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Can't Stand From Falling Down

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Story Title: Can't Stand From Falling Down.

Type of story: Short/Medium fic

Main Characters: Nicole, Roman, Geoff, Annie, Ruby and Natalie

BTTB rating: T (just in case) slight (SC) later on.

Genre: Drama/Angst

Does story include spoilers: Yes for UK viewers, its all speculation after that.

Any warnings: There's some slight sexual content later on but its all vague and mainly hinted at.

Summary: After the tragedy of the OC the walls protecting Nicole's many secrets begin to fall and Roman finally realises how much damage not being there for 17 years has done, while Geoff is left to pick up the pieces.

Can't Stand From Falling Down.

Chapter 1

She’d been taught to swim by a babysitter her mother had paid, someone who thought holding a four year olds head underwater and letting them kick was an appropriate form of learning.

Still, she was good at it, she had a knack for holding her breath, never knowing both the metaphorical and the physical skill would one day save her life. Holding her breath, pretending she still had air, holding her breath, meant keeping her secrets from those who wished to know, because they were on the surface and she was below.

Now, she could still breathe underwater but she could no longer swim, the wave’s crashed on the shore in front of her and she wondered why she was so full of trepidations at even letting her feet get wet, she wondered why she suddenly felt nauseous, why suddenly the back of her eyelids prickled and her throat constricted.

It occurred to her that she could no longer breathe underwater, that she could no longer hold her breath; he’d stolen the air from her lungs and with it, the ability to block out the world around her.

She could no longer pretend it hadn’t happened, like she could no longer tread water, because everyone knows once your lungs begin to burn and all the oxygen is gone you have to return to the surface for air, because no one can hold their breath for the rest of their lives.


“Nat, again this is Roman, leaving you another message; please get back to me, its really important.” He let dead air cross the phone line before finally hanging up with a sigh. One not missed by the business partner over his left shoulder, the knife in Irene’s hand stilled as she paused for thought. “Still not picking up?” she asked rhetorically.

Roman sighed aggravated, shifting his sling with a grunt, “No and I’m left wondering where in hell she could be, I tried her office, she’s not there but also not picking up her mobile.”

“You sure you got the right number?” Irene asked with a curious quirk of her lips.

Roman nodded, “Yeah, I got it off Nicole and it works for her.”

Irene shrugged, “Well then all you can do is keep trying, you can’t expect her to be mad for not knowing for so long if she’s the one not answering her calls.”

Roman gave a rye smile, “Oh yes I can Irene, when she finds out, I fully expect to be punched for it, Nat will hit the roof.”

“But how is it even slightly your fault?” Irene asked doubtfully.

Roman gave a dry laugh, only half amused, “It’s not, but then it would be her fault and nothings ever her fault, you should have heard her rant when she found out she was pregnant.”

Irene gave a short laugh, “How did she manage to blame that one all on you, two to tango and all that jazz…”

Roman rolled his eyes, “Apparently, she slipped.” He joked sarcastically.


“Annie your oven’s on fire.” Ruby said casually as she peered over the top of her girly magazine.

The teen sitting opposite to her jumped and whipped around all in one motion before bolting into the kitchen and snagging oven mitts. The brunette coughed as she pried the door open, grey smoke quickly filling the air and rising in plumes to smack her in the face.

“What’s going on?” asked a curious voice from the stairs, Ruby leant backwards in her chair to get a good look at the bemused face of Geoff.

“Do you like your cakes medium or well done?” she asked conversationally.

Geoff looked pained, “Is she still baking?” he asked tiredly.

“Third time’s the charm.” Ruby chirped.

Geoff gave a good natured shake of his head as Annie retrieved the blackened, rock hard excuse for something resembling a chocolate cake and hastily dumped it on the kitchen counter.

“Unless it’s lined with some kind of truth telling potion I don’t know what she expects to get out of you with that.” Ruby said giving Geoff a curious once over.

His spine snapped straight, as it did whenever the topic came up, he cleared his throat, “There’s nothing to tell.” he said firmly.

Ruby rolled her eyes, “Please,” she scoffed, “You were stuck for days on a deserted island with the girl you’ve got the hots for, not to mention the distinct lack of clothing, if that’s not a story to tell, I don’t know what is.”

Geoff felt his cheeks begin to burn and quickly avoided her eye, “Nothing happened Ruby,” he muttered, “she was sick, you know that, and I was busy trying to keep us alive, there’s no story.”

“Well okay,” Ruby said with a twinkle of her eyes and a quick grin, “but if not that, then how ‘bout you tell us what you were doing on that boat in the first place, if Nicole doesn’t mean ever so much to you?” she asked suspiciously.

