Alice drove the kids home, the tension in the car was so thick you could cut it with a knife. Max, Rosie and Joshua were in the back. Joshua was blissfully asleep. Charlie sat beside her mum in the front chattering on about how much the baby looked like Alice. No one else spoke, even Max was uncharacteristically subdued. They arrived at home. Max un-strapped Joshua and handed him to Alice. She took him inside with Charlotte leaving Max and Rosie alone. Rosie was looking at the fountain which had barriers around to stop Charlotte and Joshua going near it. She studied her surroundings carefully, almost memorising them. Max looked at her while she did this then shook his head and walked inside. Rosie headed to the surgery slowly. Wondered how she was gonna fix her dad and Alice. All they needed was a little prompt, something to remember that they loved each other. She couldn't think, the only solution was the only one she didn't want to do! She headed back up to the house slowly, dragging her feet as she did. When she walked inside she found Max was doing a jigsaw with Charlotte. Joshua asleep in his room.
"I'll sort tea." Alice said to no one in particular.
The atmosphere in the house was uncomfortable. Rosie hid in her room thinking. After an hour she still had nothing. She decided to go get a drink, she found Alice's phone in the kitchen alone. Impulsively she picked it up and text her dad then turned it off. She smiled, this would work, she knew it.
A little while later Danny walked into the house. "Alice?"
She was at the stove stirring a pan. "Danny?" she paled. "Has something happened to Savannah?"
He shook his head.
"Then why are you here?"
"You text me asking to come home, I tried to ring but your phone was off. I was worried something had happened to one of the kids." and her too, especially when her phone was off.
"I didn't text you."
"You did, I have it on my phone." pulled it out and handed the phone to her.
She read it. 'Pls cum hme Danny I rly need you rite now! Loads of love Alice Xxxx' "Danny that isn't me." she said.
"It's off your phone."
"Does that sound like something I would say via text?"
He'd had his doubts! "All I know is I got a text and I came."
"I never sign my texts or put kisses, plus we are angry. We agreed to keep our distance."
He exhaled. "I knew I shouldn't have bothered. It seems I am the only one who is even slightly interested in making us work!"
"Well tell you're daughter….."
"Excuse me, you have no proof Rosie did this!"
"Who else? Joshua?" sarcasm thick in her tone.
"Funny! What about Max?"
"First of all if Max wanted to sort us he'd do it face to face and he wouldn't use kisses on a text! Charlie and Joshua are too young so that leaves Rosie!"
"You're blaming Rosie coz you're still mad at her."
"No, I'm blaming Rosie coz she did it!" she told him like he was stupid.
"So everything that happens now is gonna be her fault is it?"
"If she does it yeah."
He clenched his jaw. "I am so sick of this! Rosie did the wrong thing but why can't you be an adult and move past it. She's sorry!"
"Sorry doesn't change things does it?"
"No, but it's better than not caring." his voice incredulous, willing her to understand.
"Are you planning on staying here coz if you are I'm going to Savannah, I don't want her to be alone."
"Rosie is alone here if I go. Can't you at least try?"
"Danny I have tried and tried with her and look at what happened. I'm past trying!"
He threw his hands in the air. "I'm going back to Savannah and next message I get like that from you I'll ignore it!" he stomped from the house.
She sat at the kitchen table.
Charlie walked in. "Mum why do you and Danny yell all the time?"
"Just big people stuff sweetie." sat her on her knee.
"I don't like it, it's scary."
Alice hugged her close. "Don't worry it'll be over soon."
"Not long for tea. Go play yeah."
Charlie nodded while Alice walked down the hallway.
Rosie had stood with her ear to the door trying to figure out what her dad and Alice were saying, their voices soon became raised and she heard her name mentioned numerous times. Her dad mentioning that when he was gone she was alone strengthened her resolve. This family was split and she knew only one way of fixing them, removing the barrier. She picked up her phone and rang her Aunt.
"Hey aunt Clare."
"Rosie, I haven't heard from you in a while. Have you been well?"
She ignored her question. "Can I come and stay with you for a while?"
"Of course dear, I have your room ready. Is things with Danny troubling you?"
"No me and dad are fine, I just need some space."
"Your always welcome here, I'm sorry about how we left things, you needed to know though."
