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Reunited.

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Charlotte had woken up the following morning in her bed, next to her partner. She climbed out of bed and put her dressing gown on. Charlotte walked out of her room and fed the fish that Ben had bought to give the flat some positivity.

Ben wasn’t working today so she had left him in bed and the plan was to cook breakfast for them all.

Charlotte had skills for cooking which nobody knew as Bernie was useless in the kitchen as was Marcus and Cameron. She had learnt bits and bobs through her Grandmother on Marcus’ side and when they’d go and see Bernie’s mother when they were children.

Charlotte had decided to go with a fry up.

Bernie had woken up to the smell of bacon and frowned to herself, she turned to Serena. “You awake?”

“Ugh.. what’s the time?”

“8:30 and there is someone cooking bacon and it smells really nice.”

Bernie got up out of bed and put her dressing gown on and walked through and saw Charlotte stood in the kitchen. “What’s all this?”

“Uh, breakfast.” Charlotte said shyly, she still didn’t know her mother’s limitations at the moment and was trying to figure things out. “Ben’s off… with you here and Serena. I called Jason this morning and him, Greta and Guinevere are going to come. I thought we could… try breakfast?”

Bernie felt really touched. She got all of it wrong from when she was rescued. She thought Charlotte would be angry at her for hiding away with Serena but it was the opposite - she thought Charlotte would pile her with questions and the only question she had asked was if she wanted toast or fried bread? She knew Charlotte would have questions but appreciated the fact she put them to one side. “I’ll go get Serena.”

Serena walked through once Bernie called her and Charlotte woke Ben up for breakfast. Jason had knocked on the door and Charlotte let him in.

“Jason, hi.”

“Hi again, Charlotte. Thank you for inviting us.”

“It’s my pleasure. Feel free to put your coats where you want.”

“Well if I’d of known that it was a pyjama party..”

“Don’t worry, we all got up late.” Charlotte smiled.

They all sat down and ate with Ben and Charlotte doing the pots after eating. Charlotte’s phone lit up as she had a text from her dad.

“Shit.” Charlotte mumbled.

“What’s wrong?” Ben asked quietly.

“Dad’s on his way. What if she isn’t ready to face him yet? He’s never exactly known to be easy when it comes to her choices. Maybe we should tell her to go out? But then crowds might stress her.” Charlotte thought.

“Just tell your mum and let her decide.” Ben knew Marcus had habits of turning up whenever he wanted especially now that Cameron was inside.

“Mum…” Charlotte looked over. “Dad’s on his way. I can try and stall him..”

“No.” Bernie looked back at her. “I need to do this. I have to see him but I’d appreciate if it was just me and you with him. I don’t mean to be rude Ben.”

Ben nods. “It’s okay. I understand.”

Serena looked “You can join myself Jason and co on our walk if you’d like?”

“Go on then.” Ben smiled and reached for his jacket. He kissed Charlotte goodbye before leaving with them. Serena held Bernie’s hand for a moment as a gesture for good luck before too leaving.

Marcus soon arrived, just missing Serena in the lift. He knocked on Charlotte’s door.

Charlotte opened it. “Now dad… before you come in here there is someone here and I don’t want any raised voices.” Charlotte let him in and closed the door behind him.

Marcus stood there absolutely shocked. “Jesus Christ.”

“Oh Marcus, I’m an atheist.” Bernie said mockingly. “Looks like you’ve just seen a ghost.”

Charlotte put a hand over her head.

Bernie looked over. “Before you start with me.. I’ve not had a great time of it.”

Marcus bit his lip “You were dead.”

“I’m not going to go into it but I was kidnapped.”

Charlotte looked at her dad to say ‘don’t overstep the mark’.

Marcus looked really confused and couldn’t say much. He sat down on the sofa. “We buried someone.”

Bernie nods. “My colleague.” She replied with sorrow in her tone.

“How long have you been back for?!”

“4 months.” Bernie nods.

