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Story Title: Chaos
Type: Long Fic
Main Characters: Charlie, Brax
BTTB Rating: T
Genre: Humor, Friendship, Romance
Spoilers: No
Warnings: Sexual Content (Maybe?), language, violence/death.
Summary: Chaos has hit the Bay with Charlie moving to town after a tragic accident that claimed the life of her husband. With 9 kids in her care, life is complicated. Brax's wife has just walked out on him. With 6 kids and 2 brothers living under his roof, Brax is on the verge of losing his mind. When his new neighbour happens to be Charlie, could love possibly strike under all this chaos?



Authors Note: I do NOT own Home and Away! All credit to the writers.



Co-written with my friend Jaya!



Chapter One:

Darryl Braxton stumbled threw the front door of his house, his eyes half closed with exhaustion. As he went to throw his jacket over the arm of the couch he was taken back by two purple suitcases standing in the middle of the living room.

Turning slightly to his right Brax saw Tegan standing against the kitchen counter, tears were streaming down her cheeks as she looked at him with sad eyes.

"You can't leave!" Brax said straight out as he looked at his partner in shock, the exhaustion he was feeling all but fading away.

"Brax I can't handle this and you know it." Tegan told her partner weakly.

"What about the kids?" Brax asked. "They need you! I need you!"

"I am not good to them when I am like this." Tegan said with a sad smile as she took a step closer to him. "You don't love me Brax, if it wasn't for the kids we wouldn't be together. I need time, I love them but I am not coping I have to go."

"I do love you!" Brax protested but Tegan shook her head.

"You love the teenage girl I was, I love you but I know you don't feel the same. Don't make this any harder then it has to be," Tegan murmured as she leaned up and brushed her lips against Brax's. "I'll write to them, tell them I love them. Tell them I'm sorry because I am" Tegan said as she picked up her suitcases. "I love you Brax"

Brax went to call out after her, he went to stop her but it was to late. He could only watch as Tegan gave him one last sad smile as she walked out the door slamming it shut behind her.

Brax sunk down on the couch resting his head in his hands, it wasn't long before his oldest daughter joined him a mug in her hands which she passed to him.

"Dad, what happened?" Twelve year-old Darcy Amanda Braxton asked quietly.

Brax turned to Darcy with a sad smile, how could he tell her? How could he tell any of them?

A part of him understood why Tegan was gone and he could sympathise with that part but he didn't have to like it.

"Dad?" Darcy pressed as she raised her eyebrow, Brax sighed.

"You know your mum hasn't been well right?"

"She's okay isn't she?" Darcy asked quickly, the panic rose quickly within her but Brax put a hand on her knee to calm her.

"Listen Darce, your mum loves you very much but since Chase was born she's been acting different. She isn't coping very well. She's gone away but she might come back some day"

"You mean she left?" Darcy asked, her face crinked in confusion. "Why?"

"Darce, I trust you" Brax told his daughter as he took a sip of the coffee. "What I say to you, you can not tell your younger siblings" Darcy quickly nodded, wondering what he was going to tell her.

"What is it?"

"Your mum has post natal depression"

"What's that?" Darcy asked slightly confused.

"It's complicated Darce, but she just wasn't coping well. This...having so many children and especially the little ones demanding her attention was just to much. She needs time to get herself better"

"Will we ever see her again?" Darcy asked as she went to wipe her tears away.

"I don't know baby" Brax said as he put an arm around his eldest daughter. "I don't know."


Charlie Buckton sat beaide her daughters hospital bed, tears running down her cheeks as she looked at the eleven year old. The bruises covering her body were horrific, the bright pink cast on her right arm and left leg were enough to make Charlie cringe.

Knowing Emily Anne had surived the car crash that claimed the life of her husband was overwhelming. She didn't know what to feel, how to feel. She felt numb. She had lost her husband to a drunk driver and her daughter was badly injured.

"Please wake up soon" Charlie said quietly as her oldest daughter, fifteen year old Ruby Marie Buckton placed a shaking hand on her mum's shoulder. "We need you"

"Mum you need to sleep, eat, shower. You need to do something" Ruby pleaded but Charlie shook her head, she couldn't bring herself to leave Emily's side.

"I can't leave her"

"You have to, you have to go home. What about everyone else? They need to know. I'll wait with Emily"

"I can't go home Ruby, you don't understand"

"I don't understand? I loved Roman to mum!" Ruby exclaimed. "You need to tell the other kids, it's their dad that died, they deserve to know"

Charlie sobbed. "How can I tell them their father is dead? How can I?"

"Mum, you'll find a way. You need to be strong for them now" Ruby said softly as she ran a hand threw her mums hair in a soothing manner. "Go home, I'll wait with Emily"

"Okay Rubes" Charlie stood up, her knees nearly caving out beneath her.

"Are you okay?" Ruby asked concerned but Charlie nodded as she leaned over to kiss Emily.

"I'll be right back baby, I love you" Charlie murmured as she turned to Ruby. "Call me if anything changes?"

"I promise mum, I love you." Ruby said softly as she pulled Charlie into a soft hug.

"I love you too sweetie, I love you so much."


Charlie sat out the front of her house staring out the wind shield of her car. The tears were streaming down her cheeks, she'd been sitting and staring for twenty minutes unable to bring herself to go inside.

She didn't know how she would explain to her children that their father wouldn't be coming home. She knew most of them wouldn't understand they were to young, too little to understand, to comprehend the meaning of death.

Charlie used her hands to try and brush away the tears but they didn't stop flowing. Looking back out thw windsheild Charlie saw eight year old Lucas Aden standing on the porch staring at the car impatiently, Charlie knew she couldn't stall any longer as she watched her son bounce up and down on his heels.

Stepping out of the car, Charlie quickly tried to dry her eyes with the back of her hand as she headed up the stairs of the large and spacious home that she had bought with Roman. Lucas immediately threw his arms around his mum.

"You're home!"

"Of course I am sweetheart." Charlie told her son as she wrapped her arms around him. Lucas looked up at Charlie expecantly.

"Where's Dad?" The young boy asked.

"Where's Emily?" Nicole asked and Charlie frowned as she moved inside the front door properly and looked at everyone sitting in the living room looking at her expectantly.

Her eyes flashed to fifteen year old Nicole who was holding five month old Mia. Charlie cringed knowing her baby would never know her father. That upset her more than anything, the thought of her child never knowing her father would haunt her for the rest of her life. Charlie didn't want that for any of her kids. Drew David, the second youngest Buckton, who was two years old, would at least have some memories of his dad. Mia wouldn't.

"Let's sit down," Charlie said as she took a seat next to 9 year old Joey Michael.

"What's doing on?" Nicole asked. "Where's Dad and Emily?"

"That's what I need to talk to you kids about," Charlie said as she picked up a baby toy and turned it over in her hands. "Your Dad and sister were in an accident."

"An accident?" 6-year-old Brock Aaron asked his mother, looking up at her with wide eyes.

"Yes sweetheart, a car accident. Emily's in the hospital at the moment, Ruby is with her."

"What about Dad?" Joey asked and Charlie felt the tears rushing to her eyes once more.

