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Happily Ever After

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Tony unlocked the door as he let Bren into the house. She held the baby close to her chest, kissing her head softly. She looked back as Tony locked the door behind them, putting their overnight bag on the floor.

“You need help with anything?” Bren asked.

“No, no. I’ve got it.” Tony turned as he took off his coat before going to Bren, “Shall I take her?”

“Yeah.” Bren carefully handed their daughter to Tony. The baby started to stir a little, “Oh, oh. Shh now.”

“Phew.” Tony chuckled as he held the newborn close to him as she still slept, “Come on, you.”

Bren smiled as she took off her coat, watching the two go into the living room. She hung up her coat and went into the living room. Tony was setting the baby down in the bassinet they had just got the other week. Bren walked up to him, resting her hand on his back as he kept his eyes on the baby. Tony smiled down at the sleeping baby before them.

“I know I’ve said it in the hospital but I can’t believe she’s real.” Tony said softly.

“I know.” Bren chuckled, “She’s beautiful, eh?”

“She is.” Tony nodded. He then turned to Bren as he put his arm around her, kissing her head softly, “You done good, mate.”

“We both did.” Bren smiled. Tony brought her a little closer to him, squeezing her shoulder for a moment, “I’ll make us a brew then, shall I?”

“Are you sure? Do you not want me to do it?” Tony asked.

“Nah, I’ll manage. It’ll be good for me to walk about a bit.” Bren smiled as she patted his back, “You can keep her majesty company.”

Tony chuckled as he sat down whilst Bren went through to the kitchen. Bren started making the tea as she turned on the radio. 

“Bren?”

“Yeah?”

“What about Sharon?”

“Sharon? No.”

“Why not?”

“Because I’ve given birth to a baby girl, not a forty five year old woman.”

“Well, what about Martha?”

“Oh no, I went to school with a girl called Martha. Nasty piece of work.” Bren then came through with their tea. She handed Tony his cup of tea as she joined him on the couch, “Another girl called Martha started seeing my first boyfriend behind my back. I don’t trust Marthas.” She took another sip of tea as Tony sighed, “What about Emma?”

“Bit boring, eh?” Tony raised a brow, “We want something that pops out.”

“Gabriella?”

“Oh no. That’s too much!”

Bren laughed as she took a sip of her tea. She looked at the baby over Tony’s shoulder as she smiled. The baby was still asleep, stretching her legs a little.

“We’ll come up with her name eventually.” Bren smiled.

“Yeah.” Tony nodded before sitting forward and putting his tea on the coffee table, “Bren, I need to ask you something.”

“Oh. Okay. Is everything alright?” Bren asked.

“Everything’s fine. It’s perfect. Oh, I don’t really know how to ask this.” Tony sighed before going into his pocket and pulling out a little blue velvet box. Bren frowned when he showed her it as he opened it, “I was saving this for Christmas but I don’t think it can wait.” He opened the box to reveal a vintage engagement ring with an aquamarine stone and a thin gold band. Bren gasped, “Bren, will you marry me?”

Bren was speechless. She kept looking at the ring, her head swimming a little. 

“Where did you have the money for this? This would have been so expensive.” Bren’s jaw dropped.

“It’s my nan’s. My mum sent it up when she sent that hat for the baby.” Tony chuckled, “What do you think?”

“It’s beautiful. Are you sure you want to give it to me?” Bren frowned.

“Of course I do, you halfwit!” Tony laughed, “I want to be with you for the rest of my life. I love you, Bren. More and more everyday. What do you say?”

“Yeah.” Bren nodded, her eyes bubbling with tears a little, “Yeah.”

Tony grinned as he put the ring on her ring finger. Bren looked at the ring for a moment, in shock as she admired the stone. 

“Do you like it?” Tony asked.

“Yeah, yeah I do.” Bren nodded. She looked at him with a grin as she giggled, “I love you too.”

Tony leaned in as he kissed her. Bren’s hand moved to his cheek, keeping him close. They kissed for a couple of seconds but before anything else could be said, the baby started to cry. The two broke off the kiss as they looked at the baby.

“Let the fun begin, eh?”

- - - 

Tony gave the guests at the B&B their breakfast before heading back into the kitchen. He sighed softly, checking if he had any more orders. He rubbed his eyes a little as he flicked through the orders but everything was served. He checked the time. 11:26. It was approaching lunchtime and he was looking forward to getting his break soon. It was a Friday. Finally. Tony was looking forward to enjoying his weekend with Bren and the baby.

