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Unconditional Love

Guest Danni02

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Story Title: Unconditional Love.

Type of Story: Long Fic.

Main Characters: Charlie & Ruby.

Others: Connor, Angelo, Brax, Bianca, Romeo, Tony, Rachel and others.

BTTB Rating: T/A

Genre: Family, drama, romance.

Any Spoilers: No.

Warnings: Mentions of abuse, death and mild sexual content.

Summary: Since finding out the truth about her parentage, Ruby became more and more distant with Charlie and eventually their relationship became non existent. When Rubys life takes an unexpected turn, she finds herself standing on Charlies doorstep looking for her help. Will they both realise how much theyve needed each other in the last two years, or will it all be too late to fix? Will Charlie even welcome her daughter back into her life?

Chapter 1

Ruby shoved the clothes into her bag and zipped it shut. A tear fell down her cheek as she caught sight of the photo that was on the dresser next to her bed. She picked it up and looked at it for a few seconds before throwing it across the room and hearing it smash off the wall and fall onto the floor in pieces. She picked up the bag and flung it over her shoulder before running out of the flat and out on to the street. She hailed a cab down and threw her luggage in the boot before getting into the back of the car.

Where to? The driver asked.

Eh. Ruby paused. She hadnt though this far ahead.

I dont have all day you know. Tell me where you want to go or get out. The man said. She knew where she had to go, where she really wanted to go, who she was so desperate to see, desperate to get a hug from and be told that everything would be alright. She would know what to do and how to help her.

Summer Bay. Ruby said quietly.

And where in Summer Bay? He asked, fast becoming annoyed at her.

6 Beach Grove. Ruby said and the man nodded before he sped off. She didnt even know if that was still Charlies address. She didnt even know if Charlie still lived in the bay but she was desperately hoping that she did. She had left it too long, and she knew she had. No-one new her address in the city, she didnt even tell her Aunty Michelle her new address, after she moved out of her house after a few months in the city, and she changed her mobile number, so really there was no way of Charlie getting in touch with her. As Ruby sat in the car and thought about the last 2 years of her life and how shed got to where she was now the tears started to roll down her cheek.

I said no. Lee bellowed.

Why, its only for a few hours with some girls from class. Ruby said and Lee ran forward and grabbed Ruby tightly by the arms.

I said no, Lee yelled as he shook Ruby. Now make me some dinner. Lee said as he pushed Ruby from the living room and into the kitchen.

That was the start of it. She wasnt allowed to go out with her friends. All she could do was go to class then she had to be right back home. The flat had to be spotless and meals had to be ready right on time for him coming home or there would be trouble. Then he started getting more physical and using his fists as well as words and before Ruby knew it she was stuck in an abusive relationship. Ruby knew she had to get out and she had finally found the courage to leave. She hadnt spoken to Lee about Charlie or her life in the Bay so she was sure she would be safe there at least. She would understand if she wasnt welcomed back into Charlies arms, or the arms of anyone else for that matter, but, she knew she just had to get away from the abuse, away from Lee, away from the city. Before Ruby knew it she was there staring up at the house, the place she used to call to home. She was so wrapped up in her thoughts it seemed like she had only been in the car for 5 mins, whereas in reality it had been a lot longer. She paid the driver and got out the car before getting her luggage out of the boot. The driver sped off through a puddle causing Ruby to get splashed, but she didnt care. The rain was beating down heavily and she was already beginning to get soaked. She stood as if frozen to the spot for a few minutes before taking a deep breath and walking up to the front door. Slowly she brought her hand up to the doorbell and pressed it before waiting for a response. She heard loud footsteps coming from inside the house, like someone was running down the stairs. She felt sick with apprehension. The door opened and Ruby was greeted by a small light haired boy. Ruby gasped at the sight of him, he looked so different from the last time she saw him and of course he would have considering he was now 2 years older.

Hey, Connor. Ruby spoke softly as she smiled down at the boy.

How do you know my name? Connor gasped in astonishment before turning round to Charlie who had made her way down the stairs. Mummy this girl at the door knows my name but I dont know her. Connor said and Rubys heart sank. He couldnt remember her. The little nephew or thats who she believed he was at the time - that she doted on for the first 3 years of his life didnt recognise her. Charlie looked up at Ruby and her mouth opened in shock.

Hey Charlie. Ruby said as she felt a tear falling down her cheek at seeing her for the first time over 2 years.

Oh my God, Ruby. Charlie said as she gave her arm a pinch to make sure that this was reality and not just a dream.

Hey. Ruby said again.

Who is it mummy. Whos Ruby? Connor asked as he tugged on Charlies top. Charlie just stood there in shock at seeing her daughter again. She never thought that this day would come. It took her a few moments to compose herself.

Sorry, come in from the rain. Charlie said ignoring her young son and gesturing to the couch. Ruby smiled before walking in and looked briefly around the room before taking a seat. Ruby and Charlie were silent but Connor kept pulling on Charlies hand wanting answers on who the girl was. I eh...I need to put him to bed, so eh...Ill be back. Charlie said as she placed her hand on Connors head. Ruby nodded slowly as Charlie stood up and took Connors hand and led him up the stairs, still ignoring all the questions of who she was.

But who is it Mum? Ruby heard Connor asking once again from up the stairs. She heard Charlie mumbling something but couldnt quite make it out. She couldnt believe she was back in that house, she never thought she would be there again. Looking round the house, not much had changed. It was still how she remembered it. She looked around the room again and something caught her eye. Charlie and Angelos wedding picture that stood proudly on the shelf was nowhere to be seen, neither were any other pictures of Angelo or any of Ruby for that matter. The only photos she could find were pictures of Charlie and Connor or Connor with Ross and Morag, Connor with his little league soccer trophy, Connor as a baby. There was nothing to indicate Ruby had existed in Charlies life and Ruby felt a little hurt by this. She stood up and walked over to the cabinet and ran her hand over a picture of Charlie and Connor. They were at the beach, Connor giving Charlie a big gummy smile as she gazed lovingly at her son. Ruby remembered that day. That was long before the secret came out, long before any of the arguing, long before she left. As she moved her eyes from gazing on the picture, a small frame with a picture of an unknown baby caught her eye. It was tucked back slightly, away from the front of the cabinet, away from immediate view. She picked the frame up and smiled lightly as she gazed at the unknown baby that could only have been a few months old. She saw bit of Connor and herself in the child, and wondered if Charlie had had another child. She knew her and Angelo were talking about having a second child together just before the truth came out, but now wondered if indeed they had, although now, with the absence of any photos of Angelo in the house, she wasnt sure if Charlie and Angelo even existed anymore.

Sorry about that. He likes to get a story read every night. The sound of Charlies voice startled Ruby and she put the picture back down in its place and turned around to face her.

No, its fine. I was the one who interrupted your schedule. Ruby said before an awkward silence hit the room.

So, why are you here? Charlie finally spoke. I mean why now, why after all this time decide to visit, decide to speak to me? Charlie said as tear formed in her eyes.

Im sorry. Ruby whispered. I had nowhere else to go.

Oh so Im the last resort. Charlie replied coldly. Do you really hate me that much?

No, I didnt mean it like that. I meant, Ruby paused. This was the first place I wanted to come, there was nowhere else I wanted to go, Charlie took a seat on the couch as she shook her head. You do believe me dont you? Ruby asked. Charlie looked up at Ruby properly for the first time and shook her head.

I dont know Ruby. I just dont know. Charlie spoke quietly. She was shocked, overwhelmed, surprised, confused, a whole mix of emotions. Looking up at her daughter she was shocked at the difference in her. She was pale and had huge bags under her eyes, her hair was cut really short and she just generally didnt look well. She didnt look like the same girl Charlie once knew.

Charlie I... Ruby started to speak but Charlie spoke over her.

Do you want to go for a shower? Get out to those wet clothes and get yourself freshened up and then we can talk. Charlie said and Ruby nodded.

Yeah thanks, Ruby said. That would be good.

I guess you can remember where the bathroom is? Charlie said coldly and Ruby gave a gentle nod of her head before she walked across the room and up the stairs. Ruby was glad for the offer of the shower. Both because she did feel uncomfortable in her wet clothes, and so she could think of what she wanted to say to Charlie. Charlie was also glad Ruby had left the room for a while, also so she could get her head around the fact that her daughter was back, and so she too could work out what she actually wanted to say.

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Thank you soph1303, homeandaway13, caroline77 and GeorgieNZ. :wub:

Warning: slight flashback to rape in this chapter.

Chapter 2

As Ruby let the hot water from the shower fall over her, she ran her hand over her stomach as a tear rolled down her cheek. She thought about that night – the night she knew it must have happened – and wished so much that she’d fought harder. That she didn’t let it happen to her.

Lee placed a soft kiss on Ruby’s neck as his hands had already wandered under her dress and were lightly caressing her thigh. “Mmm Lee, please not tonight.” Ruby shook her head as she tried to pull back but Lee was stronger, so he was obviously going to win.

“I want you,” Lee said showing authority. “It’s going to happen.”

“Please Lee,” Ruby shook her head. “Tomorrow, I promise. I’m just so tired and I’m not really in the mood for it tonight.”

Lee laughed at Ruby as he cupped her cheek with his hand, rather roughly. “You’re funny.” Lee smiled. “Still thinking you are going to get a say in this. Maybe if you weren’t such a lousy girlfriend, I wouldn’t have to resort to this, but you’ve left me with no choice.”

“Lee.” Ruby’s voice broke as she spoke his name.

“Just shut up.” Lee said before he started to kiss her. “It’s your fault it’s came to this you stupid useless idiot. You’re a waste of space.” Lee hissed. “If you just complied with what I wanted I wouldn’t need to do this to you.” Lee said as he pushed Ruby’s dress up and over her head before ripping away her panties.

“Lee please.” Ruby pleaded as she tried to break free from his grasp, but he put all his weight onto her and she was trapped. She wasn’t going to get away. She took a deep breath before she closed her eyes and only hoped it would all be over soon.

During the beginning of their relationship Lee was so kind and sweet and gentle. Ruby loved that Lee, and was always so desperate and hopeful for him to come back, but she knew there was a slim chance of that and that she’d became stuck with an abusive, angry Lee, who only very rarely it seemed, would be nice to her. He would tell her he loved her, and that she was smart and beautiful and funny. The Lee Ruby loved and wanted to sleep with, wanted to be with, the Lee who promised that that hit would be the last and that he would change but that Lee always failed to show up, and now, with not only herself to think about, she knew she had to get out, so she built up the courage, and finally took the opportunity when Lee was at work to pack a few things and get out. As she stood in the shower washing her body, she let the tears escape. If only she didn’t run away, if only she stayed and let Charlie explain things and talked things over with her, how different her life would be now. No Lee, no abuse, no unwanted child. She exhaled lightly as she turned the shower off and stepped out into the bathroom and pulled the warm towel from the heater. She hugged it around her tightly and stood in the middle of the room, her eyes tight shut, and exhaled. She was supposed to be thinking of what she wanted to say to Charlie but all she could think about was Lee. That he’d be home by now, that he probably knows she’s ran. She didn’t even want to try to think about his reaction. She knew he was going to be furious. She opened her eyes and dried herself before she got dressed into some clean, dry clothes, before finding her hair brush and running it though her wet hair. She left the bathroom and walked down hall and stopped outside what used to be her old bedroom. She thought about looking in to see if it was still as she left it, but she decided not to. It wasn’t her home anymore and she didn’t want to be intrusive. She walked across the rest of the hall and down the stairs to find Charlie reading over some papers. Ruby cleared her throat to make Chalie aware of her presence in the room. Charlie looked up to Ruby and quickly hid the papers away from her view.

