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A Perfect Match

Guest Danni02

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Story Title: A Perfect Match

Type of story: Long

Main Characters: Charlie, Daniel and Ruby

Other Characters: Bianca, Leah, April, Kaya, VJ, Angelo and Brax

BTTB rating: T/A

Genre: Drama/Romance

Does story include spoilers: No

Any warnings: SC

Summary: Charlie lives in the bay with her children, Ruby and Daniel. With no other family, the whole bay rally round during a time of need and the new neighbour helps in a way she'll never forget.


She still had the same dream. Almost every night since it happened. It happened a long time ago, almost 6 years to be exact, but the memory was still so fresh in her mind, it would never escape her. She glanced at her clock on her bedside table and exhaled. It was only 4.03am but she was now wide awake. She got out of bed and walked down the hall to the kitchen, picking up a glass and getting herself a drink of water. “Mummy.” Charlie looked around as she heard his voice.

“Hey bud,” Charlie smiled down at her son. “What you doing awake?”

“It’s my birthday tomorrow.” Daniel answered, walking across to her, his grey teddy tucked under his arm. The teddy - known as Theo - having been Daniel’s bedtime comfort since Bianca had given it to him for his first birthday.

“Yeah it is,” Charlie smiled as she bent down to his level, opening her arms out. Daniel walked into them, Charlie wrapping her arms around his waist as she placed a kiss on his temple. “Five years old. How did you grow up so fast?”

Daniel shrugged. “I no no.” Daniel held his hands out to the side.

“You want some milk?” Charlie questioned and Daniel nodded with a grin on his face. Charlie stood back up and opened the fridge, taking out the milk. She poured her son a small glass as he jumped up onto the seat at the breakfast bar.

“Cookies good with milk.” Daniel said, before taking a drink, getting a milk moustache.

“Cookies?” Charlie questioned. “At this time of night?”

“Just one.” Daniel pouted. Charlie looked at his cute little face and of course there was no saying no to that.

“One.” Charlie opened the cupboard and took out the box of cookies, handing one to her son. He grinned before dipping it into his milk and taking a bite. Charlie joined him at the breakfast bar, rubbing his back as he took another drink of milk, a new milk moustache forming.

“Will he come to the party?” Daniel questioned, checking to make sure Theo bear was safe on the breakfast bar.

“No,” Charlie exhaled, knowing Daniel was asking about his father. He’d started to ask about him more often these last few months. Charlie put it down to the fact the other kids from school would talk about their fathers, and of course he’d see them together. Charlie had told Daniel nothing about his father so far and she planned to keep it that way for as long as possible. “Daddy doesn’t live close by.”

Daniel pouted sadly. “Does he no love me?”

Charlie pursed her lips together, feeling her heart break at her son’s question. “I’m sure he does.” Charlie said, knowing that was not the case. She never told him of her pregnancy. He knew nothing of Daniel’s existence and Charlie hoped it stayed that way. Daniel didn’t need a father like him.

“Will Kaya and VJ be there?” Daniel said before once again dipping his cookie into his milk before taking a bite.

“Of course they will.” Charlie answered. Kaya was Bianca’s 3 year old daughter and VJ was Leah’s 5 year old. Daniel and VJ were born only a few months apart and the boys certainly did get into lots of mischief together. They really were the best of friends.

“And Ruby too?” Daniel asked.

“Of course she’ll be there.” Charlie answered and Daniel grinned. Ruby was 11 when Daniel was born and although at first she was extremely jealous of him, she soon grew to love her little brother like crazy and now she was very protective of him, always offering to take him out, especially when Charlie was working and would spend her weekends doing fun projects with him, even though most 16 year olds would want to be out with their friends at the movies, shopping and such. Of course she still hung out with April, Dex and Xavier, but Daniel would occasionally head out with them.

“It’ll be fun ay?” Daniel questioned, looking up to her, his eyes all wide.

“You bet,” Charlie ruffled his hair. “Now, let’s finish your milk and get you back to bed huh?”

Daniel picked up his glass and downed the rest of his milk. “Can I sleep with you?”

“Sure you can.” Charlie smiled. The comfort of her son’s little body cuddled up against hers always got her back to sleep. Daniel grinned as he picked up Theo bear before jumping down from the breakfast bar.

“Let’s go mummy.” Daniel said before running towards Charlie’s bedroom. Charlie picked up her glass of water and got down from the stool, walking back to bed with her son.


Charlie walked into the Diner, going to collect the cake for her son’s birthday party. “Hey Leah,” Charlie smiled at her friend. “How’s your day going?”

“Not bad,” Leah answered, lifting the box up onto the counter. “How’s the birthday boy?”

Charlie rolled her eyes. “Ruby is left to scrape him off the ceiling.” Charlie said and Leah laughed.

“Well he is allowed to be excited. It’s his day, after all. Only turn 5 the once.” Leah said and Charlie nodded.

“I can’t believe he is 5,” Charlie said, opening the box to look at the cake. It was chocolate cake with white icing over it and a picture of The Flash on it, Daniel’s favourite superhero. “The years just go so fast.”

“Tell me about it,” Leah replied. “The boys will be shaving before we know it.”

Charlie laughed as she shut the cake box. “Alright ladies?” Charlie looked to her side as Angelo stopped beside her.

“Hey.” Charlie gave him a smile, which he returned.

“Charlie,” Angelo smield shyly. “Coffee to go please, Leah.” Angelo said and Leah pushed some buttons on the coffee machine, sticking a to go cup under it before pouring some milk into the jug before sticking it under the steamer.

“You going to be there later?” Leah questioned, looking to Angelo as she spoke.

“Uhm,” Angelo rubbed the back of his head. “Be where?”

“Daniel’s birthday party.” Leah answered.

“Oh,” Angelo exhaled. “Uhm...” He looked to Charlie questioningly.

“You can come if you want,” Charlie told him. “I just didn’t think a kids’ party would be your kind of thing.” Charlie glanced a Leah before looking back to Angelo.

“Nah I’m sure it could be fun,” Angelo answered, pulling some coins from his pocket and handing them to Leah. “What time and where does it start?”

“It’s at the surf club at 2.” Charlie told him.

“So I have a few hours to go find the little one a present.” Angelo said, taking the coffee cup from Leah.

“You don’t need to buy him anything.” Charlie told him.

“Nonsense,” Angelo replied. “You can’t turn up to a birthday party without a gift and it’ll be a nice time for Daniel and I to bond. So 2 o’clock, right?”

“Yeah.” Charlie nodded, her lips pursing together.

“Great, I’ll see you later.” Angelo leaned forward and placed a soft kiss on Charlie’s cheek before leaving the Diner.

Charlie turned back to Leah, glaring at her. “What?”

“Don’t you think it’s a bit soon for him to be ‘bonding’ with my son?” Charlie questioned, her heart starting to beat faster, feeling alarmed at the thought.

“He’s your boyfriend,” Leah sighed. “He has to one of these days.”

“Okay, firstly he is not my boyfriend. We have been on a handful of dates. It’s too early for this family bonding, getting to know my son thing,” Charlie spoke quickly and Leah could see she was panicking. “We haven’t even reached second base yet for goodness sake.” Charlie was getting a little red in the face.

“Okay, breathe Charlie,” Leah spoke softly as she took a deep breath, Charlie copying her. “It’s understandable that you want to take things slowly. And there’s nothing wrong with that. The main thing is you are getting back into this dating game.”

“We’ll see,” Charlie mumbled. “Anyways, I best get back to the kids but thanks for this and I’ll see you later.” Charlie picked up the cake and Leah gave her a smile before she walked out of the diner, making her way back to the apartment block where she lived.

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Thank you Sarah and Freakie42. :)


Daniel, VJ and Kaya were running around the pool table at the surf club, annoyingly for April and Ruby as they were trying to play a game. “Daniel,” Ruby looked down to her little brother. He had the very same big green eyes as Ruby, the same cute little nose. “We are trying to play a game here. Go run elsewhere hmm?” He furrowed his eyebrows at her before rubbing the side of his head, his hair the same deep chocolate brown than his mothers.

“It my birthday, I playing here.” Daniel said before he started running again, VJ and Kaya still running around too. Ruby rolled her eyes at April before taking her shot, narrowly missing out on hitting VJ’s head. A few of Daniel’s friends from school were also there huddled round the table with the snacks, the kids taking full advantage of the goodies they could eat.

“Hey,” Charlie looked round as she heard Angelo’s voice. He walked over to her with a big parcel for Daniel. “Where do you want this?

“Just over there with the others.” Charlie pointed to the table at the back of the room where all of Daniel’s present were. Angelo smiled at her before walking across putting the gift down with the others. Charlie watched him as he walked over to Daniel. Daniel was painfully shy with new people and Charlie was sure this wouldn’t go well.

“Hey Danny boy,” Angelo smiled down at him. Daniel looked startled as he moved closer to Ruby. “Happy Birthday.” Daniel stared up at Angelo as his hand grabbed onto Ruby’s arm. He stood on his tiptoes as he pulled on Ruby’s arm. Ruby bent down more to Daniel’s level and he whispered something in her ear.

“He’s says his name is Daniel.” Ruby said, looking to Angelo.

“Daniel, I’m sorry,” Angelo said looking round to Charlie before looking back to the boy. “Well Happy Birthday, Daniel.”

“Say thank you.” Angelo looked around as Charlie was making her way over.

“Mummy.” Daniel pouted as he walked over to her.

“Go on.” Charlie said as she rubbed her sons back.

“Thank you.” Daniel spoke quickly and almost inaudibly before running to the other side of the room, VJ and Kaya running after him.

“He is a shy little one isn’t he?” Angelo questioned and Charlie nodded. “So can I get you a drink?” Angelo asked.

“It’s a kids’ party,” Charlie answered. “There’s no alcohol.”

