Jump to content

To Love Again

Guest Danni02

Recommended Posts

Title: To Love Again
Type of Story: Long fic
Characters: Charlie, Ruby, Brax, Bianca, others.
BTTB Rating: T/A
Genre: Romance
Spoilers: No
Warnings: SC, V/D, L, DR
Summary: After burying her husband Charlie must learn that she can love again.


Charlie patted down her dress before looking at herself in the mirror. Her eyes were already red and puffy and her cheeks already tearstained and she hadn’t even made it to the Church yet. The funeral was yet to happen. It was going to be one of the hardest days of her life. Losing her parents was hard also, but when you needed to bury your husband, the father of your youngest child, at just 30 years old, it’s always going to be hard. This day and the day that he died would forever haunt her as the hardest days of her life. She looked down as she felt her daughters little hands wrapping around her leg. She managed a smile as she received a toothy grin from her 13-month-old. She bent down and lifted her up into her arms, hugging her close to her, running her hand over her chocolate brown locks. In a way, Charlie felt relief that Grace was too young to understand what happened, but she was overcome with sadness as she knew that she wouldn’t have any memories of her father. Sure Charlie could show her photos of them together, but, she was far too young to be able to remember the precious time she had with him. She placed a soft kiss on her daughter’s soft locks before walking over to her bed and placing her down on it. She straightened out her little navy blue sundress that had little yellow flowers around the hem, before leaning down to the floor and picking her little sandals up and putting them onto her feet. She looked around as there was a knock on her bedroom door and Ruby came into the room. “Eh, the cars are here,” Ruby spoke quietly. Charlie could see how strong she was trying to be for her sake, but, she knew how much Ruby was hurting at losing the man she’d came to call dad. She was only 10 when Charlie and him started dating, 13, when he officially became her stepdad, but she’d soon gotten into the habit of calling him dad. They had a really close relationship and Charlie knew just how devastated Ruby was when his illness happened, when they told them that there was nothing more that they could do and when he came home to die. Charlie was proud of how amazing her daughter was. She was so strong. Right now, it was like Ruby was the adult and Charlie the seventeen year old who needed looking after. “Should I say you need more time or?” Ruby spoke again after a long period of silence.

“We can’t really be late for a funeral,” Charlie answered as she lifted Grace down from the bed. She wobbled unsteadily over to her big sister, giving her a toothy grin, clapping her hands as she reached her. Ruby smiled down at her sibling, before lifting her up into her arms. “Well I’ll take her out and you take a minute, yeah?”

Charlie gave her a thankful nod and Ruby turned and left the room with Grace in her arms. Charlie took a deep breath as she put hand onto her necklace, squeezing the white gold wedding ring tightly. She wore his ring every day. She never took the necklace off, in fact, not since she’d put it on right after his passing. She turned around and looked down to the photo on her bedside table. It was of him and her with Grace when she was only hours old. Pure love in his eyes, the biggest smile she’d ever seen on his face as he held his new baby daughter in his arms. She picked the photo up and felt a tear running down her cheek. She ran her hand over his face before bringing the photo closer to her and kissing it softly. She took a deep breath as she wiped the tear from her cheek as she put the photo back in its place. Taking another deep breath, she picked up her bag from the bed, checking for what felt like the hundredth time that morning to see if she’d put her reading into it. She wasn’t sure if she was going to be able to get up there and speak, but Bianca had said if she couldn’t that she would read it out for her. Charlie was grateful for her friends support. She’d been amazing since his death and had helped so much with arranging the funeral and with Grace, even thought she had a child of her own to look after. She took one final deep breath before she left the room knowing she had no choice but to try and get through the day.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 79
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Thanks for the comments. :wub:


One year later

Charlie put the cards on the table before bringing over the juice and putting it and everyone’s place. “Thems for me?” Grace asked as she reached out to take the pile of cards.

“No,” Charlie moved them out of her daughters reach. “You had a birthday last month,” Charlie told her daughter. “Remember at the park with Lucy, Aunty Bee, Uncle Heath, Ruby and April?”

“Lucy birday too,” Grace said as she moved her chocolate locks from her face. Lucy was Bianca and Heaths daughter who was born the same day as Grace, only 3 hours after her. Although they were due just over a month apart, Charlie was late to deliver by almost two weeks and Bianca gave birth three weeks early, hence their daughters sharing a birthday. “On the bouncy.”

“Yeah, that’s right; we had a bouncy castle didn’t we?” Charlie questioned and Grace gave a little nod.

“I birday more?” Grace questioned.

“Yeah, next year you’ll have another birthday,” Charlie told her. “You only get one a year.” Charlie explained as she poured the pancake mixture into the pan, letting the first one cook.

“Oh,” Grace looked disappointed that birthdays only came around once a year. “Uby now day?”

“Yes, it’s Ruby’s today.” Charlie answered.

“She 2 like me?” Grace pointed to herself before showing her mother 2 fingers.

“No,” Charlie gave a little laugh. “She’s older than 2 sweetie, she’s 18 today.” Charlie turned the pancake, before looking in the direction of the hallway, wondering if the birthday girl was actually going to grace them with her presence.

“Wow,” Grace widened her big blue eyes. “Is you two?”

“Well, I’m 32,” Charlie answered. “So, there’s a two in my age.” Charlie said, seeing full well that Grace was certainly in the lets ask lots of questions stage and knew before long that she’d be in the dreaded ‘why’ stage.

“Is Lola two?” Grace questioned as she held her ragdoll up for Charlie to see. She had blonde bunches in her hair and had a white dress with red and yellow flowers on and was one of the birthday gifts she’d received from Bianca, Heath and Lucy that Grace had been unable to separate herself from since.

“Ehm, she’s however old you want her to be sweetheart.” Charlie answered as she put the first pancake onto Grace’s plastic Peppa Pig plate and left it to the side to let it cool down a little. Grace furrowed her eyebrows at her mother’s answer before sitting Lola back down, letting her share the chair she was on. From the day that she turned two, Grace would no longer sit in her highchair and insisted on sitting at the table, so Charlie had gone out and bought her a red and black booster seat that looked like a ladybird and Grace always sat happily there until she was excused from the table.

“Morning.” Ruby yawned as she walked into the room, rubbing the side of her head.

“Hey, happy birthday sweetie.” Charlie pulled Ruby into a hug. She couldn’t believe her little Ruby was 18 already and in a matter of weeks would be going off to university.

“Thanks,” Ruby smiled up at her mother before looking to the oven then the table. “Pancakes, croissants, pan-au-chocolates, fruit....gone all out, haven’t you mother?”

“And that’s just the start,” Charlie said. “I’ve got a whole day planned,” Charlie smiled at her daughter. “Bianca is taking monkey over there,” Charlie said as she pointed to Grace who was dipping a slice of apple into a bowl of chocolate spread. “I’m taking you to the city and we’re going to a spa for some pampering, then I’ll take you for some new clothes, then you can get your new laptop.” Charlie said. A few weeks ago, Grace knocked a can of soda over Ruby’s laptop, reducing it to an unworkable state and Ruby had to make do with Charlie’s laptop until she would buy her a new one.

“Yes,” Ruby cheered. “Finally I can get off your ancient block.” Ruby rolled her eyes.

“Hey at least it works,” Charlie replied. “And if someone didn’t leave their laptop out next to a can of soda where Grace could do damage then you’d still have your beloved laptop with you, would you?” Ruby muttered something Charlie couldn’t quite make out. “What was that?” Charlie questioned.

“Nothing,” Ruby gave her a smile. “But eh, you don’t have to go to all this trouble,” Ruby said. “It’s just a birthday, no big deal.”

“It’s your 18th” Charlie’s voice got higher. “And you know last year you didn’t really have much of a birthday and I want you to have a good one this year.”

“Yeah well I think the fact that it was only 4 days after dad died....” Ruby trailed off. They’d just gotten through the first anniversary of his passing, only 4 days before hand. They three of them spent the day together, no one in the bay disturbing them. They didn’t leave the house apart from when they went to his grave in the morning.

“Ohh moneys,” Ruby and Charlie looked down to the table to see Grace had opened the first of Ruby’s cards. “It mines.” Grace held the note near to her chest.

“Grace Rosetta, what do you think you are doing opening Ruby’s cards?” Charlie questioned, glad for the distraction from what Ruby had said. She didn’t need a reminder of how she felt only 4 days beforehand, of how she still felt, to be precise. So empty and like something was missing from her life. She had this hole in her heart that would never be fixed.

“Ehm,” Grace sucked in her bottom lip. “Happy Birthday Uby.” Grace yelled before clapping her hands and starting to sing Happy Birthday to Ruby. Charlie gave a little laugh before joining in the singing with her youngest daughter. Ruby sat down at the table as Charlie made a few more pancakes before putting them down on the table so she and Ruby could help themselves. She gave Grace her plate and put some syrup onto the pancakes for her before they started to eat breakfast as Ruby picked up the card that Grace had taken the money out off.

“Lillian,” Ruby screwed her face up as she spoke. “You know this woman sends me a card with money every birthday and Christmas and I have no clue who she is.”

“Like I’ve told you before she was our next door neighbour when we lived in Sydney,” Charlie said as she tried to take the $50 note from Grace’s grasp but her toddler seemed to have a mighty grip on the money. “Grace this doesn’t belong to you.”

“Why?” Grace questioned.

“It’s a present for Ruby for her birthday,” Charlie told her before looking to the worktop to see her purse sitting up there. She stood up from the table and walked over to it, picking it up and opening it. She took out a $2 coin and walked over to Grace. “Here you go; this can be your money.”

Grace looked at the shiny coin in her mother’s hand before looking down to the note and back to the coin. “It morer?” Grace questioned, her deep blue eyes widening.

“Yeah,” Charlie nodded and Grace smiled as she made an exchange with her mother. “Why don’t you go put it in your piggy bank for safe keeping?” Charlie questioned as she ruffled her daughters gorgeous chocolate brown locks. Grace had inherited Charlie’s looks, which sometimes saddened Charlie. When she looked at her daughter she didn’t see much of Angelo. She knew Grace would forever be a part of her father, but sometimes wished her daughter could have looked more like him, or had taken more of his personality. Grace was very much a mini-Charlie in every way.

“Okay.” Grace chirped before jumping down, taking Lola with her as she ran through the house to her bedroom.

“Thanks,” Ruby smiled up at her mother as she took the money and put it into one of the opened envelopes for safe keeping. “Wow.” Ruby gave a squeal of surprise as she opened the next card.

“What?” Charlie wanted to know what it was that caused her daughters reaction.

“Aunty Michelle sent me a cheque for $500.” Ruby beamed.

“Oh well I won’t need to buy you any clothes today then,” Charlie teased. “Not if you have all that money.”

“Nice try mother,” Ruby laughed. “But given it’s my birthday you still need to spoil me rotten.”

“Okay, I’ll buy you a new singlet then.” Charlie sighed. “Maybe two if you are lucky.” Charlie joked.

“Oh you are so funny my sides are splitting,” Ruby rolled her eyes. Charlie nudged her daughter’s side and they both started to laugh. It was a long time before laughter filled the house again after Angelo’s death. Charlie still had her good days and her bad, but today, today had to be a good day, for Ruby. “Mum?” Ruby stopped laughing and looked up at her questioningly.

“Hmm?” Charlie tucked her hair behind her ear.