“It’s alright,” Ruby said. “I didn’t see what it was.”

Charlie exhaled lightly before she pursed her lips together. “So what did you come here for?”

Ruby took a deep breath before she sat down on the armchair and looked at her mother, and although they were both looking in each other’s direction, neither of them were giving each other eye contact. “I eh....” Ruby exhaled lightly as she pulled at the tie on her sweats. “I’m sorry.”

Charlie sniggered as she shook her head. “I tried calling you, Ruby. I sent letters to Michelle’s place; I even came to the city for you a few months after you left. I thought maybe if you had time to process it, you’d let me explain, but Michelle told me that earlier that week you moved out and she didn’t know where you were,” Charlie felt herself welling up with tears. “All I wanted was for you to give me a chance to explain. You didn’t even have the decency to give me that,” Charlie pursed her lips together as she looked away from Ruby. “There’s so much that you didn’t know and I didn’t even get a chance to explain anything to you. You just cut me out of your life and now for whatever reason you’re just turning up and what? Expecting us to be like normal?” Charlie questioned.

“No,” Ruby shook her head as a tear rolled down her cheek. “I don’t....I don’t expect we will ever be normal again,” Ruby said. “I just....I want my big sister back. Charlie I just...you always knew what to say and what the right thing to do would be and I...I just really need your help because I’m stuck in this situation and I really don’t know what to do.”

“So....so you don’t want to talk about why or what happened when you were born and why I.....why Mum and Dad raised you?”

“No,” Ruby shook her head. “I don’t care about that. I just want my life to go back to how it was and not have to deal with any of this anymore.”

“So it does seem that you expect us to just ignore all that’s happened and just continue as normal,” Charlie said. “Ruby we can’t. I’ll help you with whatever it is that you’ve gotten yourself into but we can’t do that until we at least talk a bit about us and the fact I’m not your sister and indeed your mother. You need to understand that.”

“Okay,” Ruby nodded. “I guess we do need to talk about it.”

“I eh,” Charlie ran her hand through her hair as she exhaled. “I think it’s already been a big enough night for us right now though,” Charlie said and Ruby agreed. “Maybe we should just leave it until tomorrow. I’m not working tomorrow and Connor is going to be at Angelo’s so we’ll have time to talk then.”

“Okay eh...”

“I’m pretty tired so I’m heading for an early night,” Charlie said as she stood up from the couch. “I’ll bring you some pillows and a blanket. You’ll need to sleep on the couch.”

“Oh. What about the room that I -”

“It’s not your room anymore,” Charlie raised her voice. “You’re not to go in there. Do you understand?”

Ruby nodded. “Yeah sorry I eh...I won’t.”

Charlie stood up from the couch and disappeared for a moment, returning with a blanket and a pillow for Ruby. She laid them down on the couch and exhaled before the pair were met with an awkward silence for a moment. “So eh, I guess you can help yourself to the stuff in the kitchen and we’ll talk tomorrow.” Charlie said before she walked up the stairs and out of sight. Ruby exhaled lightly as she sat down on the couch and buried her head in her hands and wondered if she’d made the right decision in returning home.


Angelo opened the bottle of beer and passed it over to the man. “You know drowning your sorrows doesn’t help,” Angelo said. “It won’t ease the pain. God I know that now.”

“It’s different. Me and You,” Tony shook his head. “You and Charlie, you have Connor. Me and Rach,” Tony shook his head. “The third time,” Tony sighed. “The third time it failed. Money gone. IVF,” Tony shook his head. “It’s seems like it’s just causing us more trouble.”

“You’ll get a kid together.” Angelo said. “And besides, it’s not like you don’t have children. You have Lucas and Jack,” Angelo said. “You might even have a grandchild soon from Jack and Martha.”

“They moved to Boston,” Tony shook his head. “Both of them. Lucas at uni and Jack a hot shot cop.”

“Well you and Rachel could always move to Boston,” Angelo said. “If you feel nothing is keeping you here.”

“My gym, Rachel’s got a job here. We can’t just decide to up and go.”

“No,” Angelo shook his head. “But you can make it happen.”

“Baby,” Tony sighed. “All Rachel wants right now is a baby.”

“Well what about surrogacy or adoption?” Angelo questioned. “There are ways.”

“I guess.” Tony nodded. “She’s just always dreamed of carrying her own child.”

“Mate once the kid gets here,” Angelo shook his head. “I’m sure that won’t matter.”

“Well you might be right,” Tony sighed before taking a drink of his beer. “So how are you getting on? How are things with Charlie these days?”

Angelo shook his head. “I really think I’ve blown it,” Angelo sighed. “I should never have walked out.”

“Hey you guys were dealing with a lot,” Tony said. “No one would blame you for needing a break.”

“Nah,” Angelo shook his head. “I let her down. I should have been there for her, but instead I walk out and Connor, it wasn’t fair on him either. He was confused enough as it was and I....I just left Tony. I didn’t even tell him I just....I did it all wrong and I wish that I could turn back time.”

“How far we talking here mate?”

“Goes without saying.” Angelo said sadly. “I dunno, maybe when I go to pick up Connor tomorrow Charlie and I can talk.”

“You think it’s good to do that in front of Connor?” Tony questioned.

“Well obviously not when he’s in the room.” Angelo sighed. “Drink that one up then you can home. Rachel needs you right now. Don’t make the same mistake that I did.” Tony exhaled lightly before he nodded his head and took a swig of his beer.

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Thank you :wub:

Warning: mentions of rape in this chapter.

The story of Charlie’s rape is slightly different to that from the show.

Chapter 3

Connor jumped up excitedly as he heard the doorbell ring. “That will be daddy,” Connor ran over to the door and opened it to see Angelo standing at the other side. “Daddy.” Connor beamed as he jumped up into Angelo’s arms. “I missed you.”

“I missed you too kid.” Angelo smiled as he put Connor back down on the ground.

“Daddy when you coming home to live again?” Connor questioned as he looked up at him, his big blue eyes all wide in wonderment.

“Go get your bag for tonight hmmm,” Charlie said as she appeared behind him and rubbed his head, she watched as her son ran off up the stairs, before turning back to face him. “Angelo.” Charlie smiled awkwardly at him. It had been awkward ever since he’d left her 4 months before hand, and the fact that Charlie felt Angelo wasn’t making an effort when it came to spending time with his son wasn’t helping the situation. “You are going to keep him overnight this time, aren’t you?”

“I will.” Angelo nodded.

“You know he should be the most important thing in your life,” Charlie said. “Not your restaurant.”

“I know and he is,” Angelo said. “But sometimes I can’t help that I need to be at the restaurant.”

“Angelo don’t break his heart again, you’ve done that enough lately and he’s just a kid, okay, he’s just turned 5. Get your act together and be a father to him.”

“The last 8 months or so have been hard for me Charlie.” Angelo said.

Charlie sniggered as she shook her head. “For you?” Charlie said. “Angelo...” Charlie trailed off as she heard Connor jumping down the stairs.

“I’m ready,” Connor smiled. “I brought my DS so we can play.” Connor smiled when he looked up at Angelo.

“Wow, when did you get a DS?” Angelo asked.

“For my birthday silly.” Connor answered.

“You would have known that if you came to his party.” Charlie replied coldly.

“Charlie I told you I -”

“Yeah you couldn’t leave work,” Charlie shook her head before she bent down and pulled Connor into a hug. “You be a good boy at daddy’s,” Charlie said before giving her son a kiss. “I’ll see you tomorrow okay.”

“Uh-huh.” Connor smiled before he walked over to Angelo and took his hand in his.

“I was actually hoping we could talk about us eh.....maybe he could go play for a bit?” Angelo questioned as he looked to Charlie.

“No,” Charlie shook her head. “Stop trying to delay it Angelo. Just spend some time with your son. And there’s nothing for us to talk about anyways. We are done. You made that pretty clear when you walked out on us.”

Angelo exhaled lightly as he felt Connor tugging at his hand. “Daddy can we go to the park?”

“Sure squirt, let’s go.” Angelo said before he walked away from the house with his son. Charlie closed the door and turned around just as Ruby walked down the stairs, fresh from her shower.

“Morning.” Ruby smiled lightly and Charlie managed a small smile back.

“I’m going to make myself a coffee if you wanted a juice or tea or anything?” Charlie said as she walked through to the kitchen and Ruby followed through after her.

“Coffee would be good thanks.” Ruby replied.

“You drink coffee?” Charlie questioned as she turned to face Ruby, bewildered.

“Yeah I got into it,” Ruby answered. “Milk and one sugar.”

“Just how I have it.” Charlie replied as she put a spoonful of coffee into the mugs.

“Yeah.” Ruby nodded as she took a seat at the kitchen table. Charlie exhaled lightly as she grabbed the milk from the fridge and poured it into the cups, before finally reaching for the sugar.

“So,” Charlie said as she poured the boiling water in the mug. “I think we’ve probably avoided this for long enough, so, let’s talk.” Charlie said as she handed Ruby one of the coffee mugs before sitting down at the table opposite her.

“Where ehm....where should we start?” Ruby questioned as she bit her lip.

“Well the beginning would probably be the best place.” Charlie said quietly. “You don’t really know much do you?”

“Well I found out you were my mother, then pretty much said I hated you for lying to me and leaving me for a whole year and then I ran off to the city,” Ruby answered as she cupped her hand around her mug. “So I don’t really know anything.”

“So Aunt Michelle didn’t say anything?” Charlie questioned.

“She eh...showed me your photo albums. You really hated yourself that much for leaving me behind?” Ruby asked.

“Not quiet,” Charlie shook her head. “I mean I hated myself. I felt ashamed of myself...I...your biological father, he was... I was 13. I eh...I was walking home from a friend’s house. I bumped into him....Grant, your....your biological father,” Charlie took a drink of her coffee, to calm herself down and keep herself composed. “I’d broken up with him a few days before. He was a little older, 15. He was pressuring me for sex and I wasn’t ready. But he wasn’t.....well he wasn’t pleased and he followed me home, shouting mean things at me.” Charlie took a deep breath before she looked down. “He eh...forced his way into the house. I called out but I guess Mum and Dad weren’t home from work yet. Anyways, he was just too strong and he...” Charlie trailed off as a tear rolled down her cheek. She looked up at Ruby and could see she was also crying. She probably knew what Charlie was about to say next. “He ehm...I....”

“It’s okay,” Ruby’s voice broke as more tears rolled down her cheek. “I eh....I know what’s going to come next. I’m so sorry.”

“I’m so sorry,” Charlie sniffed back. “I couldn’t raise a child. I still practically a kid myself. I’d just turned 14 before you were born, and I couldn’t give you what mum and dad would have.”

“I wouldn’t have needed much,” Ruby sniffed back. “Just you being my mum would have been enough,” Ruby nodded her head. “It really would have.”

“You deserved more,” Charlie replied. “And you had a great upbringing and at least I was still in your life.”

Ruby gave a sort of snigger. “And that makes it all okay?”

“No,” Charlie shook her head. “But you know how much I love you and I just....I want you to know that okay. I love you so much and I always have. The minute I saw you with your little button nose and ruby red lips. The little brown curl on your head. You were my little Ruby. The most precious thing to me.”

“Just not precious enough to raise me.” Ruby spat.

“Look I can’t change what’s happened,” Charlie shook her head. “But surely I’ve proved to you over the years how much you mean to me and how much I love you.”

Ruby exhaled lightly as she wiped the tears from her eyes. “I guess,” Ruby nodded. “Still kinda hurts though.”