Again Geoff blushed, but this time he was powerless to hide it and instead slipped from the room with a hasty muttering of excuses. Annie looked over form the kitchen counter as he left with a frown, “I think we’re out of eggs,” she said.

Ruby shook her head, “Relax Annie, your never going to get anywhere with that line of questioning, I’ve got a better idea.” At her companions curious look Ruby continued with a glint in her eye, “We go for an exclusive, straight form the source, after all, Geoff wasn’t the only one stuck on that island.”


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Thanks guys, I really appreciate all the encouragement, iv'e never written fanfiction before, so it's nice to know i don't suck at it. :wink:

Chapter 2


He felt guilty because he didn’t feel guilty. That didn’t even make sense to him but it was still the truth. From his youngest years it had been drilled into him, burned into his brain.

And now he had betrayed that learning, he felt guilty because he didn’t care, because he didn’t hate himself, he didn’t see himself as a sinner and he should have, by those teachings he should have, but he didn’t hate himself so he hated himself for that instead.

He felt guilty because he didn’t feel guilty and by all means, he should.


“You like it?”


“How was school?”


“Did anything happen?”


“What’s a one syllable answer?”


She gave him a small smile that seemed transparent to his eyes, that wasn’t the normal cheeky grin; there was no mischief in that smile.

Roman neglected his specialty noodle soup and looked at her closely, “Are you okay?” he asked.

“I’m great.”

He gave her a sceptical look.

“See, that was two.” She pointed out in a hollow attempt at her old humour. Something was very wrong.

“I might go to bed, thanks for dinner.” She said quickly with a flash of a smile, Roman barley had a chance to nod before she was gone over the threshold and up the stairs.

It didn’t make sense, saving her life, saving her, giving up everything for his baby girl was supposed to bring them closer, it was supposed to say all the things he couldn’t put into words, it wasn’t supposed to force them further apart, it wasn’t supposed to put a block on all forms of conversation.

But with a sigh Roman realised, that was exactly what it had done.


“Now girly, lets not be nosy,” Irene chided, hands on hips.

Annie looked sheepish, “I’m not.” she whined. “I’m trying to help; he’s my brother Irene,”

The elder women refrained from rolling her eyes in an affectionate way; instead she gave Annie a daring look, “I’m well aware of your blood ties missy, but that doesn’t give you a right to pry. And the same goes for Ruby, its none of your business.”

“Did he tell?” Annie asked with a pout.

Irene shook her head, “The word came from Jai not Geoff, so blame him, but I’m glad he spilled, Geoff’s been through a lot lately, he doesn’t need you pestering him every five minutes, general concern is fine, but don’t push him.”

“We’re not going to.” Annie said quickly, “Honest.”

Irene watched her ‘daughter’ closely for a few second before adding “And don’t bug Nicole either, she’s the same as Geoff.”

Annie looked guilty and Irene knew she had hit the girls’ plans on the head, she nodded satisfied, “You just leave them both alone, and they’ll come around to telling us in the meantime.”


“Don’t Annie, good intentions aside I’m guessing a lot of it we wouldn’t understand, so that makes it none of our business.”

“But something’s wrong with him Irene, I can see it.” She muttered softly.

Irene frowned, “I can too girly, but that doesn’t give us an excuse to go use a microscope on the boy, he’ll be fine and if not, we’ll help him then.”

Annie opened her mouth to argue but Irene cut her off with a look, the teen was left feeling like a piece of discarded string, so much potential without a purpose. She gnawed on the inside of her cheek with worry. For now she didn’t know if Irene was right, and that meant she’d have to spend time figuring out who was wrong.


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Thanks maccaz :)

Chapter 3


He had always had vision, he dreamed like all others, years ago his dreams had never been this, had never been anything like this, they’d been of glamour, future and happiness, and those dreams had been shattered like candy glass the day Mark made everything go to hell. And now he could dream of nothing else, nothing other then what he had right in front of him.

His daughter, his surrogate son, his girlfriend.

These were his dreams now, but it had taken him too long to realise it, why he’d been off chasing hope, unavoidable cracks had begun to appear in his real future, in the future star of his dream.

She was damaged now, because he had put her off for so long, because he had pretended she wasn’t a part of his future. Now his present, she was the thing that mattered most, but it was what had happened before, when she wasn’t his dreams that he worried about, had his dreams cost him his future? Had all the time he’d spent pretending he had another destiny cost her a place in his world.

Had he lost his daughter because he’d spent too much time dreaming of more?

