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Everything To Me


RoRo90

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Story Title: Everything to Me
Type of Story: Long Fic
Main Characters: Brax,Charlie
BTTB rating: T
Genre:Romance, Drama, Family
Spoilers: No
Any warning: V/D, A, SC
Summary: Sequel To My Saving Grace.They got the happy ending so what could possibly come to try and hurt their family? Read on to find out

CHAPTER ONE

3 years later

He held her hand above her head; her head tilted back, her back arched off the bed. Her legs wound around his waist tightly as he trailed kisses down her neck, slowly moving further down to her chest.

"Brax" Charlie moaned as he grazed the top of her left breast, darting his tongue out to taste her flesh. Keeping grip on both her hands with one of his, Brax slid the other under her nighty, pausing as he reached her stomach; he ran his thumb over her skin a few times before processed further. Finding what he was searching for his thumb softly rounded her now sensitive nub and was rewarded with a louder moan from Charlie

"Brax" she bit tightly into her bottom lip as he rounded her nub a few more times before cupping her breast in his hand. It was almost more than she could take, her hips bucked up involuntarily and Brax inhaled sharply, his teeth clenching together as he tried to stay in control

"I need you now Brax" Charlie's voice came in an almost inaudible whisper but Brax wasn't letting up on the teasing game

Deciding to play him at his own game, Charlie bucked her hips again, this time tightening her legs around his waist. Brax instantly let out a throaty groan his head swinging forward in between her neck "Charlie…" before he could say another word, Charlie grazed her teeth against his neck, before her tongue darted out, circling just below his ears. She moaned satisfyingly as Brax pushed further into her before she pushed her feet into the band of his boxers, proceeding to slide them off slowly

"Now babe" she whispered and Brax seemed to have thrown in the towel as he released her hand and leaned up slightly allowing her feet to slide his boxers off completely. Her arms slide up his back as he settled himself back in-between her

"Happy Birthday babe" Brax smiled down at her, leaning in and claiming her lips with his. Hooking his hand into her knickers he began sliding them down slowly

"Happy Birth…" Ruby's eyes widened, she dropped her card and her hands flew to cover both Hope's and Caleb's eyes "Oh my God"

"RUBY" Charlie bellowed as Brax quickly parted from her, a deep groan escaping his lips

Ruby quickly backed out of the door with both Hope and Caleb. Her eyes remained widened as she stood behind the now closed door. Wincing slightly she cleared her throat "Sorry" she shout through the door. She wasn't aware she hadn't yet taken her hands off both Hope's and Caleb's eyes

"Wuby" Hope pouted as she pulled on Ruby's hand

Ruby looked down at the two of them and quickly allowed them see "Sorry" she smiled down at the two pair of big eyes that were now looking up at her

"Why you no let us see'd mummy?" asked Hope

"We's had to say happy birfday" added Caleb while Hope tried to reach for the handle to her parents room

Ruby quickly stopped her "Errr…" she frowned as she tried to think of an excuse. She sighed as Casey walked out of their room

"Are they still sleeping?" he asked, wondering why they were all stood outside the room

Ruby tilted her head and shuddered "Not exactly"

"Not exactly?" repeated Casey and Ruby nodded

"Yea, they err they were busy… well on the verge of…" she paused and looked at him, both her eyebrows rose

Casey quickly clued into what she meant and cleared his throat trying not to burst out laughing "And let me guess, you guys just barged in there without knocking?" he cocked an eyebrow

"Well how was I supposed to know they would be…" she looked down at the twins "You know"

"They didn't see anything did they?"

Ruby shook her head "No I got them out of there straight away"

Ruby looked down as Hope tugged on her hand "We did see'd, tell her Caleb" she looked at her brother who nodded in agreement

"Uhuh we sawed a little"

Casey and Ruby glanced at each other before looking back down at the twins

"What did you see?" asked Casey

Hope and Caleb peered up at him in concentration before they both shrugged "I no bememberd, Wuby closed my eyes" said Caleb

"Me too" added Hope and both Casey and Ruby exhaled in relief. This time Ruby was sure to knock on the door

"You guys decent yet?" She heard them murmuring to each other before she got a reply

"Errr… yea come in" replied Charlie

Ruby slowly turned the door handle but the door quickly flew open as the twins pushed their way through. Charlie smiled brightly as Hope and Caleb ran to her side of the bed.

"Happy birfday mummy" they spoke in unison as they each held up the card they had made for her. Hope stood with one arm wrapped around her purple teddy 'Rocky' while Caleb held onto his blue blanky

"Aww…" Charlie bent over the bed and picked them both up before placing them on the bed in front of her "Thank you guys" she took the cards from their out stretched hands "So does mummy get a special birthday kiss?" she glanced between both of them as they nodded their heads. Caleb jumped towards her first and gave her a kiss before Hope tugged on his legs

"No Caleb you no oppose to go, I do" Hope stuck her bottom lip out in a pout and Caleb shook his head

"No I is faster than you, so you lose" he poked his tongue out and Hope's bottom lip trembled as she shook her head

"Daddy always say'd girls go firstest"

"Aww baby it doesn't matter who gives me a kiss first" Charlie smiled down at Hope and tucked some of her brown locks behind her ears

Hope shook her head "It does, I be first"

Brax chuckled "How about you be the first to give daddy a kiss?" he lowered his head down to her

Hope glanced between both Charlie and Brax, before scowling at Caleb. She nodded her head and pounced on Brax causing his back to fall flat on the bed. Hope gave him a kiss and poked her tongue out at Caleb

"I be first to give daddy a kiss" she smiled triumphantly causing both Charlie and Brax to laugh

"So how about mummy, don't I get a kiss" Charlie questioned and Hope nodded. Still lay on Brax's chest she leaned forward and gave Charlie a kiss

"That's better" smiled Charlie

Hope moved back to Brax and laid her head on his chest. Her chocolate curls falling over her shoulders, her deep green eyes were beaming as she smiled up at her mum

Charlie looked up to see both Casey and Ruby stood by the door. She felt a deep blush rise to her cheeks as Ruby glanced at Brax then back at her. She heard Brax chuckle and turned to see him looking at Ruby and Casey. Finally Ruby spoke

"Happy birthday mum" Ruby stepped into the room, picked up the card she had dropped and walked over to Charlie, placing a kiss on her cheek followed by Casey

"Happy birthday" smiled Casey a grin on his face

"I did buy you a little something for your birthday but I'm thinking of taking it back and investing in a lock for your room instead" said Ruby

Brax chuckled and Charlie blushed "Ruby" she widened her eyes

"What?" Ruby shrugged "I think it's safe to say if we had waited even a minute more I along with Hope and Caleb would have needed a few years' worth of therapy"

"I'm just grateful I didn't come in with them" added Casey

"Well that's what you get for not knocking before you enter" said Brax and Charlie hit him on the chest

"Can we please change the conversation?" Charlie exhaled

"Mummy" Caleb called and Charlie turned to him. She ran her hands over his light brown hair as his blue eyes peered up at her

"Yes baby?"

"What you and daddy do before?" he asked innocently "Wuby no let us see"

Brax coughed loudly and Charlie's eyes widened, her gaze darting to Brax before returning to Caleb. She looked up as she heard both Casey and Ruby trying to hold onto their laughter obviously finding the situation amusing. Charlie only wished she could say the same thing.

"Err we were… err" she turned to Brax who add yet to speak then turned back to Caleb "Why don't you ask your daddy?" she looked at Brax with a grin as he too widened his eyes

"What?" he questioned, fighting the urge to dart out of the room

"We were both here so you obviously know what was happening; why don't you tell him?" she kept her grin placed as he glanced down at Caleb with a panicked gaze only for Hope to speak

"tell us daddy"

Brax looked down at a three year old Hope and swallowed hard. He shook his head keeping note to get Charlie back "We…" he paused and blew out a breath "I was just…" he squinted his eyes and said the only think he could think of "I was just tickled mummy" he nodded in approval of his own answer "Yep that's what I was doing. I was giving her birthday tickles, like this"

He started to tickle Hope, causing the three year old to start giggling as she tried to squirm away from her father's hands

"Daddy stop" she giggled "It too chikalish" she giggled some more and Caleb laughed at her

"Why you laughing little guy… the tickle monsters coming to get you too" said Charlie

Caleb shook his head "No he not, I not chikalish"

"Oh you're not, so what about if I do this" Charlie tickled his sides and Caleb started to laugh as he tried to squirm away from her

"Mummy stop it" he giggled kicking his feet

"I thought you weren't ticklish"

"No I is, I is" Caleb giggled along with Hope as both their parents tickled them

"You know the word to say if you want us to stop" said Brax

"Pwease" both Caleb and Hope spoke through their giggles and Charlie and Brax stopped, smiling down at them before they both plunked down onto the bed, Hope and Caleb in between them

"Nice save" said Casey "But we're going back to bed, it's only just gone six and I'm knackered"

"Aww, did the twins wake you?" asked Charlie as she wrapped her arms around Caleb who had climbed up onto her lap

"They came busting into our room at half five" replied Ruby "I'm going back to bed with Case, you guys can deal with these two" Ruby quickly shut the door before Charlie or Brax could try and convince her to take the twins with her

Using her tiny hands Hope brushed her hair away from her face as she smiled up at Brax, her green eyes a replica of his. She smiled up at him, her dimples on display and Brax knew that look on her face to well

"Hope Elise, what do you want this time?"

Charlie chuckled as she watched Hope widened her green eyes sweetly

"We to have a party for mummy birfday, with ice cweam, and chocolate, and stawbewwy milkshake and thems bouncy castles"

Charlie and Brax laughed both of them shaking their heads

"This party sounds like it's more for you, than your mother" said Brax

"No it not, it for ebeybody" she nodded in agreement to her own words

"We to have them splashy guns too, so we can get uncle Heaf and Jack wet" added Caleb

"Ohh so you want to have a party as well?" asked Charlie as he looked down at Caleb. He nodded his head vigorously, a serious look on his face

"We have to" he replied

"I don't know guy's, I don't think mummy wants a party" said Brax and Hope frowned

"She do" she spoke "Old people have thems too, so she to have one"

Brax laughed at Hopes words and Charlie's jaw dropped "Old?" she repeated and Hope nodded

"You too many years old" replied Hope and Brax laughed louder

Charlie glared at him then looked Down at Hope "Well you know daddy is older than mummy"

Brax frowned as not only Hope nodded but Caleb did too "Dad the oldest ever" said Caleb and it was Charlie's turn to laugh

"Hy, I am not that old"

"Na you is daddy" said Hope

"I agree with them daddy" Charlie gave him a wink before she yawned slightly

Brax shook his head and looked down when Hope also yawned "Ok how about we sleep for a while and then you can ask again after we wake up" he had to admit that he was still tired.

Hope and Caleb pondered on his proposition, both glancing at each other in the way they always did before looking back at Brax

"You to pwomise to say yes" said Hope

"We'll see" answered Brax "But not if you both don't get some sleep"

Hope jumped of her father's chest and Caleb jumped off his mother's lap, both of them lying down in the middle of the bed and closing their eyes

Charlie and Brax smiled down at the two of them before looking up at each other, their smiles still placed

"I guess there will be no time wasting this morning" Charlie pouted, sticking her bottom lip out

Brax smile, and carefully leaned over the twins before placing a kiss on her lips "Don't worry I got it covered" said Brax as he lay on the bed, Hope instantly snuggling into his side, with Rocky tightly wrapped in her arms

Charlie lay down and placed a kiss in Caleb's hair, one of his hands gripping his blue blankey. Another yawn let her lips and soon all four had drifted back to sleep

Brax slowly opened his eyes, squinting them slightly at the light coming through the curtains. He pushed his head back further into the pillow as he was met by the peering eyes of both Hope and Caleb who were now leaning on top of him, both of them with their hands under their chins simply staring at him. A smile crossed both their faces and he quickly closed his eyes but it was too late

"Daddy no, you no allow close your eyes, you opened thems alweady" Hope placed both her tiny hands on Brax's cheeks and pushed them together "You no to go back to sleep"

Brax chuckled and opened one eye

"See you no sleep no more" Caleb smiled at him "It too late" Brax turned to look at the time and groaned. It was past eight. Knowing they wouldn't leave, he decided to please them and get up.

"Come on then, we don't want to wake mummy do we?" he climbed out of the bed and picked Caleb up placing him on the floor and then Hope. Both the twins stretched the head up to look at Charlie who was still asleep and shook their heads

"No we not to wake mummy up, she need to sleep" said Caleb as he and Hope crept to the door. Brax shook his head and chuckled at them. Pulling on a shirt, he turned and smiled down at Charlie before leaning closer and placing a kiss on her temple. Gently backing away he walked to the door and opened the door allowing the twins to run down the hall and into the living room.

"Anyone awake?" Cheryl popped her head through the back door and smiled as Hope and Caleb ran to her

"Nana Chewyl" both of them screamed as they ran into her

"Hy" she beamed and scooped the two of them up in her arms, placing a kiss on each of their cheeks. She looked up and smiled as Brax

"Hy mum" he walked to her and placed a kiss on her cheek.

"Hy" she smiled as she placed Hope into her chair, then Caleb into his "Charlie not up yet?"

Brax shook his head waling over to the cupboard "No" he nodded at Caleb and Hope "They were up early this morning and then they fell asleep for an hour before they started fidgeting like crazy for another hour. He looked back at the twins

"Cereal or pancakes?" he asked "And you can only have one or the other" he added quickly knowing they would try and convince him to make them both. Both Caleb and Hope sighed dramatically causing both Cheryl and Brax to chuckle

"Pancakes pwease" said Caleb. Brax nodded and turned to Hope waiting for her answer, he knew she would say pancake, she always chose whatever Caleb chose but still he waited for her to tell him

"Pancakes too pwease" she nodded her head causing her curls to bounce to her face

Brax nodded and turned to start making their breakfast but stopped as Cheryl stepped forward "Why don't you go back to bed and I'll take care of these two?"

"You sure?" he asked

Cheryl nodded "Of course" she cocked an eyebrow "Plus isn't that the reason you asked if I could come by early" she shook her head at him as he grinned

"Well in that case, that would be great" Brax smiled and placed a kiss on her cheek before walking out the kitchen "You're the best" he called and Cheryl nodded

"Yea only when you want me for something" she chuckled "I'll have them back by two" she added

"That's fine. Keep them if you want" Brax spoke with a grin as he entered his and Charlie's room and Cheryl shook her head at his reply before turning to the twins

"How would you like to go to the park after breakfast, maybe even stop for some ice cream later" she smiled at the twins knowing the mention of ice cream could pretty much get them to do anything

She laughed as both their little heads nodded vigorously, a smile adoring both their faces

"Can we nana Chewyl?" Hope bounced in her seat

"I gets the chocolate ice cweam" said Caleb and Cheryl nodded

"Yep, we can and you can both get whatever ice cream you want, but you have to eat your breakfast first" She smiled and turned as she proceeded to make their breakfast

Brax shrugged off his shirt and sweats and climbed into the bed. He smiled as he wrapped his arms around Charlie only for her to turn in his arms; pushing herself closer into him

"Hy" he smiled leaning in and giving her a gentle kiss

Charlie smiled up at him as he pulled back from the kiss "Hy, was that your mum I heard?"

Brax nodded and tucked a strand of hair behind her ears "I asked her yesterday if she could take them out for a while this morning" he grinned down at her "I wanted to give you the first instalment of your birthday present with no interruptions" he winked at her before lowering his head again, this time deepening it. He pulled on her bottom lip, and no sooner had her mouth parted before his tongue darted in, tracing every corner of her mouth. Leaning forward he moved her to her back, towering over her, his weight held by his arm. His lips moved to her neck and left a trail of kisses behind

"Mmmm Brax…" Charlie took a deep breath as she pushed him away slightly "Babe no" she shook her head "Your mum is right outside our door"

Brax shook his head "No, she's in the kitchen" he moved his mouth to her neck again but Charlie placed her hand firmly against his chest

"Still the same thing Brax. There is no way we are having sex with your mother in the house" she bit her lip as Brax ran his hand along her leg and up her thigh

He grinned down at her "Babe you're my wife, I'm pretty sure my mum knows we have sex. I think the twins are prove of that"

Charlie looked at him and tilted her head "I know that but I don't want her hearing us go at it" she replied

Brax trailed his hands further up her hips till her reached her core. He softly ran is thumb over the outside of her knickers "Then we'll just have to be really quiet"

Charlie went to reply but her breath caught in her throat as Brax teasingly applied pressure "What were you saying?" Brax asked with a grin

Charlie bit into her bottom lip as he applied a little more pressure causing her to buck her hips upwards, wanting more. Brax lowered his lips to hers but didn't quiet let them reach. He leaned a little closer allowing their lips to graze past each other; his gaze on her

Charlie shook her head, fighting the urge to close her eyes and just enjoy how he was making her feel. She locked her eyes with his, loving the way he looked at her with such love "I can be quiet" she said before pulling him to her, entwining their lips passionately

"Can we stop to eat now?" Charlie groaned as she walked through the city mall with Bianca, Martha, Ruby and April

"Charlie you ate a full breakfast at the diner before we left, even you can't be hungry again" Martha rolled her eyes as they passed a few shops

Charlie shrugged "I had quite the work out this morning and I had to work hard to keep up" she grinned "I need a lot more fuel to keep me going"

Before anyone could reply Ruby spoke "I'm not sure which disturbs me more; the fact that I even heard that or the fact I instantly understood what you mean" The eighteen year old turned her nose up, and pulled April along with her "We might just walk ahead of you guys" she said, her steps quickening

Bianca, Martha and Charlie laughed as the two teenagers walked off

"So I take it you've had a good birthday so far" Bianca grinned and Charlie nodded and smiled

"Definitely. If I had it my way I would have started celebrating earlier but Ruby and the twins decided to make an appearance"

Martha and Bianca laughed

"Oh, don't tell me they saw you guys?" Martha raised an eyebrow and Charlie shook her head

"Well Ruby might be slightly traumatised but she covered Caleb and Hopes eyes before they could see anything" Charlie blushed slightly as they continued walking and Bianca and Martha laughed again

"I feel sorry for that child of yours" Bianca glanced at Ruby

"So do I" added Charlie and all three girls started laughing "But seriously I am starving, I need food" She turned at the corner leading to the food court and both Bianca and Martha shook their heads.

"Ruby, April" Martha called and both girls turned back to them. She nodded towards the food court and both Ruby and April giggled knowing Charlie had won over. They followed her to the table she had stationed herself at before they all planked down, their bags surrounding them

Charlie looked down at all the bags they had with them and looked back up at the girls, all of them also looking at the bags

"Who thinks we may have out done it a little bit?" she asked biting her lip

All the girls nodded and looked up at her and Bianca spoke

"What are the chances of them not noticing all these bags when we get back to the house?" they all looked at one another and shook their heads

"None" they spoke simultaneously

Charlie shrugged "It's my Birthday I have an excuse for going a little crazy. You guys best come up with your own" she smirked

Martha gave a grin as she placed her hand on her stomach "I'll blame it on the hormones" she said. Only 15 weeks pregnant, she was already milking it for what it was worth "And I could just say I started shopping early for the little one"

Charlie and Bianca smiled at her. They had been over the moon when Martha and Jack had announced that they were pregnant

"That's just not fair. You can't just keep pulling the baby card"

Martha chuckled "Oh watch me. Please, as far as I'm concerned this is our last so I'm going to use it to my advantage the best I can"

Bianca pouted then grinned "I'll just use sex, it's never failed me before plus I think he'll be more than happy once he sees me in some of the things I brought"

Charlie and Martha burst out laughing and Ruby and April stood from their seats, Aprils face upturned in disgust "We're going to go order our food" she shook her head as she walked away from the table. Bianca, Martha and Charlie still laughing as the two teens scurried away

Hope and Caleb ran around on the sand as Brax set up the last of the tables on the beach. He looked back at the twins making sure they were nowhere near the water

"I think that's everything sorted" said Jack as he placed the last of the drinks in the cooler "Did the girls say if they were on their way or not?"

Brax nodded "Yea, Bianca said they'll be here in about ten" he replied before he heard Hope squeal. He turned around panicked, his eyes wide only for him to place his hand over his chest as she ran over to the bouncy castle that Casey and Dex and started pumping air into. Jack chuckled as Brax shook his head

"That girl will be the death of me" he said as he exhaled

Jack chuckled and gave him a pat on the back only for him to jump slightly as Sophia shouted him

"DAD"

"Christ" he sighed and shook his head causing Brax to chuckle "Shut up" he said to Brax before turning back to Sophia "Yes sweetie?

"When's mum going to be here?"

"In a while. Why?"

The young girl shook her head "No reason" she smiled sweetly at Jack before running over to Casey and Dex

Jack frowned "Why do I feel like that smile she just gave me is going to put a dent in my wallet"

Brax laughed and gave Jack a pat on the back "Because it will"

Jack sighed "I don't know why you're laughing, just wait till Hope gets to her age; I promise you it's going to cost you an arm and a leg and then some"

Brax snorted "Have you meant my daughter. It already does" he replied and both he and Jack chuckled "Well you best pray you're getting a boy this time, or you'll be completely out numbered"

Jack groaned but a smile was present on his features "Don't I know it" he replied. Looking over at the bouncy castle that had now been blown up he shook his head and laughed "Why am I not surprised?"

Brax followed his gaze and shook his head to see Heath bobbing up and down on the bouncy castle with the kids. Brax smiled as Hope let out a happy squeal when Heath took her in his arms bouncing with her

"Uncle Heaf no" Hope giggled loudly

"I guarantee you he is enjoying that thing more than the kids" said Brax. He chuckled as Heath fell onto his back Hope landing on him causing the kids to laugh

"You too silly uncle Heaf" Hope shook her head giggling

Brax dug his phone out of his pocket as it rang "It's Bianca" he said to Jack before picking the call "Hy, where are you guys now?" he nodded before dropping the call "They're here" he said before walking up to the bouncy Castle "Come on guys, they're here"

Charlie moaned as she got out of the car "I really just wanna sleep you guys. My arms are killing me from all those bags"

"Stop whining and come on. You're not spending the whole of your birthday in bed" said Bianca as she pulled Charlie along

"B it's already past three… so technically it won't be the whole day" replied Charlie

Ruby chuckled and shook her head. As the others came into view she turned to Charlie "You still want to go back to bed now?"

Charlie stopped and smiled as she saw her friends and family on the beach all of them looking in her direction. She chuckled as she saw the bouncy castle, the table of treats and Brax stood grinning in her direction

"Aww you guys" she looked at her friends smiling before she slipped her sandals off and placed them in her hand. She walked quickly down to where the rest where and laughed as both Hope and Caleb came running at her. She crouched down and steadied herself as they both crashed into her

"Happy birfday mummy" Hope and Caleb grinned sweetly, both displaying their Braxton dimples

"Aww aren't you two the best kids in the world" she placed a kiss on both their cheeks causing them to giggle

Hope nodded "Uhuh, we the bestest"

Ruby coughed and Charlie turned her head to her and smiled "Sorry you're also the best kid in the world. The bestest even" she chuckled lightly

"I know" replied Ruby with a playful smile

Charlie stood up, picking Hope and Caleb up into her arms as she made her way down to her family

"Happy Birthday" the rest of the guys shouted and Charlie shook her head as she laughed at them. She looked around at everything they had laid out on the beach and chuckled

"Thank you guys… but you do know I'm not turning five right" she eyed the bouncy castle, the candy floss machine, the slushy machine and the overly sugared treats that she could see

Brax smiled and walked up to her just as she placed both Hope and Caleb back on the ground, the both of them instantly running over to the bouncy castle

"Well the twins and Abigail planned most of it, so this is all down to them" he grinned down at her as he wrapped his arms around her waist

"Happy Birthday babe" he leaned down and placed a soft kiss on her lips

Charlie simpered up at him as they broke their kiss "I love you, you know that"

Brax ginned and nodded "I know"

Charlie took another look around and laughed out loud to see Heath on the bouncy castle, chasing the kids. She turned back to Brax and gave him another kiss. Before saying hello to the other summer bay residents that had joined them on the beach

"If your daddies or mummies asks, this is your first one ok" Cheryl handed another candy floss to an already sugared up Hope, Caleb and Abigail

All three kids nodded their heads eagerly taking the candy floss from her

"Mum not another one" Heath groaned and Cheryl smiled up at him

"What it's their first one" just as Cheryl spoke the three kids turned to Heath with sticky faces and hands

"Their first one is it" Heath cocked his eyebrow and shook his head

The three kids nodded with wide eyes and huge smiles. Heath groaned and turned to Cheryl "You really need to learn how to say no to them mum"

Cheryl shook her head "Na, they've got you for that" she laughed as he rolled his eyes before looking over at Bianca and shouting

"We're not getting any sleep tonight babe" he pouted as he walked away

Charlie watched on and shook her head, she smiled brightly as she felt Brax's arms wrap around her. Sighing contently she leaned back into him "Hy" she smiled wider as he placed a kiss on her temple

"Hy" Brax rested his chin on her head "You having fun?" he asked

Charlie nodded and wound her arms around his "I'm having the best time" she smiled to see Heath pick Abigail and Hope up before running towards the bouncy Castle, Casey picking Caleb up and following him

"I swear Heath enjoys that thing more than the kids" said Charlie and Brax nodded

"Yep. He was in total agreement with Abi and Hope when they suggested getting one" replied Brax

Charlie chuckled before turning in Brax's arms "Is it weird that I really want to join them?" she nodded towards Heath and Brax laughed as he looked just in time to watch Heath fall and the kids pounce on him. He turned back to Charlie

"Go" he placed another kiss on her lips before releasing her from his grip. She bit her lip looking up at him before looking back at the bouncy castle. She let out a squeal before running towards it. Brax watched her and laughed along with the others as Hope and Caleb fell on her, the both of them laughing as Charlie tickled them

"You're such a big kid" shouted Ruby chuckling at Charlie. Her chuckle turned into a squeal as Brax swung her over his shoulders and faced towards the water

"Brax no" Ruby kicked her feet and giggled as Brax chuckle. Everyone laughed as they watched on

"We can't let them have all the fun can we" he chuckle as he dropped her in the ocean laughing as she jumped back up

"You're so going to pay for that" Ruby leaped forward jumping towards Brax

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Thanks for the comments. Enjoy :)

CHAPTER TWO

"Brax no" Ruby kicked her feet and giggled as Brax chuckle. Everyone laughed as they watched on

"We can't let them have all the fun can we" he chuckle as he dropped her in the ocean laughing as she jumped back up

"You're so going to pay for that" Ruby leaped forward jumping towards Brax
...

"Hope Elise, Caleb Ross Braxton if the both of you don't get back here…" Charlie walked out of the bathroom as Hope and Caleb ran down the hall in just their panties

Walking into the house Brax dropped his keys and instantly let out a laugh as he heard Charlie use of Hope and Caleb's full names, only for him to see the both of them running down the hall a second later. Moving quickly he stepped in front of the two of them and picked them up in his arms

"Daddy no" Caleb sighed as Brax held him and Hope in his arms

"Are you two trying to get out of bath time?" Brax shook his head. Hope and Caleb loved the ocean but they disliked bath time like no other

"We no need bath daddy, we done it befores" Hope stuck her hands out dramatically

Brax looked up to see Charlie walked down the hall, her eyes glancing between Hope and Caleb. He chuckled as he felt Hope and Caleb stop protesting in his arms as they pushed themselves into him, hoping he would protect them from their mother's wrath. Securing them under his arm he stuck both his arms out slightly and laughed as Hope and Caleb tried to crawl up his arms and away from their mother

"No she angwy daddy" Caleb widened his eyes as Charlie stood with her hands on her hips

Brax stuck his hand out further and Caleb pleaded "No daddy we sowwy" he squirmed "Ay Hope"

Hope nodded her head, "We more sowwy"

"Yh we more sowwy mummy" Caleb and Hope widened their eyes, already knowing how much influence it had on their parents

Brax pulled his arms back in and placed them on the floor

Charlie blew out a breath "Just for running away, I'm only reading you guys one book tonight"

Hope and Caleb shook their heads; Hope's curls bouncing from side to side

"It no fair mummy" said Hope

"We's sayed sowwy" said Caleb but Charlie shook her head

"Next time, you'll both behave" she shook her head and looked up at Brax who was grinning over at her "Why you grinning? This is your entire fault"

Brax chuckled and cocked an eyebrow "How is that possible, I just got in"

"Because they take after you Braxton's; us Bucktons were always so well behaved as kids"

Brax chuckled and stepped closer to her, Caleb and Hope stood between them, both peering up at their parents "Firstly I don't believe for a second that, that is true. If you were anything like Ruby, which I am sure of, then I know you were more than mischievous and secondly" he stepped closer "You're a Braxton too, so this is as much on you as it is me" leaning over the twins he placed a soft kiss on her lips

As he pulled away Charlie smiled up at him, then glanced down and chuckled. Brax's gaze followed hers and he too let out a chuckle

The twins stood in between them with both their hands over their eyes

"Err guys, what are you doing?" asked Brax

Caleb peered through his hands and then dropped them, before pulling on Hopes hands causing her to drop hers too

"We closes our eyes" said Caleb and Hope nodded in confirmation

Brax and Charlie chuckled as they glanced at one another before looking back down at the twins "We can see that but why?" asked Charlie

"Uncle Heaf sayd we to close them when you and daddy kiss so we potet our eyes" answered Hope

Charlie and Brax shook their head and rolled their eyes, trust Heath to say such a thing

"Do you mean protect your eyes? Asked Brax and Hope exhaled

"That what I sayd" Hope exhaled and shook her head at her parents causing them to laugh

When did he tell you this?" asked Brax

"When he comed in the mowing" replied Caleb

Brax chuckled "Right well you two come on, I'll give you your baths"

Hope and Caleb nodded their heads and walked down the hall "Do we get's two books if you baths for us?" asked Hope

Brax looked to Charlie and shook his head "Sorry but you're only getting one book tonight"

Hope and Caleb sighed dramatically as they walked into their room

"Babe you don't have to do that… you've been at the restaurant all day" said Charlie

Brax shook his head and wrapped his arms around her "I want to, plus you went to work this morning too and this way I get to spend a little more time with them" leaning in he placed a soft kiss on her lips "Go put your feet up"

Charlie smiled up at him "You're a lot more like your daughter than you think" she raised her eyebrow "What are you up to Braxton?"

