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I'm The Captain Of My Story

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I’m The Captain Of My Story

Chapter One

Elly Conway has returned to Erinsborough after a much-needed break in Sydney with her mum. Elly’s life had spun out of control in the months leading up to her trip to Sydney.

Elly’s best friend, Chloe Brennan, had fallen in love with her. Elly had proposed to Chloe’s brother, Mark, her boyfriend at the time. Elly had been unable to allow Chloe to stay away from her when Chloe told her she needed space to get over her feelings for Elly. Elly had certainly not shown any hint of jealousy when Chloe attempted to move on with her ex, Mel, right? When Mark had up and abandoned her and called off the wedding in his grief over the death of a friend of his, Elly had found herself in Chloe’s arms as the pair spent a steamy few hours making love to one another. A very platonic thing to do with your best friend, right?

Mark had turned back up for the wedding hours before Elly walked down the aisle and not five minutes after they had been declared husband and wife, Elly had broken down and told him “I slept with your sister!” What followed that admission was just a mess of Elly’s life for the next few months. Days after the wedding, Elly thought she was pregnant with Mark’s child, and told him after she had finally convinced him to talk to her. Chloe had told her that she would be there as a friend to Elly but that was the last time they had spoken in months.

Turns out Elly wasn’t pregnant. With Mark keeping her at arm’s length unable to forgive her completely for cheating on him with his sister and Elly insisting that she wanted to get her marriage to Mark back to a secure place before she informed him he wasn’t going to be a father, Elly found herself having a drunken one night stand and cheating on Mark all over again. This time Elly fell pregnant. The father of her baby turned out to be Shaun Watkins, the brother of Elly’s ex Finn.

Elly had tried to keep the baby-daddy secret from Mark, going to extreme lengths to hide the truth from him, been black mailed by numerous people that had learnt the truth. It was eating her up inside until she couldn’t do it anymore. She finally confessed she was pregnant to another man; Mark had kicked her out of his home and within days sought out annulment papers that she had no choice but to sign. She’d hurt Mark so much and he no longer wanted her to be his wife. With Elly beginning to spend time with Shaun before he returned overseas to where he lived with the promise to return for the birth, there was almost a moment that Elly thought she and Mark could reconcile but it wasn’t to be.

After that disappointment, Elly had taken a break from her life but after 5 weeks away with her mum she had returned home where she lived with her Aunt Susan, Uncle Karl, sister Bea, and Finn.

Elly was so happy to see Bea when she walked through the door, proudly declaring that she was now 19 weeks pregnant and had made a few changes in her life to keep relaxed and drama-free. Bea and Finn supposedly had no gossip or drama to fill Elly in on though something about the way they said it left Elly not quite believing them but she didn’t want to push it.

Drama-free, remember, I need that.

Bea had immediately handed over Elly’s mail where Elly found the letter from the family court confirming she was no longer married to Mark. “I’m no longer Mrs. Brennan,” Elly confirmed to Bea and Finn as they stood there with her.

Months ago, that would have hurt but now…I accept it.

Elly tells Bea and Finn, “I’ve made my peace with everything that happened.”

I had to, I really did love him…as much as I thought I could anyway and I hurt him so badly by cheating on him twice and now I’m pregnant with another man’s baby. It’s not like I could ever expect Mark to forgive me and raise this child with me. Especially when Shaun does want to be part of his baby’s life. I couldn’t keep trying to get Mark to forgive me and love me again. Now my focus has to be solely on this new regime to create a zero stress and zero drama environment to raise my child into. Not on my love life.

Elly changes the subject to stop herself feeling the pity coming from Bea at the end of her marriage.

I start talking about that I do want to focus on rebuilding all my friendships. I immediately tell Bea that I need to do this with Amy and Leo…but my friendships were reasonably solid with them before I took a break from Erinsborough. I hurt Leo my involving him in my lies to Mark about who the father of the baby was…but once I came clean to Mark, Leo had my back once more. Amy was disappointed in me that it took me so long to come forward and that I didn’t confide in her but she helped me make the decision to go stay with mum. She then confided in me about her confusion with her feelings for her fiancé, Gary, and her ex-boyfriend, Kyle. Kyle is Gary’s son and much closer to Amy’s age and type but he broke her heart years ago. I do want to call Amy now that I’m back to check in and see how she’s handling her feelings for the pair.

“I’d love to say Chloe as well…but I think that’s out of the question,” Elly adds only seeing the pity and surprise on Bea’s face at the mention of Chloe.

Probably because it’s been so long since I’ve spoken about Chloe to Bea. To anyone. Even I don’t like to admit how long it’s been since I’ve really taken some time to think about Chloe. I did think about Chloe whilst I was in Sydney. How could I not? After all the drama of the last few months that I got myself embroiled in, I was too distracted to really deal with what I’d done to my best friend. I wanted to spend some more time to really work out how I can ever attempt to make up for what I did to Chloe and I wasn’t ready to convey that to Bea before I’d worked out if it’s even possible. But before I know it, I’m saying it out loud to Bea and Finn. I bring up the most important friendship I want to get back but am positive it might not happen as I hurt Chloe so badly.

Not quite as bad as how I hurt Mark but I knew how she felt about me and I used her for comfort anyway when I needed to feel loved…I mean that’s all it was right?

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I'm The Captain Of My Story

Chapter Two

Chloe was walking through the Lassiters complex when she spotted Pierce sitting at one of the outside tables at the Waterhole busy typing away on his laptop. She walked over to him hoping to firstly talk to him about the music festival idea he had emailed her about but also try to work out what was going on between them.

A few weeks earlier Chloe had told Pierce that she liked him. As with all typical Chloe moments, she had terrible timing and had told him right after his fiancé had taken off with a $250k payday rather than stay and marry him. Ebony had believed Pierce had feelings for Chloe and the other day Pierce had confirmed that was true but he needed time to deal with Ebony leaving him when he’d been planning an entire future with her before he could come to terms with his feelings for Chloe.

Chloe was tired of waiting. She’d been diagnosed with Huntington’s disease a year earlier and would likely pass away in her fifties. She wanted to spend what future she did have left with someone who loved her. Even though deep down she wasn’t sure she wanted it to be Pierce.

It’s not like I can have that future with the person that I do love because Elly doesn’t love me… But Pierce is nice, well-travelled and he has already promised me that he would be there for me during my illness…why turn that down because he’s never going to be the one, I truly want to be with? Maybe I’m Pierce’s second choice too after Ebony so I can’t feel too awful that Pierce is my second choice… I need to move on from Elly…it’s time.

The conversation with Pierce is awkward at best. Chloe and Pierce remain happily talking about the music festival as she gives Pierce her insights from festivals she’s been to. She cheekily tells him about a nudist event that she took part in at a festival and while he considers it Pierce decides to make it “minus the nakedness.” Chloe tries again, this time asking him to hear more of her stories over a drink but Pierce rejects her once more and takes off to go to a meeting. Though he does extend the offer that he’ll chat to her later.

Probably only about work…Pierce doesn’t want to do personal with me. Way to scare him off again, Chlo! Why do I keep chasing people who won’t chase me back?

Immediately after Pierce takes off, Chloe’s older brother and general pain-in-her-ass who loves to control her life, Aaron, turns up and takes Pierce’s seat at the table next to Chloe. He seems surprised and excited that Pierce is talking to Chloe once more but Chloe points out that it’s all work for Pierce and he won’t talk to her about anything personal. “I don’t want to spend my life waiting, chasing, I want to have fun while I still can,” Chloe insists to her brother before admitting that her choices of “peeps” to have fun with are limited.

I destroyed my friendship with Elly, the one person that I ever saw a future with and even though my feelings for Pierce will never compare to those I had…have…for Elly…I don’t want to be alone so I keep persisting with Pierce. I’m starting to think it’s all for nothing. Am I ever going to have a future with anyone who loves me? Great now Aaron is looking at me like he’s taking pity on me. He knows how badly I’ve messed things up with both Elly and Pierce. If Aaron knew I still think about Elly from time to time…he probably wouldn’t feel as much pity for me…he’d think it was wrong that I’m still not completely over her…will I ever be?

Chloe and Aaron decide to move inside the Waterhole to have breakfast together but just as they sit down Bea and Elly enter the venue.

Great, now I need to get out of here and avoid all the awkwardness that even been in the same room with Elly gives both of us. How did we go from best friends to sleeping together to never talking to one another so quickly? It’s all my fault.

Chloe makes an excuse about leaving her phone outside but Aaron denies the claim and insists she doesn’t leave.

Well Aaron will as soon as he spots Elly behind him! Aaron doesn’t want Elly messing me up again.

Chloe feels herself cringing at the awkwardness as Elly and Bea walk over to their table to say hi and make pleasant awkward conversation.

Well it’s not like Elly could walk straight past the table in between the door and the bar without making it clear that she doesn’t want to talk to me. Why is Elly talking to me? Even if it is the most awkward ‘Hi’ ever…this is the longest conversation I’ve had with her in four months and all we’ve done is say ‘Hi’ a bunch of times…why couldn’t Aaron just let me leave so I could make it obvious that Elly doesn’t need to feel forced to talk to me?

Elly tried not to smile as she tried looking away from Chloe but was unable to keep her eyes off the blonde. Elly was trying not to feel hurt that just her presence in the same room almost made Chloe run out of there. Elly was determined to fight through whatever awkwardness they were both clearly experiencing to at least attempt a conversation with her former best friend even with their siblings looking on.

I told Bea this morning I wanted to fix my friendships and Chloe was one that I really want to even though it’s doubtful Chloe would want the same thing. I hurt her terribly, not to mention I broke her brother, Mark, too. I’m sure she hates me for what I did to her whole family. But if we have even a small chance of getting back our friendship…I need to at least be able to enter a room Chloe is in without her wanting to run away from me…

But the conversation doesn’t last more than 30 seconds. Chloe immediately comments on Elly’s new hairdo that she’d come back from Sydney with as Elly reaches out her hand to her hair, secretly hoping Chloe will actually compliment her for her new style. But an actual compliment doesn’t come her way. Chloe stumbles out an “How have you been?” Elly insists that she’s good and wanting to try to continue their conversation to break it past the awkward stage, adds that she’s “craving grapes.” Bea decides the theory behind that is that Elly is actually “craving wine.” Elly doesn’t think that’s true.

Bea tries to lessen the awkwardness by telling the Brennans’ her and Elly are there to get breakfast. Bea takes a couple steps over to the bar but Elly doesn’t want to walk away from Chloe. It’s the first conversation they’ve had in months and Elly wants to keep trying with Chloe until things become less awkward for them if that’s at all possible.

Elly’s hopes are immediately dashed as before she can say anything more to Chloe in an attempt to see if she will ever have a chance to fix their friendship, Chloe is standing up, grabbing her work file from the table she had with her and gripping Aaron’s arm tightly as she drags him out of the venue.

Could Chloe have been less obvious that she doesn’t want anything to do with me? But as I try and drag a smile on my face at Bea to hide how upset I am that Chloe wanted to be anywhere else than in the same room as me, I realize I have a lot more work to do than I ever thought possible if I’m to attempt to make things right with Chloe.

As the siblings exit the Waterhole, Aaron actually apologizes to Chloe as he realized that Chloe was trying to avoid Elly when she first tried to leave but he held her back, forcing her to endure that awkward conversation with the woman who broke her heart. And Mark’s heart too. Chloe tries to hide that she wanted to avoid Elly but it doesn’t take long to admit to it. Aaron tries to make out that the former best friends can say ‘Hi’ to one another but Chloe insists that it just means she can’t say anything more than that because things got “messed up with her…and now Pierce…it’s just one lost friendship after another with me.” Aaron tries to reason with Chloe that she hasn’t lost these friendships she clearly still wants with both of her former flames but Chloe takes off on her own leaving him there to think about how hurt his sister is feeling right now about the friendships she’s blaming herself for losing.

Elly was just trying to be polite to me…she didn’t actually want to stand there awkwardly trying to make a conversation with me whilst our siblings looked on. I’m responsible for messing up our friendship…I never should have tried to push her to cancel the wedding to Mark for me or think for a second that when she did tell Mark that we’d slept with one another that it actually meant she was giving us a chance at been together. We’re never going to be friends again…even if we are…it needs to be Elly making the first move…I made a fool out of myself for thinking Elly could ever have feelings for me. Elly not outright avoiding me in the Waterhole and letting me stumble through the longest interaction we’ve had in four months does not count as Elly extending her hand of friendship between us. No matter how important our friendship was to me…it’s not possible to ever get that back.

Chapter Text

I'm The Captain Of My Story

Chapter Three

An hour later, Aaron hits up Chloe again at the Waterhole as she’s about to sit down for a coffee. Having had a conversation with his brother, Mark, about Elly needing a friend now that she’s back home and awkwardly pointing out to Mark that he meant Chloe and not himself. Realizing just how hurt Chloe was feeling at her lost friendships piling up around her, Aaron decided he wanted to do something about it. Typical busy-body move of interfering in his little sister’s life on his part but Aaron hoped Chloe might appreciate it this time. If he could convince Elly and Chloe to spend some time together as friends.

Aaron spun a story for Chloe that he had booked for that morning an at home massage for two for himself and his husband, David, but with David’s father, Paul, in hospital, it just so happened that they couldn’t make it and he didn’t want it to go to waste. Chloe was skeptical when she realized Aaron’s intentions were for her to have the massage with Elly as a way of rekindling their friendship.

A massage? Really, Aaron?

Aaron points out that Elly could really use a friend. Chloe rolled her eyes, knowing deep down she was desperate to be friends with Elly again, even though she knew it could never be anything more. Aaron reminds Chloe that she’s into Pierce now or “maybe totally not.” He clearly can’t keep track of what is going on in Chloe’s love life.

Am I into Pierce? I mean I like him; I can’t ever deny that but he keeps giving me the cold shoulder and pushing me away…something Elly has been fond of doing to me too lately. I seem to be making a habit of that. Or did Elly really want me to stick around this morning in the Waterhole so we can attempt to fix our friendship now that she’s back in town and might have come to terms with everything she’s done to my family over the past five months? Is Aaron reading into something Elly said or did this morning that I completely missed?

Eventually Chloe agrees with Aaron to spend time with Elly over a massage, “As long as Elly agrees…sure…why not?” Aaron thanked her before heading over to Elly’s to have the same conversation with his former-sister-in-law.

Elly was at home at the Kennedy’s sitting at the table when Aaron stops by to see her to tell her he has a present for her. She immediately notes her surprise that she thought she’d be off that list of his. She doesn’t need to give him her own list of the reasons why.

Not telling Mark that Chloe was…is…was in love with me. Not allowing Chloe the space she asked for to move on from her feelings for me. Cheating on Mark with Chloe when I needed comfort after he cancelled the wedding. Been unable to tell Mark what I’d done when he turned up the morning of the wedding asking me to still marry him and instead telling Mark “I slept with ya sister!” five minutes after marrying him. And then all the stuff with lying about Mark been the father to my baby…right now I’m more concerned by all the things to do with Chloe…I guess because I admitted out loud this morning that I really do want to fix my friendship with her…that has to be the reason I all of a sudden can’t stop thinking about her right?

Aaron gives Elly the peace-offering gift of the massage for two, once more spinning the tale that it was for David and himself but they can’t use it today. Elly immediately thinks that Aaron is talking about himself and wants to have the massage with her. First Mark thinks Aaron is talking about himself when he meant Chloe is the friend Elly should have back in her life and now Elly thinks the same thing. Aaron tells Elly he can’t make it either and when Elly asks him, “Who’s the lucky person then?” he tells her he thought she could enjoy spending some time with Chloe again as friends.

Elly hands the massage gift certificate back to Aaron, claiming that she doesn’t think Mark would like her been friends with Chloe again.

I don’t think Chloe would like to be friends with me again.

But Aaron is trying to be helpful in his own way, by telling Elly that he has already spoken to Mark and Elly’s ex-husband has assured him that he is “not going to freak out” at her spending time with his sister.

Is Chloe going to freak out?

Aaron points out the massage is a way for Chloe and Elly to “clear the air” and Elly hesitates before deciding, “I could really do with a massage.”

I could really do with Chloe wanting to be my friend again.

“As long as it’s what Chloe wants as well,” Elly agrees.

Missing Scene

Chloe was nervous when she walked up to Elly’s place. Yes, she lived across the street from Karl and Susan’s place but the last time she had been in the house was when Elly had crushed any hope of ever returning her feelings for her.

Don’t think about that, Chloe, this is just about trying to see if we can ever fit in each other’s lives again as friends. Nothing more than that. Even though I have to admit I was surprised to get Aaron’s text that Elly had agreed to let me join her for the massage Aaron had booked.

Chloe noticed the van in the driveway of the Kennedy’s from the massage company and assumed they were already inside waiting for her.

I can’t keep Elly waiting for me now…just go knock on the door, Chlo, and hopefully we can find a way to not be so awkward around one another…for an hour at least…

Chloe reaches the front doorstep at the Kennedy’s and raises her hand to knock on the door but hesitates for a moment.

Did Aaron really talk to Elly and get her to agree to this? Argh why would you even think that Aaron would arrange this whole thing and Elly doesn’t know you’re here to spend time with her? Just knock on the door already, you can hear people moving about in the house and if you keep standing here in front of the door without knocking, Elly’s going to see you not been able to knock on the door and know that you’re not sure that I’m ready to hang out with her again. Even though I really want to as it’s killed me been apart from her but I’m more afraid that we’ll never get back to anywhere close to what we shared…with our friendship.

Chloe shakes her head before eventually knocking on the door. It doesn’t take Elly too long to answer the door. Chloe puts on a smile on her face as she greets her, “Hi, Elly.” Elly smiles back at her shyly, “Hey, Chlo.” Elly immediately shifts to the side to let Chloe inside.

Well that ‘hello’ wasn’t quite as awkward as earlier this morning, both women thought to themselves.

Chloe greets the massage artists politely as they continue setting up the massage boards and their oils. Elly closes the door behind Chloe, then stares over at her former best friend, “Uh…I’ve got towels for us to wear…if you want to get changed in the bathroom. I’ve got my towel in my room unless you want to get changed there instead before me.” Chloe bit her lip, “Bathroom will be fine. Do you want to show me the way?”

Towels, massages, oils, Elly naked in another room…how exactly did Aaron think this was a good idea and that I’m totally into Pierce now enough to let what lingering feelings I’m always going to have for Elly to the side as I try to keep things to friendship? Friendship is all Elly wants…if that…she might only be humouring Aaron to get him off her back. Or maybe Elly’s time away has made her rethink that she did a lot of damage to my family and she wants to take a few steps to begin to fix that…starting with me instead of Mark. I guess we’ll see.

A few minutes later, Chloe bumped into Elly back out in the hallway having both of them gotten changed into their towels separately. Chloe chews on her lip once more, “So…you ready?” Elly nodded, “Yeah…are we okay? I mean if you don’t want to be here, Chlo…” “No, I do want to be here,” Chloe cut in, “I’m sorry…I just guess this wasn’t how I expected to spend my afternoon off work.” “Me either…expect for the afternoon off work. I’ve still got a couple days before I have to go back to the school,” Elly replied.

“Lucky you,” Chloe smiled gently, “Or maybe not, I know how much you love your work and you probably missed it quite a lot whilst you were away.” Elly blushed gently, amazed that Chloe still knew her so well, “Yeah, I missed it a lot. Along with a lot of things.”

Elly doesn’t mean me.

I kinda mean Chloe…in a friend kinda way.

Elly took a breath, “I guess we better get out there as the massage artists are waiting for us. But we can keep talking and catching up during the massage, right?” Chloe nodded, “Yeah…that’d be nice. I’d like that. I feel like you’ve missed a lot the past month you’ve been away.” Elly looked at Chloe intriguingly, “Really? Because when I asked Bea, she said there wasn’t much to say.” Chloe shrugged, “I guess you’ll just have to wait and see what I’ve got to tell you. Besides I’m kinda curious to hear how things went for you in Sydney.” Elly nodded, “Nowhere near as much drama as what could ever happen in Erinsborough.”

“So, taking off back to Sydney to stay with your mum was a good thing for you?” Chloe asked quietly as Elly gestured for them to go back out to the living room before they got lost in their conversation with one another and forgot about the massages that were waiting for them.

Chloe and Elly both sighed gently as Chloe followed Elly away from the hallway.

Okay, conversation was awkward at the beginning but now it seems to be flowing reasonably well. Maybe we can still be friends, Chloe and Elly both thought.

Chapter Text

I'm The Captain Of My Story

Chapter Four

As Chloe followed Elly back out to the living room where the massage artists had set up the massage tables ready for them, Elly answered Chloe’s earlier question that leaving Erinsborough was a good thing for her, “Yeah, getting out of town was the best thing for me.”

Chloe nodded along politely, glad to hear that Elly had enjoyed her time away even though a part of her had missed the brunette despite not been on speaking terms for months. When Elly asks how Chloe has been, the only descriptive word that comes to Chloe’s mind is “Busy.”

Busy wasting my time chasing Pierce for no reason…I wonder how Elly is going to react to my troubles with my love life. Do I want to tell her?

Elly gently blushes as Chloe then asks how her and “the peanut” are doing.

‘The peanut’…that is the most adorable name Chloe could come up with…I love it. I wonder if that’s how Chloe has been referring to my baby for a while without my knowledge. There was a time that Chloe thought that she was ‘the peanut’s’ Aunt…I’m sure Chloe would’ve made the most amazing Aunt to this baby…I think I still want her to be the baby’s Aunt. Is that weird? I’ve had her back in my life for 5 minutes. I can’t stop looking at Chloe…I feel like I’m smiling so much every time I look at her…I can’t help it.

‘The peanut’…urgh, Chloe, did you have to say that out loud? Maybe because that’s what you’ve been calling the baby in your head for months since you first found out Elly was pregnant. As much as Elly been pregnant meant that Mark was always going to take her back after we cheated on him…I mean when we first thought Elly was pregnant to him but it turns out she wasn’t and then got pregnant later on when cheating on him again…I really wanted to be ‘the peanut’s’ Aunt. Elly’s got this gorgeous smile on her face as she confirms her and the baby are fine…despite all the lies about the baby’s paternity, Elly really is happy every time she thinks about her baby…she can’t help it.

A minute later, Chloe and Elly are lying on the massage tables set up next to one another in fits of uncontrollable giggles. When she’d climbed up onto her table, the leather binding of Elly’s table had made some farting noises and Elly was left in hysterics convincing Chloe that it wasn’t her who had made the noises. The look on Chloe’s face had ribbed Elly on even more that she didn’t believe her even though she did and Elly had literally called out Chloe’s name to get her to stop making her feel embarrassed then told her to ‘Shut up’ in the most adorable tone of trying to get Chloe to stop teasing her. Any awkward tension between the former friends seemingly dissipated as the women burst into laughter once more.

I can’t remember the last time I even laughed let alone lost myself in complete hysterical laughter like this. How does Chloe make me feel this way? Like I can just burst into tears of laughter with her over the most ridiculous and childish things? Chloe is making me smile on purpose; I know that’s what she’s doing. I really have missed my best friend.

Okay, I know I was egging Elly on on purpose just to see if she would lose herself in laughing for a moment. It definitely worked. I couldn’t help it; I like making people happy and laugh. As much as Elly seems so much more relaxed after her time in Sydney after everything that went down…I just can’t help but want to make Elly burst into tears of laughter for no reason. She’s had enough tears this year…I think she needs these different types of tears. I really have missed my best friend.  

A while later, the air had most definitely been cleared between them and they were now back in the swing of talking non-stop about what had been going on in their lives since Elly had gone to Sydney. Or well actually even further back than that since they had barely uttered a word to one another for four long months.

Elly was now regaling Chloe about a “classic Lizzie” story about her mum trying to be helpful about her pregnancy and instead told her the story about how Elly nearly “broke her” mum giving birth to Elly. Liz was never one with the most appropriate advice nor the perfect timing but it was still hilarious for Elly to be telling Chloe about her mum’s story.

Not as hilarious was Elly having to sit through Chloe’s stories the last little while about Pierce.

Ugh, Pierce. Why did he have to come back to town? Am I the only one that remembers what he did to Chloe? Chloe said she could never love him. Chloe was this close to running away overseas to get away from him and trying to hide the truth from her brothers that she’d been sleeping with him as he paid her with expensive gifts that she then sold to repay their mother back for debts she owed her. I’m trying not to appear jealous…I don’t even know why I would be jealous of Pierce. I mean so far, she’s only admitted that she “likes him,” she hasn’t told me or him that she loves him. I just think Chloe can do so much better than Pierce…that’s all this is.

Why am I telling Elly, all about the last few months with Pierce? From him returning, talking to him about been unable to support Mark until a month or so ago, me been so sure that he had come back to town for me, hearing that Pierce was spotted with an engagement ring, my embarrassing turn down of his proposal only to find out he had a fiancé, Ebony, and I was not the person he was planning to marry. Then there were the stories of working for Ebony, learning her secrets that she was after Pierce’s money to help her family out of financial crisis, that she ended up leaving him for a payday because she thought he still had feelings for me. I tell Elly that I admitted to Pierce that I like him and after he avoided me for days, Pierce confessed he has feelings for me too but he can’t do anything about them while he’s messed up about Ebony leaving him when he was planning a life with her. Am I telling Elly all this because I can’t help but want to see just a spark of jealously from her or because I need to re-affirm to Elly that I have moved on from her and if we want to pursue our friendship once more she doesn’t need to be worried that I’m still in love with her…even though I am.

But Elly finds a way of teasing Chloe about it instead, “I can’t believe you got caught dancing with the wedding dress.” “You should have seen the look on Pierce’s face,” Chloe replied as she tried to think of ways to get Elly away from the topic of Pierce but then Elly asked her how things are going with Pierce, “Are you guys friends or…?”

Do I really want to hear Chloe’s answer?

Do I really want Elly to be interested in my answer?

Chloe settles on telling Elly that she and Pierce are working together and she had it under control. Whatever it was. Luckily it seems that was enough for Elly to hear on the subject of Pierce as she rested her head on her hands and looked over at Chloe, admitting, “I’ve missed this. I’ve missed you. And laughing.”

I’ve missed you more than laughing, Chloe. Why did I need to add in ‘laughing’?

Chloe smiles over at Elly, telling her she “feels the same way.” Elly gently offers that maybe they could “do it again,” to which Chloe agrees she’d “like that.” Feeling like they had finally turned a corner and gotten their friendship possibly back on track, Elly goes to rest her head down to close her eyes but grins as Chloe backtracks teasingly that the only reason is because Elly listens to her horrible travel stories and she’s the only one who puts up with them. The pair laugh at Chloe’s reasoning behind why she wants them to hang out again, both knowing there was a lot more behind it then that.

Chloe grinned as she rested her head down on the backs of her hands, her head still facing Elly, she closed her eyes and relaxed into the massage.

Maybe been friends with Elly again will be easier than I thought.

Elly smiled too, resting her own head down on the backs of her own hands, her head also facing Chloe, but instead she left her eyes open a little bit longer to keep staring at Chloe before she too relaxed into the massage.

I’m so glad we’ve broken the ice over the last half hour and genuinely appear that we can get our friendship back on track. I’ve missed Chloe so much…I can’t wait to spend more time with her…even if I get to sit through Chloe telling me more of her travel stories…she’s worth it.

Chapter Text

I'm The Captain Of My Story

Chapter Five

After the massage artists had finished the girls’ massages, they had packed away their oils and the massage boards, clearing out of the house within minutes. Chloe and Elly had stood silently by the couch as the women left them in peace. They probably should’ve immediately gone to change back into their clothes or each had a shower separately to wipe the massage oils from their bodies before getting changed. But instead they had stood around each other in their towels, not quite sure how to end their time hanging out together after so long of no contact.

As soon as the massage artists leave the house, Chloe asks if Elly would mind if she had a glass of water and offers to get her one too. Elly stands away from Chloe, finding herself trying to concentrate on anything but her best friend. Glad that they had reconnected but unsure where they could go from here, Elly was glad when the knot in her shoulder presented her with the perfect distraction. She’d only told the massage artist several times about the knot but the girl had failed to get it out.

With her back still to Chloe, Elly heard Chloe approaching behind her. Chloe hands Elly a glass of water and as Elly takes a sip, Chloe places her own glass on the dining room table in front of Elly. Chloe sees that Elly has been struggling with the knot near her shoulder that she had commented about getting on the flight back from Sydney that morning. Before Elly can say anything, Chloe offers to help Elly with the knot in her shoulder. Elly tells her she doesn’t have to but Chloe responds that “I want to.”

I want you to as well, Chloe.

Chloe places both her slender hands on Elly’s shoulders, gently massaging the back of Elly’s right shoulder having immediately picked up where the tension in Elly’s upper back was. As soon as Chloe’s hands glide around the knot, and she tells Elly that the knot is “definitely loosening up,” Elly smiles widely. How could she not? Chloe was being her selfless self and was helping Elly. Elly had missed her so much.

This feels so good, should’ve skipped the massage artists and just allowed you to massage me, Chloe.

“You are amazing,” Elly declares almost breathlessly. “So are you,” Chloe replies back sweetly.

I recall a time that Chloe once told me that I’m amazing.

Chloe then leans forwards and presses a gentle yet passionate kiss to Elly’s shoulder.

I let her…I mean I’m allowing her to be so close to me…what did I expect Chloe to do?

Elly immediately turns around, unable to resist her curiosity of the look on Chloe’s face after kissing her shoulder like that so romantically. The look on Chloe’s face is pure desire.

Chloe wants me. I’ve never seen that look of pure desire for me on anyone’s face before. It’s so undeniable and irresistible…how did it take me this long to work it out that I want to feel that need from someone who loves me so deeply? Even though the source of that desire coming from Chloe scares the hell out of me?

Elly reaches her right hand out to cup Chloe’s cheek as she is unable to resist the desire Chloe has for her any longer. Elly leans forwards and brings her lips to Chloe’s, kissing her deeply and continuing to pull Chloe closer to her so there is almost no space between their bodies. Elly finds herself portraying as much need for Chloe as Chloe has long held for her. Elly runs her left hand up and down Chloe’s shoulder as she feels Chloe running her tongue against her bottom lip, wanting to deepen the passionate kiss Elly has instigated.

Chloe is amazing. This kiss is amazing! I’ve never had anyone want me so lovingly and with so much desire before. This is all Chloe has ever wanted and allowing myself to give into that is making me feel like I shouldn’t be scared by what Chloe feels for me. The way Chloe is kissing me, Chloe wants me more than anyone else in the world. Do I want--?

To…wake up!?!

Elly is broken from her dream of kissing Chloe by the sound of Chloe gently sighing next to her on the massage table.

A dream?! I fell asleep during the massage…we’re still getting massages and I…dreamt of Chloe kissing me…um I mean…I kissed Chloe and she kissed me back with such passion! I dreamt of Chloe! What? Why?

Elly blinks heavily as she struggles to keep all her emotions in check as she tries to deal with the idea that she had dreamt about her friend. Chloe with her eyes closed and completely oblivious to what Elly was going through, pointed out to Elly, “How amazing does this feel?”

The massage or the kiss…?

Then before Elly can answer Chloe verbally, Chloe starts talking about how good it is to let “all the pent-up tension go.”

Pent-up tension…? Chloe, could you be more accurate!? Oh my God, is that what that was? A dream of my pent-up tension…for Chloe? No, it couldn’t have been…right?

Elly finally finds her voice, replying to Chloe, “Yeah…yeah…it feels good.”

The massage or the kiss…? Holy hell.

