazy."

"Fine," Elly pouted as she glided her hands down Chloe's body until they rested on Chloe's hips where she proceeded to run her thumbs gently on the exposed skin above Chloe's pants and nuzzled her face into the crook of Chloe's neck.

"Oh my God, it's like you're trying to make me cheat on Pierce," Chloe accused with a teasing tone.

"I can't say the thought has never crossed my mind, baby," Elly smirked.

"Chloe, you said Elly wasn't afraid to show her feelings for you...you never said the pair of you are nauseatingly all over each other without being able to be all over each other...God, does this mean you two are going to get worse when you're actually together?" Aaron felt embarrassed when he saw how happy Chloe was standing there in Elly's embrace when she had never come close to looking like that with Pierce.

Chloe turned back to Aaron, "I don't know, Elly, do you think we can make it worse for Aaron...please?"

"Anything for you, my love," Elly promised as she continued massaging Chloe's skin and couldn't help but adore the way Chloe stood there with her cradling her son to her chest.

"I think that's my cue to leave you two alone and remind me perhaps not to ever question again that Elly couldn't possibly be into you," Aaron decided.

"I'll be over for dinner in a couple minutes," Chloe promised, "I'll just say goodbye to these two."

"You're going to take forever, aren't you? Even though I assume you're coming back here to stay the night on the couch after our Christmas evening with the fam," Aaron rolled his eyes.

Chloe nodded, then claimed, "It's a long...few hours I won't be with them."

"I'll see you at home...soon, Chlo," Aaron told her.

As Aaron stepped towards the Kennedy's door, Chloe called him back, "Hey Azza, you never actually said if you're okay with all this. You just worried whether or not I was sure Elly loves me and that me wanting to be part of Elliot's life is what I really wanted and would be ready for. Are you...okay with Elly and I being together?"

"I'm...it might take me a bit of time getting used to it...especially if you two are going to be nauseatingly in love with one another. I'm not going to stand in your way but you do need to tell Mark tomorrow, Chlo, and keep things at somewhat of a distance so you don't cheat on Pierce. I know you don't love him but he's still a good man and he loves you," Aaron settled on before leaving the house.

Chloe pursed her lips at Aaron's retreating figure, "Aaron could've been a little bit more supportive of us."

Elly squeezed Chloe's hips, "Give Aaron a lil bit of time to wrap his head around it. It took you a day to accept how much I love you, remember."

"Good point," Chloe whispered, then reluctantly twisted in Elly's embrace until she was facing the brunette with Elliot still against her chest, "Here, you'd better take him cause I..."

Elly locked eyes with Chloe, licking her lips, "Have to go home."

Chloe's eyes couldn't avoid Elly's gaze as she silently handed the newborn to Elly and placed him against Elly's chest.

Elly swallowed hard as she held her son and stared at the blonde in front of her who had shifted closer to her in order to put the infant against her chest, "Are you sure I can't kiss you now? And by that, I mean a real kiss between us."

Chloe couldn't help but smile warmly, "Do you really want to prove Bea right within less than an hour that we can't go more than a week without kissing?"

Elly leant forwards, her lips an inch from Chloe's, "No...but she doesn't have to know."

"If we kiss once, we'll kiss again...and again, Elly. We need to be patient," Chloe quietly insisted even though the feeling of Elly's breath near her lips was driving her insane.

Elly leant up and pressed her lips to Chloe's forehead before pulling back from their closeness, "I hate how level-headed you are."

Chloe placed her hands on Elly's hips, "I'm pretty sure you love me so that's just impossible."

Elly rolled her eyes, "I can't even pretend to hate you."

Chloe winked at Elly, "I know. Now why don't you take a seat on the couch and hang out here until Susan retreats back here to make this couch up for me?"

Elly nodded, then proceeded to walk over to the couch and was pleasantly surprised when Chloe sat down next to her. Elly shifted until Elliot was cradled out in her arms instead of against her chest, "So, Aaron mentioned that you need to tell Mark about us tomorrow...do you want to tell him?"

Chloe wrapped her arm around Elly's shoulder, "I need to, he has to hear it from me that I'm...deeply in love with his ex-wife, I'm planning on spending my future with you and being a family with..."

"The baby Mark thought was his because I lied to him for months," Elly finished off for Chloe.

"Yeah," Chloe whispered, seeing the guilt in Elly's eyes, "We're doing a Skype call with the Adelaide family after dinner but that's not the right time to tell him in case he reacts badly. I'll ask him if I can Skype him in the morning and perhaps...if he's okay with it you and Elliot can be here and I can...introduce Elliot to him. He might be...Uncle Mark one day...so it'd be nice if he could meet him early. Even though it isn't face to face."

"If Mark's okay with it, I am too," Elly accepted.

"Oh I...ah...might be a little longer than I thought at my place before I come back here and before I should even be suggesting my brothers will be Elliot's Uncles I should tell you I messed up royally today in a kind of semi-parent related responsibility. It's why Aaron came over looking for me," Chloe glanced at Elly sadly, "I forgot about Hendrix."

"How do you mean?" Elly narrowed her eyes.

"I was supposed to take Hendrix to the airport this morning so he could catch a flight to Sydney for Christmas with his family before I came to the hospital to pick you two up. I forgot about him...I was so focused on the pair of you I...messed up big time," Chloe admitted.

"Did Hendrix...make it to Sydney?" Elly asked, trying to think of how to reassure the blonde for her mistake.

"No, he stayed at home and played video games all Christmas day. Pierce wasn't calling me to wish me 'Merry Christmas' hours ago...he was calling me because Hendrix's mum, Lisa, freaked out like any mum would that Hendrix didn't meet her at the gate. Pierce has been calling me for hours but I turned it to silent because I didn't want it to wake the peanut and now..." Chloe leant her head on Elly's shoulder.

"How many times has Pierce called you?" Elly asked.

"I haven't dared to look," Chloe answered, "I royally screwed up today."

"You made an error, that's all it was. You had reasons for not answering your phone and maybe I should feel bad that Elliot and I are the reason that you were so focused on us today and didn't think about Hendrix but I really don't to be honest. I don't regret a moment of our day together," Elly assured.

"What about my useless ability to do one parental-like responsibility right? Aren't you afraid that I'll mess up with the peanut and do the same thing with him? Leave you at the airport for hours on end wondering where your son is and not able to get on anyone who can tell you?" Chloe worried.

"Oh, absolutely not because in that scenario with me being Lisa, you'd be the second parent meaning you'd be Pierce and you'd be relying on your delectably hot young girlfriend to be taking Elliot to the airport and sorry baby but that's just never going to happen to us. They'll be no any kind of girlfriend except me for the rest of your life," Elly winked at Chloe.

Chloe almost shook her head at Elly's teasing, "Well obviously that part would not be us because I have zero intentions of ever being with anyone else but you for the rest of my life. But I still feel like that was a mini-parental responsibility moment for me and I failed miserably. Lisa will be furious with me, not that I've ever even spoken to her before. Pierce is...he's going to be questioning what I was up to today. Why I wasn’t answering his calls…how am I to explain away our day together when I want to wait until he comes home to end things?"

“Dump him. Then there’s no explaining necessary as it’s not his business that you spent all day with us,” Elly smirked, then as Chloe pouted at her, “Baby, whatever you say to Pierce will be fine. Even if he was here, he has no right to tell you who you can and can’t spend time with. Don’t worry so much about failing with Hendrix this morning. I’m terrified of the millions of ways I’m probably going to fail with Elliot but I can’t beat myself over it every time I make a mistake. I’ll learn from it…and I’ll have you by my side every time.”

Chloe smiled at Elly, locking eyes with the brunette, “Every time, you can count on it. You always make me feel better, sweetie. How do you do that?”

“By being completely in love with you,” Elly whispered.

Chloe continued staring into Elly's eyes before her eyes dropped to Elly's lips. Chloe wondered how good they would feel against her own and if Elly was thinking the same thing as she was. Elly licked her lips at how close Chloe's lips were to hers before leaning her forehead against Chloe’s bringing them even closer.

Chloe and Elly were brought out of their moment when the security door of the Kennedy's opened and closed shut as someone entered.

Unable to tear her eyes away from Elly, Chloe told them, "I know, I know, Aaron, I should be home. I'm leaving right now. And before you even ask, nothing has happened here, Elly and I haven't kissed, I swear."

"I'll just leave and come back after the pair of you have gotten with the kissing, then shall I?" came the reply.

Chloe whipped her head around, “Son of a bit…”

“Pretty sure you mean son of the guy you’re meant to be with, yet you’re about to make out with your ex any second now if I hadn’t trampled in here to find out what’s going on with you, Chlo,” Hendrix announced to the pair.

Chapter Text

And She, Waits For You

Chapter Thirty-Six

Wednesday 25th December – 7.25pm

“Hendrix!” Chloe almost shouted in surprise to the teen as he had caught her sitting on the couch with Elly, about to kiss the woman.

“Hey Hendrix,” Elly greeted the teen warmly, not the least concerned that he’d caught her nearly kissing the woman who was dating his father.

“Miss. Conway, you’re looking good. Motherhood works on you. It’s nice to see the little nipper for the first time. Your son looks happy to be with you, he’s lucky to have you,” Hendrix replied.

Elly smiled at her son, “I hope it does work for me as I’m sure not going back to a life without this lil guy in it. Not quite sure anyone can claim that Elliot looks happy yet but I’ll take it.”

“Hendrix, what are you doing here?” Chloe asked, worried Pierce’s son would blow her almost kiss to his father.

Hendrix shrugged, “Aaron said you spent the day here. I wanted to see why and chat to you before Christmas dinner. Didn’t expect to find you nearly making out with my English teacher when I thought you were my Dad’s girlfriend.”

“We weren’t…nearly making out. I was not about to kiss Elly,” Chloe claimed as she glared at Hendrix.

Elly smirked at the blonde, “If the kid here hadn’t walked in here you would've kissed me and you know it.”

Chloe glanced back at Elly to roll her eyes at her, "You're not helping."

"I know but I have no intention of lying about things like this from now on, baby. I'll leave you two to head back to your place to talk about some things. I'll go let Suze know she can make up the couch, text me when you're coming back for dessert so we can start serving it," Elly told Chloe, then as she gently stood up, cradling Elliot in her arms, Elly surprised Chloe by kissing her cheek before walking past Hendrix.

Chloe tilted her head as she watched Elly walking away.

Before Elly had quite left the room, Hendrix smirked at Chloe, "Are you checking out Miss. Conway in her silk dressing gown?"

"No," Chloe claimed.

Oh, I so am! Those legs...!

"Yes, she is," Elly chimed in without looking back at the pair as she headed down the hallway away from them.

Chloe blushed at Elly knowing she was, before glancing back at Hendrix, "Why don't we go for a walk?"

A minute later, Chloe had texted Aaron to let him know she was going for a walk with Hendrix to explain things to him before they would be back for dinner and the pair were walking around the block.

"So, you and Miss. Conway...you nearly kissing her, her calling you 'baby' and you checking her out...are you cheating on my Dad with her?" Hendrix asked calmly.

"Yes and no," Chloe admitted before elaborating, "I don't expect you to understand adult relationships as you're so young but I'm cheating on Pierce emotionally with Elly. It hasn't been anything physical between either of us unless you count Elly constantly kissing my cheek. And there may have been one emotionally charged kiss Elly gave me when I wasn’t expecting it during our…kidnapping ordeal. I wouldn't have kissed Elly when you saw us together...okay I probably wouldn't have kissed her."

"You would've kissed her," Hendrix sniggered teasingly.

"Whether or not I would've...it was a reminder to me that I don't want to kiss Elly," Chloe decided.

"Didn't look like it to me," Hendrix insisted, "And the way you and Miss. Conway were with each other, I don't think I've ever seen you that coupley with my Dad before."

Chloe breathed deeply before telling the teen, "I'm going to break up with your Dad when he gets home. I could do it now but Pierce deserves more respect from me than to be told over the phone or Skype."

Hendrix nodded, "Are you leaving him for Miss. Conway?"

"Yes," Chloe answered, "It's probably too complicated to explain it to you but yes...Elly and I will be together once I end it with Pierce. Until then...like I said...it's emotional cheating it's not physical, I won't allow myself to cheat on Pierce by kissing Elly or anything like that. When I do break it off with your Dad, I'll be honest about the emotional cheating I've been feeling for Elly."

"Explain it to me. I may only be 17 but I'm tired of people not listening to me," Hendrix requested, "Does Miss. Conway love you?"

"Yes, she does and I'm in love with Elly," Chloe admitted, "The way your Dad feels about me...I just don't feel it for him. I wanted to; I know he loves me. I never got over Elly. I thought what she felt for me...was nowhere near what I feel for her. Turns out us being apart...Elly fell in love with me. I never saw this coming. I hope you know that I never intended on dating your father whilst waiting around for Elly to work out if she had feelings for me. I really thought if I gave it time then I'd learn to feel what Pierce feels for me."

"And there's no point sticking it out with my Dad to see if you ever will because you want to be with Miss. Conway?" Hendrix realized.

Chloe looked over at the teen as they walked side by side, "True love doesn't happen very often and when it does you need to take it. Especially when the timing is right. The timing between Elly and I isn't perfect but once I end things with Pierce then we're free to be together. If I stay with Pierce it would just be for security, what he can provide for me when my illness takes hold. It's not fair to me and it's also not fair to him because he won't be able to find that true love that he deserves either."

"Like what you have with Miss. Conway?" Hendrix confirmed.

Chloe couldn't help but smile at the reminder of her feelings for Elly, "Yes, that's what I share with Elly and I owe it to myself to pursue a relationship with her. Pierce deserves to find that too with someone else who loves him more than he wants me to."

“And what about the baby? Where does he fit into all this? You didn’t like me when I showed up, you really want a crying, screaming baby around all the time?” Hendrix pointed out.

Chloe placed her hand on Hendrix’s shoulder for a moment, “It’s not that I didn’t—don’t like you, Hendrix. I was surprised by your existence. I know I’d only being dating your father for 24 hours before you showed up but I did have history with him. Granted he left for six odd months but I had known him close to a year before I began dating him and he never mentioned you. I should’ve seen that as a sign that Pierce was willing to lie to me about things of importance.”

“Hardly think I rank in any level of importance to Dad,” Hendrix muttered.

“You two may have a rocky history but you are important to Pierce. He wouldn’t want to lose you or have you move back to Sydney,” Chloe insisted, “Going back to your other questions…the peanut is going to have a huge effect on Elly and I’s relationship. He’s going to be the most important person in Elly’s life and I want to find a way of fitting into that. It’s going to take some time to get used to having a baby in my life when I never pictured myself getting pregnant with babies. Due to that I guess I thought that meant ruling out becoming a parent one day. Maybe that’s because I wasn’t meant to have my own children…especially when the risk of passing on my Huntington’s gene is so strong…maybe I was meant to…one day in the future when Elly and I are ready…be a parent to the peanut.”

“The ‘peanut’? That’s what you’re calling Elliot. How long do you think ‘peanut’ will stick?” Hendrix teased.

“What? I’ve been calling him that since Elly was halfway through her pregnancy. You don’t think Elliot will like it cause I don’t intend on stopping calling him ‘peanut’ until he’s at least as tall as you,” Chloe grinned.

“You’re going to traumatize the kid if you stick to calling him ‘peanut’ his entire childhood,” Hendrix giggled.

Chloe rolled her eyes, “Here I was thinking he might love it and he’ll love me for it.”

“Oh yeah, and what was your nickname growing up? What name did your brothers insist on calling you?” Hendrix pointed out.

Chloe chewed on her lip before admitting, “Elliot.”

Hendrix raised his eyebrow at Chloe, “Miss. Conway named her son after you? In an attempt to win you back and it worked?”

Chloe smiled, “No, it’s not like that. Elly had already chosen it for him, y’know, once she gave birth to Elliot and knew he was going to be a boy. She told me Shaun and her had settled on a girl’s name before he passed away. She never got a chance to tell him that she had decided on Elliot for a boy. Yeah part of it was knowing it’s my nick name but she asked me first if it was okay before making it official.”

“So, when my Dad gets back, you’re really going to fall into a relationship with Miss. Conway and have a baby in your life that you might one day feel is your own?” Hendrix asked.

“Yes, I am,” Chloe answered, “It’s gonna take a lot of work for the two of us to get to the point that Elly and I both want me to be a co-parent to the peanut but I’m willing to do what it takes. I think it helps knowing that the relationship between Elly and I won’t take a lot of work. I never thought Elly would fall in love with me, now that she has and is happy to express it, our relationship will be easy to fall into. I’ve got a lot of learning to do when it comes to having a baby in my life that I might be slightly responsible for. Especially when I…screwed up royally with you this morning.”

Hendrix sighed as the pair rounded the corner headed back down Ramsay Street, “I was wondering when you were going to bring that up.”

“Hendrix, I am really sorry I forgot about you this morning,” Chloe apologized, “I was so focused on Elly and bringing her and the peanut home from the hospital. Making sure she had a good start to her first Christmas with her son after the ordeal she was put through to give birth to him without the support she’d have wanted. But I should’ve paid more attention to you. Looking after you until you went to Sydney was the only thing Pierce asked of me…and I failed miserably.”

“I don’t think so,” Hendrix disagreed, “Y’know I could’ve messaged you, called you, to get you to come back for me. I could’ve ordered an Uber to the airport. It wasn’t your fault I didn’t go to Sydney.”

“Why didn’t you go to Sydney?” Chloe asked quietly.

Hendrix shrugged, “I’m tired of being shuffled off by my parents like they care about me when they don’t. I feel like I’m back to them shoveling me to one boarding school after the next thinking it’s for my education. It was never about that. It was about mum and dad not wanting to be there as parents for me. Dad had his reasons…mum…I guess she did too, I just don’t know what they are.”

“They’re your parents, Hendrix, they care about you. They love you,” Chloe insisted.

“Sometimes I wonder if they do,” Hendrix admitted, “Y’know I’m pretty sure Elliot’s gonna be loved by you and Miss. Conway a hell of a lot more than I’ve ever been by my parents. I’m a little jealous of him. I kinda wished I’d had parents like you two growing up.”

Chloe beamed at Hendrix’s assessment of her and Elly’s love for Elliot but felt terrible that the teen hadn’t experienced that growing up, “I hope Elly and I can do that for the peanut. I know you feel like you don’t have that with your parents but it doesn’t mean you can’t. Give them both a chance. How would you feel if we book you on a flight to Sydney for the morning? I promise to take you to the airport this time.”

Hendrix shook his head, “I don’t think so. Mum will be pissed at me for pulling this stunt. Maybe I can go see her towards the end of school holidays when she’s gotten over it. I’d rather stay here with you.”

Chloe hesitated for a moment as they reached the driveway of Aaron and David’s house, “Yeah about that…I can’t stay at Pierce’s now that I know it’s going to be over between us. And I won’t be here at home with Aaron or David either…I need to be there for Elly and the peanut. Help Elly with the peanut during the nights when he won’t go to sleep. I’m staying at the Kennedy’s on their couch for the week.”

“You really are prepared to do what it takes for Miss. Conway and the baby to make it work between you all,” Hendrix was surprised, then thought, “Can I stay with Aaron and David on their couch until Dad gets back?”

Chloe turned to Hendrix as they stood in the driveway, “As long as Aaron and David are okay with it and as long as you promise to call both your parents in the morning to check with them, you can. If you do, I’ll make sure to spend time with you every day. I can come over here for dinner each night, go out to lunch with you.”

“You think you can pry yourself away from the hot brunette long enough for any of that or that you won’t be too tired from being kept up all night by a crying infant?” Hendrix asked.

“For you I can manage,” Chloe promised, “Hey Hendrix…are you going to tell your Dad about Elly and I? You’ve pulled a lot of stunts over the time I’ve known you and I know part of you wants to hurt your Dad but this shouldn’t be the way to do it.”

Hendrix shrugged, “It’s tempting…Dad’ll spit chips if I told him you’re leaving him for Miss. Conway when she’s got her newborn to care for.”

“Hendrix, please don’t. Please let me tell your father the way I want to as soon as he comes home. This is your chance to be an adult for once, to do the right thing. You want people to start listening to what you want, then you need to do the same,” Chloe pleaded.

Hendrix nodded, “Okay, I won’t tell Dad, I promise.”

“Thank you,” Chloe smiled, “Now, let’s get inside and introduce you to a Brenaka family Christmas dinner.”

Hendrix grinned back at Chloe and as they headed to the front door, “Oh…one more thing I need answered about you and Miss. Conway…”

“Yes, Hendrix,” Chloe prompted him to continue.

Hendrix sniggered cheekily, “When Miss. Conway mentioned you going back to her place for dessert…to give her the heads up when you’d head back for it to be served…was that a metaphor that Miss. Conway and you are gonna serve up some romantic dessert of the sexual kind--?”

Chloe reached out and slapped Hendrix over the head, “Finish that sentence mister and I will send you to Sydney on the first flight out in the morning! It’s the innocent kind of dessert, kid, Christmas pudding. Got it?”

Hendrix winked at the blonde, “Fine but I bet you wish it was that kind of dessert.”

Chloe shook her head at the teen as she followed him inside the house.

Maybe…

Chapter Text

And She, Waits For You

Chapter Thirty-Seven

Thursday 26th December – 12.20am

“I’m here, I’m here, what does he need?” Chloe announced as she rushed into Elly’s bedroom.

Elly was struggling to disentangle herself from the sheets, “Chlo, what are you doing? Is his crying that loud you can hear it from the living room?”

Chloe closed the door behind her and immediately went to the cot scooping up the crying infant up into her arms, as Elly reached out and turned her bedside light on so they weren’t in the pitch-black room, “I heard him on the baby monitor.”

“Did I leave the baby monitor out there after dinner?” Elly asked as she eventually detangled her legs from the sheets and padded over to the cot and Chloe.

“No, I pinched it from here when I came to say goodnight to you both an hour ago,” Chloe responded as she rocked Elliot in her arms, “I think he needs a change. I’ll do it. You go back to bed. I got this one, you can get the peanut next time if it’s a feed he needs.”

Instead of going back to bed, Elly reached out her hand and ran it down Chloe’s back, attempting to suppress a yawn at the same time but failing, “Why did you pinch the baby monitor?”

Chloe shrugged as she shifted to the change table and gently laid the infant down on it, “So when the peanut cried, I could help you with him? With everything except feeding him as you have the ability for that one. I want to be that partner with you who takes turns in getting up to attend to the peanut’s needs. Only difference being we’re not sharing a bed as we can’t yet. Why? Do you not want me to help like this?”

Elly stared in awe of the blonde as she shuffled next to her by the table, “I love you.”

“I love yo--” Chloe began to repeat before she stopped as she undid Elliot’s nappy, “Jesus, what are you feeding this kid? I never knew your boobs were potent!”

Elly broke into a giggle at Chloe’s reaction to her first smelly nappy with Elliot, “Welcome to life with a newborn. You know I can take this one if it’s too much.”

Chloe shook her head as she persisted with removing the nappy, rolling it up and tossing it in the bin next to the table, “No, I can do this. I was just surprised at the smell but now I know how bad it can be I’ll be prepared for it next time. Seriously, how does milk from your boobs create that smell?”

“Dunno, that’s just babies for you,” Elly answered as she watched patiently as Chloe used baby wipes to clean up the infant, “Has this scared you away from helping me with him, baby?”

“Not at all, I’m not going to be scared away by a smelly diaper,” Chloe insisted as she pulled out a new diaper.

“I’m glad,” Elly smiled at the blonde, “I really didn’t think you’d want to be this involved. I thought it was more if I struggled with him then you’d help out.”

Chloe stayed silent as she worked on getting the new diaper on the infant, and once completed, picked the infant up in triumph, “See I can do this, I want to help you as much as I can.”

Elly wrapped her arms around Chloe’s waist, kissing her cheek, “You continue to impress me every moment. Let’s see how you feel after a full night of this, a full week, a full mon--”

“I will feel just as I do right now, incredibly in love with you and falling bit by bit more in love with the peanut. I promise you; I’m going to be here for the both of you,” Chloe promised.

“Let’s get him back in his cot, see how long we can go before he wakes us again,” Elly suggested.

Chloe nodded as she put him back down in the cot, “I guess I should…go back to the couch.”

Elly pouted, “Okay…I’d tempt you to come to bed with me…but we both know that temptation would be too much.”

Chloe licked her lips, “It really would. I’ll see you next time the peanut needs us.”

Elly breathed deeply as Chloe headed out of her bedroom, “I like the way you say that…’us.’”

“Me too,” Chloe smiled as she left Elly alone to go back to bed.

Hours later, Chloe and Elly were sitting next to each other on the couch in the living room, with Elly cradling the infant in her arms, rocking him back and forth trying to get him to sleep.

Chloe yawned for about the tenth time since Elly had been out there, “What time is it?”

“Nearly 5am,” Elly grumbled, “This is so tiring. I knew it would be but I didn’t think it would be all night tiring. I don’t think I’ve managed more than half an hours’ sleep since midnight. C’mon, baby, I really need you to settle, please, mum needs a break for 20 minutes at least.”

Chloe rested her head on Elly’s shoulder, “I feel lucky to have managed about an hours’ worth of sleep and that was only cause you let me sleep through his 3am settling. Here, let me take him again, maybe I can get him to fall asleep.”

Elly sighed, “Baby, we’ve been passing him between us for half an hour now and neither of us have managed to get him off to sleep. Maybe we should put him in the car, take it around the block several times. That’s meant to work isn’t it?”

Chloe nodded, closing her eyes.

Elly looked at the blonde, “Or maybe not…even driving around the block, I don’t think either of us should be behind the wheel. Will we wake the household if we just have the engine running in our driveway? Maybe I should just feed him again, maybe that’ll get him tired out. I’ll go back to my room.”

“You can stay,” Chloe mumbled, “I’ll burp him after you feed him.”

As Elly shuffled the infant in her arms, she looked back down at Chloe when she suddenly heard her snoring, “Not when you’ve fallen asleep on me, baby. C’mon, Elliot, I’ll feed you here, can’t move now that Chlo’s fallen asleep as it’ll wake her and she needs to get some sleep. I don’t know if I should thank you for bringing Chloe and I together or grumble at you if Chloe changes her mind about wanting to be with us after this night.”

An hour later, Chloe was walking back to the living room from Elly’s room. When she laid down on the couch, put her head on the pillow, closed her eyes, she was immediately roused once more. Expecting it to be Elly, back with the peanut once more needing help, Chloe was surprised when she saw it was Karl, “Oh…hey, Karl.”

“Good morning,” Karl greeted cheerfully as he headed to the kitchen.

“Is it?” Chloe groaned as she sat back up on the couch.

“Oh dear, didn’t have a good night’s sleep on the couch, last night, Chloe?” Karl assumed.

Chloe yawned, “Sure wasn’t the couch that was the problem. Your great nephew kept Elly and I awake most of the night. Think I only managed an hour, maybe an hour ten minutes worth of sleep. This baby thing is hard work.”

Karl chuckled at the blonde, “Babies do have a bad habit of doing that. We heard him crying a few times but we managed to sleep through the bulk of it. Benefits of being a shift worker and the pair of us going through this ourselves. Did Elly come out here quite a bit for help? We assumed she was managing okay most of the night on her own.”

Chloe stood up and walked over to the kitchen island, where she sat down on the stool opposite Karl, who was busying himself in the kitchen, “Elly was out here a couple times but it was more me getting up every time I heard the peanut crying on the baby monitor. I think there was only one time I slept through it, Elly said. Every moment I fell back asleep on the couch I was awake again and back to Elly’s room. Surprised you didn’t hear me going back and forwards.”

Karl begin making a pot of coffee, “You were up and down helping Elly every time Elliot woke up? Would you like a coffee, Chloe?”

Chloe yawned again, “Every time he cried, I sure was except that once. I think I fell asleep on Elly’s shoulder an hour ago before waking two minutes later. It was exhausting. I’m glad I was here to help Elly. I did underestimate how much effort it would take to get a newborn to sleep but now that I am, I’ll be prepared for tomorrow night…and every night after that. I need all the coffee if I’m to make it through the day.”

Karl smiled at the blonde, “I knew you said you wanted to help Elly with the baby and that’s part of the reason for sleeping on our couch…I guess I didn’t expect you to be…helping as much as you did…like a partner would. Do you want your coffee strong? I’ll make you a cup.”

Chloe rubbed her eyes, trying to stay awake, “I know it seems like Elly and I have come into this decision so quickly that we’re going to be together let alone my decision to help Elly with the peanut. It’s what we both want. I want to be that partner to Elly, who’ll help her with her son…the way Shaun…would’ve. Oh, I meant the pot, I need the entire pot of coffee to stay awake so I can continue to help Elly. Extra strong, please.”

Karl added the coffee to the pot and began brewing it, “Not going to shy away from my surprise that you’re so willing to help Elly with Elliot the way you have. I’m sure Elly appreciates how much you are doing for her and the baby. Breakfast? We have a range of cereals, fruit, toast, I think we have ingredients to make waffles. Or if you want to join me, I was about to make myself some avocado on toast with a spread of--?”

“Vegemite?” Chloe interrupted to ask, “Karl, are you singing my tune with my favourite breakfast?”

Karl chuckled again, “Yes, vegemite toast with avocado. I normally have it for breakfast on weekends but seeing as though it’s a public holiday it kinda feels like one so I thought I’d treat myself. I’ll make you some too. Small spread of vegemite or do you like more than that?”

“Small will be perfect, more avo than vegemite, that’s for sure, with margarine too, please. It’s my favourite, no way could I only have avo on toast with vegemite on weekends. I have it every morning,” Chloe shared with Elly’s uncle, feeling pleased she was finding common ground with him.

Karl went to the fridge to grab the avocados and margarine before shuffling to the pantry for bread and vegemite, “Sounds like I better put extra avocados and bread on the grocery list for you.”

Chloe put her hand over her mouth, trying to stifle another yawn, “You don’t need to do that. I can buy my own groceries. I don’t want to cause any burden or have you really notice that I’m here. I don’t want to get in anyone’s way, just y’know, be here for Elly and the baby.”

Karl put 4 slices of bread in the toaster, “Chloe, you’re sleeping on our couch and running around at all hours of the night to help Elly with the baby. We’re going to notice you around here. You’re not a burden. Yes, it might take getting used to having someone new in the house. We haven’t gotten used to Finn not being around…but that’s not the point. We’ve always had people staying here with us, family members and non-family members. If you need to be here to help Elly as you see fit, then we’re happy to have you stay with us.”

“Are you sure cause you were a tad reluctant with my decision to be here for Elly and the peanut? If you don’t want me here to help Elly or if you don’t want Elly and I to be together…under your roof, then please just say so, Karl. I’d respect you more if you told me now than down the track,” Chloe told him honestly.

Karl took a moment to dig around in the cupboard for the largest coffee cup they owned and proceeded to pour Chloe’s coffee into it, “I know I was a tad reluctant. It has nothing to do with not wanting Elly and you to be together. If what you share between you is half of what I have with Susan then I feel very lucky for the pair of you that you found each other. If by ‘under your roof’ you mean if we didn’t approve, you’d move Elly and Elliot to your place to still be close to one another… I have a lot of faults, Chloe, I’ve been tempted away from Susan myself, I just think it would be in both your best interests to…hold back on what you’re doing…until you’ve ended things with Pierce. The bond you’re building with Elly now…there’s temptation there between you.”

Chloe took the coffee cup from Karl when he handed it to her, sipping a mouthful first, sighing in joy at the taste, “Great coffee, Karl. I get it, okay. I should break up with Pierce first and if he was here I would without hesitation. I’m not going to lie and pretend I haven’t been tempted into wanting to kiss Elly on multiple occasions but with the exception of Elly kissing me in the shipping container after she gave birth to Elliot--”

Karl narrowed his eyes at Chloe revealing that fact.

Chloe cleared her throat before taking another sip of coffee, “I mean…she did take me by complete surprise when she did that…I didn’t get the chance to stop that kiss. There won’t be any other cheating on Pierce. Not physically, emotionally yes, what Elly and I are doing is strong emotional cheating and it will keep happening until Pierce returns where I’ll tell him everything. I’m keeping my distance in that me falling asleep on Elly’s bed should not have happened yesterday, I won’t be going near Elly’s bed whether she’s on it or not. I’m all about the neat rocking chair Elly has in her room. There won’t be any bed action between Elly and I…wow I really just said that, didn’t I?”

Karl smirked as he watched the blonde blush in embarrassment before turning back to the breakfast as the toast popped up out of the toaster.

Chloe placed her hand over her face in embarrassment, “I meant innocent ‘bed action’ in the case of me sitting or lying down anywhere near Elly’s bed until I’ve broken up with Pierce. I won’t be doing that…cause temptation. And not that temptation, I mean the kind of falling asleep holding Elly in my arms because I do see that as a form of cheating on Pierce…even though I already did that and shall be honest with him about it. And I mean obviously there isn’t going to be any ‘bed action’ between Elly and I for a long time because she just gave birth and will need several months to regain confidence in her body. Elly’s already told me that she won’t with me either until she’s settled into her new life as a mum because she’s afraid of falling asleep between my le---Oh my God, please shut me up right now! I cannot believe I’m discussing this with anyone else who isn’t Elly.”

Karl chuckled once more at the blonde, “The mind has a way of being more honest when you’re extremely tired, Chloe. I get what you’re trying to say. The temptation is there in smaller ways that are still cheating on Pierce and even once you have broken up with Pierce, the pair of you still need to take time before you can…take things further. Here, have some breakfast, maybe that and the coffee will help you wake up a bit more.”

Chloe took the plate of food Karl offered her, still blushing at him, “Thanks. Maybe Elly and I aren’t going about this the right way but it feels right to us. We’ll know if we need to take a step back. I know your friends with Pierce so you don’t want to see him hurt when he inevitably will be.”

Chloe picked up one of the pieces of avocado toast and was about to take a bite out of when she heard Elliot crying on the baby monitor, “Duty calls,” and as she placed the toast back on the plate and stood up from the stool, asked Karl, “I should get used to this…having meals and well anything that I want…interrupted by the peanut’s needs shouldn’t I? That’s kinda…a thing…parents get used to, right?”

“Only for the rest of your life,” Karl pointed out with a smile.

“Cold toast and cold coffee…I’d better get used to it,” Chloe decided as she headed to Elly’s room.

Ten minutes later, Chloe returned to the kitchen to see Karl still milling about. Chloe nearly huffed, “Karl, did you eat my breakfast?”

Karl shook his head as he pointed to the toaster, “I’m making you another serving so it’s fresh. I only have one avocado left, won’t be going to the shops tomorrow and since you’ll need breakfast tomorrow morning, I am re-using the avocado…I’m not trying to be cheap.”

“I bet,” Chloe teased.

“Everything go okay with Elliot?” Karl asked.

Chloe nodded before yawning, “No problemo, Elly had to feed him and I got Elly to go back to bed before I burped him and put him back to sleep in the cot.”

As Karl passed Chloe her new serving of breakfast, she thanked him before getting interrupted, this time by her phone vibrating in her dressing gown pocket. Chloe pulled the phone out and stared at it for a moment.

“You need to answer it if it’s Pierce, Chloe. You can’t avoid him forever. After you told Susan and I about your mix up with Hendrix yesterday and not answering Pierce’s calls, the panic that put Pierce in…you do owe him an apology,” Karl tried to make Chloe see.

“Yeah I know…can you…give me a minute?” Chloe asked slowly, feeling like she wanted Pierce to hang up the call first but he didn’t.

Karl nodded in agreement before leaving Chloe alone.

Chloe yawned again before she finally answered the call, “Pierce…hi…”

Chapter Text

And She, Waits For You

Chapter Thirty-Eight

Thursday 26th December – 6.30am

“Chloe, finally, it feels like it’s been a week since I heard the sound of your voice,” Pierce exclaimed with relief.

“It’s been a little while,” Chloe replied, before yawning.

Pierce didn’t take any notice, “I didn’t get any sleep last night at all. I know Aaron called me to say he’d found Hendrix at my place but I was still so worried about everything.”

“I know the feeling,” Chloe told him, yawning again, “The not getting any sleep part.”

On account of being awake almost all night up and down tending to Elly and the peanut…how would I even begin to explain that?

“Chloe, what happened yesterday? Hendrix texted me when Aaron dragged him back to his place to say that it was all his fault for not reminding you about his flight. It’s the one thing I asked of you before I left, Chloe, to get him to Sydney on this flight,” Pierce pointed out.

I fell more and more in love with Elly yesterday and I’m starting to fall completely in love with her son…probably not the answer you’re looking for…

“I just forgot about Hendrix, I sent him back to your place to pack for the trip and I just…forgot about him. I’m sorry, I messed up okay. I’m still getting used to this teenage boy relying on me…thing,” Chloe replied, unable to resist finally biting into her toast, hoping Pierce wouldn’t think it was rude to be eating whilst talking to her.

Why do I already feel more used to the peanut relying on me after one day together when I’ve known Hendrix for months?

“What do you mean back to my place? Haven’t you been staying at mine with Hendrix, you haven’t been leaving him there alone during the evenings?” Pierce accused.

Chloe sighed as she purposely took another bite of toast, “This thing came up a few days ago and I…felt a bit comfier at home in the aftermath. Hendrix has been chilling on our couch the last few nights. Aaron and David have been entertaining him as aside from sharing some meals with Hendrix…I haven’t quite felt up to it.”

“Why didn’t you tell me about the kidnapping? Chloe, I could’ve been there to help you, I’d have flown back home, I still could,” Pierce offered.

Don’t do that…

“It wasn’t a big deal. Just a little incident. I’m fine. Spent a couple hours in hospital for dehydration, that’s all. Nothing worth you getting on multiple flights for twenty-odd hours. Just needed to curl up at home, felt a bit safer…or um…comfier at home. Hendrix has been cool with staying there. I think Aaron was happy to have me there too, he got quite worried about me,” Chloe explained vaguely.

“Well, yeah, why wouldn’t Aaron be worried about you? I was so terrified yesterday when you didn’t answer your phone…I thought you’d been kidnapped. Imagine how I’d feel had I known that Finn had taken you,” Pierce commented.