Brax gasped and placed a hand over his chest "I'm hurt you would doubt me"

Charlie's head rolled back as she laughed "I'm onto you Braxton" she spoke as she looked at him

"Daddy we's waited for long" Hope stood in the hall way, hands on hip

"I'm coming" replied Brax. He looked at Charlie "We'll finish this discussion later" he gave her a wink before walking down the hall

"I'm sure we will" Charlie shook her head as she made her way into the living room

"They finally get to sleep?" Charlie looked up at Brax. Hope and Caleb had refused to sleep after Charlie had read them a story.

Brax nodded "Yes finally" he dropped down beside her, and pulled her legs over his lap and gently rubbed on her ankle

Charlie sighed and closed her eyes "That's feels really good"

Brax smiled and continued to rub her ankle "So how was work?"

Charlie opened her eyes "It was ok, we didn't get too many call outs today so I spent most of my time in the office with Jack" "Brax nodded "How was it at the restaurant?"

Brax sighed "Hectic, two of the waiters turned up late and we were rushed off our feet, hence why I got home later than I thought I would" He smiled at Charlie before releasing his hands from around her ankle only to hold on to her thighs and pull her towards him

Charlie simpered up at him as her chest rested against his arm. Bringing her hand up and running it through his hair. She leaned up to him and met him in a soft kiss

Pulling away Brax smiled "So glad I'm back home"

Charlie grinned "Is that so?"

Brax nodded with a grin matching Charlie's "Yeah it is" grabbing hold of her waist he pulled her on top of him so she was now straddling his waist. Wasting no time his lips were on her neck, leaving a trail of kisses

Charlie bit into her bottom lip, and tilted her head to the side allowing him all access, her hands slowly ran up his shoulder till they were running through his hair "I knew there was a reason you offered to give the twins their bath" said Charlie

"You know me too well" Brax winked up at her before his lips met hers in a soft seductive kiss "I've missed you all day" he spoke between the kiss, his hands running down her back till they cupped her bum, pushing her further into him.

Charlie let out a soft moan as Brax ran one hand back up her body, allowing it lightly graze just under her left breast

"Babe we should move this into our room" spoke Charlie as Brax returned his attention to her neck nibbling downwards to the slightly exposed skin on her chest. Charlie closed her eyes tightly, allowing herself relish in the way he could still make her whole being weak with want and need, the way his kisses sent shock waves down her spine.

"Brax bedroom" she breathed, biting into her bottom lip as Brax gripped her waist and pushed her down on him. Feeling him move she wrapped her arms around his neck in time for Brax to stand to his feet effortlessly, his hands holding her upper thigh. Her legs swung around his waist and she giggled as he nibbled on the back of her ear. Brax began backing up towards their room only for the back door to swing open

"I don't get why you're so mad at me"

Brax and Charlie pulled apart as they heard Casey's voice. Quickly pushing at Brax's chest, Charlie heard him groan as he placed her on her feet

"Let's just go before they spot us" said Brax as he tugged on Charlie's hand

"Brax stop" she rolled her eyes as she swatted him on the chest just as Ruby stormed out of the kitchen

"Case if you don't get why I'm angry, then I really don't even want to be having this conversation" she glared at him before turning around only to see Charlie and Brax stood staring at both her and Casey. Not in the mood to answer to anyone, she mumbled a quick hi and goodnight and walked past the both of them before slamming the bedroom door shut

Charlie and Brax looked back at Casey both of them stood with cocked eyebrows

Casey groaned "I didn't do anything ok, I don't know what's wrong with her" he too stormed past the two of them and made his way into his and Ruby's room

Brax winced as he heard Ruby shouting just as Casey closed the door

"Maybe letting them share a room was the wrong move. Do you think we should talk to them?" he asked

Charlie looked back and shook her head "Let them work it out. You should know from past experience we only ever get our heads chopped off whenever we try to get involved in their little fights"

Brax nodded "True" he sighed before a grin broke out on his face "So where were we?"

Charlie rolled her eyes "Really Brax?"

Ignoring her words Brax pulled her flush against his chest, his hands running over her hips till they reached her bum. He cupped her cheeks and gave her a squeeze before finally answering "Yes, really". Sliding his hands past her bum Brax gripped onto her thighs; bring them up around him before walking them into their room

Walking into the living room Charlie yawned before she smiled lightly. Already up and out of bed Hope and Caleb were sat in front of the TV. Walking over to the couch Charlie bent over and placed a kiss on both their heads

"Morning" she chuckled as Hope and Caleb paid her no attention, their eyes glued to pingu. Shaking her head she walked into the kitchen only to find Ruby sat on one of the stools, burning a hole through the banana in her hand

"You know you're supposed to eat that" Charlie walked over to the fridge and pulled out a bottle of water

Ruby looked up at Charlie and sighed before pealing the banana open and taking a huge bit out of it

Charlie squinted her eyes as she looked at Ruby "I'm guessing you were picturing someone's head just then" she sat down on the stool opposite Ruby

"How did you guess" Ruby let out a breath

Placing the bottle onto the counter, Charlie sat for a moment before speaking "You want to tell me what's wrong or what you think is wrong?"

Ruby rolled her eye's "It's not what I think, it's what I know"

Charlie nodded "Ok, so are you going to tell me or is this another 'it's nothing moment'" Charlie knew that in the almost four years that Ruby and Casey had been together, they had only ever had a handful of arguments

Ruby's shoulders sagged and she looked to Charlie with her big brown eyes "He's working next week Friday" she said as if that was enough information for Charlie to piece everything together

"And that's so wrong because?" Charlie had to fight back a chuckle at the look on Ruby's face as she almost burned a hole into her head "Rubes you have to give me more than that, because I'm not quiet grasping what he's done wrong"

"We're in October and next week Friday is the eighteenth" said Ruby

Charlie thought for a moment and then it clicked "Oh" That Friday would be Ruby and Casey's fourth year anniversary, a fact that seemed to shock her a bit. Her eighteen year old daughter had been in a relationship for almost four years "So you're mad you won't get to spend the day together"

"No I'm mad that he thinks his job is more important than me. It's bad enough we never get to see each other that much what with both of us having uni and work"

Charlie shook her head; Ruby had more maturity than most people her age but even she sometimes had her teenage fits "Rubes you know he doesn't think that"

"He must do, why else would he agree to work"

"Maybe because he needs the money, you both do if you're really serious about moving in together to be closer to Uni next year"

"I don't think him missing one shift will put a dent in our saving's mum"

"No it won't but…" Charlie sighed "He's not going to be working the whole day will he? I'm sure you guys can do something after his shift. And honestly Rubes, he as always gone all out each year. I don't know many seventeen year old boys who would take their girlfriends to a five star restaurant and then literally beg her mum for weeks on end to take her to the city for the weekend just for their anniversary"

Ruby rolled her eyes "Please I know for a fact you would have caved the moment he widened his eyes and gave you that doe eyed look, the only person that made him beg was Brax"

Charlie chuckled at the truth in her daughters words "That's not the point" she stood from her seat

Ruby sighed "I know" she looked up at Charlie warily "Do you think I may have overacted?"

Charlie chuckled and walked over to Ruby's side before placing a kiss on her temple "It's not your fault, it's the Buckton gene"

Ruby chuckled and groaned as she stood from her seat

"Where you going?" asked Charlie as Ruby went to walk out of the kitchen

"To get dressed and find Casey. I made him sleep on the floor last night and then made as much noise as I could this morning so I could wake him up and then he kind of stormed out a while ago with his board"

Charlie rolled her eye as she saw Brax swing his hand around Ruby's shoulder before placing a kiss on her temple "That's how it should be" said Brax "Be mean and keep them keen. How do you think your mum keeps me on my toes" he gave Ruby a wink before walking to the fridge

Ruby giggled and Charlie swatted his chest as he walked past her "Don't listen to him"

"I'll go and try to track him down" said Ruby as she walked out of the kitchen only for her to poke her head through again "Are we still going out later?" she said to Brax

Prying his head out of the fridge Brax looked up at her and nodded "Yep, Be at the restaurant for 12. I might even feed you before we leave"

Ruby smiled widely at him before she retracted into her room. Turing to Charlie Brax chuckled "What with the face?" he pulled her bottom lip before giving her a kiss

Charlie shrugged "Nothing. You get a day off work and I'm not even going to get to see you"

Brax chuckled as he wrapped his arms around her "Are you jealous of your daughter, constable"

Charlie folded her arms over her chest "No I'm not jealous. I would just appreciate an invite once in a while to these little day trips of yours"

Brax bit into his bottom lip, adoring the girlish look on her face "Sorry babe but these dates are for me and Rubes alone but me and you could have our own date night, no kids, no family just me and you, wasting endless amount of time" he grinned down at her before claiming her lips in his

"It's way too early for all that"

Both Charlie and Brax pulled away as Ruby walked into the kitchen "I kinda wanted to get some breakfast at the diner but I'm short on cash"

Charlie shook her head and Ruby looked at Brax with a smile

"There's a ten in my wallet" said Brax

"You're the best" smiled Ruby as she walked back into the living room

"You spoil her way too much Brax"

"Let me worry about that" Brax gave her another kiss, his hands lightly slapping her arse "You best get ready for work, I'll sort the twins out" said Brax

Charlie nodded before walking out of the kitchen. Looking over at Hope and Caleb she chuckled as their gazes were still locked to the TV ahead of them

Her phone went off again and like she had been doing for the past two weeks she silenced it. She wasn't going to give him a way back into her life; she wouldn't allow it happen

Tucking her phone back into her pocket, Cheryl smiled up as she spotted Casey running out of the water and towards her, his board under his arm

"Hy mum" he dug his board into the sand before picking up his towel and drying his hair

"Hy" Cheryl frowned. She had quickly learned Casey was far from being a morning person "It's not even ten yet and you're up and out of the house"

Casey sighed "Yea, Ruby made sure of it" he ran his towel over his arm as Cheryl chuckled

"I'm not even going to ask" she said, knowing as well as everyone else whatever it was they would have it sorted latest by the next day

Cheryl visibly stiffened as her phone sounded again. Digging it out of her pocket she looked to the screen and cancelled the call. Casey frowned as he picked up his shirt

"Who was it?" he asked, there was something about the expression on her face that didn't sit well with him

Cheryl looked up at him and told the first lie she could think of "Telesales" she rolled her eyes "They've been calling all morning. Damn people always tryna sell me something". Casey looked at her for a moment longer and Cheryl released a breath as he seemed to slowly buy it. He nodded his head and Cheryl relaxed. She felt to jump for joy when she spotted Ruby walking towards her and Casey

"I'll leave you both to it" she said and Casey turned to see Ruby making her way over to them

Cheryl walked by Ruby and smiled before walking down the beach. She exhaled as she furthered away from Casey and Ruby; there was no way she would have her boys knowing he was contacting her

Casey sighed and Ruby stood in front of him. Their eyes locked against each other as if waiting for the other to cave in first. Finally giving in Ruby spoke

"So maybe I might have… just might have overacted a tiny little bit" she bit the corner of her mouth as she looked up at him

"So I'm not the world's most inconsiderate boyfriend?" Casey repeated her words from the night before

Ruby shook her head "You know I didn't mean that, I was just sad we wouldn't be spending the whole day together"

Casey closed the little gap between them and wrapped his arms around her waist. Without saying a word he lowered his head till his lips were on hers, claiming them. Ruby trailed her hands up his arms and around his neck as the kiss deepened. Finally in desperate need for air, they both pulled back

"I won't be working all day you know, we can do something after" said Casey

Ruby nodded "Yeah mum said the same thing" she rested her hands on his arm "I'm sorry for being such a drama queen and for making you sleep on the floor"

Casey chuckled "Well how about you make it up to me now?" he grinned from ear to ear

Ruby chuckled and shook her head "No chance, Mum, Brax and the twins were still at home before I left"

"Well I know for a fact that Charlie is working today, Mum as the twins for the day and Brax is most likely working and we have no classes today so…"

Ruby placed her hand on his chest "Actually Brax and I are going out today, he's taking me into the city" Ruby laughed as Casey groaned

"I can't wait to get our own place"

Ruby chuckled "I hope that's not the only reason you wanna move in with me" she cocked an eyebrow

Casey shook his head "Most definitely not. I'll also have you there to do my washing, cook for me and so on"

"Oi" Ruby hit his chest as he chuckled

"You know I'm only kidding". He took her hand in his "What time are you guys going into the city?" he asked as he picked up his board.

"I'm meeting him at the restuarant for 12" Replied Ruby and Casey nodded

"Right well we best get going and just hope everyone's left the house by the time we get in" he pulled on her hand and Ruby laughed as she followed him down the beach

Charlie and Jack stepped out of the police car and began approaching the black jeep they had just pulled over; going at 70 miles per hour on a 30 road

"I hate traffic duty" moaned Charlie and Jack chuckled

"You should probably let me do all the talking" he chuckled as she nudged his arm just as they closed in on the vehicle.

The driver wind down his window and peered over at the both of them. He had a full head a grey hair, a rough looking stubble surrounding his cheeks and chin and a tattoo that was slightly visible over the collar of his shirt

"G,day officers" he nodded at the both of them, a croaked smile on his face

"You realise you were doing 70 on a 20 mile road?" said Jack as he gave the guy a once over with his eyes

"I am sorry, I must have missed the sign and I've never been to these parts before" he kept one hand on the steering wheel and the other resting on the opened window

"Could we see your license and registration please?" asked Jack

The guy grinned before nodding his head "Sure" opening the dash board he soon closed it before giving Jack what he had asked for "Anything else officer?"

There was definitely a sense of cockiness to his voice. Jack glanced up at him before looking down at what the guy had handed to him. He gave everything a clear look before handing them back to him.

"Are you visiting or lost?" Jack turned to Charlie as she asked the question. He cocked an eyebrow wondering what she was doing but Charlie kept her gaze on the guy in the car

The guy chuckled "Visiting actually, there's an old friend that I've been dying to see for a long time now, finally tracked her down and now here I am. It's kind of a surprise"

Jack nodded "Right, well unfortunately we will have to write you a speeding ticket"

The guy nodded "I guess you've got to do your job"

After writing him his ticket Jack and Charlie watched as the guy drove off, this time careful about his speed. Jack turned to Charlie who hadn't said a word since she had asked her earlier question. He frowned "Charlie you ok?"

Charlie turned to him and nodded "Yea, I just got the feeling there was something off about him"

Jack nodded "I know what you mean, not the usual kind we get here is he"

Charlie shook her head as she looked in the direction the car had disappeared to "No he doesn't"

"There is nothing wrong with this dress and you said I could get anything I wanted" Ruby pouted at Brax her eyes widening

Brax turned around avoiding her gaze as he shook his head "No, I'm not falling for that look and when I said you could get anything I meant actual clothes. I have socks that cover more than that piece of cloth you're holding"

Ruby groaned but Brax refused to budge "Pick something else Rubes, Hell pick ten other things but there is no way you are leaving this store with that string"

"It's a dress" protested Ruby

"It's still a no"

"Brax please"

Brax shook his head "You are not wearing not buying that Ruby... pick something else"

Brax turned as he heard someone chuckle, only to find who he assumed was a sales assistant looking between him and Ruby

"Classic father and daughter" she chuckled

Ruby rolled her eyes "Well this father is being unfair" she hung the dress back on the railing and Brax smiled

It wasn't the first time someone had referred to her as his daughter and never once had Ruby explained to them that he was actually her step dad. She never once argued with them and had even introduced him as her dad on several occasions. She might not know it but, the joy he felt each time she referred to him as her father wasn't one he could explain

"And just for that I'm going to get the most expensive thing in this shop" she pocked her tongue out at him causing both Brax and the sales assistant to chuckle

"Get whatever as long as it's not that piece of string"

"It's a dress" Ruby exhaled and shook her head

"I wish I had a dad that was as willing as yours to pay for so much" said the sales assistant as she looked at the other various items in Ruby's hand

Ruby smiled as she looked at Brax "Sorry this one isn't for rent"

Brax shook his head, a smile on his face as he reluctantly followed her to her next stop

"You best hide those bags before your mum gets home, you know she'll only have a go at the both of us" Brax spoke as Ruby walked into the house behind him handed with bags.

Dropping his car keys on the kitchen table Brax's head shot up along with Rubes as a voice came from the kitchen

"Too late" Charlie walked into the living room, her eyes widening at the amount of bags Ruby was holding "Brax do not tell me all that is for Ruby" if there was one thing Brax did well… too well, it was spoiling Ruby. All she had to do was widen her big brown eyes and pout at him and he was putty in her hands

Brax and Ruby shook their heads simultaneously, both fidgeting on the spot like five years old that had been caught out

"Errr we got something for you" Said Rub quickly digging through the bags in her hand and handing one to Charlie

"One bag" Charlie chuckled and looked to Brax "You spend way too much on her, you know that" she placed the bag on the dining table

Grinning Brax dropped the bags in his hand and walked over to Charlie who was still in her uniform. Wrapping his hands around her waist, he placed a soft kiss on her lips

"She deserves it every once in a while, it's not like I take her out everyday"

Charlie scoffed "Yeah that's because she's already brought enough cloths to ensure she never as to wear the same outfit twice all year" Charlie eyed the various bags again

Brax chuckled and Charlie knew he was about to say what he always said

"If I can't spoil her then who can" Just as Charlie went to reply Brax claimed her lips in his

Slowly edging past the two of them Ruby made her way down the hall hoping Brax could keep Charlie distracted long enough but as she reached her room she groaned as she heard Charlie's voice

"Daryl Braxton I know you're trying to distract me and you missy…" Charlie waited for Ruby to turn to face her "Seeing as you seem to have brought out the better half of the mall, there will be no need for you to buy anything when you and April go out this weekend"

"No but mum…" Ruby fought the urge to stomp her feet like a five year old

Charlie shook her head "No buts" She cocked an eyebrow waiting for Ruby to argue but she simply let out a sigh

"Fine" she rolled her eyes at her mother as she stalked into her room with the thing's she had brought

Charlie looked up at Brax who still had his arms around her "And don't even think about giving her any money Brax"

Brax nodded with a grin on his face

"I mean it Braxton, that girl as you wrapped around her little finger. I'm not sure which of the two is worse her or Hope"

"It's not my fault ok… she did the face" Brax ran his thumb over her lower back

Charlie shook her head but smiled as she looked up at Brax. She loved every inch of him but one thing she was most grateful for was what he had done for Ruby. She knew to Brax it came as an instinct but to her it meant the world. Apart from Ross, Ruby had never known the love of a father but Brax changed all that. Over the past three years Brax had Ruby had only grown closer and Brax had showered her with so much love and care that Charlie knew, Ruby no longer missed the love of a father, she had found that in Brax. Knowing that Brax loved Ruby unconditionally only added to the love she had for him

"What?" Brax cocked an eyebrow at Charlie who shook her head in response

"Nothing I just love you that's all" she placed her hands on his chest

Brax grinned "Love you too" he seemed to remember something and frowned "Are you not supposed to be at work?" he looked up at the time before looking back at Charlie

Charlie exhaled "Yea I am, but I wasn't feeling to well this afternoon and after about an hour Jack literally hurled me back home"

Brax's frown deepened "What's up?" he ran his hand over her forehead "You haven't got a temperature" he ran his hand along her neck "Have you had something to eat?"

Charlie frowned and she shook her head "I'm not really hungry, I just had some water. My appetites been sky high all week but today I just don't seem to want to eat anything"

Brax looked at her face worryingly "Maybe you should make an appointment at the hospital"

"No we don't have to do that" she never wanted to be in a hospital unless it was completely necessary "I'll just go take a bath and have a nap, I'm sure I'll be fine after that" she could tell by the lines on the corner of Brax's eye's he didn't like her idea much "Babe serious I feel better already, it's probably just something I ate"

Brax sighed "Fine but if it starts up again, if you feel off even in the slightest, you have to tell me Charlie" her stubbornness would be the death of him one day

Charlie smiled and nodded "I will do" she stepped onto her toes and placed a kiss on his lips.

Brax looked down at her, his thumb having moved to her cheek leaving gentle strokes "Come on" he led her down the hall and into their room "Let's get you rested"

"Oh no I'm only visiting, I've just come to get something of mine and then I'll be gone. Although it's a shame, I kind of like the view in this place" he leaned on the counter and grinned at her

Colleen smiled at him "Well the view in summer bay is quiet spectacular if I do say so myself"

"Plus with such charming women like yourself around, a guy can't help but wish he could stay a bit longer" he winked at her causing Colleen to blush under his gaze. He needed to know a few things and figured he could use someone to point him in the right direction

"You don't by any chance know a woman going by the name Cheryl do you, Cheryl Braxton" he really hoped she would spill

Colleen nodded her head eagerly "Oh you know the Braxton family?"

The man nodded trying to fight the grin that wanted to break out on his face "Family friend from way back, but then when I moved I lost contact and seeing as I'm down here for business anyway I figured it would be a nice little surprise to drop in on her"

"Well I've known the Braxton boys a long time but Cheryl well, she only turned up a few years ago but I'm not one to judge, she seems nice enough" Colleen shrugged

Deciding to try his luck he asked "You wouldn't by any chance know where she lives it's just I really would like to surprise her, you know, catch up" he smiled at her hoping she would cough up the information she seeked and like he had expected she didn't disappoint

"As a matter of fact I do" Colleen frantically gave him Cheryl's address as she tried explaining how he would get there. He grinned as she finally stopped talking

"I think I've got it" he leaned off the counter a charming grin present on his features "Well I have got to say you have definitely made my day" Giving Colleen a wink that made her blush the more he walked out of the diner "Definitely made my day"

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for the comments :)

CHAPTER THREE

"As a matter of fact I do" Colleen frantically gave him Cheryl's address as she tried explaining how he would get there. He grinned as she stopped talking

"I think I've got it" he leaned off the counter a charming grin present on his features "Well I have got to say you have definitely made my day" Giving Colleen a wink that made her blush the more he walked out of the diner "Definitely made my day"

Two days later

"Hope, Caleb not so close to the water" Charlie sat on the sand with Cheryl watching both Hope and Caleb running around on the beach

"They haven't half grown quickly" said Cheryl before taking a sip of her juice

Charlie sighed and nodded a smile crossing her face as Caleb sat on the sand, while he allowed Hope cover up his tiny feet with sand "Yea they have, too quickly if you ask me. I feel like it was only just last week we were finally allowed to bring the both of them home from the hospital"

Cheryl smiled lightly as she too watched the twins "I'm just glad I came back. I regret not being the mother the boys needed I think it would have killed me to miss out on being there for my grandkids as well"

Charlie turned to Cheryl, she knew that even after so many years and after the boys had allowed her back into their lives that Cheryl still hadn't properly forgiven herself for being MIA for part of their life. "Cheryl I keep telling you to let that go, the boys have. We all make mistakes and at least you learned from yours; some people never do"

Cheryl nodded and smiled at Charlie "I know" she cleared her throat "Anyway enough about that, how are you feeling today?" Cheryl gave Charlie a pointed look

Charlie creased her eyebrows together "Errr fine, why?"

Cheryl chuckled "Because your husband told me you haven't been feeling to good, apparently you've been a little up and down lately"

Charlie shook her head and sighed "I swear Brax will kill himself with worry, I told him I was fine. A few people have been off sick at work lately so there is definitely some sort of bug going around, I think I just caught it as well, but I feel better today"

Cheryl nodded but still she couldn't help but ask, she may not have been an award winning mother when the boys were younger but she knew a thing or two about signs of pregnancy "So you sure it's just a bug, it couldn't possibly be anything else?"

Charlie looked at Cheryl with a confused expression "I'm sure… I mean what else could it be?" Charlie shuffled a little, her action not gone un noticed by Cheryl

Cheryl chuckled and went to answer but her words haltered as she peered at the figure leaning over the wooden banister just further up the beach. She felt her breath leave her lungs as what she had suspected and been afraid of had now been confirmed. His arms were leaning on the banister; one foot propped up, his gaze locked on the waves. She could see his full sleeved tattoo from where she sat and images of her past came back to her, that same arm coming to her at speed she couldn't anticipate

Charlie's expression went from confused to worry in a matter of seconds. She peered at Cheryl whose face had now drained of any colour it previously harboured. She could almost hear a ragged breath leaving Cheryl almost like she was struggling to breathe. "Cheryl what's wrong?" she waited for an answer but nothing came. Seeing that Cheryl's gaze remained fixed she slowly turned to where her eyes were focused on. She for some reason hadn't forgotten that face, it was the same man her and Jack had pulled over only a few days before hand. She looked to Cheryl who still sat ridged and then turned back to the man, who was still staring out at the waves. Turing back to Cheryl, Charlie placed her hand on her shoulder "Cheryl" her voice a little firmer than it had been previously

Cheryl snapped out of her trance and looked to Charlie; she could see the confusion and worry in her eyes

"Cheryl are you ok?" asked Charlie

Cheryl glanced back at the man and back and Charlie before she nodded "Yea I err… yea I'm fine"

Charlie squinted her gaze knowing for a fact that Cheryl was lying, something had spooked her or someone. Charlie took another glance at the man "Cheryl do you know him from somewhere?"

Cheryl blinked a few times trying to compose her shaken nerves. How had he found her? Why was he here? What did he want from her? Realising she hadn't answered Charlie's questioned and she was now looking at her expectantly, Cheryl tried to think of a way to answer her. She opened her mouth to speak but stopped as Hope and Caleb came running to her and Charlie

Hope sat herself on Charlie lap "We hungy mummy" she looked up at her mother expectantly and Cheryl quickly used it has a diversion. She was aware he hadn't seen her yet and she wanted to keep it that way

"Well we can't have that can we?" she asked as she placed a smile on her face

Both Hope and Caleb shook their heads

"Ok, how about we pack up her and Nana Cheryl will treat you to lunch at the diner. If you pack up quickly I might just get you both a milkshake"

Hope scurried off her mother's lap as she and Caleb started packing up their spade and bucket. Cheryl stood to her feet and kept her back to the man, while ignoring the questioning look that was still present on Charlie's face

"We all done Nana Chewyl we all done" said Caleb, he and Hope stood with the individual bucket and spade and their toys placed inside them

"Come on then let's get you both fed"

"I get the stawbewy milkshake" said Hope as She and Caleb ran up the beach

"You coming?" Cheryl took a quick glance at Charlie but followed behind the twins before Charlie could say a word

Having now stood to her feet, Charlie looked at Cheryl as she walked away before she turned back to the mystery man. She had known there was something off about him the day she and Jack had stopped him but now seeing Cheryl's reaction to him she was anxious. Charlie remembered him saying he was coming to visit an old female friend and her mind wondered to the way Cheryl had just reacted to him. Her gut was telling her whatever this guy was here for, wasn't good. Seeing that Cheryl and the twins had entered the diner she sighed and followed behind them; reminding herself to corner Cheryl later.

Ruby walked through the back door with a sigh as she dropped her bag on the counter before walking into the living room only to find Hope and Caleb sat playing unusually quietly. She cocked her head and studied them, sure they must have done something wrong

"Hy guys" before she had finished both Hope and Caleb had their finger to their lips

"Shhhh mummy no well" said Hope

Ruby looked between her brother and sister "Where is she?" asked Ruby, who had already proceeded down the hallway

"She in the bathwoom, she say to stay here and play" said Caleb

"Ok, you guys keep on playing and I'll go and see how she is" said Ruby

Pushing open the door of the main bathroom, Ruby found Charlie stood with her hands resting on the basin "Mum you ok?" walking into the bathroom she left the door slightly ajar so she could hear the twins if they made any movements

Charlie looked up into the mirror and smiled weakly at Ruby "Hy how was Uni and work?"

Ruby nodded "Ok, but how about you?"

Charlie nodded "I'm fine, I just felt a little queasy that's all" she took a towel from the railing and wiped the water she had splashed on her face "And I don't think that grilled cheese I had at the diner helped much"

Ruby nodded "You sure that's all it is, I can call Brax"

Charlie shook her head "No way, he's been worried sick for the past few days, and I keep telling him it's just a bug, it'll pass. Calling him now will just have him rushing down here demanding I go to the hospital"

Ruby sighed "maybe that's not a bad thing; I mean what if it isn't just a bug?" Ruby knew that more than anything Charlie hated going into the hospital, each time they had ended up there in the past it had always been for something bad; apart from the time Hope and Caleb had just been born

"Ruby if I thought it was anything serious I promise I would drive myself down to the hospital but I'm not the only one down with a bug, a few people at work have had it too"

Ruby nodded not willing to argue with Charlie "Ok, but if I suspect it's something more I'm telling Brax"

Charlie rolled her eyes "Of course you are"

Placing the towel back on the railing she exhaled, glad the queasy feeling had passed. "If you really want to help you could help me get started on dinner" she walked by Ruby

"I can do that" replied Ruby as she followed Charlie back into the living room

Hope and Caleb looked up at Charlie, both their eyes wide

"You no be sick no more?" asked Hope and Charlie shook her head

"No I'm ok now" she smiled down at the both of them and ran her hands through their hair

"You pwomise?" asked Caleb and Charlie nodded

"I promise" her answer seemed to satisfy both Hope and Caleb as they returned back to their game but this time picked up the volume

Ruby and Charlie walked into the kitchen and Ruby washed her hands before she took a seat on a stool as Charlie pulled some things out of the fridge. Charlie looked to Ruby "You're back home early. I thought you had a shift at the restaurant after Uni today"

Ruby rolled her eyes "I did, but then Maddie let slip about an assignment we have due in a few weeks and Brax sent me packing after I told her I hadn't even started it" Maddie was a class mate of Ruby's who also worked at the restaurant "It's not even due for over two weeks but Brax wasn't having none of it, he literally marched me out of there"

Charlie chuckled "Well your studies are important"

"Yes I know mum, but like I said it's not due for over two weeks" Ruby stood to her feet, picked up the chopping board and a knife and started chopping the onion that Charlie had just rinsed

"Yea and he's just looking out for you, he wants you to do well" answered Charlie and she didn't miss the smile on Ruby's face at her words

"Yea I know he does" replied Ruby

Charlie turned from the sink and took the bowl of green and red peppers to the center counter and began chopping them alongside Ruby

"He really loves you, you know that"

Ruby looked up at Charlie with a smile "I know and I love him too, he's awesome" Ruby bit into the side of her mouth before she spoke again "I now this is stupid but, you know when we found out that you was pregnant with Hope and Caleb?" Charlie nodded and waited for Ruby to continue "I was mostly happy like really happy, but there was a tiny part of me that was a little jealous"

Charlie stopped chopping and creased her eyebrows, she hadn't a clue Ruby had felt that way "Why?"