Elly takes a look over at Chloe once more. Chloe is still blissfully unaware of what has happened. Elly stares back down in front of her as she tries to compose herself and work out what she just experienced.

What in the world was that…? I dreamt about making out with Chloe? What does that mean!?!

Chapter Text

I'm The Captain Of My Story

Chapter Six 

Elly is still lying on the massage table trying not to think about the dream she had just had of Chloe but was unable to think of anything else. Chloe was relaxing out and enjoying her own massage on the table next to Elly’s, having no idea what Elly had just been through and how clouded Elly’s mind was of her.  

Elly sighs heavily as she stares over at Chloe, almost feeling annoyed that Chloe had her eyes closed, looked so relaxed and had no clue what Elly had on her mind. Elly quickly leans back to her massage artist, apologizing as she had “had enough.” Elly climbs off the massage table, almost before Chloe can react. Chloe does react, of course, and points out they have “heaps of time left.” Without looking at Chloe, Elly makes her excuses that she can’t sit in the same place for a long time. 

Within seconds, Elly told Chloe she was going to have a shower to wash off all the oils. Rushing away from the room, Elly backtracks awkwardly to tell Chloe to stay for the rest of her massage and that Chloe can “see yourself out.” 

What? Why? Elly, what happened? I thought things were finally starting to get back to normal with us. Now you’re running away and making it obvious that I’m not to wait around for you…what did I do wrong?  

Elly throws out one last apology to the massage artist for ending the session early before rushing out of the room. Elly stood in the hallway, leaning her back against the wall as she tried to catch her breath. 

I dreamt of kissing Chloe…what the heck was that? 

Missing Scene  

A few minutes later, Elly was standing in the shower, running her hands through her hair. Her head was absolutely swirling with nothing but Chloe and her dream about her friend she had experienced whilst she had fallen asleep during her massage. Elly placed her hands against the wall of the shower in front of her. She couldn’t close her eyes. Every time she closed them, the only thing she could see was that look on Chloe’s face right before Elly had kissed her in her dream. 

What was that? Why would I dream about Chloe that way? I don’t have feelings for Chloe. 

Giving in and wanting to figure out the meaning behind her dream, Elly allowed herself to close her eyes. Her dream came straight back to her. She could see every inch of Chloe’s pure desire for her in the way Chloe looked at her. She recalled the feeling of her lips melding passionately against Chloe’s, the way Chloe had come close to seek entrance to her mouth to deepen the kiss even more. 

Why would Chloe kiss me like that? Why would Chloe remind me that I’m amazing, press her lips against my shoulder and then deepen our kiss to make me never want to let her go--? 

Elly took a deep breath. 

Wait…Chloe didn’t do any of those things. It was a dream. Chloe didn’t kiss me like that. Chloe didn’t remind me that I’m amazing. Chloe didn’t press her lips against my shoulder. Chloe didn’t deepen our kiss to make me never want to let her go— 

I dreamed it all came from Chloe…but doesn’t that mean that it came from me…right? If I dreamed it then…my subconscious wanted…Chloe to kiss me like that. Chloe to remind me that I’m amazing. Chloe to press her lips against my shoulder. Chloe to deepen our kiss to make me never want to let her go— 

Elly’s eyes snapped open for a moment as she ran her hands through her hair once more before biting her lip and closing her eyes once more unable to ignore replaying her dream in her mind. 

If I dreamed all those things with Chloe…that Chloe wanted me with such undeniable passion…is it possible I did so….because I want Chloe to want me with such undeniable passion? 

I don’t understand…I’ve never felt this way before. I’ve never wanted a woman before…why would I dream about Chloe this way…when I don’t feel that way about her…right? 

Elly kept her eyes closed as she stood there in the shower, the hot water streaming down on her, as she was consumed by every moment that had happened during her dream.  

What if I hadn’t woken up?  

What if the dream had kept going? 

The hunger I feel that Chloe had for me…the hunger that dream-me…might have…wanted to…feel that Chloe had for me…would that have boiled over to even more than just kissing her? 

Would I have taken things further with Chloe…in my dream? Would I have taken Chloe to my room? Gotten into bed with Chloe and made love to her? Would I have felt the desperation Chloe had for me…that I might have…wanted Chloe to have for me…thrown all logical caution to the wind…and just stripped her of her towel and made love to her in the middle of the living room where we stood…where anyone could’ve walked in on us? 

Was I that desperate to be with Chloe that I didn’t want to wait to take her to my bedroom? 

Was I that desperate to make love to Chloe…at all? 

Elly shook her head but was unable to open her eyes, still completely consumed by her dream. 

Why am I thinking about this? I did wake up. It was just a kiss…that I now can’t stop thinking about whether or not I wanted it to go further. Did I really have some need that is buried deep within me that in that moment I wanted to make love to her? 

No, this is…I mean this is…so confusing. Chloe isn’t the person that I want. I don’t want anyone right now. I need to concentrate fully on my baby and living this new regime of a drama-free life. I don’t want…to be thinking about Chloe when I’ve been avoiding thinking about Chloe for four months… 

Elly ran her hands across her face, trying desperately to work out why she had had that dream. 

I made love to Chloe two nights before my wedding to Mark…when he had abandoned me and cancelled the wedding…I haven’t thought about Chloe that way ever since. That night that I did spend a few hours in her arms…it was…Chloe and I made love to one another. Chloe was patient, loving and had such desire for me. It was such a different experience for me to have Chloe making love to me…to have made love to her.  

I haven’t thought about that night since I told Chloe that it didn’t mean that we would be together… It’s not like, the only reason why I haven’t thought about that night is because everything in my life from that decision onwards got so messy and complicated that I’ve been far too distracted to even contemplate that making love to Chloe meant anything more than what it was. 

I was such a mess and cheating on my fiancé with his sister…I needed comfort and to feel love that night…it wasn’t about Chloe… 

This dream I just had now…wasn’t about Chloe. 

Elly squeezed her eyelids shut, ignoring her growing need to remain calm. 

Okay…I had a dream about Chloe…my friend…in which I kissed her like I’ve never been kissed before in my life…it doesn’t have to mean anything more than… 

Anything more than what exactly? 

Elly licked her lips, breathed deeply as she opened her eyes and placed her hands back against the wall of the shower in front of her. 

It was just one dream. 

It doesn’t have to mean anything about my feelings for Chloe…I missed my best friend…and I want her back in my life…I’m sure that’s all it had to mean… 

Chapter Text

I'm The Captain Of My Story

Chapter Seven 

A few hours later, Chloe bumps into her eldest brother, Mark, at Harold’s Café. They greet each other and Mark leans out a hand to the booth in the café indicating that Chloe should sit down with the coffee she just ordered and they can catch up. Instead of sitting down opposite her, Mark stands there with his hands gripping the chair in front of him, figuring it didn’t need to be a long catch up and that he just wants to check in with his sister. 

Mark cuts straight to the chase that he thought Chloe was “catching up with Elly” as Aaron had “mentioned the massages.”  

Of course, Aaron mentioned it to Mark…seriously Aaron couldn’t keep anything about my life from Mark if his life depended on it. 

Chloe admits to Mark that Elly cut her massage short, that “everything was going great and then--”  

And then Mark is looking at me like the last thing in the world he wants is to hear me talk about his ex-wife.  

Chloe sighs, “Sorry. We don’t have to go into it.” 

I should stop and find someone else to talk to about this…like who? I can’t trust Aaron to not blab it to Mark anyway…maybe I should try and catch up with Elly again later today to find out what I did wrong? Do I want to know what I did wrong? 

Mark decides it’s okay, “It’s a little bit weird to talk about it, but I’m fine to talk about it.” Chloe gives him a look claiming that clearly isn’t the truth. Mark reassures his sister that he’s fine and to make his point, he finally takes a seat in the chair opposite Chloe to show that he wants to sit there with her to listen to her. 

Okay I really hope Mark can hear this without freaking out. 

Chloe immediately began explaining, “Okay, so everything was going great and then suddenly…she just got all weird and bailed. Story of my life right now.” Mark figures Elly simply has “a lot to deal with.” Chloe shrugs, “Then why not just say so?” “Baby might be giving her grief,” Mark suggests.  

Okay Mark might be right…maybe it was about the baby…not about me. 

Mark proceeds to explain to his sister that Elly has also arrived home to “find confirmation of our annulment in the post.” Chloe nodded, “That can’t have been fun. She was probably thinking about that the whole time and just too awkward to say anything.”

That’s what it is then...Elly was trying so hard to make things right with me and pretend like the end of her marriage doesn’t hurt her as much as it clearly has.

Chloe concedes to Mark, "It was stupid to think we could go back to being friends. Guess I just have to accept that Elly's not there yet." Mark watched on as Chloe tried to hide her sadness at Elly not wanting to be friends with her. 

Elly was desperate to marry Mark, even though he never treated her with the love and respect she deserves. She loved him...she spent months lying to everyone about Mark being the father of her baby because she was so desperate not to lose him. She wanted to have that family with Mark that he wanted too. Time away from here was supposed to help her to accept Mark couldn’t love her anymore and needed to end their marriage when he learnt he wasn’t the father of her baby. 

Then when Elly does come home, she’s immediately confronted with the end of her marriage with nothing more than a letter in the mail...no wonder she was probably trying to distract herself from that pain by agreeing to spend time with me. She thought focusing on me and fixing things between our friendship would mean that I would be able to take her mind off of it...that she still loves Mark and didn’t want their marriage to end. 

Why did I ever think Elly getting all weird and bailing could ever be about me? 

Elly was still at home a few hours after the massage. She'd showered, dried and styled her hair once more, then put the finishing touches on unpacking all her belongings that she had packed up and taken with her during her holiday to her mum's in Sydney.

Now, she was back out in the kitchen, trying to avoid thinking about her dream for at least a minute while she poured herself a cup of tea. Bea entered the living area from the hallway. Elly was too focused on pouring her tea to notice Bea placing down a picnic basket on the floor out of Elly's sight. Bea had a date with Finn and wasn't ready for her older sister to know about it.

The sister’s banter about how good Bea's outfit looks, with Bea making excuses as to not let on about her date, knowing Elly might not take the news well that she was now dating her former boyfriend again. Bea asks how Elly is settling back in been home.

I was fine until I had that dream about Chloe...and now that is all I can think about...not about the dream itself...I've stopped fixating on going back into my dream to remember every single detail for now...but now I just want to work out the meaning behind the dream.

Elly lists off a few things that she had accomplished thus far before adding in quietly at the end, "I got a massage with Chloe."

And then had a sexy dream about Chloe!

Bea is surprised to learn Elly spent time with Chloe, commenting that "that's good," before noting that Elly had said earlier that morning that she "couldn't be friends with her again." 

No, Bea, I always wanted to be friends with Chloe again, I just thought she would never want that too. 

Elly admits that "Aaron was a little bit more optimistic," before explaining that he gave them a massage that he and David didn't want.

And I had hoped Aaron was right about been optimistic. Which he was...until I freaked Chloe out by bailing on her. I'm going to have to explain that better to her at some point, aren't I? If I'm to...put this dream behind me and continue concentrating on fixing our friendship.

Bea accepts that a massage would've been good for her sister after her flight earlier that day. Elly confesses that it was and then before she can avoid it admits that it was good enough that she fell asleep on the table.

If I'm to work out what this dream meant, maybe that is something Bea can help me with...I don't have to mention that the dream was about Chloe... What if Bea asks me who I was dreaming about...? Do I lie to my sister or possibly weird her out that I'm having sexy dreams about Chloe...? One dream! It was one dream!

"I had this really weird dream. Have you ever had a dream about someone that you're not meant to?" Elly blurted out.

'Not meant to' sounds so harsh...but it was more than just someone I never expected to...I didn't mean to have that dream about Chloe...right? Bea looks surprised and like she wasn't expecting me to say that. She's going to ask who I was dreaming about...who do I say when she asks? Am I ready to admit to my sister it was Chloe I was dreaming about because that could lead to a lot of questions from Bea that I don't have the answers to?

Who else can I say that I wasn't meant to be dreaming about? Mark? Because we're over and I've accepted that so I shouldn't be dreaming about him. Shaun? Ugh no I can't say that. He was a one-night stand who ended up been the father of my child. Yes, he'll be in the baby's life when the baby is born but...I don't want Bea thinking that Shaun and I could ever be anything more than just the one-night stand that we were! It could make things incredibly awkward when he does return if Bea thinks I had this dream about him and thinks that I might have it in my head that Shaun and I could be a couple just because we will have a child together. Who else? Leo? No, that would just get messy and confuse the hell out of Leo if he was to ever find out and then I would have to confess to Leo that it was actually Chloe.

There is literally no other options.

"What kind of dream?" Bea asked simply, clearly not getting Elly's drift.

Okay now when I tell her 'that kind of dream' she'll ask who it was about.

Without using the words, Elly indicates to Bea the type of dream she had and Bea immediately gets the hint. 

I don't think I'm ready to tell Bea the dream was about Chloe so just keep talking and rambling without been specific and maybe she won't need to know those kind of details.

Elly began rambling about that she doesn't normally dream and if she does, she never remembers her dreams.

Except this one...why is this the only dream that I can not only remember but remember every single detail so vividly? Is there a reason why I was made to remember it...that it did actually mean something more than...whatever it is that I'm trying to excuse away that it could possibly mean?

"So, you're like trying to work out if there's a hidden meaning?" Bea asks.

Yes! That's it exactly, Bea! What does it mean?

Elly nods in agreement, "Yeah." Bea shrugs, "Sometimes worries worm their ways into your dreams. Is there something weighing you down? Any secrets your keeping?"

YES! I can't say that. I swore I was done with secrets and lies when it comes to my family, after everything I've done to them this year but I need to keep this to myself. At least until I can figure out what it all means.

"No, no, not anymore," Elly lies to Bea. "Okay, maybe it's that simple," Bea begins to explain.

Simple, yes, I can handle a simple explanation as to why I had a dream of kissing Chloe so passionately.

Bea continues, "Maybe this person is someone that you're attracted to deep down."

Elly's mind went completely blank unable to come up with a single thought to Bea's explanation that she was attracted to Chloe and that's what her dream was telling her.

Bea doesn't take the look of incomprehension on Elly's face as anything with deep meaning. Too busy focusing on her date with Finn, not even bothering to think for a moment who her sister was worried of dreaming about. Bea quickly made her excuses as to leaving Elly alone. Elly manages to blurt out a goodbye to her younger sibling, completely distracted by Bea's suggestion and didn't notice when Bea snuck out the front door with the picnic basket.

Elly stood there in the kitchen on her own, trying to come to terms with Bea's suggestion that she was secretly attracted to the person she dreamt about and that's what the dream was trying to tell her.

...I'm not...am I? ...Fuck!

Chapter Text

I'm The Captain Of My Story

Chapter Eight

A little while later, Elly hears a knock on the front door and is surprised to find her ex-husband, Mark, standing there awkwardly. Mark greets her and welcomes Elly home from her trip to Sydney as he hesitantly enters the house just a few steps in front of the door.

Mark? What would he be doing here? I really didn't think he'd want to see me...not for as long as possible. Maybe he's here for another reason. 

Elly admits that Mark is the last person she was expecting to see before telling him that she got the "annulment confirmation if that's what you are here to check."

Mark purses his lips and simply tells Elly that he wanted to avoid the “random bump into…get the awkwardness out of the way.”

Off to a flying start, aren’t we, Mark?

Elly can barely look at her ex-husband when she accepts that “it’s going to be awkward for a while yet.” Mark insists that she doesn’t need to be awkward “around my family.” Elly shrugs that “Aaron and I…we’re getting there.” 

Mark stares at Elly intensely as he broaches the subject of bringing up his sister whom Elly cheated on him with months earlier, “And Chloe?”

I dreamt about making out with Chloe and may have had the desire to have taken it further had I not have woken up…but Chloe doesn’t know about that…not awkward at all, Mark.

“We hung out earlier,” Elly settles on telling Mark. Mark lets Elly know that Chloe had told him about spending time with Elly, “She said you were a bit weird with her.”

Chloe thought I was weird with her…of course she did. I bolted away from her without much of an excuse because I didn’t have one…I have to go try to find her…explain to her that my wigging out and abandoning her…it wasn’t her fault.

“Really?” Elly blurted out, surprised that Chloe had obviously talked to Mark about her.

Chloe must be really worried about what happened between us to go to Mark for advice.

“You and Chloe were mates and if you want to continue hanging out, I just want you to know that…I’m okay about it,” Mark told Elly with slight hesitation that he was being completely honest with her. “Okay,” Elly whispers back.

Mark gives his goodbyes telling Elly he’ll “see you ‘round,” leaving Elly on her own once more. 

Mark might be ‘okay’ with Chloe and I being friends again…but right now I’m still trying to work out if ‘friends’ is all it is between Chloe and I…that dream I had of Chloe…was Bea right that it means I’m attracted to her?

I need to go and see if I can find Chloe and talk to her about it. I’m afraid to admit it to her…that I dreamt about her…but I don’t want to lie anymore to the people around me. I need to start telling the truth instead of hiding things. Chloe can help me clear my head over all this and I can reassure her I didn’t run away because of her.

I don’t want to give her any kind of hope…don’t be silly…after what you did to her family…one little dream could never give her false hope because she could never still have feelings for you. Chloe might not have said it…but I also got the impression that she’s well into Pierce now…I don’t know how I feel about that…

An hour or so later, it didn't take Elly very long to track down Chloe and found her at the Waterhole drinking a tea. Elly went up to Chloe and immediately apologized that she had "run out of the massage." Chloe could sense some serious hesitation coming from Elly. Instead of asking exactly why Elly had left her alone earlier that morning, decided to play it cool by asking if the massage was "too hard" like hers was then added in an adorable Chloe-ism about feeling "tenderized like a really relaxed schnitzel."

Not exactly...wow I really missed the way Chloe always says the most spontaneous crazy one-liners.

Elly smiled softly as she answered that it was “great.” Chloe stared at Elly, unable to not ask, “Then what happened? I thought we were having a nice time.” “Yeah, we were,” Elly concedes. “Did I do something? Because if I accidentally said something stupid,” Chloe forced herself to say out loud but Elly kept interrupting her numerous times to tell Chloe that it wasn’t her.

Okay, just tell Chloe the truth, you promised yourself not to lie anymore and Chloe needs to know this wasn’t her fault. She will know how to deal with my dream and make me make sense of it.

Elly held out her hands in front of her as she kind of gestured as she admitted to Chloe, “Okay it’s not a big deal but when I was getting massaged, I fell asleep and…I had this really full on dream…about you.”

Say what, Elly?

“And after everything that we’ve been through…I just found it confronting and then my subconscious mind started telling me that it meant something,” Elly blurted out.

Okay…be cool, Chloe…

Chloe smiled as Elly started vibing with her hands in front of her and wasn’t sure if telling Chloe, the truth was going to weird things out between them, “People have sexy dreams all the time. Don’t read too much into it.” “Are you sure?” Elly asked with her hands now clasped in front of her waist, “Does this mean we can still hang out?" 

Chloe confirms that she would “love to.” Elly nods at Chloe’s acceptance of what had happened earlier that day without making any kind of big deal about it and then wishes Chloe goodbye and leaves the Waterhole.

See, ‘people have sexy dreams all the time and I shouldn’t read too much into it…’ I knew Chloe would make me see sense with my dream. Hopefully I can put it behind me and go back to concentrating on re-building our friendship.

Chloe stared after Elly as she left, suddenly left wondering if she should have made a slightly bigger deal or questioned if it could ever mean anything more to Elly.

Elly’s right…it might have meant something…it very well might not have.

Elly shut me down brutally on her wedding night that what we shared was never going to be anything. She shut the door…and now I’m sitting here wondering if that dream, she had of me has just placed a wedge at the door to keep it open…

I feel like I missed my opportunity to ask Elly what she meant when she said her mind was telling her that it meant something…then again Elly did say she found it confronting.

Confronting or not…does this mean there is a chance for Elly and I?

A little while later, Chloe had a glass of wine and sat down on her own at one of the outside tables at the Waterhole so she could have a quiet moment alone to process the idea that Elly had dreamt about her. No sooner had she sat down; Pierce sidled up to her with a smile on his face.

Who?

“There you are!” Pierce greeted.

Oh right…Pierce…forgot about you.

Without asking, Pierce took a seat next to Chloe. “Have you been looking for me?” Chloe asked, wanting to know what he wanted and didn’t want to waste time with him when she had more important thoughts to process. Pierce points out she hadn’t been at work that afternoon and Chloe shrugs that with Paul in hospital, her boss, Terese, gave her time off work. Pierce comments the “luck” of that then backtracks that it’s terrible what happened to Paul.

Chloe stared down at the table, avoiding Pierce’s gaze.

Yeah, I’m really not feeling this conversation at all, Pierce. Even though Elly might not have meant it…she just really gave me a small glimmer of hope that maybe…just maybe…deep down Elly might have some romantic feelings for me…

Chloe finally returned her eyes to Pierce but he didn’t seem to notice how distracted she was or how little she was invested in their conversation. Pierce tells Chloe that the drink she had suggested earlier that morning “may not be such a bad idea after all.”

…No…

“Sorry, I’ve made other plans,” Chloe told him.

I mean Pierce didn’t say when he wanted to go for that drink or if he meant right now but…I feel like if there is even the slightest chance with Elly…my social calendar is wide open for Elly and shut closed for Pierce…

Who are you again, Pierce? Was it seriously only this morning that I was attempting to ask you out? Feels like a lifetime ago…my day with Elly…feels like I’ve waited a lifetime for her...

Pierce is still determined, asking instead if she’ll be free tomorrow. Chloe half-smiled, pulling her handbag to her chest, “That could work…I’ll have to get back to you.”

That’s not going to work…I won’t get back to you.

Ignoring Pierce as he offered out, “Whenever your free…” Chloe clutched her handbag. Without another word, Chloe abandoned her full glass of wine like she’d rather sacrifice it then spend any more time with the man that she had spent several weeks pursuing and now had very little interest in even finishing a conversation with him. Chloe walked off leaving Pierce to stare at the wine glass in confusion as to why Chloe had turned him down.

I really thought that I was into Pierce. I knew my feelings for him would never be as strong as my feelings for Elly but he was a good dependable option I could be happy with. At least I thought I could be…until I bumped into Elly at the Waterhole at breakfast…and that interaction changed everything.

Before I even contemplate having a drink with Pierce…I need to take some time with Elly and work out if there ever will be a chance for us to be more than friends…

Chapter Text

I'm The Captain Of My Story

Chapter Nine 

Later that same day, for the third time in a row, Elly bumped into Chloe at the Waterhole. 

Seriously, how did we manage to avoid each other for four long months when this is the fourth time today, I’ve spent time with Chloe? 

Chloe has just asked Elly out for lunch the following day. “Lunch, really?” Elly seems surprised that even though Chloe had brushed off her dream that she was keen for them to already spend time together as friends so soon. “Unless you’ve got other plans,” Chloe pointed out. 

Elly claims it’s not that then tells Chloe that “I know you said you were cool by the whole dream thing but I--” 

I’m still kind of wigging out about it and want to work out what it means. I know it could be simple that people have dreams like that all the time and Chloe told me not to read into it but…I never remember my dreams and…imagining making out with Chloe…there still has to be some meaning to a dream like that. 

Chloe can see that Elly is still struggling to deal with her thoughts over what the dream meant and was determined to show Elly it wasn't a big deal, "I'm just honoured to have played a starring role."

That's more or less accurate to describe your part in my dream. Starring role...leading lady...

"It's all good. So, is that a yes for tomorrow?" Chloe continues. Elly nods her agreement confirming "midday" to which Chloe grins happily, "Lock and load."

Chloe can't help but continue grinning after Elly as her friend walks away from her.

It's not a date. It's lunch between two friends. I want it to be a date. I can make an effort to dress to impress Elly and see if that turns her head to accept maybe her dream did mean something for the pair of us after all.

The next morning, Chloe runs out to the patio at the Brenaka's house to find her brother, Aaron, and her several-time-fling-now-good-mate, Kyle, sitting outside having breakfast. Interrupting their banter, Chloe's in her dressing gown and holds up two different styles of earrings to the men, "Which ones? I can't decide. Understated ellaganza or extra extra?"

Aaron grins up at his sister, having not seen her this happy in a while, "That depends...who's your date and how much do you want to impress them?"

Elly! I want to impress her more than anyone in the world.

"Elly!" Chloe answers in the happiest and most excited voice she has, but she knows she has to clarify for the boys before Aaron gets on her case due to the fact Elly is their brother's ex-wife, "And it's not a date, nothing like that. We're just catching up for lunch at Harold's." Chloe distracts herself staring at the two earrings instead of looking at Aaron for his response.

Kyle looks over at Aaron, pointing out that it was his massage that's responsible "for this." "All I did was open the door," Aaron claims, then tries to put the brakes on Chloe's enthusiasm, "I didn't expect you two to be besties straight away." Chloe ignores his tone, grinning all over again, "Yeah, great, huh?" 

Chloe goes back to talking about her earrings to the boys, not wanting to get drawn into Aaron's concerns that she might absolutely be hoping that lunch with Elly might one day turn into a date. Chloe then starts pointing out that with one of the pairs of earrings she doesn't have to pull her hair up and can have "swish."

The boys look at her like they've never heard of such a thing so she demonstrates swishing her hair around. Kyle stares at her incredulously, "It's lunch with a mate, why do you need 'swish'?"

It's so not lunch with a 'mate,' Kyle. You know how I feel about Elly. It's why we ended, I was still in love with Elly and you were still in love with Amy.

"It's not about 'need'," Chloe starts to lie to her friend and brother, before staring down at the earrings once more and deciding that neither option of earrings was going to work for her. Thanking them anyway, Chloe takes off, not seeing the look of concern on Aaron's face.

Yeah, the boys are so not prepared to see what I've done to my bedroom, upturning all my clothes all over the bed to find the perfect outfit for lunch with Elly. I'm going all out for her, date or not.

A few hours later, wearing the most perfect outfit she could find, Chloe walked through the Lassiters complex. Having just missed Pierce by a few seconds talking to her brother, Aaron, as Pierce took off in another direction, she most certainly got Aaron's attention as she walked past. "Wow! This dress! Really?" Aaron asked with concern that Chloe was making too big of a deal out of hanging out with Elly again.

Precisely the response I was going for, Aaron! I hope I get it from Elly!

Chloe rolled her eyes at him. Aaron tries to make his point again, even gesturing with his fingers for quotation marks, "For a friendly catch up?" Chloe looked away from her brother, running her hands down her dress to smooth it out to make it more obvious that she was dressed to impress, "There's nothing wrong with making an effort." 

Aaron placed his hand across Chloe's shoulder to point out what Pierce had just told him, "So much of an effort that you turned down a date with Pierce?"

All true, Aaron.

Chloe rolls her eyes at her brother once more, making an analogy that he's like a smart phone that tracks her every move. As they approached the front of Harold's Cafe, Aaron stands in front of her with his arms out trying to make his point, "I wanted you and Elly to be just friends. Just friends. But this..." Aaron gestures once more at Chloe's dress, "This looks like a whole lot more than that." 

Still true, Aaron.

Chloe looks away from Aaron's gaze so he points out, "I thought you were into Pierce." Chloe looks back at him, "I was..."

Was I though?

Aaron almost dropped his jaw at Chloe's sudden change in attitude to Pierce when it was just last week that she had to beg all her friends for more than a thousand dollars to win Pierce at the Bachelor auction. Even though the resulting charity donation was meant to garner Chloe a date with Pierce as his winner but he had stormed off on her instead, unable to deal with his feelings for her when he was still trying to get over his fiancé, Ebony, leaving him. 

Aaron couldn't believe what could be happening with his sister, "Right. So, now you're going to go and chase Elly again...are you serious?" Wanting to point out that her need to find out if her and Elly could ever be more than friends, came from Elly herself indicating that there might be something between them, Chloe snapped at her brother, "She had a dream about me, okay. A sexy dream!" Aaron scowled at her, "Chlo!"

Chloe tells Aaron the truth, "My feelings for Elly haven't changed...maybe I just want to...see where things go."

Aaron tries to stop her again to point out she should not be getting her hopes up but Chloe shushes him and walks off on him, telling him boldly that "Elly's waiting." Taking off inside the Cafe, Chloe didn't notice another look of frustration on Aaron's face.

Missing Scene

When Chloe entered Harold's Cafe, she found Elly sitting in the booth next to the door.

Holy hotness I'm not the only one who 'dressed to impress!' Elly looks stunning in that black dress!

Without even needing to announce her presence to Elly, Elly looked up at Chloe as soon as she entered the room.

Damn!... Wait did I really just think that? Why would I think that? It's a nice dress on Chloe and it makes her look...damn! Friends can totally think that...right?

Chloe smiled at Elly brightly, "Hi, Elly!" Elly bit her lip, "Hey, Chlo!"

Chloe assessed that Elly was sitting on the side closest to the door in the booth and although she thought that meant that Elly wanted her to sit at the table opposite her, Chloe couldn't resist the need to sit close to Elly instead.

I'm just been a friend to Elly wanting to be near her...and work out if she wigs out at my wanting to be close to her after her dream...

Chloe walked around the table to the other side of the booth and sat down in the booth next to Elly. Elly smiled at Chloe's choice to ignore the seats opposite her and make the effort of circling the table to sit down next to her. Elly immediately reached out and placed her hands on top of Chloe's hands as she held them on her knees, "I'm glad you suggested lunch today. I've been looking forward to spending more time with you since I saw you late yesterday."

Chloe nodded, "Me too." Elly smiled as she squeezed Chloe's hands, "And I promise not to run out on you again very awkwardly like I did yesterday!" Chloe couldn't help but smirk at Elly, "It's okay...I think you had a good reason for doing that. I'm glad you came to me and told me the truth."

Even though I've been unable to think of anything other than this could possibly mean there is something more than friendship between us, Elly.

Elly agreed, "Same. I've told enough lies this year to last a lifetime. I need to start been honest with everyone in my life now...starting with you."

And also, I needed your advice, Chlo, on why I could have that type of dream about you...

Could any of your lies ever possibly involve that maybe deep down you could have romantic feelings for me, Elly?

Chloe still couldn't wipe the smile off her face as she stared into Elly's eyes, "I'm glad. It seems like you really want to turn things around." "Yeah I do," Elly decided, "So...ah speaking of telling the truth...you look...wow! I love your dress!"

Exactly the reaction I was hoping for from Elly. Definitely worth all the time spent working on the best outfit I could possibly pull off for Elly.

Chloe tried not to blush, enjoying the closeness Elly was giving her as she had missed it for far too long, "Thanks! Your dress is also...stunning!" Elly grinned back at Chloe's compliment.

Wait...did I actually take so much time this morning getting ready because I really wanted to impress Chloe? How did I not realize that until now? What does this all mean?

Elly reluctantly let go of Chloe's hands, instantly missing the contact, as she picked up one of the menus on the table, "We should probably decide on what to order." 

Can't sit here all day holding your hands, Chloe...even though I kind of want to.

Chloe still kept her smile on her face as she reached out for a menu, missing the feel of Elly's hands against her own, "That we should." 

Even though I'd rather sit here all day with you holding my hands, Elly. Maybe after we finish our meals, we can have a chat...and I can maybe approach Elly as to what might be going on between us...

Chapter Text

I'm The Captain Of My Story

Chapter Ten

Mark storms into Harold's Cafe, having just had Aaron in his ear about Chloe and Elly's lunch and that it seems that both women have expressed in a way that there could be more than friendship between them. Elly and Chloe both look up at Mark in annoyance as Mark spots them sitting next to one another, each reading a menu. Mark directs his frustration at Elly, "Elly, can I have a private word, please?" 