Chloe yawned into the phone again, “Sorry, I am just really tired right now. Sorry about my phone…yesterday. I’d…visited Elly and the peanut and switched my phone to silent without vibrate as I didn’t want to wake the lil guy after Elly had gone to a lot of effort to get him asleep. Guess I forgot to switch it back.”

“I suppose that…makes sense,” Pierce whispered back, feeling uncomfortable with his girlfriend spending time with her ex, “You’re back staying at our place with Hendrix, right?”

No, I’m not sleeping in your bed ever again…what do you mean ‘our place’? Ugh I don’t even want to bother wasting time arguing that with you now, Pierce…I need sleep! And Elly…

“I guess…” Chloe replied without confidence, yawning again, this time closing her eyes.

“Babe, I know we missed Christmas together but everything that’s happened the last few days…Chloe, how do you feel if I book you on a flight to New York for tomorrow so you can be here for New Years’? Mark told me Terese has given you a couple weeks off work in case you have PTSD over the kidnapping and since he also said Finn hasn’t been arrested yet…I just don’t want you in danger. I think you should come to New York to be with me for the week,” Pierce offered.

“I’m fine here, I don't want to go anywhere. I like it here at...I like it here. I'm not going to New York with you,” Chloe mumbled, yawning again.

I’ve got my Elly and my peanut here…and that’s all I need.

"I feel like I should be there for you. I love you, Chloe," Pierce told her.

Pierce chewed on his lip as Chloe didn't respond to him, "Chloe, did you hear me?"

Silence continued from Chloe's side of the call, "Chloe, are you there? Did I lose you?"

Pierce shook his head in frustration as he finally realized, yet asked rhetorically, "Chloe, have you fallen asleep?"

Half an hour later, Elly wondered out from her bedroom to find Chloe sitting on one of the stools at the kitchen island.

Elly grinned as she watched the blonde before wandering over to her, wrapping her arm around Chloe's shoulder and kissing her cheek, "Good morning, beautiful! I know I've seen you about a dozen times this morning already but I can still say...Chloe, are you--?"

"Huh?" Chloe's eyes snapped open.

Elly giggled at her, "Baby, did you fall asleep eating breakfast? I tired you out last night didn't--"

Chloe blinked her eyes but immediately shot her hand up to cover Elly's mouth. Elly frowned at her as she noticed Chloe had her phone tucked against her ear as she then fumbled with it in her left hand to unlock the phone to the home screen before she let out a sigh of relief, "He hung up, thank Lord."

Elly narrowed her eyes once more until Chloe removed her hand from her mouth.

"Sorry about that," Chloe apologized, "I was on the phone to Pierce...I must've fallen asleep. If he had of been there on the line still that would've been...awkward."

Elly chewed on her lip, "Right...cause me calling you beautiful and baby and insinuating I...tired you out last night...?"

"'Baby' I could try and explain away that you were talking to the peanut. Tiring me out last night...that sounds a lot dirtier than the reality and I don't know how I'd...you called me 'beautiful'?" Chloe found herself gushing.

Elly leaned down to kiss Chloe's cheek once more, "I plan to everyday because you are, Chlo. How did...your call with Pierce go?"

Chloe smiled at Elly for not being afraid to discuss Pierce, "I fell asleep on the phone to him it seems as I don't remember saying good bye and obviously still had the phone to my ear...not great for him. Another thing I'll need to make up for...or not since I shouldn't have to since I won't be his girlfriend for much longer. I apologized for messing up yesterday and forgetting to take Hendrix to the airport for his flight. There was another thing I messed up but didn't tell you about. I kinda didn't tell Pierce about the kidnapping. He found out after getting onto Mark about Hendrix not making the flight."

Elly squeezed Chloe's shoulder, "Because you didn't want Pierce rushing back here on the next flight when...you knew you were going to end it with him and we are...going to work on things between us."

"Yeah," Chloe answered, "He offered to come home but I told him not to. I think he was suggesting that he book me on a flight to New York tomorrow to join him for New Years'."

Elly sighed, "How'd Pierce take your rejection to that?"

"Annoyed I think...I know I said I didn't want to go anywhere...didn't want to go with him to New York then I think I fell asleep. I suppose I should message him to apologize," Chloe pondered, "Anyway, enough about Pierce. How's the peanut?"

Elly smiled at Chloe's need to check on her son as she gently removed herself from her embrace with the blonde and walked around to the kitchen to make a cup of tea, "He's good, baby, he's sleeping. Hasn't woken up since you put him down half an hour ago. You're so good with him. Do you want a tea?"

Chloe reached out to take a sip of her coffee, then bit into her toast, attempting to put a smile on her face, "I'm good, I've got a...room temperature coffee and stone cold toast here."

"I'll make you some more coffee and breakfast," Elly offered.

Chloe bit into her toast again, "No, it's fine, really. I was chatting to Karl when he got up. We need to get used to a life of cold meals and lukewarm beverages cause when the peanut needs us, we put these things on hold for him. Every day we have the peanut in our lives."

"I'd say a lifetime of cold meals and lukewarm beverages sounds bleak and dreary but the fact that you say 'we' and 'us' when you talk about putting things on hold for my son every day for the rest of our lives makes me incredibly happy," Elly admitted.

"Me too," Chloe blushed before yawning again.

"Go sleep, baby, you're exhausted from helping me all night long with Elliot. I can manage him for the next few hours on my own. Suze and Bea will be up soon to help me. Why don't you sleep on my bed as it's comfier than the couch? I can bring Elliot out here to leave you in peace," Elly insisted.

Chloe found herself yawning again, "Maybe an hour would do me some good. I'll be fine sleeping on the couch. Too tempting to sleep on your bed and want to cuddle you. Then I'd want to kiss you and never let you go. Wake me in an hour as I need to call Mark too. He's working today so I said I'd call him before he headed to the station. I'll need a shower before I Skype Mark. I'll have to go home for that. I have clothes with me but I forgot to bring across my bathroom things."

Elly left the kitchen and walked back around to Chloe, wrapping her arm around Chloe's waist as she helped her off the stool and began leading her to the couch, "You can have a shower here, Chlo. You can use the bathroom I share with Bea. All my stuff is on the left-hand side of the bathroom sink and my shampoo and conditioner are on the left-hand side of the shower rack. I'll get you a fresh towel and leave it on the bathroom counter."

"Okay, that'd be nice," Chloe agreed, “If the peanut needs me, wake me anyway."

Elly giggled at Chloe, "It's just an hour, Chlo. Elliot won't need you."

"What if he does?" Chloe pouted.

"Then he'll be putting up with me for an hour until his favourite...ah until his Chloe wakes up from her nap," Elly stumbled over initially wanting to call Chloe Elliot's mum but panicked at the pressure she might put her under.

"I'll be his favourite cause I'm the cool fun one, you'll be the one grounding him for getting into trouble cause you like giving orders and people listening to you," Chloe teased.

"Does that mean you should be the one in trouble as you're ignoring my 'Dump him' orders about Pierce and stopping me from kissing your perfect lips?" Elly cheekily replied.

Chloe blushed at the thought as they reached the couch and Chloe pulled the blanket back and laid down.

Chloe smiled up at Elly when she took the blanket and tucked it in around her then kissed her forehead, "You'll be able to kiss me soon enough, Elly."

"Not soon enough to my liking," Elly pouted as she reached out and turned the baby monitor's volume down, "I'll see you in an hour. I'll let the rest of the family know to let you be so you can sleep. Okay, baby?"

Elly then smiled as she realized Chloe had already fallen asleep, feeling much more acceptance that Chloe had fallen asleep on her than Pierce did when she'd done the same to him.

Elly left Chloe alone to her nap, heading back to check on her son.

Chapter Text

And She, Waits For You

Chapter Thirty-Nine

Thursday 26th December – 8.30am

"You nervous?" Elly asked Chloe as she sat on the other couch cradling her son.

Chloe sat on the couch she'd turned into her bed for the foreseeable future, "Who me? Nervous? Over telling Mark that I'm breaking things off with Pierce because I'm in love with Mark's ex-wife and intend on being a huge part of Elliot's life...the baby who he thought at one stage was his and he'd be a doting Dad to him now? What's to be nervous about that...? Wish me luck."

"Luck," Elly whispered, "Are you sure you want me and Elliot here?"

Chloe nodded, "Yes, Mark's going to pick up on where I am once the Skype call connects. I want to let him know that I want to introduce him to Elliot, if that's okay with you. If he agrees then I'd like you to sit down with me here on the couch with the peanut while I tell him about us."

"That sounds great," Elly agreed, "Wait, what if he says he doesn't want to meet Elliot? Maybe I should go wait in my room and you can text me if he does. It'll be awkward hearing Mark saying he doesn't want to meet my son."

Chloe grimaced, "I know, sweetie, but then if I don't text you, you'll know what the answer is so it's still awkward. I'm sure it'll be fine. I'm more scared of his reaction that I'm leaving Pierce for you and want to be part of the peanut's life in the way he thought he'd be."

Elly breathed deeply, "Better make this call, Chlo, before we change our mind."

"Can't put it off forever...why am I more scared of telling Mark about this than when I have to tell Pierce?" Chloe asked.

"Because Mark's opinion means the world to you and you need to know he supports us. Pierce is simply to dump him and his opinion after that has no bearing on us," Elly pointed out.

"You always know the answer when I doubt myself," Chloe beamed.

"That's cause I love you, Chloe," Elly smiled, "Though I won't always know the answer to everything."

"You probably will," Chloe grinned, "I love you, too. Okay, here goes nothing."

Elly busied herself rocking Elliot as the infant became restless in her arms. Chloe opened her laptop that she had set up on the Kennedy's coffee table, logging into Skype and making the call to her eldest brother.

"Mark! How are ya?" Chloe asked casually as soon as Mark appeared on her laptop screen.

Mark smiled at Chloe, then immediately frowned, "Elliot, you look like death!"

Chloe raised her eyebrow, "Ah…thanks, not."

“Sorry, Chlo, that was a bit rude of me. I’m just surprised, you look like you haven’t slept in days. You didn’t look like this last night when we caught up with the family,” Mark pointed out.

“I feel like I haven’t slept for days,” Chloe admitted then glanced at Elly apologetically, “It’s something I’ll be getting used to.”

“O…kay,” Mark drew out a deep breath, “So, what did you have to talk to me about that you didn’t want to last night in front of the rest of the family? Little bit worried about whatever it is.”

“Don’t be,” Chloe insisted, “It’s…ah…good news.”

“Well, let’s hear it then sis,” Mark pushed, then looked beyond Chloe on the screen, “Are you at the Kennedy’s?”

“Yes, Mark,” Chloe nodded, “So…before I tell you…if you’re okay with it…I wanted to introduce you to Elly’s son.”

Mark silently noted that Chloe’s eyes darted to the side, “I see…and this is why you wanted us to Skype privately this morning instead of doing this last night. Is Elly there with you now with her son?”

“She is, yes,” Chloe responded, hoping her brother wouldn’t think she was railroading him into something he wouldn’t want to do.

Mark pursed his lips for a moment, trying not to show the hurt he was feeling that he’d been trying to ignore wanting to know about Elly’s baby because he had taken a long time to come to terms with the fact the baby wasn’t his like Elly had led him to believe for several months, “Then I guess you’d better bring her onscreen so I can met the lil guy.”

Mark watched as Chloe smiled brightly at him then seem to light up even more as Elly stood in front of her, appearing on his screen as she sat down as close as possible to Chloe on the couch, cradling the infant in her arms.

“You look well, Elly,” Mark told her before smiling as he watched the infant throwing one of his fists around, “Your son is gorgeous. He looks very happy with you.”

Elly smiled back at Mark through the laptop screen, “I’m doing incredibly well. He is. I hope he’s happy with me…it’s all I ever wanted. I named him Elliot.”

Mark raised his eyebrow, “You named your son after my baby sister? Guess I need to be more careful who I mean when I call Chloe that from now on if you or your son are ever around at the same time.”

They most definitely will be around, Mark, please be okay with that bro.

Elly blushed as she glanced over at Chloe, “Kinda…yeah. I wouldn’t have if I didn’t love the name too obviously. Chloe was more than fine with it.”

“I’m sorry to have heard about what Finn did to Shaun…you…Elliot should’ve gotten the chance to get to know him. Shaun would’ve been a big part of Elliot’s life…I’m sure he would’ve made a great father. I’m sorry you’re going through parenthood alone and don’t have that partner by your side to help you,” Mark gave his condolences.

Maybe not so alone as you think…

“Thank you, Mark. Shaun would’ve been a pretty decent Dad to Elliot…but he never would have been a partner to me. Co-parent was all I’d have ever wanted from Shaun,” Elly informed her ex-husband.

When I’m in love with your little sister and even if Shaun was alive, I’d still be sitting on this couch next to her waiting anxiously for Chloe to tell you we’ll be together and Chloe will help me raise my son.

“Right. I’m glad you took the time to introduce me to Elliot, he’s amazing Elly. You do deserve to be happy,” Mark offered.

“I’m incredibly happy,” Elly announced as Mark watched the brunette stare at Chloe as she said that.

“So…is there anything else I…need to know?” Mark asked, not sure he was ready for the answer, feeling like there was way more to the way Chloe and Elly were looking at one another.

Chloe tore her eyes away from Elly reluctantly, “Oh…ah…yes. I didn’t just call you to introduce you to the peanut and let you know Elly’s doing fantastically as a mum…”

Mark raised his eyebrow when Chloe trailed off.

Chloe cleared her throat, “I needed to let you know…I’m breaking up with Pierce when he gets home from New York.”

Mark nodded gently, "Okay...can I ask why...and why you seem to be telling me of your decision before you've told him?"

"I don't love Pierce and I'm never going to. I don't want to continue in a relationship where I don't feel that way about the person I'm with," Chloe answered her brothers first question.

Mark breathed a sigh of relief that he hadn't gone ahead and given Pierce his blessing to ask Chloe to marry him, wondered silently how Pierce was going to take this news, then found himself repeating one of the things Pierce had said to him, "When you know, you know."

"And I know," Chloe replied, not realizing she echoed Pierce's words too.

"So, why are you telling me you're ending it with Pierce now when Pierce isn't due back to Erinborough for a week or so?" Mark asked again.

"I don't want to break up with Pierce over the phone or Skype, he deserves more respect than that so I'm going to tell him face to face," Chloe avoided Mark's question.

"Chloe," Mark pushed his sister by simply saying her name in a tone that expressed he knew she was avoiding telling him something.

"Well, I...the thing is that...I..." Chloe stumbled before glancing at Elly, feeling lost to find the words to tell her brother about her and Elly.

Elly smiled at the blonde, knowing she needed to say something to help her, "Mark, I'm in love with Chloe."

Mark sat back a bit in his chair, watching the pair as they smiled shyly at one another before they turned back to him, clearly anxious for his response, "So the two of you are back together which is why you're telling me?"

"We're not together...yet, but we will be once I end things with Pierce," Chloe explained nervously.

"And why should I believe this is any different to your previous dalliances with one another?" Mark asked before clarifying, "I'm asking out of concern because I don't want to see my sister get crushed again by you, Elly."

Chloe reached out and placed her arm around Elly's shoulders, pulling herself into an embrace with the brunette. Elly instinctively nestled her face against Chloe's neck as she softly kissed Chloe's neck before turning back to Mark, "I've made a lot of mistakes, Mark, almost all of them with you. It has taken me a really long time to come to terms with this. I love Chloe and I will never do a thing to crush her."

Chloe found herself reaching up and kissing Elly on the side of her forehead, "I love Elly, Mark. I know you did too and this might hurt you to see Elly and I together...but I can't fight this. It's too big to fight it. Elly loves me the way I dreamed she would. I trust that her feelings for me are just as strong as mine are for her. I need...we need you to accept this."

"What's made you accept you have feelings for Chloe, Elly?" Mark asked his ex-wife.

Elly stared back at Chloe, locking eyes with the blonde, "I couldn't deny it anymore. What I feel for Chloe...it's more than I've ever felt for anyone...no offence but that ah...includes you and I am sorry for that. I don't ever want to lose Chloe. I want to spend every day for the rest of my life proving how in love with Chloe I am."

Chloe smiled shyly at Elly, "And I want to spend every day for the rest of my life proving I know how much you love me and show you I love you just as much."

Mark swallowed deeply, not really sure what his feelings were to this revelation, "And the baby...? Where does Elliot fit into this...relationship of yours?"

Chloe and Elly immediately glanced down at the infant who was now sleeping peacefully in Elly's arms.

"You're going to raise him with Elly, aren't you?" Mark realized.

Chloe reached out with her free hand to take hold of Elliot's tiny hand in her own, "Eventually...yes, I would like to raise the peanut with Elly. But we're not there yet."

"And by that you mean...?" Mark pressed.

"Mark, this relationship between Elly and I...it's very new. In fact, it's not even a relationship yet, it's an emotional bond and promise that we will be together once I'm no longer with Pierce. Even when I do break it off with Pierce, it doesn't mean Elly and I are an instant couple. Elliot is a huge part of this...the biggest part. I'm not sure I'm ready to be a...to be a mum but I'm willing to try because I do want Elly, the peanut and I to be a family one day. This relationship between Elly and I as well as the one between all three of us...it's going to take a lot of work and a lot of time before we figure out how it will work. This is what we both want, what we both know is the best thing for Elliot's future," Chloe settled on.

"Do you think you're ready for this, everything that comes with...raising a child?" Mark asked simply.

Chloe nodded, "You saw me on the screen as soon as the call connected and said I looked like death, that was because--"

"You spent the night with Elly and were up all night with the baby trying to get him to fall asleep. Was that your first night together?" Mark figured out.

"Yes, I spent the night here with Elly and the peanut and it was my first night with them where I was up all night with her trying to get him back to sleep, changing him, burping him, letting Elly feed him and everything under the sun to get him to cry a little bit less. It was...more than I expected...but I think I did okay," Chloe acknowledged.

"Chlo was a life saver, she did amazing, I'd never have gotten through this night without her," Elly gushed.

Chloe cleared her throat, "So, we're perfectly clear, me spending the night here and the nights I want to continue staying here to be with them and help us to build the foundations of what could be our family...I slept on the couch here and will continue to sleep on the couch. I'm not sharing a bed with Elly. Not until Pierce knows it's over and even then, we won't be rushing into anything between us."

"Chloe won't even let me kiss her, trust me there is no togetherness between us going on even though it's driving me crazy not kissing her," Elly pouted.

“You’ll be able to kiss me in a week or so once Pierce and I are over,” Chloe reminded Elly.

“Baby, a week is such a long time,” Elly groaned, then realized, "You're probably not the person I should be grumbling to about that, Mark...sorry."

Mark sat there silently trying to sift through his feelings on the whole situation, feeling weird hearing his ex pouting about not being able to kiss his little sister and calling her ‘baby’ when she never had a name for him.

“Who else knows about the…two of you?” Mark semi changed the subject.

“Everyone important to me. I told Aaron last night then obviously had to come clean to David too. In order to get the Kennedy’s to be okay with my decision to be here at their place to enable me to help Elly with the peanut overnight, we had to let them and Bea know. Oh…and uh…Hendrix. He kinda sprung us…not kissing in what could’ve looked like Elly and I were about to kiss…but we were not about to kiss. Plus, the kid doesn’t want to go to Lisa’s for the holidays anymore, with Pierce away, I have no intention of ever sleeping in Pierce’s bed again when I need to be here so…Hendrix will be staying on the couch at Aaron and David’s. I’ll let mum and Tyler know next week if that’s okay, after Pierce and I are over. I didn’t want to hide this from you any longer, Mark, which is why I’m telling you now,” Chloe explained.

Mark nodded, “Sounds like an awful lot of people know more about Pierce’s life than he does.”

“We feel bad for that, Mark,” Elly replied, “But Chloe and I can’t put our lives on hold and halt building what could be an amazing future together just because Pierce isn’t around.”

Chloe turned back to Mark, with a deep breath, "Mark, I need you to be okay with this...I don’t for one second want you to think that I’m…stealing this life that you thought could’ve been yours earlier this year. I really need you to support me…and Elly because one day...Elliot will be your nephew and he’s gonna need his Uncle Mark to have his back."

"I don't really know what to say," Mark admitted.

“Tell me you’re okay with this…that you still love me…even though the woman you loved has fallen in love with me,” Chloe pleaded.

Mark thought about it for a moment, “I’m never going to not love you, Chlo. Yes, I loved Elly at one point and yes, I admit the love I did feel for you Elly was never going to be enough…that I could love you the way you deserve to be loved. If the feelings you do have for Chloe are as strong as what they…seem to be then I was probably never going to be enough for you. If you truly do love Chloe, Elly, then I can accept you two being together--"

"I do, Mark," Elly interrupted to declare, "I promise you after everything we've all being through I am beyond done with lying or hiding who I am and who I love. Chloe is the love of my life and I will never do anything to hurt her."

Mark watched as Elly pressed her lips to the side of Chloe's forehead before resting her head against the crook of Chloe's neck. Whilst it saddened him Elly had never been that affectionate with him, he could see how different she was with Chloe then how she had been with him.

"While I am coming to terms with seeing you two be so...together I admit that I do feel relieved that I'm not in Erinsborough anymore because the idea of you, Chloe…raising this baby with Elly…if I was there seeing it for myself. I don't think I'd be ready for that. I still need some time to wrap my head around that. I don't think I'm ready to be...Uncle Mark yet. Is that okay?” Mark decided.

Chloe nodded, "Absolutely, if you need more time that's fine. I get this isn't easy for you and I don't want to hurt you...but I need to do what's right for me. And that's being with Elly and...giving this whole...family with Elly and the peanut the best chance I can."

"Then I wish you all the luck and hope this all works out for you...all three of you," Mark left them with before exchanging goodbyes with the pair and signing off from Skype.

Once Mark was off the screen, Elly kissed Chloe's cheek, "I'm so proud of you, you know that?"

Chloe attempted to smile, "I know that wasn't easy for Mark to hear...I just wish my brothers could be a pinch more supportive of us. Maybe I'll have more luck with Tyler when I tell him."

Elly snuggled further into Chloe's embrace as the blonde squeezed her arm around Elly's shoulders, "Give them a bit more time. We're doing the right thing by us and by this lil guy and that's what matters the most."

"Yeah it does," Chloe decided though wished she could feel the confidence in her words.

Chapter Text

And She, Waits For You

Chapter Forty

Monday 30th December – 12.30pm

Bea walked into the Kennedy household, seeing her sister on the couch, let out a bright, "Hi, sis!"

"Shush," Elly immediately responded as she turned to Bea.

Bea grimaced, "Right, sorry, baby Elliot, I really gotta get used to being quiet when I'm around you as the lil guy is never far from you."

Elly turned her head back to nod towards Chloe, "Actually I mean 'shush' because of Chlo."

Bea walked around the second couch and sat down on it, where she realized Elly had been lying on the couch Chloe had been using as a makeshift bed for the past five nights. Elliot was curled up in his mum's arms whereas Chloe was in a seated position on the opposite end of the couch except that her head was splayed backwards as she had her neck craned on the top of the back of the couch and had fallen asleep as she was snoring gently.

Bea giggled softly at the sight then even more so when she noticed, "Did Chloe fall asleep in the middle of giving you a foot rub?"

Elly rolled her eyes at Bea's teasing, "Yes."

"That is the cutest thing I've ever seen," Bea whispered, "After everything Chloe has been doing for you the past few days, she still tries to make time to give you a foot rub...and promptly falls asleep in the middle of it."

Elly pouted, "I can't move my feet out of her hands which are covered in massage oil because I don't want to wake her but my feet are getting cold from the oil and her hands aren't warm anymore."

"So, you're just lying here on the couch until Elliot forces you to get up by needing a change or a feed and you have no choice but to wake your sleeping beauty?" Bea asked.

"Pretty much," Elly admitted, "I love Chloe to no end but I knew she needed sleep and she wouldn't listen to me. She was insisting on making me lunch before she started to give me the foot rub and now, she'll probably feel bad for not doing it when I'm already is awe of what she has been doing for me since she started staying here."

Bea found herself making faces at her nephew as he stared at her before addressing Elly, "Good thing I came home from work for my lunch break to get something and to check on my gorgeous nephew of course. I'll make you both lunch."

"Thanks, Bea," Elly whispered.

"How are you and Chloe doing? I've been trying to give you both some space to figure this whole thing out of the pair of you...being a couple and having a newborn in your life," Bea inquired.

Elly smiled down at her son then over at Chloe, "I love being a mum, it's the most amazing thing I've ever done in my life. I'm so tired and exhausted every day but just looking at Elliot when he is in my arms like this makes it all worth it. I'm so in love with Chloe. She has been so perfect with me...except for the not letting me kiss her part that she still won't let me do. But I'm getting worried it's becoming...too much for Chloe."

"What makes you say that?" Bea asked then nodded at Chloe's sleeping form, "Because she's falling asleep in the middle of trying to help you with something?"

"Not just that I'm just worried she's doing too much and she's not taking time to herself to recover properly from not sleeping at night. Instead she mostly gets me to sleep for several hours during the day and she looks after Elliot but she won't let me do the same for her. The only time she is taking for herself is not even for herself. She's spending time with Aaron, David and Hendrix well mostly Hendrix taking him out to dinner or going over to the boys for meals because she's trying to make it up to Hendrix for not getting him to Sydney. She's trying to prove to him that he's important to her and that her ending things with Pierce doesn't change that since he has issues with thinking his parents don't care for him. Don't tell Chloe I told you cause she's embarrassed by it but Aaron and David all but carried Chloe back to ours last night as she fell asleep on their dinner table in the middle of their meal. I told them to take her back to her place to sleep the night in peace but by then she was forcing herself to stay awake to be here for us when I knew she needed a night off," Elly explained.

"Maybe Suze, Karl and I need to help the pair of you out a bit more," Bea offered, "I think Suze and Karl have been like me and letting the pair of you attempt to fall into your roles of raising this lil guy as a couple."

"That'd be nice, I hate asking for help but I think we need it. I'll let Chloe sleep as long as she can now but maybe I should ask Suze and Karl to take Elliot tomorrow during the day so Chloe and I can catch up on our sleep. Then maybe...since you're not working on Wednesday for New Year’s Day...you wouldn't mind taking him too? Just for a few hours during the day, you can wake me when he needs to be fed, I'll tell Suze and Karl the same for tomorrow," Elly suggested.

"Lock it in, I would love to spend the day looking after my nephew for you two," Bea agreed, "Two days of catching up on your sleep will do the pair of you the world of good. So...when you say you and Chloe will catch up on "our" sleep...does that mean in the same bed?"

Elly rolled her eyes at Bea, "No, it does not, Bea. You know that. Chloe will be here on the couch and I will be in my bedroom. We're not sleeping together...either meaning of those words. Besides, when I need to be woken to feed Elliot, Chloe won't be."

Bea smirked at the pair, "Bet you can't wait for Pierce to get back so you can fall asleep in the same bed for once."

Elly shrugged, "I don't think Chloe is anymore. Like she's keen to break up with him to be with me but she's also not as she doesn't know what words to say to tell him. She's avoiding him. She's trying to pretend to me that she's not but her phone will vibrate with a text or a messenger app comment or a call and she's blanking him. She barely responds. She showed me one of the messages he sent her yesterday to ask how she should reply and she scrolled back to show me what he was referencing from last week and her replies are all 2-3 words long, mainly just giving him the like button to acknowledge she got it. So, he doesn't think Finn has kidnapped her again and Pierce needs to jump on a flight home probably."

"You don't want Chloe to distance herself from Pierce?" Bea asked confused.

"It's not that...Chloe hasn't said it to me but I think she's getting anxious over breaking up with Pierce because he part-owns Lassiters and though Terese is her boss, she still needs to report to Pierce in some capacity. I think she's afraid if he takes the break up badly her career will become very hard for her," Elly sighed, "And what I haven't told Chloe is that I'm terrified Elliot and I will become too hard on her career..."

"Terese will pull Pierce into line if he tries anything at work with Chloe. For that fact, I bet Paul would love to have a go at Pierce. How do you mean you think the pair of you will be too hard on Chloe's career?" Bea questioned.

Elly nodded at the sleeping woman, "Look at her, Bea, Chloe's barely coping as it is. She's got time off work for the next week to stay with us but then she goes back. How's she going to cope working full time if she keeps insisting on helping me so much with Elliot? I fear she's going to end up resenting me or deciding raising a baby isn't what she truly wants."

"Oh please, that's complete nonsense! Chloe loves you and she loves Elliot. Okay so she's pushing herself, like you aren't either. Terese will understand once she learns what Chloe is doing for the pair of you, she's a mum, she'll get it and give Chloe flexibility. Stop being so scared Chloe's going to struggle next week and talk to your girlfriend about it when she wakes up. If you two need more help from the rest of us, we are here to do that for you. I bet Aaron and David would adore babysitting Elliot for you too," Bea insisted.

"Fine," Elly pouted, "And she's not my girlfriend...yet."

"I don't see Chloe offering to rub my feet cause she and I are friends. She's your girlfriend and you know it," Bea chuckled.

"No, I want Chloe to be my girlfriend but until she can dump Pierce then I don't get to claim her as my girlfriend no matter how much I want to," Elly replied.

Before Bea could respond, Chloe suddenly awoke with a jolt, nearly scaring Elly when her hands grabbed at Elly's feet, "I'm awake, I'm good."

"You sure, baby? You should go back to sleep, you're absolutely wreaked," Elly told the blonde.

Chloe didn't acknowledge Elly, instead she looked down at her hands as she let go of Elly's feet and reached for a towel, she’d left on the coffee table to wash her hands of the massage oil, "What time is it? I need to make us lunch."

Before Elly or Bea could move, Chloe stood up and wandered to the kitchen, beginning to rifle through the fridge.

"See what I mean," Elly whispered to Bea.

"Yo, Chlo, why don't you go back to sleep? I'll make you girls some lunch," Bea offered.

Chloe turned around, seemingly surprised that she hadn't noticed her there next to Elly, "Oh...hi Bea. It's good, I got it."

Elly sat up and with Bea's help, placed her son into Bea's arms, "Can you go put him down in his cot for a nap and bring me back the baby monitor?"

As Bea shuffled off, Elly walked into the kitchen and immediately wrapped her arms around Chloe's waist, "You need to come back to the couch to sleep for a few hours, Chlo. Let Bea help us with lunch. You're exhausted and so am I. We can eat after a nap."

Chloe groaned reluctantly, "Fine, I'll go nap but only if you have lunch now not later when I do."

Elly held her hands around Chloe's waist as she led her back to the couch and Chloe laid down on her side on the couch. Chloe then reached out and held Elly's hands, "Lay with me until I'm asleep?"

"Isn't that against your rules?" Elly pointed out as she immediately laid down anyway with Chloe and wrapped her arms around her, "Fine, only for a minute."

Bea came back into the room several minutes later, surprised to see Chloe laying in Elly's arms.

Without words needed, Bea proceeded to make lunch for the three of them, putting her own in a paper bag to eat on her walk back to work. Bea smiled at Elly before leaving lunches for the pair on the coffee table along with the baby monitor and headed back to work.

As soon as Bea left the house, Chloe turned over to face Elly on the couch, “You’re worried about me, aren’t you?”

“Yes, I am,” Elly answered as she squeezed Chloe’s hips.

“Am I trying too hard to do too much and failing already?” Chloe wondered.

Elly pressed her lips to Chloe’s forehead, “You’re not failing us, you never could but yes you’re trying to do so much. I love you for it so much. You just need to take a few hours every day to sleep, baby. I don’t need you awake at all hours of the day and night. I spoke to Bea, I'm going to ask Suze and Karl to mind Elliot during the day tomorrow and Bea will do the same on Wednesday as she's off work. They can still wake me to feed Elliot but that will give us 2 days to catch up on some much-needed sleep for at least 4-6 hours during the day.”

"And will this catching up on sleep involve you and I together cuddled up?" Chloe asked cheekily before yawning.

"Oh, now look at who doesn't want to keep her distance from me in a more than friends’ way!" Elly giggled.

"Fine, no snuggling," Chloe groaned, "Sleep for the next couple days sounds good."

"The help is here for us, we need to use it a bit more especially since...next week you'll be going back to work...and I'm worried I'm putting too much on you that you won't be able to cope with work on top of us being a couple and helping me with Elliot," Elly admitted.

"I'm worried about work life too," Chloe confessed, "I won't be here for you during the day and need to adjust to managing my work day with little sleep at night."

"It's just something new for us to adjust to...like all couples do when one partner returns to work and then we'll go through it all again when I go back to teaching at some point in the back half of next year. We'll find a way to make this all work, right? With you back at work?" Elly asked.

Chloe leant her forehead against Elly's, "I'm not giving up on the three of us making this work ever."

"Chlo, are you worried about how Pierce might act around you at the hotel after you've broken up with him?" Elly asked.

"A little, yeah," Chloe replied through another yawn, "I'm trying not to think about it. Terese will have my back. I've been avoiding Pierce's calls since the other day for a range of excuses I've messaged him. I'm hoping by the time Pierce gets back he'll already know what I'm going to tell him...except for the breaking up with him for you part. He won't expect that. I'm not great at breaking up with people."

"Good thing this will be the last time in your life you'll need to," Elly promised then whispered, "Hey, Chlo...?"

"Hmm," Chloe whispered back as she closed her eyes.

"Are you my girlfriend yet?" Elly asked quietly.

Elly sighed and shook her head as she realized Chloe had fallen asleep in her arms, deciding to herself, "I'll take that as a maybe."

Hearing her son begin crying through the baby monitor, Elly reluctantly pulled herself out of her embrace with Chloe, and stood up from the couch. Turning off the baby monitor so it didn't wake Chloe, Elly left the sleeping woman to go check on the infant.

Chapter Text

And She, Waits For You

Chapter Forty-One

Tuesday 31st December - 10pm

Chloe was standing in Elly’s bedroom looking at Elliot sleeping in his cot whom she’d just successfully gotten to fall asleep and put him down for a nap.

Elly entered the bedroom, “Hey you, did you get him off to sleep okay?”

“I did for once,” Chloe said proudly, “Good shower?”

Elly smiled as she walked over to the woman, wrapping her arms around Chloe’s waist and kissing her shoulder before resting her head against the crook of Chloe’s neck, “I knew you would’ve, shouldn’t have even asked the question. Shower was good. It makes me appreciate you so much that I can do something so simple as have a shower for a few minutes and not need to worry about my son when he’s got you looking after him. Y’know next time we could always get Elliot off to sleep first and then you could join me in the shower.”

Chloe moaned at the thought, “That would be incredible and it will happen. Yeah, we’ll have the baby monitor in there with us and have to cut our shower short the second the peanut needs us but you know we can’t do that stuff yet ‘til I’m all yours.”

Elly pressed her lips to Chloe’s skin again, “This waiting for you to be mine thing…it’s getting so much harder.”

“I know sweetie but I do have some good news, Pierce texted me to say he was looking at booking his flight home. He thinks he’ll fly out of New York Friday night which means he’ll land back here Sunday morning as he loses a day on the way back. So, depending on Pierce’s jetlag when he gets back…” Chloe found herself trailing off being distracted by Elliot beginning to wake in the cot that she reached down and let the infant take her fingers in his hand to comfort him.

“If you don’t finish that sentence with ‘I’ll be all yours to kiss by Sunday night’ then I’m going to be disappointed,” Elly admitted as she smiled wildly at Chloe’s interactions with her son.

“Yes, I will be all yours to kiss and do all manner of coupley things with by Sunday night, maybe Monday night tops if Pierce needs to get over his jetlag first before I see him,” Chloe promised.

“Do tell me more about this ‘all manner of coupley things’ you speak of, love,” Elly pressed cheekily.

“I’d prefer to show you on Sunday or Monday night,” Chloe teased, “So, can you wait a few more days before you can kiss me?”

“Do I havta?” Elly pouted.

Chloe giggled at Elly’s response, “Thanks for today, getting Karl and Suze to mind the peanut. It was amazing getting five hours of uninterrupted sleep on the couch today. It was a literal dream. Plus, Bea minding him tomorrow too, another five-odd hours of solid sleep in my future is something to look forward to. Do you think when I go back to work next week we can try and arrange the same thing on the weekends with them or Aaron and David minding the lil guy for us for that same kind of time frame so we can catch up on our sleep missed during the week? Except by then we’ll be with the snuggling together when we’re catching up on sleep.”

Elly squeezed Chloe’s hips, “That sounds like a very sensible plan. Yes, our lives are all about this lil guy but we need time to ourselves to catch up on sleep otherwise we aren’t going to cope as the weeks wear on. I still can’t believe you’re sleeping on that couch, it can’t be that comfy to fall asleep on.”

“I’m very sensible now. The couch serves me fine, I’ve slept in worse places, and it’s only for another few nights,” Chloe replied, “So, are Suze, Karl and Bea staying up for New Years’ for the countdown?”

“Yep, I checked on them before I showered and they are all outside listening to some music. Karl’s trying to get Suze and Bea to let him play some of his own. They didn’t want to be hanging out in the house if you’ll be on the couch. Besides the weather is so nice out there,” Elly explained before licking her lips as she glanced down Chloe’s body, “Speaking of nice…you look incredible in my dressing gown…wish I could get you out of it.”

“Cheeky,” Chloe teased, “I wish you could get me out of it too! But we need to wait for that. Thanks for letting me borrow it for tonight. I completely forgot to do my laundry today with the extra few hours of sleep I got.”

Elly lifted her head to whisper in Chloe’s ear, “So, if you forget to do your laundry tomorrow and I don’t let you borrow my clothes does that mean you’ll have to hang out in my room all naked and--?”

“Oh my God, do not finish that sentence, Elly, you’re driving me crazy,” Chloe moaned.

“I know, I just like knowing I can do that to you,” Elly smiled, “Did you ever think this would be how you would be spending New Years’?”

“With you teasing me and wanting me naked?” Chloe raised her eyebrow.

Elly blushed, “I more meant spending it here with me and Elliot on New Years’…not that we’ll be able to stay awake ‘til midnight…or I definitely won’t, don’t know how you’re feeling.”