Tony pottered around the kitchen again, tidying up the worktops before going to wash the dishes that had just been used. As he stood at the sink, Tony heard faint voices out front but he didn’t pay much attention to them. There was then a soft knock on the door near him. He looked up to see Morag leaning against the doorframe.

“You have visitors.” Morag smiled, holding her empty tray to her chest.

Tony frowned. He washed his hands before heading out to the hall of the pub. Tony couldn’t think of who it could be that had come to see him. He thought it was probably someone who had stayed at the B&B before. 

Tony stepped out into the hall and grinned immediately when he noticed who it was. It was Bren and she was talking to Hamish and Anna. Her back was to Tony but he knew she had the baby with her because he could see the pram at the door. Bren turned when she heard his footsteps and smiled. She held the baby in her arms and the baby was awake. 

“Hello.” Tony grinned at the baby as he walked over to them. The baby started to smile a little which made Tony smile more. Bren handed her over to Tony, “Hello, sweetheart.” Tony kissed her head as the baby cooed before turning to Bren and kissing her, “You alright?”

“Yeah. I thought it would be best to take her on a walk, you know, let her have a bit of fresh air and we were just passing here so I thought I’d pop in.” Bren explained.

“Well you can stay for a bit. It’s almost lunch.” Tony suggested, rocking the baby gently.

“Um, yeah. Yeah, why not.” Bren nodded.

“We’ll leave you two to it then because we need to start opening up the pub.” Hamish said.

“I’ll take you through.” Tony led the way for Bren.

They headed through to the kitchen and then to the back where there was a little staff room. Tony gathered the last of the plates from the guests before he headed back to Bren.

“What would you like then?” Tony asked as he stood at the door.

“You got chips? I’ve got a bit of a craving for chips.” Bren replied as she held the baby in her arms.

“A craving? You better not be pregnant again.” Tony grinned.

“Ha-ha.” Bren rolled her eyes.

“Chips coming up.” Tony rubbed his hands together as he headed into the kitchen and started making the chips.

Tony brought through two bowls of chips for him and Bren. He then sat with her as they began to eat.

“How’s your day been?” Bren asked.

“It’s been alright. Those hitchhikers were in again.” Tony replied.

“Really?” Bren frowned, “They’re always here. Did you say they were going to a festival?”

“Yeah. They’ve been now, they’re going home today.” Tony explained, “They looked like they had a wild time. A three day hangover from three days of drinking lots of lager and taking pills with no food, no thank you.”

“I’m sure Twinkle would be in fine form after that.” Bren shrugged.

“I think Twinkle would survive a bomb.” Tony sighed, “Although not those rotten mince pies, d’you remember?”

“Yeah.” Bren giggled. The baby then started to stir, crying a little. Bren looked down to the baby in her arms, “Oh, shh. It’s alright, sweetheart. I think she’s hungry.”

“How has she been today?” Tony asked as Bren began breastfeeding the baby.

“She’s been okay.” Bren replied. She rubbed the baby’s back, “She was a bit moody earlier. That’s why I took her on a walk, I think she was having cabin fever.”

“Can babies get cabin fever?”

“I dunno. It’d be funny if they did though, eh? Well not ‘funny ha-ha’ but funny, you know?”

“Yeah.” 

“Your mum phoned before I left.”

“Yeah? What did she say?”

“She was just asking about the baby and asking if we got the baby grows she sent up.”

“Did we?”

“Yes.”

“Oh. Was that it? No drama with the neighbour next door or that my Aunt Emily is in hospital again?”

“Nothing at all. Believe me, I was surprised too.” Bren chuckled. She then burped the baby as the baby started to fall asleep as her face fell, “It’s weird being at home all day on my own.”

“What do you mean? You’ve got madam there.” Tony chuckled.

“No, I know. But I miss you.” Bren sighed.

“Aww, Bren.” Tony rubbed her shoulder, “I’m sorry.”

“No it’s not your fault. You can’t take time off, can you? It just would be nice if your, oh what’s the word? Not patriarchy, paternity! It would be nice if your paternity leave was longer. You’d get more time with her.” Bren replied. 

“I know. Good thing I’m not here the whole day, eh?” Tony chuckled but Bren just looked at the baby with a sad look on her face. Tony looked over at the clock, “I tell you what, I’ll say to Hamish I’m going early. We’ve not got many people in tonight so I should be able to go home. We could get this weekend started properly. What do you say?”

