The young teenager barely heard whoever it was calling her name. All she could think about was the baby currently screaming the place down, and nothing she did to try and stop it worked.
This time the voice was louder, enough to snap her out of the fog she had lost herself in. Peri looked up at the frustrated face of Frankie Osborne.
"I have to go..." Was all Peri said.
"Peri! Steph needs you, you can't abandon her!" Frankie shouted after the girl as she fled the room, and presumably the building entirely. Frankie sighed and went to pick up Steph, who seemed to register someone was holding her and she slowly quietened as she was gently rocked. "Your mummy will get used to this. She's got another eighteen years of you." Frankie smiled at the infant.
Peri ran. She wasn't paying attention to where, until she stopped outside the familiar blue doors to the house she once called home. She raised a hand to knock, stopping herself for a moment. What if, after everything, Leela no longer wanted her?
Peri whirled around, seeing Tegan stood behind her. She flung her arms around the woman's neck, bursting into tears.
"Hey... Come here." Tegan said gently, hugging her. She walked her to the front door and unlocked it as Tony and Scott walked out of Diane's.
"Is she alright?" Scott looked at the sobbing teen.
Tony and Tegan shot him a look as though silently calling him stupid.
"She's crying. What do you think?" Tegan spoke, ushering Peri inside and shut the door behind her.
"What did I say?" Scott looked, walking down the stairs with Tony.
Peri sat on the sofa as Tegan went to the kitchen to make them both a cup of tea. Leela should be here with Peri, not swanning off on holiday to save her already doomed marriage.
Peri remained silent the entire time until Tegan set the mug on the table in front of her.
"Talk to me, Pez."
Peri looked, her tears dried after her emotional outburst. "I don't think I can do this..." She said quietly.
Tegan remained silent, though looked at her questioningly.
"All she does is cry all the time. Nothing I try is good enough... I'm just not cut out to be a mum..."
Tegan sighed softly, rubbing her arm. She remembered Leela, a complete natural with Peri, though at the time, Tegan thought she was being a big sister. Peri looked, and sounded, completely out of her depth, and she was absolutely terrified at the prospect of this tiny person relying on her every second of the day.
"Nothing is scarier than being a mum." Tegan said honestly. "It's the most terrifying thing you will ever have to do. But it's also amazing at the same time."
Peri looked at her aunt. Tegan was a mum. It was all she knew with Rose. But Peri didn't feel that love. "I don't have that connection... I feel nothing toward her and she's my baby."
Tegan sighed softly. "You can still change your mind..."
Peri looked up at her. "D'you think so?"
Tegan nodded. She couldn't believe she was saying it. She missed Rose and there was no way she would give her up. But Peri was a scared little girl herself, the pressure of being a mum, effectively disowning her mum and dad, it was all bound to put enormous pressure on her. "Talk to Tom. He might talk you into giving it time, but if you genuinely can't carry on like this, tell him."
Peri sighed, saying nothing. If she talked to Tom, yes he would talk her into carrying on, but if she told him she couldn't cope, Frankie would take her. She knew she wouldn't be able to handle seeing her baby in the village all the time, growing up calling Frankie Osborne mum, almost the mirror image of her own upbringing.
Tegan hugged her again.
"What if Frankie decides to interfere and take her?"
Tegan looked at her. "Then you tell that old bat she's your daughter and you decide who she stays with. It's not Frankie's right. She's not blood related to Tom, so your baby is not her grandchild."
Peri nodded silently as they stood up. She knew what she had to do, and no amount of talking was going to help. "I'm doing this because I know it's for the best..." She spoke as they stepped outside, seeing Diane as they stopped outside the door
Diane ignored Tegan, walking down the stairs with Rose.
Peri bit her lip.
"You're stronger than you think, Pez. Just the fact you're doing this to give your daughter a better life just shows. It's not an easy decision to make."
"Fight for her." Peri said, looking at her. "I'm not giving up on Steph... Not really... I'm giving her the chance to have parents who love her and can give her anything."
"You also love her more than you think you do."
Peri looked at her, listening to her words. How can she give a baby up if she loves her. It didn't make sense. "If I do, why am I doing this?"
Tegan sighed. "You're putting her first. You're struggling, you know you can't do this, with or without help. You want to give her the best opportunity in life."
Peri sighed softly. She knew she was right. "I better get back... Jack and Frankie won't be happy I left .."
"Just don't let her push you around. You're a Lomax, stand your ground." Tegan smiled.
Peri looked and nodded. "You should listen to yourself once in a while."
Tegan knew she meant Rose. "I have to tread carefully. I didn't help myself... But I'm not stopping until the right result happens."
Peri nodded and walked down the stairs and made her way back towards the dog in the pond. She knew what to do, she just needed to act as if everything was fine until then.