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If You Don't Wanna Love Me

Guest charmed60

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Story Title: If you don't wanna love me

Type of story: Long fic.

Main Characters: It mainly focuses on Rachel and Tony including appearances from Gina, Martha, Leah and a surprise visitor.

BTTB rating: T/A

Genre: Romance, Drama, Angst, Comedy; a little bit of everything really.

Does story include spoilers: None at all. I don't even know any spoilers so if it does it's purely coincidental!

Any warnings: There is mild sexual content and violence in some chapters but very very mild. There are also some tough issues dealt with such as illness and death. I will put a warning before each chapter just in case!

Summary: Rachel and Tony are happily enjoying married life when a visitor from Tony's past rocks his world; forcing him to leave his family. However when Rachel is hit with some devastating news will Tony come back to her or is she going to be left to deal with it alone?

Due to the support I received from my last fic I've decided to write another. However this one is a lot more diverse, dealing with more tragic issues nad less optimistic outcomes. I'd really appreciate any comments or constructive criticism you have, don't be afraid :wink: This is a bit of a lighter chapter just to start it off.

Rachel smiled to herself, enjoying the feeling of Tony playing with her hair. She loved how he would wrap her curls around his finger and occasionally stroke the side of her cheek with the back of his hand. He made her feel so loved. Her relationship with Tony was such a reflection to her marriage with Kim; sure she’d had times when she’d been really happy, but she’d never felt as safe and secure as she did with Tony. It was like Kim had been her bit of fun but Tony was the man she was meant to spend the rest of her life with. As he began to stroke her cheek Rachel took his hand in hers and kissed the inside of his palm. “I love you” Tony whispered as he laced his fingers through hers. Rachel’s heart leapt. She loved him so much; his cheeky sense of humour, his total devotion to their son and his dashing good looks were certainly a bonus. But most of all, she loved Tony because she knew he would never ever leave her. Their marriage was for life, of that she was absolutely sure.

Snuggled up in bed together, with their baby son lying between them, Rachel and Tony were discussing the past year. So much had happened. In some respects it had been the most amazing twelve months; they’d finally married in a beautiful ceremony on Martha’s farm and welcomed their gorgeous son into the world. But they’d also lost Jack. Tony had understandably struggled, he just couldn’t comprehend that he had to bury his own child. The grief and anger tore him apart and for months Rachel felt like she was losing a part of him everyday, she’d tried so hard to connect with him and get him to open up but he completely withdrew, shutting himself away from the world and away from her. Most nights Rachel would cry herself to sleep, she was so afraid that she was going to lose her Tony, that she would never see his cheeky smile again or hear him whisper in her ear that he loved her. But most of all it just pained her to know how much Tony was hurting and there was absolutely nothing she could do about it. She was so used to having patients brought into the hospital and as a Doctor she could fix them just like that. But with Tony, she couldn’t just fix him. She had to watch him day after day suffering and struggling and every time she looked into his eyes it was like he was dead inside; his spark had gone. Thankfully they’d worked through it together and as Rachel watched him tickling their son’s belly and beaming as Harry giggled in response, she noticed the spark was back.

“He’s definitely got your eyes Rach” Tony smiled clutching Harry’s fingers with one hand and stroking Rachel’s arm with the other.

“Do you think so?” Rachel replied. “I dunno, every time I look at him I just see you.”

“He’s gonna be a handsome boy then” Tony joked.

“He is already is” Rachel laughed, stroking Harry’s tiny foot. Looking at the clock she noticed it was 11am already. “Wow we better get ready, Harry’s appointment at the clinic is in an hour”

“Ok, mate are you gonna let my finger go, Daddy needs to have a shower” Tony asked, struggling to pull away from Harry’s strong grip. Rachel laughed.

“I don’t think you’re going to let your Daddy go are you sweetheart? It’s ok I’ll get dressed quickly and then give him a bottle before we leave” Rachel offered.

“Yer right when have you ever had a quick shower?” Tony joked; wincing as Rachel playfully punched him in the arm.

“For that, you can change his nappy” she responded, laughing to herself as she threw one at Tony and heard him groan.


“Rach, where’s Harry’s teddy?” Tony called from their bedroom, referring to the baby blue toy he’d bought when his son was first born.

“It’s on the radiator next to our bed” Rachel called back. Harry had become attached to it ever since Tony had first waved it in front of his face. They always struggled to take it off of him when it needed a wash so she usually had to wait for him to be asleep before she could sneak it away. She could hear Harry grizzling and so removed his bottle from the bowl of hot water she’d been heating it up with and headed towards the bedroom. A knock on the door stopped her in her tracks. As she placed Harry’s drink on the book shelf and opened the door she smiled to welcome the familiar looking woman who was standing in front of her.

“Hi can I help you?” Rachel asked, noticing the woman was nervously fidgeting with her hands.

“Hi, I’m looking for Tony, I was told that he lived here.”

“Sure, I’ll just go and get him. Why don’t you come in?” Rachel suggested, struggling to understand where she’d met this woman before. “I wont be a second” she added, taking one last glance at her before walking towards their bedroom, grabbing Harry’s bottle as she went.

She stood uncomfortably in the middle of the living room floor trying to think of a way to greet him. She’d been waiting over 15 years to see him again, hoping and praying that everything would fall back into place straight away. A woman opening the door worried her, but maybe it wasn’t what she thought, she did look quite young. Wondering what he looked like now, her eyes were instinctively directed towards the display of photos which lined the shelf in front of her. She wanted to go and look at them but was worried that Tony would come out and think she was being nosy. She started to feel a little faint, the nerves and excitement over seeing him again were beginning to take over; she hoped that he would fling his arms around her and all those feelings would come rushing back. But she knew that was a little too much to hope for, he was bound to be shocked, confused, angry even. Taking a deep breath, she wiped her sweaty palms on her trousers and strained to understand the faint mumbling she could hear coming from one of the rooms. Suddenly, the sound of loud footsteps heading towards her startled her. Her heart began to race wildly in her chest and she shakily ran her fingers through her hair, taking another deep breath in an effort to calm herself down.

“Hi” Tony tentatively said. Rachel was right, she did look familiar. She was quite tall with short, dark brown hair down to her shoulders. He felt quite embarrassed, she was obviously expecting him to notice at her but he just couldn’t place her. She was probably a customer from the gym.

“Hi Tony, it’s me” The sound of her voice sent chills down his spine. A rush of conflicting emotions washed over him and he struggled to keep himself standing upright.

“No … it can’t be”

“It is, it’s Kate. I’m back babe.”

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Thank you all so much for your lovely comments!!! I have to say I'm more excited about later chapters I have to write but these few coming up are necessary to start it off. So thank you for sticking by me while I get to the main storyline!

He looked exactly as she remembered him, with the addition of a few wrinkles around the eyes and a more muscular build. Trying to blink away the tears which were blurring her vision, she could feel all the love she’d had for him come rushing back. It took all her strength to stop her from running forward and wrapping her arms around Tony but one glance at him and she could see he wasn’t taking the news too well.

“But… you died, how can you be here?” Tony raised his voice as he tried to make sense of the situation.

“Tony, I can explain …”

“Then explain. Right now.” Tony’s voice growled with anger, he was furious. He’d lived his whole life thinking she was dead, struggled to raise their two children and work all on his own when he didn’t need to. He’d grieved for years for her, pushing away people who wanted to love him because he was so consumed by guilt at moving on, worried that he’d be disrespecting her memory. But it was all a lie, over a century of his life had been a lie. He felt like a complete fool.

“I had to do it Tony, I had no choice”

“You had no choice? What kind of an excuse it that Kate? You can’t come back after what, 19 years of pretending you were dead and just expect everything to be ok .”

“I know Tony, if you’d just give me a chance to explain, you’d understand why I did it.” Silence filled the room. Kate was scared. She’d never seen Tony look at her like that, his eyes were wild with fury and his hands were shaking; whether that was with anger or shock she didn’t know.

“Actually you know what Kate, I want you to leave.” Tony started. He needed breathing space, he couldn’t handle what was happening, how quickly his world was changing.

“Tony please don’t do this, I still love you. We can be a family again, you, me and our boys” Tony froze. She didn’t know about Jack, of course she didn’t know. He didn’t want to explain it to her; he wasn’t ready to start talking about Jack again, to relive what happened. Tony glanced up at Kate and noticed how bright her eyes were, full of hope. It broke his heart that he had to be the one to tell her Jack had died. He just couldn’t cope with doing that right now. But then he thought about how Jack died alone, died thinking his Mum wasn’t alive, died because he’d gone into the police force wanting to avenge his mother’s death. In some ways, this was her fault Tony reasoned to himself. Anger began to bubble in the pit of Tony’s stomach.

