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Forbidden Love

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Chloe was blissfully walking through the square minding her own business on a beautiful sunny day in Erinsborough. Her attention was quickly captured when she spotted Elly sat on her own looking rather down.

“Elly what’s wrong?” Chloe asked as she walked towards Elly who had a very sad look on her face.

“Is it that obvious that somethings up?” Elly replied trying to put a brave face on things.

“It kinda looks like someone’s died” Chloe said.

“Ah no nothing that bad thank god” Elly replied as a smile appeared on her face, she loved how Chloe’s mouth just ran away with her sometimes.

“Good because as soon as I said it I was praying that no one had! Would have been a bit bad on my part! Stay here and I’ll get us both a coffee” Chloe said as she headed into Harold’s to get them both a drink.

“What can I get you chloe?” Dipi asked.

“2 of your finest coffees to go please”.

“Coming right up! You seem in a cheerful mood...”

Chloe’s mood always seemed to perk up whenever she saw Elly, she definitely had developed a soft spot for her.

“I’m just... happy” Chloe replied.

“Well it’s good to see, happiness is infectious we need more of it around here” Dipi explained.

“You’re damn right there”.

“Here we go, have a lovely day”.

“Thanks, you too” Chloe replied as she grabbed the coffees and headed back to Elly.

Chloe got butterflies whenever she saw Elly she just couldn’t help it.

“Chloe...” Elly shouted from the table as Chloe was just stood there staring into space.

“Sorry I was miles away” Chloe replied.

“I could see, anywhere nice?” Elly asked.

Chloe desperately wanted to say yes because was stood there thinking about how amazing her life could be if her and Elly were a couple. How they could meet up on their lunch breaks to have a quick bite to eat or how they could meet after work for a drink. But deep down Chloe knew that would never happen.

“No, I wish” Chloe replied as she sat down opposite Elly.

“Don’t we all” Elly responded.

“So come on then... what’s happened?” Chloe asked giving Elly a soft smile letting her know that everything was going to be ok.

“I’ve been sacked”.

Chloe’s face dropped immediately she knew that Elly’s job meant everything to her.

“What? Why? They can’t do that”.

“Apparently she can...”

Before Elly could finish explaining things to Chloe, Mark interrupted.

“Hey you, why you not at work?” Mark asked before even asking if his girlfriend was ok.

“She’s been given the afternoon off to do some prep isn’t that right?” Chloe said.

“Yeah...” Elly replied not really knowing what to say.

“Oh that’s cool then, do you want to do something?” Mark asked hoping for a romantic afternoon.

“Sorry she can’t, we’re having a girly evening” Chloe immediately replied knowing that Elly needed some time to come to terms with losing her job before telling Mark.

“We are?” Elly said in a confused manner.

“Yes remember we had that film we needed to watch and knew Mark would hate it”.

“Oh yeah, sorry babe”.

“No worries you two ladies have a wonderful afternoon/ evening and I’ll see you tomorrow?” Mark said.

“Sounds good” Elly replied with a forced smile on her face, she was so worried how Mark would react when he heard she had been sacked.

Mark gave Elly a kiss on the cheek before heading over to the garage to get back to work. Elly took a deep breath in before thanking Chloe for thinking on her feet.

“Thank you! I honestly don’t even know what to say to him right now. He’s going to be so disappointed in me for losing my job” Elly explained with an anxious look on her face.

“He’ll understand plus what ground does she even have to sack you? You’ve done nothing wrong...”

“I know that, deep down she knows that but for some reason she hates me”.

“There’s got to be something we can do” Chloe said with enthusiasm.

“Right now a long hot bubble bath is calling my name. I hope you don’t mind but can we rain check the whole girls night?” Elly asked hoping Chloe would be ok with it.

“Sure, you do whatever you need to do” a disappointed Chloe replied.

“Thanks Clo you’re the best” Elly said as she picked up her coffee and made her way to her car.

“I know I am” a dejected Chloe quietly said to herself.

An hour or two had passed and Elly had just poured herself a glass of red wine after an extremely long bubble bath. Susan and Karl were out so it was just her in the house, which she didn’t mind because it gave her time to just think.

Meanwhile Chloe was preparing to make a visit to Elly to try and cheer her up. She knew Elly wasn’t really in the mood for company but she wasn’t going to let someone she cared about be all sad on her own. Armed with girly magazines, ice cream & a trashy chick flick, Chloe made her way over to Susan’s.

“Knock knock” Chloe said as she let herself into the house.

“Why did I know you weren’t going to take no for an answer?” Elly replied with a smile on her face.

“Because I’m an awesome friend and wasn’t going to leave you on your own not when your upset”.

“Thank you, you are an awesome friend. May I ask why you are in your pyjamas?”

“It’s a pyjamas party... duh!” Chloe sarcastically replied as she did a little dance in her silk pyjamas.

“I suppose I need to go and get changed then?” Elly asked.

“Yes you do”.

“I’ll be right back then” Elly said as she made her way to her bedroom to change.

As soon as Elly passed Chloe the biggest smile appeared on her face. She loved the fact that it was going to be her cheering up Elly and not Mark.

Chloe made herself comfortable, pouring herself a glass of wine and making sure she looked ok for Elly’s return.

“How do I look?” Elly joked as she came out in the baggiest pjs ever.

“You look gorgeous as usual” Chloe replied meaning every single word.

“So what film did you bring?” Elly asked as she made herself comfortable.

“I thought we could watch a comedy to cheer you up? I went for a classic... bridesmaids” Chloe said as she held up the DVD cover.

“I love this film” Elly replied with a big smile on her face.

The two settled down to watch the film, you could tell they were both enjoying the film because the laughter was clear to hear. Although Chloe was enjoying the film she couldn’t help but keep looking over to Elly to make sure that she was smiling.

“What? Do I have something on my face?” Elly asked when she noticed that Chloe was looking over at her.

“No, no I was just ummm checking to make sure you were smiling” Chloe replied.

“Of course I’m smiling how can you not watching this film?” Elly said returning her gaze to the film.

As the film came to an end the ladies began to chat about everything other than Elly’s work situation.

“Thank you for this you’ve been such an awesome friend, I know we had a bit of a bumpy start but you really are an amazing friend” Elly began to explain.

“I am aren’t I, especially my excellent travel stories” Chloe replied bragging.

“NO! You do realise that no one likes those”.

“Liar! You do! You’re about the only one who actually pays attention to them and takes an interest” Chloe replied as she moved slightly closer to Elly as they faced each other on the sofa.

“Your just so true to yourself, you decide on something and you just do it. You see something you want and you just take it...”

At that very moment Chloe thought about some of the things she didn’t take because she couldn’t.

“You know exactly who you are and it’s admirable” Elly explained with a real enthusiasm.

“I could say the same for you” Chloe replied in a gentle tone.

“Please... I’m far too worried about what everyone else things about me! How do you do it? Please tell me your secret?”

“I don’t know, maybe it’s because a small part of me always knew that I was on borrowed time” Chloe replied.

Elly could see that Chloe was struggling, she gave her a very delicate smile, a smile that showed Chloe that she cared about her, that she was there for her.

“How are you coping? Finding out about the Huntington’s can’t have been easy. The secret is out...”

“Well not really is it? Not many people know and well it’s a bit depressing having conversations about a terminal illness” Chloe explained.

“Chloe...” Elly said sympathetically.

“It’s not like we can change anything is it?” Chloe replied as she shrugged her shoulders.

“Well you know if you ever need anything, you know I’m here for you. If you need someone to listen I’m here” Elly explained with a smile on her face, her eyes wide showing real emotion.

“Thank you”.

“Do you know who would understand this the most though? Your brothers”.

Chloe immediately looked away from Elly, she couldn’t even begin to think about telling her brothers about her illness. Especially as they both could carry the gene.

“Id give anything to make sure they don’t have it. It’s bad but there’s a tiny part of me that would be glad not to be the only one. It’s kind of terrible isn’t it?” Chloe explained.

Elly moved closer to Chloe putting her hand on Chloe’s arm in a supportive manner.

“I’m not going to judge you for how you are feeling” Elly said in a calming manner.

“You wouldn’t? Would you? That’s what makes you so awesome” Chloe replied with the biggest smile on her face.

Elly could feel herself beginning to blush, she didn’t know where to look, so decided to stare down at her arm.

“You always know the right things to say” Chloe added.

Elly couldn’t help but nervously laugh.

“If that we’re true, I’d probably still have a job”.

“You lost your job because of office politics, you are funny, kind, clever and dedicated. You’ll land on your feet I just know it”.

“I hope so, I just think I’m still in shock”.

“All you need to remember is I’ve got your back” Chloe explained as her heart rate began to rise. Her feelings for Elly were growing by the second and she didn’t know how much longer she could control them.

“Thank you. You know what you are the best thing to happen to me in ages. Getting to know you is awesome and I promise you, you will never ever be alone. I will always be right here for you no matter what” Elly explained.

Chloe’s heart was racing faster than it had in a very very long time, the connection she felt with Elly was something she had been longing for since she was a little girl. Every inch of her body was wanting to lean forward and kiss Elly but in the back of her mind she was beyond worried about how she might react or how it could affect their friendship. Taking a deep breath in, Chloe just decided to go for it.

Leaning in close she softly kissed Elly, it was a gentle kiss between the two of them, Chloe was surprised that Elly didn’t immediately pull away. But after a few seconds the kiss ended abruptly, Chloe began to panic she couldn’t even look at Elly because she was scared to see the look on her face.

“Ok... hold on a minute” Elly said in complete confusion.

The look on Chloe’s face was one of sheer panic and regret, she wish she could just rewind to 5 minutes ago before any of this happened.

“I am so so sorry” Chloe said as she began to move away from Elly.

“Chloe... it’s fine” Elly replied not really knowing what to say or do. She was in complete shock as to what had just happened.

“I have no idea what just happened... how about we just forget it ever happened” Chloe said as she stood up ready to out her coat on so that she could make a swift exit.

“Sure... but I don’t know if that’s for the best”.

“Yeah! Trust me it’s the best thing” Chloe said gathering up her things.

Elly desperately wanted Chloe just to sit back down so that they could talk but she knew that Chloe was embarrassed and couldn’t wait to get out of here.

“Umm I’ll... I’ll call you tomorrow or something. Or not... bye” Chloe said as she practically ran out of the house bumping into Mark on the way out.

“Steady on Clo” Mark said as he moved out of Chloe’s way.

“Sorry” Chloe replied as she headed straight home. She couldn’t believe what she had just done, had she just ruined the best friendship she had ever had?

Chapter Text

“What was wrong with her?” Mark asked.

“Umm she just forgot that she needed to do something” Elly replied trying to think of something that wouldn’t make Mark ask more questions.

“Needed to do something? Ah I see” Mark said with a confused look on his face.

Elly was doing her best to act normal but she couldn’t stop thinking about the kiss that had just happened between her and Chloe. She honestly had no idea that Chloe felt that way about her.

“Everything ok?” Mark asked as Elly seemed to be in a world of her own.

“Yeah yeah no everything’s fine it’s just been a very long day” Elly replied.

“Are you going to explain to me the real reason that you were off work this afternoon? I know you and I know when you are keeping things from me”.

“Do we have to talk about this now? I’m tired and just want to forget about it for a few minutes” Elly replied.

“Elly come on, your supposed to love me so you should be able to tell me things”.

“Fine... I got sacked from work today” Elly said rolling her eyes.

“Oh my god why? What’s happened?” Mark asked.

“I couldn’t tell you. I guess my face doesn’t fit with Jane”.

“Well this just isn’t on, you need to get some answers from them...” Mark replied abruptly.

“I will but right now I have other things on my mind and just want to go to bed so I’ll see you tomorrow?” Elly said trying her best to get rid of Mark so she could try and get her head around everything.

“That’s fair enough. Get some sleep and I will see you tomorrow” Mark replied as he leaned in to give Elly a kiss. Elly gave him a peck before he headed home.

As soon as he left, Elly slumped herself down on the sofa and put her head in her hands. She picked her phone up ready to write a message to Chloe.

*Are you ok? E x*

But Elly decided that it was probably best to leave it for the night so deleted it.

Meanwhile over at the Brennan’s, Chloe had run herself a hot bubble bath to try and figure out her next move.

“Chloe you in there?” Mark asked from outside the bathroom door.

“Yeah but I’m naked so please don’t come in” Chloe replied in her usual sarcastic tone.

“I’m not going to come in, I just wanted to thank you for looking after Elly tonight. She finally told me the truth about her job...”

“It was no bother. We had a good evening” Chloe replied with an anxious look on her face.

“You’re a good friend to her Chloe and you’re and even better sister” Mark said being sincere.

Chloe felt bad, because Mark had no idea that she had kissed his girlfriend but she couldn’t help her feelings.

“Right back at you bro” Chloe replied sinking into the water to have a couple of moments completely to herself. She was surrounded by nothing but water, no noise other than the sloshing of the water, it helped her to forget about the mistake she had just made.

The next day arrived and neither Chloe nor Elly had had a decent night sleep, both of their minds were working overtime.

“Good morning” Susan said to Elly who was sat at the dining table staring into space.

“Hello?” Susan added saving at Elly.

“Sorry I was miles away” Elly replied.

“Don’t worry we will sort this, you will get your job back! I’ll make sure of it” Susan explained.

“And how are you going to do that?”

“It might involve having a little quiet word with Jane. Don’t worry I’ll be nice” Susan said.

“I know you will but I should really try and fight my own battles shouldn’t I?”

“Well just let me know if I can do anything” Susan replied as she made herself a cup of tea.

“Thanks. I actually need to be somewhere, I’ll see you later” Elly said as she finished her drink so that she could go and find Chloe.

Chloe had been up for hours trying to find things she could do to keep herself occupied and out of Elly’s way. She had already cleaned the house and the pool, she desperately wished she was working today.

“Chloe we need to talk” Elly said as she walked into the house.

“Do we? What about?” Chloe replied.

“You know exactly what about? The kiss...”

“Oh that. Yeah that was just some silly drunken mistake” Chloe anxiously replied.

“You were sober!”

“Oh yeah. Well anyway it meant nothing and it shouldn’t have happened I’m sorry”.

“You don’t have anything to be sorry about but I think we need to talk about it? Where did it even come from?”

“I have absolutely no idea, I guess I just got caught up in the moment. We were both saying such nice things about each other, it was just a silly mistake”.

“Chloe you don’t have to hide anything from me...”

“IM NOT” Chloe said snapping slightly at Elly.

“Ok, then we’re ok?” Elly asked.

“We’re more than ok” Chloe replied putting on a brave face, yet deep down she was dying to tell Elly how she really felt.

“This conversation looks intense, everything ok?” Mark asked as he walked into the room.

“We need a family meeting” Chloe immediately replied.

A look of sheer panic arrived on Elly’s face, she had absolutely no idea why Chloe wanted to speak to everyone. Was she going to tell everyone about this kiss?

“Sure... what about?” Mark asked.

“That’s kind of the point of a family meeting... to tell everyone at the same time” Chloe sarcastically replied.

“Ok, well I’ll go find Aaron”.

“And David please” Chloe added.

“I’ll be back soon” Mark said as he left the house.

Elly waited until the door was shut to ask Chloe what she was going to speak to them about.

“Please tell me your not going to tell them about our kiss?” Elly asked.

“Of course not. I’m finally going to tell them about the Huntington’s, you were right I should tell them. And if they all know I won’t have to rely on you for support” Chloe replied.

“Well I’m glad you’re telling them but I’m not going anywhere I will be here for you no matter what” Elly explained.

“I’ll be right back” Chloe said as she took herself off to her bedroom to compose herself.

Chloe immediately sat down, she was trying to calm her heart rate down. A mixture of anxiety about her feelings for Elly and telling her brothers they could potentially have a life changing illness was all too much.

“Chloe are you ok?” Elly said quietly through the closed door.

“Yeah I’m fine” Chloe replied.

Elly could tell by the cracks in Chloe’s voice that she wasn’t ok but she didn’t want to push getting an honest answer from her.

“Everyone’s here when your ready to come out... of your bedroom. Not anywhere else” Elly said nervously.

“I’ll be there in a minute” Chloe replied.

Over in the lounge everyone was gathered anxiously to hear what Chloe had to say.

“Do you know what this is about?” Aaron asked.

“Not a clue” Mark replied.

“We’ll find out soon enough” David added just as Chloe made an appearance.

“Hey guys! Ok this isn’t going to be easy to say or for you to hear”.

“What is it your worrying me?” Aaron said.

“Let her speak” Elly replied.

Chloe discreetly looked over to Elly and smiled as she was someone who was giving her the strength and courage to tell her brothers.

“So it turns out that I have a illness... that can’t be cured. It’s called Huntington’s disease which unfortunately will end my life quite prematurely...” Chloe explained trying to remain as strong as she could.

“Clo I am so sorry! We had no idea” Aaron replied having no idea that he could have it as well.

“Wait there’s more... it’s a...”

David could see that she was struggling to tell her brothers the rest so decided to take over.

“Huntington’s is a disease that often runs in families. Any gene carrier is very likely to pass it on to their offspring. Which means that because Chloe has the gene there is a high possibility that you two have it as well” David explained.

Chloe watched as her brothers faces dropped, she couldn’t take watching them so decided to make a run for it.

“I’ll go” Elly said as she left the house to chase after Chloe.

“I can’t believe she’s been dealing with this on her own, that must have been so hard” Mark said.

“How do we get tested?” Aaron replied.

“For one second can you just think about what our sister has been through on her own for god knows how long? We can think about getting tested in a minute” Mark angrily snapped at Aaron who was thinking about himself as per usual.

“Ok, I’m sorry” Aaron replied.

“It’s quite simple to get tested we can do a blood test at the hospital” David explained to try and ease the tension in the room.

“Thanks David” Mark said.

While the boys were inside trying to come to terms with what they had just heard, Elly was trying to find Chloe.

“There you are...” Elly said as she found Chloe sitting on the bench in the park.

“Here I am” Chloe replied.

“That was extremely brave of you! I’m proud of you for telling them I can’t even begin to imagine how hard that must have been” Elly said reaching for Chloe’s hand.

Chloe moved her hand quickly so that Elly couldn’t hold it, she didn’t need that situation getting in the way today.

“How is telling two of the most important people in my life that they could have an illness that will shorten their life considerably, brave?” Chloe replied.

“None of this is your fault. If they have the gene you can’t blame yourself, you couldn’t have done anything to stop it! Chloe by you telling them at least they can now decide for themselves if they want the test or not. You did the right thing and I am so proud of you” Elly explained desperately wanting to give Chloe a hug.

“Why do I feel so guilty then?” Chloe asked on the verge of crying.

“Probably because you had to be the bearer of some potentially bad news but trust me none of this is your fault and your bothers are going to see that too. I know that right now they are going to be more worried about you than themselves”.

“This is Aaron we’re talking about” Chloe joked.

“True...” Elly replied letting out a little giggle.

The two of them sat there in silence watching the world go by, part of Elly wanted to get back to Mark to make sure he was ok but she knew she couldn’t leave Chloe on her own not after that.

“Shall we head back? I’m sure they want to see you...” Elly asked.

“You go I’ll be shortly behind you. I just need 5 minutes to myself if that’s ok?” Chloe replied.

“Of course it is, I can wait for you if you want?”

“No! I’ll be fine! You go check on Mark, I’m sure he needs you right now”.

“Ok but I’m here for you as well Chloe, always will be” Elly replied smiling at Chloe.

“I know you are” Chloe said taking a deep breath in.

Elly headed back to the house, Chloe watched on as she walked away, she couldn’t believe how amazing Elly had been over the last few months. The two of them really had got close and Chloe was just thankful that the kiss last night hadn’t complete ruined that even if it had made her fall even further in love with Elly.

Chapter Text

Elly reluctantly headed back to the house, she really didn’t want to leave Chloe but she knew that Chloe needed space to thing about everything.

“You’ve been ages, is everything ok?” Mark asked as soon as Elly walked through the door.

“Yeah she’s fine, just needed a little bit of space. Come here you” Elly replied giving Mark a warm embrace.

Even though she had known for a while now that Mark could potentially have the gene, the fact that he now knew as well had really hit her hard. She loved this man and the thought that his life might be cut short worried her, a lot.

“I can’t lose you” Elly whispered to Mark.

“Hey we need to think positively, I might not even have it. I’ll get tested and then we can go from there” Mark replied kissing Elly sweetly on the cheek.

“Yeah we go from there”.

“How long have you known about Chloe?” Aaron asked.

“A couple of weeks, it wasn’t my place to tell either of you. I’m really sorry but I needed to keep her trust. I did my best to try and persuade her to tell you but it had to be the right time for her”.

“We understand” David replied.

“Yeah you were being a good friend to Chloe, god knows she needed one. So thank you” Aaron added.

“It was my pleasure”.

“Do you know when she’s coming back?” Mark asked.

“She said she wouldn’t be much longer. A word of advice try not to over face her with Sorry’s or too much fussing. I only think that will make things worse” Elly explained.

“Yeah she’s probably heard enough of that from her docs” Aaron replied.

“I’ll make us all a cuppa” Elly said as she headed to the kitchen.

While Elly had a moment to herself in the kitchen she couldn’t help but think about the kiss the two of them shared last night, it had been all she had been able to think about. Which was wrong as the man she loved had just been told he could have an incurable illness but instead of worrying about him she was worried about her friendship with Chloe and how the kiss might have affected it.

“Chloe you’re back... we’ve been worried” Mark said as Chloe walked through the door with one of her usual big smiles on her face.

“I’m here, never fear” Chloe replied in a happy manner.

“Are you ok?” Aaron asked. Completely forgetting that they were to try and treat her as normal as possible.

Mark couldn’t help but roll his eyes at Aaron, he never had been one to listen to instructions or advice very well.

“I’m fine, I’ve kind of come to terms with the news. I just hate the fact that the two of you might have it” Chloe replied thinking of others instead of herself.

“Whether we have it or not you need to understand that none of this is your fault and we don’t blame you in any way, not at all” Mark explained.

“Thanks. I just hope that neither of you have it, that way... selfishly I only need to worry about myself. As per usual... hey?” Chloe replied having a little giggle to herself.

“Don’t be like that Clo, don’t make this into a joke” Aaron said with a sad expression on his face.

“Its just how I deal with things” Chloe replied.

Mark couldn’t wait any longer to give his little sister a big hug, he loved her more than anything on this planet and the thought that her life was going to end potentially before his, broke him inside.

“I’m so sorry sis” Mark whispered into Chloe’s ear.

Chloe tried her best to stop the tears from coming but she couldn’t, she knew that she only had a short life and it was something she was still coming to terms with.

“I love you Mark” Chloe replied squeezing her brother tighter.

“I love you too” Mark said with tears streaming down his face.

Elly stood back and watched the two of them share this special moment, two of the people she cared about the most. She decided that she needed to make sure things were ok with Chloe, the last thing she would ever want was to lose that friendship.

“So when you both getting tested then?” Chloe asked wiping away the tears.

“I say why wait, I think we should go now. Aaron?” Mark immediately replied.

“Yeah sure let’s go” Aaron reluctantly agreed. You could tell by the look on his face that he was beyond scared about this situation.

“I’ll be right by your side” David said grabbing hold of Aaron’s hand.

“Thank you. I love you” Aaron replied.

“Love you too”.

Elly walked over to hold onto Marks hand, she wanted him to know that she was right by his side no matter what. The look on Chloe’s face when their hands touched was one of heartbreak, she did her best to cover it up with a smile but it was all too hard.

They all headed over to the hospital, the car journey was one that was very quiet, no one really knew what to say. While the five of them were waiting in the hospital for the boys to have their blood tests, Aaron wanted a chat with his sister.

“Hey Clo, can I have a quick word?”

“Sure. What’s up?” Chloe replied as the two of them walked down the corridor out of earshot.

“I know you’ve probably heard enough sorry’s in your lifetime but I am truly sorry Clo. I can’t even imagine how lonely you must have felt going through all of this on your own...”

“I haven’t been on my own. I’ve had Elly” Chloe said as she slyly looked over to Elly with warmth in her eyes and smiled.

“Well I’m glad but seriously sis, regardless of whether I have this illness or not I will be here for you no matter what. I know I can be a selfish idiot sometimes but your my little sister and like Mark said earlier I love you more than anything. We will get through this together” Aaron explained.

“I appreciate it. But I’d do anything for you and Mark to both be free from this, you don’t need this. You’re both incredibly happy, loved up. I’ve got no one and it’s probably better that way” Chloe replied.

“Don’t say that. You’ve got so many people around you who love you more than anything” Aaron explained.

“It’s ok. I know I do but I don’t have that special one do I?” Chloe replied looking over at Elly.

“You’ll find them I know you will”.

They hugged one another before heading back to the waiting area, Chloe immediately noticed that Mark’s hands were shaking, he was more nervous than he was letting on. Elly quickly grabbed onto his hand to stop it from shaking, Chloe looked away. It was too hard to see Elly comfort him in when deep down she wished it was her she was comforting.

“Come with me” Elly said quietly to Mark.

“What now? My test will be any minute”.

“This can’t wait” Elly replied.

“Ok, ok...” Mark said as Elly dragged him outside by his hand.

Chloe looked on from a distance, she couldn’t help but wonder what was so important that Elly needed to speak to Mark right this instance.

“What is it Elly?” Mark asked as the two of them were stood but the entrance of the hospital.

“Ok, so this isn’t exactly the most romantic of places to do this and I don’t even anything with me but there really is no time like the present...” Elly began to say.

“What’s happening...” Mark asked as confusion covered his face.

“Mark Brennan I love you and regardless of the results of this test I want to spend the rest of my life with you. So here goes... will you marry me?” Elly asked getting down on one knee.

“Of course I will. Yes... YES” Mark replied as he helped Elly up so that he could seal the deal with a kiss.

“So were getting married” Elly said with the biggest grin on her face.

“Yes we are” Mark replied.

The newly engaged couple walked back into the hospital with the biggest grins on their faces, they couldn’t contain their excitement.

“Their back, with extra large smiles on their faces? Where have you guys been?” Aaron asked.

“Shall we?” Mark quietly said to Elly.

“It’s up to you” Elly replied trying not to make eye contact with Chloe.

Chloe knew something had happened, she could tell by the looks on their faces.

“I guess it might cheer us all up a little...”

“What are you talking about?” Aaron asked.

“Weird time for this to happen but... we’re engaged” Mark announced with the biggest smile on his face.

“What? Thats amazing news!” Aaron immediately replied. He wasted no time in getting up to congratulate the couple.

“Yeah congratulations guys. I’m so happy for you both” David added.

Chloe froze, she couldn’t believe what had just come out of Marks mouth. Putting a smile on her face to try and conceal her disappointment Chloe got up off the seat to head over to the happy couple who were busy being hugged by Aaron and David.

“The best news bro” Chloe said trying to sound as enthusiastic as she could.

“Aww thanks Sis, knew you’d be happy for us” Mark replied.

Elly could tell that something wasn’t right, the atmosphere between herself and Chloe wasn’t like it normally was. She knew the timing wasn’t right but she loved Mark and had realised that she couldn’t live without him.

Taking a deep breath in, Chloe composed herself ready to congratulate the woman she was falling in love with. This wasn’t going to be easy but it needed to be done to keep up the image of everything being alright.

“Congratulations” Chloe said as she gave Elly a hug.

It was a bit of an awkward hug as Chloe didn’t want to hold on to tightly in case it made Elly feel uncomfortable or anything.

“Thank you” Elly replied.

“Really is the best news guys” Chloe added to make sure she was putting on a good enough act.

“Mark Brennan? The doctors ready for you now...” a nurse announced.

“Here goes...” Mark said to everyone before heading over towards the nurse.

“We will be right here for when you are finished” Elly replied.

“Yeah were not going anywhere” Aaron added as they all sat back down on the seats.

Chloe sat down next to Elly, her hand accidentally grazing Elly’s leg, she moved it away quickly.

“Everything ok Clo?” Aaron asked as he had noticed she was a bit on edge.

“Yeah I’m just not the biggest fan of hospitals... I think I might make a move if thats ok?” Chloe replied.

“Yeah of course, that’s understandable. Go... well meet you at home when we’re finished here” Aaron said.

“Do you need any company?” Elly asked worried about how on edge Chloe was around her.

“NO! I mean... no it’s ok. I’m fine honestly. I’m just going to go...” Chloe replied heading straight for the hospital exit.

Part of Elly desperately wanted to follow her and sort things out but she needed to be here for when Mark got out.

“Do you think she’s ok?” David asked.

“Yeah it probably wasn’t the best time to announce an engagement was it?” Elly replied.

“Probably not but she’s happy for you. It’s probably just all too much for her” Aaron added.

“I hope so. She’s not one to share emotions very often is she” David said.

“Nope! That’s one thing about Chloe she’s a closed book unless she finds someone she truly trusts and loves. Unfortunately she’s not found that person yet” Aaron explained.

In that very second Elly realised something, she realised that Chloe must trust her enough to open up to her. Chloe had told things to Elly that she hadn’t told anyone else, that’s a big deal for her and it was only now that Elly was realising how much she must mean to Chloe.

“She’ll be ok. She’s got us” Elly replied.

“She has indeed” Aaron said agreeing with Elly.

Chapter Text

Chloe was sat at the kitchen table trying to process what had just happened back at the hospital. She couldn’t believe that Elly had just proposed to Mark, did the kiss really scare her that much that she needed to cement her relationship with Mark. Or was she just trying to let Chloe know in a very drastic way that the two of them could never be an item.

While everyone was out Chloe decided to have a good old cry to get rid of as many emotions as she could because she knew that seeing Elly and her brother plan their perfect wedding was going to be absolute torture.

Meanwhile back over at the hospital Mark had just finished giving blood for his test. He arrived back to the waiting area to notice that Chloe wasn’t there.

“Where’s chloe?” Mark asked in a worried voice.

“She couldn’t handle sitting around in a hospital” Aaron replied.

“She just needed some time on her own, I’m sure she’s fine though. How was it?” Elly said trying to reassure Mark that Chloe was ok, even though she knew that she wasn’t.

“The test was fine, just like any other blood test. I need to check on Chloe” a worried Mark replied.

“Right now there is no point crowding around her, she’s kept this secret for such a long time it must be difficult now that everyone knows. Just give her time” Elly explained.

“Elly’s right bro, she’ll come to us when she’s ready” Aaron added.

Mark reluctantly sat back down, he hated the fact that Chloe had been going through this without him.

“Aaron Brennan...” the nurse called.

“Will you come with me?” Aaron said as he turned to David.

“Of course, I’ll be right by your side” David replied grabbing hold of Aaron’s hand.

The two of them headed into the room so that the tests could be done.

“We announced the engagement at the wrong time didn’t we?”

“It probably shouldn’t have been at the hospital but neither of us could contain our excitement. We need something to look forward to don’t we?” Elly replied.

“I know but there we are looking forward to our future together when Chloe doesn’t even know how much of a future she’s going to have” Mark said as the tone in his voice softened.

“She would want us to be happy” Elly replied quietly. She didn’t know what else to say.

Aaron left the room on his own to head back to Mark and Elly, leaving David in there to speak to the doctor in charge. David using his hospital privileges had managed to get the tests put on urgent so that the results would be back within a couple of hours.

“Good news we should know the results today. So I suggest we all go and grab a coffee instead of waiting here for them” David explained.

“Sounds good” Elly replied reaching for Marks hand.

“I’d rather stay here if that’s ok with you?” Mark said.

“Yeah same” Aaron added.

“Well we will stay as well then” David replied.

“No, you don’t want to be stuck here go get a coffee and relax for a little bit. We’ll be ok” Mark insisted.

“Ok, if you’re sure” Elly replied giving him a kiss goodbye.

“Ring us if you need anything” David added as the two of them left the brothers too it.

The room fell silent with a nervous energy around the two of them, neither of them knew what to say to one another.

“What if we’ve got it Mark?” Aaron quietly asked.

“Then we have to make the most of our lives, living each day to the max” Mark replied trying to put on a brave face. But deep down he was freaking out, what if he had it? He wouldn’t be able to have children naturally with the woman he loved because the gene would get passed on, that would crush him especially after losing Caitlin.

“Yeah, we’ve just got to enjoy life”.

“No matter what we all stick together ok? Nothing and I repeat nothing can come between us! You both mean too much to me to lose that” Mark explained.

“I agree! Love you bro” Aaron replied giving his big brother a hug.

“I love you too”.

The hours passed at Chloe was beginning to worry, she was doing her best to keep busy but it wasn’t going so well. She had already rearranged the fridge and the kitchen cupboards but now she was just staring at the walls again waiting to hear from someone.

It wasn’t long before everyone arrived back at the house, Chloe’s heart was racing she desperately wanted them both to be ok.

“So...” Chloe asked.

“Negative” Mark replied with a semi smile on his face.

Chloe ran straight over to her brother and gave him the biggest hug.

“Thank god”.

“I’m so sorry Chloe” Mark said as he squeezed chloe tightly.

“Why would you say that?”

“Because I dodged the bullet that you copped”.

“So I cant be happy for you? Aaron?” Chloe replied.

“Negative, I carry the gene but it’s not active or something? I didn’t quite understand but I don’t have it. Sorry” Aaron explained.

“STOP! This is amazing news, I’m so happy for both of you. You can now both look forward to your future! We should be celebrating your results... but also the next big Brennan wedding. Which we can enjoy without a big black cloud over our heads” Chloe said putting on a brave face trying to show her brothers that she was happy for them. Which she was but she also felt so alone, Mark had Elly and Aaron had David, yet again Chloe was left with no one but a death sentence.

Elly could tell by looking into Chloe’s eyes that things weren’t ok, she wasn’t coping.

“So why don’t we do a barbie for lunch?” Chloe suggested excitedly.

“That’s a great idea” Mark replied enthusiastically.

“You guys go fire up and I’ll get all of the food ready” Chloe said hoping she would be left alone so she could process the news properly.

Mark, David and Aaron all headed to the backyard to start the barbie but Elly didn’t want to leave Chloe on her own.

“I’ll give you a hand” Elly said knowing that this would be a good time for the two of them to talk again.

“I can manage...” Chloe replied. Her heart was racing, she just needed some time away from Elly, it was too hard to keep her emotions in check.

“I’m happy to help” Elly said giving Chloe one of her loving smiles.

Chloe turned her back ready to start looking for food the boys could cook. The room was silent, it was a very awkward silence as neither really knew what to say to each other.

“So... engaged? That is incredible” Chloe said letting our one of her nervous giggles.

“I know you don’t want to talk about it... but I really think we should” Elly replied. She had realised after what Aaron had said at the hospital It was now even more important to make sure everything was fine between the two of them.

“It’s ok I’m happy for them both I really am” Chloe said knowing that Elly wasn’t talking about the results.

“I’m talking about the kiss”.

“Oh that... we’ve already spoken about that! It was just a spur of the moment mistake that shouldn’t have happened. You know what I’m like a bit of a flirt who gets caught up in the moment and does stupid things. It’s no big deal” Chloe anxiously explained hoping that Elly would believe her.

“Really? Are you sure?”

“Yeah absolutely, just forget about it and go and spend some quality time with your fiancée. You and Mark have your whole lives to plan and look forward to so don’t waste another second of it talking about last night”.

“I’m going to feel bad keeping another secret from him” Elly said with a concerned look on her face.

“Secret? It’s not a secret, it’s not even a thing! So just don’t even worry” Chloe replied.

“Are you sure?” Elly said. She was desperate for things to be ok between the two of them.

“Positive! Now go and be with your fiancée” Chloe replied wanting to get rid of Elly before the force smile disappeared off her face.

“I have a fiancé...” Elly excitedly said making her way to the back yard.

As soon as Elly left the room, Chloe could finally breathe again. After composing herself Chloe made a start on preparing some food, she was deliberately going as slow as she could so that she didn’t have to spend as much time with her loved up brothers.

“Chloe you’ve been ages, do you need a hand?” David asked as he came in to check and see if Chloe was ok.

“Sorry just want to make sure everything is perfect! This is after all a celebration” Chloe replied.

“It’s ok not to be ok you know... this can’t be easy for you” David explained.

“It’s only an engagement I mean I know I’m single but I can cope with my brother getting engaged” Chloe immediately replied.

“I was talking about their results not the engagement” a slightly confused David said.

“Oh yeah of course you were! Look it’s fine, I am over the moon that they are both ok! Does it change my diagnosis... no so I just have to get on with my life like I’ve been doing since I found out”.

“Well I just want you to know that I am here for you if you need to talk and we can talk in confidence if you’d like. What we speak will remain private...no matter what ok?” David replied.

“Thank you, I really appreciate that” Chloe said.

“Now what can I help with?” David asked rolling up his sleeves.

“You can cute that steak into squares so I can make some of my world famous kebabs” Chloe replied with a smile on her face.

“Yes boss... I mean chef” David joked.

“Those squares are too big...” Chloe said, she was very particular when it came to making her kebabs.

“Sorry!”

“Shouldn’t you be good with a knife... you are a doctor after all” Chloe joked.

“You should see some of the scars I’ve left on people after operations” David sarcastically replied.

“You’re joking? Please tell me that’s a joke?”

“Oh no you should have seen the scar I left on this one guy... it was horrendous” David said.

“David? How did you even qualify to be a doctor?” Chloe asked with a shocked look on her face.

“I bribed the examiner” David replied with a straight face.

“See now I know your taking the piss, there is no way the David I know would bribe anyone let alone a medical professional”.

“But I did get you to smile a couple of times”.

“You most definitely did, thank you” Chloe replied with a happy expression on her face.

“Anytime, I mean that”.

“Thanks! Now let’s get these kebabs finished we don’t want those lot to start moaning do we?” Chloe said as she carried on preparing her kebabs.

The two of them quickly finished preparing the food before heading out to the back yard where they were soaking up the sun waiting for the food. The first things Chloe noticed as she stepped out of the door was Mark and Elly cosily sat on the sun lounger being all hands on in love. Taking several deep breaths in she put a smile on her face and announced that the kebabs were ready for cooking.

“We have lift off” Chloe shouted.

Mark immediately stopped what he was doing to put on his apron so he could cook the delicious kebabs.

“Chloe come join me...” Elly said tapping the sun lounger.

“I just need to find my sunglasses!” Chloe replied trying to come up with an excuse to avoid going over there.

“They are on your head” Elly said.

“Oh yeah my bad, well I just need to get a drink” Chloe replied stuttering.

“Sit down Clo I’ll get you a drink” Aaron insisted.

Chloe slowly walked over to where Elly was sat and took a seat next to her. Her heart began to race again, she desperately needed to find a way to stop her feelings from developing even further.

Chapter Text

Mark was busy cooking up a storm on the barbie, he had burgers, sausages and Chloe’s famous kebabs cooking. Even though Mark liked to think he was a pro at cooking on the barbie he wasn’t the best but no one had the heart to tell him. Aaron was on drinks duty making sure that everyone had drinks ready for the speech he was planning to give. David was setting the table whilst Elly was soaking up the sun and Chloe was doing her best to look anywhere other than at Elly.

“Here we go, get that down you” Aaron said as he handed Chloe a beer.

“Thanks, did you bring the rest of the pack out with you? I might need them” Chloe replied taking a large gulp from the bottle.

“Steady on girl, it’s only lunchtime”.

“We’re celebrating aren’t we?” Chloe replied.

“We are! You drink as much as you want sis” Mark said loudly from the bbq.

“I shall don’t you worry”.

“While we all have drinks in our hands I’d like to raise a little toast to the happy couple. Mark from the day your eyes landed on Elly you’ve been smitten, yes you have both been through a lot of ups and down together but I always knew you would come back to each other. So let’s all raise a glass to the happy couple, congratulations guys! We can’t wait for the wedding...Cheers” Aaron said as he raised his beer.

“Cheers” David immediately added.

Chloe managed to put a big smile on her face before clinking beer bottles with everyone.

“Congratulations” she said.

“Thanks guys, we are both extremely excited and can’t wait to share our special day with you all” Mark replied.

“Let’s eat” Aaron said as they all made their way over to the table.

Chloe sat down and got herself comfortable in her usual seat at the table, she couldn’t wait to tuck into the food, she was starving.

“Is this seat taken?” Elly asked as she went to sit down next to Chloe.

“Umm... no it’s not but I thought you’d want to sit next to Mark...” Chloe replied.

“Oh I’m not bothered”.

“It’s a special day you should sit next to him, don’t worry I’ll move” Chloe explained as she picked up her beer and headed to the top of the table so she didn’t have to sit next to Elly.

“Chloe... you really don’t need to” Elly quietly said but it was too late Chloe had already moved.

“All done, now you lot can sit in your couples and little old me can sit on my own at the end” Chloe joked but deep down she hated the fact she was on her own and that the woman she loved was sat right in front of her.

“You’re special someone is out there I know they are” Mark replied to Chloe.

“I’ll believe it when it happens” Chloe said making sure she looked anywhere other than in Elly’s direction.

“It will happen, you’re a gorgeous girl...”

“With no future” Chloe said interrupting Mark.

“Please stop saying things like that Clo”.

“Why? It’s the truth isn’t it? I’m just being real with everyone. Anyway enough about me, so when’s the engagement party then?” Chloe asked trying her best to change the subject.

“Oh were not having one” Elly replied.

“Um? Why not? You only get engaged once you need to make the most out of it”.

“She has a point” Mark added.

“Fine but nothing too big” Elly replied.

“Drinks at the waterhole it is then” Chloe said pretending to get all excited for them.

“I’ll speak to Shelia and we can get it arranged for tomorrow night” Aaron explained.

“Tomorrow? Isn’t that a bit soon? I mean we’ve not even got rings yet” Mark replied.

“Well you better get to the shops then” Aaron said.

“Is tomorrow good for you?” Mark asked Elly.

“Sounds perfect” Elly replied planting a kiss on his lips.

“It’s a date then” Chloe excitedly shouted.

The five tucked into the delicious food, finishing off every last bit because it really was too nice to waste. Chloe couldn’t wait to get into her skimpiest bikini ready to top up her tan and get into the pool. If she was going to be the fifth wheel forever she was going to make sure that she did it looking absolutely gorgeous.

Chloe returned from the house in a purple bikini that really didn’t cover much at all.

“Could your bikini be any smaller?” Aaron asked as Chloe arrived at her sun lounger.

“It could actually, Ive got a smaller one inside if you want me to go get it?” Chloe sarcastically replied.

“No, no please don’t”.

“Ignore him, if I had your body I would walk around in a bikini all day” David said.

“Now that’s something I have to see” Mark joked.

“Never going to happen...” David replied.

“Oh go on! I dare you” Aaron said poking fun at his husband.

“Never going to happen” David repeated.

“Aaron do me a favour and put some suncream on my back please?” Chloe asked as she lay there face down on her sun lounger.

“My hands are full and dirty, I’m sure Elly will do it for you” Aaron replied.

“Yeah sure I’ll do it” Elly said grabbing the cream off the table.

Chloe’s heart rate began to rise as Elly’s footsteps got closer and closer, she had dreamt of Elly’s hands being all over her but in a very very different scenario.

“All over?” Elly asked taking a deep breath in. For some crazy reason Elly was nervous about putting suncream on one of her best friends back, why was she feeling like this?

“Yeah... sure” Chloe nervously replied.

As soon as Elly’s hands touched Chloe’s skin, goosebumps covered every inch of her body, Chloe’s eyes slowly began to close, she was trying her best to keep her breathing as normal as possible to make sure Elly didn’t notice anything but was finding it extremely difficult.

“Thank you” Chloe said abruptly as she sat up so that Elly had to stop.

“I haven’t finished Clo, you’ve got suncream all over your back”.

“Don’t worry I’ll be in the pool soon anyway so it’ll come off”.

“Ok! I might join you if that’s ok?” Elly asked.

“It’s a free country” Chloe joked.

“I’ll be right back then” Elly replied as she headed back to Susan’s to grab her bikini.

Chloe immediately put her head in her hands, she was dreading seeing Elly in her bikini because she knew how incredible she was going to look. It was going to be a very difficult task to make sure that she didn’t stare at Elly.

Elly returned wearing the most beautiful red flowery bikini which looked incredible on her.

“Holy smokes look at you” Mark said wrapping his arms around Elly’s waist pulling her in tightly.

“Stop you’ll make me blush”.

“Am I not allowed to give my fiancée compliments?”

“Of course you are I just don’t want Chloe to feel like a spare part today. So less of the touchy feely stuff, just for now” Elly suggested.

“Oh yeah that’s a good shout actually, you really care about her don’t you?”

“I do! She’s one of a kind your sister and I’m lucky enough to call her my friend” Elly replied.

“Well I know that you have certainly made her happier and I know she values your friendship more than anyone else’s” Mark explained.

“She’s an amazing person” Elly said looking over at Chloe and smiling.

“Now go and have some fun I’ll be over in a minute and don’t worry I can keep my hands off you for a few hours” Mark joked.

“Good!” Elly replied making her way over to the pool.

Chloe was doing her best to act natural but just couldn’t keep her eyes off Elly’s body, she looked absolutely gorgeous. Chloe needed to distract herself so decided it was probably best to jump into the pool before Elly got too close.

Chloe decided that the only thing she could do was bomb into the pool. As she bombed into the pool causing an rather large splash, Elly was walking right past getting absolutely soaked.

“Jesus Chloe I’m soaked” Elly joked as she sat down by the edge off the pool.

“Sorry” Chloe replied as she dunked her head under the water for a couple of seconds to herself with no one else around her.

As Chloe come back up to the surface she was surprised to see that Elly was right behind her in the pool.

“Wow where did you come from?” A shocked Chloe asked as she flipped her hair out of her face.

“Sorry didn’t mean to scare you” Elly replied.

“You didn’t. I was just miles away on planet Chloe, as per usual”.

“I love your bikini by the way, where did you get it from” Elly asked.

“I honestly don’t even know”.

“Do you mind if I check the label?” Elly asked.

“Sure...” Chloe replied.

Elly swam behind Chloe to check the label in her bikini top, once again Chloe’s body was covered in goosebumps she needed to get away from Elly for a bit because it was just too hard.

“Did you find out?” Chloe asked trying to rush Elly.

“No the label doesn’t seem to be there”.

“Oh that’s a shame I’ll check when I take it off later” Chloe replied.

“That would be great thanks” Elly said.

“Guys I’m really sorry but I forgot that I was supposed to be meeting Xanthe for a coffee. So I’m going to have to bail but we can celebrate tomorrow night” Chloe explained.

“But you’ve only just got in the pool” Aaron replied.

“Do you have to go?” Mark asked.

“Yeah sorry...” Chloe replied swimming towards the ladder.

“Booooo! You suck” Aaron shouted throwing the beach ball at her.

“I know but I can’t let her down sorry” Chloe replied as she climbed out of the pool in what seemed like slow motion.

Elly found herself watching Chloe get out of the pool, she couldn’t understand why but for some reason she just couldn’t keep her eyes off her.

As Chloe grabbed her towel she looked back in the direction of the pool, she noticed that Elly was looking at her, for a split second she felt special, she felt noticed by the woman she loved.

“I’ll see you all later then” Chloe said smiling at Elly and the boys.

As soon as Elly heard Chloe’s voice she snapped out of the daze she was in, she finally stopped staring at Chloe.

“You ok babe? You were in your own little world” Mark said as he swam over to Elly.

“I think I’m getting one of those headaches, I might just go and have a lie down” Elly replied.

“Sure go get some rest we’ve got a big day tomorrow” Mark said giving Elly a kiss before she got out of the pool.

“I love you” Elly replied.

Wrapping the towel around herself she headed into the house to have a lie down on Marks bed, her mind was all over the place. She had never ever thought about any woman as more than a friend in her whole life, not even a girl crush at school or university. But there was something about Chloe that was catching her attention, she couldn’t work out if it was because of the kiss or because the two of them were such good friends but there was something very special about Chloe Brennan. Elly just needed to work out what she was feeling.

Chapter Text

A new day dawned and Elly woke after a sleepless night thinking about everything. She had come to the conclusion that the only reason she was questioning things was because someone she loved as a friend had kissed her. It had never happened to her before and that’s why all the confusion was happening, well at least that’s what she was putting it down to.

“Good morning future wife of mine” Mark said as he greeted Elly with a kiss.

Elly almost jumped when Mark kissed her, she was miles away.

“I didn’t mean to scare you”.

“Sorry babe I was miles away”.

“Everything ok?” Mark asked.

“Yeah, everything is fine I just didn’t sleep that well, I think it was my headache. I’m ok though...” Elly replied.

“You still want to go ring shopping?”

“Of course, give me a couple of minutes” Elly replied with a smile on her face.

The two of them headed into the city to visit Elly’s favourite jewellers, the two of them couldn’t wait to find the perfect ring.

Meanwhile back in Erinsborough, Chloe was waking up after an extra long lie in. She was feeling refreshed and looking forward to the day ahead before she realised that tonight was the big engagement party. Putting a smile on her face she headed into the kitchen to make herself a strong coffee, it wasn’t long before she noticed a note on the side from Mark.

“Gone ring shopping, see you later” Chloe said reading the note out loud.

Chloe scrunched the note up and threw it against the wall in jealousy.

“Wow what’s wrong with you?” David asked as he went to the fridge to grab a couple of beers.

“The bloody thing gave me a paper cut” Chloe replied thinking on her feet.

“They are the worst aren’t they!”

“They sure are” Chloe said walking over to pick the note up.

“Come and join me and Aaron were just soaking up some extra rays before the party” David replied hoping Chloe would join them.

“I might but I need to have a shower and start getting ready... thanks though” Chloe explained.

“Anytime” David replied heading back outside.

“That was close” Chloe mumbled to herself throwing the note into the bin.

A while later a very happy looking Mark and Elly returned to the house, they were over the moon that they had picked out the perfect ring.

“I’m so glad we managed to find the one” Mark said looking down at the ring on Elly’s finger.

“Me too, it really is perfect! I love it” Elly replied as the couple embraced.

Chloe walked out of her room just as the two of them were kissing, she immediately stopped to look at the two of them.

“Don’t mind me, just pretend I was never here” Chloe quietly said as she turned around ready to head back to her bedroom.

A nervous smile arrived on Elly’s face as soon as she heard Chloe’s voice, she knew that this was going to be a bit awkward as there was still a weirdness surrounding the two of them.

“Hey come take a look at Elly’s engagement ring” Mark said.

Elly began to fiddle with her ring because she was nervous about Chloe seeing the ring. The last thing Elly wanted was for Chloe to feel sad or uncomfortable.

“Honestly, I’m good! I don’t want to crash your moment” Chloe nervously replied.

“Would you just come here and compliment the ring please” Mark said loudly.

Chloe slowly walked over, her heart rate rising by the second she didn’t know where to look because it was too hard watching the two of them look madly in love with each other.

“It’s great” Chloe said taking a quick peek at the ring. She could tell that Elly was looking at her intensely wanting a little bit more than it’s just great.

“It’s beautiful...it really suits you” Chloe added being genuine.

“Yeah...” Elly mumbled to herself as she continued to play with it. “I hate to hurry off but if I don’t get back soon, I will have to wear this to the party and no one needs to see me in this” Elly explained giving Mark a goodbye kiss.

Chloe’s glance immediately moved from Elly to the floor, she couldn’t bare to see the two of them kiss.

“See you later” Mark said as Elly headed towards the door.

“Ooh Sorry” Chloe nervously said getting out of the way of Elly, as Elly passed her she turned to watch her walk out of the house, looking her up and down slyly wishing she felt the same way.

“So you like the ring then?” Mark asked.

“I do! It’s lovely and really suits Elly” Chloe replied.

“She tried on hundreds but then found this one and something just clicked, I could see it in her eyes...” Mark said.

“Sorry to interrupt you bro but I need to go and start getting ready”.

“Oh yeah sure. Go go get ready” Mark replied.

Chloe was already practically ready for the party but she just didn’t want to stand there and listen to Mark explain how the ring shopping went in detail. Chloe waited until Mark was in his room to head back into the kitchen, she couldn’t wait to help herself to a glass of champagne, it was going to be a very long evening

There was a knock at the door before it opened and Elly walked through it wearing the most beautiful white dress which suited her figure perfectly.

“Hi” Elly said with a big smile on her face.

“Wow” Chloe replied. She couldn’t help but stare at Elly, her eyes wide so that she could take in exactly how incredible Elly looked.

Elly didn’t know what to say, she just smiled as her cheeks began to blush.

“Stunning...”

Elly looked down at the dress and smiled to herself before walking closer to where Chloe was sat.

“Soz, I didn’t mean to stare” Chloe said doing one of her nervous laughs.

“Are we ok? I just get the feeling you’ve been avoiding me ever since.. well you know” Elly anxiously asked.

Chloe took a deep breath in before replying, “Right... I thought you were avoiding me”.

They both laughed.

“I figured that you were still a little freaked out by the... you know. Even thought we had spoken about it” Chloe added.

“Great, so if we’re both not avoiding each other, there’s no reason for any more weirdness between us then?” Elly replied.

“Good point, this shall now be a weirdness free zone” Chloe joked.

“I would hate to lose our friendship over some silly little moment, especially now that your going to be my sister in law” Elly replied.

Chloe was doing her best to keep a smile on her face but for her the kiss was much much more than a silly moment. She had been dying to kiss Elly from the first day the two of them met, even though their first meeting didn’t go smoothly.

“It won’t happen on my watch” Chloe said with a big smile on her face.

“Great so we’re all good?”

“Normal programming resumed” Chloe sarcastically replied.

Elly opened her arms up as wide as she could, rushed over to Chloe and gave her the biggest hug ever. Chloe found it especially difficult as Elly was squeezing her tightly, for Elly she was still trying to figure what was going on as she couldn’t get Chloe out of her mind.

“Now where is my future husband I need him to give me a hand doing this dress up...”

“Last time I checked Mark was still making himself look pretty, but do you want me... to”

“Yeah sure” Elly replied interrupting Chloe before she could even finish asking.

Chloe slowly walked towards Elly who had turned so that her back was facing Chloe. Her heart was racing, she gently moved Elly’s hair out of the way so that she could tie the ribbons up. As Chloe’s fingers brushed across Elly’s neck, Elly felt something in the pit of her stomach that she hadn’t felt before. She couldn’t work out of it was the fact that Chloe’s hands were slightly cold or something more.

Chloe was trying her hardest to do the ribbons up a quickly as she could because a very large part of her wanted to softly kiss Elly’s neck like she had dreamt about many times before. Neither of them were breathing properly as they were both caught up in the moment.

