Way back when...
Robert is four and into everything. His nosey nature means he asks Danny and Alice a question they've never been asked before...
Spring was everyone's favourite season. Not cold enough for them to be stuck indoors in heavy clothes, nor too hot as for them to be stuck indoors sweating like a team of rugby players after extra time. No, spring was perfect. It warm enough for them to sit outside in content and so that was what they did. A rare day off had been called and but for the usual duties of care, neither Danny, Alice or Rosie had had one call out, one appointment or one bit of work to do. It was their first day off in months and they were using their time to their full advantage.
Danny smiled, a wave of familiarity and contentedness washing over him as he felt Alice tighten her grip around his waist, her head shifting slightly so it sat carefully upon his chest - the spot Alice had claimed as hers. They were sat upon the bench that looked out over the front of Leopard's Den and down to the animal hospital. In front of them, Robert was on the floor playing with his toy animals with Charlotte and to their right, Rosie was sat at a table trying to finish her dissertation. She'd decided to take a masters degree in Wild Animals and neither Danny nor Alice could be prouder. She'd made such a superb vet...
"This is good Mr Trevanion." Alice said in a low and husky tone, her voice laced with love and happiness as she reenacted the line she'd said on honeymoon. Danny smiled slightly, pulling her closer and kissing her gently upon the side of her head, his nose nuzzling her hair slightly.
"None too shabby Mrs Trevanion." Danny whispered back into her ear, his lips grazing it ever so slightly. "The whole day stretching out ahead of us..." He teased, stealing her line.
"A whole lifetime..." She retorted.
"Just me and you." They both echoed before laughing and settling back down into a contented hug, watching their son and his big sister play, completely at ease with one another.
"Mummy, Daddy..." Robert began looking towards them, awaiting their attention before ploughing on, "How did you meet and fall in love?"
Danny and Alice glanced at one another for a moment, their eyes full of humour, it was only when Rosie put her pen down and moved over to where Robert was did they break it as they saw three expectant pairs of eyes gazing up at them.
"You all seriously want the story of how we got together?" Danny asked, his question aimed more at Rosie and Charlotte.
"You've never actually told us how you got together..." Rosie told him, "And since Robbie asked so nicely..."
"He's four... and Charlie?"
"Rosie's right, you've never told us! One minute you were annoying us with not being together and next you were together and loved up..."
"How did you meet?" Robert pestered, "I don't know that..."
Alice laughed, rubbing her husband's chest slightly. "I was working as a locum vet, one that moves around to where they are needed, your Dad needed me here because there was a disease called rabies going around all the animals. We argued loads-"
"Still do." Charlotte intercepted cheekily.
"Anyway, your Dad obviously fancied me soooo much he offered me a job."
"NO! You fancied me." Danny retorted, "Besides, we needed a vet."
"No I didn't!" Alice argued, "And I only came on trial!"
"And why did you stay?" Danny pressed.
"Because I loved Rosie so much..." Alice retorted, "It wasn't for you..."
"MUM!" Robert shouted with his slight childish lisp, "You're going off the story!"
"Sorry..." Alice said seriously to her son.
"Daddy, carry on." Robert instructed looking at his father expectedly. Alice smirked as the limelight was thrust onto her Husband.
"Well... your Mum had a visit from her ex boyfriend and after a heartfelt speech from me she stayed... time flashed by and soon it had almost been a year since she first arrived... I was head over heels by this point but I couldn't bring myself to believe such a beautiful woman would want anything to do with me."
"And I couldn't believe he'd choose me over Vanessa..." Alice clarified.
"That's hardly competition Alice..." Rosie drawled, "Vanessa."
"She was at the time." Alice replied, "I loved your Dad by that point, it hurt to see him oblivious to that. Anyway, our calling came when the storm came."
"The storm?" Robert asked, his eyes wide. He was scared of storms, still not quite confident that the thunder wouldn't hurt him and the lightning wouldn't strike him. Alice sighed slightly, this probably wasn't going to help.
"We'd been an auction and your Mum and I had fallen out... she'd bought a giraffe when I told her not too. Anyway, she wanted to release and unfortunately for her, Dup wouldn't go and so she was lumbered with me. We worked it out and found the giraffe hurt, after an operation in the rain we waited for a while in the car to ensure he'd be ok and then we set off back..." Danny admitted.
"We also had a heart to heart... he helped me through stuff with my Dad. See he'd just died and we weren't friends." Alice continued.
"Anyway, on the way back a tree fell blocking the way... I decided to circle around in the bush off the road... me and your Mum were talking and something didn't seem quite right."
"I was about to tell you how I felt..." Alice admitted quietly. Danny turned to look down at her, she'd never told him that! "I'd had an earful off Dup all day about it..."
"Then the tree fell..." Danny finished.
Alice nodded before continuing, by this point Robert's eyes were wide and Rosie and Charlotte were staring at their parents in disbelief. They didn't know they'd gone through so much!
"I woke up and your Dad was badly injured, he was losing blood and fast. He was knocked out..." Alice told them, using language Robert would understand,
"Were you hurt Mummy?" Robert asked, now totally enthralled by the story.
"Hurt? You should have seen the state of her..." Charlotte retorted.
"I hurt my shoulder..." Alice told them, "It wasn't much..."
"No you only collapsed on your way to find help..." Rosie responded, she'd heard this part of the story before.
"You left Daddy?" Robert asked her in confusion.
"I had too, see he was dying and I couldn't help him... he needed a doctor." She explained, "I didn't want to leave him; one of the hardest things I'd ever had to do actually."