Chloe leant up, pressing her lips to Elly’s cheek, “I never thought I would ever spend New Years’ with you like this. Last New Years’ it’s the only thing I wanted in the world but never thought it would come true. Let alone with this little peanut with us too. I am feeling refreshed from my sleep today but I am now ready to crash and burn. Got to try and get in an hour or so sleep now I reckon. I’ll be back here as soon as the peanut needs me. If we have any luck then he might need us on the stroke of midnight so we get to spend New Years’ together.”

As Chloe began shifting out of Elly’s embrace, Elly found herself reaching for Chloe’s hands, standing in front of the blonde next to the cot, “Chlo, I know what I’m about to say is breaking the rules…”

“Then maybe you shouldn’t say it,” Chloe whispered, even though she was desperate to know what Elly wanted.

Elly breathed deeply, “Stay with me tonight. Here…in my bed…with me. I know it’s against the rules, Chlo, but…it’s New Years’…I want the best possible start to 2020 and that’s waking up with you in my arms.”

Chloe hesitated from answering so Elly continued, “And okay I’m well aware that starting 2020 won’t actually be me falling asleep with you and waking up with you in my arms at a reasonable hour tomorrow morning. I know we’ll be up all night long doing one thing after the other for Elliot and it’s doubtful we’ll both be awake at midnight but to me…I want to spend my New Years’ as I plan on spending the next year and beyond that. With you.”

Chloe swallowed deeply, “What if something happens?”

“It won’t,” Elly promised, “I just want to wake up with you in my arms. It’s what New Years’ represents to me, spending it with the woman I love.”

“What about the others? They’ll know I’m not on the couch…they’ll think we’re…I’m cheating on Pierce,” Chloe replied worried.

“They’ll think we’re hanging out for New Years’ together and you’ll be on the couch after they go to bed. We’re not cheating on Pierce…we’re just…sleeping in the same bed for one night so we can begin 2020 how we both want to spend it…with each other,” Elly insisted.

“What if one night isn’t enough…what if we’ll want to do this every night?” Chloe wondered.

Elly let go of one of Chloe’s hands and cupped her cheek, “It may not be enough but we can go back to you sleeping on the couch tomorrow night until Sunday or Monday night. It’s just tonight…to spend the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020 how we want to for next year and beyond.”

Chloe fell into Elly’s touch, “Would you be okay if I said…yes to sleeping in your bed tonight with you but no to cuddling up to you part? Because if I hold you in my arms in bed tonight then I’m going to want to kiss you.”

Elly stared at Chloe’s lips, finding herself lost in the idea of just kissing the blonde and dealing with the consequences of cheating on Pierce later, “So you mean sleeping in my bed tonight but you on one side, me on the other and no cuddling you in the middle of the bed? No holding you in my arms or spooning you?”

“Yes,” Chloe whispered, wondering why she cared so much about not cheating on Pierce when the woman she loved wanted her.

“Anything for you, I just want tonight to be special and be a good sign for our next year together,” Elly decided, “And if…in the middle of the night…or in between all our interrupted sleep to manage trying to get Elliot off to sleep…I accidentally find myself…spooning you or you spooning me…will you regret spending the night with me here at all?”

“If something like that happens…accidentally…I’d never regret it,” Chloe accepted.

Elly kissed Chloe’s forehead, “Let’s get some sleep while we can before we get woken up soon enough.”

Elly dropped Chloe’s hands to go turn off the light, then led Chloe to her side of the bed to get under the covers before walking around the other side of the bed to do the same. Elly sighed gently when Chloe turned to her side away from her, wanting desperately to wrap her arms around the blonde but knew she needed to respect Chloe’s decision not to.

“Is the bed comfy enough for you?” Elly asked softly.

Chloe reached back her hand to take Elly’s behind her, “It could do with a gorgeous woman holding me to fall asleep but I know that’ll only end in me wanting you to do that every night after this one. Less than a week and there’ll be no reason stopping us from doing that every night for the rest of our lives together.”

Elly rolled onto her side, facing the same direction as Chloe, holding onto Chloe’s hand but still had an arm’s length distance between them, “Less than a week, it’ll be worth the wait.”

A couple hours later, Chloe was staring at the alarm clock on the bedside table on her side of the bed. It read 11:57PM. Chloe yawned as she tried to fall back asleep. Her and Elly had already been up four times in the past two hours tending to the infant in the cot who was finally sleeping. Chloe smiled at the thought that it was so much easier been there for the peanut and Elly in the same room as opposed to running back and forth from the living room. And she had to admit, Elly’s bed was a lot more comfortable than the couch and she was finding it easier to fall asleep after every interruption Elliot gave them. Except now.

Or it could also be having Elly sleeping next to me on the other side of the bed…hearing her breathing patterns that I already know when she’s asleep and when she’s trying to fall back asleep.

As the clock flipped over to 11:58PM, Chloe whispered, “Elly, are you awake?”

Elly laid there with her eyes closed, feeling the distance Chloe held her at even though she was thankful the woman she loved was still allowing herself to sleep in her bed for the night, whispered back with a yawn, “No.”

Chloe smiled at Elly’s lie, “Y’know it’s nearly midnight. Do you have a New Years’ resolution? You don’t have to tell me what it is…”

“To never hide how I feel about you wherever we are together and to tell you each and every single day just how much I love you,” Elly answered, still yawning, “Oh and to be the best mum I can be to Elliot, of course. You?”

“Y’know last year, I didn’t want to make a resolution as the only thing I wanted was to kiss you at midnight but you were with Mark and that was never going to happen,” Chloe admitted.

Not last year but we could make up for it this year, Chlo…or not…have to wait nearly another week to kiss Chloe.

“How different would our lives be had I accepted my feelings for you back then and kissed you at midnight last year? I wouldn’t have my son, you wouldn’t be with Pierce but you and I…we’d have spent a year in love together. Maybe we’d have been living together with Aaron and David at their place or have our own place, be talking about getting married or starting our own family,” Elly pondered.

As the clock shifted to 11:59PM, Chloe rolled over onto her other side to face Elly, surprised, “You’d…want to…marry me…one day?”

Elly blushed, glad Chloe couldn’t see it in the dark, “One day…count on it.”

Chloe smiled at the thought but didn’t want to get ahead of herself, “No matter what, you know we wouldn’t take back anything that’s happened over the past year. The peanut is worth everything we’ve been through…so it took us an extra year to be together…we have the rest of our lives to make up for it. Maybe that’s my resolution for this year, not to worry about the past and similarly to my resolution last year…accept been unable to change things I can’t. I don’t regret the past year at all because I am looking forward to all the happiness you, the peanut and I will enjoy in 2020.”

Elly found herself shuffling closer to Chloe and smiled when Chloe did the same until they were lying next to each other, “You might not regret anything from this year…but I’m selfish in that there’s one thing I wish you did regret…”

Chloe lifted her arm and stroked her hand up and down Elly’s side, “Allowing you to cheat on Mark with me before your wedding?”

Elly shook her head, “Neither of us regret that night, you know that…even though it didn’t allow me to accept my feelings for you like I have now. I meant you dating Pierce…do you regret that at all…? Cause if you weren’t with Pierce…I’d be kissing you at midnight right now.”

Will you let me kiss you at midnight, Chloe? Let me make up for not doing so a year ago?

This is the only thing I ever wanted a year ago. Should I kiss Elly at midnight or keep my promise not to cheat on Pierce and let my first New Years’ kiss with Elly be next year?

Chapter Text

And She, Waits For You

Chapter Forty-Two

Tuesday 31st December – 11:59pm

Chloe glanced back at the clock that still read 11:59PM, before turning back to Elly with her decision, “Kiss me anyway.”

“Are you sure?” Elly whispered.

Chloe grinned happily, “It’s just one kiss at the stroke of midnight for New Years’…I think we can make an exception to our rules for one kiss.”

“Definitely worth the exception…let’s start 2020 how we want to spend the rest of the year as soon as we’re free to,” Elly decided.

Chloe made the first move, bringing her lips to Elly’s on the stroke of midnight. Elly moaned softly at the contact, kissing Chloe back softly before easing her tongue gently into Chloe’s mouth, tangling it with Chloe’s for a moment, deepening the kiss.

Breaking apart after a minute, Chloe leant her forehead against Elly’s, whispering, “Best New Years’ kiss ever.”

Elly felt her heart pounding in her chest, “Without question…and it was just the one kiss…”

Unable to resist and not feeling Chloe pulling away from her, Elly leant her lips back to Chloe’s once more but just as they were about to kiss again, the two women jumped apart as the sound of Chloe’s phone ringing loudly broke them apart.

Chloe sighed heavily as she rolled over to grab the phone from the bedside table, swallowing gently as she rolled back over to Elly, “It’s Pierce.”

Elly nodded gently, slipping her arm around Chloe’s waist, “Answer it, Chlo.”

“How can I…? I’m in bed with you having just had the most amazing kiss with you,” Chloe pointed out as the phone continued to ring.

Elly rested her head on Chloe’s shoulder, “I know that but Pierce won’t. You’ve been ignoring Pierce for days, baby, it’s New Years’…just answer it…let him have a moment with you at New Years’. I had my moment with you at midnight…I got the better end of the deal, kissing you instead of talking to you over the phone…answer it so Pierce can stop bothering us and we can…go back to sleep in each other’s arms.”

Chloe grimaced but knowing Pierce wasn’t going to give up calling since it was midnight at New Years’ and he was technically her boyfriend, took Elly’s advice and answered the call, “Hey, Pierce.”

“Chloe! I’m so glad I got hold of you. Did I get through in time, is it midnight on the cusp of 2020 yet?” Pierce smiled at the sound of Chloe’s voice.

Chloe turned to the clock to see it was now 12:01AM, “You just missed it by a minute, Pierce.”

Thanks for missing it or else I wouldn’t have kissed Elly at midnight. That was some kiss…and now Elly is nibbling at me under my ear and gliding her fingers around my hip…is she trying to drive me crazy and blurt out to Pierce I’m in bed with her?

As Chloe glared at Elly before quickly falling into the feeling when Elly winked at her cheekily, Pierce was oblivious as he spoke to Chloe, “That’s a pity, my clock must be wrong. How’s 2020 treating you so far?”

“2020 is treating me…really well so far,” Chloe answered as she found herself unable to resist lifting her neck to allow Elly to nibble at her neck even more.

Elly is driving me crazy and I’m letting her do so…how am I meant to wait another week to kiss Elly again?

“What have you managed to get up to, to celebrate New Years’?” Pierce questioned.

Cheated on you by kissing Elly passionately…and now I want to keep kissing Elly…I’m going to need all the willpower not to…I shouldn’t say that to Pierce…

“Oh…y’know…nothing special,” Chloe stumbled.

“Is that because I’m not there to celebrate it with you?” Pierce decidedly assumed.

Definitely not…oh my God…what is Elly doing?

Chloe swallowed deeply as Elly rolled on top of her, running her hands up and down Chloe’s side, pressing her groin between Chloe’s legs and trailing kisses up and down Chloe’s neck.

Trying to keep her composure, Chloe held the phone closer to her, “Something like that. What are you…ah…doing for New Years’?”

“A couple of the guys’ at the company here have a party in Hollywood so I’ll be celebrating with them. I think I’ve nearly managed to save the company, had to let some people go, overhaul a few things, it’s been tough but I think we’re finally getting somewhere. I’ll be home soon. I can’t wait to see you,” Pierce told Chloe.

“Sorry to hear that, that’s awful,” Chloe commented as she glared at the brunette for distracting her.

“Me not been able to wait to see you is awful?” Pierce frowned.

“Oh…I didn’t mean that…I meant the letting people go, that it’s been tough,” Chloe fumbled.

Pierce sighed with relief, “I almost thought you didn’t want to see me.”

Chloe bit her lip as she felt Elly pull back from nibbling on her neck to lip sync Pierce’s words Elly had heard through the phone, ‘I almost thought you didn’t want to see me,’ in a teasing fashion that the billionaire didn’t know she was straddling his girlfriend in her bed, “Don’t be…ridiculous…Pierce. A few more days and you’ll be back home.”

Where I can break up with you at the first chance I get and then not feel bad about having Elly lying on top of me and…is Elly mouthing ‘I love you’ over and over to me?

“How’s Hendrix been getting on? Hope you haven’t minded staying at my place to look after him,” Pierce assumed.

Yeah…I haven’t minded staying where I am…to think if I’d have just given in completely and spent the week in Elly’s bed…she’d probably be making love to me right now…whilst I’m on the phone to Pierce just to prove the point that I’m hers…or perhaps not since y’know peanut in the room. Elly would respect her son more than respecting Pierce, that’s for sure.

“Hendrix is good. I had dinner with him at Aaron and David’s tonight. He’s celebrating New Years’ with Harlow at Paul and Terese’s with Yashvi, Ned, Roxy, McKenzie and…some others I forget. I think Hendrix has a crush on Harlow,” Chloe told Pierce.

“Harlow’s…not really Hendrix’s type,” Pierce replied, wondering why he was judging Paul’s granddaughter from the suggestion his son could like her.

Chloe suppressed a moan when Elly pressed her hips against her own, “Anyway I should…”

Go…struggle to not let Elly kiss me again…strip me naked and make love to me if that’s what she wants…cause right now aside from not wanting to do that with the peanut in the room…I am so in the mood to—bollocks!

Chloe’s eyes widened as did Elly’s at the sudden interruption of Elliot bursting into a fit of tears.

Fudge…speaking of the peanut been in the room stopping Elly and I…oh crap, Pierce!

“Is that Elly’s baby?” Pierce asked as he overheard the infant crying in the background.

Chloe grimaced as Elly mouthed, ‘I’m so sorry,’ to her and then reluctantly disentangled herself from the blonde, hopping off her, dragging herself from under the covers to stumble over to Elliot’s cot. Elly immediately scooped the infant up into her arms, putting him against her chest, trying to get her son to stop crying.

Chloe sat up in the bed, struggling with her thoughts to work out how to explain to Pierce why he was hearing Elliot crying in the background.

Do I tell Pierce the truth? How much of the truth? I can’t tell him Elly was straddling me and for a genuine moment the only thing I wanted is…I mean was for Elly to strip me naked and make love to me… That’ll cause some problems… Elly and I aren’t even ready for that. Elly’s not ready to let me make love to her and I…can and will be patient and will wait before we’re both ready rather than take advantage of Elly wanting me without allowing me to reciprocate.

At Chloe’s continued silence, Pierce broke it, “Are you with Elly and her baby? What are you doing spending New Years’ Eve with Elly and her baby?”

Chloe stared at Elly, seeing the brunette glancing at her through the darkness looking apologetic, “Ah…yeah I am with Elly and her son…just y’know…hanging out like best friends do.”

Best friends don’t do what we did, Chlo! I can’t believe I wasn’t able to control myself with Chloe…one kiss and I was almost ready to jump Chloe! I shouldn’t have done that…I want to be able to wait until I’m ready for Chloe and I to both…make love to one another. I should tell Chloe that…after I apologize for losing control and wanting her like I did.

“Is that why you said your New Years’ Eve has been ‘nothing special’ because you’re just with Elly? Are Aaron and David there? Why is Elly even up at this hour with her baby and you?” Pierce rattled off as he found himself perturbed at the thought of Chloe being around her ex-girlfriend at this hour let alone on an occasion of New Years’ Eve.

“Ah I guess,” Chloe lied that her New Years’ had been anything but special, “No, the boys aren’t with us. We’re just…hanging out at Elly’s…and y’know babies cry all hours of the night. Elly was sleeping…ah…before you called.”

“You’re not in Elly’s bedroom, are you?” Pierce questioned.

I’m in Elly’s bed and had her straddling me a minute ago.

Elly glanced over at Chloe awkwardly feeling like it was her fault Chloe was getting the third degree from Pierce since it had been her idea Chloe spent the night in her bed and she’d convinced Chloe to answer Pierce’s call. Elly continued rocking Elliot as the infant refused to give up crying.

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Chloe lied, before pulling the sheets off of her and sitting on the edge of the bed, “Look, Pierce, Elly is struggling to get her son back to sleep. I’m just at her place…but I need to…get home after she gets the peanut off for a nap. I should…say goodbye.”

“Chloe, you don’t need to…I guess I just didn’t expect to find out you were spending time with Elly and…her baby on New Years’. I felt like maybe you were trying to hide it from me,” Pierce admitted, feeling hopeful by Chloe’s use of the word ‘home’ thinking she was staying at his place whilst looking out for Hendrix but was still confused if Chloe being with Elly meant more than Chloe was letting on.

Amazing that you pick up on that, Pierce, cause I was…

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Chloe repeated to her boyfriend as she found herself staring over at Elly, “I’ll see you soon on the weekend, okay?”

Pierce held back an audible sigh, “Okay…I’ll give you a call once I’m on my way home. I’ll speak to you then, Chloe. Happy New Years’!”

“Happy New Years’!” Chloe replied back to Pierce before hanging up the phone.

Chloe placed her phone on the bedside table before standing up and walking over to Elly, “How’s the peanut?”

Elly smiled at the fact Chloe was more interested in seeing how her infant son was than talking about Pierce then grinned even more as Chloe wrapped her arms around her waist, “He’s good, I think he might need a cuddle from his…Chloe to get him off to sleep,” Elly chuckled as Elliot immediately stopped crying but continued fussing in her arms, “Or maybe he knew his mum needed a cuddle from you too.”

“I’m always here for that,” Chloe smiled at the infant against Elly’s chest.

Elly leant her forehead against Chloe’s, “I’m sorry you got caught out with us.”

Chloe shrugged, “Not your fault…or the peanut’s. Should’ve seen that coming.”

Elly continued trying to rock her son back to sleep as she turned her face to Chloe, “I’m sorry about…taking things a step too far in bed with you.”

Chloe smirked, “I don’t know what you could be talking about.”

Elly pressed her lips to Chloe’s cheek, “I got a bit of a power trip knowing Pierce was on the phone to you…thinking that you’re his when you’re not. I know you’re not mine yet…not that you should ever feel like I or anyone else owns you. I took it too far with the straddling you and kissing up and down your neck…and the pressing my body into yours. I just got this power trip knowing I was driving you crazy and Pierce had no clue.”

Chloe kissed her lips up and down Elly’s neck for a moment, “I liked your power trip moment…as much as I didn’t want to be caught out by Pierce with what we were doing. Not gonna lie, for a second I thought you might strip me naked and make love to me just because you could.”

“Oh God no, not in front of the peanut!” Elly exclaimed, “I love you, Chloe, and may have lost a bit of self-control but I can’t make love to you with my son in the room with us. That’s a line I can’t cross.”

Chloe chuckled in response, “Me either. But you’d cross that line with Pierce on the phone to me had Elliot not being with us?”

“Entirely,” Elly decided before shrugging, “Okay…probably not. As much as a part of me is desperate to be with you…would it be okay if we wait for me to make love to you until I’m ready for you to make love to me…and we can do it…together?”

Chloe pressed her lips to Elly’s shoulder, “I was going to ask you the same thing. I want us to wait until you’re ready and we can do it together…preferably without the peanut in the room or me on the phone to Pierce…or just not have Pierce be anywhere in the vicinity of us. Or anyone. Just you and I alone together…when you’re ready.”

“Sounds perfect, it’ll be worth the wait,” Elly agreed before smiling down at Elliot who had fallen asleep in her arms, then shuffling forwards to put him back down in his cot, Elly then turned to Chloe, “Do you regret our kiss we shared at midnight?”

“Not even for a second,” Chloe insisted but when Elly leant in to her, Chloe hesitated, “But it was just the one kiss for New Years’ Eve…to spend the moment how we plan to spend the rest of our year together which we will…as soon as Pierce gets back on the weekend.”

Elly nodded, “Right…it’s what we agreed…one kiss. We can wait until the weekend to kiss again. So…has our little kiss or getting caught by Pierce spending New Years’ made you change your mind…about sleeping in my bed with me tonight?”

Chloe glanced over at the bed, “It has y’know…” then when Elly hung her head at the thought of Chloe returning to the couch, Chloe whispered, “Who was I kidding when I said we needed to keep our distance in bed together and we couldn’t snuggle? I want to fall asleep in your arms and get woken up a couple dozen times in them throughout the night.”

Elly glanced at Chloe hopefully, “Really?”

Chloe led Elly back to the bed where they both slipped under the covers and Elly immediately spooned Chloe from behind. Chloe entangled their hands against her chest, “Now this is how it should’ve been earlier.”

“Best New Years’ ever,” Elly whispered in Chloe’s ear before resting her head back on her pillow.

“Best New Years’ ever,” Chloe concurred as she closed her eyes and the pair were asleep within moments.

Back in New York City, Pierce sat staring at his laptop, having hung up the phone from Chloe. To say he was bewildered and worried that Chloe had spent her New Years' Eve with her ex-girlfriend and her infant son instead of with Aaron and David was an understatement. Chloe answering his phone call had surprised him greatly but he didn't want to admit that despite Chloe seemingly keeping him at a distance and lying to him over her kidnapping ordeal.

Pierce started typing on the laptop to bring up the flights website, determined to book his flight home before anything else could go wrong at his company and hold him back.

Typing into the website's search engine flights from New York City to Melbourne, Pierce hovered the mouse over the travel date he needed to select before making his decision...

Chapter Text

And She, Waits For You

Chapter Forty-Three

Wednesday 1st January – 6:00am

“Good morning, beautiful,” Elly whispered as she saw Chloe’s eyes flutter open.

Chloe blinked her eyes through her tiredness, “Well this is a nice surprise…being woken up a little bit more naturally then by a crying--”

“Do not jinx it, Chlo,” Elly interrupted gently, “Seriously we were up more than a dozen times last night, to actually wake up not because of my son cannot be jinxed.”

Chloe giggled gently, “And did you wake up naturally or because of the peanut?”

Elly squeezed Chloe’s hips as she continued spooning the blonde from behind with her arm around her waist, “I couldn’t get back to sleep after we were last up with him. I mean can you blame me when I have the most beautiful woman in the world in my bed?”

Chloe frowned, “There’s another woman in your bed?”

“You, doofus, you’re the most beautiful woman in the world,” Elly explained.

“Oh, I know, I just wanted to get you to say it again,” Chloe teased bringing a smile back to her face.

Elly rolled her eyes at Chloe, “Sometimes I don’t know why I love you.”

Chloe gently pried Elly’s hand from her hip for a moment as she rolled over to face Elly, placing Elly’s hand back on her hip and entangling her leg over Elly’s, “You love me because you love me.”

“That must be it,” Elly chuckled as she held Chloe in her arms.

Chloe stared into Elly’s eyes, “Thanks for the best night.”

“Do you have to go back to the couch tonight?” Elly asked as she nuzzled her lips against Chloe’s neck, lightly kissing a trail up Chloe’s neck, “Cause if you stay with me then I can…do more of this.”

“You’re so bad,” Chloe whispered unable to resist lifting her neck and giving Elly more access to kiss her, “You know I can’t stay in your bed tonight or until I dump Pierce…last night was…just the circumstance of New Years’ and wanting to spend the night like we do for the rest of the year. I can’t…”

“Oh, but you can,” Elly mumbled as she kissed her lips up and down Chloe’s neck, flicking her tongue against the flesh.

Chloe stifled a moan at Elly’s actions before swallowing deeply, “I need to go back to the couch now before your family wake up and see I wasn’t on the couch last night.”

Elly eventually dragged her lips from Chloe’s skin, pouting, “Fine…leave me alone in my bed…that’s fine. Actually, do you want a coffee? I’ll go make you one as I’m a little bit more awake then you are and bring it back here. You can get back to the couch after you’ve had your coffee.”

“You sure we have that time up our sleeves before your family wakes up?” Chloe asked.

“Yeah, Karl doesn’t start work ‘til 9am today so he won’t be up yet and Suze said she’s spending the day at Toadie’s with Nell & Hugo, she’s not going to be up early for that,” Elly explained.

“And Bea?” Chloe pointed out.

“Bea’s not working today remember as she’s taking Elliot for a few hours so we can catch up on our sleep,” Elly pointed out.

“Okay, if you can pry yourself from me then you can go make me a coffee. Actually, whilst you’re out there, can you grab some clothes for me so I can go straight to the shower after my coffee?” Chloe requested.

Elly pressed her lips to Chloe’s cheek before shuffling away from her and got out of bed, “No problems.”

Chloe narrowed her eyes, “Elly, are you actually going to get me clothes or are you going to say you forgot and I should spend the day naked?”

“Don’t be ridiculous…I was at least going to grab you a pair of panties so you’re not completely naked since we’re waiting before we can make love to each other,” Elly teased, before heading out of the room.

Chloe laid her head back on the pillow, “This waiting thing is not easy.”

Elly smiled to herself as she walked out into the main living area of her place then stopped short when she spotted Bea sitting at the dining table reading the newspaper and drinking a coffee.

Crap! Just be cool...maybe Bea has forgotten Chloe should be on the couch.

"Good morning!" Elly sung happily as she walked past her younger sister and headed to the kitchen.

"Morning, welcome to a new year, sis," Bea replied, not looking up at Elly, her head still in the newspaper, "You're in a good mood."

"I've got a lot to look forward to this year," Elly explained away as she began brewing a coffee for Chloe and boiling water for a tea for herself, "So... you’re up early..."

Bea flipped the page of the newspaper and began reading a new article, "Couldn't sleep...which isn't something I should complain about to you. How'd my nephew sleep last night?"

Elly shrugged, "We were up and down with Elliot all night, nothing unusual, always the same, won't go to sleep when we want him to."

"Hmm and how'd you sleep last night?" Bea asked casually, taking a sip of her coffee.

Elly grabbed some mugs for the coffee and tea, "Do I ever sleep with an infant around to wake me up 5 minutes after I finally fall asleep?"

"Hmm and what about Chloe? How did she sleep last night?" Bea pried.

"A smidge better than I did. She woke up naturally for once instead of because of my crying, screaming son," Elly admitted, then off Bea's look of triumph, "Damn."

Bea immediately dropped the newspaper on the dining table, hopped out of the chair and hopped over to one of the stools by the kitchen island, sitting opposite Elly, "I knew Chloe slept in your bed last night! Spill!"

Elly blushed, "How long exactly have you been up reading the newspaper?"

"About an hour, Chloe didn't sleep on the couch this morning and she wasn't there when we went to bed last night...okay technically it was this morning on account of staying up for the New Years' countdown but you know what I mean. So, spill!" Bea said excitably.

"Spill on what, Bea?" Elly asked as she poured the boiling water to make her tea.

"You and Chloe spent the night together...did the two of you...y'know?" Bea hinted at.

Elly rolled her eyes, "No, we did not...y'know. Geez, Bea, that's not going to be happening for a while. I had a baby last week; my body is a mess. I'm not going to be up to that for...some time. Even if I was...I will not be...y'knowing with Chloe when my infant son is a meter from my bed."

And also, Chloe's still technically with Pierce...not a big enough reason to not be with Chloe...to me anyway.

"Fine, so what did you two do?" Bea wanted to know.

Yeah...I owe you $20...

"Fell asleep in each other’s arms," Elly settled on answering.

"How romantic!" Bea gushed.

Elly raised her eyebrow, "Is it romantic if I fell asleep with my arms around Chloe nearly 20 times on account of getting up and down all night long?"

"I knew you were the big spoon to Chloe," Bea teased, "Yes, actually that sounds very romantic to spoon your girlfriend that many times. I'm glad you two have given into the fact that sharing a bed is a much better option than Chloe sleeping on our couch. It'll be good to have our living room back."

Elly poured Chloe's coffee, "It was just one night, Bea. Chloe will be back on the couch for the rest of her time here until she's broken up with Pierce."

"Oh c'mon, that's not what either of you want," Bea complained.

"No, but it is what is, Bea. Last night was only because it was New Years' and Chloe and I wanted to spend the night as we plan on spending the rest of the year...once she's dumped Pierce," Elly explained.

"You two are so hopelessly in love with each other. Pierce is not worth any of this angst," Bea pointed out.

Elly smirked at Bea in agreement before heading over to the living room, and rifling through Chloe's suitcase with her clothes to look for something that didn't look like it needed to be in the washing machine even though Chloe had worn through all her clothes she had brought with her. Flinging the clothes chosen over her shoulder, Elly returned to the kitchen for the coffee and tea she'd made.

"What time do you want me to take Elliot this morning so you and your girl can catch up on your sleep?" Bea asked.

"Late morning, okay? You can wake me whenever Elliot needs a feed. Give Chloe and I a chance to sleep until late afternoon?" Elly checked.

"Sounds like a plan," Bea agreed, "So...since I'll be here looking after my gorgeous nephew, Karl and Suze will be out all day long and I know Chloe spent the night in your bed even though I'm sure as soon as Chloe has showered she's going to go back to the couch to make it look like she was there all night..."

Elly stared at her sister as she trailed off, "Yes, Bea..."

Bea smiled at Elly, "Spend the day catching up on your sleep together in your bed. I won't tell anyone. It's the least you two deserve if you're going to go back to this dumb couch arrangement."

Elly picked up the coffee and tea mugs, as she headed back to her bedroom, "I'll think it over."

Elly smiled at Chloe when she saw the blonde had fallen back asleep in her bed as she entered her bedroom. Elly placed Chloe's coffee on her bedside table, flung Chloe's clothes on the corner of her bed, sat her own tea down on her own bedside table. Elly then slipped under the covers and wrapped her body around Chloe's.

Chloe soon woke from the feeling of Elly holding her, "Morning...again. Coffee...you're my hero."

"If that's all it takes, I should do this for you every morning," Elly whispered.

"Everything okay?" Chloe asked, sensing Elly had something to tell her.

Elly nuzzled against Chloe's neck, "Of course...got your coffee and your clothes, made myself a tea..." then as fast paced as she could humanly manage to mutter, "Beawasawakeknowsyouspentthenightinmybed."

"I'm sorry what are you trying to say," Chloe glanced at Elly.

Elly groaned, as she repeated in her normal tone, "Bea was awake, knows you spent the night in my bed...but it's like totally cool because she was fine about it. I told Bea it was only because of New Years' and whilst she doesn't think Pierce is worth any of the angst of us not sleeping in this bed together for as long as you're here...she gets why we can't."

Chloe nodded, "Should've known this would get out. Does Bea know we...kissed last night?"

Elly shook her head, "No. I mean Bea asked me if we had slept together slept together and I had to point out to her that we won't be for a while as my body's messed up from giving birth...so I sidestepped telling her that we kissed since she never asked that."

"Okay, thanks for not telling Bea. Was Bea really okay with us sharing a bed together? She doesn't think I'm cheating on Pierce?" Chloe worried.

Elly pressed her lips to Chloe's jawline, "Bea is more than okay with us spending the night together. In fact, since she's minding Elliot today and the rest of the fam won't be around...Bea suggested the two of us catch up on our sleep together. Would that be okay with you? Us spending the afternoon sleeping in my bed...you can go back to the couch tonight...if you have to."

Chloe thought for a moment, "I'd be okay with that."

Elly smiled at Chloe but before she could say anything else, she heard Elliot waking in a crying fit. Elly squeezed Chloe's hip, "I got him. You enjoy your coffee and your shower. Don't forget to do your laundry this morning."

"I love you looking out for me," Chloe grinned.

As Elly went over to the cot she turned back to Chloe, "I love that you love me looking out for you."

Thursday 2nd January – 8:00am

Aaron answered his phone, "Pierce, mate, it's a bit early to hear from you. How are ya?"

"Hey, Aaron," Pierce greeted, "Sorry about that, thought you'd be at the gym and I could catch you. I haven't been able to get a hold of Chloe again."

Aaron was standing in the Brenaka kitchen, fussing about trying to look for breakfast materials, "It's a bit early for Chloe, mate. Or…I mean it is cause Chloe’s…still off work at the moment so has no need to…get up at a decent hour."

Aaron shook his head at his own words, knowing full well Chloe was with Elly and had spent the night helping Elly with baby Elliot, just like she'd been doing for a week now, and Chloe would be up by now. Aaron hated keeping the truth from Pierce but knew it wasn't his place to tell Pierce what was going on. Though he knew he would have to apologize to Pierce once the truth came out that Chloe was leaving Pierce for Elly.

"I guess it is. I just wanted to let Chloe know I'm on my way home," Pierce announced.

Aaron raised his eyebrow, "That's great, Pierce. I thought you wouldn't be back until the weekend."

"Earlier flight," Pierce replied, "Can you let Chloe know for me if you see her soon?"

"No problems at all, I can do that," Aaron agreed, then hearing Hendrix coming inside the house from the pool, "Look I gotta get going. I'll let Chloe know you're on your way home. Enjoy your flight."

Aaron hung up as Hendrix came into the house, toweling himself down, "Looks like your Dad booked an earlier flight, he's on his way back. Now did you end up telling Pierce you were crashing here on our couch or does he still think you and Chloe were at his place this week?"

Hendrix ran the towel over his hair trying to dry it, "Yeah...I did not tell Dad I've been here with you guys...I thought it would raise questions about why Chloe didn't want to stay at his. "

Aaron sighed at the teen, "I guess that would've raised questions. What are you getting up to today?"

Hendrix shrugged, "Literally the only thing I have planned is to take a shower after that swim and then that's all I got."

Aaron nodded, "Well we are out of breakfast. What do you say you leave the shower for a bit? Let's go to the Waterhole, I'll treat you to a big breakfast as thanks for not being a pain staying on our couch for the week. We can come back here to shower, pack your things and we'll get you back to your Dad's place. I'll hang with you there tonight. Oh, and we'll stop by Elly's place at lunch to let the girls know Pierce is on his way home. Sound good?"

"Let's do it, thanks Aaron," Hendrix agreed, as he picked up a clean shirt from his pile of clothes on the couch, putting it on, deciding to let his board shorts dry out in the walk to the Waterhole, "When will Dad's flight land?”

Aaron grabbed his wallet, phone and keys as he led Hendrix out of the house, "Ah Pierce didn't say what time his flight lands. Pretty sure it's a good 20-odd hour flight via Los Angeles. It's why we'll stay at yours tonight as his flight will probably land first thing in the morning."

"And so, Chloe can practice her break up speech?" Hendrix smirked.

Aaron rolled his eyes, "We'll let Chloe and Elly have the morning to themselves and then Chloe can stew over her break up speech later today. We've got some time up our sleeve to get everything sorted before Pierce gets here." 

Pierce stared at his phone for a moment after Aaron ended the call, wondering if he should call him back but decided against it.

Pierce held out his hand for a taxi. After putting his luggage in the boot of the taxi, Pierce sat in the front seat.

"Where are we off to today?" the taxi driver asked him.

"Ramsay Street, Erinsborough," Pierce answered.

After plugging the info into his GPS for directions the taxi driver told him, "We'll be there in an hour. Did you have a good flight?"

"Perfect," Pierce replied, "Aside from spending New Years' Eve on the flight and missing the usual celebration for it...it was a really good flight. I'm glad to be home."

Chapter Text

And She, Waits For You

Chapter Forty-Four

Thursday 2nd January – 9:15am

Pierce knocked on Aaron and David's front door, before opening it, "Hello, door was open, anyone home?"

Not hearing anyone, Pierce walked into the house, then immediately spotted Aaron in the kitchen, "Aaron, hey, door was open, hope you don't mind me dropping in."

Aaron nearly dropped the food he had in his hands, "Pierce! What--what are you doing back?"

"Told you I was on my way home, mate," Pierce pointed out.

"I...I thought you meant you were jumping on your flight," Aaron cringed at his mistake.

"Yeah I know you did after your 'enjoy your flight' comment. Nice one, Azza. I should've called you back to clarify but thought it'd be a nice surprise. I still can't get a hold of Chloe. Have you seen her about this morning? Or Hendrix? I swear my house was too quiet when I walked in there, like no one’s been there since I left," Pierce commented.

Aaron stumbled over his words, wondering if he could desperately text Chloe to give her the heads up about Pierce’s return without Pierce noticing, “Ah…no…Pierce, mate…I haven’t seen Chloe yet. Since I thought you were boarding your flight…I wasn’t planning on heading over to…I mean I didn’t see the rush in…getting onto Chloe…or Hendrix. Why…why did you come back early?”

Pierce found himself distracted looking around the living room, “This place is a bit of a…do you guys have someone here sleeping on the couch or something?”

Hendrix came down the hallway wearing only a bath towel around his lower half after his shower, announcing before he made it into the living area, “Aaron, I gotta say I’m gonna miss that shower of yours, the one at Dad’s is--”

“Hendrix?” Pierce interrupted, “What are you doing here? Wait, are you living on Aaron’s couch?”

“Dad!” Hendrix replied in surprise as soon as he spotted Pierce standing there, glanced over at Aaron to see the same surprised uncomfortable look on his face, “What are you doing back so early?”

“Why does everyone keep asking me that like I shouldn’t be back early? I never even said to Chloe I had booked that flight yet that was meant to get me back here Sunday morning, just that I was looking at it,” Pierce told them.

“Right,” Aaron said, “I guess we…expected a little bit more notice than…you being at the Melbourne airport telling us you were on your way home is all.”

Pierce stared at Hendrix wearing the bath towel and all the clothes strewn over the Brenaka’s couch, “Obviously you weren’t prepared. Were you living here, Hendrix, on the couch, while I was in New York? I thought Chloe said that was only for the first couple nights because of what happened with Finn and she wanted to be at home with her family. If I’d known you were sleeping on the couch here, I’d have encouraged you more to go to Sydney with your mum and sister and for Lisa to get over that little stunt you pulled.”

Hendrix sighed, feeling rejected by his father, as he walked over to the couch, sat down on it and started looking for some clothes to put on, “Yeah I bet you would’ve.”

“Or I would’ve come back home earlier to be there for you if I knew you weren’t living at home like I thought,” Pierce back tracked realizing he had come off as insensitive to his son.

Hendrix shrugged but ignored his father.

Pierce shook his head in frustration, “Okay…well, you look well Hendrix so I’d better thank Chloe, Aaron, David and Kyle for looking out for you…take them all and you…and you out to dinner tonight or tomorrow,” then turning back to Aaron, “Chloe in her room here?”

Aaron opened his mouth but took a moment to respond, “Uh…no…I don’t think so.”

“I thought you said you she may not have been up yet since she doesn’t have work and that you hadn’t seen her this morning which is why you didn’t pass along the message I was coming home,” Pierce pointed out.