“Ready to get this party started?” David said excitedly as he walked into the kitchen.

Chloe had never moved so fast in her life, she felt like she was doing something wrong by helping Elly do her dress up.

“Ready, willing and able” Mark said.

Elly and Chloe didn’t say a word, they just looked at each other and smiled. Both of them were feeling things but the difference was Chloe knew exactly what she was feeling, Elly didn’t have a clue.

“Oh my goodness” Mark said giving Elly a big kiss.

“Hey, hey, hey there’s plenty of time for that but now we need to get going” Aaron joked as he tried to tear the pair apart.

“Let’s go, let’s go” Aaron added trying to get everyone to hurry up.

They all eventually made their way to the waterhole where everyone was waiting to celebrate the big news. Chloe had already drank her fair share of champagne and there was no sign of her stopping either.

Susan, Bae, Dipi, Xanthe and Chloe were all stood around having a conversation about how perfect Mark and Elly were for each other.

“I haven’t been this excited about a couple since Harry and Megs Markle... well no actually David and Aaron” Dipi excitedly said as she looked over at the happy couple.

“They are just so perfect for each other” Xanthe added.

“It’s about time I say, they’ve been on and off like a yo yo” Susan said.

While the conversation was going on, Chloe was looking over lovingly at Elly, wishing that it was her and not Mark. The jealously was slowly taking over Chloe and she had no idea how to stop it.

“They are soulmates” Xanthe added.

“Well I don’t know if I believe in all of the soulmate business but they do make the perfect couple” Bea explained.

“No one has made Elly as happy as Mark has” Susan replied.

Chloe had had enough of everybody talking about how perfect he two of them were for each other, she downed her drink and headed straight to get a refill. Champagne was definitely the only thing that was going to get Chloe through this party.

“So who are you going to ask to be your bridesmaids?” Mark asked as the happy couple were dancing the night away.

“Bea if she’ll do it? I don’t know if she will... and Chloe? Do you think she’d like that?” Elly replied.

“I think she’d love it”.

“You don’t think it would be too much with the illness and everything?”

“No I honestly think that she would love it! Ask her, I’m sure she’ll say no if she can’t do it” Mark replied.

“Who is going to be your best man? Or is that a stupid question?”

“Aaron of course but I’m also going to ask Toadie if he will be there by my side throughout”.

“Good idea. It’s all very exciting isn’t it” Elly replied.

With the party in full swing Chloe had had one too many drinks and was feeling brave enough to make a speech.

“Shh people... I want to say a few words” Chloe shouted while dragging a chair over so that she could stand on it.

Panic arrived on Elly’s face immediately, she knew Chloe was drunk and had absolutely no idea what was going to come out of Chloe’s mouth.

“Do you want me to grab everyone form outside before the speeches start?” Dipi asked.

“Um there wasn’t supposed to be any speeches” Mark replied.

“Ah Clo Clo Clo, I don’t think that champagne and chairs mix” Aaron said rushing over to try and get Chloe to get off of the chair.

“Get your own chair” Chloe shouted pushing Aaron’s hands off of her.

Clearing her throat, Chloe was ready to give the speech, it was safe to say that Elly was worried about what the next couple of minutes could include.

Chapter Text

Everyone in the waterhole were silent ready to listen to a rather drunk Chloe make her speech, Aaron was worried she was going to fall of the chair, Elly was worried she was going to blurt out what happened between them and Mark was blissfully unaware of everything.

“Ladies... gentleman and Ned. Aw I just want to say how happy I am that my big brother has found such an incredible woman...” Chloe began to explain.

Elly’s face lit up when she heard Chloe begin to talk about her, but a small part of her was still worried about what was still to come.

“I have heard so many people go on and on and on about how lucky Elly is to have found such a decent guy, like Mark. Yes Marks fantastic and thanks for the champers bro... but you’ve all got it wrong...”

Elly’s heart was racing so fast, the anxious look on her face showed Chloe that she was worried about what Chloe was going to say.

“Mark, well he’s the lucky one. Elly is smart, funny, caring... she has a body that most of us would kill for... am I right ladies?” Chloe said as the guests laughed in agreement.

“And I am so stoked that they’ll be able to have babies, super duper cute babies. I mean talk about being genetically blessed and not just looks! None of them will have the gene of DOOM” Chloe said Really emphasising the word doom.

Aaron and Elly looked at each other, they both knew that this speech was about to take a dark turn and needed to figure out a way to stop Chloe saying anymore.

“Uhh Chloe I think that’s enough...” Aaron said as he walked towards Chloe.

“Yeah come on Clo” Elly added giving Chloe her hand so that she could get off the chair safely.

“NO. no, it’s ok! Ooh I keep forgetting that not everyone knows about my condition. I have Huntington’s disease everyone, or will have in 15/20 years and it’ll be kaput for me and it won’t be pretty but it’s all good because Mark doesn’t have it and neither does Aaron. CHEERS” Chloe said raising her glass before downing it.

The room fell silent, no one knew what to say or do, they were shell shocked they couldn’t believe that Chloe was ill. Elly was the closest person to Chloe in the entire place and she knew that she needed to get down from the chair before falling off of it.

“Let me help you” Elly said reaching for Chloe’s hand.

“I’m fine...” Chloe said slurring her words.

“You don’t look fine and right now everyone is staring at you. Please just come down”.

“Well now they all know that I’m living in borrowed time, I might actually get some special treatment around here” Chloe joked.

“Stop! Stop making jokes out of this and just get down” Elly replied.

“Fine! Since when did you become my mother...” Chloe said as she took Chloe’s hand and got down from the stool.

“I care about you Chloe...”

“Yeah but not enough” Chloe mumbled before rushing out of the room to find somewhere to throw up.

“Chloe...” Elly replied as she rushed past her.

“Just leave her she probably just needs time to process what she’s just done. She’ll be ok” Mark said.

“I can’t just leave her Mark, she’s just told everyone that she’s got Huntington’s, something two days ago she couldn’t even tell her own brothers. She’s struggling and I’m not just going to stand here and watch her suffer. Look you stay here and enjoy the party, but I need to go and make sure she’s ok” Elly explained handing her drink to Mark so she could find Chloe.

“Ok, don’t be long” Mark replied.

“I’ll be as long as it takes” Elly said.

Elly was annoyed at how Mark was acting, it was as if he wasn’t noticing that his sister was going through something very big right in front of his eyes. He either didn’t care or he just didn’t know how to deal with it, she knew deep down he did care but he wasn’t showing it.

“Chloe? Where are you?” Elly shouted as she looked for Chloe outside.

Chloe was too busy throwing up in a bush to reply, but she held her arm in the air to let Elly know where she was.

Elly ran over to Chloe immediately to move her hair out of the way and to make sure that she was ok.

“Are you ok?”

“I think it must just be something I ate...” Chloe joked as she struggled to stand.

Elly wrapped her arms around Chloe to help her stand up straight, she also grabbed Chloe’s shoes which she had already taken off.

“What did the food not sit very well with that bottle and a half of champagne you’ve drunk?” Elly asked.

“You should just go back inside... to enjoy your party”.

“Uh no! I want to make sure you are ok and get you home safely” Elly said as she helped Chloe to walk.

“You would leave your own engagement party to take me home? That is the nicest thing in the whole world” Chloe replied.

“Don’t worry I’ll be going back to it. Just after I make sure you’re all tucked up in bed”.

The two of them began to walk home when all of a sudden Chloe remembered that she hadn’t finished her speech.

“Oh my god I didn’t get to finish my speech” Chloe shouted as she stopped in her tracks.

“No, it doesn’t even matter” Elly replied.

“Yes it does! I wanted to say that I totally get why Mark is so crazy for you... because I love you too” Chloe blurted out as she pounced on Elly to give her a hug.

Elly was shell shocked she didn’t know what to reply, she thought the kiss was just a silly mistake but clearly it wasn’t, clearly it meant a lot more to Chloe than she made out.

“Come on you let’s get you home” Elly said knowing the all Chloe needed right now was her bed.

They finally arrived back at the house, Chloe was practically asleep by the time Elly got her into the house.

“Chloe I need you to take your dress off because there is sick all over it...” Elly explained to a very sleepy Chloe.

Chloe completely ignored Elly and just lay down on her bed.

“Chloe come on... at least turn over so I can unzip it”.

Elly did her best to roll Chloe over so that she could unzip her dress to try and get it off of Chloe.

“CHLOE” Elly shouted.

“What?” A sleepy Chloe mumbled.

“Stand up” Elly instructed.

“No need to shout” Chloe replied as she stumbled to her feet.

“Put your arms up please” Elly asked.

Chloe immediately put her arms up and Elly lifted Chloe’s dress up over her head. Even though Chloe didn’t really had a clue what was going on right now because she was so out of it, but her heart beat was racing. Elly undressing her had been a fantasy of hers forever and it was finally happening even if it was Elly being a good friend.

Once the dress was off, Chloe was just stood there in a super sexy red lace matching lingerie set, Elly couldn’t help but stare, something that didn’t go unnoticed by Chloe.

“Umm.. where are your pyjamas?” Elly asked as her gaze moved to the floor.

“Top draw...” Chloe slurred.

Elly rushed over to the draw to find some of her pyjamas, so that Chloe could cover up.

“Here you go...” Elly said handing them to Chloe.

“Can you turn around?” Chloe asked Elly.

“Oh yeah of course...” Elly replied as she turned herself around.

Chloe was trying her hardest to unclip her bra, but she was really struggling, she was going to have to ask for Elly’s help.

“Do you think you could help?” Chloe asked.

“Yeah” Elly replied as she walked behind Chloe to unclip her bra.

Elly warmed her hands up before helping Chloe out, for some reason she was really nervous about something 2 days ago wouldn’t have been phased her. Chloe had her top ready to put on immediately so that Elly didn’t see anything.

“There you go”.

“Thanks” Chloe replied covering herself up.

“Right well if you are all ready I am going to head back to the party. I hope you manage to get some sleep and we can talk more tomorrow ok?”

“Thank you. Enjoy” Chloe replied pulling the duvet over her, completely ignoring Elly’s comment about talking tomorrow.

Elly took one last look at Chloe before turning off the light and shutting the door. She didn’t even want to thing about anything other than Mark right now, otherwise it would just all be too confusing for her. Putting a smile on her face she rushed back to the party to enjoy the rest of her evening.

“You were ages, everything ok?” Mark asked as Elly arrived back.

“Yeah it just took us a while to walk home, she’s heavier than she looks” Elly joked.

“Well I am glad you are back! Let me get you a glass of champagne so we can continue to celebrate” Mark replied.

“Susie” Elly said giving Susan a hug.

“I’m sorry to hear about Chloe, that must be so hard for her” Susan replied.

“It’s not been easy as I’ve known for quite a long time but she’s doing ok. I think finding out she was the only one with it was a bit difficult, even though she’s over the moon for her brothers I think it’ll just take a few days” Elly explained.

“She’s lucky to have you, she really is” Susan replied.

“I don’t know about that, I think I’m very lucky to have her” Elly said.

“Well long may this friendship continue” Susan replied with a smile on her face.

“I couldn’t agree more...” Elly said thinking about the last couple of days.

“You ok? You look worried?” Susan asked as she noticed the sudden shift of her facial expression.

“Yeah I’m fine, just worried about Chloe” Elly replied.

“I bet, next time you see her let her know that if she ever needs anything I’m here! She’s a good kid who doesn’t deserve this” Susan said.

“Thanks auntie suze, I know she’ll appreciate it” Elly replied.

“Here we go babe, get that down you” Mark said handing Elly a glass of champagne.

“Thank you” Elly replied taking an extra large gulp of her drink.

“Congratulations again! Karl wishes he could be here but he had to work, no doubt he’ll try and catch up with you tomorrow at some point” Susan explained.

“As long as he doesn’t congratulate us with a song, he can come and see us anytime” Mark joked.

“Mark... you can’t say that” Elly replied playfully slapping him in the stomach.

“Sorry but we all know Karl thinks he’s a lot better than he actually is...”

“Very true! Don’t worry I’ll make sure to tell him that you’ve requested a song or two” Susan replied smirking.

“Come on Susan you wouldn’t do that to me would you?” Mark asked.

“I totally would” Susan replied running off to leave the love birds too it.

“She’s going to get Karl to sing for us isn’t she?” Mark quietly asked Elly.

“Yep! Never put an idea into Susan’s head, she will 100% go through with it”.

“Right tomorrow we don’t answer the door to anyone” Mark joked.

“Oh come on he isn’t that bad...”

“Yes he is. Now enough talk of Karl will you do me the honour of dancing with me” Mark asked.

“I would love to” Elly replied putting her glass on the side so the two of them could dance.

Mark took hold of Elly’s hand and walked her onto the dance floor, gazing into each other’s eyes the pair danced the night away. Although Elly was enjoying dancing with her fiancée, Chloe was still on her mind.

Chapter Text

Chloe woke with a banging headache not really knowing how she got home last night. She could remember the speech and telling Elly that she loved her but apart from that the evening was a blur.

“Painkillers... stat” Chloe mumbled as she made her way into the kitchen.

Aaron and David couldn’t help but laugh at Chloe and the state she got herself into last night.

“Downside of a heavy night huh?” Aaron replied.

“Usually I love being a show pony but last night I was a real ass! I am so sorry, it wasn’t my place to bring it all up and my timing super sucked” Chloe explained with an apologetic look on her face.

“It’s fine Clo” Aaron replied giving Chloe a pat on the back.

“You’ve been holding this in for so long! I’m surprised you haven’t exploded before now” Mark added.

“I have to admit that part of me is kinda glad it’s out in the open now, but that’s no excuse” Chloe replied.

“Well, Clo you’ve had to carry this all by yourself for so long, we were lucky we had our partners by our side” Aaron added.

Chloe looked down at the floor, she hadn’t been alone she’d had Elly.

“Yeah but I wasn’t alone, I had Elly” Chloe replied.

“And we are so glad you had Elly but you should have had both of us as well! Next time your going through something just remember we are here and we love you” Mark added.

“We will support you with everything 100%” Aaron replied.

I’m Chloe’s head she was thinking that she didn’t think Mark would be so supportive if he knew that she was in love with Elly.

“MORNING” a very bright eyed Elly announced as she walked into the house.

“Good morning you...” Mark replied making his way over to greet Elly.

“Morning fiancée”.

Chloe immediately felt awkward as soon as she heard Elly’s voice. She couldn’t believe that she was so drunk that she told Elly the truth, she was just hoping and praying that Elly will have forgotten about it.

“I’m gunna hit the shower” Chloe said quietly to Aaron and David so that she could sneak off while Elly and Mark were being all affectionate.

Elly noticed straight away that Chloe has disappeared, she was worried that she was the reason. Things really were beginning to be very awkward between the two of them.

“Where did Chloe go?” Elly asked.

“For a shower, I think she’s feeling the effects of last night pretty badly” Aaron replied sniggering.

“Is she ok?” Elly asked hoping to find out if she had said anything to the boys about last night.

“Yeah, well apart from the hangover! I think she’s quite relieved that it’s all out in the open now”.

“Yeah I bet she’s relieved to have all that weight had been lifted off her shoulders” Elly replied not only talking about the illness but also about how she was feeling about her.

“I can only imagine how relieved she is” Aaron said.

“I’ve got to head for my yoga class but meet me for a coffee later?” Elly asked Mark.

“Sure thing, let me know when you’ve finished and I’ll meet you at Harold’s” Mark replied.

“Love you” Elly said.

“Love you too” Mark replied.

“It’s good to see the two of you so loved up bro!! I’m glad you both pulled your fingers out and sorted everything” Aaron explained.

“Me too! There is no way I’m ever letting her slip through my fingers again”.

“Good!” Aaron replied.

Elly had finished her yoga session and had messaged Mark to come and join her at the coffee shop. Unfortunately Mark had been called away to help Toadie with something, luckily she had bumped into Bea so could join her for one.

“I’m actually really glad I bumped into you, I was hoping that you would do me the honour of being my maid of honour?” Elly asked Bea with a hopeful look on her face.

“I would love to” Bea replied.

“Really? You sure? I know weddings aren’t exactly your thing”.

“They’re not but you’re my big sister and I wouldn’t miss it for the world” Bea replied giving Elly a big hug.

While the two of them were hugging, Elly spotted Chloe in the distance. The two of them made eye contact but Chloe quickly looked away and headed in the other direction.

Chloe wanted to try and find somewhere to enjoy a coffee in peace without Elly being able to find her but Erinsborough was a small place, it was going to be an impossible task.

Just as Chloe took a sip of her coffee she heard a voice in the distance.

“CHLOE” Elly shouted as soon as she spotted her.

Chloe jumped and did her best to escape before Elly reached her.

“Ahhhh ahh no you don’t” Elly said as she rushed over to stop Chloe from leaving.

This was the last thing she needed today, to have to speak to Elly after what happened last night.

“I need to speak to you, please sit” Elly said with a nervous smile on her face.

“What’s up?” Chloe replied with a force smile on her face.

“Hmm... ok... so last night” Elly said.

“What?” Chloe replied deciding to play dumb.

“You don’t remember anything? You don’t remember telling me...”

Chloe’s expression was one of pure confusion, she didn’t want Elly to realise that she knew exactly what Elly was going on about.

“What?”

“That you love me?” Elly said. She was so anxious to hear Chloe’s reply, her heart was practically beating out of her chest.

“What?” Chloe replied giving off a little nervous giggle.

Elly didn’t say anything she just looked at Chloe waiting for her response.

“I did? It must have just been the bubbles, aka the love juice. I tell everyone I love them after a couple of glasses” Chloe explained hoping that Elly would believe her.

“It’s just after the other night and you know some of our conversations, I just wanted to make sure that there’s not more to it?” Elly asked.

She needed to know how Chloe was truly feeling so that she could try and work our what she herself had been feeling.

“No. No way” Chloe replied shaking her head.

There was a slight look of relief on Elly’s face but part of her didn’t believe Chloe.

“Again, it was just the pesky bubbles, I am officially banning myself” Chloe said laughing.

“Ok, great! I’m so glad that’s out the way because I have a question to ask you”.

“Sure... anything” Chloe replied.

“Will you be my bridesmaid?”

For a split second Chloe’s world began to fold in front of her, she had been dreading hearing those words come out of Elly’s mouth. It was already going to be hard enough just being at the wedding, let alone being her bridesmaid. But Chloe knew if she didn’t say yes then Elly would suspect something was up.

“Really” Chloe replied taking a deep breath in.

“Well yeah... apart from the surprising fact we are actually friends, you are going to be my sister in law. I really want you to be part of the wedding” Elly explained.

“Sold” Chloe reluctantly replied forcing an excited look on her face.

“Phew! I wouldn’t want anyone else by my side on my special day” Elly explained giving Chloe a huge smile.

“Can’t wait”.

“I must dash but I’ll see you later” Elly said giving Chloe a hug before heading to tell Mark the good news.

Chloe’s heart sank as soon as Elly left, the sadness on her face was visible to see. How was she going to cope with being a bridesmaid and watching the woman she loved her married? This really was going to be one of the hardest things she had ever had to do.

“I’ve got good news” Elly excitedly said as she ran over to Mark who was relaxing on the sofa.

“Go on then...”

“Both Bea and Chloe said yes! I’ve got the two most important people in my life stood right by me on my big day”.

“Two most? Surely I’m the most...”

“Apart from you”.

“I’m thrilled for you but never doubted that they would say anything other than yes” Mark explained.

Mark had absolutely no idea what had been happening between Elly and his sister, he had no idea that Elly had been so worried about their friendship.

“Well you never know”.

“So I headed to the shop earlier on my way back from Toadies and I may have gone a little over the top with wedding magazines” Mark said showing Elly the huge pile of magazines he had got her.

“Wow, that’s a lot of reading to do” Elly replied.

“You better get started then! I want this to be the best day of your life, so I wanted you to have every available magazine”.

“Thank you babe I appreciate it. Let’s start planning” Elly said picking up the top magazine to start reading.

Later than evening Chloe was bumming around on the sofa watching a trashy Christmas film that was slowly making her feel a little bit less shit about her life.

Mark and Aaron had been making sure that they had everything organised for Christmas. They wanted this year to be extra special for Chloe as she had been through so much.

“Can you make sure you collect the sea food tomorrow?” Mark asked Aaron.

“Of course”.

“Oh and I’ve ordered a case of Chloe’s favourite champagne, I thought it might help to make things that little bit more special”.

“She’ll appreciate that I’m sure. The rest of the food is being delivered on the 23rd isn’t it?” Aaron asked.

“It is, so we will have everything we need in the house ready for the big day”.

“Perfect”.

“Hi” Elly said walking into the house armed with wedding magazines.

“Hey” an excited Mark replied.

“I need your help” Elly said heading straight for Chloe on the sofa.

Chloe was trying to look busy on her phone, but it wasn’t working very well.

“Um.. hello?” A jealous Mark said. He wanted Elly to pay him some attention.

“It’s for my wedding dress, so hush” Elly replied sarcastically.

Chloe really really wasn’t in the mood to be playing bridesmaids today but she knew she really didn’t have much of a choice.

“Carry on” Mark shouted.

“I thought you weren’t going to make any plans before Christmas?” Aaron said.

“I know but since I’ve hit a dead end on the job front I thought I should make a start on the planning. I know he will be thinking about it too” Elly explained.

“Yeah! Too much! Outside, you can’t hear any of this!” Aaron said pushing Mark out of the way.

While the conversation had been going on Chloe was busy scrolling through her phone to stop her from hafting to join in.

“Don’t worry I’m not going to bore you forever, but I have 3 options and I’m trying to figure out which ones the best” Elly explained as she sat down next to Chloe on the sofa.

“Shouldn’t you be talking to Bea about all of this stuff? I mean she is your maid of honour” Chloe replied trying to get out of having to look at dresses.

“Yeah well I showed her and she likes them all and says I should just go for whichever one I like the most. Which is no help to me, so I need you to look and be honest with me, just give it to me straight” Elly explained.

Chloe nervously smiled knowing that she was about to see the dresses the woman she loved could potentially be wearing when she got married. She was doing her best to remain calm and keep a happy expression on her face but she was really struggling, this was going to be so difficult for her.

Elly passed over the magazines for chloe to take a closer look at, she tried not to look at them in too much detail because she knew she wouldn’t be able to get the image of the dress out of her head.

“So? Which one do you like the most?” Elly asked anxious to hear what Chloe had to say.

“I personally like the first one the best because it’s very simple yet elegant but for you I think the third one would look the best” Chloe replied.

“You do? Why?”

Taking a deep breath in, Chloe replied...”I just think it would look incredible on your figure. It will compliment you in all the right places and I genuinely believe that you’ll look absolutely stunning in it. Mark’s a very lucky man”.

“That ones my favourite too” Elly said with a smile on her face.

“Well looks like you’ve found a winner then...”

“Looks like I have. Will you do me a favour?” Elly asked.

“Sure...” Chloe replied.

“Will you come to the fitting with me?”

“I mean if you have no one else to go but surely you’d want Bea and Susan there. Not me” Chloe replied.

“I’d love you to be there” Elly said looking straight into Chloe’s eyes.

Every inch of Chloe’s body wanted to say no but she couldn’t, she couldn’t let Elly down because she knew how much this dress meant to her.

“Yeah... I can come” Chloe replied trying to make it look like she wasn’t dying inside.

“Excellent! I can’t wait” Elly said with the biggest smile on her face.

“Is that everything?”

“Yeah for now” Elly replied.

“Ok cool. I might head to bed not feeling great” Chloe said trying to make an excuse to stop all this wedding talk.

“Oh ok, I hope you feel better soon” Elly replied.

“Mark you can come out now...” Chloe shouted as she headed to her room.

“Where’s she off to?” Mark asked as he sat down next to Elly on the sofa.

“She said she wasn’t feeling great so is having an early night”.

“Probably all the bubbles she drank”.

“Most likely! Anyway we need to think of a date for the big day” Elly said as she snuggled in close to Mark.

“Let’s get Christmas out of the way and then we can set a date” Mark replied putting his arm around his fiancée.

Chloe watched on from the hallway, she just couldn’t stand to see the two of them so loved up and happy. She was going to do everything she could to avoid them both for the next few days.

Chapter Text

“We shouldn’t be doing this...” Chloe whispered to Elly as she leant in to kiss her.

“Why not? We both feel the same so why can’t we just go for it?” Elly replied.

“Because you are marrying my brother...”

“Forget about that for a few minutes and just focus on us” Elly replied.

“I don’t know if I can”.

“I thought this is what you wanted?” Elly said as she lingered just in front of Chloe’s lips.

“It is, it’s all I’ve ever wanted but I just...” Chloe began to reply before Elly interrupted her by planting a kiss on her lips, shutting her well and truly up.

The kiss was a passionate one, Chloe placed her hand around the back of Elly’s neck pulling her in closer.

“Wow... you don’t know how long I have been wanting that to happen” Chloe quietly replied trying to catch her breath.

“Me too, I just didn’t know what my feelings meant. It’s all been so confusing” Elly said caressing Chloe’s face, slowly running her finger over Chloe’s lips.

“So... what does this mean?”

“It means that I want you to show me... you know what to do...” Elly shyly said.

“Really?” A surprised Chloe replied.

“Yeah...” Elly said standing up holding her arm out hoping that Chloe would grab her hand.

The biggest smile arrived on Chloe’s face as she grabbed hold of Elly’s hand and followed her into the bedroom. Elly softly pushed Chloe onto the bed, before she started to unbutton her shirt. Chloe’s heart was pumping faster than it ever had before, she couldn’t believe that this was finally happening.

“Wow, you are just... wow” Chloe said as she stared at Elly who was stood their in her bra.

Elly’s cheeks began to turn red, she was so nervous.

“Come here, don’t be nervous. I’ll take care of you” Chloe said standing up to walk over to Elly.

“I’ve never done anything like this before...” Elly quietly replied.

“It’s ok, just let me take control. Lie down and I’ll take it from here... ok?” Chloe explained.

“Ok!” Elly said as her breathing increased.

Chloe was so excited, she couldn’t keep the smile off her face. She walked over to Elly who was clearly nervous, she gently unzipped Elly’s jeans and slowly slid them off. Chloe took a moment to appreciate how incredible Elly’s body was, before heading back over ready to show Elly a good time.

“CHLOE...” a voice from the distance shouted.

Chloe squeezed her eyes closed, hoping that she would go straight back to the dream she was having.

“CHLOE... GET UP” Aaron shouted banging on her bedroom door.

“Go away” Chloe replied, slamming both of her arms onto the mattress in anger. She couldn’t believe that Aaron had just ruined the first decent dream she had had in a while.

The dream was so realistic, like she could feel Elly’s touch, head her voice, why did she have to wake up?

“Is it me or is she spending a lot of time sleeping at the moment?” Aaron asked David as they sat drinking coffee.

“I suppose so, but she’s been through a lot we need to remember that” David replied.

“Maybe we should do something to cheer her up? Or at least see if she wants to...”

“Sounds like a good idea, if she ever gets up” David replied.

“Did you really have to be so loud? I was trying to sleep because it’s so bloody hot everywhere. I just wish we had air conditioning” Chloe said as she finally came out of her bedroom.

“Yes I did because it’s lunchtime and you need to get up! But yes I agree we need air con” Aaron replied.

“That’s the one reason I miss living in the penthouse” David said.

“I do too, especially when your sweaty leg is all over me” Aaron joked.

“Ew! So romantic” Chloe replied pulling a face.

“Fancy a coffee?” Aaron asked.

Chloe looked around the room to see if Mark and Elly were around, she didn’t think she could face either of them, not today.

“Are Mark and Elly here?” Chloe replied.

“Um no they’ve already headed out for the day” Aaron said.

“Then yeah sure I’ll have a coffee” Chloe replied realising the coast was clear.

“Excuse me... why are you avoiding Elly and Mark?” Aaron asked.

“I’m not!”

“I think you are”.

“Look if you must know it was all that wedding talk last night, should I go for sleeves or long or mid length or strappy... blah blah blah” Chloe said.

“Yeah blah blah blah that’s nonsense because you love that sort of stuff! And you were planning our wedding like crazy”.

“That’s when there were dollar signs involved. I don’t know maybe I just wasn’t in the mood to hear about it” Chloe replied.

“Ah Yeah. Sorry, sorry I didn’t think. Like it must be hard... when you know...” Aaron mumbled.

“Are you talking about my diagnosis?”

“Yeah, is that insensitive?”

“It’s just the reality and it’s fine. I’m just being a sook for no reason”.

“Well no! It’s not for no reason. Like I think I’d feel the same way... like whenever I see a baby I know the reality is I can’t have them. But you know what it’s Christmas so let’s just have some fun. We are taking you out” Aaron explained.

“Ooh where?” Chloe replied as her face lit up.

“For some cheeky cocktails and a good old boogie” Aaron said.

“That’s the best idea you have had in a long time” Chloe replied.

“BOOM” Aaron said as the two of them high fived.

“Just the three of us though?”

“Just the three of us. Why don’t we make a day of it and start this arvo?”

“I’m game” David replied.

“Me too! I better start getting ready then”.

“Already its only lunchtime?” Aaron joked.

“I’ve got to make sure I look my best don’t I?”

“I suppose you do... we’re going to head for some lunch. See you in a bit” Aaron said as Chloe disappeared back into her room.

The two of them headed to Harold’s to line their stomach for a wild night out on the town, Aaron had ordered half the menu.

“You two look like you are filling up for something?” Mark said looking at the amount of food the two of them had.

“We’re lining our stomachs for a messy one” Aaron replied taking a huge bite out of his sandwich.

“You guys off out?” Elly asked.

“Yeah thought we would take Clo out to try and cheer her up a little bit”.

“Why is she sad?” Elly immediately replied.

“No particular reason, I think she’s just a bit down” Aaron answered.

“You got room for two more?” Elly asked.

Aaron looked at David who gave him a slight nod to say go on then, as Chloe had asked for it just to be the three of them.

“Umm yeah sure”.

“Great! We shall see you later then” An excited Elly replied.

She couldn’t wait to try and cheer Chloe up, she desperately just wanted Chloe to be back to her normal self and she really wanted to be the one to do it.

“Do I even get a say?” Mark asked.

“Nope”.

“Is this what married life is going to be like?”

“Of course, so get used to it” Elly replied.

“God help me! Is it too late to back out?” Mark joked.

“Yep, your stuck with me forever! Now I’m sorry but I need to go and get ready”.

“But we’re not going out for hours...”

“I need to be looking gorgeous don’t I”.

“You could wear anything and I’d be impressed” Mark replied.

“Who says I’m trying to impress you?” Elly joked.

“Oh I see how it is, go on off you go” Mark replied.

“See you later”.

Elly rushed home she couldn’t wait to have a night out with her favourite people, she was determined to make sure that her and Chloe were back to their old ways by the end of the evening. While Elly went to get ready Mark headed back to the cafe to join the boys.

As Elly began to get ready she wanted to message Chloe to see if she wanted to get ready together, but after hearing from Aaron that she seemed sad she didn’t know if she was the reason she was down.

The afternoon arrived, Chloe, David and Aaron headed to the waterhole to start their evening off properly with some extra colourful cocktails. Chloe was in such a good mood but she had no idea that Mark and Elly were joining them later on.

“Get these down you” Chloe said bringing over two brightly coloured cocktails.

“Wow these look amazing”.

“They were the booziest thing on the menu and they have umbrellas in which make them acceptable for day time drinking” Chloe added.

“It’s good to see you smiling again sis” Aaron said.

“It’s good to be smiling. Apart from the healthy stuff, what happened with Piers knocked me around more than I thought. So thank you both for getting me out of the house” Chloe replied making a toast to the both of them.

Elly and Mark walked in just as they all clinked glasses raising a toast.

“Phoar lethal looking cocktails! Are they off the Chrissy cocktail menu?” Elly asked.

Chloe’s face dropped the moment she heard Elly’s voice, she really couldn’t get away from her no matter how hard she tried.

“Hope you don’t mind us crashing your night” Mark said giving Chloe a big cheesy grin.

“It’s fine” Chloe replied.

“Are you sure?” Aaron asked while Chloe and Mark left to buy themselves some drinks.

“I’m not that sensitive” Chloe replied rolling her eyes.

Aaron looked worried about Chloe, he felt really bad for letting them both tag along.

“We will still have fun don’t worry” Aaron said.

Chloe just nodded her head whilst sipping her cocktail and checking out how amazing Elly looked in her dress.

“I love your dress” Elly said complimenting Chloe.

“Thank you too” Chloe replied trying to keep their conversation down to a minimum.

“So where we heading after this?”

“I thought we could go to the club in the city, the one we’ve been to a million times but I can never remember it’s name” Aaron replied.

“I know the one, does good deals on drinks” Mark added.

“That’s what I like to hear” Chloe said downing her drink.

“Don’t you think you should take it easy” Elly whispered to Chloe.

“I’m fine don’t worry about me” Chloe replied heading to the bar for another cocktail.

After a couple more drinks they all headed to the nightclub, the music was blaring and the place was packed, it was going to be a hectic night.

“Woo” Chloe shouted dancing her way into the club.

“Ah this place never gets old, potential for the hen?” Elly replied grabbing hold of Chloe’s hand.

“Yeah I guess” Chloe said.

“What are you guys going to do for the bucks night?” Elly asked clinging onto Mark.

“Nah, I’m not going to have one” Mark replied.

“Um, yes you are. It’s not even your decision to make. I say we go Brennan wild” Aaron said whilst in the arms of his husband.

Chloe already felt like a spare part, this one was of the many reasons that she didn’t want Mark and Elly to come out tonight, she desperately wished it was just the three amigos.

“We are going to have so much more fun than you... aren’t we Clo?” Elly said.

“Absolutely” Chloe replied staring at the floor.

“I love this song, come on let’s go and dance” Elly shouted over the music.

“Maybe in a little while” Aaron and David replied.

“Well looks like it’s just you and me then Clo” Elly said cuddling up to her.

“No! I’m going to go and get some drinks in. Everyone ok with a jug?” Chloe replied trying her best to get away from Elly.

“I’ll give you a hand...” Aaron said.

“No it’s ok, go enjoy yourself and I’ll be over in a minute” Chloe replied heading to the bar. She desperately wanted to enjoy herself, but seeing how happy the four of them were just made her sad, she wanted that kind of love. It was just a shame the person she wanted it with wasn’t interested in her at all.

Chapter Text

While the two happy couples were enjoying the music, Chloe was trying to get served. She couldn’t help but glance over to see them all with huge smiles on their faces, it did make her feel out of place. Why couldn’t she be happy? Why couldn’t she be with the woman she loved?

“What can I get you?” The barman asked.

“Can I get a jug with 5 glasses and two shots of tequila please” Chloe replied.

“Tequila... you planning a heavy night?” The barman said trying to make a conversation with her.

“Yeah, why not! It’s nearly Christmas so that’s a good enough excuse” Chloe replied.

“That’s very true. Here you go” The barman said as he placed the drinks in front of Chloe.

Chloe wasted no time at all to down the two shots of tequila, the barman looked at Chloe with an impressed expression on his face, he couldn’t believe that she downed them both like they were water.

“Enjoy your night” The barman said to Chloe as she headed off to the others.

“Thanks, no doubt I’ll see you later” Chloe replied winking at him. If she couldn’t flirt with Elly then she may as well flirt with anyone else with a pulse.

“Finally we thought you had got lost” Aaron joked.

“Sorry I was busy getting to know the barman, he’s rather gorgeous don’t you think” Chloe replied nudging Aaron.

“He’s not my type” Aaron said making sure he didn’t get into trouble with David.

“You mean he’s not me...” David joked.

“So true babe, so true” Aaron replied giving his husband a big sloppy kiss.

“I say go for it...” Elly said trying to be Chloe’s friend.

“I might just do that! See you guys later” Chloe replied. She grabbed her drink and headed over to a group of guys who looked like they had just finished playing water polo.

“Oh see you then...” Mark said in a disappointed tone.

“That’ll be the last we see of her then” Aaron added.

“I say good for her, about time she got back into the saddle” David said.

“Yeah...” Elly added trying to look like she was happy for Chloe, when deep down she was annoyed that Chloe was spending time with randomness rather than her.

“So you guys actually play water polo? For like real? Or are these just costumes?” Chloe asked.

“We actually play, this is our Christmas party” Ben replied.

“Oh I see, so you must have lots of muscles then?” Chloe said trying her best to flirt.

“I suppose they aren’t bad” Ben replied flexing his muscles.

Chloe wasted no time at all in squeezing his biceps to check out how muscular he really was. Elly was watching it all, she couldn’t help herself, she just wanted to make sure that Chloe was ok.

“Are you guys worried about Chloe?” Elly asked the boys.

“Huh?” Mark replied.

Aaron looked over to see what Chloe was getting up to but he didn’t see anything to be worried about.

“Nah she looks like she is in fine form” Aaron said wolf whistling at his sister.

“No, she looks like she is getting wasted” Elly replied.

“We’ve spoken about this she can handle herself”.

“We are all keeping an eye on her so she will be fine” Aaron added.

Elly wasn’t just worried about Chloe, she was also extremely jealous watching her flirt with that guy. She had absolutely no idea why she was so jealous but she knew she needed to go over and try and get Chloe to come spend time with them.

“Hey, Sorry! Chloe can I talk to you for a minute?” Elly said gently holding onto Chloe’s arm.

Chloe immediately rolled her eyes before following Elly to the side.

“Hey, why don’t you come back and hang out with us? We miss you!” Elly said almost pleading with Chloe.

“How about NO! You guys are being all boring and coupley. I don’t want to be the fifth wheel” Chloe slurred.

“How much have you had to drink?” Elly asked as she could tell Chloe was struggling to string a sentence together.

“Just a few mum” Chloe sarcastically replied.

“Come on let’s get you some water” Elly said.

“No, I’m fine. Stop fussing” Chloe replied deliberately taking a large sip of her drink right in front of Elly.

“I just don’t think you should be hanging around with these guys when your acting like this”.

“Acting like what? I’m just having fun”.

“You know what I mean...”

“Urgh just chill. I’m not the one getting married. I am trying to have fun and your being the fun police” Chloe explained doing her best impression of a police siren.

“Come on please! Come and hang out with us” Elly said tugging on Chloe’s arm.

“No thanks” Chloe replied making her way back to Ben to continue where they left off.

Elly threw her head back in annoyance, she couldn’t believe that Chloe didn’t want to hang out with her family and supposed best friend. She couldn’t work out why Chloe was being like this. Elly wasn’t normally the jealous type but she was really struggling to watch Chloe flirt with Ben, because it was too hard to watch.

“That didn’t go very well did it?” Mark sarcastically said as Elly came back on her own.

“She’s hammered, she shouldn’t be on her own” Elly replied.

“She’s not on her own, we’re here and won’t be going anywhere until we know she’s safe” Mark explained.

“I just don’t get why she doesn’t want to spend time with us” Elly said.

“Probably because she feels like the spare part. There us being all lovey dovey and she’s there looking like a single Pringle. It can’t be easy for her” Aaron explained.

“I suppose you’re right” Elly replied looking over at Chloe.

“I am, so let’s just have some fun but keep an eye on Chloe at the same time”.

“Ok, deal” Elly replied.

After a few more drinks Chloe was busy showing the water polo lads some of her best dance moves. She was dying to spend time with Elly as she looked especially gorgeous tonight but she knew that it would be too hard.

“Hey Clo” Mark said as he walked past her after visiting the bathroom.

“Oh hey” Chloe replied.

Mark arrived back to see that Elly was looking at Chloe with a very anxious expression on her face.

“You’re not still worried about her are you?” Mark asked.

“Yeah I’m worried, she’s getting a bit loose, but not in a good way if you know what I mean”.

“I think she just wants to chill and have a bit of fun” Aaron said.

“Yeah she has been through a lot recently”.

“Especially with all the Piers stuff too. She’ll be fine” Aaron added.

“I’m just worried about her”.

“She’s made it pretty clear that she doesn’t want me butting in, But don’t worry I’ve made it very clear that big brother is watching” Mark explained.

“You know what I’m ready to boogie” Aaron said as he started to bust out some moves.

It wasn’t long before Mark was attempting to do the robot and David was flossing.

Chloe was watching the four of them bust some moves, she couldn’t help but laugh when Elly started doing the running man she never had been the best dancer.

“What the hell is that?” Aaron asked Elly.

“Am I not doing it right?” Elly replied.

“No... you do it like this” Aaron said as he showed Elly how the running man really was.

“Oh ok, so like this” Elly replied trying out her new move.

Chloe was watching Elly make a bit of a fool of herself, she laughed to herself.

“Do you wanna go dance with them?” Ben asked. He had noticed that Chloe’s mind was elsewhere.

“No! I wanna do this” Chloe replied moving in close to plant a kiss on Ben.

Elly stopped what she was doing as she noticed immediately that Chloe was kissing Ben. Her eyes were filled with jealously, but she didn’t fully understand why she was so jealous.

“Come on, let’s get out of here” Chloe said as she lead Ben to the exit.

“I won’t say no to that” Ben replied.

Elly wanted to run after Chloe but knew she couldn’t, she just hoped that Chloe was going to be safe.

“Don’t panic, she’s a big girl” Mark said to Elly.

“I know she is but I can’t help but worry about her”.

“And I love you for that but she wouldn’t want us to get involved. If you are that worried give her a text but she’ll be fine” Mark explained.

“I might just do that...” Elly said reaching for her phone.

“I love you”.

“Yeah yeah you too” Elly replied being a bit dismissive as she just wanted to get the text sent.

*Can you just let me know you are safe please. I know I’m annoying and being an old woman but it’s only because I care. Please let me know. El xx*

Chloe received the text while she was still in the taxi with Ben heading to his house. A smile appeared on her face because she was glad that Elly cared but at the same time she just wanted to get Elly out of her mind. Putting her phone away, she pounced on Ben kissing him passionately.

Chloe was desperate to do anything and everything to get Elly out of her mind, but kissing Ben wasn’t doing that. It was only making her think of Elly more.

“Do you want another drink?” Ben asked as the two of them arrived at his apartment.

“Can I have a glass of water?” Chloe replied.

“Yeah sure...” Ben said with a confused look on his face. He thought the two of them would be continuing the party when they arrived back to his, but looks like he was wrong.

“Thanks. I know this probably isn’t what you expected but can we just watch a film or something?” Chloe asked.

“Yeah, what do you want to watch?” Ben replied.

“Anything” Chloe said making herself comfortable on the sofa.

“I’ll put one on then” Ben replied.

He quickly put on a film for the two of them to watch before sitting down next to Chloe, he wasn’t expecting anything to happen now but he was enjoying Chloe’s company. Chloe snuggled in close to Ben because she felt comfortable with him, she trusted him but it wouldn’t be fair to lead him on as her heart belonged to someone else.

“Mark she hasn’t replied” Elly said to Mark who was trying to get some sleep.

“She’s probably busy if you know what I mean” Mark replied.

“But what if she’s in trouble”.

“Babe, she won’t be! I know everything with Piers scared us all but we have to trust her because we won’t always be here to look over her” Mark explained.

“Well I will be!” Elly replied immediately, she had made a promise to Chloe and wasn’t going to ever break that.

“You know what I meant! We will always be there for her but not necessarily right by her side. So please just turn the light off so we can get some sleep”.

“5 minutes, just in case she replies”.

“Well can you go and wait in the lounge because I need to sleep” A grumpy Mark replied.

“Fine” Elly said grabbing her pillow and quilt so she could sleep on the sofa. She couldn’t believe that Mark was being so dismissive, especially after what did happen with Piers.

“I didn’t mean for you to sleep out there, I just...” Mark began to reply before Elly slammed the bedroom door behind her.

*Clo, please just let me know you are safe* Elly messaged again, she was even tempted to ring her to see what was going on.

Chloe didn’t even see this message, she had already fallen asleep whilst watching the incredibly boring film Ben had chosen.

Chapter Text

The morning had arrived and Mark was waking up to an empty bed, he couldn’t believe that Elly had slept on the sofa because she was worried about Chloe.

“Coffee?” Mark asked walking into the kitchen to see Elly looking at her phone.

“I’ve got one thanks” Elly bluntly replied.

“Elly please don’t be in a mood with me...”

“I’m not I just wanted to know Chloe was ok, you didn’t have to get so stroppu last night”.

“I was super tired and just wanted the lights off”.

“Yeah I know you did. Did you not think I was tired as well? But I needed to know that Chloe was ok”.

“Well did you hear from her?”

“No, but that doesn’t matter. I’m glad I tried”.

“She’ll be fine, she’s a big girl” Mark replied.

“Yeah well how do you know?” Elly asked.

“Call it a brothers feeling” Mark replied.

“Well let’s hope you are right then!”

Mark decided that it was probably best to make Elly a big breakfast to try and make up for kicking her out of bed last night.

Meanwhile over at Ben’s house, Chloe was waking up on his sofa, all snuggled up in a blanket that Ben’s Nan had knitted for him.

“Good morning sunshine, how’s the head this morning?” Ben asked.

“Morning, not as bad as I thought it would be. Thank you for understanding last night about things not going any further than they did...” Chloe replied.

“It’s honestly fine, don’t worry about it. Maybe another time?” Ben said.

“Yeah... maybe. Once I can get my stupid heart to stop feeling things for someone else”.

“Let me guess, the girl from last night? Sorry if I’m being presumptuous but you didn’t take your eyes off her all night” Ben replied.

“Is it really that obvious?” Chloe asked with a nervous look on his face.

“A little bit yes. But it looked like she was pretty interested in what you were getting up to”.

“Was she? I don’t think so”.

“Look I’m no expert on this stuff but she seemed to be pretty jealous when you were talking to me”.

“I really doubt it, she’s marrying my brother so nothing can ever happen” Chloe replied.

“Well you never know she might feel the same way”.

“Nah she doesn’t! But it’s fine because I’ll be over her soon enough” Chloe replied trying to make her heart believe the words she was saying.

“I hope you are because I don’t want to see you get hurt, you seem like an amazing chick and you deserve to be happy with or without her” Ben explained.

“Thank you. That was so nice of you to say. I hope you find Mrs right too. Thanks again for the sofa and for looking after me” Chloe replied gathering her things together.

“Do you want a lift anywhere?” Ben asked.

“No, I’m ok I could do with a walk to clear my head, but thank you” Chloe said giving Ben a kiss on the cheek before leaving the house to start the walk home.

“Take care” Ben replied.

While Chloe started the long walk home, Mark was serving Elly her extra large breakfast to make up for being an idiot last night.

“Here we go get this down you” Mark said placing the plate in front of Elly who was still engrossed in her phone.

“Thanks” Elly replied.

“Who are you texting now?” Mark asked slightly rolling his eyes.

“Chloe”.

“Again?”

“Yeah, I just want to make sure she’s alright”.

“We know she’s alright! She’s been texting Aaron all morning” Mark replied.

“Yes I know she’s fine, physically alright but I just feel like she’s acting out and covering stuff up” Elly explained.

“I love how much you care about Chloe but I learnt the hard way not to be overbearing” Mark replied.

“Is that how I’m being?” Elly asked with a worried look on her face.

“A little bit. You’ve just got to keep reminding yourself that Chloe is her own person and your not responsible for her actions” Mark explained.

“I know, I just can’t help it” Elly replied.

Elly finished her breakfast while Mark headed out for a run, he needed to burn off all the calories he had just eaten. Mark invited Elly on the run but she wanted to stay home for when Elly returned, to make sure she was ok.

It wasn’t long before Chloe returned to the house in last nights clothes, sipping on an iced coffee. Acting like she didn’t have a care in the world.

“Finally! I have been worried sick about you, especially when you didn’t reply to any of my messages... did you even get them?” Elly asked.

“Course I did” Chloe replied throwing her shoes onto the floor.

“So... why didn’t you reply?” Elly asked. You could tell she was annoyed at Chloe.

“Couldn’t be bothered. Was having too much fun” Chloe replied taking an extra loud slurp at of her drink.

“Why are you doing this?” Elly asked.

“Why does anyone have fun? Too have fun... that’s what having fun is about” Chloe sarcastically replied.

“I understand what having fun is...”

“Really?” Chloe said laughing.

“Yes! Really! But when you kissed that guy last night in front of me, I got the feeling that you were trying to make a point. Trying to make me jealous. So if this is about that moment that we shared can we please just talk about it? You used to tell me everything before this happened and I never judged you not once! I stayed up all night last night because I was so worried about you” Elly explained.

Chloe could see the emotion on Elly’s face, she could see that she truly did care about her but Chloe wasn’t in the mood to have another heart to heart.

“You really want to know what’s going on?” Chloe said.

“Yes I do! More than anything” Elly replied getting her hopes up that Chloe was finally going to tell her the whole truth.

“Me... couch... tv and the whole bag of potato gems that are calling me from the freezer” Chloe sarcastically replied heading to make herself comfortable on the sofa.

Elly was so frustrated with how Chloe was acting, she just wanted the truth.

“You know what Chloe... when you want to be really honest with me? You know where to find me” Elly said storming off. She really had had enough of Chloe acting up so much.

Chloe wanted to tell Elly the whole truth about her feelings and everything but she knew it would change their friendship and relationship forever. Once the truth was out their lives would never be the same again.

“What’s wrong?” Susan asked Elly who had a face on her.

“Just Chloe...” Elly replied.

“What’s she done now?”

“Nothing. Just ignore me. I’ve had like no sleep and I’m just a bit irritable”.

“Something is clearly up, I’m always here if you need to talk”.

“If I tell you something you can’t tell anyone ok?”

“Of course, what’s wrong?” Susan replied.

“The other night when I was upset about losing my job... me and Chloe got really close and things were all a bit emotional and she kissed me” Elly explained.

A shocked look arrived on Susan’s face, she wasn’t expecting Elly to say that.

“So she likes you?”

“That’s what I’m trying to work out? She’s been acting so weird recently and it’s ruining our friendship. I love Chloe so much and I don’t want to lose her but it can’t be easy being friends with someone you like... I’ve been there it’s hard. I just want her to sit down and be honest with me because right now I am starting to get a bit confused myself” Elly explained.

“How are you becoming confused?” Susan asked.

“I don’t really know auntie suze but the last few days I just can’t think of anything other than Chloe”.

“That’s probably quite normal if you’ve just found out that someone could potentially like you romantically. I think I’d be the same but you need to make sure that it is nothing more than just confusion”.

“I don’t like her like that...” Elly immediately replied worried that Susan thought she did.

“Sweetheart I’m not saying you do but you need to work out what you are feeling” Susan replied.

“I know I do”.

“I’m here for you ok? No judgement, nothing” Susan replied.

“Thanks. I think I’m going to go sit in the garden and just have a good old think” Elly said.

“Good idea. I’ll bring you out a coffee”.

“Thank you” Elly replied giving her auntie a hug.

Meanwhile Chloe had got her life together, she had had a shower to wash away all the dirt from the night before and was feeling refreshed. She hadn’t been able to stop thinking about what Elly had said about being honest. Chloe had decided to write down how she was feeling in a letter so that she didn’t have to do it face to face, as that would be almost an impossible task for her.

Reaching for a Christmas card and a pen, Chloe sat down at the table to let all of her emotions out.

“Dear Elly, I’ve never really been one of those pathetic people to write letters to explain how they feel. In fact I don’t think I’ve ever written to anyone... ever. So I guess that means your not just anyone and your not. Your the closest friend I have had in years and I know your about to marry my brother but if I don’t get this out of my system now, I don’t think I ever will. And as you know having Huntington’s means I don’t have that kind of time. So I’m just going to put it out there. I am truly, madly and deeply in love with you. Chloe”.

Putting the pen down, Chloe took some deep breaths. Had she really just written a letter to Elly explaining that she is in love with her? She couldn’t believe that it was finally all out, written down ready for Elly to read.

“You can do this clo” Chloe said to herself sealing the letter into an envelope.

Taking a moment to make sure she was doing the right thing, Chloe posted the letter into the letterbox. There really was no turning back now.

“So you are alive then?” Mark said as he walked over to where Chloe was stood.

“Of course” Chloe replied.

“Just as well, Elly was beginning to freak out”.

“She’s so uptight” Chloe said laughing.

“Well she was worried, which i think is nice! It shows she really cares about you” Mark explained.

Chloe didn’t know how to reply, she just smiled at Mark.

“What did you put in there?”

“Sorry...”

“You just put something in the letter box...”

“Oh... that! Just a Christmas card. Thought I’d spread a bit of Christmas cheer” .

“Hang on I didn’t think you did the whole Christmas card thing?”;

“What can I say I’m inconsistent” Chloe replied.

“I won’t disagree with that...” Mark joked.

“Anyway I need to head off. I’ll see you later” Chloe said as she headed home.

Chloe didn’t want to be anywhere near Elly when she got the letter, in fact she wasn’t sure she could face Elly once she knew the truth. Deciding to try and keep herself busy, Chloe thought it would be a good idea to clean her room from top to bottom, turning her music on loudly and phone onto silent, just waiting for that call or text from a Elly wanting to talk.

Chapter Text

Chloe was busy cleaning her room trying to keep her mind occupied, she hated the fact that right this very second Elly could be reading the letter she wrote to her, declaring her love. But Elly hadn’t seen the letter yet, she was in the garden trying to think about what was going on in her mind.

“Elly, I have some slightly bad news...” Susan said as she brought Elly a coffee into the garden.

“What? What is it?” A worried Elly replied.

“Your mother has arrived”.

“You have got to be kidding me!”

“Wish I was” Susan replied.

“Do you mind if you can just keep her busy for a few minutes, I was just starting to clear my mind”.

“Bea has taken her out for coffee at the waterhole, I told her that we would meet them there later” Susan explained.

“Oh great! Thanks” Elly replied.

Elly really really didn’t need her mum butting into all of her business right now, she had enough on her mind without having to worry about her mum.

“Can I ask you a question?” Elly asked Susan.

“Anything...” Susan replied.

“Have you ever had feelings for a woman?”

“Now that is a question. When I was in college there were a few moments where I thought about it. My roommate Claire was a very attractive woman who was always flirting with everyone, I found it so endearing. But nothing ever happened, did I want it to? Kind of because I wanted to know what it was like but it never happened”.

“Wow, do you regret not going there?” Elly asked.

“A small part of me yes, but I was lucky enough to find Karl and I wouldn’t change him for the world... well maybe a I’d change him a little bit” Susan replied.