“Well are we still going to have the....” Ruby trailed off. “The camp-out tonight?” Ruby spoke quietly. When she’d first met Angelo he’d told her about a tradition that whenever it was his or Paulie’s birthday they would camp out in their backyard along with their parents and would always have a laugh and play all sort of pranks on each other and Ruby had loved the idea of bringing this tradition into their family, so every year on Ruby’s birthday they’d camp out in the backyard.

“Oh ehm,” Charlie pursed her lips together. She always hated the camping, even if it was just in the backyard, the house within easy walking distance for the bathroom. She only did it because Angelo and Ruby loved it. Ruby and Angelo had been away on a few camping trips in the proper wilderness too, but Charlie had opted to stay at home but she did love hearing the stories of pranks they’d played on each other and each time they came back from a trip, she saw their bond had gotten even closer. “If you want too of course we can.” Charlie gave a weak smile.

“I do,” Ruby nodded. “And you know I think dad would like it if we kept the tradition going,” Ruby exhaled. “Maybe next year we can even do it on Grace’s birthday.”

“Yeah I’m sure we could.” Charlie exhaled as Grace came running back into the room, her money safely away in her piggy bank. She climbed up onto Charlie’s knee, sitting Lola on the table next to her mother’s plate. Using her hands she pulled at Charlie’s pancake before putting a piece in her mouth. “Oi monkey that’s mummy’s.” Charlie tickled Grace’s sides causing laugher to escape her lips.

“We both’s.” Grace smiled sweetly at her mother and Charlie placed a soft kiss on her temple, before they continued to eat their breakfast.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the comments. :wub:


Charlie tried to feed the pole through but she wasn’t having much luck. She’d never set up a tent before. Angelo always did this. Although she always missed him, it was times like this when she really missed him being around. Like a few months ago when she was heading back from the city with Grace and she had a puncture in her car tyre. Angelo would have been able to change it, but Charlie needed to wait at the side of the road with an overtired Grace for near 2 hours before the breakdown van came to help her. Although car journeys tended to help put most young children to sleep, it seemed to have the opposite effect on Grace. She couldn’t ever sleep in the car and the delay knocked her nap time off schedule and she was very restless and unable to nap when they finally made it home. For the rest of the evening Charlie had a very cranky toddler on her hands and when Grace finally settled in Charlie’s bed, it was close to midnight, with Charlie falling asleep with her. “Argh,” Charlie moaned as she threw the tent and poles to the ground. She kicked her foot out in frustration causing Grace to look up at her from jumping on her trampoline, Lola in her hands as she jumped. “The stupid thing.” Charlie slumped down to the grass, as she put her hands on the poles again.

“Hey, mum,” Ruby stopped blowing up the airbed. Ruby and Angelo always camped old school with just the tent and their sleeping bags but Charlie insisted if she was going camping that she would be taking some kind of comfort so she didn’t need to sleep on the hard ground. She ran over to her and bent down, rubbing her back softly.

“I’m sorry,” Charlie sounded like she was going to cry. “Angelo always did this.”

“It’s alright,” Ruby answered. “I can do it and you can blow up your bed,” Ruby told her. “Or if you really don’t want to do this then....we don’t need to mum. Not if it’s going to make you upset.”

“No because you want to do it,” Charlie sniffed back as she felt her eyes getting hotter and glossing over with tears. Ruby continued to rub her mother’s back. There were still days where Charlie seemed to fall apart without Angelo. “I’ll be fine,” Charlie ran her right index finger over her wedding rings. “I just need a minute.” Charlie brought her hand up and squeezed Angelo’s ring tightly.

“Are you sure?” Ruby questioned and Charlie gave a little nod. “I just...you know....thought it would make us feel closer to Dad today, that he’ll be looking down and smiling that we’re still doing this.”

“He’ll probably be laughing at my pathetic attempt at putting the tent up,” Charlie wiped her hand across her eyes as Grace ran over to her. She sat down, leaning against her mother as she patted her arm. Charlie wrapped her arms around her youngest daughter before placing a kiss on her temple. “You coming to cheer mummy up?” Charlie questioned. Grace gave a little nod before placing a kiss on her mother’s lips. Charlie and Angelo had talked about trying for a sibling for Grace when she was around 2. It saddened her that she wouldn’t have a sibling close in age to play with. She knew she’d have been a very caring big sister.

“Look, you go get Grace ready for bed and I’ll put the tent up then finish your bed and get the sleeping bags sorted.” Ruby said as she took the tent poles and started to feed them through where they needed to be. Charlie gave Ruby an appreciative smile before standing up, lifting Grace to her feet. Before Charlie had the chance to take her hand, Grace ran away and hid behind the slide and crouched down. “What’s she doing?” Ruby gave a laugh.

“Pooping.” Charlie answered as she watched her youngest daughter.

“And she needs to hide to do that?” Ruby screwed her face up.

“Well would you want people watching you when you poop?” Charlie questioned and Ruby shook her head.

“How long has she been doing that for?” Ruby questioned.

“Couple of weeks I guess.” Charlie answered.

“This mean she’s ready for potty training then?” Ruby wondered as she continued to put the tent up.

“Yeah, I’ve been meaning to go out and get her a potty and some panties but work has been busy lately then I’ve been trying to sort out the restaurant....” Charlie trailed off. After Angelo’s death John and Alf offered to take control of the restaurant until Charlie was able to get things sorted. She knew she was pushing it at them having been left in charge for a year now, so she’d recently put an advertisement in the local papers and online for an experienced manager. She didn’t have much of a clue how to run a restaurant and she didn’t want to make Alf and or John have to train someone with no experience at all. They’d already done enough for her. She had interviews to do the next day, so hopefully she could get a new manager and let Alf and John return to only worrying about running the surf club and the gym.

“You should have bought them today,” Ruby gave a little laugh. “You bought her those dresses and that book,” Ruby said. “A potty and panties that she actually needed might have been a better idea.”

“I want her to come and pick with me,” Charlie exhaled. “Get her more into the idea that that’s where she needs to go do her business.”

Ruby laughed. “Well hopefully you get it soon.”

“Yeah,” Charlie answered. “Tomorrow morning before the interviews I should have time to go,” Charlie said. “Anyways, I’ll go change her nappy and get us ready for this camp-out. You’ll be alright doing that yourself yeah?”

“Yeah.” Ruby gave her mother a smile before she went over to collect Grace who was still hiding behind the slide before she went into the house with her.


Charlie smiled as she watched Grace sleeping; Lola was tucked safely under her arm as her little foot was sneaking out the end of her blanket. She moved it a little so her foot was covered before running her hand over her soft locks. She placed a kiss on her temple, before reaching for her sleeping bag and looking inside it before looking to her daughter. “Don’t worry,” Ruby said. “There are no pranks this year.” Ruby exhaled sadly. Pranks were Angelo’s thing to play on his step-daughter, although for the last year or two Ruby had gotten a few over on him, the last one being covering the bottom of his sleeping bag with shaving cream so when he got into it his feet got covered in the stuff.

Charlie gave a wary smile before getting herself into the sleeping bag and getting comfy, or at least as comfy as she could. She lay down before turning to face her eldest daughter. “You alright there?” Charlie questioned seeing the look on her face.

“Yeah,” Ruby answered. “Just thinking about the last time we went camping. Me and Dad,” Ruby gave a sad smile. “He was trying to get me into fishing and he was showing me how to reel in the fish I’d caught but it was a big thing because he was struggling and he lost his balance and felt back and knocked the bait buckets over got maggots all over him,” Ruby said as Charlie screwed her face up. “He stank all weekend.” Ruby gave a little laugh.

“Didn’t he wash?” Charlie questioned.

“We were camping in the middle of nowhere, Mum,” Ruby said. “There was no shower there.”

Charlie screwed her face up. “And you wonder why I don’t like camping.”

“Aww not washing is part of the experience,” Ruby laughed. “And everyone is in the same boat, so to speak,” Ruby told her. “Just that time Dad was a lot more stinky than most.” Ruby said, still laughing. It had gotten easier to talk about Angelo and laugh other than cry. Although it took them both a while, they were getting there, Ruby especially, she knew her mother still had a way to go, but she was in a far better place that she was even a few months ago.

Charlie gave a little laugh at the image of Angelo falling over the bait buckets. “I don’t remember you guys telling me that story.” Charlie yawned.

“I’m sure we did,” Ruby answered. “Remember I called him bucket boy for a while after that,” Ruby said before she and Charlie started to laugh. Ruby and Angelo had a very unique father-daughter relationship. She respected him deeply as her father, but they were still able to joke around together. “Mum?” Ruby questioned quietly as she looked away from her.

“Hmm?” Charlie said.

“You’re not going to try to...” Ruby took a deep breath. “You’re not going to replace Dad are you?”

“I couldn’t even if I tried,” Charlie answered. “No one is ever going to replace your dad, Rubes, okay?” Charlie felt her eyes glossing over. Even talking about moving on from Angelo made her upset. She’d never even thought about dating any else, she didn’t want too. The only person she wanted was Angelo.

“Promise?” Ruby questioned. “It’s just me, you and Grace?”

“Just me, you and Grace.” Charlie repeated as she moved some hair from in front of Ruby’s face. She gave another yawn before rubbing her tired eyes. “Well I’m going to try to get some sleep. You want the light left on a little longer to read or anything?” Charlie questioned.

“Nah, I’m ready to sleep too,” Ruby answered as she leaned over and kissed Charlie goodnight. “Night Mum, I love you.”

“I love you too Rubes,” Charlie answered before she reached up and turned off the camp light. She exhaled as she put her hands into her sleeping bag, running her right hand over her wedding rings before bringing her hand up and clutching onto her necklace. She moved it up so the ring was closer to her and she placed a kiss on Angelo’s ring. “I love you so much.” Charlie whispered before turning around and checking on Grace who was still sound asleep. She exhaled lightly as she closed her eyes to sleep, keeping her hands gripped onto Angelo’s ring.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you for the comments. :wub:


Grace ran into the shop, excited about getting to pick her big girl potty. Charlie was walking in behind her, her mind already thinking about the sorts of questions she needed to ask. She’d got a little advice from John and Alf but basically they told her it was her restaurant so it was up to her how she handled the interviews. She’d looked online and managed to get a bunch of questions she thought were appropriate to ask. “This way Grace,” Charlie shouted over to her daughter who was looking at a rather large rubber duck with lots of little different colours ducks packed with it. “I get?” Grace pulled it from the shelf.

“No sweetie,” Charlie walked over to her and took it from her grasp, putting it back on the shelf. She already had too many bath toys. She didn’t need any more. “C’mon we’ll go get a potty, yeah?”

“I’m big gurl.” Grace hit her chest as she took her mother’s hand and walked over to the section with the potties.

“Yeah you are.” Charlie answered as they reached the potty section. She couldn’t believe the variety that they now had. There were potties shaped like a car, a boat, a turtle, potties that looked like a chair, potties like a princess throne, potties of all sorts. It was only where a child as going to do their business, did they have to be so fancy? Or were these designs to entice the child to use the potty in the first place? She moved further down where there were normal potties. Or at least what Charlie remembered potties to be like. There were all sorts of colours on display, from blue, red, green, orange, yellow, pink and purple and even some with stripes and polka dots. Charlie rolled her eyes before looking down to Grace.

“Right monkey, what colour would you like?” Charlie questioned.

“Pink and onge and ellow.” Grace answered.