"Charlie, where's my dad?" Nicole asked, panic seeping into her body as she leaned forward and looked at the woman who had been her mother figure, her arms tightening around baby Mia.

"I'm so sorry." Charlie murmured and Nicole broke down into sobs, barely keeping a grip on Mia as her body racked with grief.

"Why are you sorry mummy?" 4 year old Edward James asked.

"Your Dad isn't coming back," Charlie barely managed to get out as the tears overcame her. "It's just us now." Drew climbed into her lap and wrapped his tiny arms around Charlie, causing her to cry even more.

"Why isn't he coming back mummy?" Lucas asked and Charlie glanced over at him through the tears in her eyes.

"Because sweetheart your daddy...well honey he...your father died." Charlie said softly, hearing a strangled cry from Nicole, Charlie wasn't surprised when she left the room.

"I want my daddy" Edward sobbed.

"So do I baby, so do I." Charlie muttered as she tried to hug all her children, unable to fit them all on her lap no matter how hard they tried.


Comments Please.

Ages of the children in chapter 1:

Brax's kids:
Darcy Amanda Braxton- 12
Jade Elizabeth Braxton (twin with Jack)- 11
Jack Daniel Braxton (twin with Jade)- 11
Taylah Michelle Braxton- 9
Cassie Rose Braxton- 7
Samantha Louise Braxton- 6
Chase Darryl Braxton- 2

Charlie's kids:
Ruby Marie Buckton- 15
Nicole Andrea Franklin- 15
Emily Anne Buckton- 11
Joey Michael Buckton- 9
Lucas Aden Buckton- 8
Brock Aaron Buckton- 6
Edward James Buckton- 4
Drew David Buckton- 2
Mia Grace Buckton- Five months

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Authors Note: I do NOT own Home and Away! All credit to the writers.



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Chapter Two

Charlie Buckton walked into the living room of her new house with a ghost of a smile on her lips, moving to Summer Bay had been a decision made easily. Living in the city, in the house she had once shared with her husband had to many reminders. It had been three years since the tragic accident that claimed the life of her husband and she was unable to move on.

But looking around the inside of the house, seeing her three year old daughter Mia playing with her toys on the plush white carpet made Charlie's smile widen slightly, it was a fresh start for them all.

"Mum! Lucas is pulling my hair again" Fourteen year old Emily screamed from down the hallway, shattering the peaceful illusion Charlie had inside her head.

"Am not!" 11 year old Lucas shouted.


Charlie sighed in frustration as she heard the screaming, lately all the children had been doing was fighting.

"Don't worry mum I got this." 12 year old Joey said as he skated through the house.

"Joey!" Charlie called after him. "No skating in the house!"

"Yeah, yeah!" Joey called back as he sailed down the hallway. Charlie sighed again and leaned against the wall. Having nine kids was hard and exhausting work sometimes and Charlie sometimes questioned why she had so many, but she loved it. They were piece of her, a piece of Roman.

"Mum, where's Nicole? I thought she was unpacking in our room but I can't find her." Eighteen year old Ruby called as she stepped into the living room.

Charlie sighed, a missing kid was not what she needed even if Nicole was eighteen. Ever since Roman had died, Nicole had withdrawn from the family and Charlie guessed that it was because she wasn't Nicole's real mum and didn't have a real connection with Charlie.

"I don't know where she is, she must've slipped past me," Charlie sighed as she glanced around the messy house. "Will you look for her? I have to find..." Charlie didn't get to finish her sentence as she heard a screeching cry coming from the front yard.


"Daaaaaaad!" 14 year old Jade Braxton yelled. "Jack hid my socks again! I need to get to school!"

"Don't blame me just because you are losing things!" Jade's twin, 14 year old Jack shouted from his room.

"I can't find my school shoes!" 10 year old Cassie shouted as she ran down the hallway nearly knocking over 12 year old Taylah.

"Watch it brat." Taylah grumbled as she slumped against her doorway exhausted and clearly not happy to be woken up for school.

"Don't call me a brat!" Cassie told her older sister as she banged on the bathroom door. "Sammie, hurry up!"

"I'm trying!" 9 year old Samantha called from the other side of the bathroom door.

Brax groaned as he heard the shouts coming from the hallway, every morning was the same. His kids never seemed to get along in the morning. It was the same struggle to get the kids up, dressed, breakfasted, and out the door. It was even more hard now that he was a single father and with six kids to raise, nothing was easy. Even with the help of his brothers Casey and Kyle who lived in the house, plus Heath next door, it was hard work.

"Jade, your socks are in the lounge and Cassie, your shoes are under my feet!" Casey yelled as he nearly tripped over a pair of black shoe shoes as he stumbled into the kitchen to grab some breakfast.

"Thanks Uncle Casey!" Cassie told her uncle as she grabbed her shoes. "Bye Dad! Bye everyone!"

"Bye Cass." Brax told his daughter as she headed out of the door.

"Brax, you need me to work today or what?" Kyle asked as he came into the lounge room carrying 5 year old Chase who had his shirt on backwards.

"Please tell me you didn't dress him?" Brax asked with a groan, Kyle frowned.

"Sure, I dressed him and put his shirt on backwards." Kyle said sarcastically as he stood Chase on the table and began to fix his shirt.

"Smartass," Brax grumbled as he started to head to the hallway. "And get him off the table!"

Kyle lifted his nephew off the table after fixing his shirt. "Am I working today or what?"

"Yeah, just until Darce gets there for her shift after school." Brax answered as he ruffled Chase's hair affectionately.

"Remind me why you have a fifteen year old working in Angelo's again?" Kyle asked, a frown on his face.

"She asked for some shifts, I own the joint, so why not?" Brax asked. "It gives her some experience and some pocket money."

Hearing a screeching cry coming from the front yard, Brax frowned, it didn't sound like any of his children but he quickly headed for the front door anyway.

"Who was that?" 15 year old Darcy asked as she came into the living room, her school bag slung over one shoulder.

Brax had already headed out into the yard and saw a young child sitting on the footpath, his knees scraped and blood could be seen. Brax hurried over to him and leant down to his level.

"Hey mate, what happened?" Brax asked.

"I fell over and hurt my knees." Five-year-old Drew told Brax, tears brimming in his eyes.

"Hey, don't cry," Brax told the young boy. "It's gonna be alright. What's you name?"

"Drew." Drew said, sniffling.

"Where are you parents?" Brax asked.

"She's right here."

Brax turned around and saw what he would call the most beautiful woman in the world. Standing before him he saw a dark chocolate haired beauty with bright blue eyes.

"Mummy, I falled over." Drew sobbed and Charlie quickly leant down scooping him into her arms.

"I see that buddy, what were you doing?" Charlie aaked and Drew pointed to the many bikes that were lying on Brax's front lawn.

"Me wanted to look at the superman bike" Drew said as he rubbed his face on Charlie's shirt, Charlie sighed.

"Buddy, those bikes aren't yours. Those belong to Mr..." Charlie trailed off as she stared at Brax waiting for an answer, Brax shook out of his thoughts and glanced at her.

"Braxton, Darryl Braxton. Call me Brax."

"Well, Brax, It's nice to meet you," Charlie said as she glanced over at his backyard. "I try to keep an eye on my kids but it's pretty hard sometimes."