“Thank you, this has helped a little” Elly said.

“Good, I’m glad I could help. Now we really should head to the waterhole. She’ll only get shitty if were too late” Susan explained.

“Yeah, we should” Elly reluctantly replied.

Elly and Susan headed to the waterhole, where they were greeted by a less than impressed Liz.

“Nice of you to show up... oh and thanks for letting me know about your engagement with Mark” a slightly angry Liz said.

“It’s nice to see you too mum” Elly replied giving her mum a hug.

“So... were you ever going to tell me?”

“Eventually yes, I know it’s hard to believe but I have had a lot on my mind recently and telling you that I was engaged wasn’t high on my list of things to do”.

“Well I am sorry for being a pain”.

“You know now so there shouldn’t be a problem” Elly replied making her way to the bar to get herself a coffee.

“Is she always like this?” Liz asked Susan.

“She’s going through some stuff so just give her a break” Susan replied.

“She’s my daughter Susan, if she’s going through things I need to know”.

“Mum she’s old enough to work things out on her own, just give her some space” Bea added.

While Elly was waiting for her coffee, she noticed that Chloe had walked in. The two hadn’t spoken since earlier when things got a little heated. Chloe’s heart started to race as soon as she saw Elly, the first thing that entered her mind was had she read the letter. How was she going to react to reading it? Was this the end of their friendship? It was safe to say Chloe was freaking out.

“Hey...” Chloe said nervously as she walked over to Elly.

“Hey... do you want something?” Elly asked as Chloe was just stood there staring at Elly.

“I was just wondering it you got my card...” Chloe anxiously replied.

“Christmas card?”

Chloe could tell by the confused look on Elly’s face that she hadn’t read it yet.

“Yeah, ‘‘tis the season”.

“Ah, I haven’t checked the mail yet today”.

“Ok. Umm well once you read it, it will explain all the crazy going on in my head” Chloe explained.

“Ok” Elly said, her heart beat was racing. She didn’t know what was in the card but she had a pretty good idea that it would be about the two of them.

“Ok! Well, better keep moving. Things to see, people to do” Chloe nervously replied leaving Elly to it.

Elly was desperate to read the card, as it could help her figure out what she had been feeling, but she knew she had to stay and play happy families.

“Who was that?” Liz asked.

“Oh that’s Chloe, Marks sister. I’ll introduce you to her properly later” Elly replied.

You could see by the look on Liz’s face that she was intrigued by the conversation the two of them had just had. She could tell by their body language that something was up.

Chloe headed home feeling even more anxious than she did earlier, that was because Elly now knew that the card existed. There was no turning back, sooner or later Elly would learn the truth.

Back over at the waterhole, Mark and Ned had joined the girls much to Liz’s delight.

“Aren’t you a handsome fella” Liz said giving Ned a big hug.

“Thank you, it’s lovely to meet you” Ned replied.

“Mark... come here you” Liz said making her way over to Mark to give him a big squeeze.

The look on Mark’s face was one of “will someone help me”, Liz terrified him.

“It is so good to see you” Liz said.

“Right back at you Liz” Mark replied.

“Engaged... congratulations. I cannot wait for the grandkids, they are going to be so attractive. And don’t you worry I am going to be a hands on granny” Liz explained.

“Yay” Mark sarcastically replied doing a little dance.

“You two are so handsome, how did my girls get so lucky” Liz said looking at both Ned and Mark.

“I think we should grab a drink” Elly replied.

“My shout... my shout” Liz said as her and Elly headed to the bar to get a round in.

While they were waiting to be served, Liz thought it would be an ideal time to question Elly about the conversation she had with Chloe earlier.

“It’s a shame that Marks sister couldn’t be here! What’s her name again?”

“Chloe” Elly replied.

“Oh yeah, Chloe. That’s it, are you two friends?”

“Yeah”.

“See, I find that quite surprising because she seemed a little uncomfortable earlier” Liz replied.

“We kind of had words earlier...”

“What about?” Liz replied being nosey.

“Oh... nothing bad just telling me about a card she wrote explaining a few things, so let’s just drop it” Elly explained hoping that her mum would quit with the interrogation.

Liz had never been one to drop things, she was determined to read that card from Chloe before her daughter did. She knew that the two of them were hiding things.

After a quick catch up with her daughters and their partners, Liz headed back to Susan’s to see if she could find this card.

“Susan...” Liz shouted as she checked some of the rooms to see if she was in.

Liz looked through the mail hoping to find the card from Chloe, it didn’t take her long before she stumbled upon it. Liz opened the card very carefully so that it could be sealed back up to look like brand new. As she read the card, her facial expressions changed from neutral to shocked, she couldn’t believe what she was reading.

Liz wasn’t going to let anything ruin the happiness her eldest daughter had found in Mark, she headed over to Chloe’s to put an end to all of this.

“Hello?” Chloe said with a surprised look on her face as she opened the door to Elly’s mum.

“Hello, I’m Elly’s mum, Liz. You might have noticed me at the pub before?” Liz replied as she walked into the house.

“Yeah I did, but if your looking for Mark or Elly their not here” Chloe explained.

“No! I actually came here to speak to you”.

“Oh...” Chloe replied with a very confused look on her face.

“I think it’s probably best that you take that back” Liz said handing the card back to Chloe.

“Did... did Elly send you?” Chloe asked anxiously.

“No, she hasn’t seen it and I think we can both be very thankful for that” Liz replied rolling her eyes.

“You shouldn’t be reading other people’s mail” Chloe said angrily.

“And you shouldn’t be making a play for your brothers fiancée”.

“I’m not and... and I said that! I just needed to express myself” Chloe replied trying her best not to get emotional.

“I know a play when I see one. Now Elly wants to raise a family and she can’t do that with you, not with your condition. Try and drag my daughter into your suffering is just very selfish” Liz explained.

“You are way out of line... “ Chloe replied as she physically began to shake.

“Look... I know it probably sounds harsh but I’m actually trying to look out for you too. Because if Elly knew how you felt, she would turn her back on you and so would Mark. So I think the very best thing for you to do is to tear that up... and never mention this again. Alright?” Liz said smiling at Chloe before letting herself out of the house.

Chloe couldn’t believe what had just happened, how dare she read something that is so private. She didn’t know whether to scream or cry. Deciding it was time for a drink, she refreshed her make up and headed to the pub to drown away her sorrows.

Liz, Susan, Elly and Bea were having a quiet drink in the pub, catching up on all the gossip that Liz had missed. As soon as Chloe walked through the door she noticed that they were in there, without making eye contact with any of them she headed straight to the bar.

Unfortunately for Chloe, Elly had spotted her right away and actually needed to speak to Chloe.

“I’ll be right back” Elly said leaving the table to speak to Chloe.

“Hey” Elly said in a very soft tone.

“Hi” Chloe replied.

Her heart was pounding because she was pretty sure Elly was going to mention the card.

“Look at us here again” Chloe nervously said laughing.

“Yeah. Um I haven’t actually had a chance to read your card yet” Elly replied.

“Oh... I just remembered... god I’m such an idiot. I found it at home”.

Elly nervously laughed, she desperately wanted to read the card. Liz was giving Chloe death stares from behind Chloe, making sure she didn’t say anything.

“I forgot to post it”.

“Ah” a disappointed Elly replied.

“Anyway... it basically just said that um, I’m sorry about the other night and that I really really value our friendship” Chloe said making sure that she told Elly how much her friendship meant to her.

“Yeah. I feel the same way” Elly replied giving Chloe a smile before heading back to her table.

Chloe turned her back immediately as the tears began to roll down her face. She couldn’t believe that after plucking up the courage to finally write down her feelings only for Elly to never get to read them. Meanwhile Liz was looking extremely pleased with herself, she thought deep down that she had just saved Elly and Mark from any further complications.

Susan could tell that there was something on Elly’s mind, she only needed to look at the look on her face to know that she was anxious and upset about something.

“You ok?’ Susan mouthed to Elly.

“I’ll be fine” Elly mouthed back.

Chapter Text

Chloe arrived back from the waterhole to find the boys in the living room watching a trashy Christmas film and enjoying a few beers. All the final preparations for tomorrow had been sorted so they could all finally sit back and enjoy the rest of Christmas Eve.

“Alright Clo, come join us” Aaron said.

“I will in a few minutes I just need to get changed into something comfier” Chloe replied.

“Ok, don’t be too long as we are going to put on Elf”.

“I won’t be” Chloe replied making her way to her room.

She closed the door behind her and sat down on the edge of her bed. She genuinely couldn’t believe what had happened today, it had all been a bit too much for her.

As she sat there in silence, it dawned on her that at this rate she was going to be sad over Christmas, which was never a good thing. Chloe knew that she needed to make the most of her Christmases as they would be limited as she got older. Putting on her pjs and a big smile on her face, Chloe was determined to make this Christmas one of the best. She just wanted to have fun with the people she loved.

“Get your fat ass off me” Aaron shouted as Chloe jumped onto his lap.

“But this is my seat” Chloe replied.

“Umm I don’t think it is... it’s not like it has your name on it”.

“See that’s the thing, if you look close enough you’ll be able to see my name” Chloe replied.

“Please tell me your joking?” David said.

“I’m afraid not” Chloe replied.

“You wrote on the sofa?” Mark asked with a slightly annoyed look on his face.

“I did. Sorry”.

“You better not have” Mark replied.

“Look none of you have seen it so far so it’s not like it’s noticeable is it?” Chloe sarcastically said with a cheesy grin on her face.

“Oh my god, let’s see” David asked.

“Everyone off then” Chloe replied as she took all of the cushions off the sofa to show them exactly where.

“That’s hilarious” David said laughing.

“Could only be you” Aaron replied.

“Now move and let me sit in my seat” Chloe said bossing the boys around.

“Just promise you won’t write on anything else, claiming it as yours” Mark asked politely.

“I won’t, don’t worry” Chloe replied.

The four of them settled down with plenty of beers and snacks to watch Elf with. Chloe was really glad that it was just the four of them at the moment, but she knew it wouldn’t last for long as Elly would be around at some point.

Over the road, Elly was sat in the garden staring up at the night sky watching the world go by. She couldn’t stop thinking about the card and why one second Chloe was saying she had posted it and then the next she was saying she hadn’t. It was all very confusing.

“Want to talk about it?” Susan asked bringing out a hot chocolate for Elly.

“I don’t really know what there is to talk about...”

“What was earlier about?”

“Basically she explained to me that she had written me a Christmas card and inside she had explained why her head had been all over the place recently”.

“That’s good, so I can only presume that will be about the kiss?” Susan replied.

“I genuinely have no idea, could be about anything. But she supposedly posted the card through the letterbox but then the next minute she’s telling me that she didn’t. So now I don’t know if I will ever get to read it” Elly explained.

“Has she told you what was in it?”

“She just said that it said she was really sorry and that she values this friendship more than anything. But why did she need to write that down, when she’s already told me that?”

“Sounds like she’s covering something up to me. Look I don’t know Chloe that well but I know that she is confident enough to say it how it is to your face unless it was something really quite big that she was saying. I mean I could be wrong but I’ve been around for a long time” Susan replied.

“So do I try and get the card from her? Or just leave it?” Elly asked.

“I know you and I know that you are not going to be 100% happy with things until you know the truth. Plus I think you need to hear the truth in order to work out what’s going on in that head of yours”.

“Your right! Thanks auntie suze” Elly said.

“You’re welcome. I’m here for you whenever you need me ok? I’m not going anywhere” Susan replied.

“Do I go over there now? Or wait until after Christmas?”

“Realistically are you going to sleep tonight with this on your mind?”

“Probably not but I don’t want anything to ruin Christmas...”

“Then maybe wait until after? It’s only a couple of days”.

“Yeah I think I will wait” Elly replied.

“Now don’t be out here too long, we’ve got a early morning tomorrow...”

“I’ll be in shortly” Elly replied.

Susan gave Elly a supportive rub on the back before heading inside to go to bed, Susan was always hectic on Christmas Day making sure that the day ran as smoothly as possible.

Elly wanted to pop over to see Mark before it officially turned Christmas Day, she quickly headed over to his house.

“Hey babe, this is a nice surprise” Mark said welcoming Elly as she arrived.

“Hey, I can’t stay I just wanted to be the first to wish you a Merry Christmas” Elly replied.

“Stay for a beer” Aaron shouted.

“I really can’t...” Elly replied.

“Oh go on its Christmas after all” David added.

“Ok, I’ll stay for one” Elly reluctantly replied.

Chloe felt awkward, but she made sure that she kept the smile on her face so that no one knew how she was feeling.

“Budge up then Clo” Mark said hoping Chloe would make room on the sofa for Elly.

“I might head off to bed anyway, so you can have my seat” Chloe replied.

“Don’t go on my account” Elly immediately said with a worried look on her face.

“Oh I’m not I’m just tired” Chloe replied.

“Well Merry Christmas then” Elly said.

“You too” Chloe replied heading to her room.

“Night Clo” Mark added.

“Yeah night” Aaron and David said.

“Night” Chloe replied taking one last look at Elly before shutting the door so she could get some sleep.

“Is she ok?” Elly asked Aaron quietly while Mark was getting her a beer.

“I think so, you can never quite tell with Chloe. She’ll be ok though” Aaron replied.

“I hope so” Elly said with an anxious look on her face.

As the clocks hit midnight, Elly knew it was time to head home.

“Babe I need to go, I love you and I’ll see you tomorrow” Elly said giving Mark a big hug before walking home.

“Love you too. See you tomorrow babe” Mark replied.

Everyone headed to bed to recharge their batteries for the big day tomorrow, yet neither Chloe or Elly had actually managed to get to sleep yet. Chloe had even resorted to putting some music on quietly to try and help her, but it wasn’t working either.

The morning arrived and Chloe was so tired, she barely had any sleep but knew she just needed to get on with things today.

“Merry Christmas Clo” Aaron said giving his sister a big hug.

“Right back at your bro”.

“Merry Christmas” David added.

“You too”.

“Want some bubbly?” Aaron asked.

“You’re starting early” Chloe replied.

“It’s crimbo, it’s the one day of a year where drinking at anytime is acceptable” Aaron explained.

“Pour me a glass then. Where’s Mark?” Chloe said.

“He’s gone over to say good morning to Elly. He didn’t like waking up without her this morning”.

“Aww that’s sweet” Chloe replied trying not to sound jealous.

“Yeah so mushy it’s ridiculous” Aaron said.

“Is there anything I need to do?” Chloe asked trying to be helpful.

“I don’t think so, we’ve got it all under control. Why don’t you just go chill for a bit before Mark gets back and we do presents”.

“Sounds like a plan to me” Chloe replied taking her glass of bubbles over to the sofa with her.

Over at the Kennedy’s, Susan was up busy prepping all of the food for their yearly Christmas BBQ.

“Morning Susan, is it ok to go wake me lady up” Mark asked as he knocked on the door.

“Of course it is...” Susan replied.

“Oh and Merry Christmas”.

“You too”.

Mark quietly walked into Elly’s room to see that she was still fast asleep, part of him didn’t want to wake her up but he knew she wouldn’t want to miss a second of today.

“Good morning babe” Mark said giving Elly a kiss on the cheek.

“Good morning” Elly replied.

“How did you sleep?”

“Very well, you?” Elly said. But the truth was Elly hadn’t slept well at all.

“So how are we going to do today? Half a day here and then half at mine?”

“Sounds good to me”.

“Ok, so just come around whenever you are ready, there will be plenty of food and drink to keep us going long into the night”.

“I can’t wait, I’ll see you later then. Wish everyone a Merry Christmas from me would you” Elly replied.

“Will do” Mark said giving Elly a passionate kiss before heading back to his to finish the prep.

Elly got herself ready for the big day before heading to the kitchen to help Susan with all the prep.

“Merry Christmas Auntie Suze” Elly said greeting her with a big hug.

“Right back at you, how you feeling today?”

“Still no clearer but I just want to have fun today” Elly replied.

“Good idea. Do you mind putting those kebabs together for me?”

“Of course not. Has mum made an appearance yet?” Elly asked.

“Don’t be stupid, she will appear when all the hard work is done” Susan joked.

“True. Is Bea up?”

“Yes, her and Karl are outside making sure it’s all looking lovely”.

“Jolly good! I do love this time of year” Elly replied with the biggest smile on her face.

“Me too, nothing beats it”.

“Everything’s sorted outside” Karl said.

“Perfect, once Liz makes an appearance we can begin the present opening” Susan replied.

“Ah I’m so excited” Bea said.

“Shall I open up some bubbles?” Elly asked.

“I’d be partial to a glass or two” Karl replied.

“We know you are! You’ll be drunk by lunchtime” Susan sarcastically said.

“I will not!”

“You will and that bloody guitar will be out”.

“Now that’s a good idea” Karl joked.

“No please, it’s too early for that” Elly replied.

“I agree, no singing or guitars before 8pm at the earliest” Bea added.

“I’m starting to think that you lot don’t appreciate my talent” Karl replied with a sad look on his face.

“Sorry love but there is a time and a place and that is not today” Susan said putting an end to his dream of performing today.

“Merry Christmas everyone” Liz said loudly walking into the room.

“About time you showed your face” Elly sarcastically replied.

“Well I am sorry but I had one too many wines and had to sleep it off” Liz explained.

“Why doesn’t that surprise me?” Bea said rolling her eyes.

“Oh come on can’t a girl let her hair down... I’m here now so is there anything I can do to help?” Liz asked.

“I think we’re pretty much all sorted thanks” Susan replied. She was quite glad that Liz hadn’t been in the way, it meant that she could just get on with things quickly and quietly.

“Well don’t say I didn’t offer” Liz said.

“Mum, don’t be rude” Bea replied, she didn’t want her mum to ruin today with one of her moods.

“I’m not being” Liz said rolling her eyes.

Elly couldn’t wait to go over to Mark’s because her mum was already driving her mad.

Chapter Text

While Elly was struggling to cope with her mum over at the Kennedy’s, Chloe had got herself into her Christmas bikini ready to spend the day outside.

“Now that is what I call a Christmas bikini” Aaron said as his sister appeared from her room.

“Knew you’d love it. Mark back yet from being a soppy git?”

“Yeah just, he is outside giving the decking a good sweep. I think he’s going to invite Susan and the gang over later when Elly comes” Aaron explained.

Chloe’s face dropped immediately at the sheer thought of having to be in the company of Liz, she couldn’t stand the woman especially after what she did yesterday.

“Sounds great” Chloe replied in a fake tone.

“Oh come on there not that bad”.

“I just really wanted it to just be us 4 today, is that so bad?”

“No of course it isn’t but Elly is soon going to be part of this family so we better get used to having her family around at this time of year”.

“I guess so” Chloe replied pouring herself a fresh glass of bubbles.

“It’ll be fine I promise you” David said quietly to Chloe.

“Will it?”

“Of course, we can just get drunk in the corner! Especially if Karl brings his guitar”.

“If that happens I’m drowning myself in the pool” Chloe joked.

“We will all be joining you” David replied.

Mark walked in from outside to see Chloe wearing not much.

“You can’t wear that...”

“Merry Christmas to you too” Chloe sarcastically replied. She was fed up with Mark telling her what she can and can’t do, she wasn’t a little girl anymore.

“I’m sorry but it’s not appropriate for when we have guests”.

“Well I don’t see any guests? As soon as these guests arrive I will change but for now I am going to enjoy my Christmas wearing what the hell I want” Chloe said snapping at Mark, leaving the room to go sunbathe.

“Can you not just lay off her for one day?” Aaron asked.

“What? I just don’t think it’s an appropriate outfit?”

“Mark, she’s going to sunbathe... it’s not like she’s in the nude doing it. Just leave her to wear whatever she wants”.

“Alright there’s no need to get agro” Mark replied.

“I’m not even going to bother to reply to that, it’s Christmas Day so can we please just have some fun?”

“Fine by me” Mark replied.

“Good” Aaron said as he headed to check on Chloe.

Chloe had already taken up prime position on her sun lounger to really get the most out of the sun today. She wasn’t going to let anyone or anything ruin her day.

“You ok?” Aaron asked.

“Me? Yeah I’m fine, look I’m used to Mark being an idiot so I just don’t even bother listening anymore” Chloe replied.

“I don’t blame you he does go on a bit doesn’t he. I think you look beautiful so you go girl. So... shall I take a little cheeky Christmas photo of you? To upload to all your adoring fans?” Aaron asked hoping to keep the smile on Chloe’s face.

“Oh my god lets do it” Chloe replied handing her phone over.

Chloe got herself into all sorts of positions ready for Aaron to get an absolute peach of a photo. Chloe loved nothing more than a good old photo shoot, it made her feel good about herself.

“I think I’ve got the one” Aaron excitedly said showing Chloe the photo he just took.

“I love it. God I look good” Chloe replied as she admired the photo of herself.

“You need to think of a good caption to go with it...”

“Like what?”

“How about ‘Santa forgot to deliver your present, come get me’” Aaron suggest laughing at himself.

“I don’t think so! That’s a bit lame”.

“Well you come up with something...”

“How about a simple Merry Christmas everyone”.

“And you said mine was lame?”

“Oh shut up...”

“Do you two need a top up?” David shouted out the door.

“Yes please. Hey babe can you come help us a second” Aaron replied.

“Sure... what’s up?” David asked.

“What can Chloe caption this photo?” Aaron said showing David the photo of Chloe.

“Holy shit” David replied as soon as he saw the picture of Chloe.

“I don’t think so...”

“No as in my god you look gorgeous”.

“Aww Thanks”.

“Why don’t you just write Merry Christmas?” David suggested.

“That’s what I said” Chloe immediately replied.

“Fine do that then...’ Aaron said handing Chloe her phone back.

Chloe uploaded the photo onto her Instagram, captioning it “Merry Christmas, Hope you all have a magical day”.

Elly saw the post immediately as she was scrolling through her Instagram just as Chloe posted it. She couldn’t get over how amazing Chloe looked, she wanted to like the photo but didn’t want Chloe to over think anything.

“Elly do you want a drink?” Liz shouted from the kitchen.

Elly was in her own little world, trying to figure out whether or not to like the photo.

“ELLY?” Liz shouted again.

“What?” Elly replied.

“Do you want a drink?”

“Yeah sure whatever”.

“What are you so engrossed with on your phone?” Liz asked.

“None of your business” Elly replied locking her phone before her mum could see.

“Well just for a couple of hours do you think you could put it away so that we can just have family time?”

“Since when have you been so family oriented? You normally don’t care, so don’t start acting like you do now” A frustrated Elly replied.

“Elly can I have a hand outside?” Susan asked. She could see that Elly just needed sometime away from her mum.

“Sure, coming” Elly replied.

“You don’t need to be so rude” Liz said as Elly brushed past her.

“Can we just try and go a day without having an argument mum? Just try and keep your mouth shut” Bea explained.

Liz didn’t reply she just slammed her mug on the kitchen side.

“Steady on, don’t mark our surfaces” Karl immediately said.

“Jesus can I do anything right this morning?” Liz replied storming off in a huff.

“Leave her, she always does this. Hates when she’s not the centre of attention” Bea explained to Karl.

Outside Susan was doing her best to calm Elly down.

“I can see how much she’s doing your head in”.

“Just why does she even need to be here? It would be so much better if she wasn’t here” Elly replied.

“I know it would but she’s here now so we just need to make the most of it. Anyway what were you looking at? You were miles away...” Susan asked treading gently.

“Chloe posted a photo”.

“And you were...”

“Looking at it longer and more intensely than I probably should of” Elly replied as she began to blush.

“I see...”

“Is that really bad?”

“Of course not! We all look at photos of women, either admiring them or just being a little bit jealous because they look good. I do think that you are overthinking things a little with Chloe, there are obviously feelings there but as to whether they are romantic or just really good friends is something only you can work out” Susan explained.

“Yeah. Why is this happening to me suze?”

“We all go through little tough patches in our lives but they are what make us stronger. So like the picture or don’t but put that smile back on your face and let’s go open some presents” Susan replied.

“I honestly am so glad I told you all of this, thank you for just listening to me and not judging me” Elly said.

“I would never do that” Susan replied taking Ellie hand and taking her back inside to enjoy the rest of her day.

The two of them headed back into the house where Karl had ignored everyone and got his guitar out. Bea and Karl were busy singing some Christmas songs, Karl for once wasn’t out of tune. Elly and Susan headed over to join in with the songs, they were feeling very Christmassy.

After the songs finished, Bea went to get her mum so that they could open some presents. Once the exchanging of gifts had finished, Karl headed outside to fire up the barbie so he could begin the cooking.

“Thank you for my earrings I love them” Elly said giving her little sister a big hug.

“You are welcome, thank you for my spa day, it’s exactly what I need”.

“I thought you could do with some relaxation”.

“It couldn’t be more perfect”.

Over at the Brennan’s, the Barbie was in full swing. Mark was in his element being the alpha male while Chloe, Aaron and David were having a laugh looking at some of the presents they had got.

“Go put it on” Chloe joked.

“There is no way I am ever wearing that” David replied talking about the bikini Chloe had got him as a joke present.

“Oh go on babe, it’ll be funny” Aaron added.

“Just don’t wear it in front of Mark, he’ll only have a go at you” Chloe sarcastically replied.

“Chloe I’m sorry about earlier...” Mark shouted over from the barbie.

“Yeah whatever” Chloe replied.

“Please just try it on...” Aaron said pleading with David.

“Fine! But I’m literally trying it on for 2 seconds and then never ever again” David replied.

“YES” Chloe and Aaron simultaneously shouted.

It wasn’t long before David was back covered up in an extra large towel, he couldn’t believe that he was wearing a bikini.

“You ready?” David asked.

“Soooo ready for this” Aaron replied with his camera hidden to film the whole thing.

“Off... off...off” Chloe shouted.

Taking a deep breath in David dropped the towel to reveal his body in his fetching bikini.

“Damn” Aaron said looking at his husband.

“You look fierce” Chloe replied.

“I do don’t I” David said striking a pose.

“Christ don’t bend over too far, I can see everything” Mark replied being his usual grumpy self.

“Stop being such a bore” Chloe said.

“Please can we reenact the photo Chloe took earlier?” Aaron excitedly asked.

“No chance...”

“Go on!” Chloe added.

“Fine, but this photo goes nowhere...” David reluctantly replied.

“Yeah yeah” Chloe said as David hopped onto the sun lounger to recreate Chloe’s masterpiece.

“Oh my god this is brilliant” Aaron shouted as he looked at the photo.

“Let me see” Chloe asked.

Chloe, Aaron and David gathered round to look at the photo, they burst into laughter.

“This is bloody brilliant” Chloe said.

“New profile picture I think” Aaron joked.

“This goes no where” David replied.

“We shall see about that” Aaron joked.

“Come here you” David said as he began to chase Aaron around the pool in his bikini.

“Don’t run around the pool” Mark shouted snapping his BBQ tools at the pair of them.

“Give it a rest” Chloe said rolling her eyes.

“Ok, ok! Stop I promise I won’t put the photos anywhere” Aaron said as he ran out of breath.

“Fine. You better not” David replied.

“I won’t ok?” Aaron said giving his husband a kiss.

“Foods ready” Mark said.

“YES” Chloe shouted heading straight to the table.

“I’ll be right back just going to put some actual clothes on” David said.

“Would probably be the best idea” Mark added.

The four of them tucked into their Christmas feast, there was all sorts of food on the table. Steak, sausages, prawns, kebabs, salads, potatoes, dips, chips, there was everything you could imagine on the table. They all ate until they literally couldn’t move, it was part of their Christmas tradition to fill their faces until they were past the point of being full.

“That was delicious” David said licking his lips.

“Yeah, thanks Mark” Chloe added being nice to her brother for the first time today.

“You are all welcome. Does anyone need a top up?”

“Being the bottle out bro” Aaron instructed.

“Sure thing”.

Chapter Text

The afternoon arrived, everyone’s tummy’s we’re full and there was a real sense of joy around the place. Chloe was genuinely having a good time, she was just dreading spending time with Elly and her mum at the same time.

“Does anyone want any dessert?” Mark asked.

“No chance I can’t even move” Chloe replied as she slouched in her chair.

“Maybe later if the offer is still going then?” David added.

“What time are Elly & that lot coming over?” Aaron asked.

“Anytime I believe, I’m not sure if it will just be Elly or if it will be all of them” Mark replied.

“Fingers crossed Karl leaves his guitar behind” Aaron joked.

“See I don’t mind his singing” David said.

“But babe you are tone deaf” Aaron replied.

“I must be to have to listen to you sing in the shower” David sarcastically said.

“Oi that was mean” Aaron replied playfully slapping David on the thigh.

“You deserved it” David said.

“Whose going to come for a Christmas swim with me then?” Chloe asked.

“You’ll sink, with the amount of food you just ate” Aaron immediately replied.

“Well you will have to come and save me then”.

“In all seriousness just wait a bit longer to go in, it’s not the best idea swimming on a full stomach” David said putting his doctor head on.

“Ok, well I am going to go get ready then”.

“Get ready? You are already in a bikini” Mark replied with a confused look on his face.

“Oh this isn’t a swimming bikini, not unless you all want to be flashed” Chloe joked.

“We definitely don’t so yeah go change” Mark replied.

Chloe headed into the house, only to be greeted by Elly who had just arrived.

“Merry Christmas” Elly said smiling at Chloe.

“You too” Chloe replied.

There was a nervous energy between the two of them, neither really knew what to say or do.

“Did you manage to find the card for me?” Elly asked hoping that Chloe would say yes.

“Uhh I haven’t had a chance to look for it yet, but honestly you don’t need to read it I told you what was in it” Chloe replied.

“Id still like to read it”.

“Well I’ll try and find it but no promises. Anyway Marks out the back” Chloe said as she walked towards her bedroom.

“Ok...” Elly replied watching Chloe walk away.

Chloe was so worried that Elly just wasn’t going to drop the whole card thing, she wondered if it would be a good idea to write a different card with what she said was in it. Just to give to Elly so she wouldn’t go on about it again.

“Merry Chrissy everyone” Elly shouted as she walked into the back yard.

“Here she is” Mark replied with the biggest smile on his face. He had been waiting all day for Elly to arrive.

“Hey you” Elly said giving Mark a big kiss.

“There’s a question we’ve all been dying to ask...” Aaron said.

Elly’s heart began to beat faster, she had no idea what they were about to ask.

“Go for it...”

“Has Karl got his guitar out yet?” Aaron asked.

“Yes, he got it out earlier” Elly replied.

“Please tell me he’s bringing it round later?” David said as he actually quite enjoyed Karl’s singing.

“Sorry Susan banned him from bringing it. They’ll be over in about an hour if that’s still ok?” Elly said looking at Mark.

“Of course it is, it’ll be nice”.

“As long as mum doesn’t get into one of her ridiculous moods” Elly replied.

“I’m sure she won’t” Mark said hoping and praying that Liz didn’t, as he knew what a pain she could be.

Chloe was sat inside checking to see who had liked her rather raunchy photo she posted on Instagram earlier. She was surprised to see that Elly had liked it, as she only normally liked the more serious photos. Chloe was trying her best not to read into that but she couldn’t help it, her heart wanted Elly and she couldn’t see how that was ever going to change.

“Do you want to see the most amazing thing ever?” Aaron asked Elly.

“Don’t you dare” David immediately replied.

“Yes show me” Elly said getting up from her seat to look at Aaron’s phone.

Elly tried her best to contain her laughter but it just wasn’t happening.

“This is the best thing I’ve ever seen” Elly said in between the laughter.

“Isn’t it just” Aaron replied.

“I’ve seen this photo before, is this a recreation of Chloe’s from this morning?” Elly asked.

“Yes! Spot on isn’t it”.

“I prefer Chloe’s I won’t lie” Elly replied.

“Charming, is my body not good enough for you?” David joked.

“I mean it’s a wonderful body but Chloe’s is better” Elly explained just as Chloe walked outside to hear.

Chloe had no idea why they were discussion her body, she just took no notice and jumped into the pool.

“Here Chloe, Elly prefers David’s selfie to yours” Aaron joked as she came up to the surface.

“I don’t blame her, he looks fierce” Chloe replied.

“No... no that’s not true! I said yours was better” Elly said making sure Chloe knew the truth.

Chloe’s heart felt a little flutter when she heard Elly liked her selfie, she couldn’t help but smile.

“Thanks” Chloe replied.

“You’re welcome” Elly said smiling back at Chloe.

“So whose going to come and join me? The water is delightfully warm” Chloe asked.

“I’ll come in” Aaron replied.

“Me too” David added.

“I didn’t bring my bikini... I’ll nip back and get one”.

“Just borrow one of mine” Chloe replied.

“Are you sure?”

“Yeah there in my top draw in my room” Chloe explained.

“Ok, thanks. You coming in babe?” Elly asked Mark.

“I shall if you are” Mark replied.

The two of them headed inside to get into their swim wear, Elly accidentally opened the wrong draw, she opened Chloe’s knicker draw. She immediately shut the draw, she was embarrassed that she had opened the wrong one but a part of her wanted to open it again to take a sneak peak. Elly couldn’t work out what was going on with her, why was she feeling these things? Why on earth would she want to look at the underwear Chloe wears?

Elly quickly found a bikini and changed so that she could get out of Chloe’s room.

“Damn, you should borrow my sisters bikinis more often” Mark said as he stood there eyeing up his fiancee.

“Are you sure it looks ok?” Elly anxiously asked.

“Of course it does. You could wear a bin bag and look incredible”.

“You have to say that” Elly replied.

“I don’t! You know me if I don’t like something I’ll tell you” Mark joked.

“That’s true. Come on let’s go join the party” Elly said grabbing hold of marks hand.

The two of them walked out into the back yard, Chloe, Aaron and David were all busy playing volleyball in the pool. It wasn’t until Elly started to climb down the ladder that Chloe noticed her, she looked incredible.

“Wow! You wear that better than I do” Chloe said eyeing up Elly.

“Thanks but I doubt that” Elly replied as she began to blush.

“Trust me you do” Chloe said as she turned away to continue playing before she began to stare.

The 5 of them started off a mini competition to see who were the best at volleyball. The first game was Mark and Elly versus David and Aaron, Chloe was doing her best to be the umpire but she was very easily distracted by Elly bouncing up and down in her bikini.

“What’s the score Chloe?” Mark asked he was getting very competitive.

“No idea”.

“Clo.... come on this is serious stuff” Mark replied.

“It’s just a bit of fun...” Chloe said.

“It doesn’t matter what the score is because we are kicking your ass anyway” Aaron replied boasting.

“You are not” Mark said throwing the ball at Aaron.

“STOP” Chloe shouted.

Everyone immediately stopped what they were doing, Chloe had an extra loud voice which when it wanted to be could be very assertive.

“Let’s switch teams... I’ll umpire. Mark and Aaron do you think you can be on the same team without killing each other?” David asked taking control of the situation.

“Of course. You girls are going down” Mark replied.

“Bring it on” Chloe shouted as she high fived Elly.

“We’ve got this” Elly replied.

Chloe was relieved because now she was on the same side as Elly she couldn’t stare at her boobs, she could stare at her bum and get away with it. After an intense game, they were interrupted by Susan and the gang arriving to continue the Christmas festivities.

“Can we join in?” Karl asked as he waltz in waving his swimming trunks in the air.

“We’ve just finished I’m afraid” Mark replied after getting the eyes off everyone to say let’s get out.

“Aw that’s a shame, next time” Karl said with a disappointed look on his face.

Everyone slowly got out of the pool, Mark and Aaron were on drinks duty to make sure that all of their guests had a drink. Chloe was doing her best to avoid making eye contact with Liz but she knew it wouldn’t be long before she made some snide comment.

“Do you have a towel I can borrow?” Elly asked Chloe.

“Sure, follow me” Chloe replied.

“Elly can I have a word?” Liz immediately asked as soon as she saw Elly interacting with Chloe.

“Not now mum, in a minute” Elly replied.

Chloe could feel Liz giving her the death stare, she just put her head down and headed inside to find some towels for them both.

“Thanks for letting my borrow this, I’ll wash it and get it back to you” Elly explained as she took the towel off Chloe.

“Keep it, it looks so much better on you than it does me” Chloe replied.

“Are you sure?”

“Yeah! I barely ever where it anyway”.

“Thanks Clo” Elly replied giving Chloe a hug.

“You’re welcome” Chloe said.

Liz walked in on the two of them hugging each other.

“Get off her...” Liz said pulling Chloe off Elly.

“What the hell are you doing?” Elly replied angrily at her mum.

“Her hands were all over you...” Liz said.

“What? I gave her a hug because she had just given me a bikini, what the hell is wrong with you?”

“I’m gunna go get changed” Chloe replied sneaking off.

“Mum... seriously who the hell do you think you are? Can’t a close friend give me a hug? Like Jesus” Elly said angrily.

“I’m sorry I just thought she was making a move on you”.

“And why would she be doing that?”

“Well I don’t know...”

“Just go before I say something I’m going to regret” Elly replied storming off to make sure Chloe was ok.

“Elly don’t be like that...”

“JUST GO” Elly shouted.

Liz headed outside to give Elly the space she needed, she knew what she just did probably wasn’t the best idea but she didn’t want anything to mess up Mark and Elly.

“Chloe, can I come in?” Elly asked knocking quietly on the door.

“Of course” Chloe replied opening the door.

“I am so sorry about that. My mum tends to overreact to everything... I remember this guy in 6th grade gave me a hug one day and she proceeded to go on a rant about teenage pregnancy. Im so sorry” Elly explained.

“She’s a wild one isn’t she?” Chloe replied.

“She is! Please just ignore her, I’m hoping she’ll be gone soon enough, she’s driving me mad”.

“I feel the same whenever my mums around. She’s a pain in the ass, I think it’s their jobs” Chloe replied.

“I think it is, I’m sure we’ll both find out when we’re mums” Elly said without thinking about the words that were coming out of her mouth.

Chloe just sat there.

“Oh Clo, I’m so sorry. I didn’t think”.

“It’s ok, I know if I did have children then I’d be exactly the same. I’d be so protective and Elly I know that when you and Mark have children, you will be the most amazing mum out there” Chloe explained.

“Thank you, that means a lot coming from you” Elly replied looking deep into Chloe’s eyes.

The two of them were having a bit of a moment, a moment that neither of them wanted to stop.

Chapter Text

The moment between the two had been going on for a couple of minutes, they were both just sat there gazing into each other’s eyes. Elly soon realised that this moment shouldn’t be happening.

“Sorry, I should leave you to get changed. They’ll be wondering where we’ve got to” Elly said as she quickly got off the bed.

“Yeah, um yeah” Chloe replied almost stuttering.

“Again I’m really sorry about mum!”

“Don’t worry, I’ve come across worse in my life” Chloe joked.

If Elly knew what Liz had really done she would be fuming, she would go crazy at her.

Elly left the room so that she could get changed, Liz had been listening to their conversation from behind the door.

“Ever heard of privacy, jeez” Elly said as soon as she saw her mum lingering around outside Chloe’s room.

“I just don’t want you to mess up this wedding”.

“What by having a private conversation with one of my bridesmaids? I’m sorry but just back off because none of this is your business” Elly replied getting angry again.

Susan could hear an argument going on, she decided to pop inside to make sure everything was ok.

“What’s happened?” Susan asked as Elly stormed past her.

Susan knew that Liz would be behind all of this, she just had a way of getting on everyone’s nerves and poking her nose in places it shouldn’t be.

“What have you done?” Susan asked Liz.

“Just being a concerned mother” Liz replied.

“Concerned about what?”

“Just who Elly is spending time with, that’s all”.

“You mean Chloe?” Susan asked.

“Maybe. Look I just think she’s a bad influence on my daughter”.

“You are joking? Chloe has been there for Elly through everything with her job... and Elly has been there for Chloe with her illness. So just back off and let them live their lives” Susan replied getting quite angry.

“But I think there’s more to it...” Liz started to say before Susan interrupted her.

“Just leave them be” Susan replies forcefully as she headed to make sure Elly was ok.

Liz wasn’t going to let things lie, she decided to wait for Chloe to come out of her room so she could have a little word with her.

“Are you ok?” Susan asked as she sat down next to Elly on Marks bed.

“She’s just always causing problems”.

“I don’t think she’s the biggest fan of Chloe” Susan said.

“She’s not and I have no idea why... because quite frankly it’s none of her business”.

“You don’t think she’s picked up on anything between you?”

“I doubt it, I’m not even sure what there is between us. Susan I’ve never been more confused in my life and it’s beginning to drive me crazy” Elly replied.

“Don’t worry you’ll get it sorted I’m sure” Susan said giving Elly a reassuring look.

While Susan was checking up on Elly, Chloe has finally finished getting changed. She was ready to head back outside when Liz stopped her for a little word.

“Leave my daughter alone” Liz said quietly so that no one else would hear.

“I’m not doing anything wrong so just back off” Chloe replied. She had had enough of Liz and wasn’t going to take anymore of her attitude.

“Do you want your brother to disown you when he finds out your in love with his fiancée”.

“He wouldn’t do that! You clearly don’t know him very well”.

“Just stay away from her” Liz replied forcefully as she headed back into the garden.

Chloe’s heart was racing, she was so angry. What right did Liz have to tell her what to do?

Blissfully unaware that anything had happened inside, Mark had been telling one of his Police stories which bored everyone to death, although Karl was doing a good job of acting interested.

“Liz did you see the rest in there?” Aaron asked.

“Yeah they’ll be out soon” Liz replied.

“Good! Because I’ve got an extra special little present for the girls” Aaron explained.

“For who Elly and Chloe?” Liz asked worried that the two of them would be spending more time together.

“Yeah, who else. It’s just a little trip for them to talk all things wedding”.

“We didn’t know what else to get them” David added.

“Im sure they’ll love it” Bea replied.

“Here they are...” Mark said as Elly, Susan and Chloe returned to the table.

Elly couldn’t even look at her mum, she made sure she was as far away from her as possible.

“We thought you’d got lost” Aaron joked.

“We were just having a little chat about the hen do weren’t we girls” Susan replied covering for the two of them.

“Yeah...” Elly added.

“Ok, well now that you are both back. Me and David have a little present for the two of you...”

“It’s nothing too big but we thought it might be a fun little thing you guys can do together” David added.

Chloe slowly moved into a position where she could see how Elly would react to the present, she was hoping she’d be happy about it.

“We’ve got you guys a day and night at a spa in the city, so lots and lots of pampering” Aaron explained.

As Aaron spoke, a little smile appeared on Elly’s face, she was excited to spend some quality time alone with Chloe, it might even help her to figure some things out.

“Thanks guys, that’s so nice of you” Chloe replied, she was thrilled to see the smile on Elly’s face.

“Yeah that’s so nice of you” Elly added.

“The only catch is, it’s tomorrow” David said hoping that wouldn’t be a problem.

“That’s fine by me” Chloe replied.

“I bet it is” Liz muttered to herself.

“Yeah tomorrow is perfect” Elly added.

“Great!” Aaron replied with a huge smile on his face, he was so glad they were both excited.

Susan could tell the Liz was trying to come up with a plan in her head on how she could stop the two of them going away for the night. But Susan wasn’t going to let anything stop them, she knew Elly very well and could tell that something definitely needed figuring out.

“So then raise your hand if you want some pudding?” Mark asked.

Everyone’s hand shot up, there was finally room after their huge Christmas feast.

“I’ll give you a hand” Chloe said as she couldn’t bare to be anywhere close to Liz.

“Thanks sis” Mark replied as the two of them headed inside.

Chloe reached into one of the kitchen cupboards to grab a load of bowls for the dessert.

“You make sure you look after Elly for me” Mark said as he began to dish out the trifle.

“I will don’t worry! Plus it’s only one night” Chloe replied.

“I’m so glad the two of you are so close, it makes it a lot easier for me...”

“How so?”

“Because my best friend and my fiancée get on like a house on fire, what’s not to love about that”.

“Best friend? Me?” Chloe asked with a shocked look on her face.

“Yeah you’re my little sis! And I love you to pieces! I know I’m hard on you sometimes but it’s only because I care” Mark explained.

“I know you do, I just feel like sometimes you treat me like a little kid, which I’m not anymore”.

“Your not and I know that. I promise to try and remember that next time I go to have a go because your bikini shows too much” Mark joked.

“Good!!”

Even though Chloe loved hearing about how much she meant to Mark, it was hard for her because she knew he would be crushed if he knew the truth about her feelings for Elly. It would kill him and she didn’t want that but she just couldn’t help the way she felt.

“Can I trust you with all those plates?” Mark sarcastically asked knowing it would annoy Chloe.

“Yes, I can carry 3 plates”.

“Good! Now don’t drop them”.

“You are so annoying” Chloe replied as she followed him out into the garden.

After they had all tucked into their pudding, Karl suggested going round the table and naming something that they were all thankful for.

“I am thankful for my gorgeous husband because he never fails to put a smile on my face, not to mention he is a superhero doctor who saves lives daily” Aaron said with a beaming smile on his face.

“Thanks boo! I am thankful not only for Aaron but for his amazing family who have been nothing but supportive and loving of our relationship, so thank you” David said raising his glass to everyone.

“I am very very thankful to you all for helping me get through the last few months. It has been a very tough couple of months but with your help I’ve got through it” Bea explained.

Chloe was dreading her turn, she had absolutely no idea what to say.

“I am grateful to be spending such a special day with you lot! You are a wonderful bunch and I’m so glad we’re neighbours” Susan said.

“I agree with that statement” Karl added taking the easy way out.

“Where do I start? I am thankful for my gorgeous fiancée who makes me the happiest man alive, for my amazing family and I am thankful to hopefully be starting the process to getting my job back” Mark explained stating over at Elly.

“I’ll go next” Liz said pushing in the line. She couldn’t wait to dig the nail in a little further into Chloe.

Elly knew that what was about to come out of her mums mouth probably wasn’t going to be very nice to Chloe.

“I am eternally grateful to Mark for finally making my eldest the happiest she has ever been! I cannot wait for the wedding and I cannot wait to grow old watching the two of you bring up an beautiful family...” Liz began to explain.

Elly could see how uncomfortable Chloe was listening to this, especially after the conversation the two of them had had about children.

“I’m sorry I don’t feel very well, excuse me” Chloe said running towards the bathroom.

“Was it something I said?” Liz asked with a smirk on her face.

“Ah she’s probably just eaten too much today, we’re all guilty of it” Mark replied.

“I’ll go check on her...” Elly said.

“NO! No it’s your turn” Liz immediately replied making sure Elly didn’t leave the table.

“Fine, I am thankful for everyone here because you make my life better and happier! Now if you don’t mind I’m going to check on Chloe” Elly said getting out of her seat to check on Chloe.

“She won’t be long, Elly is just very caring so you’ve just got to let her get on with it” Mark said quietly to Liz.

Liz did not look impressed.

“Chloe let me in” Elly said quietly knocking on the door.

“I’m fine, honestly”.

“Chloe... I’m not leaving”.

Chloe didn’t reply, she just unlocked the door so that Elly could let herself in.

“I’m so sorry mum was going on about children, it can’t have been easy to listen too. Not after earlier” Elly said softly.

“It’s just hard to listen to everyone say what they are thankful for when realistically what can I be thankful for? I’ve been told I have an illness that will considerable shorten my life, everyone around me is happy and there’s me, little old me on my own” Chloe explained.

“You’re not alone, you have me”.

“Yeah I know I do but...oh never mind...”

“What? Tell me...” Elly said hoping that Chloe would continue to pour her heart out.

“Nothing! I’m just being silly! I’ve been drinking all day, that mixed with the sun it’s not a good combo”.

“Well just know I am always going to be here ok?”

“I know you will! Anyway go back outside, I’ll be fine! We don’t want your mum to have another go” Chloe replied trying to get rid of Elly.

“Ok, but if you need me just text me ok? I’ll keep my phone on loud” Elly said smiling at Chloe.

“Thanks” Chloe replied.

Elly left knowing that Chloe was still keeping something from her, something big.

Chapter Text

It was Boxing Day morning, the rest of Christmas Day was pretty uneventful. Chloe took herself off to bed to make it look like she was actually ill, but really she just didn’t want to have to deal with Liz. The rest of the gang played a few games, drank a few more beers and then called it a night.

Chloe had woken up excited for the day, she was off to the city for a spa day with Elly. She was looking forward to spending some girly time with her, she was just hoping that the topic of the card or the intense stares between the two of them wouldn’t come up and ruin the atmosphere.

Elly on the other hand couldn’t wait to try and get some answers out of Chloe, so that she could try and figure out a few things.

“Good morning babe! You need to pack for your trip with Chloe” Mark said as he turned over in bed to give Elly a kiss on the cheek.

“Morning! Yeah I do, I also need to have a shower quickly” Elly replied.

“Fancy some company?” Mark asked hoping he would get lucky.

“When I say quick I mean in and out in 3 minutes” Elly replied kissing Mark on the tip of his nose.

“Ah ok, another time then” Mark said in a disappointed tone.

Elly got out of bed and headed to the bathroom with her towel, as she walked out of the door she bumped into Chloe who had just finished in the shower.

“Sorry, didn’t see you there” Elly said.

“It’s ok! We’re just both lucky my towel didn’t fall down” Chloe joked.

“Haha yeah”.

“Anyway the shower is all yours” Chloe replied with a smile on her face.

“Thanks” Elly said as she walked past Chloe. She couldn’t stop herself from having a look back at Chloe, something she never would have done before.

Chloe who always looked back at Elly, did it as per usual only to catch Elly looking.

“Thought I’d dropped something” Elly said as her fave began to blush.

“Oh ok” Chloe replied knowing full well that Elly hadn’t dropped anything!

“Bye then” Elly said slamming the bathroom door behind her, she was so embarrassed. As if Chloe has just caught her checking her out.

A little smile had appeared on Chloe’s face as she walked back to her bedroom which didn’t go unnoticed by Aaron.

“Someone’s in a good mood” Aaron said.

“What can I say? I actually managed to wake up on the correct side of bed this morning” Chloe joked.

“I guess you are feeling better then?”

“Yeah I think I just ate and drank way too much yesterday, mixed with the sun... my body just didn’t like it” Chloe replied making sure to keep up with her cover story.

“As soon as I got to bed the room was spinning, my god I drank way too much last night. As did David which is always a bit of a shock to see” Aaron replied.

“It’s a sign that you both had a good day though isn’t it?”

“Of course. You had a good day too though yeah?”

“I did! Not the biggest fan of Liz though! She gives me the creeps” Chloe said quietly to make sure Elly didn’t hear.

“I know! She doesn’t like yours and Elly’s friendship does she?”

“Nope! I think she thinks I’m a bad influence”.

“Oh but you are...” Aaron joked.

“Proud of it babe” Chloe sarcastically replied.

“I love you, don’t ever change” Aaron said softly giving Chloe one of his best smiles.

“Don’t worry I won’t!”

“Umm you’re supposed to say you too bro”.

“Oh yeah... you too bro” Chloe said as she headed to her room.

“It doesn’t work when you have to be reminded” Aaron shouted after her.

“Keep the noise down” Mark said rubbing his head.

“Oh shit sorry! Do you want a coffee?”

“I’d love one! What were you two talking about anyway?”

“Just that it was nice to see that smile of hers back on her face” Aaron explained.

“I agree! It was lovely of you to get them both a spa day, is definitely needed what with all that Chloe’s been through recently” Mark replied.

“Yeah we thought it was a good idea, some chill time with someone whose been by her side throughout it all”.

“Such a good idea!! How about we grab a pizza tonight and have an Xbox evening?” Mark suggested.

“Sounds perfect” Aaron replied.

It wasn’t long before the girls appeared with their rather large over night bags. The boys couldn’t get over how much stuff they were both taking.

“You do realise it’s only for one night” Aaron joked after seeing the size of the bags.

“Yes, but a girl needs to be prepared” Chloe replied.

“Exactly, who knows we might even hit the town tonight...” Elly said.

“Just be careful” Mark added.

“Of course we will be” Chloe replied looking at Mark to tell him to stop treating her like a little girl.

“Sorry, I’m just being cautious” Mark said.

“We’ll be fine! But we do need to head off so see you all some time tomorrow” Elly replied as she gave Mark a hug and gathered her things.

“Bye have fun” Aaron said.

“Thanks! Don’t miss us too much” Chloe joked.

“We won’t” Aaron replied.

Chloe and Elly we’re ready for their little adventure, they both got into Elly’s car.

“I made a playlist... is that ok?” Chloe asked.

“Of course! I love your taste in music, it’s very similar to mine” Elly replied.

“I suppose it is isn’t it” Chloe said plugging her phone into the speakers.

“I love this song” Elly said as Fleetwood Mac, Dreams started playing.

“Me too” Chloe replied as Elly began to drive off.

Chloe had deliberately chosen songs she knew that Elly would love and sing along to so that there wasn’t much time for conversation. She knew that Elly wanted to ask her more about the card, she could just tell by how she had been yesterday.

“So...” Elly said as she turned the volume down slightly.

“So...?” Chloe replied.

“How are you feeling?”

“Much better thanks. I think I just ate too much”.

“It wouldn’t have helped having to listen to my stupid mother! She drives me mad but then wonders why both of her daughters don’t live anywhere near her...”

“I’m sure she means well though...”

“Maybe but I just wish she would realise that I am an adult and can make my own decisions without her sticking her nose in where it’s not wanted. Like us...”

“Us?” Chloe replies anxiously.

“Like our friendship, she had no right yesterday being such a bitch. She just can’t help herself” Elly explained.

“Anyway let’s not talk about her she’ll only piss you off and well she’s not even here”.

“You’re right! I’m not going to let her ruin today for us” Elly replied looking over to Chloe to give her a soft smile.

“So what treatments you going to get done?” Chloe asked making sure that the conversation didn’t go in the direction of the card.

“A massage for sure, maybe a facial and a lot of time in the sauna. You?”

“Probably similar, although not a massive fan of people touching my face” Chloe said.

“Haha why?” Elly asked letting out a little giggle.

“I don’t know I never have been! I mean yes if you are getting intimate with someone then yes I’d let them touch my face but other than that not a fan” Chloe explained.

“I did not know that. How bizarre?” Elly replied.

“We’ll surely there is a part of you you don’t like people touching?”

“My feet! Oh my god my feet! They are like the most ticklish thing in the whole world” Elly replied.

“Feet are just ugly things! Like so ugly” Chloe said.

“I can agree with you on that!”

The two of them were making good time, they weren’t far off from arriving at the hotel.

