"There." Danny smiled as he stood back and wrapped an arm around Charlotte, "Perfect."
"Almost." Charlotte said quietly, "Mum's still not here."
"She'll get through this Charlie. She's stronger than we give her credit."
"She's not superhuman though is she?" Charlotte asked, "Can Mum really survive a fire?"
"I did." Danny replied, "It was your Mum who..."
"It doesn't matter." Danny shook his head and walked away, "I just, I can't."
"Did Mum..." Charlotte began,
"Charlotte, don't be cruel." Danny begged, turning around and looking her directly in the eye. "I know you won't intend to be but... I don't want to talk about those last moments with your Mum ok?"
"Did you argue? At least tell me that."
'No, the opposite." Danny responded before remaining silent and looking out of the window. Charlotte stood stationary for a few moments, before nodding and walking off. Danny sighed, "That's what kills me the most." He whispered.
The next morning at breakfast, there was an unusual quietness and hush about the table. Liv was sat shoveling scrambled egg into her mouth as though it was a hated chore and Charlotte was more interested in playing with it than actually eating it.
"You should eat Charlotte." Rosie smiled, walking around to sit down with her own plate off Nomsa.
"I don't want to."
"Rosie's right..." A strong South African voice boomed, "You should keep your strength up."
"Max?!" Liv squeaked.
"Oright, oright!" Rosie called before everyone could begin nagging, "Caroline you needn't looking at us like that! Max and I are seeing how things go..."
"That pilot won't be happy, Dylan."
"He never stood a chance." Rosie said to Caroline who went back to eating her scrambled egg in the most elegant manner imaginable. "Where's Dad?" When no one answered, Rosie shook her head, "So not one of you has checked he's ok?"
"He was checking on Robert." Nomsa called.
"Thank you Nomsa." Rosie smiled standing up, "If you'll excuse me."
"Rosie!" Max whimpered.
"Max, you know who they are!" Rosie sighed before walking off leaving Max to smile awkwardly and engage in the small talk of the table.
Robert grinned as Danny dressed him, playing with him as he did so. Robert was growing to be such a beautiful little boy and Danny cursed himself for not being there for his son. He'd done nothing more than imitated his father and that was something he could never be proud of. Still, he'd make it up to his son and his mother, and never hide the reasoning behind missing those precious years, no matter how ashamed he was.
"Do you need a hand?" Rosie asked, quietly letting herself in.
"A lift to the hospital?" Danny smiled, "I'm going to go see Mummy and Mr Robbie is going to nursery."
"Any news?" Rosie asked.
"Not that we know of..." Danny said in a sing song voice to Robert, despite the fact the statement was intended for his daughter, "What do you think?" He asked his daughter properly. "Is he dressed ok?"
"If you mean does he look presentable, yes. Very smart. I can see Alice has worked on that fashion sense of yours." Rosie smirked, "I'm glad."
Danny chuckled warmly, "Yes, but Alice can do all this is four seconds flat. How she gets his arms in and his legs in so quickly..." He shook his head, "When will you be ready?"
"When you've had-"
"I ate early." Danny intervened. "I was up at three am so I just got on with the animals."
"Jesus Dad." Rosie breathed, "Sure, yeh, let's go."
"Thanks Rosie." Danny smiled, "It means a lot."
Rosie said nothing, instead just smiling as she picked Robert up, playing with him immediately. Danny watched them for a moment wondering if his daughter could amaze him anymore than she already had. He shook his head before walking out of his room, following Rosie through to the kitchen. He smiled at everyone until he realised that one person extra was sitting at the table.
"Max?" Danny asked, shock evident in his tone.
"Danny!" Max gasped, standing up ramrod straight.
"Max, sit down. I'm not Lord of the manor." Danny chuckled, "I was just... surprised."
"I'll explain in the car Dad." Rosie smiled. Danny nodded content and walked on ahead of her. Robbie was itching to follow in Rosie's arms, "Sorry Max, I'll be about an hour?"
"It's ok." Max sighed, "Do what you have to do. I'll help Dup out for a bit."
Rosie nodded before walking off, much to Robbie's delight, after her father.
Max glanced uneasily at Dup as he drove them far out into the bush. Max might not have been here for a while but he knew that this was miles away. Dup obviously had an ulterior motive, he was being far too 'gutted' about Max not running the bar.
"Dup, what is it?" Max asked quietly.
Dup brought the Jeep to a halt, killing the engine before resting back in his seat.
"I don't want Rosie hurt again." Dup said quietly, "I know it's not your intention but... that divorce, she's a good actress but even she couldn't hide the pain in her eyes."
"I'm not here to hurt her. I love her Dup." Max replied simply, "Yes, I admit. I hurt her, but she also hurt me. She rang me in this time of need and I'm here... I'd been planning on calling her anyway... life isn't the same without Rosie. I realise now, just what she means to me."
"Only stay if you do love her." Dup warned, "There's a difference between loving someone and being in love with someone."
Max nodded slowly as Dup started the engine. Thoughts filling his mind about his future, would it be alone, or would it be with Rosie?
A/N - So a fire alarm did actually go off about 2 minutes after posting Getting Through It update haha!
Anyway, Danny is off to see Alice, will there be any news? And Dup is warning Max, but has he warned him off?