Now she was in his dreams, dreams of a future, but they were ever so slightly turning into nightmares and he was loosing her all over again.


“Scary isn’t it?” his voice was soft but carried quickly on the sea breeze, she barley acknowledged him, only a flicker of her eyes suggested she knew he was there.

Geoff stood over her shoulder looking out over the headland with her, “What is?” she asked her voice a whisper, he wouldn’t have heard it had he not been standing so close.

“The ocean,” he clarified, “I can’t look at it without seeing…well…you know.” He shrugged the last part, his eyes downcast.

Nicole gave a small smile which was anything but happy, “You see me drowning?” her eyes flashed, “Pity, I see me floating.”


“Nothing.” She replied in a snap turning to face him with a brilliant smile on her face, she didn’t realise how truly transparent it was. “What are you doing here?” she asked conversationally.

He shrugged, “The house is getting a little crowded. Irene’s looking after Ollie and Kirsty and Miles are coming over later for a barbeque.”

“Don’t feel like a crowd?” she asked with a tilt of her head.

He smiled, “Don’t feel like being excluded from a crowd. I’m too distracted to mingle without feeling suffocated.”

She smirked, “Wondering about sin bible boy?” she teased, a ghost of a joke.

He shrugged and guilt struck at his insides again, he put his hands in his pockets and shrugged, “Kinda the opposite actually, that’s the problem.”


“And you have about fifteen messages by some guy claiming to be a friend; he says it’s about Nicole.”

The women stopped in her tracks, her spine snapping straight in an instant, Natalie Franklin swallowed, glad her eyes were hidden behind Gucci sunglasses, lest her pesky desk assistant actually see the emotion which had just scattered across her face. She took a breath, composed herself and swivelled, “What was his name?” she asked calmly.

Her assistant looked lost for a second before checking a yellow post-it attached to her computer screen, “Harris, Roman Harris. Do you know him?”

Natalie smirked, her teeth showing a cold bemusement, “Not as well as I thought. Get me his number.”


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Thanks very much guys, i really appreciate all you kind words :D

Chapter 4

She was a mother. She knew this and cursed thoughts of her own matriarch, she’d hated that woman with a passion and had vowed never to turn into her. Unfortunately she’d promptly done a turnaround and become her father instead. Entirely by accident of course.

Nicole had suffered the brunt of it; she’d stopped counting step-fathers along time ago, now she merely counted boyfriends, at least, she had, before Natalie had got married for the final time, the be all and end all.

She’d thought, on that perfect day several months ago, that she would now have two constants in her life, Nicole was one, he was the other, she’d be more stable that way, she wouldn’t lean on her daughter for all kinds of support, she wouldn’t lash out at her pillar every time something went wrong. There was two of them now.

Or at least there had supposed to have been, Natalie had gained one symbol of stability but had lost another, she’d lost her rock, her constant, she’d lost her daughter. But she’d gained a husband, he would be enough, he would keep her up, keep her from falling over, he had to, because now, now that everything was so remarkably screwed over, he was the only one she had. He was the only one who could catch her when she fell, even if she knew in her heart of hearts his arms would never be safe, never again.

“Mum I’m not lying, I would never lie to you, please you have to believe me!”

“I don’t have to believe anything.”

She’d just kicked her pillar of strength in the knees, just drove a dagger through her heart and now she was gone, disappeared somewhere trying to conjure enough energy to keep herself up. She could never again carry the weight of her mother.


“I am listening my child.”

Geoff had been nervous at the prospect but the voice calmed him, he wondered if he could ever have that effect on someone, could he still do it now, could he still rescue someone with his words if they were empty to him?

“I-I’m not sure, I’ve done something wrong, I know I have, but I don’t feel like I have.” He stuttered.

“Specifics?” the minister behind the crosshatch window asked.

Geoff shook his head in the cramped confession dome, “I’d rather not.”

“If you don’t condemn yourself for it then why is talking about it so hard?”

“Because I know I should.”

“Then let’s start from the beginning, I’ll be the one to decide on that.”

Geoff listened to his voice and decided he wanted to sound like that when he was older, when he knew what to say with the words he could speak.


“Should you be back at school?”


“Oh, I don’t know…aftershock?”

Nicole glared suspicious at Ruby as the younger teen leaned lazily on the lockers, one ankle propped against her other foot. Nicole took a breath, realized she wasn’t up for verbal-judo and slammed her locker shut, turning on Ruby with a pivot of her heel.

Hand raised slightly for emphasis, “Whatever you’re doing…stop.”