“You don’t need three potties,” Charlie laughed at her daughter. “Only one sweetheart.” Charlie ran her hand over her daughter’s hair. Grace looked like she was in deep thought as she scratched the side of her head.

“It’s a tough choice,” Charlie looked up as she heard a voice. She smiled as she saw a sales assistant looking down at Grace. “You make sure you pick the right colour huh?” Grace took a step closer to Charlie and leaned herself against her legs and she gave the slightest of nods.

“Quiet little one?” The sales assistant said as she looked back up to Charlie.

“With strangers she can be shy,” Charlie answered. “But once she gets to know someone there’s usually no keeping her quiet.” Charlie gave a laugh.

The sales assistant smiled back down at Grace would was now hiding behind Charlie. “Have you seen our other range of potties?” The sales assistant questioned as she looked back up to Charlie. “We have potties like animals, princess seats and even one that sings.”

“One that sings?” Charlie raised her eyebrows and the sales assistant nodded. “We can show you how it works, if you like?” The sales assistant offered.

“No, that’s fine, eh, a basic potty is fine for us,” Charlie said before looking back down to Grace, pulling her back from hiding against her. “Right, pick your colour or mummy will pick for you.”

“Uhm....onge.” Grace told her mother. Charlie took a box with an orange potty in from the shelf.

“I can put that behind the counter for you if you’d like to keep shopping?” The sales assistant questioned.

“Sure, thanks,” Charlie handed the potty to the sales assistant before she and Grace continued down the shop. “I wonder if they have any singing panties.” Charlie mumbled as they stopped at the girls section of clothes.

“This mummy.” Grace patted a yellow sundress that was hanging on the rail.

“Oh yeah that’s pretty isn’t it?” Charlie questioned. “But we don’t really need any more dresses, do we?” Charlie said. “Remember mummy bought you 2 new ones yesterday?”

“Uh,” Grace nodded as she skipped over to her mother. “Thems.” Grace picked up a seven pack of girls panties the first pair white and the next powder pink, each pair getting darker until the seventh was fuchsia pink in colour.

Charlie looked down to see her daughter had panties aged 5-6 in her hand. “They might be a little big,” Charlie took them from her and put them back on the rail. “Here.” She picked up the same panties aged 2-3 and handed them down to her daughter. She also picked up a second pack of 7, white panties with different flower patterns on them.

“Oh thems wow.” Grace did some jumps of excitement. Charlie laughed at her daughter. Who’d have thought shopping for panties and a potty could be so exciting? She grabbed a couple packs of pull-ups on the way to the till, thinking at least for at night, that these would be worth having. She put them up onto the till and the lady made sure to grab the potty for her.

“Right Grace mummy needs them right now.” Charlie said as she tried to take the panties off her daughter.

“No,” Grace squealed. “Thems me’s.”

“Just so the lady can scan them, then you’ll get them right back,” Charlie said as she took them from her daughter. “I need to pay for them,” Grace furrowed her eyebrows as she waited, impatiently, to get her panties back. Charlie handed the pack back down to her daughter before putting the rest of the items a bag and leaving the shop. “So Grace,” Charlie said as she strapped her into her car seat. “You’re going to go to Marilyn’s now because mummy has some work to do,” Charlie told her. “That sound good?” Marilyn was Grace’s nanny when Charlie had work.

“And Lucy?” Grace questioned. Marilyn also looked after Bianca and Heath’s daughter, when they were both working. Bianca was a language teacher and vice principle of the high school, while Heath was in charge of one the fishing trawlers.

“Ehm, I don’t think so because her mummy isn’t working because the school is on summer holidays,” Charlie said and Grace furrowed her eyebrows, unimpressed. “You’ll still have fun with Marilyn though. You like going to hers don’t you?”

“She funny.” Grace giggled before Charlie closed the door and got into the driver’s side of the car and drove off in the direction of Marilyn’s house.


“Hey.” Charlie spoke as she sat down opposite her in the diner. They were meeting to grab a bit of lunch.

“Afternoon.” Bianca smiled at her friend.

“No Lucy today?” Charlie questioned expecting the girl to be there with her mother.

“Nah I left her at home. Locked her in the cupboard with some bread and water.” Bianca said, before they both gave a little laugh. “No, April has her swimming.”

“Down at the beach?” Charlie questioned.

“Nah,” Bianca shook her head. “The place at Yabbie Creek,” Bianca answered. “She loved the flumes there.”

“Ah okay,” Charlie exhaled. “So, how’s your day going?” Charlie questioned.

“Not bad,” Bianca answered. “Yours?”

“Yeah, just had Grace into the shops this morning. She got all excited picking a potty and some panties,” Charlie gave a little laugh. “Wanted to take a pack of the panties to Marilyn’s but I managed to get them from her in exchange for Lola.”

Bianca gave a little laugh. “Sweet. But potty training huh?” Bianca questioned. “How come that’s here already?”

“Oh I know,” Charlie sighed. “They’re growing up so fast.”

“Yeah,” Bianca sighed. “Was actually thinking myself it’s about time I got her onto this potty training thing. Might hold off a few weeks, see how you cope,” Bianca gave a little laugh. “So anyways, how’s it going looking for a new manager?”

Charlie groaned. “The first guy looked like he wasn’t long off potty training himself,” Bianca gave a little laugh at Charlie comment. “And I’m not sure he would be able to spell restaurant, let alone run one. The next guy wanted to turn it into some seedy pole dancing club, before proceeding to offer me a job as a one of the dancers,” Charlie screwed her face up. “Then the third guy seemed great, until he said he wanted to change the name, menu and decor to make it his own.”

“These guys do they are just being the manager and not owning the place right?” Bianca questioned before taking a drink of her coffee.

“That’s what the add said,” Charlie gave a little shrug as Irene brought over her coffee that she’d ordered when she first came in. “Thanks Irene.” Charlie gave her a smile.

“No probs darl,” Irene smiled. “You’re meals won’t be much longer.” Irene said before walking away back to the counter.

“So yeah,” Charlie put some sugar into her coffee. “No one seems right so far,” Charlie sighed. “I’m not asking too much, am I?” Charlie questioned. “That they come to manage it but the name, menu and decor must stay the same?”

“Not at all,” Bianca shook her head. “It’s your restaurant, Charlie. You’re just looking for someone to run it.” Charlie exhaled lightly. She wished so much that she didn’t need to look for anyone to run it. That Angelo was still here with her and Rubes and Grace.

“Well,” Charlie clicked her tongue. “Hopefully one of the two guys I have after lunch are better,” Charlie said. “Actually, I was meaning to ask you, does Heath have a relation called Darryl?” Charlie questioned. “Just this next guy coming in is called Braxton too and he used to live in Mangrove River and own that Base nightclub plus manage that restaurant called The Zen Garden and he’s currently up in Brisbane running a restaurant up there.” Charlie questioned.

“Yeah,” Bianca nodded. “He had an older brother, Darryl.”

“How come I don’t know this?” Charlie questioned. As far as she was aware it was only Heath and Casey. “And wouldn’t he have been at your wedding, being his brother and all? Or did I just totally forget about him?”

“He wasn’t at our wedding,” Bianca shook her head. “I’ve never met him. They don’t talk.”

“Oh,” Charlie pursed her lips together. “Do you know why?”

“Heath caught him sleeping with his fiancée on the morning of their wedding,” Bianca answered. “Turns out it had been going on for months behind his back.”

“Ouch,” Charlie clicked her tongue. “Lovely brother huh?”

“Yeah,” Bianca raised her eyebrows as Irene brought over both of their lunches. “Thanks,” Bianca smiled up at her before picking up her fork and taking a mouthful of her chicken salad. “But yeah, will be interesting if he’s back here for good.”

“Hmm,” Charlie said. She and Heath had never gotten along, but, of course for Bianca’s sake, she tried to get along with him, given that she was her best friend and she clearly loved him. “Wonder what Heath would say if I hired his brother.”

“He already knows you hate him,” Bianca answered. “So I assume he’d think you were doing it to get at him.” Bianca said before taking another mouthful of her chicken salad.

Charlie put her chilli chicken wrap down and wiped her hands on her napkin. “I don’t hate him,” Charlie shook her head. “I really try, Bianca,” Charlie exhaled. “It’s him who has a problem with me.”

“Hmm,” Bianca exhaled. “I just wish you two could get on. I hate being stuck in the middle.” Bianca said.

“I try Bianca, I honestly do.” Charlie said.

“Well anyways,” Bianca clicked her tongue, deciding to move the conversation on. Pigs would probably fly before Charlie and Heath were able to get along. “I wanted to ask you something.”

“Oh,” Charlie swallowed her mouthful, intrigued. “Fire away.”

“How long did...” Bianca paused. “How long did it take you to get pregnant with Grace?”

“Ehm,” Charlie sucked in her bottom lip. “She happened the first time we tried,” Charlie answered. “How come?”

“Well, Heath and I are trying again and -”

“Aww Bianca that’s great.” Charlie beamed.

“Well, I’m not pregnant yet,” Bianca exhaled. “It’s been six months to be lying....seven months to be exact and...” Bianca shook her head. “I’m still not pregnant.”

“Oh,” Charlie pursed her lips together. “Well how long did it take with Lucy?” Charlie questioned before taking a drink of her coffee.

“I don’t know,” Bianca shook her head. “She was a mist -” Bianca cut off mid sentence. “She wasn’t planned.”

“Hmm well,” Charlie scratched the side of her head. “Maybe stop trying for a while,” Charlie suggested. “Take away the pressure. Then a few months down the line accidently on purpose don’t take your pill or forget the condom and maybe you’ll be lucky.”

Bianca exhaled as she nodded at her friend’s advice. “Yeah, maybe not actively trying for a while is the right thing to do,” Bianca clicked her tongue. “Thanks.”

“No worries.” Charlie sighed, part of her feeling jealous that Lucy could be getting a sibling. That Bianca had the option of another child with her husband. She wanted more than anything for Grace to have a little brother or sister and for her to have another child, but now that would never happen. She sighed sadly before taking another drink of her coffee before going to finish her lunch so she could get back for her next interview.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you Spotd1, El, beebee, Freakie42 and Sarah for the comments.


Charlie stood up from the table as she saw the man walking into the restaurant. “Darryl Braxton?” Charlie questioned as she shook his hand.

“That’s right,” Brax smiled. “And you must be Charlotte Rosetta?”

“Please call me Charlie,” Charlie said as they took a seat. She looked down to the paper on her desk before looking back up to him. “So, Darryl, you’re CV is pretty impressive. The Zen Garden is a top quality restaurant.”

“Yeah, it’s not bad hey.” Brax said as he was drawn to her deep blue eyes. He couldn’t help but think after only seconds of meeting her that she looked absolutely gorgeous.

“And you were there...” Charlie looked to his CV once again. “5 years,” Charlie raised her eyebrows. “What made you leave?”

“Personal stuff eh,” Brax ran his hand across the table. “Nothing against the restaurant. I loved working there but as I say, some stuff happened in my personal life and I just need to get away from the area.”

“I’ll bet,” Charlie muttered, guessing he was talking about the sleeping with his brother’s fiancée situation. “So I guess you’re used to keeping things under control in busy situations and know all about the running’s of a restaurant?”

“Well yeah,” Brax answered. “I’ve learned that restaurants all seem to work on different systems but once I’ve been there a few days, I catch on,” Brax said. “I can adapt to situations easily and use my initiative.” Brax tapped the side of his head.