No she didn't, it was tearing this family apart. She grabbed her bag as her aunt started talking about booking flights. "There is one leaving in two hours, can you make it?"
"Yes." no emotion in her tone.
"You'll love it in the UK Rosie."
"I need to pack, ok." and disconnected the phone. Felt tears well as she placed clothes in her bag. She was trying to calm herself when her door opened suddenly. Alice stood there looking angry.
Rosie pushed the bag from her bed to the floor.
"Next time you want to go behind my back….what was that." Alice started.
Rosie frowned "Nothing! And get out of my room!" she yelled trying to distract her. "Try knocking next time!"
"Tell me or I'll look!"
Rosie went to her blocking her path. "Get. Out. Of. My. Room." she said slowly and clearly.
Alice side stepped her and looked. Rosie deflated, her back lowered.
Alice saw an open bag with clothes spilling out of it. "What is that?"
Rosie walked around her and picked it up, didn't even answer, picked up the clothes that had fell out and refolded them.
"Where are you going Rosie?"
"None of your business!"
Alice took her arm. "Rosie!"
"You and dad are arguing coz of me, when I go you'll be happy again, hopefully."
"No we won't. This isn't you. You were right all along in fact, me and Danny rushed things."
"So you don't love dad anymore then?" Rosie challenged.
"No, I love him."
"And I know he loves you too, so no you didn't rush, you did what people in love do and it took me so freaking long to see it! I was just too wrapped up in my own world to recognise it."
Alice stared at her, stunned at how sure she sounded.
"I can't be the cause of anymore hurt Alice. If you and dad split then Charlie, Joshua and Savannah are going to miss out on being part on a two parent family, this family! It's a little shabby, and messed up but it's still perfect. All my presence does is antagonise you! Don't deny it Alice."
"Rosie you're not…."
"I'm not stupid I am annoying you!"
"Do you have any idea what losing you will do to your dad?"
"If he wants I'll stay in touch. I just won't be in your face."
"If this is about Savannah replacing you…."
"It's not." she exhaled. "All I have ever wanted is my dad to chose me. For him to chose me over the surgery, chose me over doing some stupid conference. Chose me over you. He is choosing me this time and it's tearing the family apart, I can't let that happen!"
"Where will you go?"
"Clare's, Terry isn't an option for obvious reasons, he can go and die as far as I am concerned. Plus dad would kick off."
"Rosie this will pass."
"If it does then I'll come back." she replied and continued packing.
Alice took her arm and stopped her. "If you do this it'll make things worse."
"Can it get much worse Alice? Really? I know how close you two are to calling it quits and you know what else? I also know that you started packing about half an hour before I did! You gonna deny that?"
"I'm not letting you take the kids away from dad! You two need to work it out and you won't if I'm in your face!"
"Rosie c'mon!" Alice pleaded.
"I've rang Clare. She has a ticket ready, all I need is to go."
"Talk to your dad before you leave."
"You think he'd let me go? He'd go mad and chain himself to me or something. Plus I couldn't leave, he'd get upset which would upset me…." she exhaled sadly. Returned to her wardrobe to checking she had everything she wanted. She closed it. "This is harder than I thought." she murmured.
"Then don't go!" Alice asked softly. "I know I haven't been the best of people to live with….this place won't be the same without you."
"It won't be the same without you either. I'm doing this for dad. I'm not telling him the real reason why I'm going, and Clare doesn't know either, I just need space."
"Rosie he'll know!"
"You'll have to convince him won't you."
"Stay Rosie!" Alice panicked.
"I have a taxi booked. If you can convince me before it arrives then I'll stay, until then can I have ten minutes with Max? To say goodbye, nothing else, I promise."
Alice nodded knowing Rosie wasn't going to be deterred.
Rosie left her room and walked into Max's.
Alice pulled out her phone and rang Danny. "Danny get home, it's an emergency Rosie is leaving!" it was then she remembered the words he said as he left. He'd be ignoring all messages from her. "Dammit!"
Rosie saw Max sat on his bed, she smiled at him sadly. It didn't reach her eyes.
"You best open that door, Alice is already pissed at you."
"I cleared it with her, we have ten minutes."
"I wasn't sure we were ok, after everything that has happened recently." he admitted. "I assumed…."
Rosie shook her head. "Don't assume anything."
He smiled. "Come over here then."