Ruby shrugged innocently before Nicole shot her one more challenging glare and disappeared down the hall, Ruby turned to watch her go, the cogs in her Nancy Drew like mind already turning.

“I don’t like this,” Annie whispered appearing over Ruby’s shoulder clutching her books to her chest nervously.

Ruby grinned and swung an arm around her shoulders with a flourish, “Quite minion,” she teased, “We’re just getting started.”


Leah ducked under a wayward arm of one of their Thursday waitress’s with an encouraging grin at the nervous looking young girl, the door to the diner opened and a fresh wave of sea breezed cooled her legs, Leah looked around in mild interest to spy a stranger in SummerBay.

With her curiosity peaked the former owner of the Den deposited her plates, wiped her hands and slid her way over to the new customer, all 5’11 inches of her.

“Can I help you?” it was she patented ‘customer’ voice.

The women looked out at her from behind tinted glasses, she hesitated a moment, shifting her weight before nodding, “Maybe, I’m looking for someone, I know he works here.”

“Well good,” Leah grinned, “I’m a bit of a local, just give me a name and I’ll point you in the right direction.”

The women hesitated again before answering with uncertainty, “Roman, Harris, I think?”

Leah stopped, unsure of what to say, “Um…” by all means she could give the women an answer she just wasn’t sure she was supposed to, there was an awkward silence before a third voice prevented her from making a decision.

“Nat?” Roman stood at the threshold to the kitchen, a plastic crate of juice in his arms, he stared at their mysterious visitor, half surprised, half relieved. The women winced, she turned on her heel to face him and took off her glasses; she took a breath, thinking she knew what this was about. “Roman, whatever she’s told you is a lie.”

Roman looked confused for a second before shaking his head and resting the crate easily on the counter top, “What are you talking about?” he asked wiping his hands on his apron.

Natalie seemed to have realised she may have spoken to soon and backtracked, “Well that depends, what were you talking about when you called me?”

Roman didn’t know how to answer, he stood opening and closing his mouth for a few moments not sure what to say before he huffed and said, “Well…it’s a long story.”

“In a nutshell?”

“Trust me, that’s not going to cover it.”


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See Lynd, the conversion is almost complete :wink: Thanks very much you two for your wonderful comments, i really appreciate it.

Chapter 5

She hated this, being so thoroughly exposed, no more pretences to keep her warm at night, it was almost enough to smother her.

She hated that she couldn’t lie anymore, she couldn’t pretend, she was good at both, genetically taught, but she could do neither anymore because every time she tried, it seemed hollow and every time she tried, he would only look closer next time, more concerned then ever.

Elliot had wrecked everything; he’d snatched away her saving face, her saving grace with a few quick words.

“Come with me or he dies.”

That had done it, she could almost laugh at how damn simple it had been to rip down her Fort Knox. How damn simple it had been to make her realise she cared, make her realise that she couldn’t hide from him anymore. Because now she did care and now she couldn’t say she didn’t, she’d have to tell him, she’d have to mean it when she said she loved him and that brought danger with it, drowning. Because you can’t lie to those you love, not really, you can fool them for a moment but you can never lie. Now he’d see, he’d see everything she’d been desperate to hide from his eyes, the ones so like hers, he’d see her and he’d get a good look at everything she’d become, everything she was.

She wished she’d drowned in that ocean, she wished that her air had run out just a moment earlier, because then he’d never see, she’d die surrounded by the ocean and all the walls she’d built to protect herself, she’d die with him seeing only make believe, she’d never have to tell him the truth, she’d never have to trust him enough that it could hurt should she be betrayed.

Oh god why couldn’t she have died? Why couldn’t she have been washed away?

But now that notion was gone, the moment she had thrown herself back off that boat, with lead weights tied around her waist, the moment she hadn’t been able to pretend she didn’t care, the moment she had been willing to give her life for his had shattered all her pretences.

She wondered what he’d see when he looked at her, when he finally knew what he was looking at.

She wondered if he’d like what he saw, if he’d still love her when she was ugly, a monster.

Oh god, why did this have to happen all over again?


He was by her side again, it had never occurred to Geoff how naturally that always seemed to happen, he’d gravitate and he’d be standing there without even trying. Ruby had pointed it out to him once with a poke in the ribs and a wink; he’d blushed scarlet and mumbled something unintelligible.

He hadn’t realised she’d been right until that afternoon, they’d entered the diner, all the stress of school melting from their shoulders at the prospect of a free afternoon, Roman had been there, chatting with a woman, their voices hushed. The moment Nicole saw them she stopped. Dead.