“Hmm and is the customer or employer always right?” Charlie questioned.

“Well if you look at it literally, it can go either way but in terms of running a business, the customer.” Brax gave a little laugh and Charlie felt herself joining in.

“And if a customer complained about a member of staff’s attitude how would you deal with that?” Charlie questioned as she tucked a loose stand of her hair behind her ear and it was then that Brax noticed she was wearing wedding rings. Of course someone like her would be married.

“Oh,” Brax exhaled loudly. “Eh...” He rubbed the back of his head. “I guess talk to the customer and the member of staff, apologise to the customer and see if there is anything I can do to help sort things out.”

Charlie gave a little nod. “Good...” Charlie pursed her lips together. “And eh you do know if you were to get the jobs it’s just as a Manager. You wouldn’t want to change anything about the place or bring in your own ideas?”

“Well yeah I’d probably have ideas but,” Brax looked around the restaurant. “It’s in pretty good nick eh, doesn’t look that old so wouldn’t want to change the look, the name, it’s known by Angelo’s so, that’s fine and....I guess I’d want to see how the menu went but I’m not the owner so the decisions wouldn’t just lie with me,” Brax said and Charlie gave a little nod, glad someone finally understood exactly what she wanted. “Where does the name Angelo’s come from anyways?” Brax wondered.

“My husband’s name,” Charlie answered quickly. “So, just out of interest, you’re running a pretty successful business up in Brisbane,” Charlie said. “What’s making you decide to move to a quiet little beach side town?”

“Need a change eh,” Brax exhaled. “Bored of city life and want to get back to my roots. Beach side town is more me.”

“Okay, well,” Charlie exhaled. “I think that’s all I really have to ask so unless you have any questions?”

“Eh, how long will it be before I know if I’ve got the job?” Brax questioned.

“I have someone else to interview now, but then I’m done with interviews and I’ll call you tomorrow if not the next day and let you know either way,” Charlie gave a light smile as they stood up from the table. “Thanks for coming today.” Charlie as once again she shook his hand.

“No problem, thanks for the interview and I look forward to hearing from you.” Brax gave her a smile and Charlie couldn’t help but think how nice of a smile he had. She walked him to the door before going to sit down and exhaled as she got the CV looked out to read over once again for the next person she was about to interview.


“Knock knock,” Charlie walked into the house where Marilyn lived. It was the middle of summer so the door was open. “Hello?” Charlie questioned as she walked a little further into the house.

“Charlie, hello,” Marilyn appeared from the hallway. “How did the interviews go?”

“Alright,” Charlie answered. “Think I’ve found my manager.” Charlie smiled.

“Aww well that’s good,” Marilyn said as she put her hand onto Charlie’s arm. “Gives you once less worry.”

“Yeah,” Charlie exhaled. “I just hope I’m doing what Angelo would have wanted with the restaurant.”

“Well of course you are,” Marilyn rubbed her arm. “He’d want you to keep it for Grace, even Ruby,” Marilyn told her. “But you have you own job and you need someone to run it.”

“Yeah,” Charlie pursed her lips together. “Anyways, where’s Grace?”

“She’s under the stairs,” Marilyn answered. “We were playing the pairs came fine and then she just jumped up and ran away.” Marilyn looked a little confused.

“Ah, she’ll be doing the toilet,” Charlie told her. “She’s getting to the potty training stage,” Charlie said. “Went out and got her a potty and some panties this morning.”

“Oh, now I know what she was trying to tell me,” Marilyn gave a little laugh. “She was saying something before and all I could make out was orange and pansies and I thought you’d been getting flowers or something, but she’d have said something about orange panties, I’d expect.”

Charlie laughed. “She picked an orange potty and got some big girl panties.” Charlie said.

“I see.” Marilyn laughed at her mistake.

“So yeah the next time you get her she’ll probably come with the potty and a bag with some clean clothes and panties because well, she’s just learning.”

“Oh yes, I’d expected a few accidents before she gets it sussed.” Marilyn answered.

“So, she’s been alright today?” Charlie asked as she walked through the house to the stairs to collect her daughter.

“Oh yes a little star as always.” Marilyn smiled as Charlie bent down behind the stairs, her daughter crouching next to the vacuum cleaner.

“Hey monkey.” Charlie smiled as she opened her arms out.

“Mummy,” Grace’s face lit up as she ran over to her. “I poop.” Grace scrunched her nose up as she pointed to her bottom.

“Yeah, I’ll get you home and get you changed, okay?” Charlie said and Grace nodded as she took her hand and walked back through to the front door. Marilyn put Graces things into her bag before handing it to Charlie.

“Bye Marlin.” Grace waved.

“Bye darling,” Marilyn smiled down at the little girl. “See you Charlie.”

“Yeah, thanks,” Charlie said. “Bye.” Marilyn walked them out the house and waved goodbye to Grace, her little hand waving as Charlie’s car pulled away, Charlie driving back to her house.


Charlie twirled the pasta around her fork before bringing it up to her mouth. She looked to Grace who’s little face was covered in the bolognaise sauce, but she looked like she was very much enjoying her dinner. She picked up her water and took a drink before looking to Ruby. “So, how was your day?” Charlie questioned. “Get up to anything exciting?”

Ruby swallowed her mouthful before looking up to her mother. “We went shopping for some things for the apartment,” Ruby sounded excited at the thought of living with Xavier as she spoke. Xavier was Ruby’s boyfriend of nearly 3 years. He was going to Melbourne to the police academy, while Ruby was going to the university to study music, with the hopes of eventually becoming a music teacher. “A duvet, some nice tapestries, some cushions and a throw for the couch.”

“Ah good.” Charlie smiled.

“Yeah, ah man it’s going to be so cool living with him,” Ruby beamed. “We’re going to have a blast.”

“I’m sure you will,” Charlie answered. “But remember to keep on top of your studies, Rubes,” Charlie exhaled before taking another mouthful. She swallowed before talking again. “While it may be fun living with your boyfriend you’ve got to remember you’ll still be in school and need to work hard.”

“Yeah yeah.” Ruby exhaled.

“So are you excited for uni?” Charlie questioned.

“Should be fine,” Ruby answered. “Xavier wants to get a fish tank in the apartment,” Ruby told her mother. “Get these exotic looking fish,” Ruby gave a grin. “It’ll be cool.”

Charlie raised her eyebrows. It seemed Ruby was far more into living with Xavier than being excited about going off to Melbourne, and staring university and getting to explore a new city. “You do want to study in Melbourne, don’t you?”

Ruby gave a shrug. “I picked there, didn’t I?” Ruby answered her mother.

“What Melburn?” Grace asked as she reached for her cup to take a drink.

“Melbourne,” Ruby said. “It’s where I am going to live Xavier and go to uni.” Ruby twirled her pasta around her fork as she told her little sister what Melbourne was.

“No,” Grace shook her head. “You here.” Grace banged her hand on the table.

“Well for a couple more weeks,” Ruby said. “Then I am going to Melbourne.”

“No,” Grace squealed. “Ay mummy?”

“I’m afraid she is, sweetie,” Charlie exhaled. She’d much rather Ruby went to Sydney uni as it was far closer, or even Northern Districts, if she was being honest, because that way she’d be able to stay at home. Charlie wasn’t sure she’d get on so well with Ruby gone from the house. She was still her rock and she felt like she needed Ruby around to help get through the days she longed for Angelo. Of course Grace helped by just being there, but, Ruby was older and was able to talk to her about things. Northern Districts was also where April and Dex were going, so Charlie was surprised when Ruby chose Melbourne but she figured it had something to do with Xavier being there that swayed Ruby’s decision. “But she’ll come home and we can even take some trips to Melbourne to visit her, how does that sound?”

“No,” Grace shook her head. “She here.” She banged her hand on the table once again. She sure was adamant that her sister should stay in the bay and not leave for Melbourne.

“Anyways,” Ruby raised her eyebrows. “I’m done so can I be excused?”

“Don’t you want desert?” Charlie questioned.

“Nah, I’m full,” Ruby said as she finished the last of her juice. “I’m going to April’s. See you later.” Ruby said before she got up from the table and left the house.

“Well you’ll want desert, wont you?” Charlie questioned as she looked to her daughter, her face seeming even more covered in the pasta sauce. Grace nodded as she gave a big grin, her teeth showing. Charlie gave a little laugh before clearing away the dinner bowls before she went to get desert ready for her and Grace.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Sarah, El, Spotd1 and beebee.


Charlie put the towel down on the sand before she took a seat, Bianca doing the same next to her. “Mummy take off.” Grace held her hands up and Charlie took her dress off so Grace was in her Peppa Pig swimming costume. She folded the dress up and put in next to Grace’s little lilac butterfly towel.

“Me to Mummy,” Lucy held her hands up and Bianca took off her dress, Lucy also wearing a Peppa Pig swimming costume. “It same.” Lucy giggled as she moved her blonde locks from in front of her face. Although she had the same hair and eyes as her mother she looked more like her father.

“Bee I panties.” Grace told her, a big grin on her face.

“Aww wow you are getting to be a girl huh?” Bianca ruffled Grace’s hair. “How’s she going?”

“Yeah so far so good,” Charlie smiled. “But it’s only been one morning so...” Charlie looked to her daughter who had taken Lucy’s hand and the pair of them where running down the beach. “Eh where are you two going?” Charlie questioned.

“Get shells.” Lucy answered.

“Well don’t go too far.” Charlie instructed before the girls turned and ran a little further away.

“So, how did the rest of the interviews go yesterday?” Bianca questioned, curious to know if Charlie had made a decision on a new manager yet.

“A lot better than the morning ones did,” Charlie answered. “They both actually sounded like they knew what they were doing.” Charlie took Grace’s bucket and spade and rest of her beach toys from the bag, getting them ready so they could play once they’d found their shells as Bianca pulled out Lucy’s.

“Good, so have you made a decision?” Bianca asked.

“Darryl has more experience,” Charlie told her. “He seems like the best choice.”

Bianca raised her eyebrows. “It’s going to be fun when Heath runs into him then,” Bianca exhaled. “I can’t believe he has the nerve to come here and set up a life for himself after what he did to his brother.”

“You should be glad he did, in a way,” Charlie told her. “If it didn’t happen then you wouldn’t have got with Heath, no Lucy...” Charlie trailed off.

“Well yeah if you look at it that way, but,” Bianca clicked her tongue. “I hate people who can do that,” Bianca said. “You know how much Vittorio hurt me and I didn’t even know the girl he was banging,” Bianca sighed. “Imagine it being your brother doing that to you. Where’s the family loyalty?”

“Search me,” Charlie gave a shrug. “But I’m sure his relationship choices won’t stop him doing a good job with the restaurant,” Charlie exhaled. “I can’t judge him for that.”

“No I don’t suppose you can,” Bianca answered. “So have you told him yet?”

“Yeah I called him this morning,” Charlie answered. “He seemed really chuffed.” Charlie gave a little smile.

“So when does he start?” Bianca questioned as the girls came running back over to them, putting their collected shells down on the edge of their mothers towels before beginning to put sand into their buckets.

“He’s going back up to Brisbane tomorrow to collect all of his things, furniture, clothes, stuff like that I guess,” Charlie said. “Said he’ll be a few days so I’ve told him Friday for his start date.”