“Get out Kate, get out now.” He seethed.

“Tony I love you” Tears began to fall down Kate’s face as she struggled to understand how he could so easily reject her.

“Get the hell out of my house!” Tony screamed, losing control as anger filled every part of his body. He breathed deeply, holding tightly onto the side of the cabinet as he felt his head swimming.

“Tony what’s going on?” Rachel gently probed as she tentatively approached him, clutching Harry tightly in her arms.

“This is a private matter so would you mind just giving us some space please” Kate interrupted, her voice shaking. She didn't know who this woman was but she was interfering and she didn't like it. If only she could get Tony to listen to her he'd understand, she was sure of it.

“Don’t you dare speak to Rachel like that” Tony warned, pointing his finger threateningly at her and pacing towards the front door. “I won’t ask you again” he added, opening the door and directing her towards it.

“Tony please listen to me” Kate begged, standing firmly in her spot. “I just need a chance to explain things to you and then you’ll understand. We can go back to how things were I know we can. We just need to speak, alone.” Kate glanced at Rachel, expecting her to leave the room. “Who are you anyway?”

“She’s my wife” Tony cut in, feeling angry that Kate was targeting Rachel so much. “So all this talk of us getting back together and going back to how things were you can forget about. I’m with Rachel now; she’s the one I love.”

Kate was devastated. She was desperately hoping that once she’d explained things to Tony they could be together again, but he wouldn’t even let her talk. She’d wanted him to be happy to see her and to tell her how much he missed her and loved her. It broke her heart to hear him say that he loved someone else. Her face flushed with embarrassment as she felt both Tony and his new wife’s gaze on her. She just had to give him time she decided. Noticing a pad of paper and pen by the phone she wrote down her number on it and handed it to Tony.

“When you’re ready to talk, call me, please” Fighting the temptation to reach up and kiss him, Kate took one last glance at him and smiled weakly, hoping that he would see through the anger and remember how things used to be. He just stared at her blankly. Closing her eyes sadly she walked away from him, wincing as the door slammed shut behind her.

“Is that another one of your ex girlfriends?” Rachel joked, trying to ease the tension which filled the room. She was confused about what had just happened, she didn’t have any idea who she was but was furious at her, at how she had the audacity to come into her home and talk to her like that. “Tony are you ok?” She noticed how quiet he was; he’d retreated to the sofa and was holding his head in his hands. Placing Harry in his bouncy chair she moved closer to him and knelt before him, placing one hand on his knee and the other on his arm. “Hey, Tony talk to me. Who was she?” Rachel asked gently, stroking his arm. Glancing at him, she noticed how his complexion was frighteningly pale and his whole body was shaking. Placing a reassuring hand in his to calm him down she squeezed it gently.

“That was Kate, Jack and Lucas’s Mum” he started, his eyes focused intently on the floor. Rachel’s mouth dropped in shock.

“But I thought …”

“Yer so did I” Tony cut in. “I just don’t understand Rach…how…she died. I buried her. What’s happening” he mumbled incoherently.

“Hey come here” she soothed moving to sit next to him and placing her head on his chest. She wrapped her arms around him and stroked his back, not knowing what to say. What could she say? It all made sense now, why she found her so familiar, she recognised her from the photos Tony had shown her.

“Why did she do it?” Rachel asked, trying to make sense of the situation herself. She didn’t understand how a woman could pretend to die, allowing her loved ones to go through the pain of losing her and leaving two sons behind.

“I really don’t know. She tried to explain it to me but…she said something about Jack and I remembered that she wouldn’t know he’s gone. I don’t think I’m ready to start talking about it yet Rach.” Tears filled Tony’s eyes at the mention of his son, he found it difficult to talk about him let alone having to relive the night he died. He just couldn’t cope with explaining that to Kate.

“It’s going to be difficult, but you know I’m going to be here for you. You don’t have to go through this alone.” Rachel whispered, hoping to bring some comfort. “But she needs to know, the longer you leave it the more difficult it’s going to be.”

“I know, you’re right. Rach how am I going to tell her that the son she never really got to know isn’t alive any more?” Tony choked back a sob as he felt Rachel tighten her grip on him.

“You’ll find a way. I can be there if you want” Rachel offered trying not to cry herself. Not only did she hate to see Tony hurting so much but she missed Jack to. It hurt her to think about how he was brutally killed, in a mistake which should never have happened, which never needed to happen. She never really got a chance to grieve for Jack because she was trying so hard to stay strong for Tony and be the support he needed.

“Thanks Rach but, I think I need to do this by myself. You being there might make it more difficult for her” Tony explained, hoping he didn’t offend her.

“Yer you’re right.” Rachel agreed. Grabbing the note which Tony had thrown on the arm of the sofa, she placed it gently in his hand. “You know I’ll be here for you afterwards, I love you.” Rachel kissed Tony’s forehead and moved to lift Harry from his chair. “Come on sweetheart we need to go and see how big you are now!” Rachel cooed excitedly, laughing as Harry smiled at her and tucked his head under her neck.

“Oh the clinic appointment I completely forgot, I’ll leave this till later” Tony offered. He didn’t like missing Harry’s check ups, he felt like he had a lot to make up for, having missed numerous ultrasound scans when Rachel was pregnant. Plus he felt so proud taking his son to them, showing him off to the doctors and he had to admit that he got excited to find out how much Harry weighed.

“Tony it’s fine honestly. You need to do this. Shall I text you when I find out how much he weighs?”

“Yes please do” Tony smiled sadly as he stood up and hugged Rachel tightly, kissing Harry’s forehead. “I love you both”

“We love you to, call me if you need anything” Rachel kissed Tony gently on the lips and left the house, closing the door gently. Taking in a deep breath, Tony looked slowly around his house. He was alone and about to do something he never thought he’d have to do. He was scared but Rachel was right, it had to be done sooner rather than later.

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Thank you all again your comments are so important to me, I sometimes struggle with whether to give this up or not but your comments keep me going! Flashback is in italics :)

Tony gazed out to sea, trying to regain some of the peace he’d had with Jack’s death previous to talking to Kate. He felt close to him here, sitting aboard the boat they’d planned to rebuild together. Tears fell slowly down his face as flashes of his conversation with Kate forced their way into his memory. She’d been hysterical. Her fantasy that she could reignite the relationship she’d had with her sons had been shattered in a matter of seconds and she struggled with a way of coping. At first she’d seemed calm, devastated but calm. Then she snapped. Screaming at Tony she’d blamed him, accused him of not protecting Jack like she thought he would. She’d thrown anything she could at him; anything she could get her hands on and grabbed his shirt, begging him to tell her it was all a lie. All Tony felt he could do was grab her and hold her, crying and grieving for their son together. He tried to forget the blame she’d put on him but it was so difficult, especially when he blamed himself anyway. He’d left Kate with a promise to visit her again tomorrow; she hadn’t taken the news well at all and he had to admit he was slightly concerned about her. Tony just wanted things to go back to the way they were this morning; when he was happily revelling in married life, playing with his baby son and being able to fondly think of Jack without crying. But now Kate was back and it had ruined all of that – he was confused, he didn’t know whether to hate Kate or to thank her, for what she’d done for their boys.

“Tony, you need to know why I had to pretend to die, you need to hear it please.” Kate begged.

“I’m listening” he replied, his voice almost robotic as he prepared himself for what he was about to hear.

“I got mixed up in some stuff, they said they would kill our boys, I had no choice…”

“Who are they? What stuff? Kate for goodness sake, stop with all these secrets! I need to know everything.” Tony yelled, frustrated with her incomplete excuses. “Do you have any idea what our children went through losing you? Jack cried night upon night for months; he suffered nightmare terrors so bad that I had to have him sleeping in the bed with me for years, so that when he woke up screaming with blood on his face where he’d scratched himself to pieces in his sleep, he wouldn’t be alone. He went into the police force because of you Kate, to avenge your death but apparently, he needn’t have done it. And Lucas, our little boy who never even got to know you, had no memories of you; do you have any idea how much that messed him up? He struggled so much with feelings of inferiority, and self esteem issues, all because we had memories of you and he didn’t. He never had a mother figure in his life Kate, I tried so hard to be enough for him but I wasn’t enough, he needed his Mum.” Tony breathed rapidly, feeling some sense of relief as he’d finally been able to let out some of the anger he’d been holding ever since the day Kate had left them.