Ruby who’d been walking behind the blonde looked around in curiosity after almost slamming into her, “Who is she, and do I have to beat her up?” Ruby asked, ready to come into bat for Charlie.

“Mum.” Nicole whispered. She didn’t seem too stable on her feet and much like the way he was always standing by her shoulder Geoff’s hand seemed to act of its own accord when it caught her wrist and pulled her closer to him.

The two parents of the most notorious girl in town looked up slowly as they realised they were being stared at, Roman gave a small smile, “Hey Nic, how was school?”

She didn’t answer and Natalie closed her eyes slowly with a wince, a moment before Nicole shook her head, turned on her heel and disappeared without a backward glance, Roman looked confused, the teens looked surprised and Natalie raised a feeble hand, “Am I the only one who saw that coming?” she asked jokingly, when they all looked at her blankly she shrugged, “I guess so.” A moment before she swung out of the booth with a sigh and took off after her daughter.


“Geoff, you keep washing that plate it’s going to dissolve,” He jumped at Irene’s words before sheepishly depositing the china into the sink, his hands twisting through the dishtowel instead.

Irene looked concerned and shot a look at Belle for some answers, she shrugged in reply. “Are you alright Dahl?” Irene asked carefully.

Geoff nodded too quickly and answered with a mumbled reply, “Are you sure?” Irene asked, now more concerned then ever.

Geoff wiped his hands on his jeans before again speaking to his shoelaces and heading for the stairs with something about bed being muttered, as he retreated form them, Irene looked at Belle, who again shrugged, “Don’t look at me.”


“You gonna explain what that was about?” Roman asked finally, as Nat helped him clean the dishes that covered the table, Nicole had been absent from the dinner he had invited her to.

The mother of his daughter, shrugged in that way Nicole did, must be genetic. “What was what about?” she asked.

Roman scoffed, “Come on Nat, I may not know Nicole as well as you do, but I do know that if something’s big enough to throw her like that then I need to be concerned.”

“You don’t. I can handle it.” The answer was short and final, any other person wouldn’t have been stupid enough to push the issue, but Roman had the privilege of having one over on everyone else when it came to his ex-girlfriend.

“That’s not your call; she’s my daughter too—”

Natalie laughed at him coldly; “You don’t really think that do you?” she scoffed.

Roman looked hurt and she continued in the same vein, “You can’t just turn up almost seventeen years after the fact and expect to have a claim to that Roman, you’ve known her for barley a month, you are not her father.”

Roman’s blood boiled he had forgotten the effect she could have on him, “I’m more of a dad to her then that bastard you call a husband!” he growled.

Natalie tensed, her shoulders turning to stone, “What has she told you?” she asked dangerously.

“What is there to tell?” he challenged.

Natalie’s eyes narrowed, she wasn’t sure how much he knew, but clearly it was more then nothing, “Its all lies Roman. You can’t believe a word she says.”

The fury in his heart was replaced with a cold indignation, he calmed his voice, “She’s my daughter Natalie, I’m always going to believe her no matter what, no matter who says otherwise, because that’s what parents do. If you were a half decent mother you’d know that.”

“If you knew your daughter as half as well as you think you do, trust me, you’d hate her to.”

“I would never hate her.” Roman said, not an inch of it a lie, shocked that she could mean that so sincerely.

“You haven’t had to love her for very long.”


Geoff was so caught up in his thoughts it took him a few seconds to register the sound at his window, It surprised him ‘cause he was up a level in the house and it was almost one at night, he’d been reading the same book chapter for the last few hours he could barley take it in.

He was surprised to find Nicole sitting there, apparently comfortable on his window ledge, he opened the window, a cold draft giving him goosebumps. She smiled at him and he could see the pain it caused, “I’m a teenage rebel, you’ve got to be good with scaling buildings.”

He smiled softly at her, “What’s wrong Nicole?” he asked his voice hushed.

She tried to smile back at him but she was spent, she couldn’t do it any more, it took too much energy, after all this time, she didn’t have any left.

“Apologise Nicole and it’ll all go away, we can mother and daughter again, just take it back.”

She turned to look at him properly and the dull light from the moon showed the tears clearly in her blue eyes. She’d never cried before, she been furious, she’d thrown things across the room and moped but she’d never cried. Again with an unnatural assurance Geoff did what he did without thinking, he gently took he hand and pulled her into his room and into his arms, surprised at how well they fit around her shoulders, was she really so frail?

Every survival alarm in Nicole’s body was going haywire, every one telling her to turn back, to throw up the walls again and block everything out. But she couldn’t listen to them, because Elliot had taken away their battery power, he’d proved she cared, that she was human. And now both Roman and Geoff would know the truth, she didn’t have the energy to keep it from them.