“All I can say is that I’m sorry,” Charlie wiped the tears from her eyes as she spoke. “But as mad as I was that you up and left, I’m also really pleased that you have come back,” Charlie smiled lightly. “I’d love for us to have some sort of relationship. Whether it’s as sisters or mother and daughter. I just want you back in my life.”

“I want you back too,” Ruby cried. “I really want you back in my life. But you know it’s not going to be easy right?” “Ruby asked and Charlie nodded lightly as Ruby stood up from the chair and walked around to where Charlie was sitting. “Can I have....can we hug?” Ruby asked. Charlie nodded her head as she stood up and pulled her daughter into a hug. Ruby held tightly onto her, never wanting to let go, because for the first time in two years, she finally felt safe.


Angelo was pushing Connor on the swing when he phoned the restaurant. “Dave? Angelo here mate, how’s it going?....Ah yeah....so you don’t think I need to work....right well I might pop up for a bit anyways....yeah yeah, cya.” Angelo said as he hung up the phone. “Right buddy sorry, we gotta go up to the restaurant for a bit.”

“No daddy,” Connor shook his head. “We are playing.”

“Connor,” Angelo raised his voice. “I’m not asking you I’m telling you,” Angelo said as he stopped the swing. “Down, now.” Connor scowled as he jumped down from the swing and picked up his bag and walked off from Angelo. “Hey,” Angelo shouted as he walked forward quickly and grabbed his son by his hand.

“Ouch not so hard,” Connor squealed as they walked away from the swings and in the direction of the surf club. “Daddy,” Connor cried. “You not nice today.”

“I’m just stressed eh,” Angelo said as they walked into the surf club and up the stairs to the restaurant. “Sorry, I’ll get you some ice-cream.” Angelo said as they walked into the restaurant. He lifted Connor up onto the bar stool and disappeared into the kitchen and came back out with some mint-choc chip ice-cream.

“My favourite.” Connor smiled as he tucked into the ice-cream, just as Brax walked into the bar carrying a crate of wine.

“Angelo,” Brax said. “I thought today was you’re day off.”

“Yeah it’s supposed to be.” Angelo answered. “But well you’re in charge so I thought I’d come in just to be safe.”

“Really don’t trust me, do you?” Brax said as he started putting the wine out on show.

“Never will.” Angelo shook his head.

“So then why give me a job?” Brax asked.

“You know what they say. Keep your friends close and you’re enemies...” Angelo trailed off as he raised his eyes. Brax shook his head as he continued with what he was doing. “Go and show that couple to a table.” Angelo said.

“I’m fine on the bar.” Brax replied.

“Dave and I have got the bar.” Angelo said. “The floor, now.”

Brax shook his head lightly before doing as Angelo asked. “Daddy,” Connor sighed. “How long we here for?”

“I don’t know.” Angelo shook his head.

“Can I get a juice?” Connor questioned.

Angelo sighed lightly before pouring his son a glass of orange juice. “There you go,” Angelo said as he placed it in front of him. “Now sit there quietly.” Connor sighed lightly as he reached forward to pick up his juice but he ended up knocking the glass over.

“Connor,” Angelo shouted and Connor jumped in fright. “Get down from there,” Connor jumped down from the stool and stuck his bottom lip out. “Don’t start with the water works either.” Angelo said as he led Connor into his office. “Sit in here and please don’t touch anything.”

“Can I finish my ice-cream then?” Connor asked quietly.

“Sure, I’ll go get it for you.” Angelo said before he walked back into the restaurant and returned to his office moments laters with the bowl of ice-cream. “I won’t be long.” Angelo said before he closed the door and left Connor sitting alone in the office.

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Thank you charlieandbrax, Sarah, soph1303, Zoe, Freakie42 and Chester-Sam for the comments. :wub: Just because I am feeling generous today I am giving you a second update. :P

Chapter 4

Charlie walked up the stairs of the surf club and into the restaurant to see Angelo handing over some change to a lady. She shook her head lightly as she walked up to the bar. “What the hell Angelo?”

“Charlie...I eh...I just popped in for 10 minutes.” Angelo said.

“10 minutes.” Brax laughed. “Try 3 hours. You’ve been here at least that long.”

“No one asked you.” Angelo spat back at him.

“Where’s Connor?” Charlie shook her head in disbelief. She couldn’t believe Angelo had come into work when he should have been spending some time with his son.

“He’s fine,” Angelo said. “He’s in the office.”

“He’s not fine Angelo,” Charlie shook her head. “Why do you think I came here? Connor phoned 000 and asked if mummy was working in the police station because he was sitting alone in daddy’s work and wanted me to come get him.”

“Oh, I eh...” Angelo trailed off as he rubbed the back of his head. “I won’t be much longer. You don’t need to take him home.”

“If he wants to go home, I’m going to take him home. You can’t bring him to work all the time. Especially when you weren’t even supposed to be working today. He just wants to spend some time with you Angelo. He’s finding this split hard enough without you treating him like this. He’s just a little kid. You used to be great with him. I don’t understand....” Charlie shook her head. “Since you left us, I....it’s like your someone else.”

“It’s not like I don’t have a reason to have changed,” Angelo said. “You might have gotten over it and be fine and that’s fine but I never will.”

“You really think I’ll get over this?” Charlie questioned as she felt a stinging in her eyes. “I’ll never get over what happened. I need to walk passed that room everyday....everyday I think about her. Angelo I am never going to get over this and the fact you think I will...” Charlie shook her head. “But we have to be strong for Connor. He is still our son and he needs us.”

“Eh guys, maybe you should take this chat elsewhere.” Brax said as he walked closer to them. “There are customers and you know -”

“It’s fine,” Charlie sniffed back. “I’m leaving.” Charlie said before she walked over to the office and opened the door.

“Mummy,” Connor smiled as he jumped down from the chair and ran into her arms. “I want to come with you.”

“Hey squirt,” Charlie smiled as bent down to her son’s level. “If you want to come home that’s fine, but you need to make up your mind now and not say before bed that you want to go back to your daddy’s place.”

“No I won’t,” Connor shook his head. “I want to come home. Daddy’s not being nice.”

“Look mate I’m sorry,” Angelo said as he appeared at the door. “How about we go home now? We can even stop off at the store on the way home and daddy will buy you a Wii.”

“Bribery, how lovely.” Charlie shook her head.

“No I just want to stay with mummy,” Connor said as he picked up his overnight bag and put it over his shoulders. “Can we go now?” Connor asked and Charlie nodded lightly as he took his hand into hers and they left the restaurant.


“I like that girl who had dinner with us mummy,” Connor smiled as he jumped up onto his bed and patted beside him for Charlie to get in next to him. Charlie complied and lay in the bed with her son, wrapping her arm around him as he snuggled against her with the book in his hand ready for Charlie to read. “She’s real nice.”

“Yeah,” Charlie smiled as she lightly ran her hand through Connor’s soft fair hair. “I think so too.”

“Is she staying with us forevers?” Connor questioned.

“I don’t know,” Charlie shook her head. “We’ll need to wait and see.”

“Maybe she could come to my soccer game next week?” Connor smiled enthusiastically. “Please can I ask her?”

“Sure you can.” Charlie smiled lightly. No matter what happened between herself and Ruby, if Ruby and Connor wanted some sort of relationship then she wouldn’t stop that from happening.

“Mummy,” Connor sighed sadly as he sat up in the bed and looked up at her, his big blue eyes, all wide. “Why is daddy always so sad and mean to me?” Connor bowed his head down sadly. “Is it cos of Lily?”

Charlie pursed her lips together as she pushed back a tear that wanted to fall. She shook her head lightly as she rubbed her sons back. “I don’t know,” Charlie shook her head. “Daddy is just really sad right now and I don’t think he means to be like that with you.”

“But you sad too,” Connor replied. “In here,” Connor shuffled closer to Charlie and touched her face right next to her eyes. “And you no be mean to me,” Connor shook his head. “You never is mean to me.”

“Daddy and mummy are just dealing with this differently,” Charlie said. “I promise you daddy will get better and he won’t be mean to you anymore.”

“Hmm,” Connor scratched the side of his head, unsure before he let out a yawn.

“C’mon, mummy will get this story read to you because you look like you need your sleep.” Charlie said as she opened the book and Connor lay back down in the bed and cuddled up against Charlie and she began to read to him.


Charlie read over the document one last time, before she brought the pen up to the dotted line and signed her name. She took a deep breath before standing up and walking over to the cabinet and opened the top drawer and lifted out the frame. Running her hand over the picture, she stopped it over Angelo’s face. Their wedding day, one of the happiest days of their lives, and look at where they were now. She’d met Angelo when she was 24, he was 22. They were both junior officers in the city and immediately hit it off. One of the things that Charlie loved most about Angelo was that he formed a great bond with Ruby. Even though she was only supposed to be her sister at that time, it was still important to Charlie that any boyfriend she had, got on well with her. By the time Charlie was 26, she and Angelo were engaged, and living together, not too far away from the house where Ruby still lived with Ross and Elsie. Not too long after the wedding, Charlie was transferred to the station in Yabbie Creek, and that’s what brought Charlie and Angelo to the bay. After about a year in the bay, Charlie found out she was pregnant, and both Charlie and Angelo - who’d recently left the police force in order to pursue his dream in opening up a restaurant – along with Ruby, Ross and Elsie were thrilled at news. However, just a few months into the pregnancy, they were met with the devastating news that Elsie had passed away. Ross, who struggled to cope with the grief of losing his wife and dealing with a grieving Ruby, sent 13 year old Ruby to live in the bay with her sister and Angelo. Ruby seemed to calm down once she started living with Charlie and Angelo and began to grieve the loss of her mother in a less angry and violent way and still continued to see Ross one or two weekends a month. The arrival of Connor also helped calm Ruby down and she became like a second mother to him, wanting to do everything she could for him if she wasn’t busy with school work or hanging out with friends. But on the day of Connor’s 3rd birthday party, Ross, who was suffering from Alzheimer’s let it slip that Charlie was in fact Ruby’s mother. Although at first Charlie just tried to say Ross was confused and she wasn’t her mother, eventually she told Ruby the truth and that she was in fact her mother, and that’s when Ruby left, not waiting or wanting it seemed, to listen to the whole story of what happened. Ross passed away shortly after and Charlie tried desperately to find Ruby to tell her but she wasn’t able to do so. Charlie shook her head lightly as she put the photo back down in the drawer and picked up her wedding rings and rolled them around her hand. She pursed her lips together, before placing them back down in the drawer and picking up a second photo. As she looked at this picture she felt her heart breaking all over again. The cute little button nose, the same ruby red lips as Ruby had, the little dimples when she smiled, just like Connor. She rested her hand on the picture and felt a tear roll down her cheek. A knock at the door made her jump slightly and she put the picture back and wiped the tears from her face before walking over to the door. “Brax,” Charlie tried her best to put on a smile. “What can I do for you?”

“Connor left this in the office,” Brax said as he handed Charlie Connor’s Nintendo DS. “Thought he’d like to have it back.”

“Ah yeah thank you.” Charlie said quietly as she took it into her hand.

“Everything okay?” Brax questioned. “You look upset.”

“I’m fine,” Charlie tried her best to sound convincing. Brax raised his eyes in disbelief. “Honestly.”

“It would be okay if you weren’t,” Brax said. “I’d hate to be in your shoes. With what’s all happened in your life lately.”

“Gee thanks.” Charlie sniffed back.

“Sorry I didn’t mean....” Brax trailed off. “Look if you ever want anyone to talk to....well you can always come to me.” Brax smiled.