“I hate that I put them through that Tony” Kate answered, blinking back tears at the thought of the pain she’d inflicted upon her boys. “But them suffering was better than them being dead. We needed the money; you know how much we were struggling. So I got a loan, I thought I’d be able to pay it back but I couldn’t. They threatened to kill Jack and Luc if I didn’t find a way to pay them back so the only way out I could see was to fake my death. I rearranged my life insurance so that I could pay them the money they wanted and you and the boys would get the rest. Can’t you see now how I had no choice?”

“This was all because we had no money? Kate, we could have coped, if you’d have talked to me we’d have found a way! I’d much rather we’d been poor but together as a family.” Tony was shocked. They’d had financial difficulties just before she died, mainly because Kate had to quit work to care for the children and Tony’s salary was barely enough to cover the life Kate wanted. But he never thought she would go so far, it made no sense to him.

“I wanted them to have a good life Tony. We couldn’t have given them that if I hadn’t have made the decision I did. I admit going to the loan sharks was a stupid and foolish idea but I was desperate. By then though it had gone too far, the only way out was through witness protection.”

Kate had gone on to explain how they’d finally been caught, after years of threatening other families who’d reached such desperate financial circumstances and killing those who didn’t pay up, they’d finally been caught out and forced to serve a life sentence. That’s why she’d been allowed back. At first Tony had been furious, still trying to process what she was telling him. But a part of him was so thankful; God only knows what would have happened to Jack and Lucas if she hadn’t sacrificed her life for them. What she’d done was quite honourable Tony decided. After explaining about Jack she’d begged him to take her to Lucas, she wanted to tell him face to face. Tony had agreed, he wanted to see his son to and he knew Lucas would never come back home because of the painful memories of Jack. He was back from trekking in India and so Tony had arranged to meet him that weekend, hoping he would cope with the news that his mother was alive a little better than he did. Looking at the time on his phone, Tony realised it was late and Rachel would be worried, she’d text him a few hours ago, presumably to update him on Harry’s appointment. He’d been so intently focusing on Kate’s explanation that he hadn’t text her back, but he knew she’d understand. That was the kind, caring woman he’d married. Tony smiled as he thought of going home; no matter how awful his day had been he always knew he had an attentive, loving wife and a beautiful son to go home to. And that made his life worth living.


“Are you sure you don’t mind me going Rach?” Tony asked, placing his packed bag down by the front door and standing in front of his wife.

“Of course I don’t” Rachel replied, placing her hands either side of his waist. “Lucas needs to know about his Mum and I think it’s only right that you should be there to. Plus, you’ve been saying about going to visit him for ages.”

“Yes but the plan was for you and Harry to be there to. I really want him to meet his little brother.” Tony stroked Rachel’s arms as he thought about seeing Lucas again. The last time he saw him Jack was alive and he was worried about how his son would react, wondering whether he would blame him for not protecting his big brother. He was also concerned about how he’d take the news that his Mum was alive and he really wanted Rachel to be there, he didn’t want to do it alone.

“I know; I wish I could be there to. But you’re not going to be alone, Kate will be there and there’s going to be plenty of other opportunities for him to meet Harry. I just think it might be a bit awkward if we go. Lucas needs to spend time with his Mum and Dad; he doesn’t need us getting in the way.”

“You would not be getting in the way” Tony assured her, stroking the side of her face affectionately. “But I understand why you don’t want to go. I’m going to miss you though.”

“I’m going to miss you to” Rachel smiled, leaning in and kissing him gently as she wrapped her arms around his back. Tony ran his fingers through her hair and returned the kiss holding on to her tightly as she tried to pull away.

“You need to go or you’re going to be late” Rachel laughed, struggling to catch her breath as she spoke in between Tony’s kisses.

“Aww you’re no fun” Tony joked, embracing Rachel and whispering in her ear. “I’ll be back Sunday night so it’s only a week.”

“I’m counting down the days already.” Rachel kissed Tony once more on the lips and watched sadly as he said lifted Harry into his arms and said his goodbyes. He hadn’t spent any time away from his infant son since he was born so Rachel knew he was finding it difficult to leave him.

“Now make sure you don’t do anything special until I get home alright buddy? I don’t want to miss your first word, especially seeing as I know it’s going to be Daddy” Tony cooed to Harry, whispering the last part loudly so as to get a reaction from Rachel.

“Hey” she laughed playfully punching his arm. Handing his son to Rachel and kissing them both gently he grabbed his bags and headed out of the door.

“Call me when you get there so I know you’ve arrived safely” Rachel called after him, rocking Harry gently as his bottom lip began to quiver.

As she watched him drive away towards Kate’s flat she felt a pang of jealousy. She’d never have admitted it to Tony but she wasn’t thrilled that he would be spending a whole week with his ex wife, particularly when Kate made it clear that she wanted Tony back when they first met. But she knew she could trust him; she’s trusted him to live with Jazz when they first got together and he’d proved himself to be totally faithful then. She just had to accept it was something that he needed to do and when he got back things could finally go back to normal.

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You've all wrote such lovely comments thank you Kirsty, Charlene, Danni and Merli!! Feel free to criticise if there's anything you don't like, I'm hoping to improve my writing! Things should start picking up a bit action wise now so thank you for sticking by :)

“I’m so sorry sweetheart, please open the door.” Kate cried, calling to her son and begging him to let her in. He’d found it difficult to process the news that his mother was really alive and after hours of continuous questions and tears he’d stormed off to his bedroom, refusing to let her or Tony in. “Lucas please, I love you so much, I did this for you”

“Kate, come on give him some time to himself. He’ll come around” Tony assured her as he pulled her hand off of the door handle.

“He’s my son Tony; I need to talk to him” she screamed, resisting against him and banging on the door.

“He’s my son to Kate and I know what he’s like. Whenever he’s upset he locks himself away in his room, that’s how he deals with things. He just needs some space.” Tony was sick of the shouting; they’d all been yelling at each other for hours and his head was starting to hurt.

“Come on” he added in a softer tone. “Let’s go and get some tea.”

“Do you remember the time you got so drunk, you snuck into my Mum and Dad’s bed thinking it was mine?” Kate laughed out loud, grabbing her aching sides.

She’d spent four days with Tony and had fallen completely in love with him again. Lucas had eventually come down from his room to talk, just like Tony said he would and had now begun to accept his Mum was alive. Last night just before heading to bed, he’d even come over to her and given her a hug. She felt so happy, like her life was complete again. She had Tony, she had Lucas; the only thing missing was Jack.

“I hate that I’m never going to get to see Jack again” Kate cried, tears rolling down her cheeks as she hid her face in her hands.

“Come here.” Tony opened his arms and pulled her in, cradling her head as she sobbed into his chest.

“He’s never going to know that I’m alive or how much I loved him Tony.”

“He did know Kate; he talked about you all the time. I made sure he never forgot you, I showed him pictures and played him the answering machine message on your mobile so he wouldn’t forget your voice.”

“You’re an amazing Dad Tony” Kate smiled, nestling her head into his neck and breathing in the scent of his aftershave. He smelt so good. She placed a hand on his neck and whispered in his ear. “You’re an amazing man; I’ve missed you so much” Unable to resist it any further she drew her face up to his, pressing her lips firmly on his and running her fingers through his hair.

“Kate. Kate stop.” Tony struggled against her, furiously trying to push her off of him without hurting her. Her hands were running all over his body and it made him uncomfortable. Partly because he didn’t want her to but partly because it brought a sense of familiarity which filled him with confusion and fear. “What do you think you’re doing? I’m married”

“I love you Tony” Kate breathed. She was sick of holding back, sick of having to pretend that there wasn’t still a connection between them. “If I hadn’t have left Tony we’d still be together.”

“You don’t know that Kate.”

“Yes I do Tony. We’ve been so close again over these past few days, it’s been just like how it used to be. You can’t deny it baby, we’re meant to be together.”

“I don’t have to listen to this” Tony said as he stood up from the sofa and walked towards the fireplace; brushing his hands over his hair. “I love Rachel”

“But you love me to don’t you. Don’t you Tony.” Tony was confused; he didn’t know how to answer. He loved her because she was the mother of his children, but he wasn’t in love with her. He didn’t think so any way. Spending time with Kate had confused him; she kept talking about the past, talking about the good times they’d spent together and sometimes he had smiled. He felt guilty for that, worried that him smiling meant he had feelings for Kate again. Deep down though he knew he loved Rachel, he knew that she was the one he wanted to be with. He was so happy with the family they had created together and he did not want to sacrifice that for anything.

“Tony, answer me honestly.”

