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The Heart Brings You Back

Guest princess.sparkle

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Story Title: The Heart Brings You Back

Type of story: long fic

Main Characters: Leah, Vinnie, Dan

BTTB rating: T

Genre: Romance

Does story include spoilers: Not that I know of

Any warnings: Nothing beyond the mild stuff shown of episodes of Home and Away

Summary: Vinnies reappearance and the effect it has on Leah and Dan

Rating- T

The beach was as beautiful as ever, the sun just sinking over the horizon. Paul could taste the salt air in his mouth and feel the sea breeze run through his air. He felt a shiver go down his spine, just looking out towards the beautiful beach brought back many memories of his time in the bay. The time he'd spent on that very beach fulfilling his duties as a life guard. Talking and joking with his many friends, most of which he asumed were gone by now. But his fondest memories were those of his beautiful wife, the love of his life and his baby son, at least he was a baby all those years a ago. As he remembered the family he left behind tears filled his eyes and he felt one roll down his cheek. Was it fair to come back after all these years, was it fair on his wife, his son? They'd have moved on by now, she would probably be married and happy, and his son would have another father to teach him to surf, to take him to school, to cheer him on at his first footie match. He had debated for a long time, spent many sleepless nights wondering whether he should go back and despite finding many reasons why he shouldn't the one he found to go back was too strong to discard- love. Now that he was here he felt a pang of guilt, guilt for being about to walk back into their lives, guilt for the pain he caused them and for the pain he knew he was about to cause. But he'd come this far and now there was no going back.


He mustered all the stregnth and courage he had to lift his fist and knock on the door of the house he had once called home. He had butterflies in his stomach, his mouth was dry, his palms sweaty and his heart was beating so fast he was it was about to burst. Then there she was, as beautiful and radiant as the first time he had laid eyes on her. "Vinnie!" As tears bega to fill Leah's eyes she put her arms around him and held him tightly, this- this moment- was all Vinnie had dreamt about for thiese past few years. Every night he'd hold her in his arms, her and little VJ, but then morning would come and he'd have to let go all over again. But this time was for real, the moment that kept him going while he was in prison had finally been realised

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Hours later Vinnie and Leah sat at the kitchen table, he had explained how his death was faked due to his testimony against a fellow prisoner which then led him to be put into winess protection as a man named Paul. He had also explained how this protection was no longer needed due to the man he had testified against having died a few months back. Leah had told him how she was now married to man named Dan Baker who happened to be in the city that night with his son, visiting his son's mother and his brother. VJ was staying over at a friends, so it was just him and Leah, like old times, except it wasn't. There was no more him and Leah. There was, however, Leah and Dan, and then there was Vinnie.

"Leah all these years...do you ever tink about me... about us?"

"Vinnie, I thought about you every single day for years on end- it was all I thought about. About what we had, what we could have had, but you walked away-"


"No Vinnie you walked away! You walked away from me, from our son! You walked away from our future! And for what to testify against some man you didn't even know!" All of a sudden all the years of pain and hurt Leah had felt came flooding out, "You left us Vinnie! You left us!" She scremed at him with tears streaming down her face as she got up from the table and walked into the living room. Vinnie thought he'd leave her for a little while, she had every right to be hurt and angry, and she was right- he had left them, but not a day went by when he didn't hate himself for it, when he didn't want, more than anything, to be with them, to hold them. To tell them that he loved them.


As Leah sat on the couch and cried she remembered all the times when she wanted more than anything in the world for Vinnie to walk back into the door, but then she had grieved for him, come to terms with the fact that he was dead, that the love of her life was dead and was not coming back no matter how much she wanted him to. Since then Leah had met Dan and they had married- and she loved him, she truly did, him and Ryan. But Vinnie would always be her first love and the love of her life- the man who could enfuriate her yet make her laugh at the same time, make her feels warm and fuzzy inside, melt her heart every time he told her how much he loved her. Vincent Patterson- the sweetest, kindest, most caring man she had ever known, the man who had captured her heart all those many years ago. She thought she was angry at him for abandoning her and VJ, but in her heart she knew that it was not Vinnie she was angry at but her self. She should have protected him, protected him from his vile father, protected him from his own sweet and truting nature, protected him just like he had always done for her. Vinnie testifying against that man- that was just another example of his good heart- one of the many things she loved him for.

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After a while Vinnie took a deep breath and walked into the living area to see Leah sat on the couch.

"Leah, I'm sorry-"

"Vinnie, it's-"

"No Leah, I need to say this, plaese. I'm sorry for leaving you and VJ, and I promise you not a day has, or will go by without me hating myself for the hurt and pain I caused you."

