Imogen awoke to the feeling of her phone vibrating persistently underneath her pillow. She rubbed her eyes and pushed herself up, reaching under the pillow for the offending object that woke her up so early on a Saturday morning just as it stopped vibrating. Six missed calls. 5 from Dynasty and she guessed one reluctant one from Kevin.
And to top it off, it was only half past 7. She sighed and reached over for the hearing aids and slipped them on just as the phone started off again. She answered it and put the phone to her ear. "Six calls, Dynasty Barry?" She questioned.
"Shut it Mulgrew and look outside!" Came the voice of her best friend, who sounded very uncharacteristically childish.
"No, tell me what it is." Imogen complained. She wasn't a morning person at the best of times, even more so since Connor had left for London for his dream job. She loved him, and would do anything to see her husband happy. She told him she would join him when her exams were over, even though she was reluctant to let him go.
"It's actually snowin'!" Dynasty's childish voice cut through her thoughts. She seemed to notice how quiet she was and tried to regain normality in her voice. "You okay?"
Imogen sighed. "Yeah, I'm fine." She said softly. "I know it's only been a week but..."
"It feels longer? Look you'll be with him soon y'know that."
"I know. And he's happy and I should be happy too and I am... but I'm not there to share it with him."
"Right, get yourself woken up, get dressed, we're comin' for you and you will have fun today. Not negotiable." Dynasty answered. "You have an hour." She added and hung up.
Imogen sighed again and let the phone fall from her hand and drop softly onto the bed.
Not so long after, Sally came into the room with an envelope. "Nice to see you awake." She smiled. She then saw her daughter's expression and sat at the end of the bed. "Hey, what's wrong?"
Imogen shrugged. "Just missing Connor that's all."
Sally looked to her and sighed. "Well it's not like you won't ever see him. And you'll be going to see him tonight."
Imogen nodded. "Yeah I know..."
"I can't say I like you going to London on your own-"
"Yes I know Dynasty will be going with you, but the state you two come home in after a night out worries me slightly if he's not there to look after you." Sally finished and rolled her eyes at the sulky scowl that now graced her daughter's face. "Having said that. You're an adult now and you need to make your own choices. You'll always be my baby, even if you haven't thought so the whole time you've been a teenager."
This time Imogen smiled.
"And hopefully this won't be for a while, but you'll understand when it happens to you." Sally smiled.
"What if it did happen now?"
Sally was about to say something and saw the cheeky smile on her face, resulting in her tapping her on the head with the envelope. "Then you tell that boy his valuables will be going to your aunt Nina's dog."
Imogen ducked her head a second too late and laughed.
"Good to see you with a smile on your face. Anyway this came for you. Looks like it could be from one of the colleges you applied for." She handed her the envelope and stood up.
Imogen took it and nodded at the stamp in the corner. If she got into that college she could be closer to Connor than if she got the one across town.
She opened it and pulled out the piece of paper. She looked at it in confusion as it hadn't been what she'd expected. She'd applied for a care course, having realised her dancing dream could be tough to get into. But the letter stated that there had been some interest in her expressed by a group of individuals and was asking her to audition for the dance course she initially had her heart set on. "I'm gonna kill him." She muttered.
"What does it say?" Sally asked.
"This has Connor, Dynasty and Kevin written all over it!" She handed the letter to her mum.
"You didn't apply for this." Sally told her.
"No, but I bet my dear husband and his sidekick did on my behalf when he went for that interview!" She sighed but couldn't stop the smile on her face.
"Are you gonna go for it?" Sally asked. She wanted her to follow a career that actually went somewhere. She could have all the dance training in the world but in her eyes her daughter's disability would hold her back from getting anywhere with it. At least with the course she'd encouraged her to go for she could make a living from it.
"Course! If I don't get it then I've always got the prospect of another chance at something." Imogen smiled. "It's asking me to go on Monday, which would be perfect! Instead of coming home tomorrow night I could come back Monday night instead."
Sally looked to say something, but remembered her earlier remark of Imogen being an adult and she stopped herself. "Okay, well good luck." She smiled and left the room.
Imogen smiled widely and got up out of bed, taking her phone with her, sending a quick message to Connor; "You're a dead man when I see you x" and she walked out to the bathroom to get herself washed up.