"Well they were going to have you and Brax, and I know I did to but still, they would both be yours and Brax's and I never had that" Ruby shrugged "I guess I thought I would feel a little left out once they arrived"

Charlie sighed she had never really thought of it like that "And did you?" she asked

Ruby smiled and shook her head "No, not even once. I think I got over it even before the twins came. I don't know, I guess Brax was just always there. He was there for me when we found out about you having placenta previa; he was there for me when you were in hospital. He just always went out of his way to make sure that I was ok and he still does, I have no reason to be jealous" she looked up at Charlie "He is my dad"

Charlie pursed her lips willing herself to not tear up at her daughters words; she knew Brax would have loved to have heard what Ruby had just said. She smiled "Well that's good, because as far as he's concerned you're his daughter"

Ruby pushed the chopped onions to one side before picking up a green pepper "I know" she smiled up at Charlie before proceeding to chop the pepper

"You felt any better today?" asked Brax as he and Charlie lay in bed; his arms wrapped around her and her head lay on his chest

"Better than yesterday I guess"

Brax sighed and ran his hand down her back "Well I've taken the day off tomorrow so I'll have the twins for the day, that way you can rest"

Charlie shook her head "I'm working tomorrow, so I won't be getting much rest"

"No you're not" said Brax and Charlie tiled her head till she was looking up at him

"Err actually I am, I'm on the night shift"

Brax shook his head "Babe if this is a bug, then going back to work isn't going to help you fight it off, plus Jack already told your boss you won't be in till next week"

"He what?" Charlie gave Brax a glare "Why would he do that?"

"Because I asked him to, I'm not having you working yourself into the ground when you're obviously not feeling well and Jack agreed"

Charlie exhaled not wanting to shout "Brax you can't just ask your best friend to book days off for me just because you feel I need to rest, I have a job to do"

Brax sighed "And so do I, and that is to look after you. Charlie if I didn't think you needed this I would not have mentioned it to Jack. Anyway he said they already had your shift covered as they weren't expecting you back till next week"

"That's not the point Brax, I should have a say in this as well" she sighed as she lay on her back

Brax groaned and turned to face her, he knew how stubborn she could be but he could see her point "Babe" he placed his hand under her chin and turned her head to him "I'm just worried about you ok, I know you wouldn't want to take any time off work but I also know you need it, that's why I went to Jack"

"Still…" said Charlie and Brax nodded

"Yes I know, it should be your decision so I'll be sure to consult you next time" he gave her a cheeky grin and Charlie cocked her eyebrow

Brax sighed "Fine, next time I'll let you decide, but if I feel you really need a break I will fight you on it"

A smile settled on Charlie's face and she nodded "I guess that's fair"

Brax pulled her back into him, one hand now resting just above her ass "I can't help worrying about you"

Charlie placed her hand on his chest, running a circle with her index finger "I know and regardless of all my complaining I do love you for it"

Hope shook her head as Brax held up a white and yellow sundress "No daddy, I no wear that one. I on like it today"

Brax rolled his eyes, only his three year old daughter would be particular about what she wore on which day "So what do you want to wear today?

"The wed and blue one" she stood with her hands on her hips and Brax couldn't help but laugh; she reminded him so much of Charlie. Standing to his feet he rummaged through her clothes

"Here we are" he turned to his daughter "This one?"

Hope nodded her head "Yea that one daddy"

"Right let's get you dressed then" picking her up he smiled as Charlie walked into the room

"I thought you had picked out the white and yellow one for her?"

"Yea but your daughter wasn't having any of it, it had to be the red and blue one today" Brax shook his head as he began dressing Hope

"I no want the lellow on today, I want this one" she said looking at Charlie

"You're so picky missy" Charlie ticked her side and Hope giggled and squirmed away

"I wonder where she gets it from" Brax looked at Charlie with a cocked eyebrow and a grin

"Oi" Charlie swatted his chest "I am not picky…" she paused "I just know what I want, when I want it and how I want it"

Brax chuckled "Right and that isn't picky at all" he spoke sarcastically

Ignoring his tone Charlie nodded her head "You're right it isn't picky .Anyway where is my little man?"

"In the living room dressed and ready to go" answered Brax "He made no fuss whatsoever about what I had picked out for him to wear"

Charlie rolled her eyes at Brax before walking out of the room and into the living room to find Caleb sat on the couch in front of the TV

"How's my favourite boy?" she sat next to and pulled him into her arms so he was now sat on her lap

Caleb nodded his head, his blue eyes wide "Daddy say we go to the park, and then we go to get some ice cweam"

"Oh that sounds like fun" smiled Charlie

"You come too?" asked Caleb

Charlie shook her head "No, it's just you, Hope and daddy today. I'm gonna stay at home"

Caleb frowned "But you to come too, so we all get ice cweam"

Charlie ran her hand through his hair and placed a kiss on his temple "How about you bring some back for me, and we can have whatever you want for dinner when you get back"

Caleb sat looking up at his mother as he considered her offer "We have pizza?" he asked. His father may own a restaurant but Charlie limited the amount of pizza they ate

"Yea if that's what you want"

Caleb nodded his head "Okay" and with that Hope came bouncing down the hall with Brax behind her

"Aww don't you look pretty" Charlie smiled at her daughter who now had a wide smile on her face

"This dress the pwettiest" beamed Hope

"It sure is" answered Charlie as she stood to her feet and placed Caleb down. She looked up at Brax "You all ready to go?"

She asked as she walked around the couch, Caleb taking hold of her hand and following her

"Yea, Heath is bring Abi to the park so I'm meeting him there" replied Brax

Charlie nodded before looking down at Hope and Caleb "Right does mummy get a kiss before you go" she lowered herself to their level and both Hope and Caleb swung their arms around her neck placing a kiss on her cheek. Standing to her feet Chalrie smiled up at Brax before edging up onto her toes and placing a kiss on his lips "Have fun today" her smile widened as Brax leaned in and placed another kiss on her lips

"And you rest up ok?"

"Yes sir" Charlie gave him a grin before looking down and laughing. Caleb and Hope stood with their hands over their eyes "They still doing that"

Brax looked down at the twins and chuckled "I guess so" he sighed "Right you can open your eyes now"

Hope and Caleb peeped over the top of their hands causing Charlie and Brax to laugh, before they dropped their hands completely

"You all done?" asked Hope

Brax and Charlie grinned and nodded "Yea we all done" answered Brax with a roll of his eyes

"We go now?" asked Hope

"Yes we're going now" replied Brax

"See you later" Brax smiled back at Charlie as the twins raced to the back door

"Bye" Charlie watched as he shut the door before she walked into the kitchen, determined to eat something that she would hopefully be able to keep down

Abi, Hope and Caleb raced into the surf club with Heath and Brax slowly lagging behind

"How are they so energised all the time" complained Heath "My feet and back are killing me" he groaned as they entered to surf club to see the kids already stood at the gelato bar waiting on them

Brax exhaled "I feel like I've ran a fricking marathon, I don't know how Charlie keeps up with them" he sighed as Hope called to him

"Daddy be quick" she stood with her hands on her hips and Heath chuckled

"That kid of yours is going to be a force to reckon with when she starts school"

Brax chuckled "She already is, I'm scared for the poor kid that will dare to cross her"

Both Brax and Heath now stood beside the kids "Right what do you guys want?" asked Heath as the girl behind the counter smiled down the three kids

Hope stood with both hands still on her hips; Abi had her hands folded over her chest and Caleb stood with both hands in his pocket, all three with a stern look on their faces as they considered their choice of gelato. Heath and Brax couldn't help but laugh at the three of them

"You would think they were sitting an exam" the young girl behind the counter chuckled

Brax and Heath nodded "Oh you want to see them when their mothers let them pick what we have for dinner" said Heath. He looked down as Abi tugged on his hand "You decided?" he asked and she nodded her head

"I want the banana flavor please"

The girl behind the counter nodded and scoped some up for her

"And what about the two of you?" asked Brax. The twins peered up at him before looking back down

"I have chocolate pwease" said Caleb

"And you?" asked Brax as he turned to Hope.

Hope peered at Abi's gelato then at Caleb's and sighed before trying to make her choice "It too many"

Brax chuckled "Well you're going to have to pick unless you don't want any"

Hope widened her eyes and shook her head "No I want"

"Ok, which one?" asked Brax

With a sigh she examined her options again before speaking "I have…I have stawbewwy one pwease" she smiled happy with her voice as the girl behind the counter dug up a scope

Brax paid the girl and shook his head "Who would have thought buying gelato could take up so much time" picking both Caleb and Hope up, he was mindful of their gelato's as he carried them up the stairs to the restaurant, Heath and Abi not far behind

A call had come through for Heath at his garage and he now stood outside the surf club, frustrated by a customer's difficulty

"Mate if you have to show her the work we had to do on her car then so be it. I gave her a quote when she brought the car in so I don't understand why she's being so difficult about paying up" he ran his hand through his hair wanting anything more than to be talking about work at that moment

"Look I'll sort it out when I get in tomorrow" he sighed "Yea...ok bye" he hung up the phone and was about to turn around to go back up to the restaurant, till an obviously angry voice stopped him in his track.

"I don't take well to being ignored" the mystery man spoke over the phone and Heath watched as the man rounded the corner before coming to a stop "I know you were in that house and I must tell you my patience is running thin, and you know what I get like when I'm angry"

Heath peered at the man, he was sure he had never seen him before, his full sleeve tattoos and biker jacket would have made the man a hard individual to not remember. He listened on as the man spoke

"So here's what's gonna happen, you're gonna start picking my calls and stop sending me to voicemail and next time I come to your place you will answer the door" the man cut the phone and jammed it into his pocket "Bitch" he growled under his breath before looking up and catching Heath's eye. The man cocked his eyebrow "Problem?"

Heath sneered at the man before turning around and walking away "Jackass" he muttered. He climbed the steps and couldn't help but wonder who the man had been talking to or leaving a message for. Shaking the thought he took the stairs two at a time and chuckled at Brax who was trying to clean up the mess the kids had made of themselves with their gelatos

Charlie sat on the couch, Bianca and Martha sat each side of her. Her friend's had come to keep her company but had hardly spoken two words

"Ok, what's up with the both of you, you've been way too quiet since you both got hear. I'm usually having to beg for the both of you to shut up"

Martha glanced at Bianca ad sighed "Look we know you're pretty adamant that this thing you have is just a bug but are you sure it couldn't be anything else"

Charlie knew what they were getting at, the same why she had known what Cheryl had been getting at on the beach the day before but yet she played dumb. The thought of it being more than a bug scared her more than she would have thought. It seemed after everything they went through with Hope and Caleb the thought of having another child scared her more than anything; she wasn't sure if she could go through having the same complications again. She couldn't put her family through that. She turned to Bianca as her voice brought her out of her thoughts

"We err… we got you this" Bianca held her hand out

Charlie stared down at the pregnancy test and shook her head "I'm not pregnant guys, how many times it's just a bug"

Bianca nodded "Then it'll do no harm to just take the test" she held it out to Charlie both her and Martha looking at her expectantly

Charlie looked down at the test, then at Bianca and Martha, she knew they had her cornered so she exhaled loudly "What if I am pregnant?" she bit into her bottom lip "What if the same thing with Caleb and Hope happens again"

Martha sighed "Charlie you can't think like that, plus you telling yourself you're not pregnant doesn't change the fact that you could be. And honestly regardless of everything you went through with your last pregnancy look what you have now"

Charlie knew Martha was right

"You have to take the test and know for sure Charlie" said Bianca as she placed the box in Charlie's lap

Charlie closed her eyes momentarily and sighed before nodding her head "You're right" she picked the box up and stared down at it "I'll errr… I'll take it now"

Both Martha and Bianca nodded and sat watching as Charlie stood to her feet and made her way into the toilet, both of them sitting and waiting in anticipation

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for the comment Danni and JarlieFanEver. Enjoy :)

CHAPTER FOUR

"You have to take the test and know for sure Charlie" said Bianca as she placed the box in Charlie's lap

Charlie closed her eyes momentarily and sighed before nodding her head "You're right" she picked the box up and stared down at it "I'll errr… I'll take it now"

Both Martha and Bianca nodded and sat watching as Charlie stood to her feet and made her way into the toilet, both of them sitting and waiting in anticipation


Charlie now sat on the edge of the bath staring down at the result of the pregnancy test that lay in her hand. She had held her breath as she dared herself to peer down at it, and now she couldn't get her gaze to shift. A good twenty minutes had passed since she had locked herself in the bathroom and she knew Bianca and Martha would soon be at the door if she didn't come out; regardless she needed this moment to herself. Exhaling once more she stood and placed the test in tissue paper before discarding of it in the bin. Washing her hands she looked to herself in the mirror and sighed

Bianca and Martha sat up right as they heard the bathroom door open, and soon enough Charlie entered the living room. They both watched her attentively trying to predict the result of the test by her facial expression

"So?" asked Bianca, unable to play the waiting game much longer

Charlie shook her head "Negative" she replied but her voice lacked the relief her friends had expected to hear

Both Bianca and Martha nodded slowly

"So it is just a bug?" said Bianca

Charlie nodded "Seems like it" she cleared her throat

"I would have thought you would have been happy about this" said Martha

Charlie nodded her head and tried for a smile that didn't quite reach her eyes "I am, I just…" she sighed, she wasn't sure what was wrong with her; she hadn't wanted to be pregnant so why had the negative result disappointed her so much. She shook her head and tried for another smile "Just ignore me, you're right this is what I wanted" she walked over to the couch and sat in her previous place.

Bianca and Martha glanced at each other and sighed

"It's ok to be disappointed about this Charlie" Bianca rubbed her arm

Charlie shook her head "There's nothing to be disappointed about, I already said I didn't want to be pregnant"

Martha sighed "No, you said you were afraid that you would face the same complications as you did with the twins. That doesn't mean to say you don't want any more kids Charlie"

Bianca nodded "She's right Charlie, plus it's just us you don't have to pretend for us"

Charlie exhaled and looked to both of her friends "I just… I know I was adamant that I wasn't pregnant but I guess in some way with the way I've been feeling I thought it was a possibility" she shook her head "But seeing the negative sign on that test I felt- I felt disappointed" she leaned her head back and groaned "What's wrong with me? One minute I'm saying I don't want this and the next I'm near tears because I'm getting what I said I wanted"

Bianca and Martha chucked lightly "You're a woman, it's how we are"

Charlie brought her head back up and chuckled

"But now that you know you want a baby, maybe you and Brax could start trying. The twins are already three and I'm sure along with Ruby they would love a new sibling" said Bianca

Charlie bit into the corner of her lips as she thought about having another baby and a smile crossed her face. Her fear of what could happen still lingered but the disappointment she felt staring down at the negative test result only proved to her how ready she was to add to their family. She chuckled "I must be crazy to be even thinking of producing another Braxton, Hope and Caleb still manage to keep us on our toes"

Bianca and Martha laughed "Well maybe a new sibling will calm them down a bit" replied Bianca

And Charlie cocked an eyebrow "Or he or she will become as much of a terror as the both if them"

"Please, no matter how much you complain you know you love it" said Martha

Charlie nodded with a smile "I do"

"Right well whenever you and Brax want to, as you call it 'waste time' to make this happen, just let me know and We'll have the kids over; you know, give you guys the whole house to experiment in" said Bianca and all three girls started laughing

Martha stood to her feet "Right seeing as you are actually down with a bug I think it's only fair we ply you with an endless stream of Ryan Reynolds movies and ice cream" she placed her hand on her tiny baby bump "And as much as I love you I'm going to sit over here" she pointed on the single couch "I'm not looking to catch a bug" she sat and stretched her feet out

Bianca cocked her eyebrow "Let me guess, I have to go get the ice cream and the movies"

Martha and Charlie nodded with laughter

"Well I'm not feeling well and she's pregnant. Surely you can't expect us to do it" Charlie gave a cheeky grin and Bianca shook her head as she stood to her feet and made her way into the kitchen

"I'll remember this" she shouted back at them and both Charlie and Martha laughed

"So much for having the day off" Brax grunted as he walked out of his office and walked over to where Heath and the kids now sat eating. He slumped down besides Caleb and picked up his burger "In for two minutes and I'm already having to deal with people messing up" he sighed before taking a huge bite of his burger

Caleb looked up at Brax "Daddy why I no allowed that one" he pointed at his father's burger and Heath laughed

"Buddy I don't think you could get that in your mouth never mind finish it" said Heath but Caleb nodded his head

"I do too, I like daddy"

Brax smiled and ruffled Caleb's hair "Yea, and when you get bigger you can have a burger like this"

Brax glanced at the entrance, and back down at Caleb before his gaze moved back to the entrance. He cocked an eyebrow as he watched a man stand, seemingly examining the place before venturing in. His full sleeved tattoo arm raised till his hand was rubbing the stubble on his chin. Brax was brought out of his daze when Heath spoke

"What the hell dos he want here"

Brax frowned at Heath "Do you know him?"

Heath shook his head "Na saw him outside before and I don't like him" as he spoke the man looked in their direction making eye contact with Heath. A grin crossed his face before he walked to the bar and sat on the stool

Brax and Heath's stares followed him, their eyes glaring at him with unimpressed expressions

"Give me a sec" Brax slide back out of the booth and walked over to the bar. Standing staring at the man he cocked his head to the side slightly "Sorry, we're not opened for the next hour"

The man peered at him, looked back at where Heath and the kids were sat before looking back at Brax "And you are?" he scratched on his stubble

Brax clicked his tongue already finding himself irritated by the man's presence "The owner" replied Brax "If you're looking to get something to eat, you'll have to go somewhere else. Like I said we won't be opening for at least an hour"

The man nodded slowly, a smirk crossing his face "Well in that case I best get going" he slowly stood to his feet, tapping his fingers on the bar "Thanks" he gave a nod before turning and making his way out of the restaurant

Brax watched him with a frown and wondered what someone like that was in the bay. Shrugging it off he walked back over to the booth and slide back in "I wonder where he's come from?"

Heath shrugged "From what I heard him saying on the phone outside, I think it's more like who he's come for"

Both brothers quickly put the man to the back of their minds and turned to their kids

Charlie looked up from the TV as Caleb and Hope ran through the back door, Brax in tow

"Hi mummy" said Hope as both her and Caleb perched themselves up on the sofa beside her. Charlie chuckled as she pulled them into her before placing a kiss on their heads

"I take it you both had a good day with daddy" She smiled up at Brax as he dropped his keys onto the dining table before sitting on the couch beside Hope

The twins nodded with bright smiles "The bestest" replied Caleb "We go to the park, then we gets ice cweam and we have chips and burgers and milkshakes, then we pal on the beach and have some more ice cweam"

Hope nodded "It was the yummiest and then we help get Weece from School and we have pizza"

Charlie pursed her lip, cocked her eyebrows as she looked up at Brax who gave her a bright grin, knowing she was most likely about to give him a grilling for all the junk he had allowed them inhale that day

"They did the face" he exhaled "Not just one of them but the both of them and then throw Abi in there too and we couldn't say no"

Charlie chuckled and shook her head before she looked back down at the twins "Well I'm glad you both had a good day"

"Yea but you to go too next time ay" said Caleb as he looked up at Charlie, his blue eyes wide with expectation

Charlie smiled down at him and nodded, her hand running through his hair Yeah I'll come with you guys next time"

"You to pwomise?" said Caleb and Charlie nodded

"I promise. Now why don't the both of you go to your rooms and I'll be right through to give you your baths"

Caleb and Hope shook their heads vigorously, something Charlie had already expected

"We bath too many times mummy" Hope sighed

"Yeah well when you left the house this morning you didn't have sticky gelato faces"

"We no sticky" said Caleb, his face scrunched up "And I no wanna bath" he pouted up at Charlie but she shook her head

"Last time you tried to get out to get out of bath time, you only got one bed time story. Do you want that to happen again?" she cocked an eyebrow and even at the age of two Hope and Caleb knew that look.

They looked at each other and sighed

"Ok we go" said Caleb and he and Hope jumped off the couch "But we to get two stories, one for me and one for Hope?" Just before the twins had turned three they had insisted since there was two of them it was only fair that they got a story each, it didn't matter that they shared the same room

"Yeah" Charlie rolled her eyes "One for you and one for Hope" a smile placed on their faces, both Hope and Caleb ran to their room and Charlie turned to Brax

"You do know it's going to be hell trying to get them to sleep tonight?" she tried to keep her expression stern but she couldn't help but simper over at Brax as he leaned closer to her

"And I'm sorry for that but it's very hard to say no to them, especially when they conspire together"

Charlie couldn't help but laugh at his words "Oh is that what they do?"

Brax nodded with a grin before placing a kiss on her lips, his hands slowly caressing her cheek "I missed you today" he said as he leaned back

"I thought you guys were only going out for a little while" said Charlie; it was now just past seven

"Yea but then Heath said Bianca and Martha were planning on coming by, so we figured we'll leave you guys to enjoy yourselves without the kids"

Charlie smiled and leaned into him placing another kiss on his lips "Well thank you for that but they left a while ago, and still I would much rather spend the day with you"

"You should have called me" said Brax and Charlie shook her head

"No, I figured the kids would be loving being out for the whole day" she chuckled as Brax sighed

"Those kids of yours have got the energy of a whole army, thy made me and Heath feel extremely old today and unfit" Charlie laughed, her head rolling back before she stood to her feet. She leaned forward so her face wasn't too far from Brax's

"That's because you are" she placed a chasten kiss on his lips and backed away from him before he could get a hold o her. She back down the hall "I've got to go give the army their bath"

Brax shook his head as he watched her disappear into the twin's room "I'll get you or that Charlotte"

"Can't wait Daryl" Charlie replied from the room causing Brax to chuckle

Brax glanced down at Charlie again and his eyebrows creased together, she had only spoken a few words since she had given the twins a bath and he had taken over from there and put them to bed. She sat staring at the TV screen but he had a feeling she was paying little to no attention to what was going on

"What's going on in that head of yours?" she had her head lay on his chest, his arms wrapped around her. He ran his hand up and down her arm softly as she shook her head

"Nothing much" he felt her sigh more than he heard her. Looking down at her he brought his other hand up and placed it below her chin and slowly titled her head till she was looking up at him

"Why don't I believe you?" he caressed her cheek with his thumb, his gaze locked against hers "Whenever you're this quiet I'm either in the dog house or I'm about to fork out a load of money" Charlie chuckled and her lips curled up and Brax smiled down at her happy he was able to get her to smile but still wanting to know what was on her mind that had made her so quiet "So you going to tell me what's really going on with you?"

Charlie darted her gaze away from him, she hadn't been able to stop thinking about the pregnancy test and how disappointed she still felt at it being negative. Looking back up at Brax she sighed knowing he would let up till she told him. Pushing herself up so their eyes were level she bit into her bottom lip wondering how he was going to react to what she was about to tell him

"I took a pregnancy test today" she kept her gaze on his trying to dissect every reeaction and movement on his face. He stared at her unspoken his eyes asking what his lips weren't but she shook her head "I'm not pregnant, it was negative" she wasn't sure what she could see in his eyes, disappointment or relief. Finally Brax spoke

Brax sat up straight "Why didn't you tell me you thought you might be pregnant, I should have been here with you when you took that test" his gaze looked saddened and Charlie quickly spoke to correct him

"No I didn't plan on taking the test or any test but Martha and Bianca brought it for me without me knowing. They thought I might have been down with more than just a bug"

"Did you?" asked Brax "Did you think you might have been pregnant?" he exhaled as Charlie nodded

"A part of me did yes but I didn't want to think about it, that's the only reason I didn't tell you. I just I was scared, scared because of what happened with Hope and Caleb. I was scared things might turn out the same"

Brax nodded because he understood her more than she knew, he felt the same way. Hearing she thought she was pregnant had taken him right back to when she was pregnant with Hope and Caleb, having to be told she had placenta previa, coming home the night after their wedding to find her bleeding on the bathroom floor. He felt his blood run cold and quickly discarded of the memory

"But…" he focused back on Charlie as she spoke "But then when the test was negative, I-I was a little disappointed" she looked up at him waiting for Brax to say something

"You were disappointed?" he asked for lack of response. He wasn't sure how he felt and he had a feeling Charlie could see it on his face

Charlie noted that his expression looked torn, she was unsure how he felt but she needed him to know how she felt so she nodded "Yea I was, I was sitting in the bathroom waiting to see the result and somehow I had starting thinking about how amazing it would be if I had another life growing inside me, whether it would be a boy or a girl, what we would name him or her" she shook her head and allowed herself smile "Somehow all those things managed to overweigh any fear I had" she sighed "So yea, when it turned out to be negative, I was sad and disappointed" she stopped talking then and waited on Brax to say something

Brax exhaled, he knew what she was saying, what she was silently asking of him, but he felt a ball of fear settle in the pit of his stomach. Knowing he had to say something he spoke only to clarify what he already knew

"So what err… what are you saying?"

Charlie pursed her lips as her eyes roamed his face, the slight tightness to his jaw, the dip in his left eyebrow and the way his body seemed to have stiffened, told her more than she knew Brax wanted her to see, yet she spoke on

"How would you feel about trying for another baby?" her hand had somehow landed on his chest and she could feel his rapid heartbeat beneath her fingers. She could almost see the wheels turning in panic in his eyes "What are you thinking Brax?"

Brax stared at her, trying to find words or just a single word that would explain to her what was going on in his head, but his thoughts were so muddled up he wasn't sure where to begin

"I err…" he exhaled "Are you sure we should be thinking about having another baby now, I mean… we still have our hands full with Hope and Caleb" an excuse, he knew that's what his words were

Charlie nodded her head, trying not to let his words get her down "yea but they're already three Brax, and they'll be four in a few months. And it might even take me a while to get pregnant, they'll probably be close to five by the time I have another baby"

Brax rubbed the back of his head with his hand, unable to get that ball of fear in his stomach to shift "I know but, between your job and mine and Hope and Caleb I just feel it would be best to hold off for a while" he saw her frown deepen and her gaze grow dull before she nodded her head. He felt a wave of disappointment hit him as she removed her hand from his chest and onto her lap

Charlie wanted to point out that his job and hers were still factors when they had Hope and Caleb and they managed just fine, but she could see that what she wanted wasn't what he wanted "You're right" she tired for a smile but failed "I think I'm going to try and get some sleep, I feel much better so there's no point in taking the day off work tomorrow" she stood to her feet and without another word from either of them she made her way down the hallway and into their room.

He knew he should say something, anything but instead he watched her disappear into their room. Hearing the door shut softly behind her, he leaned forward on the couch and buried his head in his hand. He wasn't right and he knew it, but how was he supposed to be ok with risking everything again. He allowed himself open to the thought of them having another kid, the image of seeing a part of him growing inside her, getting to hold him or her for the first time and a smile almost crossed his face, till he remembered the first time he had set eyes on Hope and Caleb; beautiful as they were, he recalled how much it had pained him to see them have to fight so hard, the pain of not being able to hold them in his arms. But above all was the pain of having to hold his breath praying Charlie would wake up. He survived the pain just by the skin of his teeth and was sure if the same situation ever happened again it would be his undoing. Taking his head from his hands he looked down the hall and sighed before standing to his feet. Turing off the living room light he walked past his and Charlie's room stopping and pushing the door open slowly to the twin's room. A smile crossed his face as Hope slept on her side, her arms wrapped around 'Rocky' her purple teddy and Caleb was now sprawl out on his bed, his left hand balled up loosely holding onto his blue blanky.

Slowly closing the door he made his way into his and Charlie's room, only to find her under the duvet, her eyes closed. He sighed as he stripped out of his jeans and shirt, leaving him in only his boxers before he crawled in beside her. Propped up on one arm he peered down at her and exhaled, he knew when she was asleep and right now she wasn't. Her eyes were closed, and she hadn't stirred but he knew she was very much awake; her actions making it clear she didn't want to talk to him. He had hurt her but he wasn't sure he could give her what she wanted. Knowing there was nothing he could say in that moment he lay down and wrapped his arms around her tightly hoping she wouldn't push him away; she didn't. Instead she took hold of his hand and held it tightly to her chest as he buried his face in her hair; no words were spoken between the two of them till they both finally fell asleep.

"What have you done?"

Brax looked up as Jack walked into the restaurant, he cocked his eyebrow "What do you mean what have I done?" he turned his attention back to the books he was going through

Jack walked round the bar and helped himself to a beer

Brax groaned "I'm not running a charity shop here. You want a drink you pay for it" his tone harsher than he had intended

Jack slowly sat on the stool directly in front of Brax, an eyebrow cocked as he looked at him "Or should I be asking what Charlie's done wrong?" seeming to ignore Brax's comment about the beer he twisted the cap open and took a large gulp

Brax dropped the pen in his hand and ran his hand over his face "Sorry for snapping, I've just got a lot going on"

Jack nodded "Right, well do all these things that you have going on have anything to do with Charlie's mood today"

Brax looked at Jack "She in a bad mood?" he winced at the thought of it

Jack chuckled "Noooo" he dragged out "A bad mood I think we could have dealt with but what she was on today was something else"

Brax creased his forehead "We?" he asked

Jack nodded "Yea we, as in me and the whole station. I swear she tore Jackson a new one, poor block looked like he wanted to curl up in a ball and cry" Jack winced "The whole station as spent the last six hours trying to avoid her" he groaned "Whatever you did, you need to fix it because I actually contemplated jumping in front of a car today just to avoid her. I think the car would have hurt a lot less"

Brax groaned and cursed under his breath "She seemed fine this morning a little quiet but not angry"

"Yea well it seems she was saving all her energy for us down at the station" Jack chuckled but his expression soon turned serious as he noted the expression on Brax's face "So on a scale of one to ten, how badly do you think you messed up?"