“Oh of course,” Angelo laughed at himself. “Well I could always go up stairs to the restaurant. Sure the owner wouldn’t mind.” Angelo laughed once again.

“No, I’m good,” Charlie answered. “But if you want something you go ahead,” Charlie gestured to the stairs before looking back to where Bianca and Leah were sitting, Kaya now sitting on her mother’s knee as she drank her juice box. Charlie walked back over and sat down with her friends. “You having fun Kaya?” Charlie asked.

Kaya nodded as she continued to suck on her straw. She watched as Miles was making the boys laugh. “Miles’ funny.” Kaya handed her juice box to her mother before jumping down from her knee, wanting to be part of the fun with Miles. VJ was giggling up at his stepfather, Miles lifting him up over his shoulder.

“You so lucky, Leah,” Bianca said, watching Miles with the kids. “You have the sweetest husband ever.”

“Yeah he’s not too bad.” Leah smiled, knowing out of her friends, she had lucked out in finding Miles. He was the perfect husband and loved VJ like his own. Sadly, the same couldn’t be said when it came to Kaya and Daniel’s fathers.

“You know Liam was in Sydney last week,” Bianca sighed sadly. “Was playing a couple of gigs there. Did he take even a few hours to come and see his daughter?” Bianca sniggered. “Of course not,” Bianca felt sad for Kaya more than anything. Their relationship had never officially ended but Liam had left to make it as a rock star and had so far had two very successful number 1 albums and given the fact he was pictured with numerous different women hanging off him, Bianca wasn’t holding out for any sort of reunion anytime soon. “He’ll have millions in his bank and he hasn’t even bought one nappy for his daughter. He’s never even met her.” Bianca exhaled. Liam left town when Bianca was around 6 months pregnant, choosing a life of fame over his fiancée and unborn child.

“We know,” Charlie said. “Kaya is better off without a dad like that,” Charlie watched as around 6 little boys plus Kaya were all wrestling Miles. “And she’ll always have uncle Miles.” Charlie chuckled as she gestured over to Miles and Leah and Bianca laughed.

“And could we be saying Daniel is lucky to have Angelo?” Bianca gestured over as he was walking back down the stairs from the restaurant with a beer in his hand.

“He’d have to learn to speak to him first,” Charlie replied. “But.....” Charlie exhaled before biting her bottom lip. “It’s too early to think anything right now.”

“Mind if I join you ladies?” Angelo questioned. Charlie pointed to the spare seat and Angelo sat down, taking a drink of his beer.

“C’mon Leah,” Bianca glanced at her friend. “Let’s go free your husband from all these munchkins.” Bianca stood up and Leah stood up after her, the both of them leaving Charlie and Angelo alone together.


Daniel was in the bath, Charlie sitting on the toilet seat watching as her son played with his bath toys, Theo sitting on the edge of the sink like he was watching Daniel bathe. “What did you do today?” Charlie leaned forward, inspecting a fresh bruise on her son’s arm. Daniel looked to it and gave a little shrug.

“I got one here too.” Daniel pointed to his leg.

“Daniel Ross,” Charlie gasped at the cluster of bruises that ran the length of his shin. “You been doing too much play wresting with VJ?”

“He kicked me,” Daniel said. “Was only accident though.” Charlie shook her head, but at least that could explain the bruising. Daniel was a clumsy child and pretty much came home from school with a new bruise each day.

“What you like boy?” Charlie ruffled his hair. “To much rough and tumble huh?”

“It’s fun,” Daniel answered as he moved the boat around in the water before giving a yawn. “Oh I’s tired.”

“Too much running around at your party today huh?” Charlie questioned, leaning into the tub and pulling the plug out. “It’s time to get out anyways,” Charlie said and Daniel frowned before standing up and getting out of the tub. Charlie wrapped the towel around him and rubbed his stomach and back a few times. “You get dried then put your pyjamas on and I’ll go get your milk, okay?” Daniel gave a little nod as he started to dry himself. Charlie walked out from the bathroom and down the hall to the kitchen, taking the milk from the fridge.

“Hey,” Ruby walked into the kitchen after her mother. “Look what I found in Daniel’s room.”

Charlie took the drawing from her daughter. She pursed her lips as she saw two sausage drawings, one a small boy she believed was Daniel and the other a tall man, holding the little boys hand. “It’s good.” Charlie put it down on the breakfast bar before reaching for a glass.

“Mum,” Ruby exhaled as she jumped up onto the seat. “You know who that’s meant to be.”

“It could be anyone,” Charlie exhaled, banging the glass down onto the table. “Maybe it’s Angelo.”

“Yeah right,” Ruby retorted. “Why don’t you tell us the truth about our dad?” Ruby asked. “If we even have the same dad. I know you say that we do, but...” Ruby gave a little shrug.

“I’ve told you,” Charlie replied. “Your dad is a -”

“He doesn’t have a special job for the government that has to have him in hiding,” Ruby sighed. “You might be able to still pull that crap on Daniel but not me,” Ruby exhaled. “I want to know who he is.”

Charlie pursed her lips together as she looked back at the drawing. “What you even doing in Daniel’s room anyways?” Charlie questioned.

“I was putting away the toys he left in my room,” Ruby answered. “So, back to what we were talking about. You can’t lie to me forever.”

“Who say’s I am lying?” Charlie questioned.

“It’s obvious,” Ruby answered. “So is he even my real little brother?” Ruby questioned. “Because I sure as hell don’t remember my dad being around when I was young but then one day you tell me you are having another baby,” Ruby said. “So is he my brother or half brother?” Charlie sighed as she ran her hand over her forehead. “Is Roman Daniel’s father?” Ruby questioned, clearly not about to let this go. “I know he pissed you off because he rejoined the SAS but that’s no reason to not let him see his son.”

“We are not having this discussion,” Charlie said before pouring the milk into the glass. “Now put that back in Daniel’s room.” Charlie said before walking back down to the bathroom to see if her son was ready for bed.

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Thank you Freakie42, Sarah, Spotd1 and Chax for the comments.


Charlie and Daniel were walking hand and hand down the hallway of their floor in the apartment block. “Look mummy,” Daniel pointed to the two surf boards that were leaning against the wall. “It’s like Ruby’s.” Daniel let go of her hand and ran down the hallway, running his hand over the surf board.

“They aren’t ours bud,” Charlie walked over to him, and put her and on his shoulder. “Don’t touch.”

“He can look,” Charlie looked behind her as she heard the voice. The man put the big box down in the doorway of the apartment. “I’m Darryl. Darryl Braxton.” Brax held his hand out and Charlie shook it.

“Well Darryl Darryl Braxton I’m Charlie Buckton. I live across the hall.” Charlie pointed to her door and Brax gave a little nod.

“And who’s this little guy?” Brax looked down to Daniel. Charlie opened her mouth to talk but was surprised when she heard her son’s voice.

“I’m Daniel Ross Buckton. I’m 5 years old.” Daniel said his voice still quieter than normal as he leaned back into his mother’s body.

“Nice to meet you, Daniel,” Brax held his hand out and Daniel looked up to Charlie. She gave a little nod and Daniel took Brax’s into his, shaking it briefly. “So are you a surfer too?”

“Not yet,” Daniel said. “Maybe one day Ruby will show me,” Daniel told him. “We live in 6B,” Daniel pointed to the door. “Is you living here?” Daniel questioned.

“I am,” Brax nodded. “I’m moving in to 6D.” Brax said and Daniel widened his eyes.

“The haunted one.” Daniel said under his breath.

“Haunted?” Brax mouthed as he looked to Charlie.

“Mrs Brown, the old lady that used to live in there, she was murdered by her husband.” Charlie said and Brax widened his eyes.

“Seriously?” Brax questioned, not really liking the idea of living somewhere where an old lady was murdered.

“Mmmm,” Charlie nodded. “With an ice pick,” Brax looked into the house before looking back to Charlie and Daniel. “No, not really,” Charlie laughed. “But she did die in there.”

“Oh, what happened?” Brax questioned, looking a little relieved he hadn’t rented a murder apartment.

Charlie shrugged. “She was old.”

“She gived me lollies all the times,” Daniel grinned. “And lemonade.”

“Ah wow, she must have been a nice neighbour eh?” Brax looked down to Daniel as he spoke and Daniel nodded.

“She was very sweet,” Charlie replied. “Would often watch this one for me if I was stuck for a sitter.” Charlie ran her hand over the top of Daniel’s head.

“Well I hope I can be as good a neighbour as Mrs Brown.” Brax said, giving Charlie a smile.

Charlie returned the smile. “Well we’ll let you get finished moving in,” Charlie said, fishing her keys out of her bag. “Welcome to the building,” Charlie said before walking over her door and putting the key in the lock, turning to see Daniel still standing staring up at Brax. “Daniel.” Charlie gestured for him to get in the apartment.

“Bye Darryl.” Daniel waved before running into the apartment. Charlie looked to Brax as he bent down to pick the box up so he could walk into his place. He smiled once more at her and she waved before going into her apartment, leaving him to move in in peace.


Charlie ran her hand up and down the stem of the glass. “You okay?” Angelo questioned. “You look a little lost.”

“I’m fine,” Charlie looked up to him. “Daniel said he had a sore tummy before I left. Ruby or April will call if he needs me but...” Charlie pursed her lips.

“A mother never stops worrying.” Angelo said and Charlie gave a little nod.

“He should be in bed by now anyways,” Charlie told him. “So sorry, you were saying something about the restaurant?”

“Yeah,” Angelo put his fork down before taking a drink of his beer. “I’ve brought someone else into the business,” Angelo said. “You know it’s been struggling a little lately so I thought some fresh ideas would be good. That and of course he’s brought a nice sum of money to the place.”

“So you gave away half of your restaurant?” Charlie questioned, taking a drink of her wine.