“Yeah.” Bren nodded with a little smile growing on her face, “That would be great.”

“Brilliant. I’ll go say to him and we can go now.” Tony stood up.

“I haven’t finished my lunch yet, Tony.” Bren grabbed his hand.

“Oh, sorry.” Tony chuckled as he then sat back down. He watched Bren continue to eat her lunch as she still held the baby. Tony then sat forward as he went to take the baby from her, “I’ll take her for you.”

“Thanks.” Bren smiled.

Bren watched Tony as he held the baby close to him. Tony stroked the baby’s strawberry blonde hair gently, a little smile growing on his face. Bren smiled as she watched him. She moved closer to him as she looked at the baby.

“Look at that little smile.” Bren pointed at the baby’s small smile in her sleep, “I think she’s been missing you too.”

Tony chuckled as he looked up at Bren before back at the baby. The two were quiet as they watched the baby slowly wake up again. She opened her eyes as she yawned. Bren and Tony stayed quiet as they watched her, so happy for what they had together.

- - -

The baby’s cries filled the cottage as Tony opened his eyes tiredly. He was aware of Bren sighing in her sleep as she rolled her over. He knew she was going to get up, always insisting that she should check on the baby through the night. Tony rested his hand on her shoulder to stop her getting up.

“I’ll go. You get some sleep.” Tony rubbed her shoulder as he sat up.

Bren just groaned in reply as she lay back down. Tony got up from the bed as he headed through to the baby’s room. The baby’s cries were loud and seemed to wake up Tony more as he got closer. Tony finally reached the cot as he started to speak to the baby.

“Shh, shh.” He hushed the baby as he rested his hand on her stomach for a moment, “It’s okay, sweetheart.” Tony then reached into the cot as he picked up his daughter. He kissed her head as she started to quieten down, “It’s alright, eh? What’s the matter? Did you have a bad dream?”

The baby whimpered in reply. Tony walked over to the armchair as he sat down. He looked down at the baby as he turned the lamp next to him on. The baby looked up at him with her big blue eyes which made him smile. She was so like her mother which made Tony smile. He could see the similarities between himself and his daughter too but she was her mother’s daughter and to be honest, he was so happy about that. He loved Bren so much and having a child with her made him so happy. The fact he was able to have a child with Bren was amazing and he was thankful for it everyday. 

“Are you alright now? You were just having a bad dream.” Tony spoke quietly to the baby, “It’s just a dream, nothing will hurt you. I’ll make sure of that. Me and your mum, we won’t let anything bad happen to you. We love you so much.” Tony continued as he watched the baby look around the room. He looked in the direction of where she was looking and he noticed the baby mobile above her cot, “Oh you’re looking at the mobile eh? Your Auntie Anita made that. It’s clever. Do you see the little fox there?”

Bren rolled over as she noticed Tony wasn’t back in bed yet. Bren sat up slowly when she heard voices through the house. Bren decided to get up and headed through to the baby’s room, wondering if there was something wrong. She noticed the lamp was on in the baby’s room but the door was closed slightly. Bren approached the door as she was about to go in but she then stopped when she noticed Tony in the armchair with the baby. He was speaking to her about the baby mobile and the animals on it. Tony spoke quietly, smiling down to the baby as he talked to her. 

Bren smiled as she leaned against the door frame and watched them. She always knew that Tony would have been an amazing dad but she really was blown away by seeing him as a dad properly. He was so caring and loving towards their daughter and she was only a few weeks old. Bren really felt like she hit the jackpot. After all those years with her mother and everything else, Bren’s life was now perfect or at least perfect for her. 

“That’s you asleep now, eh? Come on, let’s get you to bed.” Tony said quietly as he stood. 

Bren watched as Tony lay the baby down. He pressed a kiss on the baby’s head before going to turn the lamp off. He headed to the door and opened it but jumped when he noticed Bren standing there.

“Oh Jesus, Bren.” Tony held onto his chest as Bren started to giggle, “Gave me the fright of my life.”

“I’m sorry.” Bren giggled. She then checked that the baby had not woken up.

“What are you doing up?” Tony asked.

“I just wanted to make sure everything was alright. You hadn’t come back to bed yet.” Bren replied, “Is she alright?”

“Yeah, just a bad dream I think.” Tony shrugged, “You should have stayed in bed. You look shattered.”