Aaron chewed on his lip, “Right…oh ah…Hendrix and I went out for breakfast at the Waterhole and only just got back…bet Chloe was up and about and out of here while we were…not here.”

“Okay, so where is Chloe this morning? I want to catch up with her as soon as I can,” Pierce pushed.

Aaron and Hendrix both glanced at one another awkwardly.

Pierce suddenly picked up on the looks the guys were giving each other, “Alright, will someone please tell me what is going on with my girlfriend and where she is?”

Aaron and Hendrix didn’t answer him.

Pierce crossed his arms in front of his chest, “Someone needs to tell me where my girlfriend is,” then when they still didn’t respond other than looking at Pierce awkwardly, Pierce asked, “Is Chloe with Elly?”

Aaron and Hendrix both raised their eyebrows as Aaron responded, “Well…that’s…I mean…what makes you think that?”

“I called Chloe at New Years’ Eve…heard the baby screaming in the background after what felt like Chloe was trying not to let me know…that she spent the celebration of New Years’ Eve with Elly and Elly’s baby. I don’t know about you but that struck me as a very…un-Chloe thing to do to hang out with her ex-girlfriend and her ex-girlfriend’s newborn son to bring in the New Year. I felt very weird about the whole thing so I booked my flight home immediately and was on the flight out of New York six hours later. Missed my own New Years’ celebrations as I was on the flight from Los Angeles to Melbourne then,” Pierce explained, “Now…is there a reason why I was right that Chloe being with Elly and her baby was weird and shouldn’t have made me want to get back home to my girlfriend as soon as possible?”

Aaron pursed his lips before slightly caving, "There might be a...small chance...Chloe is...spending time with Elly...right now."

Pierce ran his tongue over his teeth tensely, "Is Chloe at Elly's place...spending time with her best friend?"

"It's possible," Aaron squeaked out.

Pierce glanced at Hendrix, "Pack your things, I want you back at home. I'll meet you there...after I go and find Chloe."

Aaron and Hendrix grimaced at one another as Pierce walked out of the house.

A few minutes later, over at the Kennedy household, Bea walked over to the front door to answer it when she heard someone knock.

Bea opened the door to find Pierce standing in the entryway, “Pierce! What are you doing back? You’re back…early. Does Chloe know your back? Wait…why are you here?”

Before Bea could stop him, Pierce brushed past Bea, stepping into the house, “Is Chloe here?”

“What would make you think that?” Bea asked, then stumbled, “Hey…you didn’t answer my other questions…let’s answer them first!”

"Aaron didn't tell me that Chloe was here but he told me without telling me that I might find my girlfriend with your sister. Where's Chloe?" Pierce asked, his tone pleasant yet stern.

"Not here obviously," Bea lied.

Pierce glanced around the room, gritting his teeth when he noticed the couch with blankets and clothes strewn across it, "Really? Because those look to be Chloe's clothes on your couch that someone has been sleeping on. My son has been sleeping on Aaron's couch for the past couple weeks and now I see Chloe's things are here on yours...where is my girlfriend, Bea?"

"Chloe just didn't feel comfortable staying at your place without you there and with Hendrix at Aaron and David's on the couch she...may have needed a place to crash," Bea lied again.

"Chloe's bedroom is at Aaron and David's, it's where she lives," Pierce deadpanned.

"I needed Chloe here. We bonded. Did she tell you about Finn kidnapping the pair of us? Brought us closer, Chloe and I...besties for life now after that so...Chloe just crashed here last night," Bea continued lying, feeling more and more uncomfortable at the thought of Pierce finding Chloe with Elly.

"Really? Just last night? Chloe was here New Years' too and that over there...all the clothes looks more than a one-night stay. Looks like Chloe's been here for some time," Pierce pointed out, "Where is my girlfriend?"

"I think Chloe took Elly and the baby out for breakfast," Bea lied further.

"So, then you won't mind if I stay here then...waiting for my girlfriend to get back?" Pierce asked politely.

Bea hesitated from answering.

Pierce clenched his jaw, "Bea I'm not leaving until I see my girlfriend so you can either ring her and ask her to come back here or I will."

Bea closed her eyes as she breathed deeply, muttering, "I'll go get her."

Pierce blinked several times and felt his heart drop as he silently watched Bea walk away from him down the hallway, knowing without being told that Chloe was in Elly's bedroom.

Several minutes earlier, Chloe and Elly were curled up in bed together with Chloe half lying on top of Elly.

"Do you know what I love?" Chloe whispered to Elly.

"Me?" Elly answered.

Chloe smiled, "Well, yes, obviously you but what I really love is this spot right here on your neck...cause when I kiss it..." Chloe proceeded to kiss the spot on Elly's neck she was talking about, "Your nose does this adorable crinkle thing like it's ticklish but you love it."

"You figured out my adorable ticklish spot on my neck far too easily, baby," Elly gushed.

"I'm just that good," Chloe grinned as she kissed Elly's neck again, "I can't wait until I'm free to explore every inch of you and learn all your spots all over your body and the effect I can have on them and you."

"You drive me crazy, Chloe Brennan, in a good way. I like it," Elly winked.

"You know what I like?" Chloe asked then proceeded to answer immediately, "That I lasted last night on the couch until 7am before I crawled into bed with you. I mean obviously we were up and down all night long with the peanut but you'd been pleading with me for hours to come to bed with you. I held out as long as I could."

"Are you forgetting our twenty-minute nap we had in my bed at 3am before you resumed couch duty?" Elly teased.

"Maybe," Chloe whispered.

"So, if I do a bit more pleading with you over the rest of the week does that mean you'll crawl into bed with me a bit earlier each night until you're finally in my arms all night long before Pierce gets back?" Elly asked.

Chloe shook her head, "Well I only crawled into your bed when I did because I had breakfast with Karl and Suze early as Karl had to go out early for work and...I dunno Suze had something on that she told me about but I was in a tired from looking after a newborn stupor. I think I did hear her say she'll be home for lunch."

"Oh, so it takes getting my Aunt and Uncle out of the house early to get you to crawl into bed with me? I better make sure Karl gets all the early shifts and...sign Suze up to some bootcamp or fitness class to get them away so I have you all to myself," Elly suggested.

Chloe began trailing kisses up and down Elly's neck, before whispering in her ear, "Can we...not get up today? Or at least for the morning 'til Suze comes back for lunch? Like Bea's heading to work soon, Karl and Suze are gone as well...house to ourselves to..."

"Have a loud obnoxious love making session?" Elly teased, "Oh wait we can't do that yet cause we're not ready and also...newborn right over there."

Chloe moaned at the thought, persisting with the kisses to Elly's neck, "You better promise me a loud obnoxious love making session as soon as you're...we're ready...and we have someone to mind the peanut...oh wow I just realized we're literally going to have to spell it out for someone that we need them to look after Elliot so we can go have sex when the time comes."

"I think I can promise you multiple sessions. I guess we are going to have to spell it out to someone, aren't we?" Elly giggled at the thought, "The joys of...parenthood."

Elly paused, wondering if Chloe would freak out at the insinuation of them being parents together but Chloe continued nibbling on Elly's skin, shifting to her jawline.

Chloe flicked her tongue against Elly's jawline, "Back to what I was saying...can we just stay in your bed all morning and do lots of this...in between the whole parenthood to the peanut thing?"

"I'm powerless to stop you," Elly told the blonde, giddy at the thought Chloe was comfortable with the parenting insinuation, "I don't think there's anything that can stop you doing lots of this, this morning."

Chloe and Elly groaned as they heard a knock on Elly's bedroom door.

"You were saying?" Chloe mumbled.

"Go away, Bea, we're busy," Elly told her sister in as quiet a voice as possible not to wake Elliot.

Bea ignored Elly and opened the door, blinking when she immediately saw the two women curled up in the middle of the bed with Chloe half lying on her sister and nibbling kisses along Elly's neck.

Before Bea could open her mouth, Chloe mumbled, "We're not cheating or kissing each other’s' lips...just doing lots and lots of this."

"Chloe, have you got a moment?" Bea asked subtly, hoping Elly wouldn't follow Chloe out to the living room where Pierce was for him to see them together.

"Chloe's kinda busy working on tickling my spot," Elly revealed.

Bea frowned her eyebrows trying to ignore figuring out what Elly meant, "Chloe, I really need to speak to you...out here."

"Busy," Chloe mumbled between kisses.

Bea sighed before deciding she needed to be direct before Pierce followed her to Elly's bedroom and found the pair in bed together, "Chloe...you need to get off my sister as your boyfriend is here to see you."

Chloe and Elly immediately flicked their heads to Bea, both saying, "What?"

"Pierce is in the living room and if you don't get off my sister and attacking her neck with your lips you're about to have an even more uncomfortable conversation then the one you're about to have because he's going to follow me in here to find you two in bed together," Bea told Chloe firmly.

Chloe immediately rolled off of Elly, glancing at the brunette apologetically, only to see the same look reflected back from Elly, "What is Pierce doing here? He wasn't meant to be home until Sunday. How did he know I was here?"

"All I know is that without telling him...Pierce got the hint from Aaron that you were with Elly so naturally he came to Elly's place looking for you. He's spotted all your stuff on the couch. I tried to explain it away that you and I bonded after the kidnapping and I needed you here last night but that didn't take and he's refusing to leave until he speaks to you...so sorry to throw you in the deep end...but you need to go have that break up conversation with Pierce right now," Bea informed Chloe.

Chloe ran her hand through her hair, "Right...I will. Wait...I should get changed first. I'm wearing Elly's dressing gown again."

"Pierce isn't going to notice that," Elly insisted, "And all your clothes are on the couch with your things. If you want to borrow something to change into..."

Chloe sighed, "No, it's fine. What I'm wearing to break up with Pierce really doesn't matter, I'm just delaying the inevitable...wish me luck."

"You don't need luck, baby, you just need to remember I love you," Elly whispered as she slowly got out of bed.

"Right, I do need that. I love you too," Chloe whispered back before leaving the bedroom.

"You think she'll be okay?" Bea asked Elly.

Elly shrugged, "I hope so...let's find out."

"Elly!" Bea admonished her sister as the brunette tip toed past her and stood out in the hallway out of sight from the living room.

Bea followed Elly, standing behind her, whispering, "Are you seriously going to stand here and listen to Chloe breaking up with Pierce?"

Elly nodded, whispering, "Yes! Chloe might need me to intervene if Pierce doesn't think I love Chloe."

Bea rolled her eyes at her sister.

Chloe dragged her feet walking down the hallway to the living room but knew she had to face Pierce eventually.

Upon stepping foot in the Kennedy's living room, Chloe's eyes widened as she stared at Pierce, "What are you doing?"

Pierce took a deep breath, "Chloe Brennan--"

I'm here to break up with Pierce...is he insane to do...this now?

Chapter Text

And She, Waits For You

Chapter Forty-Five

Thursday 2nd January – 9:30am

"Pierce, do not ask that question!" Chloe pleaded as she stood in front of Pierce next to the Kennedy's dining table.

"Chloe Brennan, I love you," Pierce declared.

I don't love you.

"Pierce, do not ask that question!" Chloe told him for a second time.

Pierce seemed to take no notice, "Will--"

"Don't ask that question!" Chloe insisted.

Pierce continued, "You--"

"Don't, Pierce!" Chloe interrupted again.

Pierce pushed on, "Marry--"

"Please don't finish that and ask that question," Chloe begged.

I'm here to break up with you, not reject a marriage proposal too!

"Me?" Pierce finished as he stared up at Chloe, as he sat there on bended knee in front of her, holding open the engagement ring to her.

No...a million times...no! 

"No," Chloe answered Pierce in a whisper.

Pierce cleared his throat, "No as in... not right now?"

Chloe ran her hand through her hair, "No as in no, Pierce, I won't be marrying you."

"No as in... eventually, yes?" Pierce posited.

Chloe sighed deeply, "No as in no, Pierce, I won't be marrying you ever. Not now, not eventually, not ever."

"Do you not like the ring?" Pierce queried.

"It's not about the ring, Pierce," Chloe told him, "It's about the person asking me. I don't want to marry you."

Out in the hallway, Elly and Bea were listening to the conversation without being seen.

"Well this is awkward," Bea whispered, "We should go."

Elly didn't budge, winking at Bea, "Nah I'm here to stay and hear Chloe tell Pierce I'm going to marry her one day."

Bea raised her eyebrows at her sister, "You are?"

"Well, it's not like I've proposed or anything but yeah...I'm gonna marry Chloe one day," Elly promised, "And I'm going to time my proposal to Chloe so much better than Pierce has. She won't see it coming."

"The way you two are loved up, and know each other so well, I doubt it," Bea decided.

Back out in the dining room, Pierce asked, "So, you don't want to get married ever? You're not the marrying type?"

This is not about marriage or the ring or how you are asking me...you just need to tell him.

"Pierce, can you please stand up?" Chloe requested, "We need to talk."

Pierce refused to budge, still holding the ring out to Chloe.

"Okay, we'll do this...here...like this," Chloe accepted.

"Chloe, I love you, and there is absolutely nothing in the world you can say that will change that," Pierce declared.

Let's find out...

Chloe pursed her lips as she put her hands in the pockets of the dressing gown, "I'm wearing Elly's dressing gown."

"That's fine, you look very nice in it," Pierce complimented.

"I forgot to take Hendrix to the airport Christmas Day because Elly asked me to pick her and her son up from the hospital and bring them home," Chloe informed him.

"It's not like Elly could drive after giving birth, that was very nice of you to do that for her," Pierce decided.

"I've been sleeping on Elly's couch since Christmas night," Chloe told him.

"Couch looks comfier than your bed at Aaron and David's," Pierce shot back.

"Elly kissed me when we were kidnapped right after she gave birth to Elliot," Chloe revealed.

"You're very kissable," Pierce pointed out.

"I kissed Elly at midnight on New Years' Eve the other night right before you called me," Chloe confessed.

"Elly's very kissable," Pierce settled on.

Bea smirked at Elly when she heard Chloe admit to kissing her sister.

Elly rolled her eyes and dug her hand into her own pocket, pulling out a $20 note and giving it to Bea, "Yeah, yeah, you won the bet like you knew you would."

Bea smiled as she took the money, "You had that $20 on you since Chloe kissed you and you knew you had to hand it over, didn’t you?"

"That kiss was worth every cent," Elly admitted.

"I bet it was," Bea replied.

"Actually, you should've bet me $200 as that kiss still would've been worth every cent," Elly backtracked.

Bea rolled her eyes, "Look who can't wait for Pierce to get the hint that Chloe is ending it with him so you can freely kiss her."

"First thing I'm desperate to do as soon as Pierce gets the hint," Elly promised.

Chloe sighed gently, "I spent New Years' Eve night in Elly's bed, the whole night in her bed. I wasn't on the couch."

"I haven't seen Elly's bed but I'm sure it's comfier than the couch and your bed combined," Pierce decided.

"When you turned up here just now and Bea came to get me, she had to tell me to get off Elly because I was pretty much lying on top of Elly, kissing her neck and jaw, basically any area of Elly's face that wasn't her lips," Chloe confessed.

"You want to kiss women, I get that, you're bisexual, dating me doesn't suppress that," Pierce accepted.

Chloe pursed her lips at Pierce's inability to comprehend it was more than that, "If it wasn't for the fact Elly gave birth to her son, I probably would've made love to her by now."

"You want to sleep with women still, we can work around that and have an open relationship if you need to sleep with women, preferably not Elly," Pierce countered.

Bea stared at Elly, "I knew if it wasn't for my nephew, Chloe would've cheated on Pierce with you beyond kissing you because she wanted to."

Elly shook her head, "No, she wouldn't. It has nothing to do with Elliot, Chloe's just trying to make the point to Pierce she does want to make love to me. She's trying to get him to bloody get the point that she's ending it with him."

"Fine, I wish Chloe would give up and just tell Pierce for heaven's sake," Bea admitted.

"Tell me about it," Elly groaned.

"I'm in love with Elly," Chloe admitted to Pierce.

"I'm in love with you," Pierce reminded the blonde.

"Elly's in love with me," Chloe told him proudly.

"Have you ever heard of the term 'thruple' cause we could make that work?" Pierce asked non-fazed.

And now I want to throw up...

"Thruple?" Bea whispered to Elly.

"Three people in the relationship all on equal terms like a permanent threesome," Elly explained, wondering how her sister was naive to have not heard the term.

"Eww!" Bea groaned, "Did Pierce just suggest the three of you be in a relationship with each other? And like you and he would have to...bone just so he would get to keep hold of Chloe?"

"Desperate, isn't he?" Elly screwed up her face, "And no, I would never bone Pierce under any circumstances. He's probably a lousy lay anyway."

"I need to not be thinking about this," Bea grimaced, "Can we stop listening to this train wreak?"

After holding back the feeling of throwing up, Chloe continued staring at Pierce with exasperation, "I've spent the entire week since Christmas Day helping Elly with baby Elliot. I've been sleeping here at her house and been up with her every single night, every single time the peanut cried and needed us."

"You want to have children, I'm very open to having more children and raising them with you," Pierce promised.

"Elliot is the child that I am... coming to terms with the fact that he's the child that I want to raise as a parent with Elly...that one day I'm going to be his parent," Chloe confessed.

"Yeah she is," Elly smiled at Chloe's words.

 Bea smiled at how proud Elly was at the thought of Chloe raising Elliot with her.

"Thruple with a baby, we've got plenty of room at my place for that arrangement, anything you and Elly want for the baby I'll make happen," Pierce decided, clenching his jaw as he was becoming desperate to cling to Chloe as he was hopelessly in love with her.

"Oh, for crying out loud!" Chloe finally snapped, "It's over, Pierce."

"Between you and Elly?" Pierce struggled to understand.

"Between you and me!" Chloe groaned at him, “Can you please stand up and stop proposing to me because I am not going to be marrying you when I am trying to break up with you?”

Pierce blinked at Chloe several times before finally standing up, but he held onto the ring awkwardly holding it out in front of him, “You’re breaking up with me…why?”

Chloe stared at him blankly for a moment, “I’m breaking up with you, Pierce, because I don’t love you. I love Elly and she loves me. I need to be with her.”

“Elly’s not good enough for you, she can’t care for you in the way that I will when you’ll need it most, she has an infant son that needs all her love and attention that she won’t be throwing your way in the way I can. Do you seriously want your life to be put on hold by nappy changes, zero sleep and everything else that comes with a baby in Elly’s life?” Pierce accosted.

“Has it ever occurred to you that maybe I’m not good enough for Elly? The only caring I need when the time comes is the type that comes from having the people around you whom love you more than anything. I’m not giving that up for a private nurse or better hospital room. I was terrified by the thought of putting my life on hold for Elliot or that I would be an utter disaster in his life…but I am completely in love with that lil guy and I don’t think I can imagine my life without him in it,” Chloe declared.

“This isn’t you,” Pierce claimed.

“Yeah it is me,” Chloe insisted, “I’m going to be with Elly and I’m going to help her with her son. We love each other and I can’t ignore that.”

“Is this a reaction to the trauma you experienced being kidnapped that you feel you have some bond with Elly and her baby that you didn’t before? Terese might be right about you having PTSD,” Pierce proposed.

“This has nothing to do with PTSD or the kidnapping except for the fact that the experience I went through allowed Elly to express the feelings she’d held for me for months,” Chloe told him before sighing gently, “I am sorry that you got caught up in the middle of it, Pierce. If you had of been here maybe things would’ve turned out differently.”

“We’d still be together?” Pierce jumped in with.

“No, Pierce, I mean I would’ve ended it with you weeks ago instead of doing what I’ve been doing,” Chloe answered.

Pierce hung his head, “Which is what exactly?”

“Cheating on you emotionally with Elly and creating the bond that I have with Elly and her son that I hope…one day means we’ll be a family,” Chloe explained, “Yes, there has been a slight physical aspect to our relationship that I’m not going to lie to you about. Elly kissed me after giving birth, I didn’t see that coming and was unprepared to stop it. But then there’s me kissing Elly at New Years’, me sleeping in her bed that night with her arms around me, me curling up to her this morning kissing her neck and whatnot. I shouldn’t have let that happen but I did and for that I am sorry.”

Pierce finally clasped his hand around the engagement ring box, shutting it, but still held the box in his clasped hand, “Who knows about this?”

“More people that shouldn’t know more about your girlfriend…former girlfriend’s life than you but the people who matter most in my life,” Chloe told him, then listed off, “The Kennedy’s and Bea obviously as I’ve been staying here mostly on the couch to help Elly with her son. Aaron and David because they needed to know why I wasn’t at home at their place. I haven’t told Kyle but I think with Hendrix on their couch he figured it out. Hendrix because he needed to know why I couldn’t stay with him at your place…and finally Mark because…I needed my brother to come to terms with this.”

“You and his ex-wife being in love and you wanting to take his place by being a family to the baby he thought was his?” Pierce accused.

“If you want to put it like that…feel free,” Chloe replied, not wanting to argue with Pierce anymore.

“I love you, Chloe. How do you expect me to walk away from you?” Pierce challenged.

“I know you do,” Chloe whispered, “But I don’t love you, Pierce. You can’t cling to a relationship like that if the feelings aren’t there for both people. You deserve a hell of a lot better than me. You need to walk away by putting one foot in front of the other and you’ll probably find that one day that’ll lead you to a woman who can love you like you should be loved.”

Pierce looked back up at Chloe, “So that’s…it…then? One foot in front of the other and…I’m just meant to get over you while you…build a whole new life for yourself?”

“Yes, Pierce, one foot in front of the other…starting with heading out the front door…now,” Chloe hinted before softening, “I’m sorry you’ll be here…seeing me move on and live this life that I want when you’ll be so close to it all.”

Pierce pursed his lips, "Maybe I should just..."

"You can't just up and move because this might be hard for you. Hendrix is settled here now. He likes his life here. I'm pretty sure he's gonna end up with Harlow if you don't take him away from here because they are crushing on each other despite trying not to. You need to look past what's going on in your own life and be a Dad to him," Chloe advised.

Pierce struggled not to roll his eyes at the thought that Chloe was trying to tell him how to parent.

Chloe watched as Pierce stood there awkwardly, "One foot in front of the other, Pierce."

Pierce shoved the engagement ring box in his pocket before nodding at Chloe sadly and leaving the house.

At the sound of the security door closing, Bea nudged Elly, "Go kiss your girl already."

Elly didn't need any further encouragement as she skipped out to the living area and immediately wrapped her arms around Chloe. Chloe turned in the embrace to face Elly, "Were you listening to all that?"

"I was, yes," Elly confirmed, "Pierce really loves you, I'm sorry you had to do that."

"Took a lot longer than I thought to get it through to Pierce that I don't want to be with him," Chloe sighed, "I can't believe he freaking proposed to me when I clearly told him not to."

Elly chewed on her lip, "About that...so there's no secrets between us...I knew Pierce was going to propose to you."

"What?" Chloe almost screeched, "You knew Pierce was going to propose to me when I was trying to break up with him?"

"Well I didn't know he was going to choose that moment to pop the question but I did know he was gonna propose. About a month back I kinda…I went to see Pierce about an issue with Hendrix's exam to get him a tutor and I kinda...walked into his office when he was asking you to marry him," Elly admitted.

Chloe frowned, "Pierce didn't ask me to marry him in his office."

"Oh no, I didn't mean. His office door was open, he was making his grand proposal speech...I thought it was the real thing.....I didn't know you weren't there and he was just practicing. Walked in on him on bended knee holding out his ring to...no one...kinda me cause I walked in on him.... that was awkward," Elly explained.

"You walked in on that?" Chloe smirked.

Elly blushed, "Okay not so much walked...as waddled at an inappropriately fast pace...I was eight and a half months pregnant," then blushed even more as Chloe burst into a giggle, "Yes, Chloe, laugh it up at my expense, the image of me coming stumbling into Pierce's office whilst heavily pregnant thinking he was proposing to you. I should've told you he was going to propose to you."

Chloe smiled at the brunette, "I don't know what Pierce was thinking. That is far too early to propose. No good could ever have come from that."

"The best thing in the world came from Pierce wanting to propose to you," Elly admitted then off Chloe's blank look, "It made me realize that I love you and I don't want you to be with anyone else but me."

Chloe smiled at Elly's declaration, "That is the best thing in the world."

"It really is," Elly agreed then licked her lips, "So... now that you're all mine...can I kiss you already?"

"Oh absolutely, we can," Chloe grinned as she leaned forwards and pecked Elly on the lips.

Before Elly could react, Chloe pulled back and placed her hands to Elly's chest, "That feels amazing to finally get to kiss you after all this time. I think we should celebrate, now that we're official, we should go to Harold's for brunch. My treat. What time does Bea need to be at the garage? Y'know what, we should take the peanut with us. Is that okay? We haven't really taken the peanut out of the house yet since the hospital. I think we should and I want us to do this together if you want."

"Ah...yeah of course we can take Elliot out to brunch with us and that'd be nice to celebrate with the three of us," Elly replied then frowned, "But what was that?"

"What was what?" Chloe asked cheerfully.

"That peck on the lips," Elly spat out bewildered, "I know we kissed at New Years' Eve but I've been waiting to kiss you for nearly two weeks...what was that?"

Chloe pecked Elly on the lips again, "Me kissing you, sweetie. I'm not really...into the whole deep long kissing thing. It's just not me. I probably gave you the wrong impression during our night together last year but y'know I wanted to impress you and you really wanted those long sensual kisses so I went with it. Did the same on New Years' too. I mean didn't you always notice how Pierce would peck me on the lips, it's just my style. Not that Pierce could peck me on the lips. He always missed them and pecked my chin instead. Guy cannot find his way to my lips...if you know what I mean. That's okay with you right that this is how I kiss?"

Elly opened and closed her mouth in surprise, not knowing how to express her disappointment and frustration having waited nearly two weeks to kiss Chloe as her official girlfriend.

Chloe gently removed herself from Elly's embrace, "I'm going to go get the peanut and start getting him ready to come out to brunch with us."

Chloe then pecked Elly on the lips a third time before skipping away from her.

Are you freaking kidding me? All that build up and angst for...a peck on the lips?

Elly stormed back after Chloe, "Chloe Brennan, you need to--"

As Elly rounded the corner of the hallway, Chloe was standing there with a grin on her face, "Gotcha!"

Elly frowned in confusion.

Chloe immediately wrapped her hands around Elly's waist and pulled her against her body, "Do you really think I made you wait nearly two weeks to kiss me and the best I could give you is a peck on the lips?"

Elly rolled her eyes then stared at Chloe with a stupid grin on her face, "Yes."

"Well, I didn't, Elly. I made you wait for this," Chloe replied as she cupped Elly's cheek in her hand and leant forwards bringing their lips together.

Elly moaned into the kiss within seconds as Chloe slipped her tongue against hers and they both tussled for control for a moment with Elly quickly giving into Chloe's demands. Chloe found herself pressing her body harder against Elly's until the brunette slammed her back against the hallway wall where they stayed there passionately kissing.

Elly was nearly breathless when Chloe finally broke their kiss, pecking her on the lips once more.

"Worth the wait?" Chloe asked quietly.

"So worth the wait, Chlo," Elly realized as she brought the blonde back into another searing kiss.

Chapter Text

And She, Waits For You 

Chapter Forty-Six

Thursday 2nd January – 11:00am

Chloe sighed as she sat down next to Elly in one of the booths at Harold’s Café, “Okay, that took a much bigger effort than I thought to get the peanut ready for a trip out of the house.”

Elly leaned over to check on the infant, laying in his pram that Elly had placed next to her at the table, before turning back to Chloe, linking their arms, “I know that was quite the effort. I guess we’ll know for next time we take Elliot out with us.”

“Yeah, we will,” Chloe agreed, “They’ll be lots of taking the peanut out to places with us…just the three of us.”

Like a family, Chloe?

Elly smiled at the blonde, “But on occasion it’ll just be the two of us out to places as a couple?”

“Count on it,” Chloe promised, “The peanut will always be part of us but we need to take time out as a couple for ourselves when we can. Now, what would my beautiful girlfriend like for brunch? I’ll go up and order.”

“You called me ‘beautiful’,” Elly gushed as she sat there staring into Chloe’s eyes.

The café owner, Dipi, spotted the pair from the counter and walked over to them, “Elly! It’s good to see you out of the house! Sorry I haven’t stopped by, I thought you needed a bit of time to settle with the baby. Look at him, he’s gorgeous!”

As Dipi leaned into the pram to gently hold Elliot’s hand for a brief moment, she then looked over at Elly who had not even reacted to her being there as she was too busy staring into Chloe’s eyes, “Or instead of taking your order I could just kidnap this gorgeous lil man and you wouldn’t even notice…”

“Huh?” Elly reacted, breaking away from her gaze with Chloe to look up at Dipi.

“Nothing, terrible joke by me,” Dipi explained, “So, we haven’t seen you and the lil guy out of the house for the past couple weeks, how are you two doing?”

Elly squeezed Chloe’s arm, as she responded to their neighbour, “Yeah, I’ve been a lil bit busy trying to settle into this new life with him that I haven’t really had time to think about taking Elliot out for his first official tour of the neighbourhood. But I’ve been well and so have the three of us.”

Chloe blushed at being included in Elly’s words.

“The three?” Dipi asked, prying for confirmation of what she thought was going on but didn’t want to assume.

Elly turned back to smile at Chloe, announcing, “Chloe and I are back together and the three of us are working on things to…hopefully one day…be a family.”

Chloe blushed even harder when Elly surprised her by leaning forwards and kissing her softly on the lips, feeling an enormous sense of pride that Elly wasn’t ashamed to do so in public.

“I had a feeling looking at the way you two have been staring into each other’s eyes. I’m so happy for you both,” Dipi told them, “And the three of you working on things to be a family one day…my heart!”

Chloe licked her lips after Elly’s kiss, glancing up at Dipi, “I guess technically it’s the two of us…Elly and I working on things. The peanut just gets to lay around and look super cute and do all that baby stuff that I’m getting very used to by now. But yeah…that’s what we want…to be a family…one day…that’s what we’re working on for us to be a family.”

“The three of you are going to be amazing together. I can’t wait to see the three of you grow to be that family you both want,” Dipi gushed at them, “Wait so is this like…you’re first date out together for the three of you?”

“It is,” Elly acknowledged, then off Dipi’s look, “We’re not into hiding any of this. Chloe ended things with Pierce, Chloe and I are together and we hope one day with Elliot the three of us will be a family. Tell the world, Dipi.”

“Really?” Dipi asked excitedly, glad to have permission to spread the news as she along with Sheila were the resident nosy neighbours who needed to know everyone’s business.

“Absolutely,” Elly agreed as she leant forward, kissing Chloe gently again, “If you don’t tell everyone I’m in love with Chloe and won back the love of my life then I will.”

"I think you just made Chloe speechless," Dipi pointed out.

Chloe nodded without being able to respond verbally.

"Chloe needs to learn that I'm incredibly proud to be with her and won't ever be ashamed of it," Elly replied, nudging her girlfriend.

"Still getting used to that," Chloe whispered.

Dipi soon took their orders and headed back to the kitchen.

"Are you really this surprised I want everyone to know about us?" Elly asked Chloe.

Chloe shook her head, "No, it's not that. I was just thinking..."

"What's going on in that head of yours?" Elly asked with concern.

"Just something Pierce said to me earlier," Chloe pondered then opened up, "Oh nothing bad about you and I. Just he reminded me that Terese said I might have PTSD after the kidnapping. Part of Terese giving me the last couple weeks off work was that I was supposed to speak to someone about the ordeal not...y'know spend a few weeks on your couch building a relationship with you and Elliot. Which obviously I wouldn't give up for the world and I don't think I need to speak to anyone about it as I'm perfectly fine but it kinda was the only thing Terese asked of me to do before I go back to work on Monday."

"And since you may need to ask Terese for a smidge more flexibility for your hours if you will be kept up at all hours of the night by my son...you feel like you should do this for Terese," Elly assumed then when Chloe nodded, Elly pulled out her phone, "Let's get some numbers together, make some phone calls to see if we can find you someone to see tomorrow. Or maybe David can pull some strings with a colleague...or you can just have a chat to David about it. I'm sure that'll satisfy Terese if you explain we got severely side-tracked the last couple weeks."

"You're the best," Chloe acknowledged, linking hands with Elly.

As Elly started searching for details of local counselors, she looked up as the cafe door opened, and pointed out to Chloe, "Look there's Terese now. Do you want to talk to her now or wait 'til Monday when you're back at work?"

“I can talk to her now,” Chloe decided as Terese spotted her anyway and walked over to them.

“Chloe! I feel like I haven’t seen you in weeks, probably because I haven’t. How have you been? Sorry I haven’t stopped by your place or Pierce’s to check how you are,” Terese fired off rapidly as soon as she reached the table.

“It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I’ve been really good, thanks. That’s perfectly okay…you probably wouldn’t have found me at either place the last couple weeks,” Chloe admitted shyly.

Terese nodded, not really getting what Chloe meant, then noticing Elly next to her, who was leaning into the pram fussing over her baby, “Elly, it’s really good to finally see you and your son out of the house. It’s good to see the pair of you hanging out together. New mums always need to lean on their friends for support.”

Chloe glanced at Elly knowingly then gently placed their entangled hands on top of the table, told her boss, “Yeah…so about that…a few things have changed since I saw you last.”

Terese’s eyes widened at the pair as she took it upon herself to take a seat opposite them at the table, smiling, “Are you two back together?”

“Yes, we are,” Elly answered before placing her left hand in the pram, rocking it gently as Elliot fussed about in it.

Chloe smiled back at Terese once she realized her boss looked genuinely happy for her, “I was planning on telling you Monday morning at the office…if by some miracle the news didn’t make its way to you by then. I ended things with Pierce this morning because Elly and I want to be together. We’ve been through a lot the past couple weeks and it’s made us accept the feelings we have for one another are still there and stronger than ever. I kinda have you to thank for it in a way.”

“Me? What did I do?” Terese asked with confusion.

Elly grinned as she stared at Chloe, “You gave Chloe time off work the past couple weeks after the kidnapping and that time gave us a chance to work on things between the three of us.”

Chloe squeezed Elly’s hand, “What she said. I’ve spent most of the past couple weeks at Elly’s place living on their couch so we could build our relationship…emotionally build it. With Pierce away, I couldn’t break up with him until he got back and I didn’t want to cheat on him so…okay there were a couple of kisses, I came clean to him about it all. It just gave us time together and we really needed that.”

Terese nodded, happy to have played a minor part in why the two women looked like they were glowing, “How did Pierce take the news? Is that why you needed to let me know at work because things are going to get…awkward…at the office between the pair of you?”

Chloe grimaced at the thought, “Pierce obviously wasn’t happy with it…I broke it off with him…right after he proposed to me,” Chloe saw Terese’s eyes widen even more in shock, “It took Pierce a long time to seem to get it in his head that I was ending it with him to be with Elly. He still wanted me to be with him regardless but I told him if he doesn’t move on, he’ll never find someone who loves him…the way Elly loves me.”

“Damn straight,” Elly interjected quickly to peck Chloe on the lips at her declaration, surprising Terese even more with their openness as a couple.

Chloe blushed at Elly’s nature not to hide their status, “I don’t want things to be awkward at the office. I’ve moved on, in time Pierce will need to accept that. I know starting to build things with Elly and Elliot whilst he was away wasn’t the best thing, I could’ve done but it is what it is. I’ll be professional at work. I hope Pierce can do the same.”

Terese smiled as she noticed Chloe glancing at the infant, “So…when you say…building things with Elly…and Elliot…do you mean…?”

“Oh, I’m not in any way like his parent with Elly, that’s far too soon and a bit disrespectful for Shaun RIP. But I’m going to be there for them. I’m not just dating Elly; I do want a role in Elliot’s life…we’re just taking our time working through it until one day…the three of us will be a family. Until then…I’ve been crashing at the Kennedy’s on their couch, helping Elly cope through the nights looking after the peanut, pretty much doing everything except feeding him. I think I’m getting the hang of it. I’m going to continue doing that…helping them. I don’t want to change that,” Chloe explained.

“You’re more than getting the hang of it,” Elly reassured, “You’ve been amazing. And we will be changing one thing…you don’t have to sleep on the couch anymore. You can sleep in my bed now with me.”

Chloe blushed deeply at the thought then cleared her throat, not sure how much she wanted Elly to share with her boss, “Right…anyway…well the thing I wanted to talk to you about, Terese, with me helping Elly with the baby…I might need some more…flexible hours at work if I’m sleep deprived. I’ll get the work done, I will, I don’t want to stuff you around especially after you kindly let me have this time off during the busiest time of the year at the hotel. I won’t let you down. I can stay late if I get into the office late, make up the hours on weekends or events any of the complex venues hold, lock me in, I’ll--”

“Chloe, calm down, please,” Terese raised her hands to interrupt her EA, “We can work around your life with flexible hours, it’s fine. You don’t need to work on weekends or every single event we hold. You should be spending that time with your fa…with Elly and the baby. If you want to come into the office a little bit later and stay later…well I won’t stop you. We’ll work our way through it over the next few weeks and we’ll work out what works best for your job and your home life with these two.”

“Home life with us,” Elly repeated with a smile on her face.

“That’d be nice, thanks Terese,” Chloe thanked her boss.

As Dipi came over with their meals, Terese said goodbye to the couple and was off on her way.

As Chloe and Elly dug into their meals after reluctantly letting go of each other’s hand, they didn’t notice Pierce walking into the café. The businessman immediately saw them together and wandered off to the corner of the café away from them where he took a seat at another booth, pretending to be busy reading a menu but he couldn’t help but stare at the woman he loved.

Within a minute of the women starting their meals, Elliot started fussing in his pram. Elly leaned over to him then noted to Chloe, “I think he needs a change. I’ll be back in a moment.”

Chloe dropped her utensils, deciding, “Don’t worry about it, I got it. You enjoy your meal. There’s a change table in the bathroom here…right? Not the kind of thing I’ve ever had to notice before.”

“Yes, there is on the wall, just got to pull it down. Are you sure you don’t want me to?” Elly checked.

“Course I am, I got him,” Chloe told Elly.