“Not half,” Angelo shook his head. “40 per cent,” Angelo said. “He has some great ideas though. Adding pizza to the menu, who doesn’t love pizza, right?” Angelo remarked. “Cocktail singles night. I mean I don’t know the first thing about making cocktails but he can show me, right?”

“Sure he can.” Charlie answered.

“Yeah,” Angelo smiled. “So, how’s your work?”

“Fine,” Charlie answered. “You know I can’t talk to you about much more.” Charlie said and Angelo exhaled.

“Yeah,” Angelo nodded, knowing police business had to strictly stay police business. “So does Daniel like fishing?” Angelo questioned. “I thought it might be something that we could do together.”

“He’s never done it before,” Charlie told him. “But it’s a little soon to be thinking about bonding trips with my son,” Charlie said. “This is only our 5th date.”

“I know, I know,” Angelo exhaled. “Just, I really really like you and I just want....we’ll it’s nice to hope things will turn out well and one day I will need to bond with your kids.”

“Yeah,” Charlie smiled at him. He was so sweet and caring and she knew if she only gave him a chance they could probably have something special. Of course her passed stopped her ever getting far with anyone. Things with her last serious boyfriend, fiancé in fact, ended so abruptly and Charlie was hurt. Letting this man into her daughter’s life only for him to leave like that, ruining the nice little family they’d created and of course there was the rest of her past. “Well I’m sure if you mention The Flash you’ll get Daniel on side.”

“The Flash,” Angelo nodded. “Got it. So, you finished your pasta?” Angelo questioned and Charlie nodded in response. “Okay, well I can dish up dessert now or we can have 20 minutes or so before I do.”

“I need the 20 minutes,” Charlie hit her stomach before they both gave a little laugh. “I’m so full but that was lovely, thank you.”

Angelo smiled at her compliment as he stood up, picking the plates up and taking them over to the sink. “You are very welcome. It was a pleasure to cook for you.” Angelo said, walking back over to the table. He held his hand out and Charlie took it in hers as Angelo helped her to standing, Charlie and Angelo’s bodies only millimetres apart. They looked into each other’s eyes, both of them smiling lightly before they kissed. It started off softly but soon became a little more passionate as they wrapped their arms around each other.

“Angelo, you know I...” Charlie pulled back looking down slightly.

“You want to take it slow, I know,” Angelo tucked her hair behind her ear as he spoke. “It’s fine. Go as slow as you want.”

Charlie smiled appreciatively. “We can kiss a little more.” Charlie said before once again kissing Angelo.


“Maybe you should just respect your mum’s privacy,” April said, following Ruby into Charlie’s room. “She clearly doesn’t want to talk about him.”

“Well I have a right to know,” Ruby replied, getting to her knees and pulling the box out from under the bed. April rolled her eyes as she sat down on the edge of the bed. Ruby put the box onto the bed and opened it up. There were school yearbooks, baby clothes from Ruby and Daniel, two positive pregnancy tests which Ruby screwed her face up at she moved them, photo albums, an engagement ring, a shell from the beach and an old locket. Ruby picked the locket up, letting it dangle from the chain for a moment before opening it up, seeing a picture of her grandfather Ross at one side and her grandmother Elsie on the other. She couldn’t really remember Elsie, she was 6 years old when she died, but her grandfather only died 2 years ago and Ruby could remember him greatly. She put the locket down before picking up a yearbook, flicking through it. She stopped at a picture of Charlie with a teenage boy, both of them with cheesy grins on their faces. “This guy looks around 14, right?”

April looked down before giving a little shrug. “I guess.”

“Well mum was only 14 when she had me, so...” Ruby looked at the boy again before turning the book so April had better view. “Do you think mum plus him would equal me?” April once again shrugged, not feeling comfortable with what they were doing. Ruby shook her head at her friend’s lack of helpfulness before turning the book back to herself. She went to the front, looking through the profiles, till she found the boy in the photo.

“Grant Bledcoe,” Ruby read it out loud. “Grant Bledcoe,” Ruby said again, looking to April. “He could be my father.” Ruby said before looking down at his photo trying to see if she could see herself in him.

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Thank you Chax, Sarah and Spotd1 for the comments. :)


Charlie walked back into the apartment, surprised to see Ruby still up. She was sitting at the breakfast bar, drinking some orange juice as she looked down at something. “Hello.” Charlie.

“Mum,” Ruby looked up, a little startled. “Hey, how was your date?”

“Good,” Charlie smiled softly. “How was Daniel?”

“He wasn’t sick,” Ruby told her. “But he did have a bit of a temperature. The only way I could get him to sleep was by lying with him in your bed.” Charlie gave a little nod.

“Well at least he wasn’t sick,” Charlie exhaled. “Hopefully he’s okay for school tomorrow. I’ve got work.”

“I’ll stay and look after him.” Ruby offered.

“No,” Charlie answered. “You will go to school.”

Ruby sighed before looking down to the yearbook again. “So, I uhm....” Ruby took a deep breath. “Is he my father?” Ruby said, handing the book out to Charlie. Charlie grabbed the book from her daughter and before she even looked down to the photo she shut the book. She didn’t want to see his face, especially if Ruby had been looking at Grant.

“What the hell are you doing looking through my stuff?” Charlie raised her voice, mad at Ruby for sneaking around.

“I want to know who my father is,” Ruby answered. “I have a right to know.”

“No,” Charlie told her. “You don’t have a father.”

“Mum,” Ruby sounded frustrated. “I’m 16. I know how biology works. You needed a guy,” Ruby jumped down from the seat and stood in front of her mother. “Or maybe that’s it,” Ruby sort of sniggered. “You slutted yourself around and you don’t even know who my father is,” Ruby said. “I mean, you got pregnant at 14 maybe even 13 actually so you could be capable of anything.”

Charlie took a deep breath, counting to 10 in side her head, trying to stay calm. “You father is not the kind of person you will want to know, believe me.” Charlie exhaled. She wasn’t not telling Ruby to be nasty, but this was a kind of truth that no-one wanted to hear. She was just protecting her by not telling her.

“Well why don’t you tell me about him and let me decide,” Ruby sighed. “I’m sick of this...I....if you don’t tell me I will go to Leah or Bianca. How come they get to know about him but I don’t? How is that fair?”

“For goodness sake Ruby,” Charlie yelled. “I am the adult and you are the child. Now go to bed.” Charlie pointed down the hallway. Ruby sighed before storming off down the hall, walking into her room and slamming the door shut, very loudly. Charlie looked down to the yearbook before exhaling. She walked down the hall and into her room, smiling as she saw her son curled up into a ball, Theo tucked tightly under his arm. She threw the yearbook down and got changed for bed before slipping under the covers, lying close to her son.

“Mummy.” Daniel spoke sleepily as he turned around to look at her.

“Hey bud,” Charlie felt his forehead. He still had a bit of a temperature. “You feeling okay?”

“A bit better.” Daniel answered, cuddling himself into her. Charlie kissed his forehead before closing her eyes to sleep, knowing that she might need to tell Ruby the truth if only to get her to stop sneaking around, because she’d rather Ruby found out from her if she had to find out the truth than finding out from anyone else.


Charlie and Daniel walked out of the lift and made their way to their apartment. “Hey 6B, Daniel.” Charlie and Daniel looked up as they saw Brax.

“Darryl Darryl Braxton.” Charlie said and Brax gave a little laugh.

“Hello.” Daniel waved up at him.

“Hey mate,” Brax smiled as he ruffled his hair. “You not got school today?”

“I’m ill.” Daniel told him, cuddling into his mother.

“He’s feeling a little under the weather today,” Charlie said. “Means mummy is missing work but my little guy is always going to come first.”

“Of course,” Brax replied. “So has mummy made you chicken soup?” Brax questioned. “Chicken soup always helps when you are sick.”

“No,” Daniel shook his head. “Why you not do that?” Daniel looked up to his mother questioningly.

“Uhm.” Charlie gave a little shrug.

“You should want me better.” Daniel scowled at her.

“Oops, didn’t mean to get mummy in trouble.” Brax gave a little laugh.

“You could make it.” Daniel said, looking up to Brax. Charlie looked at her son, surprised at how easy it was for him to talk to Brax. He’d seen Angelo around the bay heaps of times before they even started dating and he never spoke to him. She looked to Brax who was laughing at what Daniel had said.

“You don’t need to make him soup,” Charlie said. “Daniel we don’t ask strangers things like that.”

“He not a stranger,” Daniel told his mother. “He is Darryl. He lives in 6D.” Daniel pointed across the hall.

“I know but he’ll be busy.” Charlie said.

“I’m not busy,” Brax shook his head. “I was just going to go for a surf but I think this little guy needs some of my kick-ass soup,” Daniel widened his eyes at what Brax said. “Sorry, my very good for getting better soup.” Brax corrected.

“No, I couldn’t ask you to do that.” Charlie said.

“I’m offering,” Brax smiled at her. He though she was gorgeous and would like to spend more time with her. “And I don’t have to be at work till 7 so there’s plenty time.” Brax looked down to his watch, seeing it was just after 1.

“What you work?” Daniel questioned.

“I work at a place called Angelo’s,” Brax told them. “It’s my first day today actually. I’m a little nervous.”

“Oh he is mummy’s boyfriend.” Daniel told him and Brax looked slightly disappointed to hear that.

“He’s not my boyfriend,” Charlie told her son. “He’s just....we’re dating,” Charlie said as she looked up at Brax and Brax gave a little nod. “But you’re the new guy he was on about then. You part owner now?”

“Yeah that’s me,” Brax nodded. “Nice little joint so hopefully it survives.”

“Yeah.” Charlie nodded.

“I no like it,” Daniel screwed his face up. “The food is yuck.”

Brax laughed. “You like pizza?”

“Oh yes.” Daniel nodded.

“Well we are going to put that on the menu,” Brax told him. “So maybe you’ll like it then.”