“Please Nicole, I can forgive you, just please, please take it back.”

So she cried into his shirt and she let her shoulders quake, and he didn’t let her go, like her mother did, Nicole wondered if Geoff would push her away like she had to, but it was to late to wonder, she was too tired, she didn’t have the energy to fear.

“I can’t.”


A/n- The conversation in italics come's from Nicole's conversation with Natalie after she left the diner, and also other flashbacks (hopefully you can tell), you'll get more insight into that later. Also coming from someone who's locked themselves out numerous times, it is possible to climb up a level on a building. :wink:

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Thanks Lynd :)

Chapter 6

He’d always been afraid of sin, thou shalt not, he'd been like a little boy with scary monsters, closing his eyes and covering his ears, trying to block them out, he had never envisioned that one day he would be holding a girl in his arms, a sinner, who had sinned with him, he’d never have envisioned that it wouldn’t be a problem for him, that’s he’d no longer be afraid of the monsters.

She didn’t talk to him, she spoke, but it was not to him, it was to herself, to the world at large, she was finally admitting it all. Geoff listened and realised that sin came in many forms, that of a mother in denial, of a would be father, he realised in wasn’t the sin that was the monster, it was the sinner that scared him most of all.


“It was their wedding night, she was out with all her friends and all their friends, I’d stayed home because I knew someone would have to rescue her from the hangover in the morning,” She smiled humourlessly.

“He wasn’t supposed to be there, he was supposed to be out too, I thought he was drunk, he was talking so much rubbish, about mum, about me, about us.” She swallowed and her throat constricted further and her emergency systems were still screaming at her to shut up.

“I was trying to help him, talk him ‘round, I thought it was cold feet, right before he kissed me that is,” her sinus burned and she wanted nothing but to stop talking, but her mouth wouldn’t oblige, “then I was yelling at him, screaming at him about mum, about everything, and…he was yelling back.”

“Don’t do this Nicole, don’t let her come between us again,” he pleaded with her his eyes raging, “we can do this, we can be together, she can’t stop us.”

“What the hell are you talking about?! What the hell! What the hell!” She hadn’t realised she was crying until the salt water was on her lips, “You can’t do this to her, who the hell do you think you are?!”

He grabbed her arms and she hadn’t realised he was that close, “I’m doing this for us Nicole, for us to be together!”

It scared her, who the hell was this guy; this wasn’t the man she knew, the man who could possibly be her dad with a little work, the man who loved her mum, who her mum loved back.

“You’re a monster!” she screamed, “You’re a lying monster, get the hell off me!” She hadn’t realised she was hitting him, until he was hitting back.

He hit harder then she did, he didn’t stop when she would have.


Roman had never felt his blood run so cold, he’d never felt his veins full of a toxic ice that spread to his lungs and robbed him of air, until that is, she’d started talking.

“I was angry at her, so angry, it was my wedding day and she hadn’t even turned up yet, I was so angry I kicked everyone out, just before she turned up…like she did.”

Roman was staring, his eyes glassy, a storm raging behind the windows, “She was hurt Roman, she was hurt bad, she was crying, she was begging for me to help her.”

Natalie hadn’t realised she was crying before something splashed to her chin, she swallowed and wondered why she was having trouble talking, “And then she told me…she told me this story, everything about him, she said he did it to her, he hurt her, he forced her…the things she said.” Her teeth were grit so hard her jaw was aching, but she couldn’t stop. She felt better when it hurt.

And then Roman spoke and she hurt all over again, “And you told her to leave?” he asked his voice a whisper. “You told our daughter to get lost?” his voice was still eerily calm.

“Roman you don’t understand—”

“I understand.” He said firmly cutting her off, “I understand that you’re everything that I don’t remember you to be, your everything Nicole pretends your not, you’re a monster, a pathetic monster.”


“Get out Nat.” he said, “Get the hell out of here, run back to your husband and try to pretend for even a second longer that you daughter isn’t the person who loves you most in the world, that she isn’t the one who would neve lie to you. Run back to him and realise that he’s the only one you have…and see how you feel then.”

She looked at him trying to understand, but his face was still impassive, his jaw a hard line, he was looking at her dead seriously. “Get out.” He repeated.

She hesitated.

“Get the hell out!” He hadn’t realized he had yelled, that he had shouted, until she was gone and he had fallen back onto the lounge, tears slipping from his eyes, his fists curled against his temples.

This is what his vision had cost him, this is what his dreams had caused, because if he’d been there, if he’d been her dad, it would never have happened, nothing would have ever happened.