“Only gives me a few days to prepare Heath,” Bianca raised her eyebrows. “They’re going to bump into each other all the time in this small town,” Bianca said. “Maybe that’s why he’s back. To rub it in,” Bianca said. “Probably married to her now with a few kiddies running around,” Bianca clicked her tongue as she shook her head. “He say if he had a family?”

“No,” Charlie shook her head. “But maybe he’s back to build bridges, so to speak.”

“Yeah well Heath won’t be having any of it,” Bianca said. “He hates him.”

“Who daddy ate?” Lucy widened her eyes as she looked up to her mother, a concerned look on her little face.

“Hate darling,” Bianca said. “I said daddy hates him.”

“Who?” Lucy questioned, stopping filling her bucket with sand to listen to her mother.

“No one you need to worry about,” Bianca ruffled her daughters hair. “Now how about we go for a swim?”

“Yeah.” Lucy gave a jump of excitement as she threw her spade to the sand before she started running down to the sea. Bianca stood up and took her sundress off, revealing a red bikini.

“You coming?” Bianca questioned down to Charlie.

“Yeah soon.” Charlie nodded before Bianca walked away, walking quickly to catch up with her daughter. Charlie smiled at her daughter as she crawled over to her, picking up the biggest shell from her pile. It was mainly white with a few pink speckles on it.

“It for you.” Grace said as she climbed up onto her mother’s knee, handing her the shell.

“Aww it’s lovely, thank you Grace.” Charlie wrapped her arms around her as she placed a kiss on her temple.

Grace smiled as she put her hands on top of Charlie’s, pulling at her left hand before running her little fingers over her wedding rings. “Thems so purty.” Grace said.

“Yeah they’re very pretty aren’t they?” Charlie questioned and Grace nodded her head.

“From daddy?” Grace asked.

“Yeah they’re from daddy.” Charlie said as she rested her head against Graces exhaling lightly.

“He heaven.” Grace said with a sigh. Now Grace was getting older, Charlie and Ruby had started to tell her things about her father.

“That’s right,” Charlie said. “But he loves you very very much.”

“This much.” Grace held her arms out as wide as she could. Charlie smiled as she placed a kiss on her daughters head. She was never going to stop wishing that Angelo was here with them. That he’d survived his illness, or in fact, that he’d never gotten ill in the first place. She wished he was here to take his daughter swimming and read her a bedtime story and one day, teach her to ride her bike.

“Right,” Charlie snapped herself away from her thoughts. “How about we join Lucy and Bee swimming?” Charlie said as she stood up from the spot she was sitting, keeping a hold of Grace.

“Yeah.” Grace answered excitedly as Charlie walked down the beach to the sea to have a little swim with her daughter.


It was now Friday and Brax’s first day in the restaurant. Charlie had heard via Bianca that Heath wasn’t at all happy that Brax had moved to town and she half expected him to come yelling at her for giving him a job, but, so far it hadn’t happened. She walked up the stairs to the restaurant; Grace bouncing up behind her, Lola gripped firmly under her arm. “Come to check up on me already?” Brax gave a little laugh as he saw Charlie approaching him. John had been there for the first hour making sure he got things started okay, before retuning down to the surf club.

“Just bringing the accounts book back,” Charlie said as she held the book higher for him to see. “I was doing them last night.”

“Ahh,” Brax gave a little nod before spotting Grace running behind the bar. “What’s she looking for?”

“Lollipops,” Charlie answered. “They are up on that shelf.”

Brax looked up and saw a tub of lollipops that they kept for when they got little kids in. He pulled the tub down and opened it up, lifting out a lollipop and handing it down to Grace. “This your little one?”

“Yeah,” Charlie answered as she saw Grace had refused to take the orange flavour lollipop she was being offered. Brax looked to Grace who was furrowing her eyebrows at him. “You need to give her a red one.” Charlie said.

“Ahh someone like the strawberry ones best?” Brax questioned as he fished out a red lollipop. Grace took it from him before running back to Charlie, hiding behind her leg and she tried to pull the paper off.

“What do you say to Darryl, Grace?” Charlie said as she took the lollipop from her and took the paper off before handing it back to her daughter.

“Thanks.” Grace’s voice was barely audible. She put the lollipop in her mouth and started sucking on it.

“Aww your welcome,” Brax put the tub of lollipop’s back up on the shelf. “Little cutie. She looks just like you.” Brax said.

“Yeah,” Charlie answered as she ran her hand through her daughter’s ponytail. “So, how is everything going in here?” Charlie questioned.

“So far so good,” Brax smiled. “Pretty quiet right now but it’s still early eh,” Brax rubbed the back of his head as he spoke. “We’ve got a lot of tables booked in after 7.30.”

“That’s good,” Charlie smiled weakly. Seeing another man behind the bar, the new Manager, the man now in charge of the restaurant was weird. It should be Angelo standing there, not some random guy who apparently has no respect for family loyalty. “So, I just came down to bring this back. I’ll just put it in the office and get out of your way.”

“Right yeah,” Brax nodded. “Is that something I’ll be doing from now on or....” Brax trailed off, unsure.

“No, it’s always been my thing,” Charlie told him. “I’ll be doing the accounts.”

“Right, sure,” Brax pursed his lips together. “So, do you work here as well then or?”

“Not really,” Charlie answered. “I’ll occasionally help over busy periods or if there’s a function in, but I’m the Sergeant at the police station.” Charlie answered.

Brax raised his eyebrows as he imagined her in the uniform. He knew it was wrong as she was a married woman, but he felt different around her. There was just something about her and already, after only seeing her a few times, he knew he wanted to be more than just an employee or a friend. She was gorgeous. “Ah I see. So does your husband work here then or does he have a different job too and you guys just -”

“I need a poop,” Grace pulled on Charlie’s red sundress. Charlie looked down to her daughter before looking back up to Brax.

“Sorry, I need to go,” Charlie said, glad for Grace’s interruption so she didn’t need to tell a guy who she hardly knew about Angelo. “You can put this away in the office, yeah?” Charlie said as she put the book down on the bar top. “You’ll find it’s place on the shelf.” Charlie said.

“Mummy, poop now.” Grace pulled on her dress again.

“Yeah, we’re going.” Charlie said as she took Grace’s hand and walked out of the restaurant to take her daughter to the toilet.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the comments. Beebee, Brax said the real reason of why he moved to the Bay when Charlie asked. Sorry if you were expecting more.


“Bro,” Casey smiled as he gave Brax a ‘man hug’ their hands meeting as they patted each other’s backs with their other hand. “How’s it going?”

“Good,” Brax answered. “What about you?” Brax went back behind the bar as Casey took a seat on the bar stool.

“Fine,” Casey answered. “I can’t believe you’ve got a job down here,” Casey sounded slightly disappointed. “I pick Brisbane uni to come live my older bro then he ups and moves to where I’m moving from.”

“Sorry mate, just the way things happened,” Brax exhaled. “Couldn’t hack city life anymore.”

“It’s fine,” Casey sighed. “I’d be down to visit Heath, Mum, Bianca and Lucy anyways so...” Casey gave a shrug. “I guess I’ll see you then too. And Indi is going so I won’t be all alone.”

“Ahh yes the famous Indi.” Brax raised his eyebrows at the mention of his girlfriend.

“That why you moved down here?” Casey questioned. “Didn’t want to live with me and my girlfriend?”

“Hey I was looking forward to some good cooking,” Brax laughed. “Chicks are normally good at that stuff.”

Casey laughed. “Indi probably couldn’t boil water,” Casey said causing Brax to join in with his laughter. “So, Claire joining you?” Casey questioned. Claire was Brax’s girlfriend of 3 years.

“Nah we broke up eh.” Brax sighed.

“Aww man I’m sorry,” Casey exhaled, sadden for his brother. He hadn’t had much luck with women. His first serious girlfriend left him to go travelling around Europe on the promise of returning after 6 months but never appeared back, then his second serious girlfriend, Tegan had been sleeping with Heath behind his back, and Brax caught them on the morning of their wedding, of all days. “She was really nice.”

“Ahh guess it wasn’t meant to be,” Brax shrugged. “Oh well, plenty more fish in the sea, eh?”

“Not so much in this town,” Casey laughed. “Anyone caught your eye though?”

“I’ve only been here a few days mate.” Brax said as he brushed his hand over the bar top.

“There is someone isn’t there?” Casey questioned, seeing the look on his brothers face. “Who?”

“It’s not going to happen because she’s married,” Brax sighed. “And you know I’d never go after a married woman. That’s not my style eh.”

“More like Heath’s. Or at least he seems to like women who are about to be hitched.” Casey laughed but stopped as he saw the look on Brax’s face. “Sorry.” Casey said quietly.

Brax shrugged. “It was a long time ago eh,” Brax sighed. “Who knows, maybe we can put it behind us.” Brax exhaled unaware that Heath has twisted the story and told Bianca it was the other way around.

“Maybe,” Casey answered. “So, c’mon, who’s this married woman you like?” Casey questioned eager to know who it could be.

Brax opened this mouth to talk, but stopped as he saw her walking into the restaurant. Grace and Ruby walked in behind her and took a seat at one of the tables. Charlie was holding a bunch of flowers in her hand and she laid them very gently on the table before walking up to the bar. “Hey Darryl, Casey.” Charlie smiled.

“Afternoon.” Casey smiled.

“Hey,” Brax smiled, staring into her gorgeous blue eyes. “Eh, Brax.” Brax said.

“What?” Charlie screwed her face up.

“Sorry, eh, call me Brax, please. Everyone calls me Brax.” Brax told her.

“Right,” Charlie answered. “Eh, can we have a large meat feast pizza, a portion of cheesy garlic bread, a bottle of water with two glasses and a kids orange juice please?”

“Sure,” Brax nodded. “Just go take a seat and I’ll let the kitchen know.” Brax gave her a smile before walking through to the kitchen. He exhaled as he shook his head, trying to rid his mind of thoughts of him and Charlie. “She married,” Brax muttered. “Let it go.”


Brax walked over to the table with the bill and a red lollipop for Grace, remembering that’s the kind she liked. Her eyes lit up and she took it right away, handing it to Charlie so she would open it for her. “Hope you had a nice lunch.” Brax smiled.

“Yeah,” Charlie answered. “It was lovely, thanks.” She gave him a smile before handing the lollipop down to Grace.

“You enjoy your pizza?” Brax smiled down at Grace. She looked up to him briefly as she continued to suck her lollipop before she hid her head against Charlie’s arm.

“She’s a bit shy.” Charlie told him and Brax gave a little nod of understanding.

“Where’s my lollipop?” Ruby questioned.

“Thought you’d be a bit old for one.” Brax laughed.

“Never too old for a lollipop,” Ruby answered as she stood up from the table. “I’ll just go get my own.” Ruby said before disappearing over to the bar.

“That your sister?” Brax questioned. “You have a resemblance.”

“She’s my daughter, actually.” Charlie answered.

“Oh wow,” Brax rubbed the back of his head. “You don’t look old enough to have a daughter of her age,” Brax said. “She must be what 17, 18?”

“Yeah, 18.” Charlie answered as she put some money down to pay before standing up and picking up the flowers.

“Oh okay,” Brax exhaled. “Nice gift from your husband?” Brax said as he gestured to the flowers.

