I hope you enjoy this one, it's a oneshot but split into 2 chapters, I aim to have the second chapter up on Sunday evening. As always I hugely appreciate reviews on here, or you are welcome to DM me on instagram ( scfthclby)

G x
8th June 2020

Having just dragged herself out of bed, Ange wandered to the bathroom, fingers crossed that she'd woken up early enough to beat her to it this morning. It was times like this she began to question why the hell she'd ever agreed to this 'can we move in together agreement over lockdown' agreement Dom had suggested. She knocked on the bathroom door, locked, as she pondered how ironic it was that her elder son, the more independent one, was the one who had clung to her when covid hit...

"Won't be a minute" Carole called back.

Ange rolled her eyes, knowing full well that that minute was more like 20. She realised then that her fantasies of Dom just needing his mum were probably just that. Dom wasn't of the same anxious, easily unsettled disposition as Chloe, not like she was used to. The truth fell closer to the fact that Dom stressed about Carole being alone, and knew that there wasn't a hope in hell he'd persuade the two women to keep each other company, provide any form of companionship, unless he was part of the package. Absentmindedly, she tapped her toes against the carpet, barefoot and still dressed in pyjamas. She'd pulled chloe's dressing gown over her shoulders for it was a surprisingly chilly morning for early June. It was hanging on the back of her door as she shivered, discarded after a night of watching movies curled up in the colder March evenings, felt like a lifetime ago she'd been able to curl up on the sofa, arms protectively wrapped around her daughter.

'Come on' she muttered under her breath, growing increasingly frustrated at the time it took the older woman to preen over herself early in the mornings. Ange had never been one for heavy makeup or fancy hair-dos. She liked her low maintainence waves, loosely styled with the fringe she was currently sporting. All it took was a quick brush, followed by a light dusting of concealer and a lick of mascara. She only really splashed out on lipstick, it felt like part of her personality now, especially at work. She distinctly remembered buying her first one (was it Chanel? She couldn't quite recollect now) not long after she found out she was pregnant with Chloe. Despite it probably looking clown-like at that age, she was desperate to appear more grown up, sophisticated and mature. It was all a cleverly crafted barrier between the new mum she was becoming, and the teenage girl riddled with mistakes she'd rather forget. Memories like that were so bittersweet, she reflected, as she bit her lip. It made her realise how much her past had shaped her without her even realising, no matter how strong she'd tried to be.

'Click.'

Fortunately, that particularly miserable train of thought was interrupted as there was a creak behind her, and the bathroom door swung open.

"Well that took you long enough didn't it?" Ange remarked sarcastically, rolling her eyes despite a cheeky half smile. Carole spluttered defensively, not quite picking up Ange's joking tone.

"Well I had to take out my rollers and sort my makeup and..."

She was interrupted by Ange who, while frustrated, didn't mean any harm.

"Sorry, I was only messing with you."

Unfortunately Carole appeared to have set herself on the defensive and Ange's attempts to salvage her remark fell on deaf ears. In an uncharacteristically stroppy tone, Carole snapped.

" Well maybe if you woke up a bit earlier rather than rolling out of bed 5 minutes before your shift, you wouldn't have to wait. I finally see where Dazzle got that trait from. "

And on that note she stormed off, leaving Ange to somewhat sheepishly slip into the bathroom and get ready.

It was a few hours later, with a coffee in one hand she'd hurriedly grabbed on her break, that she first saw Dom. He was out of the house long before she bathroom debacle of that morning. She called his name down the corridor.

"Dom?" But no response. He didn't even turn around.

"Dr Copeland?!" She tried. But the same response.

Sinking into the chair in her office, she pulled her phone out of the bag that now sat between her feet, and opened her messages. She worried now, stressed that Carole had taken great offence and Dom was taking sides. After all, this wasn't the first time her eldest had given her the cold shoulder when he felt split between the two of them. She was replaying that morning's events over and over in her head like a broken tape as she hurriedly tapped out a message to Carole. She ran one hand through her hair, pulling her nails far too firmly against her scalp. This worried her, send her into panic far more than it should, but truth was she'd lost her boy once and it had all but broken her. She just couldn't do it again.

' Hi Carole,

I'm sorry about the incident this morning' the message now read.

Too formal. Ange deleted it, starting again, trying to come across far less desperate than she felt, trying not to show the complete and utter panic running through her veins, that feeling she hated more than anything else, her heart quickening, typing quicker than ever as the adrenaline pulsed. She felt like everything was spiralling out of her control and she felt so uneasy. Scanning her eyes over the message she tapped send before she would inevitably backtrack.

'Carole, sorry if I upset you this morning! Dom doesn't seem himself at all, completely blanked me and I thought I'd see, did you tell him about this morning? I just want to know he's okay'

Waiting for a response was the hardest bit. Ange nervously pulled her hands through her hair, her head virtually in her lap. Winding strands around and around her fingers, she was tying it all in knots, like an ironic mirror image of the anxiety, endless loops and figure of eights in her stomach. She was curling her toes under inside her shining brogues, tense all over as memories swam in her head, drowning as she fell back into her teenage days, grieving for the son she'd lost, for she never expected to see him again. Today had been a day full of drifting back to the past, but she dragged herself back to the present as she flipped her phone over in her hand and scanned Carole's reply.

'I haven't spoken to him, sorry Ange. No worries about this morning, sorry!' She'd written.

Ange breathed a sigh of relief, both because Carole had evidently forgiven her, and because Dom wasn't caught in the middle. It left an unsolved puzzle though, and that just didn't sit right. Mentally, she began to flick through all the things that could have left Dom behaving so cold. The elephant in the room. The answer was clear. Essie. Ange wasn't around in the days after Arthur's death, so she couldn't compare, but they were mother and son after all and she had a horrible habit of withdrawing from the world when ever something happened to her. Pushing everyone away, she's be on her own, and that was safe, her own, fair, under her control in a world where everything else felt anything but.

Her pager buzzed loudly, leaping off the desk where she'd hastily abandoned it, as she jumped up, swinging open the door to her ward she put on a positive front and made a mental note to corner Dom and check on him later that evening