"Oh Vinnie..."

With tears in both their eyes, they held onto each other as tightly as they could.


The next morning Vinnie's eye's opened to the sound of approaching footsteps, and then a man was stood over him, anger in his eyes. At that moment Leah too awoke, still in Vinnies arms. "Dan", she said as she and Vinnie jumped up off the couch, "What - what are you doing back so soon? I thought you were staying at Amanda's for a few mores days? Where's Ryan?"

"Oh he's staying with Amanda for a few more days, I just wanted to surprise you. Clearly, it looks like i'm the one who got a surprise."

"Dan...this is Vinnie"

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A little while later, after Vinnie and Dan had been formerly introduced and Vinnie had been invited to stay with them for as long as he needed, Leah and Dan had needed to go out somewhere and had told Vinnie to make himself at home while they were gone. This made Vinnie laugh little inside- make himself at home in what once was actually his home, his and Leahs- and little VJ's. He began to wonder what VJ would now look like- the last time he'd seen him he was just a baby. Vinnie used to think that all young baby's looked the same and didn't understand when people used to say that they looked like their parents or uncle or aunty. Of course, that all changed when little VJ came along, Vinnie could tell straight away that he had Leahs eyes- big, beautiful and a deep shade of brown that reminded him of chocolate mudcake, incidently Vinnies favourite food- and nose- the cutest, sweetest little nose that Vinnie had ever seen. His chin however looked like Vinnies- or so people had said- and Vinnie loved the thought that both him and Leah were evident in another little person- that they themselves had made.

Vinnie began to wonder what VJ would now look like, then it occured to him that there must be a photo somewhere of him- of course- the mantlepiece, him and Leah had always kept phots on there. Scanning the mantle piece Vinnie's eyes landed on a photo of him and Leah on their wedding day, they looked so happy and his thoughts drifted back a few years- the wedding itself had been filled with a few minor disasters- a few arguments in Leahs family, an argument between their good friend Jude and Leahs brother Chris among them. But to Vinnie the was the most wonderful day of his life and he had never known a happiness like it, well until VJ was born anyway.

Back to the present day and Vinnie's attention landed on another photo, this was him this was his son! It was a photo of VJ, Leah, Dan and Another young boy, about 10 or 11- Dans son he assumed as Leah had told him about him. Little VJ was exteremely cute- quite a spunk actually thought Vinnie- well for a five year old anyway. But seeing that photo confirmed what Vinnie's brain had long thought but his heart had refused to accept- that Leah had moved on, that her and VJ had a new family of their own, and it didn't include Vinnie.


Leah and Dan had gotten a call that morning from the hospital- they were on a waiting list for an appointment, an appointment to begin IVF. Someone had cancelled and Doctor Neil had a free appointment, 'would Dan and Leah like to take it?' she'd been asked. Yes she'd replied, for want of other words to speak. Now here they were about to walk into the hospital- to discuss having another child. Dan had been extremely kind towards Vinnie, inviting him to stay with them, but this jsut made Leah feel worse, feel worse about not truly being able to let go of her first love.


Vinnie stood there in the empty house that was once his home, he began to remember all the times he and Leah had spent there together- thier wedding night, subsequent nights after, evenings when she would cook the most amazing meals for them, and Vinnie's favourite- the nights he and Leah would spend curled up on the sofa doing nothing at all but lying in each others arms. It was in those moments that Vinnie felt there may as well be noone else in the world at all.......


Colleen walked up the road towards the Patterson-Baker house- she was going to return some recipe books that Leah had lent her as she knew today was Leahs day off, she had also baked her some lamingtons - she knew they were VJ's favourite.

"Yoo-hoo! Only me, now I 've brought you these books you lent me, and then there's these lamingtons- little VJ's...-Vinnie? Vincent Patterson?!?"


There was a a loud smash as she dropped the glass plate of Lamingtons, screamed at the top of her lungs and ran back out the door. "Good to see you too", muttered Vinnie

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Vinnie knew that now that Colleen had seen him it wouldn't be very long before the rest of the town knew he was back, good old Colleen can always be trusted to spread the word thought Vinnie.


"It's him! I saw him with my own two eyes! I'm telling you it was him!" Screamed Colleen hysterically as she ran into the Diner kitchen where Irene was stood sorting out the shopping lists.

"What? What was who?"

"I'm telling you Irene it was him, I saw him! There he was- fresh as a daisy, as real as you and me! It was him, I swear! It-"

"What the flamin' hell is she on about now?" Asked Alf bursting into the kitchen, "I can hear you from outside!"

