By the time Stephen Hay had reached the wise old age of twenty-one he thought he had it figured out. What everyone wanted, that was. Control. Rae wanted control over her own body, Amy wanted control over her life, and Brendan wanted control over him. End of. But if that was what everyone wanted, what did Ste want control of? His emotions? His right to love who he loved regardless of gender?

But that wasn't going to happen now. Thanks to a night out drinking (drinks Brendan had bloody well poured down the throat) Rae had thrown up her pill and now she was pregnant. Brendan had done the 'honourable thing' and dumped hi, regardless of how that would affect Ste. Brendan claimed he had been using Ste all along but something inside of him resisted that explanation... there had been genuine tenderness in Brendan just the night before and before even that Brendan had indicted that he did care for Ste, that he had done something for him... maybe the same thing that Warren knew about, the 'bad' thing that Brendan had told Ste not to worry about.

But Ste was worried.

He was worried about a lot of things. He was worried that Brendan would get into trouble maybe with the law or even just with Warren because he kept stirring things up with that kid who killed Calvin Valentine. He was worried that Rae would realise he had been sleeping with Brendan even after the fire, that he had been unfaithful. Cheating. Scum. He had betrayed Rae, who was sweet and soft but not afraid to stand up for herself and everything Ste admired in a woman, on the say-so of a man who had broken his ribs and threatened the mother of his children. He had tried to be good, like that night at the Dog and the Pond with Brendan, India and Rae when he had done the right thing and taken Rae home rather than staying with Brendan. It was ironic, in the end, that that was the night that Rae had conceived. Which brought him back to his biggest worry; the pregnancy. He loved Leah and Lucas, beyond a doubt they were the best thing that had ever happened to him. But another kid? It was up to Rae, of course, it was her body and her life, Ste would stand by her decision. A part of him thought that if Rae chose to have an abortion then he could never forgive her for killing their child, however the part more practical pat of him kept doing the maths, how much extra money he would need for nappies, food, a new Moses basket since Amy had sold hers once Lucas started sleeping in the cot... the list of things went on. Of course, if Brendan and Warren kept giving him backhanders like they had been then it wouldn't be such a stretch. But of course that was another worry, because those backhanders had strings attached like not telling anyone about Brendan's involvement with drugs or keeping Warren's involvement with the prison break a secret. He had already failed the second one, and if Brendan's plan went into action then there would be a high probability of Warren discovering that Ste had lied. Then he would surely end up in hospital.

All these worries were doing his head in. Alcohol didn't help, neither did talking to Rae or Amy and now Brendan had left him... so much for protecting him. If anything, Brendan had hurt Ste more with his goodbye than any of the times he had hit him.

With a bruised heart and a decaying soul, Ste moves on through his life, going to work, making tea for the kids, cleaning up when Rae's morning sickness gets too much, and he hopes that something good will happen for him soon. Something he can have for himself. Something he can control.