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Times Change

Guest Zetti

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Story Title: Times Change

Type of story: Long Fic

Main Characters: Braxton Centred

BTTB rating: Teen

Genre: Drama

Does story include spoilers: No

Any warnings: SC, L, DR

Summary: Everything has changed but can it ever be as it was?

Thanks to QA for proofing, it is really appreciated! :wub:


3 years earlier

Why does loss hurt so much? Is there an unwritten rule that loss has to be painful and mind-numbing? If so, the person that stood in front of the Braxton place was not sure they could accept or cope with it. I can’t let go yet I have to… how does anyone go through a trauma and survive unscathed? Do they survive unscathed? I swear do not understand my own feelings.

How stupid is that? They are my feelings, if I can’t understand them, then how can I expect others to understand? Do I want others to understand or is it the perfect excuse to push them away? I cant see myself ever moving on from the pain and the guilt.. the guilt just wears me down.

It is all my fault, everything that has happened is all my fault, how do I live with that? How do I cope? Everyone blames me. Hell, I even blame me.

No one gets it and honestly I do not care, I just don’t want this black hole in my heart anymore. I can’t cope with it anymore.

I just want the pain to stop, feeling nothing is better than feeling something. So many mistakes had been made, so much pain endured and it never seemed to end, it was continuous.

Pain is meant to be an unpleasant sensation normally caused by physical injury or an illness. That’s physical and real pain but what about emotional pain?

How is that any different? People say emotional pain is just a mental problem but it does not make it any less painful.

I would love to meet someone who thinks emotional pain is not worse than physical pain, at least with physical pain, it fades in time on the outside, but emotional pain lingers inside for a long time, sometimes forever...

Looking over at the house, the figure felt a mixture of relief and pain. It was hard to separate one emotion from the other; it was not going to happen so they merely accepted the inevitable.

‘How was he?’

‘He seems healthy and happy.’

There was a long silence before the person on the other end of the phone spoke ‘Forget the plan, it's not fair.’


‘Yes’ even though deep down they didn’t want to, they knew it had to be like that. Nothing was going to change.

‘So you are never going to approach them again?’

‘Never say never but for now, I don’t think it’s a good idea.’

‘It's your choice, your life.’

‘He’s better off without me’ that realisation ended the phone call and the figure took a look at the house before putting on their coat and walking away from the house, from their life as they knew it. Nothing was ever going to be the same.


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Chapter One

In the space of three years, things changed, the lives of the Braxton brothers were not the same. Heath was now a father to his son, and soon after the birth of his son, Brax had gotten out of Summer Bay, enrolled in university and now owned his own import/export business.

He had finally made himself legitimate and he was glad that he could live his own life without having to worry about his brothers.

Heath was a devoted father and well Casey was doing well for himself, owning his own company that specialised in cars. It was the perfect set up for them all. At least once a week, the three brothers put time and space in their schedule to have dinner together, usually at Heath’s.

‘So how is Rocco?’ Casey asked as he accepted a beer from Heath and threw one over to Brax who was on the sofa.

‘Same little tyke as usual,’ Heath laughed ‘Threw a tantrum this morning because his teddy fell out of bed.’

Casey threw his head back and laughed. Casey loved Rocco; he was such an outgoing lively little kid.

‘Oh man, such a great kid.’

‘Yeah try living with him.’ Heath said with a smile on his face.

‘Oh come off it! You love him to bits.’

‘I do!’

Brax stayed quiet, he had a lot on his mind, it had been three years since Charlie died and he had not really gone into another relationship but he couldn’t help but feel like he was missing out on something.

‘What's with you?’ Casey asked when Heath went to answer the door for the pizza guy.

‘Nothing just work.'

‘I thought you said it was going okay?’

‘It is, to be honest I just need a holiday.’

Heath walked back in and placed the pizza boxes on the table, he picked up his beer and gulped some of it down before opening a pizza box and taking out a slice.

‘Don’t we all’ Heath said but Brax didn’t respond. Casey and Heath looked at each other knowing that something was wrong but they just didn’t know exactly what it was.

‘Alright, what is up with you?’

Brax frowned ‘What you on about?’

‘Don’t give me that, you look like hell, want to share why?’

Brax looked at them both, he couldn’t tell them or wouldn’t. He had not quite worked out his own justification for keeping his plans a secret.

‘Its fine, nothing a holiday won’t sort.’


Heath stood up as Rocco walked up to him rubbing his eyes. ‘Sport, what you doing awake?’

‘Someone in my room.’


Heath picked Rocco up whilst he looked at Brax and Casey. Casey had already made his way up the stairs as fast he could. Brax and Heath went up the stairs.

‘Nothing, but the window is open.’ Casey said grimly causing Heath to curse.

‘Daddy said a bad word.’ Rocco giggled as Brax picked him up.

‘He’s naughty then isn’t he?’

Rocco nodded with a grin forgetting the fact that someone had been in his room. Heath looked thunderous.

‘What the hell?’


‘Dad!’ Rocco whined rubbing his eyes. Casey looked around the room, he had an uneasy feeling and he voiced it.

‘This does not feel right at all.’

‘I agree.’ Brax said as Rocco placed his head on his shoulders succumbing to sleep.

‘You can’t stay here when you have no idea who got in.’ Casey said with conviction causing Brax to nod. Heath sighed but he didn’t want to get pushed out of his own home.

‘I don’t think so, it’s like I am running away.’

‘Running away?’

Brax sighed as he held onto Rocco who had since fallen asleep on his shoulder with his thumb in his mouth. He breathed in and tried not to lose his temper at Heath but he was not seeing things clearly to make a decent judgment.

‘It is not running away, it is protecting and looking after our nephew, your son.’

‘I will not let anyone drive us out of our own home!’ he shot back at him as Brax handed Rocco to Casey who took him down the stairs so that he didn’t wake up from the raised voices.

‘Forget them, do it for Rocco, just for a few nights till we can get security reassessed and fixed, to protect Rocco if nothing else.’