"Oh yeah?" How many do you have?" Brax asked.

"I have 9." Charlie said, waiting for the judgement to come.

Brax whistled. "I have six."

"Wow," Charlie murmured, it wasn't often she found someone else who had more then 3 kids. "Must keep you and your wife busy." Charlie said and Brax shook his head.

"Just me actually."

"Sorry, I shouldn't have assumed."

"It's fine," Brax said as he watched Charlie comfort Drew. "I never caught ya name."

"Charlotte Buckton. Call me Charlie, if you call me Charlotte, I will rip your head off." Charlie told him and Brax chuckled.

"Well, Charlie, would you like to get a drink one night?" Brax asked.

"I don't know, Brax, I do have nine kids to look after."

"And I have six, it's just one drink. Think of it as getting to know your neighbour." Brax said with a wink, Charlie smiled slightly. She hadn't been out with anyone since Roman passed away but as he said it was a simple get to know your neighbour drink.

"Uh okay." Charlie murmured but was interrupted.

"Daaaaad! Casey broke the bathroom door." Samantha sang out from the porch and Brax groaned.

"Duty calls."

"You better go. It was nice to meet you Brax."

"I'll let you know about that drink Charlie, I hope you feel better Drew." Brax said as he ruffled the little boys hair causing Drew to grin widely.


"Alright, I'm coming! See ya later Charlie."

"Bye Brax," Charlie murmured as she watched Brax disappear through the front door of his house. She turned to Drew. "Now, how about we get you and your siblings off to school?"

"I don't wanna go." Drew said stubbornly.

"Why not?" Charlie asked as she took Drew's tiny hands in her own.

"I don't know anyone. What if I get maded fun of?" Drew asked worriedly as he took one hand out of Charlie's and chewed on a fingernail nervously.

"Honey, no-one is going to make fun of you," Charlie told her son. "And you will have your siblings. If you need them, they won't be far away."

"I don't wanna go!" Drew whined and Charlie shook her head, she had a feeling it was going to be a long day.


Ruby and Nicole walked along the beach on their way to school in silence, Ruby knew Nicole hadn't been one to communicate since her father died. It was as though she had tried to shut everyone out.

Moving to the bay had been something Nicole didn't want to do, it had been the first time she had voiced an opinion. She didn't want to leave the house she grew up in but she didn't have a choice.

"Excited?" Ruby asked turning to initiate some kind of conversation but she saw Nicole roll her eyes. "Nic, talk to me."

Nicole stopped walking and looked at Ruby. "Talk to you? Talk to you about what? My dad died three years ago and I was forced to leave the house I grew up in. How do you think I ****ing feel?"

"Nic please, this is meant to be a fresh start." Ruby pleaded, she understood how Nicole felt after all she had grown up with Roman around.

"Maybe a fresh start for you but I didn't want this!" Nicole exclaimed in frustration before storming off, leaving Ruby to watch her walk off helplessly.

Charlie stood looking out the front window watching as Brax washed his car. He was shirtless and Charlie couldn't help but sigh as she ran her eyes over his muscles, his tanned skin, his tattoos.

Charlie couldn't wait for the drink she would share with him.


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  • 3 months later...

Chapter Three


Charlie walked into Yabbie Creek Police Station the next morning, wearing her new, freshly pressed, blue uniform. She was nervous about her first day, but also excited about starting as a police sargeant. She wanted to move up the ladder to become a detective and she was hoping to achieve that goal one day.

"You're the new Sargeant right? I'm Watson."

Charlie glanced at the woman in front of her and smiled slightly. She looked friendly enough and Charlie knew she needed some friends, she barely had any in the city because she was so busy with her job and the kids.

Charlie nodded and extended her hand to Watson, who shook it. "Charlie Buckton."

"It's nice to meet you," Watson told her new colleague. "Have you been shown around?"

"Barely," Charlie answered as she sipped the coffee she had bought before work.

"How about I show you around and then we can get into it?" Watson asked.

Charlie nodded enthusiastically. "Sounds great, thanks."

Charlie walked up into Angelos wanting to grab a small pizza for lunch. She spotted Brax behind the bar, which surprised her. She didn't know that Brax was a barman, but that hadn't exactly come up in conversation.

"Ahh look it's my new neighbour," Brax teased with a wink. "So you're a cop?"

"That I am," Charlie said as she sat on a stool looking a Brax with a small smile. "Small meatlovers pizza please."

"No problem, so how about that drink? Tonight suit you?" Brax asked and Charlie frowned.

"The kids, I shouldn't leave them home alone," Charlie said softly. She really wanted to have a drink with him but she didn't like leaving Ruby and Nicole to look after their siblings. Especially when Nicole spent most of the time locked in her room.

"How old are your oldest kids?" Brax asked, pouring Charlie a water and putting it in front of her. "It's on the house."

"Thanks," Charlie sighed as she stirred the straw around in the waterglass. "I have two eighteen year olds."

"Can't they look after the kids?" Brax asked. He really wanted to have a drink with Charlie, he knew that they could be really good friends and even possibly more than that. After Tegan left, Brax had vowed to wait for Tegan in case she ever decided to come back, for the kids sake. Three years later, it was apparent that she wasn't going to come back anytime soon. Charlie could be the one he could move on with.

Charlie sighed heavily, taking a sip of water. Brax noted how her hair was was in a bun, hiding her gorgeous locks. He didn't like it. "I don't know Brax. Nicole isn't coping well, I don't think you and I starting a relationship will be good."

"Who said anything about a relationship?" Brax asked as he raised an eyebrow.

"I...well I assumed." Charlie started to stutter and Brax chuckled.

"Relax, I was think we could be friends," Brax said with a laugh. "If it makes you feel better, they could come over to mine and my brothers could watch them."

"I don't want to burden them."

"Would you relax, you don't mind do ya Kyle?" Brax asked, Kyle glanced up from the laptop he was staring at doing the accounts for Brax.

"What you signing me up for?" Kyle asked with a roll of his eyes.

"Watching Charlie's kids for 2 hours tonight."

Kyle glanced over at them, looking at Charlie he could see Brax smiling again for the first time since Tegan left. If this was his chance then Kyle knew he wouldn't stand in their way. He wanted Brax to be happy.

"Sure, I'll come over to yours and watch them, Case can handle your brood Brax." Kyle agreed.

"Thanks bro," Brax told his brother gratefully. He slid the pizza in a takeaway box and placed it next to the empty water glass. "So, how about seven tonight?"

"Sounds good, I'll leave hot dogs or something easy out for dinner for the kids," Charlie said as she fished her wallet out of her handbag. "How much for the pizza?"

"You know what, it's on the house," Brax said. Charlie started to argue but Brax held up a hand. "No arguments."

Charlie smiled. "Thanks Brax. See you at seven."

Charlie stood nervously in the lounge room as Nicole glared at her.

"Can't believe you're dating again!" Nicole spat and Charlie sighed.

"It's just a friendly drink Nic." Charlie tried to explain.

"No, it's like you're forgetting dad. How can you do that to him?" Nicole said as she left the room, angrily slamming her bedroom door.

Charlie groaned as she looked down at Mia who was clinging to her leg.