“Didn’t really think we were friends.” Charlie answered.

“Well I’d like to be.” Brax smiled. “And well you’re my business partner’s wife, eh....ex...you know you’re...” Brax trailed off as he scratched his head and didn’t understand why he felt so nervous all of a sudden.

“I don’t think Angelo would be too pleased if I was to strike up a friendship with you,” Charlie said softly. “He’s not exactly your biggest fan is he?”

“I don’t really care what Angelo thinks,” Brax shook his head. “It shouldn’t be up to him who you can and can’t be friends with. Especially now you’re separated.”

Charlie pursed her lips together before she nodded her head. “Maybe there is one thing that you could do for me?” Charlie said as she heard her voice breaking as a tear rolled down her cheek.

“Sure anything.” Brax smiled as he took a step closer to her, and into the house.

“Can I have a hug?” Charlie asked as she burst into tears. Brax nodded as he took another step forward and pulled her tiny frame into his and wrapped his arms around her. He gently rubbed her back in comfort as she wrapped her arms around him and held onto him tightly.

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Chapter 5

Colleen stood staring at the young woman as she walked into the diner. She let the plate she was holding fall and as it hit the ground, and she didn’t even jump as it made a smashing sound and shatter into tiny pieces as she was too wrapped in seeing her again. “Ruby...it’s Ruby Buckton.” Colleen squawked as she scurried over to the counter, wanting to be the one to serve her. “My Ruby it’s been a long time.”

“Colleen.” Ruby smiled politely.

“What eh....what’s this visit in order for?” Colleen asked. “You know you left poor Charlie heartbroken...and little Connor was asking for you for weeks.....you know your mother had a -”

“Colleen.” Irene sighed, cutting her off. “Go and clean up that mess you’ve made there.” Irene pointed to where the shattered plate was.

“I was just about to tell young Ruby here about Lily -”

“Colleen.” Irene said. “Clean up, now.” Colleen frowned as she scurried back into the kitchen to get the brush and dustpan to clean up the mess she’d made.

“So what can I get for you?” Irene asked.

“Just a latte to go thanks.” Ruby said and Irene picked up the to go cup and placed it at the coffee machine, and began making Ruby her order.

“So is this just a flying visit or are you back for good?” Irene questioned.

“I’m not sure,” Ruby shook her head. “I guess we’ll just see how things go with Charlie.” Ruby smiled weakly as she fished some money out of her pocket.

“Baby steps yeah,” Irene said. “It’s not going to go all perfect at once.”

“Oh I know,” Ruby nodded. “We still have a lot to talk about and work through, but hopefully we can have some sort of relationship.”

“Well here’s the coffee.” Irene said as she handed Ruby the cup.

“Thank you.” Ruby smiled as she gave Irene the money. As she waited on her change, Colleen came back over and stood next to Irene and looked at Ruby, he arms folded across her chest and a frown on her face.

“And I don’t suppose you’ve heard about Ross either.” Colleen said.

“Colleen,” Irene raised her voice. “Will you stop bringing up things that have nothing to do with you. Charlie and Ruby need to talk about everything themselves.”

“Well if you ask me Charlie shouldn’t welcome her back,” Colleen huffed. “After all the poor woman’s been through. She’s needed you the most these last two years Ruby and you weren’t here. You should be ashamed.”

“Alright, that’s enough.” Irene said sharply. “Go and clean table 6.”

Colleen shook her head as she scurried away. “Look, ignore Colleen.” Irene started but Ruby spoke over her.

“What’s she talking about though?” Ruby questioned. “What’s happened? What’s happened to Ross and who’s Lily?”

“It’s best coming from your mu....from Charlie.” Irene said. Ruby nodded her head lightly before she thanked Irene and left the diner, wondering if she would get answers from Charlie about the question’s she had.


Ruby walked back into the house to find Charlie in the kitchen, pouring water into a mug. “Hey.” Ruby smiled lightly.

“I’m just making a coffee if you want one?” Charlie asked as she looked up at her briefly before looking back down at the mug and putting the kettle back in its place.

“No, I have one here.” Ruby said as she lifted the coffee cup out in front of her.

“How was your walk?” Charlie asked as she walked out of the kitchen and took a seat in the living room, with Ruby following on after her.

“Yeah okay,” Ruby nodded. “The bay’s not changed much. In fact it hasn’t changed at all. I ran into April.”

“Oh and how was that?” Charlie asked. Before Ruby left the bay, April was her best friend. They told each other everything and were really close.

“Surprisingly good, actually.” Ruby answered. “I thought she hated me for leaving without saying goodbye, but no, we were talking like I’d never been away,” Ruby smiled. “Well the first while was a bit frosty but it didn’t take too long to get back to how we were.”

“That’s good,” Charlie smiled half-heartedly. “At least you have someone here for you. Maybe you could even go and stay at her place.” Ruby pursed her lips together before taking a drink of her coffee.

“So I’m not welcome here then?” Ruby asked.

Charlie shook her head. “It’s not that you’re not welcome,” Charlie started. “It’s just awkward between us right now maybe it would be easier for us to get things sorted if we didn’t live together. And it’s not like I have room for you here anyways.” Charlie shook her head. “There’s my room, Connor’s room and then...” Charlie trailed off as she took a deep breath, and Ruby could see she was trying to compose herself. “You’re old room isn’t an option,” Charlie said. “It’s out of the question.”

“Okay ehm....well if it’s okay with you could I stay here for tonight and then tomorrow I’ll find another place to stay.” Ruby said. “But if you really want me gone tonight?”

“No, I don’t mean it like that,” Charlie shook her head. “I just thought you going somewhere with a bed would be more comfortable for you than on this couch.”

“I’d rather be here on this couch than back home in the city with Lee and his.....” Ruby trailed off as she looked down to the ground.

“Lee?” Charlie questioned.

“He was my boyfriend.” Ruby answered. “He was lovely but eh.....well people can change.” Ruby said quietly as she began fidgeting with the edges of her takeaway cup. Charlie just nodded lightly sensing Ruby wasn’t yet ready to open up about the real reason she’d came back to the bay. “Charlie...when I was in the diner, well Colleen said something about Ross and that these last two years has been really bad for you....I eh.....Ross is he...”

“Dad died.” Charlie just came right out and said it. It was the only way really.

“Oh God,” Ruby brought her hand up to her mouth in shock. “I eh....I’m so sorry I wasn’t here,” Ruby cried. “When did...how did?”

“He had heart attack.” Charlie sniffed back. “Not that long after you left really. The doctors think....he was really stressed. He was sick with Alzheimer’s, he kept apologising and apologising to me and he....he was trying to find you. Morag, me, our Aunt Michelle all told him he needed to calm down for the sake of his health but he just wanted to make everything right. He felt like it was his fault that you’d run off and we weren’t talking.” Charlie sniffed back as she wiped a tear from her eye.

“You blame me, don’t you?” Ruby questioned as she saw the look in Charlie’s eyes.

“I think if you hadn’t run away dad wouldn’t have gotten so stressed.” Charlie nodded. “So if that means I blame you...” Charlie trailed off as she pursed her lips together and shrugged her shoulders.

“I didn’t run off intending...I mean I didn’t think...” Ruby trailed off as she sniffed back and tried to find the words she wanted to say.

“No you didn’t think at all did you?” Charlie questioned. “But then again, it was always about poor little Ruby. Others always came second to you.”

Ruby sniffed back as she put the coffee cup down on the table and once again wiped the tears from her eyes. “I’m sorry.” Ruby tried to keep her voice steady as she spoke. “How’s eh....Morag, how is she?” Ruby felt it was best just to change the subject slightly; she didn’t want to argue even more, she was supposed to be there to make relations better between the two of them, not worse.

“Morag is fine,” Charlie replied. “Obviously she found it difficult at first, we all did.” Charlie sniffed back as too put her coffee cup down on the table. “She still lives in the city. She’ll come back here once a month and spend the weekend here with me and Connor.”

“That’s nice.” Ruby smiled lightly. “I know she not the most motherly of people but she did have a soft spot for little Connor.”

“Yeah,” Charlie nodded. “She’ll be down in three weeks time.” Charlie bit her lip. She was dreading what was going to happen in 3 weeks time.

“Will be nice to see her again.” Ruby smiled.

“So you’re still going to be here then?” Charlie questioned.

“Like I’ve said, I’m here to stay,” Ruby bit her lip. “I can’t go back to the city.”

“You’re running from something,” Charlie said. “Life got a bit tough so you’re running again.”

“You have no idea, Charlie,” Ruby replied. “What I’ve had to endure in the last year. And you know what? I asked myself one day what would Charlie tell me to do and that’s how I got here. I did what I thought you’d tell me and I left. I got out because of you.”

“Sounds very ominous.” Charlie said. “Ruby what happened?”

“His name was Lee.” Ruby exhaled. “He was so lovely and sweet and kind. It changed though.” Ruby pulled at the tie on her trousers as she looked away from Charlie. “About a year ago was the first time he eh....he started by calling me names, putting me down, nothing I ever did was good enough. Then I couldn’t go out with my friends. School and grocery shopping was all I could do,” Ruby sniffed back a tear as she told Charlie the story of why she ran from the city. “About 8 months ago now...that was the first time he hit me and it didn’t stop and then he.....he forced himself on me a few times too but I couldn’t....I couldn’t leave. I was trapped in this abusive relationship and he kept telling me he would change but he didn’t. But he loved me, I know deep down he loved me and that’s all I wanted. I wanted to feel loved.”

“Ruby,” Charlie shook her head as a tear rolled down her cheek. “You know you are loved here.”

“I didn’t know what to feel after you told me you were my mother,” Ruby cried. “I’d got it in my head that if you gave me up it was because you didn’t love me.”

“But surely everything I did for you, Rubes...you lived with me and Angelo. We took you on holidays, we bought you all you wanted....we treated you like our daughter...I don’t understand how...I gave you up because I did love you. I wanted you to have that better life.”

“It made sense to me at the time.” Ruby answered.

Charlie nodded lightly. “And this Lee guy, does he know about the bay? About me living here?”

“No,” Ruby shook her head. “I didn’t tell him much about my background.”

“Well that’s probably a good thing,” Charlie nodded. “He’s less likely to come here if he doesn’t know about it. Have you reported him to the police?”

“I can’t.” Ruby shook her head.

“You can,” Charlie said. “I know you might think that it’s not an option but Rubes -”

“No you don’t understand,” Ruby shook her head. “I really can’t. Lee, he’s.....he’s a junior officer. They’re never going to believe it, Charlie. All his friends on the force, they won’t....”

“Go to the officers at my station,” Charlie said. “You’ll be believed there and they’re not going to take Lee’s side.”

“No,” Ruby shook her head. “I just want it to be over. I don’t want.....I just want to move on and the only way to do that is to forget about him and get rid of this.” Ruby said as she hit her stomach.

“You’re pregnant?” Charlie questioned and Ruby nodded as a tear rolled down her cheek. “How far along?”

“5 weeks. I think.” Ruby answered. “I haven’t really been to the doctors to check yet, but it doesn’t really matter does it? If I am going to get rid of it,” Ruby said. “I eh...you’ll support me right? You said you would help and this is what I want.”

“I can’t,” Charlie shook her head. “Not if you are going to get an abortion.”