“I don’t Kate, I’m sorry” he replied honestly.

“You do Tony, I know you do. Why did you hesitate when you answered me? It’s because you love me you’re just afraid to admit it. You’re afraid of hurting Rachel’s feelings but Tony you can’t think of her.”

“Stop playing mind games with me Kate”

“Think of us Tony; think of our family, our boys. Lucas told me last night how happy he was to see us again.” Kate was crying, desperate for Tony to admit that he loved her and wanted them to be a family again. She was willing to do anything. “Think of Jack.”

“Don’t you dare use my son against me Kate.”

“He would want us to be together. Think about making him happy.” Tony was shocked; he couldn’t believe that she would say that to him. Jack meant everything to him and the thought that him being with Rachel would upset him devastated him. Tears began to roll slowly down his cheeks and he wiped them furiously, desperate for Kate not to see him cry.

“I don’t want to talk to you anymore” Tony spluttered, heading towards the door; he felt suffocated and was struggling to breathe.

“Tony wait” Kate shouted, throwing herself in front of the door and grabbing his hands. “You said that Jack went into the police force to avenge my death; that he wanted me back and he loved me. Tony it would break his heart if he was here now and saw you turn me away. I just want us to be happy again, I know that we can be if you just give me a chance. Do it for Jack” she whispered. She hated using Jack to make him feel guilty but she was sure that he would fall in love with her again, if he would just try. Tony rubbed his eyes as a fresh set of tears fell from his eyes. All he ever wanted to do was to make Jack happy.

“Do you honestly think this is what he would want?” he asked looking directly at Kate.

“Yes I do Tony, I know him. He’s my son.”

“Yeah well he’s my son to and I’m not totally convinced. Now excuse me, I need some air” Tony replied moving her out of the way and slamming the door behind him.

Kate jumped placing her hands over her mouth. She was sure it was going to work; she knew how much the boys meant to Tony, especially Jack. Racking her brains she knew she needed to come up with something drastic, something that would leave Tony with no choice but to leave Rachel and give them a chance. She laughed nervously to herself; she wouldn’t usually do something like this but being in hiding had changed her. She’d spent years and years dreaming of her and Tony being a family again and she would stop at nothing to make sure that dream became a reality.

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Thank you Charlene, Suzanne, Danni and Kirsty. Your comments are all so kind and I love to read what you think of what's happening.

Tony walked slowly towards the door and fumbled in his pocket for the key. More than anything he just wanted to go home, he didn’t want to have to deal with all this drama. His walk had given him a chance to reflect on how he truly felt; he knew he loved Rachel and Kate coming back hadn’t changed that at all. But what she’d said about Jack had haunted him, what if Jack really did want him to be with Kate? He hated the thought of letting his son down, it was the last thing he wanted to do. Unlocking the door he cautiously stepped into the lounge, looking around to see where Kate was. When he was unable to see her he turned around to shut the door and pulled his phone out of his back pocket, intending to call Rachel.

“Nice walk?” a voice boomed behind him causing Tony to jump and drop his phone on the floor.

“Kate, you scared the hell out of me. I didn’t see you there.”

“Sorry. Actually I’m glad you’re back there’s something I wanted to talk to you about.” Kate started. She wasn’t sure how effective her idea was going to be but she knew it was worth a try.

“Kate if this is about Jack and what he thinks about Rachel and I …”

“It’s not about Jack, Tony” she interrupted. “It’s about you.”

“What about me?”

“Does Rachel know about the accident?”

“What …” Tony stumbled. At first he wasn’t sure what she was going on about but now he knew exactly what she was asking. Familiar emotions of self hatred, anger and regret washed over him as he thought back to that day. “I can’t believe you would bring that up again, I thought you promised never to talk about it.”

“You didn’t answer my question Tony.”

“Yeah well you have no right to ask me that question Kate.” Tony was furious; she knew how much he regretted that day, how much he hated himself for hurting an innocent girl because of his own stupid mistake.

“See your insistence to avoid answering my question leads me to think that she doesn’t know.” Kate’s eyes widened with glee, she’d finally found a way she could win Tony around, a way she could force him to give her a chance. That was all she needed she thought as she clapped her fingers together in excitement.

“Stop pushing me Kate” Tony seethed.

“Why didn’t you tell her Tony? It’s not a very good basis for a marriage is it, lying about one of the single most important parts of your life.”

“Because I wanted to protect her okay?” Tony yelled, no longer able to contain the anger and intense sadness he felt. “You have absolutely no idea what she’s been through and if I told her it would bring up loads of bad memories for her.”

“Bad memories for her or bad memories for you?” Tony froze. He knew she was right. God knows he’d contemplated opening up to her many times but every time he decided to, something stopped him. He was frightened that she would hate him; he was so ashamed of what he did and if he hated himself then why wouldn’t Rachel?

“You nearly killed a child Tony”

“Yes I know Kate; I don’t need to be reminded of it”

“It’s ok I understand that you wouldn’t want to tell Rachel. You don’t know how she’d take it; she might even leave you Tony.” Kate could see she was getting to Tony; his eyes were glossy and he was furiously trying to blink away tears. She placed a hand gently on his face wiping a tear as it fell swiftly down his cheek. “If you hadn’t have had a drink that night she wouldn’t be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of her life…”

“Don’t you think I know that Kate” Tony growled, grabbing her wrist and pulling it off of his face. Tears started falling faster down his cheek as he remembered the night that changed him for the rest of his life. He’d been out at a bar with a few mates from University and his best friend had offered to stay sober and drive them home. However his ex girlfriend has turned up with her new boyfriend and it had made him furiously jealous, leading him to drink a significant amount. Tony therefore had no choice but to drive them all home; he’d only had three beers, he thought he’d be ok. They’d all been messing about in the backseat, kicking the back of his chair and jokingly wrapping their hands over his eyes. By the time Tony had forced their hands away it was too late. He hit her at 60mph. The doctors didn’t think she’d survive but thankfully she’d pulled through. However there was extensive damage to her spinal cord they said; she’d never walk again. Tony sobbed as he relived that night; his body sweating as he breathed heavily, trying to shake away the memory. He’d served his time; sentenced to time in prison for drinking under the influence of alcohol. But the scars had never healed; the guilt had plagued him every day of his life.

“Tony, you don’t have to tell her” Kate assured

“I can’t, she’d hate me. I don’t want her to know”

“Then don’t. And I won’t either. On one condition.” The latter part of Kate’s words had startled him.

“Condition? What condition?”

“That you leave her Tony. I want you to move back in with me, I want us to be a family again.”

“Are you crazy? You have no right to blackmail me like this Kate.”

“Tony, I love you. I’m just trying to do the right thing. I know you can love me again, you just need a chance to remember what I’m like, how happy we were.”

“I won’t leave Rachel and I won’t leave Harry, I love them”

“Then you’ll hurt her will you? You’ll go back to them and tell them all about your awful past. You’ll let your son grow up knowing that his father was a drunken

criminal will you?

“Kate please. Don’t do this” Tony begged.

“I’m sorry Tony but it’s the only way. If you don’t leave Rachel and move back in with me, then I’ll tell her everything. Sleep on it and let me know what you’ve decided in the morning” Kate demanded, marching upstairs to her bedroom. Tony was in shock, he had no idea what he was going to do. If he left Rachel he knew she’d be devastated but she’d hate him if she knew what he’d done. After everything that happened with her Dad, Tony knew she would never allow him anywhere near her or Harry ever again. That’s what she’d done to her Dad when she found out he’d operated under the influence of alcohol. He jumped as his phone started ringing. Bending down on the floor and picking it up he noticed it was Rachel calling. Tears sprung to his eyes as he imagined how hurt she was going to be. If he left her then at least she could move on, she could find someone else who would make her happy and he would still be able to see them. The thought sickened him but it was better than the alternative. If she knew what he’d done she might forbid him from seeing her or Harry ever again and that was a thought he just couldn’t bear to imagine. He fell to the floor in tears, cutting Rachel off and wrapping his arms around himself for comfort. Sobbing into his knees he realised that Kate had never really given him a choice; leaving Rachel was the least painful of the options for his family. So that was what he had to do.

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Thank you Danni and Charlene :) I've posted the next chapter a little earlier, seeing as it's Christmas :P Tony comes home and tells Rachel in this next chapter...

