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Malcolm Tucker and the Little Place in the Country

Chapter Text

Giggling like as if she was still a naughty, excitable eight year old, Sam gives the bed a couple of test bounces, up and down and up, and then she throws her arms above her head, revelling in the vast expanse of bed, and the four intricately carved posters.

She’d always thought their bed a home was big, but this, this is massive.

"Oh Malc, this bed is amazing.”

Sam giggles, again, as she raises herself up on her elbows to smile up at her husband, who looks a little more grey and pasty than usual.

"Why, don’t you join me for a bounce?”

She pats the space next to her invitingly, but instead of faulting the suitcases, while manically shedding his clothes, Malcolm just hovers by the end of the bed, looking grey and pained, and rubbing the side of his head.

Malcolm Tucker is sickening for something, Sam can tell, she just knows, well that’s not strictly true; she actually knows that her husband is most probably ill, because they’ve never shared a holiday, which wasn’t interrupted by Malcolm getting suddenly ill.

It’s as if his body literally revolts against sunshine, and or relaxation.

Not that the long weekend their about to enjoy is technically a holiday; although it is one of the perks of her new career as an author, because Sam has been invited to give a speech, and present an award to some promising new writer.

It’s the very same award she had won, six years before.

Six years is a long time in publishing, and since then Sam has won a good deal more, but now, on nights like these, she must be wheeled out to pay her dues.

It’s strange, sometimes to think, that a story she only started writing to combat her own loneliness in the wake of Malcolm’s prison sentence, has gone on to change her life so completely.

So, here they are, Sam and Malcolm, preparing to spend this long bank holiday weekend in the middle of the English countryside, shacked up in a 15 star, 500 year old country house hotel, while Sam’s non-identical twin sister Bex, looks after Chanelle and Dean at home.

Sam watches as Malcolm literally deflates down onto the bottom of the bed.

She feels a sudden rush of pity for her poor, tortured spouse.
.
"Oh Malc, is it your head?”

Sam asks gently as she moves across the bed, coming to rest behind Malcolm, her chin finding a space between the curve of his rather, lovely neck, and his strong broad shoulder.

"Oh love, I’m sorry, not much company, am I? Old fucking crock.”

Malcolm exhales, and as he does so, Sam’s fingers find the sides of his sore head, and then he makes a quite different noise.

"You’re still relatively sexy, for an old fucking crock.”

Sam teases him, as her fingers continue to work their magic on Malcolm’s head.

He groans, and Sam feels his body begin to relax against her own.

Dropping one hand from the side of Malcolm’s head, Sam sweeps her long, loose, chocolate hair over one shoulder, before scooting even closer to her man.

Her teeth find his earlobe, and she tugs ever so lightly, earning herself another pleasure filled noise for her trouble.

Smiling to herself, Sam breaths heavily against Malcolm’s ear.

"Would you like me to rub you?”

Sam loads the question with as much playful ambiguity as she possibly can.
Malcolm glances at her from the corner of his gaze.

"I thought you already were?”

Sam’s grin widens, and she whispers in a low, hopefully seductive voice.

"I didn’t mean your head.”

 

Malcolm’s eyes sting as he opens them, the headache from earlier is now thankfully gone.

Gazing up at the sage green and gold canopy above his head it takes him a moment to place his surroundings.

Ancient luxury hotel in the middle of the countryside, check.

Lazily he rubs the end of his nose, and as he moves Sam stirs a little next to him.

Sam, beautiful Sam, as sight he will never tire of waking up next to.

Malcolm recalls with a wince the first time he’d woken up next to Sam, she’d been crying and he’d felt like an utter bastard, but not enough of a bastard never to want to do it again.

Finally being a bastard has paid off, well personally.

He was lucky, so lucky, he doesn’t deserve her, he will never deserve her.

"How’s the head?”

Sam’s sleepy voice asks.

She’s watching him, with her head buried against her pillow; she’s watching him from the corner of her eye.

Malcolm rolls in to meet her, resting his hand against her back.

"All those painkillers I took are finally doing their job.”

"Nothing to do with my frankly astonishing bedside manner, then?”

Sam grins.

"I’m sorry love, I think I was unconscious for most of it.”

He teases her.

Banter, Sam is the only person that Malcolm will happily banter with.

"I noticed.”

Sam laughs, and the sound is like music, actual fucking music to Malcolm.

Somehow against all the fabric of the pillow, Malcolm manages to find his gorgeous wife’s smiling lips.

He kisses her absolutely.

"Happy fucking weekend away, Mrs Tucker.”

"Happy fucking weekend away, Mr Cassidy.”

Chapter Text

"Is it really bad, that I sort of expected someone to do my hair and make-up?”

Sam asks, as she traces a stripe of red across her lips in the mirror of their en-suite bathroom.

"Ye’re once step down from, Marie Antoinette.”

It’s definitely not his best come back, but to be honest Malcolm has more pressing concerns, like attempting to struggle into his DJ, when had his thighs got so wide, and why were the buttons so far apart?

"Have you eaten a bit too much cake, Malc?”

Sam giggles as she leans against the doorframe.

Malcolm tries and fails to give her one of his best fuck off looks, but he’s distracted completely by how beautiful his wife looks.

"I’M IN.”

He explodes in a sudden fit of triumph, as he manages to pull the zip on his trousers all the way up.

Sam open laughs at him.

"Now, if I don’t sit down for the next five fucking hours, I should as Chanelle would say ‘be good’.”

Sam continues to laugh at him as she sweeps out of the en-suite, her rich, luxuriant, hair falling around her face in soft, chocolate ringlets, which seemed to have taken her around four hours, and a serious amount of swearing to perfect.

You’d never guess now.

Sam retrieves her silver clutch from their bed, depositing her lipstick inside.

"Speaking of Chanelle, I promised her a selfie.”

Suddenly Sam is next to him, smiling up at her phone, and Malcolm is doing what he usually does in most photos, selfie or other, staring slack jawed.

Sam reviews the image before Whatsapping it to their daughter.

Sam then kisses him, not a quick peck on the lips, but a full on, lipstick smearing snog.

"Right, lets go and get guillotined.”

Chapter Text

Sam is feeling nervous, Malcolm can tell in the way she kisses him before leaving their table.

No, that’s not right, it’s not just the kiss, it’s everything, everything about Sam screams nerves, from the way she is playing with her wedding ring, to the taught line of her mouth.

Malcolm watches his wife as she gets further, and further away from him, until she’s up on a raised platform, staring down at a group of people, most of whom, he’s certainly never seen before.

Briefly, Malcolm wonders if Sam can see him, but then, even across such a distance, his gaze finds her’s, and he can’t help but smile.

Pride.

He’s so fucking proud of Sam, Malcolm wants to leap up onto the table, well okay, maybe not the table, but at least stand-up, and tell all the wine soaked cunts assembled around them, how absolutely wonderful Sam Cassidy-Tucker is, and how lucky each and every one of them, including him, really are to be in her presence.

Instead Malcolm keeps on smiling, and finishes the dregs of wine at the bottom of Sam’s glass.
It’s dry and bitter tasting, reminding Malcolm just how much he dislikes red wine.

Sam starts speaking, addressing the room with a voice full of laughter.

Malcolm leans back into his chair, one arm casually draped over the back of Sam’s empty seat, following every word, remembering every sentence.

He hadn’t helped her write it, when it came to writing Sam needed no help from the likes of him, he’d just polished it, cut the thing down.

Malcolm is her editor, a boring, but necessary job.

With the speech concluded, short and funny, Sam presents the award to a girl who can’t be more than fifteen if she’s a day, and then Sam is back by his side.

"Was I, okay?”

Sam asks excitably, as she lifts up her empty wine glass, staring into the bottom.

 

 

There’s another event going on in the same hotel, Malcolm has no idea what it’s for, but there are balloons, and a dance floor, and after all the speeches, and the wine has been finished over on the literary side, they’d snuck into the party next door.

It’s weird, this isn’t the sort of thing they usually do, well not together, Sam is always coming home regaling Malcolm with tales of how she ‘got this for free’, or ‘snuck in here’, but he’s always assumed that Sam does things like that because she’s beautiful, and relatively well known.

But no, here he is as well, sipping stolen champagne, and nodding at people he has never met before.

It’s crazy, this whole thing is crazy, and it’s as if he’s borrowing some other boring bastard’s life for one night.

So, maybe he should do just that.

He locates Sam at the bar, casually leaning one elbow against the sticky, extremely unbalanced feeling surface, and introduces himself in his best take on an English accent, as Alistair Biscuit.

Sam immediately laughs.

 

 

"So, what, now I have to be Mrs Biscuit?”

Sam is still giggling.

"No love, you’ll probably want to be Cassidy-Biscuit.”

Malcolm observes, as the pair make their way up the set of stairs leading to their room.

They’re not worse for wear, they’re both actually, absolutely drunk, and Malcolm can’t remember they last time they let their hair down like this.

"Hang on through, that’s not fair, if you’re changing your name to Biscuit, then why can’t I, why can’t I be Mrs, Mrs, ummm,”

Sam has stopped, and is now waving her index finger under Malcolm’s nose.

She sways a little, and Malcolm’s not drunk enough, not to place a secure grip under his wife’s elbow.

"Fish.”

Sam concludes with a hiccough.

"I you’re a biscuit, I want to be a fish.”

She exclaims loudly, earring them both some strange looks, as they are passed on the stairs by a smartly dressed group.

Sam puts her finger to her lips and shushes everyone, loudly.

Malcolm feels himself sobering up by the minute.

"Come on Mrs Fish, let’s get you to bed.”

With his arm still tightly around Sam’s upper limb, Malcolm attempts to simply steer her in the direction he wants her to go in, which happens to be up, and also quickly.

"Is that a promise, because I packed the strap-on.”

Sam practically bellows the last part just as they walk passed the other guests.

Malcolm’s first reaction is death, his, but as he digs the key card out of his constricting trousers, he realises that this is one of those perfect nights he will be able to torture his darling wife with for the rest of their hopefully, very long life together.

Finally and for once, Malcolm isn’t the fuck-up in their marriage.

Chapter Text

"Urgh, the light, it burns.”

Sam exclaims weakly, as she buries her sore eyes and aching head into the soft, forgiving depth of her pillow.

In the suffocating darkness Sam hears Malcolm’s indulgent chuckle, the bastard is actually laughing at her.

"I don’t care how good you are at Monopoly, I want a divorce.”

Sam mumbles.

Malcolm laughs at her, again.

Slowly, painfully, she turns her head to the side, exposing her right eye to the bright room.

Malcolm is sitting up in the bed next to her, munching happily on a croissant, and flanking pastry across her best dressing gown.

"Is that my dressing gown?”

Sam demands, for a moment unconscious of the pain in her head, as she bolts upright.

"It would be the very same one, my love.”

The pain in Sam’s head returns with a sudden vengeance, and she swears silently and to herself, that she’ll never drink to excess, again.

Sam tries her best to fix Malcolm with one of her ultra annoyed stares, but he just smiles at her, and hands her a glass of orange juice, and what appears to be paracetamol.

"Now, take ye’re cyanide pills like a good girl.”

Malcolm says through a mouthful of buttery crumbs.

Sam gives him a dark look, before swallowing down the painkillers.

She closes her eyes, as she settles back into the soft embrace of her pillow, noticing as she does so, how Malcolm tucks the duvet up around her neck, covering up her exposed chest.

Sam smiles up at him tenderly.

"I’ve changed my mind, about the divorce.”

Malcolm leans down, and places a careful kiss on the end of Sam’s nose.

"Well, that’s a relief, love.”
A wave of love suddenly washes over Sam, and she’s just on the point of saying something embarrassingly mushy when Malcolm suddenly exclaims.

"Jesus Christ woman, ye’re breath is like paint stripper.”

Ah, romance isn’t dead.

 

 

"I lost my virginity in a field.”

Malcolm had been lost in that post lunchtime haze, his stomach satisfyingly full, and then the beautiful woman next to him says something like that, and everything suddenly becomes WAS and HAD.

Letting his sunglasses slide down the length of his nose, Malcolm fixes Sam with a stare.

"What, I grew up in the country.”

Sam giggles, before popping a strawberry into her mouth.

"So, the countryside is full of rutting teenagers?”

Malcolm watches his wife for a few moments, as she lies on her stomach, with her legs casual crossed mid air, munching on strawberries, and generally appearing at home with nature.

Raising her own sunglasses up onto the top of her head, Sam squints as she turns her head to smile at him.

Suddenly, Malcolm hates the idea of Sam’s revelation, and in hating it, he knows he’s being a Caveman, but there’s nothing he can do about his feelings.

"I don’t know, they’ve got the internet now, so probably not. It was, nineteen years ago.”

Can she tell how he’s feeling, Malcolm hopes not.

Nineteen years ago, Malcolm does the sums in his head, which would make Sam seventeen.

It’s not hard to imagine Sam at seventeen, she’s always been lovely, she’ll always be lovely.

Suddenly Sam has her head their against his chest, and Malcolm has absolutely no choice but to wrap one arm around his wife, holding her close, as she plays with the buttons on his shirt.

"It was nice, growing up in the countryside; sometimes I worry about Chanelle and Dean.”

"Chanelle’s like me, she’s a City girl.”

Sam snorts with laughter.

"Oh, so you’re a City girl, now are you, Malc.”

With one quick and relatively impressive move Malcolm ends up with Sam underneath him.

Still giggling, Sam tangles her arms around Malcolm’s neck, holding him in place.

"Hummm, you’re a nice sun block.”

Sam hums happily, as she parts her legs, taking more of Malcolm’s weight against her body.

"A purpose at last.”

Malcolm leans down and captures Sam’s mouth again, tasting strawberries.

Chapter Text

"Jesus, Jesus fucking Christ.”

Malcolm exclaims breathlessly, as he struggles to run, while pulling his trousers up at the same time.

Shuffling along through the field, with his trousers still half way down his legs, and his bum literally on fire with pain, Malcolm can’t actually recall a more embarrassing moment in his life.

Sam already safely over the other side of the field’s gate, is doubled up in hysterical fits of laughter.

She’s laughing so hard in fact, that she can barely help him over the gate.

"Oh, Malc.”

Sam manages between giggles.

"Fucking, fuck me.”

Malcolm intones darkly, as he finally manages to pull his trousers up.

His backside burns, and he winches with the pain.
"Oh, Malc, I’m sorry,”

Suddenly, Sam’s arms are around his neck, and her lips are against his cheek, kissing him softly.

Malcolm refuses to melt.

"You left me to die in that field, Sam.”

He bemoans his almost ridiculous death by donkey.

"Oh, Malc.”

Sam kisses him again, but Malcolm refuses to be mollified, as he zips up the front of his trousers.

"I didn’t leave you, it’s not my fault you run, well, that you run like that.”

She’s laughing at him again.

"A donkey just had my arse in its mouth.”

Still in a state of shock and dismay, Malcolm mentally relives the donkey related encounter.

"I know darling, and it wasn’t the least bit funny at all.”

She crumples with laughter again, only managing to keep herself standing upright, by clinging on tightly to him.

Malcolm is on the point of requesting a divorce from Sam, but then he stops himself, even in joking he could never ask for such a thing, never imagine it either, because his life would be nothing without the woman laughing at him right now.

He softens, and lets her kiss him.

"Let’s go back to the hotel, and I’ll kiss it all better.”

"My arse has been exposed enough for one day, I’m not dropping my trousers in the foyer.”

Malcolm has recovered himself enough to tease Sam.

Sam’s eyes glitter when she smiles at him.

"Well, if you must insist, I suppose all the bum kissing can wait until we get back to our room. But, you’re depriving a lot of people the sight of your peachy arse.”

Malcolm recovers his equilibrium at last, the shock of the donkey attack having faded.

"My arse woman, is a delight reserved only for you.”

Sam’s small, delicate hand finds its way into the curl of Malcolm’s palm, where limping a little as he walks he lets her lead him back in the direction of the hotel.

Chapter Text

"There, don’t say I never give you anything.”

Malcolm just stares as Sam hands him what appears to be a child’s inflatable, rubber ring.

No, that’s exactly what it is, there’s no appears about it.

Malcolm is now holding a child’s inflatable ring in his hands.

He stares at the offending item, and then back at Sam, who is now sitting in the seat next to him look increasingly pleased with herself.

"It’s for your bum.”

Sam says without laughing.

"It’s a long drive home.”

So, what, she wants him to sit on a rubber ring all the way back to London…

"I’m not using it.”

Malcolm frowns at the rubber ring with all its pictures of various types of fish looking deliriously happy, and suddenly he’s glad that plastic bottles are killing the bastards.

Sam opens her mouth to speak, but Malcolm cuts her off with a question.

"Where did you get this form, are ye using magic, again.”

Now Sam laughs.

"Yes, caught red handed, I’ve fallen off the wagon. You can hang me at Tyburn ,dear, after, I’ve driven us home.”

Only Sam could giggle so sweetly, after saying something so macabre.

"I’m a Mum now, I have Mum stuff.”

Happiness, a bubble of absolute happiness swells up inside Malcolm.
They’ve both wanted this for such a long time.

Feeling ridiculously sloppy all of a sudden, Malcolm leans across and plants a kiss on the side of Sam’s head.

In response, Sam simply pats his hand, and starts the engine.

"I’m still not using it.”

Malcolm muses, as he settles uncomfortably back, into his seat, before tossing the rubber ring behind him.

Sam just gives him a look, a look Malcolm knows so well, this time however he will prove her wrong.

The bite on his bum and the accompanying purple, black bruise throb painfully.

Malcolm F Tucker will overcome.

The car begins to roll away from the hotel, the wheels crunching against the impeccably gravelled drive.