Brax's shoulders sagged and he got straight to the point "Charlie wants to try for another baby"

Jack looked at Brax surprised "Right. She told you this?"

Brax nodded "Yea. Last night"

By the look on Brax's face, Jack could guess what Brax's response had been "I'm taking it you don't feel the same way"

Brax looked at Jack blankly before he shook his head "It's not that simple"

Jack titled his head "How could it not be. You either want another kid or you don't. It's a yes or no"

"Look you don't get it ok, so just drop it" Brax packed up the books in front of him and stood to his feet

"You're kidding right" Jack shook his head " Of course I get it, we all get it. We were there too remember. We all saw what you and Ruby went through in that hospital"

Brax looked at Jack and sighed, before placing the books back onto the bar

"I want to tell her yea, that I'm strong enough to risk all that again but I dont think I am. When she mentioned about a baby I freaked Jack, all I could thing about was her and the twins in hospital"

Jack nodded in understanding but sighed before he spoke "I get where you're coming from Brax I really do but I've never known you to let fear keep you from doing anything"

"This is different" replied Brax

Yeah it is" answered Jack "Look, living your life trying to play it safe because of the past is pointless, I could walk out of here right now and get hit by a car, doesn't mean I have reason to lock myself up in here does it"

Brax cocked his eyebrow and Jack chuckled "Fine a depression example but my point is anything can happen at any given time but you can't stop living. If you don't want another kid because you're happy with your three then fine but if it's because something bad could happen then you really need to go find your balls" Jack chuckled and soon Brax joined in

"You're a **** friend you know that" said Brax

Jack grinned, taking another drink of his beer "So are you" he sighed "But seriously if you do want another kid then I say go for it, worrying about tomorrow is going to get you nowhere and plus I really would prefer a happier Charlie at the station tomorrow"

Brax chuckled and shock his head, but Jack was right, making decisions on things that may or may not happen wasn't logical.

"Hy" Brax ruffled Ruby's hair as he walked in through the back door

"Brax" she whined only for him to give her a grin as she picked up the bowl of popcorn

"We having a movie night?" he asked

Ruby shook her head "Nope, me and Case are having a movie night" she grinned before walking out of the kitchen. She stopped as she looked at Charlie then looked up at Brax

"She went all momzilla on us tonight and now she's gone really quiet, so please please whatever is going on, just apologise"

Brax chuckled "Will do"

Ruby smiled up at him before standing on the tip of her toes and giving him a kiss on the cheek "Night"

"Night mum" she called

Charlie looked back at her and smiled lightly "Night". She looked over at Brax and gave another smile before turning back to the TV "Hy"

"Hy, twins asleep?" Brax smiled down at Charlie, edging round the couch before sitting beside her. He placed a kiss on her temple

Charlie nodded "Yea. How was work?" she asked, turning to him trying her best to not let her emotions show. She had been an emotional mess all day but the last thing she wanted was to make Brax feel bad about his decision even if she didn't agree

Brax watched her closely and nodded "Alright, we were busy but we had a full staff so everything was good". And you, how was work?

Charlie shrugged and smiled "It was ok, nothing new. Spent most of the time in the office"

Brax sighed, then leaned forward and picked up the remote before turning off the TV

"I err, I was watching that" said Charlie

"Right, so what was it about?" asked Brax, he gave her an expectant look

Charlie looked up at him "They just started" she replied

Brax exhaled "You're allowed to be upset about this Charlie, angry even"

Charlie shook her head "I'm not angry not at you"

"But you are upset?" asked Brax

Charlie looked up at him and pursed her lips together "We have Hope and Caleb, and Ruby. I'll get over it Brax, I think I just let myself get too excited at the thought of it"

Brax nodded slowly, he closed his eyes briefly and blew out a breath "You were right to get excited about it, the thought of having another kid should bring a smile to your face" he exhaled "What if I told you I lied?"

Charlie gave him her full attention as her brows creased together "What do you mean?"

"About everything, us not being ready for another baby, us holding off for a while" he answered

Charlie pulled herself up till she was sitting up right "You lied as in you think we are ready or you lied as in you don't just think we're not ready yet, you just don't want any more kids"

"I lied as in I do think we're ready. I think under normal circumstance I would have been trying to get you pregnant again as soon as the twins turned one maybe even before"

Now Charlie was confused "Then why did you say…"

Brax interjected "Because it seemed easier than saying I was scared…" he shook his head "I am scared" he turned so he was facing Charlie completely "When you mentioned about having another baby, I freaked; but not at the thought of you being pregnant, more at the thought of what could happen if something like last time was to happen again" he took her hand in his "I'm sorry for letting you think that I didn't want this as much as you do, because I do, I really do"

Charlie pursed her lips together unsure why she could feel tears forming in her eyes. She almost laughed out loud at the panicked look on Brax's face as a tear fell down her cheek

"Babe what I'm telling you is a good thing, I'm saying I do want us to try for another kid" Charlie nodded her head and cleared her throat

"I know and I don't know why I'm crying but I'm pretty sure they are happy tears" Brax sighed in relief "But you should have told me yesterday about how you felt?"

"Have I ever told you Braxton men can be idiots at times" he smiled at her

Charlie chuckled and placed her hand on his cheek "Well you're my idiot" she leaned in and placed a kiss on his lips. Pulling back she peered in his eyes "I'm scared too Brax like really scared but more than that I really really want this, I want another baby. But I can wait if that's what you need"

Brax shook his head "I don't want us to wait, plus whatever happens we're in it together right" he exhaled

Charlie simpered up at him "Right. So I can stop taking the pill"

Brax nodded and pulled her to him, taking her lips in his as his hand moved to her back. Pulling away he grinned at her "I think we're going to need to practice… a lot" he ran his hands up her back "Just to be on the safe side we should probably start now"

Charlie bit into her bottom lip and nodded "Yea, just to be on the safe side" she grinned up at him only to squeal as he pulled her to her feet before swinging her over his shoulders

"Shh you'll wake the kids" grinned Brax

Cheryl sat up woken from her sleep with a scare as an infuriated knock sounded at her front door

"Cheryl I'm getting sick and tired of playing these games… Open the damn door" the knocking turned to banging causing Cheryl to jump

She shut her eyes thankful she had closed her blinds that night and remembered to put the safety lock on behind the door. He would get tired, he had too. She didn't want him here, he wasn't welcome in her life

The loud bangs carried on for a few seconds more before everything went deadly silent again and then she heard his voice "You can't hide behind this door forever Cheryl, you're mine and I never leave anything of mine behind" and then he was gone

She shut her eyes, trying to get her heart rate back to normal and soon she heard the sound of an engine starting up before fading away. He was gone… for now

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for the comments guys. :)

CHAPTER FIVE

The loud bangs carried on for a few seconds more before everything went deadly silent again and then she heard his voice "You can't hide behind this door forever Cheryl, you're mine and I never leave anything of mine behind" and then he was gone

She shut her eyes, trying to get her heart rate back to normal and soon she heard the sound of an engine starting up before fading away. He was gone… for now

Charlie knocked on the back door before walking into Heath and Bianca's house. She shook her head as Hope ad Caleb ran straight through into the living room.

"Hy guys" she smiled over at Heath and Bianca as she walked into the living room. Hope and Caleb had said a quick hello before they went through to play with Abi

"Hy Charlie" both Bianca and Heath smiled over at her

"Where's my favourite nephew?" Charlie looked around the room and smiled as Reece came bounding down the stairs

"Hi Aunt Charlie" the boy walked over to her and wrapped his arms around her waist in a hug like he always did

"Hy" she smiled down at him surprised at how tall he already seemed "I can't believe how tall you are already Reece, you're almost as tall as me"

The young boy grinned up at her and nodded his head "Yeah I'm one of the tallest in my class"

Charlie smirked and cocked one eyebrow playfully "Well you know girls like talk, handsome boys. I bet you have loads of girlfriend" she winked at him causing him to blush as he shook his head

"No I don't have any girlfriends, just friends"

Heath stood up from the couch "Don't let him fool you, he's got them all queuing just like his dad"

Bianca looked up at Heath, her lips pursed and her eyebrows narrowing. Heath smiled down at her sweetly before leaning over the back of the couch and placing a quick kiss on her lips "But that was all before you babe, now I only have eyes for you"

Charlie chuckled "Sorry to burst your bubble Heath but I think Bianca was the only one in that queue of yours" she gave him a playful grin before sitting next to Bianca who laughed lightly

Heath rolled his eyes "Please, you're just upset she got in there before you did"

Charlie laughed as she shook her head "You can see right through me Heath" she sighed dramatically and chuckled as Heath blew her a kiss before picking up his car keys

"Come on you, let's get going" Heath smirked down at Reece who blushed under his father's eyes

"Where are you both off to?" asked Charlie and Bianca answered

"Reece as a play date at a friend's today" smiled Bianca

Charlie looked at Reece "Oh what's your friend's name"

Reece shuffled on the spot before looking up at Charlie "Eva"

Charlie grinned, finally understanding the look on both Bianca and Heaths face. Not wanting to embarrass Reece more than his parents already were, cHARLIE nodded "Awww that's nice, I want to hear all about it when you get back, ok?"

Reece nodded with a smile "Ok" he raced over to Bianca placed a kiss on her check before walking to the door

"Bye" Bianca smiled as she watched him and Heath walk out the front door. As soon as the door closed Charlie smiled at Bianca

"Awww that's so cute" she gushed

Bianca nodded "I agree. He's been looking forward to it all week" Bianca sighed "He's growing up way too quickly, it feels like I only just brought him home from the hospital yesterday"

Charlie chuckled "He's only eight B. He's not exactly going to be jetting off to Uni anytime soon"

Bianca nodded "I know" she sighed and then smiled at Charlie "So what brings you over today?"

"It's my day off but Brax is working today, and the twins seem to be on some sort of high today. I just had to get out of the house. So I figured we would come and say hello"

Just then both Charlie and Bianca looked down as a ring tone sounded from Charlie's bag. Charlie frowned knowing it wasn't hers before pulling it out. She chuckled as she realised it was Brax's

'Hy babe' she recognised the number as the restaurants, knowing Brax was probably looking for his phone

'I had a feeling you would have it' Brax chuckled from the other end. Charlie had a habit of chucking everything nearby into her bag, meaning she had numerous times left the house with either, Rubes, Casey's or Brax's phone and once with all three.

'I don't even remember picking it up. Do you want me to bring it over to you, I'm just at Bianca's" Charlie had already started standing to her feet

'I'm expecting a call from the new suppliers I said I wanted to try so I will need it, but you stay there and I'll come over' replied Brax

'No it's ok, I'll come over, plus I might grab some breakfast for me and Bianca from the diner'

Brax nodded even though she couldn't see him 'Ok I'll see you in a bit'

'Cya' Charlie hung up and turned to Bianca "I really need to start paying attention to what I shove in this bag. What would you like from the diner or have you already eaten"

Bianca shook her head "No Heath drank the last of the milk right after the kids this morning so I would love a bagel and muffin and coffee… definitely coffee"

"Ok won't be long" she turned to Hope and Caleb but they were to engrossed in whatever game they were playing with Abi "Doubt they'll even know I left" Charlie rolled her eyes before walking out the door

Somehow Brax had got Charlie into his office, and now stood in between her legs as she sat on his desk. She shuddered as he nibbled on the lobe of her ear before placing a kiss along her neck, all the while his hands holding her waist, keeping her to him

"Babe…" she spoke breathlessly as one of his hands moved slowly up her body and cupped her breast "I only came to give you back you phone" she bit into her bottom lip as he gave a little squeeze, involuntarily causing her to arch her back

"You said you were hungry" replied Brax pealing his lips from her neck for a moment before they descended onto her lips. He let out a throaty groan as Charlie wrapped her legs around him and bit slightly on his bottom lip. Both his hands slid to her bum as he pulled her closer, causing her to gasp as she felt his arousal.

Knowing she would soon lose all control Charlie reluctantly pulled back from the kiss, a whimper leaving her lips as she did so. Her chest rose rapidly along with Brax's and she moved her head back slightly as he tried to kiss her again, her hand now laid flat on his chest. Trying to catch her breath she spoke "I meant for food Brax"

Brax grinned "Yeah, but this is much better" he said as he tried to capture her lips again, but Charlie held him back with her hands firmly placed on his chest

"Babe I would love nothing more than to waste some time, but you have staff that are literally only a few feet away, and I think we know from past experience these walls are most definitely not sound proof"

Brax pressed further into her and Charlie felt her breath catch in her throat, wanting nothing more than to just forget about everything else and rip his shirt of his chest "Babe…" she bit into her bottom lip trying to stop the moan that wanted to escape as he rocked against her again

"We can be quiet" he spoke softly before dipping his head to the swell of her chest "Really quiet" he spoke before darting his tongue out and tasting her skin

Losing every shred of will power, Charlie forgot about everything and everyone else as the feel of Brax's touch consumed her. Brax's fingers trailed up her side till he had hold of the hem of her top and pulled it over her head before he quickly discarded of her bra. Charlie pulled him back in, already missing his touch and gasped as he dipped his head and his tongue darted out onto her swollen nipple.

Quickly reaching for his shirt she pulled it over his head and moaned in delight as he paid her other breast equal attention

"Babe we have to be quick" she all but panted the words

Pulling her closer to him till she was standing Brax nodded as he unzipped her shorts and slid them over her bum along with her panties, causing them to drop to the floor "I can try" he grinned before picking her and placing her back on the desk her leg winding around his waist

"Thanks Irene" Charlie walked out of the diner with a wide smile still placed on her face

"He must have really done something good"

Charlie turned to the voice and smiled as she saw Cheryl walking towards her "Hi Cheryl" she smiled as she moved along with her towards the car park

"Late breakfast" Cheryl looked down at the contents in Charlie's hands

Charlie blushed as she remembered what had kept her so long; she had already missed a call from Bianca "Sort of. I had Brax's phone, so figured I would kill two birds with one stone and grab some breakfast for me and Bianca after giving him his phone"

Charlie nodded with a smile "By the look on your face it seems you gave him more than his phone" Cheryl winked at Charlie and Charlie gasped

"Cheryl" she knew her cheeks were flushing deep red. Even after three years Cheryl's cheeky nature still shocked the girls, but it only answered the question as to where the Braxton men got it from

"What?" Cheryl shrugged "I may not be as young as you lot but I still remember what it feels like" her word stopped as she and Charlie rounded the corner to the parking lot. Her eyes widened and she moved to turn but his voice stopped her before she could

"Cheryl"

His deep voice washed over her like a bucket of ice. Her spine froze rigged and her heart was beating so fast she thought it would jump out of her chest at any given moment. She took a deep breath trying to calm her trembling hands

"What are you doing here?" she tried to keep her voice as normal as possible, well aware of Charlie's gaze that peered between them questioningly

"I was passing through and a little birdie told me you lived here now. I figured it would be highly rude of me to not at least make an appearance" he eyed up Charlie before turning his attention back to Cheryl

"I wouldn't have considered it rude" replied Cheryl, a lump forming in her throat as he took one little step closer

"You were always too soft for your own good" he smiled in a way she had seen before, a way that make her sick to the pit of her stomach. He looked to Charlie once again and smiled before looking back at Cheryl "I never figured you as one to be rude Cheryl, you haven't even introduced me to your beautiful friend"

Charlie felt her skin crawl as he called her beautiful, she hadn't had a chance to question Cheryl about him after that day one the beach. The way Cheryl stood rigged, and the way her hands twitched at her side; it was clear to Charlie who ever this man was to Cheryl didn't bring with him good news. Ignoring the man's words Charlie turned to Cheryl

"You know we should go, Bianca will flip her lid if she has to wait much longer for her breakfast"

Cheryl looked up at Charlie and sent her a silent thank you "Yeah we should go" she and Charlie moved to walk around the man but he simply stepped in their way

"This is no way to treat an old friend Cheryl" although his voice held a light tone, Charlie had no doubt he was trying his best to intimidate Cheryl

Charlie cleared her throat "I'm not sure how things work from where ever you're from but here you can't force a person to talk to you and intimidating people can get you in more trouble than you know worth"

The man looked up at Charlie and grinned "I wonder how Cheryl got on the good side of a cop"

Charlie wasn't at all stunned that he remembered her face, she figured he was the kind of man that paid attention to everything detail around him

"You're not welcome here, you need to leave now" Cheryl looked up at him; in no way did she want him anywhere near any member of her family

The man shook his head and gave a tut before he let out a sigh "You know I don't do well with being told what to do Cheryl" his gaze burned into her but Cheryl refused to coward back "But I must say, I'm liking this new you, makes this all the more exciting"

Before Cheryl could reply to his words, her view was blocked by Charlie who stood in front of her "I'm not going to tell you again to move, unless you want to carry on this conversation down at the station"

A chuckle left his lips and he rolled his head back, only fuelling Charlie's anger. Finally composing himself he stood with a grin as he stepped to the side "Don't let me stop you"

Charlie stepped to the side and let Cheryl walk ahead of her before she followed her; she watched Cheryl's composure stiffen once more as the man spoke again

"I hope you won't disappoint me again tonight Cheryl" he shouted back at them, but as Charlie turned around he had already began walking away

Reaching the car Charlie unlocked it and Cheryl climbed in, before Charlie got into the driver's seat. She placed the brown bag and coffees on the dash board before turning to Cheryl

"Cheryl who was that?"

Cheryl looked to Charlie and shook her head "No one"

Charlie looked at her incredulously, how could she possibly expect her to believe that after that encounter "No one" repeated Charlie she nodded and turned in her seat as she clipped in her seat belt "Fine I guess you won't mind me mentioning this to Brax then" No sooner had she spoke her words before Cheryl spoke again

"Charlie don't do that; it's just someone from back in the city who's trying to get under my skin. A lot of people seem to think my leaving and coming back here means I think I am now better than them. It's just childish games"

Charlie shook her head "Cheryl that didn't seem like childish games to me, the way he spoke to you seemed more like a threat than anything. And don't even try and say he didn't shake you up, because I know he did"

Cheryl sighed, in no way did she want the boys knowing he had hunted her down, she knew their temper "Look I admit I was a bit shaken up to see him here but that was it. When I left the city I thought I left all these type of people behind me" she looked at Charlie with pleading eyes "They're all the same ok. He'll get bored and will probably be gone by the end of the week, why worry Brax about it"

"And what if he isn't gone by the end of the week?" asked Charlie

"He will ok, just please leave it alone"

Charlie could see Cheryl wasn't going to give her anything. Some people were easy to read and Cheryl was one of those, her fear was practically jumping of her but Charlie wouldn't push her for any more information. If Cheryl wouldn't give it to her, she would find it on her own

"Ok" replied Charlie. She placed the coffee's in the cup holder and the brown bag in the space provided near the hand clutch. She turned the key and started the ignition "You coming with me to Bianca's? the kids are there"

Cheryl nodded, her grand kids always made her happy and right now she needed something to make her forget "Yea sure" she clipped in her seat belt and both her and Charlie sat in silence throughout the short drive

Two Days Later

"Well if you won't speak to him then I will, he should have replaced it with a new one long ago" Heath spoke in frustration as he and Brax walked to the front door of Cheryl's house

Cheryl rolled her eyes "I told you I've already spoke to him and he said he will get to it as soon as he can"

Brax packed up the tool box and looked up at his mother "If it stops working again, don't try and get it working yourself. That boiler is dodgy as it is, just call one of us"

Cheryl nodded "Will do and thank you for coming over"

"You're welcome" Heath grinned and before he could dodge it Brax hit him on the back on his head

"What you thanking her for, you only came along so you could raid her fridge"

"What you think it was easy deciding between all those treats in her fridge" Heath was prepared this time and quickly moved out of the way of Brax's hand

Cheryl shook her head and chuckled, she turned around and passed a plastic container to Brax "Well this is you half of the apple pie, well what Heath let of it anyway" Brax smiled and took the container from her hand before giving Heath a satisfied grin "Now you two best get going it's getting late"

Heath opened up the door with Brax and Cheryl behind him but all three stopped as a figure made its way towards them.

Heath's and Brax's gaze were enough to tear endless holes into the man

"What the hell do you want here?" asked Heath. He had only seen the man once but his instant dislike to him was immense

The man looked from Heath, to Brax and then to Cheryl, but before he could get a good look at her, she was suddenly blocked from his view by Brax, who now stood in front of her

"You heard him, what do you want here and who the hell are you?" Brax had to fight from gritting his teeth; he only had to take one look at the man to know he was bad news, what worried him the most at this point was why he was at their mothers place

"I'm going to take a wild guess and say you must be her boys" he cocked his head "I thought there were three of you"

Heath's gaze narrowed and he took a quick glance back "Mum who is he?" his gaze had already returned to the man before he had finished asking the question. He didn't trust this stranger one little bit

The man placed a hand over his heart "I'm hurt Cheryl, you didn't even bother telling them about me" he looked to Brax and Heath and grinned "I'm an old friend of Cheryl's, we go way back. Isn't that right?" He tried to get a glimpse of her but Brax's body completely covered her

Cheryl gently pushed Brax aside and her gaze locked with the mans "He err…" she looked up at her boys "Like he said he's just an old friend" she turned back to the man "It was really nice of you to come and visit but as you can see I'm busy so maybe another time" she could practically feel the tension smothering all four of them, she quickly needed to get Brax and Heath away from him

"Well I wouldn't want to intrude on family time, but I'll definitely hold you to another time" he gave her a wink before looking back at Heath and Brax "Nice to meet you guys… again"

Cheryl's eyes near enough fell from their socket at his words, what did he mean again, when had he met them before.

Silence remained as the guy got into his car and with one final look back at Cheryl, sped off down the road. As he disappeared Cheryl looked up at Brax and Heath "You've met him before?"

Brax and Heath turned to her and there was no doubt that fear resided in her eyes. Fear of what; they were yet to be sure of

"He was at the restaurant a few days ago, wanting feeding" answered Brax. He clicked his tongue "The really important question here is how you know him?"

Cheryl stared at the questioning look on both her sons face and found herself lost for words. She needed to say something, anything "A few friends that I made while I was in the city have been trying to get me to come back, but you guys have nothing to worry about. I've made it clear my life is here now"

Brax and Heath knew of the type of friends she had kept before she got herself back on her feet but still something didn't add up

"Surely they must have plenty friends, why go through so much trouble to track you down?" asked Heath

Cheryl shrugged "I guess they just don't believe I've changed, it's all a game for them"

"He didn't look like he was playing" spoke Brax, his eyes concentrating on her

"That's how they all are, play tough and hope to break you down"

Brax nodded "Right" he spoke slowly "And that's all that was?"

Cheryl nodded her head and then tried for a smile "Will you both stop worrying, I'm a big girl"

Brax and Heath shared a glance before they both nodded. Heath leaned forward and placed a kiss on her cheek followed by Brax "I want you to call either of us if he comes back here again"

Cheryl nodded her smile still placed "He won't, you worry too much"

Brax looked into her eyes and knew in that instant she was lying but didn't mention it. He had learned to read every one of her actions since he was a teenager, he knew when she was lying, when she was upset, angry or depressed.

"We'll see you later" said Brax as he and Heath walked to his Ute

"Bye" Cheryl smiled after them before closing the door.

Getting into the Ute, Brax let out a sigh as Heath spoke "She's lying isn't she?" Brax nodded as he looked back at her front door

"Yea" he turned the key and started the ignition. A lie wasn't the only thing he had picked up on in her eyes. He had only seen it a few times and that had been when she had returned and had been hoping that he and his brother's would forgive her; but looking at her just then he saw it loud and clear.

Fear

Not saying another word he turned out of her road, all along not being able to get the image of her fearful eyes from his mind

Ruby stretched and sighed with a smile as she felt a kiss being planted on her shoulder blade. Turning around she simpered up at Casey who was peering down at her

"Happy Anniversary babe" Casey pulled her to him and their lips met passionately. Coming up for air, Ruby placed a hand on his cheek

"Happy anniversary" she placed another kiss on his lips

"You feeling better this morning?" asked Casey. Ruby had been down with a bug for the past couple of days

Finding that her stomach didn't seem to be churning the way it had been doing lately Ruby nodded hoping it would stay that way "Yeah feeing much better" she smiled up at him before she noticed the smell in the room

"Umm what smells so good?" she rolled onto her back and Casey moved to his feet letting her see the breakfast that was laid out on a tray on their bedside table. Ruby looked at the bowl of fruit, the croissants and muffin and the juice that was placed on the tray. She looked to Casey and pursed her lips trying to stop her smile from breaking out wide

"Babe" she pushed herself up the bed, allowing the covers to fall to her lap "You shouldn't have" she smiled as he placed the try on her lap

"I wanted to, I know you really wanted us to spend the day together" spoke Casey

Ruby tilted her head "I'm sorry about being such a bitch about you working but honestly even if I only get to spend five minutes with you today, I'll take it"

Casey grinned before leaning over the tray and placing a kiss on her lips "I wish I could stay a little longer but I'm already pushing it for time as it is"

Ruby nodded "Go. Plus I really don't want to share any of this"

Casey chuckled and shook his head "I'll call you as soon as I finish" he said as he slipped on his shoes

Ruby nodded "I love you"

Casey stopped and turned to her "I love you too" leaning over he gave her another kiss, that seemed to only deepen. Pushing on his chest Ruby giggled "Go, before you're really late"

Casey stood straight and nodded "I'll see you later"

Ruby nodded with a smile "See you later" she watched as he walked out of their room closing the door behind him. Looking back to the tray in her lap she couldn't help but smile as she fingers the rose he had laid beside her plate. Eyeing the croissant she eagerly lifted it to her lips before she frowned. Her stomach seemed to turn and before she could even think about it she had hastily lifted the tray off her lap and made a dash for the toilet.

With her face down the toilet, Ruby emptied whatever little she had eaten the previous night, before slumping down the side of the bath. She groaned and shut her eyes as another wave of nausea hit her causing her to leapt towards the toilet.

"Ruby you ok?" a knock sounded on the bathroom door before, Brax came into view. He sighed as he wound his hand around her hair holding it for her as she continued to throw up.

With his hand rubbing her back he stood silently until Ruby slumped down. Brax moved forward and helped her flush the toilet before helping her to her feet

"Maybe we should get you checked, you have this worse than your mum did" sad Brax as Ruby picked up her toothbrush

Ruby shook her head "No I'm fine, it's only been a couple of days, and I should probably rest"

Brax nodded "Ok. You mum already left for work, she's doing a double shift today so she'll be back late. Once you're done here get back into bed and I'll take the kids over to mums for the day"

Ruby sighed "You don't have to do that, I said I would babysit"

Brax cocked an eyebrow "And I'm saying I only want you resting" he leaned forward and placed a kiss on the back of her head "No arguing" he spoke as he walked out of the bathroom

In all honesty Ruby was kind of glad she wouldn't have to look after the twins, she didn't think she had the energy to keep up with them today. Looking at herself in the mirror she let out a sigh "Trust me to have a bug on our anniversary" she murmured before she began brushing her teeth

Charlie walked into hers and Jacks office and sat at her desk. Jack looked up at her and frowned

"You look like a woman one a mission" he sat back and watched her as she bit into the corner of her lips

Charlie looked up at him "The one time I actually want to spend some time in the office, we get called all over the place the whole day"

Jack chuckled "Why would you ever want to spend any time in here?"

"Remember that guy we pulled up a while back for speeding?"

Jack creased his eyebrow unsure, they had pulled up a number of people

"Greyish hair, biker jacket, tattoo" Charlie described him as best she could

Jack finally remembered which guy she was referring to, he was hard to forget "Yeah I think I do… why?" he cocked an eyebrow knowing she was up to something

"You took down his registration details and everything right?"

Jack nodded "Yeah"

"Do you by any chance remember the name on his driver's license?"

Jack thought for a moment before shaking his head "No but you can just pull the file up, I had to log it in" Charlie had already logged onto her computer before Jack spoke

"No hold on I think I do, pretty sure it was Mick yea Mick Brown. I remember now because I just thought Mick was an unusual name"

Charlie sat unspoken, the name sounded familiar but she wasn't sure why. She had at first thought it might have been the Braxton's father but his name was Danny plus he held no resembles to them. Still unable to figure out why she was so sure she had heard that name before she typed him name into the system and sat back and waited while all his information popped up on the screen

"Charlie what is this about?" asked Jack as he stood behind her

"I don't know yet" she replied as she started reading through all his information. She was stunned by the amount of things the man had been suspected of but never convicted for. Then something caught her eye

"Assault and Battery" She read the words out loud another crime he had been accused pf but never convicted for but something about it rang a bell

"Mick…Mick" she said his name over till her eyes widened. How could she not have figured it out straight away?