“and you didn’t think to tell… especially when you’d of known our son is in prison.”

“Dad.” Charlotte shut him down. “Mum has clearly gone through an experience of her own. If she needed time before coming here, she needed time.”

Bernie nods. “We do need to talk about Cam.”

Marcus looked. “Can you not give me 1 minute to appreciate the fact you’re alive?” Though they ended badly - he’d of never wished death on the mother of his children.

“Sixty seconds?” Bernie gasped playfully.

Once the minute had passed Charlotte looked at Marcus. “The surprise over now?”

“Much so.” He nods.

“About Cam… have you been to see him?” Bernie asked Marcus - she noticed the disapproval look from Charlotte.

“I have.” Marcus admits. “I went the week after his arrest. We talked, he admitted everything what he had done but also how it was my fault.”

“That’s what people in prison do, Dad. It’s always someone else’s fault.” Charlotte put a hand on his shoulder.

“Do you think it would be right for me to visit him?” Bernie raised an eyebrow.

“I wouldn’t at the moment.” Charlotte suggested. “For your benefit and for his health. He isn’t sane.”

“She’s right, Bernie. If you go, he’d find a way to pin all of this on you and as much as I blame you for a lot of things… this isn’t something I blame you for.”

Bernie thought to herself, a compliment from Marcus?

Marcus then went on to say. “He found an obsession and it got out of hand. They usually say the parents spot signs in kids when they’re younger but I spotted nothing and I was the parent who was there. If anything - it was me.”

“We can’t pity party ourselves.” Charlotte stated. “He made the choices.” Charlotte went into her bedroom.

“And how has she handled it?” Bernie asked Marcus.

Marcus looked “If I’m honest, she’s worked in this kind of thing before so I guess she takes it like everyone she’s ever arrested for it. Out of the two of us, she’s certainly been the strongest.”

“That’s our girl.” Bernie nods. “Can’t be easy for her all of this.”

“She has a good partner. He’s really good for her.” Marcus nods.

“Where did we go wrong with him?” Bernie shook her head. “He was always such a sweet boy.”

“I know.” Marcus shook his head. “He was.”

Bernie walked over to Charlotte’s alcohol decanters and poured him a whiskey whilst she poured some alcohol for herself.

“Daytime drinking? We’ve not done this since medical school.” Marcus raised an eyebrow.

“Don’t tell her. She’ll judge us for telling her off for daytime drinking.” She passed him the glass. “Listen, I’m so sorry for what I did to you.. all the hurt I caused you. You didn’t deserve any of that.” Though Bernie had not been in love with Marcus she had loved him. She had seen him as on of her best friends for years before they divorced. “For what it’s worth, you’re an amazing father. Charlotte loves the bones off you. I hear you have a new girlfriend now.”

“Yeah, I do.” Marcus shrugged it off. “We live together.”

“Are you happy?”

“Absolutely.” Marcus smiled. “Are you happy? I mean, not after but with Serena?”

Bernie nods. “Yeah.”

“Listen, I know we don’t really like each other but we have a daughter in there who needs us both now more than ever. If we can at least be civil, I think she’d like that more than anything.”

“Well we’re getting a bit too old to be better, aren’t we?” Bernie tried not to grin. “Grandad.”

“Grandma.” He responded.

“Have you met her?” Bernie inquired.

“I haven’t.” Marcus admits. “Charlotte has. We wrote to Nicky and explained that we’d be there if she needed anything. I’m respecting the boundaries she needs.”

Bernie nods. “Fair enough.” She lifted her glass.

“Cheers.” Marcus clinked his glass against hers.

“Up yours.” She downed her drink and then put the glass down.

Marcus shook his head playfully. “Right well I better be off.”

Charlotte walked out of her bedroom to say bye. She walked Marcus out. Bernie turned to her. “You did that on purpose didn’t you? Go to your room? So we’d actually talk?”

“Me? Never.” She replied in the exact same tone Bernie said to Serena over the arm wrestle.