“But you told me -”

“I’m sorry,” Charlie cried. “I can’t....not if you have an abortion. Ruby I....” Charlie trailed off as she stood up from the couch and ran up the stairs, leaving Ruby sitting bewildered on the armchair. Charlie stood outside the room and ran her hand across the door. She took a deep breath as she put her hand on the handle and opened the door and walked into the room. It was exactly as it was when she was alive. Nothing had been changed, nothing yet moved. The walls still shades of pink and white, the little pink teddies still dancing on the border. The mobile still hanging above the cot, the rocking chair and changing table still in their places. All her clothes still hanging in the wardrobe, still sitting in the drawers. Charlie closed the door and leaned up against the wall and sank down to the floor in tears.

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Thanks everyone. :wub:

Warning: mentions of death in this chapter.

Chapter 6

Ruby stood outside the door. She could hear the sounds of muffled cries coming from Charlie and didn’t know what to do. She didn’t know whether to leave her or go in and talk to her. Charlie had made it clear to Ruby that that room was off bounds to her, and Ruby wanted to respect that, but at the same time, she knew Charlie was hurting and wanted to show her that she was there for her. She took a deep breath before she knocked on the door. Charlie tried to compose herself as she wiped the tears from her eyes. She knew Ruby would have to find out eventually, things like this always got out, it’s not like she could kept it a secret forever, and she didn’t intent too, she didn’t want to keep her a secret but right now talking about her hurt Charlie too much, but she knew she had too, she had to let Ruby know about her sister. “Yeah.” Charlie cleared her throat. “Come in.” Ruby walked into the room and her eyes went wide in shock at what she saw. She opened her mouth to talk but no words came out. “Her name was Lily.” Charlie started to talk.

“Lily.” Ruby said under her breath. This is who Colleen was on about.

“She eh...she was the best baby.” Charlie smiled fondly as she thought about her baby daughter. “She didn’t cry much, she didn’t fuss. She was always content, smiling, and happy. She had these cute little dimples on her cheeks when she smiled, just like Connor does.” Charlie wiped the tears from her cheeks as she sniffed back. Connor absolutely loved her. He was a great big brother. He liked to pick out her clothes in the morning and he would help to bathe her and he liked to hold her while I read them a story...” Charlie trailed off as fresh tears fell down her face. “Angelo was besotted. When I was pregnant he made no secret of the fact that he wanted a daughter. Someone to be his little princess. A little daddy’s girl. To everyone we had the perfect family. We were so in love and happy. We were so happy. We had two great kids. Even luckier we had one of each. We were so close to being complete. All I wished for was for you to come back in my life and then for me it really would have been perfect."

“I’m sorry,” Ruby sniffed back tears that were rolling down her cheeks. “What eh...what happened?”

“SIDS..... cot death.....whatever you want to call it,” Charlie said quietly. “8 months ago. She was 3 months old.”

“I’m so sorry,” Ruby said. “I don’t know what to say.” Ruby shook her head as she wiped the tears from cheeks, and tentatively put her hand onto Charlie’s arm and rubbed it in comfort.

“Nobody did.” Charlie shook her head. “For weeks people would avoid us because they didn’t know what to say.”

“Must have felt horrible,” Ruby said. “It would be a time where you needed people most.”

“There was only one person I wanted.” Charlie answered. “But I didn’t know how to get in touch with her.”

Ruby bowed her head down, embarrassed at how she handled everything. Charlie was going through something major and the one person she needed and wanted most in the world couldn’t be reached. “All I can keep saying is sorry, because I am.” Ruby said.

“Angelo and I...” Charlie started, knowing the question was coming anyways so she may as well tell her now. “At first we helped each other through it. But he started to become more distant, he drank a lot, he.....well a couple of months after we lost her he wouldn’t even talk to me. I tried so hard to keep us together and for Connor, he was so confused to why we didn’t have Lily anymore and he...he just wanted his mummy and daddy back and...” Charlie wiped the tears from her face. “About 4 months ago, on the four month anniversary of Lily’s death, Connor and I came home expecting to find Angelo in the house but he wasn’t here.” Charlie shook her head as she played with her now bare wedding ring finger. “I put Connor to bed and I went into our bedroom and it was then I noticed all his clothes were gone. He’d left me.” Charlie exhaled as she wiped her nose with her sleeve.

“What a jerk,” Ruby said angrily. “Leaving you at a time like that.”

“He left me when I needed him most,” Charlie whispered. “I don’t think there’s any going back for us. I know there’s not,” Charlie shook her head. “But for Connor’s sake I hope that we can find a way to make something work.”

“If he even cares about being with Connor.” Ruby spat. “After how he was with him today I’m not so sure he does.”

“I think....Connor....Lily was like Connor in so many ways. I think right now, when he looks at Connor he sees Lily and it’s too hard for him.” Charlie said. “When I look at Connor, I see Lily too, but for me, it’s more of a blessing because it’s like in some weird way he’s keeping her memory alive for me.”

“It’s not weird.” Ruby shook her head. “The baby on the cabinet down the stairs, is that her?”

Charlie nodded lightly. “We had more out.” Charlie sniffed back. “But right now, it’s too hard for me to look at them. It’s still too fresh. One day there will be pictures of her on the shelf, on the cabinet, as we walk up the stairs, she’ll be there. But just not right now.”

“It’s understandable.” Ruby nodded lightly.

Charlie smiled weakly at Ruby as she stood up. “I’m eh...I’m going to bed. See you tomorrow.” Charlie said as she left the room. Ruby stayed seated on the floor and put her hand over her stomach, as much as she didn’t want this child, after what Charlie had just told her, there was no way that she going to be able to have an abortion now, but where did that leave Ruby, because there was no way that she wanted to have this child.


“Ruby?” Connor questioned as they sat at the kitchen table eating their breakfast.

“Yeah?” Ruby said as she put her glass of orange juice down on the table.

“Well eh....will you come to my soccer game next weekend?” Connor asked shyly as he dipped his toast into his boiled egg before taking a bite.

Ruby looked up to Charlie, as if looking for permission to attend. Charlie gave a slight nod of the head as she put a spoonful of cereal into her mouth. “I’d love to come squirt.” Ruby smiled.

“How do you know my nickname?” Connor asked amazed.

“I started calling you squirt when you were you were still in your mummy’s tummy.” Ruby answered.

“Wow, you’ve knowed me that long?” Connor gasped. “I not knowed you till Friday That’s only 2 days ago.”

“You knew Ruby when you were little.” Charlie spoke up. “But she left for a long time.”

“How did I knowed her?” Connor asked. “Who is she to me?”

“She’s...” Charlie trailed off. Who does she tell Connor she is? His sister? His Auntie? A family friend? Charlie looked to Ruby as she shrugged her shoulders.

“Me and your mum used to be really close when you were little.” Ruby answered.

“But you’s not now?” Connor questioned as he scratched the side of his head.

“Not really.” Ruby said.

“Why?” Connor asked as he looked questioningly from Ruby to his mother.

“C’mon Connor that’s enough questions. Finish up your breakfast then we are going to go and ask daddy to come to your soccer game.”

“No.” Connor whined. “I don’t want to ask daddy. He won’t come.”

“We have to ask him.” Charlie said.

“But no.” Connor moaned. “He’ll just stay at the restaurant anyways.”

“Maybe not.” Charlie shook her head. “You need to ask him, he’ll be sad if he finds out you didn’t.”

“Well I’ll ask.” Connor sighed.

“You’d like it if he came would you not?” Ruby questioned. “I bet it would be fun for Angelo to see you playing soccer.”

“Yeah but he won’t come anyways.” Connor shook his head. “He’s comes to nothing now.” Connor bowed his head down sadly.

“Aww well maybe he’ll surprise you.” Ruby smiled. “So what position do you play?”

“Uhm....streaker.” Connor nodded.

“Aww Connor,” Charlie laughed. “You are a striker.”

“Yeah striker,” Connor giggled. “That’s what I meant.”

“Ah wow have you scored lots of goals for your team?” Ruby questioned as she once again took a drink of her juice.

“Uhm......uhm....I scored 3 in ehm....how many games mummy?” Connor asked as he scratched the side of his head.

“You’ve played 5 games.” Charlie said.

“Ahh well that’s really good Connor.” Ruby smiled enthusiastically.

“Yeah,” Connor nodded. “I scored lots last year too,” Connor smiled. “I love soccer.”

“Well maybe we could go have a little kick about in the garden later.” Ruby smiled.

“Ah yeah,” Connor grinned. “Can I mummy?”

“We’ll see,” Charlie answered as she stood up from the table and began to clear away the plates. “Now, go and clean your teeth and we’ll go see daddy.”

Connor jumped down from the table and ran out of the room, doing as instructed. “He’s such a sweet kid.” Ruby smiled.

“Yeah.” Charlie agreed as she put the dishes into the dishwasher.

“If you need anyone to watch him today while you are at work, I can do it. It would be nice to hang out with him.” Ruby said.

“He’s going to Bianca’s.” Charlie answered. “So thanks but no thanks. Maybe you could go and find somewhere else to live.”

“Oh eh....yeah I’ll eh....I’ll go do that.” Ruby said sadly. “Sorry to be of bother to you.”

“I didn’t say you were. But you can’t stay on that couch forever.”

“No.” Ruby shook her head. “I guess I can’t.” Charlie smiled lightly as she picked up her car keys and bag from the worktop and walked out from the kitchen and through the living room to the bottom of the stairs, where she watched Connor jumping down them.

“You ready squirt?” Charlie smiled as he jumped down the last stair and took hold of her hand.

“Uh-huh.” Connor nodded. “Let’s go ask daddy then.” Connor spoke unenthusiastically as he and Charlie left the house.

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Thank you Sarah, Freakie42, Spotd1, beebee, RoRo90, Sabrina and Zoe for the comments.

Chapter 7

Connor ran into the restaurant and climbed up onto the bar stool. He rested his elbows against the bar top and sat with his head in his hands as he stared at Brax, who was standing polishing up the glassware. “Hey, Connor how are you today?” Connor stared silently at Brax and continued to watch what he was doing. “Where’s your mummy?” Brax asked as he put the glass and cloth down on the bar top and rested his arms against it as he looked at the boy. “Cat got your tongue today?” Brax laughed.

“My daddy says I’m not allowed to talk to you.” Connor said quietly.

“Is that so?” Brax questioned and Connor nodded.

“He said you’re intrustwithy.” Connor told him and Brax nodded lightly.

“He said I was untrustworthy hey.” Brax said as Charlie walked into the restaurant from being at the toilet. She looked up to Brax and smiled lightly, Brax returned the smile, knowing that Charlie was thanking him for last night.

“Charlie, Connor, what are you doing here?” The sound of Angelo’s voice caused Charlie and Brax to break eye contact. Brax got back to what he was doing, as Charlie placed her hands onto Connor’s shoulders and looked down to him.

“Connor came to ask you something.” Charlie told Angelo.

“Yeah?” Angelo questioned as he looked down at his son. “What have you got to say?”

“Ehm well I’ve got a soccer game next Sunday and I would like it if you watched.” Connor said quietly as he looked up to his dad.

“Aww squirt I would love to be there but unfortunately daddy has to work.”

Connor bowed his head down sadly. Brax looked from Charlie, to Angelo, and to the boy, who looked heartbroken at the fact that daddy had turned him down and shook his head lightly before looking back up to Angelo. “I can work next Sunday.” Brax said. “You should go watch your son play soccer.”

“Nah, we’ll keep the roster how it is.” Angelo shook his head. “Sorry son maybe next time eh.” Angelo said as he leaned forward and went to touch his shoulder but Connor shrugged back and jumped down from the chair and looked up to Charlie, his eyes showing hurt.

“I told you he wouldn’t come.” Connor said on the brink of tears before he ran out of the restaurant.

“You’re unbelievable, you know that Angelo.” Charlie shook her head in disgust.