“I’m okay. I’m okay.” Bren nodded, “Thanks for going to see her though.”

“You don’t need to thank me, mate. She’s our daughter, remember?” Tony replied.

“I know but…” Bren said before she was hit by a big yawn.

“Come on,” Tony took her hand, “Let’s get some kip, eh?”

- - -

Bren sat in front of the television as she breastfed the baby. She had had a long night with the baby who had her first cold. Her cold was going away but it was still hard for her. Tony wanted to stay off with them but Bren made him go to work. Bren yawned before looking down at the baby who was done. Bren started to burp the baby before cuddling into her a little. The baby whimpered a little which made Bren frown.

“Shh, shh. It’s alright.” Bren looked at her daughter as she rubbed her back, “You’re okay, eh?” The baby stared up at Bren with her big blue eyes as Bren giggled a little, “Look at those eyes. Aren’t you pretty? Yes you are, you’re my pretty girl.”

Bren giggled as the baby continued looking at her but she was cut off when she heard the front door unlock.

“Bren?” Tony called through the house.

“Hiya.” Bren replied back, “How was your day?”

“It was good.” Tony appeared at the door of the living room, “I have a little surprise for you.”

“A surprise?” Bren asked.

“Yeah.” Tony nodded.

“Oh. Okay.” Bren said as Tony then disappeared into the hall again. She looked down at the baby, “What’s daddy got for us then, hm? What do you think it is? It probably won’t be something too big. He said it was little, didn’t he? Could be something for you, eh?” Bren went to call for Tony as she lifted her but she was shocked to find what, or more who was in front of her, “Oh wow.”

Jean, Stan, Dolly, Anita and her little boy, Twinkle and Philippa all came into the living room. They smiled as they came in whilst Tony stood at the door frame. Bren was so shocked to see them that she didn’t know what to say.

“Hello, Bren.” Jean grinned.

“When did you all come up?” Bren frowned.

“This morning. We got a flight up.” Dolly explained, “We’re staying at the B&B.”

“Did you know?” Bren turned to Tony as she sniffled a little, happy tears bubbling in her eyes.

“I had no idea.” Tony shrugged, “Not until they showed up.”

“We wanted to surprise you both.” Stan replied, “And come see the baby.”

Bren giggled a little as she sniffled again. She was so happy to see them all. It had been around a year or so since she had seen them all and having them here made her so happy. Bren and Tony (Though he would never admit it) had missed them all a lot. They all crowded around Bren to see the baby as Tony disappeared into the kitchen to make tea. Jean and Dolly sat next to Bren on the couch whilst Twinkle sat on the armrest at the other side of Bren. Anita sat in the armchair opposite the couch with her little boy on her lap, Philippa sitting on the armrest of the armchair and Stan stood with his hands in pockets near the fire.

“She’s beautiful, Bren.” Jean smiled down at the baby.

“Do you want to hold her?” Bren asked.

“Oh, please.” Jean smiled. Bren handed the baby over to Jean as she looked down at her. The baby still slept, stretching in the older woman’s arms, “Aw, look.”

“She’s like you, Bren.” Dolly pointed out.

“Yeah, everyone says that.” Bren nodded, “I sort of see it. She was a bit like something out of the Beano when she was first born. That was probably me.”

“You can see a lot of Tony too though.” Philippa said.

“Yeah. Nice to see that Cardiman is still getting his end away.” Twinkle laughed before singing quietly, “Agadoo.”

“Thank you.” Dolly tutted.

“Twink?” Bren lifted her head.

“Yeah?” Twinkle replied.

“Shut up.” Bren chuckled.

“How was the birth?” Philippa asked as Tony brought through their cups of tea on a tray. He handed Philippa her tea, “Thanks, Tony.”

“It was quite long. Eleven hours.” Bren nodded. They all reacted with an audible gasp among them, “It was alright once she came though. It wasn’t too painful.”

“‘Wasn’t too painful’? You almost broke my hand, mate. And you were screaming at the top of your lungs.” Tony sighed.

“Well yeah, but apart from that, it wasn’t that bad. The worst part was afterwards.” Bren replied.

“I did tell you about the stitches. Not nice at all.” Jean shook her head as she passed the baby to Tony.

“Yeah, it was really uncomfortable.” Bren took a sip of her tea, “I was sitting on frozen peas for days.”