Mark shuffles off to the stand in front of the fridge in the cafe, only a few meters away from the booth. Elly glances over at Chloe, coming close to rolling her eyes, before telling her ex-husband, "Sure," and getting up to follow him across the room.

Mark tries to plant a smile on his face to Chloe to hide his frustration at his little sister for this situation, but thinking that he is protecting Chloe from Elly, gestures his arms wildly in front of him as he accosts his ex-wife, "The ink on our annulment is barely dry." Elly stares at Mark in confusion, "So?"

What is your issue, Mark? I don't need a reminder that you ended our marriage.

Mark tells her that "we're not going down this road again," before blasting her as firmly and quietly as he can, "You've already done enough damage to my family!"

But it wasn't quiet enough as Chloe suddenly joins them, having seen that Mark is going off at her friend about something, "Mark, what are you doing?" "What are you talking about?" Elly asked him, feeling glad to have Chloe's support.

Mark gestures his hands between the pair of them, "I know that this is not just friends hanging out."

Took you long enough, Mark. I've been in love with Elly for nine months and you, the disaster of a cop that you are, have finally managed to see that we aren't just friends hanging out...I mean that we are friends hanging out but this is the first time Mark has acknowledged realizing that he can see my feelings for Elly.

"What?" Elly responded to Mark in surprise at his suggestion.

Chloe and I are friends...what would make you think anything more was going on? Yes, I had my dream about Chloe but it doesn't mean for sure that I want to be more than friends hanging out with Chloe...right? Chloe would not have told Mark about that dream of mine, right? Or has Mark just changed his tune since yesterday? Seeing Chloe and I sitting together here has put him off been okay with us been friends again?

Out to protect his sister from his lying, cheating ex-wife, not realizing Chloe can make her own decisions, Mark accuses that Elly, "absolutely crushed my sister and me and now you want to lead her on again?"

"Mark, stop, please," Chloe pleaded with him.

Mark might be right that Elly did those things but something about Elly is different this time, I can feel it.

Elly stood up for the pair, hating been reminded that she did hurt the pair of them, "Mark, for your information, I have no intention of hurting Chloe but also who I hang out with now it's none of your business!"

Why did you have to get it in Chloe's head that I'm just going to hurt her all over again? That's the last thing I want to do. I don't know what's going with me after this dream...if there is anything at all but I'm not going down that path of leading her on again. In my own time, I will let Chloe know that I can't even begin to focus on dating right now whilst I'm pregnant and trying to put my career and life back together. I can focus on rebuilding my friendship with Chloe but nothing more...right?

Placing her hand on the small of Chloe's back, leading her away from her brother, Elly took Chloe back to their table to get on with their lunch together, determined not to let Mark's foul mood at them ruin their time together. More than he already had.

Half an hour later, with Mark having stormed off out of their hair the moment they had sat back down together, Elly and Chloe had just finished their meals. Elly smiled as she gushed over at Chloe, "This has been so much fun!" Chloe pointed out, "Yeah, everything pre and post my brother going full fruitcake. Thanks for standing up for me." Elly shrugged it off, "Well he had to be put in his place."

But also, yeah, I couldn't not stand up for you, Chloe.

Elly reached out her hand and placed in on Chloe's hands which were once again resting on her knees, "I really enjoy spending time with you again...as friends."

Why can't I stop holding her hands?

Why can't she stop holding my hands?

Elly then removed her hands from Chloe's.

I'm just trying not to lead Chloe on.

Elly's just trying to make sure I know Mark was wrong about her leading me on but I still feel like there really could be something between us...even if Elly isn't ready to admit it...I need to know if her dream has changed things for her.

Chloe clasped her hands together, "Okay, maybe I'm about to make things super awkward... Ever since you told me about your dream...I've been thinking...maybe there is something between us."

Tell me that I'm wrong and I'll never bring it up again...or don't shut the door on the idea of there been something between us and I'll wait for however long you need me to.

Elly stared at the hopeful look that was written all over Chloe's face.

I wish I knew, Chlo. I want to know what this thing is that's going on between us...I know that it's something but I'm not sure I'm ready to explore that. I don't know if that dream meant what deep down, I know you want it to mean. But I can't hurt you and I can't lead you on when I don't know if I want to shut the door on the idea of there never ever been something between us...and I don't want you waiting your whole life for me to work this all out...

Unable to form words from her thoughts, Elly looked away from Chloe, "Um..." Chloe glanced away too, taking Elly's non-answer as her answer, then trying to laugh off her "classic Chloe clanger" for ruining their lovely lunch.

Elly regained Chloe's gaze, needing to reassure Chloe that all her focus right now had to be about rebuilding her life, not dating.

Not dating anyone...this isn't about not dating Chloe...how am I meant to comprehend the idea of dating Chloe? It's not what I want...right?

Elly reached out her hands and once more placed them on Chloe's, unable to resist entangling their fingers, "Okay...the truth is right...I have so much to focus on right now. Dating doesn't even come close to been on my agenda." Chloe pursed her lips, realizing her error, "And only a Grade-A moron wouldn't realize that."

Elly looked down at their entangled hands, before looking back up at Chloe, "I don't know what that dream meant or if it meant anything at all...but I know I've missed you." Chloe smiled quietly at Elly.

Elly's right to need to focus on everything else going on in her life right now...but I can't help but notice in everything that Elly just said...not once did she tell me that 'no' there is not something between us...

I hope Chloe can understand my reasons, I really don't want to crush her like I did last time. I should be focusing on everything else going on in my life before I try and work out if this dream really did mean there is something between Chloe and I...I didn't say 'no' did I...? 

Chapter Text

I'm The Captain Of My Story

Chapter Eleven

A few days later, Elly was in her classroom after school. She’d had a terrible couple of days since she had gone back to work and it was clear her past misdeeds were catching up with her. Months earlier she was trying desperately to hide her baby’s paternity from her husband, Mark, knowing that he wasn’t the father after she had cheated on him again. Her medical records indicating the “father” wasn’t to be told any details of the pregnancy were read and her ultrasound proving how far along in her pregnancy she was got snatched by a student of hers, Dean.

Dean was the son of her doctor and sadly too bright for his own good to realize Elly had been hiding something from Mark about her pregnancy. But he wasn’t too bright when it came to education and he had blackmailed Elly into changing one of his grades and then went to extreme lengths to convince Elly she needed to buy the underage high school student booze for a school camping trip.

In her desperation for Mark not to learn that Shaun is the father of her baby, not realizing that only weeks later she would indeed break down and tell Mark the truth, Elly had purchased the bottle of booze and taken it to the school to leave in Dean’s locker. She’d been caught by her friend Dipi with the bottle before she had a chance to put it in the locker. Whilst she had made her excuses of been tempted to drink even though pregnant, the truth eventually came out about Dean’s blackmail when her entire baby-daddy scandal erupted.

Despite the support of her Aunt Susan, Principal at the Erinsborough High School, Elly had no choice but to come forward to the Department of Education and was reprimanded with a suspension which she used to spend time with her mum up in Sydney. The suspension was kept quiet, due to the nature of the incident. When Susan confronted Elly’s doctor over the stress that it had caused her pregnant niece, knowing that the doctor’s job was on the line for allowing her son to read Elly’s medical file, even though it was unintentional on the doctors’ part, Dean had been transferred to another school.

Now, Elly had returned to the job that she loved at school only to be confronted with her past when a friend of Dean’s, Richie, began taunting her. He’d started out slowly, calling her “Mrs. Brennan” and telling her he “couldn’t keep up” when it came to her name changing due to the result of her marriage breakdown after only a few months of married life. Then he ramped it up by asking her to buy him some booze in front of his mates before revealing in front of a few of her other students, namely Yashvi and Harlow, that Dean had told him she brought booze for him.

Even though she’d already dealt with the experience of her boss, Susan, and the Department knowing about her critical error in nearly supplying alcohol to a minor, Elly was incredibly worried that the scandal could now be leaked to the rest of the school and no doubt their parents.

Staying after school to work on some admin, Elly was standing by her whiteboard writing on it when Chloe appeared at the door and knocked on it. Elly grinned in surprise at Chloe turning up unexpectedly, with the pair greeting one another warmly.

Chloe entered the room with a paper bag, then standing on the other side of Elly’s desk, told her friend, “Time to clock off and put your feet up.”

I wish, Chlo, I would love to relax with you and put my feet up but I have way too much stress to deal with.

Elly turned around to Chloe, regretfully telling her that she still has an hours’ worth of admin to complete, then turned back to the whiteboard to continue working. Elly secretly hoped that Chloe would be willing to return when she had finished her work or would be willing to catch up later that evening.

Not to be deterred, Chloe lifts up the paper bag she bought, “Then you definitely need this.” Intrigued by Chloe dropping by the school to bring her something, Elly turned back to her slightly. Chloe admitted, “I know it’s not overly healthy but according to my research,” Elly gave in dropping her whiteboard marker and turning around to give Chloe her full attention, as Chloe continued, “The number one food craved by Australian pregnant women is hot chips with chicken salt.”

Chloe placed the bag down on the desk, explaining that she had gotten a “jumbo serve,” then with enthusiasm, “Enjoy!”

I don’t know what’s more adorable, Chlo, you doing research on Australian pregnant women’s food cravings or just pretending that you did to give me an excuse to eat some very unhealthy food without feeling guilty. You bring me hot chips. Mark kept bringing me ginger tea. Mark and his fucking ginger teas! Tell me the difference between the way you and Mark treat me – this, right here! Wait…why am I comparing Chloe, my friend, to Mark when he was my husband…? Did I just refer to Chloe as adorable?

Chloe lent back on one of the student’s desks opposite Elly’s desk, as Elly sat down at her desk, smiling happily at Chloe. “You’re amazing, thank you,” Elly told her.

You’re amazing…I said that in my dream, didn’t I?

Chloe stared at Elly, sensing she was upset at something, “Is the baby making you tired?” Elly stared down at her baby-bump, “No, this baby’s fine. It’s all the big-babies in the classroom.” Elly then proceeds to remind Chloe about Dean, whom she’d told her about when they were catching up during their massage. Chloe nods but recalls Elly telling her Dean doesn’t go to Erinsborough High anymore.

Elly confirms that he doesn’t but then reveals to Chloe that he’s been in contact with his mates and now Richie has been hassling her in front of the other kids.

Teenage boys! Seriously! Elly has just gotten back into her job a couple months ago after been unemployed for half a year.

Chloe sighs, “Just when you thought it was over.” Elly reminds Chloe that the Department and Susan know about her changing Dean’s grade. When Chloe asks if Elly came forward with the entire truth over the blackmail and alcohol incident, Elly agrees that she did saying it was “dealt with and contained.” Elly worries that Richie can now expose her secrets to the whole school.

Been stressed out is the last thing Elly needs whilst pregnant.

“That’s not good for you at all,” Chloe points out with deep concern. Elly confirms it’s not, worrying that she normally has Susan to help her with this kind of stuff but with her Aunt in Sydney for an MS trial, she will need to figure this out on her own. Chloe continues looking on with concern for Elly but smiles when Elly grins back up at her and removes the tray of hot chips from the paper bag as Elly is clearly happy now for the distraction from her work troubles.

“This is a lot of chips by the way!” Elly gushes, “You’ll have to help me!”

Help you, Elly, with the chips or with the problematic teenage boy that is stressing you out when you and your baby do not need this right now? I can do both, right?

Half an hour later, Chloe entered Harold’s Café and spotted Yashvi and Ned cozying up to one another. Walking over to them, Chloe announced, “Sorry not sorry to interrupt,” and then proceeded to ask Yashvi if she knew the kid, Richie, who had been hassling Elly at school. Yashvi happily points out the kid with “the man bun” amongst a group of teenage boys been morons flipping a water bottle on a table to try and get it to land properly whilst yelling out every time it fell to its side.

This is entertainment to these kids? How?

Chloe waltzes straight over to the boys, introducing herself by name to Richie and shaking his hand firmly. Chloe smiles at him with encouragement, knowing full well Richie been a teenage boy and with his pack of friends looking on was intrigued by what a woman like her could want from him. She tells him that she’s heard a lot about him.

Chloe continues the smile as she points out that Richie may not have noticed that his “teacher, Ms. Conway is pregnant.” Richie looks at her blankly, “So?” Chloe burns him that “hassling a pregnant woman is pretty low, don’t you think?” The smile on Richie’s face drops slowly but he insists on remaining confident to Chloe as his friends all smirk at the pair of them.

Chloe further gets on his case, “Do you have a girlfriend, Richie?” With it been a rhetorical question, knowing the answer is no and telling him she knows that, Chloe points out, “Little tip…no one is ever going to touch you if that’s how you treat women! You’re pathetic!”

Rolling her eyes at the immature kid, as all his mates started egging on him for been shown up by the stranger, Chloe stormed away from him and out of the café.

Yashvi and Ned watched on the whole time and grinned to themselves at Chloe’s way of standing up to the kid and calling out the way he treated a pregnant woman and women in general.

There, I feel accomplished having done that! I fought for my girl and I won…I mean I stood up to that little turd for my Elly…for Elly and told him it’s not on. Elly doesn’t need the stress! If he can back down then all Elly has to do is concentrate on putting her feet up and relaxing…which I’d be more than happy to help her with…as a friend. I wonder how Elly will take the news that I sorted her problems for her…riding in on my white horse to protect her…?

Chapter Text

I'm The Captain Of My Story

Chapter Twelve

Later that evening, Elly walked over to the Lassiters Hotel, hoping to seek out Chloe. Earlier, having finally finished her admin work, Elly went to leave the school only to bump into Richie and his mates in the hallway after school hours. Richie had a bottle of alcohol in a paper bag and was unafraid of taking a swig from the bottle in front of Elly whilst ‘snap-chatting’ the ordeal to all his followers online.

When Richie had ignored Elly’s request not to drink the alcohol in front of her and he did, Elly had had to take Richie’s threats that he would be telling the world about Elly’s secrets with Dean. Richie further incensed that he was determined Elly couldn’t report him to the Vice-Principal for drinking on school property when he knew she’d brought Dean alcohol. He was furious at Elly on account of her “friend Chloe having a go” at him leaving Elly wondering what Chloe had said to the school student to interfere in her work.

Despite the risk of her past misdeeds been aired publicly to the school, students and parents, Elly had stood firm, reporting Richie and his mates to the Vice-Principal, informing all their parents that the kids were drinking alcohol and arranging their suspension from the school.

So much for an hour’s worth of admin, you just doubled that for me, Chloe! What did you say to Richie? Why did you try and fix my work problem that I was handling?

Elly entered the hotel and found her way to Terese’s office, where Chloe, as Terese’s Executive Assistant, was often found when she wasn’t at the front desk of the hotel. Elly wanted answers from Chloe as to why she had confronted Richie instead of letting her handle the situation.

Chloe grinned as she looked up at a knock at the office door and Elly entered the room. Elly closed the door behind her, ran her hand through her hair and didn’t greet Chloe.

Not noticing Elly’s demeanor, Chloe told Elly that she was “just about to text you” as she wanted to invite Elly to “the 82” grand opening that night. Chloe goes on that “according to Kyle, there is a sick DJ playing.”

82 grand opening, sick DJ playing, I’m totally not asking Elly out on a date. We’re just friends.

As Chloe’s attention goes back to the paperwork file, she had in front of her, Elly asked Chloe if she’d been “speaking to Richie?” Chloe walked over to Terese’s desk to place the file there, telling Elly, “yeah, we had a few words.”

“You shouldn’t have spoken to him!” Elly insists, lashing out at Chloe. Chloe sits back down at the table, “Why? You can’t tell him to stick it because you have to be professional and all but he’s nothing to me so I let him have it!”

Ugh why does Chloe have to look so proud of herself? She’s completely overstepped the bounds with my job. I wouldn’t even let Mark, when he was my husband do a thing like this. Why does Chloe, my friend, have to insist on fixing things for me her way?

“Now you’ve antagonized him and made things so much worse!” Elly tells Chloe, her voice rising but not to the point of screaming at her friend. Elly continues to inform Chloe that she had just had Richie come back to the school “drinking right in front of me, daring me not to say anything otherwise he would tell everyone about Dean!”

Seriously? What part of not-stressing out a pregnant woman or telling him the way he treats women is not appropriate did that little turd not understand? And now Elly’s really mad at me for trying to solve her work issue…I thought we’d fixed things between us and now I’ve gone and ruined it…

Chloe asked how Elly handled this situation to which Elly firmly replies that she had to “report him and his mates” before listing off all the people she had contacted about the boy’s suspension. Elly leant forwards and placed her hands on the chair in front of her, “Meanwhile, I have to wait for all the backlash!”

Chloe stands up and approaches Elly, “I am so sorry. I honestly thought I was helping.” Without giving Elly a moment to forgive her mistake, Chloe offers up, “Let me make it up to you tonight. I will buy you all the mocktails you like.”

When it was only last week that I had only $50 to drop on Pierce at the Bachelor auction thinking that was enough but now I’m prepared to spend whatever amount it takes to win back Elly’s forgiveness and trust for overstepping my bounds with her career. Not that it’s about money and buying her forgiveness…I just want to spend more time with her to make things right again…whatever it takes.

Elly shook her head at Chloe, “No. After the day I’ve had I’d rather be alone!” Elly walks off away from Chloe leaving Chloe feeling upset that she had taken things too far in trying to protect Elly from the stress of Richie but had only incited him more.

I don’t want you to be alone tonight, Elly, but I know I need to give you your space before I can make up for this. First couple’s fights are the worst…why did you have to think that? Elly is not your girlfriend…

I don’t want to be alone tonight, Chloe, I’d love to join you for a night of fun and mocktails…I just need you to understand how much you hurt me going behind my back over this mess. Fighting with you, Chlo, it’s worse than fighting with Mark…why is that?

Elly left the hotel to go to the Waterhole to pick up some dinner, still upset at Chloe for talking to her student on her behalf and going off at him. Ned and Yashvi were just leaving the bar when Elly walked into the venue, and Yashvi turned back to Elly. Yashvi airs her curiousness if Richie staged it for snapchat or if “he was really drinking at school before.”

Elly, knowing Richie and his mates had been suspended and news would get out around the school in no time, nodded to Yashvi, “I can sadly confirm that that’s true.” Yashvi comments that Richie is “dumber than I thought,” prompting Ned to support the prospect of “maybe Chloe giving him another blast,” and Yashvi begging to be able to “watch it again.”

Elly is taken back by the news they witnessed Chloe’s confrontation with Richie, “So, you guys saw that? Was she rude?” Ned confirmed, “Yeah,” then explained that she “really took him down a notch.” “It was pretty awesome,” Yashvi declares.

Elly argues, more with herself having gone off at Chloe, than with Ned and Yashvi, “It was unnecessary, I was handling it.” Yashvi isn’t ashamed to tell her teacher, “You might feel differently if you were there.” “Yeah,” Ned agrees, pointing out to Elly that Chloe “might have crossed a line but she went into bat for you and called out his attitude towards women.”

As Ned and Yashvi turn to leave, Yashvi resonates with Elly, “Talk about a great friend.”

Damn it…I was a bit too harsh on Chloe, wasn’t I? I didn’t really consider that she confronted Richie to protect me, I just saw it as Chloe intervening with my career. I still need a day or so to deal with the fallout before I can find a way to apologize to Chloe. She really is a great ‘friend’…did I really just think of that word in quotation marks like maybe Chloe is more than that…?

Chapter Text

I'm The Captain Of My Story

Chapter Thirteen

The next day, word had travelled around the school that Elly had purchased alcohol for Dean. Though knowing she never went ahead with supplying it to him and that he had blackmailed her over her personal medical files, Elly had been forced into damage control. She had called on a PTA (Parents and Teachers Association) meeting to address the concerns the parents had for Elly’s mistake by admitting to them what she’d done, why she’d made the decision and to reassure them that Susan, the School Board and Department of Education were all aware of the situation, she’d been reprimanded with a suspension and had now been cleared to return to work.

Elly wanted to point out that in the case of this incident with Richie and his mates drinking on school property, she had taken all the correct steps to reprimand and suspend the boys for their act. Whilst she had the support of her friends, Yashvi’s parents, Dipi and Shane, the same couldn’t be said for the rest of the parents who had attending the meeting. One parent in particular, Angela Lane, was standing up to Elly to insist that she wasn’t impressed with Elly been kept on as a teacher at the school.

Angela and her “what about the children?” message to all the other parents got on Elly’s nerves but Elly stood her ground that she has always kept her student’s wellbeing at the front of her mind and the incident with Dean was a once-off event that would never happen again.

As the PTA meeting came to a close, Elly was pulled aside from Dipi and Shane by Angela to talk privately. Angela told Elly she’d be removing her daughter from the school. Elly politely asked if Angela and her family were moving but braced herself when Angela started slamming Elly that her daughter is “impressionable” and she’s worried about the “moral environment here.”

Elly presses Angela to confirm her reasons are to do with the issues of teenagers seeking out and drinking alcohol, pointing out that they are reasons that are not “unique to Erinsborough High.” Angela decides that Elly is “unique to it.” Elly tells Angela that there is a procedure she can take if she wants to complain about her teaching methods.

Angela admits Elly might be good in the classroom but teachers have an obligation to be “role models.” Before Elly can remind Angela that she was under severe stress when the Dean incidents occurred and did the right thing by reporting Richie and his mates, Elly was left shocked by Angela’s true intentions for not wanting her to be a teacher at her daughter’s school.

Angela claims Elly had her “lesbian lover bully students” on her behalf.

Are you for real? Lesbian lover? Chloe is not my lesbian lover, she’s my bisexual queen…I mean she is A bisexual queen…she’s not mine and Chloe is simply not afraid of been who she is…my dream is messing with my head again trying to work out why I keep having these thoughts about my best friend…not my lesbian lover.

Elly quickly insists, “That’s not what happened!” Angela bites back that it’s not what she heard from Richie’s mother.

What on earth was it about Chloe or what Chloe said to Richie that would possess that kid to declare that Chloe is my ‘lesbian lover’?

Feeling furious that Angela clearly had an issue with any woman having a sexuality that was not straight, even though she was still wondering if she fell into that category, Elly was determined to stand up for Chloe despite her friend not knowing what Angela was claiming about the pair.

“Angela, you shouldn’t use the word ‘lesbian’ as an insult!” Elly declared. Angela shrugged, claiming innocence, “I didn’t.” Elly shook her head at her, “You just did.” Angela feigned that she’d done any such thing with no one around to back up Elly’s claims, “Says who?”

Elly is not at all prepared but tries to put on a brave face as Angela unleashes on her, “You’re an abomination to the teaching community. A bad example to young girls and I’m removing my daughter before she gets infected.”

Angela takes off leaving Elly to stare after her disbelieving that this parent would be escalating things to the point of removing her daughter from the school not entirely due to Elly’s serious error in judgment over purchasing alcohol for Dean. But instead to the suggestion that Chloe might be more than friends with Elly and that Elly could somehow pass those tendencies on any student.

What the absolute fuck! What the hell do I do now? Do I stand up for myself that the real reason this wench is slandering me and removing her daughter from the school is because she mistakenly thinks that Chloe is my ‘lesbian lover’? If I open up and explain to the Vice Principal or even Susan that Angela is accusing me of not been a good model due to whom I’m not even dating then this is going to raise so many questions from them over what my relationship with Chloe actually is. I don’t know if I’m ready for that.

Since when does who I may or in this instance may not be dating relevant to my career? Agh I don’t know what to do…if I speak up and voice this conversation Angela just had with me, she’ll claim innocence of it as she won’t want to be seen as dragging my sexuality into this discussion. If I do address it head on, then I’m going to need to find a way to deal with whatever my feelings for Chloe may or may not be.

I miss Chloe and kinda wish she was around to help me work out what to do…

Instead, Elly later found herself turning to her Uncle Karl and housemate, Finn, for support. Declaring to them that she’s an “abomination” to the teaching community but not revealing the true extent of Angela’s warpath against her had to do with her close friendship with Chloe. Elly admits that Angela is removing her daughter from the school because of her.

Karl and Finn try to reassure Elly that as long as it’s only Angela’s daughter on the way out of the school then it might be for the best and that as long as no other parents take that kind of drastic measure with their kids then Elly shouldn’t need to worry about her job. Elly tried to remain positive that she had their support.

I’m less worried about my job and just a teensy bit more worried about the fact that Richie managed to work out from one short conversation with Chloe that there might…be something more going between Chloe and I…I mean with Chloe’s feelings for me been obvious but I still don’t know where I stand.

Richie’s mum blabbing it about to any other parent willing to listen that Chloe and I are more than friends…this can’t end well.

I really need to apologize to Chloe for going off on her last night…and stop hiding the fact that I seriously need to at some point in the future…work out just what that dream meant and what Chloe and I are to one another…

Because if Richie can see something without even seeing Chloe and I together…maybe Chloe could be right when she said…’maybe there is something between us…’

Chapter Text

I'm The Captain Of My Story

Chapter Fourteen

Another day later, Chloe was at work in Terese’s office when Pierce stopped by to tell her that he had booked the band Hanson to play at the music festival. Chloe threw her hands at Pierce’s chest in excitement at the news, forgetting for a second that things had been awkward between them since Elly had returned to town.

Chloe immediately went on an excitable ramble about the band she loved when she was a teenager, admitting she was the vice-president of the club “Fanson,” oversharing that she practiced her kissing on Zac’s poster, wore out their Live Tour VHS and had made her three brothers dress up as the Hanson boys and sing MMMBop to her at one of her birthday parties.  

Pierce is thrilled to have excited Chloe with the news of the band he’d picked for the music festival just happened to be her favourite band when she was a teenager. Pierce crosses his arms in front of his chest as he stood across from Chloe, curiously wondering “what exactly is an MMMBop?”

Chloe proceeds to explain to Pierce that the teenage boy band’s hit single is deeper than most people take it for, “Well, Pierce, I’m glad you asked. An MMMBop is like a moment in time, a flash, a glimpse.” Pierce responds he thought it was gibberish.

Chloe sits down on one of the seats at the office table, “It’s about how everything in life is fleeting. So, you have to seize the day and go after what you want or you might miss your chance.”

Elly.

“And what’s that supposed to mean?” Pierce asks as he joins her at the table, hoping she’s referring to him.

I’m not.

“Nothing, you just asked what the song’s about so I’m just telling you,” Chloe brushes him off. Taking another chance with Chloe, Pierce asks, “Maybe you can give me a crash course on the rest…over a drink?”

Chloe still managed to smile brightly, not wanting to appear completely off put by his latest attempt to ask her out on a date, closing her eyes for a few seconds to work out in her head how to turn him down.

I’m going after what I want, Pierce. Elly.

Chloe makes her excuses that with the festival coming up they have a busy week ahead before giving in to not turn him down completely, “Can we play it by ear?”

Why can’t I shut him down entirely and tell Pierce outright that Elly is the only person I want…? Am I seriously that scared that Elly is scared about what is going on between her and I that she will never give us a chance and that I don’t want to be alone so I’m giving Pierce the smallest glimmer of hope that he still has a chance when he really doesn’t? Not in my heart anyway.

Pierce takes the rejection gently, “Yeah sure.”

Later that morning, Chloe was taking a break out the front of Harold’s Café with Elly as they sat down outside with their tumblers of coffee. “Things at school have gotten worse,” Elly reveals. “Because of what I did?” Chloe asks sadly. “That’s what I wanted to talk to you about. I completely overreacted the other day,” Elly replied.

Chloe put her hand up shaking away Elly’s decision to go back on blaming her for overstepping with Richie, “No, you were totally right. I should not have involved myself in your professional life.” Elly looks up at Chloe and tells her that “Yashvi and Ned told me what you said to Richie. Even though I can’t officially endorse you confronting a student like that…it’s nice to know you’ve got my back.”

That’s just how you make me feel, Chlo, like you’ll always support me no matter what.

Chloe grinned at Elly promising, “Always,” before telling Elly, “I eat entitled little punks like him for breakfast.” Elly laughs at Chloe’s humour, “Still I wanted to apologize for blowing up at you. I’ve really enjoyed our time hanging out lately.” “Me too,” Chloe agrees happily.

“Pick up where we left off…?” Elly offers. Chloe looks at Elly with a cheeky grin, “As friends or as…?” Elly rolls her eyes at Chloe insinuating a little bit more between them, then smiles, “Yes, Chloe as friends.” “I can work with that,” Chloe decides.

Chloe then asks Elly if the school teacher is heading off to work soon. Elly tells Chloe that she has marking to do in the morning before her classes in the afternoon. Chloe jumps on the opportunity to spend some more time one on one with Elly, offering that Elly should go finish her marking and then come back to “meet me at the Waterhole for brunch.”

Elly smiles at the suggestion, “Sounds great,” before the pair say goodbye to each other and Elly heads off for her quiet morning of school marking whilst Chloe gets an idea into her head.

Brunch with Elly…I don’t want to scare Elly off again but I really want to go all out for her and make this brunch date-like. I want to shower her with all the attention and care that she deserves.

A few minutes later, Chloe sidled up to Shane at the bar at the Waterhole. He was just leaving a message for his brother, Toadie, and as soon as he hung up, Chloe all but pounced up behind him with a "Howdy!" Chloe then proceeds to state she has "a favour to ask." Seeing the look on Chloe's face, Shane determines this "sounds like trouble." "Nothing of the sort," Chloe reassures Shane, before asking to "make a booking for brunch."

Shane hesitates, looking around the half-empty venue to point that out to Chloe, "I don't think you're going to need to make a reservation." Chloe gets the hint but tells him that she "wants to do something a bit special" then suggests, "Book out the couches, get a few extra cushions and get you to whip up some kind of delicious mocktail." Shane assumes that Lassiters has Chloe "schmoozing some new big client."

Not even close...schmoozing Elly...I mean just trying to be a great friend and showing her how much I care about her and how much she deserves someone to treat her like the most amazing person in the world.

Chloe has no issues correcting Shane, "Uh no, it's for Elly. She had a rough couple of days at work, not to mention the usual pregnancy stress. I want to do something to help take her mind off things." "Uh...that's nice," Shane smiles, knowing full well it was more than that for Chloe, "You're a good...friend."

Oh, Shane totally has me pegged and knows exactly what I'm doing. I'm so whipped attempting to schmooze Elly and treat her better than anyone else ever has.

"Do what I can," Chloe brushed off Shane's friend comment, "So, can you help me out?" Shane happily agrees, "Yeah, yeah consider it done." "Cool, thanks," Chloe grinned as Shane walked back behind the bar.

I know, I know, I'm going overboard and there's a good chance Elly will see that and know that I do still want us to move to more than friends and she might wig at the prospect again. But I really do just want to do something special for Elly, she deserves it.

Chapter Text

I'm The Captain Of My Story

Chapter Fifteen

Elly had arrived at the Waterhole and was stunned by the setup that Chloe had created for them. She’d shyly sat down on the couch amongst the mountain of pillows and gazed at all the food and the drink Chloe had already gotten her.

Chloe adorably kept fussing over her, “Do you need more cushions? I remember you saying your back had been bothering you.”

Seriously how does Chloe memorize every little thing that I say to her?

As Chloe sat down on the couch next to the one Elly was seated in, Elly took a sip of the pink drink in the cocktail glass, “This is delicious, what is it?” “It’s a virgin daiquiri. I had Shane make it for you special,” Chloe answered. “Seriously, it’s really good. Where have you been my whole life?” Elly gushed.