"Nic mad?"

"No sweetheart, Nic's just upset," Charlie said as she swept her hand through Mia's blonde locks, she had her fathers hair.

"She miss daddy?" Mia asked innocently and Charlie nodded as she turned to the door, hearing a knock.

"Come on, lets get the door." Charlie said as she scooped the little girl up.

Opening the door she saw Kyle and Brax standing there.

"Hi." Charlie greeted nervously.

Brax just stared at Charlie, she was breath-takingly gorgeous. Her hair was curled and framed her face, she had on a blue figure hugging knee length dress and she had on a slight amount of makeup. "Hi," Brax finally managed to get out. "You look amazing."

Charlie blushed, it had been a while since a guy had called her gorgeous. "Thank you. You don't look bad yourself."

"Thanks. You ready?" Brax asked, looking at Mia, who was clinging to Charlie's neck.

"Yeah," Charlie said as she set Mia on the ground. "Mia, honey, Kyle here is going to take care of you and your brothers and sisters while Mummy is out for a few hours okay?" Mia nodded, her thumb in her mouth. Charlie straightened up and looked at Kyle. "Hot dogs is for dinner, the frankfurters are already simmering in the pot, just get Rubes to help you prepare the extras and dish it up."

"Okay" Kyle nodded as he reached out to take Mia who snuggled quickly into his arms.

"Thank-you for this Kyle." Charlie said but Kyle just waved his hand.

"No stress, we'll have fun won't we little Mia?" Kyle asked as he looked at Charlie. "Enjoy your night guys."

"See you soon. Thanks for this bro." Brax said before leading Charlie down the driveway to his black car. He unlocked it and opened the passenger door for Charlie, who slid in. On the way, Charlie rested her hand on Brax's. She looked at him with a smile.

"It's been ages since I've been out," Charlie said softly a few mintues later as she looked out the window. "It's been hard to with all my kids."

"I completely understand," Brax said as he pulled into the parking lot of Angelo's. "Come on." Brax said as he opened the door and waited for Charlie to do the same.

"So, what brings you to the bay?" Brax asked once they were sat, a beer for him, a glass of wine for Charlie.

Charlie took a sip of her wine. "I got a promotion and I needed to have a fresh start, so I took it. I couldn't get over my husband living in that house."

Brax nodded. "I'm sorry for your loss."

Charlie sighed heavily. "Don't be. It's not your fault."

"So six kids, and brothers. Busy life." Charlie commented and Brax nodded.

"That's for sure, at least I don't have Heath living with me anymore. He's an overgrown toddler." Brax said with a chuckle.

"Heard that." Heath shouted from behind the counter and Charlie laughed.

"As you can see." Brax said with a wave of his hand.

"What about you? No wife? Your handsome enough." Charlie asked.

"You think I'm handsome?" Brax teased and Charlie blushed lightly. "No wife, Tegan left us 3 years ago."

"That must've been hard." Charlie said as she rested her hand on Brax's.

"It was, for a long time. The kids didn't understand why Teegs left," Brax sighed as he took a few slugs of his beer. "But we're as stable as we can be at the moment."

"Why did she leave?" Charlie asked. "You don't have to answer that if it's too personal." She didn't want to pry too much in Brax's life yet.

"Tegan had post-natal depression. She couldn't handle being tied down with six kids." Brax answered.

"Have you heard from her since?" Charlie asked him curiously.

Brax shook his head. "I've had a few text messages and birthday cards for the kids, but nothing else."

"Thats something," Charlie said softly and Brax nodded. It wasn't alot but she was right it was at least something, in the text messages she had wanted updates on the children and Brax hadn't minded giving them to her.

"How about your kids? Tell us about them." Brax said and he saw Charlie smile, he wanted to start with easy questions to get her to open up a little because she seemed to be guarded by invisible walls

"They're really fantastic, my oldest are Nicole and Ruby at 18 and Mia is the youngest at 3."

"All yours?" Brax asked and Charlie smiled sadly.

"All but Nicole, but I've been raising her since she was three years old," Charlie said sadly. "Roman's death hit her the hardest, she lost her dad and I'm not her real mum."

"Poor kid." Brax commented.

Charlie nodded. "I'm trying to reconnect with her, but it's like she's got these barriers around her that blocks me out." She sighed and took a big gulp of wine.

"She'll be okay eventually." Brax tried to reassure Charlie as he squeezed her hand.

"That's the thing, Brax," Charlie looked at him, her eyes sad. "I don't know if she will."

"She will." Brax promised as he squeezed her hand gently. Charlie tried to smile but it was weak.

"What about your other kids? Tell me about them." Brax asked as he tried to get her to smile.

"Um theres Ruby, she's my daughter," Charlie said as she glanced down at her wine. "Then there's mine and Roman's seven. They remind me so much of him but that's something I adore. They're all so bright and happy."

Brax nodded. "Who's Ruby's dad?"

"He's not in her life and hopefully never will be." Charlie said as she stared down into her wine, not wanting to look at Brax.

"What happened Charlie?" Brax asked gently.

Charlie looked up at him. "I was at a party when I was fourteen and I was raped."

"Charlie, I'm gonna kill the guy that did that." Brax said angrily.

"You can't, Brax," Charlie looked at him, a sad expression on her face. "My Dad killed him."

"Good," Brax said and Charlie couldn't help but smile at him a little, at her protectiveness. "I'm sorry that happened to you"

"It made me who I am today, I'm stronger. " Charlie told him and Brax nodded.

"Now tell me about you, raising two brothers and six kids. Have you always lived in the bay?"

"No, I grew up in Mangrove River. I moved to the bay about six years ago after I brought Angelo's." Brax answered.

Charlie nodded thoughtfully. "Was the move hard for you?"

"Kind of," Brax answered. "It was definitely a bit hard for the kids to adjust to a new school."

"They went to Mangrove River?" Charlie asked as she finished the last of her wine.

"Want another?" Brax asked, noticing Charlie's wineglass was empty.

Charlie shook her head. "Better not."

Brax gave a small smile as he sipped his beer. "They did go to Mangrove River. It was the hardest on Darcy. She is my eldest." Brax explained and Charlie nodded.

"What about you apart from the kids, what do you enjoy? You've done well for yourself witb Angelo's."

"Thanks. Surfing, I love to surf. The water and sand just makes all the worries melt away ya know." Brax said and Charlie smiled.

"I don't surf." Charlie told him and Brax raised an eyebrow.

"You moved to Summer Bay but you don't know how to surf?" Brax teased as though it was a crime not knowing how to surf.

"I never have the time. With nine kids and work, you don't really have the time or energy to do anything for yourself." Charlie sighed.

"So what do you do for yourself?" Brax asked. "Cause it sure sounds like you don't do anything other than look after your kids and work."

"It's how I support my family," Charlie told him. "I do run though, it helps me relax."

Brax nodded. "I should come running with you one day."

Charlie smiled, she never had anyone to run with, her iPod was her one constant companion on her runs. "That would be nice."

"Listen, Charlie, would you and the kids like to come over for a BBQ next week?" Brax asked, hoping that Charlie would say yes.

Charlie stared at him for a moment, could she do that? She didn't know. She didnt want to upset Nicole anymore then she already was.

