This idea came from a conversation with Iseultlabelle while she was writing her latest one shot Quarantined (if you haven't read it, go do so!). That's where the idea of Ange being worried about Chloe eating enough came from, which makes a lot more sense if you've read any of her stories (which if you haven't you should they're amazing). This is my first attempt at writing the Godards so let me know if I should quit while I'm ahead and leave it to the professionals :P. Thank you to Iseultlabelle for your encouragement and advice, and thanks to my friend Fiona for proof reading my mess of a draft.
Hope you like, reviews would be appreciated to let me know what you think! :)
"How's Carole?" Ange asks, the same reoccurring worry since getting to know Dominic setting in. The worry that their relationship is developing at the cost of his relationship with the mother who raised him.
"She makes me FaceTime her once a week, and every week we have the same problem of her forgetting how to use the iPad I got her for her birthday, and when she eventually figures it out I spend the whole time talking to her forehead because she can't position the camera properly. But she's fine, missing me, worrying about me, you know the usual." Ange relaxes, Dom's sarcasm a telltale sign that things with him and Carole are normal.
"How's she coping being on her own?"
"She's okay, or if she isn't she's not letting on. I imagine she gets lonely but it's better than the alternative of being in lockdown with Barry." The way Dom spits his name like it's poison in his mouth reminds Ange that the account of Dom's childhood she got from Carole is likely to barely scratch the surface of what really went on. He'll tell her if and when he's ready, she reminds herself. "I reckon she misses dancing with Hanssen more than she misses me to be honest. She's keeping herself busy by running errands for Mrs Williams next door who's shielding."
"And you? How are you?"
"I'm fine, if I'm not working I'm either sleeping or binge watching netflix."
"And how are you really?"
"I miss Essie, and I hate that she didn't get the funeral she deserved, because I can tell it's killing Sacha. Mum is trying her best bless her but she just desperately wants to put a positive spin on everything and keep me optimistic when sometimes I just want to be allowed to wallow and think about how unfair life is, think about how Essie didn't deserve this, how Sacha deserves so much more than life has given him. I never know what to say to him, Sacha who has always been there for me. How can I help him?" He's drained, it's evident in his voice and Ange wishes she could offer more than just words to reassure him; physical touch having always been her go to comfort strategy.
"I don't know. I don't think there's anything you can do other than offer support and be there if he needs you. But you also need to not neglect yourself in this situation too, you don't have to bottle up your own feelings to take care of Sacha, Dom, she was your friend. You're allowed to grieve." Ange drags out those last words, desperate for them to get through to Dom.
"Feels like all there is is grief at the moment, we've lost a friend and then we have to go to work and talk to relatives who aren't even allowed to say goodbye to their loved ones, then you come home, turn on the news and are hit with yet another rise in the number of deaths."
"I know, I know. Losing someone is awful at the best of times, and this just makes it all worse. But it'll get better Dom, you'll feel less overwhelmed with it all in time, it won't feel like this forever."
"I know, it gets better and you get to a good place and then life slaps you across the face with something else."
Ange is taken aback by the comment, unsure of what to say to reassure him, but Dom continues before she has to, "sorry that was a bit melodramatic, it just...feels like I've only just started to feel better about Lofty, and before that it was everything with Isaac and him coming back, and Arthur."
"My friend, best friend in fact, similar thing happened to him. Got cancer, found out it was terminal and you can guess where the story goes from there."
"I'm sorry Dom, this must've brought back some memories. You're grieving for two friends."
"Yeah I suppose so, that explains why I randomly burst into tears when doing the simplest of tasks. Nearly had a full blown meltdown because I couldn't get the toothpaste out of the tube yesterday," Dom lets out a laugh but it's strained and half hearted, clear that he's only cracking jokes for Ange's benefit.
"Well that's because you squeeze the tube all wrong, of course it's going to be hard to get out when you squish it from all angles."
"How on earth do you know about how I dispense my toothpaste? You've been in my bathroom once!"
"A mother notices these things, Dom. You also have your toilet roll back to front but that's an issue for another day."
"I do not! The end should hang behind the roll! And anyway, if you're quite finished picking my bathroom apart I better get to bed, on the early shift tomorrow. Thanks for letting me get stuff off my chest, I didn't realise how much I needed that. I only planned to have a quick catch up since we're all segregated at work these days."
"I know, it's strange isn't it?"
"That's one word for it. How's Chloe getting on? We've been texting but it's been mainly about this tv show she's got me hooked on."
"Let me guess, Orphan Black?"
"How did you?"
"She's been talking my ear off about it for years, desperately trying to get me to watch it but it's just not my cup of tea, glad she's finally found someone else to irritate with it."
"Unfortunately for you it's now two against one, you HAVE to watch it."
"Don't make me hang up on you!"
"Sorry! Sorry, how's she doing?"
"She's not doing too badly, though she's definitely not eating enough. We know as well as anyone it's hard to maintain a balanced diet with these shifts but I'm fairly certain she's running solely off coffee and those disgusting pea crisps."
"You'll have to entice her with some homemade Japanese food to leave on her doorstep," Dom jokes, knowing full well that Ange's culinary skills end at whacking something in the oven that can be cooked from frozen.
"You joke but I've considered it, anything to get her to take care of herself without thinking I'm interfering. But I thought better of it, my cooking is more likely to put her off her food than encourage her to eat more of it."