Once again the insistent buzzing of her phone started while in the process of washing her face and this time she chose to ignore it until she had finished in the bathroom.
She took the phone back to her room and she checked the messages, and yet another call from Dynasty. There was a message from Kevin who repeated the word 'sorry' several times with a smiley face stuck on the end, and Connor's who simply read 'So you got the letter then? Love you too ;-) C x'
Imogen just giggled and got herself dressed. She grabbed a scarf Connor had left behind, a pair of gloves and her phone before making her way down the stairs.
"How long d'you wanna take?!" Dynasty smirked.
"As long as I want to it's my house!" Imogen laughed, putting the coat, gloves and scarf on before being dragged outside by Dynasty, and immediately both girls were pelted with the snow. They both squealed with the shock of the sudden cold and Dynasty shot a glare in their attacker's direction. But stood next to Kevin was somebody she didn't expect to see.
"Kace!" She grinned and rushed through the deep snow as quick as she could to hug her sister.
Kevin smiled and looked to Imogen who already had a mound of snow in her hands, shaping it with her fingers.
"And this." The girl smirked wickedly, glancing to Dynasty who understood what was about to happen, and copied her friend's action, being careful not to let Kevin see as he started to back away. "This is for what you and Connor did." She finished and threw it in the direction of his head, hitting him square in the temple as he turned his head away.
At that, Dynasty took the snow and stuffed it down the back of his jumper. She fell to the floor laughing as Kevin yelled out and tried to shake off the cold.
Imogen laughed and made a run for it as Kevin regained composure.
With the two sisters reunited the four of them engaged in a snowball fight for most of the morning.
Eventually the four of them walked back into the warmth of Imogen's home just as a car pulled up outside.
"So how long you stayin'?" Dynasty asked, looking to her sister.
"My flight leaves tomorrow at half 12..." Kacey answered. "I might go see mum later."
Dynasty shared a look with Kevin. She'd not told Kacey about the bailiffs coming to the door.
"Actually, why don't we all go out?" Kevin suggested, partly because Dynasty could hardly speak but mainly because he didn't want Kacey to worry for now. They'd cross the bridge of sleeping arrangements when they came to it.
Kacey smiled and nodded. "Sure."
Imogen smiled and left the three of them to it so she could sort out the hot drinks.
"Your hair's wet." Sally looked to her.
"Yes well done mum." She answered sarcastically with a smile.
Sally lightly hit her arm with a tea towel and smiled. She looked up when she saw Kevin in the doorway.
"Someone's at the door for you." He spoke.
Imogen looked confused and followed her mother through to the hallway, the kettle forgotten on the kitchen side. She looked as an elderly couple she didn't seem to remember were stood outside. She'd seen them in photos, knew they were her grandparents but she had no memory of them.
She made her way tentatively forward to stand beside her mother.
Dynasty ushered Kacey into the kitchen and kevin followed, closing the door behind them.
"That cannae be our little Immy?" The older man spoke, shock evident in the thick Glaswegian accent as he noted the 18 year old young woman in front of him. He reached out to take her hand in his, acknowledging and accepting she was real.
Imogen smiled. She'd not heard such nickname from her family in years. Connor frequently teased her with it, but it wasn't the same.
"Well say something girl. I didn't come all this way to speak to silence." The older man spoke in a warm tone.
Imogen laughed a little and hugged him. "Sorry... it's just a shock." She spoke and stood back, allowing space to let the couple through.
"Living room's just in there dad." Sally spoke, shutting the door behind her.
"Did you know this?" Imogen asked.
Sally shook her head. "No I had no idea."
Imogen shrugged and looked to her phone as she walked into the living room and she smiled.
"A boy got your attention already then eh?" The older woman looked amused.
Imogen looked up and blushed. "Yeah..." she admitted and looked for her wedding photo briefly.
Sally knew what she was looking for and signalled for her to wait.
"So come here then, tell us what we've missed. We haven't heard from each other in so many years."
Imogen smiled a little and sat down.
"Do you want anything to drink?" Sally asked.
"A couple of strong coffees would do lovely." Her dad spoke.
"My dear what happened to your neck?!" The woman spoke as she caught the scar in the light, just peeping from underneath Connor's scarf.