But then again Brax was a friend, she could have friends. Looking at Brax she smiled.

"We would be honoured." Charlie said with a smile laugh and Brax chuckled.

"You think Kyle is alright looking after them?" Charlie asked, she wasn't afraid to admit she had been nervous to leave them.

"Kyle's great with kids, I'm sure your lot will adore him. Best helper I've got," Brax said confidently trying to ease her fears. "So, why a cop? What attracted you to that career?"

"My Dad was a police officer and I wanted to be just like him," Charlie explained. "I think there was also the expectation that I would become a cop too. I wanted to make him proud."

"I'm sure he would've been proud of ya no matter what you did." Brax told her.

Charlie smiled. "I'm sure he would have but he would always talk about how I would be in the force one day and I didn't want to disappoint him. I love being in the force though, other than my kids, it's my life."

"What about me?" Brax asked with a laugh.

"What about you?" Charlie teased and Brax grinned at her. "Seriously though, Angelo's, has it always been your dream to run a restaurant?"

"Not really, I have just always wanted my own business."

"You own this on your own?" Charlie asked.

"Partners with my brother Heath, lives on the other side of me."

"I haven't met him yet." Charlie mused.

"He's fairly busy with Bianca and Rocco plus the business, and he looks after my kids when he can," Brax said. "You'll be able to meet them at the BBQ."

"Who's Bianca and Rocco?" Charlie asked.

"Bianca is Heath's husband and Rocco is their son, he's two," Brax answered. "So, with nine kids, how have you managed it on your own for three years?"

Charlie shrugged. "I honestly don't know. Ruby and Emily have been huge helps, but its Nicole that's been shutting me out. She's been like that ever since her Dad died, she doesn't feel a connection with me anymore. I hate it."

"She'll come round, takes time you know. You just have to be there for her, every step of the way when she needs someone to cry on, yell at or laugh with." Brax said with a smile.

"I'm really glad I came out tonight Brax."

"I'm glad as well, thought you were gonna reject me." Brax said with a chuckle and Charlie smiled.

"You're hard to resist. We better get going." Charlie said but there was reject in her voice, she didn't want it to end so soon.


Kyle felt tugging on his legs and as he glanced down he couldn't help but smile at the sight of adorable little Mia reaching up to him begging to be picked up.

"What's up?" Kyle asked and Mia shrugged.

"She wants to watch Frozen again," Edward said with a dramatic sigh and Kyle laughed. "She loves it."

"I think its bed time." Kyle said but Edward shook his head.

"Want to wait up for mum, can we Kyle?" Edward begged and Kyle sighed, it was easy to say no to Brax's kids after all they were his nieces and nephews but trying to say no to the little boy was hard. He was staring at him with bright blue eyes.

"Okay here's the deal, if she isn't home by 9 then you're all in bed." Kyle said as they entered the lounge.

"Deal" Lucas said as he put Frozen in the dvd player.

"Can I sit with you Kyle?" Drew asked and Kyle nodded, the five year old climbed onto his lap next to Mia.

"Joey, open the damn door!"

Kyle turned his head slightly towards the hallway hearing the voice of Emily shouting.

"Not again." Brock said with a sigh as Joey came running down the hallway, Emily following close behind throwing a book at his head, Ruby was hot on her tail with a shocked look.

Kyle frowned as he moved the little ones onto his seat and stood up. "What's going on?"

"I don't know," Ruby told him. "These two just started fighting."

Kyle sighed and grabbed Emily who was trying to punch and kick Joey. "Stop it Emily!"

"No!" The 14 year old girl yelled as she tried to get out of Kyle's grip.

"What's going on here?" Charlie asked as she walked in the front door followed by Brax. "Emily? Joey?" She looked pointedly from Emily and Joey, waiting for an explanation. "Well?"

"Joey stole my diary!" Emily screamed as she tried to lunge for Joey, but Kyle's grip was too strong.

Charlie sighed, this wasn't the first stolen diary fight. "Joey, give back Emily's diary."

"But there's so much good stuff in it!" Joey whined.

"It's an invasion of privacy." Charlie told her son.

"So? I'm her brother, what's she hiding?" Joey asked as he fished the diary out from under his jumper.

"Give me that!" Emily screeched as she struggled against Kyle.

"Joey, give her the diary!" Charlie commanded. Joey just stuck out his tongue at Emily. "Joey Michael Buckton, do you really want no TV, computer and skateboard for a week?"

"Mum, that's not fair!" Joey complained.

"Yes it is!" Emily shouted at him.

"Who's that mum?" Brock asked, pointing to Brax.

"One minute buddy." Charlie said as she looked at Joey, he groaned and threw the diary at Emily's feet.

"Is it safe to let you go?" Kyle asked Emily.

Emily just nodded. Kyle released her and as soon as he did, Emily picked up her diary, shot a dirty look at Joey and took off to her room.

"Who's that man?" Brock asked again, pointing at Brax.

"This is Brax, he lives next door." Charlie introduced. "Brax, this is Brock."

"It's nice to meet ya mate."

"Nice to meet you too Brax," Brock said as he stuck out his hand to shake Brax's, Brax chuckled and shook his hand.

"Thank-you for tonight Kyle, sorry you had to put up with that." Charlie said as she gestured to Joey who was casually lounged on a chair.

"Its fine, I get heaps of practice at home," Kyle said with a wink. "Speaking of, I should probably get home. Got uni tomorrow," Kyle said and Mia shot up out of the chair.

"Kyle no go" Mia began to cry as she clung to Kyle's legs.

Charlie leant down and detached Mia from Kyle's legs. "You'll see Kyle again, Mi."

"Kyle no go!" Mia cried. Charlie looked at Kyle.

"Hey, hey, I'll come back." Kyle tried to reassure the little girl. He was quite flattered that Mia had formed an attachment to him.

"You will?" Mia asked.

"Of course sweetheart, I live next door we will see each all the time." Kyle promised and Mia nodded as tried to hug him, Kyle gave her a hug and smiled.

"You'll see Kyle at the bbq," Charlie told her youngest child before turning to Brax. "What day next week?" She asked.

"Saturday okay?" Brax asked.

"Saturday is fine." Charlie smiled.


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  • 2 weeks later...

Charlie walked out of her bedroom dressed in a white summer dress, her chocolate brown hair flowing down her back.

Honestly she couldn't wait to see Brax again, she couldn't describe what it was about him that attracted her.

Her hope for the day was that the kids would behave and Nicole might change her mind, the eighteen year old was refusing to leave her room. She had gone as far as to swear at Charlie, language Charlie had never heard from the girl.

Charlie sighed and knocked on Nicole's bedroom door. She opened it to see Nicole lying on her bed, her iPod earphones in her ears, tears running down her face as she looked through the pages of an old photo album.

"Nic, we need to talk." Charlie told the teenage girl.

"Leave. Me. The. ****. Alone." Nicole hissed through gritted teeth.

"Don't you dare talk to me like that." Charlie said, hurt evident in her voice. She knew why Nicole was upset, she believed that Charlie was going to replace her Dad with Brax.

"I'll talk to you however I want, this is a free country," Nicole said stubbornly. "Now leave me alone!"

