And now, they sat in a comfortable silence. One by one the production crew had come in to talk to Maddie, to wish her well. Despite the fact that she'd been in the hospital for a maximum of six hours the table at the foot of her bed was already full with get well soon cards and small presents. Ed had come to see her and Derren was happy to see her face light up when he did. He hoped that they would keep in touch with one another and perhaps he'd finally get to have the talks with her regarding boys, the staying up late as she explained to him how every detail about how perfect Ed was. How he longed for it. But after a further three hours everyone was gone, Derren was the only one left, and poor Maddie was exhausted.
"We're aborting the show." He said plainly, he knew that she wouldn't want to talk much now but he felt it almost a duty to inform her of this. Her response to this piece of information surprised him.
"No." she said flatly, looking at him with stern eyes. And he looked at her, confused. She sighed and explained her response, "People need to know that you're human. That you make mistakes. Perhaps this'll be a bit more humbling for you now so you won't accidentally be rude or offend out next audience. With this, people are more likely to believe that the things you do are true. They'll know that you're brave enough to go through with things." She said in a completely matter-of-fact tone.
Derren looked down, avoiding her gaze, "The social services might try to take you away… They'll say that this was reckless of me."
"Then I'll run away right back to you. God knows that with everything you've taught me I'll be able to do it no problem. Daddy, I won't let them take me away, and I know you won't either."
He sighed, "I'm not sure. Right now I'm thinking that with me isn't the best place for you. I mean look at you! You nearly killed yourself to protect me, is that really the best place for you? You're sixteen Maddie; you belong in a more stable environment than this."
"Don't go all smart-arse on me mister!" she scolded him and he looked up to see her smiling, "Right here is perfect for me. The day you adopted me you saved my life. Saved me from a boring life living in a care home and forever being the quiet girl who got picked on because she was freakishly good at the piano. The day you came to that care home you noticed my talents, my skills, and you realised that I'd be good to work with you. From that day I've only grown stronger. This," she motioned to her tubes and bandages, "was just a silly mistake. A one-time thing. I promise you it will not happen ever again. Because I'll never fall for it again!" she winked, lightly at him and he smiled, knowing he was fighting a losing battle.
"You're a strong kid Maddie Brown." He smirked as Coops and a camera man knocked gently on the door and entered.
"We wondered if you'd like to record the final scene in here?" he asked with a small smile on his face and Maddie nodded her agreement to the idea. Slowly, Derren sat up on the bed beside Maddie. Completely disregarding the script, the moment the red light began to glow, he spoke.
"Over the past hour you've seen an experiment which had the potential to do great things for Maddie, but also evidentially had the potential to break her. Fortunately, at home I think you'll find that it was not the latter." At this Maddie gave a weak smile to the camera
"This experience has taught me a lot of things, one of which is never to trust myself anywhere near a gun again!" she said in a light, joking voice but it made Derren wince, she continued, "And another is that the father I thought was perfect and never got a single thing wrong can go terribly wrong. Because he is human, and no human is perfect. No matter how much he thinks he is."
Derren looked at her momentarily before taking her hand and looking back at the camera. "I didn't want to air this episode due to it obviously being very traumatic for us and probably for the viewers at home, but Maddie said she wanted to. For the very reasons she has just stated. So, thank you for watching, I am, obviously, expecting a large amount of bad press for this but I think I'm prepared for the uphill battle. As long as I have my mad little girl beside me!" he smiled warmly at Maddie before taking a deep breath and speaking the final line, more reflectively and for himself than anything.
"This has been… the Ultimate Experiment."