Rachel smoothed her dress down before grabbing some matches and lighting the candles she’d placed in the centre of the kitchen table. When Tony had text her to let he know he was on his way home she’d swiftly tidied the house up and made plans to cook his favourite dinner. She thought that he had probably had a difficult week with Lucas and she wanted to do something to cheer him up so had put Harry to bed early and prepared a romantic meal for them both. Looking at her watch she noticed he was over two hours later than he said he’d be and she started to worry; he always called her if he was going to be late home. However as if by magic, she heard the key in the lock. A wave of relief washing over her; she threw the matches in the drawer and smiled brightly, excited to see his reaction to her surprise.

“Hey there’s my husband. For a minute there I thought you’d left me” Rachel joked, trying to ignore the fact that Tony looked completely miserable.

“Hey” he replied in an almost monotonous voice; looking up at Rachel quickly before directing his gaze back down to the floor. Confused by his strange behaviour Rachel strolled over to him and wrapped her arms around him.

“I missed you” she whispered in his ear, hoping he would notice the candle-lit table she’d prepared. “I made you your favourite dinner” she sang; trying to break him from his mysterious mood.

“I’m not hungry” he replied bluntly pushing her arms away from her.

“Tony what’s going on?” Rachel asked as Tony walked swiftly towards the bedroom. He didn’t reply. Just as she was about to follow him, she heard Harry crying from his nursery. They’d decided to start trying him in his own room and it had seemed to have unaffected him; although Rachel couldn’t say the same for her. She figured that maybe Tony had had a difficult week and just needed some space; Jack was the same whenever he was in a bad mood and she knew he was exactly the same as his father. Leaving him to it, she headed towards Harry’s nursery; curious when she heard the continuous sound of drawers opening and shutting coming from their room next door. After about ten minutes of rocking Harry in her arms and rubbing his back to comfort him she heard Tony rush out of their room, the door hitting the wall as he flung it open. Startled, she placed a sleepy Harry back in his cot, tucking his blanket around him and running out after him.

“Where are you going?” she shrieked, her body glued to the spot as she noticed Tony standing in their open doorway, his face turned away from her and a suitcase clutched tightly in his hand. Turning around slowly she noticed his hands were shaking gently and his eyes red and puffy. “Tony what’s happened” she added gently, her voice soft and concerning as she moved towards him

“No don’t” Tony muttered. “Don’t come any closer.”

“Tony please tell me what’s going on. You’re scaring me.”

“I have to leave” he replied bluntly.

“You have to leave? To go where? I don’t understand, Tony …”

“Because I don’t love you anymore” he screamed; his eyes wild and his face red with exasperation. Rachel’s hand flew to her mouth and an eerie silence filled the room. For Tony it felt like time had stood still; he hadn’t wanted to say it; he didn’t mean it at all. But he figured it was the only excuse he could give to leave her. His gaze was fixed on the floor; he couldn’t bear to look at her, to know that the hurt and devastation which was pulsing through every fibre of her body was caused by him. The chilling echo of Rachel sobbing broke him from his thoughts; a sound which filled him with immense guilt and pain. “I’m sorry” he whispered as he turned his back to her. As he lifted his suitcase and stepped out of the door he heard her screaming at him.

“Tony no please don’t go” she yelled hysterically. running towards him and wrapping her arms tightly around him. She grabbed a handful of his shirt, clinging to him as he desperately tried to remove her hands from his waist. “Don’t do this Tony please, don’t walk out on me, I love you” she sobbed, tears streaming down her face and soaking the back of Tony’s shirt.

“Rachel please don’t make this harder than it already is” he begged, fighting the urge to just turn around and hold her in his arms. Breaking up with her was far more difficult than he ever expected it to be but he knew he couldn’t go back now, telling Rachel his secret would cause far more pain; he’d convinced himself of that.

“Why, why are you doing this?” she questioned, still clutching his shirt tightly; her knuckles white. “If it’s me Tony I’ll change I will, if I’ve done something wrong tell me please.” Rachel was willing to do anything, desperate to find out how he could change so quickly from the warm, loving husband he’d been only one week previously. Holding Tony closer she pressed the side of her tear stained face into his back, frantic to remind him how close they were, how much she loved him. Her heart broke when she felt him move away; felt him resisting the affection she was so fiercely trying to give him. “You can’t just walk out on me, what about Harry are you going to walk out on your son?” Rachel questioned as she heard her baby crying for her. “Can you hear him crying Tony? He needs you, I need you” she begged; her voice cracking as she swallowed back the flood of tears which were caught in her throat.

“I’ll still be there for him” he whispered, trying to swallow back his own tears. Hearing his wife and son crying so intensely broke his heart, he hated Kate for what she’d made him do but more than anything he hated himself. He hated that he couldn’t stand up to her and that she had just destroyed the family he’d worked so hard to create. Feeling Rachel’s grip on him weaken he took the opportunity to pull her arms off him and he left; unable to cope with hearing her crying so hysterically any longer.

Rachel fell to the floor as he legged buckled underneath her, gasping for breath as the intensity of her grief overwhelmed her. She could hear her little boy screaming in the background but her body was numb, her legs wouldn’t budge now matter how much she tried to move them. She couldn’t process what had just happened, that man wasn’t her husband. He’d promised her he’d never leave her; that she’d never have to go through the pain that she went through with her last marriage breakdown. The realisation that it was all lie, that their marriage was so invaluable to him was something so devastating to her. She couldn’t comprehend that the man she loves, married and created a child with had just walked out on her without a second thought. She so desperately tried to figure out why he’d left, she didn’t believe that he could just fall out of love with her like that. Flashes of her future life forced themselves into her mind; she saw how she’d have to struggle on her own and balance her life between raising her son and working to provide for him. She saw her life without Tony. It felt so cold and empty and she breathed heavily trying to force the thoughts out of her mind. Resting her face in her hands she cried in pain, her eyes were stinging from where her tears had washed mascara into them and her heart was completely broken. “Noooo” she sobbed, rocking back and forth as reality hit her. She was all alone.

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Thank you both Kirsty and Dannii. They were both very difficult chapters to write realistically and I hope I did write the emotions across effectively.

“Colleen can you get these to table two please” Leah asked sternly; the Diner was hectic and she was rushed off her feet yet Colleen had spent the last half an hour gossiping with Madge Wilkins. In some ways though she was pleased because it meant she could distract herself and didn’t have to think about the state that her life was in. “Here’s your order sorry about the wait” she smiled before marching into the kitchen and throwing her apron on the side. She breathed a sigh of frustration and buried her head in her hands. Earlier that morning VJ had asked her why he didn’t have a Dad like all the other kids at school. It had broken her heart to hear him say that and no matter how much she tried to persuade him that Vinnie loved him and didn’t want to leave him, he wouldn’t believe her. He told Leah that he thought he died because of him, because he didn’t love him. Leah hated lying to VJ; it devastated her she wasn’t able to tell him that his Dad was really alive but she knew she couldn’t tell him the truth; for his own safety. She wanted to ask Rachel to talk to him or at least give her some advice on the best way to deal with the situation, but every time she tried calling her over the past few days it just went straight to the answering machine. Looking at her watch she realised she’d been working for five hours nonstop and was desperately in need of a break. Pulling her hair from it’s ponytail she grabbed her bag and left the kitchen.

“Colleen I’m going on my lunch break so stop talking about the latest scandal and go serve those six hungry customers please” Leah demanded, pointing to the long queue which had formed whilst she’d been procrastinating. As she started on her short walk to Rachel’s house she decided she could spare an extra five minutes and go along the beach route. It was a beautiful day; the sun was shining brightly and the breeze was gentle and fresh. Gazing around at the breathtaking scenery she cast her eye over to the sea, squinting as she saw Tony in the distance talking to someone. Automatically assuming it might be Rachel she headed over towards them, relieved that she could save herself a trip. However as she headed closer, Tony moved to the side and she could see that it wasn’t her friend he was talking to. Studying them intently, it looked like they were having an argument until she leaned up and kissed his cheek, wrapping her arms around him as she whispered something in his ear. Leah was stunned. She blinked furiously, anger rising in her chest as she witnessed Tony getting close to another woman. Not wanting to jump to any conclusions she backed away slowly, hoping that it was all a misunderstanding. She didn’t know whether she should mention it to Rachel or not to; it could be completely innocent and she didn’t want to cause any trouble when it was not needed. However she knew it was something she couldn’t completely ignore, so she decided she would find Tony later and talk to him first before saying anything to her; she just prayed he had a totally reasonable explanation.