Before Chloe got up, Elly leant forwards, kissing Chloe gently. Chloe smiled once more amazed by Elly’s affection for her. Pierce on the other hand grimaced as he watched the happy couple together. Though he couldn’t see the look on Chloe’s face from where he was sitting the look on Elly’s told him all he needed to know and it hurt him to see the pair so open in their relationship mere hours after Chloe had ended it with him.

Pierce gritted his teeth as he watched Chloe get up, move around to the pram, scoop the infant up into her arms then grab what he assumed was a nappy bag from under the pram before heading to the bathroom. It was only for a minute but the care she showed in holding the infant, made Pierce sick to his stomach Chloe could accept having an infant in her life. The Chloe he knew wasn’t about changing a baby’s nappy.

As soon as Chloe was out of sight, Pierce swiftly got up and went over to Elly, sitting alone at the booth, “Elly.”

Elly looked up with surprise at the businessman towering over her, “Pierce…what do you want?”

Pierce smirked at Elly, “Not even an apology for allowing Chloe to cheat on me with you, huh?”

“Chloe made her choice, Pierce, she chose me and my son. I’m not apologizing for any of it,” Elly insisted proudly.

Pierce placed his hands in his pockets, his right-hand gripping onto the engagement ring box he still carried with him, “Chloe chose you now. Doesn’t mean it’ll last. You think you’ve won cause you two are here playing happy family’s hours after Chloe crushed me?”

“I don’t think I’ve won anything. It’s not a competition. I love Chloe. Chloe loves me. We’re together, we’re not playing anything, we’re planning on spending our lives together and this is the first day of the rest of them,” Elly told him proudly.

“We’ll see about that,” Pierce threatened softly, “You’ve spent a couple weeks ‘building’ something, been on this one date, if you’re calling this a date. We both know your track record with your love life and ability to screw things up…or screw someone else in record time.”

Elly flinched at Pierce’s words but couldn’t find it in her to defend herself or declare she would never do a thing to hurt Chloe.

Pierce scoffed at Elly not even denying his claim, “We both know no matter what…you’re not good enough for Chloe. You can’t give Chloe the life I can give her. Chloe’s enamored by this whole idea that you love her. She might be amused by the whole baby thing for now but both of those things will pass soon enough when the reality sets in that you can’t give her what she truly wants. Chloe will be over it, she’ll come to terms with the fact that a life with you and your son isn’t in her future and when she does, I’ll be the one to catch her when she falls.”

Elly swallowed hard at Pierce’s words, unable to argue with him and couldn’t comprehend why.

Pierce smirked once more before exiting the café, getting out of view before Chloe could spot him even though he assumed Elly would tell Chloe every word he said.

A minute later, Chloe returned to the booth with Elliot, putting him back in the pram, then shifting back to sitting next to Elly, “Everything okay, sweetie? You’ve barely eaten since I left.”

Elly planted a smile on her face, “All good. Just…lost my appetite for a bit. I’m glad your back. Everything okay with Elliot?”

Chloe nudged Elly’s shoulder, “No problems at all. You sure you’re okay?”

Elly nodded at the blonde, “Not a problem in my world as long as I’ve got you.”

Chloe melted at Elly’s words, “Same.”

Why couldn’t I stand up for myself or tell Chloe her ex-boyfriend is expecting us to fail so he can sweep back in and take her from us?

Chapter Text

And She, Waits For You 

Chapter Forty-Seven

Monday 6th January – 9:45am

At the Kennedy household, Chloe was running around from the bedroom to the bathroom over to the kitchen as Elly was in the kitchen making breakfast.

Elly watched the blonde with a small amount of dread that Chloe had slept in and was running late for work. Slept in after being up all night being with her and the baby but she had finally unintentionally nodded off for a solid hour and a half of sleep at 7.30am, waking up half an hour ago.

“I’m late, I’m so late. Meeting at 10am, I promised Terese I would be there,” Chloe mumbled to herself as she rushed through the living room to the kitchen to grab her handbag, “I need to get more of my work clothes from home and bring them over here in my suitcase. I’ll deal with that later. I’ll see you tonight. Have to stay back to make this up.”

“Could you at least have some breakfast first?” Elly asked before Chloe was halfway out the door, “As long as you feel up to driving, you can take my car to work? You’ll get to your meeting.”

Chloe turned around and headed back to the kitchen, grabbing one slice of toast from Elly, “I’m not up for driving but I’ll take this and eat it on the way.”

“It’s not your fault you slept in, Chlo. Terese will understand. You needed that hour and a half sleep, we both did. We’re still getting used to all this, sharing a bed as a couple, having to deal with being up all night trying to settle an infant,” Elly tried to reassure her girlfriend.

Chloe took a bite of her toast, “Uh huh, we’ll talk some more tonight. I’ll be back here late. Text me if you have any problems with the peanut.”

Chloe turned to leave, but Elly sighed at her, “Can I at least get a kiss goodbye before you take off?”

“Of course, sorry, just in a mood,” Chloe apologized as she turned back to Elly, wrapping her free hand around Elly’s lower back, pulling her into a kiss, “I’ll see you tonight.”

Chloe then untangled herself from Elly, took another bite of her toast and rushed out the door.

Fifteen minutes later, Chloe stumbled down the hallway towards Terese’s office, having confirmed with Ned at the front desk their potential clients had already arrived and were in Terese’s office. Chloe was relieved when she spotted Terese and Paul in the hallway about to head into the meeting.

“I’m so sorry I’m late,” Chloe immediately apologized.

Terese looked relieved to see her EA but Paul was his brisk self, “Being late on your first day back isn’t a good look, Chloe, don’t let it happen again.”

Terese hushed her husband, “Don’t be like that. I told you last night Chloe needs more flexible hours. She’s helping her girlfriend raise a baby together, she can’t have maternity leave like Elly can but the least we can do is support the pair of them with Chloe working around her personal life a bit more.”

“Alright, alright, just as long as I don’t have to hear about the baby or see all the baby pictures all the time,” Paul groaned, “We’re here to work not have D&M’s over everything Elly’s baby does.”

“Thanks, Terese,” Chloe smiled at her boss before turning to Paul, “Are you sure because I have some super cute baby photos of Elliot on my phone? Even your heart will melt, Paul.”

“I’m sure it will…okay fine you can show us all your cute baby photos after the meeting,” Paul immediately caved.

“Are you sure you’re right to start back at work today? Do you have everything you need for this meeting to take notes?” Terese checked.

“I’m perfectly fine…okay I’m exhausted but I’ll be fine. I don’t suppose anyone thought to put my laptop on charge since I left it in your office before my unexpected leave of absence?” Chloe asked.

As Terese shook her head, Pierce appeared from around the corner, “You can borrow my laptop.”

“Pierce…I wasn’t sure you would be at this meeting…uh…thanks about the laptop…maybe I can just write the notes out and as soon as my laptop is charged, I’ll have them typed up and emailed to you all,” Chloe offered.

“Don’t be ridiculous, that’s twice the workload,” Pierce pointed out.

“Pierce does have a point, Chloe,” Terese advised.

“Okay, I’ll borrow the laptop,” Chloe agreed.

As Paul placed his hand on the office door, he then turned back to Chloe and Pierce, “Things aren’t going to get awkward here at work for you two because that is the last thing we need?”

“I’m a professional, I won’t let what happened between us affect me at work,” Chloe declared.

“I’m fine,” Pierce announced in a decidedly not fine tone of voice as he pulled out his laptop from his bag and handed it to Chloe, shocking her by leaning in close to whisper in her ear, “My password is the day we met.”

As Paul and Terese walked into the office, Chloe shrugged at Pierce, “Yeah that’s not much help to me, I don’t remember when that was. I don’t need a trip down memory lane, Pierce, just key it into the laptop for me as soon as we sit down at the table with our clients.”

Pierce grimaced at Chloe as he followed her into the office.

An hour later, the business owners were still talking to their clients which Chloe had been dutifully taking notes for on the laptop before she started feeling exhausted at the process. Chloe closed her eyes for a moment, hoping that her feelings of exhaustion would pass.

Instead Chloe was embarrassed when after an indeterminate amount of time, she found she had Pierce with his hand on her shoulder, gently waking her. Chloe blinked her eyes open, shrugged her shoulder out of Pierce’s grip as she saw all the clients and her colleagues staring at her, “Sorry about that. I’m fine.”

Chloe immediately yawned, apologizing again specifically to Terese.

Before she knew what was happening, Pierce winked at her, turning to the clients, “I’m so sorry about that. My fault. I kept my girlfriend up all night long last night.”

“Excuse me?” Chloe spat out at the insinuation from Pierce that her tiredness was due to him, without thinking of the fact she was in a professional meeting, “As if you could ever go all night, Pierce. I’m not your girlfriend anymore! We broke up!”

“Chloe, do you think you could--?” Terese tried to intervene.

“No, I will not sit back and let him say something like that about me in front of everyone. I don’t care if Pierce owns a stake in this hotel, he doesn’t get to say stuff like that. Yeah, I didn’t get any sleep last night but for your information, not that you need to know, I was up all night long with my girlfriend helping her take care of her infant son,” Chloe snapped.

“Chloe,” Terese raised her voice, quietening her employee, “Pierce, can you take over taking notes? Chloe, can you take a moment out in the hallway? I’ll meet you out there.”

Chloe shoved the laptop towards Pierce and took off out of the room to leave Terese and Paul to apologize to the clients while Pierce hung back not apologizing for anything.

A moment later, Terese found Chloe in the hallway, leaning against the wall with her eyes closed, “Chloe, are you sleeping against the wall?”

“No,” Chloe replied unconvincingly as she opened her eyes then noticed Terese was holding her handbag, “Terrific! Are you kidding, Terese? I’m fine. I can go do other work, just cause I had a go at Pierce in there for acting like he kept me up all night long. You know that wasn’t professional of Pierce.”

Terese handed Chloe her handbag, “Chloe, it wasn’t professional of either of you or Pierce. Paul and I will have a talk with Pierce after our meeting with the clients. I know it wasn’t fair what he said but you’re tired and stressed out and I can’t really have that in front of clients. Go home to Elly’s place, get some rest for a couple hours. If you feel up to it, come back later on in the afternoon otherwise we’ll see you in the morning and hopefully we can make it a bit easier for you.”

Chloe sighed in exasperation, “Terese, I can do my job, I can do all this, I don’t need any special treatment and I don’t need punishment because Pierce went and--”

“Chloe, as your boss, I’m asking you to go and get some sleep for a few hours. It’s not punishment, go home, Chloe, a few hours’ sleep will do you a world of good,” Terese insisted.

“Fine, I’ll be back here in a few hours,” Chloe agreed, “If you could keep Pierce out of my way for the rest of the day that would be for the best.”

A little while later, Elly was in the kitchen cradling her son when Chloe came through the front door, “Hey, what are you doing here so early? I thought we wouldn’t see you until tonight.”

Chloe dumped her handbag on the dining table, “Don’t ask, just here for a few hours to have a sleep and then I’ll be straight back to work.”

Elly watched as Chloe took off down the hallway, glanced down at her son, “Let’s go see what’s wrong with that gorgeous girl of mine.”

Elly opened the bedroom door, almost surprised to find her girlfriend rifling through her suitcase of clothes she’d shifted from next to the couch into Elly’s room several days earlier after breaking things off with Pierce.

“I’m getting changed out of my work clothes into something more comfortable to nap in,” Chloe explained.

“I’m not going to stop you…or stop staring at you whilst you change,” Elly whispered.

Chloe glanced back at Elly to smile at her and the infant in her arms, “Yeah I bet you won’t. I don’t need privacy from you, watch away if you must.”

“Oh, I must,” Elly decided as she licked her lips and stood by the doorframe watching the blonde.

Chloe was still turned away from Elly as she slipped out of her work pants, removed her blouse and bra before slipping on a plain shirt over her head, leaving her panties on as she changed.

Chloe put her work clothes to the side, then turned back to Elly, “Get a good look?”

“Of my girls’ gorgeous body? Would’ve gotten a better look if you were facing me,” Elly pouted.

“Well, I wouldn’t have wanted to tempt you when I came back here to nap and you have the peanut in your arms,” Chloe teased.

“I’ll always be tempted by you,” Elly admitted.

Chloe smiled at Elly as she went over to the bed and slipped under the covers. Elly shifted to place Elliot in his cot, even though he wasn’t sleeping, before lying on top of the bed next to Chloe and curled up to her, “What happened at work, baby?”

Chloe rolled her eyes, “Pierce is a jerk.”

“Not telling me anything I don’t already know. What’d he do?” Elly comforted.

Chloe placed her head on Elly’s shoulder, “It was me, I snapped at him. I fell asleep in the middle of our client meeting. Pretty embarrassing to have Pierce wake me up. Terese and Paul weren’t exactly impressed. Then bloody Pierce went and claimed my exhaustion was on account of him.”

“How does you been tired enough to fall asleep at work have anything to do with Pierce?” Elly asked.

Chloe screwed up her face, “Pierce told the clients plus Paul and Terese he kept me up all night…as in he and I were…going at it all night long.”

Elly raised her eyebrow, “Bastard.”

“Don’t swear in front of the peanut,” Chloe scolded the mum, “I snapped at Pierce after that, telling everyone he’d never be able to go all night. That I’d broken up with him and the truth was I was tired because I was with my girlfriend and her infant son all night long. Terese wasn’t…pleased by my outburst. I don’t blame her. I lost my cool in front of clients. Should’ve been more professional even though Pierce wasn’t. I just need a few hours to sleep and then I’ll be fine. Go back to the office, try and not be there all night long. Try and make tomorrow a better day.”

“Maybe every work night, we should make sure you get a few hours of solid sleep…we do still have Finn’s room free or I can be out in the living room settling Elliot to leave you in peace to get some sleep,” Elly offered.

Chloe closed her eyes as she curled up to Elly, “Not gonna work, it’s been less than a week and I’m already at that stage where I don’t think I could fall asleep without your arms around me.”

“Me too,” Elly whispered, “Sleep for a couple hours. I’ll wake you when you need to go back to work.”

“Will you stay with me?” Chloe asked, yawning.

“Of course, I will, until the baby needs me,” Elly agreed, then shook her head as Elliot promptly burst into tears, “So…ah…now then. I’ll be back in a few minutes.”

“You better,” Chloe decided as she nodded off to sleep, with Elly getting up to check on her son.

Chapter Text

And She, Waits For You

Chapter Forty-Eight

Friday 14th February – 11:00am

Elly was in the Brenaka’s kitchen brewing a pot of tea to serve to herself, Chloe, Aaron and David as the couple had stopped by Chloe’s place to catch up with her brother and brother-in-law before they headed to the Waterhole for their first Valentines’ Day together.

As Chloe and David were sitting outside, laughing about something, with Chloe cradling baby Elliot to her chest, Aaron went into the kitchen to see if he could find a snack to be served with the tea Elly was making.

Aaron entered the kitchen, seeing Elly was on her phone but as soon as she spotted him, she seemed to click off the page she was on before putting her phone in her pocket, “Everything okay?”

“No problems,” Elly replied with a smile on her face that didn’t leave Aaron convinced.

Deciding to ignore it, Aaron opened the pantry door, “Thanks for coming over here to catch up before your lunch. We haven’t seen too much of the pair of you for a while.”

“I know, I’m sorry about that,” Elly apologized, “Chloe and I have been so busy in our own little world.”

“That adorable world encapsulated by your son?” Aaron smiled, then off the look on Elly’s face, “How’s Chloe…coping with all this? Helping you with Elliot?”

Elly smiled as she watched her girlfriend cradling her son, “Chloe’s been so unbelievably perfect with Elliot. You’d be so proud of her. Every day she manages to still surprise me by how much she’s sacrificing to be there for us.”

Aaron walked back to the kitchen counter with a packet of biscuits as he glanced out the window to look at Chloe with Elliot too, “I don’t think my sister sees any of what she’s doing as a sacrifice. I’ll be honest, I am quite surprised by how much she’s grown up the past 2 months. I almost can’t imagine what Chloe looks like not having Elliot attached to her…and vomit or drool stuck to her clothes without Chloe panicking to bother getting changed into something clean. My sister is…she’s completely in love with Elliot, isn’t she?”

Elly nodded, “Chloe’s so good with him. She’s managed to work out what he needs just by the different sounds of his cries. I know Chloe loves him…I just don’t want to push her into admitting it. She’s been an absolute God send helping me with Elliot every day since he was born but I’d never want to refer to her as Elliot’s parent before she’s ready. We’ll get there…I hope.”

Aaron raised his eyebrow, “I thought you’d be sure about Chloe…’getting there’ to be Elliot’s…mum.”

“It’s not that, we’re just struggling a bit with managing it all,” Elly quietly admitted, “Chloe’s at the hotel at all hours of the night. Most weeknights she stumbles into bed close to 10pm, is then up and down with me and the baby all night long, then is gone by 8am the next day. Then on weekends when she’s not attending a Lassiters event that’s been held, she’s catching up on sleep, spending time bonding with Elliot or off having lunch or dinner with Hendrix to…keep him as part of her life so he knows that someone in his life actually wants to spend time with him. The work stuff…it’s a vicious cycle. I’m worried about her.”

"Why's Chloe so into been tied down with work? She never worked that hard at the hotel when she was dating Pierce...not that I think Chloe's working far too hard to avoid you...I can see how happy Chloe is with you. I don't get it, she should be using all her free time to be with the pair of you, why is she working so late all the time?" Aaron questioned.

"It's got nothing to do with not wanting to spend all her time possible with Elliot and I when she's not trying to catch up on her sleep. It's Pierce. He's driving her round the bend at the hotel, all but treating her like she's his EA not Terese's. Terese has seen what she's doing, has told Chloe to quit working long hours doing his work when Pierce can hire his own EA. Terese understands that Chloe should be spending this time with her...family but Chloe...she's...refusing to give in that she can't balance it all. Work life and whatever Terese and Pierce throw at her and...home life with us," Elly lamented.

"So, I noticed when you described your struggles of 'managing it all' you didn't seem to talk about you and Chloe...as a couple, how your...relationship is coping," Aaron pointed out, still feeling like he was getting used to the fact his younger sister was dating Mark's ex-wife.

Elly pursed her lips, not quite feeling like Aaron gave his full support for the couple, as she began pouring the teas, "All of this isn't on Chloe, I've been struggling not to get moody because I only see my girlfriend when we're up all night tending to Elliot's needs. We do try to spend the weekend mornings curled up in bed together as long as we can before we need to get up for the day. I knew having an infant would...kill the romance mood but the hours Chloe is working...have been just as unhelpful. We haven't even managed to have a single meal together as a couple in the six weeks we've officially been together without my son with us and even then, it's normally just a coffee and morning or afternoon tea at Harold's. I've almost forgotten what the inside of the Waterhole looks like."

Aaron remembered the packet of biscuits in his hands, grabbed a plate, opened the packet and poured them out onto it, "Hence you two finally breaking out of your cycle on the day of all romance to not even contemplate that place called Chloe's work and have at least an hour or two alone to yourselves to have lunch together whilst David and I get to baby sit for you."

Elly finally smiled again, "I was so happy when Chloe told me she'd taken the day off work to spend with me. It was amazing lazing about in bed with Chloe, actually having a conversation with her not about work or my son for the first time in ages. I want this day to be perfect for Chloe, to show her how much I love her and am grateful for everything she's done for the three of us."

"I'm sure you'll find a way to express that to Chloe," Aaron reassured.

"Do you...ah...do you and David have your own plans for Valentines?" Elly asked nervously.

"Dinner in the city at 7pm, we'll be out of here by 6pm to have a quick drink first. Then David's on the night shift so I'll drop him off at the hospital on my way home," Aaron replied.

"So...if Chloe and I were to...um...I mean if we..." Elly trailed off.

"Spit it out, Elly, never known you to not voice your thoughts," Aaron nudged Elly.

Elly blushed, "It's just...would you mind looking after Elliot if Chloe and I took a little bit longer than one or two hours to...spend together? I bought a bottle of milk so you can feed him, it's already in the fridge."

Aaron shrugged, "As long as you're back here to pick the fella up by say 5pm-ish, I do need time to look my best for my own date night y'know, it will not be a problem at all for us to mind Elliot for the rest of the afternoon. Have you got some romantic plan with Chloe you two haven't told us about yet?"

"Kinda," Elly whispered.

"I can keep a secret," Aaron insisted.

Elly put her head down, "Well just...um...Karl and Bea are at work, Suze has meetings at the education department after school so Chloe and I...we'd have the house to ourselves to...if we had a few extra hours to...ourselves..."

"Oooohhhh," Aaron finally clued in, "You and Chloe want to...get some romance into your Valentines’ Day? Why'd Chloe only ask us to mind Elliot so you two can have lunch when you two deserve some much needed...alone time that you don't seem to get often?"

Elly blushed again, "Chloe doesn't know I want to with her...Chloe and I we haven't..."

"Right...I guess the pair of you have been too busy for your first time...second time," Aaron corrected himself, "Why you so nervous?"

Elly fiddled with her fingers, "I haven't told Chloe that I want to...be with her this afternoon. We've been waiting...and also far too busy raising my son to...do that thing. We were supposed to wait until I'm ready because my body's a mess from giving birth which it still is so she can’t with me but doesn’t mean I can’t with her...I'm tired of waiting. I want to with Chloe today...I'm so in love with her, I want to be able to show her by...this is just embarrassing..."

"What is? Wanting to be with your girlfriend?" Aaron asked, fearing momentarily Elly didn’t want to take the next step with Chloe as she didn’t want to be in that kind of relationship with another woman.

"Talking to you about...wanting to be with your sister...because I really want to be with Chloe and show her how much I love her but I also know in the back of my mind when we are...doing that thing this afternoon...you and David will know. It's just embarrassing that I feel like I have to tell someone that I'll be...you know with Chloe in order to have someone mind my son so Chloe and I can finally..." Elly explained avoiding Aaron's gaze.

Aaron leaned over to Elly, wanting to help her get past her nerves, feeling relieved his worries of Elly expressing her nervousness to sleep with Chloe weren’t for the reasons he thought they might be, "You know it only takes me 5 minutes to look my best? That whole needing an hour to get ready and go for drinks with David before we go to the city for dinner was a pack of lies. With David working tonight...we're just...having our Valentines' Day activities in reverse. It's a little weird talking to you about my sister in...this way but...I don't want anyone dating Chloe to ever be ashamed of being with her. And hey, when David and I finally become parents ourselves...we're going to need a couple like you and Chlo to baby sit our child so we can...you know."

Elly smiled back at Aaron, quietly surprised that Aaron seemed happy enough to think her and Chloe would still be together by then when he hadn't been completely convinced their relationship was for the best, "We can do that for you. Just...ah...maybe don't mention this to Chloe...in case I lose my nerves to..."

"Secret is safe with me. Now let's get back out there before you and Chloe head off for your romantic lunch," Aaron decided.

An hour later, Chloe and Elly were seated at the Waterhole at a table for two that was decked out with candles, flowers and love heart objects all over the table. It was against one of the screens so it felt even more private as they could only see half the venue.

"This is so romantic," Chloe gushed at Elly.

"Only the best romance for my girl. I'm treating you to a perfect Valentines' Day," Elly promised as she awkwardly pulled out her phone, "Ah sorry...I just need to check..."

Chloe grinned, "We've been apart from the peanut ten minutes and you're already checking if Aaron and David have texted photos of the lil man."

"Yeah," Elly replied as she cursed herself for lying to Chloe as she instead logged into her internet banking, then tried not to grimace at the result.

I ballsed up completely by thinking my government parenting payment would go into my account yesterday instead of today and it's still not there! Probably won't be 'til later in the afternoon. I really shouldn't be complaining that I still have some income I'm scrapping by on. I wanted to treat Chloe to the best Valentines' Day...it's okay. There's $100 left from your last fortnightly payment, that will get us a great meal. Why do you have to panic so much?

"Any cute pictures yet?" Chloe asked excitedly.

Elly shook her head, lying so she wouldn't have to show Chloe she wasn't looking for baby photos from the boys, "Just a text to let us know Elliot's good."

Once Elly had put down her phone on the table, Chloe reached into her handbag, pulling out an envelope, "So, I have a Valentines' Day gift for you."

Elly immediately smiled at Chloe, taking her own gift and card out of her own bag, "And I have one for you too, Chlo."

After handing over their gifts to one another, Elly then decided, "Can we wait until after we've had lunch to open them?"

Chloe pouted but put the gift next to her on the table, watching Elly do the same, "Okay. Looks like we have to as Shane's on his way over to take our order anyway."

"Afternoon ladies," Shane greeted them cheerfully, "What can I get the happiest couple in Erinsborough for their Valentines' Day lunch?"

"I bet you say that to every couple you serve today," Elly teased.

Shane nodded, "Well, yeah I do but only cause we need to strum up repeat business and with you two I actually mean it since there's no need to put on the fake charm to get you both to come back here. Though it has been a while since we've seen you both here for a date so maybe I'll have to work a bit of real charm on the pair of you to get you to have all the dates you could possibly have with us."

"You are so chipper today, Shane. I like it," Chloe told him, "Okay...so I will have the...surf and turf for lunch."

$40 down, this will be easy to keep it under $100.

"And can I get you your usual glass of champagne?" Shane asked the blonde to which she nodded.

Damn I don't know which one she's ordered.

"Chlo, is your favourite champagne still the Lanson Black Label? I should pick you up a bottle another time," Elly asked subtly.

"Oh, no...I mean it is a favourite of mine...just Pierce got me...he introduced me to the Bollinger La Grande Annee champagne. But there is no need for you to ever buy me a bottle of it. A bottle of Lanson Black Label is perfect," Chloe answered, hating bringing up her ex.

Damn...I can see why...$200 for a bottle of champagne! Oh, hell it's $40 a glass! That's cool...that's...you’re so bloody broke you can't avoid to treat your girlfriend to a Valentines' Day lunch she wants because the last time she went out like this she was with a billionaire. Okay you can't get all awkward that Chloe's lunch is costing a fortune. It's still under my budget which means I need to...

"I'll just take the salt and pepper calamari...umm...entree size. If you can just...serve it with Chloe's lunch rather than earlier as an entree. I'm not that hungry," Elly excused away, feeling embarrassed her entree lunch would just come under the only money she had in her account.

I do have savings...I shouldn't be breaking into my savings for lunch, that's a terrible habit!

"And what can I get you to drink?" Shane asked, throwing Elly.

A reason to plead for you to split my bill when I go to pay and beg you to let me come back tomorrow to pay for my drink...

"I'll just have a water," Elly settled.

"Sparkling water?" Shane checked.

"Tap water is fine," Elly swallowed as she told him, looking away from Chloe.

As Shane walked away from them, Chloe eyed Elly, "Everything okay? Since when aren't you hungry for lunch? Entree calamari is like...6 pieces of squid with a small salad."

"I'll be fine," Elly lied, "Besides are you really going to eat all your chips? My girl will let me steal a few chips off her plate."

"Elly," Chloe said in a knowing tone, "What's going on?"

"It's nothing," Elly replied then finally under Chloe's staring, "Okay fine...my parenting payment which I thought was meant to be paid yesterday is actually being paid today...it just hasn't hit my account yet. I can't afford more than...what I've ordered. And don't you dare offer to treat this lunch. You do everything for Elliot and I, I'm treating my girlfriend to the Valentines' meal she deserves."

"And starving yourself in the process? Elly, why didn't you just tell me?" Chloe asked.

"Cause it's embarrassing when I think...what Pierce could be treating you to," Elly admitted.

"Hold that thought," Chloe told her girlfriend, before calling Shane at the bar, "Shane, don't open that bottle of champagne! Have you put through our orders yet?"

"I was just about to," Shane said as he walked back over to them.

"Good cause we need to change them. Elly's will be a main serving of the calamari. I'll take...the fish of the day instead. Can you also bring us both a glass of the Lanson Black Label champagne?" Chloe ordered, then looked at Elly, "Is that...okay?"

Elly nodded, after doing the calculations in her head, "That's perfect."

"Done and done," Shane agreed as he walked back to the bar.

Chloe then took Elly's hand and held it in the middle of the table, "Don't you ever compare yourself to Pierce. Or what he could give me. If I ever do anything like order a glass of champagne you can't afford, tell me to pull my head in, okay? I'm with you because I love you. I don't need anything else."

Neither woman noticed that Pierce had walked into the pub for a break from the meetings he'd had at the hotel. He grimaced as he saw the couple together.

Elly blushed at Chloe reassuring her, then lifted Chloe's hand to press her lips to the back of it before placing them back down on the table, "I love you too."

Pierce screwed up his face at witnessing their actions and Elly's declaration of love for Chloe.

Chloe smiled at the brunette, "Now that we got that out of the way. Let's have the best Valentines' lunch we can possibly have together."

Pierce noticed an empty chair at the table next to the two women and decided the best Valentines' lunch was what Chloe deserved.

Before the girls had noticed him, Pierce swiped the empty chair from the other table, sat it down at theirs and sat down next to the couple, "I think I can help you with that. Here's to the best Valentines' lunch we can possibly have together. Have we ordered lunch yet?"

You've got to be kidding me!

If Pierce doesn't get away from our date, my plans for Chloe and I this afternoon are up in smoke!

Chapter Text

Chapter Forty-Nine

Friday 14th February – 12:30pm

"Pierce, what the hell are you doing here" Chloe raised her voice at her ex-boyfriend.

"It's a good thing I caught you on my lunch break, I need to catch you up on the meetings from this morning," Pierce claimed to Chloe, ignoring Elly.

"Pierce, in case you haven't noticed, I'm not working today so I don't have to talk to you about work. And in case you are completely blind...I'm on a date with Elly so bugger off!" Chloe told him.

Elly loosened her grip on Chloe's hand but felt somewhat relieved when Chloe took hold of her hand a little tighter.

"I guess we can leave the work talk until Monday morning or if you don't have plans you can come by my office tonight," Pierce suggested.

"I have plans with my girlfriend, Elly, and her son tonight to hang out with them so not sorry to have to turn you down, Pierce," Chloe said with exasperation.

Pierce finally glanced at Elly, "Oh...right...Elly...hi. Hanging out with a friend and your son on Valentines' doesn't seem like much of a plan to me."

Elly rolled her eyes at Pierce's dismissal of her, "Good thing you won't be there to ruin it for my girlfriend and me, unlike now."

"Pierce, get the hell out of here!" Chloe barked at the businessman.

Before Pierce could respond, Shane came back to the table with the couple's glasses of champagnes, "What are you doing here, mate? I think the girls would prefer to dine alone."

Pierce shrugged, "Catching Chloe up on work she needs to know about not that it's your business...mate."

Elly breathed deeply, wondering if she should cave and tell Shane to escort Pierce away from them but didn't want Chloe's ex to know he was getting under her skin so quickly.

As Shane placed the glasses on the table and walked away, Pierce rolled his eyes at Shane making a point of not asking if he wanted to order anything. Then without asking, Pierce turned back to the table, took Elly's champagne glass and took a sip of the bubbly drink, then reacted in horror, "What is this swill? That's revolting! I thought I got you to stop ordering this stuff, Chloe. Please tell me, you are not drinking this cheap swill, Chloe."

Elly stared down at the table in embarrassment as Pierce plonked her glass back in front of her.

When Chloe didn't know how to answer Pierce without causing Elly more disappointment for not being able to afford the glass of champagne she'd regrettably gotten accustomed to in Pierce's presence, Pierce called out to Shane at the bar, "Shane, can you trash Chloe's glass of champagne down the drain and order us a bottle of the Bollinger La Grande Annee? Put it on my tab."

"Do not order that bottle!" Chloe yelled out.

Shane shook his head at Pierce, "I'm not doing anything Chloe doesn't want."

"Whatever," Pierce grumbled at their neighbour, "So, what was the topic of conversation before I got here for our lunch?"

"You leaving us alone," Elly snapped at him.

"What an odd topic of discussion," Pierce snapped back.

Chloe held Elly's hand, entangling their fingers, before telling Pierce brashly, "Pierce, I am on a date with my girlfriend. Can you kindly piss off?"

Pierce ignored Chloe's request then went to pick up a menu so he could order his own meal but then noticed the gift sitting next to Chloe with Chloe's name scrawled on the card attached to it.

Realizing Pierce wasn't leaving them alone, Elly spoke up, "Chlo, can we just go somewhere else for lunch? Or go back to my place instead of sitting here?"

Chloe stroked her thumb against Elly's hand, "I am not going to let this ruin our day together, sweetie, nothing will."

At Chloe's declaration, Pierce picked up the gift, "Is this your little Valentines' day present from Elly? How sweet! What is it?"

"What are you looking at me for, you bonehead? It's wrapped in wrapping paper, I haven't opened it yet," Chloe barked at him then instantly regretted it, "Pierce, don't you damn well dare!"

"What? I want to know how much Elly 'loves' you," Pierce replied in a teasing tone as he picked at the sticky tape that held the gift wrapped.

"Pierce, do not open my present or I swear I will--" Chloe started threatening then groaned when Pierce tore at the wrapping paper.

"I want to leave, now," Elly told Chloe in embarrassment at Pierce's actions.

"Oops," Pierce snarked as he pulled the wrapping paper from the jewelry box that was inside, "Good thing it's too big to be a ring as that would be inappropriate for Chloe to turn down a proposal here."

"Pierce, give that gift to me right now," Chloe demanded, staring at Elly who was staring into her lap.

Pierce ignored Chloe once more, snapping the jewelry box open and looking at the necklace inside without showing it to Chloe, "Elly, what is this tacky piece of crap you call jewelry? Did you get this from the $2 store? This is humiliating that you call this a Valentines’ Day gift. Sure, if you’re a tween and this is your first crush."

Elly hung her head even more, yet felt somewhat glad that Pierce hadn't gone after the card she'd written to her girlfriend and the thoughts she didn't want shared with Pierce, then prayed he wouldn't do so.

"Pierce, stop acting like a tween yourself," Chloe stated loudly.

Pierce yanked the necklace from the jewelry box, then tossed the piece to Elly who caught it in her free hand, "Chloe does not deserve tacky jewelry. If you love her, you'd know that. You'd sacrifice a few babies' outfits to be able to afford the kind of jewelry Chloe should wear."

Chloe watched with regret as Elly shoved the necklace in her pocket, hoping it wasn't tears she thought she saw welling up in Elly's eyes.

With Chloe and Elly distracted, Pierce picked up the envelope Chloe had for Elly's gift.

Chloe reluctantly let go of Elly's hand as she tried to snatch it from his grasp, "Pierce, would you stop infuriating us? This! What you're doing, it's not going to win me back if that's what you think. It's childish and harassment. Piss off before Elly and I will go someplace else."

Pierce once more ignored Chloe, instead opening the envelope and pulling out two laminated cards, leaving the actual Valentines’ Day card to Elly inside, "Oh this is cute. I love the template you've used, Chloe! Look Elly, Chloe hasn't brought you a Valentines' Day present, all she's done is print out these cards as an 'I owe you a weekend trip to Sydney.'"

Elly decided to go against Pierce's expectation, glancing up at Chloe with a smile on her face, "A trip to Sydney? I love it."

"So, how come you didn't actually buy the flights to Sydney? Didn't want to commit to 'dating' Elly that long? Oh, please don't tell me you're broke as well, Chloe," Pierce asked smarmily.

Chloe took hold of Elly's hand once more, "I'll be dating Elly the rest of my life, Pierce. I just wanted to make sure I checked with Elly on when would be the best weekend for us to take Elliot to meet Elly's mum for the first time."

"Wait, you...want us to...go to Sydney to...visit my mum?" Elly faltered at hearing Chloe's reasoning for the getaway, having originally thought it would be a romantic trip for the couple.

"Yeah, of course, your mum hasn't met Elliot yet," Chloe explained, "I thought we could call her together this weekend and book in a date for us all to go so I can book our flights. I would’ve gotten her number from Bea and called her myself but I thought that might be overstepping it with your mum."

That would’ve been so awkward if you had, Chlo.

Pierce stared between the two then focused on Elly who was chewing on her lip, "What? Have you not told your mum about you two?"

Chloe pushed back her shoulders, "Elly, have you not told her we're together?"

Elly glanced away from Chloe, "I don't speak to my mum that often...it's just a hard thing to bring up with her. I'm going to tell her...I just haven't...yet."

"Elly's ashamed to be with you," Pierce quipped quickly.

"Shut up, you," Chloe snapped at him, before softening, "Elly, why haven't you told her? You spoke to your mum last week…when you conveniently took the phone call away from me…you didn’t want her to know I was around, did you?"

"I'm not ashamed of us, Chloe. Last week…it just wasn’t the right time. I can call her right now and tell her if you want," Elly offered.

“Except I’ll always wonder if you only did so because you felt like you had to now, to make it up to me for not telling your mum until now,” Chloe replied quietly.

“Chlo, it is not like that. My relationship with my mum is complicated, you know that, I just…wanted to wait until…I was sure…I’m saying this all wrong,” Elly shook her head, knowing explaining it her girlfriend wasn’t making sense.

“Sure of what, Elly? After 6 weeks officially been my girlfriend, that what I’ve done for you, for Elliot, still isn’t enough to be sure that you should come out to your mum about us?” Chloe asked sadly.

Elly shook her head, “It’s not like that, Chl--”

Pierce interrupted Elly brashly, “Is now a good time for me to give Chloe my Valentines’ Day gift to her?”

“What?” Chloe stared at Pierce incredulously.

Elly hated admitting that a distraction from discussing her inability to have come out to Liz was actually what she needed right in that moment.

Pierce dug into his suit jacket pocket, taking out his own envelope and handed it to Chloe. Unsure why, Chloe took it from him, “Why would you buy me a Valentines’ Day gift, Pierce? Do you not get that you and I are over?”

Wait, why did Chloe even take the gift off of him?

Why haven’t I just thrown this back in Pierce’s face?

“You deserve the world, Chloe, why wouldn’t I buy you a Valentines’ Day gift?” Pierce declared.

Chloe ran her fingers against the envelope.