‘Fine, a few nights but that’s it.’

‘Good, now you pack your stuff, I will sort Rocco’s out and then I will drive you down.’


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Chapter Two

Heath picked Rocco up whilst he looked at Brax and Casey. Casey had already made his way up the stairs as fast he could. Brax and Heath went up the stairs.

‘Nothing, but the window is open.’ Casey said grimly causing Heath to curse.

‘Daddy said a bad word.’ Rocco giggled as Brax picked him up.

‘He’s naughty then isn’t he?’

Rocco nodded with a grin forgetting the fact that someone had been in his room. Heath looked thunderous.

‘What the hell?’


‘Dad!’ Rocco whined rubbing his eyes. Casey looked around the room, he had an uneasy feeling and he voiced it.

‘This does not feel right at all.’

‘I agree.’ Brax said as Rocco placed his head on his shoulders succumbing to sleep.

‘You can’t stay here when you have no idea who got in.’ Casey said with conviction causing Brax to nod. Heath sighed but he didn’t want to get pushed out of his own home.

‘I don’t think so, it’s like I am running away.’

‘Running away?’

Brax sighed as he held onto Rocco who had since fallen asleep on his shoulder with his thumb in his mouth. He breathed in and tried not to lose his temper at Heath but he was not seeing things clearly to make a decent judgment.

‘It is not running away, it is protecting and looking after our nephew, your son.’

‘I will not let anyone drive us out of our own home’ he shot back at him as Brax handed Rocco to Casey who took him down the stairs so that he didn’t wake up from the raised voices.

‘Forget them, do it for Rocco, just for a few nights till we can get security reassessed and fixed, to protect Rocco if nothing else.’

‘Fine, a few nights but that’s it.’

‘Good, now you pack your stuff, I will sort Rocco’s out and then I will drive you down.’


Bianca left. He had no idea why but she walked away and he was now a single father, not something he envisaged but he adapted, hell he had no choice, changing was the one thing that he could actually do.

He didn’t deny that he missed her because he really did but three years had changed him. He woke up in Brax’s apartment, Brax wouldn’t take no for an answer and he really didn’t have the energy to fight him on it. He got ready, made his way down the stairs and saw Rocco eating his breakfast.

‘Dad!’ Rocco grinned.

‘Hey mister.’

‘Can I play in the garden?’

Heath smiled and said ‘Only if you promise to stay in the garden.'

‘Promise,’ he grinned and then made his way out of the house into the garden.

Brax asked ‘Breakfast?’

‘Sure why not.’

‘Fry up?’

‘Sounds good.'

‘Coming up.’

Heath ventured outside to check on Rocco and saw Casey walking in, Casey acknowledged Heath and then started tickling Rocco making him laugh.

‘No stop tickling me!’ Rocco squealed as Heath smiled. He loved watching Casey and Rocco have fun, they both loved each other just like a real family should do.

‘Dad, tell him to stop it!’ Rocco giggled.

Heath laughed as he approached the two of them, he and Casey shared a look before grabbing Rocco and tickling him. Brax looked at them all, their family had finally found happiness and he was not going to let anything get in the way of that happiness. He walked up to them all and saw Rocco with tears of laughter running down his face, red from exertion so he jumped in and picked Rocco up, placing him on his shoulders smirking.

‘Uncky Brax, hit them!’

‘Try it old man.’ Casey mocked causing Brax to raise his eyebrows.

‘Uh oh,’ Rocco said. ‘You made him mad!’

‘Really mad.’ Brax confirmed adopting a stern look on his face. Brax used Rocco to tackle Casey to the ground causing them all tumble down on top of each other, laughing.

Unbeknownst to them, someone was watching them. They looked at the scene of four boys enjoying themselves before turning around and walking away.

This time though, they would be back.

This time, things were going to change.

This time, they were not going anywhere.


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  • 3 weeks later...

Warning: Mild swearing & thankyou QA for proofreading, much appreciated :D:wub:

Chapter Three

‘So there’s been nothing since?’ Brax asked when they all met up again three weeks later at Casey’s apartment, where Rocco was already fast asleep upstairs, since that night security had been amped up at all three apartments and places of work to make sure that all of them were as safe as they could ensure themselves to be.


‘Good, but better to be safe than sorry.’

Heath looked at Casey ‘Are you sure you are going to be okay looking after Rocco for a few days?’

‘Yes! You need to get back to work, and this trip away is for work, don’t look so guilty. It isn’t like I can’t look after him, I am not incapable.’ he said reasoning with Heath who couldn’t really find anything to counteract his argument with.

Casey sensed he still had reservations. ‘He will ring you before he goes to bed anyways so you can talk to him yourself and see how things are, it is only for two nights, seriously relax.’

‘Fine but the minute something happens?’

‘I will let you know but nothing will, he will be absolutely fine, you just focus on work for a bit, Rocco and I will be fine.’

Heath narrowed his eyes but Casey knew that he had given up trying to change his mind, he was going on this trip, which was long overdue even if it was just for work. Brax interrupted, ‘Rocco will be fine, you know that, he’s safe with us.’

‘I know, I do get it.’

‘Good, now I need to talk to you both about something.’

‘Sounds ominous.’ Casey said but then stayed quiet so Brax could speak. Brax looked at them both. ‘You remember our agreement that we were not going to go back to Summer Bay?’ Both nodded but not speaking so Brax carried on. ‘Well I need to go back.’

‘Because?’ Heath asked sharing a dubious look with Casey that didn’t go unnoticed by Brax but he refrained from commenting.

‘I am gonna sell the house.’

‘Okay, that doesn’t mean you have to go back does it?’

‘I need to get the keys and everything.’

‘You can pay someone to do that.’ Casey said knowing that Brax was hiding his true intentions behind the plan to visit Summer Bay.

‘I need to.’

‘Because?’ Heath asked.

‘’I want to see her grave.’

Casey and Heath looked at each other before Heath said, ‘When you going?’