Leah knocked loudly on the door, crossing her arms as she waited for Rachel to let her in. She saw the front door keys laying on the bookshelf so knew Rachel was home however there was no sign of any life inside. As she turned the handle on the door she was shocked when it slowly swung open, creaking as she pushed it further and cautiously stepped into the house. The sound of crunching scared her as she looked down and noticed a photo frame underneath her foot, surrounded by broken glass. Crouching down she turned the frame over and creased her brow in confusion as she tried to work out how it had gotten there. It was a photo of Rachel and Tony taken on their wedding day, snuggled up to each other and looking deliriously happy. Slowly standing up she placed it on the unit behind her, stroking her finger along the brim of the table as she noticed a dent, like something had been thrown at it.

“Rach?” she called out, stepping over the glass and making her way towards the back rooms. As she walked along the hallway she could faintly hear a noise coming from Rachel’s bedroom; although she couldn’t work out what it was. As she slowly pushed the door open to Rachel’s room she saw her lying on her side on top of her bed, feeding Harry a bottle as he nestled in her arm. “Hey, didn’t you hear me knock?” Leah probed, walking further into the room and closing the door gently behind her. As she walked closer to Rachel’s bed she could see that she was crying; tears were falling slowly down her face and she was making no effort to wipe them away. “Rach, what’s happened? Why are you crying?” she shrieked running forward and resting herself on the edge of the bed.

“He’s … gone” Rachel whispered. “He left me.” Rachel was staring down at the bed and responding in an almost robotic manner. Shock had totally consumed her body.

“Rachel, what are you talking about?” Leah asked, placing a reassuring hand on her arm.

“Tony … he said he didn’t love me anymore. He walked out” Rachel’s voice began to crack as she relived the moment her husband had left her. Leah paused, unsure how to respond. She couldn’t believe that Tony would do that and was sure it was all just a misunderstanding. “What happened? Did you two have a fight or something?”

“No” Rachel shook her head vehemently. “He just came home… he was with Kate” Rachel choked back a sob realising she wasn’t making any sense. “He was being all weird and then he just left. God what am I going to do Leah? He doesn’t love me.” Rachel broke down as the realisation hit her. She’d locked herself away in the house, unable to face her friends, unable to face the world. Safe in her home she’d been able to live in denial, in hope that Tony would change his mind and come running home. But finally saying it out loud had made her realise that it was all true; Tony didn’t love her and he wasn’t coming home. Her hands were shaking with such force that she could no longer hold Harry’s bottle and he started to cry with her. She tried to comfort him by stroking his cheek but the tears were clouding her vision and she couldn’t control the grief which was pouring from her. Feeling Leah’s hand on her arm she layed down on the bed, sobbing into Harry’s head and holding him close to her. He was all she had left.


Leah closed the door gently as she stepped out wearily into the living room. After hours of tears Rachel had finally fallen asleep clutching her baby son’s hand tightly to her chest. Leah couldn’t believe how quickly this had all happened; how sudden. It wasn’t like there were any signs of difficulty in their marriage and Rachel had said that he’d been absolutely fine before he’d gone to see Lucas with Kate. “Kate!” Leah gasped out loud as her mind flashed back to what she’d witnessed earlier; Kate with her arms wrapped around Rachel’s husband. Fury ran through Leah’s veins as she contemplated the possibility that Tony had walked out on his family for his ex wife; fury so strong that she couldn’t just stand there and do nothing; she had to confront Tony.

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Thank you so much for your lovely comments Kirsty and Charlene :) I'm pleased you're enjoying it! And I hope everyone that reads this had a lovely Christmas :)

Running towards the beach; Leah didn’t have much hope that Tony would still be there but she had no idea where Kate lived. Her mind was wandering with all the things that she wanted to say to Tony as she frantically looked around her for any sign of him. As she ran down the pathway to the beach and reached the bottom she gazed disappointingly at the emptiness and stillness which lay before her. Not a soul was in sight. “Damn it” she screamed stamping her foot in the sand and heading back towards Rachel’s. By the state of her house she could see she wasn’t taking care of herself so thought she would tidy things up a bit and make sure she was eating. As she leant against a wooden fence to catch her breath, her heart began to thud in her chest as she noticed a figure in the distance, sitting on the beach with his head in his hands. It was Tony. Kicking her shoes off her feet, adrenaline pulsed through her veins as she sprinted towards him, mentally telling herself to calm down and not make a fool of herself.

“What the hell do you think you’re playing at?” she seethed clenching her fists and kicking small grains of sand over him.

“I take it you’ve spoken to Rachel” Tony muttered, his gaze fixed on the scene ahead of him.

“Spoken is not the right word” Leah replied bitterly, her voice shaking with anger. “Watching her crying her eyes out for four hours straight before becoming so exhausted she fell asleep mid sentence is probably a more appropriate way of describing it Tony.” Silence hung between them as Leah waited for an explanation. “How could you” she breathed, realising he wasn’t going to give her one.

“I can’t help how I feel Leah” he replied almost immediately as if it was scripted.

“You don’t just fall out of love with someone in a week Tony.” Leah exasperated. “And to add to that, you don’t just walk out on your wife and son; your family; and just move in with another woman straight away. Where the hell is your respect?” Her voice rose with bitterness and maliciousness. She’d hunted him down prepared for a screaming war but instead he just sat there calmly, not once looking her in the eye and it made her mad. She had all this anger contained within her and she had no idea how to control it.

“She’s not just another woman, she’s my ex wife. She’s Jack and Lucas’s Mum. It’s different.” Tony dragged his words out slowly as if he was trying to convince himself of something.

“It’s not different Tony. Not for Rachel it isn’t. She’s heartbroken; she’s locked herself away in the house.” Leah had hoped that she would witness some sort of reaction from Tony but his face remained focused on the tide as he watched it leak gently onto the sand and be pulled back into the sea. It felt just like his heart he thought. He so desperately wanted to be with Rachel; it was with her that he felt relaxed, happy and free. But it was like there was a powerful force which was pulling him back and no matter how much he tried to fight to stay with her; it was out of his control. His heart broke at the thought of Rachel crying herself to sleep as he knew it was him that had caused her that pain.

“Have you even contacted her since you left and began parading around town with your new girlfriend” Leah questioned, cutting into Tony’s thoughts.

“I thought I’d give her some time…”

“She doesn’t need time Tony” Leah screamed. “She needs you to give her a decent explanation as to why you’ve just thrown her and Harry to the side.”

“I’ll talk to her” he answered; tears springing to his eyes at the thought of his child.

“She doesn’t even know that you’ve left her for Kate, do you know what that’s going to do to her?” She was desperately trying to break through this invisible bubble he seemed to be living in. “For goodness sake Tony stand up when I’m talking you, stop sitting there like a pathetic little man feeling sorry for yourself.”

“I had no choice ok” he screamed back, jumping to his feet and throwing his arms wildly in front of him.

“Of course you had a choice Tony.” Leah started as she lost all control and began hitting Tony’s chest furiously whilst he struggled to pull her off. “You could choose not to leave her for another woman; you could choose not to walk around the town she lives in with your new girlfriend on your arm before she even knows about it. It’s humiliating for her Tony, her friends live here. You know how much Kim hurt her when he left and yet you’re happy to make her go through that all again are you?” As Leah pulled her arm away from his grip she slapped him hard across the face; much harder than she intended to. An awkward silence filled the air as Leah stepped back watching as Tony’s hand flew to the side of his face.

“You’re pathetic Tony Holden; you’re not the man I thought you were.” Leah replied before walking away. Her hands were shaking and tears slipped down her face as she thought back to what she’d just done. She never meant to hit Tony but the anger had taken over her body; she was just so desperate to get him to see what he was doing and she was frustrated when he appeared to think he hadn’t done anything wrong. She’d seen how devastated Rachel was when Kim had walked out on her and it pained her so much to think she was going to have to go through it all over again. Except this time it was worse; this time she had a son to think of. When she thought back to how affected VJ was by not having a Dad at home it made her angry to think that Tony would willingly put his child through that. Running her fingers through her hair she wondered what Rachel would say when she told her. She was sure in a few years time they’d both laugh about it together but for now she knew this situation was far too painful to joke about.


It had been a week since he’d left; six days since he’d finally built up the courage to come back and talk to her. Leah had been right, she deserved an explanation but Tony didn’t know what he could say to her; a truthful explanation could lead to him never seeing her and Harry again. He’d ran over his speech again and again in his head for the last day or two and continued to do so as he stepped onto their porch and put his key into the lock. Pausing he realised he probably shouldn’t just walk into their house, he didn’t feel he deserved to so he removed the key and knocked gently; his heart racing.


