A/N: Ok, I’m going to do the impossible thing of trying to master the art of Victoria Wood’s writing, in form of fanfiction. Of all the things I’ve written before this one has got the be the one, I’m most scared to upload. I think dinnerladies is one of the best series ever written, and Victoria’s situational comedy really shines in it! I was thinking of making this a just two-parter rather than a multi chapter thing but the jury’s still out on that one.
I think I may have made Tony a bit (too) saccharine, but a tiny part of me likes to think that his relationship with Bren may’ve softened him up a bit. (you could see bits of a softercharacter in season 2, when he organized that birthday surprise for her, or that adorable ending to the last episode.)
Also: English isn’t my native tongue so apologies for any errors.
Disclagmer: I don’t own dinnerladies, it’s characters or any bits I might have taken from the original scripts.
Summary: What’ll the dinnerladies be up to in the new millennium? Wistful thinking on what could’ve happened after the series ended.
Pairing(s): Mostly Bren/Tony
Timeframe: Tuesday March 14th, 2000. Just about a bit after the series ended.
Word count: 2,258
Warnings: Nothing other than that I want to point out that I’m doing my absolute best not to butcher Victoria Wood’s work and keep the honour all to the wonderful series.
Minnellium Ch. 1: The P-Word.
Tuesday March 14th, 2000.
Bren was pacing back and forth from Tony’s office to the cash register going nearly mad.
Who to ask? Who to ask? Who to flipping ask?
Not Anita, seeing as how she couldn’t keep a secret if she tried. Actually, nobody in here could keep a secret. Placing bets on her and Tony like they were at a bloomin’ casino. It crossed her mind for a split second to do the test at home, but she’d rather have some people around. Not being sure what Tony’s reaction was going to be like. They’d only discussed it once, and when she found out she was late the only things going through her head were questions of why they never brought it up again. Did Tony not talk about it because he didn’t want any? Maybe he thought they were past the age of having them. I would surely mess up their plans of going to Scotland. No, it was better to have some support around just in case.
After some deliberation she settled on Phillipa, hoping she’d be able to keep quite at least for one day. Or so she hoped, with her being in human resources and all.
‘I think I might be the P-word…’ Bren told Phillipa from human resources in the small kitchen bathroom later that morning.
‘What? Pissed, pleased perforated?’ Phillipa asked confused.
‘No, Pregnant!’ She hissed
‘How did that happen?’
‘Well, gee how does something like that happen…’ Bren snorted, rolling her eyes.
‘No, I mean, I thought you said Tony was infertile?’
‘I didn’t know for sure, we never actually like talked about it or anything I’d just assumed with all the chemo and stuff.’ She shrugged.
‘You’ve never talked about it with him?’ She asked in a bit of a state of disbelief. Surely…
‘That’s what I just said. Catch on, will ya?’
‘Right, right. Go on!’
‘We did talk about pregnancy once, but you know just like with the infertile thing, you just leave that for other people to talk about like doctors or David Attenborough on one of those nature programs.’ In all fairness it was also the age thing that bugged her too much to have an actual proper conversation about it.
‘Do you have a test with you?’
‘Yeah, got one yesterday, but I’ve been too scared to do it…’
Twink stood just behind Tony’s office, trying to listen in unnoticed.
‘Be quiet!’ Twink hissed as she heard Jean and Dolly come up behind her, chattering away.
‘Why do we have to be quiet?’ Dolly asked, quite annoyed at such a forward request. She could’ve at least said please or be a bit nicer about it. But then again, this was Twink she was speaking to.
‘Cuz Bren’s in there’ Twink pointed to the bathroom.
‘Why do we have to be quiet just because Bren’s in there?’ Jean asked now getting curious herself.
‘just cuz!’ Twink motioned with her hands to quiet them back down.
‘Do you want Big Willy all the way up in packaging to hear her relieving herself then?’ Jean asked, growing increasingly more impatient.
‘She’s not taking a shit! She’s taking a pregnancy test!’ Twink blurted out
‘No! You’re having me on!’ Jean joshed giving twink a jovial push.
‘No, I’m not! Her coat fell of and the box fell out! She’s in there with that lady from human resources. Flipper.’
‘Phillipa,’ Dolly corrected ‘and you’re sure it was a pregnancy test?’ She added in her I’ll-only-believe-it-if-it’s-been-in-the-daily-mail voice.
‘I’m not blind, am I? I saw it with me own eyes! Saw her fumbling with it before, trying to get it out of her pocket.’