‘Hold on what?’ Brax asked dumbfounded.


‘You aren’t going to blow my head off for even suggesting it, neither of you were big fans of her.’

Casey spoke, ‘It really doesn’t matter what we think, it's been three years since we left and four years since she died, you need to go, then go, if it helps, then why would either of us ever stop you? Since when do you give a **** what we think?’

‘Fair point.’ Brax conceded looking at them both suspiciously before leaving it alone, if neither of them were going to argue with him about it, who was he argue with them? It made his life so much easier and he wasn’t about to change that.

‘When you going? Heath repeated his earlier question as Casey answered his phone.

‘Tomorrow morning.’

‘Sure you are going to be alright?’

‘Yeah it’s going to be two days at the most.’

‘If you think you can do it,’ he said pulling a beer out of the six pack and opening it ‘Then go for it. I am not going to stop you.’

‘Thanks.’ Brax looked over at Casey who seemed to be agitated and annoyed as he was barking orders at someone.

‘I pity the person at the end of that phone.’ Heath muttered.

‘So do I, who knew Casey could be a ruthless businessman.’

Heath chuckled, ‘It’s always the quiet ones!’

Brax laughed at him but deep down inside though he had never voiced his view, he was very proud of Casey. He had the brains to do what he wanted and he took it.

‘Ouch’ Brax murmured as Casey looked like he was about to explode. He stood up and took the phone off Casey, ‘He’ll ring you back.’

‘What the f*ck did you do that for?’

‘You were about to explode,’ he held the phone out of Casey’s reach ‘Calm down and tell me what happened?’

‘Just a stupid mistake my PA makes and now I have to do damage control.’

‘Female damage control?’

‘Something like that.’ came his vague response causing Heath to smirk.

‘Who knew little Case would have female trouble.’

‘Bite me!’

‘I think she’d rather do that.’

‘And much more.’ Heath said raising his eyebrows.

‘Depends on how big it is.’

Brax shook his head in laughter while Casey scowled at them both and plucked his phone out of Brax’s hand not that Brax was bothered; he and Heath were still doubled over in laughter. Casey shook his head, dialled a number and walked away to have his conversation.


Casey looked at Rocco who was content with just sitting on the rug, with his toys occasionally throwing them up and trying to catch them. He just sat there musing and keeping a watchful eye on Rocco.

He had to admit he was envious of Heath having a child. It made him wonder what it would be like to be a father, to have someone that completely relied on him for everything. At times he would feel helpless but at other times he could watch his kid grow, develop and become their own unique person.

‘Unky!’ Rocco said clearly annoyed.

‘Yes Rocco?’

‘The door.’ he said before sitting back down and playing with his toys.

‘My job?’ he muttered and couldn’t help but smile when Rocco nodded emphatically causing Casey to shake his head at him which in turn made Rocco giggle with glee. Casey walked to the door, and checked the cameras, he frowned, it couldn’t be could it? Why was she here? He looked behind to see an oblivious Rocco content with his toys occasionally looking around to see if there was anything that he could use to wreak havoc with.

He opened the door and crossed his arms defensively.

‘What do you want?’

‘Can I come in?’

‘What do you want?’ he repeated.

‘I don’t want to have this conversation on the doorstep, please let me in.’

Casey sighed ‘This is not a good time.’

She sighed ‘When?’

‘I will let you know, put your number in my phone and I will call you when I can.’

‘Fine’ accepting his phone and putting her number in before saving it and handing it back to him. She knew that it had not been a good idea to come here but at the same time, she wanted to talk to him. The past was in the past and she wanted to move on but she needed his forgiveness before she could bury her demons and move on.

‘You better go.’

‘Call me.’ she said as she walked away, she looked back but he had already closed the door and walked back inside.

‘Who was it?’ Rocco asked as Casey planted himself next to Rocco on the floor and ruffled his hair.

‘No one important.’ he said smiling as Rocco gave him a bear hug before sitting back down to play with his toys.


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Thanks QA for proofreading :wub:

Chapter Four

Brax stood outside his old house, all the papers were signed, and this was no longer his home. He couldn’t actually believe how sad and disappointed he felt but this place that he shared with Charlie was gone, no longer his.

No longer existing.

He acknowledged that it was too painful to be there and not feel a great sense of loss. Loss that he thought he had dealt with and moved on from.

Evidently not.

He could feel a knot in his throat; with tears threatening to break through his exterior that he had built up over a long period of time.


‘Leah.’ he acknowledged the dark haired lady in front of him. He had to get control of himself and quickly. He couldn’t afford to be breaking down, not now and not in front of Leah.

‘How long have you been back?’

‘A couple of hours heading back tomorrow.’

‘Back where?’

‘The city.’

‘Right, okay, I better get back to work; Irene will be wondering where I am, nice to see you’

Brax nodded in response and watched her walk; he gave the house one last look and then walked away. He went to Charlie’s grave, he saw fresh flowers, he knew it was Ruby, she always placed flowers on there since she took over the restaurant and renamed it from Angelo’s to Buckton's’.

‘I miss you Charlie.’ he said quietly as he knelt down and touched the gravestone. ‘I miss you more than words can say. I wish I knew what to do. You should have told me.’

‘Now I know why you left without saying a word, I just wish with all my heart that I could have been there with you. I will never stop loving you, I promise but I have to move on.’

‘Brax?’ he heard as he stood and came face to face with Ruby. She looked shocked to see him there.

‘Ruby.’ he heard himself say but he felt as if someone else was talking for him.

‘When did you get back?’

‘Not long ago.’

‘Staying long?’

‘No, I am heading back tomorrow.’

Ruby placed another bunch of flowers next to the already existing ones. ‘It’s been a while for you hasn’t it?’

‘Yes it has, I couldn’t face coming back.’

‘So why are you here?’ she questioned as they both walked along the path back to their cars.

‘You know why, I had no idea before you start judging me.’

‘I wouldn’t dream of it, I didn’t realise you had no idea.’

‘I am going to get her in my life.’