"Crap" she stared back at the screen. She knew exactly who he was and why Cheryl was so scared of him

"Are you going to tell me what's going on?" asked Jack

Charlie stood to her feet and grabbed her car keys "Cover for me, I need to go see Cheryl" before Jack could reply she had darted out of the office

Casey walked into the house and walked straight into his and Ruby's room. He had tried calling her a number of times and when she hadn't picked or called him back; he had thought maybe she had been angry with him for some reason. But after speaking to Brax he came straight home

"Ruby?" he pushed their bedroom door open and sighed as he found her curled up on the bed, seemingly sound asleep. He looked to find her phone on the bedside table before walking into their room and closing the door behind him

"Babe" he ran his hand up her arm "Ruby?" he called and watched as her eyes fluttered open

She looked at him and smiled before her eyes widened. Sitting up straight "What time is it?" she asked

"Just past seven" replied Casey "I tried calling you when I finished but I'm guessing you didn't hear it"

Ruby sighed "I'm so sorry" she picked up her phone and groaned as she saw his missed calls flashing against the screen "I can't believe I didn't hear it ringing" she looked over at him "I spent the best part of this morning and afternoon throwing up" she pouted her lips and Casey couldn't help but chuckle

"I know, I called Brax when I couldn't get through to you. He said you had thrown up before he left this morning"

Ruby nodded her head in conformation, before leaning forward and resting her head on his chest "I feel like crap" she moaned "And I probably look it too"

Casey pulled away from her and shook his head "You look beautiful, always" Ruby couldn't help but smile at his words "Are you feeling up to going out tonight?" asked Casey. He didn't want her over working herself while fighting this bug

Ruby looked up at him and sadly shook her head "I'm sorry but I just feel drained and I'm not sure I can keep anything down to be honest"

"You don't have to be sorry, plus we don't have to go out, I'm happy just staying here with you"

Ruby smile widened and she edged forward, placing a kiss on Casey's lips

"What was that for?" asked Casey as they pulled away from the kiss

Ruby shrugged "For being the best boyfriend ever"

Casey grinned that Braxton grin "Well I can't argue with you there" Ruby rolled her eyes at him

"I really wanted us to go out tonight? I had my dress picked out and everything"

Casey looked at her and a smile crossed his face causing Ruby to **** and eyebrow "Ok what's going on in that head of yours?" She knew that look too well

"Put your dress on" said Casey as he stood from the bed. Walking over to their wardrobe he picked out a shirt and some pants for himself, causing Ruby to frown "And don't come out till I come and get you"

"Casey I really think we should do this another time, I don't want to start chucking up in public"

"Just trust me" said Casey before walking out of the room and closing the door behind him

Ruby sat on the bed for a moment wondering what Casey was up to before stood to her feet, deciding to do what he had asked of her.

Sitting in the room on the bed, Ruby sighed as she looked to the door. She was dressed and had even bothered to brush her hair and put some earrings on and her pumps. Casey had been gone for close to an hour and she was beginning to get restless. She hadn't heard his footsteps for a while and decided she couldn't wait no longer. As she stood to her feet she stopped as the door opened. Casey stood there in a clean black shirt and his dress pants, a smile adorning his face as his gaze travelled over her. Ruby opened her mouth to speak but Casey simply shook his head

"Just… don't say anything yet ok" he stretched his hand out to her and Ruby took hold of it "I want to show you something". Holding her hand in his he led her out of their room and led her through the living room till he came to the back door

"Casey where are we going?" asked Ruby but Casey didn't answer; he just continued guiding her. He opened the gate that led to the back garden and came to a stop and turned to her

"I figured seeing as you're not feeling to well so we can't really go out, we could celebrate our anniversary here" Ruby frowned but allowed Casey pull her slowly into the garden; and soon the confused expression on her face shifted to that of surprise

Casey had transformed the whole garden. Ruby chuckled at the Christmas lights he had hung around the fence, causing them to light up the place. He had laid a blanket on the floor, surrounding it by countless cushions, almost making it look like a fort. A bowel of strawberries, a tub of ice cream and chocolate were placed on the blanket.

"Even when you're not feeling well I know you would never say no to ice cream or chocolate" said Casey and Ruby turned to face him. She simpered up at him and couldn't believe her luck. He was her first and only boyfriend and she couldn't believe that he really was hers. Even after years together he still made her stomach flutter and made her feel truly beautiful.

Wrapping her arms around his waist she leaned onto her toes and placed a soft lingering kiss on his lips.

Casey grinned down at her "I take it you like it then"

Ruby nodded "I love it and I love you"

"I love you too" replied Casey

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for the comments Pembie, JarlieFanEver and Amz89. Enjoy :)

CHAPTER SIX

Wrapping her arms around his waist she leaned onto her toes and placed a soft lingering kiss on his lips.

Casey grinned own at her "I take it you like it then"

Ruby nodded "I love it and I love you"

"I love you too" replied Casey

"Hy" Cheryl smiled as she opened her front door to find Charlie stood there "I thought you were working till later tonight?" asked Cheryl

Charlie nodded "Yeah I am"

Thinking maybe Charlie had snuck out of work to see the twins Cheryl chuckled "They're in their room watching cars" she said

Charlie shook her head, she wasn't there to see the twins "I didn't come here to see them, I came here to see you" Cheryl's smile dropped at Charlie's next word "Mick" Charlie watched Cheryl's reaction and shook her head "It's Mick"

"W-What are you talking about?" Cheryl tried to hide her sudden shock but Charlie already knew the truth

"Really Cheryl?" Charlie cocked an eyebrow "You can't lie about this, I just pulled his file at the station" Cheryl tilted her head and sighed but didn't say a word. "How could you not tell anyone, Cheryl, or even just the boys?" Charlie walked into the house and Cheryl turned to face her; her back now to the door as it closed slowly but not completely.

"The boys are going to flip when they find out that he is here and that you kept this from them"

Cheryl shook her head and took a step forward "Charlie you can't tell Brax ok. You can't tell anyone"

Charlie looked at Cheryl disbelievingly "Cheryl I'm not going to lie to Brax and honestly I don't want to. This guy made your life hell, he put his hands on you and now he's back here. And don't try and kid me Cheryl because from the little I saw of him he didn't seem like he was here for forgiveness or anything of the sort"

"Look he's just bored ok. He'll get tired and leave"

"Leave?" Charlie shook her head and blew out a breath "A guy with a history of violence that you haven't seen in almost three years, went to the trouble of tracking you down and you think because you say you don't want to know he's just going to leave. You'll have to forgive me if I don't believe you on this one" Charlie ran her hand through her hair "I was there the other day remember, you may have been trying to hide it but I could see how scared you are"

A shaky breath left Cheryl's lips as she wrapped her arms around herself "I was just shocked ok; I didn't expect to see him after all this time"

"Does he know where you live?" Charlie asked and as Cheryl's eyes flickered away from her she knew the answer. She titled her head back and looked to the ceiling before looking back at Cheryl; no way was she going to keep this from Brax

"I have to tell him Cheryl and you have to report him down at the station. If he knows where you live only God know what he'll do. What if he breaks in here?"

"He won't do that"

Charlie all but scoffed "Right, because a man like him couldn't possibly be capable of such a thing. He spent years controlling you, beating you and you think he wouldn't think to break in here and force you to face him"

"I'm not the same person I was then, Charlie. I won't let him walk all over me" Cheryl lifted her chin

Charlie sighed "I know that Cheryl I really do but if he gets to you when you're by yourself what can you actually do to stop him from hitting you like he used to. You can't defend yourself with a guy like this" she thought of the boys "And waiting till he gets to you is a mistake because I promise you, he won't have to worry about the police, Brax and Heath will kill him Cheryl"

Cheryl pursed her lips, her arms falling to her side "And what do you think they'll do if they figure out who he is. Find him and shake his hand. They'll do something stupid Charlie" she scoffed

"And you think it will go down better if you wait till he gets to you to tell them. Because I guarantee you Cheryl, it will be a lot worse. If the police know then at least they can keep an eye on him to make sure he isn't in reach of you. I can have someone tail him"

"Not telling them is for their own good, I won't have them getting in trouble because of him"

"Because of who?" Charlie looked up as Cheryl turned around to see Brax push the door open

Brax frowned as he parked behind the police car that he was sure was Charlie's and Jacks. Charlie hadn't mentioned anything about coming over to his mums and he was sure she still had a couple hours left at the station. Turing off the engine he walked slowly towards the front door only to stop as he heard two voices that were distinctively Charlie's and Cheryl's. From where he was stood their words were muffled but the tension in their voices made it clear they weren't having a normal conversation. Brax slowed his steps even more making sure to keep the sound of his steps light till he came to the side of the door. Not wanting Charlie or Cheryl to see him he stood against the wall and sighed thankfully that the door hadn't been fully closed

"And waiting till he gets to you is a mistake because I promise you, he won't have to worry about the police, Brax and Heath will kill him Cheryl" Brax frowned at Charlie's words. Who were they talking about? Not making a sound he listened on

"And what do you think they'll do if they figure out who he is. Find him and shake his hand. They'll do something stupid Charlie"

"And you think it will go down better if you wait till he gets to you to tell them. Because I guarantee you Cheryl, it will be a lot worse. If the police know then at least they can keep an eye on him to make sure he isn't in reach of you. I can have someone tail him" Brax felt bile rise in his throat. Who the hell were they talking about that made Charlie want to get the police involved?

"Not telling them is for their own good, I won't have them getting in trouble because of him" Unable to stand back and not demand who on earth they were talking about Brax pushed the door open wide.

"Because of whom?" he watched Charlie's head dart up to him, and Cheryl turn around her eyes wide

His gaze flickered between Charlie and Cheryl as he stood waiting for an answer

"What you doing here?" Cheryl tried for a smile but Brax ignored her question

"Because of whom?" he repeated

"It doesn't matter" replied Cheryl "It's not important"

Brax tilted his head and cocked his eyebrows. Trying to stay calm he let out a breath "Where's Hope and Caleb?" he asked

"In their room watching cars" replied Cheryl and Brax nodded. He didn't want Caleb or Hope to witness any of this

Stepping into the house he closed the door behind him "I'm going to say this and then what happens next is up to you. I want to know who it is that you were both talking about; Why Charlie feels the need to get the police involved and why you think this person might cause me and Heath to go do something stupid" he paused "Or option B I find out who this person is for myself and go ask him instead"

Cheryl chewed at her bottom lip and glanced at Charlie "Brax it's nothing ok. Charlie is just over reacting"

"Why don't you let me be the judge of that" he looked at Cheryl expectantly but she didn't speak

"I'm sorry Cheryl" said Charlie. She was well aware of how Brax could react but in that moment she was more concerned about Cheryl's safety.

"Mick is in the bay Brax. He found her"

Brax stood unspoken for a moment, his hands on his hips. He looked from Charlie to Cheryl before clenching his jaw. He was going to ask although he already knew "The guy that turned up here the other day, it was him wasn't it?"

Cheryl barely nodded as she looked up at Brax "He's just trying to mess with me ok. I don't get why you're all worrying over nothing"

Aware that the kids were in the house Brax tried to keep the anger he could feel in check "The guy that used you as a punching bag for years, the same guy that put you in hospital, the same one you had to run away from is back here for you and he knows where you live, yet, you don't get why we might be worried" Brax chuckled sarcastically "Are you kidding me" he gritted his teeth at the thought that this same guy had been stood in front of him a few days ago

"What were you even thinking keeping this to yourself?" his words came out harsher than he had intended but he didn't stop "My kids are in this house, what the hell do you think you would have done if he had turned up here and it was just you and the two of them" Brax's anger rose just at the thought and Cheryl flinched

"Brax…" Charlie sighed but Brax just shook his head

"No ok, she should have said something" he looked to Cheryl and shook his head "Maybe I was wrong to even let you anywhere near my family"

Cheryl pursed her lips trying to stop her tears and Charlie shook her head but Brax ignored the looks on their faces as he walked past and into the room Cheryl had made into Hope's and Caleb's.
...
"Mummy here too" Caleb grinned and ran over to Cheryl "Nana say you to work till night today" said Caleb

Charlie picked him up and placed a kiss on his cheek "I am I just wanted to come say hello to my favourite boy in the whole wide world" she turned to see Hope walking into the room in Brax's arms "And my most favourite girl"

"Ebeybody here" said Hope and Brax placed her onto her feet and she ran over to Charlie how bent down and picked her up also. Hope placed a hand on Charlie's cheek "You no work no more?"

Charlie smiled "No I still have to go back but I'll be home later"

Caleb sighed "we be sleep"

"I know" replied Charlie "Don't worry I'll come in and kiss you both goodnight" she looked up to Brax who stood impatiently

"I should get them home now"

Charlie nodded and placed the twins back on their feet "Say bye to Nana Cheryl" she said

Hope and Caleb ran to Cheryl's feet and hugged her. Their arms coming around her knee's "Bye Nana Chewyl" they spoke in Unison

Trying to put to the back of her head what Brax had said Cheryl bent down to the twins and gave them both a smile "Bye. You know I love the both of you"

Hope and Caleb grinned widely both nodding their heads "I lowe you too" replied Hope

"And me" added Caleb pointing to himself

Cheryl chuckled as she hugged the both of them before standing back to her feet

"Come on you two" said Brax. Cheryl looked to him but he refused to look at her. Instead he walked to Charlie "I'll see you at home" he said and Charlie nodded

"Yeah" she gave him a short smile and pleaded with him with her eye but Brax ignored it instead placing a quick kiss on her lips before ushering the twins out the door.

As the door Closed Charlie turned to Cheryl and sighed at the look on her face "He didn't mean that Cheryl, he's just angry"

Cheryl nodded, her bottom lip caught between her teeth before she looked to Charlie "He had every right to be angry" she shook her head "I didn't think about the twins, I didn't think about what could happen if they were here and he turned up" she rested herself against the wall behind her

"Brax isn't angry because of Hope and Caleb and you know that. He's angry because you kept this from him and because for some reason you don't seem to want anyone protecting you from this man"

Charlie hadn't spoken the words but yet Cheryl had picked up on what she may have been trying to say. She pushed her back off the wall and looked at Charlie bewildered "You think I actually like that he's here, that I might want him here? You think that's what Brax thinks?" she stared at Charlie and watched as Charlie turned to face her fully and leaned against the couch behind her

"You don't want the police involved, you didn't want the boys knowing and you don't want them to even try and protect you from this man. So the answer to that is that either you do want him here or you're really afraid of him"

Cheryl shook her head, her brows creasing together "I don't want him here" Charlie nodded before Cheryl had even finished

"And I believe you. I saw the way you acted with him the other day Cheryl and I know for a fact that its fear but Brax…" she exhaled "I think the fact that you don't want him protecting you from this man will have him questioning if maybe you don't want protecting because you want him here"

Cheryl bowed her head "You don't know him Charlie, the sort of people he knows, the way he is" she looked up at Charlie "He's dangerous Charlie. I can't have him getting to my boys" Cheryl pursed her lips and Charlie couldn't help but step forward till she was able to wrap her arms around Cheryl

"If something bad happened to you Cheryl… that would hurt the boys the most" she sighed in relief as she felt Cheryl nodding. Pulling away she placed her hand in her pocket and pulled out her phone

"I'm going to get a car to sit outside the house and I'll get one tailing him as well" she glanced around the room "Keep your phone close to you just in case he manages to get near the house without anyone seeing him and dial the station straight away"

Cheryl nodded she wasn't up to refusing anymore help "But what if he spots that the police are on his trail"

Charlie gave her arm a squeeze "Don't worry they can be very discreet, I won't have them in the uniforms or in a cop car. And please keep the front door locked" she glanced up at the clock on the wall "I need to get back to the office. I want to pull as much up on him as possible before I head home" she walked to the door but turned back to Cheryl as she opened it

"He won't stay angry forever and even if he tries I won't let" she gave Cheryl a small smile, one which she returned

"I hope you're right" replied Cheryl

Charlie's smile grew slightly "I'm right"

He had gave their twins a bath and put them to bed and now he sat on the couch his head resting back as he thought of what he had just discovered that evening. Brax remembered when Cheryl had just returned, the night she told him and Heath about Mick and how he treated her. Even back then when he hadn't wanted her in his life, when he hadn't yet been able to even comprehend forgiving her for her abandonment, even then he had hated that someone had done that to her, that someone had hurt her in such a way. Uncontrollably his hands that rested at his side clenched into tight balls, his eyebrows knitted together as he felt anger wash through every core of him as he pictured the face of the man that had been stood before him and Heath a few days ago. He had been at her house and Brax could barely swallow past the lump in his throat as he imagined what could have happened if he and Heath hadn't have been there. He had seen the fear in her eyes that day and knew the so called friend had been anything but. However learning it was Mick, the same person who had physically and emotionally abused her for so long, had him wanting to hunt him down and repay to him the same treatment he had given Cheryl for years. Brax couldn't have said how long he was stood there for and he had barely heard the front door open and close

Charlie opened the door only to find Brax sat on the couch his head rolled back, his gaze fixed on the ceiling. Her gaze travelled down to the fists he had formed with his hands, before her eyes slowly trailled up to the slight twitch in his jaw. She gently closed the door causing Brax to snap out of his trance as he turned to the door. Not saying a words Charlie dropped her phone and keys onto the coffee table, unclipped her belt from around her waist before sitting beside Brax

"She's just scared Brax" Charlie placed a hand over his fist and Brax looked down to their hands only just realising he hand balled his hands up. He released them from their tight hold and turned to Charlie

"We saw him the other day Charlie, me and Heath, he was at her house…" he shook his head and repeated himself "Her house" he felt Charlie squeeze his hand "All I keep thinking is what he could have done if he had caught her on her own and she actually tried fighting against him" Cheryl barely made meet to her body but that man although far fro young, he was bulky and tall

Charlie sighed "We bumped into him a few days ago near the car park" she quickly continued before Brax could get a word in "I knew something was wrong but she wouldn't tell me and she asked me not to tell you. And the only reason I didn't fight her too much on it was because me and Jack had pulled him up for speeding a few weeks ago. I figured I could just pull up his record and find out who he was before telling you. When I saw his name I…" she sighed "She's really scared Brax, she doesn't want to say it but I can see it"

Brax nodded "I know, I knew it the day her turned up at her door" leaning forward he took his hand from hers and ran both his hands over his face "What the hell does he want from her?" he all but growled his words

"He controlled her for a long time Brax and she let him, he probably just thinks if he intimidates her enough she'll cave to him and go back with him"

Brax immediately shook his head "No way in hell is she going anywhere with him"

Charlie smiled lightly, No matter what Brax said or how he acted Charlie saw him for who he was. Charlie knew although it took him a long while before he let Cheryl back in, that he loved her much more than he wanted to let on and probably much more than he wanted to. Heath and Casey would always protect her but Charlie knew Brax would make sure that no bad happened to his mum

"He won't get to her. She finally let me put watch outside her house and I printed a photo that we had of him on the system and gave it to Jones down at the station. He's already found him. Apparently Mick is staying at the caravan park so Jones will be tailing him for the next few days"

Brax nodded "Thank you" he slid his hand back into hers

"She's my family too" replied Charlie and Brax smiled "But you should probably go and see her in the morning. She's really beating herself up because of what you said"

Brax sighed regretting making her feel bad when he should have tried to ease her worry "I will" he replied

Charlie looked around the house "Did Ruby and Case actually go out?" Brax had called to tell her Ruby wasn't feeling owell that morning

Brax smiled "Na they retired to their room a while ago. But the big sap set up a little surprise for her in the back garden. Lit the Christmas lights and everything"

Charlie giggled and hit him lightly on the chest "Don't call him a sap, that's sweet, Ruby would have loved that"

Brax chuckled "Well judging by the grin on her face when I went out there to check what was going on I would say she did" he sighed "But she still looked really tired. I already told her if this bug hasn't cleared in the next couple of days she's going to the hospital and it's no up for discussion"

Charlie chuckled at the way he worried about Ruby "You know she'll be kicking and screaming all the way there"

"She can kick and scream all she wants, she's going" he replied "Hope you've eaten?" he said and Charlie nodded

"Yeah Jack got us takeaway" she smiled "But now I'm just beat" she rolled her head back and ran her free hand across her neck

Brax smiled and pulled on her hand as he stood to his feet "Let's get you tucked in then"

Charlie smiled up at him and let him pull her to her feet before he lead her into their room

Ruby and Casey had left for Uni and Charlie had taken the kids over to Bianca's

"Mick?" Heath asked hoping he just hadn't heard Brax clearly "The Mick that she ran from in the city? The same Mick that put her in hospital? That Mick?" his jaw clenched as Brax nodded his head

"That's the one" he replied just as Heath stood to his feet "Is she crazy, why wouldn't she tell anyone. I knew there was something dodgy about him the other day" Heath paced around the small space in the kitchen as Brax stood to his feet and placed his cup in the sink

"Charlie's got a car on her and someone's tailing him as well"

Heath looked up at Brax and frowned "How the hell are you so calm about this" his voice rising silently "Are you not even a little worried about her or if she decides to…" Before Heath could finished his words Brax spoke over him

"Or if she decides to what Heath?" the strain in Brax's voice clear enough to be noticed by Heath "If she goes back with him?" Brax shook his head his fist slamming against the counter "Do you think I haven't thought of that?" he chuckled in disbelief "Do you think I haven't thought about that over and over again" The palms of his hands now rested flat on the counter, supporting his weight.

"I didn't mean that" said Heath

But Brax shook his head "Yes you did, but it doesn't matter. I may not always act like I'm glad she came back but I am" said Brax and Heath knew it just like he knew sometimes it was just a little hard for Brax to believe she would always be there and no doubt Mick coming back on the scene only made Brax nervous and Heath had to admit, it had him worried too

As if only just realising something Heath cursed under his breath before speaking "We saw him at her house Brax" he ran his hand through his hair "He knows where she lives"

Brax was already walking out of the kitchen as Heath spoke "I know, that's why Charlie has an officer watching her house, If he so much as even gets within a mile of her they'll know"

Heath got into the car before asking where they were going

"Mums" replied Brax as he sped off down the road

Brax frowned as he recognised the unmarked car sitting not too far from Cheryl's front door.

"When she said she had someone sitting out here I didn't think she meant you" said Brax as Jack wound down the window

Jack shock his head "She didn't, but I sent Jones off a while ago, I didn't have much to do in the office so I figured I may as well take over"

Brax knew Jack was lying, he probably had a tone of things he needed to get done but he was grateful that he cared enough to want to look out for Cheryl himself

"Thank for this" said Brax and Jack nodded before looking at the front door that Heath had just walked through

"Is she ok?" he asked

And Brax shrugged "I don't know" he glanced back for a second before looking back to Jack "I know you probably do have a few things you need to be doing so you can head off. I'll give you a call before we leave"

"You sure?" asked Jack and Brax nodded

"Yeah I'm sure. I'll see you in a bit" he stepped away from the car and nodded as Jack started the engine

"See you in a bit" replied Jack before making a drive back to the station.

"Why the hell isn't this locked?"

Brax could hear Heath's voice as he walked into the house. Heath stood at the back door and Cheryl stood in front of him her arms crossed over her chest

"Because I was out there just a moment ago Heath" Cheryl sighed "He isn't going to get near the house with the police parked outside is he"

"That's not the point" replied Heath, his jaw clenching

"Then what is?" asked Cheryl as she stormed into the living room

"You not telling us what was going on" replied Heath and Cheryl's steps haltered. She closed her eyes for a brief second and exhaled. She should have figured that was what had him riled up. She turned to him and shook her head lightly

"I thought I was doing the right thing ok. I'm sorry that I didn't tell you but I didn't want you worry about me and then trying to go after him"

Heath sneered "If I so much as even see him I'll…"

Cheryl interjected "See" she raised her hands in the air before dropping them to her side "This is what I mean; you're already throwing threats around"

"And what do you expect" shouted Heath "That we see him, give him a pat on the back and invite him over for dinner" Heath walked to Cheryl "Or maybe you don't want us going after him because you actually want him here"

And there it was, Heath had said what Brax had avoided the night before, but yet the thought lingered in the air

Cheryl had somewhat been prepared for this. What Charlie had said the night before had made sense and she could see how her actions could lead her boys into thinking she was trying to hide Mick from them

"I need you to hear me when I say this ok" she glanced at Brax "The both of you. The only reason I kept this from you was because I was scared ok, not because I want him back because the last thing I want is for that man to come back into my life. He…" she exhaled "He broke me once and I won't let him do that again but I also won't let the both of you or Casey fight my battles and get on the wrong side of him. You have to listen to me on this ok; he is not the type of person you want to anger"

Heath and Brax looked to Cheryl she had spoken many words they had doubted in the past but the look in her eyes proved that she spoke only the truth in that moment

"Why have three boys if you won't even let us look after you" the voice was Brax's and Cheryl smiled

"You look after me enough"

Brax wanted to apologise for what he had said the night before and how he had acted but it seemed every part of him was on high alert because as he went to speak he suddenly turned his head. He was sure he had just heard a car stop outside the house. Turing without a word he walked to the window and felt as if his fingers would forever be balled up in a ball.

In the same leather jacket, Mick ran his hands through his thinning grey air as he turned off the engine and stepped out of the car. He stood for a moment as he recognised the black Ute as the same one that he had seen the night Cheryls boys had been over, but in this moment he was done playing games. Looking up at the house he couldn't help but smirk as he immediate noticed Brax at the window but yet he placed one foot in front of the other and strode towards her front door. He had already expected it as the front door swung open and Both Heath and Brax walked out and closed the door behind them

He cocked his head lightly and looked into the window… no sight of Cheryl

"And we meet again" he said but neither of the boys replied him but no doubt by the expressions on their faces Cheryl had well and truly filled them in but he wasn't here for them. She was his and she would go back with him… even if he had to force her

"I'm in a bit of a rush so forgive me for not wanting to talk but I really do need to have a quick catch up with your mother" he had barely taken a step before Brax's voice had him rooted to the spot

"I beg you to take one more step, but I promise you, you won't like the result of it"

A smirk lifted one corner of Micks lips "I'm going to take a wild guess and say you're Brax"

"You looking for a gold star for that?" asked Heath

Mick laughed at that and pointed at Heath "I like you" he chuckled again "But like I said times a wasting"

"Turn around and leave" said Brax, his voice calm; contradicting how he felt

Mick frowned, his patience had always been non-existent "Look boys, I'm trying to play nice here so why don't you both do some good and get out of my way"

"How about we do this instead; we stand here and I count to ten and for your sake you would have turned around and be on your way out of the Bay or..." He shrugged his shoulders "You'll find out what happens when someone tries to hurt my family"

Mick looked to Heath as he heard a shudder coming from the door. It was only then he realised Heath hadn't moved away from the door, his hands firmly on the handle and he knew Cheryl was probably stood behind it trying to get it open and get her boys away from him. One thing Mick new well was how to play dirty. Those that disobeyed him and crossed him had learned it the hard way and he resolved that Cheryl and her boys were about to live the same fate

"You're making a mistake. Just let me see her"

Starting to lose his calm resolve Brax stepped forward coming eye to eye with Mick "I need you to know that the only reason I'm not repaying you the same treatment you had to my mum for all those years is because she is behind that door. But if you don't leave right this second mum or not I'll show you how a man throws a punch"

Mick hissed through his teeth before he chuckled "You know what, I'm getting a little bored with this conversation" he glanced back at the house before looking back at Brax "I'll see you around kiddo" he turned and made his way back to his car now more determined than ever to get to Cheryl. If she thought she could hide behind her boys, she really didn't know him

Brax watched Mick walk away having to fight the urge to beat him to within death's reach. As Mick stepped into his car Brax kept his eyes on him as he spoke to Heath

"get her to pack her things, she isn't staying here"

As if Heath had been thinking the same thing he immediately let go of the door but entered before Cheryl could get out

"Pack whatever you think you'll need you're coming with me and Brax"

"What?" Charlie stuck her chin out in protest "I won't let him chase me out of my house. I'm not going anywhere" She turned as Brax entered the house and as if knowing she would have been arguing against their request he looked at her pointedly

"Either you pack your bags and come with us mum or Heath will pack for you and I'll haul you to the car either way there's no way in hells chance you're staying here while he's in town" Something about that man apart from his abusive ways had Brax feeling uneasy and he hated it

"And where will I go, I don't exactly have another house just sitting somewhere"

"You'll stay with me and Bianca" answered Heath "Now are you doing the packing or am I?" he cocked an eyebrow

When Cheryl didn't answer Brax spoke for her "Just pack some clothes into a bag for her" he replied and Cheryl quickly interjected

"Fine" she spoke stubbornly "I'll do the packing"

Brax nodded "Heath could you call Jack and let him know Mick came by, they might still want to keep an eye on the house while mums away"

Heath nodded and pulled out his phone walking into the kitchen

"Brax this isn't necessary" said Cheryl but his next words stopped any protest she had

"We lost you once; I'm not having that happen again" he let her see the worry in his eyes for a brief moment before he covered it up again "If you don't start with this packing I might do it for you"

Half a smile graced Cheryl's features "I'll get started" how could she keep fighting him when she now knew how worried about her he was, She would do as Heath and Brax had asked if only to ease their minds

Heath walked out of the kitchen and let Brax know that he had informed Jack of what had happened. Brax nodded and sighed

"She isn't to be alone at any point of the day" said Brax and Heath nodded

"She won't be"

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  • 1 month later...

So sorry for the long wait for this chapter guys, life as been beyond hectic. Hope this chapter was worth the wait :)

CHAPTER SEVEN

Half a smile graced Cheryl's features "I'll get started" how could she keep fighting him when she now knew how worried about her he was, She would do as Heath and Brax had asked if only to ease their minds

Heath walked out of the kitchen and let Brax know that he had informed Jack of what had happened. Brax nodded and sighed

"She isn't to be alone at any point of the day" said Brax and Heath nodded

"She won't be"
...

"Hy" Bianca smiled up at Heath as he walked into the house. Looking beyond him her smile faded slightly as Cheryl and Brax walked in behind him. Her gaze travelled down to the small suitcase in Brax's hand before she looked to Heath

"What's going on?" she asked as Heath placed a kiss on her forehead

"Errr…." Heath exhaled "Mums going to be staying with us for a while"

Bianca nodded then looked to Brax and Cheryl "Ok, but what's going on?" she knew too well when the Braxton's were keeping something hidden.

When neither Brax nor Heath replied Cheryl sighed and walked further into the house "They don't want me staying at the house by myself" her answer only evoked a confused expression on Bianca's face so she continued "Mick, he errr… he found me"

Bianca felt her own eyes widen at the statement. She remembered how Heath had replayed the things Cheryl had told him about Mick to her. The way he had treated her, the abuse

"We're talking about Mick, the one you was with back in the city" Bianca's words caused Heath's teeth to grate together and Cheryl nodded

"Yep. That's the one" she shook her head "I'm sorry for putting you out like this, I don't think all this is necessary but my boys wouldn't let up"

Bianca shook her head and stepped forward taking the suitcase from Brax's hand "Cheryl you're not putting anyone out, you're family. And I have to say I'm siding Heath and Brax on this one" she dragged the suitcase to the bottom of the stairs and left it there before turning around "What does he want?" she asked thankful that Reece and Abi were still at school. The look on Heath and Brax's faces was enough to make anybody wince

Cheryl glanced at Brax and Heath, not wanting to talk about it anymore in front of them. The ride over had been so deadly quiet, it had been painful.