Such a good question, Elly, but I’m here now and I want to do everything I can for you always.

Wow! Did I seriously just ask Chloe where she’s been my whole life…? I mean it’s true…look at every little thing she has done for me here…and well the past week…I never want to be without her in my life.

“I’m here now, that’s all that matters,” Chloe unashamedly flirted with Elly. Elly places the drink on the table, telling Chloe, “I love all of this but you didn’t have to go to so much trouble.”

Of course, I did, Elly…it’s all for you…you deserve to be treated like a queen.

Of course, Chloe did this…it’s all for me…Chloe makes me feel like no matter the mistakes I’ve made in my past…I deserve to be treated this way.

“You deserve it after all that school drama. A good brunch can cure all!” Chloe grinned. “Yeah,” Elly agreed as her phone started ringing.

Except Elly’s phone ringing and ruining the moment…

Except my phone ringing and ruining the moment…what kind of moment is this exactly?

Elly acknowledges to Chloe that it’s the school calling her and Chloe insists that she answers it, even though she knows this phone call could possibly result in Elly been called into work and ending their brunch prematurely. Chloe distracts herself with her own drink as Elly answers the call and her words that she “thought it’d been resolved” brought Elly back to Chloe’s full attention.

Elly sighed as she ended the conversation promising to come into the school now. “You okay?” Chloe asks. Elly tells her the call was from the Acting Principal over the fact another parent is threatening to take their child out of the school. Chloe is stunned by that ridiculous notion. Elly tells Chloe she has to go meet with them to try to talk them out of it.

“Now?” Chloe asks sadly, trying not to be upset that their brunch was been derailed by Elly’s work situation even though she understood the importance of it. Elly apologizes for bailing on her “after you’ve gone to all this trouble.”

It’s no trouble, Elly.

Chloe will go to all this trouble for me all over again another time, right? Do I want her to? Yes, you do…what is that?

"Don't even, do what you need to do," Chloe insists that it's fine for Elly to take off on account of her work dramas even though she was disappointed. Feeling terrible after the effort Chloe has made, Elly promises that she'll "come back if there's time" before her afternoon classes begin. Chloe puts a smile on her face, "Don't stress, honestly...um...I'll be here."

As Elly gets up and leaves the Waterhole, the pair say goodbye to one another and Chloe stays seated on the couch hoping there's a chance Elly will get the opportunity to come back to enjoy their brunch.

I've been in love with Elly all year long...I can give her a chance here to come back to me...or if Elly runs out of time maybe I should try and do something else special for her to remind her once more that I'll wait for however long it might take her to give us a chance together.

Chloe is the absolute sweetest person in the world...why do you have to ruin this moment with her just because your terrible decisions with your job are coming back to bite you?

A little while later, Chloe had shifted to the couch Elly had been sitting on, her drink unfinished, the food not at all touched. But she was determined to wait there on the off chance that Elly would return to finish their meal or at least hear from her friend one way or another to find out if she was waiting around for no reason. As she began thinking of other ways that she could make this up to Elly even though it had been Elly who had cancelled on her, she suddenly looked up when Pierce walked over to her.

Sigh...please don't stay for long as I'm sitting here on my own waiting around for Elly.

"This all looks very romantic," Pierce points out.

Yes, because it is. And it's not for you.

"Oh, not quite...just brunch with Elly. She had to duck off to a meeting," Chloe explains briefly. "It'd be a shame to let it all go to waste," Pierce suggested. "She might be coming back afterwards," Chloe replied with hope in her voice as she glanced over at the venue door. Pierce pursed his lips, "So you're too busy to have a drink with me but you've got time to wait around for someone who may not even come back?"

Precisely. It's Elly. You don't get it. I'll wait however long it takes.

Chloe didn't answer him, feeling hurt by his hinted assumption that Elly wouldn't come back for her. Pierce suddenly moved to take a seat on the couch next to Chloe’s.

Pierce, please don’t. What if bae comes back and she finds me sitting here with you and she thinks that I couldn’t wait for her like I promised? I don’t want Elly thinking that, not even for a second. Did I just refer to Elly as my bae?

“I’m just trying to understand,” Pierce whinges, “It wasn’t that long ago that you told me that you liked me and now I feel like you couldn’t care less.”

What else is there for you to understand, Pierce? I told you about how I fell in love with Elly after you left town but I never thought I’d stand a chance with Elly. Now things have changed and I might have a chance to be with the woman I love. I know Elly is still trying to come to terms with exactly what her feelings for me are and I’m trying not to pressure that but I will do everything to show Elly that her and I could have an amazing future together. Yes, I told you that I like you, Pierce but there is a very big difference between like and love. I’m too nice to tell him that I really couldn’t care less now that Elly’s back in my life…

Unable to out rightly tell Pierce that he was no longer on her radar with Elly around, Chloe asked, “You said you needed space to figure out how you felt…so have you figured it out yet?”

Why are you asking Pierce that? Don’t put this all on him for needing time and that if he still hasn’t figured out his feelings that’s reason for you to not tell him that he will never stand a chance as long as I have a chance to have a future with Elly.

Pierce runs around his answer that he “needed time to get over it--” but Chloe cuts him off, “I don’t have time while you wait around and work through your feelings--” to which Pierce cuts her off himself, “I’m not trying to muck you around--” only for Chloe to interrupt him once more to tell him, “At some point, my life is going to get really hard so right now I am all about what makes me smile, chasing the happy.”

Elly and also Elly.

Pierce has no comeback for Chloe’s words whatsoever.

A little while later, having not heard back from Elly about her meeting and unable to resist not seeing Elly until after work, Chloe decided to pack up the brunch food that she’d arranged and bring it to Elly at the school instead. Hanging out in the hallway, near Elly’s class, Elly smiled as she rounded the corner of the school hallway and spotted Chloe, greeting her happily.

Chloe held up the paper bag of the brunch food, “I figured you wouldn’t have time to eat before your class starts so I brought you brunch-to-go.”

Oh my God, Chloe is the perfect woman.

As they begin walking down the hallway to Elly’s classroom, Elly gushes, “You’re so sweet, thank you,” then apologizes, “I’m sorry I had to run out on you before.” Chloe shrugs it off, “I totally get it. How was your meeting?” Elly wasn’t the most positive about it, saying she explained things and she thinks the parents came around. “That’s great,” Chloe remained positive for Elly.

Elly replies that she wanted it all sorted before her Aunt Susan, the school’s Principal, comes back. Chloe once more echoes her reassurances to Elly but is interrupted by Yashvi greeting them and pointing out that she thought Elly had cancelled their class.

Elly looks concerned, asking Yashvi, “Why would you think that?” Yashvi points Chloe and Elly to the classroom. As the pair enter with Yashvi following, Elly asks, “What’s going on?” when she spots only one other student in the class. Yashvi regretfully announces that “half the kids have been pulled out of class.”

Looks a little more than half, Yashvi! My girl, Elly, is going to be so upset that her troubles at work seem to be mounting even further to get to this point…is this all because I had one go at Richie?

This is turning into an absolute disaster...I don't know how my career is going to survive this mess. It's just one thing after another and I know I'm the reason for messing up in the first place, months ago to try and hide all my secrets from everyone. My life is an absolute mess and the only thing that makes sense is Chloe...but I still can't make sense of exactly why...

Chapter Text

I'm The Captain Of My Story

Chapter Sixteen

Elly had had another terrible day and had texted Chloe to ask if they could meet up.

After her afternoon classes the previous day had almost felt like they’d been cancelled with the lack of students that had turned up to them, Elly had a minor run in with her ex-husband Mark at the Waterhole. Elly had gone to see her sister, Bea, sing at the venue, but had missed her set and then when Mark had walked in Finn had rushed him over to their group to talk to him about possible break ins in the area.

Mark could barely look at Elly. Not that she expected much more from him and whilst she had accepted that their marriage was completely over, it still hurt to be reminded that she had lied to him about so many things. Whilst Bea and Finn had assured her that their house hadn’t been broken in to, it was just a case of missing clothes that Mark suggested might’ve been a homeless person, it still worried Elly the thought of dealing with a home break in whilst she was pregnant.

Today’s classes went exactly the same as yesterday’s, barely any of her students turned up. Her Year 12 class had 3 students, including Yashvi and Harlow. Whilst a small part of Elly enjoyed the more relaxed feel in her classes that these students wanted to be there and she got to spend more time with them one on one to really help them with their studies, it was not a good sign for her career as a teacher if she couldn’t find a way to convince the parents to re-enroll their kids to the school.

Elly had gone to the Vice Principal about the situation only to find out that a further 6 children had left the school. The Vice Principal didn’t feel she had the authority to do much without Susan been there. Elly had reminded her superior not to call her Aunt as Susan was undergoing medical trials for her MS in Sydney. Instead, Elly determined that she herself would need to come up with a solution all on her own.

So, who better to sit down with and sort through my problems with me than Chloe? Am I right?

Elly had explained her situation about her issues at the school with students unenrolling and the Vice Principal’s lack of support to help to Chloe. Chloe remarked, “Wow. I’ve had more support from a shop assistant trying to talk me out of a fluro jumpsuit.” Elly closed her eyes for a moment before pointing out that the Vice Principal isn’t offering any support, she’s just keeping Susan’s seat warm until the school’s Principal returned to her job after her medical trials, “She doesn’t want to get involved which means that I have to figure out a way to bring these students back on my own.”

Chloe felt terrible for Elly’s predicament, and wanted to find some way to help her friend, “Well I’ve never been a principal.”

Elly stares at Chloe with the most adorable yet annoyed look on her face before bursting into a huge grin at the way Chloe managed to lighten the mood and just simply made her smile for the first time since Chloe had turned up the previous day with their brunch food hand-delivered.

Chloe always makes me feel this way.

Chloe grinned back at Elly, glad to have made her smile, “I know right. But…consider me your…brain storm go to partner.”

How about simply my confidant and partner, Chloe…in a friend kinda way…right?

Chloe continued bubbling with enthusiasm for Elly to help her, “What are you thinking? Tell me your ideas, no matter how crazy.” Elly glanced over at Chloe looking defeated, “Resigning.”

Chloe repeated, “Crazy!” then seeing the look on Elly’s face, “You’re not really thinking that are you?” “Susan backs me all the time and all I ever do is let her down,” Elly explained. “Susan’s been there for you because she believes in you,” Chloe encouraged.

I believe in you too, Elly.

Seeing that Elly still doubted herself so much, Chloe told her, “If you quit now, those students lose an awesome, caring teacher.” “No offence, but how would you know?” Elly points out to Chloe.

In the background across the garden from them, neither women noticed Aaron walking down the pathway towards the café. When he spotted the two women sitting closely together, he slowed down his walk and paused to watch them, concerned by how quickly they had rekindled their friendship and was worried there was something more between them.

“Because I remember high school,” Chloe insisted valiantly, “And I never had teachers who were as invested as you are! Look how torn up you are right now! Where’s that kick-ass Elly? The teacher the Department reinstated?”

Elly stared at Chloe and all the courage she was trying to build back up in her to go fight for her career.

Nobody else makes me feel this way, Chloe…

Chloe continued her pep-talk, “Who the kids want teaching them Frankenstein and Shakesphere. Time for that Elly to get into gear.”

Elly broke into the largest of smiles at Chloe, reaching out both her hands and placing them on top of Chloe’s, entangling them gently, “You always make me feel better.”

Why can’t I stop holding Chloe’s hands?

Can Elly please never stop holding my hands?

Chloe giggled, looking away as she enjoyed the feeling of Elly’s hands on hers, holding her gently, as Chloe then flirted harmlessly with the brunette, “I’ve got good material to work with.”

Elly then dropped Chloe’s hands as she pointed upwards in genuine excitement, “I’ve got an idea.” Without needing Elly to elaborate the idea for her, as Elly reached down to pick up her handbag, Chloe simply encouraged, “You go girl.”

Chloe stared after Elly as the teacher took off away from her to go work on the idea she didn’t verbalize.

Chloe always encourages me and makes things make sense to me…except how I feel about her…

I really hope whatever Elly has planned will work out…she doesn’t deserve all the things that are happening with her right now….

Aaron continued staring on at the way that Elly had held Chloe’s hands, the little looks between them and the way that Chloe had smiled after Elly was walking away.

Chloe was at home at the 'Brenaka's' share house a little while later hanging out in the living room when her brother entered the house calling out for her. Aaron raced in, hopping on the couch next to Chloe, without any hesitation, "Listen, I'm going to ask you straight out...is there anything happening between you and Elly?"

I wish.

Chloe swung her head around at Aaron, "I already told you no. Why are you on my case about this?" Aaron shook his head, not quite believing Chloe. Chloe admitted, "I mean, it's sweet that you're worried about me but I'm not that fragile." Aaron rested his elbow against the back of the couch and his head against his hand, "Mark is though."

"I'm aware, I've been trying not to flaunt our friendship in his face," Chloe replied delicately. "Okay, but what happens when it becomes more than that?" Aaron asked curiously with clear frustration.

What makes you think there is any chance of that actually happening?

"It won't," Chloe insisted, even though she knew she wanted it to on her side. "Chlo...c'mon...be honest with yourself,' Aaron told her before telling her gently, "Even if there is a tiny chance that things are going to turn romantic between you and Elly, you're telling me that you wouldn't pursue it?"

Of course, I would, I've been in love with her for nearly 9 months. 

Chloe isn't able to deny Aaron's claim and he knows it without her having to say anything, "I thought so." Aaron continues to tell Chloe, "You know this would shatter, Mark."

I know it will hurt Mark but he never treated Elly the way she deserves to be treated by a partner. I know I could do that...if there was any chance of Elly giving me the opportunity to.

"I'm not planning on going there again and you're forgetting Elly would need to be open to it!" Chloe argued halfheartedly.

I can say I wouldn't go there again but I know I'm lying. Aaron knows it too. And yes, Elly's dream might've opened her up to the smallest of chances that she either does have feelings for me or is attracted to me...hopefully both...but it doesn't mean Elly's at all willing to explore it with me. Yes, I'm knocking back Pierce left right and center to focus solely on Elly. Yes, Mark might feel betrayed by me. Yes, I might be trying a bit too hard to prove to Elly that if she was open to us taking things beyond friendship...but it's Elly...how can I not?

"Look, the least you can do is just keep Mark in the loop. Just tell him how you're feeling, that way he won't be blindsided," Aaron suggested. Chloe screwed up her face at the idea, "Isn't that jumping the gun a bit? It's not like anything's actually happened yet."

It's not like it ever will unless Elly comes to terms with whatever her feelings for me may be.

Aaron revealed, "The way you two were with each other earlier on, you guys are more than friends or your about to be."

You really think that, Aaron? Are you seeing more than I am that Elly could actually be open to this? And what do you mean 'earlier on...'? Christ, I can't do anything without you looking out for me, Aaron, but now is not the time to address that when I'm trying to understand if there really is a chance for Elly and I and what I'm meant to do about it.

Chloe eventually nodded to Aaron, not quite believing that anything could ever happen between her and Elly but knowing Mark would be hurt by it and she needed to put him first before she addressed her feelings with Elly to find out if Aaron really was right in believing they were more than friends, "Um...I'll talk to Mark."

What if Mark can't bear the idea of Elly and I ever been more than friends...if Elly does work through whatever her feelings for me are and she does want to pursue more than friendship between us...?  Can I really ignore all the feelings I have for Elly and refuse to act on them due to Mark?

I have to...I don't want to lose my brother again...

As long as I don't lose my mind and end up settling for Pierce...if I can't be with Elly...

Chapter Text

I'm The Captain Of My Story

Chapter Seventeen

At Aaron’s insistence, Chloe and Aaron headed over to Mark’s place. Whilst Chloe had hoped to talk to her eldest brother alone about her feelings for his ex-wife, Aaron pointed out that this involved their entire family if, should Elly be open to it, Chloe was to begin dating Elly. Chloe couldn’t help but admit that if Aaron was going to at least attempt to support her feelings for Elly which had never subsided, then she could do with his support in case Mark went off his brain at her for the mere idea of pursuing a relationship with Mark’s ex.

Letting themselves into the house, they were not at all surprised to find Mark in the kitchen cleaning the dishes.

Mark’s OCD tendencies with cleaning, bet he enjoys not having us around making a mess of the place.

“Hey,” Mark greeted the pair of his siblings as he turned around to them, “Here to help me clean up, are you?”

Chloe and Aaron both looked around the kitchen, dining and living area with the same look on their faces because the house was spotless.

Clean up what, bro?

Aaron finally spoke up as he and Chloe walked a few more steps inside the house, “Um…Chloe and I have been talking…about her and Elly…”

But is there really ever going to be a…me and Elly?

Chloe was tempted to roll her eyes at Aaron but knew that she needed to be serious with Mark if she had any way of explaining to him that she still had feelings for Elly and wasn’t sure she would ever be able to resist going down that path with her if Elly allowed them to. Staring at Mark firmly, Chloe stated, “I wanted to let you know where my head’s at.”

Mark stood there silently staring at the pair of them and already feeling like she was dealing with her eldest brother’s resentment, Chloe suggested, “Maybe we should sit down. I feel like I’m in a wild west stand-off.”

With Aaron standing in between them off to the side of the hallway doorframe, Mark walked over to Chloe and took his dishwashing gloves off his arms, ordering her firmly, “Just say what you need to say.”

Chloe sat down on one of the stools at the kitchen island, beginning with, “This is about our family…we’ve already fallen out once over this. None of us want that to happen again.” Chloe then paused and took a deep breath before looking up at Mark, “If you tell me not to go there, I won’t. I promise. Our relationship…that trumps everything…but…hypothetically…if something were to happen between Elly and I…how would you feel?”

Please Mark…I really need you to be okay with this. I still love Elly…I never stopped…I don’t think I have the strength to choose between you and Elly if it came down to that.

Mark stared in Chloe’s direction, clenching his jaw, but eventually his eyes locked with Chloe’s, “Hypothetically…I just want you to be happy.” Aaron sighed quietly in relief at Mark’s acceptance, hypothetically, if Chloe was to pursue a relationship with Mark’s ex-wife, whom had already cheated on Mark with Chloe before their wedding when Mark had for a short time cancelled the event.

Really, Mark? Do you really mean that? That if it comes down to it…I won’t have to choose between two of the most important people in my life.

As Chloe closed her eyes briefly, coming to terms with Mark’s acceptance, Mark continued, “You’re going to have a lot more challenges than most. I don’t want to be one of them so…whatever happens between you and Elly…I’ll deal with it.”

Chloe stared up at her brother, “You’re amazing. Thank you.”

As much as I still feel like going to Mark first before talking to Elly about what is happening between us was “jumping the gun…” it’s still good to know that Mark will find his way through this. That our family won’t be torn apart if Elly and I were to pursue a relationship.

Now I just have to take some time with Elly, approach her to see if I can work out where her head is at and if Aaron could possibly be right in saying that her and I are…more than friends…or we’re about to be…

But later on, without Chloe around, Aaron and Mark were sharing a drink when Mark told his younger brother that "it was a hypothetical blessing" and that he wasn't okay with his "ex hooking up with" his "sister...it still hurts" but Chloe deserves happiness and he's not "going to stand in her way."

Later on, Chloe was at the Brenaka's when Elly stopped by. Whilst she was expecting her friend, Elly had turned up a bit early, Chloe had gloves on and pointed out she thought she had time to clean herself up before Elly got there. As the pair walked down the hallway to the living area, Chloe immediately asked how Elly's plans for the parents went and if she got it sorted.

Seriously, Chloe is always checking in on me to make sure these problems in my life aren't troubling me anymore.

Elly admitted that the Vice Principal "threw a curve ball at me." "What's Plan B?" Chloe immediately questioned, refusing to let Elly's self-confidence think that there couldn't be another option, as she pulled off the gloves once she reached the kitchen. Elly shook her head, shaking her hands and just wanting to change the topic away from her failing career when she was around Chloe, “Anyway, what are you doing?”

Chloe turned back to Elly, explaining that she’s been searching through the dugout for homebrew. One of the bands for the upcoming music festival had requested it on their rider. Elly asks if Chloe’s after Doug’s homebrew but Chloe admits that’s long gone but she’d gotten a tip from Shane that he and Toadie might have left some of theirs. Chloe and Elly walked over to the kitchen table as Chloe picked up her phone.

As Elly took a seat at the kitchen table, she asks Chloe, “Do you need me to give you a hand?” Chloe puts her phone down and claims she doesn’t want to be responsible for Elly squishing “the bump” but Elly grins at her as she has her hands resting on her baby bump and calls it “padding.”

Chloe sits down next to Elly, deciding the solution is to buy real beer and put it in mason jars. Elly sighs at the idea that Chloe has an answer for everything and is so positive in the face of any challenge, “I wish I could fix my problems that quickly. I love how easy you make everything.”

How do you do that, Chloe? Things make sense or don’t feel as scary when I’m with you.

Chloe teased Elly that she was taking Elly’s comment to mean “You calling me easy?” in the most high-pitched hilarious voice she could manage. Elly shook her head before staring back at Chloe with a smile creeping upon her lips, “No, but…I don’t know, things are just simpler around you. I have so many complications in my life. When I look at you, you’ve got your priorities worked out.”

I want my life to be simpler like they are with you, Chloe.

“I hate to break it to you but my life can get pretty complicated too…but you’re right…when I’m with you all that other stuff just melts away,” Chloe confessed.

I want it to keep melting away, Elly.

Other stuff melting away…that’s exactly how it feels, Chloe. I want to feel that way forever.

Elly smiled at Chloe before glancing down, Chloe’s words giving her plenty to think about. Chloe gently broke in once more, “Actually, um, there’s something I wanted to talk to you about.” Elly immediately returned Chloe’s gaze with a smile on her face, “Mmm.”

Chloe shuffled in her seat before settling on telling Elly, “I’ve been thinking about us and how good we are together…”

Just ask her out on a date, just tell Elly that us being good together feels right and you want to explore that further.

We are so good together…it feels so right…am I ready to come to terms with why that is?

Chapter Text

I'm The Captain Of My Story

Chapter Eighteen

Missing from the script

Chloe continued staring into Elly’s eyes as she told Elly confidently, “You and I…we’re good together, Elly. When I’m with you it feels right.”

Elly nodded back at Chloe but didn’t have the words to agree with her or verbalize her own feelings that she feels the same way.

Chloe took a deep breath before saying, “The other day when I said that…maybe there is something between us, I still feel that way…and I think you feel it too. I know this is all new to you but I don’t want to sit back and ignore what is going on between us. I’d like us to go out together…and explore whatever this is between us further.”

Back to the scene as it played out

“Are you asking me out on a date?” Elly asked surprised but as soon as she asked the question, she realized she wasn’t as surprised as she first thought she was. “Yes, sorry, was that part not clear?” Chloe answered, then questioned immediately if she had skirted around the suggestion and should’ve used the word ‘date’ to Elly.

Elly stared down, finding herself giggling at Chloe for needing to spell it out for her exactly what she wanted. Elly then quickly went quiet, her thoughts swirling around in her head.

A date with Chloe? We are good together and it feels right but…I thought I was meant to be focusing on so much more than my love life…am I ready to go on a date with Chloe…to explore whatever this is between us further?

“Don’t go quiet on me,” Chloe told Elly, fearing her rejection and thinking she’d made another mistake by trying to push Elly to confront what her feelings really were. “Uh...um…I just don’t know what to say,” Elly replied, finally regaining Chloe’s gaze.

Yes…no…yes…I’ve never had this kind of fear of been unable to answer someone who wants to date me before…

Chloe shrugged gently, calmly trying not to put any pressure on Elly, “Just say what you feel.” Elly stared out in front of her, wrestling with her decision, “Yes, but…”

Wait did I just instinctly say yes before I could answer any other way because maybe I do want this?

Elly soon continued trying to air her decision, “What happened between us last time it was…”

An amazing mess…the night itself was…I’ve never felt like that before…but then my life just completely spiraled out of control…it was my own doing. Could it have been I did so as I was metaphorically running away from that amazing mess of a night with Chloe and what could’ve been if I allowed myself to come to terms with whatever my feelings for her then were? And what about my feelings for Chloe now…?

“But there’s no one else involved this time,” Chloe pointed out softly, “Just you and me. So, what do you say?”

C’mon, Elly, please…just give us a chance…

Can I give Chloe and I a chance?

Elly took a deep breath, trying to work out how to answer Chloe, but then her phone on the table in front of her rang. Without giving it more than a second to keep ringing, Elly immediately picked it up and answered the call from her Aunt Susan.

If that isn’t a sign that Elly isn’t sure how to turn me down, I don’t know what is…

I could’ve at least been polite enough to tell Chloe it’s Susan calling and it was important that I take it as I’m worried I’m about to lose my career…or did I answer the phone so quickly because I am just so confused over how to decide if I want to go on a date with Chloe?

Ignoring the look of devastation on Chloe’s face at the interruption, Elly spoke to her Aunt, “Suze, hey, hi.” Elly then proceeded to have a conversation with Susan over the Vice Principal wanting Elly to leave the issues at the school for Susan to solve instead of trying to solve it herself. From the side of the discussion Chloe could overhear, it became apparent that Susan had offered to meet up with Elly and Elly told her Aunt, “I’m not far away so I can come in.”

Elly can’t even tell Susan that she’s at my place with me.

Elly tells Susan that she’ll see her soon and hangs up the phone. Chloe looked on at Elly, trying not to appear too selfish that she was dying there waiting for Elly’s answer on if she would be willing to go on a date with her. But instead, Elly ignored answering the question pending in the air as she stood up, “Chlo, can we talk about this another time, please? Susan just got back from Sydney. I really need to speak to her about a few things.”

And also, I need time to process the prospect of exploring my feelings for you on a date with you, Chloe.

Elly can’t get out of here quick enough…after not been able to answer her phone any quicker than she did…does Elly just need time to process this and we will talk about this another time or is she just trying to work out how to turn me down without ruining our friendship?

“Yeah, absolutely,” Chloe agreed, as she stood up, trying not to express how upset she was that Elly might soon turn her down. “But I’ll see you at the festival and we can talk about this, yeah?” Elly offered as she reached out and ran her hand down Chloe’s arm.

I can’t stop touching her…I always need to be close to Chloe…what is that?

Elly can’t stop touching me…can she not see there’s a reason why that is?

Chloe planted a smile on her face, trying to be understanding that Elly still wasn’t sure what she wanted or was willing to give them a chance to work out what her feelings were, “You betcha.” Elly grinned as she wished Chloe goodbye and headed out of the house. Chloe gave Elly a goodbye, too, then as Elly walked away from her, Chloe turned away from her with a worried look on her face.

I know my instinct blurted out the answer ‘yes’ before I immediately let my doubts intervene and tell Chloe that I’m not sure if I’m ready for this…am I really so scared by this…admitting that Chloe really is right that there is something between us…and perhaps I do want to explore it?

I don’t know what to think about where Elly’s head is at with all this… If Elly doesn’t want to see me until the festival that means she wants to sleep on this decision and leave me waiting an entire day for her decision… I can’t trust that her immediate response of ‘yes, but…’ was any way of Elly wanting to tell me ‘yes.’ The good thing is that Elly didn’t say ‘no’ but I don’t feel confident she will ever say ‘yes.’

The next day, Chloe was at the Waterhole before the start of the music festival addressing all the staff that had been hired for the event. Ned, Paul and Pierce were there with her too.

Pierce…I forgot you’d be here at the festival today…at least you’ll be stuck at your wine tent trying to flog your new line of wines to the festival goers and I will be anywhere else…waiting around for Elly to turn up…

“Live at Lassiters kicks off in t-minus 3 hours so I hope you’ve had your brekkie,” Chloe announces. Pierce stood next to Chloe, half-a-step behind Chloe, as he and Chloe take turns in giving out instructions for the event. Chloe can’t hide her excitement that her favourite band, Hanson, would be closing out the event later that night, calling them “Oklahoma’s finest.” Pierce kept glancing over at Chloe during their back and forth instructions to the staff.

I hope Pierce doesn’t think the pair of us taking turns in listing off all our instructions to the staff is some kind of nearly finishing each other’s sentences cute couple thing…because he is not the person, I want to do that with.

As Pierce sends the staff off to their delegated jobs, Chloe steps forward to Ned. “Um, Ned, I’ve rostered you on at the wine tent with Pierce,” Chloe instructed. Pierce intervened, “Actually, I was hoping you’d help me out down there.”

No…I do not want to spend my entire day with you when my mind is still completely focused on Elly and hoping that she will agree to go on a date with me…

Chloe turns Pierce down, “Uh I’m on management duty today, gotta oversee the team.” Pierce offered up, “Well of everyone here, you’re the most suited to be with me.”

Most suited to be with you…? What the hell is that supposed to mean? You seriously think for one second I’m suitable for you… I admitted that I like you, that does not mean that I can’t change my mind or that you are suitable for me…

Ned argues that he’s, “Not really a wine buff.” Chloe smiles at Ned, trying to encourage him to spend the day with Pierce as she didn’t want to, “You just have to pour, Neduado, you’ll be fine.” Chloe wanted to glare at Paul when he joined them to agree with Pierce, deciding that himself and Terese would manage staff management.

No. How the hell do I get out of this without telling Paul to go stuff Pierce’s idea someplace else as I do not want to spend the day with Pierce when Elly is the only person on my mind?

Chloe glanced at Pierce, seeing the quick smirk on his face that he’d forced her to spend time with him. Chloe went to argue with Paul, but he firmly told her before she could open her mouth, “You, you’re on the tent, decision made,” as he and Ned took off.

Pierce stepped forward, side-eying Chloe, clearly thrilled by Paul’s decision. Chloe glanced over at him again, then stared down in front of her at been unable to firmly tell Pierce she wasn’t interested in him anymore and did not want to spend the day with him.

Urgh…Pierce finding a way to pull me back into his orbit…by forcing my hand and insisting that I work with him at the wine tent during the festival. Instead of leaving me be and accepting that I shouldn’t have to tell you that I don’t want to be with you. I still want to be with Elly…whether she wants me or not…I don’t want to have to settle for Pierce…not now…not ever.

Why can’t I tell Pierce that?

Chapter Text

I'm The Captain Of My Story

Chapter Nineteen

Early that afternoon, the Live at Lassisters music festival was in full swing but unfortunately for Chloe she wasn’t having the time of her life as she was stuck working at the wine tent with Pierce and wanted to be anywhere else.

Chloe spotted Shane and Dipi headed over to them, running through the list of acts they wanted to see that day. Handing out 2 tasters of wine to the couple, Chloe smiled, “You two look like you could use a pick me up. Here, try this exclusive Lassisters cabernet.”

Shane and Dipi took the plastic wine glasses, Shane skulling his mouthful back, Dipi taking a small sip and unable to swallow the wine, spat it back out into a bucket on the table.

Wow…classic, Dipi. That’s how I feel every time I even contemplate the idea of choosing Pierce over Elly.

Dipi immediately apologizes to Pierce and Chloe but doesn’t hesitate in comparing the taste of the wine to the smell of their dog, Clancy, “after a splash in the lake.”

I love Dipi…no filter in her review of Pierce’s wine.

Shane politely took the plastic glass from Dipi and finished the taster for her. Pierce, not one to be dissuaded by Dipi’s clear critique of his wine, tells the non-wine affionados, “That drops known for its musty forest floor aroma.” Dipi throws his description back at Pierce that she’s not the “musty forest floor aroma” kind of girl. Trying to be polite once more, Shane asks Pierce what he’d recommend the meal should be that would be paired with a wine like that.