‘You've already started the process?’ Ruby asked with her tone harbouring on surprise and shock.

‘Yes, if the hearing goes well then she will be back in my life where she belongs.’

Ruby nodded stiffly wanting to ask a question but holding back because she wasn’t sure. Brax sensed her withdrawal ‘What?’

‘What about me?’

‘What do you mean?’ he asked genuinely confused as to what she was asking.

‘Can I still be a part of her life?’

‘Of course! I would never stop you but remember that I am living in the city.’

They stopped outside Brax’s car. ‘No chance I can persuade you to come back to the Bay?’


Ruby sighed; she knew the Bay held too many memories for him and his brothers hence their move to the city. She knew it was fruitless to try and persuade him so she didn’t bother trying.

‘I better go but you should visit sometime, if you get the chance.’

‘I will actually, I really want to be a part of her life.’

‘She’s your sister.’

‘Half-sister.’ she corrected.

‘I don’t see it like that; you are my daughter as well. If you ever need anything, all you have to do is ask.’

‘I truly appreciate that.’


Heath walked into the living room and Rocco was asleep on the sofa. Casey followed him and gave him a beer.

‘How has he been?’

‘Good as gold.’

Heath chuckled as he watched Rocco’s sleeping form.

Casey frowned in confusion and asked ‘Huh?’

‘He looks like a normal well-behaved kid when he’s asleep but when he’s at home, he’s anything but.’ Heath clarified.

‘I am sure he’s not that bad.’

‘You will see when you have kids.’

Casey shrugged and took a gulp of his beer avoiding Heath’s face and any awkward questions but Heath was not going to be deterred. ‘Spill.’


‘Do not give me that vague look, spill.’

‘Nothing.’ Casey said defensively crossing his arms across his chest and looking firm. Heath looked at him, just for a second, Casey looked like he had when he was 14, which was enough to bring a smile albeit temporarily to Heath’s face.

‘Case, just tell me, or Brax will make you.’

‘Just leave it alone, it’s my problem and I will sort it.’

Heath frowned. It was obviously a sore point with Casey so he agreed to drop it for that moment, but he then looked around the room and spotted a bag on the floor.

‘Whose is that?’

‘A friend.’

Heath gave him a look that implied do not even bother trying to lie to me, I will find out.

‘Whose?’ he repeated as his tone made it to clear to Casey that he would not accept anything less than the truth.

‘It’s mine.’ he heard a voice from the stairs and looked up before returning his gaze onto Casey.

‘What the hell?’ Heath said in a low dangerous voice as not to wake up Rocco but at the same time not really attempting to mask his anger.

‘Look it’s not his fault; I just wanted to see Rocco.’

‘Don’t bother, I am not going to let you near Rocco again.’ he said to her and looked at Casey ‘Or you either.’

Those three words broke Casey’s heart but it was obvious that Heath was deadly serious so he said nothing as Heath picked up Rocco who had begun to stir but then promptly fell asleep. Once Heath had put Rocco in the car, he sat in the driver’s seat with Casey stood there. ‘I get you are angry, but stopping her from seeing him is not going to help.’

‘And where has she been for three years? She doesn’t deserve to be anywhere near my son, your nephew for that matter, you agreed with me last time we had this conversation, so back off, and stay the hell away!’

Casey watched as Heath drove away and he was upset but at the same time he did get why Heath was so angry.

‘Sorry, I shouldn’t have revealed myself.’

‘It was going to happen anyways. It just speeded it up.’

Casey sat on the sofa feeling and looking drained. His face had lost its colour and was bordering on a white pale strained skin. He didn’t know what the next step was but at the same time, he was too tired to care.

‘Still I should have waited.’

‘What difference would it have made? Heath would have still banned me from seeing Rocco.’

‘For what it is worth, I don’t think that will last long.’

‘Oh it will, but you know, it’s okay, I can live with that.’

She cocked a look at him and Casey knew that she had seen straight through him. She had a knack of knowing how people are feeling, which at times irked him.

‘Don’t lie. You can lie to me but don’t lie to yourself, lying to yourself get you nowhere.’

He didn’t say anything; he just looked straight ahead and tried to compose himself. He knew that Heath was angry and that the anger was going to manifest and develop, but what he didn’t want was to lose Rocco. He needed to find a way through to Heath but he got the sinking feeling that it wouldn’t work.

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  • 4 weeks later...

A massive thanks to QA for proofreading :):wub: Sorry for the wait in updates..

Chapter Five

‘You did what?’ Brax asked in disbelief when Casey asked him over that night, he paced around the living room floor but he couldn’t believe how dumb Casey had been. Rocco was someone they all loved and cared about but since Bianca walked away, Heath had become more protective.

‘Don’t, I know I was an idiot.’

‘An idiot? No, an idiot doesn’t come close to what you are.’

Casey sighed ‘Are you going to help or not?’

‘What can I do? You know as well as I do, that he does not back down, he will not let it go.’

‘Fine, okay, do me a favour, seeing as I can’t be at Rocco’s birthday; give him a present from me.’

Brax stifled a sigh, he knew Casey was struggling with not seeing Rocco but Heath was too headstrong to listen to him, unfortunately it was going to take time for Heath to calm down.

‘He won’t accept it.’

‘Well then say it’s from you, I can live with that, just give it to him please?’

‘Fine, what are you going to do?’

‘Get drunk.’ he stated simply before he sat on the couch and drank out of his beer. Brax shook his head in exasperation but didn’t react, ‘I have to go, I will talk to you later.’

‘Give it to him tomorrow, I want Rocco to have it and tell him I miss him.’

‘Who Heath or Rocco?’

‘Either, both, I don’t know.’

‘Alright, talk to you later.’

Casey held his hand up in a farewell gesture and carried on drinking, he had work to get on with but he couldn’t seem to muster up the enthusiasm to do it, it just wasn’t something that he felt he could do.

The phone rang making him jump but he picked it up surprised to note that it was Heath, he inhaled and exhaled before he answered the phone.