“So I’ve been meaning to ask you something?” Elly said.

Chloe’s heart began to race she didn’t want to have to answer Elly’s questions about the card.

“Oh look we’re here!” Chloe said excitedly as they began the long drive down the drive way of this fancy hotel.

“Wow this place is beautiful” Elly replied.

“Isn’t it just”.

“The question can wait, let’s park up and get some champers down us” Elly said. She was determined to show Chloe that she had a fun side after their little argument earlier in the week.

“Now that sounds like a plan. Can we drop our bags off in our rooms first?” Chloe asked.

“Of course”.

Elly parked up and the two of them headed to reception to check in. They couldn’t get over how incredible this place was, Aaron and David had done a very good job at picking this one out.

“How can we help you today?” The receptionist asked.

“We have a booking under the name of Brennan” Chloe replied.

“Let me just take a look for you...”

Elly was busy taking the beauty of this hotel in, it was most definitely a five star hotel.

“So we’ve got a king double for you, for one night with 3 treatments each? Is that correct?” the receptionist asked Chloe.

“Yeah that’s fine” Chloe replied. She knew it was bad of her for agreeing to a room with one bed but she knew she might never get the opportunity to share a bed with the woman she loved.

Elly hadn’t heard any of the conversation as she was busy looking at some of the facilities this hotel had, she was blown away.

“You are in room number 47, if you take the elevator to the second floor and turn left you’ll find your room down the corridor. Enjoy your stay and if you need anything just ring down to reception” the receptionist explained.

“Thank you so much” Chloe replied heading to the elevator.

“Thank you” Elly added as she snapped out of her little bubble.

“Follow me” Chloe said.

“Yes boss” am excited Elly replied.

Chloe didn’t know whether to mention the bed situation before they got to the room, or to wait until she saw it herself.

“I love hotels, like I can’t even begin to explain to you how much I love them” Elly said as they were going up in the elevator.

“You’re an odd one aren’t you” Chloe joked.

“I am, didn’t you know that already?”

“I did and look we’re still friends” Chloe said smiling.

They arrived at the room, Chloe opened the door and the first thing they saw was a bath over looking the river.

“Wow, I am definitely having a bath in that” Elly said as she practically ran over to it.

“I’ll make myself scarce don’t worry” Chloe replied.

“I’ll wear my bikini, that way you don’t have to go anywhere”.

“Ok!”

“One bed...” Elly said as she noticed the gigantic bed.

“Oh.. do you want me to change it? I’m sure she said we have two beds” Chloe replied lying through her teeth.

“Umm no! It’s fine we can make do with one bed” Elly replied.

“You sure?”

“Of course” Elly replied.

Chloe has butterflies in her stomach at the thought of sharing a bed with Elly, it was stupid as she knew nothing was ever going to happen but she just couldn’t help herself.

“So, shall we head down and get a drink?” Elly asked.

“Sounds good! Let me just freshen up” Chloe replied.

“You don’t need to freshen up! You look fine”.

“Ok, ok let’s go” Chloe said.

“Oh Mark has texted and he wants a photo of the two of us” Elly said as she checked her phone.

“What now?”

“Yeah why not! Omg let’s get in the bath together to show them our amazing view?” Elly excitedly said. She just couldn’t get over how amazing the bath was.

“Yeah sure” Chloe replied as she followed Elly to the bath.

“In you jump then” Elly said to Chloe.

The two of them got comfortable before posing for a photo together. Chloe never in her wildest dreams thought she would be sharing a bath with Elly, even if they were fully clothed.

Chapter Text

The two of them took a couple of selfies in the bath tub, they knew that Mark, Aaron and David would be extremely jealous of the view they’d have from their bath.

“I still can’t believe this hotel... I mean this can’t have been cheap” Elly said as she got out of the bath.

“I know, then again David is a doctor so he can’t be short of money can he?” Chloe replied.

“True! You ready for some champagne?” Elly asked.

“That I am, shall we go?” Chloe replied with a smile on her face.

“Let’s” Elly said as she headed towards the door, opening it so that Chloe could walk through.

“Why thank you...” Chloe replied.

“Welcome”.

The two of them wasted no time at all in finding the bar, it was only just midday but that wasn’t going to stop them from beginning their fun.

“Two glasses of your finest champagne please” Elly said.

“Wouldn’t it be cheaper to buy a bottle?” Chloe asked.

“It would actually, I always recommend the bottle if there are two or more people” The barman replied.

“The bottle it is then” Elly said handing her card over to the barman.

“It’s all been settled for you already” The barman replied.

“How do you mean?”

“It says that all bills have already been settled on your room account” the Barman said as he sorted out their Champagne on ice.

“In other words David and Aaron have already paid” Chloe explained.

“No way? Seriously? Let the party begin” Elly excitedly replied.

“Now where has this Elly been hiding the last few weeks?” Chloe asked.

“She’s been there just a bit more under control, but trust me I still know how to have fun”.

“Good because we’re going to make the most of today! If we’re not crawling back to our room later then we have both failed” Chloe explained.

“Ok! Deal...” Elly replied as the two of them looked at each other and clinked glasses.

While the ladies enjoyed their Champagne sat outside along the river, Mark received the photos from Elly of the pair in the extra large bath.

“Christ they are in the bath together” Mark said loudly as he opened the photo.

Aaron immediately stopped what he was doing and practically ran over to Mark, he thought that they were actually naked enjoying a bath together.

“As if they are in the bath together, let’s see” Aaron replied grabbing the phone off Mark.

The look of relief on his face when he saw they were both fully clothed was clear to see.

“Phew I thought you meant they were actually having a bath together”.

“No! That would be weird” Mark replied.

“I know, hence why I was so shocked”.

“Looks like they are having a good time already though, it was a good idea of yours so thank you” Mark explained.

“No problem, I thought it would also give us some time to plan the bits of the wedding we’re supposed to”.

“Maybe we could go look at suits today? If your free?” Mark asked.

“Sounds like a plan, we could also have a few beers whilst we’re out?” Aaron added.

“Let’s go! When does David finish?”

“Not till late, but I know his suit size so we can just order him one”.

“Well alrighty then, let’s go” Mark replied.

The boys grabbed their things and headed straight into town, they were excited to pick out the perfect suits for the wedding. Meanwhile the girls were getting through the champagne extremely quickly, they were both just glad that the bill was already taken care of.

“Melbourne is such a beautiful city” Chloe said as she admired the view.

“It is isn’t it? We’re very lucky to live here” Elly replied.

“Although I wouldn’t want to actually live in the city, been there done that and it’s just too busy. Erinsborough is the place for me, I hated it at first because everyone knew everything about one another but I have fallen in love with the place and the people” Chloe explained.

“Yeah you didn’t like it when you first arrived did you?”

“Hated it, it was too small and everyone was just on top of each other”.

“I felt exactly the same when I arrived, I was a bit of a party animal when I first arrived and Susan quickly made sure I wound my neck in and settled down. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else” Elly replied.

“See, why haven’t I seen this party animal?” Chloe asked.

“You’ve seen glimpses of her but I don’t know I guess I’m just getting boring as I get old”.

“Old? You’re joking right? You are in your prime... now is the time where you should be having the most fun” Chloe explained.

“Well I don’t feel like I am. Yes I have fun with Mark but at the same time I have to make sure I behave myself, I also don’t have a job so I don’t think I’m in my prime” Elly replied laughing.

“You’ll find a job, I’m sure that once Susan is back in charge of the school she’ll hire you in a heartbeat. Don’t worry about it honestly! And well as for Mark he can be the fun police sometimes, he doesn’t mean to I guess he just likes to be careful”.

“I get that I really do but it’s nice every so often to just do something without thinking of the consequences at all...”

“I know exactly what you mean! Today don’t even think about anything other than that champagne, the extra large bath tub upstairs and having fun with me? Ok?” Chloe explained.

“Sounds perfect” Elly replied, as all she had been able to think about the last few days was Chloe. She desperately wanted to bring up the card but didn’t want to ruin the atmosphere.

“Shall we finish off these drinks and head to the spa for some treatments?”

“Oh god that means I need to decide what to have...”

“I’m going for a massage” Chloe replied with smile on her face.

“Yeah a massage sounds good” Elly added in agreement.

The two finished their drinks before heading to the spa, they were both giving luxurious bathrobes to get into so that they felt relaxed.

“What can we do for you ladies first?” Justine the receptionist asked.

“We were hoping for a full body massage?” Chloe replied.

“The only available slot we have is for a couples massage? Is that ok?” Justine asked.

Chloe looked over towards Elly to see if she was comfortable with that happening.

“It’s cool, you just have it I’ll catch some sun by the pool” Chloe quietly said to Elly.

“We’ll take it” Elly replied loudly.

“Are you sure?” Chloe said.

“Of course, were having fun remember” Elly replied.

“That’s all booked in for you ladies, if you take a seat by the pool, one of our masseuses will be with you shortly. Please help yourself to a cocktail over at the pool bar” Justine explained.

“Thank you” the girls both replied as they made their way to the pool.

Chloe for some reason was really nervous about this couples massage, she was just glad that for the majority of the time her head would be in the hole in the bed.

“This will be fun” Elly said as they sat down.

“Yeah sorry that your not on your own though”.

“Don’t be silly, it’ll be fine! I just apologise if I make any grunts or groans, I do tend to moan quite a bit in massages” Elly explained going slightly red faced.

“It’s fine, I think we all do” Chloe replied. Her heart was racing at the thought of hearing Elly moaning from enjoyment.

“Looks like the boys have gone suit shopping, god I hope they come back with something nice” Elly said as she looked at a message from Mark.

“Oh have they? Fingers crossed” Chloe replied trying to make it sound like she was interested but Elly could tell she didn’t want to be talking about the wedding.

“Sorry no more wedding talk, only fun Elly today” Elly said trying to make sure Chloe knew that she was trying her best to let her hair down.

“It’s ok, you are allowed to get excited about your own wedding”.

“I know and I am excited but I also realise I go on about it a lot so I’ll stop” Elly replied.

“Elly, if you want to talk about your wedding you can, it doesn’t bother me” Chloe explained trying her best to make it look like Elly talking about the wedding didn’t hurt like hell.

“We’re ready for your massages” Hannah one of the masseuses said interrupting Elly before she could reply.

Chloe was relieved that the whole wedding conversation had been interrupted because quite frankly she hated talking about it.

The two of them walked into the room, the beds were quite close together which set Chloe’s heart racing.

“If the two of you could strip down to just your knickers please and lie face down onto the bed” Hannah asked.

Chloe had gone all shy, she turned her back on Elly and slowly took her bathrobe off, lying down onto the bed quickly. She was glad that she was unable to look up to see Elly as she took off her robe.

As Elly took off her robe she slyly looked over her shoulder to see if Chloe was looking, a small part of her was disappointed when she realised she wasn’t.

“Right ladies do you want some relaxing music on or do you want to be able to talk throughout?” Hannah asked.

“Music please” Chloe immediately replied.

“Yeah music” Elly agreed, although she would have liked to be able to speak to Chloe.

The music began as the two of them lay there ready for their massage to begin. As the massage began Chloe was doing her absolute best not to make a sound, for some reason she felt awkward, like she couldn’t be how she normally would in case it made Elly feel uncomfortable.

But Elly couldn’t care less what noises Chloe could make because she was too busy enjoying the massage and making noises herself.

“Chloe how good is this?” Elly asked as she tried to hit Chloe on the arm as she reached over.

“It’s incredible” Chloe replied.

“We should so do this more often” Elly suggested.

“Yeah... sounds good”.

“Could you both turn onto your fronts please?” Hannah asked.

Turning over was always a difficult task, especially when you were practically naked and didn’t want to the other person to see anything.

The two of them began to turn over at the same time, Elly’s towel slipped as she turned, meaning that Chloe caught an eyeful.

“Oh shit sorry, you’ve just seen everything” An embarrassed Elly said trying her best not to blush.

“Uh... it’s ok I didn’t see a thing” Chloe replied lying through her teeth to try and make Elly feel better.

“That’s ok then, not that there is much to see” Elly joked.

“Haha” Chloe replied, she didn’t really know what to say. She was still recovering from seeing Elly’s top half naked, she just couldn’t get over how beautiful Elly was.

The massage ended and the pair got dressed and headed for some lunch. Chloe was really struggling to look at Elly without blushing, but she knew she had to control it.

“My god that massage was incredible wasn’t it? The woman I had had magical hands I swear” Elly explained.

“It was beyond amazing! I loved every second” Chloe replied.

“What you fancying for lunch?”

“I think I might go crazy and have a burger”.

“I am so glad you didn’t say something like a salad because I would have felt like I had to have one too” Elly replied.

“Oh god no! Burger with all the trimmings for me, might even order some onion rings too” Chloe explained.

“I might just join you! Don’t tell Mark though he’s forever telling me we need to be healthier”.

“Ignore him because you are perfect just as you are” Chloe replied.

“Aww thank you!” Elly said with a huge smile on her face. She loved that Chloe always knew the right thing to say to put a smile on her face.

Chapter Text

While the girls were waiting for their lunch, the boys had been busy trying on suits in order to find the perfect one.

“I honestly think we just go with the plain black one, it looked the smartest and doesn’t cost a fortune” Mark said trying to be sensible.

“But black is so boring...” Aaron replied.

“I am boring” Mark said.

“I won’t argue with that!”

“Oi, you’re supposed to disagree and make me feel better about myself” Mark sarcastically replied.

“Sorry but I think you are old enough and ugly enough to survive the truth” Aaron said.

“Well which ones do you think we should go for?”

“I like the pinstriped one, it’s trendy and we both look incredible in it” Aaron replied.

“But it’s so expensive”.

“It’s not like you are short of money is it?”

“You keep forgetting neither me or Elly have a job at the moment” Mark explained.

“Oh yeah good point, get the plain boring ones then” Aaron replied.

“Stop calling them boring! They are nice” Mark said abruptly.

“They are, lets get them then and head for the pub! I am dying of thirst” Aaron joked.

“Ok, you sure?”

“Mark it’s your wedding not mine” Aaron replied.

“True” Mark said as he headed to the till to settle up what he owed for the suits. They needed a little bit of tailoring so would be picked up at a later date.

The boys headed to the waterhole for a few beers before David could join them later on.

Back over at the hotel, the girls were tucking into their feast, the food looked incredible.

“How’s your burger?” Chloe asked.

“It’s delicious! I can see you’re enjoying yours” Elly replied laughing.

“Why? Do I have something on my face?” An embarrassed Chloe asked.

“Yes” Elly replied.

“Has it gone?” Chloe asked as she frantically wiped her face with a napkin.

“No... come here” Elly said leaning across the table, using her finger to gently wipe the ketchup off Chloe’s cheek.

As soon as Elly’s hand touched Chloe, she was covered in goosebumps, her heart was racing.

“Thank you” Chloe replied.

“You’re welcome” Elly said. Even she felt a few butterflies in her stomach as she touched Chloe’s face.

“Glad that’s all sorted, couldn’t go around looking like that all day” Chloe joked trying to come up with something to cover up why her cheeks had began to blush.

“It would have been quite funny though, you walking around with a red smudge on your cheek”.

“Oh hilarious” Chloe sarcastically replied laughing.

“I remember once I had written a note on my hand in black pen, fell asleep on my hand, woke up with it on my face but didn’t realise. So I was walking around all day with my shopping list on my face, it was mortifying” Elly explained.

“As if you did that...”

“Honestly, I was so embarrassed”.

“At least it wasn’t something rude, that would have been a lot worse” Chloe said.

“Oh god yeah, could you imagine. Where do you want to head after this?” Elly asked as the two of them had just finished their lunch.

“I’m easy, maybe the sauna?”

“I was hoping you were going to say that. Saunas are like my favourite thing”.

“Let’s do that then! Do we just go in in out bikinis?” Chloe asked as she hadn’t really been in a sauna before. She only suggested it because she knew how much Elly loved them.

“Uh, as little as possible to be honest because it’s going to get extremely hot in there” Elly explained.

“Okay then, I need to pop back to the room as this bikini isn’t appropriate. I think I might take off my makeup too”.

“Good idea, I’ll come up with you”.

They headed back to the room to get ready for the sauna, Chloe immediately began to take off her makeup.

“How is your skin so good?” Elly asked as she found herself watching Chloe.

“Luck I think, when I was a teenager my skin was awful. I was so spotty and it didn’t matter what cream I used it didn’t help. Luckily as soon as I reached my twenties it all cleared up” Chloe replied.

“You’re so lucky”.

“I mean come on Elly, look at your skin, it’s in perfect condition”.

“You’re just being nice”.

“I’m not just being nice, trust me. You’re more perfect than you will ever realise” Chloe replied being completely genuine.

Elly could tell by the tone of Chloe’s voice that she meant every single thing she was saying, it made her feel so good about herself.

“You are too kind come here” Elly said giving Chloe a big hug.

“Enough of this mushy stuff let’s go...” Chloe replied making an excuse to stop the hug, as physical contact made her heart race.

Elly could tell that Chloe felt uncomfortable whenever she hugged her, she hated it. Chloe grabbed her towel and headed to the door, Elly quickly followed.

The sauna was empty which gave them both the opportunity to space out and get comfortable, Elly wasted no time in lying along the bench closest to fire pit.

“Jesus it’s hot in here” Chloe said as soon as she sat down.

“You’ll get used to it I promise” Elly replied.

Chloe tried her best to get comfortable but the benches were wooden and slatted, she couldn’t understand how Elly was so relaxed. After about 15 minutes of being in there on their own, a group of rowdy lads joined them. Chloe quickly moved over so that she was next to Elly, there were about 12 of these lads, all squeezing into what was quite a small sauna.

“You ladies don’t mind if we turn the lights out for 15 minutes, it’s part of our recovery after our game?” One of the lads asked.

“If that’s what you need the sure” Elly replied.

“Thanks ladies” The man said as he switched the lights off.

The only light in the whole sauna was the light coming off the burning coals, Chloe was glad she was next to Elly, as the lads were quite intimidating. As they sat there Chloe and Elly’s hand were just millimetres apart, every inch of Chloe wanted to hold onto Elly’s hand.

Taking a deep breath in Chloe slowly moved her little finger closer and closer to Elly’s hand until eventually it was touching. Chloe was expecting Elly to move her hand away immediately but she didn’t, in fact she moved her little finger towards Chloe’s.

Elly was shocked that she hadn’t moved her hand away, but she didn’t want to because she felt all warm and fuzzy inside. Chloe wanted to test to see how far she could take it, she slowly hooked her little finger around Elly’s to see what her reaction would be.

Chloe was shocked when Elly didn’t move her hand away, she looked over to Elly but it was too dark to see the expression on her face. Elly was almost her own little world, it felt right holding onto Chloe’s hand but she didn’t know what that meant.

The lights came on and Elly immediately moved her hand away, she didn’t want anyone to see her holding onto Chloe’s hand.

“I need to go” Elly said as she grabbed her towel and hurried out of the sauna.

“Elly are you ok?” Chloe shouted after her.

Elly didn’t reply, she just continued to walk away.

“Trouble in paradise?” One of the lads asked.

“What?” A confused Chloe replied.

“You and your girlfriend?”

“She’s not my girlfriend...” Chloe said abruptly grabbing her towel and rushing after Elly.

Chloe headed straight for their room to see if she could find Elly.

“Elly are you here?” Chloe shouted as she entered the room.

Elly wasn’t there, Chloe had no idea where she could have gone, especially as she was just in her bikini and towel. Chloe quickly got changed so she could go and hunt Elly down.

“Hey babe” Elly said as Mark answered the phone.

“Hey, you ok?” Mark replied.

“Yeah just wanted to check in on how the suit shopping was going?”

“It’s going great. We’ve picked our suits we just need them to be altered and were good to go. Are you and Chloe having a good time?”

“Wow that was quick! I hope they are nice! And yeah we’re having a great time” Elly replied.

“They are very nice so don’t panic! And good I’m glad, anyway stop talking to me and go and have some girly time” Mark encouraged.

“I will I will, I just wanted to ring you and tell you that I love you” Elly replied just as Chloe walked around the corner.

“I love you too. Speak later” Mark said.

“Bye” Elly replied putting the phone down.

Chloe hid out of sight for a couple of moments just to see what Elly was like. She could tell my the look on Elly’s face that she was feeling worried, anxious about something.

Just as Chloe was about to see if Elly was alright, Elly picked up her phone to ring Susan for a little bit of advice. Chloe stopped where she was so she could listen to the conversation.

“Everything ok Elly?” Susan asked as she picked up the phone.

“Suze, we had a moment” Elly said.

“You and Chloe? What happened?”

“We were in the sauna and her hand was touching mine which felt normal. Well and then she kind of started holding it and I didn’t let go. Then the lights came on and I freaked out, so I let go and ran” Elly explained.

“Why did you freak out?” Susan asked.

“Because I felt like I was doing something wrong”.

”As in because you didn’t want to be seen holding a woman’s hand or because you felt like you were going behind Marks back?”

“Because I was going behind his back, I felt like I was cheating because I was holding her hand and feeling things I shouldn’t be feeling. I just don’t know what to do because I don’t want to lose Chloe’s friendship but I love Mark more than anything and don’t want to mess that up again” Elly explained.

“Then maybe you need some time away from Chloe after this evening away” Susan replied.

“I think you are right because the more time I’m spending with her the more confused I’m getting”.

“Then you know what you need to do. But don’t let this ruin your evening! So go and enjoy yourself”.

“Thanks suze, ill try. Bye” Elly replied.

Chloe was in complete shock, she couldn’t believe what she had just heard, as if Elly had been questioning her feelings. That’s everything Chloe has ever wanted to hear but the fact that she was so worried about losing Mark, the love of her life made Chloe realise that this all needed to stop. Taking a deep breath in and a big smile on her face, Chloe walked round the corner.

“There you are!! I’ve been looking everywhere for you. The champagne is getting warm” Chloe said chirpily.

“Sorry I think the heat of the sauna just got to me” Elly replied.

“It’s ok, I was just worried. But go get changed and let’s continue to have some fun”.

“Ok, sure. Shall I meet you in the bar?” Elly asked.

“Sure thing, I’ve got ya a booth” Chloe replied.

“Ok, I won’t be long” Elly said as she headed to the room to change. She was a bit worried that Chloe had overheard the conversation with Susan.

A crushed Chloe headed to the bar to grab herself a couple of shots to try and numb the pain of hearing that the woman she loved was having some feelings towards her but she couldn’t pursue them because of Mark.

“Two shots of tequila please” Chloe asked.

“Coming right up” the barman replied.

Chloe wasted no time at all in downing the two shots.

Chapter Text

While Chloe was waiting for Elly down in the bar, Elly was upstairs getting ready. She was busy doing her make up, as the two were going to be making a night of it.

Elly was going to do as much as she could to suppress the feelings that were growing for Chloe, because she couldn’t risk loosing Mark. If she was single then it would be a different scenario completely but she wasn’t and she wanted more than anything to marry Mark.

While Elly was getting ready Chloe was doing her best to make sure she wasn’t too hammered before Elly even arrived. She just couldn’t get her head around the fact that Elly actually had some sort of feelings for her. Never in her wildest dreams did she think that the feelings would in anyway be reciprocated but she was absolutely heartbroken that it could never be anymore than friendship.

“Sorry I took so long” Elly said as she arrived at the table wearing a beautiful black dress.

Chloe couldn’t believe how incredible Elly looked, she didn’t really know where to look.

“Wow, hello stunner” Chloe said in her usual cheery way.

“Thanks, you don’t look bad yourself” Elly joked looking Chloe up and down.

“Come on you need to catch up...” Chloe replied handing Elly a glass of champagne.

“Ok, ok. Let me sit down first”.

“We’ve got no time to waste” Chloe said taking a large gulp from her drink.

“Steady on its still early...”

“Don’t let fun Elly disappear now” Chloe sarcastically replied trying to remind Elly that she was supposed to be having fun.

“Don’t worry I won’t but are we ok? I’m sorry about earlier” Elly said looking at Chloe directly in the eyes.

“What happened earlier? I can’t even remember!” Chloe replied pretending she had forgotten.

“In the sauna... do you know what it doesn’t even matter. Let’s just focus on enjoying the rest of our day” Elly said. She didn’t see the point in bringing it up again if Chloe didn’t have any idea as to what she was talking about.

“Sounds like a plan” Chloe replied raising her glass to clink it with Elly’s.

Chloe was glad that the hand holding wasn’t going to be spoken about she knew that she just needed to concentrate on suppressing her feelings so that the two of them could concentrate on being friends.

“Have you spoken to Mark? Did they manage to get their suits?” Chloe asked trying to think of things the two of them could talk about so it wasn’t awkward.

“Yeah I quickly spoke to him earlier, they have got their suits they just need to be fitted. Exciting right?” Elly replied.

“Yeah very! Let’s hope they picked nice ones” Chloe sarcastically responded.

“I’m sure they have, Mark usually has good taste”.

“He chose you so he must have good taste” Chloe replied.

Elly just smiled.

Meanwhile back over in Erinsborough, Mark and Aaron had been joined by David for a few beers. It had been a while since it had just been the lads.

“So this bucks night what are we going to do then?” David asked knowing that Mark didn’t even want one.

“I’m not even fussed! Maybe some quiet drinks” Mark replied.

“Quiet... DRINKS” Aaron sarcastically said.

“What’s wrong with that?” Mark asked.

“You’re kidding right? You’re getting married! Stop being such a boring old man and please just allow yourself to have some fun” Aaron replied, pleading with Mark.

“But I know that something bad will happen!!”

“And what makes you say that?” David asked.

“Because whenever I let my hair down so to speak something always goes wrong. I can’t have that happen anywhere near the wedding, I won’t risk it” Mark replied.

“It’s not going to be anything crazy” Aaron added.

“You organising my bucks... it’s definitely going to be crazy! So I just can’t risk it”.

“Well tough because you are having one. It won’t be crazy, how about we go and do like a fun activity and then just head for some beers after?” Aaron asked.

“What sort of fun activity?”

“I don’t know, paintballing or golf or a surf lesson? Anything it If means you’ll have a bucks” Aaron replied.

“Golf could be quite entertaining?” David added.

“It could be fun, oh go on then! Golf and a few beers, nothing can really go wrong with that can it?” Mark replied.

“Well, let’s hope not. Ok, so I’ll get a list of who to invite and then I’ll book it, to make sure that you don’t make up any excuse to get out of it” Aaron explained.

“I won’t make up an excuse but just promise me not to go over the top with the alcohol” Mark replied.

“Yes boss” Aaron joked.

“I mean it”.

“I know you do. Anyway it’s your round, off you go” Aaron said holding his empty glass up.

The drinks had been flowing over at the hotel, the girls were both on their way to being very tipsy. Chloe had spotted a hottie over at the bar that she wanted to go and introduce herself to.

“I’ll be right back” Chloe said as she left Elly on her own at the table.

“Where... where are you going?” Elly replied.

“Give me two minutes” Chloe said as she headed over to the bar.

Elly watched on as Chloe approached the very attractive girl at the bar, Elly suddenly sat up and paid attention to what was about to unfold.

“What’s a pretty girl like you doing sat here all on your own?” Chloe asked as she sat down next to this girl.

“I guess I was just waiting for you to come over...” The girl replied.

“Chloe nice to meet you” Chloe said smiling.

“Ruby, nice to meet you too” Ruby replied.

Elly found herself getting jealous that Chloe’s attention was elsewhere, she didn’t want her to be talking to some ransomed at the bar, she wanted her to be spending time with her.

“So you from around here?” Chloe asked.

“No I’m a Sydney Chick. You?” Ruby replied.

“Yeah I live not far from here”.

“So what brings you to the spa?” Ruby asked.

Chloe glanced back at Elly, she noticed immediately that Elly was looking at the two of them. Elly just smiled and gave Chloe a little wave, hoping that would be enough to entice Chloe into coming back to the table.

“Here with a close friend” Chloe replied as she gave Elly a little wave back.

The smile on Elly’s face when Chloe waved back was huge, it made Chloe realise that she shouldn’t be wasting her time getting to know this Ruby, she should be spending every second she could with Elly while they were on their own.

“Do excuse me a moment” Chloe said as she got off her stool and headed back to Elly.

“Um. Ok” Ruby replied with a confused look on her face.

Elly fixed her hair as Chloe walked back over to the table.

“What are you doing? Looked like you were in there...” Elly said.

“I realised that the only person I want to spend time with is you” Chloe replied giving Elly goosebumps.

“Really? Why?” Elly asked.

“Because you are amazing” Chloe replied sitting right next to Elly.

“You’re just saying that” a tipsy Elly said.

“No I’m really not” Chloe replied putting her hand on Elly’s leg.

Elly just looked at Chloe’s hand before slowly placing her hand on top of it.

“You really do mean the world to me” Chloe added.

“And you do to me” Elly replied.

The two of them seemed to be having a lot of moments recently, they just couldn’t stop them from happening, no matter how hard they tried.

“You want to get out of here?” Chloe asked.

“And head where?” Elly replied.

“How about we get some room service and watch a trashy film?” Chloe suggested.

“Yes! That means I can have a bath too” Elly replied.

“It does indeed, come on let’s go?” Chloe said reaching for Elly’s hand.

Elly held on tightly to Chloe’s hand, grabbing onto the bottle of champagne so they could take it with them. The two of them headed back to their room so they could look at the menu to order dinner.

As the two of them walked past Ruby at the bar, Elly gave her a little smirk to let her know that she had won.

The two of them arrived back at their room and immediately studied the menu to see what they could order. Because it had all been paid for already the two of them ordered so much food and even more champagne.

“Make sure they bring up extra mayo...” Elly shouted from the bathroom as she tried to get into her bikini with out falling over so she could get into the bath.

“Yes boss” Chloe replied as she ordered all the food and drink.

As Chloe ordered the food she could hear banging noises coming from the bathroom, it was Elly doing her best not to fall over.

“Are you ok in there?” Chloe asked Elly.

“Fine... just struggling with my bikini bottoms” Elly replied bursting into laughter.

“Try sitting on the floor and putting them on that way?” Chloe said as she couldn’t exactly just walk on in there and help her.

“Oh good idea, never thought of that” Elly replied as she sat down on the floor to put them on.

Chloe was sprawled out on the bed scrolling through the channels on the tv to find a film. She was interrupted by a tipsy Elly stumbling out of the bathroom in her bikini, she was mesmerised by her incredible body.

“I think the bubbles have gone to my head” Elly said slurring her words.

“I think they have too, you’ll be alright once we’ve eaten. The food shouldn’t be too long so go on have your bath” Chloe replied.

“Can you give me a hand? I don’t know which one is hot and which is cold...” Elly said staring at the taps on the bath.

“Of course, let me” Chloe replied as she walked over to run Elly a bath.

While Chloe ran Elly a nice hot bubble bath, Elly was doing her best to stand up straight, the bubbles really had gone to her head.

“Room service” a man behind the door shouted as he knocked on it.

“Coming” Chloe replied.

As chloe walked over to the door Elly got herself into the lovely hot bath, it was the perfect temperature.

“Oh I do apologise I didn’t mean to interrupt” Giles said as he pushed the trolley in their room noticing Elly was busy having a bath.

“Don’t worry she’s only just got in. Thank you so much for our food” Chloe replied.

“You’re welcome! Just leave outside when you are done. Enjoy ladies” Giles said winking at Chloe as he left the room.

“Are you going to get our the bath to eat or do you want it whilst your in there?” Chloe asked.

“While I’m in here for sure. Bring it close enough and come join me” Elly replied stealing a chip off the plate.

“You sure?”

“Why wouldn’t I be? We’re just two friends enjoying a bath together, nothing weird about that” Elly slurred as she continued to eat the chips.

Chloe wasn’t going to waste the opportunity to share a bath with Elly, she quickly took of her clothes as she still had her bikini on from earlier.

“Chip?” Elly asked.

“I’m ok I’m going to start with the calamari I think” Chloe replied as she carefully got into the bath.

“Oooh” Elly shouted as Chloe’s foot accidentally slipped right in between Elly’s legs.

“Oh my god I’m so sorry” Chloe immediately replied.

“Haha it’s ok, that’s the most action I’ve had in a while” Elly said.

“Really? I thought you and Mark were at it like dogs?” Chloe asked.

“Not recently, haven’t been in the right headspace for it” A tipsy Elly blurted out.

Chloe couldn’t help but think that she might have something to do with why Elly hadn’t been sleeping with Mark. Were the feelings she had began to develop getting in the way of their sex life?

Chapter Text

After hearing the revelation that Elly and Mark hadn’t been having sex, Chloe couldn’t stop thinking about how she might be the reason for it.

“You won’t tell Mark I told you any of that will you?” Elly asked.

“Of course I won’t, your secret is safe with me”.

“Thank you. Can you reach the bubbles?” Elly asked holding her glass out in front of her.

“You’ve had enough haven’t you?” Chloe replied.

“Whose the fun police now?” Elly sarcastically responded.

“I’m not I just don’t want you to get too drunk that’s all”.

“You scared I’ll say or do something I’ll regret?” Elly joked.

“A little bit yes” Chloe replied.

“Just pour me another please” Elly said fluttering her eye lashes at Chloe.

“Fine, one more” Chloe replied smiling at Elly.

“YES!” Elly shouted as she kicked her leg out of the water in excitement, splashing Chloe in the process.

“Steady on, you’ll get water everywhere” Chloe replied trying to be the responsible adult for once.

“Oh come on, don’t be like...How good are these onion rings?” Elly slurred as she dropped one in the bath.

“Well I don’t know you keep dropping them” Chloe replied laughing.

“It’s ok, I’ll get it for you” Elly said putting her hand into the water to try and find the very soggy onion ring.

“I’ll pass thanks, I’ve got lots to eat over here” Chloe replied politely.

“Please just try it... I found it for you” Elly said moving towards Chloe with this extremely soggy onion ring.

“Elly, it’s soaking”.

“It’s only water” Elly replied as she tried to force the onion ring into Chloe’s mouth. By this time there was water overflowing from the bath because of the movement in it.

“Elly Stop! There’s water going everywhere” Chloe said trying to stop Elly from putting the onion ring in her mouth.

Elly managed to pin Chloe against the rim of the bath, she suddenly stopped. Her heart was racing as she starred at Chloe, who was looking intensely back at her. Elly couldn’t stop herself from leaning in for a kiss.

As Elly kissed Chloe, Chloe didn’t know how to react. She obviously kissed Elly back but knew deep down that Elly would put this down to a drunken mistake, so thought it would be best to stop it from progressing any further.

“I’m sorry I can’t” Chloe said as she moved away from Elly.

“Sorry, I thought this was what you wanted?” A confused Elly replied as she moved back to her side of the bath.

“It is what I want but not when you are so drunk, I know you’ll regret it tomorrow” Chloe said as she got out of the bath.

“Chloe I’m sorry please don’t go...”

“I just need 5 minutes” Chloe replied heading to the bathroom to just compose herself.

“Elly you idiot” Elly said whispering to herself as she downed the rest of her champagne. She couldn’t believe she had just done that but she couldn’t stop it from happening, something inside her took over and it just happened.

Chloe didn’t know what to say or do, she was shocked that Elly had kissed her, even if she was drunk it was her that initiated everything.

“Chloe I’m sorry, can you let me in... I need a towel” Elly said banging on the door.

Chloe opened the door but didn’t say a word, Elly quickly grabbed a towel and sat down next to Chloe on the floor.

“I’m sorry I shouldn’t have kissed you” Elly quietly said to Chloe.

“Then why did you?” Chloe asked.

“I don’t know I guess it was a spur of the moment thing...”

“But you know how I feel...” Chloe said forgetting that Elly hadn’t read the card.

“What?” Elly immediately replied.

“Ignore me!”

“I can’t. How do you feel Chloe?” Elly asked turning so that she was facing her.

Chloe didn’t reply, she was just staring at the floor. Elly gently used her hand to move Chloe’s face so that she was facing her.

“Chloe talk to me, how do you feel?” Elly quietly asked.

“You’ll have to just read the card, it’s too hard to say out loud” Chloe explained.

“So you do have feelings for me?”

“Yes”.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” Elly asked.

“I did, I told you everything in the card. It was easier to write it all down”.

“So why didn’t you give it to me?” Elly asked.

“Can we just not talk about this right now? The film is about to start...” Chloe said desperately trying to change the subject.

“Chloe please just be honest with me...” Elly said slurring her words.

“Fine! Your mum read the letter and told me that it was best that you never see it... ok?” Chloe abruptly replied, she was annoyed that Elly had pushed her for an answer and not just left it.

“What? She did what?”

“She was probably right, it’s best we just forget about it and try and move on” Chloe replied getting up to go and watch the film.

“Chloe? Please don’t walk away. I need to know what the letter said” Elly said.

Chloe disappeared into the other room, she was searching through her suitcase to try and find the card that she had hidden in there so no one would find it.

“Chloe you can’t leave...” Elly said as she made her way into the room. She saw Chloe with her suitcase and thought she was getting ready to leave.

“There...” Chloe said handing Elly the card.

“Is this the card?”

“Yeah, so read it or bin it, whatever you like I don’t care” Chloe replied grabbing some clothes and heading back to the bathroom to change.

Elly sat down at the desk, she was so nervous to open this card. She couldn’t believe that her mum had read it, how dare she read a private card. Elly’s heart was racing, she knew that this card was about to tell her exactly how Chloe felt.

The room was silent as Elly read the card, her heart stopped when she saw the words I am truly, madly and deeply in love with you Elly closed the card and held it close to her chest, she knew Chloe liked her but she didn’t realise she was in love with her. This had just confused Elly even more now, she knew she was beginning to feel something for Chloe but knew now that it was even more important to stop those feelings for developing. She of course hadn’t helped that by kissing Chloe not long ago.

“Chloe can we talk?” Elly asked.

“What’s there to talk about?” Chloe replied.

“The card...the fact that you are in love with me. The kiss...” Elly said.

Chloe slowly opened the door and walked back into the main room, perching on the end of the bed.

“Can we please just forget about it all? It would make everything so much easier and we can just go back to being besties” Chloe replied staring at the floor because she couldn’t look at Elly.

“We can’t just forget about it because that won’t help either of us. I had no idea that you were in love with me, Chloe. You were so adamant that the kiss meant nothing, so I thought it was just back to our little flirty banter we always had” Elly explained.

“Elly please let’s just forget about it all. I am in love with you but I’ll soon get over it, I just need time. I can’t wait for you to marry my brother because I know he will be able to make you happy, I can’t do that because you will never feel the same way about me. Even if you did just kiss me, which I know was only because you are drunk, you could never love me” Chloe replied.

Elly didn’t know whether to be honest with Chloe about the strange feelings she had been having about her. She didn’t know whether it would make things worse, she obviously had no idea that Chloe already knew that Elly was confused about things.

“Well I don’t know if I could ever love you back in the way you want me to...” Elly said deciding to be honest with Chloe.

“What do you mean? You don’t know?”

“Ever since the kiss all these feelings have appeared and I just can’t explain them. I can’t work out what they mean Chloe and it’s driving me crazy”.

“Is that why you kissed me? To see if you felt anything?” Chloe asked.

“Partly yes... but I also couldn’t stop myself from doing it. I have no idea why but I just couldn’t” Elly replied trying to stop her face from turning red.

“And did you? Feel anything?” Chloe asked.

“I mean it didn’t feel wrong! It was enjoyable” a tipsy Elly replied.

“But you didn’t feel anything?” A disappointed Chloe asked.

“I don’t know! I don’t know what I feel Chloe! It’s all so confusing. Ever since the first kiss, I haven’t been able to get you off my mind and I can’t work out if that’s because I don’t want to lose you as a friend or because I have feelings for you”.

“Probably didn’t want to lose me as a friend. It’s ok I understand completely, let’s just forget about all of this and just focus on the wedding and being friends” Chloe explained. She could see how much this had obviously affected Elly, the worry in her eyes was clear to see.

“I just want everything between us to be normal” Elly added.

“Then normal is what we will aim for. I’m really sorry for all of this, I wish it had never come to light”.

“Don’t you date apologise for how you feel, you can’t help what the heart wants! I’m sorry about the kiss earlier, I had no idea about all of this” Elly replied.

“Don’t worry about it, it’s all forgotten” Chloe said putting a smile on her face.

“Ok, good! Now let’s finish this food and watch a film. But no more alcohol I think we’ve both had enough” Elly replied.

The two of them got into bed and started the film, Chloe couldn’t stop thinking about everything. The fact that Elly hadn’t been able to stop thinking about her, made her feel special but at the same time it had the opposite effect as it made her feel like she wasn’t worthy for Elly’s love.

Elly was also sat there thinking about everything, she couldn’t believe that her mum had read a private card that was meant for her eyes only. She was furious and couldn’t wait to tell Liz exactly how furious she really was.

The two of them were lay on the bed, they were both so anxious to make sure there was a gap between them so neither of them would feel awkward by a random touch.

“Good night, thanks for a lovely day” Chloe said turning over ready to fall asleep, as the film had finished.

“Night, sleep well” Elly replied as she turned the other way.

It took no time at all for Elly to fall asleep, but Chloe just lay there staring into the dark thinking about everything.

It was the middle of the night and the two of them were fast asleep, Elly had always been one to snuggle people as she slept. Chloe woke up to find Elly’s arm wrapped around her, a huge part of her wanted to push Elly’s arms off of her but the other part didn’t. Chloe slowly moved her arm so that it was on top of Elly’s so that she felt was cuddling Elly back.

As Chloe’s arm touched Elly’s, Elly woke slightly. She noticed that she was spooning Chloe, it didn’t bother her at all, in fact she snuggled in tighter and went back to sleep.

Chapter Text

The morning arrived and the sun was shining through the window of their hotel suite. Chloe was first to wake, she woke in the arms of Elly who was holding onto her very tightly. A little smile arrived on Chloe’s face she was literally in heaven right now, this was all she had ever wanted but knew it wasn’t something that would ever happen again.

“Sorry” Elly quietly said as she woke to find her arms all over Chloe.

“It’s ok, did you sleep well?” Chloe asked.

“I did, did you?”

“Yeah, like a baby actually. This bed is extremely comfortable” Chloe replied as she sat up.

“I’m sorry about the spooning, I just can help it. I do it to everyone” Elly explained.

“It’s ok, don’t worry. I barely noticed” Chloe replied lying through her teeth. She had enjoyed her nights sleep because she felt safe and loved in the arms of Elly.

“That’s okay then. Shall we head down for some breakfast? Or do you want breakfast in bed?” Elly asked.

“Definitely in bed” Chloe immediately replied.

“Good idea” Elly replied picking up the menu to see what they should order.

“Avocado on toast with two poached eggs for me” Chloe said as she headed to the bathroom.

“That sounds yum, might get two of them” Elly replied picking up the phone to order.

While Chloe was in the bathroom, she realised that being around Elly from now on was going to be almost impossible. She needed to try and distance herself a little bit without it being blatantly obvious what she was doing. Chloe always did a lot of her thinking when she was in the shower, she had come up with a cover story to try and get out of going to the wedding.

“Chloe, brekkie is ready” Elly shouted as she shut the door after taking the tray off the hotel employee.

“I’ll be two seconds” Chloe replied putting some clothes on.

“Hurry because it looks incredible” Elly said tucking into hers.

Chloe walked out of the bathroom to the sight of Elly in her dressing gown eating breakfast in bed, it was as if it was like a scene from one of her dreams. Controlling her breathing Chloe walked over to tuck into her own breakfast.

“Look how incredible it looks...” Elly said as Chloe joined her on the bed.

Elly was desperate for things to just feel normal so was doing everything she could to make that happen.

“It looks amazing. How does it taste?” Chloe asked.

“Sensational” Elly replied licking her lips.

“Good I can’t wait” Chloe said tucking into it.

“So come on how is it?”

“Pretty good, I mean I can make a better one but then again I’m practically a master chef” Chloe joked.

“I’ll believe that when I see it” Elly sarcastically replied.

“Fine, I’ll make it for you and you can decide” Chloe said.

“Deal. I’ll be the judge and see which one is really better”.

“It’s a date... I mean. Well you know what I mean” Chloe replied stuttering.

“Don’t worry, I know what you meant. I might head for a shower after this” Elly said.

“Ok, enjoy. I’ll get everything ready so that we can head back whenever” Chloe replied.

“Perfect” Elly replied as she shut the door behind her.

Chloe’s dream of eating breakfast in bed with Elly was a short lived one, part of her was glad but the other part was desperate to enjoy the time they had left together before returning to reality.

Meanwhile the boys were waking up with massive headaches after their couple of drinks turned into a wild night out.

“Good morning” A groggy Mark said as he scurried out of his room into the kitchen where David was making coffee.

“You look like I feel...” David replied.

“How did things take such a dramatic turn for the worst last night?”

“Starts with an A and ends in an N” David explained.

“Aaron... can you now see why I’m so worried about my bucks night” Mark replied.

“Yes, I can. But don’t worry I will keep him in line, I promise”.

“You need to otherwise I will end up tied to some lamp post in the middle of the city naked. I know my brother” Mark explained.

“That would be quiet funny”.

“Yeah... hilarious” Mark replied in his monotone voice.

“Don’t worry it won’t happen” David said handing Mark a cup of coffee.

“What won’t happen?” Aaron asked as he walked into the kitchen.

“Nothing. It doesn’t matter. Don’t you dare tell him and put ideas into his head...” Mark said to David pointing his finger in his direction.

“Oh go on tell me!” Aaron replied giving David puppy dog eyes.

“David, I’m warning you”.

“Nothing we were just chatting” David said putting an end to the conversation.

“Hmm I’ll get it out of him don’t you worry” Aaron replied looking at the pair of them with daggers in his eyes.

Both the girls were ready to leave the hotel, it had been an interesting trip. One with revelations, kisses and a little bit of heartbreak.

“Thank you for coming with me” Chloe said to Elly as they left the hotel.

“Anytime, you know that” Elly replied.

The car journey home was quieter than on the way, the two of them didn’t really know what to say to each other. Luckily the music was loud enough so that the awkward silence was almost not noticeable.

“Can you tell Mark I’ll come over and see him soon?” Elly asked as she dropped Chloe off at her house.

“Will do, thanks again”.

“You’re welcome. See you soon” Elly replied.

Elly couldn’t wait to have a little chat with her mum, she couldn’t believe what she had done the other day, reading the card Chloe had written for her.

“Ah sweetheart your back... how was it?” Liz asked as Elly walked through the front door.

“How dare you...” Elly said raising her voice.

“Pardon? What’s wrong?”

“Do you read all of my mail? Or is it just the ones marked private?” Elly asked.

“Ugh is this about Chloe?” Liz replied rolling her eyes.

“It took Chloe a lot of courage to write down how she was feeling and open up. And you just made her feel bad”.

“Well what do you expect? She was trying to sabotage your relationship with Mark” Liz replied.

“What? Are you crazy? She’s not trying to sabotage anything, she was being open about how she feels. This is a very complicated situation for her” Elly explained.

“What so she had to lump it onto you? Elly imagine if Mark found out about any of this. You are risking your entire future to defend someone who doesn’t even have a future” Liz replied.

“You are cruel. Do you even hear yourself?” A furious Elly said.

“She made a play for you, even after I warned her off”.

“You literally know nothing! How about you do me a favour and stay the hell away from me, Mark, Chloe, everyone and just go. No one even wants you here, sticking your nose into places it doesn’t belong. From now on just leave me alone” Elly said shouting at her mum.

“Elly don’t be like that...”

“Just shut up” Elly shouted just as Susan walked through the front door.

“What’s going on here?” Susan asked.

“Oh perfect timing...” Liz sarcastically said looking at Susan.

“Do you ever stop?” Elly asked as she stormed out the house.

“What have you done now?” Susan said shaking her head.

“Nothing...” Liz replied.

“Why don’t I believe you...” Susan said as she chased after Elly.

Elly was walking down the road just trying to calm herself down.

“Elly wait, what’s happened?” Susan asked as she put her arm around Elly.

“She read the card from Chloe and told her not to bother showing it to me”.

“She did what? How dare she...”

“I couldn’t be more angry with her. When Chloe told me I wanted to scream, it took a lot of courage for Chloe to open up to me and for my mum to make her feel so small and insignificant was so unfair” Elly explained as she stood there physically shaking from anger.

“You know your mum, always one to poke her nose in other peoples business. Just try and not let it get to you”.

“I don’t even want to see her face, she honestly makes me sick”.

“It’s ok” Susan replied giving Elly a hug.

Chloe who was heading to work noticed Susan giving Elly a hug. She couldn’t help but wonder what that hug was all about, had Elly told Susan what happened between them? Or was it something completely different? Chloe decided to hide in the bushes while they were having a moment so that she wasn’t seen.

“When you say open up to you? What exactly did Chloe say?” Susan asked trying to understand the situation.

“She told me that she was madly in love with me” Elly replied.

“Wow! That can’t have been easy for her to say”.

“No exactly and that’s why I’m so angry at mum”.

“And how does knowing she loves you make you feel?” Susan asked as she could see the confusion on Elly’s face.

“Confused, worried. I don’t know! I kissed her last night...”

“What? How did that happen?” Susan asked.

“We were in the bath, with bathers in don’t worry! And we’d had a lot to drink, so I was trying to feed her this soggy onion ring and I just couldn’t stop myself from leaning in and planting one on her. I tried to stop but just couldn’t” Elly explained.

“I think deep down you have feelings for Chloe” Susan replied putting her arm around Elly.

“I think you are right! But I can’t act on them because Mark is the best thing that has ever happened to me and I won’t risk that for some feelings that I don’t even fully understand. So we both talked and we think it’s best that we both just forget about it all and try and go back to being normal friends”.

“That’s a good idea in hindsight but will it be realistic? Spending time with each other knowing how she feels and knowing how you feel?” Susan asked.

“Probably not but I cant lose her either! She’s been such an amazing friend recently and I don’t want to lose that. Why is it so hard?” Elly replied as her eyes filled up with tears.

“Don’t get upset sweetheart! Everything will be just fine, maybe just try and distance yourself a little from Chloe over the next few days and see if that makes any different. It might make things a little easier, especially if your not seeing her all the time” Susan explained.

“Yeah, I think you are right! Although I don’t want to not see her. It’s almost New Year and I want to see it in with those I love! And that includes Chloe” Elly replied.

“Let’s go get a cup of coffee and try and work out a plan” Susan said.

“Sounds good! Thank you for being there for me” Elly replied.

“You are welcome!! Come on” Susan said linking arms with Elly as they set off to Harold’s.

Chloe could finally come out from behind the bushes, she watched as they walked away. She desperately wanted to make sure that Elly was alright but knew she needed to try her best to stay away from her as it was all becoming too hard. She had already come up with a good excuse to try and get out of the wedding, because she knew that day was going to be absolute torture.

“Clo wait up... how was your spa break?” Aaron asked as he ran after her.

“Yeah it was great thank you so much” Chloe replied putting a smile on her face.

“Lets go for coffee so you can tell me all about it” Aaron said.

“I’ve got work...”

“A quick coffee won’t harm will it?” Aaron replied.

“Fine, a quick coffee then”.

The two of them also headed to Harold’s, unaware that Susan and Elly we’re heading there too.

Chapter Text

Elly had picked a table in Harold’s, while Susan got the coffees in. Elly couldn’t help but look in her make up mirror just to make sure it didn’t look like she had been crying, just incase she bumped into anyone.

“Here you go get that down you” Susan said as she returned to the table.

“Thanks! I don’t look like I’ve been crying do I?” Elly asked.

“No, you look absolutely fine” Susan replied exaggerating the truth a little. It was clear that Elly had been crying because her eyes were all puffy.

“You sure?”

“I mean they are a little puffy but just blame it on hay fever or something...”

“Good idea”.

“So... what are you going to do about Liz?” Susan asked hoping that Elly would say she didn’t want her around anymore as she was a complete pain in the ass.

“As far as I’m concerned right now she can go. I don’t want to see her, she honestly makes me feel sick at the moment” Elly replied.

“If that’s what you want then I will ask her to leave” Susan said trying not to let the huge smile appear on her face.

“I just think it’s for the best! She’s nothing but trouble and I don’t want her to say anything more to Chloe! It’s not fair on her” Elly explained.

“I completely agree! I’ll have a word with her later for you” Susan replied.

“Thank you” Elly said.

Chloe and Aaron walked into Harold’s, Chloe immediately spotted Elly.

“Can we go to the waterhole instead? I fancy something stronger!” Chloe said quietly to Aaron.

“But you’ve got work” Aaron replied.

“Fine we can go there for a coffee then...” Chloe said trying to leave before Elly noticed her.

“But we’re here now! Oh look there’s Elly and Susan! Let’s go say hi” Aaron replied making his way over.

“Great” Chloe mumbled under her breath.

“Oh god Chloe’s just walked in...” Elly said in a panic.

“Just breathe and act normal” Susan replied trying to keep Elly calm.

“Hey guys! Mind if we join you?” Aaron asked.

“Sure take a seat” Susan replied.

“I’ll go grab the coffees” Chloe said heading to the counter while Aaron sat down.

“So how was your spa day?” Aaron asked hoping to get a bit more information out of Elly, as Chloe barely said a word.

“Yeah it was really nice. The hotel was amazing, as were the treatments” Elly replied.

“Did you girls have fun then?”

Elly’s heart was racing, she composed herself before answering.

“We did yes, we had a bit too much to drink but it was good fun” Elly replied.

“It was very nice of you and David to buy it for them both” Susan said trying to get the conversation off Elly as she could see she was struggling with everything.

“We knew Chloe needed to just relax and who better to do it with than Elly”.

Chloe walked over with two coffees, sitting down in the only available chair which was right next to Elly.

“Hey” Chloe said quietly to Elly.

“Hey!” Elly replied.

Chloe could tell straight away that Elly had been crying, she wanted to know what it was about but didn’t want to bring it up in front of either Susan or Aaron.

“Elly was just telling me what a nice time you both had” Aaron said.

“Yeah it was lovely” Chloe replied with a forced smile on her face.

Susan could see how hard Chloe was finding all of this, she really did feel for Chloe. After all you can’t help who you fall in love with.

“So we’ve managed to convince Mark to have a Bucks night” Aaron said with a smile on his face.

“How did you manage to do that?” Elly replied laughing.

“I just promised him that it wouldn’t be anything too crazy”.

“I’ll believe that when I see it” Elly replied.

Chloe felt uncomfortable listening to anything to do with the wedding. She found an excuse to leave.