"Is this another one of your schemes to get me to eat more?" Chloe asks, holding up a packet of her favourite vegetable crisps that she found in her locker, one of many snacks that had been being left for her anonymously over the past few weeks. "Mum I promise I'm fine, you even see me eating a lot now that we can get closer than two metres, the snacks can stop now.
As soon as restrictions were lifted enough for 'bubbles' to start forming, Ange wasted no time in rushing to buy enough food to feed the entire hospital, never mind just the four of them, and went over to Chloe's flat insisting they have a meal together. Nicky and Cam, both with no one they were desperately missing themselves, were perfectly happy for Ange to join their bubble, particularly when she arrived bearing gifts of free food. As soon as Chloe opened the door Ange began catching up on the months of daughter hugs she'd been missing throughout lockdown.
"I'm not scheming! You told me not to interfere so I haven't, and I'm not."
"Only if by not interfering you mean leaving food in my locker everyday in some weird attempt to tempt me into eating non stop."
"What are you talking about? I haven't left anything in your locker."
"Nice try mum. Next you'll be trying to convince me it's the snack fairy, I'm not six."
"No I'm serious, I haven't been leaving snacks for you, I'm calming my worries with the weekly dinners I'm forcing you to come round for."
"No forcing necessary, you may not be the best in the kitchen but you do whip up a good curry."
"That might just be the nicest thing you've ever said to me,"
"I don't get though, if it's not you then who?"
"Your guess is as good as mine."
"Well this suddenly got a bit creepy, I haven't always had the best of luck when it comes to people leaving me secret gifts."
"This isn't like that sweetheart, what about Nicky?"
"Nicky barely has the time or money to keep herself fed, never mind buying me the best of the best snack wise. Have you complained to anyone about my diet?"
"You don't think?"
"No it can't be, he's absolutely terrified of overstepping. I don't know what he's more scared of; upsetting you or getting on the wrong side of me."
"So things are just the way you like them then,"
"You know me so well, daughter of mine." Ange jokes, wrapping her arm around Chloe's shoulder and pulling her into an awkward half hug, the novelty of physical contact with her daughter again not having worn off yet.
"Oi! That's nowhere near two metres apart, and physical contact? Really? You two aren't even trying!" Dom interrupts, shouting from the opposite side of the car park before running over to join them, making sure they take note of the distance he is leaving between them.
"We're in the same bubble! It's allowed, Carole tells me you rejected her request to join your bubble, so don't be getting jealous of the physical contact. Besides, denying your own mother a hug, that's cold, Dom."
"I'm doing her a favour, she's getting on a bit. I wouldn't want to pass anything on to her from the wards."
"And that's all it is is it? Protecting your mum?"
"Yes. From the virus and from me swinging for her when she invites herself around unannounced to stay for god knows how long."
"Mum's ey?" Chloe laughs along.
"And what's that supposed to mean? I'm suddenly very insecure about what you two say about me when I'm not around." Ange interjects, predictably jumping on the defensive.
"All good things, mother. Right Dom?"
"I'm joking I'm joking, keep your hair on," Dom laughs, reaching into his bag and pulling out the least-Dom snack Ange could imagine.
"Are you...eating vegetable crisps? The very same crisps you laughed at Chloe for enjoying and took my side when I said they look like potpourri? Traitor!
"Mhm, surprisingly delicious," he replies with his mouth full.
"Wait a minute that's what was left in my locker today."
"Mystery solved!" Ange exclaims.
"Sorry what mystery? Am I missing something?"
"Someone's been leaving snacks in my locker every day for weeks and I just assumed it was mum until I mentioned it today and she looked at me like I was a few sandwiches short of a picnic."
"And what makes you think it was me?" Dom asks, feigning confusion.
"The fact that there is absolutely no way that you would be eating those unless you were buying them for Chloe, got peckish and decided to try them for yourself."
"Fair enough, they do look gross. But honestly Ange you have to try them; they're so good!"
"I'll pass thank you, you're not ganging up on me again, don't think I haven't noticed the Orphan Black box set that has somehow made its way to my living room."
"You have to watch that now by the way, that cost me an arm and a leg; don't let your son's money go to waste."
"So it's you? Why?" Chloe asks shyly, steering the conversation back to the topic at hand.
"Ah I forgot, I may have also complained to Dom. But that was months ago I thought he'd have forgotten!"
"You'd make a right shoddy detective, I thought it was obvious!" Dom laughs, trying to make Ange the subject of the conversation to save Chloe embarrassment, the last thing he wants is for her to feel like they've been discussing her personal issues behind her back again.
"Thank you Dom, but why? Don't you have yourself to feed? Why on earth are you wasting your money on me?"
"Because he likes taking care of his little sister," Ange states proudly, Chloe and Dom rolling their eyes simultaneously - embarrassing mum strikes again.
"Okay okay you caught me, finding time to eat with our shifts is hard enough at the best of times, I just thought I'd provide you with a bit of sustenance to get through the day. No biggie,"
"That's really thoughtful, thank you Dom." Ange says, desperately trying not to get emotional and remaining completely oblivious to the side eye Chloe is giving her for interrupting before she could thank her brother.
"Yeah, thanks bro. I owe you several drinks when Albies reopens" Chloe adds, smiling.
"Too right you do, you have expensive taste in snacks!"
"Awww you two! Dom if I could hug you I would, here air hug!" Ange and Dom extend their arms and mime a hug, life may be rough right now but Ange has never been more content in her personal life, they may be physically apart but her dysfunctional family has never been closer.