She'd still be okay.


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Sorry abpout the late update guys, thanks very much for the comments :D

Chapter 7

She’d learned everything from her mother, her Quincy and Murder She Wrote loving mother, maybe that’s why she had an incurable curiosity burning in her veins twenty-four hours a day, maybe that’s why she’d snuck upstairs why Annie was still solving algebra problem two and had creaked open Geoff’s door a smidgen, because it was almost mid-morning and good little Christian boys shouldn’t sleep the day away.

It was another trait she’d picked up from her mum, the fact that sometimes opposites attract, this time a Get Smart reference, that made her smile and not gag when she found that Geoff was not alone, Nicole lay beside him, her eyes mercifully shut, her head resting on his chest, it was Ruby’s curiosity that peaked again when she saw the mascara down her face, the way her shoulders were slumped so like defeat, the way Geoff’s face twitched unpeacefully and his arm tightened around her as it did, as if to protect the ice queen from the outside world.

However it was her love of her mother that made her quench the desire for answers and tip-toe back out the room making sure to lock the door on her way out, because her mother had always said, let happy couples lie


“You can’t do this,” Geoff whispered.

“We can be mother and daughter again; we can forget this ever happened, please Nic, you need me.”

Nicole nodded, and again reassured herself, “I have to, it’ll make everything better, I just have to apologise and everything will be alright again.”

“And I need this; I need you to take it back.”

Geoff shook his head, he didn’t understand, he took her gently by the shoulders, “You can’t, not when you did nothing wrong, you can’t let her win.” He stressed.

“Why? You have him. You have everything you ever wanted. Isn’t he enough? Wasn’t he enough?”

She pushed away from him. “Win!” she shouted, “No ones winning Geoff, she’s my mother and she hates me, she’ll keep hating me forever if she has to, I know her.”

“He had to be Nicole, I couldn’t be wrong, not again, I couldn’t be wrong about him.”

Something splashed onto her shirt and she realised she was crying again, her crumbled walls were useless now. “I have to fix this, I have to get her back, I need her.” She sobbed.

“Says who?”

Nicole thought about it for a moment, “I do. She’s the only one who’s ever been there, she’s the only one whose ever given a damn about me.”

“You know that’s not true.” He said that with such conviction it even surprised himself, but he meant it, he stepped forward, bringing them closer, “Roman cares, it may have taken him a while to realise it, but it was always there, he loves you.”

“That’s the problem Geoff; he loves me, just like her, what happens when he can’t anymore, when something happens and he hates me just like she does.”

“He won’t.”

“You couldn’t be wrong? What about me mum? Did you think I wanted to be right?”

“You don’t know that.”

“I can prove that.” Geoff had never been so sure of anything in his life.

She hesitated and he knew what he had to do, he had to convince her that love wasn’t as easy to brake as she thought, he stepped forward and wouldn’t let her step away from him, “Look at what you’ve done Nicole, look at all things you’ve done, all the things you’ve done to me and I’m still here, I’m not going anywhere soon, no matter how hard you try. You tried to break me and Melody up, you tried to sleep with me for a bet, you’ve been pushing me away from the moment I tried to get closer to you and I’m still here.”

“You won’t always be.”

“And she will? Your mother will?”

“It won’t hurt when she leaves next time; it’ll hurt when you go…when Roman wants me gone.”

“…You were wrong.”

“But we won’t. No matter how hard you try, I may not always be your boyfriend but I will always be your friend.” He took a breath.

“And Roman may not always be happy with you, but he’ll always be your father, even when he wasn’t in you life he was still your dad.”

“But why?” he legs were shaky, she didn’t know why, but she couldn’t get them to stop wobbling, she couldn’t lift her arms and make them.

“Because we love you. Even if you don’t want us to. We do and you forgive the people you love.”

“Is that a bible reference?”

“No…it’s just something I believe.” He said in simply with a shrug of his shoulders, he meant every word, “You can’t get rid of us now.”

“I thought she loved me.” Nicole said at a whisper.

“I know.”

“I don’t know.”

“I loved her…does that mean I have to forgive her?”

“Maybe, I think it’s a bit more complicated then that.”

“I’ll bet.”

“I’m not lying.”

“I know.”


He was sitting there, that’s all he was doing, sitting and reading the paper why did that make her so mad? He looked up as she entered and he smiled a hollow smile.

“Get out.”

He stopped smiling, “What?” he asked confused.

Natalie said her voice calm, “I said get out. Right now.”

“Why?” he asked dumbfounded.