“Will you give me free pizza?” Daniel questioned.

“Daniel,” Charlie raised her voice, embarrassed by her son’s forwardness. She fished her key from her bag. “Anyways, we’ll let you get to your surfing,” Charlie said, glancing back at Brax. “See you.”

“See you 6B.” Brax winked at her.

“But mummy, my soup.” Daniel held his hands out to the side.

“Shhh.” Charlie shushed her son as she pushed him forward towards the door.

“Bye Darryl.” Daniel waved to him before they walked into the apartment.

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Thanks Chax, Sarah and Spotd1. :wub:


Daniel was sitting at the breakfast bar with a glass of milk. “Can I get a cookie?” Daniel questioned. Charlie raised her eyebrows as she looked to her son.

“You feeling better then?” Charlie questioned.

“A bit.” Daniel nodded. Charlie exhaled as she opened the cupboard and took out the pack of cookies, handing one to her son. She studied his face and he still looked a little pale, but thought one cookie wouldn’t hurt. Daniel grinned as he dipped it into his milk before taking a bite. They both looked up as there was a knock at the door. Charlie walked over and looked through the peephole, feeling herself smiling as she saw Brax at the other side, holding a tupperware box in his hand.

“Darryl Darryl Braxton.” Charlie said as she opened the door.

“Hey 6B, Daniel,” Brax looked into the room, smiling over to the boy. “I uhm...I made the soup.”

“Ah thank you,” Charlie smiled as she took the tupperware box from him. “We’ll have that for dinner then, huh buddy?”

“Yeah,” Daniel nodded. “You come in Darryl,” Daniel said and Brax looked to Charlie who gave a little nod. They walked over to the breakfast bar and Charlie put the box of soup onto it. “You want cookies n milk?” Daniel asked.

“Sure,” Brax answered. “If that’s okay.” Brax looked to Charlie and she gave a little nod before getting him a glass of milk. She took the box of cookies from the cupboard and sat them onto the worktop as Brax took a seat on the breakfast bar next to Daniel. Charlie watched as Brax picked up a cookie and at the very same time as Daniel, dipped it into his milk before taking a bit.

“Oh we is the same.” Daniel sounded amazed. “Wow Darryl.”

Brax gave a little laugh. “It’s the best way to eat a cookie huh?” Brax questioned. “Dipped in milk?”

“Yeah.” Daniel nodded.

“So if you are sitting here eating cookies does that mean you feel better?” Brax asked.

“A bit,” Daniel answered. “I want you’s soup though. It will get me all better.”

Charlie smiled at seeing her son relaxed in Brax’s company. Apart from Miles, he wasn’t really around guys much, part of the reason Charlie though he was so shy, especially with Angelo. “Thank you, by the way,” Charlie gave him a smile. “You didn’t need to make it.”

“It was my pleasure.” Brax smiled at her before he dipped his cookie into his milk again.

“What do you say to Darryl?” Charlie looked at her son who had a milk moustache.

“Thank you Darryl.” Daniel said, smiling up at him.

“You’re welcome mate,” Brax said. “And you can call me Brax.” Brax told them.

“Brax,” Daniel giggled. “That’s a funny name. Why that?”

“Well it’s part of my surname,” Brax answered. “It’s Braxton shorted to Brax.”

“Oh. You can call me....” Daniel scratched the side of his head. “Buck.” Daniel giggled.

Charlie and Brax laughed at his request. “Buck,” Brax said. “Yeah, Buck, it’s cool.” Daniel giggled before he hid his face with his hands. Charlie shook her head in amusement as Brax looked up at her, his face equally as amused.

“Oh Brax,” Daniel said. “Does you like The Flash?”

“Who?” Brax questioned, looking down to Daniel before he looked back to Charlie.

“He is a superhero.” Charlie told him as Daniel gasped in shock that he didn’t know this.

“I get my Flash man.” Daniel said jumping down from the breakfast bar and running to his room, excited to show his new friend his favourite superhero.


Ruby went round to April’s after school and had begged her to let her use the laptop. “Why can’t you just use your own?” April questioned.

“Because its mum’s and she might find out what I’ve been searching,” Ruby sighed. “Please April you are supposed to be my best friend.” April sighed as she turned the radio on, bringing some music into the room.

“Okay, but I don’t like this one bit.” April opened the drawer and pulled out the laptop, putting it down on the table. Ruby gave a little squeal as she gave April a side hug before pulling the chair out and sitting down, opening the laptop and turning it on.

“Well you don’t need to be a part of it,” Ruby said. “Go wash your hair or something.”

April sighed as she sat down next to Ruby, watching as Ruby opened up an internet page and going to Google. She typed in the name ‘Grant Bledcoe’ and almost instantly responses came up. She opened a new tab and went to Facebook, signing herself in before typing Grant Bledcoe into the search box and she got a few different matches. She looked at the first page, but he was a 56 year old male who lived in Massachusetts, USA so Ruby thought she could cancel him out. The next Grant Bledcoe was a 19 year old from Perth so Ruby figured he wouldn’t be her father either. She went back to the Google search and started looking through the results.

“Hey girls,” Bianca said as she walked into the house, Kaya running in behind her, her brown hair – which she’d inherited from her father – swinging from side to side in her ponytail. “How was school?”

“Fine,” Ruby answered. “Hey Kaya how was pre-school?”

“I bake,” Kaya said her big green eyes all wide. “Yummy.” Kaya hit her stomach before she started to dance along to the music from the radio.

“Ugh sorry but I am switching the station.” Bianca muttered as one of Liam’s songs came on the radio. Even now, after over 3 years she couldn’t listen to one of his songs. She moved the dial and Katy Perry’s ‘Roar’ came on, very much a favourite of Kaya’s at the moment. The little girl started singing along as she danced, mostly saying ‘hear me roar’ over and over. April raised her eyebrows at her sister before looking back to Ruby.

“Found anything interesting?” April questioned quietly.

Ruby gave a little nod and opened an article that spoke of a Grant Bledcoe being sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. “What you girls looking at?” Bianca questioned.

“Just doing some research for English class.” April answered as Ruby pulled the laptop closer to her.

“Oh yeah?” Bianca questioned. “What’s the topic?” Bianca walked round to look at the screen and before Ruby had the chance to read anything she crossed the page off, but forgetting she had a second tab open was met with the question ‘close all tabs or current page only?’ “Ruby.” Bianca exhaled, seeing what she was looking for.

“I want to know about him.” Ruby sighed.

“You’re mother will tell you if and when she thinks you are ready.” Bianca said.

“No, no she won’t,” Ruby sighed again. “She changes the subject or says I don’t have a father or that he’s not the kind of guy I’d want as a father.” Ruby said looking up to Bianca. “Is this him?” Ruby pointed to the screen. “Is he really in jail?”

Bianca pursed her lips. This wasn’t her place to say. It was up to Charlie, not her. “I don’t know.”

“Yes you do,” Ruby sounded frustrated. “Mum tells you everything. I know you know.”

Bianca ran her hand through her hair. “I’m not saying anything Ruby,” Bianca exhaled. “It’s not my place and if you’re mum doesn’t want you know then you’ll have to live with that.”

“Ahh this sucks.” Ruby shouted, banging her hands off the table. Kaya jumped in fright before going back to her dancing.

“Rubes,” Bianca exhaled, rubbing Ruby’s shoulder. “You’re mum really does have your best interests at heart by not telling you about him.” Bianca said giving her shoulder a squeeze.

“Can you at least tell me if me and Daniel have the same father?” Ruby asked.

“Has your mum ever denied that?” Bianca asked.

“Well no, but,” Ruby bit her lip. “I don’t remember him ever being around when I was a kid so,” Ruby shrugged. “I think that....I think Roman is Daniel’s father so, he’s my half brother right?”

Bianca gave a little shrug. “If you are not actually needing to do research you can put that away.” Bianca said, pointing to the laptop. Ruby sighed as she shut the laptop down wondering how she would find out more now.

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Thank you Spotd1,Sarah, Sabrina and Freakie42 for the comments. :wub:


Ruby walked into the apartment, screwing her face up as she saw the stranger sitting there. “Uhm...hello.” Ruby said.

“Ruby this is Darryl,” Daniel said. “No no, he’s Brax,” Daniel corrected himself. “He live in 6D.”

“Ah the haunted one,” Ruby grinned. “Mum tell you about that?” Brax was surprised Ruby had referred to Charlie as mum. Charlie did not look old enough to have a teenage daughter.

“Yeah,” Brax gave a little laugh. “So, it was Ruby, right?” Brax held his hand out. “I’m Darryl but everyone calls me Brax.” Ruby shook his hand before throwing her school bag to the floor.

“I’m Ruby.” Ruby said and Brax gave a little nod.

“Well I’ll let you get on,” Brax said stepping down from the seat. “By 6B, Buck.” Brax grinned down at Daniel and he giggled as he waved goodbye.

“Bye and thanks again for the soup.” Charlie said as she walked him over to the door.

“No worries,” Brax grinned at her before they looked into each other’s eyes. Charlie cleared her throat as she broke contact. “Cya.” Brax said before stepping out of the apartment.

“So, how was school today?” Charlie questioned, turning back to face her daughter.

“Same old,” Ruby sighed. “I did some......research though....” Ruby pursed her lips. “About my...f-a-t-h-e-r,” Ruby spelled it out and saw Charlie get a mad looking look on her face. “Something about p-r-i-s-o-n.” Charlie looked to Daniel who was scratching his head at all the spelling out of words.

“Go put The Flash back in your room bud,” Charlie said. “And the pick out a game to play. Mummy wants to talk to Rubes.” Daniel jumped down from the breakfast bar and ran down to his room.

“Look mum I just want to know where I came from.” Ruby said.