"It was him! Ohh it was! Just stood there I'm telling you-"

"What did you do that for!?" Screamed Collen, Irene had just thrown a glass of water over her.

"To calm you down woman, now are you going to tell us what the flamin' hell is going on or not?"

"Alf, Irene..." Said a familiar voice.

"It's him, It told you it was him!" Whispered Colleen.

"Vinnie?" Exclaimed Alf and Irene.

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A while later Alf, Irene and Vinnie were sat in the corner of the diner as he explained to them about the whole witness protection situation he was in.

"And there it is" Vinnie concluded.

"So are you back for good dahl?" enquired Irene.

"Well we'll see how it goes"

"And, um, how's Leah taken all this?" asked Irene hesitantly.

"Well she was pretty upset at first- and who can blame her? But, I think she might be beggining to come round, her and Dan asked me to stay with them."

"I take it you haven't seen young VJ yet?" Alf said

"No, no he was staying over at a friends- I can't wait to see him though" Vinnie said excitedly, inside he was nervous as hell. What if VJ hated him?

"Oh it is so good to see you back dahl" smiled Irene as she got up to go back into the kitchen, "I'll be back with you in tick".

"Yeah, it is great to see you mate, it really is. Welcome back" Alf said, somewhat emotionally as he got up, shook Vinnie's hand and hugged him.


At the Northen District Hospital Leah and Dan sat side by side listening to Doctor Griffin talk about the IVF procedure and what they should expect and although Leah could hear the words come out of his mouth she could not bring her self to understand them. Her body was in that hospital room, but her mind and her heart were elsewhere. She felt something wet on her face, then a familiar voice- Dan's-

"Leah what do you think?", "Leah?"

"Sorry, um, what was that?"


"I'm sorry, I can't do this", whispered Leah as she got up and made her way out of the room with tears sailing down her face.

As she hurried out of the hospital she bumped into her good friend Rachel, "Leah?", "Leah what's wrong?" Leah looked back at her, unable to construct words together. "Come on I've just finished up here, lets go talk, ok?" said Rachel reassuringly. Leah nodded back in acceptance, tears still streaming down her face.

Half an hour later they sat on the beach as Leah told Rachel about Vinnie's return. "Leah, do you still love him?"

"All this time, I grieved for him, I accepted that he wasn't coming back, I married Dan, and now it's like losing him all over again. I mean he's here but I can never be with him,Dan..."

"Oh Leah" Rachel put her arm around her best friend as she cried her eyes out.

"It's just so hard Rach..." weeped Leah

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  • 3 weeks later...

One week on and Vinnie was still living with Dan and Leahs, he had finally met his son at long last. What he felt when he saw him, it was indescribable, the surge of overwhelming emotion, the tide of love he felt for him. VJ was a little shy around Vinnie at first, but he was slowly getting used to him, Vinnie was even spending the afternoon with him while Leah was working at the diner. This- being with Leah and VJ was all Vinnie had wanted for all these years, except even now he wasn't with Leah, not really, and Viine had to keep reminding himself that Leah was no longer with him, she was with Dan. And yet Vinnie's heart broke everytime he saw her and realised that he would never be with her again. Although these last few days he had witnessed an awkwardness whenever he was alone with Leah and Dan, he wondered if there was something wrong, but assumed it was just the pressure of having him around all the time. He would have to move out soon, he knew that, he didn't want to cause problems between Leah and Dan- thats the last thing he wanted, if he couldn't have her he atleast wanted her to be happy, and Dan made her happy. So Vinnie decided to start looking for a place to live that very day.



"Hey" Dan answered Leah.

"What can I get you?" Leah brought her self to ask her husband.

"Just a flat white thanks." Dan replied bluntly, he knew Leah was hurting, but so was he ever since the day at the hospital him and Leah had barely spoken. Well they'd spoken, but in the manner of strangers- what would he like to do for dinner, what time would she be home, who was picking Ryan and VJ up- not about the things that mattered, not about them, not about Vinnie.

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"Hey Leah", Vinnie said gently, after staring at her working in the Diner's kitchen for what seemed like an eternity but in reality amounted to mere seconds. "I just wanted to let you know that I'll be out of your hair pretty soon".

"What?" Stuterred Leah alarmed at the thought of losing Vinnie again.

"Irene- she's said that I can stay at here place for a while..."

"Oh, you know you don't have to- you can stay at ours for as long as you need- there's plenty of room." Said Leah, a sense of almost desperateness in her voice.