As Chloe stood there trying to ignore Pierce, even as he side-eyed her and stepped up to tell her in a not-so-subtle jab at her when answering Shane’s question, “Well when something is really unique it’s not always sure WHO it should be paired with.”

I might be unique but I know WHO I should be paired with…and it’s not you.

Chloe couldn’t resist smirking to herself as she fired back at Pierce, “I think it tastes like it knows what it wants and doesn’t like sitting around on the shelf.”

Stuff you, Pierce. I know what I want and you can’t handle that it’s not you. I shouldn’t have to tell you that it’s Elly I want to be with.

As Dipi and Shane gave each other knowing looks that Pierce was obviously trying to convince Chloe that he was the person for her, Chloe decided she didn’t want to put up with Pierce’s comments that she was making a mistake by not choosing him anymore, “Um seems like you’ve got things covered here. I’m going to go and catch Jess Glyne.”

Don’t expect me to be back for the rest of the day, Pierce. Paul and Terese might be pissed at me for ignoring Paul’s orders to work with Pierce all day long at the festival but I’m pretty certain if I tell Terese that Pierce continues to make comments at me for turning down his requests to go out with him, Terese will kick Pierce back to where he came from. Business partner or not. If Pierce doesn’t knock it off, this is turning into workplace harassment.

After Ebony left, I told Pierce I liked him, he said he needed time to get over Ebony. Elly returned and there was a spark between her and I that she finally felt and acknowledged on her side for me. Pierce asked me out, I said ‘maybe another time’, Pierce asked me out again, I said I was ‘too busy this week due to the festival’. Why couldn’t I have just said the word ‘no’?

Why can’t Elly say the word ‘yes’?

Walking off away from Pierce, Shane and Dipi, Chloe sadly missed Shane using some wine references of his own and called out that what Pierce has with Chloe is “corked” and Pierce should’ve “poured yourself a glass of that when you had the chance,” which Pierce conceded.

Elly’s day had gone about as bad as Chloe’s had. Her meeting with Angela, Susan and Dipi in the morning had yielded no results with Angela claiming the only reason Susan was supporting Elly was because Elly’s her niece. Later, at Harold’s Café, Elly was with Susan when Susan kept getting emails from parents about the situation with Elly been back teaching at the school and threatening not to allow their children to go to the school on Monday.

Elly was on the edge of resigning to make things easier for everyone even though Susan disagreed. Kirsha and Angela’s daughter, Lacey, had come through with a petition with over a hundred signatures to keep Elly at the school. Though Elly appreciated the gesture, she still didn’t think that would be enough to convince Angela to back down.

As Susan, Dipi and Kirsha were later talking about the festival and the bands they’d be seeing, Elly decided even though her job was still on the line, she couldn’t wait around when everyone else was in a good mood.

I’ve had a crap day and all I want is for something good to happen…and I think I’ve finally figured out what it is…

“Okay, enjoy, guys. I’d better get going. I have something I need to do,” Elly told the ladies cryptically.

Say yes.

As Elly headed to the Café door, Angela walked in. After some awkward greetings, Angela conceded that her daughter was refusing to leave the school and in light of the petition, she would back down from telling other parents what they should be doing with their own children’s education. With a final threat of looking out for any further “inappropriate conduct” and reporting Elly to the Department herself, Angela glared at her daughter as she called for her to head off with her.

Elly turned around and headed back to the table to Susan, Dipi and Kirsha, happy that if Angela backs down then that should mean the other parents’ do too. Elly hugged Kirsha gently and thanked her for probably “saving my job.”

Not long after the success she had found in keeping the job that she loved, Elly headed out to find Chloe at the music festival. The place was packed with attendees crowding the main stage for the band that was playing. Elly soon spotted Chloe in the crowd, bopping away to the music, and headed over to her.

Partway there, Elly couldn’t resist stopping for a few seconds to simply stare in awe at Chloe.

That could be my future wife right there…did I just refer to Chloe as my future wife? I kinda did…and I don’t feel against that idea in the slightest. Why did it take me this long to accept Chloe could be my future?

Chloe looks so happy dancing over there on her own. How happy is she going to look when I tell her my answer?

Elly eventually stopped staring at Chloe from the crowd, as much as she enjoyed it, she realized joining Chloe with her dancing at the festival is what she wanted more. As the band’s song came to an end, Elly hurried over to Chloe.

Am I kind of running to her?

Elly snuck up behind Chloe, brushing her hands against Chloe’s lower back, greeting her with a huge smile and “Hey” as Chloe turned around to her. “Can I join you?” Elly asked rhetorically, her voice loud over the music that had restarted up playing in front of them. Chloe immediately asked after Elly’s school dramas, her tone just as loud as Elly’s, “Did you work things out with Susan?”

That’s the first thing Chloe worries about…how my job is? That’s more important to her than wanting the answer on if I’ll go on a date with her. She cares so much!

“Yeah, I think everything’s going to be okay,” Elly answered then immediately switched to telling Chloe the reason she’d come over to her, “I thought about what you said.” Chloe for partialist of seconds turned to look back at the band on the stage.

Elly’s going to say no.

Chloe thinks I’m going to say no.

Chloe quickly pulled her attention back to Elly as Elly declared, “My answer is yes.”

Chloe froze, completely stunned that Elly was agreeing to go on a date with her.

Elly said yes!?

That’s the look on Chloe’s face I was talking about. She’s so happy. Stunned but unbelievably happy.

Without realizing what she was doing, Chloe flung her arms around Elly and leapt into the brunette’s arms. Elly gladly accepted the hug, holding Chloe tightly against her.

I’m so happy! We’re going on a date!

I’m so happy! We’re going on a date!

As the pair pulled out of the embrace, they grinned at one another before both turning their attention to the band playing on stage and dancing next to each other to the music. Neither noticed Pierce watching them through the crowd as he walked past them or the dirty look, he threw their way after seeing Chloe embracing Elly.

Chapter Text

I'm The Captain Of My Story

Chapter Twenty

A few days later, it was the day Chloe had been waiting for all year long, she was finally going on a date with Elly. Chloe was at the 82 Tram getting breakfast with Aaron, telling him her plans for the date, “I have planned out everything, location, menu, outfit.”

Aaron jokes if “toilet breaks” have been planned since Chloe is going to so much detail. But fear not, as Chloe has indeed taken them into consideration, due to Elly been pregnant, “Bathroom access has been taken into consideration.” Aaron nearly rolls his eyes at the notion that bathroom breaks has him believing "just like that romance died." 

Chloe shakes her head, still smiling, "Not for me. I never thought this date would even happen. There is nothing about it that won’t be magical." Chloe immediately has a look of doubt fall across her face, “Unless I somehow stuff it up.” Aaron balks at the thought, “What my sister, the ex-professional dater freaking out about a little brunch?” Chloe agrees it’s “bizarre,” before going on that she would “normally just meet at a bar, see how the night takes us.”

Chloe then rambles about a date in Bengal and Aaron asks, “Why don’t you do that then?” And when Chloe thinks he’s talking about the Bengal date, Aaron points out in his brotherly fashion, “No, you dumb-dumb! Why don’t you do what you just said? Just meet her at a bar, keep it simple.”

Meet Elly at a bar for our date? Ah hello, Elly’s pregnant, not really her favourite scene at the moment. Besides I can top that!

Chloe glanced at Aaron wearingly, “Why do you say that?” “Because you’ll be more relaxed,” Aaron answered.

OMG Aaron, this isn’t about me been relaxed. It’s about Elly been relaxed! She’s the one that needs to feel comfortable on our date more than I do.

“I’m going out with Elly, not some random slum,” Chloe argued valiantly. “Yeah, and you don’t want to come on too strong, do you?” Aaron attempted to reason, “You’ll scare her off.” Chloe smiled back over at Aaron, absolutely determined, “No, I’m not going halfway on this. I need to blow Elly’s socks off. My whole future could depend on it!” 

But like no pressure on yourself, Chlo…

Missing Scene

At the same time that Chloe was out with Aaron getting breakfast, Elly was at home having breakfast with her family. It was a rare opportunity that the entire household were together. Elly and her younger sister, Bea, both lived with their Aunt Susan and Uncle Karl. They also had Finn living with them.

Finn is a complicated man in his 30's with amnesia leaving him to still act like he's 19 as that's all the life experience he remembers. Between his 'missing years' he terrorized Elly and her family among other things but to avoid jail for his crimes, he was sent to live with Kennedy's when they agreed to house him, hoping they could help him redeem his former life. 

Now he was on house arrest with an ankle bracelet keeping him house bound due to an incident with a trespasser in their house. And Finn was now dating Bea, to Elly's disapproval as Bea was the subject of much of Finn's abuse.

It might be hypocritical of me to judge who Bea's dating when there's every chance Bea will do the same about the idea of me dating Chloe. But that's not remotely the same thing. Dating your reformed abuser compared to dating your best friend who's another woman...right?

I haven't told my family yet about this date...I should tell them...or should I wait until after the date? That way if it goes horrendously then they never need to know about it. I can vague up some excuse if this affects my friendship with Chloe…or if it doesn’t work out, I’ll just endeavor not to let it affect our friendship.

It could also not go horrendously and instead be an amazing date and then I have to tell them about it and they'll think I was keeping it from them which I would be if I don't tell them now.

Chloe would've told all the boys at the Brenaka's household, she'd never want to keep this a secret, she's probably screaming it from the rooftops. Plus, my family are all here. How often does that happen? I should tell them I'm going on a date with Chloe.

Elly decided to wait for an appropriate moment in the flow of the family’s conversation to tell them about her date with Chloe. Eventually after several minutes, Elly found her opening when Karl went around the table, addressing them each personally, to ask what each of them were doing for the day.

Finn was disappointed to report all he would be doing would be some work on Karl’s greenhouse in the backyard and hanging out in his room, trying to deal with his house arrest. Bea had a shift at the garage for the morning before a gig in the afternoon. Susan was going to Toadie’s to baby sit for Nell and Hugo.

Karl then told them his shift at the hospital began in an hour and he’d be there all day long, before turning his attention to the newspaper in front of him.

Ah excuse me, aren’t you going to ask me what I’m doing today?

Elly cleared her throat, “Doesn’t anyone want to hear what I’ll be doing today?”

Elly nearly rolled her eyes as her family and Finn all shrugged, not really showing much interest but not shutting her down from having her say, before Karl finally spoke up, “Right, sorry, Elly, thought I’d gone around the entire table and didn’t realize I’d missed you.”

Elly ran her tongue over her bottom lip as she nervously told them, “I’m going into the city today…” “Ooh to start buying baby supplies?” Susan immediately perked up, “If you need some help, I’m sure Toadie wouldn’t mind if we took Nell and Hugo along. Might actually be good practice for you.”

Nice thought, Suze, maybe another day…I really probably do need to think about asking Toadie if he’d mind if I babysat the kids…I could do with a reality check of what my life is about to become…I mean I think I know what I’m prepared for but I guess you never can be. But not today, that can wait.

Elly gently held her hand up to soften the blow of turning down her Aunt, before admitting, “I have a date.”

Elly’s family and Finn suddenly all glanced up at her.

That got their attention!

Finn was the first to react, though Elly wished he hadn’t said a word out of his mouth, “You’re dating? In your condition--” Bea immediately whacked Finn’s upper arm to shut him up, “Finn didn’t mean…”

Condition? Being pregnant is now a condition that means I shouldn’t go on a date? It’s complicated, sure but it shouldn’t mean…whatever, Finn. You know, not ‘whatever.’ I’ll call you out on this.

Elly wasn’t shy in addressing Finn’s concern, “I’m not allowed to date because I’m pregnant?” Finn hung his head, “I didn’t mean, it came out wrong, I’m sorry. I was surprised…when you came back from Sydney you said your focus was completely on the baby. I don’t want my niece or nephew getting hurt.”

“It’s one date, Finn, it doesn’t mean my child will get caught in the middle of anything. If it lasts a lot longer than one date…I won’t let this baby get hurt,” Elly pointed out, “All I’m trying to do is…I’m trying to find true love, okay?”

It’s as simple as that. I know Chloe loves me…she makes me happy and now I want to figure out if it’s more than that.

“Who’s your date?” Susan suddenly piped up, trying to avoid the awkwardness of Finn immediately judging Elly for dating whilst pregnant, “What’s his name?”

Okay, here we go…

Elly cleared her throat once more, “It’s Chloe…I’m going on a date with Chloe.”

Bea, Susan, Karl and Finn all looked up at Elly in surprise.

That’s the attention I was expecting from them. Just explain it to them, Chloe makes you happy and you need to explore that.

“You’re dating Chloe?” Bea asked first, “I thought there was nothing romantic between you two after last time.” “Last time? You’ve been in a romance with Chloe before?” Finn immediately cut in. Bea glanced at her boyfriend, “I’ll explain it to you, later on.”

Elly was grateful not to have to bring up her cheating scandal with Chloe that had happened several days before her wedding to Mark and trusted Bea to delicately tell Finn only what he needed to know.

Susan and Karl both turned to each other before Susan turned back to Elly, “I’m a little surprised but if this is something you’re sure about and you’re exploring your--”

Elly smiled softly, gently interrupting her Aunt, “It’s not…it’s one date. I know how Chloe feels about me and…she makes me happy whenever I’m around her and I need to…work out for myself why that is…and I’m open to discovering if my best friend…is more than that to me.”

Bea smiled back at Elly, “Then we support you,” as Bea looked around the table, “Right, guys?” Susan, Karl and Finn quickly nodded and replied with various amounts of support and enthusiasm.

I guess that could’ve gone worse.

Bea shrugged, “Do you want me to come home after my shift to help you get ready?” Elly shook her head but appreciated her sister’s gesture, “No, it’s all good. I’ll be fine…I mean I’m nervous about this but…in a good way. Like I don’t want to stuff it up and hurt Chloe.”

“Are you sure going on a date with Chloe is the best thing if you’re not even sure you want Chloe to be more than a best friend?” Finn asked abruptly.

Why is it that I get the feeling that a lot of the guys will have an issue with me dating Chloe? Finn, Mark, Aaron, Pierce…? At least Karl doesn’t seem to be one of them.

“We had something between us once before but I was not in the right place at the time to have thought about what it actually meant,” Elly admitted, “It’s just one date. It might amount to nothing at all romantically…or maybe it will and because I’m in a much better place emotionally…I think I’ll be able to deal with it this time. So, if none of you have an issue with the fact, I’m going on one date with my best friend today…I’m heading off the Harold’s to catch up with Leo before I come back to start getting ready for my date.”

Elly’s family gestured their acceptance. Finn, less so, but he didn’t object further.

Okay…quick catch up with Leo and then start getting ready for my date with Chloe…I should have 3-odd hours to get ready for my date with Chloe…that’s enough time, right?

Chapter Text

I'm The Captain Of My Story

Chapter Twenty-One

Later in the morning, Elly was at Harold’s Café with Leo having gotten her a pot of tea. Elly had her phone with music playing against her baby bump, as the baby is now at the stage of development that he or she can hear. As Leo questioned her music taste for the baby, “Club hits from the nineties,” Elly admitted it was “calming my nerves about this date with Chloe.”

Leo’s twin brother, and Chloe’s brother-in-law, David, entered the Café, as he walked past them, he overheard Elly mentioning the date with Chloe and whilst he walked over the other side of the room, David couldn’t help but take interest in Elly’s demeanor over her date with Chloe.

“You got some butterflies?” Leo asked Elly softly. “Yeah, not that there’s any room,” Elly smiled gently back at Leo.

Good butterflies, though. Like I’m nervous and want to do this right style butterflies.

Leo couldn’t help but point out, “It’s a bit of a change though, isn’t it, this whole dating thing?” Elly poured herself a cup of tea from the pot, “Well, Chloe’s very persuasive.”

And I like that about her.

Leo pushed gently once more clarifying, “But you’re actually into her?” Elly was concentrating on her tea rather than questioning Leo for questioning her, “Yeah, well, whenever I’m with her she makes me really happy.”

Isn’t that what it’s all about?

“Sounds promising,” Leo finally concluded, happy for his friend. “Yeah, it is,” Elly agreed as she smiled over at Leo, “Yeah, I don’t know what she’s got planned though.”

I hope it’s romantic.

Leo and Elly continued to discuss Leo’s “desert” of a love life as he looked at the positives, “It saves on the heartache.”

David then approached the pair of them just as Leo had to head off to his bar in the city, Back Lane Bar, with another quick dig at Elly’s taste in music for the baby. Leo says goodbye as David then joins Elly at the table, sitting down opposite her.

The look on David’s face is genuine shy excitement for Elly as he confirms, “You’re meeting up with Chloe today?” Elly tries to downplay her emotions, “Oh, yeah, but it’s not really a big deal.” David smiles as he points out, “There’s no need to minimize it. You’re going on your first date with a woman.”

And the butterflies are back. Thanks, David. I don’t want to ‘minimize it’ but I don’t want to create such a huge deal out of it.

Before Elly can say anything more, David continues with the support, “I came out later in life, too. I know how overwhelming it can be.”

Okay, just this conversation is overwhelming me. I’m not coming out later in life. I’m going on one date with my best friend…who I’ve already slept with once, I’ll give you that. I’m exploring what there is between Chloe and I. If it is definitely more than friendship what I feel for her or if that is all it will ever be.

Elly gently argued back with David, “Yeah, I don’t really think it’s the same thing,” but David politely pointed out, “There’s nothing better than being honest about what makes you happy. It changed everything for me.”

Okay, yes, I am prepared to be honest about what makes me happy. Every time I’m with Chloe, she makes me happy like I told Leo. But that doesn’t mean I’m coming out, David.

"Well, I'm glad but this isn't me...coming out or anything like that. I actually don't know where I fit on the whole spectrum," Elly mused to David.

I haven't really given it much thought. I've been too nervous about how the date will go and trying not to think about how I'm going to stuff it up and ruin my friendship with Chloe.

"What'd you tell Chloe?" David asked softly. "That I'm open to exploring things," Elly answered.

That I want to fall in love with someone who loves me back and I'm open to the idea that it could happen with my best friend.

Later that morning, Chloe walked across the street over to her eldest brother, Mark’s, house. Whilst she had spoken to him a few days ago about how he felt about the idea that she would pursue a relationship with his ex-wife, Elly, and he had responded with his blessing, now that the date was going ahead, she needed to give Mark one more chance to tell her that he was okay with her seeing Elly romantically.

The front door was open, so Chloe opened the security door and entered the house to find Mark in the kitchen, cleaning his oven whilst wearing an apron, dishwashing gloves and his general cleaning supplies outfit of gray t-shirt and slacks. “Strong look,” Chloe complimented him. “Uh, not as strong as yours,” Mark fired back in compliments to Chloe’s colourful dress, then added, “I should’ve added my gloves with the rubies.”

I have a date with Elly…that’s all I need to say…please tell me you are still okay with this, Mark.

As Mark turned back to the oven to remove one of the trays for him to clean, Chloe told him, “It’s not all for you…I have a date.” Mark came back to the bench with the tray, raising his voice in surprise ever so slightly, “You do? Good for you.”

Chloe couldn’t quite look Mark in the eyes as she added, “With Elly.”

Mark looked back at her as he again headed back to the oven, “Right…so you’re together?” Chloe looked back over at him, clarifying, “It’s a first date.”  Mark somehow managed to add the smallest of bounces in his step as he came back to the bench again with another tray, “Cool,” then added in a tone that tried to be as calm as he could possibly be that his ex-wife was going on a date with his sister, “So you’re almost together?”

Please, Mark, do not freak out about this.

Chloe reminded Mark, “I know you said you’d be fine if something happened between us but if this is too much for you, I can cancel…she won’t have left the house yet, I can message her.” Mark’s tone returned to his normal slight authority, “Relax, you don’t have to call anything off.” “You sure?” Chloe asked, still needing Mark’s assurance.

“Elly and I are done. So, if it’s going to make you happy to be with her…go right ahead,” Mark insisted.

Elly does make me happy.

“I wouldn’t push it like this if it didn’t,” Chloe explained. “Just be careful,” Mark replied, back to his protective big brother tone, “When you and Elly were first together, she swore to me it wasn’t about attraction.”

I remember…that hurt like hell.

Chloe looked downwards gently, “I know.” “She was hurting and she just needed the comfort,” Mark reminded Chloe.

I remember that too…but things have changed…not just because of Elly’s dream but all the little things…mainly Elly been unable to let me go or stop with the hand-holding.

“It’s different now,” Chloe insisted. Unsure if he really believed that, Mark determined, “If you say so. Not that Elly’s orientation is any of my business anymore…I just don’t want you getting hurt.”

I don’t want that either…but it’s a risk I have to take if the woman I love does have feelings for me.

Chloe messed around with her handbag as she half turned away from Mark, “Well, I’d better split. I’ve still got a few things to organize. I really appreciate this, Mark.”

I hate feeling like I need his permission but last time I asked Mark, Aaron was with us and I was afraid Mark didn’t let his true feelings be known unless I talked to him again on my own.

I’m glad to see that whilst he’s worried about me getting hurt, Mark genuinely seems to be okay with me going on date with Elly. Not great…but okay.

Let’s get this date underway.

Later that morning, Elly had gotten ready for her date with Chloe and had chosen to wear a bright red long dress. As she was just about to head off to the city when there was a knock on the front door. Elly answered it to find Aaron standing on her doorstep.

Too preoccupied by the fact she was about to leave, Elly let Aaron into the house but immediately walked over to the other side of the room to pick up her purse and jacket. Grinning happily, not even looking at Aaron, Elly told him in an upbeat tone, “Oh, hey, you just caught me. I’m heading into the city to meet Chloe.”

Aaron walked into the entryway, closing the door behind him, “Ah, yeah, that’s actually why I’m here. Um…” Elly grabbed her keys off the kitchen bench, turning back to Aaron with a panicked look on her face, “Why? What’s wrong? Does she want to cancel?”

No!!! Don’t cancel, don’t cancel! I couldn’t bear the thought of you cancelling our date, Chloe…wow I really want to go on this date…don’t I? Isn’t that interesting…I really do want to go on this date…right now.

Aaron replied ‘no’ about a dozen times before adding, “There’s no chance of that happening.”

Thank, God. I really want to see Chloe and be on this date with her right now. Make this snappy, Aaron.

Elly breathed a sigh of relief as she placed her keys in her purse. “Uh, can we sit down, please?” Aaron pleaded firmly. Feeling like she didn’t have much choice in the matter, Elly agreed, “Fine.” The pair walked over to the dining table and sat down opposite one another.

“Look, ah, Chloe’s had a lot of…different experiences, right. Like, she knows exactly what she wants,” Aaron explains to Elly.

Yes, me. I’m aware, Aaron.

Aaron continued, “But can you say the same?”

That’s why I’m going on this date with Chloe, Aaron, so I can figure this all out once and for all.

“I don’t know how you want me to answer that. We’re going on a date, it hasn’t started yet,” Elly tried to point out. Aaron tried again, “Look, this is the first time you’ve been on a date with a woman. Yeah?”

Do I really need to answer that? Why is everyone…not everyone…why do all the guys have such an issue with me going on a date with Chloe to figure this all out? Would they just prefer me to keep hanging out with Chloe as friends, wait to see if the mood strikes and I know I want to kiss her and be with her?

“I think it’s great that you’re exploring that kind of thing. But…this is a little more serious for Chlo,” Aaron tried to explain gently. “I’m very well aware of how serious her feelings are,” Elly replied.

Chloe loves me…she has all year long…no matter how many times I’ve screwed up my life…I just want a chance to work out if I can feel the same way about her. I know I have some kind of feelings for Chloe…I just don’t know how much beyond friendship they extend…

Aaron gestured with his hands and stared down at the table, “Well, she doesn’t deserve to be used as a guinea pig--”

I’m sorry not sorry but WTF? Guinea pig?! Seriously, Aaron, you think for one second that I could ever do that to Chloe? She’s my best friend. I don’t want to hurt her.

Elly got immediately defensive, “What is that what everyone thinks is it?”

How am I ever going to figure out how I feel about Chloe if people keep treating me like I might be using Chloe and that I could never have feelings for her?

“Not exactly, it’s…” Aaron trailed off for a second before coming back at Elly harder, “Elly, up until now you’ve denied that you were even attracted to her. I’m not going to sit back and watch her heart break again.”

“I have no intention of breaking your sister’s heart,” Elly declared.

Not now, not ever.

“Then why are you doing this?” Aaron cried out searching for Elly to provide him with an explanation as to how she could now have feelings for Chloe when she denied any such thing after they had slept together.

Elly confessed, “Because…there’s something between us. There always has been. And me going out on a date with Chloe, that’s my way of exploring it.” Aaron finally nodded in some form of acceptance, “Okay…look just be careful, please. Chloe has wanted this for a long time so you need to do it right.” Elly nodded back at Aaron silently.

This is the first time I’ve openly admitted that there’s always been something between us…I spent months struggling to deal with how I felt that Chloe wanted space from me to move on from her feelings for me and then how I felt when Chloe was dating Mel. Yes, I should’ve taken a moment after I slept with Chloe to really think about how I truly felt about her but everything else that happened from that moment onwards up until the last month and a half has been my entire life falling apart…all of it my fault…I never took the time to figure all this out…now I am…and I plan on doing it right.

Chapter Text

I'm The Captain Of My Story

Chapter Twenty-Two

Early that afternoon, Chloe and Elly were finally on their date. It had felt like a long morning for both of them, as they had both battled been questioned by their loved ones over whether them going on a date together was the best idea. But they had risen above those challenges and were now sitting together on a picnic rug and pillows on the grass beside the South Yarra river as small sail boats went by near them with couples enjoying time out on the water.

Elly grinned at Chloe, “This is so lovely!” Chloe grinned straight back at her, “I knew you’d be into it.” Chloe then listed off food and beverage supplies she had brought along in the picnic basket that was in front of Elly and made a point of telling Elly she had included “non-alcoholic champagne so we don’t ‘get wreaked’” and Elly’s favourite treat of “fizzy lollies.”

Damn, Chloe knows me better than I thought.

Elly couldn’t believe that Chloe remembered her love of “fizzy lollies” and was even happier when Chloe announced there was 2 packets in the basket. Chloe also had a bag of other supplies they might possibly need for their date once they got on one of the sail boats, “Life vests, whistle, flares, volleyball.” Elly called Chloe out for the need of a volleyball to which Chloe grinned as she made a reference to the movie ‘Castaway’ “in case they get lost at sea.”

Seriously, who goes to all this trouble on a first date? Only Chloe.

How could I not ignore Aaron and go all out for this date?

Elly giggled at Chloe’s “ridiculous” and being “over-prepared.” “Well, I just wanted today to be special,” Chloe confessed before revealing whilst practically rolling her eyes, “Aaron suggested I go ‘no frills’ like…Surf n Turf at the Waterhole or something. Can you imagine?”

Elly looked out across the park before brushing her hair out of her eyes and looking back at Chloe, “Maybe he didn’t think I was worth it.”

That’s pretty much the impression Aaron gave me when he came over to my place…am I worth it?

Chloe was stumped, “What does he know?” Elly sighed, “What does anyone know? What do I know?”

I still don’t feel I’m worth all this effort…will I ever be?

Is Elly having second thoughts about our date?

Unable to hide her pain at the idea, Chloe asked Elly, “What—what do you mean? Have you changed your mind about this?” Elly immediately shook her head, “No, no, no. That’s not what I meant.”

Chloe then went a small rant, “I shouldn’t have suggested this. As if you want to be stuck with me on a boat surrounded by water.”

That doesn’t sound bad at all, Chlo.

Now I’m having second thoughts that we should be on this date if it’s not what Elly wants.

Elly smiled at Chloe, calming her down, “Hey, calm down, I’ve really been looking forward to this.” Chloe frowned, unable to hide her concern, “Then what’s going on?”

I’m a mess of nerves that I might seriously ruin this and break apart our friendship which means the world to me. And also, everything the boys said to me earlier…it’s gotten to me and I don’t know if I have the confidence anymore to try and work out exactly what my feelings for you are.

Missing from the script

Elly looked down in front of her, fiddling with her hands, “I just don’t know what I’m doing. Apparently, no one else knows either and I’m sick of been judged for it.” Chloe remained silent, allowing Elly to express how she was feeling as this wasn’t something Chloe could do for her as much as she wanted to make all of Elly’s insecurities go away.

Elly chewed on her lip, “I told my family about our date this morning.” When Elly paused, Chloe smiled at her, “That’s good. How did they take it?”

Maybe that’s why Elly’s having doubts if her family didn’t react well.

“I guess they took the news okay. They weren’t overwhelmingly cheering when I told them I was going on this date with you but they weren’t against it. They understand that I need to figure out whether my feelings for you are more than friendship,” Elly answered quietly, then shook her head, “Finn made a few comments like I shouldn’t be dating anyone right now let alone my best friend.”

“It’s not really up to him,” Chloe assured. Elly nodded, “Yeah, I know. I wanted to shut him down more than I did but…he’s just worried about the…” Elly trailed off, not really sure if she should bring up the baby to Chloe and what that could possibly mean for them before they’d even had a chance to enjoy their first date.

Don’t freak Chloe out about the baby. I mean, yes, if this date goes well and there is a chance we could have a future together, we will need to sit down and talk about the baby. Not five minutes into your first date.

“And then after that I caught up with Leo. Whilst he seemed supportive of me going on a date with you, that was only after I told him that I’m happy whenever I’m around you and I told him that when he asked if I was actually into you, like the idea of it hadn’t crossed his mind,” Elly confessed.

Elly’s happy whenever she’s around me.

Elly fiddled with her fingers, “And Aaron kind of stopped by right before I left…” Chloe closed her eyes for a brief moment, “What did he have to say?” Elly sighed, “Aaron might have insinuated that I’m…using you like a guinea pig to explore my sexuality.”

Chloe brought her hand to the bridge of her nose, “I am so sorry, I can’t believe--” Elly leant forwards gently, gesturing for Chloe to look back at her, “It’s fine, Chlo. With my past, he has a right to be looking out for you and for that I can put up with Aaron.”

“You’re a better person than me,” Chloe responded before running her tongue across her bottom lip, “Is there anything else making you feel like you don’t know what you’re doing and you’re been judged for been here with me?”

Elly shrugged, before nodding gently, “Yeah, David stopped by just as Leo was leaving when I was at the Café. This was before Aaron came to see me. David was been really sweet with a bit of excitement about our date but then he started talking like this date is a huge deal that I can’t minimize, that I’m ‘coming out later in life,’ that it changed everything for him and that me being honest about what makes me happy will change everything for me too. And it was all just so much and I felt…”

“Overwhelmed?” Chloe finished for Elly.

Yes, exactly. How do you know me that well, Chloe?

“Yeah,” Elly agreed quietly, “It’s so much to think about and I just…I don’t know what I’m doing and the way everyone’s talking at me about this…it’s like they expect me to have all the answers and have my feelings for you whatever they may be…figured out. It’s so overwhelming trying to get a handle on my feelings and…where I fit on the whole…spectrum thing.”

Back to the scene as it played out

Chloe concluded that Elly was struggling with determining her sexuality, “Okay, so you don’t know if your gay or straight or bi or floating around somewhere else.” “I don’t know and I haven’t thought about it…not even after we slept together,” Elly explained.

Did I seriously push all this out of my mind the moment Chloe was effectively out of sight as I was too damn stubborn attempting to get Mark back and stop him from finding out he’s not the father of your baby? Yeah…you did.

Don’t take it personally. Elly had a lot to deal with back then and you did kind of disappear from her life so she could focus on…anything other than me.