Seeing the reluctant look on Cheryl's face Bianca quickly spoke up "You know what, it doesn't matter. All that matters is you're here where you have everyone around you" Cheryl smiled thankfully at her "How about we go up and get the spare room sorted for you"

Cheryl nodded her head, needing anything to distract herself from what was going on in her life at that moment. She turned to Brax as he spoke

"I'm going to head off, I have to get to the restaurant" he looked at his mother pointedly "Mum I don't want you even thinking of trying to leave this house on your own"

Cheryl almost stomped her feet as she stared at him "I'm not a prisoner Brax. I'm not locking myself away until he decides to leave"

"I'm not asking you to lock yourself away" Brax replied in frustration "Just make sure you have someone with you ok?" when Cheryl didn't answer Brax all but stomped his own feet to prove his point "Mum?" his tone laced with warning "Either you promise me that or I sack work and stay here with you all day. Your choice"

Cheryl peered at him knowing he wouldn't back down "I'm not a kid Brax, I can do whatever I want"

Brax shrugged "Fine guess I'm keeping you company today" Brax had no doubt that Mick was far from gone. A man who had obviously gone to the effort of tracking Cheryl down wasn't just going to give up because he was told to by her sons

Cheryl gritted her teeth at Brax's stubbornness, she had always loved that about him but in that moment it was getting on her nervous. "Fine" she reluctantly succumbed to his request "Not like I've got anywhere to be anyway But I have work tomorrow and even you're not stopping me from going" before Brax could say another word she turned and stomped up the steps, dragging her suitcase behind her

Bianca watched her go before turning to Heath and Brax "Was that really necessary?"

Heath slumped down on the couch and nodded "Yeah it was, you haven't met this guy"

"I'm going to head off" said Brax and turned back to the door "Bye"

Walking up the stairs Bianca hedged the door open and smiled lightly at Cheryl who was sat on the edge of the bed, her gaze on her suitcase

"I ran from him once and now…" she pursed her lips in anger "Now that I've finally got my life back on track he's got me running all over again"

Walking into the room Bianca closed the door and went to sit beside Cheryl

"I never even once thought that there was a chance he might find me here" Charlie chuckled as if she had been stupid to discount the possibility "I thought I had left all that behind and now…" she sighed and Bianca placed hand on her arm

"He's not going to get to you. In case you hadn't noticed your boys are as stubborn and determined as they come. They won't let him anywhere near you… none of us will"

Cheryl scoffed and shook her head "But it's not right" she glanced at Bianca then looked away "That's all they've ever done… protect me. I'm there mum I should be the one protecting them"

Bianca shook her head "See that's where you got it wrong. Those boys are grown and they have a mind of their own. As far as they're concerned, protecting you is a priority and I agree Cheryl"

"I bet things were so much easier when I wasn't here"

Bianca chuckled "Even you know that's not true". Cheryl was well filled in on the highs and lows of her boy's life. From Charlie and her parents leaving, Charlie coming back, Grant, Brax being shot and Charlie's complication with the twins. "We've faced tougher things than Mick before"

Cheryl sighed "Well I'm not going to sit in this room feeling sorry for myself" she stood to her feet before she realised what day of the week it was. She turned to Bianca "Don't you have to be at the school today?"

Bianca looked down at her watch before standing to her feet "First years are on a trip today so I had a free period, but I should be getting back. Next class starts in fifteen minutes" she stopped and peered at Cheryl "From past experience I would say you shouldn't fight Brax or Heath on this, trust me they love you too much to act any other way" she gave Cheryl a smile and a light squeeze on the shoulder before the both of them walked down the stairs

Cheryl rolled her eyes as she saw Heath was still sat on the couch "Does that garage of yours run itself?" She walked by him and into the kitchen

"No but if I have to babysit, then I will" Heath turned his gaze back to the TV and Cheryl all but slapped him across the head

Bianca glanced at Cheryl before picking her bag up "She's not going anywhere Heath" she looked to Cheryl to confirm what she was saying

Cheryl huffed "I promise not to leave the premise or open the door to strangers" she walked into the kitchen as she rolled her eyes

"See. She promised" said Bianca "Come on" she held her hand out to Heath "You can walk me to work before going to the garage"

Heath opened his lips and Bianca knew by the frown on his face he was about to protest. Interjecting before he could get a word out, she lowered her tone "Babe treating her like she's a kid or incapable won't work in your favour. She said she won't leave the house so you just have to take her word for it"

Heath's frown remained placed for a few seconds before he sighed. Glancing in the direction of the kitchen he stood to his feet "Fine. But if she does I'm getting Jack or someone to sit outside that door twenty four seven"

Bianca shook her head "Fine. And I won't stop you" taking his hand in hers, she dragged him to the back door

"We're going to get going now" said Bianca and Cheryl gave her a smile that said thank you

Stepping forward Heath placed a kiss on Cheryl's cheek and she couldn't help but smile.

"Promise you won't…" Heath spoke but Cheryl intervened with a sigh

"Yes Heath, I promise not to leave the house. And tell Daryl I don't want him coming over here constantly. I'll sit in front of the TV and watch day time TV till the kids get in" she smiled up at him

"Fine" Heath huffed "See you later" and with that he and Bianca walked out the door

Leaning against the counter Cheryl let out a breath she hadn't been aware she was holding. She looked down to see her hands slightly trembling as she thought of Mick. She could pretend all she wanted and act like she was still her tough self but the thought of Mick made her want to lock herself away and hide till she was sure he had left

Two days later

"Is mum still at Heath's?" asked Casey. No one had yet to tell him about Mick. As far as Casey was aware Cheryl was simply at Heath's to spend some time with Reece and Abi

Brax nodded as he tilted the juice back and took a big gulp "Yeah she is" he answered placing the lid back on the orange juice and putting it back into the fridge

Casey frowned. It wasn't odd for Cheryl to spend the night or two but he had a feeling there was something different about this time. He couldn't put his finger on what but there was something odd about the way Heath and Brax were around Cheryl

"Is everything ok?"

Brax glanced in Casey's direction but walked out of the kitchen as he replied "Why wouldn't they be. It's not the first time she's stayed over there"

"Right" replied Casey as he stood to his feet and followed Brax into the living room "So mum staying at Heath's as nothing to do with the way you guys keep watching her"

Brax chuckled not wanting to let anything slip to Casey "Why would we be watching her Case?" Brax looked at him and cocked an eyebrow

Casey simply sighed "You know what, you're right, I'm just being paranoid" he walked past Brax and down the hall. Forget what Brax said, Casey knew something was off and if they wouldn't tell him, he would simply find out without their help

"Will you both stop worrying" Cheryl walked out of the kitchen and sat on the couch as she set her cup of coffee down on the table "No one's seen him since the day at my house. My guess is he knows he's wasting his time and he's left"

"We don't know that for sure, he could still be around" replied Heath, standing behind the couch, his arms crossed over his chest

"Just like he could be gone" Cheryl picked up the TV remote and changed the channel "The kids are in bed and I can take care of myself for the night" she waved her hands towards the door "You guys go out and enjoy yourself" she turned around as Bianca walked down the stairs "You're not gonna have your wife get dressed up and then tell her you're not going out"

Heath sighed and turned to look at Bianca, a smile crossing his face "Fine, but if anything seems out of the ordinary you call straight away"

"Promise" replied Cheryl "Now get going"

Putting her phone into her bag, Bianca stepped towards Heath "Jack and Martha are already there and Charlie said her and Brax have left the house"

Heath nodded "OK. See you later" he said to Cheryl who waved him off

"Bye Cheryl" said Bianca

"Have a good night love" replied Cheryl as both Bianca and Heath left through the back door hand in hand

"Babe you need to keep your eyes on the road" said Charlie as Brax drove them into Yabbie creek

Brax peeled his eyes off her legs, his eyes catching Charlie's. He grinned as a light blush crossed her face "Can't help it can I"

Charlie smiled but hid her face as she peered out the window. Even after all this time one look from him and she felt like she would melt

Taking his hand off the gear box, Brax placed it on her thighs "You know we could just turn around, book an hotel and spend the night getting some much needed baby making practice in"

Charlie couldn't help but chuckle as she turned to him "You've got a one track mind, you know that Braxton"

Brax's grin only widened the more "Only when it comes to you Braxton" he winked at her and turned back to the road, leaving his hand on her thigh

Charlie watched him and smiled before lacing her hand through his, both of them sitting in content silent

Charlie, Bianca and Martha bit back their laughter as they watched their men staring at the menu like it was a foreign object

Heath ran his hand over the back of his neck, Brax's left eyebrow cocked in confusion and Jack squinting at the menu as if that would clarify what he was reading

"Do they have a translator in this place because I do not understand a word of this" Heath looked up from the menu to find the girls looking at them in amusement "What's so funny?"

At his words Brax and Jack looked up at the girls who couldn't help but chuckle

"The look on your faces" said Martha

"Anyone would think you guys were sitting a test" added Bianca causing the girls to chuckle again

"Funny" replied Jack dryly "I'm starving and I don't know what a single thing on this menu means" at that point a waiter approached their table

"You guys ready to order" the young boy smiled at them

Charlie, Bianca and Martha gave their order and the waiter turned to the guys who proceeded to stare at him like he had grown an extra head. Shuffling from one foot to the other, the young boy sighed in relief as Charlie spoke

"Will you stop looking at him like it's his fault you don't understand the menu"

"What I want to know is how you understand it" said Brax and Charlie shrugged with a grin

"I just do"

"I err I can come back for your order" said the young waitress and Heath shook his head

"Na you errr…" he looked back down at the menu before looking up at the boy "You got anything with steak in it, or ribs or even chicken?"

"Really Heath" Bianca rolled her eye and Heath shrugged

"What? If I'm gonna pay ridiculous amounts for food I want to be sure I actually enjoy it" he turned back to the waiter "You're a man, I'm sure you know what us men like to eat. So…" Heath cocked his eyebrow

"Err…" the young waiter glanced at the girls before looking back at Heath "We have a few mains with chicken" he replied

"Fine give me one of those then" he gave the young boy a pointed look "I'm putting my trust in you here" He dropped the menu picked up a piece of bread and sat back into his chair

"Ok" the young boy nodded and jotted something down before turning to Brax and Jack

"Same as him" said Brax as he picked up his beer

"I second that" said Jack and the boy nodded before quickly scurrying away

"Did you guys have to intimidate the poor boy" said Bianca

"Intimidate?" Jack shook his head "We were simply placing our order"

The girls chuckled

"I guarantee you that boy is not coming back to this table" said Charlie as she took a sip of her wine

Ruby sat on the couch curled up with Casey as they watched a film "Hy you never told me how your exam went today?" said Casey, his arms wrapped around Ruby's waist

Ruby nodded "It was ok. It was only a mock but yeah I think I did ok"

Casey nodded "Good. You feeling better today?" he hadn't been aware of her being sick that day or for the last few days

"Yeah… apart from a mild cramp I had today I've been fine. I think the bug as finally passed thank God. Brax was about ready to drag me to the hospital"

Casey nodded "Yeah well I would have been right behind him" he said but turned his head as a light step could be heard from the hall

Ruby sat up to see Hope walk into the living room, her purple teddy wrapped in her arms "Hy, why you not sleep?" she swung her legs off the couch as Hope pushed her curls out of her face, her green eyes tired with sleep

"I no tired no more" she shook her head, causing her curls to bounce

Casey and Ruby chuckled, glancing at one another before looking back down at Hope "But you have to sleep or you'll be tired in the morning" said Casey but once again Hope shook her head

"No I sleep too much, no sleep no more" she yawned and rubbed her tired eyes

Had it been Caleb, Ruby knew they would have been able to talk him into getting back into bed, but Hope was something else entirely. Despite the fact that she was obviously tired Ruby and Casey knew she wouldn't go back to bed

"Ok. So what do you want to do?" asked Ruby

Hope glanced at the TV then back at Ruby and Casey "I watch thems with you" she pointed to the TV

"Oh what do you say Case, you think we should let her?"

Casey pretended to think about it and almost laughed at the sweet look Hope was giving him

"I guess she can sit with us for a while" his words barely ending before Hope wedged herself between Casey and Ruby and leaned into Casey

Looking down at her Ruby smiled and shook her head, knowing her little sister would be sound asleep in a few minutes

"So much for some alone time" said Casey and Ruby smiled

"I'll make it up to you" leaning over Hope she placed a kiss on Casey's lips and chuckled lightly as she looked down at Hope to see her eyes were already beginning to shut. Leaning back into the couch she winced a little as she got another cramp

Casey narrowed his gaze and peered at her "You ok?"

Ruby nodded "Yeah just another cramp"

"We didn't order starters" said Jack as a different waiter placed their food in front of them

"This isn't the starter sir, this is your main that you ordered" placing the last of the food on the table he gave a smile and walked away

Jack, Brax and Heath stared down at their plates dumbfounded

"Do they split the main into ten?" said Heath hoping more was still coming

Chuckling under her breath Bianca shook her head "Babe this is the main… all of it"

Heath glanced up at her then back down at the food on his plate

"I err… I don't remember ordering a kids portion" spoke Brax his gaze remaining on his food, or lack of it

"Babe they don't just pile the food on your plate here" said Charlie

Brax looked up at her "Caleb would be offended if you served him this" he glanced back at his plate "How can they charge such a ridiculous amount for this" her titled his plate "This can't even pass for a starter"

"It's what you ordered so you'll just have to make do" said Charlie. She smiled at him sweetly before digging into her own food

"Babe we're stopping over at the restaurant to get some pizzas on the way home" said Heath "This thing…" he looked down at the food on his plate "Isn't even going to touch the sides"

"Agreed" said Jack and Brax before the three men reluctantly made a start on their food

Paying for the meal, they made their way out of the restaurant

"How on earth do you guys eat that fast?" asked Bianca as the guys sat not up to ten minutes later their food finished with while the girls took at least half an hour to make a dent in theirs

Jack wound his arm around Martha "It would help if there had actually been any food on our plates to start with" he rubbed his stomach with his hand "I could murder some Chinese right now"

Bianca looked to Heath "And you, I can't believe you didn't even want to leave a tip"

Heath shrugged "What for? It's not like they feed us" the girls rolled their eyes as they all made their way to their cars

"We still on for tomorrow right?" asked Martha as she glanced between Charlie and Bianca

"Definitely" replied Charlie and the girls nodded as everyone bid each other farewell before walking to their cars

Brax glanced down at his phone and Charlie sighed. It wasn't the first time he had done that and she had caught Heath glancing down at his phone too

"Brax, I already told you I have someone sitting outside the house. If Mick had tried anything we would know by now"

Brax nodded knowing he needed to relax a little "You're right" he swung his hand over her shoulders and placed a kiss on her forehead "You have fun tonight?"

Charlie nodded and she wrapped her arms around him "Yeah, it was good to get out with everyone"

"Even better than our alone time?" Brax glanced down at her with a grin and stopped as they reached his Ute

Charlie turned to face him fully, a smile adorning her face "Nothings better than our alone time" She welcomed Brax's kiss as he immediately took her lips in his.

Wrapping his arms around her, Brax took a few steps forward till Charlie's back hit the door of the Ute. Their kiss intensifying, Brax ran his hands over her waist and around her bum

"Ummm" Charlie moaned into the kiss. Her arms wrapped around his neck, keeping him to her. The sound of a horn broke them apart and Charlie and Brax looked up to see Heath driving past his window wound down

"You teenagers need to get a room before you get arrested for indecent behaviour" Heath laughed loudly and Bianca chuckled as they drove past

Charlie blushed scarlet red and Brax peered down at her "Remind me to kill my brother the next time I see him" He ran the back of his hand over her cheek "What do you say to coming back round to mine?" he grinned down at her "I have a semi free gaff"

Charlie chuckled as she simpered up at him and leaned in, placing a lingering kiss on his lips "I'd love nothing more"

Charlie lay with her head on Brax's bare chest as she tried to get her breathing back under control "I feel like I could sleep for days" she said and Brax grinned

"That's just how good I am" he replied and Charlie chuckled as she swatted him chest. She smiled as she felt Brax's arms tighten around hers

"I was thinking…" said Brax and Charlie lifted her head from his chest and looked up at him "The twins are gonna be off from kindergarten soon and Ruby and Case will have some time off Uni as well"

"Yeah…" said Charlie wondering where he was getting at

"Well we haven't really had a vacation for a while. Maybe we could take the kids up the coast for a week, have some family time?"

Charlie nodded and smiled "That would be nice. I think Hope and Caleb would love the idea"

Brax nodded "I thought so too"

"Can you afford to leave the restaurant for that long?" asked Charlie and Brax chuckled

"Babe I've been away for longer before and the place survived"

"I guess" replied Charlie, her fingers running circles on his chest "It would be nice to get away for a while"

"So we gonna head up the coast in a few weeks" asked Brax and Charlie nodded

"Yep we're gonna head up the coast" she leaned up and placed a kiss on his lips "Just remind me to book time off work, knowing me I'll forget till it's time to go"

Brax chuckled "Will do" he peered down at her and smiled "You never know…" he ran his hand and rested it over her stomach "By then we might be pregnant"

A wide smile settled on Charlie face "I hope so" she replied

Picking up her coffee, Cheryl walked into the living room, taking a seat before switching on the TV. Flicking through the channels she sighed before switching the TV off and glanced around the empty house. Reece and Abi were at school and both Bianca and Heath had left for work. Puffing loudly she stood from the couch and slipped on her sandals

"Ten minutes won't hurt anyone" she made her way to the door knowing Brax and Heath would flip if they knew she was leaving the house alone. It had been over two weeks since anyone had seen Mick, but yet the boys were still fretting. She needed some fresh air and she was going to get it

Picking up her cardigan she shrugged it on before making her way to the back door only to stop as a knock sounded on the front door. She turned and stood still knowing if it was any of the boys or Charlie, they would have used the back door rather than the front and announced which one of them it was. She edged toward the front door as she spoke

"Who is it?" she waited but didn't receive a reply. 'Had the person left?' she thought to herself. She blew out a breath and shrugged the uneasy feeling off "Those boys of mine are making me paranoid" she spoke and went to turn around just as she heard his voice

"I always did love the sound of your voice" she snapped her head back to see Mick stood at the back door. His body leaning against the door frame, his arms crossed as well as his feet "Those boys of yours must be taking real good care of you cause you look pretty good" he gave her that smile that had once had the ability to have her do almost anything he asked of her but looking at him now she felt sick to her stomach

"You need to leave now before…" she stepped forward but stopped as he pushed off the door frame and stood up tall, his full length showing

"Before what Cheryl?" he smirked as he walked closer to her "Before you set your boys on me" he shook his head still closing the gap between them till he was stood a mere inch away from her. He sighed "I'm disappointed. The Cheryl I knew didn't need anyone to fight her battles"

Not willing to allow him see any sign of weakness or fear from her, Cheryl straightened her back and stared him in the eye "The Mick I knew was a weak bully" she cocked an eyebrow "Anything changed much?"

Mick's head rolled back as a full belly laugh erupted from his lips but yet Cheryl kept her stance as she glared at him in disgust. Finally composing himself Mick met Cheryl's eyes "I always loved that about you. So much fire and spunk" he lifted is hand and went to stroke Cheryl's cheek only for her to back away

"Don't touch me" she spat taking another step back

Mick watched her for what seemed like forever to Cheryl before he spoke "I have to be back in the city by this weekend and I don't plan on going back alone"

Cheryl shook her head, she couldn't understand why he was doing this "Why are you here Mick? It's been over two years, why now?

Mick shrugged, his eyes never leaving her "You know I don't like being questioned Cheryl. You've had your fun here now it's time to get back to the real world"

Cheryl scuffed "You must be deluded if you think I am coming anywhere with you. This right here is my real world so how about you go back to yours"

It seemed Micks patience had been worn thin, before Cheryl could move his hand was curled around her arm as he yanked her towards him. He looked down at her with such anger she wanted to curl into her own body

"I picked you up from the gutter, put a roof over your head and what do I get in return…" he shook her "Betrayal" he sneered at her "What did you think? I wouldn't find you or that I would stop looking" he shook his head and chuckled "oh Cheryl, how you underestimate me" he lifted his other hand and stroked her cheek against her protest "You still don't get it do you…" he paused as he gripped her face, keeping her eyes on his " .Mine" he spoke "The sooner you understand that the easier this will be for everyone"

"Mum…" an approaching voice called out and Mick let go of Cheryl "Hy m…"

Casey stopped at the door and stared at the man that turned to face him. His forehead creased as he turned to look to Cheryl. Her eyes were wide and glazed over

"Mum you ok?" he paced into the house just as Cheryl backed away from Mick and walked over to him. She nodded and tried for a smile that she knew wouldn't meet her eyes

"I'm…" her voice chocked and she tried again "I'm fine" she turned to Mick "You were just leaving weren't you?"

"And who is he?" asked Casey eyeing Mick wearily

"No one" Cheryl shook her head

Mick smirked as he stared at Casey "I take it this is Braxton number three" he turned to Cheryl "Now I've met all your boys. I feel right at home with this family of yours" he grinned at her "I would love to stay and chat but I've got to get going" he turned to Casey "Nice to finally meet you kiddo"

Walking to the back door her turned around to look at Cheryl "I'll see you soon" and with a wink he walked out the door

Casey's eyes followed Mick till he could no long see him and then turned to Cheryl "Who the hell was that and don't tell me nobody?" he peered down at her wide eyed as he saw a tear fall from her eye

Stepping forward he placed both hands on her shoulders "Mum what's going on?"

Casey opened the back door and Brax called through. He stepped aside as Brax paced through the door "Where is she?" he asked

Casey had called Brax and told him that their mother was upset as Mick had turned up at the house. Casey hadn't bothered expressing his anger over the phone

"Upstairs sleeping, at least I think she's sleeping" answered Casey "Why would you not tell me?" he glared at Brax "Why is it that I'm always the last to know everything?"

Brax shook his head "Case you have work and school, we didn't want this distracting you and we thought he might have left"

Casey frowned "You don't get to make that decision for me Brax. I'm not a kid anymore and both you and Heath need to stop treating me like I am. She's my mum too"

Brax blew out a breath "Casey what difference would telling you make. Me and Heath have this under control, there's no need to get you involved"

Casey chuckled "Right so under control that he was in this house alone with her" he turned to the door "Seeing as you have this under perfect control I'll just get out of your way then"

Brax sighed and watched as Casey walked out the back door "****" he hit his palm against the wall behind him before letting out a deep breath. Looking over at the stairs he shook his head 'What the hell were they going to do about Mick'

Opening the fridge Casey pulled out a bottle of water and twisted the cap before taking a sip. He exhaled as he walked into the living room. When he had decided to stop at Heath and Bianca to check on Cheryl after his morning lecture he hadn't expected it to turn out the way it had. Mick, the same guy she had run away from in the city was back. Lost in his own thought Casey sat down on the couch before he heard a noise form the hallway. Frowning he looked around and only just seemed to notice Ruby's bag was on the dining table. Standing to his feet he placed his bottle of water down before walking down the hall

"Ruby?" he called her name as he walked into their room. He stopped dead in his tracks at the sight of her standing staring at him. Her eyes were widened with sheer panic

"Ruby what's wrong?" he stepped forward but stopped as she slowly brought her hands up. Casey felt his stomach drop and the need to hurl over and be sick take over as he looked at her blooded hand. He watched as Ruby's gaze lowered and his gaze followed hers till they located where the bleeding was coming from

"I don't know" answered Ruby as a tear fell from her eyes

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for the comment JarlieFanEver :)

CHAPTER EIGHT

"Ruby what's wrong?" he stepped forward but stopped as she slowly brought her hands up. Casey felt his stomach drop and the need to hurl over and be sick take over as he looked at her blooded hand. He watched as Ruby's gaze lowered and his gaze followed hers till they located where the bleeding was coming from

"I don't know" answered Ruby as a tear fell from her eyes

"If I have to sign off on any more paper work I'm gonna go crazy" moaned Charlie as she placed her pen onto her desk, pushing the stack of files in front of her away

"If you don't get them done now, they'll only just be waiting for you tomorrow" spoke Jack and Charlie scoffed as she peered over at him

"Aren't you the voice of wisdom" her voice laced with sarcasm "And you haven't complained once. Anyone would think you're actually started to like doing all this paper work"

Jack chuckled "In case you've forgotten I now not only live with two female. I live with one who is nine going on eighteen and the other is pregnant" he exhaled "Trust me when I say this bit of paperwork is the least stressful thing I have had to deal with all week"

Charlie pursed her lips but couldn't help the tiny laughter that escaped "So I take it pregnant Martha is being a little mean at the moment"

Jack rolled his eyes and dropped his pen "Mean?" I think if she was just being mean I could handle that. I know how to deal with just the one emotion but it's like she's, happy, sad, angry all at once. It's a lot to keep on top of"

Charlie leaned back in her chair and laughed "I see her nearly every day Jack and I've never seen this Martha you're describing. Her mood seems just fine to me"

Jack scoffed "That's because she takes it all but on me and by the time you get her she's exhausted all those emotion. And then there's Sophia who I'm sure is gonna send me to an early grave Charlie" Jack pouted feeling sorry for himself "If Martha isn't shouting at me for God knows what Sophia is giving me high blood pressure. I swear I saw a few grey hairs this morning" he ran his hand through his hair and Charlie rolled her eyes

"You men just like to complain about everything…" she stopped talking as her phone vibrated against her desk. Seeing Casey's name she picked it up

"Hy Case…" her smile instantly fell as she heard the shakiness in his voice

"I…you need to come down her Charlie"

Charlie frowned as sat up straight in her seat "Casey you ok?" she asked she had already began standing to her feet before he spoke again

"She was bleeding… then I rushed her to the hospital and now… now no one's saying anything"

Charlie felt her throat dry up, her vision blur and her hands clam up at Casey's words "Who?" she asked although she felt she already knew the answer

"Ruby" Replied Casey "Please get down her quick Charlie"

"I'm coming now" she hung up the phone knowing simply by his voice that Casey wouldn't be able to explain much over the line. Grabbing her keys she swung the door open seemingly having forgotten that Jack had been in the office with her before darting out

Jack sat looking at Charlie with worried eyes as she stood to her feet. He watched her face pale and her grip on the phone tighten at whatever was being said over the line. Within seconds Charlie had dropped the phone, grabbed her car keys and was making her way out of the office. Jack jumped to his feet and followed her

"Charlie what's going?" he paced after her, ignoring the questioning looks from their colleagues

"Charlie?" he called her name but she didn't stop

"Ruby's in hospital" said Charlie as she jumped into her car. She kept taking deep breaths not wanting to break down before she knew what was going on. Her eyes were already glazed over as she glanced at Jack "Please call Brax and tell him to meet me there" and with that she backed up and sped down the road not allowing Jack get a word in

Jack stood mouth agape at Charlie words, Spinning around he ran back into the station and into his and Charlie's office before picking his phone up and dialling Brax's number

Brax had been sat on the couch for a while, his head buried in his hands as he tried to figure a way out of this mess called Mick. Tapping lightly on the guest room door, Brax waited for her response hoping he wasn't waking her from sleep

"Come in" her heard Cheryl say before he pushed the door open. He slowly walked into the room to find her sat up on the bed "You ok?" he asked

Cheryl nodded her head but knew he wouldn't believe her. She had been sat for what felt like forever and all she had been able to think about was Mick and the city. The first time he hit her, the second time he hit her and she had forgiven him so easily, the way he had always been able to make her feel so small but so significant at the same time but most of all she remembered lying on the floor unable to stand after he had beaten her mercilessly. She looked at Brax as he sat on the edge of the bed

"What if he doesn't give up Brax, what if he does something bad before the police can take him in"

Since all this had started Brax had seen his mother show no fear apart from that first day Mick had turned up unexpected. She had held her own, adamant that she wasn't afraid of Mick but now she wasn't hiding. There was worry and fear in her eyes

"I'm sorry he was able to get to you today but it won't be happening again"

Cheryl chuckled bitterly and shook her head "He's a smart man Brax, he always has been and he has a short temper too. And the kind of people he knows…" Cheryl shook her head "Maybe I need to leave, go somewhere away from here where he can't get to you guys"

Brax frowned "But where he can get to you?"

Cheryl shook her head "He won't get to me, I'll just have to leave when we know he's not watching"

"Brax scoffed "He wasn't watching last time and he still found you" he ran his hand through his hair and blew out a breath "It's been three years since you came to the Bay and from what you said you havn't had anything to do with him for near enough a year before you came down here so why? Why is he all of a sudden interested in you now?"

Cheryl shrugged, she had asked herself the same thing either "I don't know but I can't have all this coming down on you guys"

"Well it's not up to you because we…" Brax paused as his phone rang out. Seeing Jacks name on the screen he answered it

"Hy" he spoke

"Brax where are you now?"

There was a sense of urgency in Jacks voice that had Brax shaken

"At Heath's. Why?"

"Mate, Charlie's just rushed off to the hospital"

Brax was standing in a matter of seconds "What?" he spoke as he edged towards the door

"It's Ruby Brax"

Brax was taking the steps in two "What about Ruby?" he glanced around the living room looking for his keys that he had dropped

"I don't know Brax. All I know is she's down at the hospital"

Locating his keys Brax sprang out the door as he dropped the phone. He had already jumped in the car before he noticed Cheryl had too. Not having the time to ask her to go back into the house he turned on the ignition and pressed on the gas

"What's wrong with Ruby Brax?" asked Cheryl. She had picked up enough of what he had said to realise a little of what was going on

"I don't know" said Brax, his feet pressing harder on the gas

Charlie ran into the hospital and before she could reach the front desk she saw Casey "Case" she paced towards him and felt a cold shiver travel down her spine at the look on his face "Casey what happened?"