‘Is Brax there?’ Heath asked curtly making it clear that he had no time or interest in small talk.

‘He just left.’

‘Fine, if you see him again anytime soon, tell him to ring me.’


Heath hung up making Casey feel even worse. He threw the beer at the wall.


‘Dad?’ Rocco called out as he finished his breakfast, he was giddy and excited for his party that afternoon.

‘Yes sport.’

‘What time Unky Brax and Casee coming?’

‘Uncle Brax will be here later, now go and get changed.’


‘Yes Rocco,’ slowly losing his patience.

‘Is mummy going to come this time?’

Heath crouched down to Rocco’s level and looked at him. He hugged him and then picked him up. ‘I really don’t know but maybe she will.’

Rocco was about to say something when his head shot up and he grinned. He wriggled out of Heath’s arms and went for the door only to stop when Heath said, ‘Upstairs, get changed, stay there till I come up.’

‘Aww but Daddddd!’ he whined and then stopped once he saw the expression on Heath’s face, he trudged up the stairs giving Casey a sad look before he disappeared out of sight.

‘What are you doing here?’

‘I am not here to fight, just needed to give you these.’ He held up a folder and placed it on the worktop in front of him.

‘It’s the papers you asked for.’


Casey turned around and walked away silently willing Heath to call him back but it didn’t happen, as soon as he left the house and arrived at his car.

Brax pulled in. Casey cursed under his breath; he didn’t want nor need a lecture.

‘What you doing here?’

‘I had to drop off the papers Heath needed. I better go.’

‘Hold on. Did he say anything?’

‘Nope, but then I never expected him to.’

‘Did you see Rocco?’

‘Just a glimpse before he went upstairs.’

‘You going to be okay?’ Brax asked as Casey unlocked his car and climbed in. Brax was genuinely concerned about him. They all doted on Rocco and being apart from him was hard for them especially with the past.

‘Fine,’ he said not attempting to hide the simple fact that he was not okay.


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  • 4 weeks later...

Chapter Six

Brax walked into the house where Heath was on the phone, he gestured for him to come in and then walked away to carry on his phone conversation.

‘Caseee?’ Rocco called as he ran down the stairs only to stop and look miserable, ‘Oh, I thought it was Unky Caseee’

‘No, it's me, do I get a hug?’

Rocco smiled and ran into Brax’s arms as he picked him up and swung him around causing him to giggle.

Brax put Rocco down and whispered into his ear, his expression changed to a goofy grin as he jumped up and down before running into the kitchen.

‘What did you say to him?’

‘Just that there were a few presents waiting for him.’

‘But you have already dropped them off,’ Heath said as his face clouded over with confusion.

‘It was to get him out of the room. We need to talk, the three of us.’

‘I won't let him near Rocco.’

‘It is not about that, there’s something else I need to tell you both.’


‘I will tell you both at the same time.’

Rocco came back into the room with his hand crossed over his chest looking angry and Brax could tell Heath had taught him how to that.

He was a mirror image of Heath when he did that.

‘Where are my presents?’ he demanded.

‘You will get them later, little tyke!’

‘I want them now!’ his bottom lop tightened and Heath stepped in to avoid a tantrum.

‘Rocco Braxton, stop it! Your room now.’




‘Now or no party!’

Rocco ran up the stairs and Brax whacked Heath across the head. ‘What was the point of that?’


‘He’s a kid, he’s confused, just let him have a tantrum if he has to, how else is he supposed to get his frustrations out?’

Heath sighed and sat down on the arm of the sofa, ‘I keep getting it wrong.’

‘That is what parenting is about.’

‘Yeah, I know, I just don’t like seeing or making him upset but sometimes it is unavoidable.’

‘Really?’ he uttered with disbelief in his voice. He wanted to knock some sense into Heath, he knew Casey was a moron for letting her back into his life and Rocco’s but they were family and life was too short for them to be in a fight which meant she won.

‘Yes, why would you think any different?’

‘Oh just maybe the fact that Casey can’t even see him, you don’t have to like the fact that he let her see Rocco, but to stop them from seeing each other.’

‘I don’t want her near my son.’

‘I agree but let Casey come to the party, don’t ruin it for Rocco.’

Heath sighed but before he got the chance to answer, Rocco walked into the room rubbing his eyes whilst his bottom lip quivered.

‘Hey… what’s wrong?’

‘I don’t want a party anymore..’ he said as Brax scooped Rocco up and balanced him on his hips.

‘Why not mate?’ he said as he wiped away the tears falling on his face.

‘I don’t deserve one.’

‘Why not?’ Heath asked as he held his hands out but Rocco gripped himself onto Brax’s bicep and Heath tried his hardest not to show that it affected him.

‘Because mummy no wants to see me I must have been naughty, and Unky Caseee left as well’

Fresh tears fell this time and Brax hugged Rocco to his chest while Heath looked like he had just done twelve rounds with Mike Tyson. He had no idea that Rocco was thinking about Bianca, he didn't think he would have to have this conversation with Rocco for a while to come.

‘Rocco, your mummy loves you.’

‘Then why doesn’t she want me?’ he sniffed making Heath feel like someone had stabbed him in the heart.

‘She does, she’s just not here right now.’

Brax sat Rocco on his lap on the sofa and looked into his eyes. Rocco hugged him as the tears feel, Brax nuzzled his hair very quietly, allowing Rocco to cry out the tears that he needed.


Rocco’s head shot up as he saw Casey at the door to the lounge, he looked at his dad who nodded and bundled off Brax’s lap straight into Casey’s open arms. Brax whispered to Heath.

‘He’ll appreciate that.’

‘Who? Casey or Rocco?’

‘Both, you know that Casey isn't to blame, he loves Rocco just as much as we do.’

‘I know, anyways you said you wanted to talk.’

‘Yep, Case you busy?’

‘No, I just came to see Rocco.’


‘Yes monster.’

Rocco glared making Casey laugh and Heath glared back.