"Nicole, stop. I want to talk to you," Charlie said as she approached the bed. "I understand why you are hurt but I want you to know I am not trying to replace your dad. I am only friends with Brax." Charlie tried to explain but Nicole just turned away looking back down at the photo album.

"Leave me alone Charlie, I just want you to stay away from me." Nicole said, her tone sounded defeated and Charlie hated to hear that in the once bubbly girls voice.

"You're my daughter Nic, I won't stay away." Charlie said, Nicole had aways been her daughter from the moment she meet the 3 year old.

"I'm NOT your daughter." Nicole spat.

Charlie took a step back, hurt at the girl's words. "I have raised you from when you were three years old, and you're not my daughter?"

"That's right." Nicole answered.

"Why are you still here then?" Charlie asked, the hurt coming through in her tone of voice. "If I'm not your mother, why are you still under my roof? Why Nic?"

"I have nowhere else to go!" Nicole hissed, venom in her voice. "I'm not sticking around for you, I'm sticking around for my half brothers and sisters. They're the only part of Dad I have left!"

"You and your siblings are the only part of your Dad I have left too, Nic," Charlie said. "Don't act like you're the only one affected by this."

"He was my dad!"

"He was my husband, I loved him too Nic. Now get dressed, we have a barbecue to attend."

"I'm not going and you can't make me! I won't be a part of any family you're trying to create. Now get out!" Nicole shouted, shaking her head, hurt clear in her eyes, Charlie walked out of the room slamming the door behind her, tears were clouding in her eyes but she pushed them back as Ruby came out of the bathroom.

"You okay mum?" Ruby asked with a concerned gaze.

"Uh yeah, you ready?" Charlie asked and Ruby nodded.

"Nic coming?"

"No Nicole won't be coming" Charlie said as she turned around and headed down the hall to fix up her face.


Charlie and the kids stood on Brax's front porch. Charlie and Ruby were holding massive bowls of potato salad and over one shoulder Charlie had a bag with bottles and formula for Mia because the young girl still liked to have a bottle everyday. Emily was carrying a giant bowl of garden salad and Joey had a few loaves of bread loaded into his arms. The rest of the kids had a bottle of juice or fizzy drink in their hands except for Drew, who was holding Mia's hand.

"Hey," Brax greeted. "Woah," He said, looking at all the food. "What's with all the food? I thought I told you not to bring anything."

"Well obviously I didn't listen." Charlie said, depositing the bowl of potato salad in Brax's hands as she walked inside, followed by the kids.

"Where's Nic?" Brax asked, realising that a kid was missing.

"She didn't want to come." Charlie answered as she followed Brax into the kitchen where he put the bowl down.

"There's more to it then that Charlie." Brax said with a knowing look and Charlie sighed.

"Tell you about it later." Charlie promised and Brax nodded.

"Kyle!" Mia shouted as she ran towards him as he came into the living room, Charlie chuckled. "She's so attached."

"Its a good thing" Brax said as he nodded towards the backyard. "Lets head out, come on kids."

"Daddy?" Cassie called as she saw her father coming out of the house. "Where's Uncle Kyle? Tam's gonna be late"

"Inside and tell your Uncle Casey I want his butt out here."

"Sure dad" Cassie said as she stepped into the house. "UNCLE CASEY DAD WANTS YOUR ASS OUTSIDE!"

"Cassie Rose!" Brax said as he looked at Charlie boys who were chuckling, Charlie just shrugged.

"I've got nine kids I have heard it all before trust me." Charlie said with a wink.

"Uncle Heath is in the house!"

"Uncle Heath!" Samantha shouted in excitement.

"Auntie Bi" Taylah said with a grin as they headed up the deck to hug them.

"If my brother annoys you, punch him." Brax said with a shrug and Charlie rolled her eyes. She had encountered Heath twice at Angelo's and both times he had been friendly but teased her endlessly. Charlie liked him though.


It took a while to get all the kids outside and Casey and Ruby organised a game of rugby for the kids to keep occupied while the adults tended to the barbecue.

"I'm Charlie, it's nice to meet you." Charlie told Bianca with a smile as she poured them each a glass of wine.

"It's nice to meet you too, Heath and Brax have told me a lot about you." Bianca smiled back as she accepted the glass of wine.

"They have?" Charlie asked with a raised eyebrow.

"Yeah. It seems that Brax really likes you," Bianca said. "Do you think anything will ever happen between the two of you?"

"I don't know to be honest," Charlie said as she slowly sipped her wine. "I need to move on from my husband but I don't know if its too soon."

"I'm sorry for your loss, it must've been really hard." Bianca said sympathetically.

"Thanks Bi, it is okay to call you Bi right?" Charlie asked and Bianca nodded. "So what do you do?"

"I'm the principal of Summer Bay High." Bianca answered with a smile.

"You'll be putting up with most of my lot then." Charlie said with a laugh as she looked affectionately at her children playing happily with Brax's kids. Mia was toddling along behind Drew, not really knowing the concept behind the game.

"I'm sure they're great kids," Bianca said. "It'll be a pleasure to have them at Summer Bay High," Charlie smiled. "So what do you do?"

"I'm the new police sargeant at Yabbie Creek." Charlie answered.

"A cop? Wow." Bianca said with a smile.

"Yeah a cop, everyone finds it unbelievable."

"I'm sure your great at it."

"How did you and Heath meet?" Charlie asked and Bianca blushed lightly.

"Well...its a bit embarrassing. He caught me skinny dipping at the beach, teased the hell outta me but to be fair I was a little bit tipsy. Four years later here we are, I made him chase me though I didn't come easy." Bianca said with a chuckle and Charlie opened her mouth slightly.

"Skinny dipping?"

"Don't you tease her Buckton, she looked hot." Heath said with a wide grin and Bianca blushed as he leaned down to kissed her. Charlie took that as her cue to leave them be.

She headed over to Brax, who was turning sausages on the BBQ. The heat from it had caused him to sweat profusely so he was shirtless, his blue shirt draped casually over a deck chair. Charlie felt her cheeks grow hot as her eyes roamed up and down Brax's toned and sculpted chest.

"Take a picture, it takes longer." Brax teased as Charlie jumped.

"It's not my fault you look so hot like that." Charlie retorted.

"You think I look hot?" Brax asked.

Charlie blushed and tucked a lock of hair behind her ear. "Maybe."

"Don't look so bad yourself Charlie." Brax said with a wink causing Charlie to smile.

Charlie knew it was complicated, one minute she was saying they were friends, the next minute she was thinking about ravishing his body. Charlie shuddered at the thought, the things they could do in the bedroom.

"Hello? Charlie, you still with us?" Brax asked, waving a hand in front of her face.

"Huh?" Charlie asked and Brax grinned.

"Thinking about me naked?" Charlie blushed and Brax chuckled.

"Dad! Is lunch nearly ready?" Jack shouted and Brax waved him off.

"Yeah yeah, its coming," Brax said as he took the sausages off the barbecue and on a dish. He then put meat patties on the barbecue and as they began to cook, grabbed a beer from off the table. He unscrewed the lid and took a long drink before saying, "Jack is always hungry."