It’s been a weird weekend, but that’s normal for the Cassidy-Tucker’s, life has always been a little off for them, everything out of the ordinary, but who wants ordinary, that’s fucking boring.

Malcolm shifts awkwardly in his seat, trying to find some position that is completely uncomfortable, as the irritating SAT NAV drones out directions.

Sam says nothing, of course she says nothing she knows him far, far to well for that, as the car reaches the end of the drive, they simply stop, as she strains reaching into the backseat, and handing him the ring.

All is silence, as Malcolm slips the bloody thing under his rear.

A moment later they’re moving again, and most importantly laughing.

Chapter Text

Poor Malcolm looks a white as a sheet, when they finally reach their destination, HOME.

Hours overdue, stuck in Bank Holiday traffic, where they’d spent most of the journey attempting to reassure their daughter Chanelle, over the phone, that they were in fact coming back, and that they hadn’t ‘done a bunk with the loot’.
Also, Bex, Sam’s non-identical twin sister, who is currently living with them, along with her baby son, wanted to double check that she hadn’t been left to fend for herself, with three children.

Before they make their appearance, and exit the vehicle, Sam catches Malcolm under the elbow.

"I’ll get the bags, you make the tea.”

The expression on Malcolm’s face makes Sam's heart skip a beat, and she can’t help but smile.

"I love ye, woman.”

Malcolm exclaims excitedly.

 

 

Retrieving the trolley suitcase from the boot of the car, Sam is on the point of slinging the hold all over her shoulder, when her slipper clad sister suddenly appears, wrestling the suitcase from her grasp.

"What happened to Malcolm, he scared the life out of me when I saw him. I thought maybe he’d died, and come back as a ghost, to haunt the house, he looks so pale. Paler, than normal I mean.”

Sam can tell how much her sister has missed having ‘grown-ups’ in the house to talk to.

Sam knows she probably shouldn’t laugh at her poor afflicted husband, or stir crazy sister, but she just can’t stop herself from giggling.

"Jon Snow was just about to slip it to Dany, and BANG, suddenly Malcolm is shuffling down the corridor, I almost choked on my crisps.”

Suddenly, Sam stops smiling, as the pair head towards the front door.

"Wait, are you watching the last episode of Game of Thrones, without me. And you’re eating crisps.”

 

 

A searing pain shoots through Malcolm as deep in sleep, he forgets about the savage, deranged donkey attack, and he rolls over onto his back.

Suddenly, his eyes fly open, as he gives a yelp of pain.

Since the space which Sam usually occupies next to him is forlornly empty, Malcolm see no other reason for staying in bed, so exiting the warmth of the covers, he slings his grey dressing gown over his hunched shoulders, and decides to hunt out his missing wife, and breakfast.

The smell of toast, and the sound of hysterical laughter float up from the kitchen as Malcolm makes his way down the stairs.

His stomach rumbles painfully, and he knows that his wife has either told her sister, or is in the middle of telling her about the incident with the donkey.

Betrayer.

Yawning as he shuffles into the kitchen, Malcolm finds a lycra clad Sam and Bex seated at the kitchen table, next to Dean, and Baby Sammy resplendent in his high chair.

They’re waiting for him to get up so that can go for their morning ‘run’.

Sam gives him a quick kiss, and then presents him with two slices of hot buttered toast.

What a woman.

The Best PA in The World.

Leaning against the work surface as he bites into his first slice of toast, Malcolm notices how Bex can barely look at him without turning instantly red.

Sam appears to have clocked this fact as well, because suddenly she’s announcing.

"Right, Bex and I are off to the park with the boys and Charleston. After you’ve eaten that, put some clothes on, because Surita will be coming over at eleven, I need to administer her daily bollocking, and you know how she feels about you, in your dressing gown.”

There is another kiss, and before Sam has the chance to pull away, Malcolm gives her frankly perfect lycra covered bum a slap, before the house is entirely empty minus, well, just him.

Gingerly Malcolm sits down at the table, and finishes his toast.

Chapter Text

Chanelle isn’t having fun.

That’s the reason why she’s sat on the edge of her bed, staring down at her trainers.

Outsider.

Usually she never feels it; Malcolm and Sam have done a good job of being their lives around Chanelle and Dean.

Integration is probably the word she should use.

Sometimes, Chanelle even finds herself forgetting, forgetting about her old life, her real Mum, and all the time before Malcolm and Sam.

Then she gets angry, angry at herself because it feels wrong to forget.

When she’s angry Chanelle knows she spoils things, and that makes it worse.

Anger on top of anger, on top of anger.

Being alone, withdrawn, that’s better, on her own she can’t shout at anyone or lash out, or spoil things.

Laughter floats up through her bedroom floor.

No-one has noticed that she’s missing, they’re all too busy fusing over Baby Sammy and Dean.

The soft tap on her bedroom door, interrupts Chanelle’s glaring.

Her forehead aches with the power of her frown.

She stomps across the floor, opens the door, and finds Sam’s Mum Lesley, on the other side.

Sam’s Mum Lesley, is small and birdlike, with dyed black hair, and a golden ring on almost every finger.

She’s also a fan of animal print and hairspray.

Chanelle doesn’t speak, but she does notice the bag for life, again in a fetching shade of animal print, which is clutched tightly in Lesley’s hands.

"May I come in?”

Lesley asks, her manners are clearly from a different era.

Chanelle just shrugs, stepping to one side so that Lesley can enter her bedroom.

Chanelle’s more than certain that when Baby Sammy is old enough to have a room of his own, Lesley won’t bother knocking, that’s the sort of thing you only do with the adopted kids.

She’s jealous to the pit of her stomach.

"I have something for you.”

Lesley hands Chanelle the bag for life, and the first thing that strikes Chanelle is how heavy whatever is in the bag, actually is.

Cautiously she carries it over to the bed, and looks inside.

Whatever, it is smells old.

Mutely, Chanelle lifts the item out of the bag and discovers that she’s holding a clock, the sort of clock that sits on the mantelpieces in the costume dramas that Sam likes.

Chanelle sees her own face reflected back in the clock’s golden face.

"I don’t get it.”

She turns to Lesley.

"That clock belonged to my Great-Great Grandfather.”

Lesley informs, and staring at the clock, Chanelle can easily believe it.

"He came to England after some pogrom or the other, after so many who can remember, which one.”

Lesley laughs, but Chanelle has absolutely no idea what she’s talking about.

"He came to London. Couldn’t speak the language, lived in a worse slum than the one he’d left. But,”

Lesley raises one bejewelled finger.

"He had a trade, he could make razor blades. Twenty years later, he owns the factory, buys that clock, and lives in a nice house.”

"Good for him.”

Chanelle observes, wondering what any of this has to do with her.

"Fates a funny thing, by the time my Father inherited that thing we were back to living in a two-up, two-down in Bethnal Green, but we still had the clock.”

Lesley pauses.

"When it came to me, I was living in a pretty cottage in Kent. Now, it’s here with you, back in London where it was born.”

Sam had told Chanelle that Lesley had once been an English teacher, and she can just imagine it.

"I should have explained before, that clock goes to the eldest in the family. By rights it should belong to Rebekah, but I want you to have it.”

Chanelle stares at the clock for a long time, not speaking, not reacting, just taking it all in.

Clutching her new possession against her chest, she carries it across the room, placing it carefully on her windowsill.

She steps back, admiring her interior designing.

"What do you think?”

Chanelle asks Lesley.

"It’s your clock now, you decide.”

Chanelle smiles, and says.

"I think it’s perfect.”

Chapter Text

"Just, just go in and tell him.”

The logical part of Sam’s brain advices her.

Keys clutched tightly in her hands, Sam’s body fails to obey her brain.

Frozen.

The gate squeals behind her, as her PA Surita struggles up the path.

"Is the door not working?”

Surita asks, as she peers over Sam’s shoulder.

"Sometimes my door at home doesn’t work. Wait, no, you haven’t used your keys. You have to use your keys Sam, this is basic stuff.”

Surita tuts under her breath, her tone superior sounding.

If it wasn’t as a favour to a friend, Sam would have sacked Surita months ago, but she can’t because she promised.

She also promised lots of other things, like always telling Malcolm the truth, and now…now look.

How could she have been so stupid…

Sam feels the keys slip from her numb fingers, as Surita moves forward, placing them in the lock, and opening the front door.

Sam blinks.

"What’s wrong with you?”

Sam blinks, again, still frozen to the spot.

Surita rushes past her, and from where Sam is standing she can hear the younger woman calling for Malcolm.

Malcolm suddenly appears looking concerned, his face covered in Sam’s charcoal face mask.

"Is that my face mask?”

Sam says as she is ushered gently into her own house.

On any other day, every other day, Sam would be in hysterics at the sight of Malcolm’s face, but not today.

She’s been such an idiot, and he is going to be so angry.

His blood pressure will go through the roof, and it will all be her fault.

Sam starts crying.

"What’s wrong Sam?”

That’s all she needs for Chanelle to appear, also covered in her charcoal face mask.

Now she will have worried Chanelle, and that’s the last thing Sam wants.

They are all staring at her, Malcolm, Chanelle and Surita, all in wide eyed horror.

The words begin to form before Sam has the chance to stop them.

"I’ve bought a house.”

Chapter Text

Of all the things Malcolm had been expecting, and to be honest he hadn’t really been expecting much, just Sam returning from another meeting with her agent, the fact that they are now second home owners, fails to compute.

Roughly wiping the residue of Sam’s charcoal face mask from his features, Malcolm attempts to control his temper, and to bite his tongue.

They’d made an agreement when they’d gotten married, no lies, and never keeping the other in the dark.

Alright, so during the proceeding 6 years, they may have faltered somewhat, but not like this, this is just…

Malcolm splashes a handful of cold water across his face, before turning the tap in the bathroom sink off.

He studiously avoids his reflection in the mirror.

Malcolm exits the bathroom, and finds Sam sitting on the edge of their bed waiting for him.

She’s crying.

Malcolm’s heart hurts.

He clears his throat.

"Are ye leaving me?”

There, he’s finally said it, his worst fear is out in the open.

"No, no, Malc. Why, why would you think that?”

Malcolm can’t help it, he doesn’t believe her.

"Why the fuck else, would you keep the fact that ye just bought another house, from me? A house I have never fucking seen.”

He bites down on his temper, hard.

Sam is suddenly up off the bed, and standing in front of him, and still crying.

Her soft, warm hands are on his cold face.

"I’m not leaving you. I am never leaving you, Malc.”

Malcolm believes her, his loyal, loving Sam.

"I’m a cunt.”

He frowns, as his thumbs sweep the tears clean from Sam’s pale cheeks.

"No Malc, I’m the cunt. I should have told you, I don’t know what I was thinking.”

Malcolm gathers Sam’s trembling body against his own, and kisses her for all he’s worth.

"I am so, so sorry.”

Sam says once they part.

"It’s done.”

Malcolm Tucker resigns himself to the will of his wife.

He knows he should be more pissed off, come on he’s Malcolm.F. Tucker for fucks sake, but this is Sam, the fact that she’s not planning on leaving him, taking the kids, and the dog, the rabbits and the fish with her is enough, more than enough.

Life is too short to be so fucking angry.

Did he just think that, or did Sam beam the thought directly into his brain.

Malcolm kisses her again, and Sam smiles.

Oh fuck, he loves her smile.

Reluctantly he lets her go.

"So, show me the white elephant we are now the proud new owners of.”

He braces himself for the worst, no roof, no floor, no windows, a family of endangered Polar Bears.

"It needs some work.”

Sam cautions him, as she slips her phone out of her pocket.

"Of course it fucking does.”

Malcolm ruefully smiles, as he tucks Sam’s body in against his own, wrapping one arm around her waist.

"I bought it in an online auction, it was a little over the asking price, but it comes with land, and...”

Malcolm recognises a horribly familiar outline in the corner of the picture Sam is waving before him.

Looming over a nearby fence is a donkey, and not just any donkey, Malcolm Tucker never forgets a face.

Chapter Text

"Oh Malc.”

The sound of Sam’s giggle catches Bex half way down the stairs.

Bex freezes, and her ears suddenly prick up.

She doesn’t want to listen, but at the same time she can’t help herself.

It’s not normal to listen to your non-identical, twin sister having sex with her husband.

But with that token, it’s probably not normal to be approaching 40 and still living with your sister.

As the unmistakable noises float up from the living room, Bex finds herself trapped, she can’t just stand there trying not to listen and failing miserably.

She should go back to bed, but she’s thirsty, that after all is what had lead her to get up in the middle of the night and venture down stairs.

Not to self-next time take a glass to bed.

Wait, scratch that, just move out.

Get your own life, and move out.

Easier said than done.

No job, no savings, and a baby.

How had it come to this?

Bex really would love to know.

How had she gone from an exciting career, living in a country that she loved, partying most nights away, to this, a slumpy, middle aged, single Mum?

Not that she really regrets Sammy, he’s her son and she loves him, but…

But, babies had never been in Bex Cassidy’s life plan, that was always Sam’s thing, is Sam’s thing.

Sam was all about getting married and having babies, while Bex wanted parties, exotic destinations and no-strings.

The worst thing is, that Bex now knows that she’s never actually been in love, she’d learned that fact on the day her son had been placed in her arms, THAT WAS LOVE.

That was what love felt like.

All encompassing, earth shattering, and utterly terrifying.
That is how her sister Sam, feels about Chanelle, Dean and Malcolm.

One good twin, and one bad, a private joke between Bex and her sister, Bex was the bad one, the black sheep, Sam was the sweet one, the good one, the perfect one.

They’d certainly lived up to their roles.

Fuck it.

Bex trudges down the stairs, along the hall and into the kitchen.

She fills a glass with water and takes a long refreshing gulp.

Turning off the kitchen light, Bex repeats the process, only this time in reverse.

The noises from the living room have stopped, and the blue light from the television, which had been playing from inside the room is absent.

Not sex, just foreplay…

Sam and Malcolm have clearly gone, headed off up to their bed, where if Bex is really lucky, the rhythmic thump of their bed-head, against her own paper thin wall, will lull her off to sleep.

Oh joy.

 

 

Bex stifles a yawn with the back of her hand.

So, this is what a Saturday night out looks like, it’s only ten o’clock, but already she can hear the sirens song of her comfy duvet calling her.

She tries to at least appear alert, as Sam cautiously weaves her way through the crowd and back to their table, cocktails in hand.

"Are you having a good time?”

Are the first words out of Sam’s mouth, as she carefully presents Bex with her Espresso Martini.

"No, yea, it’s great.”

Bex replies, trying to remember how she use to sound before baby sprew, jogging bottoms and box-sets became the order of the day.

Sam seems satisfied.

They lapse into silence, which is weird because normally, at home, they never stop talking.

"You got a text, when you were at the bar.”

Bex announces, desperate to break the silence.

Immediately Sam is studying her phone, and smiling in that way she does, which completely betrays the fact that the text in question has come from her husband.

"Malcolm says that Dean and Sammy are finally asleep, and that Chanelle is ‘forcing’ him to watch Pretty, Little Liars.”

Sam giggles.

"Forcing him, you know, I think he actually, loves that show.”

Bex gulps down her Espresso Martini.

"Yep.”

Bex frowns miserably.

When she’d agreed to a ‘Girls Night Out’ with her sister, Bex wasn’t sure what she’d been expecting.

Despite all the writing, the television and radio interviews, the two children, and the husband, Sam enjoys a busy, active social life with her impressively large gaggle of friends, who meet regularly, to do things just like this.

Bex feels horribly inadequate compared to Sam, which is weird because for years that particular shoe had been on the other foot.

"Do you want to go on somewhere else, after these?”

"Oh God, no.”

Bex replies without thinking, and watches Sam’s face fall a little.

She reaches for her sister’s hand, squeezing it

"Not that, I haven’t had a great time.”

Bex attempts to reassure Sam, whose feelings have always been on the delicate side.

"Is it me? Only I don’t want you to think I’d rather be at home.”

"We’d both rather be at YOUR home.”

Bex corrects her sister.
"OUR home.”

Sam adds.

Bex says nothing and finishes her drink.

"I’ll find a taxi, you go to the wee.”

Bex tells Sam, asserting her status as being 5 whole minutes older.

Sam does what she’s told, and suddenly Bex finds herself shivering outside, her teeth painfully chattering away, a row of shiny black cabs stretching out before her.

"Hello.”

Bex barely registers the voice at her shoulder.

"It’s ah Bex isn’t it, Bex Cassidy, I recognised you across the, well I saw you, in the bar.”

Bex turns startled to find herself at roughly eye level with a man who seems vaguely familiar.

"Foster, Simon Foster, I’m Simon Foster.”

The stranger introduces himself, as Bex hugs her body against the cold.

"Oh um Simon, yea, nice to see you, it’s been...”

Simon rescues her by adding.

"10 years.”

Bex tries not to be unnerved by how precise Simon’s reply is, after all she has absolutely no idea who he is.

"Wow, 10 years, already, really.”

Bex puts her Cabin Crew training to good use, smile, be friendly, but distant.

"Are you here with anyone, a boyfriend, or a husband, or...”

Simon Foster is hitting on her.

"My sister.”

His face lights up, and for some reason Bex finds that terribly ‘sweet’.

Sweet…

"So not a boyfriend, then.”

Very sweet.

"Are you asking me if I’m single, Foster, Simon, Foster?”

Bex flirts with him.

It’s not her best bit of flirting, but it has been a while.

Simon’s cheeks flush.

"Are you?”

"Yes.”

Bex grins.

"Good. No that’s really, that’s excellent. So you’re single, that’s, that’s good.”

Bex’s smile falters suddenly, as Simon begins to take a step back from her.