Casey stood in front of Charlie still in shock. He shook his head his forehead creasing almost as if he himself was confused "I don't know, I don't know" he took a deep breath "She was just bleeding and crying and I just…" his face seemed to pale the more "What if it's something really bad, I…" he shook his head as he looked in the direction Ruby had been taken in. He turned back to Charlie "She was just bleeding"

Charlie pursed her lips and tried to keep up as Casey spoke. She watched the moment his face paled completely. His eyes red, she pulled Casey into her. She exhaled a heavy breath as she tried to comfort him while not breaking down herself. Not knowing what was truly wrong wasn't helping either. As a door opened both she and Casey pulled apart but the nurse walked straight past them

"Have they been out to tell you anything yet?" asked Charlie

Casey shook his head "No, they said they'll be out when they know what caused the bleeding"

Charlie nodded, closed her eyes and exhaled willing herself not to get carried away. Ruby was going to be ok, she had to be ok

Brax barely parked before turning off the ignition and jumping out of his Ute not even bothering to lock the door as Cheryl jumped out after him.

Pacing towards the front desk, he looked at the nurse stood behind it "You have a Ruby Braxton here" he looked at the nurse frantically "Where is she?"

"Sorry are you a friend or family"

"She's my daughter, where is she?"

The nurse smiled apologetically "She's still being seen to, but you can wait till we have some news"

"Brax" Brax turned at the sound of his voice to see Charlie walking towards him. She buried herself into his chest and in a beat he had her encased in his arms. Pulling her beck so he could see her face he frowned down at her "What's going on Charlie?"

Charlie shook her head, lips pursed "We don't know" Charlie glanced behind her "Case is going out of his mind Brax, they haven't even told us what's wrong with her"

"Case where is he?" asked Cheryl and Charlie nodded behind her before pulling away from Brax. She could see not knowing what was going on was driving him crazy just as much as it was her. She only left him because they had heard Brax's voice. She walked down the hall as Brax and Cheryl followed

Cheryl shook her head as she saw Casey, slumped down on the plastic chairs. Casey looked up at her and Brax and Cheryl felt her eyes mist over

"They won't tell us what's wrong with her" spoke Casey and Cheryl watched as Brax sat beside him before she could

"That's a good thing, ok" Brax lowered his gaze so he could catch Casey's eyes "They'll just be getting her back up to shape"

Casey looked at Brax and nodded as Charlie sat beside Brax, Brax automatically pulling her into him; his free hand placed on Casey's shoulder

Unsure if Jack would have called Heath, Cheryl slowly slid away and dialled his number

"Mum you ok?" Heath asked obviously thinking this had something to do with Mick

"I'm fine Heath but I'm at the hospital right now with Brax, Casey and Charlie, something's up with Ruby"

"Guys" Charlie, Brax, Casey and Cheryl looked up to see Shawn walking through the double doors. Each of them sprang to their feet. Shawn had been the doctor available when Ruby has been brought in

"Shawn how is she?" asked Charlie "What happened?"

Shawn glanced between each of them "She's ok" His gaze settled on Casey "Errr… Ruby is asking for you Casey" he turned to the rest of them. "I'll be back out to explain everything to you; I just need to talk to Casey and Ruby alone for a moment"

"It's something really bad isn't it?" Casey felt his left hand trembling, his blinking eyes red and sour

"Ruby really wants to see you Casey" said Shawn. He looked to Charlie and Brax knowing they couldn't handle having to wait too long "I'll be out to you guys as soon as possible"

Charlie nodded, knowing Ruby was ok had calmed her a little but by the look on Shawn's face she knew something was wrong. She watched as Casey followed behind Shawn before turning to Brax who instantly wrapped his arms around her

Ruby looked up as the door opened and in walked Shawn followed by Casey. She hadn't cried since she had been told what had happened but now seeing Casey she felt like she was going to break down

Casey walked over Ruby's side and took her hands in his. He leaned forward and placed a kiss on her forehead "I'm so glad you're ok" he spoke as he pulled back. He could see her eyes were red but there was no sign that she had been crying

Ruby looked at him not saying a word before she looked over at Shawn "You haven't told him have you?"

Shawn shook his head "No I figured you would want him here when I told him"

Ruby didn't make a move, and Casey's gaze shifted between Shawn and Ruby "Told me what?" his questioning gaze settled on Shawn "What haven't you told me? Why was she bleeding?"

"Ruby said that you guys thought she had been down with a bug for a while now" said Shawn and Casey nodded slowly

"Yea she as, she's been throwing up but that had passed right?" he glanced at Ruby before looking back at Shawn "She had a few cramps the other day but I thought she was past the bug"

Shawn nodded "Ruby explained this to me but Casey…" Shawn paused and exhaled this hadn't been easy to tell Ruby and it wasn't going to be easy repeating it to Casey "She didn't have a bug. The not feeling well, the being tired it was because she was pregnant"

Casey felt all the air leave his lungs, his throat close up as he blinked rapidly through his now wide eyes. Slowly lowering himself he sat on the chair he had registered when he walked in, not a word leaving his lips. He turned his gaze slowly to Ruby to find her watching him. He knew he should speak, say something, anything, but her couldn't think of a single word that would make sense in that moment

"Casey"

Casey turned to Shawn as he called his name. He tried to clear his throat of it's dryness before attempting to speak "She… she was pregnant" he turned to Ruby and the look on her face almost broke him. She was pregnant meaning…

"Was, as in she isn't any more" Casey's voice low and shaky

Shawn gave a single nod of his head "Unfortunately she suffered a miscarriage, hence why she was bleeding" he sighed "I know this a lot for the both of you to take in. But you guys need to know that there was nothing you could have done to prevent this. It looked like the placenta didn't develop properly for the foetus to survive"

Casey looked and Ruby and cocked his head as she simply looked at him, her face giving nothing away. He stood to his feet and sat on the edge of her bed before brushing her fallen curls behind her ears. He watched her before turning his head to look at Shawn, he need to know "How err…" he cleared his throat "How far along?"

Before Shawn could reply Ruby spoke "Seven weeks" she seemed to bury her head further into her pillow. How far along she had been was the first thing she had asked

Shawn sighed, he wanted to explain a few things to them but looking at both Ruby and Casey he didn't think they could handle hearing anything else. Not saying another word he quietly walked out of the room, giving them some time alone

Casey heard the door close but his gaze remained on Ruby. They had always been careful and she was on the pill how could this be happening. "Ruby" he spoke her name softly and that seemed to snap her out of the trance she seemed to have been in. She looked at him for a moment and Casey waited for her to say something

"How could I not know?" asked Ruby "Seven weeks" she shook her head "I didn't even realise I hadn't had my period for so long. How could I not know?" It was the only thing she could think about when Shawn had told her

Casey moved closer to her, his palm on her neck, his fingers on her cheek "Ruby…" before he could say more Ruby interjected, her bottom lip now quivering

"I thought it was just a bug like mums. I took so much crap to try and get rid of it. Every time I got a cramp I took painkillers Case" she broke down as a sob fell from her lips. In an instant Casey climbed onto the bed and enclosed Ruby in his arms. Ruby tried fighting against him but Casey held on firmly till she buried her head into his chest "What if I did this Casey? What if…"

Not letting her finish her words, Casey pulled back a little so he could look her in the eye. He spoke as firmly as he could in that moment "No ok, this is not your fault Rubes. You heard Shawn, it was nothing to do with you" he shook his head and pulled her softly back into him as she continued to cry

"I know nothing about this is good but Ruby did have a complete miscarriage so there are no tissues left meaning she is ok to go home as of tomorrow. We would just like to keep her here for the night to make sure her sugar levels don't drop"

Charlie nodded "Do you know what caused her to miscarry?"

Shawn exhaled "It seems the placenta didn't attach properly and her cervix opened which is what resulted in the miscarriage"

Cheryl placed her hands on her chest; she could imagine how Ruby and Casey would be feeling

"We'll be checking on her every few hours" said Shawn

Brax and Charlie nodded "Thanks" Brax spoke for the first time since Shawn had delivered the news. The three of them watched as Shawn gave them a sympathetic smile before walking away

Charlie and Brax lowered themselves into their previous seats. Beside Brax, Charlie sat, blinking as Shawn walked away

"She was pregnant" she spoke "My baby was pregnant"

"I might just call Heath and tell him not to come over. Don't think Ruby or Case will be up to having everyone down here"

Brax looked to Cheryl and nodded "Thanks mum"

He leaned his head back on the wall behind him and closed his eyes before exhaling. Out of all the things he had thought Shawn was going to say, Ruby miscarrying want not one that had crossed his mind. She had been pregnant and now...

He turned to Charlie as she spoke "How are they going to deal with this Brax. They're still kids themselves"

Brax nodded and ran his hand over her arm "We'll help them through it"

Neither of the two of them made a move to go into Ruby's room. Knowing Casey and Ruby would need a lot of time alone to deal with this, they both simply sat in the plastic chairs. In each other's arms

Charlie gently pushed the door open before stepping inside. She cocked her head slightly and pursed her lips to stop her tears from falling as she saw Ruby and Casey lay on the bed. Ruby curled into Casey as he held her. Neither of them was asleep but yet neither had noticed she had entered the room. She gently closed the door behind her

"Hy" she spoke softly causing Ruby to turn to her and Casey to look up at her. She noted the redness of not only Ruby's eyes but also Casey's and the dried tears on Ruby's cheeks

"I'm so sorry" she spoke as she stepped closer to the bed

Casey sat up in the bed, he looked from Charlie to Ruby "I'll just go and get you something to drink" he said to Ruby who nodded as he stood from the bed

Charlie watched him go with a sad expression before she turned back to Ruby. Stepping closer, she sat on the edge of the bed "I'm sorry this happened"

Ruby shook her head; she felt drained and cried out "It's not your fault. The doctor said there was nothing I could have done to stop this from happening"

Charlie nodded "And he was right Rubes"

Ruby nodded "Yeah that's what Casey said" she spoke with little emotion on her face "When can I go home?" she asked "I just want my own bed"

"Well the doctors want to keep you in just for the night. Just to make sure your sugar levels don't drop"

Ruby nodded and slid down the bed pulling the covers over her "Ok"

Walking out of the room, Casey took a few steps before coming to a stop. It felt like he was moving on auto pilot

"Case" Brax watched as Casey stopped walking and just stood staring. He walked towards him but instead of saying another word he pulled his younger brother into a hug

Casey slowly lifted his hands and returned the hug; he wasn't sure what he was supposed to think how he was supposed to feel. Pulling away he looked up at Brax "I should have insisted she come to the hospital when we first thought she had the bug, I should have done something"

"Case…Casey" Brax gripped the back of Casey neck. Making sure Casey was looking at him "Don't do that ok. Don't start overthinking this. Shawn said it was something to do with the placenta not attaching properly so there is nothing you or Ruby could have done Case, neither of you did anything wrong"

Casey nodded "I err ,I was just going to get her something to drink" He looked beyond Brax to see Cheryl walking towards them

"Casey I'm so sorry" she sighed and pulled Casey to her

Casey smiled sadly "Hy mum"

Cheryl pulled away and looked at Brax

"Casey was just gonna go get Ruby something to drink, I'm just gonna go with him but you could go in to see Ruby. Shawn said she's in room 254 down the corridor"

Cheryl nodded. Leaning forward she placed a kiss on Casey's cheek before walking down the hall

"How about we go get that drink" said Brax and Casey nodded as they made their way to the canteen

Ruby had sent everyone out saying she wanted to rest but Brax had yet to see her and he refused to go home till he did. Knocking on the door he heard Ruby sigh and opened the door as she lifted her head

"If you want me to leave I will do" he spoke

Ruby looked at him for a moment before she shook her head. And suddenly she couldn't help herself. Her lips pursed together and she felt her tears fall from her eyes

Quick on his feet, Brax was by her side in a second "Hy" Brax took her in his arms almost as if he was trying to guard her and felt his eyes mist over

"I'm sorry" spoke Ruby through her tears, as she hid her head in his chest

"You have nothing to be sorry about" Brax held her, allowing her to cry

"How are you feeling?" Asked Bianca. She and Martha had turned up after Brax and Charlie had got back from the hospital

Charlie sighed "I just wish there was something I could do for them. They both just looked so lost when we were leaving"

Martha nodded and rubbed Charlie's arm "I can't image having to deal with that now..." Martha ran her hand over her baby bump "Never mind at their age. But they'll get through it, we're all here for them"

Bianca nodded in confirmation of Martha's words

Charlie smiled sadly "Thank you guys. You didn't have to come over, ts really late"

"Don't be silly" said Bianca "We would have been straight down to the hospital as soon as we could if Cheryl hadn't called Heath and told us not to come. We wanted to know how they were holding up"

"Well thank you guys" said Charlie

"We're family, we're all here for them. No need to thank us"

"We should get going but call us tomorrow when they get home" said Martha as she stood to her feet

Charlie nodded" I will do" Standing to her feet she followed Bianca and Martha to the door. Saying a final good bye she shut the door before turning around with a heavy sigh. Brax had gone to put the twin down a while ago and had yet to return

Turing off the living room light Charlie walked into the twin's room and stopped as she saw Brax stood in between their beds

"They asleep?" she asked and Brax nodded

"Yea" Brax glanced back at Charlie before turning back to the twins "They kept asking where Casey and Ruby were but I just told them they would be home tomorrow"

Charlie nodded and stepped forward "It's gonna take a while for them to get past this" she said

Brax sighed "I know" said Brax before he and Charlie gave the twins a kiss and retired to their own room both wondering how Ruby and Casey were going to get through the next few weeks

...

Stripping to his boxers, Brax climbed into the bed and pulled Charlie closer "You ok?" he knew seeing Ruby and Casey like that wouldn't have been easy for her; it definitely wasn't easy for him

"We're supposed to protect them from things like this...hurt like this" said Charlie "They shouldn't ever have to go through this" Charlie remembered how she had felt after having the twins and the fear of them not making it

"No they shouldn't" Brax looked down at Charlie and wiped the tear that fell from her eye before placing a soft and gentle kiss on her forehead. When he had seen the look on Casey's face when he walked out of Ruby's room, the way Ruby had broken down in his arms before they left; he would have given anything to take their pain away "We'll help them through this as best we can" he said and felt Charlie nod her head against his chest as she embedded herself deeper into him

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Thank you guys for the comments :) Really hope you enjoy this next one

CHAPTER NINE

"No they shouldn't" Brax looked down at Charlie and wiped the tear that fell from her eye before placing a soft and gentle kiss on her forehead. When he had seen the look on Casey's face when he walked out of Ruby's room, the way Ruby had broken down in his arms before they left; he would have given anything to take their pain away "We'll help them through this as best we can" he said and felt Charlie nod her head against his chest as she embedded herself deeper into him

Two weeks Later

Drifting out of his slumper and feeling a little pressure on the bed, Brax lifted his head a little and turned to his side to see Hope stood beside the bed, her purple teddy clasped in her hands. Glancing at the black and white stripped alarm clock on the bedside table Brax sighed seeing it was only just past three in the morning

"Daddy" Hope pouted her bottom lip out, her curls falling into her face before she used her tiny fingers to brush them back "I no sleep no more" Her voice laced with tiredness

Unwrapping his arm from round a still sleeping Charlie, Brax turned to fully face Hope as he sat up in the bed "You have to sleep, it's still night time"

Hope shook her head, her chocolate curls bouncing, her green eyes widening up at her father hoping to sway him into letting her stay with him and Charlie "There be monsters in the bed. I no want them get me"

A smile tugged at the corner of Brax's lips as he looked down at his three year old "There are no such things as monsters Hope. And even if there were they can't get into the house"

"No, they do" Hope cornered Brax with a pointed look "I hearded them"

Brax cocked his head, and turned to look at Charlie as he felt her steering in the bed. He met her eyes as they fluttered open slowly

"Why you awake?" Charlie asked, still in a state of sleep; her eyes closing a little before they opened again at the sound of Hope's voice

"There monsters in my bed"

Charlie looked over Brax to see Hope stood in her Dora the explore pyjamas, and her purple teddy in sight. She looked up at Brax who cocked an eyebrow at her before he turned back to Hope

"Ok" he swung his leg off the side of the bed, letting them hit the floor "How about if I come and check it out for you, make sure there are no monsters. Will you go to sleep then?"

Hope shook her head "I to stay with you and mummy"

Brax exhaled and couldn't help a small smile gracing his face. He should have known this was were his little girl was going with the monsters story "You have to sleep in your own bed sweetie, like all the big girls"

"I no be big girl till mowning, then I gets to sleeps with you"

To tired to argue with her, Brax looked over his shoulder at Charlie who seemed to have given in as well. If there was one thing everyone knew, it was how persistent Hope could be and in that moment all Brax wanted to do was sleep

"Fine" he shook his head as a smile lit up Hope's face before pushing back the quilt cover and picking Hope up "You have to sleep or you go back to your own room. Ok?"

Hope nodded her head as she lay down on the bed "I pwomise"

"Good" getting back into bed, Brax smiled as Hope instantly curled up to him, her head on his chest, her purple teddy tucked into her arm. Leaning his head down slightly, he placed a kiss on her hairline before looking over at Charlie who was smiling at him

"Such a daddy's girl" she whispered and Brax chuckled

"I not" replied Hope her eyes closed causing Brax and Charlie to laugh lightly before they both looked to the door

"So how long do you give him?" asked Brax

Charlie chuckled "I say in about ten seconds" she replied as she and Brax peered at their slightly ajar door.

Brax and Charlie glanced at each other as in seconds a light footstep could be heard from the hall way, till it stopped outside their room. They both looking on as Caleb's head popped round the door before the rest of him followed

His blanky in his hand, Caleb stood for a moment and looked between Brax and Charlie

"Aren't you meant to be sleeping little man?" said Charlie and Caleb shook his head, his blue eyes bright even while tired

"I sleep befores"

Brax chuckled "But it's not time to get up yet buddy"

Caleb's nose scrunched up as if he was in thought before he stepped to Charlie's side of the bed. He strenched up onto his toes to get a look at Hope who had her head on Brax's chest and seemed to already be asleep

"I no sleep in my bed no more" said Caleb his eyes flicking between Brax and Charlie

"Oh yea?" said Charlie "So where you gonna sleep then, I think it's too cold to put you outside"

Caleb shook his head vigorously "I no sleep outside" he sounded alarmed by the thought of what his mother had said

Charlie and Brax swallowed there laughter

"I to sleep with you" said Caleb with conviction

"But big boys sleep in their own beds" said Brax

"I the same old as Hope, so I sleep with you too"

Charlie sighed "Well I guess we can't argue with that can we dad" she grinned at Brax

"I guess not" Brax shrugged

Caleb nodded his head with a smile that showed his dimples, before Charlie leaned over the side of the bed and picked him up.

Scrambling till he was under the quilt, as Hope had done with Brax, Caleb instantly moved to Charlie, snuggling close to her

"It's a good thing we had two, I think I would be feeling a little left out if not" Brax smiled through his words as he looked at Caleb

Charlie smiled as she ran her hands through Caleb's light brown hair, watching as his eyes solwly closed

"It better in your bed" said Caleb, his voice slow as sleep quickly came

Charlie looked up at Brax, a smile adorning her face. She loved moments like this, her Brax, the kids. It had always made every struggle they had been through seem more than worth it

"What you thinking?" asked Brax

Charlie shook her head "Just how much I love you and the kids" she smiled, one which Brax returned

"Good to know, because we love you too" stretching his arm over Hope and Caleb's head he ran his thumb over her hair line "How about we get some sleep, I have a feeling these two won't be asleep for long" he looked own at Hope "Especially this little one here"

Charlie chuckled as she laid her head comfortably on her pillow and closed her eyes

Brax felt a pair of hands of his cheeks, and slowly his eyes opened only to find Hope looking down at him with concentration she only exhibited when watching her cartoons or eating

"You take long to wake"

Brax sighed; he definitely didn't feel like he had been asleep for long "You don't sleep for long enough" he replied and was immediately attacked by Hope's curls as she shook her head

"I sleep this much already" she held her arms out wide and Brax chuckled before looking to his side to see Caleb and Charlie still sound asleep. Hope definitely took after him in regards to being a morning person while Caleb was usually like Charlie

Turning back to Hope, her gaze still glued to him Brax placed both his hands on her face and gave her a kiss, causing Hope to giggle

"How about we go make breakfast for mum and Caleb?"

"And me and you" said Hope and Brax nodded

"Yeah and me and you"

Taking Hope from the bed he placed her on the floor

"We to make pancakes ok. With chocowate chips because mummy like them" said Hope, a picture perfect smile on her face

Brax shook his head "Right, because mum likes them" he chuckled as he slowly climbed out of bed trying not to wake Caleb and Charlie "Right you" he picked Hope up in his arms "Let's get started"

Glancing back he smiled at Caleb who was still safely tucked into Charlie's side before he walked out of the room, shutting the door gently behind him

"I to wake mummy and Caleb now" asked Hope as Brax placed the last of the pancakes onto a plate

"No need" Charlie spoke from the door before putting Caleb down on the floor

Hope ran to her mother and Charlie smiled down at her before picking her up and placing a kiss on her lips and placing her back down "Good morning sweetie"

"Mowning mummy" Hope smiled up at her mum "Daddy said you and Caleb be sleepy heads" Hope giggled as Charlie looked up at Brax, who was just placing Caleb back on the ground. She cocked an eyebrow and bit back her smile

Caleb who seemed offended by this accusation looked up at his father, shock in his expression "I no sleepy head daddy I not. And mummy not too"

Hope smiled cheekily at Caleb "You is cause daddy says so, hy daddy?"

Brax who had been looking at Charlie with a smirk now looked down at Caleb, his eyes darting to Hope before going back to Caleb "I did say beautiful sleepy heads" he glanced up at Charlie who rolled her eyes

Hope shook her head "Uhuh you didn't. I no hear you"

Charlie allowed a small laugh to escape her lips. People usually kept their lips sealed around the twins, it was a known fact they couldn't keep a thing to themselves

"I no sleepy head" Caleb crossed his arms over his best, looking up at Brax with his bottom lip stuck out

Sighing Brax dropped down to Caleb's level "Ok. You're not a sleepy head ok. Daddy was wrong" he glanced up at Charlie who was smiling down at them "Am I forgiven?"

Caleb's eyebrows knitted together as if weighing up the prospect of forgiving his father. Finally coming to a decision he dropped his arms "You to say mummy no sleepy head too"

Brax cleared his throat, trying his best not to laugh. Looking up at Charlie he grinned at the smirk on her face as she waited expectantly. Standing to his feet he walked over to her "I'm sorry mummy, you're most definitely not a sleepy head" leaning into her he placed a soft kiss on her lips

"Apology accepted" said Brax as they broke away from their kiss. Looking down at the twins, Charlie rolled her eyes "You can open your eyes now"

Slowly lowering their hands, Hope and Caleb seemed satisfied that their parents had pulled apart before they turned to the stack of pancakes on the plates on the kitchen counter

"We eat now daddy?" said Caleb

Brax nodded "Yeah, we eat now. You guys go sit; me and mum will bring it in"

Charlie and Brax watched as Hope and Caleb darted out of the kitchen

"Careful you two" shouted Charlie after them. Turing to Brax she shook her head "That wasn't my good morning kiss was it?" Her eyes looked up at him playfully

Brax grinned as he pulled her into his arms, winding them low around her waist resting just above her bum, he shook his head "No. Just figured I should keep that first one pg for the kids" not giving her time to reply he clasped his lips onto hers, taking her bottom lip between his lips. Holding her close he ran his tongue along her bottom lip and Charlie immediately opened up for him as she ran her hands through his hair taking in every bit of him.

Finally pulling apart, Charlie looked at him a little breathless as a grin sat displayed on Brax's face

"Good morning" said Brax stealing a quick kiss before Hope and Caleb shouted from the living room

"You be too long" said Caleb and Charlie chuckled

"Coming" she said as Brax releasing her from his hold.

"I made a plate for Ruby but I think she's still sleeping" said Brax

Charlie exhaled and nodded her head "Leave it in the oven, she might eat it when she gets up" Brax nodded and placed Ruby's plate of pancakes in the oven before picking up his and Charlie's, while Charlie grabbed Hope's and Caleb's and followed Brax into the living room. Looking at Brax she caught him glancing down at the hall, obviously worried about Ruby like they all were

"I might go in and see how she is actually" said Charlie but Brax shook his head

"I think we should give her space. She'll only give you the same answer she's been giving everyone all week"

Charlie sighed knowing he was right before she sat down at the table "Bianca is coming to take the both of you out today so eat up" said Charlie and Hope and Caleb started in on their chocolate chip pancakes

"Wuby no eat her pancakes?" asked Hope

Charlie nodded "She'll have them later"

"Casey no come either?" asked Caleb

It was obvious to Brax and Charlie that the twins had missed having Casey around the house. Every morning having to tell them he wasn't coming home yet wasn't easy

Brax shook his head "Casey is still at his sleep over at Uncle Heath's"

Caleb sighed "He be gone for too long" Hope nodded in agreement

"He to come home now. He sleep too long" Hope nodded her head again as if declaring her word to be final

Brax and Charlie glanced at each other before looking back at the twins

"He'll be home soon" said Brax. It was the only thing he could think to say

Knocking on Ruby's bedroom door, Charlie slowly pushed it open to find Ruby stood in front of the mirror tying her curls up with a hair band

"You off out?" asked Charlie as she stepped into the room

Ruby glanced up at her mother and nodded her head "Yea. I'm meeting April at the diner" she replied

Charlie nodded and sighed "Brax made you pancakes this morning. It's in the oven"

Ruby smiled as she shook her head "I'm not hungry thanks" seeing the look on Charlie's face, Ruby knew what was coming so she quickly continued "And if I do get hungry I'll get something at the diner"

Charlie watched Ruby and wanted nothing more than to wrap her in her arms. Ruby's façade wasn't fooling anyone; even the twins had asked more than once what was wrong with her. She smiled and held conversation but her eyes had seemed so distant in the last two weeks. Charlie and everyone was trying to give her space but Charlie wasn't sure how long she could keep from confronting Ruby

"Case called Brax this morning. Said he tried calling you but there was no answer"

"My phone was on silent. I'll call him back later" answered Ruby as she picked her bag up from the bed "I've got to go. I'll see you later" she hurried out of the room, leaving Charlie stood there alone

Knocking on the back door of Bianca and Heaths house before she walking in, Charlie smiled lightly at Casey who was stood in the kitchen, coffee in hand

"Hy" Charlie knew Casey wasn't holding up well. Especially since he left the house to give Ruby space she said she need. It had now been a week and it seemed Ruby had yet to have enough space

Casey nodded and turned away from Charlie as he made his way into the living room "Hy" he replied before sitting down on the couch

Charlie stood looking at Casey, knowing that he was still struggling as well

"Stupid question I know, but how you holding up?"

Casey chuckled and shook his head "If I say fine you won't believe me anyway so I may as well be honest and say I feel like crap. I just wish she would talk to me instead of blocking me out"

Charlie nodded and sat beside Casey "she'll come round. I think this, her, shutting everyone out is just a way of coping, it won't last forever Case"

Looking down into his cup Casey sighed "What if when she decides she doesn't want to do this anymore. This could be it"

Charlie shook her head. She knew Ruby was having a hard time dealing with the miscarriage at the moment but she had no doubt in her mind that Ruby would come back to Casey. She only didn't know when that would be

"She loves you, trust me she just needs time"

"Shouldn't we be dealing with whatever we're feeling together?"

Charlie nodded "Yeah. But I know better than anyone that sometimes when you're hurting, you push people away just because you think that's the only way you can cope. But I learned and so will Ruby"

Casey smiled at Charlie "So what you doing here? Everyone's gone out" he noticed she was in her uniform

"I know" replied Charlie "I came to see you. Just wanted to check that you're ok"

Casey smiled at Charlie "Thanks"

"You think you can handle this place for the day?" Brax asked Becky the restaurant manager

Becky nodded "Yea I got it"

Smiling at her Brax walked out from behind the bar and made his way out of the restaurant. He had only been at work for a little over four hours but his mind wasn't on the job today. Walking past the diner he stopped as he caught sight of April and Ruby at one of the tables. Ruby hadn't made an appearance before he had, had to leave for work that morning and he hadn't seen her the day before either.

"Hy" he smiled at the two girls as he approached them. April smiling up and returning his smile, while Ruby tried but it didn't quiet reach her eyes

He watched April take a quick glance at Ruby; obviously she too worried about Ruby. Just then Ruby's phone rang and before she could reach for it Brax saw that it was Casey calling her. He watched her with a sigh as she glanced down at her phone before rejecting the call, avoiding eye contact with either him or April

Coming to a decision Brax looked up at April "You mind if I steal Rubes off you for a while?"