“Oh shit is that the time. I really just dash. See you all soon” Chloe said without making eye contact with anyone.

“Oh Bye Clo” Aaron replied turning round watching her walk out.

“She must have just been in a rush” Susan said knowing full well the real reason Chloe left.

“I hope so, she seems a bit off since she got back. You sure everything is ok?” Aaron asked Elly.

“Yeah positive. She’s probably just tired we did have a late night and rather a lot of alcohol” Elly replied knowing that there was a reason Chloe was down.

“That’ll be it then” Aaron said looking relieved.

Chloe arrived at work, her head was all over the place and Terese could see that.

“Everything ok Chloe?” Terese asked.

“Just a lot on my mind” Chloe replied.

“Anything I can help with?”

“I’ll be ok, don’t worry. But thank you” Chloe replied giving Terese a sweet smile.

“Why don’t you take a little break, we’re not that busy” Terese said.

“Thanks but id rather just try and keep busy” Chloe replied knowing that if she stopped to think she would get upset.

“Ok, well the offer is there” Terese said giving Chloe a gentle supportive tap on the shoulder as she walked past her.

As soon as Terese left, Chloe threw herself into her work to try and take her mind off of Elly, which was almost an impossible task as she was all she could think about.

The afternoon arrived and Elly had headed over to see Mark, she had decided that the only way she was going to get back to normal was to throw herself into all things wedding.

“Hello stranger, how was your spa trip?” Mark said greeting Elly with a kiss as she walked in.

“It was nice! I missed you though” Elly replied.

“Aww come here you” Mark said wrapping his arms around Elly tightly.

“You going to show me this suit then?” Elly asked as they made their way over to the sofa.

“It’s a secret I’m afraid I can’t show you...” Mark joked.

“Please tell me you are joking?” Elly replied.

“I wish I was but I’ve been sworn to secrecy”.

“Just show me now” Elly said playfully hitting Mark in the stomach.

“I could have you for assault”.

“Mark just show me! I’m not in the mood for this” Elly replied.

“Ok, ok! Here” Mark said getting his phone out of his pocket to show Elly the picture.

“Wow, you actually did a good job at picking!” A shocked Elly joked.

“Why do you sound so surprised? I have good taste... I picked you didn’t I?”

“Who says you picked me? I’m sure I picked you” Elly replied.

“Well thank you for picking me because I couldn’t be happier” Mark said.

Elly just smiled because in the back of her mind she was still thinking about Chloe and that situation.

“I can’t believe we will be Mr and Mrs Brennan in just 3 months it’s crazy” Mark added.

“I know, it’s going to go so fast. There is so much to do” Elly replied.

“Why don’t you ask Chloe to help? She pretty much did everything for Aaron and David’s!”

“I don’t want to put her out, she’s got a lot on her plate at the moment” Elly replied trying to put Mark off the idea, as she knew it would be so difficult for Chloe to do.

“She has but this might help! I’ll have a word with her...”

“Honestly babe it’s fine, we can do it”.

“No no I insist” Mark said.

You could tell by the look on Elly’s face that she was worried about Mark talking to Chloe about planning the wedding. She didn’t want to upset Chloe or for anything to slip out about what had happened between them.

“What do you insist? He’s not being bossy is he?” Chloe joked as she walked through the door hearing the end of their conversation.

For some reason Elly moved from right next to Mark as soon as she heard Chloe’s voice. She almost didn’t want Chloe to have to see the two of them being all cute and cosy.

“I’ve got a question to ask you...” Mark said in his usual monotone manner.

“What?” Chloe replied as her heart rate began to rise. She had no idea what Mark was about to ask and she was quite scared.

“Mark... stop” Elly said. She could see the worry on Chloe’s face.

“We were wondering if you’d help to plan our wedding? you did such a good job with Aaron and David’s and we’d really love your input” Mark asked.

Chloe was doing her best to keep the expression on her face a positive one but it was so difficult. How was she going to plan the wedding when she was in love with the bride?

“Say you’ll do it please Clo?” Mark added as he waited for a reply from her.

“Can I think about it?” Chloe replied.

“Well what is there to think about?”

“Work is super busy at the moment and I just don’t know if I’ll have time to do it!”

“Seriously?” Mark replied in a semi angry way.

“Mark just leave it. If you’ve got time then the help would be appreciated, if not honestly don’t worry” Elly explained. She didn’t want Chloe to feel pressurised into helping out, she knew it would be an impossible task for her.

“Thank you” Chloe said taking herself off to her room.

“Why’s she being like that?” Mark asked Elly.

“No idea but just leave her be, if she can help then great if not we’ll cope! She’s dealing with a lot and our wedding isn’t the top of that list” Elly explained.

“I just want her to feel involved”.

“She’s a bridesmaid, I think that’ll be a big enough job for her” Elly replied.

“You’re right... I shouldn’t have pushed her” Mark said.

“She’ll be fine! Anyway why don’t we go for a little Romantic walk?” Elly suggested.

“Sounds good. I’ll be right back” Mark said as he quickly headed to the bathroom.

Elly took a deep breath as she threw her head back in frustration, she knew the next few weeks weren’t going to be easy trying to understand all these mixed up feelings going through her head.

“Sorry, I didn’t realise you were still here” Chloe said as she walked into the kitchen to grab herself a drink.

“Don’t apologise this is your house. Sorry about Mark going on about planning the wedding, I’ll make sure he doesn’t ask again” Elly replied.

“Thanks id appreciate that”.

“Are we ok?” Elly asked with an anxious look on her face.

Before Chloe could reply, Mark returned from the bathroom.

“Ready to go?” Mark asked.

“Sure, catch you later?” Elly said to Chloe giving her a smile.

“Of course! Have fun” Chloe replied.

While Mark and Elly headed out for a walk, Chloe used the time wisely to come up with an excuse as to why she couldn’t attend the wedding. She knew it was going to need to be convincing otherwise Mark wouldn’t be able to come to terms with the fact his sister wouldn’t be there for his big day.

Chloe had finally come up with a cover story, one which Mark would probably believe. She was going to say that she was going trekking in Peru with one of her friends, something she had always wanted to do. It wasn’t going to be easy to tell either of them but she knew she had to do it because having to sit through the wedding was going to be pure torture.

Chapter Text

While Mark and Elly were on their romantic walk, Susan has returned home to talk to Liz about her recent behaviour.

“Oh here she is saint Susan” Liz sarcastically said as she sat at the dining table with a large glass of red wine.

“What made you think you had the right to read Elly’s private card?” Susan asked.

“She’s my daughter I can do what I like...I think you forget that sometimes” Liz replied.

“Forget what? That she’s a grown up and not a teenager anymore”.

“No! That she is my daughter and not yours”.

“Right now she wishes I was her mum and not you! What made you think that interfering would be a good idea? Does that brain of yours not work anymore?”

“I doubt she does... I’m still her mum and always will be”.

“Liz she wants nothing to do with you. She’s asked me to ask you to leave...”

“I don’t believe you! Why would she want her mother to leave. This is you just trying to get rid of me so you can look after my daughters as if they were your own”.

“She wants you to leave because you always stick your nose in places it’s not welcome. Chloe poured her heart out to Elly, something that will have taken a lot of courage and you just blew it straight back in her face. Elly wants you gone and I’m going to make sure that happens, so please pack your bags” Susan said with authority.

“Well I’m not going anywhere!” Liz replied crossing her arms in annoyance.

“You aren’t welcome here! So pack your bags and leave. I don’t care where you go but you are not staying here, not while you are still interfering in Elly’s life”.

“Oh come on Suz, you can’t kick me out” Liz replied.

“I can and I am” Susan said.

“Fine but I’m not leaving Erinsborough”.

“Do what you like but I’m telling you now, Elly wants nothing to do with you”.

“We’ll see about that...” Liz said with arrogance.

“Good luck with that” Susan replied with a smug look on her face.

Liz headed to her room to pack her bag, she couldn’t believe that she was being kicked out when all she was trying to do was look after the needs of her eldest daughter. She couldn’t understand what the big deal was.

As Elly and Mark arrived back from their walk, they noticed Liz leaving the Kennedy’s with all of her things.

“Where’s your mum going?” Mark asked.

“Home hopefully” Elly replied hurrying Mark up so that Liz didn’t see them.

“What’s happened?” Mark asked.

“I’ll tell you in a minute but can we just go inside so that she doesn’t see us...” Elly replied.

“Ok, ok let’s go then!”

But they weren’t quick enough, Liz spotted the two of them, dropped her bags and ran after them.

“Elly wait... ELLY” Liz shouted as she got closer.

The two of them ignored her.

“I know you can hear me...”

“What? I have nothing to say to you!” Elly shouted.

“Please come on...”

“Mark go on inside I’ll be in in a minute” Elly said trying to get rid of Mark just in case Liz let anything slip.

“Ok, don’t be long” Mark replied, he could tell that something wasn’t right between the two of them.

“Why’d you get rid of him? Scared I was going to say something?” Liz sarcastically asked.

“Yes because you and your big mouth often get into trouble. Look mum just go and I don’t want you anywhere near me” Elly explained.

“But why? I was only looking out for you and Mark?”

“No you weren’t! You were just being nosey. Look I don’t want to even have this conversation with you... so just go” Elly said turning her back on her mum.

“Elly... Elly” Liz replied. It had finally hit her that maybe she had really messed things up between the two of them.

“What was that all about?” Mark asked Elly as soon as she got into the house.

“Nothing!”

“Umm clearly that was not about nothing, so come on tell me”.

“Just fed up with her sticking her nose into everything. I don’t want her help with the wedding, I just don’t want her around she stresses me out too much” Elly explained.

“Was there really any need to kick her out though?” Mark asked.

“Yeah there was actually because I just don’t want her near me” Elly replied.

“Fair enough I won’t question your decision but just remember she’s your mum and you only get one” Mark explained.

“Yes I’m well aware of that...” A frustrated Elly replied.

“Well then treat her with a bit more respect” Mark said.

“I can’t do this right now I’ll see you later” Elly replied grabbing her things and storming out of the house.

“Look I’m sorry but she is your mum...” Mark shouted after her.

Elly was furious she couldn’t believe that Mark was trying to stick up for Liz, but then again he didn’t know the full story. As Elly started to cross the street, she bumped into Chloe who was miles away on her phone.

“Sorry!” Elly said as she continued to walk across the road.

“Elly Stop! What’s wrong?” Chloe replied walking after her.

“It doesn’t matter...”

“Yes it does! You are clearly upset so talk to me” Chloe said.

“I had it out with mum earlier about the card and how she treated you!”

“You didn’t need to, I’m ok” Chloe replied.

“What she did Chloe was so wrong! She made you feel so small and I’m not having it! Anyway Susan’s kicked her out, I don’t want to see her face again anytime soon” Elly said.

“Wow! Go Susan! Im glad she’s looking out for you” Chloe replied.

“She’s been a lifesaver over the last few days! I just wish you had someone you could talk to other than me”.

“I’ll be fine! I’ll be over you in a couple of weeks... you just wait” Chloe said putting on a brave face. She knew it would be a very long time before she was over Elly.

“I better get back, see you tomorrow for the New year party?” Elly asked.

“Wouldn’t miss it for the world” Chloe replied.

“Bye” Elly said giving Chloe one of her soft loving smiles.

“See ya” Chloe replied.

Chloe watched as Elly slowly walked away, she couldn’t believe that Elly had gone to all the trouble of getting Susan to kick her mum out all because of what happened with the card. Elly really did care about Chloe and it made her feel loved, wanted.

“Did you see Elly?” Mark asked.

“Jesus let me get into the house before you bombard me with questions...” Chloe sarcastically replied.

“Well did you?”

“Someone’s in a good mood... yes I did see Elly and she didn’t seem very happy! What did you do?” Chloe asked even though she knew the reason why Elly wasn’t her usual happy self.

“She has a massive argument with her mum, who has now been kicked out and I just gave her a little reminder that she only has one mum! It’s important to keep that relationship good, you never know when you might need them” Mark explained.

“You didn’t say that?”

“What?”

“Mark, Elly needed you! She needed to hear that what she had done was for the best. She needed your support” Chloe replied in a slightly aggressive manner.

“But I think what’s she’s done is wrong” Mark said shrugging her shoulders.

“Why are men such idiots? Elly needed you and you had your police hat on instead of her fiancée one! She just wanted your support and you blew it, you don’t deserve her I hope you know that” Chloe explained.

“That’s a bit harsh Clo!” A confused Mark said. He couldn’t understand why Chloe was getting so worked up about this.

“No! No it isn’t!! Just go and do what you should have done earlier and support the woman you are supposedly madly in love with” Chloe replied angrily.

“Fine I will...” Mark said leaving the house.

“GOOD” Chloe shouted.

She couldn’t get over how insensitive and idiotic her brother could be. She really did hate how he treated Elly sometimes, it hurt because she knew that she could treat Elly exactly how she deserved to be treated.

Pouring herself an extra large glass of white wine, Chloe headed for a bubble bath to try and de stress after the last 24 hours or so. She also needed to come up with a plan of action to tell Mark and Elly she won’t be attending their wedding.

“Knock knock, can I come in?” Mark asked as he peered his head around the door at Susan’s.

“Sure, what can we help you with?” Karl replied.

“Is Elly here?” Mark asked.

“She is, she’s in the back with Bea. Go on through” Karl said.

“Thank you” Mark replied as he snuck through the house to go into the back yard.

Bea was busy filling Elly in on that fact that she would be singing at the New Year party tomorrow night. It was a big deal for Bea as she hadn’t sung publicly since all the stuff with Finn.

“Sorry to interrupt but can I have a quick word with Elly?” Mark asked.

“Of course, I’ll see you inside” Bea replied leaving so the two of them could speak.

“I’m so sorry for not being supportive and on your side I was just being an idiot” Mark said apologising to Elly.

“I just needed you to be on team me, instead of anyone else’s for a change. I know she’s my mum and I do love her but I can’t have her around me right now because if she is I will end up saying something that I regret. So please just be ok with this...” Elly explained.

“I am! Chloe reminded me that I was extremely lucky to have you and it made me realise that she’s right! I am the lucky one and I need to be on team Elly regardless of the situation” Mark said.

“Chloe spoke to you?” Elly asked.

“Yeah she kind of made me realise how lucky I truly am and that I was just being an idiot” Mark explained.

Elly loved that fact that Chloe always had her back regardless of anything. She was slowly beginning to realise how much Chloe must truly love her.

“She’s got your back no matter what! I’m just annoyed at myself for having to hear it from her instead of just doing it without anyone telling me to” Mark said.

“I’m lucky to have her” Elly replied with a smile on her face.

“You are! We all are” Mark added.

“You are so right” Elly quietly said to herself as she thought back to their kiss last night. She just couldn’t get her mind off of her even when she was trying her hardest, this really was going to be a hard task.

“So are you going to come back and have dinner with us?” Mark asked.

“I think I’ll stay here tonight, I’m really tired” Elly replied knowing she needed to try and give Chloe some space to sort her feelings out as well as Elly sorting her own feelings out.

“Ok, well you know where I am if you need me! I love you” Mark said giving Elly a kiss.

“I love you too” Elly replied.

Mark gave her a big hug before leaving her to it. Elly sat there staring up at the sky, she couldn’t quite believe how complicated her life had got in the last few weeks. From losing her job, to finding out one of her best friends was in love with her, to proposing to Mark, to developing some sort of feelings for Chloe. It had been an intense few weeks, she couldn’t wait to start the new year hopefully less stressed and more sure of what she wants.

Chapter Text

It was the morning of New Years Eve and everyone had woken up with a smile on their faces. Chloe had been up most of the night, dreading how she was going to tell Mark and Elly that she wasn’t going to be attending the wedding. She knew that today wasn’t going to be the best day to tell them so would wait until the New Year to break the bad news.

After a morning of not doing much, everyone was slowly beginning to start getting ready for the massive New Years Party which was happening at Harold’s and the Waterhole later that evening.

“Chloe what you wearing tonight?” Aaron asked as she dashed into the kitchen to get a drink.

“It’s a surprise” Chloe teased.

“Oh come on tell me! I won’t tell anyone else...”

“Fine! Just this red dress with some kitten ears”.

“Kitten ears?” Aaron replied laughing.

“What’s wrong with kitten ears? I’ll have you know I look super super cute in them” Chloe said as she imitated a cat.

“I’ll have to take your word for it”.

“Just you wait and see, you’ll soon realise how cute I look” Chloe replied as she headed back to her room.

“You are crazy” Aaron shouted after her.

“Whose crazy?” Elly asked as she walked through the front door carrying a bottle of champagne in one hand and a rather large bag in the other.

“Oh just Chloe! Part of her outfit for tonight is... questionable shall we say” Aaron explained.

“Really? What?” Elly asked putting all her stuff down.

“I can’t say! Sorry. But what on earth is in that bag of yours?” Aaron replied. He couldn’t believe the size of it.

“My killer outfit for this evening” Elly said.

“Let’s see” Aaron replied as he leant towards the bag ready to take a look.

“Nope! It’s a surprise”.

“What’s with you girls and not letting me know what you wearing? It’s not like I’m going to go out and copy you” Aaron sarcastically replied.

“You might once you see it” Elly said.

“Oh go on just give me a sneak peek”.

“Fine but just a quick one” Elly said opening the bag to show Aaron her silky white dress.

“Wow, ok! You are going to look amazing in that, Mark won’t know what’s hit him” Aaron replied.

“Aww I hope so! I just want to look good for him” Elly said. She had decided to just concentrate on her relationship with Mark and try and put any feelings or thoughts of Chloe to one side.

“You should be making yourself look good for no one other than you Elly! Mark loves you and would love you even if you were wearing a trash bag” Aaron explained.

“I hope so” Elly replied.

“I know so! Now will you do me a favour and go and get a sneak peek at what Chloe’s wearing”.

“But she wants it to be a surprise” Elly said.

“Yeah but she will show you” Aaron replied.

“Ok, I’ll go get a quick look” Elly reluctantly said as she headed to Chloe’s room.

Chloe had her music blaring whilst she was dancing around her room in her underwear, having absolutely no care in the world. Elly knocked on the door but there was no reply, so she slowly opened it to see a half naked Chloe dancing like a lunatic.

Elly immediately shut the door quietly as the sight of Chloe in her underwear had sent Elly’s heart racing. Composing herself, Elly headed back to Aaron to tell him that Chloe was busy.

“So... what’s it like?” Aaron asked.

“She was busy, I didn’t want to disturb her” Elly replied.

“Useless” Aaron sarcastically joked.

“Sorry but you’ll just have to wait. Anyway where’s Mark?” Elly asked.

“He’s outside in the pool I believe” Aaron replied.

“Thanks” Elly said as she headed out there to get her mind off what she just saw.

Mark was busy getting in some lengths before he drank his own body weight in alcohol at the party later. He had always been very health conscious and loved that Elly was too.

“Hello beautiful lady” Mark said as soon as he spotted Elly.

“Hey, you nearly done?”

“I am indeed! Although I think you should come join me...”

“I can’t it’ll ruin my hair for this evening”.

“And we can’t have that can we...” Mark replied winking at Elly.

“We can’t! Because it will tie in my whole outfit” Elly explained.

“I’m excited!! Give us a hug” Mark said as he walked towards Elly, soaking wet.

“But your soaking” Elly replied pushing him away.

“You’ll be getting changed soon enough”.

“Good point! Just don’t get my hair wet” Elly replied as she reluctantly let Mark give her a hug.

Mark made sure he got Elly as wet as possible, she wasn’t pleased at all.

After a quiet afternoon for everyone, the Brennan household were all getting ready for the party. Chloe had been very quiet today, trying to keep her distance from everyone so she could keep pretending everything was fine.

“How do I look?” Chloe asked as she walked into Aaron and David’s room.

“Wow Clo you are a stunner” David said as he looked Chloe up and down.

“Could I turn you?” Chloe joked winking at David.

“Most definitely!”

“Steady on you two I am here” Aaron said.

“Oh sorry I forgot about you” David joked.

“Charming” Aaron replied rolling his eyes.

“Pack it in you two! Az I need you to tell me how good I look...” Chloe said doing a twirl.

“Yes yes you look incredible! Let’s hope you can find a special someone to share a New Year kiss with” Aaron replied.

Chloe was doing her best to keep that smile on her face as she had already found someone to share a New Year kiss with but knew it just couldn’t happen.

“Yeah fingers crossed” Chloe replied.

“Is there anyone you have your eye on at the moment?” David asked.

“Pfft around here? There is no one” Chloe joked trying to end the conversation there and then.

“Oh come on you must have your eye on someone... I mean I know you’ve not always been lucky in love and you’re not the relationship type but you must have a cheeky crush on someone” Aaron said poking fun at his little sister.

“Cheers Az, why don’t you just reiterate how bad my love life is even more” Chloe replied giving Aaron the biggest eye roll she could.

“You know I was only joking! You’ll find someone I mean just look at you, you’re beautiful” Aaron said trying to make up for being cheeky about her mom existent love life.

“I’m not even bothered” Chloe replied.

“You honestly expect me to believe you?”

“Yep” Chloe said as she left the room to get herself a drink.

“Ease up on her babe, she’s had a tough year” David said to Aaron.

“I know but all the more reason to start the New Year with a bang”.

“Erinsborough isn’t exactly swarming with hot single men”.

“Or women...” Aaron added.

“How did I not know Chloe was bisexual?” David immediately replied with a shocked look on his face.

“No idea!”

“Ok so do we know any women we could set her up with?” David asked.

“In our friendship circle? I wouldn’t let any of them go anywhere near Chloe. They are all players, I don’t want anyone to break her heart” Aaron explained.

“Good point! Ok, so our job is to do some match making”.

“Let’s do this...” Aaron replied leaning in to give his husband a kiss.

Meanwhile in the lounge area, Mark was waiting for Elly to finish getting ready. While Chloe was pouring some Champagne to start the celebrations.

“Do you want a glass?” Chloe asked Mark. The two of them hadn’t really spoken since Chloe had a go at him yesterday for how he treated Elly.

“Yes please, but first I need to apologise” Mark replied.

“Why?” Chloe said even though she knew exactly why he needed to reply.

“For yesterday. You were spot on about Elly and I apologise for how I spoke to you” Mark replied.

“It’s all forgotten don’t worry! Just treat her like a princess because honestly you are so lucky to have her” Chloe explained.

Elly could hear the conversation, the way Chloe was talking about Elly gave her goosebumps.

“Don’t worry I will I promise you I’ll take good care of her” Mark replied.

“Good because if you don’t I will kill you” Chloe said shaking her fist at Mark.

“Don’t worry I will” Mark replied as he gave his little sister a hug.

“Watch the hair...” Chloe shouted.

“Jesus you women drive me mental... so precious about your hair” Mark sarcastically replied letting go of Chloe.

“We’ve got to make sure we look good” Chloe said.

Elly thought that that was the perfect cue to enter the room. As she walked in the two of them couldn’t help but stare.

“How do I look?” Elly asked with an anxious look on her face.

“Wow! Incredible” Mark replied as he walked over to kiss his fiancee.

Chloe was in complete shock as to how beautiful Elly looked in her dress, it complimented her figure perfectly. She was trying not to stare but was finding it extremely difficult to take her eyes off her.

“Well Clo, how does she look?” Mark asked.

“Out of this world” Chloe replied in a soft and genuine manner as she locked eyes with Elly.

“Thank you. As do you” Elly said giving Chloe a smile.

“Two absolute stunners” Mark replied.

“We all ready then?” Chloe asked as she finally broke the eye contact with Elly.

“We are, I’ll go check on the others” Mark said as he went to check on them leaving Elly and Chloe alone in the other room.

There was a nervous energy between the two of them, with both of them doing their best not to make eye contact.

“I love your dress, where’s it from?” Elly asked trying to cut the tension.

“I can’t remember somewhere online. It wasn’t expensive” Chloe replied.

“It’s nice” Elly said.

“Wow wow wow ladies...” Aaron said in an excited manner as they walked into the room.

“You like?” Elly replied striking pose.

“I love you both look incredible”.

“I agree. Definitely 10’s” David added.

“Come on then let’s go! We want to get a good table” Chloe announced as she grabbed her bag and headed for the door.

“You heard her lets go” Aaron said following Chloe out.

The five of them began the short walk to Harolds, Chloe was out at the front walking on her own whilst the others were walking as couples. Chloe felt so lonely, even though she was surrounded by people who cared about her.

“Is she ok?” Elly asked Mark quietly as they walked arm in arm.

“I think so, why what makes you think otherwise?” mark replied.

“I don’t know, I’m probably just worrying over nothing”.

“Well if you are worried go check on her...” Mark suggested.

“Ok!” Elly replied taking a deep breath in before heading to see Chloe.

Chloe could hear footsteps behind her, she was praying that it was anyone other than Elly.

“Thought I’d come and walk with you” Elly said as she linked arms with Chloe.

Chloe desperately wanted to unlink arms with Elly but knew it would cause a scene that the two of them would have to explain.

“Thanks” Chloe replied.

“You’re welcome”.

As the pair of them walked, both of their hearts were racing. Neither of them knew how they were going to stop this from happening every time they were near one another.

Chapter Text

They all arrived at Harold’s where there were picnic blankets lay out on the grass area by the coffee shop. Champagne bottles and little picnic hampers with party food in had been put on every blanket.

Chloe picked out the best spot for them and cracked open the bottle of champagne, she really didn’t want to waste anytime in getting herself drunk. She knew it would help take her mind off of everything.

“Great spot Clo” Mark said as they all sat down.

“Well you know me I have great taste in everything” Chloe replied slyly looking at Elly.

“I know I do” Mark said putting his arm around Elly, bringing her in tight.

“Ugh no soppy stuff tonight please... that goes for all of you” Chloe replied pretending to yawn.

“We’ll try not to” David said.

“Yeah, we can’t promise anything but we will try” Aaron added.

“I might just go and see Piper” Chloe said heading over to Piper to see if she needed any help.

“Is it just me or does Chloe seem lonely?” Aaron asked.

“I was thinking the exact same thing” David immediately replied.

“She’s a big girl I’m sure she’s fine” Mark said.

“I know she is but I don’t know the last week or so somethings been different with Chloe and I honestly think she’s lonely” Aaron explained.

While this conversation was going on Elly’s heart began to race, she knew that she was the reason why Chloe had been acting a bit strange.

“What do you think Elly?” David asked.

“Umm, I don’t really know. I mean she has been a little preoccupied the last few weeks but I’m pretty sure that will all be down to finally letting you know about her diagnosis. It can’t be easy seeing others planning their lives and looking forward to their futures when really Chloe doesn’t know how much of a future she has. I think we just need to give her time to figure things out, if that makes sense?” Elly explained hoping that her little speech would get the boys off Chloe’s back.

“That’s a fair point... I just want her to be happy” Aaron replied.

“She is happy, isn’t she?” Mark asked.

“As far as I know she is” Elly replied.

“Ok, then let’s just leave her to it” Mark said putting an end to the conversation.

Oblivious to the conversation that was happening, Chloe had located Piper to see if she needed help with anything.

“Hey Pipes, can I help?” Chloe asked a frantic looking Piper.

“Yes, that would be amazing” Piper replied with a smile on her face.

“What can I do?”

“Can you help me set up the video camera in Harold’s?” Piper asked.

“Sure. What’s it for?” Chloe replied.

“So that everyone can record a little message. Like what they are looking forward to next year or something they are thankful for... just thought it would be a good idea” Piper said.

“That’s such a nice idea, although I have no idea what I’m going to say” Chloe joked.

“We’ll surely you’re excited for your brothers wedding? You can mention that...” Piper replied.

“Oh yeah I forgot about that” Chloe said.

“How can you forget...it’s going to be the wedding of the century”.

“I know, silly me. Memory must be going already”.

“Can you help me put this curtain up so people feel like they have some privacy?” Piper asked as she struggled.

“Of course” Chloe said rushing over to give Piper a hand.

The two of them proceeded to sort out the curtain so that people could begin to record their messages. Chloe had absolutely no idea what she was going to say in her message, she knew what she wanted to say but could never do it as she had no idea who would watch it.

Meanwhile back outside Elly was wondering what was taking Chloe so long, she was beginning to think that she was avoiding her.

“I might just go and see where Chloe’s got to...” Elly said getting to her feet.

“I’m sure she’ll be back soon enough” Mark replied.

“Well I’m just going to check on her ok?”

“Ok, don’t be too long” Mark replied.

“I won’t be don’t worry” Elly said heading towards the door of Harold’s.

She could see that Piper and Chloe were busy making the place look perfect for the evenings festivities.

“Can I help?” Elly asked poking her head around the door.

“I think we’re ok” Chloe immediately replied before Piper could.

Elly could sense that Chloe really didn’t want to be around her and was doing all that she could to get rid of her.

“Actually if you don’t mind you could get some champagne from the back room for me?” Piper asked.

“Yeah of course I’ll go grab it” Elly replied smiling at Piper.

“Oi, What was all that about? There’s a weird tension between the two of you... what’s happened?” Piper quietly asked.

“Oh nothing, just a slight disagreement to do with the wedding. Nothing serious” Chloe said.

“That’s ok then because you two are meant to be friends”.

“Ha, Yeah...” Chloe nervously replied.

“That’s all done for you, is there anything I can do?” Elly asked as she put the champagne down where Piper had asked her to.

“I think we’re all sorted. Thanks though” Piper replied trying to get rid of Elly for Chloe’s sake.

“You’re welcome. Clo you coming with?” Elly asked with a hopeful smile on her face.

“I’ll be there in a bit” Chloe replied without even looking at Elly.

“Ok” a disappointed Elly said as she left Harold’s.

Chloe felt really bad for being off with Elly but she knew deep down that it was going to be one of the only ways to avoid her.

“Well that wasn’t awkward or anything...” Piper sarcastically said as the door closed.

“It was bad wasn’t it? I’ll talk to her” Chloe replied. The last thing she needed was more people butting their noses into her and Elly’s business.

Chloe rushed out of the cafe to catch up with Elly.

“Elly wait...” Chloe shouted pulling her over to one side so that they were going to be watched by anyone.

“What was with you back there?” Elly asked.

“I’m sorry I just don’t know how to deal with this anymore. It’s driving me mad” Chloe explained.

“I don’t know what to do either. We need time away from each other but I don’t want to... you are such a big part of my life and I don’t want that to change” Elly replied.

“I don’t want that either but I can’t be around you it’s too hard. Especially watching you and Mark, it kills me”.

“I’m sorry”.

“Don’t be! You’re in love with him and you can’t change that I just, I can’t watch the two of you be all happy and me just watching getting my heart broken”.

“I just wish there was something I could do...” Elly replied looking directly into Chloe’s eyes.

“Apart from feel the same way there is nothing you can do” Chloe sarcastically joked trying to cover up the hurt in her voice.

“Chloe...”

“It’s ok, don’t worry about me. I’ll be fine. Just going to go for a quick walk and I’ll be right back” Chloe replied with a forced smile on her face as she held back the tears.

Elly didn’t know what to say, she just wished that she knew what would make all of this disappear so that things were back to normal like they used to be.

“Where’s she off to?” Susan asked as she walked over to Elly.

“For a walk, suze I don’t know if I can do this for much longer”.

“Do what?”

“Suppress the feelings that I’m developing for Chloe”.

“Then why are you?”

“Because I’ve never felt like this for any woman before I don’t know what these feelings mean. Plus Mark is my life, I genuinely do love him more than anything I can’t bare the thought of losing him” Elly explained getting quite worked up.

“Just calm down ok and breathe. Go back to Mark and just enjoy the rest of your evening, I’m going to go check on Chloe” Susan replied giving Elly a hug.

“Make sure she’s ok” Elly whispered into Susan’s ear.

“Don’t you worry I will” Susan replied.

Elly took a couple of deep breaths before heading back over to the picnic blanket with a smile on her face. While Susan went after Chloe to make sure she was ok. It wasn’t long before Susan found Chloe, she was sat on the bench by the pond, staring into space.

“Mind if I sit?” Susan asked.

“Of course not but I warn you I’m not very good company at the moment” Chloe replied.

“I think I might know why that is...”

“She’s told you hasn’t she?” Chloe asked.

“Yes, but I am not here to judge or anything. I just wanted to make sure you were ok and provide an extra ear if you wanted to talk” Susan explained.

“It’s just so hard Susan. I’ve never felt like this ever before and it’s driving me crazy” Chloe replied.

“Falling in love is never an easy thing especially when the person you have fallen for doesn’t feel the same or is otherwise taken. I remember when I first met Karl and started dating him, my first love got back in contact with me and it was so difficult to choose between them but I followed my heart and I was lucky enough that Karl was my soulmate. I know that doesn’t help your situation but what I’m trying to say is that we all have that one person out there who we are meant to be with. You will find your soulmate” Susan explained as she placed her hand on Chloe’s knee.

“She is all I think about Susan. Watching the two of them being so happy and in love honestly rips my heart in two, I just don’t think I can be near either of them anymore”.

“Why don’t you go see your mum? Or Tyler?”

“I can’t afford it, plus Terese needs me here”.

“How are you going to cope with the wedding?” Susan asked.

“The wedding... there’s a tricky subject. I’m pretty sure that I’m not going to go” Chloe replied.

“It’s that bad is it?”

“Yeah. My brother is going to hate me, Elly is going to hate me but I just can’t be there when the love of my life marries my brother. It would be too hard”.

“I completely understand and so will they. Especially Elly! Look I probably shouldn’t be telling you any of this but this isn’t easy for Elly either... she’s struggling to work out what her feelings mean. Now I don’t want to say anything to get your hopes up because I don’t know what’s going on inside Elly’s head and heart but she is feeling things that she has never felt before. She just needs time to work out what they mean, now they might not come to anything but you never know. I think it would be best just to try and distance yourself from her a little for your sanity but also so she can work out things...” Susan explained.

“She might be feeling a few things but she could never love me like I love her” Chloe replied.

“You don’t know that, I don’t know that. The only person that truly knows that is Elly and she just needs time”.

“But what if I give her time and she still doesn’t love me like I want her too...”

“Then your heart will be broken even more but what if she does? You’ve got to try and figure out if it’s work the risk or not?” Susan replied.

“Why is this so difficult?” Chloe said putting her head in her hands.

“Love is never easy. Look how about we head back, get a few glasses of champagne down us and see in the new year with smiles on our faces” Susan replied.

“Sounds good! Thank you for the advice and listening to me it means a lot” Chloe said giving Susan a hug.

“I’m here for you anytime ok? Come on let’s go” Susan replied reaching for Chloe’s hand.

Chapter Text

Even though Elly was back with the rest of the gang she couldn’t stop looking out for Susan and Chloe. She felt so bad for how Chloe was feeling and couldn’t help but worry about her.

“You ok? You’re miles away...” Mark said as he put his hand on Elly’s knee.

“Yeah... yeah I’m fine. Just day dreaming that’s all” Elly replied giving Mark one of her soft smiles.

“Day dreaming of anything nice?”

“Nothing special. Anyway shall we order some food? I’m starving” Elly suggested.

“That’s the best thing you’ve said all day” Aaron joked.

“Charming...”

“No, no I didn’t mean it rudely I just meant that I am starving and there is no way I’m going to last until after midnight if I don’t eat anything” Aaron explained.

“Where’s Chloe? Once she’s back we can order something” David replied.

“I’m sure she won’t be long” Elly said hoping that Chloe would show her face soon.

“There she is” Mark shouted.

Elly immediately turned her face to check and make sure that Chloe was ok.

“Sorry guys, Susan was just helping me with something” Chloe said.

“Yeah blame me. You lot look like you need refills, I’ll go grab them” Susan added.

“I’ll give you a hand” Mark said getting to his feet to help Susan.

“Actually, boys can I borrow you all for a minute?” Susan asked trying to give Chloe and Elly a couple of minutes just to talk.

“Sure...” David said getting to his feet.

“What can we do for you?” Aaron asked.

“I’ll explain in a minute” Susan replied desperately trying to think of something the boys could help her with.

The four of them headed over towards Harold’s, so that the two girls would get a moment to chat.

“Are you ok?” Elly asked softly.

“Yeah, I’m sorry for storming off. I just needed some space” Chloe replied.

“Don’t apologise I totally understand why you walked off. I know this whole situation is soo far from ideal it’s ridiculous. I just I can’t figure out my feelings and it’s stressing me out beyond belief because I don’t want to lose either of you” Elly explained.

“Take your time, I know this can’t be easy for you but please don’t blame me if I can’t spend as much time with you than I do now... because it is just too hard” Chloe replied.

“Ok, I won’t pressure you into spending time with me”.

“Trust me it’s not because I don’t want to, I could spend all day everyday with you. I just need some breathing space” Chloe explained.

“I’ll do my best”.

“So will I...” Chloe replied.

The look between the two of them was intense, you could tell how fast their hearts were racing purely by the eye contact they were making.

“Well that was a wild goose chase...” Aaron moaned as he sat back down.

“What was?” Chloe asked snapping out of the intense stare.

“Susan... she said she needed us for something but then was like oh don’t worry”.

“Old age... memory isn’t what it used to be” Chloe joked trying to show everyone that everything was ok.

“Now now don’t be rude” David replied.

“You have to admit it was quite strange how one minute she was adamant she needed our help and then the next she was like oh don’t worry...” Aaron asked David.

“Oh well, let’s just have another drink and wait for our food. We kind of ordered for you two, is that ok?” David replied.

“Of course” Chloe said.

“Yeah sure” Elly added.

It wasn’t long before the food arrived, they all immediately tucked in before Aaron ate it all. After finishing their food they heading into Harold’s ready to film their little segment for the video.

“You guys have finally come in to film your little message then?” Piper said with a huge smile on her face.

“Would we let you down?” Mark replied.

“Probably...” Piper sarcastically joked.

“I’ll go first...” Aaron said pushing his way to the front.

“Don’t you want to do one together?” David asked.

“Maybe later...” Aaron shouted from behind the curtain.

“Charming” David joked as they found a table to sit on while they waited for their turn to film.

Aaron had so much to say but knew that they only had a couple of minutes each to film so that the video would last for ever.

“This is a bit strange speaking to a camera but what a year 2018 has been. I married the most incredible man who I love more than anything in this world and I honestly don’t know what I would do without him. He is my soulmate and I look forward to what next year brings for us. This year has also been hard for my family, especially Chloe. I can’t even begin to imagine what she is going through but I will be there for here no matter what because she is my little sister and I love her more than anything. 2019 I am going to focus on my family because without them I am nothing. Peace out” Aaron said smiling at the camera.

“That was quick” Chloe said as Aaron appeared from behind the curtain.

“Well I knew exactly what I wanted to say” Aaron replied pretending to flick his hair back.

“I hope you said something cute about me” David said.

“Of course I did...” Aaron replied leaning down to kiss him.

“Whose next then?” Piper asked, she was desperate to make sure as many people are possible recorded a little message.

“Chloe do you want to go?” Mark replied.

“I’ll go last, Ive got quite a lot to talk about” Chloe explained.

Elly immediately looked over to Chloe, worried about what she was going to say in her video message.

“Shall we go then babe?” Mark said grabbing hold of Elly’s hand.

“Sure” Elly replied.

The two of them walked through the curtain, Elly sitting down on Marks lap ready to recording their message.

“Hey everyone watching” Mark said.

“Hey” Elly added waving to the camera.

“It’s been a pretty amazing year if I do say so myself, there’s been some ups and some downs but my personal highlight would be when the love of my life proposed to me” Mark began to explain.

“That was a pretty amazing day wasn’t it...” Elly added.

“Losing both of our jobs wasn’t exactly the best situation but we can both be grateful for our health and for our family. My promise for 2019 is to look out for those who aren’t as lucky, this year has taught me that people you love and care about are going to go through things that you can’t change or control. Chloe if you ever watch this just know that we love you and will be there for you no matter what, won’t we babe?” Mark said.

“Yeah, we will be there for you whenever you need us. We love you Chloe and we don’t want you to ever forget that” Elly added.

“Now to look forward to our wedding coming up very soon” Mark said giving Elly a kiss.

“I love you” Elly replied kissing he fiancée back.

“We should probably stop now” Mark whispered to Elly as the two of them were getting a little carried away.

“Good idea!” Elly replied as she stood up and headed back to the others.

“Finally, we thought you were filming a feature length movie in there” Aaron joked.

“We had lots of things to say” Mark replied.

As the evening continued everyone took their turns in filming their little messages, there was only one person left to go and that was Chloe. She wanted to wait until last as she knew everyone else would be at the waterhole continuing their celebrations.

“Last but not least Hey?” Piper said as she opened the curtain for Chloe.

“Saving the best until last...” Chloe replied as she took a deep breath in and sat down in front of the camera.

Piper hit the record button for Chloe, gave her the thumbs up and left her to it.

“Where do I even begin? 2018 for me has been the toughest year of my life, from the diagnosis, to the situation with Piers to a few other things that I don’t want to bore you with. This year has taught me that I have absolutely no time to waste, I need to live every single day as if it were my last because I don’t even know how long I have. On the positive side I got to witness my brother marry the man of his dreams in the most celebrations I’ve seen, I mean I won’t blow my own trumpet but I did help to organise it. Marks engaged to the most wonderful woman in the world, he is a really really lucky guy. My plans for 2019 are to be a better friend, a better sister and just an overall better person. Well and to not fall for the wrong people. Laters” Chloe explained signing off by blowing a kiss to the camera.

“All sorted?” Piper asked.

“All done, I wasn’t too soppy don’t worry” Chloe replied.

“You can be as soppy as you want”.

“I better got and re-record it then...” Chloe joked.

“No, no please don’t. We have a party to get to” Piper replied.

“Let’s go” Chloe said as the two of them locked up Harold’s and headed straight to the waterhole.

The two of them walked into the pub where the atmosphere was one of happiness and excitement to see in the New year. The music was pumping and the drinks were flowing, Chloe walked in to see Mark and Elly dancing the night away being all romantic.

“Large glass of white please” Chloe said as she went straight to the bar.

“Coming right up! I love the ear thing you’ve got going on...”

“Thank you! Finally someone who fully appreciates how amazing they are” Chloe replied.

“They compliment your outfit” Shane added.

“That’s the nicest thing anyone has said to me today”.

“Well you are welcome. Not long to go until the countdown”.

“Yeah, can’t wait” Chloe said as she looked over to see the four of them having fun.

“Go and have some fun...”

“Think I’ll just stay here for a bit” Chloe replied taking a swig out of her drink.

Elly had noticed that Chloe was doing everything and anything to avoid spending time with her and the boys. She knew the reason but it still didn’t make it easier seeing her on her own, drowning her sorrows at the bar.

“Where you going?” Mark asked as Elly headed off the dance floor.

“Going to go and get Chloe to come dance with us...” Elly replied.

“Good luck with that!” Mark said as he continued to do his dad dancing centre stage.

“Clo come over and join us” Elly said as she approached Chloe.

“I’m fine right here thank you” Chloe replied.

“What so you can just keep drinking and get plastered?”

“Well it is a party...right?”

“Yeah but not when you are by yourself. I get that everything is hard, it is for me too but sneaking off to be on your own isn’t going to help”.

“I am so tired of sitting with you and Mark and pretending that it’s not killing me” Chloe explained.

“That’s fair, I’m sorry. But we’re going to have to sort something otherwise people will become suspicious, especially as you are my bridesmaid” Elly replied.

“Here’s the thing I cant be your bridesmaid, it will be too hard to stand next to you as you marry Mark”.

“What? Chloe please don’t...”

“There’s no way I can be your bridesmaid when I feel this way” Chloe replied.

“But that’s months away we might have everything sorted by then...” Elly said.

“Even if we do have everything sorted my heart will be broken and I can’t watch the woman I love marry the man she loves, I just can’t do it” Chloe added.

“Right everyone, 10 seconds” Shane shouted getting everyone’s attention.

“Go back to Mark and celebrate with him...”

“No! I can’t leave you alone” Elly replied.

“It’s easier that way” Chloe said as she looked down at the floor.

“5...4...3” everyone shouted as Mark came and grabbed Elly’s hand to drag her towards him.

“HAPPY NEW YEAR”.

As the clock struck midnight, Mark wasted no time kissing his fiancée, Aaron and David shared a romantic kiss and Chloe was left watching them all be happy. Elly couldn’t help but look back to make sure that Chloe was ok, she hated this situation and knew she needed to work out her feelings so that all of this could be sorted.

Chapter Text

It was now officially 2019 and the waterhole was filled with happy people, apart from Chloe who was just at the bar drinking her worries away.

“Happy New year Chlo” Aaron said giving his little sister a hug.

“Right back at you” Chloe slurred.

“Wow how much have you had?”

“Not enough...”

“I think you have! Why don’t you call it a night?” Aaron suggested.

“We’re not even an hour into 2019 yet and you are already telling me what to do! Some things really never change do they?” Chloe sarcastically replied.

“I’m just trying to look out for you”.

“I don’t need mothering! I am an adult I am fine” Chloe replied as she grabbed her bag and headed towards the exit.

“Wait I’ll come with you...” Aaron should after her.

“Don’t bother” Chloe replied shutting the door behind her.

“What’s wrong with her?” Mark asked.

“She’s wasted! She could barely string a sentence together...” Aaron replied.

“Should one of us go after her?” David asked.

“I’ll go! I won’t be a minute” Elly replied.

“Ring me if you need me” Mark said giving Elly a goodbye kiss as she headed towards the door.

Elly knew that going after Chloe probably wasn’t the best idea as emotions were running high and they had both had a fair bit to drink.

“Chloe slow down please, these heels are killing me” Elly shouted.

“Why did I know you’d follow me?” Chloe replied rolling her eyes.

“Because I care” Elly said with real emotion.

“But you don’t care enough! You don’t love me like I am desperate for you to! You never will” Chloe replied fighting back the tears.

“But I do love you...” Elly said as she pulled Chloe’s arm back.

The two just stood there staring at each other, their hearts racing. Chloe couldn’t help herself, she leant in for a kiss because her heart was telling her just to go for it. It was a passionate kiss that lasted longer than it should have.

“What are you doing? We’re in public...” Elly said as she pushed Chloe off her.

“Like I said you’ll never love me like I want you to” Chloe replied as she continued to walk home.

Elly just froze, she didn’t know what to say or how to react. She had enjoyed the kiss, it felt right but there was that nagging voice in the back of her head reminding her that she was marrying the man of her dreams.

“Elly? Are you ok?” Susan asked after witnessing the whole thing.

“Did you see that?” Elly said panicking.

“I did yes but don’t worry my lips are sealed. But I must be honest and say that you looked like you were both enjoying it a lot”.

“I won’t lie, I did enjoy it! It felt right, it felt normal but at the same time I was thinking about Mark” Elly explained.

“You’ve got a lot of thinking to do, but right now you need to sort your face about because you have lipstick everywhere” Susan said handing Elly a tissue.

“How did I get into this mess?”

“You can’t stop feelings from developing, no matter how hard you try and stop them. Trust me I know this all too well” Susan explained.

“Has it gone?” Elly asked, referring to Chloe’s lipstick.

“Yes! Now go back to Mark I’ll make sure Chloe gets home safely” Susan replied giving Elly a supportive pat on the back.

“Thank you”.

“You’re welcome” Susan replied as she set off following Chloe home.

Elly stood outside the door of the pub, taking a few deep breaths in trying to compose herself and slow her heart rate down.

“We were just coming to look for you” Mark said opening the door nearly hitting Elly in the process.

“Sorry I couldn’t find Chloe so just came back. Shall we have another one for the road?” Elly replied trying to buy Chloe some time to get home.

“Yeah Aaron’s getting them in, we just thought we’d check up on you” David added.

“All fine here, just thirsty” Elly said trying to change the subject.

“Well come on then let’s go get them” David replied.

Mark could tell that something was up by the fact that Elly wasn’t making eye contact with him, he didn’t want to cause any arguments but knew she was hiding something.

“Susan I can hear your footsteps” Chloe said as she walked home.

“I was just making sure you got home safely” Susan replied.

“I appreciate that but I’m fine honestly, I just need to hibernate for the foreseeable” Chloe joked.

“This will get easier” Susan said putting her arm around Chloe.

“Will it? I know that kiss meant something to her but she’ll never ever leave Mark for me. Not when I have no future” Chloe replied.

“Stop that’s right now! Chloe yes you have a disease that will end your life prematurely but you still could have 20-30 years left! You are a beautiful, kind, funny, smart girl who has so much going for her! Instead of focusing on the no future how about you create your future and live life to the best you can. There is so much you can accomplish, you’ve just got to start thinking more positively ok?” Susan explained.

“It’s just so hard Susan. I always saw myself with at least 2 children, seeing them grow old and having their own children. None of that will happen now...” Chloe replied as the tears started streaming down her face.

“There are other ways... adoption, fostering? If you want kids you can have them! There is nothing stopping you” Susan explained giving Chloe a big hug.

“You are right! I need to stop dwelling on things and just start living” Chloe said.

“I promise you that the life you have left can be an amazing one as long as you allow yourself to have some fun and not constantly worry about the Huntington’s”.

“I’ll try! Thank you Susan”.

“And as for the situation with Elly? I don’t really know what to say but how about you just focus on yourself for a little while and forget about everyone else. Do what you need to do, not what you think others want you to do?”

 

“That’s actually a good idea” Chloe replied.

“I do have them occasionally. Go make yourself a hot cup of coffee, followed by a glass of water and get some sleep. I promise you things will get better”.

“I hope you are right” Chloe replied.

“I’m always right” Susan said giving Chloe a big squeeze before watching her let herself into the house safely.

“Bye Susan” Chloe said as she shut the door.

“Bye love” Susan replied quietly.

Chloe did exactly what Susan suggested before tucking herself into bed to get a good nights sleep.

Meanwhile back over at the waterhole, everyone was beginning to leave as the party was coming to an end.

“Last orders you lot” Shane shouted from across the bar.

“We’re done! Well leave in a minute when we can be bothered” Mark replied.

“I don’t think I can walk home” Aaron slurred as he rested his head on the table.

“Oh man up! I thought you were the fitness freak” Mark replied.

“I am but I honestly think I have alcohol poisoning”.

“Hate to break it to you babe but I’m pretty sure you haven’t! You’ve just drunk way too much” David replied with his medical hat on.

“Shhhh” Aaron said causing everyone to laugh.

“Come on lets go, my bed is calling me” Elly replied as she gathered her things together.

“You staying at mine tonight?” Mark asked.

“Of course” Elly replied reaching for his hand.

“Good! Thank Shane. Happy new year buddy” Mark shouted as they all got up to leave the pub.

“Right back at you” Shane said as a smile appeared on his face because they were finally going so he could close up.

It didn’t take the four of them long to make the journey home, but it did however take them quite a long time to open the door. They were all more drunk that they first thought.

“Hurry up Aaron I’m dying for a wee” Elly said as Aaron tried to find the hole for the key.

“Go in the bush” Aaron replied.

“Ew no! Just hurry up”.

“Well if you would give me a bit of hush then I’d be able to do it quicker” Aaron said snapping at Elly.

“Here let me have a go?” Mark said snatching the key off Aaron.

“Oh here he comes big bro to the rescue as per usual” Aaron sarcastically replied.

It didn’t take Mark long at all to get into the house, he couldn’t help but pull a smug face at Aaron who just pushed his way past tripping over Chloe’s heels that she had thrown on the floor.

“OUCH” Aaron shouted.

“Shh you’ll wake Chloe” David immediately replied trying to shut him up.

“I don’t care! She shouldn’t leave her shit in the middle of the floor”.

“You’ll survive” Mark replied in between the laughter.

“Hilarious isn’t it...” Aaron joked.

“Look you haven’t hurt yourself so what’s the issue. Just get up and get to bed” Mark replied.

Chloe could hear the whole conversation but didn’t want to leave her room because she knew Elly would be there.

“Come on let’s get you to bed” David said helping his husband to his feet.

“Night” Elly said to everyone as she headed to Marks room.

“Night” David and Aaron replied.

Mark stayed in the kitchen for a few minutes as he had a few things on his mind. He knew that Elly wasn’t telling him the truth earlier when she went after Chloe because she couldn’t make eye contact. Part of him wanted to bring it up but the other part didn’t because he didn’t want it to lead to an argument, especially on the first day of the new year. The year that they would become husband and wife.

Deciding to just let it lie for now, Mark grabbed a glass of water for both of them and headed to bed. Only to find Elly was already asleep, what he didn’t realise is that she was just pretending to be asleep so that she didn’t have to talk to him right now.

“Good night, I love you” Mark said quietly kissing Elly on the forehead.

Elly was doing her best not to move a muscle, otherwise Mark would realise she was pretending.

The morning arrived and Chloe had set her alarm for super early so that she didn’t have to face anyone. Chloe was determined to do what Susan had said and focus on herself for the foreseeable, even if it didn’t work it might help her to take her mind off Elly.

“You’re in early” Terese said to Chloe.

“Thought I’d jump right into it” Chloe replied.

“Well I appreciate it, thank you” Terese said.

“What can I do?”

“Follow me and i have a bunch of jobs you can do...” Terese replied as they headed to her office.

Back over at the house, some extremely sore heads were rising from their beds.

“Coffee please...” Aaron whispered as he rested his head on the kitchen top.

“Coming right up, can you knock and see if Chloe wants one?” Mark replied.

“She’s not there I’ve already checked” Aaron said.

“Wonder where she is then?”

“I saw her head to work this morning” David added.

“Jesus that’s unlike Chloe to be so punctual” Aaron joked.

“New year, new her... maybe?” David said.

“Maybe, we’ll see how long that lasts. I give her a week” Aaron replied.

“Charming! Why don’t we try and have some faith in her for once, after all she did go through a lot last year. She probably just wants to start fresh this year” Mark explained.

“I’m happy for her, I’m just saying I don’t think it’ll last”.

“Good morning babe” Mark said to Elly as she appeared from the bedroom.

“Morning! I need to head off but I’ll see you later?” Elly replied heading straight for the door.

“Yeah see you later” Mark said. He knew something was up, just by how Elly was acting around him, he needed to get to the bottom of it.

Chapter Text

“Has anyone else noticed that both Chloe and Elly are acting a bit strange?” Mark asked Aaron and David who really weren’t in the mood for a conversation.

“Maybe it’s you know the time of the month?” Aaron replied.

“What at the same time? I doubt it. I don’t know they just seem off with each other” Mark said.

“They probably had a little argument or something? I wouldn’t worry their friendship seems pretty solid if you ask me” David replied trying to ease Marks worry.