“Not quiet,” Charlie answered. “He’s eh -”

“Mummy I need a pee-pee.” Grace said as she jumped down from the chair. Charlie exhaled lightly. She knew she’d need to tell Brax, if only to stop him mentioning her husband to her, but right now, her toddler needed to go potty and taking her now would be better that telling Brax and ending up with a puddle on the restaurant floor.

“Keep the change.” Charlie said before she took Grace’s hand as Ruby came back over with a lollipop in her mouth and they left the restaurant.


Charlie and Grace returned home from the graveyard. Ruby had gone next door to Xavier’s and said she’d be staying there for dinner so it would just be Grace and Charlie at home for a while. “Guess we need to get used to it being just me and you huh monkey?” Charlie questioned.

“Why?” Grace asked as she looked up to Charlie as she flicked the kettle on to make herself a cup of coffee.

“Well Rubes is going to Melbourne, remember?” Charlie said as she hunted a cup from the cupboard before putting a spoonful of coffee into it.

“No Melburn,” Grace shook her head. “Ruby here.”

Charlie was about to reply when the doorbell rang. She walked over to answer with Grace running along beside her. “Hey,” Charlie smiled at Bianca as she walked into the house, Lucy skipping in after her before she and Grace ran over to the toy box and started pulling out all the toys, talking away to each other. They really were the best of friends. “I’m just making myself a coffee if you want one.”

“Yeah,” Bianca smiled. “Actually can you make it tea?”

“Oh,” Charlie widened her eyes. “Got some good news?”

“I wish,” Bianca sighed as she followed Charlie to the kitchen. “Just trying to cut down on the coffee intake, just in case.”

“I see,” Charlie put a tea bag into the cup before pouring the boiling water from the just boiled kettle into the cups. Bianca handed her the milk from the fridge, smiling as she looked at the picture of Charlie, Angelo, Ruby and Grace that hung there, kept down by a fridge magnet that looked like an apple. “So you’re still going to be trying then?” Charlie poured the milk into her coffee, before putting some in Bianca’s tea.

“No,” Bianca shook her head. “I am taking your advice, I think it’s the right thing to do,” Bianca put the milk back in the fridge for Charlie as Charlie put some sugar into her coffee. “Just in case the last time we tried worked.” Bianca crossed her fingers briefly.

“Ah,” Charlie took the tea bag out of the cup and put it into the bin before reaching for the biscuit tin. Bianca took her cup and Charlie picked up her coffee as they walked over to the couch and took a seat. She put the biscuit tin onto the coffee table and Grace and Lucy came running over, their eyes lighting up as they saw the biscuits. “Well I hope it happens for you.”

“Me too,” Bianca exhaled as Lucy and Grace had about 4 ginger snap biscuits in each hand. “I don’t think you need that many biscuits do you, girls?”

“Oh dear no we don’t,” Charlie said as she noticed how many they had in their hands. Surprised their little hands could hold so much. “Put some back,” Grace furrowed her eyebrows before she exchanged a glance with Lucy. Both girls looked to their mothers, their eyes going all wide and puppy dog like as they gave sad little pouts. “Oh no they are doing that face.” Charlie looked away from the girls.

“Don’t look them in the eye.” Bianca looked passed the girls and focused on the wall behind them. “Lucy Braxton,” Bianca began. “You put some back now.”

Lucy furrowed her eyebrows. “I ungry mummy.” Lucy said.

“You can’t possibly be. You had a big lunch,” Bianca replied as she noticed Grace had handed Charlie some of the biscuits in her hand. “See Grace has been a good girl, are you going to be too?”

Lucy shook her head as she gave a grin of defiance before she ran over to Grace’s toys. “She notty.” Grace looked all serious as she looked up at Bianca.

“Hmm.” Bianca exhaled as she stood up from the couch and walked over to her daughter, pulling the biscuits from her hand.

“Mummy.” Lucy screeched angrily as she folded her arms across her chest as she had a scowl on her face.

“Three is more than enough darling.” Bianca said before she walked back over to the couch, picking up her cup of tea as she sat back down. Grace ran over to Lucy and the pair began to play some sort of game together.

“So,” Charlie exhaled. “What’s new?”

“Heath ran into Brax yesterday,” Bianca told her. “Brax actually seemed more angry to see him than Heath did, it was weird,” Bianca screwed her face up. “You’d think Heath would be the angry one.”

“Maybe Heath has just decided to let it go,” Charlie suggested. “It was a long time ago and blood is thicker than water...” Charlie exhaled. “Heath has clearly moved on and is happy with you and Lucy so there’d really be no need to still be bitter about it.”

I guess not,” Bianca sighed. “So how’s he going at the restaurant?”

“Great,” Charlie gave a little smile. “I’ve made the right choice for sure,” Charlie answered. “And he seems really nice and the staff really like him, so, yeah, it’s all good.”

“That’s good for you I guess,” Bianca answered. “Takes a weight of your mind having someone in the restaurant you trust.”

“I know,” Charlie agreed. “Angelo wouldn’t have expected me to quit the force and run it for him, would he?” Charlie rolled her wedding rings around her finger as she spoke.

“Of course not,” Bianca answered. “He knew how much you love being a police officer,” Bianca rubbed her back comfortingly. “He’d still want you to do that. Finding someone good to run the place...” Bianca exhaled. “It’s what he would have wanted.”

“Mmm,” Charlie pursed her lips together before taking a deep breath. “Yeah yeah, your right.” Charlie exhaled before taking a drink of her coffee, watching as Grace and Lucy chased each other around the room.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you Sarah, Freakie42, El and beebee for the comments. :wub:


Charlie walked into the restaurant and over to the bar where she saw Brax stocking up the wine rack. “Charlie,” Brax smiled as she took a seat on the bar stool. Brax had been working at the restaurant for a week now and so far everything had been going fine and Charlie was more than confident she’d made the right choice in hiring him.“No Grace today?”

“Ruby has taken her to the swings,” Charlie answered. “Bit of big sister time before she heads off to uni.”

“Ahh yeah I just saw Case off this morning,” Brax said. “When does Ruby leave?”

“Tomorrow,” Charlie sucked in her bottom lip. “Not sure I want her to leave to be honest.”

“What?” Brax questioned. “No stroppy teenager eating all your food and not tidying up after herself, coming home at all hours?” Brax questioned. “You’ll love it really.”

“Rubes isn’t really like that,” Charlie sighed sadly. “She’s a good kid. She’s really been my rock since -” Charlie cut off mid sentence. She knew this was the perfect opportunity to tell him about Angelo with no Grace to interrupt, but something stopped her. She cleared her throat before she pointed to the wine box. “This the new red we’re trying out?” Charlie and Brax had had a meeting with their stockist. They’d recently taken on a new wine and Charlie and Brax both tasted and like it and ordered some for the restaurant.

“Yeah,” Brax answered as he rubbed the back of his head. “You want a glass?” Brax questioned. “I won’t make you pay for it eh.” Brax gave a little laugh.

“No, I best not,” Charlie answered. “I need to go in to work soon. Just a lime and soda please,” Brax gave her a smile before getting her drink ready for her. “Thanks.” Charlie said as she took the drink from him.

“So,” Brax leaned himself against the bar. “You come in here an awful lot,” Brax started. “You checking up on me?” Brax gave a little laugh.

“No,” Charlie answered. “I eh....I feel closer to my husband here,” Charlie told him. “This was his place.”

“Was?” Brax rubbed the back of his head in confusion.

“He ehm..” Charlie put away thoughts not to say anything and finally managed to get it out. “He’s dead.” Charlie answered, taking a deep breath to stay composed. Brax’s mouth opened in shocked. He’d never seen Charlie around with a man or seen him at the restaurant, but he’d just figured that he worked away from home a lot. Charlie pursed her lips together as he had that look in his eyes. He felt sorry for her, just like everyone else she had to tell. She didn’t need anyone’s fake pity or sympathy.

“I’m so sorry,” Brax said as his hand rested on his chest. “I had no idea, I....I would never have kept mentioning him to you if I did, I -”

“It’s alright,” Charlie answered sadly. “You weren’t to know and it’s not something you can just randomly drop into conversation easily, is it?”

“I don’t suppose it will be,” Brax answered. He could see how much Charlie wanted to cry and that she was trying to put on a brace face. “When did he -”

“Little over a year ago,” Charlie answered and knowing the question was coming, she decided to answer it before he asked. “He....he had Cancer.”

“I’m so sorry,” Brax said again. “It must have been awful.”

“There seemed to be hope at the start,” Charlie took a deep breath. She hadn’t spoken about this for so long. Her hand went up to her necklace and it was the first time Brax noticed that the pendant was in fact a ring. Brax knowing immediately who’s ring it was. “When it was just in his kidneys. They actually said he was getting better, but,” Charlie paused for a second before shaking her head. “Next thing we know it had spread to his liver then his lungs and into his bones,” Charlie exhaled. “It was pretty much everywhere,” She could feel her eyes getting hotter and her vision blurring with tears that wanted to fall. “He was diagnosed terminal and given 4 months to live,” Charlie wiped her hand over her eyes. “Just 6 weeks later he was...he...”

“It’s alright,” Charlie hadn’t noticed Brax moving, but when she looked up, he was no longer behind the bar but standing next to her. He put his hand onto her arm and rubbed it gently. “You don’t have to say anymore.”

“Sorry,” Charlie felt like she needed to apologise for her behaviour. “An emotional woman is probably the last thing you want to deal with.”

“Don’t be silly,” Brax wrapped his arms around her in a hug. “You don’t need to apologise. You’re bound to be devastated and miss him like crazy.”

Charlie exhaled as she looked up to Brax, pulling away from his grasp on her. “Some days it feels like it’s getting easier and others it....” Charlie shook her head as she pursued her lips together.

“It’s okay,” Brax rubbed her arm. “You don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want too,” Brax could see Charlie was uncomfortable with the conversation. He wanted to say something to make her feel better, but, what could he say? He’d never been in this kind of situation before. “It’s fine.”

“I eh,” Charlie pursed her lips together. “I’m going to leave.” Charlie said before she jumped down from the bar stool.

“You don’t need to leave,” Brax told her. “We’ll talk about something else.”

“No, I want to go.” Charlie said before she turned and left the restaurant, leaving Brax shocked at what she’d told him. He couldn’t begin to imagine how hard it must have been for her to live through losing him, but, there was a small part of him, that felt himself wanting to smile, as a little glimmer of hope for one day, a relationship with Charlie, started to grow inside him.


“I win.” Grace cheered as she reached for the windup frog bath toy as Charlie picked up the duck.

“Again,” Charlie said. “Ah Grace you must be picking the fastest toy all the time.” Charlie and Grace wound the toys up again before putting them down into the water, the frog and duck making their way across the bath.

“I shout betterer,” Grace said. “Go froggy,” Grace yelled. “Froggy go...go....go,” Grace shouted as she looked up to her mother, who was kneeling over the bath. Charlie smiled as she ran her hand over her daughters recently washed hair. “Froggy....go.” Grace gave a high pitched squeal.

“You sure do shout loud,” Charlie put her hand over Grace’s mouth. “Quiet voices, you’re supposed to be winding down for bedtime.”

“No bedtime,” Grace shook her head. “Park time.”

“You were at the park all day,” Charlie said. “Bet you had lots of fun there with Ruby.”

“Uh-huh,” Grace nodded. “The slide best.”

“Oh yes,” Charlie answered, knowing all too well her youngest daughters love for playing on the slide. “You love the slide huh?”

“No much you mummy,” Grace said. “Love mummy mostest.”