He’s gone, then, suddenly, and Bex finds herself wondering if the last bit of the night ever actually happened.

She goes back to waiting for Sam.

"Hello again,”

Simon returns, taking her by surprise.

"Hello.”

She can’t help but laugh.

"My number.”

Simon presents Bex with and old fashion scrap of paper.

"I wanted to give it to you, my number that is, 10 years ago. I’ve ah, well I’ve changed it since then, twice, actually but, there.”

Bex takes Simon’s number.

"I’ll text you.”

Did she really just say that?

"I’ll ah, I’ll look forward to reading it.”

And then Simon really is gone, Bex adds his number to her list of contacts under Foster, Simon Foster.

Chapter Text

"What’s on the agenda, Brenda?”

Malcolm notices the smile he manages to illicit from Sam, as he slips into the chair next to her.

The kitchen around them smells like breakfast and chaos.

"I’ve got to spend the morning going over my first draft.”

Sam complains bitterly, as she sluggishly attempts to stir her spoon, in her bowl of super thick porridge.

Uneaten, Malcolm notes, as Sam slides the bowl away.

"Fuck it, and come to the park with me and the little man.”

As if on queue Dean suddenly races into the room, followed by an excitable Charleston.

Malcolm catches his son around the waist and hauls the giggling boy up onto his knee.

"Right little man, let’s glare at Sam until she agrees to do what we want.”

Sam rolls her eyes.

"Old habits.”

She giggles softly.

"Listen woman, if a magic formula works, why change it?”

Malcolm’s heart sinks as he watches his wife stand-up, he knows she want be joining them on their casual saunter around the local park.

Now standing Sam leans forward to first kiss Dean, and then Malcolm.

"What, no kiss for the dog?”

Malcolm teases Sam.

"I save my best kisses for the dog.”

Funny, clever and beautiful, the deadly combination, at least it is for Malcolm.

Sam is his complete and utter undoing, and he fucking loves it.

Sam exits the kitchen, disappearing off into her small study to spend the morning slaving away on her laptop.

Laptop, fuck, that reminds him, he should really reply to the twat Alan Partridge.

BREXIT.

"The world is a mad, mad place, boy.”

Malcolm tells his son, as he ruffles his fingers through Dean’s crop of golden, bubbly curls.

 

 

Twenty minutes later Malcolm is freezing his bollocks off in the local park and clutching a stick in his hand.

He throws the aforementioned stick, and Charleston, Chanelle’s French Bull dog just stares, Dean on the other hand let’s go his grip on Malcolm’s fingers and immediately chases after the stick.

"Only in this fucking family.”

Malcolm laughs.

"He’s doing ye’re fucking job.”

Malcolm informs Charleston, who simply cocks his head to one side and continues to stare.

"Look what I found.”

Dean reappears dragging not a stick as Malcolm had hoped, but the lead of some yappie, scruffy looking mongrel.

"Oh, Sweet Jesus.”

Malcolm mumbles under his breath, thankful for once that Sam hadn’t taken him up on his offer, he’s certain that their house couldn’t fit yet another fucking animal in it.

"Where did you find that thing?”

Malcolm asks, giving the empty park a beady eyed inspection, as he rescues the lead from Dean’s tight grip.

Turning uncommunicative in times of trouble just like his older sister, Dean just shrugs.

"Friend for Carlton.”

Dean points at the second dog.

Carlton, Malcolm’s not sure if his son simply can’t pronounce Charleston, or if he thinks it’s a fucking stupid name, which it is, or if Dean has simply decided to change the dog’s name.

All three of these things could be an option.

"The dog doesn’t need friends, it has us.”

Malcolm’s not entirely sure he’s sold the concept to Dean.

What the fuck is he going to do?

Don’t fucking panic, but panicking is all he has, panicking is his default setting.

When it trouble, panic and start taking names.

It’s then, just when things seem at there bleakest that a rather harassed looking woman replete with a pram suddenly appears.

"Clowance.”

The woman greets the dog and the glimmer of faint recognition is enough for Malcolm to immediately present the woman with the lead.

"Clowance, fuck me, and I thought ye’re name was stupid.”

Malcolm tells Charleston or is it Carlton, who immediately wags his tail, regardless.

"Alright Dean, that’s your allotted break for the day, I hope ye made the most of it, because it’s back to the Spinning Jenny for ye .”

Dean giggles, holding tightly onto Malcolm’s hand.

"Laugh all ye like, but I’m nae joking little man.”

Malcolm smiles, as the three of them, Man, Boy and Dog make their way Home.

Chapter Text

"You don’t think the kids were too disappointed over not being able to see the new house yet, do you?”

Sam’s question shakes Malcolm from the semi trance he’d fallen into, a trance brought on by them driving through narrow country lane, after narrow country lane.

Malcolm can’t fight it, he hates the fucking countryside, full of fields and trees, cows fucking cows, and cow shit everywhere, and…

He swallows thickly as the next thought enters his head.

Donkeys.

"Malc, are you listening to me?”

Sam asks.

"I’m listening, woman.”

Malcolm frowns hard, before lapsing into silence.

"So?”

Sam asks expectantly.

Malcolm mentally rewinds back through everything his wife has said to him in the last hour, nothing vital flashes up.

"So?”

He turns to old reliable, or at least the only thing left to him when he can’t remember what the other person has fucking said.

"So what, you do or you don’t?”

Malcolm forgets that he’s attempting to pull this stunt off against Sam, Sam the woman who he use to pay to sit in the corner and take notes about…

Fuck that sounds bad.

"You weren’t listening were you, Malcolm?”

Shifting in the passenger seat Malcolm turns his body towards his wife, catching the hint of Sam’s smile as he moves.

"No, I wasn’t fucking listening.”

He admits.

Sam laughs.

Malcolm’s reaction is delayed, but eventually he manages a chuckle as well.

"Why do you even try to lie to me?”

Sam giggles.

"Because, I’m an idiot.”

Sam steals a glance for what passes for a road in 18th century England-because clearly they have time travelled-and flashes him one of her trademark, heart melting smiles.

"Yes, you are, dear.”

Malcolm absolutely, positively loves her.

Chapter Text

Finally after what feels like far, far too long to ever spend in any vehicle, their rented four by four lumbers into a muddy, pot holed driveway.

Once the car has stopped Malcolm doesn’t immediately strain to take a look at the house, instead he stares at Sam, she’s all breathless and excited, and he hopes he can fake his feelings for her sake, because he knows how much this means to her.

"Now, I want you to be completely honest.”

Sam tells him and Malcolm dutifully nods, knowing that honesty is the last thing either of them really want.

Malcolm stays locked into the warm embrace of his heated car seats, as he waits for Sam to make the first move.

Excitedly Sam unbuckles her seat belt and literally leaps from the driver’s seat.

Malcolm can’t help but smile as he watches her run passed the front of the car appearing at his side, opening his door with the practiced grace of a professional chauffeur.

"A man could get use to this.”

Malcolm teases her as he drags himself out of his seat.

His body aches, but he tries hard to keep this fact from his wife.

Once out of the mud splattered four by four there’s no escaping the building in front of him, he has no choice but to look at it.

So Malcolm looks and he sees a large house, not a cottage as advertised by his wife.

The paint work has seen better days, as have the rotten wooden windows and doors.

The garden is also a jungle.

Plus points, because there have to be some.

There’s a pretty little stream bisecting the garden, and the house is big, it’s not that hard to imagine visiting the place most weekends.

"So, before we go in, I should probably warn you that we can’t actually go upstairs, because the stairs are sort of missing.”

Sam is doing that adorable thing of worrying at her bottom lip.

"And ah, there’s not central heating, but there’s a fire in the living room. Ah and well, tonight, tonight, well not actually for the whole weekend we’ll have to stay in the one room, but there’s an old toilet out the back, and umm…”

Malcolm stops Sam’s mouth with a long, drawn out kiss, pulling her close to him, his hands wandering across her lovely, pert, jeans clad bum.

"You fucking hate it don’t you.”

Sam muses when they part, her eyes set downward.

Reluctantly Malcolm pulls one hand away from Sam’s delightful backside; with his index finger under her chin he tilts her face upwards, so that their eyes can meet.

Her eyes are beautiful.

"I’m not gonna lie to ye, the place wants knocking down.”

He grins at her hoping to coax a smile from her reluctant features.

Malcolm’s heart dances when he sees the faint hint of a smile creep into the corners of her mouth.

There, he has her now.

"But,”

Sam risks tentatively with a heavy set frown.

Malcolm clears his throat.

"It’s got no heating, not stairs and it’s practically fucking medieval, it’s got our names written all over it.”

Never the easy way.

Sam actually squeals with excitement then dragging him across the mud towards the front door.

As she fumbles for the keys Malcolm thinks of something else to brighten their mood.

"I can give you a proper, noise complaint causing shag. Not just one either, reckon I could manage at least two of the things.”

"Oh, you reckon that do you.”

Malcolm can’t help but note the look on her face as she rather suggestively slips the key into the lock.

Fuck.

"Get in there woman and I’ll show ye.”

Malcolm sets his voice in that low, feral sounding tone that never fails with his wife.

Sam drags him into the freezing cold shack by the lapels of his designer coat.

Chapter Text

"Stop looking at your phone, you’re as bad as Chanelle. No wait, you’re as bad as YOU, Malc.”

Sam giggles and strains to reach for Malcolm phone, but his arms are longer and he simply smirks as he hits the send button.

Stuff that up your fucking Bulldog shitting, Brexit hole, Alan FUCKING Partridge.

He turns back to face his lovely wife, and wonders briefly how he got so lucky, slipping one arm beneath her bare shoulders.

"What are you doing, anyway?”

Sam asks.

They’re lying in the middle of what Malcolm assumes will one day be their living room, on top of a duvet with the blanket from the back of the car wrapped around them.

Other than the cosy, shared warmth of their bodies, a four bar heater in the corner of the room, regulates the ambient temperature.
"Oh beloved wife, who said I was doing anything? I’m not doing anything.”

Malcolm tucks his phone out of Sam’s reach.

She gives him a long, knowing stare.

Busted, as Chanelle would so eloquently put it.

Distraction.

"I’ve changed my mind; I think I do like this house.”

Malcolm muses with a wolfish grin, as he plants a calculated kiss against Sam’s shoulder.

She smells like fucking paradise.

"So you were lying before when you said you, didn’t fucking hate it?”

How did he not see that coming?

But then Sam giggles again, and Malcolm knows he’s safe, especially when she rolls her own fantastic body towards his dried out husk of a form, and starts kissing him.

Kissing was something Malcolm F Tucker never really had a lot of time for pre Sam; it was an indulgence, a detour to the main event.

Even kissing Yvonne, his first wife had dwindled from all out passionate snogs, to a quick peck against the side of her head, no wonder she left him.

Sam’s different, Malcolm loves kissing Sam.

"I really love this tumble down fucking wreck of ours.”

Ours, even now after 6 years, Malcolm still can’t really believe that he is lucky enough to share anything with the woman currently wrapped around him.

"I love you, Malc.”

Sam beats those long eyelashes of her’s, her large, dark eyes shinning.

Malcolm is so long, and in love, he barely sees it coming.

Completely fucking blindsided as Sam deftly retrieves his phone, unlocks the screen and reads the email he’s just sent.

She stifles a laugh.

"Oh Malc, that’s a bit mean.”

Sam is sitting up, the blanket having fallen around her waist, exposing her cracking tits.

"Look woman leave that, come back here, I liked where ye were going.”

She flashes him some side eye, before placing his phone back in the centre of his chest.

Malcolm slides his phone across the floor and out of reach, it’s his version of a meaningful gesture.

Sam’s looking at him now, he has her full attention.

"Where did you think it was going?”

Malcolm doesn’t speak he just grabs her around the waist, manoeuvring Sam underneath him.

She’s laughing again.

This is one of those moments that stupid oxygen thieves go on about all of the time, a perfect moment, he wants to capture in amber and hold onto forever.

Happy, Malcolm Tucker is happy.

Chapter Text

"Do you think the donkey comes with the house?”

Artemisia Drake asks as she sits on the edge of Chanelle’s bed, staring at the picture of the horrible shack in the country Malcolm and Sam have disappeared off to for the weekend.

Not that Chanelle has ever actually spent any extended periods of time living in the countryside, but already she knows she’s going to hate it.

She also knows that Malcolm hates it too, and she had been hoping to form some sort of solidarity wall of hate with him, but he always gives into Sam.

It’s really pathetic, especially from someone who is usually so good a swearing.

Still, that’s probably the dangers of falling in love; you lose all sense and end up living in some horrible tumble down, massive house in the country.

"I don’t care.”

Chanelle mutters as she flops down into the space next to her best friend.

"I haven’t had much experience with donkeys, but I’m guessing they’re just a bit less interesting than horses. Boring horses?”

Artemisia is babbling and Chanelle has turned her friend out, as she stares up at her bedroom ceiling, frowning at the crack running down the middle.

What if Malcolm and Sam decide to spend every weekend in the country?

What if they go off the idea of looking after her and Dean?

What if they don’t want to be her parents any more?

Parents, Chanelle’s frown deepens, where had that thought come from?

Malcolm and Sam aren’t her parents, Chanelle just lives with them, but they’re not…

She does miss them though, both of them and Dean misses them too, and…

How did this happen?

Chanelle feels as if she’s gone to bed one evening an orphan and suddenly woken up with two parents.

She has parents; Malcolm and Sam are her parents.

Chanelle’s head spins.

The sound of the doorbell ringing causes Chanelle to pause on her sudden revelations and sit up.

"That’s not my Mum; she’s coming to pick me up at 6?”

Artemisia tells Chanelle.

"Chanelle, can you get that, Sammy has decided to do another massive poo all over me.”

The voice of Bex, Sam’s sister floats up through the floor.

Chanelle and Artemisia share the same disgusted expression.

"Babies are evil.”

Artemisia muses, and while Chanelle thinks her friend’s thought may be a little on the extreme side, Artie may have something of a point.

Moodily, because well she is thirteen now, Chanelle drags herself off the bed and across the room, making sure that her feet fall heavily with every step.
Chanelle stomps her way down the stairs, opening the front door with an audible sigh.

On the door step, clutching an umbrella in one hand, while balancing a pile of books in the other, a bunch of flowers resting perilously at the top, is a short, nervous looking man.

The stranger blinks at Chanelle, before speaking.

"Is this ah, ah is this Bex Cassidy’s house?”

The man appears to wince as every word leaves his mouth.

He adjusts the books under his arm and the flowers topple off the top, landing at Chanelle’s feet.

Chanelle picks up the flowers glancing at the carefully written card, which has the name Simon on the bottom.

"She lives here, but she’s wiping poo of herself at the moment.”

Chanelle grins, she knows it’s cruel but it’s also funny.

Simon’s eyes widen.

"Can I come in please, only it’s very wet out here.”

Chanelle eyes Simon carefully, before shouting at the top of her lungs.

"Bex there’s a strange man here to see you, he says he’s very wet.”

Simon winches, again.

Chanelle is really starting to enjoy herself, that is until Bex appears looking all breathless and messy.

"Oh Simon, you’re a bit early. Anyway, didn’t you get my text about my sister and her husband, they’re away, I’m babysitting, didn’t we rearrange?”

Simon shifts awkwardly from foot to foot, and Chanelle begins to grow bored of torturing him.

"We ah, we did, but I thought you might be ah, lonely, just you in a house full of,”

He steals a glance in Chanelle’s direction.

"kids.”

Simon says the last part through clenched teeth, but Bex appears not to notice.

"That’s really sweet of you and flowers.”

Bex gushes over the bunch of flowers.

Chanelle steps out of the way as Simon enters her home.

"Simon, I can’t help but notice, you’ve brought a lot of books with you.”

Bex observes.

"They're not mine, I found them on your doorstep, I didn’t want them to get wet in the ah, in all of the.”

"Rain.”

Bex finishes his poorly constructed sentence off from him and Simon dissolves into a happy smile.

Chanelle feels sick.

Simon deposits the books on the table in the hall, and Chanelle steals a copy from the top.

Bouncing Back by Alan Partridge.

Chapter Text

Sam is curled up on the sofa next to Chanelle, a spoon full of Chunky Monkey aiming for her lips when Bex, her non-identical twin sister nervously enters the room.

No-one would ever know that Bex is nervous, expect for Sam of course, and she can read her sister like a cheap airport paperback.

"Okay, too much boob?”

Bex asks.

Sam takes a moment to regard her sister, or more importantly her sister’s ample cleavage that is threatening to spill out of her dress at any moment.

The first thing that enters Sam’s head is when did Bex’s boobs get so big?

"It’s breastfeeding. They’re just artificially big because of all the milk.”

Bex answers Sam’s question, doing that weird twin thing that use to freak out their parents so much.

Chanelle makes a disgusted noise and deposits her bowl of ice cream on the coffee table.

"I look ridiculous don’t I?”

Sam has never seen Bex like this, not ever.

"No, no Bex you look amazing.”

Sam is struggling now, because it’s always been the other way around, she’s always been the one who needed reassurance.

"Malc, tell Bex how good she looks.”

Clutching at straws Sam seizes upon Malcolm, who has just returned from his mission in the kitchen to find the chocolate sauce.

"Jesus Christ.”

Malcolm exclaims, firing chocolate sauce half way up the wall.

Chanelle breaks into hysterical laughter.

The symbolism is not entirely lost on Sam.

"Close you’re mouth, Malcolm.”

Sam warns her husband darkly.

Bex appears to be too flustered to really care as her mobile phone suddenly bursts into life.

"Right, it’s too fucking late now, that’s the taxi.”