Rachel took a deep breath as she moved the brush through her hair. Today was the first day she’d made an effort and got dressed since Tony left. Leah had been amazing, coming round every day to try and boost her spirit and sometimes it had worked; sometimes she felt really optimistic about her future and knew that if she’d worked through it once she could do it again. But then when she tried to sleep at night and memories of her and Tony plagued her mind it was like her heart shattered all over again into pieces so small she felt it was impossible to ever be fixed. Hearing a knock at the door she tiptoed out of her room so as not to wake Harry and attempted a smile; she figured Leah must be getting sick of her being so depressed all the time. As she looked up and saw Tony standing there through the glass panes; his hands tucked suavely in his side pockets; her heart froze. She hadn’t expected Tony to be the one knocking at her door and she felt her cheeks flush as he stared at her, attempting a weak wave. Her legs were stuck to the spot, she didn’t know whether she wanted to talk to him or not; she’d just managed to pick herself up a bit and she knew that facing him would just make her burst into tears all over again. She didn’t want that, she didn’t want to look pathetic in front of him and all that dominated her mind was an intense thankfulness that she’d got dressed that morning. As she saw him reach towards the door and let himself in her heart began to race at a million miles an hour.

“Hey” he brightly smiled. He was dressed in a casual shirt and jeans; a look which was making Rachel feel weak. She so desperately wanted to hold him but would then mentally punish herself for thinking that way; she knew she had to toughen up.

“Hi” she replied crossing her arms in front of her.

“I – er – wondered if I could see Harry” Tony asked shakily mentally kicking himself; that wasn’t what he’d actually wanted to say.

“He’s asleep”

“Oh” Tony replied disappointedly, looking down at the floor. The speech he’d prepared had suddenly disappeared from his mind and he had no idea what to say.

“Was that all?” Rachel asked after moments of tense silence between them.

“I miss you” he whispered.

Rachel’s heart leapt with joy and tears of happiness sprung to her eyes. Her mind began to wander with questions, was that was why Tony was really standing in their home now, because he wanted to come home? A smile that she couldn’t control appeared on her face as she answered him; “I miss you to.” Her heart began to thud in her chest as Tony lifted his head up to look at her and smiled before running forwards and grabbing her face firmly with his hands. He kissed her passionately, running his fingers through her hair and she felt him shiver as she ran her hands under his shirt and caressed his back. As they backed towards their bedroom Rachel felt thrilled; he’d made a mistake but he’d come home to her. And that was all she wanted.

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Wow so many lovely comments! Thank you so much Crazylazy, Dannii, Charlene, Suzanne and Kirsty. Your support means a lot to me and I'm pleased you're all enjoying the fic and find it emotional - that's my aim! I hope you enjoy this next chapter!

He lay with the duvet draped gently over his chest; Rachel sleeping in his arms as he played with her hair. He hadn’t meant for that to happen but he couldn’t help himself, he’d missed her so much and for a moment he thought to himself that he didn’t care about the consequences. He didn’t care about Kate’s threats or what would happen; he just wanted to be with Rachel again. But now as he lay there and saw her peacefully sleeping, her arm wrapped tightly around his waist; he realised he couldn’t do it. He couldn’t tell her about the accident and the only way to protect her was to do what Kate said. Moving gently out of the bed so as not to stir Rachel, he grabbed his clothes which were littered across the floor and began writing her a letter. Occasionally glancing over at her he managed to convince himself that he was doing the right thing so placed the paper gently in her hand and kissed her softly on the head. Dressing himself he crept into Harry’s room and gazed sadly at his tiny son who was laying curled up on his side. As he gently stroked his face he realised how much of Harry growing up he was going to miss out on and the thought devastated him. But on the other side it was better than never seeing him at all and he kept telling himself that over and over again. “Daddy loves you little man, don’t you ever forget that ok” Tony whispered softly to him, hoping he would understand. He left Harry’s room and took one more look at his home; a place which only a few weeks ago had been filled with laughter and happiness. It was somewhere he felt warm and safe and being able to come back to here always made him happy because it was filled with the people he loved the most. But he knew that was all over now. He had to make the sacrifice to protect his wife and child from knowing the person he used to be, no matter what.


Rachel slowly opened her eyes as images of last night flashed into her mind. As a smile crept across her face she reached out her arm to pull Tony closer to her but all she could feel was an empty bed. “Tony?” she called out as she sat up suddenly, pulling the duvet close to her. A rustling sound diverted her gaze and she noticed a folded piece of paper hanging from the edge of the bed. Reaching out to it she held it in front of her, her eyes darting side to side as she skimmed it quickly. The words “I’m so sorry,” and “I love you but I can’t be with you” jumped out at her and she felt her heart breaking as she realised that Tony had left her again. She couldn’t bear to read it properly so screwed it into a ball and threw it angrily across the room, tears streaming down her face. She was sick of him making her feel like this, she was sick of his games and the way he kept changing his mind. Curling into a ball she screamed hysterically into her duvet and decided there and then that she wouldn’t let him do this to her and Harry anymore. She would rather him be out of her life than keep coming in and then breaking her heart all over again; it was too painful. It was unfair on her and it was unfair on their son. She just couldn’t take it anymore.


Rachel bustled about in the kitchen; struggling to hold Harry who was wriggling in her arms to get down and tidy up at the same time. She was exhausted and it felt like there was a metal band playing in her head. Doing things on her own was definitely a lot more difficult than she thought it would be; she never realised how much she relied on Tony; how much he actually did for her. Thankfully she hadn’t had to see him since the day he left; Leah had kindly offered to be the mediator between the two. Rachel would drop Harry off to her early in the morning and Tony would pick him up from there and spend the day with him, before dropping him back off to Leah. He’d tried contacting her, she had hundreds of text messages and missed calls on her phone from him but she’d ignored every single one unless it was to do with Harry. She knew it wasn’t fair to keep him away from his son and equally it wasn’t fair on Harry to not have his Dad in his life. He’d been restless ever since Tony left; it’s like he knew that something wasn’t right, that his Dad wasn’t around anymore. A knock at the front door disturbed Rachel from her thoughts and she dropped the clutter that was in her hands and slowly stumbled towards it. Her bones were aching so much; she’d been so frantically busy with work and raising Harry she’d barely had time to rest and she felt like she was a walking zombie. She was so tired it even felt like a struggle to breathe and she was constantly stopping mid step, just to catch her breath.

“Gina hey” Rachel weakly exclaimed; surprised to see her sister in law standing at her front door. “Come in” she offered standing to the side.

“Hi Rachel. And hello there my gorgeous nephew, you’ve gotten so big” Gina smiled, cooing to Harry as she sheepishly stepped into the house. “I’m sorry I haven’t been round to see you both lately”

“Don’t worry I understand, you’re Tony’s sister it’s a difficult situation.” Rachel answered, closing the front door and walking towards the kitchen. “Did you want a tea?” she offered, placing Harry in his play pen.

“That would be good, thank you.” Gina placed her bag down on the sofa and followed Rachel hesitantly, unsure of what to say to her given the uncomfortable situation. “I’m not taking sides Rachel; I just wanted you to know.”

“Gina you really don’t need to say that.” Rachel assured as she boiled the kettle.

“Yes I do. Tony’s been stupid; I really don’t understand what’s going on with him at the moment. I’m sorry that he’s hurt you so much” Gina started, feeling immense sympathy for her sister in law. She’d been in her position and knew how much it tore you apart to know that the man you loved more than anything was actually in love with someone else. Not that Gina believed Tony was more in love with Kate but that’s what he was saying, what he was telling Rachel. “I think he’s just confused, with having Kate back.”

“It’s really nice of you to say but you don’t have to make excuses for him. He doesn’t love me anymore and that’s just something I have to deal with” Rachel smiled sadly, her back facing Gina as she aimlessly stirred the milk into the cup.

“I hope you don’t mind me saying this but … you’re coping pretty well” Gina tentatively exclaimed, surprised at how together Rachel was.

“Yer well, Tony’s not lying in Kate’s bed crying about me so why should I do the same for him?” Rachel bluntly replied, throwing the spoon into the sink and wincing as it crashed against the metal sides. Taking a deep breath she slowly turned to face Gina. “I’m sorry; I shouldn’t have spoken to you like that.”

“Don’t worry. I guess you’re just really good at hiding how hurt you are” Gina commented, noticing Rachel’s bottom lip quivering as she tried to hold back the tears.

“I’m fine” Rachel exclaimed as she forced a smile; tugging on her top which was loosely hanging from her shoulders.

“You look like you’ve lost weight” Gina commented, noticing how baggy Rachel’s clothes were on her. “Have you not been eating?” she added.