Great, I’ve pissed off Chloe enough by not telling Liz about my relationship with Chloe and that Chloe is helping me raise my son, that now she’s gonna open Pierce’s present. It’s gonna be better than the tacky necklace and this half-assed lunch I’ve managed to do for her. Chloe’s gonna fall in love with whatever Pierce has brought her, she’s gonna realize just how much I can’t give her and she’s gonna leave me for him…

Not sure why, Chloe pursed her lips as she stared at her girlfriend, before inexplicitly going ahead and opening Pierce’s present. Chloe removed two tickets from the envelope, making sure to ignore the card inside, “Wow…Pierce are you…this is far too generous.”

Pierce smiled at Chloe, “It’s not generous at all. I told you that you deserve the world and I got it for you.”

Chloe held out the tickets, enough so that Elly immediately spotted the names on the tickets were Chloe Brennan and Pierce Grayson, “Two 1st Class tickets for an around the world holiday trip?”

Terrific…Pierce buys Chloe the world and I buy Chloe…a tacky necklace and a meal she didn’t order…

“The booking is in your name. All you have to do is call the airline and we can start mapping out the best places in the world to visit. Accommodation and expenses will all be covered too. I want you to have the best holiday of your life,” Pierce declared.

“I can’t wait to go on this holiday of my lifetime,” Chloe announced.

Elly looked at the floor, feeling despondent that Chloe would even consider accepting the gift, wondering if Chloe would break up with her before or after she left for the airport. While Pierce couldn’t look happier as he grinned at Chloe.

“Hey, Elly,” Chloe turned back to her girlfriend, and repeated her name a couple more times until Elly finally looked back up at her, “How much do you think the airline booking office would charge to change the name on this ticket from Pierce Grayson to Elly Conway?”

“Wait, what?” Pierce sputtered.

Chloe reached back out for Elly’s hand, “I mean the booking’s in my name so I should be able to make one little change to it shouldn’t I? What do you say, baby? You, me, around the world trip 1st Class on Pierce’s tab? Kids under 2 fly free, we can take the peanut with us. Now, I might not be able to afford the accommodation and holiday expenses Pierce was talking about but there are plenty of Lassiters Hotels in the world and I should be able to get us a good rate. Whatever the fee is for changing the name on this ticket will be worth it. You want to come with me, Elly? We’ll make it the most romantic holiday with an infant you can possibly imagine.”

Elly finally smiled back at Chloe, the reassurance from her girlfriend that she would never want to go with Pierce left Elly feeling relief, “As long as you include a trip to Paris on the itinerary because I want to make love to my love in the city of love then I will be there on this holiday of a lifetime with you every moment.”

Pierce watched as Chloe blushed at Elly’s comment then shook his head, “You can’t just go and…that’s not why I got you this gift.”

“Hey, you booked it in my name, surely that means if I want to take my girlfriend with me, the airline will let me pay for that change,” Chloe teased.

Pierce snatched the tickets out of Chloe’s hands and ripped them in half, “You just missed out on the best experience of your life.”

Chloe squeezed Elly’s hand to reassure her again, “Not even close, Pierce, but I should thank you for offering me that trip…because now I know I need to start saving to take Elly to Paris. Being with my soulmate in the city of love…I can’t wait to experience that.”

“Me either,” Elly admitted, “And maybe we could…go to Switzerland first, let Elliot spend a few days staying with his grandmother Claudia while the pair of us head off to Paris where we can have the time of our lives.”

“I love the way you think, Elly. Family trip interspersed by a romantic trip for two in the middle of it, count on it,” Chloe promised.

“Oh, as if the pair of you would still be together by the time you can save up for a trip like that, Chloe. This lunch has done nothing but prove once and for all that I can give you the life you truly want. Elly isn’t good enough for you!” Pierce retaliated.

Elly went back into her shell at Pierce’s words, loosening her grip on Chloe’s hand, wondering if she should ask Chloe to leave again.

Before Elly could voice her thoughts, she was interrupted.

“Dad! What the hell is wrong with you?” Hendrix suddenly stood up from the couch behind the screen which Chloe and Elly’s table was sitting next to.

“Hendrix…what…what are you doing here?” Pierce stared up at his teenage son, completely thrown by him being there.

Elly and Chloe were surprised too to see the teen, with Elly whispering to Chloe, “Did you know he was there?” to which Chloe shook her head.

“I’ve been listening to you act like a child for the past ten minutes, Dad!” Hendrix told his father.

“C’mon, Hendrix, it’s not like that,” Pierce tried to claim.

“Then explain it to me cause the way I see it you interrupted Chloe and Elly’s Valentines’ Day lunch to do nothing but act like an absolute fool!” Hendrix stood up for the couple, “And don’t try to get out of this that all you were doing was ‘proving’ Chloe should be with you. I heard the whole date from when the girls sat down to you acting like a jackass thinking you can buy Chloe away from Elly! You have ruined their Valentines’ Day lunch and you ruined my own for good measure.”

“Hey, Harlow,” Chloe greeted as Harlow stepped behind Hendrix from the couch.

“What are you and Harlow doing here on Valentines’ Day?” Pierce asked his son, hoping to skip past his embarrassment at being caught trying to break up Chloe and Elly by his son.

Chloe narrowed her eyes at Pierce, “Hendrix and Harlow have been dating since New Years’ Eve…what, did you not know?”

“Course he didn’t, doesn’t show any attention to me,” Hendrix pointed out.

“Dude, even I knew that,” Elly snapped at Pierce.

Shane suddenly returned to the table holding the girls’ lunches, “Everything okay here?”

“No, my Dad’s a jackass who won’t take no for an answer. Leave these girls’ alone, Dad. Even I can see they are meant to be together. The way they were with each other before you showed up, not that I was listening in on purpose ladies, but all of that just screamed to me how well they work as a couple. Elly had an issue, instead of hiding it, she opened up to Chloe about it, Chloe comprised on their order. Isn’t that the basis of every good relationship? Communication and compromise?” Hendrix explained.

Elly smiled up at the teen for the way he was standing up for the couple to his Dad.

Pierce sniggered as he looked at the plates of food Shane was holding, “Comprised, alright. Where’s your surf and turf, Chloe? What could Elly not afford your favourite meal as well as your favourite champagne? On top of the tacky gift she brought you. Is that what you want…a lifetime of compromise because Elly’s not good enough for you?”                    

Elly stared down at the floor, humiliated to feel like Pierce had proven to herself that she’d never be able to give Chloe the life she could have and would be compromising every day with her. Without expecting it, Elly burst into tears, “I’m not going to take this anymore.”

"Elly, don't," Chloe tried to say as Elly got up, grabbed her phone and handbag and took off.

"You're not good enough for anyone," Chloe spat out at Pierce as she grabbed her own handbag, before making sure she grabbed the Valentines' Day cards her and Elly hadn't exchanged yet, and the gift for Elly, before running after her girlfriend.

"What'd I do?" Pierce shrugged.

Hendrix shook his head in embarrassment at his father, "Grow up, Dad. You're never going to get between those two. There's nothing you can do to break them."

"We'll see," Pierce muttered under his breath.

Shane stood there still holding the lunches Chloe and Elly had ordered, "Okay so I'm just going to put these on your tab, Pierce, since it's your fault the girls took off. Would you like me to throw them out or do you want to eat one of them?"

Pierce watched as Hendrix and Harlow ignored him as they left the pub too then looked at the meals, "Which one did Chloe order?"

"The calamari," Shane lied then when Pierce nodded, placed it down on the table for him to eat on his own.

Chapter Text

And She, Waits For You

Chapter Fifty

Friday 14th February – 1:00pm

"Elly, would you slow down for a minute so we can talk about this?" Chloe asked her girlfriend as they walked into Ramsay Street, "I know you asked to leave as soon as Pierce turned up and I didn't listen. I should've stopped him from saying what he did or walked away with you when you asked me too."

Elly had wiped the tears from her eyes, "I don't want to talk about the fact I'm not good enough for you. I just want to go to your place, pick up my son, go home, curl up into bed and pretend the last hour didn't happen."

"You can't seriously think you're not good enough for me, Elly, that is not what I think about you," Chloe stated.

Elly finally turned to Chloe, stopping the blonde in her tracks, "No, but the thought that you are compromising by being with me every single day...I'll be thinking about that."

"I am not compromising by being with you. I love you. If you think I'm compromising, then I'd still be doing so with Pierce because I'd be compromising material things I don't need for the love of my life. C'mon, Elly, do not let Pierce ruin us," Chloe begged.

"I'm not, I'm not ending this with you, not over this," Elly decided.

"Thank you," Chloe felt assurance.

"But Pierce has ruined today for us. Maybe Pierce was right...there's a reason why I haven't told my mum about us...maybe I am ashamed of us, I just didn't know it 'til he pointed it out," Elly said quietly.

"You don't mean that," Chloe insisted, "You're not ashamed of us, Elly. You reconnected with your mum last year when you stayed with her twice during your pregnancy. It was the first time in your life you didn't have a go at her and her with you. You're afraid of your relationship with Liz going back to what it was if she isn't okay with us being together or that I'm helping you to raise Elliot."

Elly looked away from Chloe, "How do you know me so well?"

"Because I love you," Chloe answered, "Is there anything you want to talk about from what happened at lunch?"

"Why'd you open Pierce's Valentines' Day gift to you?" Elly asked.

"Cause I knew I was gonna throw whatever it was back in his face," Chloe told her.

"You didn't need to open it to do that, Chlo," Elly pointed out.

Chloe nodded, "Okay, you're right, I didn't need to...but you saw the look on his face when you told me you wanted to make love to me in the city of love. That was worth it."

"No, Chlo, I was looking at you the whole time...and you were looking at Pierce," Elly realized hurt, "Whatever, our first Valentines' Day has been ruined. I just want to go get my son and go home."

Chloe threw her hands up as she followed Elly inside her house.

Aaron and David looked up with surprise as the girls walked into the living room, with Aaron immediately noticing Elly's blotchy eyes, "Ah...hey...you two are...well...really, really, really...early."

Chloe looked at her watch, "We're not that early...I mean a little but..."

"I just want to pick up my son and go home," Elly announced.

"We just put him down for a nap in his cot we have here for him after we fed him a bottle you left us," Aaron explained.

"Which room?" Elly asked, not in the mood to talk.

"The cot's in Chloe's room...seemed appropriate," Aaron answered.

As Elly took off down the hallway, Chloe was puzzled, "Why'd Elly bring a bottle for him, we were only going to be gone an hour and she fed him before we left here?"

David indicated to Aaron he was going to go help Elly and left the room. Aaron looked up at his sister from the couch, "You're here to pick the lil guy up way early, Chlo. What happened at lunch?"

"We didn't even get to eating lunch, Pierce showed up, took a seat at our table and ruined the whole date by getting at Elly that she's not good enough for me and that I'm compromising by being with her. I think Elly just needs some space. I'll let her go back to hers with the peanut, I'll chill out here for lunch then go apologize to her," Chloe suggested, "I'm not interrupting any plans you and David had for Valentines' Day, am I?"

"Just our plan to babysit Elliot for the rest of the afternoon," Aaron told her, "Like I said...you two are back here...really, really, really early."

Chloe stared at Aaron blankly, "I only asked you to babysit for an hour or two."

Aaron stood up from the couch, walked around to lean on the side of it in front of Chloe, "Pull your head in, Chlo."

"What'd I do?" Chloe frowned.

"I may not be the biggest supporter of your relationship with Elly but are you trying to ruin what you have with Elly? Pierce may have ruined your lunch but whatever reason that Elly has been crying whether that was some hurtful thing Pierce said or you didn't stick up for her enough...you ruined the rest of Elly's plans for Valentines' Day," Aaron tried to explain.

"What plans?" Chloe was still clueless.

Aaron ran his hand through his hair, "The ones where we were looking after Elliot all afternoon and you and Elly would have the house to yourselves for a few hours because the Kennedy clan are all working."

"To catch up on sleep?" Chloe puzzled.

"You really are dense sometimes, sis," Aaron admitted, "Elly didn't want to catch up on sleep, she wanted to sleep with you."

"I didn't think she was ready. We've been waiting until she is ready," Chloe was surprised.

"Elly's not ready for you to sleep with her yet but she had planned to with you as she didn't want to wait any longer," Aaron informed his sibling.

"How do you even know all this?" Chloe queried.

"Because your nervous as hell girlfriend asked if we could babysit until this evening and then felt humiliated that I knew what the pair of you would be doing after your lunch so I went and told her my own sexy plans with David to calm her down. Elly put herself out there and whatever happened at lunch has probably ruined Elly's confidence," Aaron explained.

"Elly doesn't need confidence to be with me like that," Chloe insisted.

"Elly needs confidence because even I can see that she's afraid that if she takes things to the next level with you and it doesn't go...well...you won't want to be with her. She doesn't need to have told me that," Aaron pointed out.

"How do I fix this?" Chloe asked.

"Go convince Elly to leave the peanut here with us, you might not be able to salvage the afternoon Elly had planned with the sexy times but you can at least go make out with your girlfriend uninterrupted by Elliot for a few hours," Aaron encouraged.

"Right, I can do that," Chloe smiled, then glanced up as David walked back into the room, "Elly still here?"

David shook his head, "No, she booked it straight away as soon as she got Elliot out of his cot and I gave her the bag with all the baby supplies she'd brought with him."

When Chloe looked back at Aaron, he sighed, "You shouldn't need me to say it, go after her. Bring the peanut back here if you can convince Elly to...spend the afternoon alone with you."

"Right, thanks, Azza," Chloe yelled out as she turned around to head to Elly's.

"Oh, and Chlo," Aaron called his sister back, when she turned back to him, he added, "Whilst I'm at it throwing out advice on your life...pull your bloody head in with your work life."

"What does that mean?" Chloe tried not to take offence.

"It means...stop working all hours of the night and being Pierce's lap dog as well as Terese's when you are only paid to be hers. In case you haven't noticed, you have a girlfriend and her son that you go home to every night...how about you spend more time with them instead of at the office trying to prove to no one that you can juggle everything...that might also help you and Elly in the love life department," Aaron advised.

"Got it," Chloe accepted as she took off after Elly.

"Never thought I'd hear you give advice to Chloe on fixing things with Elly," David commented to his husband.

Aaron shrugged, "It's still weird to me they're together. I don't know if it'll never not be weird. If it works out, it works out, if it doesn't, it doesn't. Long as Elly doesn't hurt Chloe like she did Mark, I'm not against them, if she does, I'll be here picking up the pieces for Chloe."

Chloe found Elly curled up in her bed at her place, Elliot already in his cot, "Hey, you feeling okay?"

"Terrific," Elly mumbled.

"Can I take the peanut back to my place for Aaron and David to look after him for us?" Chloe asked.

"Why?" Elly asked, then realized, "Great, Aaron told you. No point, Chlo, I am not in the mood to sleep with you right now so you can get that idea out of your head."

Chloe put her handbag and the gifts down on the bedside table, crawling under the covers of the bed, wrapping her arms around her girlfriend, "Can I just simply sleep here with you in my arms? I'm not here to throw your son back to Aaron and David so I can get you back in the mood for us to...I get I screwed the mood for that with what happened at lunch...but I would very much like to spend the afternoon making out with you if you'll have me."

"Maybe later," Elly decided, "Don't bother about taking Elliot back to yours, he can stay here with us."

"I'm sorry for what happened at lunch and for ruining the plans you had for us," Chloe said as she curled herself against Elly's back.

Elly rolled over so she was facing the blonde, wrapping her arm around Chloe's lower back, "Sorry, not used to be spooned by you."

Chloe leant forwards and pecked Elly on the lips, "My girl prefers to do the spooning."

"I do," Elly whispered, "It wasn't your fault. Pierce just...got at me with all my insecurities. I couldn't afford the lunch you wanted...let alone 1st class business tickets around the world. You are compromising by being with me."

"I'm really not," Chloe insisted, "The only compromise I am doing is choosing true love over stuff that is not at all important to me. Can you please be reassured by that and don't ever question it again?"

"Okay," Elly nodded, "I'm sorry I can't offer you the life Pierce can."

"I'm not sorry at all," Chloe insisted, "The life you can offer me is everything I could ever want. Believe that. Y'know...I wish you had of told me you were ready to take the next step with me. I feel like a clueless idiot for not reading the signs. I thought we were waiting until you were ready."

Elly cupped Chloe's face, "I know...we were. I wasn't sure how to say the words to explain to you I want you. We should wait. A few more weeks...is that okay?"

"Whenever you’re ready...I'll be ready," Chloe promised.

"I want this time to be special between us...hence the Valentines' Day...trying to go for the romance with you," Elly blushed.

Chloe kissed Elly softly, "We can still put a lil bit more romance into the rest of our Valentines' Day because I would really like it if you gave me the necklace you bought me."

Elly scrunched up her face, "No, it's tacky."

"It is not tacky," Chloe insisted.

"You haven't even seen it yet. It's tacky," Elly buried her face in Chloe's neck.

"Just because Pierce said it's tacky does not make it so, Elly," Chloe assured.

"I'll go to the shops and buy you a new one in the morning that isn't tacky," Elly decided.

Chloe ran her hand through Elly's hair, gently pulling her face back to stare into her eyes, "You are not buying me a new one. I don't need a new necklace when I already want the one you chose for me."

"It's still tacky," Elly said sadly.

Chloe smiled wildly, "Okay then...it's tacky. Can I please have my tacky necklace so I can put on my tacky necklace, tell everyone all about my tacky necklace that my beautiful girlfriend gave me and never take my tacky necklace off?"

Elly finally giggled at Chloe, "Okay fine, you win," Elly dug the necklace from her pocket and held it up in her hand above Chloe's head, "Here's your tacky necklace you'll never take off."

Chloe reached up for it, holding the necklace in her hand, "I love it! It's very me, it's not even close to being tacky. I'm still never going to take it off."

Elly kissed Chloe gently, "I'd better put it on you then."

Chloe tilted her head forwards into Elly's chest to allow Elly to clip the necklace on, "Perfect."

Chloe kissed Elly again, quickly deepening the kiss before breaking apart, "I know we're not going to take the next step this afternoon but how do you feel about a nice romantic make out session?"

"Like that would dramatically improve my Valentines' Day, my love," Elly decided, then as Chloe leant in to kiss her again, Elly placed her finger over Chloe's mouth, "We should order some lunch to be delivered since I ran out of the Waterhole before we could have our meals...crap I should probably go back tomorrow to pay the bill."

"I wouldn't worry about it, bet Shane got Pierce to pay since he stuffed us around. But yes, to ordering lunch to be delivered," Chloe agreed.

"Hey, we should probably thank Hendrix for everything he said about us to Pierce...that was...unexpected of him to be there and throw his support behind us," Elly remembered.

"We're having lunch on Sunday at Harold's, you and the peanut should join us," Chloe offered.

"I love that you hang out with him and care about him...more than Pierce appears to. If Hendrix doesn't mind us crashing your catch ups, we'll be there," Elly decided, "Now, what do you want for lunch?"

A few minutes later, Elly told Chloe, "All ordered...lunch will be here in half an hour."

"Oh, whatever should we do to keep us busy until our lunch arrives?" Chloe teased then answered her own question, "I can think of one thing."

"So, can I," Elly winked at Chloe but surprised the blonde instead of pulling her into another kiss, started typing on her phone again, "You owe me a weekend away to Sydney and for that to happen...I need to make a phone call."

Chloe leaned up to rest her head on Elly's shoulder, "I'm proud of you."

Elly kissed the top of Chloe's head as the call was answered, "Hey, mum."

Chapter Text

And She, Waits For You

Chapter Fifty-One

Tuesday 10th March – 8:00pm

Elly was sitting in her bed, staring at her phone. She had her headphones in so the sound from her phone was for her ears only and even though it was ridiculous, she definitely didn’t want her infant son in his cot to overhear.

Elly tilted her head to the side as she whispered to herself, “The thirst this girl has…she’s so hungry…huh…girls really do that to each other? Will Chloe expect me to…? I mean the thirst and hunger she has…that I’ll be…that part is me.”

I can’t believe I’m watching this stuff…this is so not me…wow yeah okay that move could be me…

Elly swallowed hard as she continued tilting her head, then slipped her hand inside her dressing gown, massaging her breast, trying not to think about touching herself further with her son in the room.

This is perfectly normal, nothing to be ashamed of. You’re just…being a teacher and educating yourself…on the way women…pleasure one another. You’ve slept with Chloe once before but you barely had a clue what you were doing and Chloe guided you through every move. Chloe is the love of your life…you need to be able to show her that you are more than capable of knowing what it takes to pleasure her…so education and research.

Elly pursed her lips at the two women on her phone screen, “I could do that.”

“You could do what, sweetie?” Chloe asked as she walked into Elly’s bedroom.

Elly’s eyes flicked to Chloe, surprised to see her girlfriend, thinking she wasn’t coming over ‘til later. Elly immediately removed her hand from her breast, clicked at the webpage on her phone to shut it down, pulled her headphones out of her ears, embarrassed at nearly been caught, unsure how Chloe would react to her newfound method of education.

“Uh nothing,” Elly mumbled as she checked the phone again to ensure she had clicked the ‘back’ button enough times that her website page didn’t show what she’d been looking at, “So…ahh…you’re here early. I wasn’t expecting you for another hour.”

Chloe closed the door behind her, wondering if Elly was hiding something from her, as she walked over to the cot to check on Elliot, “I got out of work at a decent enough hour. Just had dinner at home with the boys.”

“I like that you’ve cut back on your hours,” Elly commented.

“Because I’ve stuck up for myself and am no longer taking Pierce’s crap?” Chloe asked.

“Well, that too but more so because my baby comes home to me at a decent hour and I get to make out with her for an hour or so before we get into our nightly routine of being up most of the night with my son,” Elly explained.

These make out sessions are getting heavier every night…I’m finally ready for Chloe and I to –

As Chloe held her hand into the cot, smiling as Elliot wrapped his hand around her thumb and seemed to be happy to have her comforting him, she turned back to Elly, “So, the boys had a bit of an idea, Elly. I know how much you love this little guy and are addicted to him but how would you feel…if Aaron and David were to…babysit the peanut for a night so we could…”

Finally make love to one another with an entire night to ourselves?

“Spend an entire night catching up on some much-needed sleep,” Chloe suggested.

For craps sake Chloe, I don’t want sleep…okay yes, technically I do very much need a night of sleep but after several hours of passion with you…just tell Chloe that.

“That sounds perfect,” Elly decided.

You forgot to add the passion you want with Chloe first.

Chloe turned back to the infant, giggling at him, trying to get him to smile at her, “I know what a huge deal it will be…first night away from this lil guy. Aaron and David have the cot they got you when they did that stupid cot wars with Finn and Shaun in my room at theirs. They just want an opportunity to prove to themselves they are ready to be parents and thought this could help them as well as us.”

“How soon did they want to take Elliot for the night?” Elly asked.

Please say soon so I can work up the courage to tell Chloe I’m ready to be with her.

Chloe shrugged, “Whenever we want if you’re sure you’re ready to spend a night apart from the lil guy.”

“How about tomorrow night?” Elly shot out immediately.

Chloe raised her eyebrow at Elly’s keenness, “You’re keen!”

Elly blushed as she thought the less time, she had to lose her nerve to tell Chloe she wanted them to be together the better, “Isn’t a weeknight better for us? Weekends we’re usually curled up in bed catching up on our sleep anyway during the mornings so a weeknight of…sleep could do wonders for us.”

And also, it hasn’t escaped my mind that tomorrow is the one-year anniversary since Chloe and I made love to one another so that’s…symmetry, right? Okay so also that means Friday is the anniversary of my disaster of a wedding to Mark and where I yelled at Chloe that we would never ever be together…look at us now.

Chloe nodded, “I think you make a very good point. I’ll check with the boys in the morning. Do you have enough expressed milk in the fridge for them…well not for the boys obviously but for them to feed the peanut overnight? Oh hey, maybe we should do dinner with them like a double date tomorrow night at mine before we leave them to the joys of staying up all night long.”

“Yeah, I always have a couple bottles in the fridge, just in case. Dinner with the boys sounds good. We should bring the food over to them though since it’s a thank you for minding Elliot for the night. I’ll go to the shops tomorrow to get something and cook it up for all of us,” Elly offered.

Okay so…tomorrow night will be the night…if you can work up the courage to tell Chloe. I want it to be special so…tomorrow I’ll go to the hotel and book us a room cause I don’t want to let my nerves of having my family in the house know Chloe and I are infant free for the night and will be taking advantage of it in my bed. Hotel room…and if anyone asks where we were…we couldn’t be apart from the peanut after all and slept at Chloe’s.

“Do you have a busy day at the hotel tomorrow? Meetings and such? Just want to make sure you won’t be kept at the office late tomorrow evening if we’re doing dinner with the boys,” Elly enquired.

Just give me a time you won’t be at the hotel front desk so I can pop in to book that room. I could be a millennial afraid of going to the hotel to book it and call them instead but I think I need that little confidence booster of booking the room with the hotel.

“A few, yeah, oh I do have a meeting with Toadie at the foundation about another charity event Lassiters will be sponsoring for him at 11.30am. Do you want to meet me at the hotel after 12pm and we could do lunch together?” Chloe suggested.

It’s like you’re telling me exactly what I need to hear and asking me to come to the hotel too.

“Sounds perfect,” Elly smiled, then frowned, “Will Pierce be there?”

Chloe rolled her eyes, “Course he will be, he won’t let Terese and I go to a single meeting without him. Hey, did Liz ever get back to you on when we can book that trip to Sydney?”

Elly shook her head, “No, she’s decided her weekends are all packed with her social life activities. You’d think she’d give up one of them to meet her grandson.”

“Maybe I should just book the flights for you and Elliot, she might suddenly cancel her plans if I don’t join you,” Chloe said quietly.

“Chloe, Liz is fine about us being a couple…okay I mean yeah she's still...a little bit weirded out I've chosen to spend my life with you as she doesn't get how in love with you I am. Seeing us as a couple should be the thing to change that. I'll check with her again on when we can visit her,” Elly decided, "Now, is my baby coming to bed with me or is she going to stand there all night being all cute with my other baby?"

Chloe winked at Elly before gently lifting her hand from Elliot's grasp and walked over to her suitcase that was lying on the floor of the bedroom.

Should I ask Chloe to move in with us? Or clear room in my closet for her to actually have all her clothes here? I mean she does live here as she hasn't spent a night apart from us since Christmas...but she also doesn't live here because...you don't want to scare her into things moving too fast because she might think I'll start calling her Elliot's mum... Besides having Chloe have her suitcase with her clothes opposite the bed has its benefits...

Chloe smirked as she pulled out a clean dressing gown and pair of underwear, "You going to watch me?"

"Every inch of you," Elly confessed without hesitation as she licked her lips and sat there in the bed and watched her girlfriend face away from her as she stripped herself of her clothes, dragged the underwear up her legs, threw her work clothes into the laundry basket to be washed, and wrapped her dressing gown around her body.

Turning back to Elly, Chloe was flushed by the look on Elly's face, "I love when you stare at me when I do that."

Elly wiggled her eyebrow as she turned her bedside table light off and Chloe quickly shifted to the bed and slipped under the covers. Elly immediately pulled Chloe into a deep kiss and silently slipped her left hand inside Chloe's dressing gown to cup her breast and stroke her nipple.

Chloe moaned at the contact, breathlessly mumbling, "You're in a mood. You normally wait like ten minutes into our make out sessions to do the boob grab. I like it."

Elly allowed Chloe to settle in next to her as she continued pawing at Chloe's breast, "I am in a mood...for you. So...ah...Chlo...I have confidence back in my body now and I want us to...I'm ready to with you...I mean not tonight because infant in his cot a meter away from us but I thought we could..."

Tomorrow night will be our night?

Chloe smiled into another kiss with Elly, "This weekend...you and me...we can ask the boys to mind the peanut again for us and we can spend a night together so we can finally be together."

But what about tomorrow night? Does Chloe need to catch up on her sleep that much that she's ignoring a perfect opportunity? Why don't I surprise her anyway with the hotel room? If she doesn't want to then and still wants to wait until the weekend, we can do that...

"We should make it Saturday night...do you like...want me to stay at mine on Friday...?" Chloe hesitated to ask.

"Saturday, yes. Why would you...oh right...anniversary of my disaster of a wedding on Friday," Elly wondered why Chloe was bringing it up, "Not at all, you need to be here. Besides it's the best reminder of how far I've come since that day."

"Okay, just wanted to check," Chloe whispered, then gasped as Elly started kissing her neck and slowly trailed kisses down her body until she reached her right breast and took the nipple in her teeth, running her tongue over it, "Elly, you are in a mood and if we don't slow this down we won't be waiting until Saturday night."

Which is why my plan is to surprise you for tomorrow night. We can still have a peaceful nights' rest after a quick love making session.

Elly flicked her tongue against Chloe's nipple a few more times before reluctantly letting go and lifting herself back up Chloe's body to kiss her neckline and place her hand back where her tongue had been, "I can tell you anything, right?"

"Yeah, of course," Chloe answered, trying not to be worried.

Elly kissed Chloe's lips a few more times before blushing deeply, "I'm in this mood to want every inch of you even though I know we can't tonight...because I was kinda...on my phone before...looking at a website that I...ah..."

Chloe giggled at Elly's nervousness, "Elly Conway, are you trying to tell me you were watching a pornographic website with your infant son in the room?"

Elly blushed even deeper, "My timing could've been better but I had headphones in so he wouldn't hear a thing. He doesn't need to know his mum was looking at something like that."

"Relax, Elly, I'm just teasing, it's perfectly normal to look at that stuff. Just because you’re a mum doesn't mean you can't," Chloe reassured, "So was the video you were watching when I walked in...was it...straight porn cause like I get it, we've never discussed your identity and you are straight except for me."

"Except for you," Elly repeated as she kissed Chloe deeply again, "It was two women. I was watching it for the...educational aspect of it. I want to make sure I know how to...pleasure you when I make love to you."

"Elly the student instead of Miss. Conway the teacher," Chloe winked at the brunette, "You can, baby, you did all that and more last time when we...were together. I like how much you care about me that you want to learn what you can."

"I learned a few things I want to try with you," Elly smirked.

"I'm looking forward to the weekend even more now," Chloe whispered, "You don't have to be nervous with me or think you need to learn things in the bedroom for me...we will have years and years together to practice the art of pleasuring one another."

"Something to look forward to," Elly whispered, "Now, do you mind if we cut down on the conversation here and go back to making out with each other?"

"Not at all...as long we both get boob grabs during this make out session," Chloe grinned.

"That you can count on," Elly agreed as she twisted Chloe's nipple in her hand, then sighed as Elliot burst into tears, "I swear my son has impeccable timing."

Chloe laid back on the bed, "Peanut's crying to be fed, making sure I know that his need for your boobs always outweighs mine."

Elly smiled at the blonde as she got out of bed and walked over to the cot, "Not on Saturday night."

Tomorrow night...

Chloe smiled as she watched Elly pick Elliot up out of his cot.

Wait...why are you wanting to wait until Saturday...? Tomorrow night would've been perfect...you daft idiot! Too late to change that now. Saturday night it is.

Chapter Text

And She, Waits For You

Chapter Fifty-Two

Wednesday 11th March – 11:45am

Elly pushed Elliot's pram in front of her as she walked up to Lassiters' Hotel.

Please don't let me bump into Chloe...or Ned...or Terese...or Paul...definitely not Pierce. I know too many people who work at the hotel...I should've just called to book the room tonight. No, you can do this. You have a right to go in there and book a hotel room for you and your girlfriend to spend the night making love to one another...or also possibly sleeping. The room is good for that too if Chloe doesn't take to my surprise for tonight to be the night and wants to wait until the weekend.

When Elly saw that Ned wasn't working the front desk and none of her other neighbours appeared to be around she breathed a sigh of relief.

Walking up to the guy at the desk, when she got his attention, Elly smiled, "Hi, can I book a room for tonight?"

"Sure, we have plenty available, just the one night?" he replied.

If I didn't have a baby it wouldn't be...

Elly nodded, "Yep, one night, thanks."

The guy smiled at her and the baby in the pram, "Okay, let's get you booked in. Standard room okay or did you want something better? Will you be needing a cot for the night?"

"Standard is fine, no, I have a sitter for tonight organized," Elly answered.

"Great, I just need to see some I.D. to book you in and will I be able to take your credit card to hold the booking, it'll be charged on check out," the guy explained.

Elly rifled through her handbag for her purse before pulling out her driver’s license and credit card, handing them over to him.

As the guy started typing away at his computer, he looked at the license, "Hey, are you Chloe's Elly?"

Chloe's Elly...I could get used to that...

Elly grinned, "Yeah I am."

"Chloe talks about you and your son all the time. It's nice to finally meet you. Is Chloe staying here with you tonight...? I should not have asked that...that will only get really weird if you tell me your staying here with someone else because then I'll just won't know what to do next time I see Chloe--" the guy started panicking.

"It's okay, yes, the room is for the two of us. Chloe doesn't know about it yet as I'm surprising her so can this be our little secret?" Elly explained.

"Thanks, sorry, of course it's for the both of you. You wouldn't believe the things we sometimes twig to here with people booking rooms to cheat on their partners. Moving away from that topic of conversation, let me just find the staff rate for the room and...oh...huh...hang on..." the guy stumbled.

Elly frowned at him, "I'm hanging...what's the problem? I don't want to worry about the staff discount if it'll take too long to sort. Chloe's meeting me here for lunch soon."

"No, it's not that," the guy then paused before finally looking up at Elly, "I can't book this room for you."

"Why not? You said you had plenty of rooms for the night," Elly pointed out.

"Have you stayed with us before?" the guy asked.

Well I wouldn't call what I did with Shaun to create my son here nearly 12 months ago staying with you before cause it was his room...

"Nope," Elly answered, "What's the problem?"

The guy handed back Elly's I.D., "That's strange because you’re on our blacklist and it won't let me book a room for you."

"Blacklist? Why? I've never stayed here," Elly was confused.

"I'm not sure, sorry, the management team are the only ones who can make changes to it so I can't book you in without checking with one of them why you've been blacklisted from staying here...actually it's the global list of Lassiters Hotel chain you're on so I might have to check with one of the owners," the guy said.

"I don't have time for that. Can you just book it under Chloe? I don't have her I.D. but you do know her and we can drop that off when we pick up the room key?" Elly asked.

"Great idea, I'll do that," the guy agreed then a minute later frowned again, "Chloe's on the global blacklist too."

"What the hell for? Chloe works for you, why would she be on the...list...?" Elly shook her head, "Pierce. He's the one who put our names on the blacklist so we couldn't book a room here."

"It's possible," the guy hinted at, as he handed Elly back her credit card.

"Can I book the room under my sisters name?" Elly thought.

"I'd need her I.D.," the guy pointed out.

Great...lunch with Chloe, go buy dinner for tonight, cook dinner for tonight, stop by the garage, explain to Bea you need her to come with you to the hotel to book a room because you want to have sex with your girlfriend for the first time since she became your girlfriend, pray you don't bump into Chloe when you're here to ruin the surprise...what could go wrong?

"Is Ned working today at all?" Elly suggested, hoping he could look past the issue and use her I.D. but book it under Bea's name.

The guy shook his head, "Not until tomorrow."

"Fine, I'll jump on your website to book it there, then, will that work?" Elly asked.

The guy shook his head, "Even if you do on our website or a generic hotels website, we'll encounter the same problem when you're checking in. Do you want me to get one of the owners to look into this for...actually here's Pierce now."

Terrific...at least Chloe isn't with him.

"Is there a problem here?" Pierce asked with a smug look on his face.

Elly pulled away from the desk, leading Pierce away from people milling around before confronting him, "You put Chloe and my name down on a blacklist so we can't stay here. Why?"

Pierce smirked at the brunette, "You're not having sex with Chloe in my hotel so you'd better make other arrangements or get over the fact that you are a poor little broke girl whose Aunt, Uncle and sister will hear you attempt to make Chloe happy in bed."

"Are you seriously this petty to attempt to stop me and Chloe from...?" Elly asked him with frustration.

"I am and I can, it's my hotel. If I don't want the woman I love having an unsatisfied romp with you then I have every right to not let it happen. Probably doing Chloe a favour," Pierce insisted, "You and Chloe aren't having a romp in my hotel."

"Wonder how Terese and Paul would feel if I ask them if what you are doing is normal hotel practice. You can't stop Chloe and I being together, Pierce," Elly told him.

"I can in my hotel," Pierce stated.

Elly went to have another go at him but then spotted Chloe approaching them, smiling at her instead, "Hey baby, how'd your meeting with Toadie go?"

Chloe walked up to Elly, pecking her on the lips, "It went fantastically."

Pierce reviled at the display of affection, "You know our Chloe, loves planning an event with perfection."

"I'm not 'your Chloe'," Chloe rolled her eyes at her ex, "Everything okay here?"

You’re ex-boyfriend is trying to stop us having sex so my romantic plans for us are pretty much over, I just need to accept that the best I can offer you is a night at my place and hope I don’t get too nervous about my family being in the house…why do I have to be so nervous about that? You used to have Mark over and it’s not as if my family are unaware of Chloe and I when she all but lives with us…

“Pierce just wanted to know why I stopped by the hotel; told him I’m taking my girlfriend out to lunch. You ready to go, baby?” Elly decided to go with.

Pierce gritted his teeth, “Chloe, we kinda need you to start doing up the budget for the event we just sponsored for the Foundation and projected income it should generate.”

Chloe placed her hand on Elly’s lower back, “I’m entitled to a lunch break with my girlfriend and her son, Pierce, I’ll get onto it when I get back.”

With that, Chloe led Elly and Elliot out of the hotel.

Later on, that evening, Aaron and David were in the kitchen at the Brenaka household. Aaron was washing the dishes from the meal they’d shared with Chloe and Elly whilst David was creating cocktails for the two couples to enjoy.

As Aaron stared out from the kitchen at the couple who had decided to take a quick swim in the pool before heading back to Elly’s for the night, sans their infant son, David watched his husband, “They’ve been dating for nearly three months now, are you still so worried about Chloe getting hurt by Elly?”

Aaron shrugged, “I’m sorry, I don’t know if I’ll ever get on board for this relationship after the way Elly hurt Chloe not to mention what Elly put Mark through.”

