Danny and Alice were snuggled up close upon the sofa talking in soft, hushed tones when Charlotte bounded through the door. She shouted alerting them of her arrival as she threw her school bag down and began to kick off her shoes as she shook out of her coat, chucking it carelessly up onto a coat hook.
"Hey Mum! Danny! You'll never guess what happened today!" Charlotte called as she walked through into the living room where they were sat, holding onto one another's hands, "Mr Jones was running down the back of PE and he slipped on the mud and went flying! It was hilarious!" She chuckled to herself as she finished, loosening her tie as she did so. She seemed oblivious to the sadness being omitted from her parents.
"I bet..." Danny smiled softly letting his voice trial off before squeezing Alice's hands. He nodded as she looked at him with wide eyes, taking her cue from him.
"Charlotte, honey, can you sit down please?" Alice said quietly, "Danny and I would like to talk to you."
"Yeh ok." Charlotte replied slightly unsurely, "Is everything ok?"
"It's not... but it will be." Alice replied. "Charlotte, I don't want you to be scared or worry ok? You are old enough to know the exact truth about why we have to stay in England and so I'm going to tell you."
"Scared?" Charlotte parroted, "Mum why would I be scared?"
"Sweetheart, let your Mum speak." Danny told her softly, "In fact, why don't you come closer." He offered, moving over so Charlotte squeeze between him and Alice. He kept his arm behind Charlie, his hand on Alice's shoulder.
"I said the reason for staying here was your Uncle Rowan and to some extent that's true but there's a bigger reason tying us here. I would have told you earlier but it's taken me some time to get my head around and Danny only found out yesterday." Alice sighed softly, she could feel tears threatening, "Honey." Alice breathed reaching for her daughter's hand, "I have... I have the early stages of..." Alice took a deep breath struggling, Danny nodded at her offering her his support and unspoken saying he didn't mind saying it but Alice continued, "Cervical Cancer." She whispered.
Charlotte stared at her Mum with a pained expression, she turned quickly to look at Danny who smiled sadly at her, before she turned back to her Mum who had tears welled in her eyes. Charlotte shook her head slightly, tears forming as her Mum squeezed her hands.
"Cancer?" Charlotte breathed.
"Yes, but it's not developed yet and all I need is an operation and it'll be cured." Alice smiled.
"What operation?" Charlotte asked,
"It's called a hysterectomy, it's where they take my womb out. It means I won't be able to have any more children..." Alice explained.
"I love you Mum." Charlotte whispered as she hugged her mum tightly, resting her head in Alice's chest as she had done many times as a child. Alice held her close, just as Charlotte remembered her doing, kissing the top of her head as she kept her close to her, squeezing her tight enough but not too tight. Her Mum's hugs were perfect.
"I love you too." Alice whispered as one tear fell. She couldn't think of anything at that time what could feel better than her daughter's arms wrapped around her. Alice felt the love encompass her; she'd never really expected to be a mother and had always thought she'd be a useless Mum but she knew different. She did her best and her best was more than enough.
Charlotte turned slightly and smiled at Danny who was sat watching them with a dumb smile on his face. Despite the fact she was still latching onto Alice, she looked at him with a sincere expression and told him;
"I love you too Danny."
Danny grinned and moved closer, wrapping his arms around the pair of them. Alice smiled up at him and mouthed 'I love you' over Charlotte's head. He simply kissed her forehead, mouthing the same words back as he held them both close. He sighed, the love he felt for them both was beyond any form of belief. Both Alice and Charlotte were being so brave about all these despite the hardship of the situation.
"Can I go to my room?" Charlotte asked quietly after ten minutes of comfortable silence, "I have some homework to do."
"Of course you can sweetie." Alice murmured as she and Danny let her go. She smiled at them before rushing off evidently wanting some time alone. "She's like me; wants time alone to digest."
"She's amazing, you both are." Danny told her sincerely pulling her into his arms, "And I am so, so proud of you."
"Thanks for being there for me." Alice replied softly, "I don't think I could do this without you..."
"Good job you don't have to then." Danny replied, "I spoke about taking time off. They understand and I can practically pick and choose my hours. Make up hours here and there, don't even have to give advance notice, just call them up, say when I'm leaving. They are being very good about it."
"Good." Alice replied, "We need to tell someone at Leopards Den. Pass the message on."
"Any preference?" Danny asked quietly,
"Not Liv or Fatani or Dup... Rosie or Caroline." Alice replied, "They can handle it and well... I think they'll help everyone through it better."
"Rosie then." Danny replied, "I agree... she's the oldest and well, she loves you a lot Alice."
"I love her too, I miss her." Alice murmured sadly.
"She's incredible." Danny smiled, before getting up, "I'll go give her a call." He leant down and kissed her gently, "If I can find the phone Mrs Gas-a-lot."
"It's in the kitchen." Alice smiled watching him walk away from her. She sighed; how had she landed Danny? She felt extremely lucky despite her ill health.
Danny sighed in relief as Rosie answered the phone. She sounded exceedingly chirpy and joyous and Danny could only guess what about.
"So Dad, would you like some news from me?" Rosie asked,
"Sure." Danny replied.
"Max is back and we're together again." She beamed, "We worked through our differences."
"That's great." Danny replied as enthusiastically as he could but Rosie could tell he was distracted; he always took on that distant tone.
"Dad what is it?" Rosie asked him straight out.
"It's Alice." Danny replied, "Rosie, we're both sorry to burden you with this but... look we need to tell you something which you need to tell the rest of the family. It's the real reason Alice needs to stay out here."
"Dad? Is everything ok?" Alice asked worriedly.
"Alice has the early stages of cervical cancer, she needs to have a hysterectomy to get better and halt the cancer. Obviously there's the get better period and stuff..."
"Oh my god... Dad." Rosie breathed, "Oh poor Alice. Of course I'll tell everyone. Is Alice ok?"
"She's being brave." Danny admitted, "She's amazing as always."
"Tell her I'll call her tonight." Rosie insisted, "I'll gather everyone straight away."
"Of course." Danny accepted,
"And Dad... tell her I love her." Rosie said softly, "I've never told her that in all seriousness. I've said it drunk and jokingly but... just tell her."
"She loves you too Rosie, misses you." Danny promised her.
"I'll call tonight Dad, keep strong." Rosie said strongly.
"I love you Rosie." Danny whispered.
"I love you too Dad, bye." Rosie replied before placing down the phone.
Danny clicked the button on the phone that ended the call before slowly placing it down. He swallowed, resting his head in his hands, resting on the kitchen table. He took a number of deep breaths before standing up straight. He had to be strong!
A/N – So everyone's finding out but Danny is trying to keep strong...
And I'm gutted about ITV's decision but at least we get a 2 hour special.