Still annoyed with Malcolm, but wanting to give her sister some moral support, Sam fakes her best smile and practically pushes a reluctant Bex out the front door.

"Malcolm, I want that chocolate sauce off the wall by the time I come in.”

 

 

"I’ve never been on a proper date.”

Sam announces from the bathroom.

Malcolm glances up from his book, half smiling with relief; at least his wife is talking to him again, the chocolate sauce ejaculation business now thankfully forgotten.

It had been an accident, Malcolm wasn’t even aroused, he’d been scared more than anything, afraid of his sister-in-law’s massive chest taking him suddenly by surprise.

He’s well over 50, sights like that aren’t good for his heart.

Poor Simon Fluster, Malcolm almost feels sorry for the absolutely, waste of skin.

Fucking hell the World is frighteningly small.

"We go out.”

Malcolm muses, as he lifts his glasses up, rubbing the bridge of his nose.

The bathroom light goes off and Sam appears in the bedroom.

"That’s different. I’ve never gone on a date with someone I’m not already sleeping with.”

Ah.

No, they’ve never done that.

"Do you think that’s bad?”

Sam asks carefully, as she slips into the bed next to Malcolm.

Her face looks so young and her eyes so wide.

Malcolm grabs her, snaking his arms around Sam pulling her in against his grey, t-shirt covered chest.

Holding her tight and stroking her hair.

"Ye got married at 12.”

"Twenty-one.”

Sam corrects him with a rueful smile.

Malcolm shrugs.

"It’s not good though, is it? I mean after Ed left me,”

Ed, fuck, how Malcolm hates Sam’s first husband.

"I started seeing Adam,”

Adam Kenyon, fucking Adam Kenyon.

Malcolm hates Adam Kenyon almost as much as Ed, but at least Adam didn’t break Sam’s heart; no he’s just a grade A useless sack of shit.

"…and then you.”

Malcolm feels the gentle pull as Sam’s delicate fingers gently curl around the fabric of his t-shirt pulling him closer.

"Is this the part where ye tell me ye think we should start seeing other people, because if that’s so, Chanelle’s already promised to help me with my profile on GRINDR”

He feels Sam tense, fucking hell jokes about gay dating apps what the fuck is he thinking, especially since Sam’s has already listed off her gay ex-husband and gay former whatever the fuck Adam Keynon was.

Jesus, she’s neurotic about that sort of thing.

"I’m sorry, I didn’t think.”

And now he’s apologising, it’s as if he lost all of his brain cells down her sister’s bra.

Sam is silent.

"Let’s go out. Not now, it’s after ten, but another night, let’s go out and I promise, absolutely on my honour, that I won’t fuck ye after. I won’t even feel ye up in the taxi on the way home.”

Sam laughs and Malcolm relaxes.

"What if I want to feel you up on the way home?”

Normality is thankfully resumed with Sam’s face smiling up at him.

"No, I’m sorry love; I don’t put out on a first date.”

 

 

What the fuck had she been thinking?

Bex is hiding in Simon Foster’s downstairs bathroom, crying and trying not to look at herself in the mirror.

It’s been a long time since she cried on a date.

She remembers the time she dressed up as a Bavarian Beer Wench for one of Sam’s costume birthday parties, Sam’s birthday party, because despite being twins, Bex’s birthday is the 30th October and Sam’s is the 31st.

Anyway, back to Bavaria, Bex is reminded of that now, because her tits are basically the same, she looks like a tart, alright so that’s never bothered her before, why does it bother her now?

Because she likes Simon, she didn’t think she would, he’s all flustered and nervous and short, shorter than her, but Bex likes him.

She wants Simon to like her back, not in the obvious way, but fuck it all, what’s the point; she’s a milk leaking Bavarian tart.

"Ah Bex, ah is everything, is everything alright in there?”

Simon’s voice floats through the bathroom door.

"Was it the fish? I’m better at chops, but you’re Jewish so I thought,”

"I’m not Jewish.”

Bex corrects him.

"Oh.”

Simon’s voice is muffled.

"But I thought you said you’re Mum,”

"My Mum is Jewish, my sister is Jewish, but I’m Catholic.”

"Oh, right.”

There’s nothing for it, Bex can’t hide in Simon’s downstairs toilet any more.

Just Cabin Crew it, she tells herself as she pulls back the lock.

"The fish was really nice.”

Probably not the best opening gambit, but what she follows it up with is much worse.

"I need to go home.”

There’s basically no way to hide the fact that she’s leaked breast milk down the front of her dress, so Bex doesn’t try.

"Oh shit, right. Is there anything I can do?”

Despite all the crying Bex has to laugh and Simon joins her.

"I’ve had a really nice time.”

Simon tells her once all the hysterical laughing has stopped.
Bex tummy does something weird and she wonders if she was right to praise the fish.

"That’s sweet of you to say.”

Bex tries to ignore the fact that they’re still standing in Simon’s downstairs toilet.

"No, no I really, really I mean it. I think you’re wonderful, I always have. I always wished, and now, now you’re here and you’re fantastic. And I, well I want you to know. So,”

Before Simon can babble on any more, Bex grabs him by his shirt and pulls him into a long, silencing kiss.

Like so much with Simon it’s a bit of a faltering start, but once they get started he throws himself into it completely, and then it’s all teeth and tongues and hands.

"I think I may have helped start a war, once.”

Simon says when they finally come up for air, throwing Bex completely off balance.

"So this, you hiding in a toilet, umm leaking, Oh God leaking is a bad word, well anyway, this is nothing.”

"Do you want to do it, again?”

Simon’s face lights up at Bex’s question.

"Which bit?”

He’s flirting with her.

"Mostly this.”

Bex leans in and kisses him again.

"Ummm, that would be lovely, yes very good.”

Simon hums contentedly, as his hands tighten on Bex’s waist.

"We could also try some sentences as well.”

Bex grins.

"Ummm, yes sentences, I heard they’re good as well.”

"Kissing and sentences it is then.”

"And chops.”

Simon adds excitedly.

"Kissing, sentences and chops.”

Bex agrees.

Chapter Text

“We're home!”

Sam calls out as she struggles juggling Dean in her arms and closing the front door behind her at the same time.

“Down, down.”

Dean wriggles to be free, and as soon as Sam let's his snug little trainers touch the ground he is suddenly racing down the hall like a maniac.

Bex appears leaning against the living room doorframe.

“How was the publisher?”

Bex has no idea how loaded her question is.

How was the publisher? Fine.

But then Sam has just left a year of her life with them, all of her hard work.

Every time she hands over another book for days afterwards it always feels like a piece of her is missing.

“Fine.”

A faint shadow falls over Sam's face at the thought of her literary endeavours being picked over.

It never gets any easier, not even after so many books, not even after so much success, it still feels like the first one.

“Where's Malc? Where's Chanelle?”

Bex smirks.

“Chanelle is staying over at her friend's, you know the one with the posy name. And Malcolm,”

Bex's smirk widens.

“I haven't seen him for hours.”

Sam is distracted attempting to keep an eye on Dean, but she's also annoyed, out of all the days when she needs him the most, why does her husband decide to go AWOL today?

“He took a suit bag.”

Bex volunteers taking Sam completely by surprise.

Sam quickly runs through the diary in her head, searching for any meaningful dates, birthdays, anniversaries, court appearances or even funerals, nothing stands out, it's just a normal mid week afternoon.

“Did he say where he was going, did he...”
But before Sam manages to get any more of the sentence out of her mouth, her phone suddenly springs into life.

Sam can feel the damn thing vibrating away somewhere in the depths of her bag.

“Malcolm.”

Sam answers the phone tersely, wanting her husband to know exactly how she feels.

“Date night tonight, Miss Fish.”

And with that Malcolm abruptly rings off.

Miss Fish...Fish...

It takes Sam a few moments to place the reference, but once she does she rolls her eyes.

Ordinarily, Sam would be charmed, but she's too tired, and too on edge to what to play silly games.

No, all she wants to do is settle in front of the telly with a bottle of wine and watch the Darts.

She certainly does not want to get dressed up, or go to some, Sam reads the text that Malcolm has sent her with the directions to the restaurant...

“You knew about this?”

Sam points a finger at her sister, who simply shrugs.

“It's too short notice for a babysitter.”

Excuse number one.

“What am I, chopped liver?”

Bex counters.

“I thought you had plans with Simon Foster tonight?”

Excuse two.

“Cancelled. My dear sister, I'm not sure if you know this about men, but they sort of enjoy it more, if you make them work for it, and I intend to make Simon work very hard.”

Yes, Sam actually does know that.

She gives her non-identical twin sister a pointed stare.

“But, I'm tired.”

Sam stifles a yawn against the back of her hand, it's real, well she is almost forty after all.

Having run out of excuses Sam is completely surprised when Bex grabs her by the tops of her arms and turns her physically in the direction of the stairs.

Sam has forgotten how strong her sister is and how she always use to beat her in fights.

“Look just get ready, I've picked a dress out for you, it's on your bed.”

“Oh, so I'm not even allowed to dress myself now.”

“No, shut up.”

Bex giggles and Sam trudges forlornly up the stairs muttering obscenities under her breath with every step.

 

 

The longer Malcolm sits at the table, the more he begins to think that this was one of his more ridiculous ideas.

For a start, he's always loathed so fucking stupid couples who have 'date nights', morons, utter morons.

People like that should have their fingers forcibly stuck in sockets.

Secondly, Sam has been at the publishers all day, it's D-Day for the relaunch of the much anticipated The Angry Spider stories, and he knows all too well how she gets when she has to hand over a manuscript.

Bad fucking idea.

He should go home and face the shouty music.

“Mr Biscuit, I presume?”

Malcolm is taken suddenly unaware by the sweet, tingly music of Sam's sweet voice.

He'd happily follow that voice anywhere, everywhere.

Biscuit, that's him.

He smiles up at Sam, who looks different.

Malcolm stares at her for a few moments, her long chocolate brown hair has been piled high on the top of her head, and she's wearing a floaty, pink confection of a dress.

Malcolm briefly remembers the dress, a free gift from a photo shoot, the thing has sat in their wardrobe for over half a year unworn, because Sam hates pink, especially that sort of shade.

Sam looks different, but that's the point, they're not Malcolm and Sam tonight, they're Biscuit and Fish.

“Miss Fish?”

Malcolm's first impulse is to greet his wife with a full on kiss, but he settles for a brush against her cheek.

Remembering his promise not to fuck her during or after their date.

Sam smells fucking epic, and Malcolm hopes his promise doesn't extend to when he's finally got her home and they're back to being Mr and Mrs Cassidy-Tucker again.

“Honoria.”

Sam says as she settles into the seat opposite Malcolm.

“Honoria?”

Malcolm practically splutters.

“Honoria is a nice name. It was Lady Dedlock's name.”

Sam tells him in a matter-of-fact way.

“Lady who?”

He asks, as he catches the eye of a passing waiter.

“Bleak House by Charles Dickens, Lady Dedlock's name was Honoria.”

Only Sam.

“I love ye woman.”

Malcolm says the words without thinking.

“It's out first date Mr Biscuit.”

Sam chastises him with a wide smile.

Chapter Text

Simon Foster isn't entirely sure what he had been expecting, but he'd brought a picnic basket, since Bex suggested over the phone that their next date would take place outside.

So a picnic basket seemed the right choice, and it would give him another opportunity to show her that he was capable of cooking.

Because he is capable of cooking, and he wants Bex to know this.

He wants her to know he was capable of a lot of things.

He'd even started practising conversations in the hopes that when he saw her next his words wouldn't be just a garbled confused mess, but when had that ever worked for him in the past?

Simon's brain can barely compute when he eventual arrives at the airfield.

After wandering around for what felt like hours, but could only in fact have been minutes, Simon finally found someone to ask about the whereabouts of his erstwhile date.

“She's already in the plane.”

The large, white bearded chap, who looked a scarily look like Father Christmas told him, with a jolly, ringing hohoho to his voice.

In the plane.

Fuck.

What the fuck.

The rest had been a daze up until this point, this is the point that Simon Foster suddenly and startlingly appears to wake up, because he's in a fucking plane, and not any plane a tiny plane, the sort of plane that ends up as smouldering wreckage in country fields.

There's nothing for it, he has to flee, he had to abort, but...

But Bex is smiling at him from the cockpit, because well she's about to drive them into the air.

Fucking hell he's dating a woman with a pilot's licence, this is by far the most exciting thing that has ever happened to him, EVER.

He can't give up on this, he can't let her see how absolutely bollocks shrinkingly terrified he is.

Anyway, even if he wanted to the Earth is suddenly sliding away from them, as Simon is forced back into his seat.

He hates flying, always has to be drunk whenever he undertakes the horror, there's a bottle of wine in the basket that now seems to be fused to his hand, but it seems rather selfish and well rude to neck it right now.

Simon can't look at the ground because it's gone and the clouds are just to terrifying a prospect, so instead he turns his head and looks at the woman next to him.

She doesn't give a damn, she's flying a plane as easy as most people walk around, well most other people, not him, he's always been a trip hazard.

A thought suddenly comes to him, if Simon Foster has to die, this isn't the worst way.

He'd always feared he'd die in the bathroom tripping over his own trousers and hitting his head on the sink, but no, fused into flaming wreckage with the most amazing woman he has ever met is a far, far better thing.

That's terribly morbid.

Don't be weird and morbid.

“Can I have a sandwich?”

Bex asks, her question takes him completely by surprise.

“Should you?”

He frowns.

“Stop panicking, give me a sandwich, have you got any ham ones?”

Stop panicking, my god he's going to be a disappointment to her, all he does it fucking panic, that's all he's ever done, spent his life in a fog of utter terror.

Simon dutifully hands Bex a ham sandwich.

“So, you can fly a plane?”

Simon observes painfully.

Bex laughs, and the bridge of her nose wrinkles.

“Me, no, never, I just thought I'd give it a go.”

She takes a casual bite out of her sandwich.

Simon notice the whitening around her knuckles as she tightens her grip on, and he knows this probably isn't the right terminology, but the plane's steering wheel.

In her own way she's pretending to and suddenly Simon relaxes and takes out his own sandwich as they float high above the clouds.

Cloud cities form around them and it's probably all very beautiful, but Simon can't see anything past the woman eating a ham sandwich next to him.

“I've got a thing,”

Simon swallows thickly and briefly considers just opening the door next to him.

“It's not an animal is it, because, and I have to warn you, if it gets loose in the cockpit, I'll probably kill us both.”

Bex teases him.

“No, on, on Friday, I have this party thing with the party.”

You went to fucking Cambridge for better sentences, his brain angrily shouts at him.

“It's a bring your wife/husband/domestic partner/spaniel thing.”

CHRIST.

“Are you free on Friday, in the evening?”

That's a bit more like it.

“I'll have to check, see what my sister and her husband,”

“Ah, Malcolm Tucker.”

Simon still has nightmare about him, about Malcolm, and now, now he's back in the same sphere as him because of Bex.

Just when you thought it was safe to find a girlfriend...

Not that she's his girlfriend.

He'd very much like her to be though.

“I forgot you probably worked with him at some point right? I don't know much about politics, don't tell my sister, but I've never voted.”

Never voted.

“I know that I should have, but it's hard when your body clock doesn't know what month it is let alone day, you know, I can't remember much about 2002 or 2003, just all the flights, I think at one point I went back in time on New Years Eve.”

Simon has absolutely no idea what she means, but it's probably something about being an Air Hostess...shit no you can't call them that any more, it's Cabin Crew, Cabin Crew, Cabin Crew...

“Cabin Crew.”

Simon says without thinking.

“Exactly.”

Bex agrees with him.

“But my sister would never understand, Sam takes voting very seriously.”

Given that the poor mad cow, has chained herself for all eternity to the monstrous Scot, Simon expects she probably does.

And Sam had always seemed like such a bland, normal sort of woman, not really mentally ill or anything, but clearly...

He tries not to think about what it must be like for Bex at home, it's all just so weird.

“Well, ah, find out if your sister and ah,”

Simon can barely bring himself to mention Malcolm's name, so he doesn't.

“and ah if you're free, you could come to mine for 7 and then we could get a taxi to the thing, I mean party.”

 

 

“The jungle drums are beating, big chief say 'Simon Foster has girlfriend'.”

Simon winces.

“Ben, can you just for once try to sound less offensive?”

He asks, taking a sip from his pint.

Ben Swain pulls a face, and the stool beneath him groans.

Why does Simon still do this, he hates Ben Swain, he's always hated him, especially at University, but despite all that here they are quaffing their usual Thursday evening ale, Backbenchers together.

“Is it true then, is she real?”

“Yes, well no.”

Ben pulls a sly knowing face, and Simon wants to punch him.

“By that I mean, yes she is a real person, and no, no she's not my girlfriend.”

“But you are sleeping with her?”

It's Simon's turn to pull a disgusted face.

“I'm not, I'm not answering that.”

Although he isn't.

“How old is she? Is she Latvian? Juggy's got a lovely Latvian piece, only twenty-two, can you believe that?”

“She's not Latvian, she's English, and she's thirty-nine.”

Simon informs Ben in a measured tone.

“Thirty-nine and still on the shelve, you should watch yourself Si, her biological clock will being going mental.”

Simon tries not to rise to Ben's goading, but he never could hold back when it comes to Ben Swain.

“She's got a son, so I assume her,”

“You're seeing a thirty-nine year old, with a child, have you ever heard of Tinder?”

Don't...

“She sounds real, no-one would ever make something like that up. So, when can we expect to meet this delight?”

Simon really should kill Ben, he's wanted to for years and now seems like a perfect time, but he'd never cope in prison, and truthfully, they both know that Ben could fold him up like soggy card board.