"I know, and I am grateful to you and Dan for that, but I can't stay with you forever"

"Vinnie, you've only been there just over a week."

"I know, I just you know- thought I should give you and Dan some space to sort things out"

"What? Me and Dan are fine! And even if- what gives you the right to judge the state of our marriage!?!" Leah screamed angrily.

"Leah I didn't mean to judge you-"

"Yeah well you did" Said Leah bluntly.

"Leah I just, I'm sorry, all I meant was that having me around might not be the easiest thing for you and Dan and maybe you'd like some space." Explained Vinnie.

"Well me and Dan are fine so you don't need to worry" Leah said with a confidence which betrayed her inner feelings as she convinced her self it was true although deep down she knew otherwise.

"Ok, well I'm going to take some of my stuff over later today, so I should be out by this evening." Said Vinnie with a sense of sadness in his voice.

"Fine" replied Leah.

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As Leah lit the candles to set off the romantic meal she'd prepared for herself and Dan the incident with Vinnie played on her mind. She had not meant to scold him, but he had touched a nerve with his comment about her and Dan- he was right they had serious problems and it did not help that all she could think about was Vinnie. Maybe he was right, having him gone would give Dan and Leah the space to work things out, if only she didn't miss him so much.


"Hey Dan" Jack called out, "How do you feel about a boys' night out tonight?"

"Yeah sounds good, count me in" Anything had to be better than going home to Vinnie and Leah, and pointless polite conversation between the three of them, which was exactly how it had been for the past few days. "I'll just give Leah a call"


Leah went into the bedroom to get dressed in time for Dan's return home, she had been torn over a silk emerald knee-legnth dress with delicate beading, or a black chiffon one which had been Vinnie's favourite, it had spaghetti straps and gathering at the waist, and a satin trim at the hem line. She recalled the memories in both the dresses, many of them had been with Vinnie, but she could not afford to think of those now, tonight was about her and Dan. In the end she decided on the emerald. As she changed into her dress, the phone in the lounge began to ring, she did not manage to get to it in time however.

After she had finished putting the dress on she heard the oven timer and rushed to take the mousaka out of the oven, as she reached over to get the oven mitts she managed to knock over a bottle of olive of and spill it onto her dress, it was ruined! She had no choice but to change out of it and into the black one- Vinnie's favourite.

When she had finished getting ready she went back out into the living area and realised she had a message on the answerphone. As she pressed 'play' her husbands voice spoke out, "Hi Leah, I was just calling to let you know that I'll be home pretty late tonight - me and boys are having a boy's night out, well don't wait up for me, I'll see you in the morning, have a good night, bye." With that Dan and ruined their chance of getting their marriage back on track, but Leah could not blame him, he wasn't to know. That did not stop her from hurting and as she blew out the candles she sat down and began to sob her heart out.

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Vinnie knocked on the door of Leah and Dan's, he thought maybe noone was home as all the lights appeared to be off, but he thought it was worth a shot anyway. He knocked for a second time and then began to walk away as there did not seem to be anyone home, just then he heard some one open the door and as he turned around he saw Leah standing there, her beautiful face was illuminated by the moon light, her deep chocolate hair glistened and she wore a black dress that emphasised her narrow waist and showed of her hourglass figure, Vinnie thougth for a moment and realised that he recocnised that dress- it was one of his favourites. "Hey you're wearing that dress" spoke Vinnie softly and then he realised that her eye's appeared to be red and her cheeks wet- "Leah, what's happened, why are you crying?" said Vinnie shocked.

"It's- it's nothing, really" Leah tried in vain to convince both vinnie and her herself.

"Leah, come on, what is it?" Vinnie put his arms around her in a bid to comfort her.

"I, I thought it was ok, that it would be ok, but its not, it hasn't been for a while now and it never will be again" sobbed Leah.

She then went on to relay the events of the evening to her ex-husband. "I know that Dan loves me, and I love him too but...I don't think I ever stopped loving you..." whispered Leah as she and Vinnie both leaned their faces closer towards each other the chemistry still obviously there, their fire still burning after all this time, as their lips touched Leah wanted more than anything to give in to her passion and desires, so too did Vinnie, but she couldn't allow herself to, she was scared that if she did she might not be able to stop. "Vinnie..." Leah whispered softly as she pulled away from him.

"I know" said Vinnie tears glistening his eyes "I- I came to drop off VJ's teddy, I must have packed it by mistake" with that he turned around and walked straight out, not being able to bear being so close to Leah, yet so far away.

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