“No I’m not,” Angelo shook his head. “I just have a business to run.” Angelo walked away from the bar and back into the kitchen.

“He’s better off without him, Charlie,” Brax said. “Seriously the guy is a waste of space.”

“I need to go get him.” Charlie said as she turned away from the bar and walked out of the restaurant, and out of the surf club to find Connor running down towards the beach. “Connor,” Charlie shouted as she picked her pace and shortened the distance between her and her son. “Hey, squirt, come here.” Charlie reached her arm out and grabbed onto her son, pulling him close to her. Connor wrapped his arms tightly around Charlie’s neck and hid his face tight against her chest, getting tear marks on her police shirt. Charlie gently rubbed her son’s back as she placed a soft kiss on his fair hair. She sat down in the sand and Connor sat on her knee, keeping close to her. “I’m sorry squirt. I won’t make you ask him to come anywhere again.” Charlie said as she wiped the tears from her sons face.

“He wishes Lily was still here and not me.” Connor said quietly as he bowed his head down, moving his gaze away from Charlie’s.

“Hey no,” Charlie shook her head. “Don’t you ever think that,” Charlie’s voice was close to breaking. “Daddy would never wish you away.”

“Uh-huh.” Connor nodded. “You both wish Lily was here.”

Charlie pursed her lips together as she thought about her daughter. “I know,” Charlie nodded. “But just because we wish Lily was still here, it’s doesn’t mean that we wish you away, okay,” Charlie lightly rubbed Connor’s back. “You’re my little man. I wouldn’t ever want to be without you.”

“I know you wouldn’t,” Connor replied as he looked up to Charlie. “Just daddy.” Connor sighed lightly. “I don’t want to see him anymore,” Connor shook his head. “He just always be’s mean now.”

“You need to see your daddy.” Charlie said. “It’s important for you and him to get a good bond. Little boys need their dad’s.”

Connor shook his head before he once again rested it against Charlie’s chest. She placed a soft kiss on his temple as she rubbed his back. “No,” Connor whispered. “He just makes me sad.”

Charlie exhaled lightly as she looked down at her watch. She was going to be late for work if she didn’t leave now. “It’s okay, everything will work itself out.” Charlie said as she pushed Connor forward lightly and stood to her feet. Connor took her hand and looked up at her. Charlie felt her heart sink as she looked down into his sad, blue eyes.

“I don’t want to go to Bee-Bee’s,” Connor shook his head. “I want to go home with you.”

“Mummy has to go to work.” Charlie said as they walked off the beach, and in the direction of Bianca’s house. "You’ll have with fun Bee-Bee.”

“No please.” Connor cried. “Just for one day.”

Charlie exhaled lightly as she stopped walking and bent down to Connor’s level and wiped the tears from his cheeks. She hated to see him so upset, and worse still, she hated the fact that Angelo, his dad, was the one making him feel like this. “Just for today.” Charlie said and Connor nodded before Charlie pulled him into a hug.


Ruby knocked on the door of the caravan park and only hoped that they’d had a spare van for her to stay in, although, without much money in her account, she wouldn’t be able to stay in a van for long, but at least it would get her out of Charlie’s place and off Charlie’s couch. If Ruby was being honest, she didn’t mind if she had to stay on the couch, she would, but it appeared that Charlie wanted her to move out, and maybe it was for the best. They could meet for a few hours and talk, and then go their separate ways, and have some space. “Ruby,” Roo said sounding shocked. “What are you doing back here?” Roo took Ruby aback as she pulled her into a hug.

“Hopefully rebuilding a relationship with Charlie,” Ruby said as the hug parted. “But eh...I can’t stay at her place. There’s no room,” Ruby shook her head. “And she doesn’t want me sleeping on the couch.”

“Oh well, sorry eh, all our vans are actually in use at the moment.” Roo answered. “There’s no friends you could maybe stay with?”

Ruby laughed lightly. “April is the only one who’ll talk to me,” Ruby answered. “But she and Bianca only have a 2 bedroomed place. She said I could have the couch or bunk in with her for a while, but, I kinda got the feeling she didn’t really want me staying there.”

“Well no matter what style you left town in it’s not nice to see you without a place to stay.” Roo said. “I’d offer you a room here but they’re all taken too.”

“Okay, well maybe you could let me know when a van is available?” Ruby questioned and Roo nodded her head.

“Eh Ruby,” Rachel smiled as she appeared from around the corner, a cup of coffee in her hands. “Nice to see you home. How’s it been with Charlie?”

“Well as expected it not really all sunshine and lollypop’s just yet, but we’ve talked and it’s going okay.” Ruby smiled lightly as she fiddled with the little flower on the side of her bag.

“How about Connor is he excited to see you?” Rachel questioned.

“He couldn’t remember me,” Ruby shook her head. “But he seems to like me, so I’m sure we’ll have a nice bond soon.”

Rachel smiled lightly before she pursed her lips together. “So, if you need to place to stay, there are two spare rooms at our place. I’m sure Tony won’t mind.”

“Oh wow, eh...are you really sure?” Ruby questioned. “I don’t have much money so I couldn’t really pay you much for it and -”

“You can cook right?” Rachel questioned and Ruby nodded. “And you can work a washing machine and know how to use cleaning products?”

“Yeah, yeah.” Ruby answered.

“Then help around house and that’ll be your way of paying us.” Rachel said.

“Thank you so much Rachel,” Ruby smiled. “I’m going to look for a job so I can give you some money eventually.”

“That’s okay,” Rachel smiled as she took a drink of the coffee before putting the mug down on the table. “Thanks for the chat, Roo, I gotta get going. You can come around to the house at any time.”

“Thank you.” Ruby said again as Rachel walked out of the house. “So, I’ll head home now too.”

“It was nice to see you again Ruby. I hope you and Charlie sort everything out.”

“Yeah, me too.” Ruby smiled weakly as she walked out of the house and made her way back along the sidewalk until she reached Charlie’s house. She reached into her pocket for the spare key, but was surprised to find the door was already unlocked. She walked into the house and screwed her face up in confusion as she saw Connor sitting at the kitchen table drawing a picture, and Charlie standing at the worktop pouring a glass of orange juice, now changed out of her uniform. “Is everything alright?” Ruby questioned.

“Angelo,” Charlie shook her head as she put the orange juice back in the fridge and walked over to the table and put the glass down in front of her son. “You know what, don’t even ask. Connor got a little upset so I’m just staying here with him now.”

“Ah okay.” Ruby nodded lightly. “Well I got a place to stay so I can be out of your hair by tonight.”

“Rubes you know I’m not wanting you out for anything.....I just think it’ll be best this way.” Charlie said. You know it’s still kinda awkward and being together all the time I...”

“No, I get it.” Ruby nodded. “I think it’s the right thing to do as well.”

“Ruby....what you said last night about being pregnant....about wanting an abortion, I don’t want you to -”

“I know.” Ruby nodded. “I eh....after what you told me about Lily, I eh....I don’t think I can get an abortion.”

Charlie pursed her lips together as she walked out of the kitchen and into the living room with Ruby following behind her, moving away so Connor was less likely to hear what they were saying. “So eh....you want to keep your baby?”

“No,” Ruby shook her head. “I mean I’m only 18...I....I can’t be a mother. I’m not ready.”

“So what? What are you saying?” Charlie questioned.

“I eh....adoption.” Ruby nodded her head. “I think – no - I’m going to give it up for adoption.”

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Thank you everyone. Just because - once again - I'm feeling generous, here is another one today. :)

Chapter 8

“Ruby please think about this,” Charlie shook her head. “Giving up your child...please don’t make the same mistake that I did. Ruby you will be an amazing mother. You were great when Connor was a baby. You have that natural instinct; you’ll be great with your child.”

“No,” Ruby shouted. “I’m not keeping this baby. Charlie, I can’t.” Ruby shook her head. “You couldn’t keep your rapists baby and I can’t keep mines.”

“You were raped?” Charlie questioned. “Oh God Ruby.” Charlie said as as once again tears wanted to fall from her eyes.

“Well that’s what I said,” Ruby yelled. “And I can’t have a constant reminder of it. You got rid of your rape baby and I want to get rid of mines.”

“I didn’t get rid of you.” Charlie shook her head. “Mum and dad raised you. You were still in my life. I could never get rid of you, Rubes. Please don’t make this mistake. I’ll help you, okay, you’ll never be alone in raising this child.”

“Oh there’s an idea.” Ruby raised her voice. “You raise the baby, you know, carry on family tradition. Your mum and dad raised me so I’ll let my mum raise my rape baby.” Ruby laughed. “It’s perfect.”

“Ruby I don’t want to take your child from you. I just want you to know that you’re not alone and I’m here to help you raise her.”

“Oh so it’s a her?” Ruby said. “You know this baby isn’t going to be Lily. You can’t just swoop in and take my child to replace your precious Lily. It doesn’t work like that.” Ruby spat. “Lily is dead. She’s gone and my baby won’t be her.”

Charlie took a step closer to Ruby and before she knew what she doing, she felt her hand against Ruby’s cheek and heard the loud sound of a slap. “Don’t you dare talk about Lily. You have no right.” Charlie cried. “No baby will ever ever replace her. Now get out.” Charlie yelled as she pointed to the door. Ruby stood staring at Charlie in shock as she rubbed her now red and throbbing cheek. Immediately she regretted what she’d said about Lily.

“I’m so sorry.” Ruby cried. “I didn’t mean -”

“Just get out,” Charlie yelled. “Now.” Ruby jumped back slightly at Charlie’s tone before she did as she was asked and grabbed her bag full of clothes from the side of the couch and left the house. Charlie took a step forward and rested her hands on the back of the couch and took a deep breath as she tried to stop the tears from falling down her face. She bowed her head down as she closed her eyes. A small hand touching hers brought her to open her eyes and she looked to her son. “Sweetie please can you just go up the stairs and play in your room for a bit.”

“What’s wrong?” Connor asked sounding concerned for his mother.

“Please Connor, just do as you are told and go up the stairs.” Charlie said again, trying to compose herself for the benefit of her son. Connor exhaled lightly before he lifted his hand up and handed a drawing to Charlie.

“I drew this for Ruby.” Connor said. “Can I give it to her?”

“I’ll make sure she gets it.” Charlie nodded. “Now up the stairs.”

“Will you come play too?” Connor asked and Charlie nodded lightly as she pursed her lips together, letting a lone tear roll down her cheek.

“I’ll be up in a minute.” Charlie nodded. “Go on, up you go.” Connor ran from the room and up the stairs, just as Charlie once again, broke down into tears.


“Thanks for coming.” Charlie said as she welcomed him into the house and closed the door behind him. She followed him over to the couch and took a seat next to him. “I’m surprised you left the restaurant for long enough to actually get here.”

“Charlie that’s not fair,” Angelo shook his head. “A lot of my time and money has gone into that place. It’s my living. I need to be there to ensure I get money at the end of every month.”

“Not just your money was it?” Charlie shook her head. “Fifteen – twenty grand of the money that went into that place was mine.”

“So what you want me to give you it back then?” Angelo asked. “What happened to what’s mine is yours?”

“Look I don’t want to argue about the money.” Charlie shook her head. “It’s not what I asked you to come here for.”

“Well then what did you want?” Angelo questioned.

Charlie looked awkwardly at Angelo and pursed her lips together. “Connor was really upset today. I eh...I had to stay home from work to comfort him.”

“Like I said I have a business to run. I can’t afford to go and watch a bunch of 5-year-olds kick a ball into a net every day.”

Charlie shook her head. “No one is asking you to go and do that every day. It’s one game every other Sunday. Surely for your son’s sake you can spare that.”