“Yeah you are probably right but I think I might have a conversation with Chloe and see what’s going on. I always know when she’s lying to me” Mark said pouring himself a cup of coffee.

“That might just cause more agro bro” Aaron replied.

“Probably but I need a stress free start to the year and if things between them aren’t great well I need to sort it” Mark said in his authoritative voice.

“Good luck with that one! Rather you than me” Aaron said as he crawled to the sofa ready to collapse in a heap for the rest of the day.

“You just wait everything will be perfect between them by the time I cook dinner this evening” Mark replied with a smug look on his face.

“Bet you 10 dollars that one of them doesn’t turn up” Aaron joked.

“Deal” Mark replied as he took his coffee to his room so he could finish getting ready.

Meanwhile Elly was nursing her hangover back home, while Susan was making her some breakfast to try and help.

“How are you feeling?” Susan asked.

“My head feels like it’s about to explode” Elly replied.

“And about the other thing?”

“I couldn’t even look at Mark this morning! I felt sick and that wasn’t down to the hangover” Elly replied putting her head into her hands.

“I think you need to distance yourself from Chloe because until you do that these feelings are going to continue to grow. Unless you want to be with her...”

“I don’t know what I want! But yes you are right I need some time away from Chloe. That might make things easier and clearer” Elly replied with a disappointed look on her face.

“It won’t be easy but I think it will help you both”.

“Did she say anything to you last night?”

“Just that she needed some time away from you but you already knew she needed that. Oh and that she needed to stop thinking so negatively about having no future because she could still live a long life before the disease takes over” Susan explained.

“How did she take that?”

“Pretty positively which I was shocked at but I think she’s going to try and live every day to the full” Susan replied.

“That’s good, that’s how she should be looking at things” Elly said as a little smile appeared on her face.

“Come and get some breakfast it will help the hangover” Susan replied as she put a couple of plates on the dining room table.

“I don’t know if I can face eating...”

“Trust me it will help so come on don’t make me drag you over here” Susan replied clicking her fingers.

“Yes boss” Elly joked as she slowly walked over.

The two of them tucked into some breakfast, Susan could see that Elly was really struggling with all of this. She didn’t know how to exactly help Elly but she knew that she just needed to be there for her no matter what.

Chloe hadn’t sat still since she arrived at work earlier in the day, she was keeping busy so that she didn’t have time to think about Elly.

“Take a break Chloe, you’ve been non stop since you got here” Terese said as she walked past a yawning Chloe.

“No, no I’m fine. Must keep busy” Chloe replied.

“Well I won’t complain but just don’t over do it ok?”

“I’ll be fine don’t you worry” Chloe said as she left the room to continue with her next task.

It wasn’t long before Mark was at the hotel looking for Chloe, he needed to talk to her about a few things.

“Is Chloe about?” Mark asked.

“She’s around here somewhere. Getting her to have a break might be a hard task though...” Terese replied.

“Are we talking about the same Chloe?” Mark joked.

“I know I was shocked too but she’s a woman on a mission today, long may it continue”.

“Fingers crossed” Mark replied as he went to search the hotel to find his little sister.

Chloe was sat at her desk sending some important emails to some high power clients, she was in the zone.

“Can I come in?” Mark asked as he knocked on the door.

Chloe glanced up, noticing that it was Mark at the door. She knew there was no way she’d be able to get rid of him.

“Give me a minute to finish this email” Chloe replied trying to give herself a little bit of time to sort her breathing out.

“No problem” Mark said as he took a seat in her office.

“What can I do for you?” Chloe asked as she closed her laptop.

“Well my main questions was... is fruit cake acceptable for a wedding cake?”

“Ugh no. Ew that’s disgusting! You can’t have fruit cake at a wedding” Chloe replied.

“Why not?”

“Because it’s a wedding! Who wants to eat fruit cake at a wedding?”

“Me!” Mark replied raising his hand.

“Well then have it, it’s not up to me what you have”.

“Yes but you are an important part of this wedding, I value your opinion” Mark replied.

Chloe knew she had to break the bad news to Mark about not being at the wedding sooner or later, so why not now.

“About the wedding... I won’t be there” Chloe quietly said to Mark trying not to make eye contact with him.

“WHAT? Since when?” Mark replied loudly.

“My friend is going hiking in Peru and you know how much I’ve always wanted to do that, I just can’t miss this opportunity. I’m really sorry how it’s fallen but I can’t change it” Chloe explained using the story she had made up.

“I can’t believe this, you know how much both me and Elly want you there. This is going to kill Elly” Mark replied.

“I’m sorry but I don’t have my whole life to look forward to I need to take the opportunities when they arise. Look I know you are probably angry with me but I’m sorry, I need to do this for myself. Now if you don’t mind I need to get back to work” Chloe explained as she stood up ready to leave the room.

“Ok, I’ll leave you to it” a visibly upset Mark replied.

Chloe felt awful, she could see how the news had affected Mark but she had no other choice. There was no way on the earth that she would be able to sit there and watch them get married.

Mark was furious at Chloe, he couldn’t believe how selfish she was being. This was going to be the biggest day of his life and she couldn’t even be bothered to be there.

“Pint of anything” Mark said as he walked into the waterhole.

“We’re not serving alcohol yet” Shelia replied.

“I’ll pay double” Mark said putting a 20 dollar bill on the bar.

“Coming right up” Shelia replied sliding the money off the side.

Shelia knew something had to be up with Mark as he was never one to drink this early on in the day.

“Here you go... everything ok?” Shelia asked as she placed the pint down in front of Mark.

“Just wonderful” Mark sarcastically replied as he started to down his pint.

“Mark slow down...” Shelia said trying to stop Mark from downing his drink.

Mark took no notice at all, he just continued to drink his drink. Shelia slipped away to ring Elly as she thought she’d be able to find out what was wrong.

“Elly, I need you to get to the waterhole as soon as you can” Shelia said as Elly picked up the phone.

“What’s wrong? Is everything ok?” A panicked Elly replied.

“Somethings wrong with Mark he’s currently downing a pint of beer” Shelia explained.

“That’s not like Mark, I’ll be there as soon as I can. Try not to serve him too much” Elly replied as she grabbed her car keys and ran to her car.

“Another one Shelia” Mark shouted slamming his glass on the bar.

“What’s the magic word?” Shelia replied trying to buy herself some more time.

“Please?...” Mark sarcastically replied rolling his eyes.

“Now that wasn’t too hard was it?” Shelia said.

“Just pour the pint...”

Shelia made sure she took her time getting Mark his next drink because she knew that Elly wouldn’t be too long.

“I recommend drinking this one slower to appreciate the flavour” Shelia said as she placed the drink in front of Mark.

“It all tastes the same” Mark replied as he went to grab the drink.

“I don’t think so! What’s going on with you?” Elly said pushing his hand away.

“Let me guess Shelia called you?”

“Yes she did! This isn’t like you... what’s happened?” Elly asked as she looked at him directly into his eyes.

“My own sister can’t even be bothered to come to my wedding because she’s being selfish and only thinking about herself as per usual” Mark replied in an angry tone.

Elly was shocked to hear that Chloe wasn’t coming to the wedding at all, she couldn’t believe it.

“You knew?” Mark asked as he noticed the look on Elly’s face.

“She mentioned something last night about how she wasn’t going to be my bridesmaid anymore but she didn’t get to explain anymore because the clock struck midnight” Elly explained telling a few little white lies.

“So is that why you were so off last night after speaking to Chloe?” Mark asked.

“Yeah, I didn’t want to mention anything but yes” Elly replied.

“I knew something was wrong! How can she do this to us? She knows how much we both want her there...” Mark said.

Elly knew exactly why Chloe didn’t want to be at the wedding, she hated how Mark was calling her selfish because really she was doing this because she had no other choice.

“She’s been through a lot, we need to respect her decision” Elly said softly trying to fight in Chloe’s corner, even though she was gutted Chloe wasn’t going to be there.

“I’m sorry but I can’t. This trip to Peru or wherever she’s going can wait, I only plan on marrying you once” Mark replied.

“Look let me talk to her, I can’t promise anything but you can’t. You’ll only make things worse and I really don’t want the two of you to fall out”.

“Don’t worry we won’t fall out because I refuse to even talk to her if she doesn’t change her mind” Mark replied in a stroppy manner.

“I’ll see what I can do. Now go home and do something productive instead of downing that drink” Elly said giving Mark a kiss on the cheek before heading to find Chloe.

Elly reached the hotel entrance but there was something stopping her from going in, she didn’t want to get into an argument with Chloe. She was devastated that Chloe had chosen not to go to their wedding but she understood why. She knew that the feelings Chloe had developed for Elly were the real deal and seeing her marry someone else would be too painful to witness.

“You looking for Chloe?” Ned asked as he tapped Elly on the shoulder.

“Um, yes” Elly replied.

“She’s in her office I believe, go on up” Ned said.

“Thanks” Elly replied taking a couple of deep breaths in before starting to make her way to see Chloe.

Chapter Text

Chloe has had enough of being productive for the day, she was sat in her office with her feet on the desk eating her lunch. She was just hoping that nobody would interrupt her. Little did she know, Elly was on her way to talk to her.

“You could at least knock” Chloe shouted as she jumped out of her skin as Elly stormed through the door.

“Sorry, actually I’m not sorry. I didn’t realise you weren’t going to show up to the wedding at all... do you know how much that is hurting your brother?” Elly said trying to play the bad cop for once, instead of being the nice one.

“And do you know how much it would hurt me to watch you walk down that aisle looking stunning to someone who wasn’t me at the end of it?” Chloe replied

“Keep your voice down” Elly said hurrying to close the door.

“Sorry are you embarrassed that I’m in love with you?”

“Of course not but I can’t have Mark finding out. I know how tough this must be for you but please can’t you just pretend for one day, for Mark” Elly asked.

“I don’t think you do know how tough this is because if you did you wouldn’t be asking me that... Elly l am in love with you and it kills me. I wish I didn’t because I am wasting so much of my short life being in love with someone that doesn’t love me back, trust me I wish that wasn’t the case” Chloe explained.

“I get how tough it must be, Chloe please don’t think that you are the only one developing some sort of feelings because you are not. I am feeling things for you that is confusing the hell out of me. I have never felt any of these feelings for any woman before and it scares me” Elly replied.

“But you’ll never act on them” Chloe said.

“I can’t give you an answer to that, I need time and I know that’s not what you want to hear because we don’t have time. The wedding is less than 3 months away and that scares me because I need to make sure I make all the right decisions. But please don’t think you are the only one going through something because this is hurting me too” Elly replied opening up to Chloe.

“Then I’ll give you space, if that’s what you need”.

“I think we could both do with some, just know I’m here if you need me”.

“Right back at you but we just need space” Chloe said.

“I’ll try and calm Mark down, but be prepared for some stick from Aaron you know he’ll be on Mark’s side” Elly replied.

“I can deal with it don’t worry, plus I don’t plan to be around much”.

“I’ll make sure I stay at mine more so you get more space from me, ok?”

“Thanks”.

“Take care” Elly said.

“You too” Chloe replied.

Elly left the room feeling like she had just gone through a breakup, the emotion between the two of them had never been higher. She also couldn’t believe how open she had just been with Chloe, but hearing Chloe say that she was the only one going through something made her open up. She wanted Chloe to know that it wasn’t easy for her either.

As soon as Elly left the room Chloe sunk into her chair. She thought hearing that Elly was developing some sort of feelings for her would be a good thing but it wasn’t. It had only made things harder.

“Elly you ok?” Ned asked as Elly rushed out of Chloe’s office.

“Fine, just something in my eye” Elly replied covering her face.

“Do you want me to take a look?”

“I’m ok” Elly said as she continued to walk away.

Ned knew something was up, he decided to go check in on Chloe just to make sure she was ok.

“Knock knock, only me” Ned said knocking on the door.

“Come in” Chloe said composing herself.

“Is everything ok? I just saw Elly and she looked a bit upset”.

“I had to break a bit of bad news to her but everything’s fine” Chloe replied.

“Oh... what bad news?” Ned asked being nosey.

“That I won’t be at the wedding, I’ll be travelling in Peru” Chloe replied.

“Ah i see! I can understand why she was upset then, especially as you were meant to be being one of her bridesmaids”.

“I know it’s super shit timing but after my diagnosis I don’t have time to wait to do things I need to take every opportunity when it arises” Chloe explained.

“That’s fair enough, they’ll understand eventually” Ned replies giving Chloe a supportive smile.

“Hopefully” Chloe replied.

“I’ll leave you to it” Ned said shutting the door behind him.

Once the door closed, Chloe could finally let out the massive sigh she had been holding in.

Meanwhile Mark has made his way back home, where he couldn’t wait to tell Aaron and David the bad news about Chloe.

“You look like I feel” Aaron said as Mark walked through the front door with a face like thunder.

“You won’t believe the morning I’ve had” Mark replied.

“What’s happened?” Aaron asked as he sat up straight ready to listen.

“So Chloe has decided that she won’t be attending the wedding because she has some mountain to climb in Peru with some girl I have never even heard of” Mark angrily explained.

“What?” Aaron replied with a seriously shocked look on his face.

“You heard...”

“You’re joking right? She can’t miss your big day just for some holiday. That’s ridiculous”.

“My thoughts exactly! I just can’t get over how selfish she’s being”.

“Can I say something?” David asked.

“Of course...”

“We all need to remember that Chloe was practically served a death sentence last year. It’s a huge thing to be told that eventually you are going to die of this horrendous disease that just takes over your body. I’m not saying it’s an excuse but she’s going to want to explore and have fun while she still can. I know you see this as her being selfish and that she can go climb the mountain anytime but if this is her only opportunity to do it then she needs to grab that with two hands and go for it! She doesn’t know how long she’ll have” David explained.

“I get that I really do but why can’t she just wait a few days until after the wedding? Will a few days make such a difference?” Mark replied.

“Probably not but in Chloe’s mind this is something she has to do and I think we should try and support her” David said.

“I need to talk to her...” Aaron replied.

“Elly’s gone to talk to her so you should wait to see what she comes back with... you never know she might have persuaded her to change her mind” Mark said feeling hopeful.

“Yeah I’ll wait to see what she says” Aaron replied.

It wasn’t long before Elly arrived at the house, you could see the look of hope arrive on Mark’s face as she walked through the front door.

“Any luck?” Aaron asked.

“I’m afraid not. She’s made her mind up, she needs to do this for her and I do kind of understand” Elly explained.

“I get that she wants to live her life to the full but come on this is our wedding day and we are supposedly two very important people in her life. I just don’t understand it” Mark said in a dejection tone.

“We just need to be there for her, I think she’s struggling a lot more with her diagnosis that she’s letting on” David added.

“Has she said something to you?” Aaron asked.

“Not I’m so many words but you forget I see people go through this a lot and I know some of the signs”.

“I think David is right” Elly said hoping that Chloe’s diagnosis would take the blame for her not coming to the wedding, instead of the real reason coming out.

“I guess the only person I need at the wedding is you, everyone else are insignificant. You are all I need” Mark said to Elly as he embraced her.

Elly didn’t reply she just held on tightly to Mark.

The evening arrived and Mark was busy cooking dinner for everyone like he had promised earlier on in the day, he wasn’t sure if Chloe would show her face but he was beginning to understand that she was doing this for her and not because she didn’t want to be at the wedding.

“Can you pass me the coriander babe?” Mark asked Elly.

“Of course, do you think it should just be the 3 of you at dinner?” Elly said hoping that Mark would say yes so that she could keep her promise to Chloe about giving her space.

“Do you think that would help? Or do you think it would just turn into an argument?” Mark replied.

“I think the three of you need to just spend sometime together, I’m not saying that there would be a lot of discussion but just go easy on her she’s clearly struggling” Elly explained.

“Ok, I’ll give her a text and explain about the dinner. Are you sure your ok with that? I know this is your favourite?”

“I’ll be fine, I can have it another time. Just focus on Chloe and making her feel like your little sister ok?”

“I will try. I love you Elly Conway”.

“And I love you Mark Brennan” Elly replied giving Mark a kiss before grabbing her things and heading home.

Even though Elly desperately wanted to stay she knew that by her not being there it would be easier for Chloe, it would also give her some time alone to think about a few things without any distraction.

*Hey Chlo, Family dinner. You me and Aaron. Please come, I promise no arguments ok? Xx* Mark wrote sending the message to Chloe hoping that she would come.

Chloe was packing up for the day when she got the text, she couldn’t think of any reason not to go to the meal, especially as Elly had made sure she was out of the way. She just didn’t want any more arguments to happen because she had had enough of them and knew if she was pushed too far she might blurt out the truth.

*Ill be home in 10 minutes x* Chloe replied as she left her office.

All the way home Chloe was trying to prepare herself for the onslaught of questions she might get asked by her brothers, especially Aaron who she knew wouldn’t understand this at all.

“Hey” Mark said as Chloe walked through the front door to see an amazing dinner had been prepared for her.

“What’s all of this?” Chloe asked.

“It’s a peace offering, I shouldn’t have said some of the things I said to you earlier and I apologise. We’ve still got some talking to do but I want to be able to do it in a civilised manner” Mark replied.

“I can do that...” Chloe said as she took a seat at the table.

“My question is, why can’t you rearrange the trip?” Aaron said wasting no time at all in asking Chloe some questions.

“It’s not even my trip, I can’t start rearranging something that I haven’t organised in the first place. I know it is such bad timing but I can’t afford to waste a second of my life. You two are lucky you don’t need to worry about that, but I do so please just let me deal with my diagnosis and everything my way. Please?” Chloe explained,

“Ok, ok. You are right we don’t know what you are going through and I wish I could change positions with you because non of my siblings should have to go through this. Especially not you Chlo! I’m just upset that your not going to be there on my big day, that’s all” Mark replied.

“I’ll see the pictures and I’m sure there will be videos” Chloe said trying to be upbeat about it.

“I guess there is!” Mark replied as he reached over the table to hold his little sisters hand.

“I love you and I’m sorry. I just need to do this” Chloe said looking at both of her brothers.

Chapter Text

Chloe and her brothers had enjoyed the meal that Mark had cooked, it had also been a great opportunity for them all to chat about things other than the wedding.

“Will you at least help organise the wedding?” Mark asked politely.

“I will help where I can” Chloe reluctantly replied, she didn’t want to hurt or upset Mark anymore than she already had today.

“Thank you I know Elly will appreciate that, as do I” Mark said.

“Plus you are so good at it, I mean look what you did for our wedding. It was near perfection” Aaron explained.

“You are too kind, I mean it was a bloody fantastic wedding wasn’t it” Chloe replied.

“It really was” Aaron added.

“So you’ll still help, yes?” Mark asked one last time.

“Yes, I will help wherever I can” Chloe replied with an anxious smile on her face.

“Perfect I will go and tell Elly the good news” Mark said heading for the door.

As soon as Mark left, Aaron wanted just to double check that things with Chloe were ok.

“Hey, Chlo?”

“Yeah...”

“You’d tell me if something was up wouldn’t you?” Aaron asked.

“Of course I would”.

“Then why do I feel like you are hiding something from me?”

“I’m not, honestly I just need to do this for myself and it’s shit timing but it’s how it’s worked out. I’m sorry but I’m doing this for me” Chloe replied.

“That’s fair enough I guess. Just promise me if you do ever need to talk to anyone about anything you’ll talk to me? Because I love you and your my little sis, I will always be there for you” Aaron explained.

“I promise but honestly I’m fine” Chloe replied trying to stop the conversation before she blurted something out that she regretted.

“Answer me this one last question and then I’ll drop it...”

“Go on then” Chloe replied rolling her eyes.

“Are you lonely?”

“What? What makes you ask that?” Chloe replied all flustered.

“Because I’ve seen you look at the four of us and I know that look. It’s the look I used to do whenever I saw anyone happy in a relationship. Chloe I know you’ve never really been the relationship type but if you wanna get on the saddle and get out there I am more than willing to go clubbing with you to find someone” Aaron explained.

“I’m fine, I’m not lonely. Just drop it” Chloe replied storming off to her bedroom.

“Chloe...wait” Aaron shouted.

“What did you say?” Mark asked as he walked back into the house with Elly.

“I just asked her if she was lonely that’s all” Aaron replied with a puzzled look on his face.

“Jesus Christ Aaron, we were all finally in a semi good place and you had to go and open your big mouth and upset her again didn’t you” Mark said.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t think she would react like that” Aaron replied.

“Can you go talk to her?” Mark asked Elly.

“I don’t think she’ll want to see anyone right now” Elly replied trying her best to get out of seeing Chloe, as she knew she’d be the last person Chloe would want to see.

“You are probably right... best to just give her some space” Mark added.

“I need to check in on her, I won’t be long” Aaron said as he made his way towards Chloe’s room.

“I don’t think that’s a good idea” Mark replied.

Aaron didn’t listen to Mark and continued making his way to check on Chloe.

“Can I come in?” Aaron asked.

“Sure...” Chloe replied.

“Chloe I wasn’t trying to upset you earlier I just want to be there for you, I want you to be able to talk to me about anything and everything” Aaron said.

“Fine, I get lonely every so often but it’s nothing I can’t handle. Please can we just not talk about this, I’m trying to focus on positive things right now and being lonely isn’t one” Chloe explained.

“Ok, I will drop it. Come back out with me, Elly has arrived and I think she wants to thank you for agreeing to help as much as you can with the wedding” Aaron replied.

“Yeah I’ll be out in a minute” Chloe said needing a couple of moments to just compose herself.

“Don’t be too long, pudding is waiting” Aaron replied as he left the room, looking back at Chloe as he left. He still didn’t fully believe her but knew he needed to drop it for now.

Taking a few deep breaths in and putting a smile on her face, Chloe stood up and made her way to the dining table where pudding was waiting for her.

“There she is, come grab some pudding while there is some left” Mark said.

“Hey Chlo” Elly quietly added.

“Hey” Chloe replied making as little eye contact as possible.

“Thank you for agreeing to help where you can... it means a lot to both of us” Elly explained.

“You’re welcome, I don’t know how much help I’ll be though” Chloe replied.

“Are you kidding? You practically planned mine and David’s wedding, this runs through your blood” Aaron said.

“Yes but you two aren’t fussy like these two” Chloe joked trying to cut the tension around the table between her and Elly.

“Oi we are not fussy” Mark immediately replied.

“You kind of are a little bit...” Chloe said.

“How?”

“Come on Mark we spent over 3 hours in the flower shop because you could decide which shade of red you wanted at the wedding” Elly joked.

“See... fussy” Chloe added in a sarcastic tone.

“You were just as picky as me” Mark said looking at Elly.

“Yes but I’m allowed to because I’m the bride” Elly replied.

“Anyway, we going to eat this pudding or what?” Chloe said trying to stop the conversation as it was beginning to make her uncomfortable.

“Yes let’s eat” Elly replied she could see that Chloe was uncomfortable.

Mark couldn’t help but feed Elly the chocolate pudding, which automatically put Chloe on edge, she hated seeing them so loved up. She was happy for them but at the same time couldn’t keep the look of disappointment off her face. Something that hadn’t gone unnoticed by Aaron yet again.

“I’ve got a migraine coming on I think I might call it a night” Chloe said making up an excuse to leave the table.

Elly felt bad because she promised Chloe that she was going to give her some space but Mark practically dragged her over to the house.

“Night Chlo” Elly softly said.

“Yeah night sis, hope you get a good nights sleep” Mark replied.

“I’ll bring you in some tablets and a cuppa in a minute” Aaron said.

“Thank you” Chloe replied smiling at his brother.

Chloe headed to her room where she could finally relax and breathe without having to constantly worry about how she acts around Elly.

“Here we go, get these down you” Aaron said as he handed Chloe the tablets.

“Thanks” Chloe replied.

“Look when your feeling better we’re gunna go clubbing and find you a nice handsome man or a beautiful woman. How does that sound?”

“Az please... just drop it” Chloe replied.

“I just want you to be happy” Aaron said.

“I am happy so please just stop” Chloe replied as she took the tablets and lay down on her bed.

“Ok, I’m sorry”.

Aaron was never one to drop things especially when he knew he was right. He knew Chloe was hiding something and he wasn’t going to stop until he found out the truth.

“Is she ok?” Elly asked.

“I think so! There’s something going on in that head of hers, something not good but she won’t let me in” Aaron explained.

“What do you mean?” Elly replied a bit worried to hear what he was about to say.

“Well I don’t really know but she’s hiding something and it’s clearly eating away at her slowly. She always does this, she always shuts herself off when things are tough. I need her to realise I’m on her side no matter what’s wrong” Aaron explained.

Elly’s heart was racing, the last thing the two of them needed was Aaron finding out what had happened between the two of them.

“Don’t you just think it’s all to do with the diagnosis?” Elly asked.

“Well I thought that at first but she knew about that at our wedding...so I don’t understand why she’s acting all strange now?”

“Maybe because back then she didn’t realise she’d be going through this alone? Look the fact that neither of you have the disease is the best news ever and Chloe feels that way too. But she’s going through this all on her own while watching the two of you plan your future. It can’t be easy for her!” Elly explained trying to take the light away from her and Chloe.

“I hadn’t thought about it like that...” Mark added.

“No me neither...” Aaron said.

“I just think we all need to realise how much is going through her head right now and give her the time and space she might need” Elly replied.

“Yeah, you’re right” Aaron said.

As Elly heard Aaron say those words her heart beat slowed, she was relieved that he wasn’t going to constantly be pushing Chloe for an answer to why she wasn’t herself at the moment. Hopefully that would give the two of them a little more time to try and sort things out.

“I’m gunna go meet David for a drink, anyone want to join?” Aaron asked.

“I think we will pass, we might have a quick look at food options for the wedding” Mark replied.

“BORING” Aaron shouted as he grabbed his keys and left the house.

“It may be boring but it is necessary” Mark said quietly to Elly.

“I can’t stay long, I promised Susan I’d help her do some paperwork” Elly replied making up an excuse to have some time away from Mark.

“Ah that’s a shame, I was looking forward to your company”.

“I’m sorry, she’s just super stressed at the moment and I want to do all I can to help” Elly replied.

“No worries, I understand” Mark said giving Elly a kiss on the cheek.

“So come on then what were you thinking for food?” Elly asked as she could tell by the slight change in Marks tone of voice that he was a bit annoyed.

“I was thinking a good old fashioned barbie? What do you think?”

“Umm... can it be a slightly posher one?”

“Oh yeah only the finest food for my angel” Mark replied with a smile on his face.

“Then if that’s what you want we can have one! Just make sure it’s not Aaron cooking because he always burns the sausages”.

“Don’t worry I’ll hire a proper cook so that it is of the best quality possible” Mark replied.

“Sounds perfect then” Elly said.

“So I suppose you’ll be leaving in a minute...” Mark asked.

“Well we have sorted it now, so the sooner I go help Susan the sooner I can go to bed” Elly explained.

“That’s very true. Well sleep well and I hope you and Susan get what you need to do done quickly” Mark replied.

“Thank you! Sleep well babe” Elly said giving Mark a goodnight kiss.

“Love you” Mark replied as he watched Elly leave the house. He hated whenever she left him, he couldn’t wait to be married so that she didn’t need to leave anymore.

Elly felt bad for lying to Mark about why she was leaving but she just needed some time to figure out everything. She hated all of this and the fact that Aaron was now sticking his nose in didn’t help.

Chapter Text

A couple of days had passed on Ramsey Street and Chloe was so proud of herself for staying away from Elly. It hadn’t been an easy task but it had been a necessary one. She was also happy that Elly had kept up her side of the deal and given Chloe the space she needed, it had been strange because the two of them used to hang out so often but it was just getting too difficult for them both.

What neither of them realised, was that Mark had noticed the fact that they hadn’t been spending as much time together. Luckily he had just put it down to them both being busy, how wrong he was.

“Morning Terese” Chloe said in a vibrant way as she walked into work.

“Go home Chloe it’s your day off! You’ve been working way too hard recently” Terese replied without even lifting her head to look at Chloe.

“But I need to keep busy...”

“I can’t afford to pay you for anymore hours than you are already doing. So why not go to the gym? Or go bake something?” Terese replied.

“Please, I’ll work for free” Chloe said.

“No! Now go and relax” Terese replied as she pointed at the door.

“Ugh” Chloe said rolling her eyes.

“Bye Chloe” Terese replied in a sarcastic tone.

Chloe was annoyed, she didn’t know what to do now to keep her mind off of Elly. She could go to the gym but that was effort and Chloe didn’t really want to get sweaty right now as she looked amazing in her work outfit.

“Chloe” Susan shouted from across the square.

“Hi Susan, you ok?” Chloe asked as she walked over.

“I’m not bad thank you. How are you more importantly?”

“I’m doing good! Keeping busy and yeah doing things for myself” Chloe replied with a semi smile on her face.

“That’s good! Have you seen or heard from Elly?”

“No, we’ve been trying to give each other space which has been going well so far” Chloe replied.

“I know she misses you” Susan said.

“I miss her too but it’s just too hard” Chloe replied.

“Hopefully you’ll both get it sorted soon so you can get back to being the best of friends”.

“Trust me that would be perfect. If someone could just removed all my feelings for her I’d give them a lot of money. I wish I didn’t feel this way because it only causes problems” Chloe explained.

“You can’t help how you feel Chloe but it will get easier, especially with the time and space apart” Susan replied.

“I hope so! Anyway must dash I promised myself I’d go to the gym” Chloe said trying to put an end to this conversation.

“Ok, well if you need anything you know where I am” Susan replied.

“Thanks”.

Elsewhere Elly was actually at the gym doing one of her weekly sessions she always attended. Even though she had kept to her promise about giving Chloe space, she was no clearer on how she truly felt and what the feelings meant.

“Thanks for a great session” Elly shouted as she walked out the door not looking where she was going.

“Oh my god I’m so sorry” Chloe said as she bumped into Elly without realising who it was.

“Sorry” Elly said at the same time.

The two stood there in silence looking at one another.

“Sorry I wasn’t looking where I was going... how are you?” Elly said.

“I’m ok thanks, you?” Chloe quietly replied in a bit of a fluster.

“Good, yeah I’m good thanks. It’s weird not seeing you around every day” Elly said.

“I know but it’s for the best” Chloe immediately replied.

“Is it? My head is no clearer?”

“For me it is, my heart isn’t constantly breaking, which is a bit of a relief”.

“Well that’s good then! I’m glad” Elly replied.

“Look I need to go...” Chloe said as she began to walk away from Elly.

“Bye then” Elly replied.

As Chloe walked away she closed her eyes, seeing Elly for the first time in a few days had brought all of her feelings flooding back. It was so painful for her.

“Everything ok? Things seemed a little tense between the two of you” Aaron asked as he had just witnessed an awkward conversation between the two of them.

“Just a minor disagreement about the hen party” Elly replied thinking on her feet.

“Oh I didn’t realise she was back on board with organising that...” Aaron said.

“Yeah I managed to persuade her but her and Bea have totally different ideas”.

“I see, well don’t let that come between the two of you!”

“Don’t worry you know Chlo she likes to have a little strop every now and then” Elly joked hoping David would laugh along with her.

“That’s true! Just sort it between you, life’s too short for these issues” Aaron explained.

“We’ll be fine don’t you worry” Elly said with a smile on her face.

The two of them headed their separate ways, Elly was relieved that she had managed to think on her feet. She just wished this whole situation would sort itself out because it was putting her through all sorts of emotions.

The afternoon arrived and Chloe, Mark and Aaron we’re at home ready to head into town to grab a drink at the waterhole. Elly was planning to join them even though she had tried her best to get out of it, she was currently in Harold’s getting herself a coffee.

As the three of them were walking past Harold’s they heard a gun shot in the distance, they had no idea where it was coming from but they were all stunned.

“What was that?” Chloe asked.

“Sounded like a gunshot. You go into Harold’s and well go see what’s going on. Stay in contact” Mark replied in his police manner.

“Stay safe Chlo” Aaron said as he went off with Mark.

“You too” Chloe replied as she hurried into Harold’s.

As Mark and Aaron walked towards the Waterhole a man rushed past him.

“Excuse me” Mark shouted.

The guy didn’t reply he just kept running off in the opposite direction.

“He was in a rush...” Aaron said as they hurried to the pub.

“Come on, follow me” Mark replied.

As the two of them went to check on the situation in the waterhole, Chloe was making sure everyone was ok in Harold’s.

“You ok?” Chloe asked as she walked over to Elly and Yashvi.

“We’re ok, what’s happening?” Elly replied.

“Mark’s pretty sure it was a gunshot”.

“A gunshot” Yashvi repeated quite loudly.

“Keep your voice down we do not need to alarm anyone. The less people know the better” Elly explained.

“Good plan” Chloe added.

“Yashvi can you make the girls some hot chocolate to try and keep them calm?” Elly instructed.

“Anything I can do?” Chloe asked trying to be helpful.

“You can grab some snacks for them?” Elly replied.

“Sure thing” Chloe said with a smile on her face.

While the girls were doing their best to keep the situation in Harold’s as calm as possible while they waited to hear some news.

“What happened?” Mark asked as he rushed over to help Terese who had been shot.

“Some crazy guy just shot her” Leo replied.

“What did he look like?”

“Short, bald, was wearing a brown jacket...” Leo said.

“Isn’t he the guy who barged past us” Aaron replied.

“Yes, I’m going to go find him” Mark said.

“No Mark, just wait for the police to get here”.

“I am the police, there’s no way they should have taken my badge away” Mark replied as he headed out the door.

“I’m coming with you” Ned added.

“Lets go” Mark said as the two began to run around the square to try and find the gunman.

Back over at Harold’s, the place had been put on lockdown as the gunman was still on the run. No one in or out of the building. Yashvi was on her phone checking to see what had been going on.

“It was a gunman, and apparently he has an accomplice” Yashvi said loudly.

“Keep your voice down” Elly replied.

“Sorry but look, isn’t that that guy over there” Yashvi added.

“That’s definitely him” Chloe whispered.

“Remain calm, I will try and get rid of him” Elly replied.

“How?”

“I haven’t quite worked that out yet” Elly said as her heart was beating out of her chest.

Elly slowly walked over to where the guy was sitting, she was so nervous but knew she had to at least try and get rid of him.

“You can go, the police have said it’s safe for people to leave” Elly calmly said to the man.

“Oh really that’s good news” the man replied as he got up ready to leave.

“Yep” Elly said as took a deep breath in.

“Why isn’t anyone else moving?” The man asked.

“They’re just going to wait for a bit longer” Elly nervously replied.

The man wasn’t having any of it, he looked over to Yashvi and Chloe looking anxious and decided enough was enough.

“I’m not going anywhere” The man shouted as he pulled out his gun from behind his back, pointing it up to the ceiling.

“Please don’t hurt anyone” Elly immediately replied.

“Just shut up and get me everyone’s phones! NOW”.

Elly grabbed a basket and collected everyone’s phones as quickly as she could. Her hands were visibly shaking but she was doing her best to keep herself as calm as possible.

“Everyone over there now” The man shouted.

Everyone quickly moved over to the corner of the cafe, it was silent in there apart from a little voice in the distance talking.

“Who the hell is that? Come out now or I will shoot”.

It was Kirsha on the phone trying to tell her mum what was happening, she slowly walked out of the kitchen with her hands in the air.

“You silly silly girl” The man said as he pushed Kirsha towards the crowd.

“Don’t hurt her. What do you want?” Elly asked.

“I want a getaway vehicle and I want it now”.

“Then use a phone and arrange it with the police. No one needs to get hurt” Elly replied.

“JUST SHUT UP” he shouted pointing the gun right towards Elly.

Chloe moves closer to Elly to try and protect her, the thought of anything happening to her terrified Chloe. Elly reached for Chloe’s hand, she didn’t care about what was going on between the two of them she just needed to know she was doing ok.

“Breathe” Chloe whispered to Elly.

“What can we do?” Elly replied frantically trying to think how she can get all these people to safety.

Meanwhile outside the police had set up a police cordon to stop anyone from going near Harold’s. Outside waiting to hear any news we’re residents from Ramsey Street, including Dipi, Shane, Shelia and Aaron.

“Why can’t they just let my babies go?” Dipi said trying to fight back the tears.

“They will as soon as it’s safe to do so, we just need to be patient” Shelia replied trying to keep everyone calm.

“God I wish it was me in there instead of Chloe, she really doesn’t need this right now” Aaron said.

“They are going to be fine, the police know what they are doing” Shelia added.

“I hope you are right” Aaron replied.

“What’s happening?” Mark asked as he arrived after finding the other gunman with Ned.

“Nothing, nothings happening. We’re just stood here like lemons not doing anything” Dipi replied.

“I’ll go see what I can find out” Mark said as he walked over to speak to one of his ex colleagues.

Chapter Text

While Mark was trying to find out what was going on inside Harold’s, the gunman was losing his patience with the police.

“Get me a getaway van now otherwise there will be casualties” The gunman shouted down the phone causing the hostages to worry.

“There doesn’t need to be any hostages just let them go and keep me” Elly replied.

“Shut up” he said angrily.

“Look the police are more likely to help you if you let everyone go” Elly replied as she slowly stood up.

“Elly just don’t move” Chloe said quietly holding onto her hand.

“Why don’t you let some people go? It’ll be a lot easy to only keep a few of us hostage instead of all of us. I mean how are you planning to move all of us? We won’t fit it in a van...” Elly explained.

“WILL YOU JUST SHUT UP” he shouted pointing the gun at Elly, as he moved closer.

“I am just trying to help you” Elly replied as she stood their shaking.

“I don’t need your help”.

“I think you do, you will never get out of here with all of us. Think about it”.

“Fine... they can go you three can stay” he explained pointing at Chloe, Yashvi and Elly.

“Let them all go just keep me” Elly replied.

“No, Elly I won’t let you do this! Take me I have less to lose” Chloe said interrupting Elly.

“Don’t be silly Chloe, he can take me” Elly replied as she held tightly onto Chloe, she wasn’t going to let any harm come to her.

“BOTH OF YOU STOP” he shouted as he fired the gun into the roof.

The noise of the gun going off scared everyone! Not only the people in Harold’s but all those waiting outside.

“Not my girls” Dipi shouted as she tried to go under the police tape.

“Babe it’s ok” Shane said as he held onto her tightly.

“What’s happening?” Aaron shouted.

“As soon as we know anything we will let you know” one of the police sergeants said.

“Look, there are people coming out” Aaron replied pointing to the kids who were running for their lives.

Dipi was ecstatic that Kirsha was running towards her, she couldn’t wait to wrap her arms around her tightly and never let her go.

“Where’s Yashvi?” Dipi asked.

“Where’s Chloe and Elly?” Aaron also asked.

“He’s keeping the three of them hostage so that he has some sort of leverage against the police” Kirsha replied.

“Was anyone hurt from that gunshot?” Mark asked calmly.

“No he just shot up into the ceiling to keep everyone quiet” Kirsha replied.

“Ok, that’s good” Mark said as his heart was beating out of his chest.

Back inside Elly, Chloe and Yashvi were all in the corner of the shop huddled up trying to stay safe. The gunman was back on the phone with the negotiator to try and come to an arrangement for the getaway vehicle.

“I’m running out of ideas” Elly whispered to Chloe.

“Just stay calm, we will be ok” Chloe replied as she squeezed Elly’s hand tighter.

“Thank you” Elly said as she looked longingly into Chloe’s eyes.

“Stop whispering you two, you are doing my head in. Just be quiet” he shouted.

“What are the police saying?” Yashvi asked.

“None of your business”.

“Well are they providing you with the car or not?”

“Yashvi shh, please” Elly said trying to make sure Yashvi didn’t get herself in trouble.

“You think your smart don’t you... I think I’ll take you as my hostage” he said pointing his gun at Yashvi.

Elly got up immediately, putting herself in between Yashvi and the gun.

“You’ll have to go through me first” Elly said doing her best to act brave, but deep down she was shitting herself.

“Fine you’ll do” he replied.

“No take me” Chloe said jumping up.

“Not this stupid argument again, I’ll take you both”.

Chloe reached for Elly’s hand, she wasn’t going to let go.

“You can go” He said to Yashvi.

“I don’t want to leave you two...” Yashvi said to Chloe and Elly.

“Go, now while you can” Elly replied.

Yashvi ran to the door, while the door was open Leo ran in and tackles the gunman to the floor. Giving the police enough time to get in behind him, pinning him down on the floor, neutralising the threat.

Elly immediately turned around and grabbed onto Chloe tightly, she couldn’t believe what the two of them had just gone through. The thought of losing Chloe had put so much into perspective for her, she couldn’t lose her not for any reason.

“Thank you” Elly whispered into Chloe’s ear as she squeezed tightly.

“What for?” Chloe replied trying to keep her emotions in check.

“For being there and for making me feel brave enough to stand up to him” Elly explained.

“You did that all yourself, you are that amazing, I didn’t do anything” Chloe replied.

“I really do lo...”

“ELLY” Mark shouted as he ran through the door interrupting Elly.

Chloe and Elly stopped hugging immediately, they almost felt like they had been caught doing something they shouldn’t have.

“I am so glad the two of you are ok! We were so worried” Mark said as he grabbed Elly for a warm embrace while Aaron gave Chloe a hug.

“We’re ok, but I won’t lie for a few minutes I didn’t think we would be” Elly said quietly.

“The only reason we are all ok is Elly she was incredible. A real life superhero” Chloe explained.

“Don’t be silly I couldn’t have done any of this without you by my side” Elly replied looking at Chloe intensely.

“I didn’t do anything” Chloe joked.

“You made me feel like a superhero so yes you did” Elly replied reaching for Chloe’s hand.

Aaron immediately noticed the spark between them, he didn’t want to jump to any conclusions but no friends look at each other like that.

“Come here you I don’t want to let go of you yet” Mark said pulling Elly in closely resulting in Elly letting go of Chloe’s hand.

The look of disappointment on Chloe’s face was clear to see. Aaron automatically thought that it must just be because Chloe is lonely and was liking the attention and love from Elly, he never thought that it would be because Chloe was madly in love with Elly.

“Sorry to interrupt but can we borrow the two of you to take a statement” A police officer asked.

“Of course” Elly replied.

She looked over to Chloe and could see that Chloe was anxious, she reached for Chloe’s hand to give her that support.

“We’ve got this, I’m right here” Elly said quietly to Chloe as the two of them walked over to give their statements.

“Thank you” Chloe replied.

While the two of them were giving their accounts of what had just happened, Mark was thanking Leo for being so brave for running into the cafe.

“Thank you for tackling him but at the same time never ever do that again ok? The police had it all covered it was just taking a bit longer than expected, you could have ended up being shot yourself” Mark explained.

“They shot Terese, I had to do something. At that specific moment in time I couldn’t have given a stuff if I had got shot I just didn’t want anyone else to get injured” Leo replied.

“Well thank you, you saved two very important people in my life” Mark said holding his hand out so that he could shake Leo’s hand.

“I’m just glad there were no more casualties” Leo replied shaking Mark’s hand.

“Now go be with the woman you love, give her our best wishes” Mark said.

“Will do, thanks guys” Leo replied as he left Harold’s.

“What a day...” Mark said to Aaron as they waited for the girls to finish giving their statements.

“Tell me about it, who would have thought something like this would happened here. I mean it just makes you put everything into perspective doesn’t it” Aaron replied.

“It does, that’s why I can’t be mad at Chloe missing the wedding. She has absolutely no time to waste so if she wants to go travelling then good for her because life is too short. Don’t get me wrong I’ll miss her and I want her there more than anything but she needs to live her own life” Mark explained.

“Yeah I agree” Aaron replied looking at his sister, he was going to make it his mission to get the truth out of his little sister.

“All done?” Mark asked as the girls returned.

“Yeah, we can go...” Elly replied.

“Come on let’s get you home and get you both a cup of tea” Mark said as he wrapped his arm around his fiancée.

Aaron linked arms with Chloe so that she felt safe on the walk home.

“Never letting you out of my sight again” Aaron said quietly to Chloe.

“God help me, I won’t have a life” Chloe joked.

“You will but with a watchful eye looking out for you”.

“Love you bro” Chloe replied.

“Love you more” Aaron said giving his sister a kiss on the cheek.

“Ewww” Chloe said messing around.

“Oh shut up and just let me be mushy for a second”.

The 4 of them arrived at home, David was busy making everyone dinner. He couldn’t believe what everyone had been through today.

“Come here you two” David said as he embraced Chloe and Elly.

The room fell silent as David squeezed Chloe and Elly so tightly, he was so glad that the two of them were ok.

“I am so glad to see both of you safe and sound” David said.

“We are too...” Chloe replied.

“Sit down let me make you both a cup of tea” David said.

“Thank you” Elly replied.

“I won’t lie i don’t think a cup of tea is going to hit the spot for me” Chloe said.

“Chlo I don’t think now is the right time to get plastered...” Aaron replied.

“I want one glass of wine not 3 bottles. I think after today I deserve a glass” Chloe said.

“I’ll join you” Elly replied.

“Is that ok with you Aaron?” Chloe sarcastically asked.

“Yes of course it is I was just trying to look out for you” Aaron replied.

“Right now I think the girls just need to relax and if that involves wine then so be it” Mark explained.

“Hallelujah, I’ll grab the wine” Chloe joked.

Aaron was worried about Chloe, she had just been through an awful experience and she was using her humour and sarcasm to hide the fact that deep down she had never been more scared in her life.

“Dinner wont be long” David said as he checked on the food in the oven.

“Good because I am starving” Chloe replied.

“Me too actually, I was waiting for my lunch when everything kicked off earlier” Elly added.

“What had you ordered?” Chloe asked.

“Cheese toastie, let’s just say I think it’ll be a bit burnt by now” Elly joked causing Chloe to laugh.

“I’ll be real though I like a bit of burn on my cheese toastie, it gives it that extra dimension don’t you agree?” Chloe replied.

“Yeah but not the type of burn we are talking about” Elly said.

Mark could see that the only thing the girls needed right now was each other’s company. He knew from his experience working in the police that when people go through things together the best way to get over the shock is to do it together and as a team.

“Let’s give them some space, we can eat outside” Mark said quietly to Aaron.

“Ok, I’ll let David know” Aaron replied as he walked over to let his husband know the plan.

David plated up for the girls, placed it in front of them and then headed outside to join the boys. Neither Chloe or Elly had realised that the boys weren’t there, they were too busy being in the moment.

Chapter Text

As the girls tucked into the food that David had cooked for them, they slowly began to realise that the boys weren’t there.

“Where are the boys?” Chloe asked.

“No idea, I hadn’t even noticed... how bad is that” Elly replied.

“Pretty bad, but I guess we were just too busy trying to take our minds off what really happened today”.

“I’ll be honest with you, I’ve never been so scared in my whole life. I’ve never been in a situation like that and I never want to be ever again” Elly said.

“Me either, at any second we could have been shot but that didn’t stop you from making sure you protected every single person in there today. You were a hero, stupid to tell the guy to take you especially when you have so much to look forward to. He 100% would have taken me because let’s face it what future do i have” Chloe explained.

“Would you stop saying things like that? You have a future yes it might not be the one where you grow old and grey but you have one. So please stop saying you don’t, because if today had have gone wrong neither of us would have had a future” Elly replied reaching over the table to grab onto Chloe’s hand.

“That is very true” Chloe said.

“Also I know that this isn’t the best situation for either of us to be in, especially when we wanted space from each other. But right now you are the only person who knows how I’m feeling about today and I couldn’t think of anyone I’d rather be spending time with” Elly explained.

“I couldn’t agree more” Chloe replied smiling at Elly lovingly.

“How’s the food ladies?” David asked as he popped in to check on them both.

“It is delicious, just what we needed” Elly replied.

“We should be kept captive more often if this is the treatment we’re going to get” Chloe joked.

“Chlo...” Elly said looking at Chloe.

“Sorry, humour is the way I deal with things” Chloe replied.

“Well I promise to cook more often, just please don’t go and get yourself mixed up with anything bad just so I’ll cook. Ok?” David said.

“We promise” Elly replied on behalf of them both.

“You can tell the boys they can come back in now, we appreciate the space. I’m in need of a hot bubble bath so I will see you all tomorrow” Chloe said.

“Night Chlo, here if you need anything ok?” Elly replied.

“Thanks, you too” Chloe said as she headed towards the bathroom.

“Night Chloe” David added.

While Chloe ran herself a hot bath, Mark and Aaron arrived back inside confused as to where Chloe had gone.

“Wheres Chlo?” Aaron asked.

“She’s gone for a bath, think today has affected her more than she’s letting on” Elly quietly replied.

“We need to keep an eye on her” Aaron said.

“We will don’t worry” Mark added.

“To be fair I think I might call it a night too, I’m exhausted” Elly said.

“I don’t blame you, sleep well” Aaron replied.

“Yeah, hope you managed to get some sleep” David added.

“I’ll be in soon” Mark said.

“Take your time, I think it’ll be a while until I manage to actually sleep. But thanks guys I appreciate it” Elly replied as she headed to Marks room.

Just as Chloe got into her hot bath, Elly’s head touched the pillow, they both had so much to try and process, it was going to be a hard task. All Elly could think about is what would have happened if Chloe hadn’t have been there for her, she wouldn’t have been anywhere near as brave as she was. It had only backed up her feelings about how she honestly couldn’t live without Chloe in her life, it just wasn’t an option.

“You awake?” Mark whispered as he walked into his room.

Elly wasn’t fully asleep but she really didn’t want to talk about anything, she just wanted to try and get as much sleep as she could.

After getting no response, Mark just quietly got into bed and cuddled Elly keeping her safe.

The middle of the night arrived and neither Elly or Chloe could sleep, their minds were doing overtime. Elly quietly made her way into the kitchen where she saw Chloe sat there staring into space. Elly placed her hand on Chloe’s shoulder as she walked past, ready to put the kettle on.

“Couldn’t sleep?” Elly asked Chloe.

“No, every time I closed my eyes all I could see was his face” Chloe said.

“Same and how the outcome could have been so different”.

“That’s the worst bit, closing them and seeing that bullet hit someone instead of the ceiling” Chloe replied.

“Yeah I got that too”.

“What are we going to do?” Chloe asked with an anxious look on her face.

“Well I’ll make us a drink and we can have a seat on the sofa and see if we manage to fall asleep” Elly replied.

Chloe headed over to the sofa to try and get comfortable while she waited for Elly to arrive with the tea.

“Here we go” Elly said as she handed Chloe her drink.

“Thank you” Chloe replied.

“Shall I put the tv on? Or do you just want to talk?” Elly asked.

“I honestly don’t mind, I’m hoping this drink and the fact that you are with me will send me to sleep”.

“Am I that boring?” Elly joked.

“No, not at all. I just mean that I feel safe and secure in your company. When I was on my own, even in the bath I was on edge. I mean I knew I was safe because the door was locked but I still felt scared” Chloe explained.

“I know exactly what you mean...without you today I don’t know what I’d have done” Elly replied.

“Let’s not even think about that” Chloe said giving Elly a loving smile.

Elly moved closer to Chloe and rested her head on Chloe’s shoulder. The two of them just sat there in silence because they both felt safe with one another. Once the two of them had finished their drinks, they cosied up on the sofa hoping that the two of them could get some sleep.

Meanwhile back in Mark’s bedroom, Mark woke to an empty bed. He was startled he didn’t know where Elly was, after today he was worried.

“Elly?” Mark said quietly trying not to wake anyone up.

As he walked into the living room he saw the two of them fast asleep on the sofa. He grabbed the blanket from the side and gently placed it over the two of them and headed back to sleep. He was glad that the two of them were asleep, todays trauma was a lot to take in.

The morning arrived and the sun was shining brightly into the Brennan house, Chloe and Elly were still fast asleep on the sofa.

“How long have they been there?” Aaron asked Mark as he walked into the kitchen.

“No idea, I woke about 2am and Elly wasn’t in bed. So it must have been before them” Mark replied.

“They can’t be comfy...”

“Probably not but the fact that they got any sleep at all is a miracle. I’ve known people who have gone through similar things not sleep for days, so I’m just glad they managed to” Mark explained.

“That’s good then, I’m going to go for a run be back in a bit” Aaron replied as he quietly headed outside.

“In a bit” Mark said as he grabbed the newspaper and heading into the back yard.

It wasn’t long before Elly woke up, her head had been rested on Chloe’s shoulder all night. As she woke she looked at how peaceful Chloe was fast asleep next to her, it had been one of the best nights sleep she had got in a long time. To thank Chloe, she leant over and gave Chloe a kiss on the cheek. She had absolutely no idea why she had just done that but every inch of her body and mind was telling her too.

Elly left to head for a shower, what she didn’t realise is that Chloe wasn’t asleep. As soon as Elly left, Chloe gently stroked her cheek where Elly had just kissed her. She couldn’t believe what had just happened, why did Elly kiss her? Was it because she was still caught up in the moment of yesterday? Or was it because she was slowly figuring out the feelings she had for Chloe?

“Morning Chlo, How did you sleep?” Mark asked as he returned to the kitchen.

“Better once I was with Elly, if that makes any sense?” Chloe replied.

“It makes perfect sense, you two went through something huge and you are going to rely on each other for a while because Elly is the only one that knows what you are going through” Mark explained.

“So it’s ok if I steal her for a little bit? Just while we both get through this?” Chloe asked.

“Of course it is, anything for you two to be back to your normal selves” Mark replied giving his sister a big hug.

“Thanks bro, I appreciate it” Chloe said as she headed to get changed.

“Oops sorry” Elly said as she bumped into Chloe.

“Lucky your towel didn’t fall down” Chloe joked.

“Yeah. Look I was going to suggest that the two of us go to Harold’s later... to face up to our fears sooner rather than later?” Elly suggested.

“Sure, I think it’ll be best if we do it straight away because after all they do sell the best coffee in Erinsborough.”

“That is true” Elly replied.

“Well I’ll go get ready and then we can head off?” Chloe said.

“Sounds good” Elly replied.

About an hour passed and both the girls were ready to leave to make the journey to Harold’s. They were both really nervous but knew that they would be able to get through it together.

“Ready?” Elly asked.

“Let’s do this” Chloe replied.

“Good luck girls, here if you need anything” Mark said.

“Yeah were on the end of the phone” Aaron added.

The two of them left, the walk to Harold’s was pretty silent as neither of them knew what to say. As soon as Harold’s was in sight their palms began to sweat, their hearts began to race.

“I don’t know if I can go in there? My heart feels like it’s about to stop” Chloe said anxiously.