“Well, it was a pretty full on time,” Chloe reminded Elly calmly. “Yes, and it’s not until now that I’m here with you…that I’m facing it,” Elly confessed, before she explained, “I don’t know. It’s so much pressure. People have so many opinions and…’like are you experimenting or are you coming out or…?’ I don’t know, I don’t know the answer, y’know. And here you are, in the middle, caught up in it all.”

People need to shut up and let me have time to figure all this out. Can I really just let Chloe get caught in the middle of this until I can work it out for myself?

People need to shut up and give Elly a chance to work out what she wants and how she wants to define herself or not define herself. It sucks been caught in the middle but if I want a chance of being in a relationship with Elly, then I can’t just walk away.

“With my heart on my sleeve,” Chloe admitted, wondering if that was putting too much pressure on Elly, “You’re scared of hurting me.” “I’m terrified of hurting you,” Elly corrected. “I appreciate you worrying but everything you just said…I already know. You don’t have to have it all worked out. You just have to be here,” Chloe told Elly supportively. “You deserve so much more,” Elly told Chloe.

So much more than someone who cannot figure their shit out and work out how I feel about you.

No, I don’t.

“It’s great that you’re trying to figure everything out for me but you really don’t have to. Just don’t worry about what it all means, just relax,” Chloe reassured Elly.

Elly smiled happily at Chloe’s reassurance.

I can do that.

Later on, in the date, Chloe and Elly had left their picnic on the grass behind, and were now sitting opposite one another in the sail boat as an oarsman stood on the back of the boat, steering it across the water gently.

Chloe and Elly had somehow managed to get onto the topic of Chloe’s worst date in her life. “You’re kidding?” Elly almost screeched at what Chloe had just told her. “I am not, he ordered all my food for me and cut me off after two champagnes!” Chloe declared.

I would never do that to you, Chloe…at least it’s good to know this isn’t your worst date in your life.

This date has been a million times better than that one.

“He sounds like a jerk,” Elly told Chloe. Chloe shrugged, “But he’s not even close to the worst person I’ve ever dated. At least he didn’t try to burn down a building.”

Urgh, Mel…need I say more about Chloe’s decision to start dating her again.

Urgh…why am I bringing up my terrible dates and terrible ex’s? This is not a conversation I should be having on this beautiful date with Elly.

“Mel was next level,” Elly agreed, before gently teasing Chloe, “What is it with you and your ex’s? It’s like your only attracted to seriously disturbed people.”

Except me, right?

Except you, Elly.

“Aw, you’re not that bad,” Chloe fired back. Elly laments that Chloe hasn’t seen her go “a week without yoga and chai.” “No more peace and love?” Chloe assumed as the pair giggled at one another.

Elly stared off into the sunshine briefly.

This has been an amazing date, Chloe. Way more than I ever expected. You make me feel like I do deserve this level of happiness, despite everything I’ve done in the past.

“I’m having a really nice time,” Elly told Chloe softly.

Good, I’m glad. I was hoping this might turn out to be an amazing date, Elly. Way more than even I expected. You look happy, Elly, genuinely for the first time in months.

Chloe shrugged, trying not to make a big deal about it, “Now that you finally relaxed?” “Well, I was only doing it to protect you,” Elly confessed. “I know and it’s really sweet,” Chloe replied happily as she leant forwards slightly with a nice big smile on her face.

That smile…that damn smile! And I think I might’ve just figured out a few things…all because of that gorgeous damn smile of Chloe’s that tells me how happy she is and that I feel just as happy been here with her. Like I told Aaron, ‘there’s always been something between us.’ This…what I feel for Chloe…it’s only Chloe that makes me feel this way.

Elly grinned at Chloe, announcing, “So, I’ve had a revelation. The idea of me being attracted to women I’m not so sure about that.”

Okay…let me down easy, Elly.

Not to be deterred by the slightly worried look on Chloe’s face, Elly continued, “I think it’s more of an individual thing.”

So, are you about to let me down easy, Elly, or…?

Elly declared, “It’s you, Chloe. I’m attracted to you.”

Chloe couldn’t wipe the smile off her face as she gently looked down trying to compose herself and her reaction to Elly before regaining Elly’s gaze.

I’ve been wanting to hear those words from Elly all year long…I never thought it would happen.

“You are smart and kind and caring and funny and so beautiful,” Elly confessed.

I could literally go on forever about all the amazing things about you, Chloe. I’m so glad that I haven’t shut myself off from feeling this way about you this time.

If you go on continuing to tell me all the amazing things about me, Elly, I’ll literally burst into tears any minute now. Please stop…but also…don’t…

“You’re just magic,” Elly decided.

We could be magic together…that’s what I want, Chlo.

I told Aaron this morning this date could be magical…how did Elly know? There really is something magical between us.

Elly leaned forwards as Chloe did the same, bringing their lips together in a gentle kiss. It was soft and chaste with a hint of passion behind it. Chloe lightly reached out her hand and nestled it amongst Elly’s hair by her neck as she continued the kiss. Elly had her hand on Chloe’s hip, as she was unable to break her lips away from Chloe’s.

Magical…this kiss doesn’t need to be overtly passionate…it’s our first date…what a way to end it, Chlo.

Magical…everything I always wanted for this date but never quite believed could be possible.

Chapter Text

I'm The Captain Of My Story

Chapter Twenty-Three

Elly and Chloe returned to Chloe’s house after their date. Chloe was carrying her handbag and the ‘shipwreck supplies’ they luckily didn’t need whilst Elly had her own handbag and the picnic basket.

“Thanks for walking me home,” Chloe told Elly. As the pair put all their bags and Elly’s jacket down in the entryway, Elly replied, “Thank you. That was a lovely day.” As Chloe led Elly down the hallway, she glanced back at Elly, “Doesn’t have to end yet, does it?”

No, it does not, Chlo.

“Will you stay for a cup of tea? I have herbal,” Chloe offered. Elly immediately reached out and took Chloe’s hand, flirting with Chloe, “Really? How could I resist?” as she then took Chloe’s other hand in her own, standing in front of the blonde and kissed her gently on the lips.

There is no way I can resist you, Chlo—oh bollocks! Mark!

As Chloe led Elly into the kitchen they immediately bumped into Elly’s ex-husband, and Chloe’s eldest brother, Mark. Elly dropped Chloe’s hand and the smiled on both their faces faded gently.

Well that perfect moment ended far too quickly. Thanks, bro…what are you doing here at my place…? You knew I was on this date with Elly and there might be a small chance Elly would come back here with me…not that I ever expected anything more than a bit of kissing to happen between us this soon.

Way to go from perfect moment with Chloe to mood-killer by Mark. Going on a date with my ex-husband’s sister…last thing I expected was to stumble across Mark at Chloe’s place…I was kinda hoping we could just curl up on the couch with a cup of tea together…maybe make out a little more.

Mark carried a small esky into the kitchen as he spotted Chloe and Elly entering the room, as he greeted them awkwardly, “Hey…how was your day?”

Oh, you mean ‘date’?

I think the word you’re looking for but can’t say is ‘date.’

Chloe and Elly both shrugged then looked at each other as Chloe answered without her usual over the top enthusiasm, “Pretty good,” to which Elly immediately agreed, “Yeah, yeah.”

“Cool,” Mark replied in the most ‘un-cool’ tone of voice, before explaining that David and Aaron had invited him to their place for a BBQ, the boys had gone to get supplies and that Kyle would be joining them.

“Oh, cool,” Chloe replied in her own most ‘un-cool’ tone of voice.

Not cool at all. Seriously! You live alone, Mark, in your own lovely house that also has a BBQ and pool…you didn’t think about having the BBQ over there instead of been here where there was a chance Elly and I would finish our date here, bro?

“Well, we’ll get out of your hair,” Chloe offered as she and Elly began to turn around.

Great idea, Chlo! Say if Mark’s house is free right now and he’s busy annoyingly been here at your place when there was every chance I was going to come back here with you…is there any chance we could sneak into Mark’s house…make out on his couch like we did that one time…maybe go back to your old room like we did…to make out a little bit more…wow…I really just thought that didn’t I?

“You don’t have to go…it is your house,” Mark pointed out to Chloe, as Chloe and Elly turned back to him, before extending the invite to Elly, “You should stay too.” “Are you sure?” Elly asked, unsure why Mark would even offer that.

C’mon, Mark, just admit this is awkward for all of us. I can walk Elly home…maybe have tea at her place.

Why did I ask Mark if he was sure? I don’t want to be here with Mark. I want to spend a bit more time with Chloe…alone!

“Yeah, they’ll be more than enough food,” Mark told them, “It’ll be fun.”

Fun is not the word I’d use for this, bro.

Fun…yeah, no.

A little while later, all the boys had turned up for the BBQ. Aaron and David were at the BBQ cooking the meat, Kyle, Chloe and Elly were bringing supplies and drinks to the table outside on the patio, whilst Mark was hiding away in the kitchen preparing a salad.

Kyle was asking the girls about their date and where Chloe had heard about the sail boats at the South Yarra river. Chloe mentions it’s a new company that they work with at the hotel, recommending for guests. Speaking to David, Aaron expressed his worry that Mark appears to be hiding away from everyone. Aaron groans about Mark’s decision to invite Chloe and Elly to the BBQ and suggests talking to them. David queries if Aaron means asking Chloe and Elly to leave but points out that Mark knows that the pair of them are there for him if he needs them.

Kyle gets the hint that Chloe and Elly’s date was good. Elly turned to Chloe with a grin on her face, “Uh, yeah, could’ve been worse.” Chloe grinned right back, “I’ll say. Hanging on the lake, stellar company.” Chloe then suggests Kyle should take his girlfriend Amy.

When Aaron announces lunch is nearly ready, Elly points out they forgot the tomato sauce. Chloe offers to get it, but Elly gently reaches for Chloe’s arm, stroking it softly as she tells Chloe she can go to the kitchen to get it before letting go of Chloe’s arm and leaving Chloe with Kyle.

Chloe can’t help but smile at the gesture. As soon as Elly is out of earshot, Kyle leans towards Chloe, “Did I just witness a sneaky hand brush?” “Oh, I think you might’ve,” Chloe couldn’t resist her excitement. “So, it was good then?” Kyle asked Chloe.

Not noticing Mark walking towards the outdoor patio of the house as he lingered inside the house by the open door, he overheard Chloe tell Kyle, “Beyond good. We kissed!”

“Alo, sailor!” Kyle grinned to which Chloe responded, “Ahoy!”

An hour or so later, after their BBQ lunch had finished up, the group were packing away the supplies and taking things into the kitchen, when Kyle came back outside to Chloe, offering her a bottle of beer. “No thanks, I am abstaining in solidarity with Elly,” Chloe told him. Kyle didn’t believe Chloe, with Chloe again refusing the drink, “True story. Who needs booze when I’m still high from our date?”

Kyle walks past Chloe, telling her how “brave” she is. “I’m not quitting for good, just y’know, around her,” Chloe explained. But Kyle points out what he was talking about was “starting a relationship with someone who’s about to have a baby…have you given it much thought?”

Well, yeah, of course…some thought…yes…how much thought?

“Of course, how crazy cute is that munchkin going to be?” Chloe replied. Kyle looked on at Chloe in fear that that was her first response. Chloe then goes on to tell Kyle that she’s been buying clothes for the baby online but asks him not to tell Elly. Kyle can’t resist pointing out, “Yeah, there’s more to babies than costume changes.”

“I know that,” Chloe insisted. “Nappies, breastfeeding, wacky hormones,” Kyle starts listing off but Chloe tells him, “You can’t scare me. You don’t even know what you’re talking about.” Kyle says that he knows more than Chloe thinks about and tells her about his best mate’s little “tacker,” that he’s “Nellyfish’s godfather,” before pointing out gently, “Look, Chloe, all I’m saying is there’s a lot to think about. Getting involved in Elly’s life when it’s about to change majorly. Plus, she’s going to be getting no sleep, pee when she laughs.”

“I want to be there to help her,” Chloe decided. “That’s good,” Kyle tells her before explaining, “When the baby comes, it’s going to be her priority. Maybe you need to make it yours too.” “For sure,” Chloe agreed.

I can do that…how do I do that?

Elly and Chloe enter the kitchen with a couple more supplies they had brought in from outside. “That was some quality BBQ,” Chloe complimented the boys. “Agreed, such a great idea,” Elly told them before telling Mark as he walked into the kitchen holding a beer, “And your potato salad was delicious.” Mark nodded silently and walked around the pair to sit down on one of the bar stools at the bench.

Chloe offers to get anyone a coffee or tea as Mark makes a point of holding up his beer, “I’m good thanks.”

Elly then takes that moment to tell them that she needs to get going as she has “another ultrasound appointment.” “26 weeks,” Mark recalled.

Oh…wow…Mark’s still counting the weeks of my pregnancy…immediately expecting me to be further along than I am…he has accepted this baby isn’t his right? It’s just a momentarily lapse of forgetting that I lied to him for months that this baby was his and he’s forgotten how far along I truly am…

Poor Mark…he’s still counting the weeks of Elly’s pregnancy like he would be if he was the father of this baby. He knows he’s not…and Elly’s about to remind him of that, isn’t she?

“Uh…it’s 22,” Elly reminded Mark as he looked on realizing his mistake and that he had openly aired that he was still somehow caught up in this pregnancy that it was further along than it actually was.

Trying to push past the awkwardness of the moment, Chloe said to Elly, “I thought you already had your scan?” Elly explains to Chloe that there are “different scans at different stages” and “this one’s just to make sure everything’s okay.” Elly then bids Chloe and the rest of the Brenaka household farewell.

Kyle says I should make this baby my priority along with Elly…I can do that.

Chloe chased after Elly, “Hey, do you want some company?”

Really? Chloe wants to come with me to my ultrasound? I was kinda tempted to ask her if she’d come along but I was terrified that would freak Chloe out.

“Really? Yes, I’d love you to come,” Elly grinned happily at Chloe, her voice soft as she didn’t want to make a scene in front of Mark about Chloe coming with her to the ultrasound when there was a time Mark thought he’d be doing that. Even though she wasn’t able to hide the fact that Chloe was joining her at the appointment when they were having their conversation in front of them.

Chloe then turned back to the boys with a “bye, guys!” before her and Elly exited the house together.

Chapter Text

I'm The Captain Of My Story

Chapter Twenty-Four

Chloe is standing next to Elly at the ultrasound appointment as Elly’s lying on the table getting the gel squirted onto her belly. “You sure it’s okay for me to be here?” Chloe asked, needing reassurance even though Elly was so happy at Chloe’s suggestion that she come with her.

“Yeah, of course,” Elly assured Chloe before giggling at the coldness of the gel. “Nervous?” Chloe immediately asked. “Oh, I don’t really know what to feel at the moment. There’s so many things going on,” Elly explained without going into any detail.

Will my baby be okay? Is she or he healthy? Or is something wrong and I haven’t noticed because I’ve been wrapped up in my dramas with the school and trying to work out my feelings for Chloe?

Elly looks so nervous…and I have no idea how I’m supposed to get that bright confident Elly back…hopefully as soon as she sees her baby, she won’t have any need to worry.

“Well, I’m with you,” Chloe offered but not soon enough as Elly had already turned her head to face the monitor.

Of course, Elly is more interested in calming her nerves by seeing her baby on the monitor than giving me her assurance that she’s glad I’m here for her. Remember what Kyle said, ‘make the baby your priority too,’ don’t make it about you.

Elly grinned at the image of her baby on the monitor, “It’s so big.” Relief ran through Elly when the doctor confirmed the baby was “right on schedule.” Chloe cut in with a jarring, “As long as you don’t get too big, baby, mama still gotta pop you out.” Elly glanced at Chloe before avoiding her eyes quickly.

Chloe, could you be a grown-up just once? Not exactly what I want to think about right at this time.

Why did I say that? Grow-up! That’s not what Elly needs to be thinking about.

The doctor advises Elly she’s going to take some measurements. Chloe tries again with the support, “Do you need anything? A cushion or--” Elly looked up at Chloe, “Ah, just a little bit of space.” Chloe nodded and took a few steps back, turned her back to Elly. “Sorry,” Elly apologized and whilst Chloe glanced back at her, that was all she gave.

Chloe looks so hurt! Maybe I should’ve just laughed her comment off. That’s just typical Chloe, trying to bring the fun into a serious situation.

Chloe picked up a leaflet from a nearby table, opened it and her immediate reaction was, “Woah!” Elly looked over at Chloe with concern, “What?” “Placenta previa, you checking for that?” Chloe asked the doctor. The doctor reassured both women Elly’s placenta is where it should be. Chloe brings up Elly’s history a few months back when Elly had been shoved to the ground by Harry before immediately widening her eyes, “There really are no flattering angles for a fetus, are there?”

Wow, Chloe is seriously wigging out about this whole pregnancy and this is only a small part of it. I don’t think she’s ready for this.

Would you stop with the inappropriately timed comments and questions? Elly is going to think that you’re wigging out…am I wigging out about Elly’s pregnancy?

“You can wait outside if you want to,” Elly offered Chloe an out to the awkwardness she was feeling, that they were both feeling. “No, no,” Chloe insisted as she returned the leaflet and turned back to standing next to Elly. The doctor tells Elly everything is looking good and then asks if Elly has thought about finding out the baby’s sex.

“Hell, yeah!” Chloe immediately jumped in with excitement just as Elly answered, “No,” then when she realized Chloe had jumped in with an answer that wasn’t hers to make, Elly repeated to Chloe, “No, no!”

Dial it down, Chloe! It’s not your call! I really thought you would know this is not a decision you can make for me.

Fudgeknuckle! Stepped all over that one awkwardly, didn’t I? I just thought Elly would be keen as to know if she’s having a baby girl or boy.

“Why not?” Chloe asked sheepishly. Elly shrugged, “I dunno, I’m just still sitting on the fence is all.” “I just assumed, sorry,” Chloe awkwardly apologized once Elly had turned away from her to stare at the baby on the monitor. Elly grinned at the image, “It looks like it’s waving.”

It’s waving at you, Elly, it wouldn’t even know who I am.

The doctor agrees the baby might be waving. Elly continues grinning up at the image, feeling love for her baby as she gushed, “Hi, baby!”

I am so in love with this baby.

Chloe stared on at Elly and at the monitor, feeling completely out of place.

Elly is so in love with this baby…and I have no idea how I feel about this baby…I should be proud to be here. Holding Elly’s hand, gushing at the baby’s image on the monitor, feeling emotion for this baby…but I don’t… Instead, I make inappropriately timed jokes, comments and idiotically tried to overrule Elly’s decision on not finding out the baby’s sex…Kyle couldn’t possibly be right about this could he?

Later that evening, Chloe arrived home on her own, having dropped Elly off at her place. As Chloe walked down the hallway, she came across David who was cleaning up the place. David handed Chloe Elly’s jacket asking the blonde if it was indeed Elly’s. “Yeah, I’ll drop it back to her,” Chloe offered before asking how the rest of the arvo “shaped up.”

As Chloe and David entered the living area, Chloe spotted the beer bottles David had collected in his cleaning, “Fair bit more drinking by the looks of it.” David hesitated for a moment before admitting, “Mostly Mark.” “Noted,” was all Chloe could reply with.

Mark’s not coping with Elly and I dating, is he? I should…care a bit more and go see him to check in on him…but right now I’m more concerned with how badly I messed things up at the ultrasound and Elly.

It didn’t take David long to bring that up as he asked Chloe, “How was the ultrasound? Everything okay?”

I wasn’t okay…I totally butchered it royally! That could’ve been such a special moment for Elly and I…but I blew it.

“Yeah, mum and baby are all good,” Chloe replied, side-stepping her own feelings. “And you?” David didn’t hesitate to make sure Chloe wasn’t side-stepping her own feelings. Chloe grimaced, “Let’s just say there’s a lot I didn’t expect when someone’s expecting,” before pulling leaflets out of her handbag and listing them off, “Water retention, insomnia, hormone fluctuation, pigmentation, gestational diabetes, and then we get to labour – oh my God!”

Oh my God, stop acting like you are completely freaking out about this…even though you are. You need to be there for Elly!

David reassures Chloe that the leaflets attempt to cover “everything that can happen.” “To scare people out of their minds?” Chloe asked before she could stop herself. “Every pregnancy is unique,” David commented before bringing up to Chloe, “Then there’s all the challenges the mother has when she has the baby.”

Chloe thought for a moment before admitting, “I’ve always been the girl who lives for the day…plans a few weeks in advance…tops! Having to think this far ahead it’s…” “Overwhelming?” David finished for her before asking, “Does it feel like this might be too much for you?”

No…maybe…I love Elly so much…I don’t want to let her down.

“I want to get on board,” Chloe declares, “Like Elly has. Accepting my Huntington’s…not that they compare exactly but you know what I mean.” “If that’s what you want,” David replied, not generating a huge amount of positivity that Chloe needed. Despite that, Chloe decided, “It is. For Elly.”

I need to…this baby is a part of the woman I love…I need to get on board quickly and prove that to Elly after my disaster of a time at the ultrasound.

A little while later, Chloe stopped by the Kennedy’s house with Elly’s jacket. After motioning for Chloe to join her inside, Elly grinned at her, “I’m so happy you found it.” Chloe gives David the “wonder-cleaner” credit for finding the jacket as she follows Elly over to the kitchen bench. Elly walked around the other side of the bench in the kitchen and picked up the kettle that had just boiled.

“Hey, thanks for coming to the ultrasound with me. I know it was a really full-on thing to do after our first date,” Elly told Chloe.

I’ve had some time to think about it since the ultrasound and Chloe freaking out at the ultrasound makes complete sense. We were literally on our first date not a couple hours before the absolute reality of me being pregnant and having this baby hit Chloe for six. I just need to give her a bit of time to come to terms with it all…and if she doesn’t…I don’t know where that leaves us…

“It was but I can handle it,” Chloe assured Elly. Elly poured Chloe a cup of tea and handed it to her, “You want some camomile?” “Ooh thank you,” Chloe accepted the drink. Elly then surprised Chloe by telling her, “Maybe we should think about date number two.”

I said date number two…yes, I really do want this.

Elly said date number two…really? I didn’t completely mess up things at the ultrasound and she wants to plan our second date already…Elly really does want this.

“I’d love that,” Chloe enthused. Trying not to bring Chloe down, Elly felt the need to explain that dating her might not be fun boat rides for two all the time, “Yeah? Everything’s just a bit crazy right now. I’m always really tired at night and there’s school and…”

Dating me is fun, Chlo…not…

“Well, we can do something during the day. How about this weekend?” Chloe decided thoughtfully. Elly hated disappointing Chloe as she admitted, “Well, I was going to go shopping for the baby. I know it’s a few months until I’m due but I feel like I’ve got so much stuff to do.” “Um…next weekend?” Chloe offered.

“Yeah, perfect,” Elly accepted. “Great. Well I’ll plan something cool,” Chloe went back to enthusing happily. “Well it will be very hard to top today,” Elly pointed out. “Um I’m full of ideas, thank you very much,” Chloe told her before suggesting, “Uh picnic and hot air balloon, anyone?”

Elly looked downwards with a mild distress crossing his face.

No…no hot air ballooning for me…didn’t end well the last time I tried that…the hot air balloon totally crashed.

Of all the things to suggest…Elly was in a hot air balloon that crashed…she won’t be going near one of them any point in the future…another idea is needed.

“Oh, I’m so sorry I completely forgot about your accident,” Chloe apologized.

The adorable thing is that she does remember that story when I told her last year sometime…I swear sometimes Chloe knows more about me than I do…

“That’s okay, I’d just kinda prefer something closer to the ground. Not that everything’s about the baby but…” Elly tried explaining. “Why shouldn’t it be? It’s the most important thing right now,” Chloe told her.

Okay…maybe Chloe does get it…

“How about I come shopping for baby stuff with you?” Chloe suggested. “Is that really your idea of fun?” Elly couldn’t help but ask. Chloe shrugged gently, “Well, I have actually already been doing a little bit of baby shopping. But it’ll be way more fun with you and can you imagine how slick this kid is going to look with both of our mad shopping skills at work?”

Elly giggled back at Chloe, “Alright, lock it in, let’s do it.” “Cool,” Chloe replied as she took a deep breath.

Baby shopping as date number two…I can manage that…it’s about prioritizing the baby…I can make it romantic and date-like…somehow…right?

Missing from the script

“Hey, do you want to curl up on the couch for a little bit or do you need to head home?” Elly asked. Chloe smiled at the offer, “I can definitely make some more time for you.” Elly smiled back as she carried her own cup of tea and followed Chloe over to the couch.

Chloe sat down first, curling one leg underneath her. She was pleasantly surprised when Elly sat down next to her, their thighs grazing against each other’s. Both women placed their tea cups on the coffee table in front of them. Settling back against the couch, Elly placed her arm on the back of the couch and leant in closer to Chloe before pulling back gently.

“Everything okay?” Chloe asked. Elly nodded, “Yeah, sorry, I just randomly remembered that Finn would be in the house. I haven’t seen him since I got back from our date. He’s probably in his room. My family should all be back soon too.”

“So, we should make this a quick ‘curl up on the couch’ together before they get home,” Chloe assumed. Elly frowned, then getting Chloe’s fear, leant forwards and pecked Chloe on the lips, “I didn’t mean I don’t want them to see us together here. My family were fine with me going on the date with you, remember? It was Finn that had the issue and now I feel a little anxious that he’s in his room probably judging me for…focusing on something else important in my life.”

Chloe smiled shyly at Elly’s words that she was important to her. Elly reached out and stroked her right hand through Chloe’s hair, then as she went to lean in to kiss Chloe again she stopped as she yawned instead. Blinking gently, Elly blushed, “Sorry about that.” Chloe placed her hand softly on Elly’s thigh, “You really do get tired easily at night now, don’t you?” Elly nodded as she continued running her hand through Chloe’s hair, “Yeah.”

Chloe leant forwards, pressed a gentle kiss to Elly’s cheek, “I better leave you to get a good nights’ rest. Text me tomorrow, maybe we can catch up for a coffee if you have time.” “Sounds good,” Elly agreed before reluctantly standing up from the couch.

Chloe smiled as Elly reached out her hand and helped Chloe up from the couch, then continued holding her hand as she walked them over to the front door.

As they reached the door, Elly turned to Chloe and took both her hands, then yawned once more, “Sorry, I really am tired. Is this okay…to end our first date together like this?” Chloe squeezed Elly’s hands to reassure her she would never put any pressure on Elly until she was ready to take the next step, “Absolutely, you sleep, I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Elly smiled as she leant forwards and pressed her lips to Chloe’s in a gentle kiss. Chloe broke the kiss after a few seconds, then gently kissed Elly on the cheek again, “Goodnight.”

As Elly opened the front door for Chloe, the pair were surprised to find Bea at the doorstep about to open the door herself. “Hey Bea, night Bea, goodnight Elly,” Chloe rattled off quickly as she ducked past Elly’s younger sister and headed off back to her place.

As Bea entered the house, Elly yelled out “Goodnight, Chlo,” to Chloe’s retreating figure. Elly then closed the front door behind Bea. Bea smiled as her sister when she saw the look on Elly’s face, “Good date?”

Elly chewed on her lower lip for a few seconds before confessing, “Best date.”

I really hope this was the first of many with Chloe…  

Chapter Text

I'm The Captain Of My Story

Chapter Twenty-Five

A few days later, Chloe was at home at the Brenaka’s with all her housemates having an awkward introduction and what felt like an interrogation with a girl, Carmen, that Leo had brought home with him the previous night. When Leo points out that even “Pierce had a crack” at Carmen the night before, he looked pointedly over at Chloe.

Why are you looking at me like that, Leo? I don’t care. What would make you think I care about Pierce trying to hit on another woman?

During their conversation with Carmen and getting to know her, Chloe’s phone beeped with a message from Elly. Carmen was curious, “Who’s Elly?” Chloe smiled at her, “The girl I’m seeing,” then frowned as she read the message, “She wants me to come to prenatal yoga with her like now.”

Carmen looked at Chloe in confusion, “Prenatal?” “She’s pregnant, long story,” Chloe answered as she missed the look of annoyance on Aaron’s face.

It’s not that long a story. I’ve been in love with Elly since before Christmas, it’s taken us this long to actually have a chance to be together but it just so happens that Elly fell pregnant long before we ever got together…and I’m totally handling it…prenatal yoga? Bit last minute like Elly expected me not to have other plans and…prenatal yoga?

“It’s great that she thought of you,” David pointed out half-heartedly, sensing Chloe’s concern. “Yeah, at the last minute, it’s not super encouraging,” Chloe admitted. David tried again, “She did tell you she didn’t have time for actual dates.” “Yeah, it’s pretty creative to turn pregnant yoga into one,” Kyle came in with a bit more support for the pair.

“I guess,” Chloe replied. “Downward dog with women in their third trimester,” Leo joked but only Aaron snorted. “Yeah, it’ll be good,” Chloe told them all unconvincingly.

Okay, I’m not sure if it will be good or the type of thing I’m interested in, but Elly is making an effort to include me more in her pregnancy…that’s a good sign, right? If this relationship will ever stand a chance of working, I need to get on board with these types of dates.

An hour later, Chloe and Elly were at the prenatal yoga session with all the other mums-to-be. As they were stretching, Chloe leant over to Elly, “She looks like she’s carrying a bus, not a baby.”

And what are you going to tell me in a few months’ time, Chloe? Please don’t be awkward like you were at the ultrasound. I really need you to be a part of my pregnancy if we are going to be together.

Will Elly still be doing prenatal yoga when she’s heavily pregnant? Will I…?

“Shush,” Elly whispered but Chloe persisted, “How does she stay upright?” Elly looked over at Chloe, “She’s due in about 5 days.” Chloe decided to leave it alone with, “Respect.”

The yoga instructor came over to Elly to ask her how the constipation is. Elly laughed gently, hoping Chloe wouldn’t be embarrassed of some of the side effects of pregnancy. Chloe blinked wildly as she glanced sideways at Elly but addressed the yoga instructor, “A little louder, not everyone heard you.” “It’s fine,” Elly side-stepped Chloe’s awkwardness as the yoga instructor informed Chloe it’s normal during pregnancy. Elly then thanks the instructor for the extra poses she taught her to help her out.

The yoga instructor gave out instructions for another pose to the group before turning to Chloe, “So, how far along are you?”

Not at all, not pregnant! Why does even the thought of me been pregnant scare me…? Oh right, because of your Huntington’s you’ll never want to have children of your own for fear of passing on the gene.

“Oh, I’m not pregnant,” Chloe told the woman. “Chloe’s here to support me,” Elly told her happily as she reached out her hand and squeezed Chloe’s knee. “We’re dating,” Chloe added.

‘We’re dating’…and I’m not freaking out that Chloe just said that.

‘We’re dating’…and Elly is not freaking out that I just said that.

The yoga instructor reacted positively to the news, looking over at Elly, “Well, it helps to have someone to talk to about the--” “Constipation?” Chloe interrupted awkwardly.

Move on from that, Chloe, please.

As Elly and the yoga instructor giggled at Chloe’s awkwardness, the yoga instructor and Elly bounced off one another as they both added, “The realities of parenthood.” “The constant nappy changing.” “The constant feeding.” “Feeling like you’re chained to the house. Dreaming of watching your hair slowly morph into the fifth wiggle.”

Elly won’t be like that…will she?

Chloe cut in with, “I know you. You’ll find time to get away for the fun stuff.” Elly nearly scoffed, “Oh sure if Auntie Chloe wants to babysit for a few hours.”