Charlie took a deep breath. She was getting tired of fighting this with Ruby. “Okay,” Charlie exhaled. “But you know if I tell you, I can’t....that’s it. Nothing will change the fact you know and....I....I want you to be sure you are aware of that. You can’t not know this once I tell you.”

“I know,” Ruby answered. “I want to know.”

Charlie took a deep breath before walking over to the couch. Ruby followed and sat down next to her. Charlie took a moment to compose herself, wishing she didn’t have to tell this awful story again. “I was thirteen,” Charlie said, one hand nervously rubbing over her other. “My boyfr -” Charlie stopped talking. “Your fath.....he was 15,” Charlie said. “We were seeing each....dating....we....it had been 7 maybe 8 months. He wanted to take it to the next level but I...” Charlie shook her head. “I was 13. I wasn’t thinking about that but it didn’t seem to matter to him,” Charlie took a moment, looking to Ruby to see her reaction. She saw her eyes were already misting over, probably knowing what was coming. “He uhm....he forced himself upon me.” Charlie wiped a tear from her eye before looking to Ruby, who had a tear rolling down her cheek.

“I...I’m a rape baby.” Ruby's voice was squeaky.

“That’s why I didn’t want to tell you,” Charlie sniffed back. “I love you so much and I didn’t want you to doubt that.”

“But I am worse than a mistake.” Ruby cried.

“You are my daughter and I would not swap having you for the world,” Charlie assured her as she rubbed her arm. “My beautiful, kind, passionate little Rubes.”

Ruby wiped a tear from her eye. “You promise me that? You don’t hate me when you look at me?”

“Never,” Charlie shook her head. “The moment I held you in the hospital I was overwhelmed with love,” Charlie managed a little smile, fondly remembering the day her daughter was born. “Where you came from didn’t matter to me one bit. You were my little girl and no one could ever take you from me,” Charlie sniffed back as she wiped her thumbs over Ruby’s cheeks. “Do you think I hate you?”

Ruby shook her head. “Not for a second.”

“And I never will.” Charlie said, rubbing Ruby’s arm.

“So he is in jail?” Ruby questioned. Charlie took a deep breath as she nodded. “So, then he couldn’t be....Daniel....who’s...he must be Roman’s?” Ruby questioned. Roman was the only boyfriend she could ever remember her mother having as she was growing up.

“I wish it was Roman,” Charlie exhaled as another tear rolled down her cheek. “He was uhm....as I said he was 15 when it happened. He was sentenced to 10 years. He did 3 in juvie before getting moved to a prison,” Charlie took a deep breath. “He did his seven years there then he was out. 25 years old. Young enough to live a normal life. To meet a woman, marry her, have children with her,” Charlie clicked her tongue. “It wasn’t long before he found us....I was uhm....I was just 24, you were 10,” Charlie looked down, continuing to rub one hand with her other. “Roman and I had uhm...we’d just broken off the engagement and he’d gone back to the SAS,” Charlie composed herself. “He eh....he found us. He found me. He didn’t....he didn’t know about you,” Charlie once again took a deep breath. Living through this was bad enough, she hated that she needed to tell the story again. “Thankfully you were sleeping over at April’s that night so you weren’t there,” Ruby watched as a tear slowly fell from Charlie’s eye and rolled down her cheek. “He was mad at me,” Charlie hit her chest. “For making him lose 10 years of his life to jail,” Charlie exhaled. “He said...said I deserved everything I got for my lies and he...” Charlie looked down. “Well that’s how I wound up pregnant with Daniel.” Charlie sniffed back and Ruby gasped, understanding what her mother was telling her. As if facing rape wouldn’t be hard enough to do the once, her mother had had to do it twice.

“I’m so sorry mum,” Ruby rubbed her arm as they both sniffed back tears. “I know I wanted to know, but....but not this.” Ruby wiped a tear from her cheek.

“That’s why I didn’t want to tell you,” Charlie told her. “I was only trying to protect you from this awful truth.”

“Uhm...me and....me and Daniel, do we,” Ruby took a moment to compose herself. “Do we look like him? Do we....we must remind you of him.” Ruby wasn’t sure that she actually wanted to know the answer here, but it was a question she needed to ask.

“You have his eyes,” Charlie said, knowing she may as well be honest with her daughter. “Both of you. You both have his eyes.”

“I’m sorry.” Ruby bowed her head down.

“It’s not your fault,” Charlie sniffed back. “On him the eyes look....they’re evil, they’re....” Charlie trailed off. “On you two they’re sweet and innocent. They’re happy little eyes,” Charlie rubbed Ruby’s cheek before gently pushing her face up to face her again. “You two are my world and I wouldn’t want to live without you,” Charlie continued to rub Ruby’s cheek. “I wouldn’t want to change you for anything.”

“I see that,” Ruby sniffed. “So he’s...he’s back in jail?” Ruby hope this was the case. She hoped that he rotted in that place.

“Yeah,” Charlie pursed her lips together. “5 more years and he’ll be out though.”

“Aren’t you scared he’ll come for you again?” Ruby questioned.

“Every day.” Charlie answered truthfully. It always plagued her mind. Did he get early release? Is he going to come back to the bay to find her again? Those sort of thoughts were never far away from her mind. She deeply wanted to find someone to share her life with, someone to protect her and her children, someone to make her feel safe again. She only hoped one day she would be lucky enough to find that, she felt it was the least she deserved.

“I won’t let him lay another finger on you,” Ruby said, Charlie seeing venom and anger inside her daughter. “I hope he dies in there.”

“You and me both,” Charlie exhaled. “So now you know....that’s the topic back to being closed, yes?”

Ruby nodded, this wasn’t something she ever wanted to talk about again and now she knew the awful truth, part of her wished she didn’t actually know. “I’m sorry for making you have to face this again.” Ruby mumbled.

“It’s okay. I...I do understand that you were bound to be curious about where you came from.” Charlie said, tucking Ruby’s hair behind her ear.

“I came from a smart, beautiful, strong, courageous woman,” Ruby smiled up at her mother. “I love you mum.”

“I love you too sweetheart. So much,” Charlie pulled Ruby into a hug. “So so much.” Charlie kissed the top of Ruby’s head before they stayed silently in the embrace.

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Thanks Spotd1 and Sarah. :)


Bianca and Kaya had gone round to Charlie’s apartment after Bianca was finished with work. Daniel had complained he didn’t feel well again so Charlie kept him home from school, once again having to miss her work. “Chalie,” Kaya said, putting her glass of milk down to the breakfast bar. “Put Katy Perry on,” Charlie picked up Ruby’s iPod from the breakfast bar and put it in the dock that was sitting on the kitchen worktop. She looked through the artists until she found Katy Perry and hit shuffle. ‘Hot N Cold’ started playing and Kaya screwed her face up. “No no,” Kaya waved her arms in front of her. “Katy Perry.”

“This is Katy Perry poppet.” Charlie told her.

“No,” Kaya sighed. “Mummy.” Kaya looked to Bianca frustratingly.

“You have to put Roar on,” Bianca rolled her eyes. “It’s the only one she thinks is Katy Perry,” Charlie gave a little nod before skipping through till Roar started playing; making sure she also put the song on repeat. Kaya grinned as she started shaking her head to the music, before jumping down and dancing around in the kitchen as she sang along. “So you were saying you told Rubes?”

Charlie gave a little nod. “She eh...I think she was a bit shocked, to be honest, but....” Charlie exhaled. “I am sort of glad she knows now because at least all the questions about him will stop.”

“Until Daniel is older.” Bianca said.

“Well you’ll have these kind of questions once Kaya is older too.” Charlie exhaled.

“And I can’t wait to tell her that her father is a junkie rock star who abandoned us for a life of sex, drugs and rock n roll.” Bianca said, Charlie seeing the sadness in her eyes. Charlie opened her mouth to reply but the knock at the door stopped her. She walked across and looked through the peephole, feeling a funny feeling in her stomach as she saw it was Brax.

“Hey 6B,” Brax grinned as she opened the door. “How’s little Buck today?”

Charlie gave a little laugh. “He’s still complaining he’s sick. He’s having a little lie down right now.” Charlie said as Brax stepped into the apartment, smiling over at Bianca.

“Aww poor kid,” Brax said, looking down to the comic book in his hand. “I eh, I came across this when I was doing some shopping and thought he might like it,” Brax said. “It comes out every week. Maybe he already has this week’s but....” Brax gave a little shrug as he trailed off.

“No he doesn’t,” Charlie took the comic book from him. “It comes out today. I eh...I haven’t been out yet today so obviously couldn’t get it.”

“Well he’s got it now,” Brax smiled. “Some bed time reading from mummy I guess.”

“Yeah, that’s normally it,” Charlie looked down to the comic book before looking back to Brax. “I eh....I’ll get you the money.”

“Don’t be silly,” Brax said. “It’s from me.” Brax smiled at her once again and they shared each other’s gaze for a moment.

Bianca cleared her throat very loudly, causing them to look to her. “Bianca Darryl, Darryl Bianca.” Charlie pointed between Bianca and Brax.

“Hi.” Bianca lifted her hand up in a wave.

“Hey,” Brax smiled at her. “I’ve just moved in across the hall. You can call me Brax.”

“Well hello Brax,” Bianca looked him up and down. “I’m Bianca.”

“Nice to meet you,” Brax smiled. “But, anyways I just wanted to drop that around for Daniel. I let you ladies get back to your lady chatting.” Brax said.

“Thanks,” Charlie gave him a smile as she walked him back over to the door. “See you.”

“See ya 6B.” Brax winked as he patted her arm before walking out of the apartment. Charlie looked back round to Bianca who was staring at her with a big grin on her face.

“What?” Charlie asked, walking back over to her friend.

“Uhm...so why have you not mentioned this to me?” Bianca questioned.