“Tomorrow night, I've invited her,”

“You can't.”

Ben's jowls have turned from sneering to actual concern.

“Why the fuck not.”

“Because the Big Man is going to be there, this is our last chance to get back on the team Simon, do you really want some old tart to spoil that?”

Suddenly Simon thinks of Bex and the plane, and that rosy perfect afternoon feels silly and tainted.

Ben's right, he never thought he would actually think such a thing, but Bex isn't the sort of woman who will enhance his career.

“Sadie will be free.”

Ben volunteers, suggesting his sister-in-law.

Simon has been on a date with Sadie before and she's not entirely awful, boring, stultifying and strange yes, awful no.

“I don't know.”

Simon honestly doesn't.

He knows what his heart is telling him that he should pour his pint of Ben's fat head, leave Westminster behind and be happy, but his head, his head is telling him something completely different.

 

Bex is running late, Sammy was almost impossible to put down, and when she had finally gotten him to settle she'd noticed he'd been sick on her dress.

So now she's wearing the red one.

She's sent a text to Simon explaining without going into the vomit detail, that she will be late and can he wait for her.

Bex checks her phone again, still nothing, no reply.

She wants to call him, but doesn't want to seem desperate.

He'll wait, she knows he'll wait, he's waited 10 years already.

The taxi pulls up outside Simon's house and Bex already has the money in her hand, having kept one eye on the metre.

Grabbing her hold all, oh yeah that's the other thing, tonight she has decided to stay over, although that still a bit of a surprise.

Bex thanks the taxi driver as she happily skips out of the taxi.

The lights in the living room are still on.

Her heels clicking across the black and white tiled path leading to Simon's door, Bex takes a moment to compose herself before ringing the door bell.

“That'll be the taxi.”

Bex hears Simon's voice floating through the front door.

The door opens.

“Did you get my text?”

Bex smile freezes as she watches Simon's face literally fall at the sight of her.

“You're here.”

He says in a small voice.

Bex's heart begins to beat very fast, she can hear the noise pounding in her ears.

Three other people suddenly appear behind Simon, one man and two women.

“Rebekah, I'm sorry,”

Rebekah, the only person who calls her that is her Mum, she wants to laugh at that, but she can't.

“Simon?”

“Come along Simon, the taxi's here.”
The tall fat man barrages Simon out of the way.

The leering look he gives Bex as he passes doesn't escape her notice, his eyes going straight to her tits, after all she's just another piece of meat to him, an object of frustrated desire to be loomed over while she serves his drinks.

A small birdlike woman follows after him, and she presents Bex with another stare she knows all too well, jealousy, resentment and superiority.

She's the sort of woman who would complain over service in the hopes of getting Bex sacked just because she's prettier.

Out of all of them though, and they are all pretty fucking bad, Simon's look is the worst.

Pity.

He's pitying her.

She sees him spot the hold all and his eyes go wide.

Slowly, Bex comes back to herself, she remembers who she is, or at least who she always pretends to be, the shielding goes back up, what had she been thinking anyway.

Simon Foster isn't even her type, she thinks of Sammy's Dad, an over six foot, blonde, Australian god of a man, okay he's a love-rat, and apart from sex they never had anything remotely in common , but fuck it, Bex Cassidy can do better.

Her eyes burn, but she refuses to cry, she's not a crier, that's Sam's job.

“Bex I,”

Bex tightens her jaw.

“Mr Foster, I'm out on a work's do, I was passing your house, and well I thought I should let you know that the flying lessons are cancelled.”

Before he can respond, Bex turns on her heels, flashes Mr Fatso and his awlful wife her brightest smile, and steals their waiting taxi.

Once inside Bex dissolves into floods of tears.

Chapter Text

It was a nightmare.

Just a nightmare.

Some horrible fucking dream from some parallel where he had been dimwitted enough to take the advice of Ben Swain, the living embodiment of a sweaty ball sack.

But it's not a dream, it's not a nightmare, it's real, it's all horribly real.

He's fuck himself over again.

How could he have been so stupid?

He'd had a chance a real chance at actually being happy, and he's pissed it up the wall.

Her face.

Bex's face.

He can't stop seeing it.

She haunts him, morning, noon and night.

The worst mistake he has ever made.

FUCK!

It's been three fucking days.

Three days.

He's lost her number because he'd dropped his fucking phone down the toilet and...

He can't not be with her, he knows that now, he has to...do something, anything.

That's why he convinced himself to hang around outside her house, on the opposite side of the road.

It's apology stalking.

He's clutching an expensive bunch of flowers and waiting, hoping to catch a glimpse of her.

If he could just...

She's there, pushing a buggy down the road heading back towards the house.

She looks, she looks different.

Simon crosses the road without looking, he has to catch her before she disappears back inside her home.

“Bex.”

Her face hardens at the sight of him.

“What the fuck are those?”

She asks, her tone of voice harsher than he has ever heard it.

Retreat, retreat, retreat, his brain screams, but fuck his brain, what has his brain ever done for him?

“I wanted to apologies for the other night.”

“Why?”

Bex shoots back immediately.

“Because I,”

She wheels the buggy past him, and Simon finds himself having to jog behind her to keep up.

“Please listen.”

Abruptly she comes to a halt, and Simon feels the fire of hope rekindling in his chest, but then Bex turns to face him and the look on her face is resigned.

“Look Simon I really don't care, take who you want to take, to whatever fucking boring party you want to take them to. I don't give a fuck. Don't tie yourself up in knots over something that's already forgotten.”

No...no...no...please...

Bex means this, she actually means this.

It's over.

“I made a terrible, horrible mistake, but please, please, I'm sorry.”

“That's right, you did make a mistake.”

Bex concedes.

“That's it.”

What happens next Simon can't explain, but it feels a lot like an outer body experience, he can see himself from the corner of his own eye, falling to his knees in front of the best woman, no person, he has ever met in his life.

“Oh get up.”

Bex orders him dismissively.

“No, I won't get up.”

Simon shoots back petulantly.
“You're embarrassing.”

“I don't fucking care, and I'm not fucking moving. I've been a cunt, I know that. I've fucked everything up, I know that too. But I want you to know something as well.”

Bex's hands find their way to her hips as she stares down at him, unmoved.

“What's that then?”

She says with the air of every year 11 on a school trip ever.

“I love you.”

And then she laughs, and Simon feels as if he's just been stabbed.

“You don't fucking love me.”

Bex concludes.

“I do. I do fucking love you. I am in fucking love with you.”

“You're embarrassed to be seen with me.”

Simon could easily blame Ben Swain, oh so very easily, but it would be just that too easy.

Ben Swain might have said what he said, but Simon was under no obligation to listen to him, the fact that he had well, well that's all on him.

“I had a wobble.”

He says weakly.

“You had a wobble?”

Bex echoes his words right back at him, and he hears how pathetic they must sound.

“Like I said, I'm a cunt. But I do, I do love you Bex.”

Stillness falls between them and Simon hopes.

“No.”

Bex says flatly.

“You can't treat me the way you did on Friday night, then show up outside my house professing 'your love',”

The air quotes hurt.

“I am a person. I am not a weathervane. You can't expect me to react to whatever way the wind is blowing in Simon Foster Land. You hurt me. You made me feel small and stupid and cheap. You let your friends look down on me and you did nothing. You don't love me, that's not love. You want to fuck me Simon, and your afraid you've lost your chance. Well, fear no more my vertically challenged friend because you have.”

With that Bex wheels the buggy onto the path leading to her front door.

“Oh and if I ever see you hanging around here again, or you think you can bother me or my son, I'll tell Malcolm Tucker.”

The front door slams, leaving Simon kneeling on the pavement outside.

Chapter Text

“Here, I though you might appreciate this Professor Brian Cox.”

Sam present Malcolm with a steaming mug of tea.

“Ye're getting good at this wife lark.”

He teases her, as his cold fingers wrap around the warmth of the mug.

“I've been practising.”

Sam muses.

Malcolm takes his gaze away from the telescope to stare at his wife, who is currently wearing a woolly hat, Wellington boots, snowflake printed fleece pyjama bottoms and a coat that appears to have been made for the Arctic, not London.

In short Sam hates the cold.

“Are ye sure ye're warm enough?”

Malcolm questions her with a smile, as Sam settles herself down into one of their patio chairs.

The end of her nose has gone pink and Malcolm thinks she looks frankly adorable.

“No, I should have put a hot water bottle down my bra.”

Sam complains with a grin.

Malcolm takes a sip from his rapidly cooling tea.

“Just the one?”

“Yep, just the one for my massive mono boob.”

Malcolm almost chokes on his tea.

“Stop trying to seduce me, woman, can't ye see I'm busy?”

“Alright, I'll turn my seduction setting off, but just as a matter of interest was it the tea or the mention of the mono boob?”

Malcolm's smile widens.

“Well, I am a fucker for tea.”

Sam chuckles softly, before hoping up out of her chair and joining Malcolm at the telescope.

“How are you getting on?”

Malcolm watches with amusement as Sam gazes into the eye of the telescope, he waits, and then...

“It's all just orange, you can't see anything.”

He breathes a heavy sigh of relief.

“Fuck, it's not just me then? I thought I'd broken the fucking thing?”

Sam adjusts the sights with her small gloved fingers.

“Have you been out her all this time freezing your bullocks off and staring at an orange sky?”

Malcolm nods.

Sam suddenly abandons the telescope and latches her arms around Malcolm's middle, he pulls the warmth of his wife close.

“I didn't want to let Chanelle down.”

Fucking stupid school project.

Sam pulls him into a quick kiss.

“You're a great, Dad.”

Malcolm hopes he is, he wants to be, he wants to be a good Dad to Chanelle and Dean, it's the least both of them deserve after having such crap Fathers of their own.

Malcolm F Tucker with Dad skills Jesus wept, if his Mother could only see him now, but even if she could, she probably wouldn't be able to see through the fucking fug of the orange perm-a-glow.

“You know NASA have an app and a website for this sort of thing.”

“Good, lazy fuckers, they went to the moon what, three times, after that they've just been sitting on their fat arses in Station Control.”
Sam giggles and kisses him again, his cheek this time.

“Come on then, I know your Scottish, but I have no intention of being married to the first ever living icicle, I like being famous, but that's the wrong sort of fame.”

Sam's slips her gloved hand into Malcolm's and gives it a reassuring squeeze.

Malcolm lets his wife lead him back into the warmth of their home.

Chapter Text

Bex didn't see him at first, no it wasn't until she was half way through her superfood salad, did she notice a familiar outline off in the corner of the restaurant.

It was Foster, Simon Foster and he was sitting with a woman, a smiley brunette to be exact.

It shouldn't hurt, so why does it?

Bex doesn't care, it's all OLD news.

Love her, he never loved her, if he loved her he wouldn't be here now enjoying the company of another woman.

Why is she still thinking about this, she should stop thinking about this, after all why should she care, let Simon eat what he wants with whoever he wants.

She's not even pretty, the other woman.

Bex muses to herself as she studies her reflection in the back of her fork.

Stop caring.

Stop noticing.

Stop, just, stop.

“This is where David Tennant brought me for lunch.”

Sam's voice filters through.

“I know, you said.”

Bex observes glumly.

“He's very nice, David Tennant, and he's much better looking in real life, he's tall too.”

“Tall and Scottish, so on a scale, how jealous is Malcolm?”

That's right join in, ignore Simon and his new woman.

That bastard.

The sound of Sam's laughter brings Bex back to the table.

“It's very sweet really, he gets all grumpy whenever I bring it up, so obviously I bring it up A LOT.”

“Obviously.”

Bex mutters under her breath.

“What's marriage if you don't get to torture your husband?”

“I wouldn't know.”

Unlike her non-identical sister Bex has never wanted to be married, she's never wanted to be anyone's wife, she's never really been anyone's girlfriend, she'd never expected to be anyone's Mother, especially not at thirty-eight, but well...

Why, why is she thinking about this?

Stop thinking about this...

It had all been going so well...

STOP IT!

“Are you okay?”

Sam asks, her voice full of concern.

Bex shouldn't hate that, but she does.

More than anything she wants to be self-reliant again, not pathetic and needy.

“I feel,”

And then the words just slip away from her, and there's nothing, just a big gaping hole, silence.

Bex watches as Sam's forehead knots into a tight frown.

Concern again.

“Sammy isn't sleeping very well, I think,”

Bex pushes away her unfinished salad.

She shouldn't use her own son as an excuse.

“Simon Foster is over there,”

Bex finally admits.

“Where!”

Sam says a little too loudly, Bex watches as her sister spins around in her chair scanning the room.

“Oh my, I mean, he is, you're right. Who is that with him? Do you want me to go over? I'm going over?”

Bex grabs Sam's arm hard holding her in place.

“Don't you fucking dare.”

She warns her sister through gritted teeth.

“He can't treat you like this.”

“He's not treating me like anything, just ignore him. We went on four dates, who gives a fuck after four dates, right.”

Bex tries to smile, but the fact that a man who she has never even slept with, and who she has also, only ever been on four dates with has managed to tie her up in such a knot is just depressing.

Is this what it's like to be middle aged?

Not that she's middle aged, although she will be forty in a year.

Forty doesn't feel anything like the new thirty, because at thirty, she'd been hotter, thinner and happy.

Plus she'd been shagging Pablo, with his shock of bleached blonde hair, his absolutely perfect body, and his complete lack of English.

Ah Pablo, why couldn't Simon be like Pablo.

What the fuck is wrong with her?

“Bex.”

“What?”

“If you won't let me punch him, shall we just go, Simon Foster has put me off my salmon.”

Yes, but first Bex needs to pee, her son having ruined her bladder.

“If I go to the pee, you have to promise to leave Simon alone.”

“Leave Simon alone, of course, of course.”

Bex doesn't completely believe Sam, but she has no intention of peeing herself in public, and especially not in front of Simon and his new girlfriend, not that she had ever been his old girlfriend.

 

 

Sam was trying to be honest when she made her promise to her non-identical twin sister Bex, not to bother Simon Foster.

But when en route to the bar to pay for their meal, Sam happens to spot the fact that Simon is now alone, she makes an instantly bee-line for him.

“How could you?”

Sam demands a bewildered Simon.

 

 

Bex washes her hands in the sink, speed is on her mind since she knows Sam well enough not to risk leaving her unattended for too long.

“Hello, you're Bex aren't you?”

It's the woman, the smiley brunette who had been having lunch with Simon Foster.

“I know this is probably, well no, actually it's very weird, propositioning you in the ladies, not that, that's what I'm doing,”

The smiley brunette simpers nervously, as Bex makes her way over to the Dyson Air Blades.

“I'm Olivia, Simon's sister,”

The fact that the smiley brunette is his sister shouldn't make Bex feel happy, but it does.

“Simon talks about you, well no, he still talks about you all the time,”

Bex spots the resemblance now, the fact that neither Simon or his sister Olivia, can form actual human sentences.

“Look I know, and you know that my brother can be a prick. He's got absolutely no backbone and he can never say what he means, but he really does,”

“Did he send you in here?”

Bex cuts Olivia off.

The happiness that Olivia is Simon's sister fades abruptly and is replaced by something else, anger.

She's fucking furious.

Bex doesn't even dry her hands, she storms out of the loo with a sheepish Olivia trailing behind her.

“Did you send your own sister into the toilets to tell me how much you love me, are you fucking twelve?”

“No, I'm not fucking twelve, and I never asked my sister to tell you anything, and while we're on the subject of siblings, can you do something about your own fucking rabid twin.”

Twin, Sam, fuck.

“Rabid!”

Sam exclaims indignantly.

“Yes rabid, I can see why you married Malcolm Tucker, it's a match clearly made in hell, you're perfect for one another.”

Bex slaps Simon before Sam gets the chance, as soon as she does it, she's suddenly regretting it.

“You slapped me?”

Simon frowns bewildered, his fingers tracing the rapidly reddening hand print.

“I did.”

Bex observes from her similar state of shock.

“I hate you.”

She hears herself saying.

“I hate you. I hate what you've done to me.”

“What have I done to you?”

He's broken her, he's made her feel all sorts of horrible new things, and he's made her want a sort of future she's never even thought about before, with Sammy and Simon and the sort of post card cottage she'd grown up in.

Fuck, she doesn't want to live in a cottage with Simon, she never wants to see Simon again.

Bex doesn't respond, she just grabs Sam roughly by the arm and drags her out of the restaurant, leaving behind her coat, the bill unpaid and of course Simon Foster.

Chapter Text

“Can you believe it, he called ME rabid? Rabid, ME!”

Sam exclaims indignantly.

Malcolm has been alive long enough to know that this is one of those times when you just agree, so he does.

“Simon Foster is a spineless cunt,”

“MALCOLM.”
Sam instantly chastises him, pointing towards Dean their three year old son who is happily chattering to himself between them.

Malcolm rolls his eyes.

“Who gives a shit what that twat thinks.”

He notices the smile in the corner of Sam's lovely mouth.

“Malcolm is right,”

Chanelle chimes in, slowing down with her best friend Artemisia, to fall back into pace with the rest of the family.

Malcolm feels a little swell of paternal pride at Chanelle's observation.

“Simon Foster is a cunt, and he's an idiot.”

That proud ember dies violently under Sam's shocked gaze.

Artemisia Drake appears to shrink back from the word.

Clearly she blames HIM for their daughter's language, despite the fact that Chanelle's vocabulary for vulgarity is even more colourful and extensive than his own had been at her age.

Despite this however Sam looks seriously pissed off.

“Chanelle, we don't use that word.”

Sam's eyes flash dangerously at Malcolm.

“What, idiot?”

Sam's cheeks flush bright pink, which Malcolm has come to learn is either a good or a bad thing with his wife depending on the situation, or how hard he's been sucking.