April shook her head but Ruby spoke before she could "Actually we had plans today"

April turned to Ruby "I don't mind. We were only going to go to the movies. We can go another time" before Ruby could say another word April was standing to her feet "I'll see you later" she gave Brax a look that said she hoped he could get through to her

"Come on" Brax nodded his head towards the entrance. He looked down at his watch to see it had just gone past two "We've got a bit of a journey to make, don't want to get there too late"

he registered Ruby's wary gaze on him, obviously looking for an excuse to get out of going with him

"Don't really feel like going on a road trip"

Brax shrugged "I never said we were going on a road trip" stepping towards the entrance he turned to look at her "Come on" he smiled as Ruby sighed before she reluctantly stood to her feet and followed behind him

Having being sat in the passenger seat for over forty minutes Ruby sighed and turned to Brax "This feels like a road trip to me"

Brax shook his head "It's not. We're nearly there"

Ruby glanced out the window, she couldn't say she recognised where they were "Where are we going?" she asked after a short silence

"You'll see" replied Brax and Ruby rolled her eyes at his reply before turning back to stare out the window

A little over twenty minutes passed before Brax turned off the road and down a narrow path till he came to a small parking area. Finally bring the car to a stop he turned off the engine and opened his door "I want to show you something" he said as he closed his door behind him waiting for Ruby to climb out of the car

She looked at him through the window, before she climbed out of the car with reluctance. Closing the door with a force, Ruby glanced up at Brax before following behind him

"So I know we agreed that for these sort of things you choose where we go but I wanted to show you this place. I've been meaning to bring Your mum here"

They walked along the path and soon they stopped as it came into view. Ruby's eyes trailed the whole place, she had never seen water so blue, or sand so golden

Glancing at her, Brax smiled "You haven't seen anything yet" he continued walking and this time Ruby followed him willingly curious as to how this place could seem anymore perfect

They walked along the hard rocks, climbing higher off the ground. Turing to Ruby, Brax held his hand out and Ruby took hold of it as he helped her along the uneven surface of the rocks. Climbing higher for a little while longer, Brax came to a stop seeing they had finally reached their destination. Ruby stopping beside him, and her eyes wide with wonder as they greedily feed off the view

"How did you find this?" asked Ruby, stepping a little closer to the edge, giving the view a closer regard

Brax shrugged and stepped with her "It was one of the places I used to come to years ago, but I completely forgot about it, till I passed by this way on my way back from the city a few weeks ago." He glanced over at Ruby before looking back at the Lucid turquoise ocean that lay beneath them "I need you to break down those walls you have built these last couple of weeks Rubes" Brax spoke with a gentle calmness to his voice "I won't let you shut us out" he hated seeing her so closed off

Ruby didn't reply for what seemed like hours. She stood staring out at the ocean, trying to concentrate on how it seemed almost magical rather than on her pain and guilt. She swallowed hard as she felt her eyes cloud with her tears. She shook her head lightly as if that would keep her tears at bay but regardless a tear slowly made its way down her cheek "I…" her voice choked and she swallowed back what she was sure was an emerging sob before trying again "I don't know how to stop" she shook her head a little harder this time "It's like I'm watching all this happen to someone else. And I can't stop because if I stop and accept that I lost…" she exhaled "I didn't even know I was pregnant so it shouldn't matter right?"

Brax sighed and stepped closer to Ruby "Look at me Rubes" Ruby turned to him, her lips pursed "It does matter. Whether you knew or not, that baby was still a part of you and Casey". At the mention of Casey's name he saw another tear fall from Ruby's eyes. She quickly looked away from him and Brax watched as she lowered herself onto the harsh surface of the rocks. Not saying a word he followed suit and sat beside her

"I want to go back to the day before this all happened. I was really happy then and everything was fine. I had Casey and we were happy..." a sad smile fleeted across her face as she remembered her and Casey staying in bed for as long as possible the day before everything seemed to change. "Now I feel a little lost" Her voice was barely above a whisper as she spoke "When the doctor had told me what had happened, for the longest time I was shocked but then for a brief moment, a tiny moment... it was like a sense of relief washed over me"

Brax looked at her unspoken, knowing she needed to get some of these things out "What kind of person does that make me. It was a part of Casey and I was relieved it was gone" This seemed to do it for Ruby as her shoulders shook and she sobbed into her hands

Pulling her close, Brax shook his head lightly. He would let her cry before giving her a reply, he wanted to make sure she heard him clearly. He sat with Ruby in his arm for a while after she had stopped crying before he spoke

"It makes you human Ruby, but most of all it makes you the nineteen year old girl you are" he looked at her and gave a sad smile "You're barely an adult yourself Ruby and as much as I know you love Casey it doesn't mean that the both of you are ready for kids yet"

"So you think it was a good thing I lost the baby?" Ruby looked up at him, her brown eyes big and shelled with her tears. The tone of her voice held no accusation

Brax shook his head "That's not what I'm saying. I would give anything to have stopped you from losing that baby Ruby and I know you would have both loved that kid with everything you've got; but that doesn't mean you or Case are ready to be parents. You've both got your whole life ahead of you and when the time is right, I'm sure you'll be blessed with plenty kids"

Ruby's gaze still on him, she smiled sadly at him "You think I'll be a good mum?" she questioned and Brax smiled back at her

"The best. Although don't go telling your mum I said that"

A chuckle left Ruby's lips and Brax was glad to see it wasn't the fake kind of laughter she had been giving everyone the last couple of weeks

"He hates me doesn't he?" asked Ruby and Brax shook his head, knowing who she was talking about

"He could never hate you. But I know he wishes you would let him be there for you and he probably wants you there for him too"

He saw in Ruby's eyes that she was thinking about something and he knew there was still somethings she was holding back but not wanting to push her, he decided to settle on the progress he had made with her

"Do we have to head back soon?" asked Ruby. Brax could see she was mesmerised by the sight before them, as he had been the first time he had seen this place. He shook his head

"We can stay here as long as you want. Mind you, I haven't eaten since this morning, so don't hold it against me if in a couple of hours I start to get a little grouchy"

Ruby chuckled noting that she had hardly eaten much that day either "Seeing as this is your little idea, I wouldn't be opposed to letting you feed me when we get back to the bay" She knew seeing her eat something would put Brax's mind at rest as well as Chrlie's

Brax looked at her and smiled "Deal". His smile grew as Ruby leaned her head on his shoulder

"Thank you for this. And I know I've only ever said it once or twice but I love you"

Brax wrapped his arm around her and felt a squeeze on his heart at her words "I know you do" but it was still good to hear "And I love you too kiddo"

Walking into the house through the back door, Brax' eyebrows knitted together at how quiet it was; the only sound coming from the TV. It had only just gone seven so he knew the kids would still be awake for a little while longer and yet no sound could be heard. Walking into the living room he smiled at the sight before him. On the couch, Caleb and Hope sat each curled into either side of Charlie as they watched what Brax assumed to be Brave; a disney movie Caleb and Hope had tortured him into watching more times than should be allowed. His smile grew as Charlie turned to look at him, her hair pulled up into a lose bun

"Hy" he dropped his keys on the dining table and had to bit his lip not to chuckle as Hope and Caleb turned around to him with glaring gazes, obviously not impressed by him interrupting their TV time. Holding his hands up in surrender "I'm sorry" he spoke and Caleb shook his head at his father

"You to be quiet, this the bestest bit" he pinned Brax with a pointed look before he and Hope turned back to the TV

He looked at Charlie, who seemed amused by their kids before he (as quietly as possible) moved to the back of the couch. Leaning over he placed a kiss on Charlie's lips before edged around the couch and sitting on the end next to Hope. He knew better than to interrupt them when they were watching one of their Disney favourites. He smiled and wrapped his arms around Hope as she turned and leaned into him. He looked over at Charlie who winked at him, the smile he loved placed on her face before she turned back to the film

"It too little" Hope lay under her quilt, her purple teddy tucked in beside her. She frowned as Brax closed the book "You to read long one" said Hope

Brax shook his head "You've had your two stories for the night, so now it's time for bed"

Caleb sighed "We too have more, pwease" his blue eyes shone even in the dimmed lighting of the room

"You know you're only allowed two and plus your mum let you stay up a little longer tonight, so now you have to sleep so you won't be tired in the morning"

"But it far away to mowning" said Caleb and Brax chuckled

"Trust me buddy, it'll be morning before you know it" placing the story book into their top drawer with the rest of their bed time books, Brax walked back to their bed and smiled down at Caleb "Night buddy" he ran his hand over his head, brushing his hair back before placing a kiss on his forehead

"Night Daddy" said Caleb as he turned to his side, his blanky safely held in his hand

Brax turned to Hope and smiled before leaning down and brushing her curls out of her face "Night sweetie" he also placed a kiss on her forehead

Hope gave him a wide smile "Night Daddy"

Charlie appeared at the door "Don't forget me" she walked into the room and Hope and Caleb gave her a kiss

"Night mummy" said both Hope and Caleb

Charlie and Brax smiled before walking out of the twin's room and closing the door behind them. Charlie sighed as she and Brax walked into the living room "Ruby isn't home yet"

Brax smiled "Sorry didn't want to say in front of the kids but I dropped her off at Heath and Bianca's. She said she wanted to talk to Casey. Heath said he would drop her off home when they were done"

Charlie looked up at Brax, clearly surprised by this information. "She said she wanted to see him of her own according?"

Brax nodded "Yea. I think it's a good thing" he sat down on the couch, Charlie sitting beside him

"So do I but she's been doing her best to avoid him. I'm just surprised by this turn around" she cocked an eyebrow "I stopped by the restaurant today but Becky said you had left for the day. So…"

Brax looked at her and chuckled "Mrs Braxton, are you trying to say you don't trust me" he grinned at her

"I'm just trying to figure out how you got Ruby to go talk to Casey" she replied

"What makes you think I had anything to do with it?" asked Brax as he gently pulled Charlie closer to him. Her knees curled over his lap

"Because I know you Braxton"

"Well I'm sorry to disappoint but I didn't do much" said Brax, his fingering trailing the dent in her knee

"Well thank you all the same" said Charlie as she leaned in and placed a delicate kiss on his lips. Something had been on her mind since that afternoon but she wasn't going to tell Brax until she was sure. There was no use getting his hopes up if it turned out to be a false alarm

"Well…" Brax pulled back from the kiss and Charlie chuckled as he pulled her completely onto his lap "If you really want to thank me…" he cocked an eyebrow suggestively and Charlie couldn't help the smile on her face

"What did you have in mind? She grinned as she saw the mischievous look in his eye

Leaning in close, Brax brushed past her cheeks, bringing his lips to her ears "How about I show you" before Charlie could reply he held her thighs firmly before standing to his feet and walking them into their room

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you JarlieFanEver, Pembie and amz89 for the comments. Hope you Enjoy this chapter :)

CHAPTER TEN

"Well…" Brax pulled back from the kiss and Charlie chuckled as he pulled her completely onto his lap "If you really want to thank me…" he cocked an eyebrow suggestively and Charlie simpered at him

"What did you have in mind? She grinned as she saw the mischievous look in his eye

Leaning in close Brax brushed past her cheeks, bringing his lips to Charlie's ears "How about I show you" before Charlie could reply he held her thighs firmly before standing to his feet and walking them into their room

Making sure to keep quiet as not to wake Brax up, Charlie now sat on the edge of the bath tub, her fingers tied inside one another as she waited for what seemed like the longest three minutes any person had ever had to endure. Her bare feet tapped inaudibly against the tile floor, her teeth taking away at her bottom lip, her back ridged straight and her gaze glued to the test that she had set on the toilet seat. Hearing movement from the bedroom, she held her breath steadfastly hoping Brax had not yet woken; this could yet be a false alarm. Her ears pricking up she listened but heard nothing else and allowed herself breath before her gaze flew back to the white stick that seemed larger than the bathroom in which she sat; impatiently

Having taken her phone with her she glanced down at the time and wanted to scream. When she had taken the test and looked down at her phone it had been 1:23 now the time read 1:25. She glared at it, convincing herself her phone had stopped working, it must have, there was no other explanation for why time seemed to have stood still, much to her annoyance.

But then it finally happened. Her breath caught in her throat, her fingers scratching rapidly against one another as the time shifted to 1:36. Odd; she had been almost impatient with her waiting but now, knowing that the result of what she wanted so badly lay on that stick in front of her had her reading to crawl back into bed and forget she had bothered taking the test. She could be wrong. What if she was wrong? She asked herself, pondering on the possibility of having spared Brax's hope but in the process having lifted hers. All this could have been all for nothing, she said to herself, but if she didn't look she would never find out.

Looking down at the screen of her phone again, she almost let out a laugh as the time now read 1.29. Trust time to pick up pace again when fear loomed inside her. Drawing in a much needed breath, she shut her eyes tightly before prying them open as she leaned over and picked up the stick, it was much better to remain seated just in case she had truly gotten her hopes up for nothing. Slowly bringing the little white stick towards herself, she spoke a silent prayer before her eyes met the test.

There it now was, in front of her

Brax rolled, spreading his arm out wide and smiling as it enclosed around Charlie. He pulled her closer to him and noticed that her back that had been bare when they had fallen asleep was now covered. One eye cracking open, he frowned as he saw she was now wearing one of his shirts. That moment Charlie turned to face him, her eyes still drowsy with sleep

"Hy, you get cold?" he asked, drawing her closer

Charlie frowned unsure what Brax was talking about. Seeing this Brax added "I remember you being a little less covered up when we fell asleep"

Charlie looked down to see she was still in Brax's shirt that she had thrown on that night when she had gone to the toilet. Looking back up at him he smiled "Yea I was just a little cold" she lied

Brax grinned, lowering his head and placed a soft kiss on her lips "You should have woken me, I would have gladly helped you warm up"

Charlie chuckled "I was being considerate. You worked hard last night" she grinned at him cheekily

"I don't mind, a good exercise session is good for the both of us" replied Brax and Charlie giggled as he ran his hand over her bum. He grinned as he realised she may have put his shirt on but there was definitely nothing underneath "You know I've heard it's good to start the day with at least 30 minutes exercise" gently pushing Charlie onto her back, Brax hovered over her supporting his weight with his arms

Charlie's hands slid up his back, her legs locking around him "Well I was going to go for a run" she smiled cheekily "You can come with me"

Brax's grin widened "I think I've got a better way to burn some fat… fast" he rocked against Charlie, making her aware of his already aroused state

Charlie sucked in a breath at the feel of him. Out of her control, Charlie breath came out husky "Why don't you show me"

Brax's gaze darkened with hunger as Charlie pushed herself further into him. A low growl travelled from his chest "I plan to" His lip fell on hers, taking them in a deep and passionate kiss

"Did Ruby not come home last night?" asked Charlie as she dressed Caleb and Brax dressed Hope

"Forgot to tell you, Heath called last night but you were fast asleep and said Casey and Ruby had fallen asleep on the couch, so he would drop her off this morning"

Charlie smiled "Well that's a good thing right"

Brax nodded "I think so" he looked down at Hope to see she had taken one arm out of the top he had just worn for her "Hope Elise stop that" he sighed as he tried putting her arm back into the top but being as stubborn as a Braxton got Hope locked her arms against her chest and shook her head "I no want to wear this no more"

Brax rolled his head back and groaned as Charlie laughed at the both of them. She looked down to Caleb, who was now dressed a smile on his face "I ready mum"

Charlie nodded "Yeah you are. You're just like mummy " she ran her hand over his hair and grinned at Brax as Caleb turned around to Hope sticking his tongue out at her "I go watch TV" not waiting for Charlie to answer he ran out of the room

"No running Caleb" Charlie shouted after him and shook her head

"It no fair" said Hope, her green eyes widened, her eyebrows narrowed "It my turn to watch my TV in the mowning"

"Well maybe if you wasn't so picky on what you wore, you would be out there with Caleb" said Charlie and she almost burst out laughing at the look of shock now expressed on Hopes face

"I no picky" she shook her head, her bottom lip pursed out as she turned to Brax "I no picky" she said to him "I no want to wear this no more I want to wear my dwess"

Brax nodded and chuckled "Yeah sure, you're not picky" he took her other arm out of the top and gently puled it over her head

Hope turned to Charlie and stuck her tongue out a smile on her face "See daddy say I no picky"

Charlie chuckled "Most definitely your fathers daughter" she mumbled the words just loud enough for Brax to hear what she had said. Glancing at Brax with a grin she walked over to Hope's wardrobe "Very sorry sweetie" she glanced at Brax who was smiling in amusement "So what would you like to wear instead?"

Hands going to hips, Hope walked over to her wardrobe and stood beside her mother. Brax cleared his throat as a way of stopping the laughter wanting to break form his lip as he watched his daughter. Charlie looked down at Hope and chuckled quickly

Her head tilted up, Hope sighed "Mummy I no see pwoperly, I no big like you"

"Oh of course" Charlie rolled her eyes and lifted Hope up "Better?" she asked and Hope nodded and she surveyed her options

A smile broke out on Hope's face as she saw the one she wanted to wear. Stretching her hand out, she tugged on the bottom of the blue lady bug dress "I to wear this one" she turned her head up to Charlie

"You sure because you don't get to change your mind again"

Hope nodded her head "I sure"

Placing Hope back on her feet, Charlie pulled the dress out of the wardrobe and handed it to Brax "I might go check on that son of yours, he's been awfully quite"

Brax took the dress from Charlie and looked down to Hope "Come on then miss picky"

"Daddy" Hope stumped her feet and Brax laughed "You say I no picky"

Brax held his hand up "I'm sorry. You're not picky"

Hope surveyed him for a moment before nodding "Good. Now I wear my dwess"

Brax's head shut up at the sound of Charlie's voice

"Caleb Ross Braxton"

He looked to Hope and winced, as Hope giggled "Oh Caleb be in twoble" the grin on her face made it clear she was anything but saddened by the thought.

Pulling the dress over Hopes Head Brax tied the little bow at the back and looked up to see Charlie at the door accompanied by a chocolate covered sheepish looking Caleb. Quick to clear his throat not wanting to laugh at the wide eyed look on Caleb's face, he looked to Hope to compose himself before looking back over at the door

"Daddy look" Hope pointed at her brother "He messed up his clothes"

Stood by the door with chocolate on his face, hands and somehow smothered all over his shirt, Caleb looked at Brax as if asking Brax to save him from Charlie's wrath

"He got into the cake in the fridge" Charlie blew out a breath. She hadn't been aware he could even get into the fridge; she would have to get some sort of luck on it

Brax couldn't have helped chuckling if he tried. He stood to his feet and picked Hope up. Walking over to the door he grinned at Charlie "I guess you were right. Just like his mother" stealing a kiss he quickly edged out the door "When you're done we'll be waiting" he called and heard Charlie muttering under her breath

"I'll meet you guys at the beach" said Charlie as she placed Hope into her car seat

Brax nodded "Tell Bianca I don't want her keeping you too long"

Charlie nodded and placed a kiss on his lips "I'll pass on the message"

Walking into her car she smiled as she started the engine and made her way down the road.

Eyes opening slowly, Ruby squinted at the obscene amount of light that was making way into her room. A few seconds passed before realising she wasn't in her room. Moving to shift she found she was locked in by something or someone. Lifting her gaze, her eyes met the still sleeping face of Casey and then the events of the previous day and night played back in her head. After spending a little more time with Brax she had wanted… needed to talk to Casey.

She remembered the guilt she had felt when he had walked down the stairs but most of all she remembered the urge to throw her into his arm, she had missed him more than she had thought. As best as she could she had tried to explain how she was feeling to him as they walked aimlessly around the block, but most of all she had apologised for pushing him away. Still transfixed by the event of the night before she didn't realise when Casey had opened his eyes, watching every expression that crossed her face

"You ok?" he asked and Ruby snapped out of her thought

She smiled weakly up at him and nodded "Yeah. You?"

Casey sighed "I want you to be honest with me Rubes"

Ruby glanced away from him for a second before looking back up at him "I'm better than I was yesterday" she somehow moved closer to him and Casey was surprised but pleased by the gesture. They had fallen asleep talking the night before and he had held her, dreading the morning light in which he was sure she would push him away again

"I've missed waking up next to you" spoke Ruby and Casey smiled, his arms wrapping around her tightly

"I've missed waking up next to you too" he replied placing a gentle kiss in her hairline

They held each other for a few more minutes before Ruby pulled away and glanced around the house "Where is everyone?"

Casey shrugged before is eyes caught something on the coffee table in front of them.. Unwrapping Ruby from his arms he leaned forward and picked up the note. He smiled as he read it out loud

'Taken Reece and Abi out to the park. Bianca left some breakfast for the both of you in the oven. Heath'

Casey looked to Ruby. It had only been a week since he had seen her last and he could already see she had lost a little weight "Fancy some breakfast"

Ruby nodded with a light smile "Sure"

Ruby smiled lightly as she walked along the beach and saw Brax, Charlie and the kids. She chuckled at Brax running around with Caleb thrown over his shoulder, Hope in Charlie's arms giggling as Charlie tickled her. Walking closer to them she smiled at Charlie and Charlie looked up and saw her

"Hy" said Charlie. She stopped tickling Hope and Hope immediately ran over to Ruby

"Wuby, Wuby"

Quickly catching her sister, Ruby lifted her up in her arms "Hy trouble" Ruby brushed Hopes curls from her face

"You come play with us?" Asked Hope as she looked up at her older sister, her eyes hopeful. She had missed Ruby and Ruby could see it in her eyes

Although she had just wanted to walk a little and think, Ruby didn't have the heart to say no to Ruby so instead she nodded "Yeah"
A broad smile lit up Hopes face as she practically began bouncing in Ruby's arms "We have too much fun"

Ruby couldn't help but laugh at Hope "Yeah we will" she looked up at Charlie

"Hy" she smiled lightly

"You ok?" Charlie watched her carefully and Ruby nodded

"Getting there" she smiled and placed Hope back onto the sand. She looked up to Brax who still had Caleb over his shoulder "Hy Hope why don't you go and try and help Caleb and I'll come and give you a hand in a minute"

Hope nodded her head at Ruby before running down the beach towards Brax and Caleb a joyful squeal leaving her mouth

"No Casey?" asked Charlie and Ruby shook her head

"No he err… walked me home but he's gone back to Bianca and Heaths" she glanced to where Brax and the kids were before she sat down on the sand, Charlie following suit

"You guys talk?" asked Charlie

"Yeah" Ruby sighed "I feel like I've been so selfish. We both lost…" we both lost "It happened to him too but I've just been thinking about me"

Charlie sighed and shuffled closer to Ruby, her hand on her back she rubbed it lightly "Sweetie there is no selfish bone in your body"

"I don't think Casey would agree regardless of what he says"

Charlie shook her head "I think you're wrong. Casey would agree o. Neither one of you should have to have gone through any of this never mind knowing how you should act or feel. People deal with things differently and I think even Casey understood that you needed a little time"

Ruby looked at Charlie, and Charlie could see the kid in her eyes. Nineteen or not she was still her baby

"I keep wondering what he or she would have looked like" Ruby sighed "We're too young for kids but it doesn't make it hurt any less"

Charlie pulled Ruby to her, Ruby's head now resting on her shoulder

"I think he or she would have been as beautiful as their mother and father. And you may not be ready for kids but that was still your child, you're allowed to hurt as much as you want. Cry as much as you want"

Ruby smiled lightly "Thanks for these past two weeks"

Charlie frowned; she didn't think she had done much. As much as she had wanted to comfort Ruby, she hadn't allowed anyone near her "I haven't done much Rubes" she spoke with sadness in her voice

Ruby looked up at her "You did a lot" she glanced at Brax "The both of you. For just giving me the space I needed but still not enough that I felt alone"

Charlie smiled and both her and Ruby looked up as Hope and Caleb ran over to them "Wuby come on" Caleb pulled on one of Ruby's hands while Hope took the other

"We too turn daddy to sand" said Hope

Ruby and Charlie glanced to wear Brax now lay to see his feet covered in sand. Charlie and Ruby chuckled as Ruby stood to her feet, Hope and Caleb still holding onto her hands

"We best be quick before he escapes hy" said Ruby and Caleb and Hope's eyes widened as they both nodded and tugged on Ruby's hand harder pulling her along towards Brax

Charlie watched with a smile as Ruby and the twins through sand over Brax's body. Her smile widened as she watched Brax say something causing Ruby to laugh; really laugh. Charlie felt her heart flutter as she thought of the surprise she had for Brax later that day

Rubbing his hands over his neck, Casey groaned at the stiffness on it. Sleeping all night with your head propped back on a couch proving to be anything but comfortable. He had just left Dex and Xavier who had both forced him out for a while but in all honesty he was glad to be away from them. He wanted to see Ruby, they had made progress the night before and that morning

He rounded the corner and smiled lightly as he saw Cheryl but his stepped haltered as another figure came into view.

As Cheryl flinched back from the figure, Casey paced and almost felt the breath being sucked out of him as Mick raised his hand

"Oi" he shouted causing Mick and Cheryl to look his way, but instead of Mick backing away lie Casey had expected him to, he stood rooted in front of Cheryl, his jaw twitching with obvious irritation

"Get away from her" Casey wedged himself between Cheryl and Mick and Cheryl instantly grabbed his arm

"Casey don't"

Mick growled in anger "What is it with you boys. You got some sort of tracker on her"

Casey stepped to him, standing taller than Mick; he clenched his jaw "I promise you if you ever so much as try that again, raise your hand on her or touch a single hair on her head you will pay"

Mick howled out a laugh, that the wind seemed to carry "And what? I'm guessing you'll be the debt collector" he laughed again but soon stopped as Casey stepped closer to him, fighting against Cheryl's grip on his arm

"Why don't you try raising your hand on her again and find out"

All laughter gone his smile vanished, Micks glaring eyes ran cold and Cheryl felt her throat dry up at the look in his eyes

"Is that a threat boy?"

Casey shook his head "Na but if you ever come near her again, you'll wish it was"

Mick blew out a breath and nodded his head. Looking over Casey shoulder at Cheryl he held her gaze "I'll be seeing ya" and with that he turned away and out of sight

Cheryl released a breath she hadn't been aware she had been holding as Casey turned round to her, his hands placed on her arms

"Mum you ok?" his eyes drew together in worry

Cheryl nodded her head "I'm ok"

"I'm gonna call Brax" Casey went to dig his phone out of his pocket but Cheryl stopped him

"No don't. He and heath have only just started giving me some space I don't want them worrying all over again"

Casey frowned "You're kidding right, that nut job was about to hit you and you think I won't tell Heath and Brax"

"Casey you won't tell them because I asked you not too ok" she looked at him pleadingly "They don't need this right now and neither do you. You need to be concentrating on yourself and Ruby"

"Mum…"

Cheryl interjected "if I promise that if I see him again, even if it's just from afar that I will let Heath and Brax know will you please let this go"

Casey shook his head "Mum I can't…"

"Casey please" Cheryl pleaded with him

Casey looked down at her and sighed, he could see she really dint want Brax and Heath to know but at the same time he knew Mick wasn't gone but yet he agreed "Fine, but if I see him again I'll tell them"

"Fair enough" replied Cheryl

The twins had been put to bed, Ruby had retied to her rom a few minutes before hand and now Charlie and Brax sat on the couch watched a film; Charlie wrapped in Brax's arms

"She seems better right?" asked Brax. Seeing Ruby smile that say had made him feel so much better about him forcing her to open up a little

Charlie looked up at him and smiled "Yea. I think the twins were just happy to spend some time with her today especially Hope"

Brax nodded "Yeah. I think the fact we had to literally peel her from Ruby's side to get her to go to bed proved that"

Charlie chuckled "I'm just glad to see her smile and not a fake one either "

Brax nodded "Yeah it was nice" Brax looked over to the wine that sat on the coffee table un touched by Charlie "Babe you ok?" he chuckled

"Why?" Charlie frowned

He nodded his head towards the untouched wine "You haven't touched your wine at all. I've never known you pass up a chance to get a little boozed up"

Charlie hit his chest "You make me sound like an alcoholic" Brax had already poured the wine before Charlie could decline and she didn't want him suspecting just yet

Brax chuckled "Well, you do…"

"Don't you dare finish that sentence Braxton" Brax laughed "I'm just not in the mood that's all"

Brax nodded "Well what do you say to an early night" he winked at her and Charlie chuckled before leaning into him and placing a kiss on his lips

"An early night sounds like a perfect idea"

Stepping out of her shorts and pulling her top over her head, Charlie walked over to her' wardrobe and pulled out one of Brax's shirts that she usually wore to bed. Pulling it over her head she closed the wardrobe and looked to the bathroom door through the floor length mirror on the door of her wardrobe

"Babe what time you start work tomorrow?" asked Bra from the toilet

Charlie opened up her drawer as she answered "10. Why?" she pulled out her surprise "Just wanting to know who was gonna drop the kids off with mum. But I don't have to be at the restaurant till twelve so I'll do it"

"Ok" replied Charlie as she looked down at the item in her hand "I'm only working till 5 tomorrow so I can pick them up on my way home" she tried not to laugh as she read the words

"Works for me" replied Brax as he walked out of the bathroom and Charlie quickly placed the item behind her back

Not noticing anything odd Brax turned to his wardrobe as he peeled his shirt from over his head and began unbuttoning his jeans. Smiling Charlie placed the item down on the bed so he could read the writing before she walked into the bathroom

"You working late tomorrow?" she asked glad for the wall that separated them as she couldn't have contained the smile on her face if she tried

"Na think I've got enough staff on shift to be able to leave by seven latest" replied Brax not yet having seen what Charlie had placed on the bed

"In that Case you can bring dinner home" she waited from him to reply but nothing came. He smiled ad called his name "Brax?" she waited but still no reply. Shutting off the tap that was running she dried her hand with a towel and stepped out of the bathroom to see Brax stood at the foot of the bed. He looked up at her as he held the item up in his hand

"Did you put this here?" he asked, Holding the baby grow up in his hand. The words on the front reading 'Sorry Ladies My Daddy's Taken'

Charlie nodded her smile wide. Brax had said a few weeks ago that it was a shame neither Hope and Caleb had worn that particular baby grow and that their next kid would have to

"Figured we should probably keep it close" she said

Brax glanced back at the baby grow with a frown before looking back at Charlie. Reading her face his eyes widened as he glanced back at the baby grow again, his jaw slacking for a few second before he turned to Charlie

"Am I reading too much into this or are you…" he glanced down at her flat stomach before looking back up to met her eyes

Charlie nodded and let out a little laughter "I think you're reading into it just about right"

"You're pregnant?" asked Brax

Charlie nodded "We're pregnant. I took a test last night and today when I said I was going to see Bianca I kinda lied" she stepped to him "I went to the hospital. Tests can be false sometimes so I went to make sure"

"And you're sure?" asked Brax

Charlie nodded "I'm sure"

Brax sucked in a breath, and a grin enveloped his face, his dimples forming deeply "We're having another baby" he chuckled loudly, dropping the baby grow onto the bed and pulling her to him ever so gently; one hand resting on the small of her back and the other on her still fat stomach

Charlie nodded with laughter "We're having another baby"

Brax's lips immediately took hers, slowly, meaningfully and with so much passion Charlie thought she would melt into him.

Pulling back from the kiss, Brax leaned his forehead against Charlie's as they both caught their breath. He chuckled again and placed a gentle kiss on her lips

"I love you" his hand still placed on her stomach

Charlie pursed her lips together, a smile adorning her face "I love you too"

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