“Hey... look at me. We can do this” Elly replied holding tightly onto both of Chloe’s hands and looking directly into Chloe’s eyes.

Chloe’s stood there and took a really deep breath in.

“Ok, we can do this” Chloe replied.

Elly slowly started to walk towards the door, holding Chloe’s hand tightly so that she could follow her.

“Girls I am so happy to see you both” Dipi immediately said as soon as she saw the girls.

She embraced the two of them, she could feel how tense and anxious the two of them were.

“This can’t be easy for either of you...”

“It’s not, being back here after yesterday I just feel so sick. I feel like someone is just going to storm through the door with a gun and hold us all hostage again” Chloe replied physically shaking.

“Hey, that’s not going to happen” Dipi said holding onto Chloe’s hand.

“Dipi is right, it won’t happen. They’ve caught them both and they will be going away for a very very long time. It will get easier” Elly replied.

“I hope so” Chloe said with a nervous look on her face.

“You two sit down and I will bring you both over a coffee, to say thank you for keeping both my girls safe. I honestly don’t know how I will ever thank you both” Dipi explained.

“You don’t need to thank us, we were just doing what anyone would do” Elly replied.

“Well thank you and these are on the house of course” Dipi said as she left the two of them to get their drinks.

Chapter Text

Elly and Chloe were patiently waiting for their coffees, they felt weird being back in Harold’s so quickly after everything happened.

“Can you believe it was only yesterday...” Elly said quietly as she looked up to the hole in the ceiling where the bullet hit.

“I know, it seems like weeks ago”.

“Like why was he even in here? Why Harold’s?”

“We will never know the answers to that so it’s probably best that we just try and forget about it. I know that’s easier said than done but we got through that we can get through anything” Chloe explained.

“You are right... I’m glad we came here. I think if we had left it a few days it would have been a lot harder to walk through that door” Elly replied.

“It would have been...” Chloe began to say before she was interrupted by Elly’s phone ringing.

“Sorry...” Elly said to Chloe as she went to answer the phone.

“Don’t be... answer it”.

“Hello?”

“Elly Conway?”

“This is she...”

“We would like to offer you an interview for the teaching position”.

“Really? When’s the interview?” Elly replied as her eyes lit up with excited.

“Today if that’s ok? We need to try and fill the position as quickly as we can”.

“Today?...” Elly said as she looked over to Chloe for advice on what she should do.

“Go for it!” Chloe quietly replied.

“Today is fine. I can be there shortly” Elly said.

“Perfect. We look forward to seeing you soon”.

“Likewise” Elly said as she put the phone down.

As soon as she pressed the red button on her phone, the smile that arrived on her face was ginormous. Could this be the luck she had been looking for?

“An interview...this is amazing” Chloe said.

“I know! Talk about a stroke of luck. I need to go change, I don’t exactly look very professional” Elly replied.

“Elly, you look fine! Your not going for an interview with the woman that sacked you for inappropriate clothing, so just trust me you look amazing” Chloe explained.

“You sure?”

“Positive”.

“Ok, well I’ll quickly drink my coffee and then head off I suppose. God I’m nervous”.

“Don’t be. You’ve got this! You are an incredible teacher and anyone who doesn’t think that needs their heads checking” Chloe explained.

“Thanks but you have to say that”.

“Trust me I don’t have to say anything”.

“But you always do because you are Chloe Brennan and you love to share your opinion” Elly joked.

“That’s me!”

“Here we go ladies” Dipi said as she handed the girls their coffees. “I put them in a travel mug because I kind of overheard your phone call, so thought it would be easier this way”.

“Thank you” Elly replied.

“Good luck. Knock them dead” Dipi said.

“I’ll try my hardest”.

“She’ll be amazing” Chloe added.

Chloe decided that she would walk Elly to her car so that she could give her a good luck hug.

“Wish me luck” Elly said as she arrived at her car.

“You don’t need luck you’ve got this” Chloe replied as she embraced Elly.

While Chloe’s arms were around Elly she felt safe, she could take a deep breath in and in that very moment everything felt ok.

“Thank you” Elly said as she got into her car.

“Let me know how it goes”.

“Will do” Elly replied as she drove off.

Chloe felt lost as Elly left her, the only thing that had made her feel safe over the last 24 hours had left her, she felt anxious and needed to get around people as soon as possible. Heading straight for Lassiter’s, Chloe decided to throw herself into work to take her mind off everything.

“Chloe are you ok?” Ned asked as she walked through the door looking very pale.

“Uhhh yeah I’m fine” Chloe replied.

“Should you really be here after yesterday?”

“Probably not but I’m fine and want to work. Especially because Terese is in hospital, she’s going to need me to work as much as possible” Chloe explained.

“Ok! But promise me if you need to go home or stop you will? I know I have no authority here mum would want you to look after you as well as the hotel” Ned replied.

“I promise! Now I need to get to work” Chloe said heading towards her office.

Ned was worried about Chloe so decided to let Aaron know that Chloe was at work.

“Everything ok bro?” Aaron asked as he answered the phone.

“Yes, I just wanted to let you know that Chloe was at work. She seems a little on edge which I’m not surprised but I don’t know if you could check in on her later and see what you think?” Ned explained.

“Yeah I’ll do that, thanks for letting me know” Aaron replied.

“No worries” Ned said.

As soon as Aaron put the phone down, Mark wanted to know what that conversation had been about.

“What’s wrong?” Mark asked panicking slightly.

“It was just Ned letting me know that Chloe’s at work”.

“What? So where’s Elly?” Mark replied.

“I don’t know, check your phone she might have messaged you”.

“I thought the two of them were sticking together today...”

“Just calm down I’m sure everything is fine... I’ll ring Chloe and ask her where Elly is” Aaron said as he dialled Chloe’s work number.

“Chloe Brennan, Lassiter’s hotel... how can I help you?”

“It’s me, Where’s Elly?” Aaron asked.

“She’s got an interview for a teaching position”.

“She didn’t mention anything...” Aaron said with confusion in his voice.

“That’s because she only heard about it this morning when we were getting coffee”.

“Oh ok. Also why are you at work?”

“Because I need to keep busy and I have work to do... is that ok?” Chloe asked.

“Yeah but I’m coming and taking you out for lunch ok?” Aaron said.

“Fine”.

“That would be lovely Aaron, thank you very much” Aaron sarcastically replied impersonating Chloe’s voice.

“That would be lovely, thank you” Chloe reluctantly said.

“I shall see you soon then” Aaron replied.

“Bye” Chloe said as she put the phone down and continued making her way through her emails.

“So? Where’s Elly?” Mark asked.

“An interview, they rang while they were at Harold’s and she had to leave immediately” Aaron explained.

“She could have at least text me...”

“She probably didn’t have time, I wouldn’t worry too much. She’ll ring you when she’s finished” Aaron replied.

“I hope so” Mark said.

It was fast approaching lunchtime and Aaron was making his way to Lassiter’s to collect his sister to treat her to lunch. As he walked into the hotel, he stood and watched his sister in full motion, she was so good at her job and loved it.

“So when will you be running this place?” Aaron asked as he walked over to Chloe.

“One day... one day” Chloe replied.

“You ready to grab some lunch?”

“Give me a couple of minutes, just need to sort a guest complaint out and I’ll be right with you...”

“Ok, I’ll wait over here” Aaron replied as he headed to one of the comfy seats.

While Chloe was sorting out the complaint her phone rang, it was Elly. Chloe dropped everything to answer the phone quickly.

“Elly? How did it go?” Chloe asked.

“Are you free for lunch? Could really do with a friend right now...” A disheartened Elly replied.

“Sure. Meet you at the park?”

“Thank you” Elly replied.

“Anytime” Chloe said.

Chloe now needed to break that news to Aaron that she was standing him up for a better offer.

“Az?”

“Yeah, you ready?”

“I can’t go for lunch with you...”

“Why not?” A disappointed Aaron asked.

“Because Elly just rang and she needs me... so I’m sorry we are going to have to rearrange” Chloe explained.

“Really? Can’t she just go see Mark?”

“Look she needs me...” Chloe replied as she headed towards the door.

“Charming” Aaron sarcastically said as he watched her leave.

Aaron couldn’t understand why Elly would ring Chloe and not Mark. He knew that the two of them had been through a lot together but there was something more there and Aaron wasn’t going to stop until he found out what.

“Hey I got you a sandwich...” Chloe said as Elly walked towards her.

“Thank you!”

“So I’m guessing things didn’t go well?”

“Things were going great until my mind started to wonder off and then all I couldn’t think about was yesterday. I couldn’t get my words out they must have thought I was a right mumbling idiot” Elly explained.

“Please tell me you told them what happened yesterday?”

“I didn’t want the sympathy vote. I thought I could handle but I guess I was wrong” Elly replied.

“There will be other interviews and other jobs I promise you. Plus they are fools not to employ you” Chloe explained.

“You are too kind. Shall we eat?”

“Yes! Shall we sit over there?” Chloe said as she pointed to the grass overlooking the lake.

“Perfect. What sarnie did you get me?”

“I thought I’d get you a cheese toastie...” Chloe joked causing Elly to laugh.

“I hope it’s not burnt!”

“No burn don’t you worry” Chloe replied.

“Thank you”.

“It’s just a sandwich”.

“I mean for putting a smile on my face yet again when I needed you too”.

“That’s what I’m here for” Chloe replied.

“I’m glad we are hanging out again, I know things still aren’t clear but I missed you the days we didn’t see each other” Elly said.

“I missed you too. Talking about things... I’ve been trying to work out whether or not to bring this up but life is too short so here goes. Did you kiss me earlier?”

“Yeah I did”.

“Why?”

“Because you looked so peaceful and I was just so glad that you weren’t hurt yesterday. I genuinely wouldn’t know what to do without you” Elly replied.

“No other reason?” Chloe asked.

“Don’t get me wrong falling asleep with you and waking up beside you felt so normal, felt so right and every part of my body wanted to kiss you so I did. Chloe if I was single then I would 100% see where these feelings led but I can’t leave Mark...”

“So we both just have to bury our feelings then?” Chloe replied.

“I can’t see any other way”.

“I can but it’s not a good way”.

“I won’t cheat on him, if he ever found out he would disown both us” Elly replied.

“Ok” Chloe disappointedly said.

“I am so sorry trust me I wish things were different I really do”.

“It’s fine” Chloe replied.

Elly knew it wasn’t, she hated seeing Chloe crushed but she just couldn’t see any other way.

“Shit is that the time I promised Susan I’d help her with something” Elly said.

“Yeah no worries I need to get back to work anyway” Chloe replied.

“Were ok though?” Elly asked as she could sense a little bit of tension between the two of them.

“Yeah were fine” Chloe replied.

“Ill see you later then. Thanks for today, I really appreciate it”.

“Anytime” Chloe said as she gathered her things and headed back to work with disappointed look on her face.

As Chloe was walking back to Lassiter’s she bumped into Aaron, he immediately knew something was wrong.

“Oi, what’s wrong?” Aaron asked as he rushed over to where Chloe was.

“Nothing...”

“Chloe don’t lie to me. What’s wrong...”

“Aaron please just leave it”.

“No I won’t leave it you are upset, so tell me what is wrong”.

“I am in love with Elly” Chloe blurted out luckily there was no one around the hear.

“What?” A shocked Aaron replied.

“Don’t make me say it again...”

“Since when? How? Why?”

“Since forever but it’s got proper bad over the last few months” Chloe replied.

“I’m so sorry Chlo I know how difficult it can be to be in love with someone who doesn’t feel the same” Aaron said as he grabbed his sisters hand.

“Please don’t tell Mark, he can’t find out about this” Chloe begged.

“Don’t worry I won’t tell a soul. Does Elly know?”

Chloe didn’t reply she just nodded her head slowly.

Chapter Text

Aaron was still in shock after hearing that Chloe was in love with Elly, he was even more shocked to find out that she knew about it.

“When did you tell Elly?” Aaron asked.

“Do we have to talk about this?”

“Yes we do. It’s important...”

“She found out in a letter I wrote her”.

“The Christmas card?”

“Yes. The bloody Christmas card”.

“Why did you write it her?”

“Because things were super weird between the two of us since the kiss!” Chloe explained.

“Wait? Hold up... the two of you kissed?”

“Yes we did, well I kissed her”.

“When?”

“The day she lost her job, I was round hers trying to cheer her up and I got caught up in the moment and kissed her” Chloe explained.

“Did she kiss you back?” Aaron asked.

“I’m not answering these questions right now. I need to get to work” Chloe replied. She couldn’t deal with this onslaught of questions, especially after what had just happened between her and Elly in the Park.

“Chloe don’t walk away”.

“Im late” Chloe replied as she continued to walk away from Aaron.

Aaron knew he needed to figure out a way to get Chloe’s mind off of Elly, he decided to ring his mum to see if she had any ideas.

“Mum...” Aaron said.

“Yes sweetheart?” Fay replied.

“Can you ever remember Chloe having a serious relationship with a woman?”

“That’s a very random question... but yes a girl called Mel. Why?”

“Long story but I think she’s lonely and i was thinking if she saw an ex again that might help”.

“But she’s an ex for a reason Aaron. Look I don’t know the whole story between the two of them but I don’t think it ended well” Fay explained.

“Do you have her number?” Aaron asked.

“Aaron I really don’t think this will end well”.

“Trust me I need a distraction for Chloe. I can’t explain things fully to you but trust me it’s the only option”

“Fine I’ll send it to you but when this all ends up in tears don’t come running to me ok?” Fay replied.

“Fine I won’t. But thanks mum I love you”.

“Love you too” Fay replied.

Aaron waited for the text to come through with the number of Chloe’s ex, as soon as the text arrived a smile appeared on his face.

“Love you mum” Aaron shouted as he kissed his phone.

He wasted no time at all in sending Mel a text, he didn’t really know what to say but just went for it anyway.

Mel, this is really random but I’m Chloe’s brother. And I just wanted to let you know that if you were ever in Erinsborough that she would love to have a drink. Aaron

Aaron headed home, he knew he was going to need to try extra hard not to act differently around Elly. By the time he got home he had had a reply from Mel, it didn’t say much.

Thanks, Good to know.

Aaron didn’t know if that meant she was coming to Erinsborough or not.

“Hey babe, you had a good day?” David asked as Aaron walked through the door.

“It’s been a long day and I am in need of a beer” Aaron replied.

“What’s happened? Everything ok?”

“Yeah everything’s fine”.

“Good. We’re having a barbie, Mark and Elly are out back. Chloe shouldn’t be home late” David replied.

“Sounds good, anything you want me to do?” Aaron asked.

“You could go see if Elly and Mark need a beer”.

“Consider it done” Aaron replied as he took a deep breath, knowing he had to act normal around Elly after hearing about how she knew Chloe loved her.

As he walked outside he immediately saw Mark and Elly being all loved up, it was in that moment that he realised how hard all this wedding talk must have been for Chloe. It all made perfect sense.

“Either of you need a beer?” Aaron asked.

“Yes please, 2” Mark replied.

“Coming right up”.

“Did you see Chloe?” Elly asked as she was worried about how the two of the, left things.

“Only for a couple of minutes she was late getting back to work” Aaron replied.

“She seem ok?”

“Yeah of course, why wouldn’t she be ok?”

“No reason, she was just a bit quiet at lunch” Elly replied thinking on her feet.

“I’m sure she’s fine” Aaron said.

“Good, I’m glad” Elly replied.

“I’ll go get the beers then” Aaron said as he headed off back inside.

He was intrigued as to what the conversation had been between the two of them in the park. It can’t have been good if Elly was worried about how Chloe was.

Chloe arrived home to find them all relaxing in the backyard, she quickly got changed out of her works clothes and joined them.

“Fire up the barbie, I’m home” She shouted as she announced her arrival.

“Here she is...” Aaron said as he pulled out the chair next to where he was sat.

“How was work?” Mark asked.

“Busy but it was nice to be back to normal”.

“Yeah going to Harold’s help, a lot” Elly added.

“Well I’m glad you girls had each other” Mark said.

Aaron slyly looked over to Chloe, who was busy smiling at Elly. Chloe was in deep and he could see that.

“I might jump in the pool before we have dinner, anyone want to join?” Chloe asked as she stood up.

“I’ll join you...”. Elly replied.

“Yeah me too” Aaron immediately said.

Chloe gave Aaron a death stare, he was going to be their third wheel from now on.

“Aren’t you needed to help with the cooking?” Chloe replied giving Aaron a look.

“No, I think David and Mark can cope” Aaron said.

“Fine” Chloe replied as she headed to her room to get changed into her bikini.

“I know your worried about Chloe after yesterday but back off and let her live her own life. You are smothering her” Mark said to Aaron.

“I’m just keeping an eye out for her” Aaron replied.

“We all are...” Mark added.

Aaron didn’t need to get changed as he was already in his swimmers, he dived into the pool making sure he got Mark wet in the process.

“Ding dong” David said as the two ladies walked out in their bikinis.

“Oh David stop, we don’t look that good” Chloe joked as she walked towards the pool like she was on a runway.

“You both look amazing” Aaron added as he pretended to take photos of them both.

“Grab the unicorn float Elly, I’m going to try this amazing trick” Chloe shouted.

Elly ran over and grabbed the float for her, she was intrigued to see what Chloe was going to do.

“What are you planning?” Elly asked.

“The float is going to be in the middle of the pool and I’m going to run and jump, landing on it” Chloe explained as she threw the float into the pool.

“20 bucks says you won’t do it” Aaron shouted.

“30 says she does” Mark replied giving her sister some confidence.

“Thank you Mark” Chloe said as she got herself ready to perform her trick.

Everyone held their breath as Chloe got ready to begin her run up. Elly couldn’t keep her eyes off Chloe’s boobs, she was trying her hardest but they looked so good.

“Go Chlo” David shouted as Chloe leapt into the air travelling across the water landing partially on the unicorn.

“So close” Chloe said as she came up from underneath the water.

“That was so close. Have another go...” David replied.

“Let me have a go first” Aaron shouted, after seeing Chloe attempt it, he knew that he’d be able to make it.

“Not before I try” Elly said.

“Be careful babe” Mark replied as she got ready to jump.

“Hey? Why didn’t you tell me to be careful?” Chloe asked.

“Because you’d tell me to shut up” Mark replied.

“True”.

“Ready?” Elly said as she began her run up.

Elly failed miserably landing miles away from the unicorn float, she felt silly for even attempting it.

“Good try babe” Mark said trying to be supportive.

“Yeah nice try” Chloe added as she swam over to high five Elly.

“I was awful” Elly whispered.

“But at least you looked good doing it” Chloe replied being a bit flirty with Elly.

“Stop it, someone will see” Elly said swimming away from Chloe.

“Move you two” Aaron shouted as he got ready to have his attempt.

Aaron landed on the float perfectly, everyone was annoyed that he had managed to do it first.

“Ugh no one likes a show off” Chloe mumbled.

“Your just jealous that I’m practically perfect in every way” Aaron replied splashing water into Chloe’s face.

“I hate you” Chloe said pushing the float with Aaron on away.

“Now now you two, pack it in” Elly joked.

“You can shh and all” Aaron replied splashing Elly in the face.

“Oh no you didn’t” Elly said in an aggressive tone.

“Let’s get him” Chloe replied looking at Elly.

The two of the grabbed Aaron’s legs and pulled him into the water, trying to dunk him under the water but Aaron was just too strong for them both. As the two of them tried to push harder and harder, Aaron moved resulting in the two of them clashing into each other. Chloe’s hand accidentally grazed Elly’s boob, something that neither of the girls minded but Aaron was quick to notice the spark between them. He was starting to wonder if the feelings weren’t just one sided, by the way Elly was looking at Chloe.

“Dinner won’t be long” Mark shouted as he flipped over the sausages.

“Yes” Aaron replied swimming through both of the girls to break up the little moment the two of them were having.

“Dinner, yes. What can I do?” Elly asked snapping out of the moment they were having. Her heart was racing, it did anytime that Chloe got near to her.

Chloe just put her head under the water to take a few moments to herself. She was going to kill Aaron for ruining the moment the two of them were just having. Chloe took her time getting out of the pool, being in the water it calmed her. As she headed inside to get changed and grab herself a beer, the front door bell went.

Chloe opened the door, it was Piper.

“Hey, come in...” Chloe said.

“Sorry to interrupt, I’ve just got back from visiting mum at the hospital and she’s given me a list of things for you to do tomorrow if that’s ok?” Piper replied.

“Yeah, Of course! How’s she doing?” Chloe asked.

“Better, a lot better. She’ll be out of action for quite a while though so I think she’s relying on you a little bit”.

“That’s absolutely fine. I’m happy to do as much as I can” Chloe replied.

“Thank you” Piper said handing Chloe the list.

“No problem, give her my love and tell her I will come and visit when she’s feeling a bit brighter” Chloe replied.

“Will do, thank you Chlo” Piper said as she headed home.

Chloe looked at the list, it was a very long list but she knew that she was capable of doing it all to a very good standard. The first thing that was on the list was to organise a Charity Games night, Chloe’s track record for organising games nights hadn’t been great.

“Chlo dinner is ready” Mark shouted.

“Coming...” Chloe replied as she quickly got changed.

“Who was at the door?” Mark asked as Chloe sat down at the table.

“Piper, with a list of jobs for me to do tomorrow. Including organising a charity games night” Chloe replied waiting for the laughter to begin.

“A games night?” Elly said laughing.

“Yes a games night. Look there was nothing wrong with my last one it was just a bit of a booze up” Chloe replied.

“The last one was awful” Aaron added.

“I’m free to help with this one?” Elly said offering her expertise.

“That would be great thanks” Chloe replied with a smile on her face.

“I’m free to help too” Aaron added knowing that he needed to be there to keep an eye on the two of them.

“We’ll be fine Az” Chloe replied.

“No, no I insist” Aaron said giving Chloe a look.

Chapter Text

A new day dawned and Chloe was up bright and early making sure she could do all she could to make this games night a massive success. After making herself a cup of coffee, she headed to work to get started.

“Morning Ned, could you do me a favour?” Chloe said as soon as she saw Ned.

“Sure, what’s up?” Ned replied, he was happy to see a smile on Chloe’s face.

“Your good at making posters aren’t you? I need a couple made for a charity games evening tomorrow at the waterhole. They need to catch people’s eyes, can you do that for me?” Chloe asked.

“Of course I can, I’ll get to it right away” Ned replied.

“Thank you”.

“Anything to try and make the games night better than last time” Ned joked.

“Don’t you start... I’ve had this from everyone already. It wasn’t that bad was it?”

“It wasn’t good” Ned replied as he began to laugh.

“Just go make the posters” Chloe said.

“Yes boss” Ned replied.

Chloe reached her office and immediately checked her phone to see if she had had any messages off Terese. The only person she had had a message from was Elly, reminding her that she was free all day to help out.

*Morning Chlo, you left before I was able to speak to you this morning. I just wanted to remind you that I’m free all day to help you. So just let me know when you need me. E xx*

Reading the message put a huge smile on Chloe’s face, she knew that she could always rely on Elly no matter what.

*Sorry was in a rush, head over whenever you want. Chlo xx*

Over at the house Elly was eating her breakfast, as soon as her phone beeped she checked to see who it was. Seeing that it was from Chloe put a huge smile on her face too.

“Good news?” Aaron asked when he noticed the smile on Elly’s face.

“Pardon?”

“Your phone? You’ve got a ridiculously large smile on your face, so what’s the good news?” Aaron replied.

“No good news, it’s just a message from Chloe” Elly said as she locked her phone and put it on the table.

“Oh really? What did she want?” Aaron asked being nosey.

“Just talking about the games night, nothing exciting”.

“I see...”

“Whats with the 20 questions?” Elly asked as she noticed Aaron was acting weird.

“You two just seem extremely close at the moment”.

“We are, I would have thought that’s a good thing... no?”

“Of course it’s a good thing I just sometimes think she needs some other friends too” Aaron replied.

“Where is this coming from?” Elly asked with a look of confusion on her face.

“I don’t know I just think it would be good for her...” Aaron said as he grabbed an apple and headed out the door.

Elly was confused, she had no idea why Aaron would say something like that, she always thought that Aaron liked the fact that the two of them were so close. Deciding just to ignore Aaron, Elly finished her breakfast and headed to Lassiter’s to see what help she could be.

“Morning” Elly said as she walked into Chloe’s office armed with a coffee and a cake from Harold’s.

“Is that one of Harold’s famous danishes?” Chloe replied as she spied the cakes.

“It is... I thought we would both need fuelling for the day ahead” Elly said.

“Thanks again for agreeing to give me a hand, I really appreciate it” Chloe replied.

“Anytime, you know I have nothing else to do. Plus I’m pretty good at organising things. So what can I do?” Elly asked with a smile on her face.

“You can go through that box of decorations on the table and see what we can salvage to use that doesn’t say happy birthday or congratulations” Chloe replied.

“Consider it done” Elly said as she headed over to the box.

As Elly was sifting through the decorations, Chloe was trying to focus on the emails she was writing but couldn’t stop herself from watching Elly work. She was going to be a huge distraction but at the same time Chloe loved having her around.

“What about these?” Elly jokes holding up a really tacky fluorescent yellow banner.

“Oh my god why on earth would anyone have used those!” Chloe replied as she made her way over to Elly to get a closer look.

“I honestly thing we can make these work...” Elly said in a serious yet jokey manner.

“We could make it like a 70’s theme to fit in with the fluorescent yellow colour...” Chloe replied with real enthusiasm.

Elly tried her best to compose herself but she couldn’t stop the laughter from coming.

“What are you laughing at?” Chloe asked.

“The fact you thought I was being serious... we can’t use these” Elly replied.

“Oi, you were teasing me!” Chloe said snatching the banner off Elly.

“I was because it’s too easy” Elly replied.

“You are so mean” Chloe said poking Elly.

The two of them began to play fight with each other, causing a lot of laughter and little shrieks. Something which concerned Aaron as he arrived to help, he put his ear up to the door to try and bear what the two were getting up to. He couldn’t quite hear so burst through the door to stop any funny business.

“What’s going on in here...” Aaron said loudly as he opened the door.

“What the hell Az? You scared me half to death” Chloe replied giving Aaron a death stare.

“I could hear lots of noise so was worried something bad had happened...” Aaron said trying to come up with an excuse for his strange behaviour.

“Since when has laughter been a worrying sign?” Chloe asked.

“Well it’s not.. but I was missing out on the laughter. Anyway I’m here to help so what can I do?” Aaron replied changing the subject.

“You can get us both some lunch? We are starving” Elly said.

“What do you both want?” Aaron asked.

“Something yummy” Chloe added.

“Well why don’t we all go for some lunch?” Aaron suggested so that the two of them weren’t left on their own yet again.

“If your paying?” Chloe replied.

“Fine, my shout. Waterhole, you can have anything off the cheapo menu” Aaron said.

“There’s the brother we all know and love... stingy is his middle name”.

“Oi, you are lucky we are going out at all!”

“It was your suggestion, we were both happy with a sandwich” Chloe replied.

“Yeah I’m easy” Elly added.

“Get your bags were going” Aaron explained.

“Yes boss” Chloe joked saluting at Aaron.

Aaron watched as Chloe and Elly left the room being all silly with one another, he was worried that the longer Chloe spent around Elly the deeper she was going to find herself falling. Deciding to break the two of them up, Aaron barged the two of them apart and linked arms with both of them.

“Let’s go ladies” Aaron said as the three of them walked along in a line.

Chloe knew exactly what Aaron was doing and it was driving her mad, she just wanted him to leave the two of them alone.

The three of them arrived at the waterhole, Aaron made sure that he found a table where he could sit in between them both.

“How about this one ladies?” Aaron said as he found a table in the corner.

“Nah I prefer one of these high tables” Chloe replied.

“Me too! Sorry” Elly added as the girls made themselves comfortable.

“I need to sit there...” Aaron said.

“Why?” Elly asked.

“I need to be able to see the door...”

“And why is that?”

“My anxiety gets up if I can’t see the door” Aaron replied trying to come up with a reason.

“Bull... SHIT” Chloe replied. She had had enough of Aaron being an idiot.

“Chlo, a bit harsh. I’ll move if it means that much to him” Elly said as she swapped seats with Aaron.

“He doesn’t have anxiety he’s just being weird” Chloe replied.

“Thank you Elly I appreciate it” Aaron said looking intensely at Chloe.

“I’m going to get the drinks” Elly replied. She couldn’t understand why the two of them were acting so oddly.

“What the hell are you doing?” Chloe whispered to Aaron as soon as Elly left the table.

“I am trying to protect you” Aaron replied.

“I don’t need protecting I am dealing with this my way” Chloe said.

“Oh and how are you dealing with this? By spending as much time with her as possible? How is that going to help?” Aaron asked.

“Look we both just went through something pretty traumatic so we need each other right now” Chloe replied.

“No you don’t need her you want her”.

“Just shut up!” Chloe replied just as Elly returned to the table with three cocktails to try and lighten the mood.

“Here we go, a little something to take the edge off things” Elly said with a smile on her face.

“Elly I’m still working” Chloe replied.

“One won’t hurt will it?” Elly said.

“Come on Chlo lighten up...” Aaron replied taking a big sip from his drink.

“Fine one drink, but no more until we’ve finished” Chloe said.

Elly held up her drink ready to clink with the others, she wanted to propose a toast.

“Here’s to making the best games night ever” Elly said as she looked at Chloe and smiled.

“Lets do it” Chloe replied.

While the 3 of them waited for their food to arrive, Chloe was busy making a few phone calls to try and make sure they had all the games they could ever need.

“How amazing am I?” Chloe said as she hung the phone up.

“What?” Aaron replied.

“I’ve only gone and bagged myself a roulette table for tomorrow’s event” Chloe explained.

“That’s amazing! I love roulette” Elly replied.

“Maybe you and Mark could do like a casino evening at your wedding?” Aaron suggested, quickly wiping the smile off of Chloe’s face.

Elly noticed that as soon as the wedding was mentioned Chloe’s expression changed, she was determined to get Aaron off the subject as quickly as possible.

“Nah, it’s not really us! Anyway what else have you managed to get?” Elly said asking Chloe trying to change the subject.

“Well I managed to...” Chloe began to say but Aaron soon interrupted her.

“So what are the two of you planning for the evening do?” Aaron asked.

“A bbq and maybe some dancing. I don’t know... today’s not about the wedding it’s about the games night. So carry on Chlo” Elly replied.

“I’ve got the usual like monopoly, scrabble, cards, dominos, giant jenga...” Chloe explained.

“Sounds amazing! I love jenga, I’ll give you a game” Elly replied.

“Not before I do” Aaron added.

“I can give you both a game” Chloe replied.

“Here’s your food, enjoy” Shelia said as she gave them all their lunch.

“This looks amazing, thank you” Elly replied.

“Yes it really does” Chloe added.

“Do you have some salt?” Aaron asked.

“Yes it’s over there, so get off your lazy ass and go get it” Shelia replied in her usual charming manner.

“That’s told you!” Chloe joked as Aaron went to get himself some salt.

“What’s up with him today?” Elly asked quietly.

“No idea. He’s driving me mad, always there in my face” Chloe replied.

“Tell me about it” Elly said as the pair started to giggle.

“What have I missed?” Aaron asked as he arrived back at the table with some salt.

“Just a private matter...” Chloe replied.

“Girly stuff!” Elly added.

“I can do girly stuff... I’m gay remember” Aaron joked.

“Your about the least girly gay I know!!” Chloe replied.

“Oh go on let me in on your secret” Aaron pleaded desperate to find out the gossip.

“Fine if you must know I was asking for a tampon...” Chloe replied.

Elly began to laugh at the look on Aaron’s face.

“Ah I’ll leave that business to you...” Aaron replied as he tucked into his burger.

Chapter Text

After the three of them had finished their boozy lunch they all returned to Chloe’s office to continue with the preparations. What none of them had realised is that Mel, Chloe’s ex had been hiding in the corner of the pub watching the three of them. She was waiting for the right moment to say hello to Chloe as she knew it could be a fiery encounter.

“Aaron I need you to do me a favour?” Elly asked.

“Sure thing? What’s up?” Aaron replied.

“Can you pop to the shops and get some new banners for us?” Elly asked.

“Well why can’t you do it?” Aaron replied.

“Because I’m heading over to Susan’s to pick up some games so I can’t” Elly said trying to get rid of Aaron for a little bit.

“Ok, fine what do we need?” Aaron reluctantly asked.

“Just some brightly coloured banners that will look good up in the waterhole”.

“Ooh how about the flags? They always look good” Chloe added.

“Ok, I’ll see what I can do” Aaron replied as he left the office to head into town.

“I thought he would never leave” Elly joked as the door closed.

“Aren’t you off to Susan’s?” Chloe said as she hadn’t clocked onto Elly lying about needing to go there.

“No! That was just a ploy to get rid of him for a little bit” Elly replied.

“Ohh! Oh my god I was totally oblivious to that” Chloe said.

“He’s been hovering over us all day, I get that he’s worried about us after the whole being held captive but we need to be able to breathe” Elly explained.

“Yeah, I agree” Chloe replied relieved that Elly had no idea at all that Aaron knew about the fact that Chloe was in love with Elly.

“So, how about after we finish preparing the waterhole later we stay and enjoy a few cocktails?” Elly suggested.

“Sounds great, I need to ask Shane to come up with a signature cocktail for tomorrow so we can try all of them...” Chloe replied.

“I can’t wait” Elly said with a smile on her face.

The girls continued sorting things for the games night, Elly was dying to ask Chloe a question but didn’t want to make things awkward.

“Can I ask you a question?” Elly said quietly.

“Of course you can... what’s up?” Chloe replied.

“Have you ever been in a serious relationship with a woman? Or has it only ever been lust?” Elly asked.

“Um there was this one chick, I’d say we were pretty serious but it didn’t end well” Chloe replied.

“What was she like?”

“Beautiful, funny, bossy and devious” Chloe replied with a hurt look on her face.

“So nothing like me then?” Elly joked.

“You are ten times a better human than she will ever be” Chloe explained.

“I doubt that...” Elly said trying her best not to blush.

“Can I ask why you wanted to know that?”

“I don’t know I guess just curious”.

“Fair enough” Chloe said as she continued sorting through some paperwork.

“Is it different being in a relationship with a woman?” Elly asked.

“What’s with all the questions?” Chloe said giving off a nervous giggle.

“You don’t have to answer if you don’t want to...”

“I don’t mind answering them I was just wondering why you wanted to know” Chloe replied.

“Like I said I’m just curious” Elly said.

“Being in a relationship with a woman is incredible. You get to kiss lips that are moisturised and soft, you can share clothes, make up, hair products... it’s just fun. Girls tend to be a lot cleaner than boys, obviously Mark is a clean freak. If you asked me right now if I think I’ll end up with a woman or man for the rest of my life... I’d say a woman” Chloe explained.

“What makes you say that?” Elly asked.

“I don’t know they just make me happier, look I know we will never be a thing but if I were to end up with you for the rest of my life I would die a very happy woman” Chloe explained.

“Really?”

“Of course, Elly you are incredible and you make me happy. I just wish I could do that same for you...anyway let’s change the subject!” Chloe replied.

Elly just stood there for a few seconds looking at Chloe, she knew Chloe could make her happy but she couldn’t deal with all the other unhappiness it would cause.

“Earth to Elly?” Chloe joked as she waved her hand in front of Elly’s face.

“Sorry I was miles away...”

“Anywhere nice?” Chloe joked.

“Just thinking... right where were we” Elly said as she quickly got back to what she was doing.

“I’m back” Aaron shouted as he walked through the door holding shopping bags.

“Jesus what did you buy?” Chloe asked.

“Banners, party poppers and these cute little umbrellas for our cocktails” Aaron explained.

“Cocktails?”

“Yeah that we are having tonight after this...” Aaron replied.

Elly immediately looked at Chloe and Chloe looked directly at Elly. How did he know about their plans to have cocktails? Have he bugged the place with a microphone or something?

“We’re not going for cocktails...” Chloe replied.

“Umm yes we are, we spoke about it last night remember?” Aaron said.

“Did we?” Elly asked.

“Yes, it was one of my terms and conditions to helping...”

“I don’t remember that but sure why not” Chloe replied.

“Yeah I’m game” Elly said slyly winking at Chloe.

“Good because we are going to get on it” Aaron replied twirling one of the mini umbrellas around in his mouth.

The evening arrived and the 3 of them were back at the waterhole putting up the decorations that Aaron had got earlier.

“Where are the games you got from Susan’s?” Aaron asked.

“Oh she rang and told me she’d bring them down at some point before tomorrow night” Elly replied thinking on her feet.

“That’s good then” Aaron said knowing full well that Elly had made it all up just to get rid of him.

“Yep... Chloe can you give me a hand?” Elly asked as she stretched to put one of the banners up.

“Sure thing” Chloe replied rushing over to help.

Mel was busy watching the two of them interact, she was pretty sure that the two of them were in a relationship and was wondering why Aaron would have sent her such a message.

“Higher” Elly shouted.

“Alright miss bossy pants...” Chloe replied.

“Chloe when your done a hand here?” Aaron said.

“Jesus must I do everything” Chloe replied.

“You are the boss” Aaron joked.

“I’ll be there in one minute”.

“Go before he drags you away from me” Elly said quietly.

“Don’t you start getting bossy now” Chloe joked.

“Don’t you like the bossiness?” Elly said smirking at Chloe.

“I do, too bloody much” Chloe replied walking away.

Elly’s heart began to race, she loved the fact that the two of them were flirting constantly with each other. She knew that the moment it was too much for Chloe would be the moment she would stop, the last thing she wanted to do was to hurt Chloe.

“You need to keep away from her...” Aaron said quietly.

“Why?”

“Because every second you are with her I can see you falling harder, it’s not going to end well Chlo”.

“I’m fine, we’re fine please just stop! Trust me the moment I need your help I will ask you for it ok?” Chloe explained.

“I just don’t want your heart to get broken”.

“It’s happened before so I’m used to it” Chloe replied.

“What? Who broke your heart?” A shocked Aaron asked.

“It doesn’t even matter, she’s long gone” Chloe said with a smile on her face.

In that very second Aaron began to panic, what if Chloe was talking about Mel. What if he had got in contact with an ex that broke Chloe’s heart? He would never be able to forgive himself.

“Just promise me you’ll distance yourself a little bit from her?”

“But why? She’s my friend I’ve got this covered” Chloe replied.

“From this angle you really don’t... the way you look at her it’s so obvious” Aaron said.

“So obvious that you were oblivious to it for 3/4 months” Chloe sarcastically replied.

“Good point”.

“It’s only obvious because you know. To the outsider it’s not so please just leave me alone and get on with putting the decorations up” Chloe explained as she left to head to the bar to see how Shane was getting on with the cocktails.

“Try this your mind will be blown” Shane said as he placed a very brightly coloured cocktail in front of Chloe.

Chloe took a sip, a smile arrived on her face immediately, she loved it.

“That’s ridiculously good” Chloe replied.

“Really?”

“Elly come try this...” Chloe shouted across the pub.

“Coming” Elly replied as she headed straight to the bar.

As she walked past Mel, Mel made sure that she didn’t make eye contact with anyone. She didn’t want Chloe to know she was there.

“Try this...” Chloe said shoving the cocktail into Elly’s face.

“Wow, Shane that’s incredible. What’s in it?”

“It’s got vodka, cranberry juice, a splash of lemonade and topped with orange juice” Shane replied.

“It’s incredible can you make it available for tomorrow’s event?”

“Of course. Shall I make some more?” Shane asked.

“Umm yes” Chloe replied as her phone rang.

She quickly reached for her phone, it was Terese.

“Excuse me I need to take this” Chloe said as she headed outside.

While Elly was alone at the bar, Mel thought it was the perfect time to head over and see what the situation was between her and Chloe.

“Hey” Mel said in a friendly manner.

“Hey” Elly replied being polite.

“I saw you... decorating earlier! Do you work here?” Mel asked.

“Ah no! I’m just helping out a friend of mine” Elly replied confused as to why this woman wanted to know.

“Oh the one with the long blonde hair?”

“Yeah!” Elly replied.

“Friends? Really?” Mel said surprised.

Elly just looked at Mel, she didn’t know how to respond.

“I just thought it was more than that” Mel replied.

“I’m about to marry her brother, so she’ll be my sister in law” Elly explained even though she did have feelings she wasn’t going to explain it to a stranger.

“Ohhh... sorry my bad” Mel replied feeling a bit embarrassed.

Elly had had enough of this awkward conversation so made her way back over to where Aaron was sitting.

“Oh congratulations”.

“Thanks” Elly replied with a fake smile on her face.

Mel has a smug look on her face, she was relieved that Chloe and Elly we’re not a couple, it meant that her job was going to be a lot less complicated than she thought.

“Who was that?” Aaron asked.

“Just some random asking about the decorations” Elly replied.

“How bizarre...where’s Chlo?” Aaron asked.

“Had a phone call from Terese I believe” Elly replied.

“Shall I get the first round in then? As I think were done with the decorations...” Aaron said.

“Yes make it a strong one” Elly replied.

“Yes boss” Aaron said as he headed to the bar.

Elly was worried that the fact that Mel thought the two of them were a couple, it made her question who else must think that? Even though she was enjoying the flirty banter between the two of them she knew they needed to be careful.

“I’m back” Chloe said with excitement.

“How’s Terese?” Elly asked.

“She’s doing much better, will hopefully be out of hospital in a few days” Chloe explained.

“That’s amazing news” Elly replied.

“Are you ok? You look a bit flustered?” Chloe asked.

“Yeah no I’m ok! I think I’m just having a hot flush” Elly joked.

“You’re not that old yet...” Chloe replied as she sat down next to Elly waiting for their drinks.

Elly looked round the pub to see if she could spot Mel but she had made herself disappear before Chloe could spot her.

Chapter Text

“Try this, this is Shane’s new cocktail! This is a rum based one though instead of vodka” Aaron explained as he gave both the girls their drinks.

“I’m not the biggest fan of rum” Elly replied.

“Just get it down you” Chloe said playfully.

“Yes boss” Elly replied as she took a sip from the drink.

“It’s not as bad as you thought it would be is it?” Chloe asked.

“It’s not it’s very tasty! Shane’s really decent at making cocktails” Elly replied.

“That is his job” Aaron sarcastically added.

“Yes I know that but like he’s made these up and for them to taste so good is amazing” Elly replied.

“Hey Aaron shouldn’t you be getting back to David?” Chloe said trying to get rid of him as he was annoying both of them.

“No he doesn’t finish his shift until 10” Aaron replied.

“Well I think you should go and meet him for when he finishes” Chloe added.

“Nah he won’t mind...” Aaron replied knowing exactly what Chloe was trying to do.

“Trust me we were speaking the other day and he mentioned that he would love for you to meet him at work more often. Don’t shoot the messenger” Chloe explained.

“You being serious?” Aaron asked.

“Yes! Deadly” Chloe replied trying her best to keep a straight face.

“Oh well this better be my last then” Aaron said as he began to drink his cocktail quickly.

“I’m sure David would appreciate it” Elly added. She had clocked on to what Chloe was doing, she knew she was doing her best to get rid of him.

“Well you two behave and I’ll see you both later” Aaron said as he finished his drink and headed to the hospital to meet David.

As soon as Aaron left, Chloe burst into laughter.

“As if that worked” Elly said looking at Chloe.

“I know I never thought he would believe me” Chloe replied.

“I’m glad though because he’s been super weird today, it’s driven me mad” Elly explained.

“I know so clingy” Chloe said.

“I mean I know he’s only doing it because he loves us and is worried about us... but were ok” Elly replied.

“Bless him. Anyway it’s my round so do you want another one?”

“Yes, id love one” Elly said with a smile on her face.

Elly loved spending time with Chloe, things finally felt like they were back to normal but she was conscious about flirting too much with her after that girl thought they were a couple.

“I got us shots” Chloe replied looking extra naughty.

“Chlo this wasn’t meant to turn into some crazy night” Elly said.

“You only live once”.

“Oh go on then, but no more shots after this” Elly replied.

“I promise” Chloe said with a smile on her face.

“Chloe I know that smile, you best not be lying to me”.

“I’m not I promise you”.

“Ok good!” Elly replied as the two of them picked up their shots and downed them.

While the girls continued to get drunk, Aaron was waiting patiently outside the hospital for David to finish his shift.

“What are you doing here?” David asked with a very confused look on his face.

“I thought I’d meet you and we could go home together” Aaron replied.

“That’s really cute but why?”

“Because you told Chloe you wanted me to...”

“No I didn’t” David replied.

“Oh that girl is dead! She just wanted to get rid of me” Aaron angrily said.

“Why what were you doing?” David asked.

“We were having cocktails...”

“You we’re obviously crushing her style” David joked.

“I doubt that I’m the coolest out of them all”.

“No you are not! I’m sorry but both of them are”.

“How dare you...”

“Oh come on let’s just go home” David said as he put his arm around Aaron and began to walk home.

“I suppose this is rather romantic, remind me to thank Chloe later” Aaron replied giving David a kiss on the cheek.

“It is very romantic, you should do it more often” David said.

“I will don’t you worry about that”.

By the time the boys got home, Chloe and Elly were also on their way home. Trying to keep each other upright as they walked, they had drunk far more than either of them were expecting to.

“Today has been fun” Elly said.

“It has been hasn’t it” Chloe replied.

“Maybe I should help out more often...”

“Id like that”.

“So would I...”

“Can I say something?” Chloe asked nervously.

“Of course, what’s up?” Elly replied.

“I really really want to kiss you right now” Chloe said as her heart rate rose dramatically.

Elly took a nervous gulp, she didn’t know what to say or do.

“You do?” Elly replied.

“I really really do” Chloe said.

“But even if we kiss it can’t go anywhere...” Elly explained.

“I don’t care” Chloe said as she dragged Elly behind a bush so she could kiss her without anyone seeing.

Looking Elly intensely in the eyes, she gently caressed Elly’s face pulling it closer to her before kissing her passionately on the lips. It was a few seconds before Elly began to kiss Chloe back, once she started she didn’t want to stop.

“We need to stop” Elly said pulling away from Chloe.

“Why?”

“Because if I don’t stop now I’m scared I won’t be able to stop and we will end up doing something stupid” Elly explained.

“Stupid? So sleeping with me would be stupid?”

“No! I don’t mean that I just mean that it will mess everything up and you know it would” Elly replied.

“I know it would but if we both want it... surely we should just go for it” Chloe explained.

“I can’t! I am so sorry but I can’t” Elly said as she started to walk off.

“Fuck” Chloe mumbled to herself as Elly walked away from her.

Chloe tried to catch up with Elly who had decided that she was going to run home, she couldn’t believe what had just happened. Even though she wanted it to it can’t happen because of Mark.

“Elly stop I can’t run” Chloe shouted down the street.

“Just go home Chlo we can talk tomorrow” Elly replied.

“Good night then” Chloe said as she went one way and Elly crosses the road.

“Night” Elly replied.

As Chloe got into the house she stood with her back against the door and took a very big sigh.

“What’s wrong Chlo?” Aaron asked.

“Jesus why don’t you give me a heart attack...” Chloe replied jumping out of her skin.

“Why are you taking a big deep sigh?”

“No specific reason...” Chloe replied as she headed towards the fridge to make herself some food.

“Don’t lie to me Chlo”.

“I’m not!”

“I don’t believe you but I’m not going to argue with you... make us a sandwich would ya?” Aaron asked.

“Make your own” Chloe replied.

“Go on please I’m so comfortable”.

“Fine but you have to promise to back off me and Elly” Chloe explained.

“Ok, but I still don’t think that it’s a good idea you spending all this time together”.

“And I don’t think it’s a good idea you always wearing those vest tops but you do it anyway” Chloe sarcastically replied.

“Now there was no need for that” Aaron said.

“Sorry not sorry” Chloe replied.

Mel was stood outside the door plucking up the courage to knock on it. She was nervous because she knew Chloe’s reaction wasn’t going to be a good one. Deciding to just bite the bullet, Mel knocked on the door.

“Who the hell could that be at this time?” Aaron asked.

“Well I don’t know shall I open it and find out?” Chloe replied as she opened the door.

“Hey gorgeous” Mel said as soon as she saw Chloe. Her eyes wide with lust.

Chloe’s face dropped, she couldn’t believe that Mel was on her doorstep. What the hell did she want? Chloe’s instinctive reaction was to slam the door in her face, so did just that.

“Who is it?” Aaron asked. He was worried because of the look on Chloe’s face was one he had never seen before. A mix of anger, shock and hurt.

“It’s my ex, Mel. What the hell is she doing here?” Chloe said all flustered.

“Ah I think that might be my fault” Aaron quietly replied.

“What did you do?” Chloe angrily said.

“I may have messaged her to tell her that you wanted to see her and that you were lonely” Aaron mumbled.

“You did what? Why would you do that? Aaron she’s an ex for a very good reason!” Chloe replied furious with her brother.

“I’m sorry but you can’t just leave her there on the doorstep” Aaron said.

Chloe didn’t reply, she walked back over to the front door, took a deep breath in and opened the door.

“Aren’t you going to invite me in?” Mel asked.

“What are you doing here?” Chloe replied very abrupt.

“I was told you were lonely and wanted to have a catch up” Mel said.

“Well I’m not so you can go now”.

“Don’t be like that Chlo, I know you’ve missed me” Mel replied with a smirk on her face.

“Missed you? You are the last person I want to see, how could you do what you did to me?”

“I’m sorry...”

“But are you... look just go! I dont want to see you again” Chloe replied as she slammed the door in Mel’s face.

“Chloe please” Mel shouted as she banged on the door.

“I’m going to bed” Chloe said as she headed to her room.

“Chlo please I’m sorry...” Aaron replied, he knew he had truly messed up this time.

“What all this noise?” Mark asked as he walked out of his room.

“Ask Aaron, I’m done” Chloe said as she shut her bedroom door.

“Az? What’s all the commotion?”

“It was Chloe’s ex...” Aaron replied.

“Mel? What the hell is she doing here?” Mark said in a shocked manner.

“I messaged her, I thought Chloe was lonely so thought it would be a good idea”.

“Good idea? You obviously don’t know what went on between the two of them” Mark replied.

“I don’t, so can you please tell me?” Aaron said.

“Mel and Chloe went into a business together because Chloe thought they were the real deal. Mel ran off with all of Chloe’s money and possessions and left her to deal with the fall out. Oh and this was all in a foreign country” Mark explained.

“You’re joking?” Aaron replied with a shocked look on her face.

“I wish I was. Chloe was broken and that’s what started all of her money problems”.

“What have I done...”

“Screwed up that’s what! Mel is the last person Chloe wants to see”.

“She’s never going to forgive me is she?”

“Get rid of Mel and then she might” Mark replied.

“I’ll speak to her tomorrow, I don’t even know what she looks like” Aaron said.

“Gingery brown hair, petite, pretty... but looks like she would be real trouble” Mark explained.

“So that was who was talking to Elly at the bar earlier, she was probably trying to get info on Chloe”.

“Most likely she was probably trying to suss out her situation”.

“Should I go speak to Chloe?” A worried Aaron asked.

“I’d just leave her for now, she probably needs time to just process what has just happened. I don’t think she ever thought she would see Mel again” Mark said.

“Damn it Aaron you are an idiot” Aaron said to himself as he made his way to his room.

Chloe couldn’t believe she had just come face to face with someone who broke her heart into a million pieces and messed up her life. She didn’t know what to do with herself, she didn’t know whether to cry or punch the wall.

Chapter Text

Elly had been up half the night thinking about what had happened between her and Chloe last night. She knew that if she hadn’t have walked away the two of them would have ended up sleeping together. Something that she wanted to happen but at the same time knew couldn’t because of Mark.

“Good morning, coffee?” Susan asked as she walked into the living room to find Elly staring into space.

“Yes please” Elly quietly replied.

“Everything ok?”

“Just didn’t get much sleep last night, nothing serious” Elly replied.

“And why was that?”

“Just the usual”.

“Begins with a c?” Susan replied.

Elly just nodded.

“What’s happened?” Susan asked as she took the coffee over to Elly.

“We had a rather large moment last night” Elly replied.

“A moment? Go on...”

“We kissed again and if I hadn’t have pulled away then god knows what would have happened between us”.

“Oh I see and you’d have been ok with that? If you were single...” Susan asked.

“If I was single then yes, I’d have happily let it flow but I’m not. I am engaged to her brother who I love dearly and can’t see my future without him” Elly explained.

“It’s a tough one isn’t it? I don’t really know what to say because I know you won’t stay away from Chloe and you shouldn’t have to. But at the same time being around her is only going to make these feelings grow”.

“I just don’t know what to do...” Elly replied with an anxious look on her face.

“How about you just try and take it day by day? And see how things go?” Susan suggested.

“It’s all I can do really isn’t It... why is this such a mess?”

“Sweetheart it’s called feelings and love”.

“I’m not in love with Chloe” Elly replied quickly.

“I’m not saying you are, I’m just saying that this is a part of life” Susan said.

“Well right now I hate life” Elly replied as she hid her head in a pillow.

“I promise you, everything will be ok” Susan said giving Elly a supportive pat on the back.

“I need to talk to Chloe”.

“Is that the best idea?”

“Probably not but I need to” Elly replied.

“Well good luck let me know how you get on...”

“Will do” Elly replied as she finished her coffee and headed over to find Chloe.

Meanwhile over at the Brennan house hold, Aaron was up waiting in the kitchen for when Chloe showed her face so that he could apologise to her.

“She showed her face yet?” Mark asked.

“Nope! But I’m not moving until she does” Aaron replied.

“Knowing Chloe she probably left hours ago”.

“She hasn’t I could hear her snoring earlier and I’ve been here ever since”.

“Well good luck when she appears because she’s not going to be a happy bunny” Mark replied as he left the house to head for a run.

“Thanks” Aaron said.

As Mark began his run, he noticed that Elly was on her way over to the house.

“Good morning babe” Mark said as he ran over and gave Elly a big kiss.

“Morning...”

“Were you on your way over to see me?” Mark asked.

“Chloe actually... wanted to see what she wanted me to do today for this games night”.

“Oh and there was me thinking you were coming over to see your gorgeous fiancé” Mark replied.

“Of course I wanted to see you too” Elly said.

“I know babe I know. Anyway I must dash. Pre-warning you Chloe isn’t in a good mood” Mark explained.