‘Are you open yet? Can I get twelve rounds of white?’ Jane came rushing in, with not the best timing, as usual. The timing was great for her though, not so much for the people she was barging in on.
‘shhh!’ All three women simultaneously told her to quiet down.
‘What’s happening then?’ Jane half whispered as she joined them behind the counter.
‘We really shouldn’t say.’ Dolly reasoned
‘Bren’s doing a test in there, with Philippa- Ouch!’ Twink said earning her a soft slap across the arm from Jean.
‘You’re joking! With the stick and all?!’
‘Yeah, how else are you supposed to do it?’ Twink told Jane in her signature annoyed tone.
‘Will be nice though, having another baby around here.’ Jean mused.
‘Who’s having another baby?’ Anita came round the corner carrying a crate of white bread.
‘Oh, she might not even be pregnant, now leave it alone you lot! This is between her and Tony’ Dolly shood everyone back to their places.
‘Then why do it in the middle of work when ya don’t want anyone bothering you about it?’ Twink commented rolling her eyes.
‘Why is there no bacon on?’ Tony asked returning from his fag break. Quickly closing the door behind him before anybody had the chance tell him to shut it. ‘This is still a place of work, not afternoon tea at the bloody palace! Get to it!’ He added with a heated tone to his voice.
‘Aye, aye, Sad Man, sir…’ Twink replied with a mock salute.
As the working day was rounding up Tony couldn’t help but feel odd about things. Bren had been avoiding him all day and he had no clue what he’d done. He couldn’t even ask her to put the toast on or she’d run out of the kitchen like she’d just seen a ghost. Add to that people who’d been congratulating him all afternoon, asking him if he was excited at all? Excited for what? Telling him things like ‘About time, isn’t it?’ or ‘It’ll be great! Once the sleepless nights are over.’. Strange trail of thought, when you don’t have any context to go with them.
‘Tony!’ Jane rushed in. ‘You must be happy then?’ She clasped her hands together with excitement.
‘Happy for what? You know, I have people congratulating me all day and I have no bloody clue what for!’ He threw his hands up in frustration.
‘Oh! Bren hasn’t told you then?’ Jane placed a shocked hand over her mouth, before saying even more things she shouldn’t have said.
‘Told me what? Alright. Do you all know something I don’t? Cuz this is about doing me head in!’ Tony yelled heads immediately turning in his direction.
‘Get with it cardiman! She’s got a bun in the oven!’ Twink walked past him with a soft slap on the shoulder.
‘We don’t know that for sure!’ Dolly piped up
‘Oh, me and my blasted mouth!’ Jane hurriedly apologized ‘I heard someone in in advertising talking about it and thought the cat was out of the bag, so to speak…’
‘Well, according to Big Willy in packaging she’s already given birth. She’s lucky, my pregnancy lasted nearly nine months!’ Anita decided to put her, ever so smart, two cents in.
‘Anita, sweetheart…’ Jean opened her mouth to reply but decided to Segway out of that one ‘Just shows you how fast word gets round in this place.’
‘And how it gets twisted.’ Dolly added.
‘Look, Twink only saw her doing, what she thought was, a pregnancy test with Philippa from human resources. That’s all we know.’ Jean reassured him.
‘Speaking of the devil.’ Tony spat as she saw Phillipa enter the kitchen
‘Oh, me and my awkward timing!’ Phillipa ducked out as fast as she’d entered.
‘You, stay ‘ere.’ She stopped dead in her tracks and slowly turned back around.
‘Tony, she told me not to say anything.’ She said softly.
‘And yet everybody in here bloody knows except for me!’
‘Well, that wasn’t my doing.’ All eyes moved to Twink.
‘Geez, sorry! Shouldn’t do it in the kitchen bathroom stall then, aye?’ She shrugged.
‘Just talk to her Tony. She’s been feeling awful.’
‘How’d ya think I’ve been feeling all day then?!’
After having cooled off a bit he went out on to the fire escape. There she sat a few steps below, head resting in her hands. She popped up when she sensed someone coming up from behind. Probably Tony. She thought.
‘Hiya.’ Bren said, looking up at him with a somewhat sad smile.
‘Hiya.’ Tony replied sitting next to her on the steps.
For a while both didn’t say anything. Tony just grabbed Bren’s hand and gave it a reassuring squeeze. Normally it’d calm her down instantly, but this time it didn’t seem to do much for her nerves as her leg kept on doing that trembling thing.