Imogen bit her lip as her mother left the room. She thought it best to explain her journey through Waterloo Road from the beginning.
Sally left Imogen explaining how she met Connor to what happened since and she walked into the kitchen.
"Uh... we could go if you want us to, Mrs Stewart?" Dynasty spoke.
Sally shook her head. "No it's fine. And Dynasty what have I told you? It's Sally." She smiled.
"Sorry." She smiled at the woman.
Sally smiled and carried on making the drinks.
"So who are they?" Kevin asked.
"They're my mum and dad." Sally said. "We haven't seen them since Imogen started at Havelock."
"You haven't seen 'em in six years? How come?" Dynasty asked.
"Just lost contact." Sally shrugged. "Oh we talk to each other at Christmas or on birthdays, but that's all."
"God 'elp 'em when she tells 'em how she married Connor." Dynasty laughed and took a couple of the mugs once Sally had finished them.
Kevin opened the door to allow the women through. Faint conversation came from the living room, he couldn't tell at which part of her tale Imogen was at.
"Yeah so we kinda went away in secret... Dynasty as my Maid of Honour and Kevin as Connor's best man..." Imogen spoke as Dynasty and her mum entered the room.
"Sounds like a good one there lass." Her grandfather spoke.
"Yeah she 'as. There's nothin' he wouldn't do for 'er." Dynasty said as she placed the mugs on the coffee table. "Even when we thought 'e was doin' somethin' wrong he proved he wasn't."
"Yeah... like the other week. He'd just come back from London, told us all he was goin' to a jobs fair there but he'd actually been to an interview. And he was being dead secretive of it. Then a new girl turns up and-"
"She's a bit of a tart." Dynasty smirked, but soon turned into a scowl when Imogen kicked her leg to shush her.
"Yeah she is that. She walks straight up to him and without even knowing who he is, she kisses him in front of us and half the school."
"I hope you got him to make it up to you."
"Uh... she didn't but my fella did. An' failed to let me in on it. So when she got a message from her fella tellin' her to go to his we thought the worst. I saw a lot more of that boy than I wanted to." Dynasty wrinkled her nose as the elder couple laughed, and Imogen blushed.
"It worked though didn't it?" Kevin said from the doorway. "And I couldn't tell you without dropping him in it. Cause you can't keep your mouth shut."
"I can so!" Dynasty pouted.
Imogen shook her head. "You really can't." She smiled and looked as her phone buzzed. She looked at the message. "It's from Connor, just saying when he'll pick me up from the train station." She said quietly.
"I hope he remembers I'm goin' with you." Dynasty spoke.
"Yeah he does." Imogen smiled.
"Good. Anyway we better go." Dynasty smiled and stood up.
"Well it was lovely to meet Imogen's friends." Imogen's grandmother said.
"You too. I'll come back for you later." She hugged her friend goodbye and walked out with Kevin and Kacey.
"Now all that needs to be done is we need to meet this young man of yours." Imogen's grandfather said.
"Well...there's a picture of him somewhere." Imogen looked and spotted the familiar frame on a shelf and she got up to get it. It was a picture of the two of them just after they were married. She handed it to her grandparents.
"Oh you look beautiful." Her grandmother gasped.
"Yeah, you do. You look well suited to each other." Her grandfather smiled.
Imogen smiled and looked to the floor.
"Hey don't you doubt yourself lass. If he can prove himself time again after such a terrible accident, then he's worth keeping. And you're doing a damn sight better than your own mum when she was your age!"
Sally looked up as her father spoke but from one look she remained silent.
"And I don't see him anywhere around now." The man finished.
"Yeah well we don't need him. I told him about Connor over the phone while he was with me, and when my dad started shouting down the phone Connor took it off me and gave him a few words of his own." Imogen shrugged.
"You never told me this." Sally spoke.
"Didn't think it was important, he told me not to talk to him again. Oh and apparently because I'm now married I'm pregnant. We married 9 months ago, do I look ready to drop to you?"
"Oh sometimes I could smack that man..." Sally sighed.
"You've never needed him, Imogen. You've managed fine with your mother bringing you up. She's...made a few regrettable choices, but at least she's always been there." Her grandmother said.
Imogen nodded with a smile. "I know."