“What?” Charlie said. “That I have a new neighbour?” Charlie questioned, watching Kaya as she was still happily dancing around to Katy Perry’s Roar.

“That you have a new neighbour who is absolutely gorgeous.” Bianca widened her eyes.

“Can’t say I’ve noticed.” Charlie exhaled, leaning down against the breakfast bar.

“Charlotte Buckton,” Bianca gasped. “You’ve noticed alright.”

Charlie went a little red. “He is.....wow hot.” Charlie exhaled dreamily.

Bianca laughed. “You two would make the world’s most gorgeous babies. Oh my God you have to date him.” Bianca hit her hands off the breakfast bar excitedly.

“Me and him?” Charlie said. “What about Angelo? He’s like my....we’ll we’re you know....”

“Look at what you could have,” Bianca pointed to the door. “Screw Angelo. We’ll not literally. Screw Brax. You should definitely screw Brax.”

“Bianca,” Charlie laughed. “You don’t even know if he likes me in that way. He’s probably just being a friendly neighbour.”

“He likes you in that way and you know it,” Bianca said. “C’mon Charlie. It’s time to get back into this dating game.”

“I’ve been dating Angelo.” Charlie retorted.

“Yeah and he was a good stepping stone for Brax.” Bianca said.

“Why are you so keen on me to date Brax?” Charlie wondered.

“Well it doesn’t really have to be Brax,” Bianca exhaled. “It can be Angelo if you want it to, I just.....I want to see you happy. And Roman was like 6 years ago. Aren’t you a little frustrated?” Bianca questioned.

Charlie laughed. “Could ask you the same thing,” Charlie said. “It’s been over 3 years for you too.”

“That’s like half as much as you and we aren’t talking about me right now,” Bianca said. “We are talking about you and there is definitely something there with Brax. I saw it as soon as he walked into the place.” Charlie pursed her lips as she thought about Brax. She couldn’t deny that Bianca was right. She did like him. More than she found herself liking Angelo in fact and he was already great with her son, which was a big plus and Daniel had taking a liking to Brax which was good if things ever did happen with them, only question was, was Charlie brave enough to take that step of asking someone out on a date.


Ruby, April, Dex and Xavier were hanging around a Xavier’s place after school. April had been told about Ruby’s father but she decided that she wouldn’t tell anyone else. She didn’t want to for starts but, of course, out of respect for Charlie, she didn’t want to tell anyone else what had happened to her. “God this town can be so boring,” Xavier sighed. “What can we do?”

“Just chill with your mates,” April answered. “Do you have to be doing something every minute of every day?”

“Yeah,” Xavier sighed as he looked outside. The rain was beating down heavily and there were rumbles of thunder in the distance. “Stupid rain. You’d think in a place called summer bay it would be like summer all the time.” Xavier said and Ruby and April laughed.

“Alright,” Ruby said. “I have something we could play.”

“What?” Dex questioned.

“Truth or Dare.” Ruby said, raising her eyebrows. “You up for it?”

“Sure,” Xavier said. “Could be interesting.” He looked to April and gave her a smile, which she returned. It was no secret Xavier liked her. In fact everyone but April seemed to know this.

“Ahh no,” Dex sighed. “Really, truth or dare? Can’t we get the Xbox out or something?”

“No,” Ruby sighed. “This will be so much more fun,” Ruby clapped her hands together. “Okay, so, uhm...Xav, you want a truth or a dare?”

“Dare.” Xavier answered.

“Hmm okay,” Ruby stood up and walked over to the kitchen. She opened the bread bin and took out the loaf of bread, taking a slice from it. She grabbed a banana from the fruit bowl and cut it up, placing it onto the bread. She opened the cupboard and took out the ketchup, squirting a reasonable amount over the banana and bread.

“What you making?” Xavier sighed. “Don’t make it to gross.”

Ruby just laughed as she took the cheese from the fridge and grated some over the top. She looked to the spice rack and picked up the chilli powder and sprinkled a little over the concoction before putting another piece of bread on the top and throwing it on a plate. “Hope you are hungry,” Ruby grinned as she walked back over to Xavier, handing him the plate. “Eat.”

Xavier looked at it and screwed his face up. “I’d rather not.”

“You picked dare, you have to do it.” April said and Xavier sighed before taking a bit of the sandwich, gagging immediately.

“I can’t eat it.” Xavier swallowed the mouthful before once again gagging and the others laughed.

“Eat it,” Ruby slapped his thigh. Xavier sighed before continuing to eat his sandwich. “So, April. Truth or dare?”

“Uhm.....truth.” April answered and Ruby looked to Dex, wanting him to come up with something.

“Eh,” Dex rubbed the back of his head. “Do you have a crush on anyone at the moment?”

“Uhm,” April pursed her lips. “I do.”

“Well who?” Dex questioned.

“Well that’s another truth, isn’t it?” April questioned. “You should have said who do you have a crush on at the moment if you wanted me to name names,” April said and Ruby laughed as Dex sighed.

“She gets away with that and I need to eat this disgusting sandwich?” Xavier questioned.

“You picked dare,” Ruby said. “Right, Xav, hit Dex with the question.” Ruby took a drink of her juice as she looked between the boys.

Xavier swallowed a bite of the sandwich before looking to Dex. “Truth or dare.”

“Uhm....truth...no no, dare....uhm, or truth...ahh,” Dex sighed, running his hands through his hair. “I don’t know. I don’t want to play.”

“Aww c’mon,” April said. “It’s just a bit of fun between friends.”

“Dare.” Dexter screwed his face up, unsure he’d picked the best one, but he’d rather take the chance of eating something gross than answering questions about who he liked, or kissing or even sex.

Xavier grinned as he looked to the girls before looking back to Dex. “Pash Ruby.” Xavier said and Dexter looked down, almost embarrassed.

“I uhm....I’m not playing.” Dex said before standing up and storming out of the room, Ruby, April and Xavier all jumping as they heard the bathroom door being slammed shut.

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Thank you CharlieAndBraxLover, Spotd1, Sarah and Freakie42 for the comments. :)


Ruby knocked softly on the door. “Dex,” Ruby spoke quietly. “Dex, can I come in.” Ruby heard the sounds of the door unlocking and took this as an invitation to enter the room.

“It’s usually teenage girls who run off and lock themselves in bathrooms in a strop,” Ruby said and Dex managed a little laugh. “What got to you?” Ruby questioned. “I’m not that hideous to kiss, am I?”

“Of course not,” Dex answered. “You’re really pretty. It’s just...” Dex looked away from Ruby. “I’ve never....you know. No one.”

“Really?” Ruby looked surprised. “What about Annie?” Ruby questioned. “You dated her, right?”

Dex nodded. “She didn’t want to kiss though. You know what she was like.”

“Mmm,” Ruby nodded, sitting down on the bathtub next to Dex. “Well maybe it’s a good thing. You can keep your first kiss for that some special.” Ruby said, rubbing his arm.

“Sometimes I wish I could just get it out of the way,” Dex said. “Then maybe I wouldn’t be as nervous around girls.”

“You’re not nervous around me and April.” Ruby said.

“Yeah but it’s you two,” Dex answered. “We’ve been friends for like ever.” Dex said.

“Well you have a friend here who is willing to help you out. If you’d be happy with me being your first kiss, that is.” Ruby said.

“Why would you want to kiss me?” Dex questioned.

“To help a friend out,” Ruby said. “And it’s not like you are hideous to look at.” Dex gave a little smile as he looked into Ruby’s eyes. They were so green and he sometimes found them mesmerising. His smile grew larger as he leaned in a little and Ruby took this as an invitation. She leaned forward and placed her lips onto Dex’s kissing him softly. They both smiled into the kiss, letting it deep a little, before Ruby pulled back.

“Thanks for that,” Dex couldn’t wipe the smile from his face. Kissing Ruby was nice. “It was...nice. Really nice.”

Ruby smiled. “Hmm yeah. You’ll make a girl very lucky,” Ruby said before standing up from the bathtub. “C’mon, let’s go back through. We’ll get Xavier to do something embarrassing.” Ruby gave a little laugh, grabbing Dex’s hand and pulling him from the bathroom, Dex still thinking about the kiss.


The rain was still beating down hard, the thunder roaring even louder. The storm had caused a power failure in the apartment block, but thankfully Daniel was already tucked up in bed so wasn’t able to be scared. “Well I’m heading to bed,” Ruby told her mother. Night.”

“Goodnight Rubes,” Charlie smiled at her daughter, the torch she was holding in her hand the only light they had. She shone it down the hallway so Ruby could see where she was going before walking to the kitchen, getting a glass and pouring herself a small glass of water from the tap. Just as she thought she may as well head to bed herself, there was a knock at the door. She instantly felt a funny feeling in the pit of her stomach and felt herself hoping it was Brax at the door. She walked across and opened it up, shining the torch in his face.

Brax held his hand up, covering his eyes. “Hey.” Brax squinted.

“Sorry,” Charlie shone the torch to the side. “Ehm hey Brax, what can I do for you?”

“I just wanted to make sure everyone was safe over here in the power cut.” Brax said.

Charlie felt herself smiling. “We’re good. The kids are in bed all safe,” Charlie answered. “How about you?”

“I stubbed my toe,” Brax sighed. “That really hurts,” Brax winced as he looked down to his foot and Charlie gave a little laugh. “Anyways you don’t happen to have a spare torch, a few candles?” Brax questioned. “Just I haven’t unpacked everything yet so....” Brax rubbed the back of his head. “It’s hard enough to find something after a move, never mind when it’s dark.”

“Yeah,” Charlie agreed. “But no, sorry, this is the only working torch I have,” Charlie answered before looking into her place, towards the kitchen. “You like ice-cream?” Charlie questioned.

“Yeah but I don’t think it’ll help me see.” Brax replied and Charlie laughed as she gestured for him to come into the house.