“Like I say I have a business to run and he needs to learn that life doesn’t always go the way you want it. God only we know that.” Angelo spoke sadly as he shook his head.

“It’s not just about the soccer Angelo.” Charlie shook her head. “He thinks you’d rather Lily was still here and he was gone. He’s 5 years old and he’s thinking that you wish he was dead.”

“I do wish Lily was still here.” Angelo snapped. “Connor is such a mummy’s boy; it’s always been harder for me to bond with him. With Lily it didn’t matter who she was with. She was always happy.”

“That boy adores you, Angelo,” Charlie said. “He is heartbroken by how you’ve treated him lately. He doesn’t even want to see you anymore because he thinks you don’t want him around. You’re going to lose him if you keep this up,” Charlie informed him. “Angelo for Connor’s sake and your own, you need to let go of this bitterness.”

“It’s always about Connor with you isn’t it?” Angelo asked. “Not once have you cared about me and the fact that I lost my baby girl.” Angelo began to get teary as he spoke.

“I did care, Angelo, I tried to care but you wouldn’t let me in.” Charlie shook her head. “For a couple of months, we talked and we grieved together but then it’s like you just shut yourself down and away from me.” Charlie reached forward and pulled a tissue from the box on the coffee table and wiped away her tears. “I tried so hard to keep us from falling apart but it was like you were determined to let that happen.”

“Because nothing else mattered to me in that moment. Not my marriage, not my son.” Angelo raised his voice. “All I cared about was Lily. My Lily, my little princess and she is still all I care about.”

“Lily is gone Angelo.” Charlie cried. “She’s gone and she’s never coming back. You need to accept that Lily is gone.”

“Never.” Angelo yelled. “I can’t ever accept it because then what do I have? A failed marriage and a son who Lily looked so much like that every time I look at him she’s there but I can’t get her. I can’t have her and it’s not fair. It’s not fair Charlie.”

“I know it’s not.” Charlie said as she once again wiped the tears from her face. “It’s not fair, but it’s happened to us and Connor....Angelo when I look at him and I see Lily...it’s a blessing. She’s still here through her brother and we are never going to forget what she was like because he is keeping her alive for us.”

“I can’t ever see it like that.” Angelo shook his head as he reached forward for a tissue. “I just want her back, Charlie.”

“We can’t.” Charlie shook her head. “No matter how much we wish it, it won’t happen.”

“Why did.....why us?” Angelo cried.

“I don’t know.” Charlie shook her head as more tears fell down her cheeks. “But we were blessed with this amazing little girl. Maybe it was only for 3 short months but I’d rather only have those 3 short months with her than never to have had them at all. The time we had was precious and we are never going to forget her, never ever.” Charlie shook her head as she tentatively placed her hand on Angelo’s arm and rubbed it in comfort.

“I know,” Angelo nodded. “And obviously I’m glad for the time that we had with her. I just wish it wasn’t cut short....you know a parent isn’t supposed to bury a child.”

“I know, and sometimes life just sucks,” Charlie sniffed back a tear. “It just really really sucks but unfortunately we can’t do anything to change it.”

“I wish I could change it.” Angelo said.

“Angelo we can’t -”

“I know we can’t change what happened with Lily,” Angelo bowed his head down sadly. “But with us.... I can change what happened with us. Charlie I miss you so much. I love you so much and I just....I want us to try again. You....I just want you back Charlie. I want my family back.”

Charlie shook her head lightly. “No. It’s too late.”

“No it’s not, we can -”

“I don’t want too.” Charlie sniffed back. “You left me when I needed you the most and I can’t forgive that.”

“But I’m hurting myself. Charlie that’s not fair. I needed to grieve. I still do need to grieve.”

“You didn’t need to walk out on me.” Charlie shook her head. “Angelo I love you so much, but what we had....that was over as soon as you walked out that door.”

“Charlie please if there is anything I can do, I’ll do it.” Charlie looked up at Angelo and into his pleading eyes. She exhaled lightly as she stood up from the couch and walked over to the cabinet and opened the drawer and pulled out the papers. Now was as good a time as ever to hand these over she thought. When was the right time to give someone divorce papers anyways? She took a deep breath before she walked back over to Angelo and handed him them.

“You can sign these and let me go.” Charlie said bluntly.

Angelo took the papers in his hand and scanned them over before shaking his head. “Divorce? You want a divorce?” Charlie nodded her head lightly. “I’m not going to sign them Charlie. I want to win you back.”

“Well I don’t want to take you back and I do want a divorce.”

“Well I’m not going to sign the papers so...” Angelo shook his head as he threw them down on the coffee table.

“Then I guess at this moment in time we don’t have anything left to say to each other.” Charlie said as she stood up from couch and walked over to the front door. “You can leave now.” Charlie said as she opened the door and pointed outside. Angelo sighed lightly as he stood up from the couch and walked out of the door and turned to say something to Charlie, but she slammed the door shut in his face, and locked it, before walking through to the kitchen and pouring herself a small glass of orange juice, before making her way up the stairs. As she approached Connor’s bedroom the door opened and Connor walked out into the hall rubbing his eyes as they hit the lightly.

“Mummy?” Connor questioned. “I was just coming for a drink.”

“Here you go.” Charlie said as she handed Connor her glass of juice.

“How did you know I was going to come ask for one?” Connor questioned. Charlie laughed lightly as she pulled her son closer to her and rubbed his head.

“Mummy is clever like that.” Charlie forced a smile.

“You’ve been crying.” Connor said. “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing for you to worry about sweetheart.” Charlie shook her head. “Now how about I lie with you until you get back to sleep?”

“Yeah.” Connor smiled before he took a drink of the juice. “I’d like that.” Charlie led Connor back into his bedroom and climbed up into his bed with him, hugging her son close to her. She placed a soft kiss on his forehead, as he cuddled in to sleep.

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Thanks beebee, Sarah, Spotd1, Zoe and Soph1303. :wub: Your comments make me smile and really keep me going as I wasnt really sure about this fiction. Anyways, I hope you like this next one.

Chapter 9

“You don’t need to talk about it if you don’t want.” Rachel said as she handed Ruby a cup of coffee.

Ruby shook her head as she wrapped her hands around the hot cup. “It was all my fault,” Ruby sniffed back. “I eh...I said something about Lily I....I deserved it. It was just said in the heat of the moment. I didn’t mean it,” Ruby paused as she bowed her head down. “She must hate me even more now. Her daughter died,” Ruby cried. “She died and I was...” Ruby trailed off as she looked back up to Rachel.

“You both just need time to calm down and then you can apologise.”

“I don’t know if she will ever talk to me again.” Ruby’s voice broke as tears rolled down her cheeks.

“I know what she was like when you were gone,” Rachel said softly. “She will talk to you again....Ruby when they came crashing into that hospital room with Lily lying lifeless in your mother’s arms....she was already dead. There was nothing I could do,” Rachel felt herself tearing up as she remembered that night. “But for their sake, I tried, you know, I made it look like I was trying to revive her. Telling them that she was gone was the hardest thing that I’ve ever had to do, her funeral being a close second. A few weeks after Lily’s death I told your mother if there was anything she needed I’d help her. Everyone else in the bay seemed to draw away from them; no one knew what to say.” Rachel shook her head. “By that time, Angelo was starting to draw himself away from Charlie. Leah moved away soon after the funeral with her family. Bianca and I were all your mother had. Anyways, your mother asked me to find you. You were who she wanted. Obviously I couldn’t....I didn’t....you really didn’t want to be found, did you?” Ruby shook her head lightly as she bit her lip. “Anyways my point is that Charlie will want you Ruby. She still needs you and once she’s calmed down she’ll understand that you didn’t mean what you said.”

“God I hope so. The second it came out my mouth I wanted to take it back.” Ruby sniffed back. “Did Leah really move away at a time like that for Charlie?”

Rachel nodded lightly. “It had been planned since before Lily died. Almost since before she arrived. Leah told Charlie she would stay as long as she needed but Charlie told her that she’d be fine and she should go and continue with her life.”

“Where did she go?” Ruby questioned.

“Thailand,” Rachel answered. “Miles got a job teaching English at one of the international schools there. They are only about 20 miles away from Sally and Pippa as well, so I guess it’s nice for him to be close to her again. Leah always said she would open a diner the exact same as her one here.” Rachel laughed. “VJ didn’t really want to go but talking to Leah now he loves it there. And little Henry knows more Thai words than English.” Rachel laughed.

“Henry?” Ruby questioned. “I guess they had a child together eventually.”

Rachel nodded. Miles and Leah had been together ever since Ruby had lived in the bay, but Leah was always adamant that VJ was her one and only. “I’m not so sure he was planned, but, gosh, it could only have been days after you left Leah told us she was 12 weeks pregnant. He was a little cutie. He’ll be 18 months now.”

Ruby smiled lightly as she took a drink of her coffee. “I guess a lot of things will have happened that I don’t know about.”

“Yeah.” Rachel nodded. “Well it never was dull living around here.”

“What about you?” Ruby questioned. “Do you and Tony not want any children?”

Rachel fidgeted in the chair as she cleared her throat. “Eh....truthfully, yeah, we’d love to have a child of our own.” Rachel smiled sadly. “But after 2 years of trying and failing to get pregnant and more recently, 3 failed IVF attempts we are starting to lose hope.”

“Oh God Rachel I am so sorry.” Ruby said. “You really would make a great mum.”

Rachel smiled weakly before she stood up from the dining table. “I eh...I’m going to go to bed.” Rachel said before she disappeared from the room. Ruby hit her forehead with her palm, she’d only been there a few hours and she’d said the wrong thing already. She sighed lightly before she ran her hand over her stomach and it was like a light bulb went on in her mind. Maybe there was something that Ruby could do to help make Rachel’s dreams of being a mother come true.


“Hey squirt,” Charlie smiled as she picked her son up from school. “How was school today?”

“Good,” Connor nodded. “Year 1 is way better than kindy.” Connor said. He’d started year 1 a couple of months before hand and Charlie had always worried about how he would cope with the change, especially at the time it had come in his personal life, but so far Connor seemed to love the change from kindergarten to ‘proper big boy school’. “We gots homework.” Connor took hold of Charlie’s hand as they began walking along the road, in the direction of the diner.

“Oh yeah, and what is this homework?” Charlie questioned.

“We needs to build a rocket.” Conner smiled. “We meant to do it with our daddy’s.” Connor sighed. “But I’m not.” Connor shook his head. “I won’t and you can’t make me.”

Charlie raised her eyes at her son’s words before she looked down to him. “Well mummy will just have to help you then.” Connor stopped walking and looked up at Charlie, most appalled at what she’d just said.

“You can’t,” Connor shook his head. “You is not a boy.”

“I see.” Charlie nodded. “Well then you’ll need to ask your daddy.”

“No.” Connor shook his head. “Can I ask just a boy that is your friend?”

“Mummy doesn’t have any boyfriends sweetie.” Charlie said as they continued to walk along the sidewalk.

“Uh-huh.” Connor nodded. “You ‘ave Miles and Tony and the man I can’t talk too and Liam and Alf and some of the policemens and -”

“Remember Miles moved to Thailand.” Charlie told her son.

“Oh yeah eh...well there’s still Tony and Liam and the man I can’t talk too and the policemens and -”

“Who’s the man you can’t talk too?” Charlie questioned, bemused.

“You know him.” Connor nodded. “I see you talk to him sometimes and he works in the restaurant.”

“You mean Brax?” Charlie questioned. “You’re allowed to talk to Brax.”

“Daddy said he is intrustwithy.” Connor sighed.