‘Am not monster!’ he stomped his foot and crossed his arms across his chest, looking annoyed at his father.

‘Okay little boys, stop it,’ Brax said as he struggled not to laugh at the scene playing in front of him. They were two peas in a pod, very similar yet completely dangerous at the same time. He couldn't help but smile.

‘Rocco, go upstairs and play, I need to talk to your dad and Uncle Casey.’

‘Is Unky Caseee staying for my party?’ he looked up hopefully. Heath sighed and looked at Casey who was wisely keeping his mouth closed.

‘Yes he can stay, only if you go upstairs for a while. Go.’

‘Okay!’ He hugged Heath and ran up the stairs with a goofy grin on his face.


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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for the comment and sorry for the gap in updates, life has just been hectic for me. Here is the next one :) All credit to QA for proofreading :)

Chapter Seven

‘Right go on, what is this news you want to tell us?’

‘You know how Charlie disappeared from the Bay for over a year and half?’

‘Yes,’ Casey interjected not liking where the conversation was going but then allowing Brax to carry on.

‘She had a child.’

Heath and Casey were speechless; neither of them had expected that bombshell. Neither of them was able to articulate anything to say to Brax, it was a matter of allowing their brains to work.

‘Wow,’ Casey managed after a few moments.

‘Why did she disappear, you would have been there for her?’

‘I don’t know, I missed out of four years of her life.’

Heath spoke with a slight smile on his face. ‘A daughter, are you saying I have a niece?’

‘Yes. I have to go to a hearing on Monday to find out if I can get custody of her.’

‘Didn’t she name you as the father?’

Brax shook his head and felt just as confused as they looked. It made no sense to him as to why she didn’t name him. He understood why she fled the bay, she was scared of the River Boy lifestyle taking over but not to name him as the father, that was something he really didn’t get but he was a firm believer in second chances, he had managed to go legit.

‘Why not?’

Brax merely shrugged but Heath couldn’t help but smile ‘This means you have another human being to look after.’

‘Besides you three? Yeah I guess so.’

‘Hey!’ Casey complained but smiled ‘Wow, now I have a nephew and niece.’

‘It's your turn next.’

Casey smiled but Heath knew there was something up, however he left it alone, there would be time later for him to deal with that.

‘Leave him alone Heath,’ Brax chastised.

‘Dad?’ Rocco peeked out from the side of the bannister.

‘Did I tell you to come down?’

‘I’m bored, I want to open my presents..’ he pouted.

‘Not till your party.’

‘Unky Brax, please?!’ He whined.

Brax smiled and looked at Heath who gave him ‘I know, he’s impossible look’ before returning his gaze onto Rocco.
‘What did your dad say?’

‘He can have this one,’ they heard a voice and Rocco jumped out of shock. Brax scooped him up and hugged him reassuringly.

Heath looked thunderous and Casey took Rocco from Brax, making their way into the garden away from the scene that looked like it was about to explode.

‘Unky, who was that?’ Rocco asked as he sat on the grass with his toys watching to see if anyone else was going to come into the garden with them.

‘Just someone that your dad knows.’

‘Oh who?’

‘Never you mind mister,’ Brax said as he came into the garden.

‘Oh but I wanted the present.’

Casey chuckled, ‘He’s definitely a Braxton then.’

‘Pleeaseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee?’ he begged pouting and tugging on Brax’s heartstrings.

‘What did I say?’ Heath said as he joined them.

‘Just one? It’s only a small present please?’

‘Not yet.’

Rocco huffed and picked the ball up; he stomped over to the corner and sat down glaring at them before downright ignoring them.

Casey was confused, ‘Why don’t you let him have one?’

‘Because we’ve set the room with the presents, and it will spoil it if we let have a small one, just trust me, he’ll forget his tantrum once he sees the room.’

Casey sighed and looked over at Rocco who was still glaring at the ball.

‘Put him out of his misery will you Heath? Look at the poor kid, it’s his birthday, let him have some fun.’

‘Rocco...’ Heath called and Rocco’s head snapped up, he was still glaring and looked like he wanted to cry.

‘Come on, I want to show you something.’

Rocco stayed sat down glaring but Heath just strode over and picked him up. Rocco looked mad but said nothing until Heath entered the house and strode up the stairs, down the corridor into the annex of the house.

‘What is it Dad?’ Rocco asked as Heath put him down and opened the door.

‘Go and have a look.’

Rocco entered the room, there was a new bed, a corner of beanbags and comics along with his presents all lined up on his new bookshelves.

‘Is this my new room?’ Rocco asked hoping that it was.

‘Yes it is... you like?’

‘Yes.... now can I open a present?’

‘One. Just one.’

Rocco smiled and went straight for the one in front of him. He ripped the wrapping paper open and then smiled as he pulled out a toy Ferrari, and began to zoom it all over the carpet with a goofy grin on his face.


Rocco smiled as the party started up, all his friends were with their dads but some of them had their mums. He looked up at his Dad who was smiling at him.

‘Pass the parcel?’

Rocco nodded as Casey set it up. Brax watched from the doorway, he knew Rocco was enjoying himself but he was also aware that he was unhappy as well.

‘Brax?’ he heard a voice whisper from behind him, he turned around.

‘Bianca, what are you doing?’

‘I need to see him.’

‘What for? You had your chance, you walked away from him and tossed him to the side like he didn’t even matter to you!’

‘Please just a few minutes, he doesn’t even have to know who I am.’

Heath walked into the conversation ‘You shouldn’t be here, he’s finally smiling, and I wont let you spoil that, I just won’t.’

‘I just want to see him, I am not expecting anything.’

‘Good!’ Brax shot at her as she winced. She deserved the anger and animosity but she needed to see him.

‘No, go away. He’s been fine without you for three years,’ Heath answered as Rocco walked up to him and curled himself over his leg. Heath picked him up.

‘Who is this dad?’

‘No one important,’ Brax said emanating anger and frustration.

‘Is that for me?’ he asked her as he spotted the present under her arm.