Elly automatically thought that Chloe’s bad mood was going to be down to what happened between the two of them last night, she had no idea the mood was down to Mel.

“Where’s Chloe?” Elly asked as she walked into the house.

“She’s still in her room...” Aaron replied.

“Can I go see her?” Elly said.

“You can but I warn you she won’t be in a good mood...”

“I know!”

“How do you know? Did Chloe tell you last night?” Aaron asked with a look of confusion on her face.

“Well I was there...”

“What? No... whatever happened on the night out, that isn’t why Chloe’s in a bad mood. Her ex turned up because of my stupidity” Aaron explained.

“Her ex?” Elly replied as her heart began to rise dramatically.

“Yeah, her ex. Look I thought she was really lonely so I ran Mum and asked her for Mel’s number so that I could text her and get her to come here. But I didn’t know their history and if I had of know I wouldn’t have messaged her”.

“Oh... were things not good?”

“No”.

“I’m going to go and check on her” Elly said quietly as she walked towards Chloe’s room.

Elly hated how she felt when Aaron mentioned Chloe’s ex, she was jealous and didn’t really know why because she hadn’t even met the girl, or so she thought.

“Chlo... can I come in?” Elly asked in a gentle tone.

“Sure!” Chloe replied.

“Now you need to get up we’ve got lots to do today...” Elly said going with the option of pretending she didn’t know what was going on.

“I can’t!” Chloe replied.

“Why? Chlo this is going to the the best games night ever”.

“Doubt that”.

“What’s wrong? Talk to me” Elly said as she sat down on the bed next to Chloe.

“My ex turned up on the doorstep last night thanks to my idiotic brother”.

“An ex? I see, I didn’t think you did relationships?”

“I don’t not anymore and it’s all because of Mel. She broke my heart into a million pieces and ruined my life. She left me with thousands of pounds of debt in a foreign country with a lot of pissed off people, all of which I had to deal with on my own. I was hated by so many people all because of her, she ruined my life and I never ever wanted to see her again” Chloe explained doing her best to keep her emotions in check.

“I’m so sorry Chlo, you don’t deserve that. Was it a long time ago?”

“4 ish years ago and still to this day I owe mum money because of her”.

“That’s how your money problems started?” Elly asked.

“Yeah... luckily it’s nearly all paid back but she’s the reason my life has been so hard” Chloe replied.

“Come here...” Elly said as she moved to give Chloe a hug.

“Is that the best idea?” Chloe asked.

“What giving you a hug?” Elly replied.

“Yeah, not worried it will turn into more...”

“Chlo come on we can both control ourselves can’t we?”

“I don’t know, I mean I think I can. Can you?” Chloe replied smirking at Elly.

“I’ll try” Elly said as the two of them smiled at each other.

The two of them hugged, they both managed to keep the hug to a friendly one with no wondering hands.

“Now get your ass into gear, get changed and I’m taking you for breakfast before the event kicks off” Elly explained.

“Yes boss, you better leave the room as I’m worried you won’t be able to keep your eyes off of me” Chloe joked.

“Wishful thinking” Elly replied as she left the room.

“One day...”Chloe said in a flirty way.

Elly left the room with a big cheesy grin on her face, she was enjoying the flirty banter way more than she should.

“So how is she?” Aaron nervously asked.

“She’s not best pleased with you...” Elly replied.

“I knew it, she hates me doesn’t she?”

“She doesn’t hate you but next time you try and bring one of her exes back make sure they didn’t ruin her life before you do it” Elly explained.

“Yeah don’t worry I will” Aaron replied.

“Maybe just give her a bit of time and make sure that this Mel woman doesn’t hurt her again” Elly said partially because she doesn’t want Chloe to get hurt but also because she was jealous.

“Don’t worry I will make sure she doesn’t get hurt” Aaron replied.

“I’m ready...” Chloe said as she walked into the kitchen.

“Let’s go then” Elly replied as she picked her bag up.

“Chloe can we talk?” Aaron asked.

“Not now I’m busy” Chloe replied.

“Please just talk to me”.

“Get rid of her and then we will talk” Chloe said as she left the house with Elly to get breakfast.

“And how am I supposed to do that?” Aaron shouted at the door.

Aaron reaches for his phone to message Mel, he needed to meet up with her to see if she had changed or not. He needed to make it up to Chloe and if that meant getting rid of Mel then that’s what he was going to do.

“Two of your finest sausage sarnies please Dipi” Elly said as she ordered breakfast for her and Chloe.

“Coming right up!” Dipi replied.

“Being in here just feels like normal again, thank god! Do you feel the same?” Elly asked.

“Yeah, thank god because the first few days were a real struggle” Dipi said.

“I bet! Fingers crossed nothing like that ever happens here again”.

“Everything crossed! I’ll bring it over to you” Dipi said as she headed to the kitchen to cook their food.

Chloe was jumping every time the door opened, she was just waiting for Mel to walk through the door. She hated the fact that she was back, she had everything crossed that Aaron would be able to get rid of her.

“You ok?” Elly asked.

“Just waiting for her to walk through the door”.

“And if she does I’m here right by your side” Elly replied as she reached for Chloe’s hand.

“So what you are saying is you’ll beat her up for me?” Chloe joked.

“If that’s what it takes then yes, I’ll ruin my manicure to make you happy” Elly replied.

“You are too kind”.

“I know right! What would you do without me?”

“I haven’t got a clue, you’ve been my rock recently! So thank you” Chloe explained.

“Even if we’ve been bickering and feelings have been all over the place?” Elly asked.

“Elly no matter what I will always love you and want you in my life. You were there for me when I needed someone and for that I will forever be grateful! So I’m afraid your stuck with me and I’m stuck with you, regardless of what happens” Chloe explained.

“Right back at you” Elly said as the two of them couldn’t take their eyes off of each other.

“Food is here ladies” Dipi said as she broke up the little moment the two of them were having.

“Sorry we were just having a heart to heart” Chloe replied.

“I could see that...”

“I was just telling Elly how important she is in my life” Chloe explained. She could see the look of worry on Elly’s face when Dipi said she could tell.

“That’s cute, it’s good to tell your loved ones how much they mean to you. It strengthens the bond between the two of you” Dipi replied.

“We’ve got a bond that can’t be broken, isn’t that right Elly?” Chloe explained.

“Yeah that’s right” Elly said agreeing with Chloe.

“Well it’s good to see two beautiful women supporting each other, the world needs more of it” Dipi replied.

“Amen to that” Chloe added.

“Enjoy ladies” Dipi said as she walk away leaving them to enjoy their breakfast.

As soon as Dipi left, Elly needed to ask Chloe a question.

“You don’t think she noticed that the look was something more than just friendship... do you?” Elly quietly asked.

“Of course she didn’t, why would she? She has no reason to think that! So just breathe” Chloe replied trying to keep Elly calm.

“Ok, good” Elly said as she tucked into her sausage sarnie.

Chapter Text

Chloe and Elly had both finished their sausage sarnies and we’re enjoying each other’s company.

“I guess we should probably get to the waterhole and make sure everything is set up?” Elly said.

“You are probably right, before we just sit here all day staring into each other’s eyes” Chloe joked.

“Something like that...” Elly replied.

“Thanks for lunch you really put a smile on my face! It was a tough night I won’t lie” Chloe said.

“I bet it was but let’s focus on today and making it a success” Elly replied as she put her jacket on ready to head to the waterhole.

“Come on then” Chloe said as she linked arms with Elly as they made the short walk over to the waterhole.

What neither of them realised was that Mel was inside waiting and hoping for Chloe to arrive. As they walked in the first thing Chloe noticed was Mel sat at one of the high tables, she grabbed onto Elly’s arm and walked in the opposite direction to her.

“What?” Elly said in confusion as they walked towards the bar.

“Mel shes sat over there...” Chloe said quietly.

“Where? I am so intrigued to see what your type is...” Elly said teasing Chloe.

“Stop you know my type... she’s the ginger over there!” Chloe replied.

“No way? Are you serious?” Elly said with a shocked look on her face.

“Yeah deadly serious? Why what’s wrong?” Chloe asked.

“She spoke to me the other day asking if we were a couple! Obviously I had no idea who she was...”

“She asked you what?” Chloe replied.

“If we were a thing! She had obviously been watching us when we were messing around and thought we were more than just friends” Elly said.

“You mean when we were flirting?”

“Yes when we were flirting”.

“What did you say to her?” Chloe asked.

“I told her that you were going to be my sister in law and that we were very close” Elly replied.

“She was obviously trying to suss out whether or not I was single...”

“We need to be so careful Chlo, if she thought we were a couple? Like who else is going to think that?” Elly replied with a worried look on her face.

“Don’t you like to live dangerously?” Chloe joked.

“This is serious Chloe we need to be more careful”.

“Then stop being so damn attractive...”

“Stop! No more flirting, not around her” Elly replied.

“Yes boss... anyway I’m going to go and tell her to get lost I don’t want her anywhere near me” Chloe said as she began to walk over there.

“Do you think... that’s a good idea?” Elly said to herself as it was too late.

As Chloe walked over to Mel her heart was racing, not out of lust but out of anger. The mere sight of Mel mad Chloe want to punch something, how dare she swan back into Chloe’s life and pretend like she didn’t do any of the things she did to Chloe.

“Hey gorgeous” Mel said as Chloe approached.

“Don’t Hey gorgeous me! Didn’t you get the message your not wanted here...” Chloe replied.

“Don’t be like that we can work this out...”

“Work what out? There’s nothing to work out! You were a bitch and you won’t have changed so I want nothing to do with you” Chloe explained.

“But I have changed” Mel said with a genuine look on her face.

“I don’t even care if you have. Now go” Chloe replied as she headed back to Elly.

Elly was slyly doing her best to watch the conversation without making it too obvious. She desperately wanted Mel out of the picture as it would only complicate matters even further.

“You ok?” Elly asked as Chloe returned to the table.

“I’m fine just angry! Just want her to leave, like NOW” Chloe said loudly.

“Don’t let her get to you, focus on how incredible today is going to be and forget everything else” Elly replied giving Chloe a supportive rub on her back.

Mel was watching the two of them interact she knew that there was something more than friendship between the two of them.

“Aren’t you worried people might talk you being so close to me right now?” Chloe whispered.

“Oh shh and just enjoy the moment” Elly replied.

Mel had seen enough, she wanted to find Aaron so that she could explain to him how much she had changed. It was going to be hard to convince someone who had been told by Chloe to get rid of her no matter what.

“Aaron?” Mel asked as she walked into the gym.

“That would be me...” Aaron replied as he put down the weight.

“I’m Mel!”

“So you’re the girl who screwed my sister over” Aaron immediately replied.

“Can I please just explain before you make a judgement of me?” Mel asked hoping that Aaron would give her a chance.

“Fine...”

“I was an idiot back then driven my money and money only. I loved your sister but we I could see that we were struggling I needed to get out of there and I just ran. It was the most cowardly thing I could have done and I’ve regretted it everyday since. I’m not that person anymore!” Mel explained.

“You loved her but you left her on her own in a foreign country with nothing? That doesn’t sound like love to me” Aaron replied.

“I panicked! I didn’t know what else to do, we were so young...”

“And? Chloe needed you and you just left her! No wonder she wants nothing to do with you” Aaron replied.

“I just need to explain myself! I’ve changed and seeing her again has brought back all the feelings I had for her” Mel explained.

“Give me one good reason why I should believe you?”

“I was evil back then I only cared about myself, don’t get me wrong I loved her but ultimately when it came down to it all I cared about was me. Making sure I didn’t get into any trouble! I’ve regretted it every day since it happened and I just want to make things right with Chloe” Mel explained.

“Well I’ll have a word with her but I can’t promise anything! She was pretty adamant that she wanted nothing to do with you” Aaron replied.

“Please just tell her that I only want to explain and apologise” Mel said pleading with Aaron.

“Ok, I’ll try” Aaron replied.

Aaron believed that Mel was truly sorry for what she put Chloe through. But what he didn’t understand is that this was Mel, she would say or do anything to get her own way. She hadn’t changed, she just couldn’t help messing with people’s lives.

Aaron straight away made his way over to the waterhole to speak to Chloe. He knew this conversation wasn’t going to be easy to have with her, but he genuinely believed that Mel had changed.

“Hey Chlo...” Aaron said in a gentle manner as he approached Chloe.

“Got rid of her yet?” Chloe immediately replied.

“Ah that’s the thing I’ve come here to talk to you about” Aaron said.

“Let me guess... she’s sucked you in and now you think the sun shines out of her ass?” Chloe joked.

Elly couldn’t help but giggle at how sarcastic Chloe was being.

“No I haven’t been sucked in but I genuinely think she’s sorry and that she’s changed”.

“And how would you know if she’s changed? You didn’t even know her before? Trust me people like Mel they don’t change...they just want you to believe they have so they can ruin your life again” Chloe explained.

“Just hear her out? And if you don’t like what she’s saying then you never have to see her again. Chloe you loved her once just hear her out” Aaron replied.

“I did and she broke my heart into a million pieces and it’s taken a very very long time to get it back to normal. I’m not risking that”.

“What if I was there with you?” Elly said as she looked into Chloe’s eyes.

“Is that the best idea?” Aaron replied.

“What do you mean? I’m one of Chloe’s best friends I want to be able to support her” Elly said. She still didn’t know that Aaron knew about Chloe being in love with her.

“You’d do that?” Chloe asked Elly.

“Of course I would. I think there are a few things you need to get off your chest and say to Mel and I’ll be there right by your side” Elly explained.

“Thank you” Chloe replied as she gave Elly a hug.

Aaron looked on, he could see Chloe falling further and further in love with Elly by the second. Part of him was hoping and praying that Mel could work her magic on Chloe so that her mind was somewhere other than on Elly all the time.

“You better let Mel know then...” Chloe said to Aaron.

“I will! So does this mean we are ok?” Aaron asked with a look of hope on his face.

“No, far from ok” Chloe replied as she walked towards the bathroom.

“Give her time, she’s just a bit all over the place at the moment” Elly said as she continued to put games out onto the tables.

“Yeah she’s got a lot on her mind” Aaron replied.

“She’ll be ok! I’ll make sure of it” Elly said giving Aaron one of her big smiles.

“I’m sure you will” Aaron muttered under his breath as he left the pub to phone Mel to let her know the good news.

Part of Elly was really annoyed that Chloe had agreed to talk to Mel because she was worried that Chloe would fall back under her spell and Elly really didn’t want that.

“You ok?” Elly asked as Chloe returned to help put the games out.

“I will be once this is all over, thanks for agreeing to be there when I see her”.

“I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else! Can’t have her hurting you again” Elly explained.

“Just try not to get jealous when she attempts to flirt with me... because she will” Chloe joked.

“I’ll do my best!” Elly replied.

Meanwhile outside Aaron was on the phone with Mel, letting her know the good news.

“Mel, it’s Aaron”.

“Hi... please tell me you have good news?” Mel said hoping and praying he did.

“I do! She’s agreed to meet with you. So if you head over to the waterhole when your ready and we can get this over with” Aaron replied.

“Thank you so much! You won’t regret it, I’ll show Chloe that I’ve changed and that I do care for her still” Mel explained.

“Just don’t hurt her because she’s gone through enough recently” Aaron replied referring to both her illness and feelings for Elly.

“I won’t! I promise” Mel said as she hung up the phone, a massive smile appeared on her face. Was she being genuine or was she about to cause some chaos?

The waterhole looked amazing, the girls had done such a good job, with a helping hand from Aaron. Chloe was feeling good about this games evening, it couldn’t go much worse than the previous one. As people began to arrive Chloe was getting more and more anxious about sitting down and chatting with Mel. Elly could tell that Chloe was nervous, so she walked over to her and gave her a little pep talk.

“I can see you trembling from all the way over there! Stop I’m here and won’t let her say anything out of line ok? No one gets to hurt my Chloe” Elly whispered to Chloe.

“Your Chloe ey? People will start to talk...”

“No they won’t! But you know what I mean. Everything will be fine, I know it” Elly replied.

“Yeah it will because your by my side” Chloe said giving Elly a genuine smile.

“Sorry to break up this little moment but shall we talk?” Mel said interrupting the moment the two of them were having.

Elly already couldn’t stand Mel and they hadn’t even started the conversation yet.

Chapter Text

Mel headed over to a table that was tucked away in the corner so they had a bit of privacy. She was confused when Elly started walking over with Chloe.

“This is a private conversation” Mel said as she gave Elly a dirty look.

“She’s staying” Chloe replied.

Elly moved her chair so that she was right next to Chloe, facing Mel who did not look impressed at all.

“But this has nothing to do with her...” Mel said.

“Maybe it doesn’t but I want her here. So either you deal with that or this conversation finishes before it’s even started” Chloe replied snapping at Mel a little bit.

“Fine!” Mel said trying her best not to get too angry at the situation.

“Can I ask why you were so interested in my connection to Chloe?” Elly asked.

“Because it looked like the two of you were more than friends and I wanted to try and suss out the situation” Mel replied.

“Ok” Elly said trying not to give anything away, especially about her growing feelings for Chloe.

“I’m sorry if it came across as rude. I just saw a connection between the two of you and I guess the jealousy took over” Mel replied.

Chloe was getting bored of this conversation already she just wanted to know what Mel’s deal was.

“So...what do you need to say? Because I have things to do” Chloe replied.

“I first want to start off by apologising for leaving you and taking everything. It was bang out of order but I was scared and didn’t know what else to do” Mel explained.

“You were scared? I was in a foreign country with nothing! Not even my passport because you stole that from me. Why would you do that to someone you supposedly loved?”

“I panicked! Things between us were moving so fast and I could see that our business was slowly starting to fail and I just ran. Ran as fast as I could... I regret it every single day. There wasn’t a moment that went past that I didn’t think of you” Mel explained staring directly into Chloe’s eyes.

“Yet it took you over 5 months to message her to see if she was ok?” Elly asked. She could see straight through the game that Mel was playing.

“I didn’t have a way to contact Chloe, I stole her phone remember. Not that it’s any of your business” Mel replied staring at Elly.

“So how did you get my number?” Chloe asked.

“I phoned your mum and practically begged her for it. She didn’t give it to me but let slip where you were working so I went through them to get it. Look Chloe I am so sorry for what I did and if I could take it back I would but I can’t. I’m a changed person Chloe and I want to show you that...if you’ll let me” Mel explained.

“I don’t even know if I want you back in my life. You caused me nothing but heartache”.

“That’s not true, there was a time when we were infatuated with each other. We were so in love Chlo and it was amazing until I went and completely ruined everything” Mel explained.

“Yeah I was in love with you but now I’m not and I don’t really want to drag up old feelings that took me so long to get over. So unless there was anything else I need to get going” Chloe replied.

“Don’t be like that, please just give me a chance to show you how much I’ve changed. No strings attached just a drink privately with no audience”.

“Anything you have to say you can say in front of Elly” Chloe replied.

“I hurt you and I will never forgive myself for that but please just give me another chance” Mel said as she began to get upset.

Elly wasn’t buying the tears, it was all too much. Elly didn’t believe any of the stuff coming out of Mel’s mouth.

“I can’t do this right now I need to go...” Chloe said as she got up and left the waterhole.

“CHLOE” Mel shouted.

“Just give her some space. It’s all a lot to take in” Elly said as she left Mel to go after Chloe.

Mel slumped over onto the table she was gutted that Chloe hadn’t fallen for her charms like she used to.

“Chlo wait” Elly said as she ran after Chloe.

“I can’t get sucked into that again. You heard her it’s all just bullshit” Chloe replied.

“I don’t know her very well at all but she seems like she genuinely wants to just start over”.

“You can’t honestly believe that?” Chloe asked.

“Maybe reconnecting with her will help with our situation...” Elly said.

“No, no it really won’t help our feelings” Chloe replied.

“Look my feelings for you are growing stronger and stronger everyday but Chlo I love Mark and I’m going to marry him...”

“Don’t worry you’ve made that very clear” Chloe replied as she walked off needing to get away from Elly.

“Chloe please...”

“I just need some time” Chloe replied.

Chloe headed back home where she had the house to herself, she poured herself an extra large glass of wine and put on her favourite movie which never failed to put a smile on her face. Elly meanwhile was stood outside the house trying to work out whether to go and see Chloe or not.

“What are you doing here?” Chloe asked.

Elly didn’t reply she just held out her hand, hoping that Chloe would grab hold of it.

“What?”

“Just take my hand” Elly said with a smile on her face.

Chloe took Elly’s hand, Elly slowly lead Chloe into her bedroom. Chloe’s heart was beating faster than it have ever beaten before. Was this really about to happen?

“Are you sure?” Chloe asked quietly.

“Yes... I can’t fight these feelings anymore” Elly replied as she leant in to kiss Chloe.

Chloe put her arms around Elly’s waist pulling her in closely, she slowly began to pull Elly’s dress over her head. Once Elly was stood their in just her underwear, Chloe just looked at her and admired the view.

“What?” An embarrassed Elly asked.

“You are incredible” Chloe replied as she looked Elly up and down.

“Stop it, I’m not”.

“Don’t you ever say that again. You are beautiful end of conversation” Chloe replied as she gently caressed Elly’s body before pushing her onto the bed.

While Elly was lay on the bed, Chloe quickly undressed down to her underwear. A smile arrived on Elly’s face as she watched Chloe undress, her heart was racing she couldn’t believe she was this attracted to someone other than her fiancé.

“CHLOE YOU HERE?” Aaron shouted from the kitchen.

“Shit hide” Chloe whispered to Elly who was lay there half naked on her bed.

“Where?” Elly asked.

“Under the bed”.

“I won’t fit”.

“Chloe you in there?” Aaron asked as he got closer and closer to her bedroom door.

“One second Az, just getting changed” Chloe shouted back.

Aaron didn’t hear Chloe’s reply and just walked straight into her room.

“Whoa you could have warned me” Aaron said covering his eyes.

“Oh come on it’s just my underwear” Chloe replied.

“True but I wasn’t expecting it. So what happened with Mel?” Aaron asked as he sat down on the edge of her bed.

Elly was doing her best to keep as quiet and still as possible. The last thing the two of them needed was being caught by Aaron.

“Let me get changed and we can talk about this over a drink...” Chloe replied hoping that Aaron would agree.

“Good idea, I’ll go get some wine” Aaron said.

“I won’t be a second” Chloe replied.

“Oh have you seen Elly? Mark was looking for her...” Aaron asked.

“Ummm no I haven’t. Well not since earlier” Chloe nervously replied.

“Ah fair enough, right let’s go get that wine” Aaron said as he left the room closing the door behind him.

“That was too close” Elly said as she crawled out from underneath the bed.

“It was... but this needs to happen. Only if you want to after that...” Chloe replied as she helped Elly to her feet.

“Yes I want this but we will have to think of somewhere else to go, we can’t here it’s too risky” Elly said as she began to get dressed.

“Ok good. You need to stay in here while I get Aaron outside so that you can escape” Chloe explained.

“Don’t worry I will. Text me when the coast is clear...” Elly replied.

“Will do. Bye” Chloe said kissing Elly on the cheek as she grabbed the rest of her clothes leaving her room.

“See you” Elly replied quietly as she sat on the edge of the bed taking in a deep breath. She couldn’t believe how close the two of them came to getting caught by Aaron, but that hadn’t stopped her desire for something to happen between the two of them.

“Finally what were you doing in there?” Aaron joked as Chloe had been a while changing.

“Getting changed...”

“Who were you talking to?” Aaron asked.

“Just Piper she rang whilst I was changing” Chloe nervously replied.

“Fair enough, here get this down you and tell me all the details about your chat with Mel” Aaron said handing Chloe a large glass of wine.

“Can we sit outside?” Chloe asked trying to make sure that Elly had enough time to leave her room without being caught.

“Of course, it’s a beautiful evening” Aaron replied as the two of them headed into the backyard.

Once they were both sat down, Chloe slyly messaged Elly to let her know they were outside.

“Who you texting?” Aaron asked.

“No one just checking my instagram” Chloe replied.

“So come on, I am dying to know how things went with Mel”.

“She was apologetic and explained why she did what she did but it’s all fake. I know her and every word that came out of her mouth was just a lie” Chloe explained.

“Maybe she has actually grown up and changed? Would it be the worst thing in the world if you gave her a chance?”

“Maybe she has but I am not prepared to get my heart broken again”.

“But isn’t that what’s happening with you and Elly. She doesn’t feel the same way so surely she’s breaking your heart just as much as Mel did?”

“That’s not fair don’t do that! The situation with Elly is completely different to the one with Mel. Don’t ever compare Elly with Mel again, Elly is twice the woman Mel will ever be” Chloe explained snapping back at Aaron.

“Ok, ok I’m sorry but I do think it would be good to get your mind off a Elly and I think Mel could be a good distraction”.

“Az just drop it” Chloe replied as she took a huge swig of her drink.

“Fine”.

“Hey guys” Elly said as she popped her head around the corner.

“Hey come join us. I’m trying to convince Chloe to go for a drink with Mel” Aaron replied.

“And how’s that going?” Elly asked.

“Not great so if you can come and help me it would be great”.

“Well do you want to see her Chlo?” Elly asked trying to keep a straight face.

“No! So can we please just change the subject?” Chloe replied.

“There’s your answer Aaron” Elly added.

“Well I think you are making a mistake... Elly would you like a drink?” Aaron asked.

“I’d love one please” Elly replied.

Aaron headed into the kitchen to grab Elly a glass of wine, while Aaron was away from the girls, Elly took the opportunity to tell Chloe something she had just planned.

“Check your emails...” Elly said quietly.

“What? Right now?”

“Yes”.

Chloe looked at her phone, she read the email that said Elly had booked the two of them a hotel room in the city.

“Is this for what I think it’s for?” Chloe asked with a smile on her face.

“Yes. To make sure we don’t get caught” Elly whispered.

“I can’t believe it” Chloe replied.

“Can’t believe what?” Aaron asked.

“How big are your ears?” Chloe joked.

“Big enough” Aaron joked.

Chloe couldn’t keep the smile off her face, she was so excited that Elly had gone to the trouble of booking the two of them a hotel room so that they could finally spend the night together in a romantic form.

Chapter Text

Chloe couldn’t keep the smile off her face, she couldn’t believe that Elly had arranged a romantic getaway for the pair of them. It was something she only ever thought would happen in her dreams.

“Chlo we should go clubbing again soon, we need to find you some eye candy” Aaron said as the three of them sat round the table in the back yard.

“I don’t have time for dating at the moment” Chloe replied.

“Bullshit! There’s like nothing going on in your life! I still think you should give Mel another chance. She’s made some mistakes but I honestly think she’s being genuine”.

“Az I don’t want to have this conversation again ok? We’ve determined that Mel is still the same old Mel she was years ago and I’m not going back there. So let’s just drop it ok?” Chloe replied with a bit of anger in the tone of her voice.

“Alright alright. That’s me told” Aaron said as he quickly headed inside to grab some snacks.

“He only means well” Elly whispered.

“I know but we don’t need him meddling in on my love life do we?”

“That’s true but it might help as a cover story?”

“What so you want me to get close to Mel again?” Elly asked with a shocked look on her face.

“NO! Of course not”.

“Well then stop suggestion stupid things” Chloe replied rolling her eyes at Elly.

“Don’t you roll your eyes at me” Elly said as she kicked Chloe under the table.

“I just did” Chloe joked.

“You just wait...”

“Wait for what?” Aaron asked as he walked outside with lots of snacks.

“Jesus dumbo, keep your ears out of our conversation”.

“What have you got to hide?” Aaron replied.

“Elly was just informing me of how bad her cramps are because of her period and I was joking about it... if you just know” Chloe joked.

“No no you girls keep that information to yourselves”.

“A bit of blood scare you Aaron?” Elly asked.

“No, It’s just not the nicest conversation in the world”.

“But it’s a natural thing”.

“I know it is but come on it’s hardly nice to talk about is it?” Aaron replied.

“Men” Elly said rolling her eyes as she looked over at Chloe.

“Tell me about it” Chloe replied.

A couple of hours had passed and the three of them had got through 2 more bottles of wine. They were just watching the sunset while enjoying each other’s company. Chloe couldn’t keep her eyes off Elly, which hadn’t gone unnoticed by Aaron. He was worried that his sister was falling even deeper in love with Elly.

“Mind if I join?” Mark asked as he arrived home.

“Of course not grab a glass” Aaron replied.

Chloe immediately moved her gaze off Elly as she didn’t want anyone getting suspicious.

“How are you love?” Mark asked as he kissed Elly.

“I’m good thank you. You?” Elly replied as she almost pulled away from Mark because she didn’t want Chloe to have to watch the two of them kiss.

“Not bad. Budge over then” Mark said pushing Elly closer and closer to Chloe.

“Alright I’m going” Elly said as she scooted round to be right next to Chloe.

“Oh hey there” Chloe joked as she winked at Elly.

“Hey...” Elly replied.

“So what have I missed?” Mark asked.

“Just me trying to persuade Chloe to give Mel another chance but they both ganged up on me... so it wasn’t a very long conversation” Aaron replied.

“You can’t force these things Az, I thought you more than most would know that” Mark explained.

“Thank you Mark” Chloe replied.

“But it wouldn’t hurt to give her another chance... I spoke to her earlier and she seems genuinely sorry”.

“I can’t do this... can everyone please just stop telling me what I should or shouldn’t be doing with my life? Because I’m old enough and ugly enough to make my own decisions so please just stop... or I’m going to leave right now” Chloe explained.

Elly slyly placed her hand on Chloe’s leg to try and calm her down, she didn’t want anyone to see her do it but she needed Chloe to know she was there for her.

“We will leave it... won’t we Aaron?” Mark said looking over to Aaron.

“Yes, Sorry Chlo” Aaron added.

“It’s ok, I might call it a night if none of you mind?” Chloe replied.

“Of course we don’t!” Mark said.

“Elly can I have a quick word with you?” Chloe asked.

Aaron immediately wondered what Chloe needed to talk to Elly about, but knew he needed to back off Chloe a little bit as he had been driving her mad.

“Of course... excuse us a moment” Elly said as she stood up to follow Chloe inside.

Making sure the coast was clear, Chloe pushed Elly up against the wall, leaning in to kiss her passionately.

“Not here...” Elly said as Chloe kissed her.

“But I can’t wait” Chloe replied.

“You’ve only got to wait one more day and then I am all yours” Elly whispered to Chloe as she kissed her gently on the lips.

“I don’t know if I can wait that long”.

“It’ll be worth it I promise you” Elly replied.

“You better get back out there then” Chloe said with a sad look on her face.

“I better! But text me...”

“And say what?” Chloe replied.

“Anything that comes to your mind” Elly said with a smirk on her face.

“Shall I send you a cheeky photo” Chloe joked.

“It’s totally up to you” Elly replied.

“Hmm best go get in my best lingerie then” Chloe said as she kissed Elly on the cheek before skipping off to her room.

Elly was all hot and bothered after that interaction, she knew what she was doing was wrong but she couldn’t stop herself. Her feelings for Chloe were growing by the second and every inch of her body wanted to act on those feelings.

“Everything ok in here?” Aaron asked as he walked into the kitchen.

“Yeah Chloe was just showing me this new dress she had got” Elly replied thinking on her toes.

“Oh I see”.

“Yep” Elly said as she walked past him ready to head back to the table.

Aaron could feel that something wasn’t right between the two of them, they were up to something and he was going to make it his mission to figure out what.

“Chlo, you still up?” Aaron asked as he knocked on her door.

Chloe deliberately didn’t reply, she couldn’t be bothered to talk to him right now.

“I know what you are up to! We need to talk”.

Chloe was worried that Aaron had worked out that her and Elly were involved with each other.

“Sleep well, don’t think I’m going to let this drop” Aaron replied.

Chloe continued to find her sexiest lingerie ready to send a photo to Elly, one that will really take her breath away.

“Have you sorted your bucks night out yet?” Elly asked Mark.

“I’m pretty sure Aaron is all over it! I’m still hoping and praying that it’s not going to be a crazy one because I’m not letting anything ruin our magical day” Mark explained.

“I’m sure it won’t be a crazy one, but make sure you have fun ok?”

“I will don’t you worry! What about you girls? Organised the hen yet?”

“Me and Chloe are actually going to look at a venue tomorrow night... so we will probably end up having a few drinks and sleeping in some grotty motel. If that’s ok?” Elly asked. She had come up with a believable excuse as to why she would need to stay away with Chloe for the night.

“Of course that’s fine! You don’t need to ask me. Is Bea not going with you?”

“I was going to invite her but I wanted Chloe to feel special, she’s been through so much this year so I really wanted her to feel like a big part of this wedding” Elly explained.

“That’s so kind of you” Mark replied leaning over the table to give Elly a kiss.

“I’m just doing what anyone would do” Elly said.

“What have I missed?” Aaron asked as he rejoined the love birds.

“Elly is taking Chloe to a possible hen location tomorrow night and they are going to make a night of it” Mark explained with a smile on his face. Clueless to the fact that they will actually be making love.

“Sounds fun! Where’s this location?” Aaron asked as he didn’t trust either of the girls right now.

“A new trendy bar in the city called the boutique, it’s supposed to be lovely in there” Elly replied. She had done some research just in case these very questions were asked.

“Sounds nice. You’ll have to let me know what’s it like, I’ll have to take David there” Aaron said.

“You will, ill let you know what it’s like”.

“Good” Aaron replied knowing full well he was going to be asking the two of them a lot of questions about this new bar.

While this conversation was happening, Chloe was doing her best to take the sexiest selfie she had ever taken in her life. So far she had already taken about 30 trying to capture the perfect angle which would blow Elly’s socks off.

“Gotcha” Chloe said to herself as she looked through her photos finding the perfect one.

*a sneak peek of tomorrow* Chloe wrote as she sent the photo to Elly.

Elly’s phone vibrated in her pocket, she desperately wanted to get it out and look at what Chloe had sent her but Mark was way too close to her at the moment. She needed to wait for the right opportunity.

Chloe was waiting very patiently in her room to hear back from Elly, she was a bit annoyed that the reply hadn’t be instant.

Over an hour had passed and Elly still hadn’t had the opportunity to look at her phone, deciding that enough was enough she excused herself from the table so she could have the opportunity to look at the message.

“Holy... Sh” Elly said to herself as she looked at the photo of Chloe. Her heart was racing, looking at how incredible Chloe looked.

*wow! You look incredible, I can’t wait for tomorrow! Sorry it took a while to reply, Mark wouldn’t leave me alone* Elly replied hoping that Chloe wouldn’t be too annoyed with her.

“Finally” Chloe said to herself as her phone went off. The biggest smile came to her face when she read Elly’s message.

For the longest time she had been hoping and praying that Elly would reciprocate the feelings she had, now that it was finally happening she genuinely felt like the luckiest girl in the world. She never in a million years thought Elly would ever be attracted to her.

*I can’t wait for tomorrow* Chloe replied as she lay down on her bed with the biggest smile on her face. Nothing was going to ruin the mood she was in.

*me either, sleep well and I’ll see you tomorrow X* Elly messaged before heading back out to the boys.

Unknown to both Chloe and Elly, Mel had been planning ways in which she could win Chloe back. The only plan she had come up with so far was popping up everywhere that Chloe was going to be at, so that Chloe literally wouldn’t stop thinking about her. This would involve following Chloe, something which could turn into a problem tomorrow if she saw anything happen between Chloe and Elly.

Chapter Text

The big day had arrived and Chloe was up bright and early getting herself pampered for tonight. She had started the day off with a steaming hot shower making sure she was fully prepared for the big evening. She didn’t want anything to ruin this evening, everything had to be perfect.

“I need a word with you...” Aaron said as a very smiley Chloe walked into the kitchen helping herself to some fruit juice.

“What now?” Chloe replied.

“Why do I get the feeling that you and Elly are hiding something?” Aaron asked.

“Keep your voice down will you?” Chloe immediately replied.

“Well is there?”

“No! We are just close friends, that is all we are and all we will ever be” Chloe replied.

“I don’t believe you...”

“Think what you like but you are so wrong. We are simply going to a potential bar for the hen do... that is all” Chloe explained as she rolled her eyes.

“What’s the bar called again? Elly did mention it but I’ve forgotten...” Aaron asked trying to catch them out.

“It’s called the boutique, it’s new and looks super funky” Chloe replied with confidence.

“Funky? Who even uses that word anymore?”

“Me... so are you done with the questions? Because I need to get on with things” Chloe replied.

“Fine but I don’t trust you!” Aaron said.

“Morning Chlo” Elly said as Chloe walked past her.

“Morning... can’t stop” Chloe replied. She thought it would be best if the two of them didn’t spend too much time together around Aaron as he was already becoming a little bit suspect.

“She’s in a hurry...” Elly said to Aaron as she sat down at one of the bar stools.

“She’s getting ready for your night at the bar. What was it called again? My memory is awful”.

“The boutique it’s right in the centre of the city opposite that amazing tapas restaurant” Elly explained.

“I love that place” Aaron replied.

“Well like you said last night you’ll have to take David there” Elly said.

“It’s a shame he’s working tonight otherwise we would have come along with you”.

“Yeah it is a shame, another time though” Elly replied.

“For sure! I mean I could still come with you?”

“It’s a girls night, sorry” Elly replied.

“That’s discrimination”.

“Aaron give it a break, you can’t go on their night out” Mark said.

“Morning babe” Elly said giving Mark a kiss.

“Good morning! Fancy a bite to eat before you and Chlo head off?” Mark asked.

“I’d love to but we’re going to head to the city early and get some shopping in” Elly replied.

“Ah that’s a shame but you girls enjoy and we can have lunch another time” Mark said.

“Sounds perfect” Elly replied giving Mark a kiss on the cheek.

“I’m gunna head off for a run... Az you wanna join?” Mark asked.

“Yeah sure, give me two minutes” Aaron replied.

Elly’s eyes lit up as she knew the two of them would have the house to themselves, maybe they could get some practice in before the real deal tonight.

“See you later, if you’ve left by the time we get back have a wonderful time” Mark said as him and Aaron got ready to leave the house.

“Thanks, we most definitely will” Elly replied with a beaming smile on her face.

As the boys left the house, Elly quickly made her way to Chloe’s room to surprise her.

“Boo” Elly shouted as she opened Chloe’s door quickly.

“I’m naked” Chloe replied doing her best to cover up.

“And? I’m going to see you like this later...” a flirty Elly said.

“But I want it to all be a surprise” Chloe replied as she grabbed her duvet and hid her body.

“Oh come on...” Elly said.

“NO!” Chloe replied.

As Elly walked towards Chloe, the front door bell rang.

“You better go get that” Chloe said pointing towards the front door.

“It’s your house...”

“I’m naked” Chloe said throwing a pillow at Elly.

“Alright I’ll go” Elly replied.

Elly left Chloe’s room and headed to answer the door, she was shocked to see that it was Mel.

“Mel? Can I help you with something?” Elly asked with a confused look on her face.

“I was wondering if Chloe was here?” Mel replied.

“Yeah she is but I don’t think she’ll want to see you”.

“Surely that’s her decision not yours?”

“Trust me I know she doesn’t want anything to do with you... i think that’s pretty clear don’t you?” Elly replied getting a bit agitated.

“You have feelings for her don’t you?” Mel asked as it had all finally clicked with her.

“No I don’t. But even if I did it’s none of your business anyway...”

“It’s written all over your face! You better become a little bit better at lying because soon people will see straight through that little smirk of yours”.

Chloe had been listening to the conversation and thought it was about time she interrupted and stuck up for the woman she was in love with.

“Didn’t you get the hint? I don’t want you anywhere near me” Chloe said as she appeared from round the corner.

“Come on Chlo this isn’t you talking... just come for a drink with me. Alone this time” Mel replied.

“I don’t want to have a drink with you, I don’t want to see you. Why is it so hard for you to get that?” Chloe asked.

“Because I don’t want to give up on what we had...”

“What we had was a little bit of fun which turned into more too quickly. You broke my heart and betrayed me in the worst way possible and you honestly think that I want to spend time with you? You are delusional! Just go” Chloe explained raising her voice.

Elly could see that Chloe was getting more and more upset the longer Mel was there.

“I think it’s best you go” Elly said as she slammed the door in Mel’s face. As soon as the door closed, Elly wrapped her arms around Chloe who was clearly upset by seeing Mel again.

“It’s ok, I’ve got you!” Elly whispered as she squeezed Chloe tightly.

“Can we just get out of here?” Chloe asked.

“Yeah let’s pack a bag and go” Elly replied as the two of them headed towards their rooms to get some things together.

Meanwhile outside Aaron and Mark were just doing some stretching after their run. Mel couldn’t help but stop and talk to them both.

“Morning!” Mel said in a cheery tone.

“Morning... what are you doing here?” Aaron asked.

“I came to see if Chloe wanted to grab a drink but I think it’s pretty clear she doesn’t want anything to do with me” Mel replied.

“Don’t give up” Aaron added.

“Why? She wants nothing to do with me and Elly’s making sure of that”.

“What do you mean Elly’s making sure of that?” Mark asked.

“She’s just very protective over Chloe” Mel replied.

“Well of course she is! They are best friends and you did do some pretty nasty things to Chloe” Mark said.

“But she has changed...” Aaron added.

“How do we know that though? I mean I’m sure you have changed but we didn’t know you before and I’m sorry but I don’t want my little sister to get hurt again. She’s been through enough this year” Mark explained.

“I get that I really do, but I’m not going to hurt her again. I’ve done a lot of growing up and realised that Chloe’s the one for me”.

“But is she? Would you have ever got in contact with her if Aaron hadn’t have messaged you?”

“Of course I would have, I was just waiting for the right time” Mel replied.

“Look I’m sure your intentions are good but if Chloe doesn’t want to see you then I’m afraid there isn’t much any of us can do” Mark explained.

“Fair enough, but if I were you I’d keep an eye of the two of them. They seem a lot closer than just friends” Mel said trying to wind up Mark.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Mark shouted as Mel began to walk away.

“Just ignore her Mark, she’s clearly just trying to get a reaction from you” Aaron replied trying to keep Mark calm but he knew that the two of them were extremely close, maybe closer than he even thought.

“I can understand why Chloe doesn’t want anything to do with her... I just get a bad feeling from her” Mark added.

“Anyway enough about her shall we go for a swim to cool off?” Aaron asked.

“Sounds good. I’ll go get my shorts”.

While Mark headed inside to get his swim shorts, Chloe and Elly made their way outside ready to head off to the city.

“Chloe a quick word...” Aaron asked.

“What?” Chloe replied with real attitude.

“Just a heads up, Mel has a pretty good idea about your feelings for Elly so if I were you I’d just be careful”.

“Why what’s she said?” A worried Chloe replied.

“She just warned Mark that the two of you were closer than friends”.

“What did he say?”

“That the two of you were best friends and that she needed to just drop it. But I’m warning you, the two of you can’t happen. No matter how much you want it to, it can’t! It will ruin this family” Aaron explained.

“Come on Chlo we should get going” Elly shouted from the car.

“One second” Chloe replied.

“Just be careful” Aaron added.

“I know what I’m doing” Chloe said as she began to walk to the car.

“I hope you do” Aaron muttered to himself.

“Everything ok?” Elly asked as Chloe arrived at the car.

“Everything is perfect! Let’s go” Chloe replied.

The two of them headed off for a day of fun and an evening of passion. They both couldn’t wait to check in to the hotel so that the real fun could begin. What neither of them realised was that Mel was planning to follow Chloe’s every move today. She had almost become obsessed with Chloe again, with Mel the more she couldn’t have something the more she wanted it and wouldn’t stop until she got it.

“Thanks for sticking up for me to Mel by the way” Chloe said.

“She’s a snake and there is no way I’m letting her anywhere near you” Elly replied glancing over to Chloe, giving her a big smile.

“You getting territorial?” Chloe joked.

“Yeah I think I am” Elly replied.

“I like it, it’s hot”.

“You don’t think she knows about us do you?” A slightly anxious Elly asked.

“Well there isn’t an us at the moment so how could she?” Chloe replied trying her best to reassure Elly that everything was fine. But deep down she knew that Mel had a very good idea that the two of them were involved with each other.

“That’s true” Elly quietly said.

“You do still want to go through with this don’t you?” Chloe asked.

“Of course I do, I’m just worried”.

“I know there is a lot riding on this but as long as we are careful we have nothing to worry about”.

“Can I say something?” Elly asked.

“Of course you can, you can say anything” Chloe replied taking in a deep breath.

“What if we fall madly in love with each other? Right now I still don’t think I could leave Mark” Elly said quietly.

“We can cross that bridge if and when we get there. Let’s not worry about the future let’s just focus on here and now. And right now we are about to have an absolutely amazing day so let’s just focus on that” Chloe explained as she placed her hand on Elly’s thigh, causing Elly to smile.

“Sounds like a good idea” Elly replied as they both continued to make their way to the city. Oblivious to the fact Mel was following closely behind them in her car.

Chapter Text

While the boys were having a swim in the pool, the girls had arrived in the city. They had decided to stop at this cute little restaurant for a bite to eat before heading for some shopping.

“Table for two?” The waitress asked.

“Yes please, do you have any space on the balcony?” Chloe asked.

“Of course, follow me” the waitress replied.

Chloe desperately wanted to reach for Elly’s hand but knew it was too risky in public for them to act like a couple.

“Is this ok for you both?”

“Perfect thank you” Elly replied.

“I’ll be back to take your order in a few moments”.

“Thanks! You don’t understand how much I wanted to walk over here holding your hand” Chloe quietly said to Elly.

“I did see it move towards me and then you moved it back, we need to be super careful! You never know who you might bump into” Elly explained.

“I know I know I just can’t wait to get my hands on you” Chloe replied.

“You don’t have too long to wait” Elly said smirking at Chloe.

“What do you fancy?” Chloe asked.

“Anything I’m not fussy”.

“You can eat too much...”

“Why’s that?” Elly asked.

“Because you’ll be eating tonight” Chloe joked winking at Elly.

“You did not just say that... please never ever say that again! EVER” Elly replied trying her best not to laugh and encourage Chloe.

“I thought it was good” Chloe said.

“No! No it wasn’t”.

“Well have whatever you want because lunch is on me” Chloe announced.

“Well in that case I’ll eat everything!” Elly joked.

“That’s fine by me, love a girl with an appetite” Chloe replied licking her lips.

“If this is you trying to flirt stop because I like you for you, none of this cheesy stuff” Elly explained.

“Ok, noted” Chloe replied.

While the two of them decided on what they wanted for lunch, Mel had arrived at the restaurant. She needed to pick the perfect location so that she could watch the two of them without being seen.

“Can I help you?” The waitress asked Mel who was acting a little bit shady.

“I was looking for a table please” Mel replied.

“Inside or out?”

“How about inside but with a view of outside?”

“Ok, I can do that for you”.

“Thank you that’s very much appreciated” Mel replied as she walked to her table with her sunglasses on for extra disguise.

Luckily for Mel, the table the waitress had taken her to gave her the perfect view of Elly and Chloe’s table.

“Have you ladies decided?” The waitress asked a very giggly Elly and Chloe.

“Can I have the club sandwich please?” Chloe asked.

“I’ll have the same please” Elly added.

“Two club sandwiches coming up” The waitress said as she took the menus away.

“Copy cat” Chloe joked.

“What? I love them. You do realise it’s probably my favourite sandwich ever” Elly replied.

“Learn something new everyday hey? Speaking of are you nervous about tonight?” Chloe asked.

“A little I won’t lie. I’ve never been with a woman before and I guess I’m worried I’ll do something wrong” Elly replied as her cheeks began to turn red.

“Don’t you dare be worried ok? This is me it doesn’t matter how much or how little we do tonight! I will guide you through it all I promise” Chloe said leaning across the table to gentle stroke Elly’s hand.

“You promise?”

“Elly this is like my dream come true being able to spend the night with you romantically. There is no pressure or anything, even if all we manage is a kiss. That’s fine by me” Chloe explained.

“You’re amazing do you know that?” Elly replied.

“I mean I don’t want to blow my own trumpet but I’ve been told that quite a few times” Chloe said winking at Elly.

“I mean it!”

“Well you are not too bad yourself”.

Mel could tell by just watching their body language that this was more than a friendship, she couldn’t wait to gather up the evidence she needed to be able to play with Chloe. Mel didn’t like rejection and the fact Chloe had rejected her didn’t sit well with Mel at all. She was ready to play some games and have some fun.

“Excuse me just need to powder my nose” Chloe said as she got up from the table to head to the restroom.

Elly watched as she walked away, her heart beating quickly. She couldn’t believe that the two of them really were going to take the plunge.

Mel hid whilst Chloe walked past her, she didn’t want anything to blow her cover. As Chloe walked past she smelt a very familiar smell but couldn’t figure out where she knew it from.

“Wow these look incredible” Chloe said as she returned to the table to find their lunch had arrived.

“They taste incredible too” Elly replied with a mouthful.

“I see you weren’t going to wait for me... rude” Chloe joked as she rolled her eyes.

“I’m sorry”.

“I’m only joking, I wouldn’t have waited for you” Chloe replied.

“I know you wouldn’t have that’s why I didn’t bother” Elly joked.

Once the two of them had finished their lunch, they headed to the hotel to drop their bags off. Elly has booked them a suite because the occasion was an extra special one.

“This room is... WOW” Chloe said as she jumped on the bed.

“I thought it would be nice for our first time” Elly replied.

“It’s going to be incredible, come here you...” Chloe said as she patted the bed beside her.

Elly took a deep breath in and walked over to where Chloe was lay.

“Don’t look so nervous, I only want a kiss” Chloe said trying to calm Elly’s nerves.

“Ok, a kiss I can do” Elly replied as she lay down ready for Chloe to kiss her.

“Oh I have to do all the work do I?” Chloe joker as she moved onto her side so that she was facing Elly.

Elly didn’t reply she just turned onto her side and closed her eyes, waiting with anticipation for Chloe’s soft lips to reach hers. As they touched, goosebumps covered Elly’s skin, her heart racing faster and faster by the second.

It wasn’t long before the kiss turned extremely passionate, Chloe began to slowly move so that she was laying on top of Elly.

“I thought we were going shopping...” Elly said quietly as Chloe kissed her neck gently.

“Oh I thought that was just a cover up story” Chloe replied.

“No! I’m not letting you see me in the underwear I have on. No chance” Elly said.

“Why? Is it awful? Let me see...” Chloe joked as she tried to undo Elly’s jeans.

“No you are not seeing them! They have holes in and everything”.

“Now I have to see them. Come on just a little sneak peek” Chloe replied.

“Not happening” Elly said as she wrestled Chloe off her. Elly was now lay on top of Chloe, a position which she never thought she would be in.

“Yes boss” Chloe replied.

“Now we are going shopping...” Elly said as she kissed Chloe on the lips before getting off the bed getting herself ready to leave.

“You are such a tease”.

“Come on...” Elly replied.

“Ughhh if I have to” Chloe said acting like a stroppy teenager.

“Look if you want to see me in my underwear this evening then we need to go shopping”.

“I’d rather see you without it on” Chloe said smirking.

“I know but I want to look nice for you”.

“Elly you could wear a bin bag and you would still be the most beautiful person in the world to me” Chloe replied looking at Elly lovingly.

“You’re just saying that”.

“Trust me I’m not. The moment I saw you my breath was honestly taken away. You are just so naturally beautiful it’s unreal, whether you are wearing make up or not. It’s just effortless! I feel like all my Christmases are coming at once” Chloe explained.

“Stop you’ll make me blush” Elly said shyly.

“But your so pretty when you blush” Chloe replied as she playfully pinched Elly’s cheeks.

“Stop! Let’s go” Elly said opening the door.

As the two of them left the hotel room, Chloe got a whiff of the same smell she had smelt back in the restaurant.

“Have you changed perfume?” Chloe asked as she sniffed the air.

“No... why?” Elly replied.

“Because this perfume is following me. I smelt it at the restaurant and now I smell it again”.

“Maybe it’s attached itself onto your clothing” Elly joked.

“I’m being serious... what if someone’s following us?” Chloe asked.

“Don’t be ridiculous! Only the boys know we are here”.

“You’re right I’m being stupid. Let’s go” Chloe replied as the two of them headed out of the hotel.

But Chloe wasn’t being stupid, she knew deep down that she recognised the smell but just couldn’t work out where from.

“Excuse me, I’ve accidentally locked myself out of my room. I don’t suppose you could let me in? The name is Elly Conway” Mel said to one of the house keepers.

“Sure thing Miss Conway” the housekeeper replied letting Mel into the room.

Mel wasted no time at all in searching through Chloe’s things, trying to work out what the purpose of the trip was. She knew exactly what the two of them were planning when she stumbled upon Chloe’s lingerie.

“Just friends my ass Chloe Brennan” Mel angrily said to herself as her blood began to boil.

Out of her bag she grabbed a spy camera she had previously used in one of her schemes. She wasn’t going to let Chloe get away with this, not when she had chosen Elly over her. Setting the camera up with the perfect view of the bed, Mel was going to catch the two of them at it and use it to her advantage.

Once she had set the camera up, she opened the app on her phone to make sure it was working properly.

“Perfect, you are going to regret not giving me a second chance” Mel said to herself as she let herself out of the hotel room.

While Mel had been tampering with their hotel rooms, the girls were in a lingerie shop trying to find something super sexy for Elly.

“You ready?” Elly said behind the dressing room door.

“I don’t think I am” Chloe replied nervously.

Elly took a deep breath in, opened the door and slowly revealed herself.

Chloe’s eyes immediately bulged out of her head, she couldn’t believe how incredible Elly looked.

“Holy shit” Chloe said looking at Elly.

“Do I look ok?”

“Ok? You look incredible, good enough to eat” Chloe joked.

“Behave you...”

“Sorry I just can’t help it... just WOW”.

“Should I try on some more or just get this one?” Elly asked.

“MORE” Chloe shouted back.

Elly just laughed and headed back into the dressing room. As soon as the door shut, Chloe started cooling herself off, never in her wildest dreams did she ever think this day would happen.

Elly quickly changed into her next outfit, which was more of a jokey one. It even came with its own whip and handcuffs.

“Ready?” Elly teased as she hung the handcuffs over the door frame.

“Yes, yes and YES” Chloe replied.

As Elly revealed herself, Chloe immediately shouted, “thats the one” as she held her arms out ready for Elly to handcuff her.

“You sure?” Elly asked.

“Most definitely” Chloe replied.

Elly got changed, paid for the lingerie and the two of them headed to a bar for a few drinks.