“Aww, love you too monkey,” Charlie once again ran her hand over her daughters hair. “Right, time to get you out,” Charlie reached her hand into the water and tried to pull the plug from the bath, but Grace’s hands stopped her.

“No,” Grace squealed as she pulled at her mother’s hand. “More times.”

“No,” Charlie told her. “C’mon sweetie, it’s time for bed. Mummy will read you a story okay?”

Grace pouted sadly as Charlie lifted her out the bath before she pulled the plug, letting the water drain away. As she turned around, she was expecting to find Grace standing next to her, waiting on her towel that she was yet to grab from the heater, but instead, she found herself laughing in amusement at her daughter throwing her arms around in circles as she wiggled her hips and sang a little tune. “Are you dancing?”

“Yeah,” Grace jumped around the bathroom. “Mummy too,” Grace took Charlie’s hands and started to shake them as she sang a little cheerful sounding song. “Mummy dance.” Charlie exhaled as she stood to her feet, lifting Grace up before twirling around the room with Grace. Grace started to giggle as Charlie continued to dance around her with her daughter. Laughter fell from Charlie’s mouth as she heard her daughters little infectious laugh.

“Ah right monkey mummy is getting dizzy,” Charlie stopped twirling around as she put Grace back down on the floor, Grace continuing to jump and dance around as the song started to escape her lips again. Charlie reached for Grace’s towel and pulled Grace over to her, stopping her from dancing as she started to dry her, wondering where she’d gotten all her energy from today. “You need the toilet?”

“Uhm,” Grace sucked in her bottom lip. She shook her head before nodding. Charlie let go of her and she ran over to her potty. Charlie sat down on the edge of the bathtub as she looked to the toilet. She exhaled as she remembered that she always used to get mad at Angelo for leaving the toilet seat up. She actually misses that now. Walking into the bathroom now, she never needs to put the seat down. She’d actually have that back in an instant, if it meant Angelo being with her. She ran her hand over her wedding rings before exhaled. “Mummy,” Grace said, but Charlie was too lost in her thoughts to hear her. She knew no matter how much she wished it, she would never get Angelo back and she needed to stop having these thoughts, but no matter how much she tried, Angelo was never far from her mind. “Mummy.” Grace said again, louder this time.

“Sorry what you saying baby?” Charlie snapped herself out of her thoughts as she looked down to her daughter.

“I peed.” Grace said with a grin. She’d been on potty training a little over a week and so far – much to Charlie’s surprise – she’d had no accidents.

“Aww good girl,” Charlie smiled, praising Grace’s potty usage as she wiped her bum, before lifting up the potty, pouring the pee down the toilet before flushing it away. As she went to wash the potty out Grace went back to dancing around the room, wrapping her towel around her like a cape. Charlie looked to her daughter, who was still bursting with energy and knew it was going to be a while before Grace would get any sleep.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks beebee, Sarah and Spotd1 for the comments.


Charlie gave her daughter another hug. “I can’t believe my little Rubes is going to uni already.” Ruby sighed as she pulled back.

“Don’t call me little. I’m 18.” Ruby sounded offended.

“You are just a little thing,” Charlie pinched Ruby’s cheeks. “And you’ll always be my little Rubes,”

Ruby screwed her face up. “Promise me you’ll always be safe, okay?”

“What?” Ruby screwed her face up. “Are you lecturing me on my sex life?”

“No,” Charlie gasped, sounding embarrassed. “I mean when you’re out in the city and going places, just be careful. It’s not going to be like Summer Bay.” Charlie told her.

“I know, it’s a big city....blah blah blah,” Ruby rolled her eyes. “I’ve heard it all before and I’m not stupid okay, I know not to get myself into risky situations.”

Charlie took a deep breath. “I know,” Charlie rubbed Ruby’s arm. “And you have Xav, so,” Charlie looked to him and gave a smile as he was saying bye to his mum and John. “It’ll be fine.” Charlie took a deep breath once again. Ruby was a sensible girl and she didn’t really need to be worried about her.

“Yes.” Ruby answered.

“Ah I’m going to miss you so much.” Charlie once again hugged her daughter.

“We’ll Skype all the time,” Ruby said as she pulled back. “Honestly you’ll be sick of seeing my face,” Ruby gave a little laugh. “And there’s phones too, so you know, I’ll call,” Ruby said. “And I come home sometimes for long weekends and Easter’s not that far away,” Ruby said. “I’ll be home for then.”

“Yeah,” Charlie exhaled as she tucked Ruby’s hair behind her ear as there was an announcement for passengers getting on her train to board.

“Right monkey, come here,” Ruby crouched down to Grace who had been standing next to Charlie, holding onto her top with her little hand. Ruby put her hands onto Grace’s sides and pulled her forward a little. “You going to look after mummy for me when I am away?”

“No,” Grace answered with a scowl on her face. “You stay.” Grace banged her foot of the ground.

“I can’t,” Ruby answered. “I’ve got to go to school.”

“No,” Grace moaned as her eyes became puffy. “Stay wit me.” Grace hit her chest.

“Aww I have to go Grace,” Ruby rubbed her little sisters cheek. “How about when I come home I’ll bring you a nice present, yeah, how does that sound?”

“No pesent,” Grace’s lips started to tremble. “Want you stay.” Grace started to cry and Ruby felt herself welling up to at her sister’s distress.

“Aww monkey,” Ruby pulled Grace into a hug, feeling her little heart beating faster as she felt her tears dampening her t-shirt. She rubbed her back before a second announcement could be heard. Ruby sighed as she tried to pull herself from the hug with Grace but she was holding on rather tightly. She looked up to Charlie who stepped forward and put her arms around Grace.

“C’mon sweetheart,” Charlie pulled Grace back she kicked her arms and legs as she shouted Ruby’s name. “You best go quickly,” Charlie said as Grace settled against her, tears still streaming down her face. “Love you and call me when you get to your apartment, okay?”

“I will.” Ruby gave her mother a smile before she and Xavier walked off to the train, Ruby sniffing back as she heard her sister’s sad little voice shouting out her name.


Ruby had now been in Melbourne for a week. Grace had been overjoyed that morning when they’d skyped Ruby and she sat with a huge grin on her face waving the whole time. The day had passed in a whirl for Charlie, not really sure what she was doing some of the time, but she was glad she’d gotten through the day. Most especially, without Ruby by her side. Although she’d seen Bianca and little Lucy who always made her feel better, she missed not have Ruby physically there with her. She placed a soft kiss onto her daughters head, smiling as she looked at Lola who was tucked safely under her arm before standing up and walking across the room, turning the light off but leaving the door half open so light from the hallway could sneak in. She heard the doorbell ringing just as thoughts of a nice hot relaxing bath hit her. Sighing, she walked away from the bathroom door and walked down to the front door and was surprised to see Brax standing at the other side. “Brax,” Charlie said. “What can I do for you? Is everything okay with the restaurant?”

“Yeah it’s all good,” Brax answered. “Just finished my shift,” Brax gave her a little smile which she returned. “Sean’s in for dinner rush tonight.”

“Ah Sean.” Charlie sighed.

“You don’t like him?” Brax guessed, judging by the look on her face.

“It’s not that I don’t like him,” Charlie answered. “He’s just a bit...” Charlie pursed her lips together trying to think of a suitable word to use.

“Slow?” Brax questioned and Charlie gave a little nod. “Ah don’t worry eh it’s fine,” Brax told her. “And Kate is on tonight as well as she’s a good worker.”

“Yeah,” Charlie agreed. “So eh, sorry what did you come here for?”

Brax held the accounts book up for her to see. “You came in for this today but then left it behind.” Brax gave a little laugh.

“Oh s***,” Charlie mumbled. “Sorry, my minds been a bit all over the place today.” Charlie said as she took the book and box of dockets so she could do the accounts for him.

“Everyone can have those days eh.” Brax gave a little laugh.

“Eh, yeah,” Charlie pursed her lips together. “Oh sorry, come in,” Charlie said, realising she was yet to invite him into the house. “There I go again.” Charlie managed a small laugh.

Brax laughed as he walked into the house, noticing Angelo was still very much a part of the place. A wedding picture sat in the middle of the shelf, a picture of him with Ruby and Grace and a picture of Angelo, Ruby and a pregnant Charlie could also be seen. “Maybe just relax for the night and do these tomorrow when you’re minds more on the ball eh?” Brax said as he watched Charlie putting the book and box of dockets down on the couch.

“I think that’s wise.” Charlie answered.

“Mummy,” Grace shouted sleepily as she ran into view, but seeing Brax in the house froze her to the spot. Her eyes widened before she looked down shyly.

“I thought I left you sleeping.” Charlie said she walked over to Grace.

Grace immediately grabbed Charlie’s hand and hid herself from Brax’s view with her mother’s body. “Want a juice.” Grace’s voice was inaudible.

“You’ll have to speak louder.” Charlie said as she crouched down to Grace’s level, Grace now able to see Brax looking down at her. She furrowed her eyebrows before turning her body so her back was facing him.

“Want a juice.” Grace spoke the tiniest bit louder.

“You’ve have enough juice tonight,” Charlie told her daughter. “You’ll pee the bed if I give you anymore.” Charlie put Grace in pull-up’s at night, just in case. Although so far she’d not had any accidents, she wanted to be safe for that little bit longer.

“I not.” Grace shook her head.

Charlie sighed lightly. “Just a tiny tiny bit.” Charlie said as she walked over to the kitchen, Grace hurrying by her side. Charlie took out Grace’s purple plastic cup and poured in it the littlest bit of milk.

“No milk,” Grace pushed the offering away. “Onge.”

“Milk or nothing.” Charlie told her daughter. Grace pouted and batted her eyelashes at her mother. Charlie just shook her head and Grace slumped as she bowed her head down.

“Kay.” Grace took the cup into her hand and with her other took Charlie’s hand.

“I’ll just be a second.” Charlie looked up to Brax before disappearing out of the room, taking Grace back to her bed. He exhaled lightly as he walked across the room, looking down to the wedding photo of Charlie and Angelo. Brax had never seen a couple look so much in love. He picked it up and ran his hand over the engraved letters. 2nd February 2008. Today was the 2nd February. Which meant today was Charlie and Angelo’s wedding anniversary, which would explain Charlie’s mind being a bit all over the place. He surely wouldn’t be far from her thoughts today. He felt her presence so he looked up and sure enough Charlie was standing not too far from him. He looked down to the photo that was still in his hand before looking back to Charlie.

“Sorry.” Brax apologised before putting it back in its place.

“It’s alright,” Charlie answered. “They are there to be looked at.” Charlie said as she folded her arms across her chest and pursed her lips together.

“It’s a nice picture,” Brax told her. “You eh, you look really happy.”

“Not counting the day’s my girls were born it was the best day of my life.” Charlie answered.

Brax gave her a smile as he saw her eyes getting sadder. They didn’t look so stunningly blue today, they seemed darker and empty. “I see today would have been you’re...” Brax pointed to the photo before trailing off.

“5 years.” Charlie said as she looked down to the floor.

“I’m sorry.” Brax said softly. Brax felt pretty lame for it, but he didn’t know what else to say.

Charlie gave a little shrug. “Have to deal with it, don’t I?”

“I’m not sure I’d know how,” Brax answered. “You’re a strong woman, Charlie.”