Auntie Chloe…I know I originally thought this baby would make me Auntie Chloe when we thought it was Mark’s but am I really ready for this…never getting to spend any time with Elly alone?

“It’s a whole new world,” the yoga instructor pointed out to Chloe, “Elly’s really lucky to have someone like you to help.” As the instructor left them be and returned to giving out instructions to the rest of the group, Elly and Chloe both looked away from each other in their own worlds.

Chloe’s freaking out about this pregnancy…I don’t want it to be too much for her, I want to involve her in things like my ultrasounds and yoga classes…but if it’s all too much…just relax and give her a bit more time to wrap her head around the fact my life is gonna change very soon and I want her there through it.

This is getting more serious by the day…you need to be able to handle this and be a great partner to Elly.

An hour later, Elly and Chloe returned to the Kennedy’s house. As they entered through the door, Chloe was still going on about the yoga instructor as Finn was in the kitchen making himself some lunch and he couldn’t help but overhear the girl’s conversation.

“She wasn’t that bad,” Elly stated. “She’s acting like babies are ticking time bombs, like the second they arrive, mama’s life explodes,” Chloe points out.

Noticing Finn, Chloe and Elly both greet him, and he replies back to them with a hint of gritted teeth seeing them together. As Elly and Chloe walked over to the couch in the living room, Elly goes back to her conversation with Chloe, “Well, she does have a point, things change.”

My life is going to change, Chloe, and I really need you to get on board with just how much it’s going to change once the baby has been born…I want this to work between us.

“Things won’t be that different though, you’ll still be you…just with an extension,” Chloe insisted as the pair of them sat down on the couch together, “I mean poopy nappies for a while and then back to normal.”

Then we’ll be free to be able to go on dates together.

Normal…what is that? My life is going to be so different and I really need Chloe to get that.

“What do you mean?” Elly asked in relation to Chloe thinking her life will get back to ‘normal.’ Chloe shrugged, “With work! Kid in daycare, mum at school.” “Are you serious? I’ll be taking at least a years’ leave if I can afford it,” Elly informed Chloe.

An entire year after the baby has been born until maybe we’ll have a chance to be alone and go out on dates together…?

Work will be taking a massive back seat in my life, Chloe, along with just about everything else.

Chloe stared at Elly in surprise, “Really? I just…I thought you’d be back at work asap. Your career is so important to you.” “Yeah it is but it will be taking a back seat for a while along with everything else,” Elly told Chloe honestly.

Everything else meaning me…?

Elly then shuffled on the couch as she felt the baby kick. Finn looked over at the pair on couch as they interacted over the moment. “Oh, here feel this,” Elly offered to Chloe. “What? The baby?” Chloe asked in surprise that Elly wanted her to feel the baby kick. “Yeah, yeah, yeah, come here,” Elly grinned at Chloe.

This is another big moment between Elly and I and the baby…try not to stuff it up this time.

Chloe needs to get a handle on just how much my life is going to change but I need her to see the good parts too. Like this one right here. Sharing the baby kicking with Chloe. That’s the kind of moment I want to have with Chloe in the future.

Finn continued staring at the pair together as Chloe gently placed her hand on Elly’s baby bump. “Aww that’s awesome,” Chloe tried to be enthusiastic then quickly realized, “What am I feeling for exactly?” “It’s just like, a little flutter,” Elly explained. “Oh yeah, there it is,” Chloe replied, with a little bit more excitement in her voice.

“Ahh,” Elly replied awkwardly. “What?” Chloe asked as she couldn’t help the frown appear on her face after she had finally felt comfortable for a moment with Elly and her pregnancy. “Yeah, sorry that was just my indigestion,” Elly admitted as Chloe pulled her hand away from the baby bump.

Indigestion…cool…maybe next time when it is the baby kicking, I’ll be more ready for this moment with Elly.

Now I’m the one making things awkward between us…

“I’m sorry, false alarm,” Elly apologized as she giggled to get past her awkward moment. Chloe then stared at Elly, “It could’ve been baby hiccups.”

Where did that come from, Chlo?

“Is that a thing?” Elly asked in surprise. Chloe starts sounding like a Wikipedia entry when she explains, “Yeah, they are little movements the baby’s diaphragm makes when it’s practicing breathing.”

Again…where did that come from, Chlo? You are full of surprises.

Elly smiled happily at Chloe, “How do you know about that?” “I know baby stuff, lots of it,” Chloe claimed. “Doctor Google?” Elly assumed, still finding it hard to believe Chloe knew about baby stuff. “Doctor David. I asked him for some info,” Chloe came clean.

Doctor David, that makes sense…and it’s a really sweet gesture that Chloe really is getting on board with my pregnancy if she’s asking David for help about learning more about it.

Elly smiled at Chloe once more, “I think it’s sweet that you’ve done your research. We have a shared interest.” Chloe smiled back at Elly, admitting, “I thought we had a few.”

Interest in each other…and this baby.

Finn suddenly sidled over to the pair from the kitchen, suggesting to Elly, “Maybe you could call Shaun and tell him about the baby fluttering?”

Shaun…? Oh right…Shaun. Yeah, I don’t want to call Shaun whilst Chloe’s here…I’d feel awkward talking to my one-night-stand when I have Chloe here with me.

“Ah yeah, it’s just…the middle of the night in Switzerland,” Elly fobbed Finn off with an excuse. “Yeah…he’d just want to know,” Finn pointed out, wondering why Elly didn’t seem to have the same interest as him in getting the baby’s father involved in the pregnancy despite the fact Shaun had returned home overseas until the baby is due, and instead was relying on Chloe.

“Yeah, I’ll call him later,” Elly decided as Finn took his lunch and headed off to his room leaving the girls alone. Elly’s gaze quickly landed back on Chloe and she smiled as soon as her eyes landed on her.

Way more important to me to be spending time here with Chloe than talking to Shaun. He is the baby’s father and he’ll have a place in his or her life but right now my focus is on this baby as well as Chloe.

Chapter Text

I'm The Captain Of My Story

Chapter Twenty-Six

Later that morning, Chloe had gone home to get some lunch before she was due to return to pick up Elly and take her to the small King Calaway concert that Bea would be performing at. Elly was still at home, having gotten changed into a light brown dress. Coming out of her bedroom and into the living area of her house, Elly spotted Finn on the couch, fiddling around with his police-monitored ankle bracelet that was keeping him under house arrest due to claims of assaulting a crazy fan of Finn’s past misdeeds.

Ugh Finn…I can’t stand that Bea is with him again…yes, he has changed since his amnesia has left him without memories of his past violent crimes but Bea was abused by Finn when he was pretending to be a disabled man by the name of Patrick to seek revenge on me.

“Are you seriously trying to take that off?” Elly accused Finn as she walked up behind Finn. Finn stared up at Elly in confusion from his spot on the couch, “No.” “I know you want to see Bea perform but if you try and remove that the police will be all over you,” Elly went off at Finn.

“I know, Elly, I’m not stupid,” Finn pointed out.

You sure about that?

“This is exactly why you and Bea shouldn’t be together,” Elly had no problems telling Finn harshly. “Sorry?” Finn couldn’t believe what Elly was telling him. “Neither of you are thinking straight and you’re doing the irrational thing.” “Elly--” Finn tried to cut in but Elly didn’t let him, “Bea nearly missed her gig at the festival because of you. If you had just gone to the police and told them about Alfie in the first place--”

Finn tried to interrupt again, but Elly raised her voice a little louder as she unleashed on her sister’s boyfriend, “Instead you’re trying to break the law so you can go and see her sing. I knew this would happen. Finn, if you care about Bea the way you say you do, then you’ll stop been selfish and just let her go before you both get hurt.”

Finn shook his head at Elly, “I don’t think you should be lecturing me about relationships or rational decisions.”

What the hell is that meant to mean? Are you seriously going to question what I have with Chloe and make out that I’m not making a rational decision by exploring my feelings for her?

“Really, Finn?” Elly scoffed at the man that she didn’t like, no matter how much he said he had changed since his amnesia. Finn stood up from the couch, “You’re pregnant, with my brother’s baby and you’ve just started dating Chloe.”

I knew this was about Chloe. What is Finn’s issue with Chloe and I?

“We know what we’re doing,” Elly stated firmly. “Do you?” Finn scoffed back at her, “Does she?”

Elly glanced away from Finn as her doubts immediately set in.

This is still all new to me and I’m trying to take my time to come to terms with how I feel about Chloe. Just like Chloe is taking her own time to come to terms with the realities of my pregnancy. Why can’t people just back off and give us some time to come to terms with all this?

“How is this any of your business?” Elly tried to point out, even though she realized she had started it all by going off at Finn about his relationship with Bea. “Because you’re messing Shaun around. Letting Chloe squeeze in on the baby stuff he should be a part of,” Finn accused

Give me a break! Shaun’s in Switzerland because he chose to go back home. Yes, he was trying to help me by giving Mark and I some space to try and make our marriage work but it didn’t. Mark and I are over. Shaun knows that. He’s still not here. That is Shaun’s choice not to come back here until the baby is born, Finn, I’m not stopping him from been here. Besides what about Chloe has made you think for one second she’s squeezing in on the baby stuff? Have you seen how freaked out she has been about it? No! I am trying to include Chloe in the baby stuff because I need her to know how important it is that she’s with me in this.

“Don’t be ridiculous,” was all Elly could fire back at Finn, even though she should’ve pointed out that she’s not stopping Shaun from been there. Finn changed the subject to point out that the ridiculous thing was Elly thinking he was breaking his monitor. Elly pointed at Finn, “I just saw you trying to take it off.”

“I was scratching my ankle and you would’ve seen that if you weren’t so determined to see the worst in me,” Finn yelled at Elly.

Elly looked away from Finn once more.

I’m not determined to see the worst in Finn but I refuse to be blindsided by the way he treats Bea if there is any chance of his memories coming back. Why can’t anyone just back off Chloe and I and let the pair of us figure out things on our own? We’ve been on one date. We can’t be expected to know exactly how this will work between us when I’m in the first stages of admitting that I’m attracted to Chloe and Chloe’s still trying to wrap her head around my pregnancy and how dating me might not be the dream she always wanted.

Just leave us be to work it all out on our own.

A little while later, Chloe had returned to pick up Elly but Elly was too caught up in her argument with Finn to leave for the concert early. Instead Elly was in the kitchen, spraying the kitchen benchtop with disinfectant and wiping it clean as a distraction, as Chloe was perched on one the kitchen benchtop stools opposite Elly.

Susan and Karl had also returned from their morning out and were seated on the couch with Karl reading the newspaper and Susan on her laptop as they subtly looked on at the couple’s interactions for the first time together since Elly had told them she was going on a date with her best friend.

“Can you believe he had the nerve to talk to me like that?” Elly asked in anger. “I mean this in the nicest way possible…it does sound like you started it,” Chloe admitted.

The pair didn’t see the look on Susan and Karl’s faces as they perked up at the fact that Chloe wasn’t just taking Elly’s side and was prepared to tell her so. If they had of, they would’ve seen the expression on Susan’s face that said ‘Are these two about to fight like a married couple?’ before she glanced at Karl, who’s expression answered back to Susan silently, ‘Yes, they are about to fight like a married couple.’

“No, but him questioning our relationship?” Elly tried to point out again to Chloe. “From Finn’s point of view, he’s watching you move on with someone else. I guess he’s just worried about what it means for his brother,” Chloe explained rationally. “Yeah well he pretty much called me a hypocrite,” Elly told Chloe. “You’re not, you’re just loyal to Bea and it made you jump to conclusions…a little,” Chloe again wasn’t afraid to point out to Elly that Finn wasn’t entirely in the wrong.

Is this our first fight?

Are we about to have our first fight?

Elly stared at Chloe in disbelief that Chloe was gently arguing back to her in the nicest way possible, “Are you on his side, are you?” “No, I just--” Chloe started to say before she was interrupted by Karl.

“Oh, hey Elly,” Karl called out as he stood up from the chair, Susan joining him as they crossed the room to stand by Chloe and Elly, “No one’s on anyone’s side.” “We know you’re worried about Bea and Finn’s relationship. We all are,” Susan told her niece. Karl shrugged, “Bea knows she can come to us for support.”

“Yes, and Finn’s promised to be honest with us and with David,” Susan insisted. Elly rolled her eyes, “Great, so we should just wait for something to go wrong.” “It won’t,” Karl replied simply. Elly leant down and picked up the kitchen’s garbage bag which was full, as she told her family and Chloe, “Well, if you ask me, it already has. The fact is, they’re not good together.”

Elly then took the bag with her as she strolled past her family and Chloe and went outside to throw the trash out. Chloe glanced over at Karl and Susan, glad that they backed her up but still worried that Elly had an issue with her not immediately taking her side over her argument with Finn.

As Elly stood on the front porch, she oversaw Finn and Bea sitting together on the edge of the driveway curbing. Bea was having a panic attack over her concert performance and not been able to learn the words of the song she didn’t know due to her dyslexia. Elly watched on as Finn gently supported Bea and came up with a solution that encouraged Bea to go back to the pavilion and join King Calaway on stage for their song they wanted her to perform with them.

If only Chloe and I could get this same level of support for our relationship from…everyone who isn’t related to me.

Later, at the concert Elly and Chloe were sitting next to one another on a picnic rug at the front of the stage, with thirty or so Erinsborough locals watching on from behind them. Karl, Toadie, Sheila, Kyle, Aaron, David and Pierce were in the crowd.

As Elly and Chloe watched on and listened to Bea perform with the band their song, ‘World For Two,’ Chloe looked over at Elly, “I’m on your side, you know that.” Elly looked down before glancing over at Chloe, “Yeah, I do. Sorry, I…I do believe that Finn has good intentions.”

Elly then took her phone in her hands. “What are you doing?” Chloe asked Elly quietly. “I’m going to show Bea I support her, even if something tells me this isn’t going to end well,” Elly told Chloe.

Chloe watched on curiously at Elly’s decision that Finn and Bea’s relationship would only end in trouble, as Elly FaceTimed Finn from her phone. Elly greeted him quickly as he looked surprised by her call, before she turned her phone around to face the stage so Finn could see Bea’s performance from his position of been under house arrest at the Kennedy’s house.

Chloe looked on at Elly, happy that she had made some kind of peace with Finn to help Bea, as they sat there listening on to Bea and King Calaway perform the song.

World For Two…appropriate song for Elly and I…as that’s what I want…to build a World For Two with Elly…or perhaps I should say World For Three…am I ready for this?

See why can’t Chloe and I have more moments like this where we’re together and don’t have anyone interrupting us or telling me that me dating Chloe is not a good idea? I want more moments like this with Chloe. Is that too much to ask?

Chapter Text

I'm The Captain Of My Story

Chapter Twenty-Seven

A few days later, Elly and Chloe returned home to the Kennedy’s house from their baby shopping trip date. As they walked through the front door, Elly pointed out to Chloe, “I think the ratio of my one bag to your five says something about our shopping habits.” “I make no apologies and have no regrets,” Chloe assured Elly.

As Chloe and Elly started placing their shopping bags on the dining table, they spotted Finn and Bea sitting on the couch, with a police-uniformed Mark standing over the pair with a police file in his hands. Chloe and Elly greet the three of them politely and get the same back in return.

Elly is surprised when she notices Finn is minus his house arrest ankle monitor, “Oh wow you got your monitor off?” “Yeah, I’m a free man,” Finn replied proudly, still annoyed at Elly over their previous argument.

Still doesn’t mean I trust you, Finn.

“Congratulations,” Elly wished Finn quietly, not meaning it but trying to appear as if she’d put their fight and Finn’s doubts about her relationship with Chloe behind them. Bea confirms with Mark that he doesn’t need anything further from them and he begins to take off after he confirms his work sorting out removing Finn’s ankle bracelet is done.

Chloe picked up one of her shopping bags, walking over to Mark, “Um I’m glad you’re here, this one’s for you! Happy Birthday!”

Oh…awkward…it’s Mark’s birthday…wow I forgot that one! Thank God I’m no longer married to him otherwise I’d be the worst wife ever…I wonder why Chloe didn’t mention it. Guess I thought that present was for the Brenaka household to give the boys a hint to keep the place clean.

Mark took the present from Chloe, looking into the bag, “Thanks, I don’t know what it is—an ultrasonic cleaner!!! Thanks!!” Chloe rushed forward and pulled her eldest brother into a hug and kissed his cheek.

Yep, that’s a Mark Brennan best birthday gift ever, well done, Chlo! I still can’t believe I forgot his birthday…try not to make that too obvious.

As Bea scolded Mark for not letting them know it was his birthday and gave him a hug, Elly wished him a happy birthday but it was lost in the mix of Mark pointing out to everyone that it wasn’t a milestone birthday so nothing to be excited about. Mark then pointed to all the shopping bags on the table, telling Elly and Chloe, “I see you’ve been busy.”

Elly glanced over at the shopping bags, still feeling horribly awkward that she had lied to Mark for months that the baby she was carrying was his when she had instead cheated on him for a second time during their failed relationship and marriage. “Yeah, we have been, just mainly for the bub. Chloe’s been very generous,” Elly told him.

“Nice,” Mark gritted out as politely as he could, still struggling to deal with the fact this child wasn’t his and now his little sister was getting involved in all the baby activities that he had long yearned for. Mark then took off out of the house, receiving a final Happy Birthday wish from Finn as he left.

As Bea and Finn took a few steps over to Chloe and Elly, Chloe grinned at the pair, “Wait ‘til you see what we brought. Elly and I make the best team.”

In this relationship and in buying baby supplies.

“Ah correction, what you brought,” Elly pointed out to Bea and Finn that Chloe had done most of the shopping, “You are a retail machine.” Chloe grinned from ear to ear, “I’m gonna have way too much fun styling this kid. Everything we saw was super cute.”

Finn made the suggestion to Elly, “Make sure you send some photos to Shaun. I’m sure he’d like to see all the new stuff.”

Shaun, again, Finn? I want to involve Shaun just in my own way. I don’t want to keep been reminded that I need to contact him over every little detail in the baby’s unborn life. I don’t even really know how much involvement Shaun is even going to have in this baby’s life. I have no problems with Shaun been involved when he is in Australia but when he is overseas…I know I should take the time to call him and discuss it between the two of us without including Finn or anyone else in that decision…I think a part of me is so used to the idea now of raising the baby on my own…maybe with Chloe to help me…that I don’t really want to be open to any other options.

“Yeah, I will,” Elly agreed quietly, looking away from Finn when she said it.

Is it just me or does Elly not want to talk about Shaun with Finn and what Shaun’s involvement in her baby’s life is going to look like? What is Shaun’s involvement in the baby’s life going to look like…? What is my involvement going to look like…Auntie Chloe or more than that?

Bea then changed the subject, mentioning that they were going to celebrate Finn’s freedom with a celebration lunch. Chloe immediately piped up, looking at Elly before back at Bea and Finn, “Oh we were going to go to lunch as well. We should double date!”

What the fuck, Chloe! Please, no. I do not want to be stuck alone at a table with Finn…okay alone with Bea and Chloe by my side but still in a weird way…alone with Finn for lunch! I already spend too much time having meals with him here. I’d rather not spoil my date with Chloe!

“Oh, I’m sure they don’t want us crashing their celebration,” Elly claimed.

Please say no, Bea. Please say no!

Chloe didn’t see the icy glare in Elly’s eyes as Chloe once more insisted, “No, c’mon, let’s do it. You guys are up for it, right?” Bea and Finn both unconvincingly agreed to the double date, not that Chloe noticed as she grinned at everyone, “Awesome, sorted.”

If Elly and I are going to work then Elly and I need to get used to spending time with Bea and Finn. It’s a great opportunity…even though I am ruining my date with Elly at lunch for this…I didn’t think that part through.

Elly glanced at Chloe before looking over at Bea and Finn with a smile planted on her face.

What the fuck, Chloe! Looks like we’re not at the stage of been able to sense each other’s thoughts yet otherwise you would’ve read mine loud and clear.

A little while later, Elly led Chloe into the Waterhole, making her feelings to Chloe known, “I do not want to do this.” As they sat down at a bar table, Chloe grimaced in apology, “Okay, I probably shouldn’t have jumped in there with the suggestion.”

“So, why did you?” Elly asked, unable to hide her annoyance at Chloe for taking over and inviting Bea and Finn to join them on what was supposed to be their lunch date. “Because Bea’s your sister and Finn’s the uncle of your baby. You’re going to have to make it work somehow,” Chloe explained.

Elly put her nose up in the air, glaring at the ceiling for a moment. Chloe smiled at how annoyed Elly looked, as Elly slowly regained her gaze, “It’s just lunch, it’s not a two-week cruise. You can get through this. Plus, you’ve got me here to keep the peace. Everyone loves me!”

I hate that you’re so adorably right about that, Chlo!

“Finn and Bea been together is a massive deal,” Chloe admitted, “But so far it’s been fine.” Elly scoffed, “Yeah, so far. Until it ends badly.” “And if it does, you’ll be there for her,” Chloe reassured, “Like she’ll be there for you when you become a mum.”

Elly finally gave in to Chloe, smiling as she leant into Chloe, “Stop making so much sense.” Chloe giggled at Elly’s action, “I’m just trying to create the village for the baby which can’t happen until we all get along.”

I still hate that you’re right, Chlo!

Chloe and Elly then spotted Bea and Finn entering the bar and waved at them as they walked over to their table.

A little while later, the foursome had ordered and been served their drinks. Chloe had taken a minute to check her phone to see if there was any message from Kyle about his missing grandmother, Sheila, but there hadn’t been.

Pierce sat in the background of the bar, creeping like a creeper, trying not to look over at Chloe as she enjoyed hanging out with Elly and the others.

Bea reassured Chloe that no message meant Kyle was still looking for Sheila and that they’d find her. Chloe then apologized for “bringing the mood down.” Finn then perked up with a nice message that Sheila missing had reminded him “to be grateful for the people in my life” as he then made a declaration to Bea about how “kind and generous” she is and that he can’t believe she “picked me.”

Elly nearly rolled her eyes at Finn.

Oh, give me a break! And a vomit bucket! I hope I never get that sappy with Chloe…in public…I want to be sappy with Chloe when we’re alone together…which will never happen if Chloe keeps inviting others to our dates.

Chloe saw another side to Finn’s declaration, “That was really nice, Finn.”

Everyone then looked up awkwardly as Pierce walked up to the table, “Hey, guys. Sorry to interrupt. Chloe, I was hoping I could have a word.”

No, fuck off!

“Yeah, go ahead,” Chloe told Pierce, deciding she needed to be somewhat polite to her ex considering he was part owner of the Lassiters Hotel where she worked for Terese. Pierce struggled for a moment, “Well, I just wanted to clear the air.”

Then clear it and fuck off! I don’t have time for you when I’m on a date with Elly and her sister and partner.

“Then clear away. Anything you have to say, you can say in front of my girlfriend,” Chloe told Pierce before thinking what she was saying.

Girlfriend! I’m a girlfriend now? When did that happen?

Elly immediately glanced her eyes to the side, away from Chloe at the word ‘girlfriend.’ Bea picked up on the look on Elly’s face and side-eyed her older sister wildly at Chloe’s word and Elly’s panic.

Not that anyone else at the table were listening to Pierce anymore after Elly’s reaction but he still insisted in looking down at Chloe as he said, “Well ah…I just wanted to say good luck…to both of you.”

“Thanks,” Elly said quietly. “Yeah, thanks, Pierce,” Chloe snapped out quickly, still not noticing the change in Elly at calling Elly her ‘girlfriend.’ Pierce then awkwardly left the table as awkwardly as he had arrived.

The table of patrons sat there quietly as Elly took several mouthfuls of water from the glass in front of her.

What happened to taking things slowly, Chloe? I don’t think I’m ready for ‘girlfriend’ status…

Okay, why do I feel like I did something majorly wrong as this table of people has gone dead quiet since Pierce was here…?

Chapter Text

I'm The Captain Of My Story

Chapter Twenty-Eight

A few minutes later, Chloe was at the bar with Bea whilst Elly was still sitting at the table with Finn. Bea had dragged Chloe aside to talk to her about calling Elly her girlfriend in front of Pierce moments earlier.

“So, the old G-bomb, hey?” Bea bluntly asked Chloe.

That’s what I did massively wrong…who knew? Certainly not me…

Chloe dropped her eyes, not sure how to answer Bea. Bea continued, “I didn’t know you and Elly were there yet.” Chloe blushed in embarrassment, “It wasn’t like that. Elly’s got a lot to work through and I’m committed to being her rock while she does it.” “So, that’s what you are? Her rock?” Bea clarified.

“Yeah, whatever you want to call that, girlfriend, companion, life-guru. I answer to all,” Chloe insisted. “Yeah, that’s good,” Bea replied unconvincingly, as she stared over at Elly, “I just really don’t think Elly’s ready for an official label.”

Chloe stared at Bea in bewilderment that Elly was that freaked out and she hadn’t noticed.

How am I supposed to work this out? Elly has been comfortable kissing me in public on the boat. Elly had no hesitation reaching out for my leg in support when I told the yoga instructor we were dating. Elly has been calling what we have a ‘relationship’ to her family…how is any of that meant to be a sign to me that Elly isn’t ready to be called my ‘girlfriend’? I mean, I guess… How long exactly am I expected to be committed to being Elly’s rock while she figures this all out?

At the same time as Bea was talking to Chloe, Elly and Finn were at the bar table together. Elly avoided looking at Finn but eventually sighed, “I know what you’re going to say.” Finn makes a joke about Elly wanting to order some “garlic bread too.” “You’re questioning my relationship with Chloe and you’re threatened on behalf of Shaun,” Elly told Finn outright.

Finn shrugged, calling Chloe “full-on for you.” Elly disagreed, “You’re wrong. Chloe and I are taking things really slow.” Finn pointed out, “Does she know that?”

Elly glanced away from Finn.

Okay…maybe I haven’t been entirely clear with Chloe…and I probably am confusing Chloe with the kissing her in public, been supportive in the yoga class when she announced we were dating to the instructor and I’m always calling what Chloe and I have ‘a relationship.’ Is it any wonder that Chloe would jump to the next level of wanting to declare ‘girlfriend’ status to her ex-boyfriend who’s creeping around her? I just need to have a conversation with Chloe and make sure we are on the same page…once I work out what my page is.

After lunch, Chloe and Elly had walked back to Ramsay Street. As they made their way to the top of the court, they headed down the street together. Chloe pursed her lips, “Hey, so, you were right, lunch was a total train wreck!” “Aw, it wasn’t that bad,” Elly tried to assure Chloe.

“Really? What about that weirdo who called you her ‘girlfriend?’ Oh yeah, that was me!” Chloe pointed out sarcastically, trying not to show just how much it hurt that she still didn’t know where her and Elly’s relationship with one another stood. Elly laughed at Chloe been able to call herself out for her error, without realizing how hurt Chloe was beginning to feel.

“I know we’ve had one boat ride, one yoga class, that’s hardly…” Chloe trailed off.

Girlfriend status…? Yet you still call this a ‘relationship,’ Elly? I don’t know where your head is at so I need you to stop smiling at me and tell me yourself what we are.

“Actually, I’ll let you fill that one in,” Chloe handed their relationship status discussion back to Elly. “We just need to take things slow,” Elly answered without answering. “Sure…slow. But slow means…what does it mean technically?” Chloe tried to get on board with Elly but was still as confused as ever.

“Slow means I now have to make decisions for two,” Elly pointed out. “So, we have to wait until the kid can give their opinion?” Chloe asked in even more confusion. Elly tried explaining again, “Whoever is going to be my partner…is so much more than that. They have to be a step mum…or step dad. I can’t rush into it.”

Did Elly just say ‘step mum’ first?

Wow! I said ‘step mum’ first because that was the first thing that came to my mind when talking about a partner.

“Yeah, sure, I understand,” Chloe replied, still not sure if she did understand, before realizing she had caused the whole relationship status mess due to been annoyed at Pierce, “You know, I probably just got carried away because I know Pierce is disapproving, thinks we’re too complicated.” Elly leant in to Chloe’s side as they continued walking up the street, “And you just wanted to prove to him we’re the perfect couple?”

See, again, Elly, confusion? We’re a couple…but not girlfriends? Will you ever figure your feelings for me out?

Chloe rolled her eyes, “Maybe a little bit. Or a big bit. I’m sorry.” Elly looked up at Chloe, “No, it’s okay, I understand.” “It’s a bit immature. At least the kid and I will have that in common,” Chloe joked. Elly then stopped walking and turned to face Chloe as Chloe did the same. Elly gestured with her hands, holding them out in front of her, “We just need to take our foot off the accelerator.”

“Totally, park brake engaged,” Chloe agreed. “Okay, good. I do love hanging around you though,” Elly confessed, as she took her hands and reached each of them out to Chloe’s shoulders and ran them down Chloe’s arms to her elbows. “I get it, I promise,” Chloe told Elly.

I don’t get it, I don’t know what I can promise you, Elly, when all I am getting is mixed signals.

Chloe continued trying to show Elly support, “Just consider my recent behavior temporary insanity. From now on we are ‘unlabeled’ and moving at a snail’s pace.” “Thank you,” Elly replied as she then leant forwards and kissed Chloe gently, before pulling Chloe into a hug.

How long am I expected to keep us ‘unlabeled and moving at a snail’s pace’ before it all gets too much for me, Elly?

Okay…I think I got through to Chloe…but she can’t wait around forever…hopefully with a bit more time you can figure this all out…

Later, Chloe without even realizing why, found herself at Mark’s house, sitting on his couch talking to her brother about her relationship with Elly. “I know it’s weird, me coming to you for advice but you know her best,” Chloe told him.

You don’t, Mark, but you married Elly so I need to at least pretend that you do because you’ll never be able to admit that you didn’t know Elly at all and married her anyway.

Mark pointed out that he of all people might be a “bit biased.” “Maybe, but I know you won’t hold back,” Chloe admitted, then when Mark went quiet, she pleaded with him, “Please. I just want to hear your take on it all.”

Mark shook his head ever so gently then sighed, “For what it’s worth…it sounds like there’s a real gap between you and Elly.” “What kind of gap, exactly?” Chloe asked Mark, already feeling like she knew the answer. “You know who you are, Chloe. You’re confident, self-assured, comfortable with your sexuality. Elly, on the other hand, she’s still figuring stuff out. That might take time. And when the baby gets here, she might not have that time as the baby is going to be her focus,” Mark told his little sister.

Chloe points out, “That’s why I want to be involved.” “And that’s great but it doesn’t change the fact that you’re all-in and Elly might never get there. Not because she doesn’t want to but because there’s things standing in the way of her feelings for you,” Mark explained.

So, what do I do? Wait around to see if Elly will ever ‘get there’ or…?

“Right,” was all Chloe could reply. Mark insisted, “I’m not trying to talk you into ending things.”

But what if you are?

“But you are my little sister and I don’t want you to be an afterthought. I want you to be with someone who knows that they love you, someone who has room in their life for you,” Mark continued.

Someone who’s not about to become a mum…?

Chloe points out that the therapy Mark has been doing for the past few months has “helped your advice-giving game.” “It’s just my opinion, take it with a grain of salt,” Mark insisted.

Mark might not be the right person to help me decide what to do but he does have a point…I do want to be with someone who knows they love me and has room in their life for me…but I also want that person to be Elly…what if it’s not?

Chloe sighed, as she struggled to admit, “No, I’ve already been thinking the same, just needed to hear someone else say it.” “I’m sorry,” Mark apologized. “What am I supposed to do now?” Chloe asked him.