Malcolm seizing the moment and wraps one steadying arm around Sam's slender frame, despite herself, he feels Sam slacken against him.

“No, we don't call people idiots, be more inventive with ye insults girl.”

He teases Chanelle, watching as his daughter and her friend with the stupid name dissolve into a fit of laughter, but not giggles, Chanelle is not a girl who giggles.

“Right, we're going to see Paddington 2.”

Sam announces as they filter into the line streaming into the local mega chain, popcorn shitting cinema.

“You can take the girls into the new Star Wars.”

This was not their agreement.
“But, I don't want to see the new fucking Star Wars film.”

Malcolm complains bitterly, and now Chanelle giggles, Dean joins in and so does Artemisia.

Fucking betrayers the lot of them.

“We don't need Malcolm in the cinema with us.”

Chanelle, Chanelle is the one Malcolm would allow onto his life raft, along with Dean, and well yes, of course Sam, but...fuck...

“None of you get a choice in this.”

So, it's a punishment.

Both Malcolm and Chanelle collectively roll their eyes.

“It's a good job ye're rich, woman.”

Malcolm tells Sam, as she leans in and steals a quick kiss from him.

Malcolm watches Sam lift Dean up into her arms, the pair of them walking in the opposite direction, he always feels mournful at the sight of his wife walking away.

“Right, who wants to watch the Planet of the Teddy Bears get blown to fuck and pieces?”

Chapter Text

Malcolm is quiet.

Malcolm being quiet is never a good sign, in fact it’s usually a very, very bad sign.

Sam puts her bowl of ice cream to one side.

"Are you alright?”

She asks her husband tentatively.

Malcolm presses pause and the pair sit in silence for a while, and then Malcolm says…

"I always thought he was a twat, I didn’t know I’d feel,”

He’s crying, and he doesn’t want her to see, so Sam does what she always does and pretends.

"I fucking hate this, ye just start to not entirely hate the wanker and then he fucking leaves.”

Sam works very hard to stifle her smile, as she says.

"Well, no-one ever said being a Doctor Who fan was easy, in fact, I believe it’s a well respected form of masochism. I think it has its own department on the masochism floor.”

She wraps one arm around Malcolm’s hunched shoulders, pulling him in close.

Malcolm laughs, a sniffly, watery soft of laugh, but Sam feels her job getting easier.

They’re lying in their bed on the 27th December, enjoying ice cream for breakfast before the rest of the household has had a chance to stir and watching The Doctor Who Christmas Special on the IPlayer.

Sam had band the television on Christmas Day.

No-one in a million years ever would have guessed what a SCI-FI and by extension Doctor Who fan Malcolm F Tucker is, the fact that a Regeneration can bring the former Prince of Darkness to tears, well for Sam it’s all part of her husband’s confusing and complex charm.

Put simply he’s mad and Sam loves him, because she’s even madder.

"Do you want to meet the new one?”

Sam enquires softly.

Malcolm simply presses play in response and Sam retrieves her almost melted bowl of ice cream from her bedside table.

She has no idea what’s going on, having never been able to get into the show herself, but Malcolm goes all quiet again as he watches.

The episode ends, FINALLY…

"So, are you going to stick with it, now The Doctor has lady parts?”

Sam giggles.

"My Doctor has always had lady parts.”

Malcolm waggles his attack eyebrows at her.

"Well, it’s funny you should say that, because I was tidying up the other day and I...”

Sam slides open the draw next to her and pulls out the toy sonic screwdriver.

"I found this.”

Malcolm’s eyes immediately darken with lust, and Sam puts the tablet on his lap safely away.

She then turns her attention back to her now extremely animated husband, who exclaims.

"I fucking love Doctor Who.”

Chapter Text

"That can’t, that can’t be right.”

Sam hears the sound of her husband’s distinctive brogue, as the warm water of the shower cascades down up on her.

Wiping the water away from her eyes, Sam peeks around the shower door to find Malcolm examining his stomach in the small circle he’s rubbed free from condensation in the bathroom mirror.

He’s been on the scales.

Its still Christmas who is brave enough to look at the scales, Sam certainly hasn’t been able to.

Tis the season for excess.

 

Malcolm is sitting on the sofa listlessly stuffing the last of the unwanted chocolates from the selection box into his mouth, he’s barely chewing, and he’s not even hungry, just eating.

He’s fat.

He hasn’t been fat since he was four, but now he’s fat.

He’s fat and grey and old, and he’s decided to sit on the sofa and just eat chocolate until a wall has to be removed so his bloated carcass can leave the house.

He’s disgusting.

Malcolm munches down on another chocolate, as he contemplates facing 2018 fat.

Sam will stop fancing him.

Malcolm contemplates 2018 being fat and unloved.

"Right.”

Sam suddenly jogs into the room, wearing her lycra running outfit, accompanied by Charleston on his lead.

"Get up Malc, we’re going for a walk.”

She tells him in a horribly upbeat, sing song voice.

Malcolm just stares at her.

"I can’t.”

He grumbles, wincing at the prospect of having to shift his tubby arse.

"That wasn’t a suggestion Malcolm, it was an order.”

Malcolm shrugs his shoulders, and does something unthinkable, he disobeys one of his wife’s commands.

Sam instantly falls down into the space on the sofa next to him, and Charleston jumps into the spot between them.

"Malc, come on, just the two…well three of us, how often do we get to do that.”

Malcolm shrugs again, and Sam looks suddenly pained.

"Do ye still fancy me?”

He asks without thinking.

Sam wraps her arms immediately around Malcolm’s neck, terrifying the dog, and pulling Malcolm into a long snog.

"You’re not too bad.”

Sam giggles when they finally part.

Malcolm feels the bar on his confidence twitch back into life, it’s either that or his…

"Now get up, I’ve promised Charleston a walk.”

Sam is back on her feet with her hand outstretched towards him.

Rolling his eyes Malcolm slips his hand into Sam’s.

Chapter Text

"Is it haunted?”

Chanelle asks, with a surprisingly tentative note in her voice.

Of all the questions Malcolm had been primed to expect, ghosts hadn’t been one of them, although now he comes to look at Sam’s investment, the large house tucked away in the countryside, Chanelle does have a point, it does look haunted.

Malcolm’s usually razor sharp mind lurches as he notices an expression sweep over the face of his adopted daughter, this could be dangerous, because Chanelle is brittle and her temper is an equal match for his own.

"Ghosts. Chanelle, what fucking ghost, would be brave enough to haunt our house?”

Chanelle grins, and that horrible teetering moment quickly passes.

Falling into pace together, the pair make a muddy journey across the drive.

"You're right, the stink from your socks would be enough to put most of them off.”

Malcolm raises one attack eyebrow at his daughter.

"Ma feet, are nothing, what about Sam’s breath?”

Chanelle laughs, and relaxing, Malcolm joins her.

"What are you two laughing about?”

Sam appears in the doorway of their new home with one hand on her hip and the other clutching a steam mug of hot tea.

"I don’t pay you two to stand around and laugh all day, there’s work to be done.”

"Oh darling wife, ye don’t pay us.”

Sam hides her smile behind her mug of tea.

"Be careful Malc, or I’ll send you up the chimney.”

Sam teases as she wanders happily back into the house that looks as if it could very well be haunted.

"Like I said, what ghost would be brave enough to haunt Sam, she'd put the poor fucking thing on wall painting duty.”

Chapter Text

Malcolm is leaning against the tree at the bottom of their second garden, and staring out over the wide expands of fields before him, patches of green rolling off into the horizon.

He's not really thinking about anything, which makes a change, he's just staring.

Well no that's a lie, he's actually trying very hard not to think about something, and that something is his Mother's birthday.

It's today.

Or it would have been today.

Seven years, she's been dead for seven years, and yet it still doesn't feel real.

Malcolm was never a very good son.

He's not going to lie to himself.

He never made enough time for his Mother, only ever the occasional flying visit, he always left the rest to his younger sister Cat, using the excuse that Cat was the one with the Grandkids, so she was the one their Mother would want to see.

Could he have made more time, squeezed more than just the occasional apologetic phone call in between months and meetings?

No.

But he should have tried.

After all he'd always managed to give his sister a call whenever he had a spare second, which admittedly wasn't often, but still...

He did, had, no...does...Malcolm does love his Mother, and he'd tried to demonstrate that fact with money, although again, Cat being married to Trevor, a man who appears to own most of Somerset, usually picked up the bill.

In the end, there's just no excuse.

Malcolm hailed from a happy, if slightly dour home, no violence or alcohol or affairs, his Father only clobbered him on a handful of occasions, and afterwards had always looked as traumatised as Malcolm, after the event.

His parents had never given him any reason to neglect them once he had flown the nest, and yet neglect them he had, even when his Father had been dying, Malcolm had found excuses not to make the trip up until the very last moment and then...then it had been all over.

Too late.

His Mother had been alone after that, his sister Cat having abandoned her well paid job in the local library to try her luck in London, just like her big Brother.

No ties, no obligations, a Mother he never saw, a sister who could look after herself, and Yvonne, Malcolm's first wife, who Malcolm had neglected every bit as much as his own parents.

Poor Yvonne.

“You alright out here?”

Sam's question cuts through all the interference inside Malcolm's head.

He turns his head, to watch her moving across the lawn towards him, paisley pashmina decoratively draped around her shoulders.

Malcolm doesn't want to neglect anyone else, not Sam, or Chanelle, or Dean.

Maybe this is what it's like to grow up, Malcolm's not sure, originally he thought he'd already done that trick once, but perhaps not...

“Aye love.”

He says with no hint of his usual bluff or humour.

Sam immediately wraps her arms around his waist tucking her head beneath his chin.

She knows.

Of course she knows, after all the years she'd spent sending flowers, cards, presents, apologies to his Mother, of course Sam knows the date.

“I wish she could have known about us, about the kids, it's all she ever fucking wanted. She was always on at me to marry ye, and always disappointed when I had to tell her ye were already married to some slick haired fuck.”

Sam face stares up at Malcolm, and his chest hurts because she's just so fucking perfect.

“I liked your Mum, she always use to send me bits of her knitting, usually gloves. I've still got a pair, they're lovely and warm.”

Malcolm feels a horrible familiar lump in his throat, and turns away from Sam, his face back towards the fields as he attempts to regain something close to control.

A second slips away.

“Malc,”

Sam's soft fingers tug at Malcolm's chin forcing him to look back at her.

He tries to resit, but...fuck it, this woman has seen him in every state another human being can witness another, well except dead that is, why not crying.

“Oh Malc.”

Sam breathes softly, as she raises herself up onto her tip toes, planting kisses against Malcolm's wet cheeks.
He pulls her close.

Her warmth, the feel of her body, all of it.

Sam finds his lips, their kiss tinged with salt.

Chapter Text

Sam rolls onto her side and wraps one arm around Malcolm.

Still in that blissful haze of post sleep, she knows it's early, so early in fact that other than her she's pretty sure no-one in the house is even awake, not even Malcolm, who is currently snoring away peacefully next to her.

Sam rubs the side of her check against the warm, soft cotton of Malcolm's t-shirt, she's not sure why she does this, it's just a habit, if she was a cat or a rabbit she'd probably be scent marking him, but she's not a cat or a rabbit she's a Sam.

Sleepily, her head drifts onto the warmth of Malcolm's pillow.

Sam tucks her knees in the space behind Malcolm's, as she tightens her grip across his tummy.

She smiles as she begins to drift back off to sleep, half and hour maybe more before all hell breaks loose and the kids wake up.

 

 

The combined gust of freezing rain and gale force wind blow a bedraggled Malcolm and Chanelle into the little shop.

The bell above the door rings out, as Malcolm fights to close the door behind them.

Chanelle shoots him daggers in her stare, because rather than be all nice and normal and warm at home, his dragged her out after school on probably one of the worst nights of the year so far.

Not that there's been much of a year so far, it's still only early days for January and 2018.

Chanelle's teeth chatter, as she follows Malcolm to the counter.

The woman behind said counter gives them a welcoming smile, the sort of smile that Chanelle would never have received before being adopted by Malcolm and Sam, no in a place like this she'd have been out on her ear, or worse the FEDs would have been called.

But the woman behind the counter doesn't see Chanelle, or at least not the way she really is, she doesn't see a girl from Tower Hamlets, instead she sees a teen in a smart uniform from one of the best schools in London with her Dad whose wearing a coat that literally screams I'm Fucking Rich!

They are FUCKING RICH, what with all Sam's writing and well Malcolm had a bit of money himself.

Chanelle decides not to pull her Artful Dodger act, it might have gone down well in her school play, but she knows Malcolm is in no mood.

So, she folds her gloved hands into her coat pocket, and wanders away from Malcolm moving through the glittering trays of gems, until she reaches what looks almost exactly like a crown, all gold and diamonds and rubies and emeralds.

Chanelle glances at the price tag through the crown's glass box, they may be FUCKING RICH, but they're not that FUCKING RICH.

“Chanelle, come here.”

Malcolm beckons her back towards the counter, and Chanelle saunters towards him, but not before catching the expression on the woman's face.

It was her name, Chanelle, that gave the game away, now if she'd been called Artemisia or even Issy, the name of Malcolm's niece, the woman behind the counter would have continued to smile in that obsequies manner of her's

But no, at name like Chanelle means CHAV, and in a shop like this, CHAV screams new money.

See Chanelle is starting to learn the rules.

Hovering next to Malcolm's elbow, Chanelle glances down at the tray of rings presented before them.
Ring shopping for Sam.

It's almost as if Malcolm has only just heard of the internet, but Chanelle plays along because, well not that she's sappy, but this whole thing seems to mean a lot to Malcolm.

“That one.”

Chanelle announces as she picks out particular rings she thinks Sam will like.

It looks as if it's silver, but it's probably platinum, with a small pearl in it's centre, the ring is in the shape of a bow with bright, shining diamonds making up the ribbons.

It's just the sort of thing that Chanelle knows Sam will like.

“We'll take that one.”

Malcolm points to the platinum ring in the shape of a bow.

The woman behind the counter removes the tray of rings, and sets about wrapping up their purchase, Malcolm hands over his credit card, and Chanelle tries not to wince at the price of the ring.

Once said ring is safely in Malcolm's coat pocket, Chanelle turns to him and says, in her best East End brogue.

“Can we piss off home now?”

Chapter Text

It's raining and it's freezing, and none of this is how Malcolm planned it in his head, but, but since when had the future he'd envisaged for the pair ever turn out how he had expected.

So he's going to do it, he's going to do it here, because he can't face doing it in the restaurant.

Making sure to avoid a nearby pile of dog shit, Malcolm drops down onto one knee in front of Sam, who is too busy trying to cling to her umbrella to really notice at first.

He'd never done this, well know, he'd done this with Yvonne, down on one knee, the ring, the gushing proposal, but not with Sam, Sam had been the one to do all the asking, and she'd done it casually over a Chinese takeaway, while they'd been attempting to prepare some sort of defence for the fact that he was a lying bastard.

He should have said no, but fuck it, he wanted her, wanted Sam to be his wife.

Malcolm F Tucker is no saint.

“Malc, what are you doing down there, the pavement is all mucky, your trousers. Have you lost something?”

Fuck, she sounds like a Mum, she sounds like HIS Mum.

Sam's got a point though, he really should have thought his through, as the wet, grimy pavement is beginning to seep through his right knee.

When it comes to proposing, never taking advice from a thirteen year old, fucking Chanelle.

The rain has stopped, but it's still fucking freezing.

“No woman, I've not lost something.”

He frowns up at her.

“Did you fall over?”

Fuck.

“No, I did not fucking fall over, I am trying to propose to ye.”

He knows he could have done that better, smoother.

“Propose, Malc, I'm not sure if you realise this, but we're already married, tonight is our anniversary. We're on our way to our anniversary dinner.”

With his numb hands, Malcolm pulls the ring box from his pocket and presents Sam with the ring Chanelle helped him choose.

“Samantha Victoria Cassidy-Tucker, will ye do me the honour of marrying me all over a-fucking-gain, but this time, so our kids can fucking watch?”

Sam falls into silence, and her face falls into shadow, Malcolm has absolutely know idea what is going on with her.

Time drags, and then Malcolm feels a warm pair of arms around his neck, and everything, everything is suddenly perfect.

“Yes, I will marry you a-fucking-gain, so our kids can watch.”

Sam's voice is hot against the shell of his ear.

There faces are level as Sam crouches down in front of him, but she's not stupid enough to let any part of her body actually touch the pavement.

Malcolm brushes his cold hand against her warm cheek, and pulls her unceremoniously into a kiss.

Sam must have dropped the umbrella, because Malcolm can feel the rain again, pelting the top of his head, his face, his well, basically everything.

“Shall we sack of dinner, grab a McDonalds, and a room at the nearest Travel Lodge, and just fuck?”

Malcolm's suggestion earns a giggle from Sam.

“You really know how to sweep a girl off her feet.”

Taking Malcolm's hand in her own, she pulls him back up onto his feet.

He grins and kisses her again.

“It's a good job our babysitter lives with us.”

Sam muses with a gorgeous grin.

Malcolm slips a possessive hand around her waist, pulling her into his body.

Sam clears her throat and waggles her already cluttered wedding finger under Malcolm's nose.

“The ring fuck, it'll have to go on the other finger.”

Without much ceremony Malcolm slides the ring onto Sam's finger.

“Chanelle helped me choose it.”

“It's beautiful, I love it.”

Sam gushes.

“I love you.”

She adds quickly, placing a chaste kiss on Malcolm's cheek.

“Good.”

Malcolm teases her with a smile.

“This time, can we not get married in fucking January.”