Charlie shook her head. “I’m living for my girls,” Charlie answered. “If I didn’t have them....” Charlie trailed off. She didn’t finish the sentence. She knew she didn’t need too. She knew that Brax knew what she was getting at.

“Oh,” Brax rubbed the back of his head. “I’m sure one day you’ll be glad you’re still here. You’ll meet a nice guy and learn that although at times life can be really s***, it can also turn itself back around and....you’ll enjoy life again.”

Charlie gave a sort of snigger. “Dating?” Charlie questioned. “Never again. I’m not jumping back into the dating pool.”

“Not even a chance of you dipping your big toe in?” Brax questioned.

“Even if I was to consider it,” Charlie exhaled. “No one will want a widow with a teenage daughter and a toddler.”

“I wouldn’t mind having drinks with you,” It came out before Brax could stop himself. Although he had intentions of asking her out for drinks when he first came around, when he found out what day it was he thought maybe it was best to wait a day or two. He sighed lightly, knowing there was not much he could do to back track, it had came out now so he had to go for it.

Charlie gave a laugh of disbelief. “You don’t have to be nice.”

“I’m not being nice,” Brax answered. “You’re sweet and gorgeous, you’re...” Brax trailed off. “You a nice woman Charlie and I’d like to get to know you better,” Brax told her. “So, what do you say?”

Charlie exhaled as she looked to her wedding picture before looking back to Brax. She pursed her lips together and Brax noticed she was running her wedding rings around her finger. “Just a drink?”

“Just a drink, Charlie.” Brax gave her a soft smile.

“I ehm,” Charlie paused. “I...” Charlie exhaled before once again setting her eyes on the picture of Angelo. “I’m sorry, I can’t.” Charlie spoke quietly as she shook her head.

“Okay,” Brax exhaled sadly. “I eh, I’ll get out your way,” Brax gave a weak smile, seeing she needed more time. “Enjoy the rest of your night.”

“Yeah, you too.” Charlie replied as she saw Brax out before she walked back over to the shelves. She picked up the wedding picture and ran her hand over Angelo’s face. “Don’t worry, babe. I don’t ever want to move on from you.” She brought the picture closer up to her and placed a kiss onto it, before hugging it close to her and closing her eyes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the comments.


“Brax asked me out.” Charlie said as she tucked her hair behind her ear as she looked to her friend. They could hear the girls giggling mischievously from the bottom of the garden.

“Oh my gosh,” Bianca shrieked as she poured her friend a glass of lemonade from the jug. “You have a date?”

“I said no,” Charlie answered before pursing her lips together. “I’m not....I can’t.” Bianca noticed Charlie’s hand playing with her necklace.

“You could try,” Bianca spoke tentatively, knowing Charlie moving on was always going to be a touchy subject. “One date....just a drink or two,” Bianca exhaled. “He would want you to be happy.”

“I was happy,” Charlie answered. “And you know, I vowed to spent my life with him,” Charlie said. “Angelo....him and no one else.”

“You also made vows till death do us part,” Bianca spoke softly. “And unfortunately Angelo has....parted.”Bianca pursed her lips together. She wasn’t trying to force Charlie back into dating, but, she wanted to see her happy and thought a new relationship might do that for her.

Charlie shook her head at her friend. “So you think it’s as easy as that do you? That because he’s dead the vows we made mean nothing so I should go shack up with someone else?” Charlie questioned.

“Well no I just meant...” Bianca trailed off. “Look, Charlie, you’re 32 years old, your gorgeous and would be a great catch for any guy out there,” Bianca said. “You’re young. Do you really want to be alone for the rest of your life?”

“I’m not alone,” Charlie answered. “I have my girls and I have friends.” Charlie said.

“Yeah and one daughter has already gone off to uni and then what happens when Grace does?” Bianca questioned. “I don’t want you to be lonely.”

“Then I’ll go to bingo.” Charlie answered.

“Charlie,” Bianca gave a little laugh. “Look, I’m not asking you to move in with him, marry him and have his baby tomorrow,” Bianca said. “And it doesn’t even need to be with Brax,” Bianca screwed her face up. “All I am saying is, maybe, just.....give it a chance. You deserve to be happy and I know it’s what Angelo would want.”

Charlie exhaled lightly. She loved Angelo and knew she would never stop loving him, but, maybe Bianca was right and she needed to at least give dating a go. One date and then she’d really know if she really wanted to try again or not. She sucked in her bottom lip as she saw the girls running back up towards them, their dresses, bodies and even their hair covered in mud and their dresses and hair also dripping wet. “What have you two been doing?” Charlie and Bianca gasped at the sight of their girls.

“Mud bath.” Grace answered, her big blue eyes all wide as she looked up to her mother.

“How did you get wet?” Bianca questioned.

“The hose.” Lucy pointed down to the bottom of the garden as a clump of mud rolled down her arm.

Bianca and Charlie exchanged a glance before looking back down to their filthy little girls. “Lucy Braxton you know you’ve not to turn the hose on. It’s not a toy.”

“I no do it,” Lucy shook her head before pointing to Grace. “It her.”

“She tell me.” Grace defended herself as she pointed to Lucy.

“Mud baths fun,” Lucy said as she looked up to her mother, unsure what they’d actually done wrong. “Ay Grace?”

“Uh-huh,” Grace nodded. “It is mummy.”

“Well I am sure it is but look at the mess the two of you have got yourselves in,” Charlie exhaled before seeing that Grace was holding a worm in her hand. “Ah Grace,” Charlie shot up from the chair. “Put that down.”

“No,” Grace squealed as she took a few steps back from her mother. “This Percy.”

“Ewww.” Lucy squealed as Grace held it out in front of her. She ran over to her mother and tried to hug against her but Bianca pushed her muddy little girl away. She was wearing a white sundress so didn’t need mud anywhere near her.

“I think we need to get these two bathed,” Bianca said as she looked up to Charlie who nodded as she won the battle with her daughter for getting the worm out of her hand. It dropped to the grass and Grace looked down to it before pouting. She looked back up to her mother with furrowed eyebrows. “And get these dresses into the wash, hmm?” Bianca exhaled as the girls giggled before they walked into Bianca’s house so she and Charlie could clean the girls up.


Charlie, Bianca and the girls walked into the diner where they were meeting Heath for a bit of lunch. “Pooey.” Lucy and Grace pinched their noses.

“Babe didn’t you shower?” Bianca scrunched her face up as she took a seat next to her husband.

“Well considering I’m going back to work after lunch there’d be no point eh.” Heath answered.

“Seriously you stink of fish.” Bianca sighed.

“Really?” Heath gasped. “Considering I work on a trawler you’d think I smell of roses eh?” Heath said as Lucy climbed up onto his knee and kissed his cheek.

“My stinky daddy.” Lucy said as she patted his cheek with her hand.

Heath gave a little laugh as he wrapped his arms around his daughter. Charlie pursed her lips together as she saw him hugging her, the look of pure love on his face. She exhaled as she felt Grace’s hands on her knee. She looked down and could almost see a sadness in her eyes that Lucy had a daddy and she didn’t. “You alright monkey?” Charlie questioned as she lifted Grace onto her knee. She’d had to wear one of Lucy’s dresses as the ones they managed to cover in mud were hanging out to dry at Bianca’s place. Grace gave a little nod before cuddling into Charlie.

“So, I hear you hired my brother?” Heath questioned.

“I did,” Charlie answered. She’d been expecting this from Heath but after a week of Brax working for her, she thought maybe it wasn’t actually going to happen. “He’s eh.....he’s a good worker.”

“Always thought he was a big shot,” Heath gave smug laugh. “Bet he thinks he owns the place.”

“No,” Charlie shook her head. “He doesn’t actually. He’s knows his role and he’s good at what he does.”

Heath sniggered. “Always was a confident bast -” Heath stopped talking as Bianca slapped his leg, stopping him swearing when little ears were present. “He’ll be trying to run the place in no time.”

“Well he knows his role as I said so...” Charlie gave a little shrug.

“So, still being miss third wheel, are we?” Heath said as he glared at Charlie.

“Heath,” Bianca gasped as she shot him an annoyed glance. “We’re hardly on a date and the girls are here, how on earth is she being a third wheel?”

“Well the girls are only little so they don’t count,” Heath answered. “Me and you are married and would occasionally like to have a lunch just us and Lucy, you know, our family.” Heath said.

“Heath,” Bianca gasped once again. “Don’t be so rude, it’s just lunch.”

“It’s fine. We’ll leave.” Charlie stood up and put Grace down to the floor as she sighed.

“No, Charlie, don’t,” Bianca stood up. “Ignore him.”

“We going mummy?” Grace questioned as she looked up to her.

“Yeah,” Charlie answered as she took her daughters hand and left the diner. She turned around as she heard Bianca shouting out behind her. “Just leave it Bianca,” Charlie said before Bianca could say anything else. “Go have lunch with your family.” Charlie turned and walked away quickly, Grace having to run a little to keep up with her pace.

“Someone’s in a hurry.” Brax gave a little laugh as he was walking off the beach, his surf board tucked under his arm. Charlie slowed down a little.

“Just getting away from your lovely brother.” Charlie replied as she kept walking, Brax walking on beside her.

Brax gave a little laugh. “He’s charming eh?”

Charlie stopped walking as she turned to face him, Grace’s hand slipping out of hers and she ran over to the fencing and pulled at some flowers that were growing. Charlie looked to her daughter, seeing she was safe, before looking back to Brax. “And you think your any better?” Charlie questioned. She didn’t mean to be so blunt, but it just came spilling out.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Brax questioned, rubbing the back of his head in confusion.

“Sleeping with his fiancée and on the day of his wedding of all days,” Charlie shook her head, sounding disgusted. “Where’s your loyalty?”

“Is that what he’s been saying?” Brax gave a laugh of disbelief. “I think you’ll find Tegan was my fiancée and he was the one sleeping with her.” Brax told Charlie.

“Why would I believe that?” Charlie questioned. “Why would Heath lie?”

“Why would I lie?” Brax questioned. “Ask Case if you don’t believe me eh,” Brax said. “Although you’d need to wait till he was down from Brisbane.”

Charlie bit her lip as she looked at Brax’s face. Being a police officer, she generally had a good instinct on if people were lying or not. There were usually give away signs. A nervous twitch, blinking, looking down, something like that. It seemed Brax was more than likely telling the truth. There was something that felt sincere about him, but, she hardly knew him and there was always the occasional person who just wasn’t able to be read. “I think I believe you, to be honest.” Charlie told him.

“Thanks,” Brax gave a little smile. “It really did happen that way,” Brax told her. “I’d tell you more about it but you probably have things to be getting on with.”

Charlie shook her head a little as Grace came back over to her, holding about a dozen flowers she’d picked, rubbing her soil covered hand onto Lucy’s dress and for the second time that day, getting her clothes dirty. She looked up to Brax who gave her a smile. She furrowed her eyebrows before hiding behind Charlie. “I eh....I guess I need to get her home for some lunch.”

“Well I’ll let you do that and I’ll...I’ll see you around.” Brax smiled before walking towards his Ute. Charlie took a deep breath before turning around pulling Grace from behind her.

“What you doing hiding from Brax?” Charlie questioned.

Grace shrugged her shoulders and she handed the flowers up to her mother. Charlie smiled as she took them into her hand. “Thank you baby.” Charlie placed a kiss on her daughter before taking her hand and the pair of them walked back in the direction of Charlie’s house together.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.

  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.