“It’s only going to melt,” Charlie said putting the torch down on the breakfast bar and opening the drawer, pulling out two spoons. Brax gave a little smile before opening the tub of ice-cream and taking a spoonful. “You can sit.” Charlie said, walking around and taking a seat. Brax took a seat on the chair next to her.

“Not letting the little Buck stay up to help you eat this?” Brax questioned.

“He’s still a bit under the weather,” Charlie answered. “Rubes had some though.”

Brax gave a little nod. “Ruby is your daughter, right?”

“Yeah.” Charlie nodded a spoonful of ice-cream in her mouth.

“How old are you? If you don’t mind me asking?” Brax questioned.

“I’m 30,” Charlie answered. “Why do you ask?”

“I don’t think you look old enough to have a teenage daughter,” Brax answered. “Ruby must be what, 15?” Brax guessed.

“She’s 16,” Charlie cleared her throat. “So, how old are you?” Charlie keen to get away from the subject of age when Ruby was born, knowing where it might end up and although it felt easy to talk to Brax and like she’d known him years as opposed to a few days, she was in no way about to tell him about her past.

“I’m 28,” Brax told her. “So any siblings?” Brax questioned, thinking he may as well take this opportunity to get to know her better.

“Only child,” Charlie swallowed some ice-cream. “Parents were workaholics. At least my father was. My mother had been ill ever since I could remember. There didn’t seem like much time for me, let alone any more children.”

“I see,” Brax gave a little nod. “Well I have two brothers and we wound each other up like crazy or beat each other up all the time. Don’t get me wrong we love each other but...” Brax shook his head. “Sometimes I wish I was an only child.”

Charlie laughed a little. “Nah it was lonely. But I’ve got Leah and Bianca now, so, they’re like my sisters,” Brax took another spoonful of ice-cream. “So you’re brothers live close by?”

“Nah,” Brax shook his head. “Live out near Perth,” Brax told her. “Been about a bit.”

“You mean growing up?” Charlie wondered. “Because of your parents’ job?”

“No,” Brax laughed. “Dad bailed on us before Case was even born and mum couldn’t seem to hold down a job,” Brax told her. “She likes the alcohol too much,” Brax explained and Charlie gave a little nod. “Anyways when I turned 18, Heath was 15 and Casey was 6 we took off.” Brax said and Charlie widened her eyes.

“Not like that,” Brax told her, realising how it must have sounded. “I took legal guardianship over Case and Heath. Mum was always drunk and I wanted Casey at least to have a better upbringing than Heath and I got. We settled in Melbourne first but Heath got in with the wrong crowd and I needed to move him away from that,” Brax said. “Same thing happened in Adelaide so I moved them on and we settled near Perth. Heath met a girl and of course everything changed. Been together nearly 7 years.”

“Ah nice,” Charlie gave a little smile. “So Casey not come out with you then?”

“We talked about it but he’s got a couple of important years at school so just stayed there eh,” Brax said. “Heath and his woman will look after him.”

“So what brought you back to this side of Australia?” Charlie wondered.

“I was bored,” Brax answered. “Just had to move on.”

“Fair enough.” Charlie said.

“So what about you?” Brax questioned. “You always lived here?”

“I grew up in Sydney,” Charlie told him. “When I was 20 my mum died and dad couldn’t handle being in that house anymore. Too many memories. Everywhere he went in the city it reminded him of mum so he moved here and Rubes and I came with him.”

“Sorry about your mum.” Brax said, placing his hand on her arm and giving it a squeeze.

“It was the best thing for her, I think.” Charlie exhaled.

“You’re dad still around?” Brax questioned and Charlie looked down as she shook her head.

“He died two years ago,” Charlie told him. “It’s just me and the kids.”

“Their father not stick around either, I take it?” Brax questioned.

“No, no.” Charlie pursed her lips.

“Sorry,” Brax could see he’d touched on a sensitive subject. “So, this thing with you and Angelo,” Brax cleared his throat. “How serious is it?”

“Not very,” Charlie answered. “Why?”

“Just....I think you are completely gorgeous and uhm....” Brax paused, looking into her eyes. It was hard to see, because of the power failure and the little light the torch did give was shining in the wrong direction, but he still thought she had the most gorgeous eyes that would light up any room. He took a deep breath as he rubbed her cheek before leaning in and placing a soft kiss on her lips. Charlie was a little startled and pulled back. “Sorry, I thought you....” Brax bowed his head.

“No, don’t be sorry. It just took me by surprise a little.” Charlie said.

“Oh,” Brax rubbed the back of his head. “But you wouldn’t mind if I kissed you again?” Brax questioned. “Now you know I’m going to?”

“That would be fine.” Charlie answered. Brax smiled as he placed a soft kiss on her lips.

“Mummy.” Daniel’s little voice caused them to break apart. Charlie picked the torch up and shone it down the hallway as Daniel walked over to her, rubbing his tired eyes.

“I’ll leave you to it.” Brax rubbed her shoulder before walking away as Charlie got off the chair to tend to her son, her heart fluttering at what had just happened.

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Thank you CharlieAndBraxLover, Spotd1 and Sarah for the comments. :)


Charlie walked into the restaurant, smiling as she saw Brax stocking up the wine. “Hey,” Charlie leaned herself against the bar. “How are you?”

“6B,” Brax smiled. “Nice to see you.”

“Charlie,” Angelo smiled as he walked out of the office. “Hey, was just about to give you a call.” Angelo told her as he walked over to her and placed a kiss on her cheek.

“Oh yeah?” Charlie questioned.

“Was going to ask if you fancied the movies tonight,” Angelo said. “The Hobbit 2 is out. Loved the first one.” Angelo smiled.

“I haven’t seen the first one,” Charlie said. “Uhm and Daniel’s not been so great the last few days so eh....no,” Charlie shook her head glancing at Brax before looking to back to Angelo. “Actually I...” Charlie paused. Angelo was so sweet and she didn’t want to hurt him. “I wanted to talk to you. That’s why I came.”

“Oh okay,” Angelo took her hand and walked her over to the booth, the both of them taking a seat. “Everything okay?”

“Yeah it’s...” Charlie pursed her lips. “You’re a sweet guy, Angelo and you are a great friend to me and....I think that’s just it,” Charlie said. “We’ve been such good friends for so long that we.....we should stay in the friends zone.” Charlie exhaled.

“Have I done something wrong?” Angelo questioned, saddened that it seemed she was ending things with him before it really began.

“No,” Charlie shook her head, glancing behind him and looking at Brax, who was trying not to listen, but couldn’t help himself. She exhaled, looking back to Angelo. “You’ve been nothing but sweet and you were so patient because we both know I’ve got some issues but....it just....something didn’t feel right when we were kissing and...I just...I think us being friends is what works.”

“Right,” Angelo bowed his head down, exhaling sadly. “Well can’t blame a guy for trying, right?”

“No,” Charlie rubbed his arm. “We’re still good? You are still going to be my friend, right?”

“Of course,” Angelo answered. Of course he’d love to be more than her friend but if Charlie didn’t want that then there wasn’t much he could do about it. “Is uhm...is there someone else?” Charlie unintentionally glanced at Brax and it didn’t go un-noticed by Angelo.

“No,” Charlie answered. “I just don’t want to drag you along; making you think this is going to turn into something when it’s not.”

“Well thank you, I guess.” Angelo said. “Anyways, I uhm....I should get back to work.”

“Sure,” Charlie exhaled, feeling relieved she’d gotten that over with. “I’ll see you around, yeah?” Charlie said as she rubbed his arm. Angelo nodded. “Bye.” Charlie said, glancing over at Brax who gave her a smile before she walked out of the restaurant. Angelo sighed before turning around and walking behind the bar.

“You hurt her and I will hunt you down, you understand?” Angelo said.

“What?” Brax screwed his face up.

“Don’t play dumb with me,” Angelo replied. “I can see there is something between you two. She’s a great woman but she’s had to go through more than most in life and she deserves the world. I care about her and the last thing I want is to see her hurt, so, just.....look after her.” Angelo said.

“Of course.” Brax nodded and Angelo gave him a little smile before going back to the office to get on with his work.


Ruby, April, Dex and Xavier went to the surf club after school. April and Ruby took a table while Dex and Xavier were getting the smoothies. “Here you go.” Dex handed one to Ruby before taking the seat next to her.

“Thanks.” Ruby said, taking a drink.

“No problem.” Dex gave her a smile, staring at her for a moment, getting lost in her eyes. April looked between the two before slapping Dex’s thigh. “Ah what was that for?”

“Nothing,” April exhaled. “You guys never did tell us what happened in that bathroom yesterday.” April looked between her friends.

Dex and I had a good chat, right Dex?” Ruby said looking at him.

“Yeah, yeah, a chat,” Dex nodded. “So you guys want to play pool?” Dex glanced over seeing the pool table was free.

“Sure,” Xavier stood up. “We’ll do the usual, boys v girls will we?” Xavier questioned.

“I was thinking we could mix it up,” Dex said as they all walked across to the table. “Maybe....I dunno, me and Rubes against you and April?” Dex put his smoothie down on the table nearest the pool table before picking up the two pool cues, handing one to April.

“Sure,” Xavier smiled, liking that his friend was helping him get closer to April. “We’ll totally kick their asses, right?” Xavier said.

“I dunno, Rubes is the best. I like playing with her.” April answered.

“I want a turn.” Dex moaned.

“Ah little Dexy is tired of losing I see?” Ruby rubbed his arm. “You want to be on the winning team for once?”

“I want to be on your team, yeah.” Dex smiled, still looking to her eyes, he really did find them captivating.

“Okay then,” Ruby said. “Let’s try out these new teams,” Ruby said before looking to Xavier. “Hurry up Austin, rack ‘em up.” Ruby said and Xavier exhaled as he started to set the balls up so they could play a game of pool.