She walked over and burrowed into his side, hugging him tightly inhaling his aftershave.
"How did you convince Alice to let us have ten minutes? I didn't think she was speaking to you."
"I told her I was gonna stay out of her face." not exactly a lie.
"Oh." he wrapped his arms around her.
"Can I have one of your t-shirts Max?"
"Yeah have them all if you want."
"One will do." she was really tempted to pack him too! She was trying so hard not to cry.
"Rosie what's wrong?" he whispered against her hair, he could hear her voice wobbling.
"You know how I said I'd stay out of Alice's face?"
Sjhe closed her eyes a second. "You don't know how much I don't want to do this, but if it fixes dad and Alice then I have to try!" tears fell. "All I do is mess up, the final straw was Savannah being seriously hurt coz of me!"
"Rosie?" he was breathing heavily now.
"Can't you just kiss me and tell me you'll miss me?" she whispered.
He pulled back and stood up. "Miss you? Where exactly are you going?"
"To the UK, with Clare."
"You can't!" he yelped.
"It's all arranged Max, I don't want to hurt you but…."
"If you don't want to hurt me then stay!"
"Alice and dad need to make up and I'm coming between them, I love my dad Max and this is hurting him!"
"Look I know I said I wouldn't help but stay and I will, we'll get them back together!" he promised.
"This is how I'm doing it. Look Max we'll stay in touch."
"But I won't SEE you!" he stressed.
"What else can I do?" she asked.
"Stay and we'll think of something."
She shook her head and collected two of his t-shirts from his wardrobe. "If I stay now and dad hears about how I planned on leaving he won't leave me alone. I need to do this."
"No you don't!" his voice raised, eyes glistening.
"NO!" he covered his ears. "I won't listen to that!" turned his back.
She went to him and out her hand on his shoulder. "I'll ring you when I arrive."
He spun, she saw his eyes were wet and felt her own grow moist. She kissed him softly and hugged him. "Love you." she whispered.
He wrapped his arms around her. She tried to pull away but he held her tight.
"I'm not letting go!" he told her stubbornly. "NEVER!"
"Max." she repeated.
"NO!" louder than before.
She let her body go limp against his. "Let me do this."
He was silent.
"I need to do this." she told him.
"I can't let you go! What if I never see you again?"
"What if you meet some English boy?"
"How could anyone be better than you?" she asked.
He closed his eyes and swallowed. Loosened his hold and released her. She gave him on last squeeze. "We'll call yeah?"
He looked at her. "I have to put a stop to this!" and walked from the room.
Rosie exhaled and followed, she went into the study and collected her passport. Scribbled a letter for her dad.
"Alice tell Rosie she can't leave!" Max demanded.
"She can Max, she's sixteen."
"YOU have to stop her, she's going to the UK!" he yelled.
"Max I've tried…."
"NO, you want her to go!" tears fell. "But she can't!"
"Max, I don't want her to go." Alice said calmly. "Nothing is going to stop her."
"Tell Danny, get him home, he will stop her!" he said quickly.
"His phone is off, the phone at the hospital is engaged."
He took her hand. "You can stop her!" he beseeched to her. "I know you can!"
"I'm sorry son."
Rosie stood at the door with her case, her taxi had arrived. She held photos of all the people who were important to her. It was best this way, Max and Alice in the kitchen unaware that she was leaving. "Bye." she whispered and left.
While Max and Alice were in the kitchen they didn't see Rosie slip into her dad's room. Next thing they heard was wheels spewing gravel.
Max paled. "No!" he whispered and ran to the door, saw a taxi departing. "NO!" he yelled and kicked the veranda pole. He covered his face. "She's gone!" his voice full of emotion. "SHE'S GONE!" he yelled. And hit the pole again with his fist.
Alice went to him and wrapped her arms around him.
He buried his face in her shoulder. "Why'd she leave Alice?" he cried softly.
"I don't know but I'll sort this Max, I promise."
"She won't come back." he told her. "I could tell."
"I'll find a way."
A/N awww poor Max :( Rosie is off to the UK to her Aunt Clare's, will anyone even see her again after Clare gets her claws into her...and the worst thing is Danny doesn't know yet...uh oh!
Hopefully going to get a chapter of A new Beginning and Darkness Falls up too Best get typing! x