A few hours ago, I was telling Bea that I’m committed to being Elly’s rock while she works through this. But Elly once more applied the brakes and doesn’t seem at all sure when she will come to terms with who I am to her…

Elly is the one person I’ve wanted all year long…I finally have her…or do I?

I think that’s kinda the point…you don’t have her and maybe you never will…

Chapter Text

I'm The Captain Of My Story

Chapter Twenty-Nine

Chloe sat alone at Harold's Cafe. Her thoughts were compounding every fiber of her being.

I've been in love with Elly for over eight months and now we finally have a chance to be together but the timing isn't right. She's nearly six months pregnant, still unable to work out exactly what her feelings for me are, she's already not able to give me the time that I would like to be able to spend with a partner and once the baby comes...I'll be the last thing on her mind...

I still don't even know my place in regards to the baby. I'd be comfortable in the role of Auntie Chloe but what Elly said earlier...about her partner needing to be more than that...a step mum...is that who I'm prepared to be?

And if I'm not...?

Am I the single most selfish person alive?

"Chloe, hey," came Pierce interrupting Chloe's thoughts. "Hey," Chloe greeted him weakly. "I wanted to say sorry for interrupting your lunch," Pierce apologized. Chloe shook her head, "You didn't, it's fine."

You did, it's not fine, it was part of what started this mess and made me open my eyes that Elly and I may not be on the same page.

"It was bad timing," Pierce told her.

Is that what Elly and I are about to be reduced to? Bad timing?

Elly was at home with Bea in the kitchen making a cup of tea. "It was kinda awkward," Bea pointed out to her older sister. "All new things are and we've never been on a double date before," Elly claimed.

Yes, it was awkward. I made them awkward. Will I be able to stop?

Back at Harold's Cafe, Pierce stood over Chloe at her table as he admitted, "I felt like a fifth wheel on a quad bike."

You're not wrong.

Chloe sighed and looked downwards avoiding his gaze but Pierce persisted until Chloe looked back at him, "I meant what I said before. I hope you and Elly work it out."

At the Kennedy's, Bea also persisted with Elly, "Finn and I noticed that you and Chloe kinda got out of sync when Pierce stopped by." "Yeah, he makes things awkward," Elly admitted.

Pierce still has feelings for Chloe, doesn't he? He's not happy that Chloe and I are giving things a go...

Pierce sat down at the table with Chloe.

Why aren't I telling Pierce to leave like I've been doing for the past month?

"Is there anything I can help with?" Pierce asked, seeing the look of sadness on Chloe's face. Unable to stop herself from again opening up to the wrong person, Chloe admitted, "You were right...about Elly and I. It's not...how I thought it would be..."

Bea continued talking to Elly, "You're supposed to be all loved-up, not flinching over labels...when she called you her girlfriend. You didn't like it, Elly."

Things might be a bit different, Bea, if I wasn't pregnant. Chloe and I probably would be more 'loved up' but I've got so much more than Chloe to focus on...is it too much for me to focus on both Chloe and my baby?

"Yeah, I spoke to her about it," Elly replied. Bea pushed Elly to tell her how that went. "And she's gonna dial it back," Elly explained. "Is this really what you want? Do you definitely want to be in a relationship with her?" Bea asked flat out.

Yes! Why is everyone continuing to question if this is what I want? Chloe and I are working through this ourselves. I am working my way through this myself.

"Of course, I do," Elly affirmed.

Meanwhile, Chloe was inexplicably finding herself opening up to Pierce, "Elly's so unsure about what our relationship is and I thought I could handle it but knowing that I'm not even going to be a priority..."

I should've seen this coming...Elly's pregnant...I will never be her number one priority for the rest of her life...why am I so selfish that I need to be the most important person to the person I love?

"What if I hang around, waiting and waiting and it goes nowhere?" Chloe asked out loud, more so to herself than to Pierce and yet she was still talking to him instead of Elly.

Bea continued putting her thoughts to Elly, "Okay I might be out of line here but I just get there's some kind of vibe that maybe there's something...missing." Elly shook her head, "No, you’re wrong. We have a great connection." Bea relented softly, "Okay."

It's a connection I want to continue building on until I can get myself to that place that Chloe needs me to be.

Feeling sorry for herself, Chloe sarcastically told Pierce, "You are allowed one 'I told you so.'"

Don't you dare!

"As if I'd say that. I'm sorry, honestly," Pierce countered. 

I'm sorry too...that I really might be the single most selfish person alive who's about to ruin the one thing I've wanted for so long...all because of timing and that Elly might never get to where I need her to be for us to have a future together.

Later on, Chloe went over to Elly's to talk to her about their relationship. Chloe was seated on the couch, as Elly poured them both a glass of water in the kitchen before joining Chloe and sitting down next to her.

As she walked over, Elly suggested, "So, I was thinking tonight, we could watch a movie, chill out together? What do you think?"

Maybe actually spend some time alone for once and cuddle up to one another.

It's too late, I can't change my mind for why I'm here...

Elly finally saw the sad look on Chloe's face, "Are you okay?"

No. I have to break my heart to stop it from breaking even harder down the line.

"I've been going over everything in my head. Us. How things might work. What the future might look like," Chloe admitted. Elly looked down, realizing, "Wow, that's a lot." "It is. Babies, careers, Huntington's," Chloe started listing off.

Why are you already looking so far in the future, Chlo?

"Chlo, we said we were going to take things slowly," Elly reminded the blonde, "I just need a bit of time." "We don't have the time to give this," Chloe realized, "You've got more important things to get your head around." "What are you saying?" Elly finally asked Chloe, afraid of the answer.

You're ending this, aren't you? I need you to change your mind, Chlo!

"Our friendship is so important to me," Chloe started off, "And I don't want that to be ruined. So, we need to end this."

What is Chloe doing?

What am I doing?

After a few seconds of struggling to come to terms with Chloe's decision, Elly asked her, "So, is this about my pregnancy?" "It's about everything," Chloe confessed, without elaborating. Still struggling, Elly pointed out, "A few hours ago, you were fine, we were fine."

You can't tell me that we weren't...unless you really have changed your mind that quickly, Chlo...

"I wanted to be but I wasn't," Chloe admitted. "But...we were working. You have been so amazing," Elly fought back, trying to convince Chloe they still had a future together, "Chloe, this connection, it's...it's more than just friendship."

I know I put you through hell denying it but after all this time I am here now telling you that I know what we share will never be friendship. I don’t want it to be friendship.

Why is it that the one thing I’ve wanted Elly to tell me for months…it still doesn’t change things?

Chloe held her nerve, “Pre-baby things might have been different but now…the timings off. Your priorities are about to change. They already have.”

Timing…does that mean in the future, when we get the timing right, Chlo, that things will be different and we will have a chance? Why are you giving in so easily?

“C’mon, we have to at least try,” Elly pleaded with Chloe, “We have something so special.”

You’re going to give this all up because of timing?

Chloe hesitated for a moment before extending her hand out and placing it gently on top of Elly’s left hand as Elly instinctively placed her right hand on Chloe’s too. “We’re never going to get to where I want us to be and life is only going to get harder for both of us. We need to quit while we’re ahead,” Chloe decided.

I’m aware this is a mistake…but it’s still one that I need to make so I’m not waiting around forever…timing is crucial in relationships and this one just doesn’t have it, Elly.

Elly had tears welling up in her eyes as she looked deep into Chloe’s eyes, “I hope you don’t feel like I ever used you.” “No, never,” Chloe agreed. Elly found herself apologizing for Chloe’s decision to end things, “I’m sorry I didn’t turn out to be the person you wanted me to be.”

You wanted me to be brave, strong and put you ahead of everyone else in my life…and I just can’t…

I wanted you to be the person to love me more than anyone else in the world…and you just can’t…

Having broken both their hearts, her own more so than she believed she could ever break Elly’s, Chloe went back over to Mark’s place to let him know the news. She found Mark, Aaron and David in the kitchen, all looking overly happy and dressed up with beers in their hands.

“Hey,” Chloe greeted them all sadly. The boys greeted her back but didn’t seem to notice the tears welling up in her eyes. Chloe thought Mark was “staying home tonight.” Mark had a change of heart when Aaron and David got on his case about celebrating his birthday. Aaron then insists that Chloe is to join them, “It’s time to party.”

Chloe finally tells the boys, “I don’t think I’d be great company right now. I just ended things with Elly.”

Because I’m the most selfish person ever who can’t get over the fact that the timing wasn’t right and that Elly will never be able to put me first.

When Aaron gave a “Aww Chlo,” Chloe sat down at the kitchen island, explaining, “The timing was off. Our thing was too big to squeeze into our lives…Elly’s anyway.”

Elly and I…we’re too important to squeeze into the next couple of months when Elly won’t have the time for me…or how to truly accept how she feels about me…

“How did Elly take it?” David asked. “She was shocked. I said it was better for both of us in the long run,” Chloe answered. David comments that Chloe has made a “mature” decision. Chloe counters that she plans on being “incredibly childish to balance it out.”

As David giggled at Chloe gently, Chloe looked up at Mark as he was standing over her, “I know this has been hard for you. It’s probably relief that you won’t have to see us--” “Hey, don’t worry about it,” Mark interrupted, placing his beer down, and wrapping his arms around Chloe in a big brotherly hug.

“I’m going to be okay,” Chloe declared.

Not right now, but soon.

The boys quickly manage to try and work Chloe out of her funk by getting her to agree to join them that evening at the Back Lane Bar to celebrate Mark’s birthday.

Later that afternoon, Elly found herself in the kitchen at the Kennedy household, surrounded by her sister, aunt, uncle and Finn, as she broke the news to all of them that Chloe had ended things with her.

“It wasn’t angry or anything like that, it was mostly sad,” Elly explained sadly. Finn perked up with a backtracking, “If this was because of any things I said…” “No, no, no, it’s not,” Elly found herself weirdly reassuring him, “It was Chloe’s decision. I didn’t even see it coming. I feel like such an idiot.”

I am an idiot…I let a really good thing go because I was too afraid to come to terms with my feelings for Chloe fully…plus with my pregnancy…timing…it was all to do with timing…

“Elly, you can’t blame yourself. You gave it a go and that’s not a mistake,” Bea supported Elly. “I don’t regret it, I just hope I didn’t mess her around again,” Elly admitted.

Because that’s exactly what I did right before my wedding to Mark…I was so in denial that I could ever have feelings for Chloe…and look at me now…accepting that there has always been something between us, that I am attracted to Chloe, that Chloe is magic, that the connection we share isn’t friendship…and Chloe ends it because of timing…

“No, you were genuine. We all know that,” Susan replied in support. “Did you part on good terms?” Karl asked politely. Elly nodded sadly, “Yeah, well, we were friends before so we intend to stay friends. Thank you for this, guys, it’s really helped.”

Elly then took a step back before turning away from them all and heading over to the couch on her own to sit down. Bea immediately followed, offering Elly a distraction from her breakup by helping her with her music. Elly admits that would be a really great distraction before Bea wrapped her arm around Elly’s shoulder and pulls her into an embrace as the tears still sat at the edge of Elly’s eyes.

What do I do now? Message Chloe and tell her I know what a hard decision it was that she made today…make sure that I keep my friendship with Chloe before I mess that up too?

Chapter Text

I'm The Captain Of My Story

Chapter Thirty

A few days after their break up, Chloe agreed to catch up with Elly over a cup of tea at the Waterhole before Elly had to head to the school for marking and classes. Even though she was dreading it, seeing Elly for the first time, wondering how Elly would be coping since the breakup, Chloe knew that she was the one whom had pushed that they needed to end their relationship early before it affected their friendship by ruining it.

And here we are…been sitting here with Elly for fifteen minutes talking about all manner of random things…like friends do…and Elly seems…fine. Not even a hint that us breaking up has hurt her…

Keep your cool, don’t let on how much seeing Chloe as nothing more than a friend now hurts like hell…

Now, as they sat opposite one another on the couch/chair setting in the Waterhole, Chloe and Elly had found themselves briefly on the topic of their friends Leo and Roxy possibly losing the business they owned together, the Back Lane Bar after Leo got scammed out of losing thousands of dollars from the business bank account.

“Az told me they’re way bombed,” Chloe told Elly as casually as she could manage by pretending it wasn’t hurting her been around Elly again but not been able to be with her. “I just can’t believe they lost the whole business over one bad mistake,” Elly replied calmly. “Leo worked really hard on it and Roxy worked really…” Chloe trailed off trying to find the words to describe Roxy’s lack of work ethic.

“Infrequently?” Elly finished for Chloe.

Elly finishing my sentences like a…friend…

Still finishing Chloe’s sentences like a…friend…

Chloe paused at Elly’s politeness before been a lot more honest about Roxy, “I was gonna say drunk but that too.”

Elly giggled at Chloe’s honesty before biting the bullet and bringing up their friendship after their all-too-brief-relationship, “Seriously, though, I’m really happy we can hang out as friends.”

Friends…you ended it so you didn’t get hurt down the line…am I just going to keep feeling sorry for myself?

Friends…I hate that word. I don’t want to be Chloe’s friend…but I’ve already stuffed Chloe around enough for most of this year…this is what she wants now…you can’t fight for her. You have to respect that all Chloe wants from you is friendship so you can either accept that or lose her completely once more…and we all know my life became a mess without Chloe in my life.

Chloe placed her tea cup back on the table in front of her, nervously fiddling with her hands on top of her thigh, “Yeah…I was nervous coming here. Wasn’t sure how I’d feel seeing you the first time since we stopped dating.” Chloe then untangled her hands and gestured them outwards, “Obviously there was nothing to worry about!”

“Obviously,” Elly concurred.

Can’t even give me the smallest of hints that you’re not coping just like I’m not coping, can you Elly?

Chloe’s trying to be upbeat about this breakup…don’t show her how much you’re hurting!

Chloe planted a smile on her face, “T. Swift would be devo. No sad break up songs here.”

I’m going home to cry to some sad break up songs after this.

See Chloe’s not listening to sad break up songs…she’s totally fine…where’s my sad break up song’s playlist?

“So, we’re all good here?” Elly asked Chloe, still wishing Chloe would change her mind about ending their relationship. Chloe nodded with a smile on her face to Elly, answering, “So good.” Elly then apologized, announcing that she needed to head off, “I hate to drink and dash but I have to do some marking.”

Chloe was surprised by how quickly their catch up had come to an end, even though it was tearing her up inside being alone with Elly knowing she had ended their relationship, “No worries. Mark hard but fair.”

“Always do,” Elly replied as she got up and said goodbye to Chloe. Chloe whispered “bye” back to Elly as she turned away to leave.

Sitting back on the couch, scrunching her eyes shut for a moment as she tried to stop herself from breaking down and crying at the thought that Elly didn’t seem at all affected by their breakup, Chloe didn’t notice Pierce staring at her from across the room. Chloe eventually got up and left the Waterhole before she made a scene of bursting into tears, still not noticing Pierce staring after her.

Not even a hint that Elly is heartbroken. I used to be able to read her so well. This breakup is tearing me apart…can’t Elly see that?

Keep walking, Elly, don’t turn around. Don’t rush back to Chloe and tell how her how much you are not coping with the fact that Chloe ended something that could’ve been so magical between you…

Having spent some of the day drinking champagne with Pierce after he muscled his way back into her good books by treating her to an afternoon of retail therapy under the guise of it been a present from Amy, only to then be waiting at the finish line to claim the credit like he was the prize at the end of a treasure hunt, Chloe found herself agreeing to go to a movie premiere with Pierce.

Dressing up in her fancy new gorgeous blue dress she had picked up on her shopping trip, Chloe had been sent an uber by Pierce to pick her up from her place. But when she was dropped off at the small little outdoor cinema at the Erinsborough pavilion, Chloe was more than confused.

What the fuck? Where’s the movie premiere? Directors, actors, red carpet, the event that I’m actually here for that is certainly not Pierce. Screw that bore of a man, I’m here to meet someone famous to take my mind off Elly…sigh Elly…just went two whole minutes there without thinking about her…

Walking over to the theatre, looking a million bucks, Chloe finally spotted Pierce standing at the front of the cinema.

In the same daggy clothes he was wearing this arvo…seriously what kind of movie premiere is this? I’m so dressed up for this and no one else is.

Turning around, Pierce spotted Chloe and complimented her dress. Chloe thanked him then immediately asked him, “Where’s the red carpet?” Pierce then reveals to Chloe he didn’t mean a movie premiere, he meant premiere tickets to a movie. Chloe looks at Pierce bewildered, “No A-listers, photos, goodie bags?”

Well what the fuck am I doing here then? It’s certainly not to see a movie with you!

Chloe pretends to laugh off her error due to Pierce’s “poor communication skills” before Karl and Toadie stop by and are quickly unable to resist teasing Chloe at how overdressed she is. Rolling her eyes at Pierce, Chloe agrees to sit down with him to watch the movie, declaring it had better be “the best movie ever.”

I’d rather be at home with Netflix and a block of chocolate.

During the movie, Chloe finds herself whispering to Pierce about the movie but then finds him staring at her a moment later. She asks if he’s still teasing her for been overdressed and Pierce tells her maybe in 10 years, he’ll get over it.

You think your gonna be in my life in 10 years’ time? Dream on asshat!

Chloe’s phone beeps with a message, after apologizing for not putting her phone on silent, Chloe sees the message is from Elly and isn’t the first message Elly had sent her since she sat down for the movie.

Elly: Call me back, new tickets for the 1975 are on sale. We can go! X

FML…the kiss at the end of the message…

Pierce intrudes to ask about the message as Chloe hadn’t stopped staring at her phone. Chloe reluctantly tells him that Elly is wanting the pair of them to get tickets to 1975, then nearly breaks as she points out, “She’s still signing off her messages with a kiss. I know friends do that but…it stings.”

Ugh why did you tell Pierce that? That’s between Elly and I.

Putting the phone away, Chloe again nearly bursts into tears at Elly’s continued extended hand of friendship.

Elly really doesn’t mind that I broke my heart when I broke up with her…?

As the movie finally comes to an end, Chloe’s phone vibrates on silent as Elly calls her. Reluctantly Chloe ignores the call, before Pierce tells her that it looks like “Elly can’t take no for an answer.”

What the fuck would you know about Elly?

Chloe points out Elly must want to get the concert tickets sorted but Pierce decides, “Can’t she just wait for you to call her back?”

Can’t you just wait? I just broke up with Elly a couple of days ago and you are already maneuvering yourself into my life!

Chloe points out that Elly doesn’t know she’s at the movies but Pierce counters that when people breakup they shouldn’t be texting and calling the person. Chloe sighs before opening up that she’s “finding it really tough. It’s like it’s so easy for her to snap back into friend’s mode but I’m not there yet. Not even close.”

Will I ever be?

Pierce stares at Chloe as he insists, “You should tell her that.” “It’s okay…it’ll get better…it’s just gonna take some time,” Chloe tells him.

It has to get better…right?

Chapter Text

I'm The Captain Of My Story

Chapter Thirty-One

Later that same evening, Elly was at the school, checking in on Susan as she was with Yashvi who was retaking an assessment she had messed up on. Elly was frustrated that she had sent Chloe several messages and called her several times without a response.

Why hasn’t Chloe called me back? Where is she? Has something happened to my Chloe?

As Elly reached the classroom, she asked her aunt if she was nearly done, which Susan confirmed before looking at Elly, looking fine in her light brown coat over her black dress, and asked if Elly was going out somewhere. Elly clarified that she was “waiting for Chloe to get back to me about these concert tickets,” knowing that she had accidentally sent one of her messages about the concert to Susan earlier instead of Chloe so Susan knew about it.

Yashvi, who was staring down at her phone, blurted out without thinking, “She’s on a hot date with Pierce so I doubt you’ll be hearing from her tonight.”

Are you fucking serious? My Chloe who has been in love with me for the entire year and broke up with me a couple of days ago is already on a date…with fucking Pierce!? What the hell, Chloe!

Elly tried to compose herself as she asked Yashvi, “A date?” Yashvi looked up at Elly, clarifying, “Just as friends. She’s at a movie premiere. That’s why you wouldn’t be hearing from her. Not for any other reason.”

“Yeah, of course,” Elly struggled to remain composed at the news, knowing full well Pierce still had feelings for Chloe and the idea of him taking her out “as friends” made Elly sick.

I really have lost Chloe, haven’t I?

Susan crossed the room to stand in front of Elly, as Elly realized, “I guess I won’t be hearing from her tonight.”

‘As friends’…Chloe’s going to end up with Pierce tonight in his bed, isn’t she? In an attempt to get over me quickly, she’s gonna rush straight into Pierce’s arms…if she isn’t already there. The thought of him holding her like that…I never even came close to having a second chance of being with Chloe again…’cause I was too damn frightened to admit just how much I was falling for her…

Susan saw the look on Elly’s face, knowing exactly what Elly was assuming would happen between Chloe and Pierce, “You’re allowed to have a reaction, it’s only natural.” Elly tried to bluff past her Aunt’s concern, “I only care about the tickets. Chloe’s free to date whoever she wants.”

I don’t mean that at all…and Suze knows it…

Susan then offers to give Elly a lift home, but Elly declines the offer, deciding to walk home on her own instead after grabbing some food on the way.

So, I can get home after everyone else does. Crawl up into bed with my food, my breakup play list and cry myself to sleep at the thought of Chloe spending the night with Pierce…why did my life go so wrong that I couldn’t have found a way to tell Chloe how deeply I do care about her?

Susan took the opportunity to reassure her niece, “You and Chloe have a strong friendship. It’s strong enough to survive anyone else who comes into your lives.”

Replace the word ‘friendship’ with ‘relationship’ and convince me again that Chloe and I can survive someone like Pierce coming into Chloe’s life and that I will have a chance one day in the future to set things right with Chloe and be with her.

“Yeah, I know that,” Elly replied to Susan, unconvinced, “I told you, we’re fine. Bye.”

Before Susan could utter another word to tell Elly that she could tell just how heartbroken Elly was at the news that Chloe might already be dating again, Elly took off down the hallway.

Later on, Elly had grabbed her takeaway dinner and was crossing through the empty Lassiters complex in front of Harold’s when Pierce came from out of the bushes and walked up to her, “Elly. Hey.”

Well, at least Chloe’s not in your bed with you tonight…maybe Chloe hasn’t moved on and I still have a chance with her…

“Pierce, hey,” replied Elly, in frustration that she didn’t want to talk to the guy attempting to steal Chloe from her, and yet couldn’t brush him off, “I thought you’d be out with Chloe tonight.” “Yeah, I was but I’m glad I ran into you actually,” Pierce told her.

Really? What could the tree branch masquerading as a good guy possibly want from me? Here to blame me for Chloe not falling into his bed so easily tonight?

“Really?” Elly just about snorted her surprise that he wanted to talk to her. Pierce replied, “Yeah, well, I don’t want to make this awkward…”

Then say ‘bye bye’ and go back to hiding in the bushes where you came from!

Pierce persisted, “But I can’t just stand back and say nothing. I don’t think you’re considering Chloe’s feelings.”

Chloe’s feelings are the thing I consider at the moment. Chloe says she wants us to be friends…I’m considering her feelings and respecting that. How about you consider Chloe’s feelings by not trying to get her into your bed so soon after she broke up with me?

“What are you talking about?” Elly settled on asking Pierce. “Like tonight, y’know, calling her constantly,” Pierce explained. “Pierce, it’s none of your business,” Elly yelled at him as she tried to take off away from Pierce but he followed her, yelling out to Elly, “I care about how Chloe feels.”

Elly turned back to Pierce, “We don’t need you to care!”

Me, Chloe and a whole lot of people that do actually support the pair of us…if more people would give us time to sort through our relationship rather than judging us then you’d be on your own, Pierce.

“There is no ‘we’ anymore. Okay, you guys broke up,” Pierce pointed out.

‘We’…fuck I really do think of Chloe and I as a ‘we’…that we’re still in a relationship…and now I’ve just blurted that out to the one person who’s more than happy to remind me of the fact Chloe and I are not in a relationship.

“Yes, I’m very well aware of that,” Elly stressed to Pierce. Pierce continued laying into Elly, “Chloe didn’t answer her calls for a reason. You didn’t need to keep calling her.” “I was just trying to organize something,” Elly tried to reason with him.

I just wanted to hear Chloe’s voice.

“You’re making it impossible for her to move on,” Pierce told Elly.

And there it is, Pierce! The problem you have with me has nothing to do with Chloe’s feelings. You just can’t stand the fact that Chloe is in love with me and isn’t able to move on to you so quickly. As long as Chloe has those feelings for me, I’m always gonna be in your way whether I’m with Chloe or not!

Elly retaliated straight back at Pierce, “Which is making it impossible for you to make a move! Right? That’s what this whole issue is about?”

Why do I feel like I said that for more than just myself and Chloe and there are more people out there that do support us?

Unable to admit that Elly knew damn well she was right that she was in his way from being with Chloe, Pierce insisted, “I’m only saying this because I care about how Chloe feels, alright? If anyone’s thinking of themselves it’s you.”

Could you be more of an arrogant prick, Pierce? Step up from been a tree branch but whatever.

“Oh, Pierce, whatever!” Elly announced as she brushed beside him, frustrated that he had gotten under her skin and also Chloe could possibly fall for someone who didn’t respect her.

Seriously. ‘Oh, Pierce, whatever!’ I’m not just saying that for me…I feel like everyone wants to say that when they meet this guy!

Deep in her anger at Pierce for accosting her over the way she was treating Chloe, Elly stormed away from him but wasn’t watching where she was going, quickly finding herself missing the step of the boardwalk bridge she was on and falling to the ground in a heap on her baby bump.

Steller exit, Elly! Argh fuck my baby! This is the last fucking thing I need to happen that I’ve gone and hurt my baby.

Elly is soon crying on the ground in pain after her fall. Pierce races three steps over to her, attempting his hand at concern, “Elly, you okay?” “I’m fine, I’m fine, just leave me alone,” Elly yelled at him.

The last bloody person I need help from is you!

“No, you’re not fine, I’m calling an ambulance,” Pierce decided. Giving in to the realization that she couldn’t turn away help for her baby, even if it came from the form of Pierce, Elly told him, “Hurry, please.”

And call Chloe too, once the ambulance gets here and takes me to hospital.

The next morning, Chloe was still at the hospital with Elly. She’d arrived immediately upon hearing about the accident, staying late until Elly had returned from her scans. Despite been told the baby was stable, the scans would provide more results in the morning. Karl had informed Chloe upon arriving back at the hospital the next morning that Elly and the baby would be fine but would need to stay in hospital for a few days.

Chloe had insisted on staying with Elly through the morning to support her friend even though both Karl and Susan had recommended that Elly already had the pair of them looking out for her. Chloe wouldn’t be persuaded from spending time with Elly.

Taking a moment to duck out and get a coffee, Chloe found Pierce stumbling into the hospital hallway, wanting to check that Elly and the baby were okay. Pierce quickly revealed that Elly’s fall was a result of an argument that he had had with Elly over her treatment of Chloe since the breakup.

Chloe was furious with Pierce and his involvement in Elly’s fall having put himself into the middle of the situation with Elly that he shouldn’t have been in. Chloe’s feelings that Elly had managed to go back to being friends too quickly after their breakup was not something Pierce should ever have involved himself in despite Chloe telling him how hard the breakup had been to deal with for her.

It was for Chloe to sort out with Elly. Chloe had been spending the last few hours that morning with Elly as well as bit of time with her the previous night after Elly had returned from her scans and Chloe had avoided addressing how hurt she was feeling from the breakup and continued time with Elly was hurting her even more.

But now that Chloe had gone off at Pierce about his interference, she was reminded more and more how much it had pained her the previous night to keep getting the messages and calls from Elly extending the hand of friendship too quickly and too much, and knew that she needed to voice her concerns with Elly before it hurt her anymore.

Chloe walked back into the hospital room, unsure how to address this issue but knowing she needed to.

“Chloe,” Elly stated as Chloe re-entered the room where Elly sat in the hospital bed, weirdly feeling like she was surprised to see Chloe back in her room again, fearing the blonde would eventually bail on her.

“So, I just ran into Pierce and he told me what happened,” Chloe told Elly.

That I was still referring to us as a couple? That I told him that I’m in his way of Chloe moving on to him? That Pierce thinks all I care about is myself and that couldn’t be further from the truth? I was trying to avoid telling Chloe that I got into an argument with Pierce because I’m trying to prove that the pair of us can still be friends. I didn’t want to let on that I know about their movie “date” and how much it’s hurting me to think Chloe could possibly be moving on from me this quickly…

“Okay,” was all Elly could respond with, worried how much Pierce had told Chloe about her overreaction to Chloe moving on with him. Chloe then apologized, “I am so sorry, he’s such an idiot, like bigtime, nosy, know-it-all, stupid man-child--”

I mean go on degrading the jerk, Chloe, but if Pierce didn’t tell you how upset I am that I’m the one in his way to moving on with you…then I need to know if Pierce was right when he told me that I was hassling you too much last night trying to get in contact with you to hear your voice…to organize the concert tickets…

“Chlo,” Elly interrupted her rambling, “You need to tell me, have I been clingy with you?”

Okay, well I guess I didn’t need to worry about the right way to bring it up when Elly is already doing it for me…and it’s not ‘clingy’…it’s just you’re immediately back to friendship mode and I’m a long way from that.

Chloe couldn’t find it in her heart to be able to answer Elly about how hurt she really was that Elly could move on from their breakup so easily back to friendship.

I guess that answers that, Chlo…I have been too clingy because I don’t know how to live my life without you in it…

“Right,” Elly sighed at Chloe’s silent confirmation. “It’s okay, I get it, totally. You didn’t want to lose our friendship,” Chloe tried to assure the brunette. “It means so much to me,” Elly admitted, “After everything that happened with Mark, I don’t want to lose you again.”

Urgh, why did you bring up Mark as one of the reasons for not wanting to lose Chloe? It’s because we’ve been through so much the past few weeks that you don’t want to lose her again.

“Guess I could’ve just said I needed space,” Chloe admitted, throwing her hands out as she stood there opposite the hospital bed. Elly looked down before glancing back up at Chloe, “Wish you didn’t have to.” Chloe moved to sit down on the edge of the bed but held back from reaching out for Elly, the way she’d become accustomed to the past few weeks, “Elly, we’ll always be friends and times like these I will always be here for you.”

But I can’t be right now.

But you can’t be right now.

“But I need to get over you somehow,” Chloe continued.

I have to.

I don’t want you to.

Chloe took a deep breath, “And it would be great if you could help me do that.”

Please.

I don’t want to…

“By leaving you alone?” Elly asked Chloe gently that that’s what she needed from her. “I’m alright and we’re alright, really,” Chloe replied in a way of answering.

I’m not alright…I’ll never be alright trying to get over the woman I love for the rest of my life.

I think back to all those times Chloe asked me for space after I found out how she truly felt about me…I couldn’t give it to her…I couldn’t be apart from her…it took me most of the year to figure out why. I need to stop been selfish and focusing on my need to be around Chloe…I need to give Chloe what she needs from me now…space.

“But you need space?” Elly asked quietly, accepting it when Chloe nodded back at her gently.

Space to let me get over you…if that’s even possible…or to give you a chance, Elly, to prove that timing is all that’s stopping us from having a chance with one another one day…

Space to let Chloe get over me…instead of sitting here and fighting for Chloe…proving that with a bit more time…I can get to that place with my feelings for her that she wants from me before the baby comes…it’s what Chloe wants…I need to do this for her. If timing is the only thing truly wrong between the pair of us…we’ll still have a chance one day…

To Be Continued?