“Not really” Rachel replied, her head hanging in shame. “I haven’t really felt hungry since …” Her voice drifted off as she couldn’t bear to say the words.

“You’ve got to look after yourself Rachel. You don’t look well at all” Gina managed to get a good glimpse and noticed how pale Rachel’s complexion was. Her eyes were dark and sunken and she looked frail, as if she could break at any moment.

“Wow and you wonder why I haven’t invited you around lately” Rachel laughed, slightly embarrassed at how much of a mess she was. She tucked her hair behind her ear in a weak attempt to try and look better.

“That’s a pretty big bruise on your arm, how did you get that?” Gina asked, shocked at the huge dark mark on Rachel’s wrist.

“I have no idea” Rachel shrugged after examining the bruise. “I must have hit it on the door or something, I haven’t really been with it lately” she joked, attempting to lighten the mood.

“Why don’t you sit down and I’ll bring the tea over” Gina offered, slightly concerned at how ill Rachel looked.

“Thanks” she smiled gratefully, limping over to the kitchen table whilst leaning on the worktop for support. Gina noticed the way she was walking and knew that something wasn’t quite right. As she picked up the mugs she noticed a blood stained tissue thrown carelessly on the windowsill.

“Rachel, where did this blood come from?” Gina asked, placing the cups back down on the side and pointing at the tissue.

“Oh it’s nothing; I just had a little nosebleed that’s all.” Rachel replied.

“A little? The whole tissue is practically covered” Gina gasped.

“Well, okay I had a few nosebleeds. It’s nothing to worry about, I’m just a bit run down at the moment” Rachel explained, desperate for her tea.

“Rachel, I really think we should take you to the hospital to get you checked, I’m worried about you” Gina admitted as she walked over towards her and sat in the chair opposite.

“Don’t be ridiculous” Rachel laughed. “My husband left me Gina; I haven’t been eating properly. That’s all it is.”

“What about the nose bleeds? And the bruises Rachel, you don’t get them from malnourishment.” Gina explained, desperate for her to see why she was concerned.

“Well I’ve been under a lot of stress.” Rachel started to get tearful. She hadn’t been feeling well for weeks but she’d put it all down to what she’d been through with Tony leaving and just overworking.

“Rachel …” Gina started before Rachel cut in.

“You’re Tony’s sister, you probably shouldn’t be here. He might be upset if he sees you talking to me.” Rachel muttered.

“And you are my sister in law Rachel. Just because Tony’s left you it does not mean that I’m going to stop suddenly talking to you. I don’t want you to think you can’t talk to me anymore.” Gina explained; pleased that she’d finally told Rachel what she’d intended to say when she arrived.

“That’s really nice of you to say, thank you.” Rachel smiled. She’d always liked Gina and thought of her as a sister so when Tony had left she had to admit she’d been worried she would lose her friendship to. “But you don’t have to worry about me, I’m okay.” Rachel assured.

“Just, put my mind at rest Rachel. Let’s just pop into the hospital and get you checked, I’ll come with you.” Gina offered.

“No” Rachel insisted. “I work there; when people see me they see me as a doctor not a patient. I don’t want them all fussing over me” Rachel explained, hoping it would be enough to make her drop the subject.

“Then at least let me call out a doctor. Please Rachel. If you’re ill then you can’t take care of Harry properly so think of him” Gina winced, feeling guilty at using her son against her.

Rachel paused. “Okay, I guess you’re right. But only because I don’t want you going on at me” Rachel laughed. She was sure nothing was wrong and Gina was being over dramatic but she knew she was just looking out for her. As Gina picked up the house phone, Rachel lifted herself from the chair and paced over towards the worktop. If Gina wasn’t going to bring her tea over she’d have to get it herself.

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Thank you so much Charlene, Kirsty and flyingwithoutwings. You've all written such detailed responses and I'm really grateful. Flyingwithoutwings - what's wrong with Rachel will be revealed not in this chapter but the one after :wink: Just thought I'd post a little one as my last chapter of 2009, hope you all have a Happy New Year!!! :D and thank you to everyone who has commented on this fic so far. I'm so so grateful for every response I get. Enjoy :)

“Just look away Rachel” the doctor advised as he could see the blood rushing from her face the minute she felt the needle pierce her arm.

“How on earth can you not like having your blood taken? You’re a doctor” laughed Gina, amused at the difficulty they had trying to get Rachel to consent to a blood test.

“Yer well it’s slightly different when it’s your own arm having a needle shoved into it” Rachel winced; her fists clenched as she felt a wave of nausea pass over her. “Please hurry up I think I’m going to be sick” Rachel claimed, her hand hovering in front of her mouth.

“Ok it’s all done you can breathe now” the doctor assured as he placed her blood bottles in a bag and heard Rachel breathe a sigh of relief. “Just sit there for a minute, don’t rush up” he added as he saw the colour gradually return to her face. “Ok I’m going to send these off straight away and I’ll try and get the results back to you in the next couple of days. Try and eat a balanced diet and rest up alright; none of these intense cleaning sprees you’ve been insistent on partaking in.”

Rachel smiled weakly, not enjoying being in the reverse role of having someone educating her on how to take care of herself. “I will I promise” she added, purposely ignoring Gina’s ‘I told you so’ face she was pulling.

“Thank you for coming” Gina exclaimed as she followed the on call doctor to the front door and closed it gently behind him. “Fancy another tea?” Gina offered.

“I think I need something a little stronger than that” Rachel answered easing herself back into the chair slowly so as not to disturb the feeling of nausea which was slowly fading away.

“Well alcohol isn’t exactly part of a balanced diet so you can have a cup of tea followed by a glass of water; doctor’s orders” Gina demanded, pouring boiling water into Rachel’s favourite mug.

“I’m starting to regret ever letting you in the house this morning” Rachel joked, smiling gratefully as Gina handed her the cup and took a seat on the couch next to her. A peaceful silence followed in which both Gina and Rachel lay back into the couch and shut their eyes, their hands being warmed by the tea they were clutching close to them.

“I know what it’s like Rachel so if you ever need to talk to me, you know I’ll understand. It gets easier I promise” Gina whispered.

“What gets easier?” Rachel questioned sleepily, her eyes slowly opening as she adjusted to the brightness of the room. A shooting pain tore through her head.

“You know. Your husband leaving you” Gina answered tentatively.

“Oh.” Rachel realised massaging her temple with her free hand. “Well it’s not the first time it’s happened to me don’t forget so, I’m getting a dab hand at coping with marriage breakups.” Rachel laughed sadly, her voice cracking with tears as it always did when she spoke about Tony. “Cheers” she exclaimed, tapping her mug against Gina’s in a desperate attempt to change the subject.

“Cheers” Gina whispered.


The shrill sound of the telephone broke Rachel from the deep restless sleep she’d been in. Her first instinct was to check Harry was ok; she hadn’t quite registered what the sound piercing her ears was and she was afraid for her son’s safety. Since Tony had left she’d moved Harry back to her room for company and after a quick glance over to his cot to see him lying peacefully; his hand rested above his head; she directed her gaze over to the cause of her headache. Shakily picking up the phone she held it to her ear. “Hello?” she croakily said, blinking furiously in an attempt to shake of the still asleep and unconscious part of her.

“Rachel, hey it’s Derek” he replied clearing his throat.

“Derek, what are you calling me at 3 o clock in the morning for?” Rachel moaned as she noticed how early it was.

“I’m sorry if I woke you Rachel but there’s something important I need to discuss with you Rachel.”

“Why do you keep saying my name like that? It makes me think I’m in trouble when you use my full name you know” she joked to her colleague and long time friend.

“I’m sorry I’m just, I’m trying to remain professional. I dunno; this is difficult.” Derek stumbled as if he was trying to find the right words to say.

“Why do you keep apologising? Derek what’s going on?” she asked, sitting upright in bed as her heart began to pound faster. She recognised the tone of his voice. It was the same tone she used when she was nervous, when she had something to tell patients that she knew they weren’t going to like. “What’s wrong?” she added, noticing him hesitating on the other end of the line.

“I don’t want to do this on the phone. Can you come in? To the hospital?”

“What now?” she exclaimed, wincing as Harry begin to whimper.

“Yes now. It’s important Rach; you know I wouldn’t ask if it wasn’t.”

“Okay well, I’ll need to find someone to watch Harry first but I’ll be as quick as I can” Rachel promised as she removed the duvet from her and began to stand up. A wave of dizziness overcame her as she swiftly stood up and she had to steady herself on the bedside table.

“Oh and Rachel, bring someone with you” Derek warned. “Don’t come alone.”

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