“Elly’s a different person now…she’s accepted herself and her feelings for Chloe. Look at them, they’re happy together…they’re…making out in our pool. Do you really think Elly would be so open with her feelings for Chloe that she’d be doing something like that for her feelings for Chloe to not mean everything?” David pondered.

“I don’t want to be the person who sees only the bad things Elly has done but I don’t want to be the person who will be picking up the pieces of Chloe’s life if Elly hurts her,” Aaron tried to explain.

“Do you really think that that woman out there unashamedly making out with Chloe will end up hurting Chloe because she doesn’t want to be with her?” David asked, then when Aaron remained silent, “What does Elly need to do to prove to you she loves Chloe…and that Chloe loves her?”

Aaron was interrupted from answering by the sound of Elliot on the baby monitor and went off to check on the infant he and David would be minding for the evening.

A few minutes later, with Elliot settled, Aaron and David walked out to the pool, David carrying the cocktails.

“Alright, you two, time to come up for air,” David teased as he placed the tray of cocktails on the table out by the pool.

When Chloe and Elly broke apart from their kiss, Chloe turned around to the boys but was pleasantly surprised when Elly wrapped her left arm around her waist and stood behind her in the pool as they both reached for their drinks.

“You two enjoying your little dip in the pool?” Aaron asked, making conversation.

Chloe and Elly both nodded as they sipped on their drinks before Elly answered, “This swim was the best idea, thanks, baby.”

Chloe blushed as Elly pressed her lips to her cheek.

“Although I really should’ve gone back to mine for my bathers. Thanks for letting me borrow a pair of yours, Chlo, but the top is a little bit small for me and cutting into my skin,” Elly commented.

“In that case, I’ll just have to get you out of it,” Chloe teased looking back up at Elly, smiling when Elly purred in her ear at the suggestion.

“No nakedness in our pool, thank you,” Aaron insisted, before unable to hide a sigh when Elliot started crying and he held up the baby monitor in his hands.

“Don’t look at me, Aaron, you said you wanted to see if you and David could survive the night looking after my son,” Elly pointed out.

“I just settled him a minute ago,” Aaron pouted, “My dinner was stone cold by the time I managed to finish it. How do babies need this much attention?”

“Welcome to our world,” Elly replied, happily not showing too much sympathy for Aaron.

“That’s Elliot’s hungry cry, go warm up a bottle for him, Aaron, whilst David cuddles him until it’s ready,” Chloe told them.

As Aaron and David nodded and put their drinks down, David smiled as he heard Elly gush to Chloe, “I love how much you know about Elliot that you can tell exactly what he needs by the sounds of his cries.”

Aaron turned back to the pair, “This parent thing is hard work…so I guess if the pair of you decide…you miss the lil fella and can’t be apart from him for the whole night…feel free to come back and take him home to be with you.”

Chloe giggled at her brother for almost caving at the thought of being up all night with the infant.

Elly and Chloe soon placed their drinks down on the edge of the pool, with Chloe turning back into Elly’s embrace to bring their lips back together wildly. Chloe moaned at the feeling of Elly clashing their tongues together and then did so again when she felt Elly slip her hands to her bottom, squeezing each cheek.

After another few minutes of making out, Chloe broke their lips apart but continued trailing kisses along Elly’s jawline as Elly pinched and squeezed at her bum, “About my bather top being too…small for you…we should take that off.”

“Mmm,” Elly groaned, “Not here. We should…”

Chloe finally broke her lips from Elly’s skin and brought her hands up to place them around Elly’s neck, “What the hell was I thinking when I said we should wait until Saturday night to make love to each other? I want you now, tonight, sleep can wait a few extra hours.”

Elly grinned at Chloe, “Chlo, it is our one-year anniversary since we…from the only time we made love to one another. I know that night didn’t end up how you expected…but I want to change all that and make love to you tonight. Let’s go back to my place.”

Chloe smiled straight back at her girlfriend for not thinking she was being too pushy to change their plans, “I’ve got a better idea…I want this experience with you this time to be…incredible. I want to make you scream at the top of your lungs and when you pleasure me like I know you will, I want to do the same. Rather than go back to yours where I feel like we will be a little bit too nervous to make love to one another with complete abandon when your family is in the house, we should…”

“Ask Aaron and David to shift the cot into their room for the night so we can stay here. I know they are still family but I think I’d feel a lot less awkward at Aaron overhearing us screaming with abandon then I would my Aunt and Uncle,” Elly suggested.

“Even better, let’s go to the hotel, get a room for the night, we’ll tell the Kennedy’s we stayed here the night as we couldn’t bear to be separated from the peanut all night long,” Chloe winked at her girlfriend.

“Uh that’s…a plan…” Elly faltered before coming clean, “I hope you don’t take this the wrong way like I was gonna pressure you into…being with me tonight…but I…tried to book us a room for tonight when I was at the hotel before lunch.”

Chloe kissed Elly softly, “How could I take that the wrong way? I was the daft idiot who didn’t realize tonight should be our night and thought waiting until the weekend was the way to go. You booked the hotel room already for us?”

“No, I tried to book the room for us…but I couldn’t,” Elly tried to explain, then off the look on Chloe’s face, “It’s not a money thing, I can afford to treat my girl to a night at the hotel, room service, bottle of champagne, breakfast…but we can’t book a hotel room at Lassiters…without taking Aaron or David with us to book the room in their name, then hand us over the key.”

“What? Why?” Chloe asked with confusion.

“Pierce,” Elly answered then elaborated, “Pierce has put our names on the ‘global blacklist’ of guests who have…done something to warrant them unable to ever stay at a Lassiters hotel. We need one of the owners to get our names removed from it in order to book a room under our names.”

“That’s ridiculous, we haven’t done anything even remotely possible to warrant not being able to stay at the hotel,” Chloe claimed.

“I know, baby, except that Pierce made it clear to me…he doesn’t want me having a romp with you in his hotel,” Elly replied softly.

“Pierce can’t stop us from having a sex life and most definitely not one at the hotel,” Chloe said with frustration.

“No, he can’t but at the hotel he can. It’s still early, it’s not even 8pm. Why don’t we drive into the city and stay at a hotel there? I’m sure Aaron and David won’t mind looking after Elliot a few extra hours in the morning,” Elly offered.

Chloe kissed Elly once more before breaking away from their embrace, “Bugger that, if only the owners can change that list, we’re getting dressed and going to the hotel to either see if Paul or Terese are working late like they normally do or I’m going to confront Pierce there and go off my nut at the bastard for trying to stop us being a couple.”

“I’d rather not have to have that conversation with your bosses as then they’ll know we’ll be having sex when they let us have a room,” Elly posited.

“Don’t worry, sweetie,” Chloe turned back to Elly before pulling herself out of the pool, “There is nothing to be ashamed of or worried about with Paul and Terese knowing we want to be together tonight. I’m not going to let Pierce stop us from having the best love making experience of our lives in his hotel tonight, okay my love?”

Elly reached out her hand to Chloe and allowed her girlfriend to help pull her out of the pool, “Let’s go to the hotel then.”

Chapter Text

And She, Waits For You

Chapter Fifty-Three

Wednesday 11th March – 8:00pm

Chloe stormed into Lassiter's Hotel holding Elly's hand, annoyed that her ex-boyfriend was trying to derail her love life with her girlfriend.

The guy that had served Elly earlier in the day was still at the desk, Chloe immediately asked him if Paul or Terese were in the office but he told them the pair had left the hotel not 10 minutes earlier. She then asked if Pierce was still about but he didn't know. Before Elly could say anything more, Chloe squeezed her hand and led her to the elevator where they took the lift up a few floors until they reached the hallway that led to the office that Pierce resided in. It had formerly been Ebony's office for her fragrance range when she had been in his life but upon her departing, Pierce had taken it over.

"Sweetie, can't we just drive to the city for the night? There's no need to confront Pierce over being an asshole when we can ignore him to show him, we won't let him affect us," Elly insisted.

"I'm the one that has to work with him, I won't have him telling us what we can and can't do in the hotel because he thinks he has power over me," Chloe decided.

As the couple entered the office the light was on but it simply looked like Pierce had left it on by mistake as he wasn't there, his manbag wasn't near his desk and there was an empty container in his office bin that looked like he had just had dinner in the office.

"Couldn't even go home to have dinner with Hendrix, selfish Dad he is," Chloe grumbled.

Elly shrugged, "Everyone who can help us has gone home for the night. C'mon, baby, let's just make our decision to either go to the city or go back to mine and just deal with what we have to be together. I don't want to waste any more time with you here. I want you."

Chloe pulled Elly to her, kissing her gently, "I want you too. I just can't get over Pierce telling my girlfriend that I can't make love to you in this hotel because he part-owns it. Where does he get off?"

"Forget all about him, let's just concentrate on us being together tonight as that's all I'm craving right now. Let's go back to mine, once we're in my bed I'll forget the whole world that my family may or may not hear us," Elly decided, kissing Chloe again more deeply.

Chloe squeezed Elly's hips as she continued kissing her, then when they broke apart, Chloe had a wicked smile on your face, "Elly, take your shirt off."

Elly's eyes widened, "Chloe, I am not making love to you here!"

Chloe hushed Elly gently, "I know, Elly, we can wait until we get back to yours...I just want to make a point to Pierce. Take your shirt off, I'll do the same. All I want to do is snap a photo of us being all in love together...with the insinuation that we've...proved he can't stop us making love to one another in his hotel...by having his office highlighted in the background and send it to him."

Elly kissed Chloe again, running her tongue across Chloe's bottom lip, "You devious little minx! You want to show Pierce up with his claim that he can't stop us engaging in a romp, as he put it, by making it look like the pair of us had sex in his office?"

"On his desk or on the couch...whichever works for you, Elly. I know this is wrong making him think that but I can't help it...I want to show how little he can do to ever stop us being together," Chloe blushed.

"This is so wrong to make him think such a thing but...I want you on that desk of his for me so he can think I pleasured you on it...I mean, not that the photo needs to be at all graphic. It's just us kissing on his desk without our shirts on. What could go wrong?" Elly decided.

Before she could lose her nerve, Chloe took her shirt off, flung it to the ground, when Elly did the same, pulled out her phone, flicked on the camera. Chloe then leant back on Pierce's desk, dragging Elly to her in an almost kiss as she stared into the camera in selfie mode, to lift it above them in her hand, making sure to position it so the photo would take in more of their surroundings at Pierce's desk than themselves. Chloe then gently pulled Elly into a kiss, snapping the photo.

"There, all done. What should I caption it when I send it to Pierce? ‘Greetings from Lassiter's, thanks for not allowing us to book a room, our romp was perfect’?" Chloe teased.

"Chloe, don't send it, you're just going to annoy Pierce. What if he retaliates by showing the pic to Paul and Terese and then they'll think we slept together here?" Elly worried.

"Paul caught me skipping out on work when I first started to have nooners with Leo, he didn't fire me then, he's not going to now, when it's with my girlfriend, not another staff member," Chloe felt assured, "I'll send the pic to Pierce when we get back to yours, that way if he comes here in a tizzy about it we're not around."

Elly shivered, "I don't want to think about my girl being with my friend. Wait...you and Pierce never...the pair of you didn't like...here...did you?"

Chloe kissed Elly gently, "Not at all. Pierce wanted us to on his couch one time but there was no way. I'd make love to you on that couch in a heartbeat but I would never ever consider doing it with Pierce."

Elly blushed at the thoughts running through her mind, "Okay we seriously need to get home to mine like now...we've been waiting for this for close to three months to be together...a year exactly if I hadn't been so afraid of how badly I truly love you."

The pair grabbed their shirts and put them back on. Chloe wrapped her arms around Elly, bringing her back into another passionate kiss, "Don't worry about the last year, we're here now and we're together. We need to get to yours now...because waiting this long, nearly three months...I don't want to wait any longer."

As they began walking to the office door, Chloe continued kissing Elly unashamedly, pushing Elly backwards. Chloe found herself unable to resist, guiding Elly to press her back against the wall next to the door frame. Elly winced at the action as her back slammed into the wall but immediately brought Chloe's body against hers.

"We need my place right now," Elly gasped in between kisses, "Or my car...we can just find a quiet spot to park it and in the backseat cause I am so hungry for you, Chlo."

Chloe stared into Elly's eyes, the tension between them indescribable, as she slipped her fingers under Elly's shirt to rest on her hips, "I've waited nearly three months but I am so worked up and need you so badly right now I..."

"We can't," Elly squeaked out, "Not here, that's all kinds of levels of wrong, Chlo. This has to be about us...not Pierce."

Chloe brought their lips back together desperately, her fingers stroking Elly's skin, "This is about us...you mentioned you wanted me on the desk, I want you on the couch...nobodies here...is this so wrong? I don't think I can take not making love to you another minute."

Elly pulled Chloe even closer to her, moaning as Chloe used the opportunity to place her leg into between Elly's, "Why did I have to say that cause now that's all I want? I can't take another minute of this either. Why did we have to be here? Why couldn't we have been anywhere else that is not about your ex-boyfriend?"

Chloe groaned herself when Elly slipped her hands to the inside of Chloe's pants, "I know, baby, I know it's not perfect timing or the perfect place after waiting so long but good heavens I simply do not care about anything else in the world right now. Except you and me...if I don't have you making love to me right here within the next minute, I'll...okay there literally can't be an alternative because that is how badly I need you, Elly. It'll be...our little secret...right?"

Elly struggled to think of anything she could do or say to not give into every inch of desire her body was pleading for her to experience with Chloe, before whispering, "Right here or can I make love to you on that desk over there because I really shouldn't have thought it but the second I did...I want you there...in pleasure for me?"

Chloe gently pried herself from Elly, to lean over and close the office door, locking it for good measure.

“What if Pierce returns, doesn’t he have a key?” Elly asked.

Chloe noticed a door stopper on the ground, kicking it with her foot to wedge it under the door, “That might not work but…if he does come back…he’s just going to get an eyeful of the love we have for one another.”

Elly wrapped her arms around Chloe’s hips, kissing her deeply as she maneuvered the pair of them across the room, pushing Chloe up against the desk, “Are you sure you want to do this, baby? That this is about us?”

Chloe broke their lips apart to slip her own shirt up her body and over her head, “Elly, this is only about you and I. It doesn’t matter where we are…I’ve never wanted you so much in my life…I need you making love to me, right now, sweetie.”

As Chloe fiddled around with her shoes, kicking them off her feet, Elly’s hands pawed at Chloe’s pants, undoing the button and zipper before gliding them down Chloe’s legs, tossing them aside. Standing back up, Elly pressed Chloe to be leaning by the desk, “I’ve never wanted anyone so much in my life, Chlo, my body is aching for you…I can feel your body is for me too.”

“It is, Elly, only for you…you’re right…anyone…I’ve never wanted or needed anyone so much in my life,” Chloe pulled Elly to her, kissing her deeply, then when Elly’s hands shifted to undo her bra, Chloe blushed at how quickly Elly removed the garment, “No foreplay with my boobs, Elly, we’ve been doing that for weeks, I need you inside of me, making love to me.”

Elly smiled wickedly at the thought, “You sure, baby?”

Elly ducked her head down, taking Chloe’s left breast in her mouth, flicking her tongue at it, as she glided her hands to Chloe’s panties. Slipping her fingers inside the elastic band, Elly reluctantly let go of Chloe’s breasts as she trailed kisses down Chloe’s body, as she dragged her panties from her legs, Chloe kicking them away.

Elly surprised Chloe by trailing kisses up her legs as she stood back up, stunning the blonde into a deep moan with a gentle kiss of her mound before trailing back up the rest of her body, “Couldn’t resist a quick little taste.”

“How do I taste?” Chloe asked, her body on fire from one simple kiss from her girlfriend, also from the knowledge that Elly wasn’t shying away from her attraction to her.

“In an ideal world…like I could taste you every day of our lives and never get enough. Accepting my love and attraction for you…how did I ever think after last time we were together…we wouldn’t be again?” Elly growled at herself for been too scared a year ago to come to terms with how Chloe had made her feel that night and how much she had enjoyed the experience of making love to Chloe.

Chloe gently sat up on the desk, “It’s okay, Elly, we’re here now…about to enjoy what we’ve been craving for months now. Will you make love to me, babe?”

Chapter Text

And She, Waits For You

Chapter Fifty-Four

Wednesday 11th March – 8:10pm

Elly licked her lips as she watched Chloe lean back on the desk and spread her legs for her. Elly moaned as she sunk her body to Chloe’s, bringing her lips together with Chloe’s, kissing her wildly as she trailed her hand down Chloe’s body, resting it between Chloe’s legs, feeling Chloe’s wetness already seeping against her hand. Elly rubbed her hand against Chloe’s mound, eliciting a groan from the blonde at the contact.

“Are you sure, Chlo?” Elly asked for consent.

Chloe bucked her hips to Elly’s hand, “Please, Elly, I need you.”

Elly gently slid her index finger inside of Chloe, smiling into her kiss with Chloe, as Chloe responded by clenching herself around the finger. Elly used her thumb to rub it against Chloe’s folds. Elly gently dragged her finger in and out of Chloe, trying to get used to the rhythm of making love to her girlfriend. Dipping her middle finger inside of Chloe, Elly found herself feeling more confident of the rhythm using two fingers to pleasure the blonde.

Chloe responded to the actions by bucking her hips continually every time Elly’s fingers came close to leaving her center. Chloe broke their kiss, burying her face into Elly’s neck, nibbling on her neck, as she moaned at every action Elly made.

“Can you…a little bit faster…that’s it, Elly,” Chloe mumbled into Elly’s neck as she squeezed her arms around Elly’s neck and lifted her left leg up on the edge of the desk, to spread her legs further and offer her girlfriend more access to her.

Elly buried her own face against the crook of Chloe’s neck, enjoying the feeling of thrusting in and out of her, “This feels so good, Chlo. You feel so good.”

“Don’t stop, Elly,” Chloe pleaded.

Elly blushed as she continued making love to her girlfriend, “If it was at all humanly possible, I’d never stop making love to you, Chlo. I’ll just have to settle for not stopping until I make you cum. God, baby, I want to taste you so badly.”

Chloe slipped her hands from around Elly’s neck to place them behind herself on the desk, hungrily rasping to the brunette, “Taste me, Elly. Make love to me with your tongue as well as your fingers. Let me cum for you so you can lick up every drop, my love.”

Elly kissed Chloe passionately, before breaking away, “Anything my love wants, my love gets.”

I think that’s the hottest thing anyone’s ever said to me.

Elly ducked her head down, falling to her own knees in front of the desk, as she continued thrusting her two fingers inside Chloe and using her thumb to massage Chloe’s folds.

Elly breathed in the scent of her girlfriend for a moment before leaning her head forwards and kissing Chloe where her thumb was massaging. She felt Chloe react to the touch and it encouraged her to flick her tongue out, stroking it against Chloe’s opening, above where her fingers continued to work in and out of her.

Elly’s tongue was seeped with the taste of Chloe’s wetness and she was hungry for more.

Elly began flicking her tongue over every inch of Chloe’s opening, the reaction of the blonde bucking her hips wildly at the contact drove her to keep flicking her tongue inside her. Elly shifted to longer lasting strokes of her tongue across every inch between Chloe’s legs but worked out that Chloe reacted more to the flicks of her tongue.

Elly gently separated her two fingers, slowing down her thrusts deep into Chloe’s core, as she slipped her tongue deep inside Chloe. Chloe groaned wildly at the action, “Yes, Elly, please, I’m nearly there.”

Elly stroked her tongue inside Chloe’s center, desperate to pleasure her girlfriend whom had been more than patient with her. Shifting to remove her fingers from Chloe, Elly felt her girlfriend immediately groan in frustration at her decision so hoped to make up for it with the actions of her tongue.

Shifting between deep long strokes of her tongue to flicking it wildly at every inch of Chloe’s center, Elly quickly found Chloe’s clit and began working on it to bring Chloe to orgasm.

Elly brought her left hand up, sliding it up Chloe’s body until she started playing with Chloe’s breast. Elly’s tongue continued tormenting her girlfriend, who was more than comfortable propped up on the desk with her legs spread.

The wetness seeping from Chloe’s core was increasing as Elly was finding it harder to keep up with licking it up with her longer gentler strokes of her tongue. Feeling Chloe was close to the edge, Elly focused solely on flicking her tongue against her clit, allowing herself to be drenched in Chloe’s wetness.

Elly felt Chloe contract as she flicked her head back, letting out as rasped moan as she finally orgasmed.

Elly gently removed her tongue from Chloe’s center but didn’t shy away from spending the next minute delicately licking up every drop of Chloe’s cum from between her legs. Elly blushed as she noticed for the first time in their desperation to be together, Chloe had been sitting on several pieces of paper on the desk that were now drenched with her wetness.

Elly waited for Chloe to stare down at her as she placed a hand on the edge of one of the pages, “We should probably throw these out in the trash…hope they weren’t important.”

As Elly softly lifted herself back up from her knees, Chloe giggled at her, “Whatever they were, they sure weren’t more important than having my love make love to me on this desk.”

Elly blushed once more as she watched Chloe shift her leg off from the desk, then pulled the brunette to her, wrapping her legs around Elly’s waist as she brought their lips together in a passionate kiss.

Chloe ran her hands through Elly’s hair as they broke apart from their kiss, “Thank you.”

“For what?” Elly whispered.

“Making our first time together as a couple perfect,” Chloe whispered back.

Elly sunk back into a kiss with Chloe, happy to concede their choice of location for their first time may not have been ideal but they had used the office for the right reasons to be together, “I was so nervous I wouldn’t have been able to do that. That no matter how much love I have for you…I wouldn’t be able to make you perfectly happy.”

“Don’t ever be,” Chloe assured the brunette, “You more than made me perfectly happy.”

Elly bit her lip as she glanced between them, “Y’know our first time together as a couple being perfect…we’ve only had one half of the two of us being together…even though I have zero doubt you making love to me will be nothing short of perfect…maybe we should do that thing before deciding our first time together as a couple is perfect.”

“I like the way you think, Elly Conway,” Chloe whispered into Elly’s ear, “I want you on that couch…is that okay?”

“Try and stop me,” Elly smiled as she reluctantly pulled herself from Chloe’s grasp.

Elly reached out, wrapping her hands around Chloe’s waist as the blonde slipped off the edge of the table, then the pair shuffled from the desk around to the couch, “Baby, are you walking funny?”

Chloe giggled once more, “After the things you did to me with your fingers and your tongue…course I am. I’m sure by the time we walk back to your car it won’t be all that noticeable.”

As the couple stood in front of the couch, holding one another, Elly whispered to her girlfriend, “Make me walk funny too, Chlo.”

“I like a challenge,” Chloe purred, “Can we get you out of your clothes?”

“I thought you’d never ask,” Elly smiled, as she yanked at her own shirt to pull it over her head.

Chloe didn’t hesitate to start dragging Elly’s pants down her body, helping to pull her shoes off first when she realized Elly’s pants weren’t going to be coming off without them. Elly giggled at the blonde as she used the time to slip out of her bra. Within another minute, Chloe had slipped Elly out of her panties.

As Chloe stood back up and held Elly in her arms, their naked bodies pressing against one another, Chloe stared into Elly’s eyes, “You are so beautiful, Elly.”

Elly’s cheeks flushed bright red, “My body is still not how it used to be.”

“I don’t care for any of that, you’re beautiful, and I am the luckiest woman in the world to get to be with you,” Chloe declared.

“Only woman in the world who gets to be with me,” Elly corrected.

“Luckiest person in the world who gets to be with you,” Chloe corrected once more, “I love you, Elly. It does not matter to me that your body might not be perfect. It looks and feels perfect to me, even if it wasn’t…I’d still want to make love to you and call you beautiful. If you’ll let me…make love to you.”

“And here I was thinking I should get you worked up to want to make love to me…and then just decide it’d be better if we don’t,” Elly teased, “I need you…making love to me as soon as possible, Chlo.”

Chloe gently led Elly to lie back on the couch. Elly laid her head on one of the pillows that was decorating the couch before quickly spreading her legs widely. Chloe sunk down on top of Elly, moaning as their bodies touched, bringing their lips together for a passionate kiss.

“Are you sure, Elly?” Chloe checked, “I know it’s been a while and the last time you made love to anyone, you created Elliot…I mean I assume it was as you told me that one time you and Mark never after the wedding…I shouldn’t just assume or think you didn’t with anyone else.”

Elly shook her head, confirming for her girlfriend, “My last time was with Shaun creating Elliot but that was two minute, unbelievably dull sex. My last time…in fact I think the only time in my life I could ever qualify it as love making was with you…one year ago today. Please, Chlo, I need this, I’m ready.”

Chloe nodded softly, kissing the brunette as she slipped her hand between her legs and rubbed it against Elly’s opening. Chloe gently dipped her index finger to the second knuckle inside Elly’s folds.

Elly contracted, lifting herself from the couch for a second, “Okay, yeah that’s…”

“Tell me to stop if it’s not okay,” Chloe immediately responded with worry.

Elly’s hands clung to Chloe’s upper back, “It’s okay, really, I think I’m just getting used to how my post baby body feels…not as tight as it used to be. Don’t stop, Chlo, make love to me…just maybe keep it to one finger for this time so I can get used to having you inside of me and go a bit slow…is that alright?”

Chloe pressed her lips to Elly’s forehead, “It is completely alright. If you feel uncomfortable in any second…tell me to stop. I know how huge this is for you after so long not being with anyone and how your body has changed having given birth to your son…I want to make this as amazing for you as I can but I don’t want to hurt you or make you feel like you need to do this for me before you’re ready.”

“You are the sweetest girlfriend I could ever possibly be with. I’m ready, Chloe, please can you…that’s it, wow I love you,” Elly declared as she felt Chloe finally begin to slip her finger in and out of her.

Chloe worked slowly at making love to her girlfriend, deciding to keep it to her index finger as Elly asked but also opted not to slip her finger inside of Elly past the second knuckle. She knew she could and it would be easier to drive her girlfriend to orgasm if she extended the full length of her finger inside Elly. But she was also conscious Elly was worried over how much her body had changed after childbirth that she knew taking it slowly in their first few sexual encounters with one another would help Elly to feel like herself soon.

Small steps for my girl.

Chloe smiled as she stared down at Elly, concentrating on the looks of pleasure Elly had on her face at every small thing she did as she slipped her finger halfway inside Elly at a comfortably slow pace. Chloe too, like Elly, used her thumb to massage Elly’s folds.

“That’s it, baby, that’s exactly how I need you making love to me,” Elly whispered up at Chloe in awe of her tenderness.

Though it took a bit longer than she had originally thought when she’d laid down on top of Elly on the couch, and she feared not slipping inside of Elly as far into her core as a part of her wanted to would result in being unable to bring the brunette to pleasure, Chloe grinned when Elly did orgasm.

Elly’s body constricted and she moaned heavily, “Chlo, that was perfect.”

“Yeah?” Chloe asked, suddenly feeling self-conscious herself that it may not have been as good for Elly as what it had felt like to herself.

Elly groaned when Chloe slipped her finger from her, watching as Chloe lifted it to her mouth to lick the juices from it, then repeated her claim, “Perfect.”

Chloe blushed at Elly’s assessment of her love making, “Do you want to…go home to yours or can I…?”

Elly reached her hand out to cradle Chloe’s face, “If you think I want to go home before you make me orgasm all over this couch again…you really don’t know me.”

Chloe winked, “Oh I know you, Elly, I just wanted to make sure you were ready to here.”

“There’s my girl,” Elly purred.

Chloe pressed their lips together gently, “Will it be okay if I…opt for long, slow, licks of my tongue inside you?”

Elly bit her lip, “As opposed to the fast-paced flicks of your tongue that made me orgasm in record time last time you made love to me?”

“That was a record? I still took my time,” Chloe pointed out.

“You don’t know how bad a sex life I’ve had in my past that it always took guys forever to pleasure me…not that many at all could whereas you, my love, knew exactly how to pleasure me. Just like now…you know what I want…how I want you to make love to me this time as I adjust back into my love life post-baby…you know me,” Elly smiled.

“I know you,” Chloe semi-repeated before kissing Elly again then dragging her body down to nestle between Elly’s legs on the couch.

Chloe softly spread Elly’s legs a bit wider, licking her lips as she saw the juices from Elly already dripping from her core, “You are so beautiful.”

“Make love to me, Chlo,” Elly pleaded.

Chloe didn’t hesitate to duck her head forwards, kissing Elly’s mound gently several times. Elly reacted by lifting her hips off the couch, pressing herself to Chloe’s lips, silently begging her to do more. Chloe continued teasing her girlfriend by kissing every inch between her legs until Elly finally rasped, “C’mon baby, don’t make me wait another three months because I needed to make you wait that long.”

Chloe giggled at the thought before giving into Elly’s desires by slipping her tongue between Elly’s legs.

Elly gasped at the motion of Chloe’s tongue dragging slowly between her legs, “There’s my girl.”

Chloe smiled into her action of licking her tongue slowly around Elly’s opening and after a couple minutes of getting a taste of Elly’s wetness, Chloe finally dipped her tongue inside Elly’s core. Chloe licked her tongue slowly and gently inside her girlfriend, not wanting to dip too deeply inside the brunette for fear of making Elly feel uncomfortable in her first time since having her baby.

Chloe took her time, licking her tongue in and out of Elly softly, enjoying the juices she was creating, until she dipped her tongue inside Elly and found her clit. Elly moaned at the top of her lungs at the feeling, encouraging her girlfriend to run her tongue against her clit until Elly finally orgasmed.

Elly screamed out Chloe’s name in pleasure at the feeling of climaxing. Chloe slowly removed her tongue from Elly, taking a moment to lick up all the available juices flowing from Elly’s core.

A minute later, Chloe lifted herself from between Elly’s legs and was leaning back over the brunette, kissing her gently.

Elly ran her hand through Chloe’s hair, “I love you.”

“I love you, too,” Chloe declared back.

Elly smiled into another kiss, finding herself moaning too when Chloe’s body pressed down on her own, “Thank you for waiting for me to be ready. Location of our love making aside…that was completely perfect, Chlo.”

Chloe ran her hands up and down Elly’s side, comforting her, “Location may have been an…unexpected place…but it was so perfect for me too.”

“You’ll never look at Pierce’s desk or couch the same way,” Elly giggled.

“Only with the memories of us,” Chloe agreed.

Elly leant up to kiss Chloe once more, “Was this worth the wait?”

Chloe kissed Elly back again, “So worth the wait.”

Chapter Text

And She, Waits For You

Chapter Fifty-Five

Wednesday 11th March – 9:30pm

Elly parked her car in the driveway at her place, turning to her girlfriend, she took Chloe's hand in hers, "We didn't completely mess up our first time together as a couple, back there...by making love to one another there...did we?"

"The place itself may not have been anywhere on my list of places to make love to you but Christ after 3 months of waiting, Elly, that was impossible for us to do anything else but make love to one another then and there. No one will ever know it actually happened," Chloe promised as she lifted Elly's hand to kiss the back of it with her lips sweetly, then purred, "Baby, I can still smell myself on your fingers."

Elly blushed heavily but leant forwards to capture Chloe's lips, "You taste so good, Chloe! I know we're not going to be able to make love to each other every night like we would if we didn't have my son to take care of but I will take such pleasure and love every chance I do get to taste you."

"I know you will, Elly, so will I. We might not be able to show our love for one another as often as we'd like to with an infant to raise but when we get chances to...we'll be creative...maybe not as creative with the location like just now," Chloe replied.

"Maybe not," Elly giggled, "I don't suppose you still want to send that pic to Pierce?"

"I thought you didn't want me to as he could show it to Paul or Terese...or anyone for that matter," Chloe pointed out.

Elly shrugged, "Send it to Pierce with a 'Did we or didn't we?' to drive him up the wall not knowing. So what if he shares it. It's not a great look for a teacher on maternity leave...or any teacher but it's not like it was on school grounds and yeah it was your workplace but it's not like anything that says Lassiters is in the picture. He'll be too embarrassed to share it. If he does...well then I'll just have to tell Pierce that I made you cum all over his desk and licked up every drop of you."

Chloe moaned at the memories, "You did do that...you were so good to me."

"You more than pleasured me back on that couch of his," Elly remembered, "The things you did...I can't wait for a lifetime of doing that with you, Chlo."

Chloe kissed Elly again, "Do you want to go inside...and do some more things like that...without the screaming at the top of our lungs or do you want to catch up on some actual sleep?"

Elly found herself distracted, glancing back at the Brenaka's house, "We should...sleep..."

Chloe glanced at the look on Elly's face, "Elly, sweetie, do you want to go to mine and tell Aaron and David we changed our minds about being away from Elliot for the night?"

"How did you know?" Elly asked quietly.

"Because that look on your face says it all...you're not ready to be apart from Elliot all night long yet like you thought you were. And to be honest...I don't know if I am either," Chloe admitted.

"Really?" Elly was surprised yet adored how much Chloe loved her son.

"Let's go get our boy," Chloe decided, "I'm sure Aaron was joking when he told us we could but let's face it...we need to cave and be with the peanut tonight."

"You are amazing," Elly gushed, unable to hide the level of pride she felt at Chloe calling Elliot 'our boy' but didn't want to highlight it to her girlfriend.

“I am, aren’t I?” Chloe flirted back, then glanced out the window of the car around their surroundings, winked at Elly, “So…ah…we can give the boys a few more minutes minding the peanut, right?”

“I think we can do that, what did you have in mind that we do, baby?” Elly bit her lip at the thoughts in her mind.

Chloe leant towards Elly, bringing their lips together gently before running her tongue over Elly’s bottom lip, “Some of this.”

Elly kissed her girlfriend back once more, “I hope there’s a lot more of this in our future.”

“There will be lots and lots of this every day for the rest of our lives,” Chloe promised.

“I’m going to hold you to that promise,” Elly whispered.

“You better,” Chloe replied, bringing their lips together once more.

A few minutes later, Chloe and Elly walked in to the Brenaka's house, Elly holding Chloe in front of her with her arm wrapped around Chloe's waist.

As soon as the boys looked up from the couch, Aaron smiled, "I knew you two would be back."

"We're caving as we weren't close to being ready to spend the night without Elliot, can we take him back to mine?" Elly pleaded.

David smiled sadly, "Of course. Maybe next time you'll be ready."

"And maybe next time we'll be a little bit more prepared for the constant neediness an infant actually needs," Aaron admitted, "We've had the lil tacker for not even four hours and I am exhausted. I don't know how you two do this every single night."

David suddenly grinned a bit happier, "We're caving too...I think Aaron and I will be looking into adopting a child that is at least past the toddler stage."

Elly grinned at the woman in her arms, "I have this one to thank for helping me get through every day being a mum to him. I could not do it without her. You two will work your way through it, don't let a few hours change your minds completely."

Chloe smiled back at Elly, "I'm too embarrassed to take a compliment like that...but whatever you two decide on becoming parents, we'll both be here to support you and I'm sure Elliot would love to have a cousin be it older or younger than he is."

Elly pressed her lips to the side of Chloe's forehead, struggling not to shed some tears that Chloe thought of her son as a cousin to the boys when they had their own child, "He will. Is it okay if I go grab him?"

"You two look so happy together. I thought something may have been wrong when you left here," David commented, then nodded at Elly she could go get her son.

"We had a good few hours together...catching up on our sleep," Elly lied then leaning around to peck Chloe on the lips, "I'll be back in a few."

"We did at that," Chloe whispered, "Have you got the rest of Elliot's things?"

Aaron and David gingerly got off the couch, their tiredness evident as they walked around the living room and kitchen, collecting all his belongings.

With a minute to herself, Chloe was unable to resist pulling out her phone and secretly pulling up the photo of her and Elly. Even though she knew it was wrong, though not as wrong as what her and Elly had done in Pierce's office, she attached the photo to a text message to him, used Elly's suggested caption, 'Did we or didn't we?’ and pressed the send button.

Hopefully, all that will do is shut him up and get Pierce to see that Elly is whom I want to spend my life with.

A couple minutes later, Elly returned, cradling her son to her chest. Seeing that the boys had given Chloe the bag with all of Elliot’s necessities, Elly sidled up to the blonde, not hesitating to kiss Chloe gently, “Let’s go home to mine, sweetie.”

Chloe blushed at Elly’s action, then nodded to her brother and brother in law, “We’ll try this whole…us being able to be separated from the peanut for a night so you can take care of him…another time.”

Aaron nodded silently as the couple left their place.

David walked over to him, “That girl is completely smitten with your sister.”

“Maybe you’re right,” Aaron conceded.

Pierce was at his place, typing away at his laptop on the dining room table, managing his businesses from home. His phone beeped with a text message. At first, he thought it might’ve been from Hendrix but then he couldn’t remember if his son was already home for the evening. Or as Pierce put it, wasting time with that Harlow kid who would never be good enough for Hendrix.

Unlocking his phone, Pierce was giddy as he saw the message was from Chloe, but his giddiness ended when he opened the message. His eyes read the caption of the photo first, ‘Did we or didn’t we?’ They immediately darted to the photo, where he blinked several times as he saw Elly kissing Chloe.

At first, Pierce didn’t get it, he wondered if Chloe had mistakenly sent the photo to him. Why would Chloe need to torment him that Elly was kissing her? He knew they were together, he had seen them kiss before in public, though he couldn’t stand either of those things and couldn’t comprehend how the pair were still together. That Chloe hadn’t gotten sick of having an infant tied to her, that Elly hadn’t realized what she felt for Chloe was simply a desperation not to be single and raising her son on her own, that she was never truly attracted to Chloe and would end up cheating on her with a guy as soon as the opportunity presented itself.

Pierce had often thought about the moment that he could catch Chloe when she fell after Elly inevitably broke her heart.

Pierce’s mind started racing as he began staring at the photo more and more. Not wanting to look at the fact it was almost like Chloe was smiling into the kiss with Elly, his eyes darted to the other half of the picture. He wondered why the pair kissing had only taken half the photo, thinking that Chloe had a knack for photography and wouldn’t sideline herself if this photo was her way of proving her relationship with Elly was stable despite the small things, he had tried to do to break them apart.

Piece by piece he looked at the other half of the photo and he began recognizing items in the background of the pair. Pierce gritted his teeth as it gently dawned on him.