“Did you have any haemorrhoids, Bren?” Anita asked with her usual innocence. Bren noticed Tony’s face drop when she mentioned this and she tried her best to stifle a laugh.

“Um no actually, which I was surprised at because I was pushing for awhile.” Bren nodded.

“Well, it’s different for everyone, isn’t it?” Dolly added.

“It is. One of my friends had three, sort of in a cluster.” Anita replied as she let her little boy off her lap and let him play with his teddy, “I only had one.”

“Well, thank goodness I now have an infant daughter who isn’t toilet trained yet because if I didn’t, I would have been outside with a fag right now. Bren, I’m gonna change her.” Tony said as he walked past Philippa and Anita to go change the baby’s nappy.

“Oh yeah, whiffarama!” Philippa turned away for a moment before watching Tony begin to change the baby’s nappy, “When did you give up smoking, Tony?”

“The day Bren told me she was pregnant. No more cancer sticks for me.” Tony laughed.

“Good man, Tony.” Stan nodded, “Not a very good habit, cigarettes. You know, my dad was a desert rat and he said used cigarettes for their bullets if they ran out. A lot of power in them. Although he did like his pipe now and then.”

“He’s good with her, isn’t he?” Jean nudged Bren gently as they watched Tony with the baby.

“He is.” Bren smiled, “She’s lucky.”

“You both are.” Dolly butted in, “You’ve both done so well.”

The baby started to whine a little as Tony looked around the table. He tried to calm her but she started to cry more.

“Bren, where’s the other packet of nappies?” Tony frowned.

“I’ll get them.” Bren stood up as she headed over to get more nappies out.

“What’s the baby called again, Bren? I don’t know why but I keep forgetting. Stupid Philippa.” Philippa laughed nervously.

“That’s alright.” Bren chuckled as she walked over and stood in front of the living room door, “She’s called Amy.”

“Awww, now that is an exceptional name,.” Stan smiled.

“Was there any meaning behind it?” Philippa asked.

“Well, we couldn’t think of a name for a few days and then Amy just came to us. We actually named her after Tony’s mum, eh?” Bren explained.

“Uh huh.” Tony replied as he got Amy into her baby grow.

“That’s really nice.” Anita nodded with a grin.

“Thank goodness you didn’t name her after your mother, Bren.” Dolly raised her brows.

“Yeah, baby Petula.” Jean sighed.

“Or another baby Brenda.” Bren chuckled, “She’d be Brenda Furlong the third.”

“You mean Brenda Martin?” Tony walked over to her with Amy in his arms which made Bren chuckle.

“Now, that’s a nice name, Bren, eh?” Jean nodded with a grin. 

“What about middle names?” Anita asked.

“Eh?” Bren asked with a smile.

“Middle names.” Anita repeated. Twinkle’s eyes drifted from Anita as she looked around the room. She started fiddling with her hands before looking up towards Bren. Bren’s hand was at her side and Twinkle noticed the aquamarine ring on her finger, “Middle names are-.”

“Anita, shut up a minute.” Twinkle took Bren’s hand as she looked at the ring, “Flipping heck, Bren! This is massive!”

“What is it?” Jean asked before noticing what Twinkle was looking at, “Bren? You didn’t tell us that!”

“What?” Stan frowned.

“Me and Tony are engaged.” Bren said shyly as she showed them her ring.

There was another audible gasp from everyone. A more cheerful audible gasp this time. Bren giggled as she looked up at Tony who smiled.

“Why didn’t you tell us?” Dolly grinned at them.

“And when did this happen?” Jean grinned too.

“I proposed when we brought Amy home. I was going to do it Christmas day but the timing wasn’t right. It would be best to be a little earlier.” Tony explained as he wrapped his arm around Bren who smiled up to him, “I guess we’ve not really had the time to tell anyone, have we?”

“No.” Bren giggled.

“When’s the wedding then?” Philippa asked.

“We haven’t thought that far ahead yet. You’d be lucky if we’ve even thought about our dinner tonight.” Tony sighed. He then looked at Bren, “Speaking of dinner, shall we get a Chinese? I’m not having you cooking for all this lot.”

“Yeah, why not.” Bren chuckled before turning to the others, “Unless you all have other plans.”

“Not at all.” Dolly shook her head.

“We’ve come to see you three! Of course we don’t have any other plans.” Stan laughed.

“Exactly. Besides, after that revelation, we need to stay!” Twinkle chipped in, “Bren and the sad man are getting married. Wahey!”