"My boys eat a lot too," Charlie smiled. "They nearly eat me out of house and home."

"Yeah, well, boys will be boys."

"You got lucky, you have only two, I have five." Charlie told him, sipping her wine.

"Try living with five hormonal girls," Brax retorted. He grew serious. "What happened with Nicole anyway?"

"We had a big argument," Charlie told him in a soft voice. "She said that I'm not her mum."

"Oh Charlie I'm sure she didn't mean it, teenagers say things in the heat of the moment." Brax said but Charlie frowned.

"It's more then that, I think she hates me. I don't understand, we all miss Roman." Charlie said softly and Brax sighed.

"Sometimes it hits a certain member of the family harder. She loves you Charlie, it will just take time." Brax said softly, he saw the tear roll down her cheek and moved to wipe it away with his thumb.

"Don't cry, we are meant to be having fun." Brax said with a smile and charlie offered a smile back but it was weak.

"Geez Brax you're burning the meat!" Tamara called out as she jumped off the deck. "Hi, I'm Tamara. You must be Charlie, I've heard a lot about you" Tamara said with a grin as she nudged Brax who rolled his eyes.

"Always had a big mouth haven't ya Tam?" Brax asked, turning the barbecue off and putting the patties in the same dish as the other meat.

"I hope you heard only good things." Charlie said as she transferred the dish of meat over to the picnic table.

"Of course." Tamara said with a smile as she started to pour drinks for the younger kids.

"Juice for Mia, and only half a cup please." Charlie told Tamara.

"Sure." Tamara nodded, putting half a cup of juice aside for Mia.

"So, I take it you're Brax's sister?" Charlie asked and Tamara laughed.

"No, Kyle's girlfriend."

"Bloody close enough!"Brax shouted and Tamara poked her tonuge out.

"You love me Brax."

"Ooh look what the cat dragged in." Casey said as he and Ruby made their way to the table, Charlie noticed the away Ruby was smiling at him, there was going to be something there, she had this feeling.

"What is this pick on Tamara day?"

"Course not baby." Kyle said as he slid into the seat beside her as Chase tried to climb onto her lap.

"I love you Tam" Chase said innocently and Tamara smiled.

"Love you too bubba boy." Tamara said affectionately to the five year old.

"Pass me the potato salad!" Brax called down the long picnic table which could seat at least twenty people comfortably. It easily fit everyone.

"Here Dad!" Cassie called back as she passed the bowl down the table.

"Uh Brax we have a problem." Heath said as he glanced up from his phone.

"What now?" Brax groaned and Heath raised an eyebrow.

"You should get to Angelo's"

"Can't it wait?"

"No, just go." Heath said and Brax watched as Heath's eyes flash to Charlie. He caught the hint but he didn't understand what it had to do with her.

"Alright I'll be back." Brax said as he stood up from the table, Samantha pouted.

"Do you have to go?" Samantha asked her dad sadly.

"Yeah, I'm sorry Munchkin," Brax said. "Save me some food, yeah?"

Charlie nodded. "I'll make sure there's some left for you."

"Thanks Charls."


When Brax entered Angelo's, he knew immediately what was wrong. He spotted a blonde figure on a barstool in front of the bar, drinking what appeared to be straight vodka.

"That's enough for her," Brax told the barman. "Thanks for letting me know," The barman nodded and kept doing his rounds around the restaurant, tending to customers and cleaning tables.

"Nicole, what are you doing here?" Brax asked as he made his way around the bar.

"What do you think I'm doing here?" Nicole slurred. "I'm just having a drink."

"You're drunk, Nicole."

"I don't ****ing care what you think of me, I hate you!" Nicole exclaimed, tears springing to her eyes. "Just leave me alone."

"I can't do that," Brax said as he took her glass and put it behind the bar. "Your mother is going to freak when she sees you." Brax said and Nicole glared at him.

"She's not my mother." Nicole spat and Brax shook his head.

"Get her a glass of water" Brax ordered the barman as he sat on the stool beside her. "Charlie is your mother, she raised you. There are people out there who are worse off then that Nicole" Brax said and Nic shook her head. "You miss your dad, that is understandable but Charlie she is still there for you. She loves you."

"She's trying to replace my father!" Nicole shouted and Brax grabbed her shoulder steadily pushing her back into her seat when she went to stand up.

"Charlie is doing no such thing, we are not a couple and Nicole listen to me this is really important," Brax said as he hooked a finger under he chin and turned her to face him, she tried to pull away and wipe her tears but Brax wasn't having any of that. "I am NOT trying to replace your father, do you understand Nic?" Brax asked softly but firmly.

Nicole nodded as fresh tears rolled down her face. "Nic, don't cry." Brax told her as he reached behind the bar and grabbed a tissuebox. "Listen, Charlie is really broken up about the argument, she thinks that you hate her and that you don't love her anymore and you don't want to be apart of the family."

"I don't want to be part of any family without my dad." Nicole sobbed.

Brax's heart went out to the girl. "I know, but that isn't going to happen. Are you honestly never going to let Charlie move on?"

"I don't like to think about it, my dad loved her so much." Nicole sobbed and Brax smiled softly.

"Charlie's always going to love your dad Nicole, always but there will come a time for her to move on because you don't want her to be alone forever do you?" Brax asked and Nic looked at him with sad eyes.

"No I don't, I just..."

"I understand. Your dad would want you to love the family you have left, he would want to see his little girl smile. Charlie's your mother and she loves you. She loved your father. Try talking to her Nic."

Nicole looked up at him with tears in her eyes. She took a long sip of water. "Okay." She agreed. Brax got up off the stool and offered a hand to Nicole.

"Want me to take you home?" Brax asked.

Nicole gave a small nod and took Brax's hand. Letting go of it when she got off the stool, she gave him a small smile as they walked out of the restaurant to head home to Charlie.


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  • 2 weeks later...

Chapter Five:

Charlie sat at home, her fingers nervously tapping on the arm of the armchair she was sitting in. She had come home to check on Nicole, and the girl was missing from her bedroom. She knew that Nic would be fine, that she had a good head on her shoulders but Charlie was still worried. She had left the kids next door due to Heath, Kyle and Casey insisting that they would be fine there.

She jumped up when she heard a knock on the door. Opening it, she saw Nicole and Brax. Charlie could tell that Nicole had been crying.

"Oh, Nic," Charlie sighed as she looked at her daughter. "Where have you been?" She asked as she enveloped Nicole in her arms. Sniffing something, Charlie pulled back. "Have you been drinking?" Charlie led Nicole to the long couch that took up half the wall space and sat down.

"Yeah. I'm sorry Charlie for what I said," Nicole said. "I shouldn't have said those things. I'm really sorry. I was just upset, I thought that you were trying to replace my Dad with Brax." Nicole looked over at Brax.

"Nic, you know that I'm not trying to replace your Dad," Charlie said softly. "But, he would want me to move on."

"I know!" Nicole exclaimed. "I'm just scared."

"I know baby, so am I." Charlie said as she wrapped a arm around Nicole and pulled her close to her.

Brax stood by the door and watched them carefully. He knew it was going to be hard for Charlie to move on, he knew she needed time and he definitely knew he would be there waiting for her. There was something about her that he couldn't explain, the attraction he felt was undeniable. Brax was a little uncomfortable because this was a feeling he hadn't felt since he met Tegan.