Chloe and Elly had been at his office at the hotel. He wondered if it was a recent photo but he noticed a blue folder on his desk that held printed copies of the expenses/income report for the Foundation sponsorship that Chloe had done for him that afternoon.

Why were the pair kissing in his office, Pierce wondered. Then he stood up and shook his head, nearly dropped his phone as he remembered what he’d told Elly that morning when he bumped into her.

“You're not having sex with Chloe in my hotel.”

Pierce re-read the caption, ‘Did we or didn’t we?’

Pierce blinked again as the thought finally hit him, Chloe and Elly couldn’t book a hotel room at Lassiters because he’d stopped them from doing so but had they taken his threat that they couldn’t have sex in the hotel and proved that they could…in his office?

Pierce closed his eyes as he tried to stop thinking about the mere suggestion the photo was used to make him think about Chloe doing something so bold as to have a romp with the single mother at his place of work. His private office.

Pierce began pacing back and forth between the dining room and living room. The fact that Chloe had posed it as a question of did they or didn’t they prove his threat to attempt to stop them was driving him crazy not knowing. He was sure it was Chloe riling him up, that she’d never do such a thing but the fact that Chloe and Elly could’ve made him think that maybe they had.

Pierce shook his head, he stared at the message once before not wanting to see the photo again, or contemplate the thought that the woman he loved had slept with someone else in his office. Instead of deleting the message and trying to put the question of if they did or not out of his mind, Pierce threw back his arm, before throwing his phone at the wall.

Or at least that’s where Pierce had been aiming to throw the phone at.

Instead, his aim as well as some bad timing had Hendrix wandering out from his bedroom and as he turned from the hallway to the entrance of the living room, Pierce’s phone clipped him on the ear before smashing at the wall behind him, ending up on the floor behind Hendrix in multiple pieces.

Chapter Text

And She, Waits For You

Chapter Fifty-Six

Wednesday 11th March – 10:00pm

When Pierce lost his cool having received Chloe’s text message insinuating that she had slept with Elly in his office at Lassiters, Pierce had thrown his phone to the wall but inadvertently clipped his son, Hendrix, on the ear before it smashed into the wall behind him.

Upon being struck, Hendrix’s instincts had him duck for a moment as his hand shot up to hold his ear.

The phone hadn’t hurt him too much but it had still stunned him that it had clipped him. He realized his Dad hadn’t intentionally thrown the phone at him in some violent rage against him, that he had just been in the wrong place when his father had gotten pissed off enough to want to smash his phone.

Over what, Hendrix didn’t know.

Hendrix stood back up, still holding his ear gingerly, but he quickly realized his Dad hadn’t even noticed him.

Whatever had riled Pierce up enough to throw his phone at the wall, had made his father continue pacing back and forth. Pierce was mumbling about something over and over, the words unclear to him.

“Dad,” Hendrix yelled out to his father, wanting to get his attention so the man could at least apologize for accidentally clipping him with the phone. But Pierce didn't respond, he was too busy to even notice his son was there so Hendrix ran back to his room.

Over at the Kennedy's, Elly was curled up on the couch, holding onto her son. Chloe walked over to the pair, holding two cups of tea. Setting them down on the coffee table, Chloe immediately sat down on the couch, curling up to her girlfriend.

Chloe kissed Elly gently, "You make me so happy, you know that? Thank you for loving me."

Elly kissed Chloe back again, "You're welcome. You do the same for me. Thanks for letting me love you and loving me back."

"Your family kinda cleared off when we got back, didn't they? I think they expected us to spend the night away and were surprised to see us back with the peanut," Chloe commented.

Elly couldn't resist kissing Chloe again, "If only they knew the naughtiness and love we did do this evening...okay maybe not, I'd rather no one learns of what we actually did. I think they felt sad for us, thinking we would finally get to spend a night alone as a couple then decided we couldn't part from this guy. I love that you didn't want to spend the night without him either."

"Not like we can take it back...and I'd never want to. I think they did too. Well y'know I do lo--feel like I'm so used to having a crying baby in my life now, I'd miss the lil guy," Chloe shrugged then stumbled over whether or not to admit she loved the infant, then changing the subject, "Do you think we could get Bea to babysit the peanut on the weekend so we spend a lil bit of time...together?"

Elly winked knowingly, "I'm craving you already again, Chlo. I think Bea said she's working Saturday but Sunday morning...you...me...a little bit more restraint with our screaming...I want it. I want you."

"A little bit more restraint with our screaming…I don’t know if you have that in you after tonight’s display," Chloe teased her girlfriend.

Elly blushed, “You may have a point…it might just have to be something I work on…trying to show restraint…Sunday morning…if you’d like to help me practice…showing restraint.”

Chloe agreed, "I’d very much like to do that with you. Sunday morning. Perfect. Or well perfect as long as we don't get completely distracted by one another as I don't want to be late for..."

"Lunch with Hendrix," Elly finished for her girlfriend, "I know. I love that you spend time with him. I hope he knows how amazing you are."

Chloe smiled, "You and the peanut should come with us again. He really liked hanging out with the three of us the other week. Hendrix said the three of us are like a family and we're very lucky to have that. I just want him to know he's not alone. I can relate to his feeling that his Dad doesn't care for him. I'm not that amazing with him. What would make him think that?"

"I liked that lunch we had with him too. He's a good kid. Little rough around the edges but he's settled and he'll come good when he has someone like you looking out for him. How could Hendrix not think you're amazing? You haven't tossed him to the side like Pierce has done. You actually take time for him," Elly explained, then admitted, "We're very lucky to have our lil family...and I can't imagine anything changing that."

A knock on the front door distracted the pair.

Elly glanced at Chloe, "Lil bit late for a visitor...you sent that message to Pierce, didn't you? Lil minx, now I may or may not get to gloat over the things we did to one another this evening."

"You do love to gloat and have every reason to after the things you did to me this evening,” Chloe remembered.

Elly bit her lip, “I’d especially love to gloat about that talented tongue of yours…I’m a lucky lady…to get to experience that every chance I get. Another reason to be glad to accept my love and attraction to you. I bet Pierce couldn’t cope hearing about that.”

Chloe moaned softly, “You are so naughty, what have I unleased?”

“A woman who is completely secure in her attraction to you,” Elly answered proudly, then pouted, “I guess I can’t say that kind of thing to Pierce even though I’m tempted to…I’ll just have to gloat about how much love I felt being in your arms this evening.”

“I think that’s the right way to go about it…pointing out how much more in love with one another we are. Pierce has to accept it one day that my future is with you. If Pierce is gonna be a dick about it then we'll just have to kick him out," Chloe decided, then as she didn't want to remove herself from Elly's embrace, called out, "Door's open."

The girls were surprised when Hendrix walked into the house, closing the front door behind him when he spotted the couple and the infant cuddled up to one another on the couch.

"Hey mate," Chloe smiled at the teen, then dropped her smile as she looked at him, "Dude, what the hell happened to your ear?"

"Ah nothing," Hendrix lied, almost embarrassed that Chloe had noticed immediately and his Dad didn't even notice he was around when he'd thrown his phone at the wall.

"Kid, it's bright red," Elly pointed out, "Do you need Karl to look at it? I'll go get him."

Hendrix stopped Elly as he walked around the couch to sit down on the one opposite the couple, "It's fine...it just stings a bit."

"What happened?" Chloe asked again.

Hendrix had some papers with him and fiddled with them on the couch, "Dad...kinda...he threw a tantrum at something and smashed his phone against the wall. I just...got in the way...wrong place, wrong time. He didn't mean for it to hit me. It was an accident."

Chloe and Elly looked at one another knowingly over what Pierce had being upset about and immediately felt guilty that the teen had been caught up in their annoyance at his father not accepting Chloe had moved on with Elly.

"Do you want to crash here for the night so you don't have to be around Pierce?" Chloe asked, “We can make up the couch for you. Or Finn’s—I mean there’s the spare room no one’s used since…he was living here with the Kennedy’s.”

"Uh...kinda...in a way..." Hendrix replied nervously, silently glad for the confirmation the household had a free bedroom that was no longer being used.

"Do you want us to call Pierce to let him know?" Elly questioned, “He’ll be worried where you are.”

Awkward conversation to have with Pierce after the things Chloe and I did in his office this evening…but this isn’t about Chloe and I.

"No, I can stay at Dad's for tonight...but I...there is something that I’d like your help with,” Hendrix started to say.

Chloe glanced at Elly before giving her attention back to the teen, “We’re here to help. What do you need?”

“I got this...form...a few weeks ago...um just after Valentines' Day after I saw the way he treated people without knowing I was there... It took me a few weeks to work up the courage to go ahead with it...I signed this and I...want one of you to witness it," Hendrix stumbled anxiously as he handed over a few pages to the pair, still keeping other pages to himself.

As Elly juggled Elliot against her chest, both girls reached for the paperwork together.

Chloe raised her eyebrows immediately, "Emancipation? You want to legally stop Pierce being your guardian?"

Hendrix nodded, "And mum. I've thought about this a lot. They don't care about me, they never will. I'm not going back to Sydney, I want to stay in Erinsborough. I've been working through my thoughts on this decision for nearly a month. I need to do this...I don't want to feel like no one cares about me...anymore."

Elly glanced down at her son, "Hendrix, are you sure you've thought about this? I know Pierce...isn't the best parent in the world and I can’t really have an opinion on your mum because I don’t really know your situation with her but if...if Elliot ever came to me as a teen and said he didn't want me to have any parental responsibility over his life anymore then I'd...I honestly don't know what I'd do as I'd be completely heartbroken."

"That's why I'm doing this...Pierce and Lisa...they shuffle me between them or between schools, they wanted me in boarding school so they didn't need to raise me. Dad didn't want me staying here or attending a public high school because he wanted me in boarding school. It wasn't for my education, he wanted me out of his life in the politest way possible. You will never have Elliot come to either of you to talk to you about what I need to do because you actually love your son and want him in your lives. Pierce and Lisa aren't parents, you two are," Hendrix insisted.

Chloe bit her lip at Hendrix framing her as Elliot's parent, wondering if the infant would ever think of her as that when he grew up, "Say I do sign this for you as a witness, go with you to have Toadie start the emancipation process as you'll need a lawyer's involvement, that I go with you when you sit down to tell your Dad you are legally removing yourself from all parental responsibility he has with you... Hendrix, you are 17-years-old, what then? You need a place to stay, a job that won't interrupt your school life because I hate to break it to you but life is expensive. Public school may not be but you'll still have to afford a place to stay, food, phone, clothes, that social life you love so much. This decision absolves your parents from financial responsibility too. You turn 18 in three months’ time, why don't you wait until then or at least get through the school year? This decision is going to completely change the course of your life."

Elly smiled quietly at her girlfriend, wondering where this side to Chloe of being so responsible had come from.

"There's no point, another few months or the rest of the year won't change how I feel," Hendrix stated, “I don’t want to be their son anymore. I want this decision to change the course of my life because if I do this, I know I could have a better future then what is set out for me.”

"What is your plan to restart your life away from your parents if I sign this for you?" Chloe asked quietly.

"I want that better future to start here. I want the pair of you to both sign this paperwork so I can file it too along with the emancipation order," Hendrix whispered as he handed over the second set of documents.

As Chloe and Elly both stared wide-eyed at what they were reading, Hendrix told them "I want the two of you to be my guardians...I want to be part of your family...if you'll have me."

What was I just saying about nothing changing our family?

Chapter Text

And She, Waits For You

Chapter Fifty-Seven

Thursday 12th March – 2:00am

Elly stared at the blonde she held in her arms, glancing at the clock to see how early it still was.

“Are you awake, Chlo?” Elly asked in a whisper.

Chloe nodded her head against her girlfriend’s chest but didn’t answer.

“What are you thinking?” Elly questioned.

“How did this become my life?” Chloe pondered.

“In a good way?” Elly wondered.

“Of course, baby, my life with you, it’s perfect,” Chloe confessed as she began circling her fingers across Elly’s skin under her girlfriend’s dressing gown, “Three months ago I had…no responsibilities except to get to work on time. Now…”

“Now…” Elly repeated, trying to encourage Chloe to open up to her.

Chloe stared up at Elly, as they held each other in the middle of the bed, “Now I have a girlfriend whom I love and adore. A girlfriend whom is the most incredible woman to me and loves me with her whole heart. More than that she’s an even more incredible mum to her infant son and I’m…genuinely becoming part of his life and I want to be there for Elliot every day of his life. I’m juggling my responsibilities at work which unfortunately means putting up with my ex who harmlessly doesn’t get I’ve moved on from him. Juggling all my responsibilities I should say…to you, to Elliot, to my career, to the rest of my family. And now…”

“And now…?” Elly pushed once more.

“And now I…we have a teenager that I’ve been hanging out with sporadically for the past few months as his Dad ignores him and…he’s asked us to be his guardians. How did this become my life? Mark, Aaron and David are chomping at the bit to be parents and I might have two kids fall into my lap that I never saw coming. I am just getting a complete handle on my life having an infant in it…now…I could have a teen in my life that I would be somewhat responsible for,” Chloe began to explain.

Elly pressed her lips to the top of Chloe’s head, “We don’t have to say yes, y’know. If we say yes out of guilt for how terrible a parent Pierce is then that’s not going to benefit Hendrix in the long run. We’ll only end up hurting him more.”

“What do you want to do?” Chloe asked.

“I know we need to make this decision as a couple. We can’t have either one of us have any doubts if we decide to sign those papers…because this…changes our whole family,” Elly pointed out.

“I know it does,” Chloe said quietly, smiling at the thought that Elly already saw them as a family, “This isn’t just having Hendrix crashing on the couch so he can get away from his Dad for a few nights…it’s so much more than that. Starting with the fact, it’d be Hendrix would be living with us…”

Chloe suddenly frowned as she realized, “I don’t even live here. How can we invite Hendrix to live with us when I don’t even live here…do I live here?”

Elly chuckled gently at Chloe’s panic, “You haven’t spent a single night apart from us since Christmas night. Karl has all your favourite foods on the grocery list. You cook my whole family dinner at least once a week. Suze has you on the chores roster. Chloe, you live here.”

“Huh,” Chloe nodded, “I still pay rent to Aaron and David and I live out of a suitcase worth of clothes in your bedroom.”

“I can’t help you with the rent part or discussing with the boys to maybe…stop that but I know I should’ve been a bit more accommodating and made space in…our room to let you move in with us here…I was just afraid any pressure I put on you would make you feel like I’m just leading into you been Elliot’s mum and I know we’re still working through all that,” Elly admitted.

“Our room,” Chloe repeated, leaning up and kissing Elly gently, “I like the sound of that. I know we’re still working through the rest of it, you’re not pressuring me at all. But it would be nice if we make this…living together here official. As long as your family agree and don’t have any issues with me moving in.”

“Baby, my family love you, they probably already consider that you live here as you’ve been here every night for three months almost,” Elly replied, “Tomorrow…or well…later today…I’ll start making more room in my life here for you to move in officially. This weekend, we’ll get you moved in and make you feel at home here with us.”

“Room in your life for me…sounds amazing,” Chloe decided, “But I think we got a little off topic…and we still need to work out…if we’re prepared to have room in our lives for Hendrix.”

“Are we sure this is what he really wants? That Hendrix isn’t just reacting after one bad thing that Pierce has done after not being there for him since he moved here. What if we help Hendrix to sit down with Pierce, have an honest conversation with him to fix things between them?” Elly suggested.

“I think it’s way past that stage to try and rectify things between their situation,” Chloe told her.

Elly ran her hand up and down Chloe’s side, “What if we don’t sign the paperwork, we ask Hendrix not to sign the emancipation? We work with him to stay here for a while, make it more of an unofficial guardianship, let him have some space from Pierce to help them work things out? It shouldn’t have to come to this been an official change of guardianship.”

“Is this the Elly talking as a mum who would never want her son to ever go through what Hendrix is facing or…do you think it’s a better idea if we don’t apply to be his guardians?” Chloe pondered.

“I’m not saying no…this is a huge decision. We’re finally at the stage of progressing in our relationship, we’ve got a handle on how much Elliot needs from us, as you pointed out, we need to make more of an effort for you to feel like you live here with us. Plus, this isn’t even our place, it’s Karl and Susan’s, we can’t move in a teenager without having them being part of the decision, Bea too. They’d be six people plus an infant living here. Is that too many? Do we know the first thing about teenagers besides been teens ourselves? Even then, teen boys are a whole other thing. Would he even want to live in a house with an infant? Does he get that means he’ll need to adjust to living with an infant? We have to put Elliot first…but then if we take guardianship of Hendrix, we can’t really put either first, they’d both need to be important to us. Are we ready for any of this?” Elly put forth.

“Maybe not but he’s asking for our help. Both of us grew up without great relationships with our fathers, we can relate to what he’s going through. I know we have no clue how to deal with a teenage boy and I know Hendrix can be a pain to deal with but I genuinely think in the right environment, he’ll come good. And maybe that’s what we can offer him,” Chloe suggested.

“Maybe we could…and I really hate to even bring this up…but can we afford this? Guardianship requires us to have financial responsibility of Hendrix. I’m on minimum wage payments from the government until I go back to teaching and whilst I’m sure you probably get paid a decent amount by the hotel…don’t teenage boys eat hundreds of dollars’ worth of food? Pierce is a billionaire and I assume Lisa is relatively well off to have limited Pierce’s involvement in Hendrix’s life…Hendrix is used to a certain lifestyle we could never offer him,” Elly said sadly.

“Is this leftover guilt that you still feel you don’t give me everything I could ever want like Pierce was able to?” Chloe questioned.

“I want to be able to give you everything…but it is a genuine point on if we can afford to provide for Hendrix on top of providing for Elliot and ourselves. I live with my Aunt and Uncle, it’s not exactly the best life I want to be able to offer you. Would Hendrix really want to stay here with the Kennedy’s with us all?” Elly wondered.

“If we want this enough, we can make it work financially. Hendrix knows our living situation; knows we have Elliot to raise too and he still asked us to do this for him. I know there’s a spare room here, it’ll sit empty if it’s not used,” Chloe pointed out.

“I was kinda hoping we’d turn it into Elliot’s room one day,” Elly revealed, “See that would lead to a lot more privacy in our bedroom to…be together…especially when he’ll eventually start sleeping through the night.”

“That’d be nice…okay I’m underselling that…that’d be really frigging nice,” Chloe replied with a wink, “Y’know we could always look at getting our own place. We can’t exactly stay here forever…like you said it’s not the best life for us. For now, it is but one day in the future we’d want more for each other…for all of us. We could have room for Hendrix at a new place.”

“You really want to do this, don’t you?” Elly realized.

“All I’m saying is we should give this some thought, not say no straight away. We can do this…if we wanted to…I have complete faith that us as a couple could do this. It may not have been a life I imagined for myself…you, Elliot, Hendrix…then again, I never imagined that you could possibly love me back and you do. This could be…this could be our family…all four of us. We can’t make a decision on this tonight. We need to talk it over with the Kennedy’s in the morning…probably talk over the forms with Toadie too to make sure we’d know exactly what we’d be signing up for before agreeing or refusing any decision,” Chloe offered.

“No decisions made tonight and talking it over with my family and Toadie perhaps tomorrow…uh today is the best approach,” Elly considered.

Chloe smiled at Elly, pecking her on the lips, “Thank you.”

Elly kissed Chloe back, then stated knowingly, “You’re leaning towards yes, aren’t you?”

“How’d you know?” Chloe whispered.

Elly lifted her hand to Chloe’s cheek, “Because I know you and I know you think we could do this, that it would probably bring us closer together.”

“I love that you know me. Is that okay…that I’m leaning towards us letting Hendrix into our life and taking care of him like he deserves?” Chloe asked nervously.

Elly chewed on her lip as she stroked Chloe’s cheek, “You wouldn’t be you if you didn’t. If you really think we can do this…I’m leaning towards yes too…once we talk to Toadie and have all the information we need to make a decision on…making Hendrix part of our…family.”

“Are you saying you’re leaning towards yes because I am because if we do this…I need you to on board with this yourself if we do this?” Chloe worried.

“No, I’m saying I’m leaning towards yes because…I think we could provide a stable environment for Hendrix,” Elly decided, then sighed, “But if I do have one big hesitation stopping me…how’s Pierce gonna react to this?”

Chloe closed her eyes, “Will Pierce see this as us taking his son from him?”

“I don’t know…he shouldn’t because it’s Hendrix’s decision to emancipate himself from his parents…but if we become his guardians…then he might think we’re taking Hendrix from him. Pierce started all this by not treating Hendrix like his son. He had his chance, now it might be us who choose to do that,” Elly pointed out.

“Pierce is going to hate us for doing this…if we do…he might give me grief at work over it or…I don’t know give us grief every day because of it,” Chloe realized.

“We shouldn’t let Pierce stop us, should we? But maybe the idea of making it not quite official, without the paperwork…is what we could look at first,” Elly suggested.

“No, we shouldn’t…this decision is about us, Hendrix and Elliot…and the rest of your family if Hendrix lives here with us. As far as making it more…unofficial…to give Hendrix and Pierce a chance to fix things before going down that path…maybe we should consider that,” Chloe agreed.

Elly kissed the top of Chloe’s head, “How about you and I go back to sleep and think more about this to discuss tomorrow…or well later today?”

“I like your plan,” Chloe decided.

Elly dragged her eyes up and down Chloe’s body, “I like that now that we finally made love to one another, you’re naked except for your dressing gown and don’t have it tied up.”

“So are you,” Chloe grinned, slipping her hand to Elly’s hip, “Y’know now that we have…being together…we should do it again.”

“We will, baby, just not in front of the peanut. As soon as I get you all to myself for five minutes…I’ll be more than ready to jump into bed with you and make love to you,” Elly promised.

“Sounds perfect except for the five minutes, can we run that out to at least 10 or 15…maybe an hour?” Chloe winked.

“For you, I can do that,” Elly agreed, “C’mon, let’s go back to sleep before my son inevitably wakes us up. We can talk more about whether we want to be Hendrix’s guardian’s in the morning.”

“Goodnight, Elly,” Chloe whispered, closing her eyes.

“Night, my beautiful girl,” Elly whispered back, soon falling asleep with Chloe in her arms.

Chapter Text

And She, Waits For You

Chapter Fifty-Eight

Thursday 12th March – 7:00am

Chloe and Elly held hands as they walked together out of their bedroom to the dining room where they found the rest of Elly’s family eating breakfast.

“Good morning, you two lovers, how was your night last night?” Bea asked innocently.

You mean the part where I made love to Chloe at the hotel office or after that when we had a teenager come to us and ask to be part of our family?

Chloe and Elly sat down next to one another at the table, Elly placing the baby monitor between them on the table.

Chloe had the paperwork Hendrix had given them, placing it down next to her on the table, glad when no one specifically commented about it, “We had…the best night.”

As Karl poured Chloe a coffee without needing to be asked and seeing the relief on her face as he handed it over, Chloe took a sip. Elly smiled at the silent interaction, slipping her arm around the back of Chloe’s chair and running her fingers against Chloe’s shoulder.

“What made last night the best?” Bea once again asked innocently.

Making love to your sister and how perfect that was…is not the answer I should give…

Chloe shrugged, “Just our double dinner date with the boys…our failed attempt at spending the night apart from the peanut.”

Elly smiled at Chloe as she reluctantly removed her arm from the chair and the pair grabbed some assorted breakfast foods laid out on the table in front of them, put them on their plates and began eating, “Yeah, we were not at all ready to spend the night apart from him like we thought we were.”

Suze and Karl glanced at the pair knowingly.

“Here I thought you two would be desperate for a little alone time and that would win out over your need to…be away from your son,” Bea pointed out.

Yeah, we got that alone time, Bea, and it sure won out.

“Better luck, next time,” Suze offered.

“Exactly, we’ll know when we’re ready to spend the night apart from him,” Chloe agreed.

“You two should work up to it more,” Bea suggested, “Y’know, let us or the boys mind Elliot for a few hours at a time until one night you don’t need to take him back to your room. We can shift the cot out of your room for a night.”

“We’ll think it over,” Elly decided before grinning at Chloe who was busy spreading margarine, vegemite and avocado on several slices of toast, “Though speaking of our room…I hope there won’t be any problems but…Chloe’s moving in with us on the weekend.”

Bea raised her eyebrow, “Don’t you already live here?”

“I don’t seem to recall a night you haven’t been here for the past three-odd months, Chloe. The amount of avocados on the shopping list has tripled since you’ve been here,” Karl pointed out.

“I have you on the cleaning roster, guests don’t really get that honour,” Suze told them.

Elly blushed at their assessments, “Okay so maybe it was more me…not being as accommodating as I could’ve been by clearing room in my wardrobe and things to give Chloe a chance to actually move her stuff into. As she’s living out of her suitcase on the floor of our bedroom…I shouldn’t be making her do that anymore so I’m going to clear space in my room over the next few days and Chloe will move the rest of her stuff in on the weekend.”

“I need to speak to Aaron and David first since money for rent still comes out of my account and I should be using that here and building a better future for Elly, the peanut and I,” Chloe explained.

“Works for me,” Bea replied non-plussed, “I’ll still have to get up early to have my shower before Choe does”

“Sorry about that, thanks for not using up the hot water and leaving some for me,” Chloe replied.

Elly cleared her throat as she glanced down at the paperwork, “So…there’s something else that happened last night that we need to talk to you all about.”

“Oh my God, you two finally did it!” Bea exclaimed in excitement.

Is it that obvious…? Also, not even close to what I was about to say!

“Why would Chloe and I ever want to talk to the three of you about our romantic life?” Elly asked, sidestepping denying Bea’s claim.

Bea rolled her eyes, “This whole busy being influential women raising a baby boy needs to stop getting in the way of you two having a love life.”

Elly watched as her aunt and uncle put their heads down, concentrating on their food then the thought of Bea wanting to talk about anyone’s love life.

Agreed. Now that Elly and I have made love to one another our need for each other will only increase…just 10 minutes a day without looking after the peanut, is that the least we could ask for? Yeah…it probably is…

“Be that as it may…we have something to discuss with you all,” Elly sidestepped once more, “Hendrix stopped by here late last night after you’d all gone off to bed. He’s having some serious problems with Pierce.”

“Does Hendrix want to crash on our couch for a night or two until they figure it out?” Suze assumed.

Elly glanced at Chloe as the blonde answered, “It might be a little bit more than that. Hendrix asked me to be a witness to this document…even though technically he’s already signed it.”

Chloe handed the emancipation document to Karl who quietly read it before handing it on to Susan and Bea to read. Karl was a little too surprised by it to know how to react.

“What’s emancipation?” Bea asked as soon as she saw the word on the document without reading through it to find out more.

Karl looked pensive as he answered, “It’s kind of like divorce only between a child and their parents before the child is 18 years old. It legally removes the parents from any parental or financial responsibility over the child.”

“Is Hendrix seriously considering legally removing himself from his parents’ responsibility? That’s going to be a blow to Pierce, he has been working on things between them,” Susan questioned.

“Hendrix has been thinking about this for quite a number of weeks now and I don’t think Pierce has been working on things at all with him. He didn’t even know Hendrix and Harlow were dating for six weeks,” Chloe explained.

“Are you really considering signing this?” Karl asked quietly.

“I’m considering it, yes,” Chloe told him.

“And what will Hendrix do once he’s separated from Pierce? Where’s he going to live? How’s he going to afford food? He’s not dropping out of school or moving in with Harlow, is he?” Susan fired off her questions.

“That’s why we’re discussing this with you,” Elly replied, before nodding at Chloe, “Why don’t you show them the other document Hendrix wants us both to sign…as that’ll pretty much answer your questions.”

Chloe handed it over, only this time Karl, Susan and Bea all crowded around to read it all at once.

As Elly’s family members sat in silence as they read over it, Chloe broke the silence, “Hendrix has asked Elly and I to be his guardians until he’s 18 years old…at least. Hendrix would be living with us…here. He’s asked to be part of our…family.”

Chloe always hesitates on that word, family. She’s still coming to terms with that…that that’s all I want us to be. Will we be one day?

“Hendrix wants a more stable environment and he seems to think that Chloe and I are the right people to provide him with that,” Elly admitted.

“Cool with me,” Bea shrugged.

“Does anything faze you, Bea?” Chloe asked.

“Not really,” Bea grinned, “Besides if Hendrix wants to choose two people to be his parents then he couldn’t have chosen two better people. You two are incredible with Elliot and you’ll be fantastic with Hendrix.”

Elly blushed at her sister, then smiled shyly at Chloe, “Thanks, Bea. That means a lot. We’d never be Hendrix’s parents, simply his guardians until he turns 18.”

“How far away is that?” Susan asked the pair.

“Two months away,” Chloe answered, “We’d likely need to commit to this until Hendrix completes Year 12…if not longer.”

“And you both want to do this?” Karl asked, trying not to consider how Pierce would react to all this.

Elly took Chloe’s hand on the table between them, “No decisions have been made. We wanted to speak to you all first. Having a teenager move into the house to live with us so we can take care of him is huge especially when this is not our house. This decision will affect all of you. Having an additional person in the house, one whom we’re responsible for, not yourselves, would take some getting used to.”

“Are there any other options?” Karl asked with concern, unable to avoid his thoughts of Pierce in all this.

“Instead of Hendrix and I moving in here…Elly and the peanut could always move to mine as there’s a spare bedroom Hendrix could take there. He didn’t want to over the Christmas break, preferred to be on the couch there but there would be enough room for all of us there if it came to that,” Chloe proposed.

“I didn’t mean your living situation…we do have room here for Hendrix…I more meant are there any options than having Hendrix leave Pierce and his mum under these kinds of circumstances?” Karl posed.

“We haven’t signed anything, we haven’t even decided on anything, all we’ve done is talk about this. This is the biggest decision Chloe and I will be making since we started officially dating, we’re not rushing into it,” Elly pointed out, “There’s every chance the only thing we will do is possibly offer Hendrix a place to stay while he works out things with his Dad without signing anything.”

“It might be the way to go,” Susan advised.

“We need to look at all our options. We spoke to Hendrix after he told us what he wanted…he really wants this. We need to do what’s best for us, what’s best for Hendrix and also importantly what’s best for my son. We haven’t exactly read through every word of the paperwork to apply for guardianship. I was hoping to message Toadie to ask him if Chloe and I can stop by during Chloe’s lunch break to go through with him exactly what we’d be signing up for. We know this is massive, we’d be inviting Hendrix to be part of our family…the one I hope to have officially one day with Chloe and Elliot,” Elly explained, making sure she didn’t put pressure on her girlfriend to already be a family with her and her son.

“Talking it over with Toadie so they understand exactly what this would mean for them sounds like a reasonable option to me,” Bea decided, “For what it’s worth…you two would be great guardians to Hendrix. I wouldn’t mind the kid living here.”

“Thanks, Bea,” Chloe whispered.

“So, what about you two?” Elly turned to her aunt and uncle, “If we were to look into agreeing to this, taking Hendrix into your home for Chloe and I to be his guardians…and this is a very big IF…would you support us?”

Karl and Susan glanced at each other, then nodded at one another.

Susan spoke up for them, “You two made the right decision to be together and help raise Elliot so far together. If once you’ve spoken to Toadie about all this and decide it’s the best thing for you to do for your future and Hendrix’s too then we’ll support you both.”

“Thank you,” Elly smiled brightly, then suggested, “I don’t suppose…if we can get onto Toadie about talking us through this whole…guardianship…the three of you can give Chloe and I some space later tonight so we can talk through our decision? Without any interruptions. Okay except those interruptions from my son.”

Bea grinned, “We could go one better, go out for dinner, take Elliot with us, give you two much needed alone time to decide what to do about Hendrix and then if you end up with extra time on your hands you can--”

“Oh my God, Bea, could you please stop discussing my love life? There are far more important things on Chloe and I’s mind,” Elly shook her head at her sister.

“Whatever. Someone needs to,” Bea rolled her eyes teasingly, “Fine, have the house to yourself for a few hours so you can talk over your decision on Hendrix.”

Karl nodded in agreement, “We’ll go out for dinner together and give you two some time to talk.”

“Thank you,” Chloe replied.

An hour later, the rest of the clan had headed off to work, Chloe and Elly were standing by the front door, kissing gently as their way of goodbye before Chloe headed to the hotel.

Chloe reluctantly pulled out of their kiss, “Y’know Bea’s right…if we come to a decision early and let your family take the peanut with them, we’d have alone time tonight to have a love life.”

Elly giggled at her girlfriend, “Not you too. We can’t rush this decision on Hendrix on account of our love life. And after trying my very best to have a night without Elliot here…even the idea of a few hours away from him feels wrong. We're going to talk this whole thing through...not get up to any love life stuff.”

Chloe teasingly kissed Elly again, "We finally made love to one another and now you're gonna make me wait weeks to do it again."

"That's right," Elly teased back, and when Chloe reluctantly pried herself from Elly to leave for work, Elly grinned wickedly as she shot out her hand and slapped Chloe's butt.

Chloe turned back to Elly surprised, "You are so cheeky and don't think I won't get you back tonight for that."

"I'll be waiting for it," Elly winked.

A knock on the door interrupted the pair. Chloe opened the door to find Hendrix standing on the doorstep.

"Hey Hendrix, what are you doing here so early? I'm just off to work, you headed to school? I can walk with you if you want..." Chloe offered happily then noticed the teen had a small backpack with him on top of his school bag.

"I just thought I'd stop by to check...if you two had talked about if you would help me...I know, I know I should be giving you time to work out what you want to do but I really want this. Y'know I walked past Dad before with my backpack...he didn't even notice why I have it with me...he didn't notice me," Hendrix admitted, "I'll...I'll just leave it at my locker at school. I don't know if I want to go back to Dad's tonight so I just...I just packed a few things in case..."

Elly walked over to Chloe, wrapping her arm around her waist, "If you don't want to go back to your Dad's tonight...why don't you leave the bag here and you can crash here on the couch?"

Hendrix smiled softly, "I can? Really?"

Hendrix walked into the house, over to the couch where he placed his backpack down on the couch, "Thank you."

Chloe bit her lip as she glanced at Elly before looking at Hendrix, "Hendrix, we are talking about this...we know you want an answer from us but we need a bit more time, okay? This is...it's kinda the biggest decision Elly and I will be making since we got together. We need to do what's right for you, us and for Elliot...we need more time. We're happy for you to stay here with us and the Kennedy's on the couch until we have decided. We've already asked Elly's family if we can have some space tonight so we can sit down and talk about this. If you can do that for us too, we'll see how we feel this evening. But I don't want to get your hopes up...this might only be temporary."

"Right...yeah...no of course...I get it...temporary...so I guess I won't unpack," Hendrix replied despondently.

Elly nestled her face to Chloe's neck, whispering into her ear, "He really wants this...doesn't he? Like more than I thought he did?"

Chloe nodded back to her, whispering herself, "Yeah he does...a lot more than I thought he did too. We still need to make the right decision for all of us."

"We will," Elly promised.

Chapter Text

And She, Waits For You

Chapter Fifty-Nine

Thursday 12th March – 12:30pm

Elly and Chloe were walking from the hotel to Toadie's law office together. Elly was pushing Elliot's pram and in lieu of holding hands, Chloe had her hand on Elly's hand on the pram's handle.

"So, Pierce was...odd with me this morning. He didn't say anything to me...just glared at me though two of the meetings he was in with Terese and I," Chloe informed her girlfriend.

"Do you think he knows what we did last night in his office?" Elly smirked, unable to ignore her memories of the previous night, where the pair of them had been unable to squash their desire for one another, wait until they were anywhere else and had made love to one another in Pierce's office.

Chloe smirked right back at Elly, "Depends how important that set of documents was that we trashed."

"It's not like we could just leave them there on his desk...smelling like you," Elly teased, "We're so bad but we won't let that kind of thing happen again."

"I don't think that would be a good look for my career if we did. Besides, I think the only place that should ever smell like either of us is our bed," Chloe concluded.

"True...though when we do eventually one day in the future get our own place...as far off in the future as you want as I don't want to pressure you...but ah where was I? Oh, so like our own place, we'd christen every room in the place with our love, right?" Elly put forth.

"When we get to the stage of getting our own place, I don't know what could ever get in the way of us not spending our first night making love to one another in every single room. We'll have to have someone look after the peanut for us...y'know to make sure the place is safe and secure for all of us before we bring him...home," Chloe decided, then paused, "Though what would we do with Hendrix if we were to go through with being his guardians? He'd be moving with us, unless of course we get a place next year and he might not want to stay on with us."

Elly shrugged, "We could...give Hendrix the longest shopping list known to man to set up our new place with all the food and items at the grocery store we could need and tell him to scamper off to get it all. Should buy us a few hours at least to christen a few important rooms though probably not all."

"I like your plan," Chloe agreed, "But before we look ahead to our future when I haven't even moved in with you yet, we need to talk to Toadie about Hendrix asking us to be guardians."

"Yes, we do," Elly smiled as the pair reached Toadie's office and Chloe skipped ahead to open the door for Elly to push the pram in first before joining her girlfriend inside.

"Hey, Toad," both women greeted their neighbour and local lawyer.

"Ladies, good to see you and Elliot," Toadie greeted them back as he indicated for the pair to take a seat opposite his desk.

"Thanks for seeing us on such short notice and during Chloe's lunch break," Elly told him.

Toadie smiled at the infant in the pram, "All good, I assume this is a little bit more than a quick question."

"Certainly more than that, we know you're going to bill us for your time. We want you to as we want to make sure we have all the information," Elly explained vaguely.

"I'm not in the least surprised to see you here. I knew it was a matter of time," Toadie acknowledged.

"What for?" Chloe asked puzzled.

Toadie cleared his throat, realizing he had perhaps jumped the gun on assuming Chloe's legal role in Elliot's life was not the reason for the visit, "I guess...about Elliot."

"What about Elliot?" Elly asked, not getting it either.

"Never mind," Toadie dismissed, "What can I help you with?"

Elly pulled out the two sets of documents Hendrix had presented the couple from her handbag, "We're not here about this lil guy, we're here about another guy...Hendrix came by last night and asked us to sign these for him."

Elly handed the documents to Toadie, then reached out to hold Chloe's hand on Chloe's knee as the co