“Daniel your hands are freezing,” Charlie said as she held them. “Have you held them in ice or something?” Charlie laughed.

“No mummy,” Daniel took her question literally. “I don’t know why they is just cold.”

“And how are you feeling today?” Charlie wondered, putting her hand on his forehead. “Better I guess since you were at school, right?”

“Yeah,” Daniel nodded. “But I nearly sleeped in class.”

“Really?” Charlie replied. “You went to bed early last night. You slept for ages, how can you still be tired?”

Daniel gave a little shrug as he took his school tie off before starting to unbutton his shirt. “Just am.” Daniel yawned. Charlie of course hoped it wasn’t the case but she was starting to wonder if her son was coming down with something more serious than just a bug. She felt his forehead again, which did actually feel a little warmer than what was normal.

“Hmm,” Charlie pursed her lips before she noticed two fresh bruises on her son’s stomach. “How did you get these?” Daniel looked down and gave a shrug. “Did you fall over today at school?” Charlie asked and Daniel shook his head. “Did you have PE?”

“No,” Daniel answered. “Sports on a Friday.”

“Daniel sweetheart did anybody hurt you?” Charlie questioned. She knew her son bruised easily, but this seemed a bit too much. He’d had too many fresh bruises over the last week. Daniel shook his head. “You can tell mummy. You won’t get in trouble.”

“No mummy,” Daniel continued to shake his head. “Nobody hurted me.”

Charlie ran her hand over the bruises. “Do they hurt?” Charlie pushed lightly on the skin where the bruises were.

“No,” Daniel answered. “I no no I got them.”

Charlie sighed as she ran her hand over her forehead. “Okay, you just get changed out of your uniform huh.” Charlie said and Daniel nodded, continuing to change from his school clothes.

“Then can we go to the park?” Daniel questioned. “Or go to Leah’s for a milkshake?”

“We’ll see.” Charlie exhaled, wondering if the best place to go once Daniel was changed out of his school clothes was actually the hospital.

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Thank you Sarah, Spotd1, CharlieAndBraxLover and RoRo90 for the comments. :)


Charlie and Daniel walked back into the apartment block, Daniel hitting the button for the lift. He looked down to his arm, rubbing his hand over the band-aid that was sitting where he’d had blood taken. Charlie had decided to take him to the hospital and they did a few tests and took some blood from him, giving them an appointment for a few days time when the results would be in. The lift opened and Daniel and Charlie walked in, Daniel hitting the 6 button, of course them wanting the sixth floor. “Hold the lift,” Charlie heard the voice. She leaned forward and pressed the button to keep the lift door open. “6B, Buck.” Brax smiled as he walked into the lift.

“Hey.” Charlie smiled at him, Daniel moving closer to Charlie and leaning his head against her.

“How are you today, mate?”Brax smiled down at him. Daniel pointed to his band-aid with a sad pout on his face. “Oh no, what’s happened?”

“Got blood tooken,” Daniel told him. “I no like needles.”

“Uhh no it’s not very nice getting blood taken, is it?” Brax questioned and Daniel shook his head. “Everything okay?”

“I don’t know,” Charlie answered. “That’s why he got blood taken.” Charlie hoped she was just over reacting, but of course needed to be sure.

“Of course, sorry,” Brax exhaled. “Well I hope you are all good mate.” Brax said as Charlie ran her hand over the side of his head, Daniel cuddling into his mother even more.

“You like my new t-shirt?” Daniel questioned as the lift stopped on level 6.

“Oh yeah,” Brax looked down to it. It was red and had a picture of The Flash on it, the words The Flash underneath him in yellow writing. “It’s cool.”

“Ruby got it me for my birthday,” Daniel told him. “I love The Flash. He’s the best,” Daniel walked out of the lift, walking close to Brax as he looked up at him. “He’s the fastest man in the world,” Daniel told him. “Goes anywhere like that,” Daniel clicked his fingers.”Zoooom.” Daniel ran towards to the door of their apartment.

“Wow bud you are almost as fast as The Flash.” Charlie said as she fished her keys from her bag.

Daniel giggled. “Brax do you want to come in for some milk and cookies?” Daniel asked him. “He can come, ay mummy?”

“Uhm...sure,” Charlie said as she unlocked the door. “If you are not busy.”

“No, I have no plans,” Brax shook his head, giving Charlie a smile. “So if uhm....I’d like to come in if that’s okay.”

“Yeah,” Charlie answered, Charlie and Brax catching each other’s gaze. “Uhm you don’t need to have cookies and milk though. Daniel will have that but you can coffee or tea or you know whatever you want.” Charlie told him.

“I want cookies and milk.” Brax answered.

“Fair enough.” Charlie opened the door and Daniel ran inside. He jumped up on the seat at the breakfast bar and patted the one next to him.

“You sit here Brax,” Daniel told him. Brax complied and sat down next to him. Charlie opened the fridge and took out the milk, pouring a glass for her son and one for Brax. “Can you make mines chocolate?” Daniel asked.

“Sure,” Charlie opened the cupboard and took out the chocolate sauce and squeezed some into the milk before taking a spoon from the drawer, giving it a good stir. She pushed the chocolate milk to where Daniel was sitting before handing Brax the other glass. He stared down at it before looking to Charlie. “What?”

“Don’t I get chocolate milk too?” Brax asked.

Charlie gave a little laugh before squeezing some of the sauce into the glass before flinging him the spoon. Brax picked it up and started stirring it as he slyly glanced up at Charlie giving her a cheeky grin. “The cookies mummy.” Daniel said.

Charlie walked across the kitchen and opened the cupboard taking out the cookies. She put the pack on the breakfast bar and Daniel reached for them, excitedly tearing the pack open. “You can have two.” Charlie told him and Daniel pouted as he took the first one out of the pack.

“Does that go for me too?” Brax questioned.

“It does.” Charlie told him giving him a cheeky grin. Brax laughed a little as he picked up his first cookie. She watched him and Daniel, the pair of them dipping their cookies in the milk before taking a bite, the smile staying on her face.


Charlie looked down at the scan picture. “Congratulations,” Charlie gushed, looking back to Leah. “Is VJ excited?”

“He’s a little unsure at the moment.” Leah said a smile on her face as she’d just told her friends the news. They glanced over to VJ who was with Kaya and Daniel, playing a game of hungry hippos.

“Ruby wasn’t pleased at Daniel’s arrival,” Charlie said. “Can you remember the first few months?”

“Of course,” Bianca answered. “She wanted to live with me and April.”

Leah laughed. “I think I remember that actually,” Leah said. “She loves him to death now though, she’s great with him. And Veej actually. Got a babysitter already for mummy and daddy’s first night out.”

Charlie and Bianca laughed a little. “It must be nice though,” Bianca said. “Giving your kids a sibling. I’d love for Kaya to have a sibling close in age but I don’t think it’ll happen.”

“There’s 11 years between Ruby and Daniel,” Charlie said. “It’s not so close.”

“Neither is 5 years,” Leah said. “Will be closer to 6 come to think of it. This one will be born then about 2 months later it’s Veej’s 6th birthday.”

“I guess,” Bianca exhaled. “Still, I want her to have a sibling.” Bianca played with her wedding ring finger.

“You’ll meet someone one day,” Leah said. “And Charlie’s got Angelo now. How’s that going by the way?” Leah wondered.

“It’s uhm....” Charlie shook her head. “I told him I just wanted to be friends.”

“What?” Leah gasped. “Why? I thought things were going well.”

“It didn’t feel right,” Charlie said, seeing Bianca grinning from the corner of her eye. “We’re better off as friends.”

“Ah yes,” Bianca clapped her hands together. “This leaves you free for hot neighbour.”

“Hot neighbour?” Leah questioned. “What? Who’s hot neighbour?” Leah looked from Bianca to Charlie then back to Bianca.

“Charlie hot new neighbour,” Bianca answered. “Darryl Braxton. He is fine and he has some serious hots for our Charlie.” Bianca said slapping her hand down on Charlie’s thigh.

“Oh so is this why you’ve ended things with Angelo?” Leah wondered. “For hot neighbour?”

“No,” Charlie bit her lip. “Brax is just....we’re neighbours.”

“Oh Charlie,” Bianca sighed. “You are so going to be more than neighbours and you know it.”

“I...it’s....we get on well,” Charlie exhaled. “He’s sweet and Daniel’s really taken to him and he’s great with him but right now, we’re friends and nothing more.” Charlie didn’t want to rush into anything with Brax, even if it was just a date. She wanted to get to know him better before letting anything more happen, although she must admit she did enjoy their little kiss.

“Uh-huh.” Leah exhaled exchanging a glance with Bianca. Charlie shook her head knowing what they were both thinking.

“Why are you so keen on me to date someone?” Charlie questioned Leah. “What about Scott here?” Charlie gestured to Bianca.

“Actually, I have a date,” Bianca bit her lip. “Maybe.”

“How can you maybe have a date?” Leah asked.

“I might cancel,” Bianca told her friends. “I’m not sure of the vibe I am getting from him.”

“Is it anyone we know?” Charlie wondered.

“The guy that’s been in the diner a lot lately,” Bianca answered. “Sandy hair, big blue eyes, wears a suit, is always saying hello to me.”

“Ah dreamy eyes,” Leah exhaled. “He’s cute.”

“Yeah, well we’ll see,” Bianca said. “I still need to find a sitter for Kaya.”

“What about April and Ruby?” Leah questioned.

“They’ll be away on their school trip for the weekend,” Bianca answered. “So, we’ll see.”

“She can stay with me.” Charlie offered and Bianca gave her a thankful smile.

“Aww look at us,” Leah clapped her hands. “I’ve got a bun in the oven, Bianca has a date with dreamy eyes and Charlie’s got hot neighbour,” Leah gushed. “Things are looking good.” Leah grinned happy things were going well for all of them right now.

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