“Oh, well mummy says you can talk to him.” Charlie said.

“Good.” Connor smiled. “Because he looks like he would build good rockets.” Charlie laughed as she walked into the diner with her son. “So can I ask him? What’s his name again?”

“Brax.” Charlie replied.

“That’s a silly name.” Connor laughed. “It’s not his real name is it?”

“No it’s a nickname.” Charlie answered. “You know like we call you squirt.”

“Well what’s his name name?” Connor asked as they took a seat at the table.

“Darryl.” Charlie answered.

“Well then my mind is made up.” Connor smiled. “I want to ask Darryl to help me.”

Charlie exhaled lightly as bit her lip, wondering if it was a good idea. “Are you sure?”

“Uh-huh.” Connor nodded. “Look he is here now.” Connor said as he pointed to the door as Brax walked in. “Can I ask him? Please.” Connor pouted as he held his hands out in front of him, like he was praying.

“Sure.” Charlie nodded. “Go on then.” Connor smiled as he jumped down from the chair and ran over to Brax, returning moments later with Brax walking with him.

“Charlie.” Brax smiled. Charlie managed a small smile back. “So little squirt here said he needed someone to help him make a rocket.”

“If you don’t want to help,” Charlie shook her head. “You don’t know him that well and we’re not exactly close so, don’t feel you have too and he should probably be asking Angelo anyways.”

“Hey, the kid doesn’t want too. Don’t force it. But, no, it’s fine, I’d like too.” Brax smiled. “I eh, I’m not working tonight so if you want I can come around then?”

“Sure, you can come around about 6?” Charlie questioned.

“Six?” Brax questioned. “I was thinking more like nine?”

“He’ll be in bed by then.” Charlie informed Brax.

“Oh right sorry.” Brax laughed lightly. “Well 6 it is. See you later squirt.”

“See you Darryl.” Connor waved as Brax walked away and picked up his take-away coffee.

“Sorry about your wait,” Irene smiled as came to take their order. “What can I get for you two?”

“Ehm...chocolate cake,” Connor grinned. “And an orange juice please.”

“Just a latte please Irene.” Charlie smiled.

“Coming right up,” Irene smiled. “I saw young Ruby the other night. How is it having her back?”

Charlie face dropped as she heard Ruby’s name being mentioned. “It’s not great.” Charlie said. “And it’s not really any of your business either so if you don’t mind we’d like our order now.”

“Sorry.” Irene said before she hurried away. Charlie sighed lightly as she held her head in her hands.

“You okay mummy?” Connor questioned as he put his hand on her arm.

“I’m good.” Charlie plastered on a smile as he looked at son. “Aww wow look at this big bit of cake coming for you squirt.”

“Wow.” Connor grinned. “It’s huge.”

“You better eat your dinner tonight mister.” Charlie said as Irene put the cake and orange juice on the table.

“I wills.” Connor nodded.

“Irene, I eh, I’m sorry for what I said.” Charlie spoke quietly. “Things with Ruby were going quiet okay really until last night. She said something in regards to Lily and I...well I’m not really to pleased to say she’s home right now.”

“I’m sorry, I eh....well I just hope that you two sort things. You were too close to never talk again. It would sad if that happened. Especially now she is home and willing to try.” Irene said and Charlie nodded understandingly. “Well I’ll just go and get your latte.” Irene said before she disappeared from the table, leaving Charlie thinking about what she had said.

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Thank you everyone. :wub:

Chapter 10

“Mummy is Darryl coming yet?” Connor questioned as he played with the tissue box that would soon be turned into a rocket.

“He should be here soon.” Charlie answered as she looked down to her watch and noticed it was now approaching a quarter passed 6.

“Is he late?” Connor put his hands on his hips as he shook his head.

Charlie laughed lightly as she nodded her head. “I’m afraid so.”

“Well that’s rude.” Connor sighed as he placed the tissue box back down on the table.

“I’m sure he’ll have reason.” Charlie said just as the doorbell went. Connor ran to the door and opened it to see Brax standing at the other side.

“Darryl you are late.” Connor shook his index finger out in front of him.

“I’m very sorry squirt,” Brax tried to keep a straight face as Connor glared up at him. “Hey, I brought haribo.”

“Haribo,” Connor’s eyes lit up. “Well come in then.”

“It is okay for him to have these yeah?” Brax asked as he looked up to Charlie.

“Yeah it’s fine. Just don’t eat them all Connor.” Charlie told her son as he took the bag from Brax as ripped it open, before putting a few into his mouth.

“No,” Connor spoke with his mouthful. “Darryl can have one and you can have one too.”

“I get a whole one?” Brax gasped as he reached into the bag for one. “That’s very generous of you.”

“Yeah...so come and see the stuff for the rocket.” Connor said as he took Brax’s hand and led him through to the kitchen. “We have a tissue box and this is from the finished kitchen roll and these ones is from the toilet rolls. Oh and we have all this tissue paper and normal paper and some cardboard.”

“Well you either sort out all you’re recycling or go through a lot of toilet roll in one day.” Brax laughed as he looked up to Charlie, who was being offered a haribo by her son.

“Ah the latter,” Charlie shook her head. “I caught Connor pulling all the toilet paper from the rolls after he decided one toilet roll wasn’t enough.”

“Well it wasn’t,” Connor argued. “Really mummy it wasn’t.” Connor shook his head as he put the haribo on the kitchen table and climbed up on one of the chairs.

“So he did that to 4 rolls?” Brax tried his best to hide the laughter but it couldn’t help escaping him.

“It’s not funny.” Charlie said.

“I’m sorry but it is.” Brax laughed.

“I suppose you’ll find it funny that he flushed half of the paper down the toilet as well?”

“I’m sorry.” Brax said once again as he continued to laugh. “It’s cute though.”

“Hmm I’m not so sure,” Charlie shook her head. “Anyways, I’ll leave you boys to it. I’ll be in the living room if you need me.” Charlie said before Connor jumped down from the chair and ran forward and pushed her from the room.

“Go now,” Connor sighed. “I want to make the rocket.” Charlie walked out of the room, and turned and watched for a moment as Brax began to work with her son. As small smiled appeared on her face as she saw them laughing, before she turned and walked away, leaving them too it.


As Ruby sat on the beach she stared down at the scan picture in her hands. It turned out she was 6 weeks pregnant with Lee’s child. She shivered lightly as the crisp night wind went through her, before looking up to the ocean, watching as the waves crashed against the rocks. The light buzzing of her phone brought her from her thoughts. She looked down to the screen to see, once again, Lee was calling her. Over the course of the weekend he must have called like 50 times. Ruby didn’t even want to think about how angry he would be and about what would happen if Lee was ever lucky enough to find her. She once again ignored the call as she put her phone back into her pocket and looked once again down to the picture of her unborn child. She ran her finger across the picture and exhaled lightly before putting it in her pocket and walking off the beach, and back to the house where she was staying with Tony and Rachel. “Ruby, hey, how was your day?” Tony asked as he was setting the table for dinner.

“It was okay,” Ruby smiled weakly. “I spent most of my time alone sitting on the beach, but, yeah.”

“Maybe you should have tried to talk to Charlie.” Tony suggested as he lay three glasses down on the table.

“Not yet,” Ruby shook her head. “I need to give her time to calm down.”

“Okay. Lasagne alright for dinner?” Tony questioned, not wanting to push the girl or get involved in her life’s problems. “Rach should be home from work by 8.30, so you shouldn’t have to wait too much longer for dinner. Sorry it’s a bit later tonight.”

“That’s fine,” Ruby replied as she looked down to her watch and noticed it was now 8pm. “I might go for a quick shower first, if that’s okay.”

“Of course it is.” Tony replied. “You don’t need to ask. As long as you are living under this roof, treat it like your own home.”

“Okay, thank you.” Ruby smiled lightly. “Tony......I eh, I know it’s not really any of my business but eh...you and Rachel and the whole trying for a baby thing....would you ever consider adoption?”

“I would,” Tony nodded slightly taken aback by Ruby’s question. “I’m not so sure about Rachel though. She’s always dreamed of carrying a child. And we’ve spoken briefly about adopting and I think the idea of not knowing the birth parents puts her off.”

“What if she knew the birth parents?” Ruby questioned. “Or at least the mother. You know where the pregnancy lady can pick the adoptive parents and they go through the whole process together?”

“Maybe,” Tony shrugged his shoulders. “I’m not really sure what you are getting at here?”

“I eh....” Ruby trailed off as the door opened and Rachel walked into the house.

“Hey, I got away slightly earlier than expected so -” Rachel stopped mid-sentence as she saw the look of both Tony and Ruby’s faces. “What? What is it?”

“I have a proposition for you.” Ruby said as she ran her hand over her stomach.


“No no stop,” Connor giggled as Brax flung him over his shoulder as he tickled him. “Mummy please help me.”

Charlie laughed as she looked up to Connor who was being kept prisoner by Brax. They’d finished making the rocket a while ago, but Connor begged Brax to stay and play, and Brax didn’t really need much persuading. He was having fun with the boy and it meant he got to be with Charlie – sort of – so he’d happily said he didn’t mind staying for a bit longer. “It’s bedtime anyways,” Charlie said as she looked to Brax, who put Connor back down on the floor. “So say goodnight to Brax.”

“Ah no mummy 10 more minutes.” Connor pleaded.

“No,” Charlie shook her head. “It’s already 8.20. You’ve have 20 minutes longer than usual already. Up the stairs now.” Connor sighed lightly as he ran to the bottom of the stairs.

“Goodnight Darryl.” Connor smiled.

“And what else do you say?”

“Thank you. The rocket is so cool. I bet it’s the best one in the class.”

“No problem.” Brax smiled. “I had fun helping you.”

“Are you coming up too mummy?” Connor asked as he looked to his mother.

“Yeah, I’ll be up in a minute. Clean your teeth and get your pyjamas on then I’ll be there.”

“Okays.” Connor ran off up the stairs and out of sight.

“Thanks for that. He’s had a lot of fun tonight.”

“No problem. Like I told him I had fun.” Brax smiled.

“You’re really good with him.” Charlie smiled, slightly surprised that Brax was such a natural with kids.

“I have a niece around his age,” Brax told Charlie. “So I guess that’ll help.”

“Heath has a daughter?” Charlie raised her eyes, surprised. “Doesn’t really seem like the fatherly type, no offence.”

“None taken,” Brax shook his head. “I know he can be a bit of an idiot, but when it comes to his daughter he’s like a different person,” Brax smiled. “Fatherhood really suits him.”

Suits you too.” Charlie smiled shyly as she looked up into Brax’s eyes. She didn’t know was it was, but she was drawn to them.

“If only you could say the same about Angelo then.” Brax said. “If he cared half as much about that kid as you do -”

“Don’t,” Charlie shook her head as she broke the contact she had with him.

“I’m just saying Charlie, I feel sorry for the kid. Angelo is horrible to him and -”

“Not that I’m trying to stick up for Angelo or anything because I hate the way he is being with Connor, but we’ve just lost a child. It’s not going to be easy. It isn’t easy.” Charlie bit her lip as she stopped talking, for she feared if she continued, she’d end up in tears.

“I know and I have the deepest of sympathy for you guys. You and Connor especially, but nothing,” Brax shook his head as he spoke. “Nothing gives him the right to treat his son how he does.”

Before Charlie had a chance to reply Connor shouted from up the stairs. “Mummy I’s ready for you.”

“Yeah, I’m coming,” Charlie said before she looked back to Brax. “You can show yourself out.” Charlie said before she ran up the stairs to put her son to bed.

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