DISCLAIMER: All characters belong to Shed, I will return them after I have borrowed them.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

By Lisa1981


Helen opened one eye and groaned as her alarm clock screamed, 7.30am!

"I hate mornings!"

"Morning sleeping beauty!" Duncan bounded into the room carrying a plate with toast on in one hand a cup of steaming tea in the other.

"Why the hell are you up?"

"God you are so crabby in the mornings. Her majesty was wailing at 5am this morning, think she's teething. Didn't you hear her?"

"No, I'm sorry."

"Don't be silly, new job today you needed your sleep." Duncan grabbed one of the pieces of toast off the plate, "come on, let's get moving eh?" Helen groaned and pulled the duvet back over her head,

"No I don't want to, stupid idea anyway. I don't need to work."

"So, you know that, I know that but this is what you've decided. Anyway it will be good for us. I've got to get used to being on my own sometime Hel." Helen popped her head out from under the duvet,

"You're not on your own."

"I know but you know what I mean. Can't have my baby sister running after me forever can I? Now really come on!" Duncan wandered out leaving Helen to get ready. It was still so painful. Every time she looked at Duncan she wanted to cry, her beloved older brother. Life was so cruel. Helen dragged herself out of bed and looked in the mirror,

"Yuk." She went into the bathroom and switched on the shower, absentmindedly putting her hand under the water waiting for it to warm up. Nothing worse in the morning than getting into a cold shower masquerading as a warm one, the shower began warming up and steam began to spiral towards the ceiling. She pushed the door closed and stripped off, stepping into the shower. She smiled as she heard Livvy wailing, even over the sound of pounding water! That girl had definitely inherited the Stewart lungs, she was a madam in the mornings! If she had inherited her father's family's lungs then she had her mother's eyes, Helen knew that Duncan found it painful every day. Looking into his daughter's eyes and seeing the love of his life reflected in them. Helen rinsed her hair and began to massage the conditioner in, her tears fell freely mixing with the water from the shower. She didn't have to be strong in here, Duncan couldn't see her, the crashing of the water might not have covered Livvy's wailing but it more than covered Helen's sobs.

Cerys had been beautiful, a young woman full of life and spirit. They had met at University in Birmingham, Cerys was from Cardiff and Duncan from Stirling. A Celtic union they had all joked. No one had really thought their relationship would work, the distance was ridiculous how would it work? But work it did, there were a few rocky years after graduation when they were both based in different cities but once they had settled in their own home, a cute little house in a village near Solihull they were blissfully happy. Helen had graduated herself and moved to Birmingham to be near her brother and his wife. She had adored Cerys, they were like best friends, they would shop together, go to the gym together, go to the cinema to see the romantic comedies that Duncan would refuse to go to. When Olivia had been born the picture was complete, they'd moved to a bigger house, Cerys had been happy on maternity leave from her job as a PR executive, Duncan had got a promotion and had been made chief designer at a top advertisement agency in Birmingham their life had been as close to perfect as is possible.

Helen stepped out of the shower and looked in the mirror, her face was red but it could have been from the warm water, Duncan would never know. She wrapped herself in a large bath towel and padded into her bedroom,

"How are you doing up there Hel?"

"Fine, stop fussing you big girl!" Helen smiled despite the traumatic events of the last year her relationship with her brother had stayed constant. It had been a source of comfort to them both. Duncan as he mourned the death of his young wife and Helen as she had mourned the loss of one of her closest friends.

The details of that awful day were still scorched into Helen's mind, Cerys had been insistent about going on her own in the car to the supermarket. "I'll be fine." She'd said, she'd wanted to go on her own it made a change to get out of the house without the baby. She'd left Helen, Duncan, and numerous other people at the barbecue being held at their house and headed off happily on her own in the car, Pink blaring out from the stereo in the car. They'd all wondered where she was, why was it taking so long, but Duncan and Helen hadn't worried they knew what Cerys was like. She was probably chatting, or simply browsing the shelves at the supermarket enjoying some valuable 'alone time'. Of course that all changed when a panda car pulled up in front of the house and two police constables had walked slowly up the path towards the door.

Helen patiently blow dried her hair, making sure it was straight. She turned her head towards the window and was pleased to see her hair still had the shine she had always been proud of. She tried to push the unhappy memories out of her mind but it was so hard. Once she had started thinking of that day it was almost as if a tape had started in her head, one that she couldn't stop. It would run until she had watched all the events yet again.

The two police men had been very pleasant. Not her fault they had said, drink driver they thought, she wouldn't have known anything about it. Duncan had sat uncomprehending and silent as they gave him the news, Helen had not been so quiet, she had collapsed distraught and sobbing into the arms of their father. She'd felt guilty for a while, after acting in what she thought was a selfish way. Now however after supporting Duncan through his months of grief she realised that even though he had been calm and silent when he'd found out inside he had simply fallen apart. She had moved in with him to help him look after his young daughter, her niece. It had been so painful to watch him fumble about as a lone parent, but she'd been determined to do it and to remain strong and most importantly to not fall apart in front of him again. Helen put the final touches to the light makeup she had decided to wear, and straightened the name badge on her chest. She walked downstairs into the kitchen,

"Ok I'm ready, how do I look?" Helen jokingly did a twirl in the middle of the room,

"Dadada." Olivia chanted from her high chair,

"Have you been bribing her again?" Duncan got up from where he was sitting and grinned,

"Only with baby porridge, and look I've got most of it down me. She just smiles at me and spits it out! You look very nice Hel, I won't lie it's not the most glamorous outfit you have ever worn but you carry it off very well!"

"Flatterer. Shall I drive, or do you both fancy a trip out this morning to drop Auntie Helen off at work?"

"We'll drop you off, I need to do some shopping anyway. I'll just go and give this one a quick wash and change her out of her pyjamas. Wont be long." Duncan picked Livvy up and kissed her on her cheek, "come on tiger let's get you cleaned up."

Part 4

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