“Because you’re not my pillar of strength anymore.”

“And see how you feel then.” and see how you feel, she felt like she had ever since she’d sapped her daughter’s strength with a few choice words, she felt like she would do anything to turn back time, to have her back, to have her be here again.

She had chosen him over her because she’d couldn’t be wrong again, she couldn’t have another failed relationship, not this time, she couldn’t loose like she had always done, ever since Roman. Like her mother had always told her she would.

Natalie had never realised that she was the winner all along, she had had the one thing she was searching for all along, someone who wouldn’t leave her, like he parents, like Roman, she’d had her daughter and she’d thrown her away, for him, for this.

It wasn’t worth it. Oh god nothing could be worth it. Please god, someone make this better.

“How can you say that? How can you just admit you knew, you believed me all along and you did nothing?”

“I’m a terrible person.”

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Thanks very much solaris :) So this is the last chapter, i'd like to thank everyone who took the time to read and review, thanks so much guys. :D

Chapter 8

He’d experience many different kinds of anger in his life, the kind that crushed his heart the day he realised Natalie and him would never be forever. The kind that had crushed the soul on that terrible day in Afghanistahn…Mark, the kind that crushed his bones like the day he’d had woken upside down over a cliff.

But there was another kind of anger, one that crushed him, the one where he was the bad guy, where there was no one to hate but himself, that kind of anger took over your brain and made you do stupid things, because there was no one left to hate besides the body you were residing in.

That kind of anger destroyed you. That kind of anger ended when there was nothing left.




“Where’s mum?”




“Because you told her to go?”


“What’s a one syllable answer?”


They smiled at each other and Nicole felt like her face was about to break, it felt so rusty, “I need to talk to her.”

“No you don’t,” Roman said seriously.

“You don’t understand.”

“I do.”

She looked at him and for a moment the fear overed everything Geoff had grilled into her, for a moment she held her breath and waited for the screaming, waited for the hate, there was a moment’s pause…it didn’t come.

He didn’t hate her.

Instead he stepped forward and pulled her into a hug, squeezing her as hard as he could, “I’m sorry," he whispered.

“I’m not,” she replied.

They were referring to different things, he to everything he couldn’t stop, her to everything she could have, if only she didn’t care about him, she could have stopped Elliot and none of this would have come out, she’d still be underwater, drowning in everything she was pretending was there.

She thought of her dad, she thought of Geoff, and she realised she was still underwater, still breathing beneath the ocean, it would take her a while to come out of it and breathe oxygen again but that was okay, until then she could hold her breath.


“Sooo, guess what? I know what happened on the island.” Ruby grinned as she slid smoothly into the seat opposite Geoff; he looked up at her from his open economics text book.

“How?” he asked confused.

“I saw you two this morning, you seemed entirely too familiar with each other Geoffrey,” Ruby teased.

She was surprised to see him roll his eyes, “That’s not what it was like, so don’t get any idea’s.”

Ruby held up her hands, “Hey I wasn’t suggesting anything, I was merely pointing out how lucky you were that it was me who found you two, otherwise I think there would have been a distinctly Irene-shaped hole in the roof."

She was even more surprised to see him frown at her, annoyed, “Ruby, I just said nothing happened.”

“I know, that’s just not what it looked like—”

“I don’t care what it looked like.” Geoff said shortly and Ruby was taken aback, she held up her hands carefully, did she have a reason to worry for her friends?

“I’m sorry,” she said quickly, “I didn’t mean…I was just teasing.”

Geoff relaxed and he frowned regretfully, he shook his head, “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have snapped, I just…yeah, never mind.”

“Is everything okay?” Ruby asked genuinely.

Geoff managed a small smile, he snapped his text book shut and gathered up his books, “Yeah, everything’s okay, I jut got somewhere to be is all.”

He was halfway out the door when Ruby called him back, her face serious, “Geoff. Really?”

He nodded at her, “It will be.” He said softly, before continuing on his way.


“So you’ve found a resolution.”

“I have.”

“And what is it my son?”

“God judges the sinner not sin.”


“Meaning, life isn’t as simple as being a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ person."

“You no longer think yourself a bad person for your…indiscretion?”

“No, I think I’m a good person who did a bad thing, there’s a difference.”


The house was empty, now the mansion, the biggest house in the street and it was worth so little to everyone inside it, Natalie sat, her eyes blurred with tears, her brain blurred with tequila, it took her a minute to realise that her mobile was vibrating in her pocket, she fiddled with it, struggling to find the right keys before finally the screen flashed and the words materialised.

I love you mum.

“I love you too Nic,”




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