Charity is at Tracy and Nate's wedding and is struggling seeing Vanessa with someone else. She finishes her drink and approaches Nate.
"Hey. Erm, look, something's come up so I've got to go."
"Oh. Is there no-one else that could sort out whatever it is?"
"No, it err....I.." Her eyes flick to Vanessa. "I can't stay. Sorry." Nate can see her fighting with her emotions.
"Okay" he says softly, seeing through her excuse.
"There's plenty of other Dingles to keep the party going though." She jokes, trying to keep things light and hoping to hide her emotions from Nate and the room full of people around her. "Congratulations, yeah." She adds before slipping out and making her way home as quick as she can.
Tracy isn't impressed with Charity's choice of partner (Mack).
"What business is that of yours?! Vanessa's moved on so.."
"Yeah, with someone nice. Not some dipstick that helped ruin your relationship!"
"Well Vanessa deserves someone nice doesn't she.."
"What, and you deserve an idiot? Makes sense I guess." She counters sarcastically.
"Better for everyone like this, eh? Can't hurt someone nice that doesn't deserve it, can I?"
"So you just get into relationships so you can hurt people?"
"No. But it's just what I do isn't it? No matter how hard I try. Or, apparently, no matter how much I love someone. Safer this way, yeah."
Vanessa wants to know why Charity did what she did.
"Of course I trusted you. I trust you with anything, everything. I just didn't trust that you could love me just for being me.."
"Because....because I'm me." She whispers, struggling to speak through the threatening tears.
"That's not a reason. How many times did I tell you that you were amazing and strong and brave and wonderful, and that I was proud of you, and that I loved you?!"
"More than anyone else ever did.."
"But none of them stuck around. None of them loved me enough so why would someone good like you stick around?"
"Did I ever give you reason to doubt me?"
"No. Just....life did, didn't it.."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, let's see....Mum abandoned me, Dad.."
Vanessa interrupts. "Your Mum didn't abandon you - she died of cancer, that's different."
"She....she chucked herself off a cliff, Ness."
"What? But you said.."
"Yeah. Dad covered it up. Apparently suicide's a sin so he told everyone she'd died of cancer instead."
"Oh Charity.." Vanessa reaches out a hand towards Charity to try and offer some comfort.
"It's fine." Removing herself from Vanessa's reach, and hopefully her pity. "So, yeah, Mum chucked herself off a cliff, Dad turned to alcohol and chucked me out after Debbie, Bails abused me instead of helping me, Chris offed himself and tried to frame me for it, Cain was just toxic and knocked me about more than once, Jai cheated on me and locked me up in a shipping container, and Declan went psycho and tried to kill me. So when you came along I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop because good things don't happen to me, Ness. I didn't believe you'd stay, even though I wanted you to. More than anything. So when you didn't speak to me and then you didn't come home after the hearing, that was it....I thought you'd had enough of me like everyone else."
It's Charity and Vanessa's wedding day and Tracy finds Charity pacing up and down outside before the ceremony.
"You okay, Charity?"
"I can't....I can't do it.." she says shakily.
"Are you actually joking?! You've chased V 'round for months, begging for her to get back with you and then you're 10mins away from marrying her and you're trying to back out?! I always knew you were an idiot but you really are something else! I can't believe this!" She shouts incredulously.
"It's not....I don't....I'm scared, Trace."
"What do you mean? You're scared of V?" She asks confusedly.
"No, I....I'm scared of how much I love her. And of how much of a screw up I am. I hurt her didn't I? What if I do it again? I don't want to hurt her. And I couldn't bear it if I lost her again. I can't live without her."
Tracy realises just how worried and insecure Charity is and softens. "Well not turning up to your wedding isn't a good way to avoid hurting her is it, eh?" She teases gently.
"I don't know. Maybe it is. Maybe it'd be better to hurt her now than me doing something stupid further down the line."
"Look, for some....unfathomable reason, she loves you and wants to marry you, yeah? And you love her. So, just take it a day at a time. Be honest with her. Don't get involved in stupid scams with stupid people" She pauses. "And remember that if you even think about hurting her her little sister isn't afraid to put you in your place.....or chuck gravy over your head." She adds cheekily.
Charity smiles tearfully. "Do you think we'll be okay?" She asks worriedly.
"We'll be fine as long as I don't have to get the gravy out.."
"I'm joking. I know what you meant."
"Oh." she smiles sheepishly.
"I think you'll be more than okay. You two are crazy about each other. And I think that taste of life without her last year is enough to make you think twice before doing anything stupid in the future, hmmm?" She nudges Charity's shoulder playfully with her own. "Just try, Charity. Just keep loving her and keep trying."
"I don't think I'd know how to stop loving her to be honest. I'd do anything for her, you know that don't you?"
"Yeah, I do. So get in there and marry the poor girl before she thinks you're not going to turn up!"