‘You got any cigarettes with you then?’ She’d asked after a while. She quit smoking years ago and didn’t miss it. Only when she got really nervous about something, she just craved to have a good smoke.
‘Not for you, I don’t.’ He chuckled. Not for me either. He had to start giving a good example if he was, possibly, going to be a dad, he figured.
‘Right. Probably better if I don’t.’ She quickly added, slightly chuckling now herself.
‘Probably.’ He mused, before both of them slipped back into a comfortable silence.
Tony marvelled at how him and Bren could sit next to each other for hours without even saying one word and not get tired of it. It would mean that they were very comfortable with each other, right? Or at least not like in the beginning where they’d constantly be scared of running out of interesting conversation. Not that he really was big on long conversation anyway, but it was nice that you had someone you didn’t have to impress with puffed up talk all the time. Just the two of them, completely themselves, completely content.
This was something different though. He felt just like he did when he’d first asked her to come to Scotland for Christmas, and she hadn’t told him she was married. In the end it hadn’t bothered him as much as he thought it would. Knowing Bren, she probably had a good reason for not telling him, and she had; but he couldn’t help but feel a bit rejected when he had to hear this news from everyone else except from the person who really mattered.
‘Are you then? Pregnant, I mean?’ He asked a while later, breaking the silence.
‘Yeah, well no, well yeah. I am. I think.’ She let go of his hand and started fumbling with her fingers as she said it. ‘Took a test this morning.’ She quietly mumbled.
‘You knew since this morning? Bren, why didn’t you say anything?’
‘Well, I tried but, you know how I am with delivering news. I dunno why everyone keeps asking me to do that.’ She sheepishly scratched the back of her head.
‘Tell us what you’re thinking then, Bren.’ His expression grew soft, real concern showing in his eyes.
‘Oh, I don’t know… Well, I do, actually, but baby-erm- maybe we can pick this back up tomorrow? Or somewhere next week?’
‘Just tell us, aye?’ He replied with a little bit more of an edge than he should’ve used, probably. I did get her to talking though, so all in all a good choice, he thought.
‘I Guess I just got scared, and I didn’t know how you’d feel about it, with us wanting to go to Scotland to start our own business. You can’t raise a baby and a business at the same time. Just felt like I messed up your dreams or something. And what if I’ll just totally blunder it up like my mother? Like, you know, I might accidentally leave it somewhere and forget. Leave the baby seat on the roof of the car and drive off for example, or just not be good at it, this being a mother, d’you know what I mean?’’
Tony didn’t reply, instead he just lifted her head up to meet his and gave her a soft peck on the lips.
‘You could never ruin my dreams! Every day with you feels like I’m dreaming! And yeah, this may change our plans a little, but flipping heck I’m going to be a dad!’
‘As for the other thing, Bren, would we’ve gotten it together if you were anything like your mum?’ He laughed
‘For your sake I hope not.’ She chuckled.
‘You’re nothing like her! She was very young when she had you and you’re-‘
‘Very old? Thanks.’ She cut in, softly slapping his chest.
‘That’s not what I was getting at!’
‘I know.’ She chuckled.
‘honestly didn’t think it could happen, you know, with all the chemo…’
‘Neither did I.’ He sighed, placing one arm around her shoulders.
‘we’d still need to see a doctor to be really sure though, might be a false alarm, I’m only four days late.’
‘I call the bloomin’ hospital right now and carry you there if I have to!’
‘You’re lucky your car’s parked right up there then.’ She pointed to a small red vehicle parked on the parking lot below them.
She settled further back against him, letting her head rest on his shoulder. It was like there was nobody around but the two of them. No cars driving up and down the parking lot, no binman coming to collect the trash and no nosy co-workers peering through the kitchen window.
‘D’you want to marry me then?’ Tony asked a while later.
‘Yeah.’ Bren replied with a soft smile.
‘Good,’ She let out a sight of content..
‘Make us a brew then, aye!’
A/N: Ok so we all know I took the inspiration from the proposal from the way Stan proposed to Jean. I thought it was adorable and very fitting for them (Stan and Jean) as a couple, and let’s be honest; We all know you won’t see Tony go on one knee or be all romantic like that, so I thought a quiet question like this was also very fitting for Tony and Bren.
For if anyone who wants a bit of explaining about the main theme of this story: I was a bit hesitant with the idea of having Bren be pregnant after 40 at first, but I thought they deserved a chance at parenthood. My gran had my mum when she was 42 so yeah. It’s possible.
Please feel free to leave a review. Even if only to leave suggestions, one can never stop learning and improving!