Chapter Text

“Did you hear what I said?”

No.

No, Sam did not hear what her non identical twin sister said, she's too busy gazing down at her newly acquired ring.

It's been two weeks since Malcolm's proposal, or should that be re-proposal since they're already married.

If they get married again, does that mean they have to get divorced?

Does that mean Sam will have effectively been married 3 times?

Admittedly twice to the same man, but still, a lot of Sam's friends and well her own sister Bex, have never even been married once, three times seems a little greedy.

Sam watches as the diamonds in her ring catch the morning sunlight, which is streaming through the kitchen's patio doors.

“So, I thought I'd put a tag around Sammy's neck later, wheel him down the high-street shouting 'Boy For Sale' and see what I can get for him. What do you reckon, 10-20 pounds? I could live in luxury with that.”

Sam's snaps back into reality, and finds to her disgust that she's been buttering her left hand for the last, however many minutes.

She was sure she'd been holding a slice of toast, what happened to her toast?

Bex grins and takes a bite out of her toast.

Sam cleans her hands off on a nearby tea towel, and reaches for another slice of toast.

Malcolm, Chanelle, Dean and even Charleston are all still asleep, it's just Sam, Bex and Baby Sammy sat at the kitchen table enjoying a relatively peaceful Saturday morning.

Sam's about to get distracted by her ring all over again, when Bex suddenly chastises her.

“Will you stop looking at that thing, there's something I need to tell you.”

Sam folds her hands into her lap, losing sight of the ring.

“You're not pregnant again, are you?”

She teases her sister who looks utterly horrified at the prospect.

“Never, ever, again.”

Bex says.

“Actually, I've got a new job.”

Sam hadn't expected that.

“Since when, you never told me you had an interview.”

“That's because I didn't, well I did, but not a formal one. Do you remember Clive, he was my crew manager when I was at Easy Jet, he vomited pink stuff on you that time in Ibiza.”

Yes, Sam remembered Clive.

“Well, Clive's still with Easy Jet, only he's a instructor now, and well he's been nagging at me for years to sort of become and instructor to so, so that's what I am, I'm an instructor, I'm going to be training the new cabin crew.”

Sam couldn't help but steal a glance at Baby Sammy who is decorating his face with butter and toast crumbs.

“How long are you going to be away for?”

She asks with a knotted brow.

“It's not flying, I'm grounded. It's all pretend. I'll just be training them on the basics, and the not so basics.”

Sam breathes a sigh of relieve, which Bex appears to notice.

“You can't single parent and Cabin Crew, I knew that when I had Sammy. You can't be gone days, weeks at a time, without, you know a base. I would never expect you and Malcolm to look after him like that, and besides I'd miss the mucky pup. But this is good, this is me getting independent again. I've got a job, after that I can get a flat, and then...”

“You don't have to move out, we love having you here.”

Well Sam does, she's not so sure about Malcolm.

Bex raises one eyebrow.

“This was never a forever thing, Sam.”

Chapter Text

Malcolm Tucker is deep in sleep, it had been a long night flying solo with Chanelle, Dean and Baby Sammy, minus their Mother's.

Sam was attending the birthday party of a friend, while Bex was away on some team building weekend, to be honest Malcolm hadn't paid that much attention to the whereabouts of his sister-in-law.

Malcolm Tucker is deep in sleep, when a particularly heavy weight falls across his body.

“Wake up.”

Sam's voice slurs into the shell of ear.

Malcolm stirs opening one eye into the darkness of the bedroom.

“Jesus woman, ye're crushing my rib cage.”

He manages to wheeze.

“Are you calling me fat?”

Fuck.

Malcolm's brain wakes.

Fuck.

“No, it's the fucking angle.”

He hopes that's enough to save him.

It's enough, because the next thing he knows Sam is kissing him.

“Ye smell like gin and bad choices.”

He teases her when they finally part.

It's not as dark as he first thought, the grey light of dawn is just beginning to creep through the bedroom curtains, so that Malcolm can make out the outline of Sam's face, her still perfectly curled hair.

She's drunk.

“I want you're cock, I've been thinking about it all night.”

His beloved wife is definitely drunk, not that Malcolm would ever dream of complaining.

“Is this what it's going to be like after ye've married me, again?”

Malcolm's laugh his stifled by searing kiss.

“You better fucking believe it, now assume the position.”

Sam giggles.

 

 

“Sam, Sam?”

Malcolm jerks his hips to try and restart, well basically restart the sex that they were supposed to be having, but nothing...and then...

He hears the snore, Sam's little snore.

She's fallen asleep, she's so drunk she's managed to fall asleep while still impaled (Malcolm loves that word) on his cock.

Carefully, he rolls his beautiful, drunken wife into the space next to him.

He can't wait to torture her about this for weeks, months, years hopefully.

Malcolm brushes a strand of hair away from her face, before planting a kiss on her soft cheek.

He loves her utterly, he loves her completely.

Chapter Text

Her head is pounding as she slowly, tentatively opens her eyes.

At first there's nothing, just a hot, painful, white light, but slowly the shape of the room reforms around her.

It dawns on her with a sudden bolt of horror that THIS isn't her bedroom.

Bex sits up so fast that the pain in her head causes her to wince.

It's been a while since she was this drunk, since well before Sammy had even been a glimmer in her eye.

Sammy, she needs to get back to her son.

As the world painfully reasserts it's self, Bex becomes aware that she's still wearing her 'comedy' Air Hostess uniform.

So, at least she's not naked, naked would imply...but still she has woken up in some stranger's bed, so maybe...it's been such a looonnnggg time it's frighteningly hard to tell.

No, Bex is pretty sure that no sex has actually happened, because yep, she's still wearing her tummy suck-in knickers in a lovely, seriously unsubtle shade of beige.

Where the fuck is she?

Bex pulls away the warmth of the duvet and forces herself to get out of the stranger's bed.

Standing is actually agony, fuck Clive and his sambucas.

Clive, is this Clive's new place, it's a lot more put together, and far less flamboyant than his old flat.

Oh Clive he's always been so sweet, well okay, maybe that's stretching it a little, there head been that time were they'd both gone after the same pilot, and they both discovered that they'd sucessfully nabbed said pilot.

Still what was the same cock between friends?

Bex stumbles across the floor, managing to make it to the bedroom door without throwing up on herself.
“Clive, can you make one of those fry-ups you use to do in Ibiza? Extra crispy bacon and,”

The words get lost as she opens the door and finds Simon Foster on the other side.

Her brain stalls.

“You're not Clive.”

Bex finds herself saying.

“No and I haven't got any crispy bacon. But ah, coffee and toast.”

Simon Foster is holding a mug of coffee and a plate of what appears to be toast, and probably actually in fairness is toast.

But, what the actual fuck.

“Are you stalking me? Is this kidnap, because I'm bigger than you, and I've been told I can punch, really hard.”

Simon Foster just sighs, that exasperated, desperately tired sounding sigh of his.

“Of that I have no doubt, and for the record I am not stalking you. Are you stalking me?”

Bex takes the coffee from Simon.

“Oh please.”

“I only ask, because you have a habit of sort of turning up wherever I am, and well staring at me.”

Bex thinks about this for a moment.

“That's not true.”

“Well, it is a little bit true.”

Simon counters bravely, before asking.

“Who's Clive?”

With her coffee in hand, stinking of booze and still wearing her stupid costume, Bex leans against the door frame of Simon Foster's bedroom with practised ease.

“I'm shagging him instead of you.”

To her utter disappointment Simon looks less than put out.

“Right, so, he isn't the one who propositioned me in the men's then?”

Clive, that little rat!

“What can I say, he's got shit taste in men. Anyway, why are you interrogating me, I'm the one who has been kidnapped.”

Feeling light headed Bex snatches a square of toast away from Simon and sits down on the bottom on the bed.

“I think you'll find that's how most kidnaps work.”

Simon says with the hint of a smile.

“Why am I here?”

“That's a long and involved question, I'm not sure I'm qualified to answer, but as for last night, you lost your phone, your 'friend' Clive abandoned you, and you couldn't lift your head up off your chest.”

That sounds about right.

“I would have left you lying in a puddle of your own vomit and exposed to the elements, but then I remembered that I love you, so I brought you here.”

Bex munches away on her toast and tries very hard not to react to the 'love' thing.

After that there's just silence until Bex has finished her breakfast, when she says.

“Can you call me a taxi, I want to go home.”

Chapter Text

Sam is alone in the house when the box wrapped in brown paper drops neatly onto the mat.

Sam is alone in the house, which is a generally unusual state of affairs, but today, Chanelle is at school, Malcolm, Dean, Baby Sammy and Charleston are all still out for their normal morning walk and Bex is of course at work.

Thankfully her sister's new job appears to be going well.

Glancing at the address on the front of the box as she retrieves it from the mat, Sam notices two things, firstly, that the box in question is address to her sister, and secondly Sam has an oddly familiar feeling about the writing.

Wandering back down the hall and into the empty kitchen, Sam is practically unaware as her fingers begin to worry at the edges of the paper.

"I could always blame the dog, or Malc."

She tells herself, and the lie seems quite normal.

Before Sam has a chance to change her mind the paper is off the outside, and the latest version of the new IPhone is revealed, Sam forgets, which number they are supposed to be on.

A work phone?

But a card nestled between torn pieces of paper explains all.

To replace the one you lost.
Simon x

Simon Foster.

Sam knew she recognised that scrawl from somewhere.

Wait, why is Simon Foster giving Bex a brand new IPhone, when had Bex lost the other one?

 

"Do you think she believed me about the phone?"

Sam asks as she worries away at the flesh of her bottom lip.

With his head buried underneath their duvet Malcolm fails to respond immediately.

Ordinarily Sam would be enjoying what he's currently doing with his very clever mouth, but she can't stop thinking about Bex and Simon and that bloody IPhone, which her sister had appeared to expect without comment.

"Malc, please?"

Malcolm's face appears looking sweaty and pained.

"No, Sam love, ye're sister is not a complete idiot. Now please woman, it's Valentine's Day, please just let me get my leg over."

Chapter Text

"Finally my daughter is getting married.”

Sam was a little taken aback by her Mum’s outburst.

"What are you talking about, I’ve been married before, I’m still married to Malc.”

Lesley waved Sam’s very obvious and logical question away.

"I know what she means.”

Bex had grinned from behind her coffee mug.

The four of them, Sam, Bex, Lesley and Baby Sammy were seated around Sam’s kitchen table.

"She wants you to have the whole big Jewish Wedding thing, isn’t that right Mum”

Lesley demurred refusing to respond to Bex’s question at first.

"No, no, it’s not that sort of wedding, it’s more for the kids, and besides Malcolm’s not Jewish.”

"Nobody’s perfect.”

Just when Sam had been hoping the conversation or that the topic had at least been changed, Lesley added.

"But he could be.”

"You think Malcolm could be perfect.”

Bex smirked.

"No, don't be silly Rebekah.”

Lesley had rounded on her daughter.

Sam felt as if now was the time to interject, after all Malcolm was her husband, and while she would be the first to admit his lack of perfect, she wasn't about to sit there at let anyone else, even her own Mum or sister list his faults.

But before Sam could speak her Mum added.

"He could be Jewish.”

Chapter Text

Chanelle stifled her yawn against the back of her hand as she shuffled down the stairs.

Wandering into the kitchen the first things Chanelle noticed was the light, a strange white light, which seemed to push through the curtains, which covered the French windows.

Shuffling towards them, Channelle caught hold of the warm fabric and dragged it away from the window staring out into a perfect, wintery snowy scene.

It has snowed.

It had properly snowed.

 

Malcolm was warm and sleepy when he was suddenly and rudely awakened by someone, not Sam, jumping on top of him.

"Jesus Christ.”

He groaned as Dean excitedly wriggled.

"Snow.”

The little boy bellowed at the top of his lungs.

"It’s snowing.”

Sam was on hand to helpfully translate, as she wandered back into their bedroom clutching a mug of steaming tea, with Chanelle hot on her heels.

"Do you think this will mean no school tomorrow?”

Chanelle asked hopefully.

Snow day, Malcolm had never experienced one, when he was a child they’d been expected to fight their way into school, snow or no snow.

"I don’t know, I shouldn’t think there will be any school, but let’s just enjoy today.”

Good old Sam as sensible as always.
"I’m going to text Artie, see if she wants to come over.”

Sam was on the point of speaking when Chanelle had excitedly left the room.

Downstairs, Charleston started to bark.

"Snow, snow, SNOW.”

Dean continued to wail with excitement.

"Right, come on Deano, let’s get you ready so we can all go to the park.”

Thankfully, Sam lifted the weight of their son off Malcolm’s chest.

Fuck, the park though, that would mean having to get up, Malcolm wasn’t sold on that particular idea at all.

With Chanelle having disappeared to arrange her social life and Sam getting Dean showered in the en-suite, Malcolm finally found the inner strength to drag himself out of the wonderfully warm and comfortable bed.

He made it over to the window, peering out through the slats.

Snow.

Proper snow, the powdery stuff that you only find when you dig deep and pay for it, not the usual grey sludge that comes free of charge.

Global Warming, Malcolm should probably be concerned, especially now since with children it now means he has a stake in the Planet’s future, but Chanelle has the ability to survive anything, and he’s not sure if Dean has ever seen the snow before.

Malcolm is oddly excited, and then he remembers that Charleston is still barking.

"Alright, you fucking mutt.”

Malcolm shouts.

This is real, chaotic, dogs barking, kids screaming life, and Malcolm absolutely loves it.

Chapter Text

What had ever persuaded her to do this?

Bex wondered as she rung the doorbell and attempted in vain to stop herself from shivering in the cold night air.

Bloody March.

Simon opens the door and before he has a chance to greet her Bex unceremoniously pushes him out of the way escaping into the warmth of his house.

After all she’s not here to be nice, she’s here to eat Simon’s food and then just leave.

 

 

 

"I like that one.”

Bex rolled her eyes and did her best version of being annoyed as Simon pointed out the flat that she also really rather liked.

"I don’t.”

She lied and then proceeded to take a long slug from her Caffé Nero soya vanilla latte.

"You don’t always have to make a point of going against everything I say you know.”

Simon sighed, and turned his back on the estate agents window.

Bex felt guilty, she shouldn’t really, but Simon always manages to bring out the pathetic, sentimental side in her.

"I haven’t forgiven you, yet.”

Bex says as she also turns her back on the estate agent’s window.

The sides of their bodies touch, and for a full minute, Bex thinks about holding Simon’s hand.

"Yet, implies maybe, one day, that you will.”

Bex doesn’t say anything, so Simon tentatively adds.

"You forgave me quite a bit last night, twice if I remember correctly.”

"That wasn’t forgiveness that was sex, and you’re misremembering it.”

Although, he wasn’t actually.

"Anyway, can I have a bit more of that and a bit less of this, or at least can you stop pushing me.”

"When have I ever pushed you?”

Bex asks with a smile.

"Ah, let me think. Last week when you pushed me into some bins because you thought you saw your friend Clive, last night, Thursday.”

Bex decided to put Simon out of his misery by learning across and kissing him.

"It’s your own fault,”

Bex adds with a wide grin.

"You’re just so pushable.”

Chapter Text

"That was fucking delicious, superb choice as usual wee Chanelle.”

Malcolm complemented his daughter on her fine selection of Chinese take-away, as he padded is rounded belly, despite all Sam hard work he was still a fat fuck.

Chanelle shrugs as she finishes off the last of the spring rolls.

Malcolm is currently laying sprawled on the sofa with his feet up on the coffee table, surrounded by empty plastic tubs of take-away and crumbs, so many crumbs, Sam is going to kill him, when she finds out they’ve been eating like this in the living room.

Ordinarily, he’d probably try and hide the evidence, but he’s too full to move.

"Right, I’m gonna have a bath.”

Chanelle informs him.

He tries not to smile at what a creature of habit his daughter is, dinner, bath then bed, that’s her routine with the odd detour every now and again.

"Alright love, I’ll see ye in the morning.”

Tomorrow is Saturday the weekend proper, and if Malcolm knows his wife at all he knows she will have big plans for the family, she always does.

Chanelle’s slippers drag across the floor as she exits, and then it’s just Malcolm alone, Dean is already fast asleep upstairs, the mutt Charleston has been banished to the kitchen in disgrace for trying to eat the Chicken Chow Mien, and Sam, Sam is out having drinks for Debbie Russell’s birthday.

Debbie Russell, Malcolm remembers her well.

As if summoned by some strange power he hears the unmistakable sound of Sam’s key in the door.

Malcolm’s spin doctor senses kick suddenly back into life, as glancing at his watch he realises it’s too early for Sam to be home.

Act natural.

Malcolm hears the rustle as Sam sheds her coat, followed by the clunk-clunk of her ridiculous heels, and then she’s there leaning against the doorway looking fucking gorgeous.

"Chinese in the living room, really?”

"Ye’re back early love?”

Malcolm holds open his arms, and Sam immediately joins him on the sofa, curling herself into his side, wrapping one arm over his distended middle.

Sam isn’t cold, she’s freezing, Malcolm begins immediately to run some warmth back into his wife’s tender, English limbs.

"How were the birthday drinks?”

He enquiries cautiously, knowing that something isn’t quite right.

"Do you remember Debbie?”

Sam asks in a small voice.

Yes, of course he does.

"Aye love.”

Remember act natural.

"Do you remember those two weeks I took off for my anniversary, when Ed took me off to Mauritius and I came back sunburnt?”

"Aye love ye looked like a boiled lobster, a sexy boiled lobster.”

Sam raised one eyebrow; she’s fucking on to him.

"I thought you might, besides it’s probably hard to forget, when you were getting a blow job at the end of every working day.”

