It's been three days since Vanessa left. Her chest is heavy and the nausea comes in waves whenever she thinks about the tiny blonde. The last words she had spoken haunt Charity's dreams like the nightmares of her past. "It's over, were done". Jacobs Fold doesn't feel like home anymore, the light has gone out and all that's left is its shell. She misses the laughter coming home from work to see Vanessa making dinner, she misses their pillow talk in the dead of night when the house is still and the milky brew that greets her every morning. Because you get used to things like that. The little things that make you both just typically you. A team against the world, It's not just her heart that's been broken, her kids, their kids feel it to. She knows Noah and Sarah have been to Tug Ghyll, probably to beg Vanessa to come back and with the way both have been stomping around the house she has an idea that it hadn't worked. They both asked questions when they came home last night about how they had split up and through it all Vanessa was still protecting her by not divulging all the gory details. Mises can feel it too. He can't understand it but he must feel it, his behaviour is getting worse by the day and the constant probing of where Vanessa and Johnny have gone is too much for her to deal with.
Every thought of Vanessa is immediately followed by the image of Johnny. The little boy who has stolen her heart. He started to become a proper little Dingle. Playing football with Noah, wrestling Moses whenever they had an argument about dinosaurs and playing tricks on Ryan when ever he got the chance. He looked at Charity like she had hung the stars, the sun and the moon just for him and if she could she would have done just to see the Woodfield smile. Her eyes drift to the pictures on the wall. There is one of all of them, Vanessa, Charity and their brood at Whitby at the beginning of summer. She plucks it off of the wall and holds it to her mouth, kissing the vets face, a tear rolling down her cheek. She whispers into the empty room. "I'm sorry, I love you, I love our kids, please come home".
It's halfway through her shift and she can't concentrate. Everytime the pub door opens her head immediately turns to the door hoping to see the familiar yellow rain mack , but it never comes. She can feel all eyes on her as she moves around the bar. She can see the thoughts running through their minds. " We knew she would mess this up", Vanessa was always too good for her". She leans on the end of the bar picking at a long forgotten stain on the wooden surface. Chas walks through to the bar and Charity immediately starts to head for the door, she picks up the plastic green glass collector and ignores the shouts from the other landlady. She stands on the steps of the pub and takes a deep breath. She doesn't understand how life can go on without Vanessa. The villages are going about their daily lives while hers is breaking down around her and she knows things will never be the same again. She starts to pick up glasses from the wooden tables when she hears a small voice from across the street.
She looks up and sees Vanessa struggling to keep hold of the little boys hand. Within seconds she slips out of her grip and is hurtling towards Charity. She puts down the glass collector and braces herself for impact. She kneels on one knee and opens her arms wise as he makes contact with her body, his arms around her neck and his face buried into her curls.
" Hey Johnny Bobs". She says quietly as she untagles him from her neck and adjusts him to lean against her frame."How many times have I told you not to run across the road?" She asks taking his chin between her thumb and forefinger forcing him to look at her.
"Sorry, but I miss you and haven't seen you in ages and mummy says we can't come home. Charity why can't we come home?" He says quickly, twirling a curl in between his fingers.
Vanessa can hear their conversation as she walks towards the pair and her heart breaks that little bit more. She couldn't bring herself to explain to him that he probably couldn't see Charity as much anymore if not at all or that his brothers were no longer his brothers and it was just the two of them again. It wasn't that she didn't trust Charity. She has been more of a parent to Johnny than Kirin had ever been. But she couldn't deal with the fall out when Charity eventually rolled into bed with someone new and Johnny would be forgotten about. Abandoned for the second time in his young life. She stands in front of the pair as Charity meets her eye.
"Well me and mummy thought you could go and look after Auntie Tracy for a little while because she's still sad about grandad Frank and you can give her lots of cuddles".
Vanessa looks away as a tear escapes her, she could see the frown lines on her little boys face, the look ger gets whenever his is thinking about something.
"And when she doesn't miss grandad Frank anymore can we come home then?"
Johnny come on were gonna be late". Vanessa chokes reaching out for Johnny's hand. He turns to Charity hugging her tightly, while Charity returns the hug, kissing his head whispering into his hair "I love you Johnny"
He takes the hand of the other blonde. As Charity stands she whispers into the space between them. " Please Ness, Please let me see him. I miss him so much, I miss you both so much and Moses hasn't stopped asking for both of you, Please".
Vanessa runs her hand through her hair, looking down at Johnny. "I think it's best if you don't. I can't watch him be abandoned again when you find someone else, I can't watch him wait for you every Saturday for you not to turn up. I can't watch his heart be broken over and over again by his Ma".
" Vanessa Please….."
I promised Noah and Sarah I would always be there for them . An that goes for Ryan and Debbie too, their welcome at Tug anytime. But for our younger sons sake, I think it's best we leave it for a while, yeah?"
Vanessa turns and walks away, the tears becoming heavy. She can hear the small sobs of Charity behind her and it is taking everything in her power not to turn around and throw herself at the curly haired blonde and tell her that everything is going to be alright and they can work this out. But she knows they cant, she can't live like this anymore. She puts Johnny into his car seat and as she lowers herself into the driver's seat she can hear the strangled sobs continuing to leave Charity.
"Please don't take my boy Ness, Please?"