She nodded unable to say anything, she couldn’t believe that she was face to face with her own son after a long and hard three years.

Rocco wriggled out of Heath’s arms and grasped her hand ‘Come on, I will show you my presents and then we can have some cake’ he looked back at Heath who looked blank ‘I can have cake right?’

‘Yes mate you can. Go on show her your presents.’

Brax and Heath looked at each other and then followed them inside.


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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for the comments :D

Chapter Eight

The party had long finished but Rocco was so taken with Bianca, that he refused to go to bed until she had read him a story, and he was close to a tantrum when Brax made Heath accept that Rocco wanted it, and that he needed to allow it.

‘She has to leave, the minute he falls asleep.

‘Hold on,’ Casey intervened, ‘She has to go, I accept that but maybe you should talk to her, get some answers.’

‘No. She shouldn’t have gatecrashed the party’ Heath put in refusing to budge.

‘I know I should have stayed away but I wanted to see him.’

Heath looked thunderous as she walked into his eyesight, he had never wanted to punch something as much as he did at that moment in time. Heath scoffed but Brax put a hand on his shoulder to appease him.

‘You need to know the truth about why I left.

‘Keep it down, Rocco is asleep.’

‘I have nothing to say to you.’

‘Heath, please listen, you have to know how hard it was for me to walk away from my little boy and you as well.’

‘You may have charmed Rocco but you will not do the same to me. I am not going to listen to your rubbish anymore.’

‘Please listen to me,’ Bianca tried to reach out to him, to try and explain exactly why she had to walk away, she never wanted to but she had her reasons. So much had happened and she didn’t think she would ever come back but she was here now.

‘Leave.’ Heath spoke in a low voice that signified that he was not going to argue with her.

‘Please just contact me, I am staying at a hotel, I will be around for you.’ She picked up a piece of paper from her bag and wrote her number on it.

‘Ring me when you are ready. Please.’ She walked towards the door before turning around.

‘He’s a credit to you. He loves you more than anything. Thank you for looking after him.

Heath couldn’t keep his mouth closed any longer, he spun around ‘Where the hell were you? You should have been there, to watch him grow up. Instead every single family occasion, he would cry because he didn’t have his mother there, and I couldn’t do anything to make him feel better because I had no idea what to say!’ he breathed. ‘What do you say to a little boy who has no idea why he has no mummy, who blamed himself for being naughty, for driving you away?!’

Casey stopped him and looked at Bianca. ‘You better go, this is not helping anyone.

‘No hold on,’ Heath intervened, ‘Let me finish’ as he focused his eyes on Bianca who was trembling but accepting his words. He had every right to lose his temper with her. She had hurt him so badly.

‘Explain it to me. I did everything for you. I accepted your anger and frustrations when Rocco was ill. I let you push me away, and you walked away. Walking away from not only me but my son as well. Did he mean nothing to you? You carried him, gave birth to him! Then chucked him to the side.’

Bianca tried to speak but she was too busy trying to stop the tears threatening to fall break through her exterior. Bianca didn’t say a word whilst Heath was ranting at her and Brax had to admit he admired that in her. She was taking every single bit of criticism and accepting it. He conceded that she deserved it but most women would have reacted at this point.

‘So tell me what was so damn important that it meant ripping my heart out and leaving me to deal with Rocco on my own? What was worth losing the two of us?’

Bianca looked into his eyes sizzling with anger and bitterness that she suspected he had kept in and never vented. ‘I thought I was going to die.’

Heath visibly recoiled in shock before Casey stood between them. ‘This is not the best time to have this conversation, Bianca, I think you better leave.’

She nodded numbly looking at Heath who had slumped against the wall still in shock. His face had lost its entire colour and she could see where Rocco got his looks from.

Their eyes were duplicates. She had this desire to hug him and try to comfort him but the tension in the room was too much. She had to leave, to try and salvage something from the way she had just revealed something that she shouldn’t have told him.

She should be the bad guy, not the ill and desolate woman that the brain tumour had turned her into. It was nothing short of a miracle that she was alive. She was predicted three months when she walked away but it was only two weeks ago that she was finally given the all clear.

She was healthy and provided she looked after herself, she could lead a perfectly normal life like she had before the tumour infested her life.

‘I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have come back.

Heath’s head swung up as he shook himself out of his reverie, ‘So why did you leave? Why not let me be there for you?’

‘I didn’t want you to watch me wither away, I thought it was easier for you to hate me rather than watch me die and mourn for me. I didn’t want to put you or Rocco through more pain. If you thought I was alive and well a selfish bitch for walking away, that would be preferable to grieving for me.

‘You didn’t think Rocco would have needed his mother? To read him a story like you just did? To hold him when he was ill and upset? You have no idea of the amount of times he has got into bed next to me crying for you. He never understood why you weren’t there and what was I supposed to say to him?’

Bianca gulped and blinked away the tears. Casey then put his hand on Bianca’s arm. ‘Just go.’

She nodded and replied ‘‘I will go. Thank you for letting me read him a story and put him to sleep. I will cherish that memory.’

Heath’s anger was beginning to return and he spat out at her.

‘I want you out of my life. Leave me and Rocco alone. I will never let you near him. I won't, you can try all you want but it won’t happen so if I were you. I would give up, now get out of my house!’ he hissed.


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Chapter Nine

She walked out of the house and walked numbly towards the gate. She should have got a taxi but she had no energy or money to do it.

She didn’t even have anywhere to stay. She spent all her money on the private treatment. Despite the less than optimistic prognosis that the doctor gave her she was determined to try and beat the tumour.

It just seemed like it was all for nothing. Heath hated her and as much as she didn’t want to admit it Rocco didn’t need her. All because of her damn pride. She didn’t want them to watch her fade away and now she had no option but to be alone.

‘Bianca?’ Casey drove up beside her and followed her as she carried on walking.

‘Go away.’