Busted as Chanelle would say.

"It wasn’t every day, it was once, and in fairness it had been a fucking shit day. Another one.”

Sam pulls out of his arms and fixes him with a look.

"So it did, it did happen then? You let Debbie give you a blow job in our office.”

Malcolm notes the ‘our’ bit.

"Where did it happen, it wasn’t anywhere near my desk was it?”

He tries to lie, but he can’t, Sam looks scandalous.

"Is that why you did the coffee and muffin run on the Monday?”

How good is her memory?

"Don’t be jealous, Sam.”

He reaches for her hand, but Sam quickly pulls away.

"Jealous, I’m not jealous.”

But she really is.

"In my defence, I was a free agent and ye, ye were still fucking married. Debbie was a nice girl, she is a nice girl. And I’m sorry, I let it happen in our office, but Sam darl, it’s all in the past. The only woman I want to ever give me a blow job is ye.”

Malcolm tucks his fingers under Sam’s pointed chin and turns his face towards his own.

"You’ll be lucky.”

Sam mumbles.

"I certainly fucking hope, so.”

Malcolm grins at her.

Chapter Text

Malcolm always feels hopelessly lost during Passover, but at least now he has a comrade in confusion in the form of Chanelle, who for the last two years has been shooting him strange looks from across the table.

He clings desperately to his haggadah, attempting to follow in English the activities going on around him.

In the past it’s often been just Malcolm, Sam, Chanelle, Dean and Sam parents, but this year Bex and Baby Sammy.

He’s on his second glass of wine, when Sam suddenly turns towards him in her chair.

"Malc, why don’t you start the story?”

Malcolm’s eyes widen in terror, because usually the retelling of the Exodus story is left up to either Sam or her Mum.

He can feel a dozen pairs of expectant eyes pressing into him, and suddenly he’d rather face any government inquiry than this.

"But ye’re Mum,”

The rest of the sentence was supposed to be something along the lines of how well Sam’s Mum always manages to tell the same story, but instead he’s cut off.

"Does it every year. I’ve been at this business for forty years; I’ve started to run out of material.”

From the corner of the table Malcolm can hear the sound of a faint snigger.

"Rebekah, would you like to share something with the room?”

Malcolm notes how Bex reverts to some pre-evolved sulky teenage state, and it’s like time travelling into Sam’s past.

"Malcolm go on start the story.”

Lesley isn’t asking him, she’s commanding him.

In absolute fear of offending his Mother-in-Law Malcolm reluctantly drags his glasses back onto the bridge of his nose and starts to read, wondering as he does so how much swearing is too much swearing when it comes to a religious text.

Chapter Text

"Mutt if you don’t get out from under my fucking feet,”

Malcolm didn’t even have a chance to finish his sentence before he was cut of by Sam saying his name in that firm manner of her’s that only ever means trouble.

As he tries to avoid breaking his neck over the dog Malcolm edges his way into the kitchen finding his family, Sam, Chanelle, Dean, Bex and Baby Sammy gathered around the long breakfast table engaged in various breakfast related tasks.

Channelle has her burnt toast on the go, Dean has managed to spill milk over most of his end of the table and there are crumbs, crumbs fucking everywhere.

"Oh Malc, don’t let Charleston into the kitchen, he’ll only beg for scraps.”

But it was too late, Charleston the French Bulldog had already slipped in behind Malcolm and was now sat next to Chanelle’s chair being fed her unwanted crust.

Sam gives him a look, which causes Malcolm to make a bee-line for the kettle.

"Your wife is in the papers again.”

Bex exclaims as she gets up from the table and waggles her copy of The Guardian under Malcolm’s nose.

Malcolm takes the paper from her, as Bex sets about making them both a cup of coffee.

No fucking tea drinking in this house, although Sam does drink a fair bit of tea, and Malcolm likes to cut out the caffeine before bed.

Malcolm reads the interview with Sam, remembering that it had happened all the way back in January, embargoed until today a little shot of extra publicity as Sam’s Angry Spider series is launched in America.

Sam’s publisher is excited, but Sam herself is surprisingly Zen.

If the Angry Spider series does well in America, they should probably think of buying yet another house, or maybe a small island.

In the end though they are Sam’s royalties and she’ll probably what to take pity on yet another limpy rabbit, disabled bird or fish who has a phobia of fucking water.

Malcolm stares at the accompanying photos of Sam.

There had been a photoshoot, but unlike most of the other photoshoots Sam has done since her career took off, this one she had not wanted to discuss or share in anyway with him.

So, Malcolm had assumed it must have been fucking boring, but no, there Sam is printed before him in tomorrows chip wrappers, her hair Brazilian blow-dried to within in an inch of it’s life, red lips and heels, and in the middle, she had been wearing what appeared to be a suit of armour or at least light-weight chain mail.

Sam was also waving around a sword.

She looked like Joan of Arc if Joan of Arc had ever had access to make-up or a stylist or 6-inch red stilettos.

Underneath the picture of Sam the banner read The Brit is Coming…

Malcolm thought it was rubbish, and to be honest he couldn’t really tare his gaze away from the image of his wife.

All Malcolm can think it, if the bastard English who were always trying to enslave his noble, diabetes ridden nation had turned up looking like that, he would not have had a fucking problem at all.

God Save the Fucking Queen.

 

 

At the end of a long day Sam stifles a yawn as she slips into bed next to Malcolm.

"Fucking hell, I thought the weekends were supposed to be restful.”

Malcolm muses, aping her yawn.

"I think this is parenting.”

Sam giggles tiredly, as she let’s Malcolm enfold her into the side of his body.

She smiles unseen as she feels him kiss the top of her head, before she stretches one arm across his t-shirt covered belly.

Sam is too tired to move, and she knows Malcolm feels the same, so the pair of them simply lay there.

"I realised something today.”

Sam hears the resonance of Malcolm’s words through his chest.

She responds with a hummm.

"I wouldn’t mind be objectified by the English.”

Out of all the things Malcolm could have said, Sam is still surprised.

"What?”

Sam manages to fight through her own tiredness just enough, so that she can lift up her head and look at her husband.

Her foggy brain slowly begins to process the information.

"That photo turned you on?”

Sam giggled in absolute amazement.

"Harder than a witch’s fucking tit.”

Malcolm admitted with a playful glint.

"So, what next time you want sexy sex times, I should drag out the old breastplate and chainmail?”

"Fucking yes, I insist, I want nothing less than a giant fucking broadsword.”

Sam troubled to contain her laughter.

"Don’t laugh at me woman, I want ye to hammer a Scot like ye’re over entitled ancestors did.”

Sam stops laughing and asks.

"Will you wear a kilt?”

"Fuck yes.”

Malcolm exclaims, before pulling Sam into an awkwardly angled kiss.

"Alright then, I’ll see what I can do.”

Chapter Text

Malcolm found himself standing in an extremely chilly corridor, he glanced meaningfully down at his kilt and wondered what had ever possessed him to go for the full Scottish experience.

Then he remembered and it made him ‘harder than a witch’s tit’.

A clanking signalled his wife’s arrival.

Sam appears and she doesn’t look anything like Malcolm had been picturing rather than the heels and the sexy hair, she’s actually wearing a real suit of armour with a helmet that covers her face.

"What do you think?”

Sam’s muffled voice asks.

Malcolm wants to laugh, but then he remembers all the trouble that his wife has clearly gone to.

"I can’t see ye’re face.”

Malcolm concludes and Sam lifts up her heavy visor revealing her face.

Malcolm can’t help but smile.

"Woman, ye look fucking insane.”

Sam doesn’t respond the way he’d hoped she would, instead she puts her visor back down and raises what looks a lot like a real sword.

This is all a little bit more real than Malcolm had been hoping for, by now he’d hoped that Sam would be riding him like the world’s luckiest seaside donkey, but no.

"Put up your sword, you Scottish coward.”

Malcolm had, had other ideas on where he’d been hoping to put his ‘sword’.

Sam takes a swing at him.

"Now look love, I like a bit of roleplay, but ye’re taking this a wee bit far now.”

Malcolm exclaims as he’d forced to duck out of the way.

Something has gone very, very wrong and weird.

Something is suddenly tugging at him and invisible force, which causes him to fall to the floor, Sam looms over him and then…

"Wakey up.”

Malcolm opens his eyes and finds the face of his son, Dean hovering over him.

Groggily Malcolm raises himself up on his elbows and realises that he’s sprawled out over a picnic blanket, sitting on an almost entirely empty beach.

It was a dream.

"Deano.”

He says groggily as he attempts to adjust to his surroundings.

Malcolm remembers now Bank Holiday Weekend in Cornwall, just him and Sam, the kids and the fucking dog, spending that time at the wreck Sam has sunk a good portion of her royalties from last year into.
This is real, he struggles to remind himself.

Dean looks at him quizzically and he’s on the point of pulling the little boy into his arms, hoping that Sam hasn’t noticed that he’d been asleep, while he was supposed to be doing the parental duty thing, when Malcolm is suddenly waylaid by the French Bulldog Charleston.

"Get off me ye grotty mutt.”

Malcolm complains bitterly as he is assaulted by Charleston’s slobber.

Dean starts to giggle, and all of the confusion of his dream that had lingered suddenly fades away.

"Do ye want some of this?”

Malcolm laughs as he pulls Dean onto his lap assaulting the hysterical little boy.

This is real.

This is perfect.

Chapter Text

"I told ye, we should have taken a fucking taxi.”

Malcolm mumbles as he drags along behind Sam across the empty tube platform.

10 minutes, 10 whole minutes until the next train, the utter brutality of it all.

Sam is drunk, so drunk in fact that she’s hold her high heels in one hand and giggle hysterically to herself.

At least she’s had a good night, Malcolm on the other hand feels strained and inadequate, although he always feels that way whenever he had to endure an extended contact with Sam’s best friend Lucy.

Lucy hates him, Malcolm hates her, Lucy’s only plus side is her wife Meg, who Malcolm does not hate.

There’s something terribly vulnerable about seeing Sam stumbling along with bare feet, so out of pure unadulterated impulse Malcolm rushes ahead of Sam and suddenly sweeps her up off of the ground and up into his arms where she belongs.

"Malcolm.”

He’d be lying if he said he wasn’t absolutely delighted by the sound of Sam squealing his name.

Malcolm safely deposits Sam on a nearby plastic bench, before settling himself into the spot next to her.

"I’m cold.”

Sam pouts before climbing across his lap and wrapping her arm around his neck.

"Ye’re drunk.”

Malcolm tells her before capturing her irresistible pout with a kiss.

When they part, Malcolm can’t help but notice how dark Sam’s brown eyes have suddenly become, lust filled pools.

Jesus Christ did he really just think that…Fuck.

But however cheesy he’s not wrong, he recognises Sam’s come hither stare when he sees it.

"Sam.”

He warns her gently as Sam starts to pepper his jawline with sweet kisses, before she clumsily straddles his right knee.

"That’s not my cock.”

Malcolm tells her with an indulgent smile.

"I know.”

Sam giggles again before she starts to rub herself against his knee.

As a good lapsed Catholic boy Malcolm has long been aware of the benefits and various pleasures of dry humping, but the appeal had been lost on him by the age of 15, when he’d discovered the joys of penetrative sex.

Malcolm doesn’t speak; instead he wraps his coat around Sam’s narrow shoulders and watches her beautiful face as she enjoys herself against him.

Harder than a witch’s tit.

The torture for him is absolute and delicious as he watches Sam, but holds himself back from touching her or himself, or really engaging with the process at all.

Sam bites her fucking lip and that’s almost enough for him, almost…

If the kids weren’t in the house he’d fuck her on the stairs when they get home, but the kids are in the house, so he’ll have to wait until they’re back in the safety of their bedroom.

Malcolm wraps his arm around Sam’s waist pulling her in towards his body, stifling her faint cry with the force of his own lips.

That noise, the sound Sam makes when she cums, that sound is only for him.

"I love you.”

Sam says breathlessly as she rests her forehead against Malcolm’s own.

"I know, woman.”

Chapter Text

Sam stretches out her right hand, she’s expecting to feel the warmth of Malcolm’s body next to her, but instead there’s nothing, just an empty space.

Sam opens one eye and finds that the space in the bed next to her is indeed empty, in fact it doesn’t look as if it has been slept in at all.

She’s alone.

As Sam pushes herself up through the creased white cotton, she realises now in her fully awake state that she’s not even in her own bedroom, she’s in a hotel room overlooking Central Park in New York City.

Sam’s phone, which is sitting on a small grey leather table next to the bed suddenly springs into life.

"Good morning, bread winner.”

Malcolm says on the other end of the line, Sam can’t help but smile.

"It’s nice to have a bed all to myself.”

Sam giggles with an exaggerated yawn.

"If ye’re feeling so inclined when you get home I’ll be happy to make ye up a sleeping bag.”

Sam knows it’s ridiculously sappy, that she in fact has only been in New York for 24 hours, where she’s had several meetings with the American arm of her UK publishers, but she misses Malcolm and the kids, she even misses the dog.

"What are you doing?”

Sam asks wanting to fix a picture of Malcolm in her mind.

"That fucking mutt decided to do a dump on the living room floor, so at the moment beloved, I’m hunting for the fucking Vanish.”

It wasn’t exactly the picture Sam had been hoping for.

"Have you looked in the cupboard under the sink?”

Sam hears Malcolm’s exasperated sigh.

"That is the first fucking place I looked, I tell ye what woman this shack is…oh wait here it is.”

Sam would put money on the fact that the can of Vanish had been under the sink.

"What are you wearing?”

Malcolm happily changes the subject and Sam decides to keep him on his toes by asking.

"Where are our children?”

"Chanelle is at school and I sold Dean to the circus.”

"Did you get a good price?”

Sam asks with a wide smile.

"I got a cow and some magic beans.”

"You should have held out for at least one golden goose.”

"I did but she’s all the way in the cocking States.”

On the other end of the line Sam could hear the sound of Dean calling for Malcolm and the dog Charleston barking.

"My chain is being yanked.”

Sam doesn’t want to lose contact with Malcolm, but their son and their dog need him.

"I love you.”

"What are you wearing?”

Malcolm asks again.

"Absolutely nothing.”

Sam giggles before cancelling the call.

Chapter Text

Sam loves to travel; it’s the getting to the destination she’s always been a little shaky on.

Of course she is well aware of the irony with a non-identical twin sister who is more at home in the skies; Sam has always preferred to have her feet planted firmly on the ground.

She’s not afraid of flying.

As Sam’s plane finally comes to a halt across the tarmac runway she breathes a heavy sigh of relief.

 

 

"Remind me, why am I meeting you at Heathrow airport, again?”

Simon Foster asked Bex who clearly wasn’t listening.

"Because, if we hadn’t met here, you’d never have gotten to see me in my uniform.”

Simon thinks about this for a moment, while taking in the sight of Bex in her uniform.

"Yes, all that polyester and orange, something for the wank bank .”

The bridge of Bex’s nose wrinkles when she smiles at him.

"Thank you for sharing with me the inner workings of your brain.”

Simon glances over his shoulder to see exactly who Bex is so distractedly looking for.

"Sorry, but is someone meant to be joining us?”

Simon asks with a huff.

"My sister’s flight should have landed.”

Simon blanches, the last time he had seen ‘Mrs Tucker’ she’d verbally abused him, and he’s pretty certain he may have called her a ‘mental cow’ or at least something along those lines.

"Your sister?”

Simon tries very hard not to panic, but ends up falling to pieces.

"I thought while she’s still dazed with post flight fatigue might be a good way to reintroduce her to you and the prospect of us.”

Simon blinks.

"Us? So, there’s an us?”

Simon asks trying very hard to keep any hint of hope or excitement from his voice.

Bex finally drags her attention from the crowd and finally turns to face him.

"I like you and you’re always saying how much you love me,”

"I do, I do love you. I am in love with you. I love you.”

Simon pipes up.

He watches nervously as Bex doesn’t respond immediately, and then a thought occurs to him, that she might be as bad with emotions as he is with words and that I like you might actually mean…

Simon reaches out and takes one of Bex’s gloved hands in his own, the best thing about this moment is the fact that she actually lets him do it.

 

 

"Why are you dragging me along? Why couldn’t I just stay at home with Dean and Sammy, I’m a way better babysitter that Surita.”

Chanelle moans as she shuffles along behind Malcolm.

"If you and Sam start snogging, I’m gonna run away again.”

She grumbles as they finally reach their destination.

"Try it, I’d like to find out the range on the tracker I’ve had shoved in ye’re wee neck.”

Chanelle is on the point of complaining when Bex suddenly appears along with Simon Foster who is holding her hand.

At least they’re not snogging.

"Hello, Malcolm.”

Simon Foster reminds Chanelle of a startled rabbit about to be mown down by a car.

Chanelle watches as Malcolm glances between Bex and Simon and their hands, he sighs heavily.

"Foster.”

That’s it, she’d been hoping for something more explosive, but clearly Malcolm has decided to just go with it.

Maybe now is the best time to ask about getting a kitten?

"Sam.”

Bex is the first one to see Sam, pointing her out excitedly.

Chanelle thinks she hears Malcolm mutter ‘thank fuck for that’.

Chanelle greets Sam first, or well it’s actually the other way around as Sam pulls her close and squeezes her tightly.

Then it’s Bex’s turn.

Finally and too Chanelle’s great embarrassment Malcolm and Sam do a gruesome bit of snogging.

When that’s all over Bex suddenly announces.

"Simon Foster is my boyfriend.”

 

Malcolm, Sam, Chanelle, Dean, Charleston, Bex, Baby Sammy and Simon Foster Will Return in...

Malcolm Tucker and The Wedding.