Emmerdale spoilers follow.
Emmerdale has finally revealed Gail Loman's secret following months of speculation.
Ryan Stocks has long suspected his new girlfriend may be hiding something since she'd suddenly reappeared in his life after years of no contact between them.
While Gail has insisted she has nothing to hide and has now settled in as Ryan's girlfriend, Thursday's episode (September 21) revealed that they share a connection Ryan has no idea about.
The secret came out when Gail snuck away to meet with a woman called Sophie at the Allotment, where Sophie begged Gail to help someone called Oscar.
While Oscar's identity was initially kept secret, it eventually came out that Oscar is Gail's son and Sophie is his adoptive mother.
Sophie was in the village to ask Gail to take a test to see if she's a marrow donor match for Oscar because the child has aplastic anaemia – a severe condition caused by a deficiency in all types of blood cells.
Gail was very deliberate in not asking too many questions about Oscar, but promised she'd keep in touch with Sophie about the testing. However, Sophie had an additional request Gail wasn't prepared for.
"I know I'm asking a lot. I don't want to drag up the past, but they'll want to test his dad too in case you're not a match," Sophie explained.
Gail tried to shut it down by assuring Sophie she will be a match so any other testing would be unnecessary. That's when Sophie revealed she already knew the father's identity.
"His name's on the birth certificate – Ryan Stocks," Sophie pointed out. "I didn't want to try to trace him until I'd spoke to you."
A rattled Gail replied: "Surely, it won't come to that."
Sophie was desperate to find a match because little Oscar was her "whole universe", but Gail asked her to keep Ryan out of it for now until they can determine whether she's a match.
"No need to look for Ryan just yet," Gail insisted. "We'll get Oscar through this together. I promise."
Back at home, Gail excused herself to go to the test by telling Ryan she simply needed to go to the dentist. How long will she be able to keep this secret?
Emmerdale airs on weeknights at 7.30pm on ITV1, and streams on ITVX.
For more information and support about this topic, you can visit the Aplastic Anaemia Trust or call their helpline on 0300 102 3202.
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