"Woah..." Rosie murmured, "How did you do it?"
"I don't know..." Alice shrugged, "I suppose it was the thought of him-"
"dying..." Danny said for her knowing she didn't like to think or talk about it. In all honesty, to this day even he didn't know everything she'd gone through. Now and then she'd tell him a new detail and he'd be shocked all over again and amazed by her strength.
"Danny." Alice warned in a light tone, she was grateful but still couldn't fully bear it... she'd said it once and that had been enough, "I left my Mum's locket with him and then I..." She looked down, she'd never even told Danny about this... "I kissed him."
"You never told me that?" Danny whispered as he took her hand, squeezing it tightly.
"Good Luck..." Alice whispered back.
"Anyway, I was so tired and just as I collapsed the supplier saw me, I'd run after him but I thought I'd missed him... then I remember Vanessa and Fatani, going back to Mara, Leopards Den... we started a huge search operation. Rowan found him." Alice continued, "I began preparations to leave."
"Leave?" Rosie questioned in confusion.
"Vanessa lied. Told Alice we were together... When she got back, I knew something wasn't right but I ignored it. The storm had been hard and I had my own internal battle going on about whether or not I did something... I hardly knew she was packing to go."
"You packed?!" Rosie exclaimed.
"I wanted to shoot through." Alice admitted shamefully, "Goodbye's were too hard."
"Coward..." Charlotte teased.
"Yeh... I am. I run..." Alice said quietly,
"It wasn't a dig."
"But it was true." Alice corrected her daughter, taking away her guilt.
"Hamley arrived back on the morning, I remember walking out and seeing your Mum stood there with him and everything changed. The golden glow of her skin, that natural ease around him, the dazzling smile... everything suddenly made sense. I wanted to go the giraffe copy with her, help her release him back... then Georgina came and squashed the plan."
"So mechanical Mr Trevanion." Alice teased.
"What plan?" Robert asked innocently.
"To tell her I loved her..." Danny responded, "Didn't work and I was ushered to rest."
"Ach man, I tried to go with her..." Dup intercepted as he came out of the house and sat on the veranda steps, he'd overheard the conversation and decided to come and join in. "Woman was serious. She didn't even pretend she didn't like Danny when I asked her if it was Danny upsetting her..."
"Vanessa arrived, tried to kiss me... I saw the suitcases as I turned away. It felt like someone had ripped my heart out and tore it into a thousand pieces." Danny admitted, "Ribs smashed in bits or the body of health, I realised I had to stop her, tell her. The drive there was hell... the battle of what if I forced her further away, then it hit me, or maybe it was a reason to stay? She was going anyway and as much as I loved her, did I really want contact with her if she did go?"
"You two would have seriously just got on with life?" Rosie asked in disbelief.
"Clean break." Alice shrugged, "I wouldn't have allowed you to find me... and as much as it killed me, the contact would be too much."
"You really loved each other... even back then?" Rosie said quietly.
"Yeh." Alice admitted, "Anyway, I was releasing my giraffe having a nice little cry to myself when this big lumox came and intruded!"
"She tried to dismiss me, saying it didn't matter why she was leaving..." Danny said softly,
"But then you said it does... I don't know why I did it but I just told him... because I love you"
"And I know that you don't love me and I know you have feelings for Vanessa- I was shaking my head intolerably at how wrong she had it and so I shut her up with a kiss."
"Eww... Daddy!" Robert exclaimed giggling, "Why'd you wanna kiss anyone?"
Everyone laughed as Alice continued, "Then he turned all romantic, saying from the first time I set eyes on you... the first time... and then-"
"They snogged!" Dup shouted causing Danny and Alice to blush and everyone else to laugh.
"And that's how we got together... the story." Danny smiled, "Satisfied?"
"That was so cute..." Rosie said, her voice full of emotion, "Dad I never knew you could be so romantic!"
"Can't believe how close we were to leaving..." Charlotte murmured.
"I think you're both stupid." Robert announced, "If you love someone just tell them..."
Alice laughed as Robert stood up and walked off into the house. He was so blunt sometimes but he always seemed to make sense. Danny smiled at her warmly as everyone else too seemed to wander off.
"Animals!" Rosie called, winking at them both as they stood up grumbling...
It was only later in the evening when everyone had retired to bed, did Danny and Alice get any time alone with one another again. They'd been dragged left, right and centre after dealing with the animals with Robert wanting one thing and Charlotte wanting another before an unexpected visit from Liv and Fatani meant they'd all ended up having a family meal followed by a movie night. Now, as they stood in their room, they finally had what they'd been seeking.
"I've loved today." Alice commented as she whipped her shirt off, throwing it into the laundry basket.
"Me too... Alice..." Danny asked her as she began to pull at her vest top.
"Why didn't you ever mention about the kiss?" Danny asked, walking over to her and gently removing her vest top.
She shrugged, "It never came up and... it's a painful memory Danny. You were so unresponsive, it felt so final." She whispered, removing his t-shirt and running her hand over the scar that remained from his injury.
"It was the start of something beautiful." Danny whispered, "I was just saving my response for now." He winked, kissing her passionately before moving down to her collar bone. His hands working their way up her back as she closed her eyes, leaning into him.
"Danny..." Alice breathed, running her hands up his chest and neck to capture his face in both hands, "I love you."
"I love you too Mrs Trevanion... from the first time I set my eyes on you... the first time..."
A/N - Apologies for my lack of writing! At uni and so busy x