‘Let me drop you at the hotel’ he offered trying to get her out of the cold. She was Rocco’s mother and he felt loyalty towards her. Heath would not like it but what he didn’t know couldn’t hurt him.

‘No, its okay, I will be fine.’

‘Just let me drop you’ he insisted.

‘No, I don’t think that is a good idea.’


‘Casey just go.’

‘Stay with me.’ Casey insisted knowing that she had nowhere else to go.

‘No. Heath won't like it.’

‘Doesn’t matter, get in.’ He gave her a look that bore no argument, and she didn’t have the energy to argue with him.


Stretching her arms made her jolt up in shock, she was so used to feeling a hard surface, so to feel the softness of the mattress against her skin was a bit of a shock. She didn’t know what today was going to bring but she knew that whatever happened, it was going to be a tough journey.



‘Can I come in?’ he asked softly ‘I have breakfast for you.’

‘Of course come in.’

‘You sleep well?’

Bianca smiled and nodded. ‘Thanks for letting me stay but I will be out of your hair soon.’

Casey smiled and responded, ‘No you won’t, you are not leaving.’

‘Threatening me Case?’

‘No need to threaten you, you won’t leave.’ His tone made Bianca want to punch him. He was acting like she had to do everything that he said.

‘What makes you so sure of that?’ she asked but she knew the answer.

‘Rocco, you love him. You’ve always loved him and now Heath knows the truth, you wont go anywhere.’

‘Dammit Casey, I hate it when you are right.’

‘Of course you do, but at the end of the day, you know it’s right.’

‘Stop reading my mind,’ she grumbled as Casey placed her tray on the bedside cabinet.

‘Eat up, I will see you downstairs and you can tell me what has been going on.’


‘So tell me, where have you been staying?’

Bianca had just walked into the room and saw Casey stood up near the window looking out onto the city view which was in her eyes, completely amazing.

Everything was more special when you thought were going to die. Life has more meaning and it made her treasure the most important things in her life.

‘What do you mean?’

‘I would advise you don’t lie to me Bianca. Don’t.’

As he spoke, Bianca looked down to his hand where a small file lay, she realised that he had her checked out.

‘You had me checked?’

‘I had to; something about your story didn’t match up. You have had no permanent address for three months and before that, you were non-existent, but it makes sense if you were ill that there wouldn’t be many records of you as medical files are “confidential”.’ Casey looked at her and waited for a response, her silence was just annoying Casey.

‘I was ill, I have told you this.’

‘Yes you were, for about two years.’

‘Three years.’ She put in but she knew that Casey had rumbled her. There was a year of her life unaccounted for and she couldn’t say why, she just couldn’t tell him the truth.

‘Two years.’ Casey was determined to get the truth from her.

‘Look what difference does it make?’

‘A heck of a lot, if you were only ill for two years, then why didn’t you come back a year ago?’

Bianca didn’t want to say it, it was a year of her life that she had blocked out, that was easier than telling him.

‘Tell me or shall I just say it for you?’ he asked as his voice softened as he saw the anguish plague her body. He knew that she was struggling.

‘Fine, I was in a relationship with a survivor, I thought the sun shone out of him until I moved in with him.’

‘Go on.’

‘He attacked me one night; he was either drunk or high, or both. I don’t know.’ She knotted her hands together so she didn’t lose her nerve. ‘He instantly apologised but at the end of the day he kept on doing it. I managed to escape. I can’t remember exactly. There are parts of it I have blocked out for my own sanity.’

‘Did you ever report him?’

‘No. I didn’t.’

‘Is that why you came back?’

‘Partly. I spent three months on the streets and well I realised something that I guess I knew all along but never wanted to admit because then I would have to admit I was wrong to leave.’

Casey smiled weakly. Bianca was not known for admitting when she was wrong, but it was clear to him that she had never wanted to walk away in the first place.

‘So you know you were wrong to leave?’

‘I knew that before I even did it but I thought I was doing it for the right reasons.’

Casey knew she was opening up and didn’t want to risk her closing down now so he carried on asking questions.

‘What about now? Do you still think it was the right thing to do?’

She shook her head forlornly finally accepting that leaving was not the best thing. ‘No I don’t but it is done. I can’t change it, I wish I could, I wish I could get back the time of Rocco growing up, calling me Mum,’ her voice choked and she couldn’t carry on. She held her hand up when Casey walked towards, she spun around and ran out of the room and straight into another person.

‘Sorry.’ She mumbled expecting the person to let go of her but they tightened their hands around her and drew her into them. She looked up and saw Heath, he had anguish etched onto his face, it was only then that she realised Casey had tricked her. She should have felt anger but instead she felt relief as the tension went out of her body and she gave herself up to the tears. She looked at Heath once again and his response was to draw her against his chest. She went willingly, she had missed the feel of his arms around hers, she didn’t want to let him go but eventually they stepped apart.

‘Sorry, I shouldn’t have done that.’

‘Done what?’ he asked.

‘Hugged you, you hate me, I don’t blame you, I hate myself.’

‘Why hate yourself?’ Heath asked as they sat down at the dining table.

‘I walked away, I know this will mean nothing to you but it broke my heart to walk away from you all. I didn’t want to but like I said. I thought it was the best thing to do.’

‘Didn’t you think I would just let you walk away?’

‘I hoped if I had hurt your ego, you wouldn’t come after me.’ She saw Heath grimace which confirmed that his ego had been hurt in the process.

‘You definitely did that. I was so angry, then bitter and then I just pushed it to one side or at least I thought I did.’

Bianca didn’t know what to say to him. Heath stood up. ‘I have to go.’

‘Okay, I will be out of here today so you won’t have to see me anymore.’

Heath looked at her. Internally Bianca was pleading for him to stop her going away but he just said ‘I think that’s best. Rocco doesn’t know who you are and I won’t let him get hurt anymore. He’s just a kid.’

‘Of course, I will be gone today.’

Heath nodded and walked out. Bianca placed her head on the table and allowed her tears to flow. Casey saw her but knew that she had to cry her tears. She needed to.


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