"Brax, I'll meet you back at your house. I just want a minute with Nic," Charlie said causing Brax to nod his head, too caught up in his own thoughts he only heard the end of her sentence. "Thank you for bringing her home."

"Sure," Brax said as he turned to Nicole. "I hope you feel better Nic, it does get a little easier with time." Brax said kindly as he turned around to leave. "Thank-you Brax" Nicole said softly.

Charlie turned to her daughter once Brax had left. "So you went to Angelo's to drink?"

Nicole nodded, tears spilling over. "I needed something to numb the pain."

"I understand, Nicole," Charlie sighed. "But you know alcohol doesn't solve all your problems."

"I know, mum," Nicole said. "So with you and Brax, is anything going to happen there?"

"I want it to," Charlie said honestly. "But only if you and your siblings are okay with it. You kids are my number one priority Nic." Charlie said and Nicole gave a soft smile.

"I know it'll take time, but maybe...eventually I'll be okay with it." Nicole said and Charlie wrapped her arms around Nicole and hugged her tightly.

"You must always remember how much I love your father." Charlie said, her voice was firm and Nicole smiled.

"He loved you too mum, and he wouldn't approve of how I've been acting. I'm really sorry." Nicole said and Charlie beamed.

"Keep calling me mum and I might die of a heart attack." Charlie joked, coaxing a little giggle from Nicole. "Your father probably wouldn't have approved but he would understand."

"You better go back to the barbecue."

"You should come baby, there is a girl, Tamara. She goes to your school, maybe you could make friends."

Nicole wrung her hands in front of her, nervously playing with the bracelet she had on. "I don't know."

"Come on, Nic, please?" Charlie pleaded. "Everyone wants to meet you."

"Okay then." Nicole finally gave in. She wanted to meet everyone, especially if they were going to be in their lives for a long time.

"Yay." Charlie hugged Nicole again and stood up.

"Let me go fix my face." Nicole said and Charlie chuckled.

"Okay. Do you want me to go ahead or wait for you?" Charlie asked.

"Wait for me please." Nicole said weakly, she didn't particularly want to walk into a house full of people by herself.

"Okay, I'll be right here."


Brax was completely surprised when Ruby walked up to sit beside him, her face protrayed nervousness as she looked at him.

"Hey Rubes, what's up?" Brax said with an unsure expression.

"I have to ask Brax, what are your intentions with my mother?" Ruby asked. Ever since Roman, Charlie hadn't dated anyone, this was the first time and Ruby was unsure.

"Well..." Brax said nervously as he looked at Ruby. "I want to be your mums friend before anything, she needs a friend. I won't deny it, I do like her but I won't do anything about it until I am sure she's ready...if she will ever be ready."

"What about her having 9 kids?" Ruby asked with a raised eyebrow.

"She only has three more than me, it doesn't make a difference to how I feel about her. Your mum is special, Rubes."

"Are you sure?" Ruby asked as a scream came from the other side of the backyard. Kyle and Tamara were play wrestling, and they had ended up in the pool.

"Kyle, I'm gonna kill you!" Tamara yelled at him as she splashed him with water.

"You gotta catch me first!" Kyle teased as he tried to run away.

"Oh I'm sure," Brax chuckled as he watched the scene in front of him. "If you count Kyle, Casey and Tamara I got 9 anyway. Then there Heath he's the overgrown toddler, I'm got lucky Bianca was willing to take him." Brax joked and Ruby smiled.

"My mums been through a lot, so be careful with her or I'll have to kill you." Ruby said with a sweet smile and Brax nodded, he had a feeling Ruby could be rather deadly if she wanted.

"I don't doubt it." Brax said as he turned back to the backyard, watching as the kids helped Tamara chase Kyle down, Brock and Edward jumping onto him followed by his own twins Jade and Jack.

He chuckled, Jade was always looking for a way to get payback on Kyle, for all the times he annoyed her.

"Geez! Take it easy kids." Kyle yelled as they piled on him.

"We're back." Charlie said as she stepped out onto the porch followed by Nicole. "What is going on there?" Charlie asked finding herself amused as Kyle continued to struggle, asking Casey for help but the teenager just sat under the tree laughing.

"What's the principal doing here?" Nicole asked aloud.

"She's Heath's wife," Charlie explained. "Bee! Come over here!"

Bianca headed over to them, cradling a sleeping Rocco in her arms. "Hey! You're back!"

"The excitement got to him I'm guessing?" Charlie asked, looking at Rocco. "Bee, this is Nicole, one of my kids. She's going to be starting at Summer Bay High."

"It's nice to meet you." Nicole said.

"It's nice to meet you too." Bianca said warmly.

"You'll really enjoy Summerbay High" Bianca said with a smile as Ruby came up to them.

"Come on Nic, I want you to meet Casey!" Ruby said excitedly as she grabbed Nicole's hand and pulled her away causing Charlie to smile. She had a feeling everything would be okay.

"Mummy! Sammie pulled my hair" Drew screeched and Charlie was surprised to see Brax by her side instantly.

"Samantha Louise! What have I told you about pulling peoples hair?" Brax asked sternly.

"Wasn't me daddy." Samantha said innocently.

"Was too!" Drew cried.

"Was not!" Sammie threw back.

"Was too!"

"Was too!" Sammie said, trying to trick Drew.

"Was not!"

"Haha!" Samantha laughed.

"Samantha, room, now!"

"But Dad!" Samantha whined.

"No buts. Room. Now." Brax told his youngest daughter firmly.

"So unfair! He's being a baby." Samantha grumbled as she stomped up the stairs and into the house.

"I'm sorry she pulled your hair Drew" Brax said as he looked down at the little boy who had his arms wrapped around Charlie's legs.

"Its okay Brax." Drew said with a bright smile. Charlie ruffled his hair.

"Why don't you go play with the other kids while Brax and I talk?" Charlie suggested to Drew.

"Okay!" Drew said happily as he ran off to join in with the water fight.

"So what happened with you and Nic after I left?" Brax asked.

"We talked, she called me mum again," Charlie said with a smile. "Then we spoke about me moving on, she agrees in time she will adjust."

"How do you feel about moving on? about dating again?" Brax asked and Charlie smiled slightly.

"I think I just need to find the right person." Charlie said as she winked at Brax who smiled softly.

"Do you think that person could be me?" Brax asked, a serious expression on his face.

Charlie sighed, unsure of how to answer. "I don't know Brax..."

"Okay, how about you go on a date with me? My brothers could babysit again and I'm sure if they can't, Darce, Rubes and Nicole could handle them?"


Brax was surprised she agreed so fast. "You will?"

"Of course, Brax," Charlie said, a smile stretching across her face."I would love to."


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  • 2 weeks later...

Chapter Six:

Brax stood in the middle of the lounge room surrounded by his children and two brothers, he saw the looks of uncertainity on the faces of his three older children, Darcy's displaying hurt.

"You're going on a date?" Jade asked slowly as though she was trying to comprehend.

"Yes, with Charlie."

"Why?" Jack asked and Brax turned to the boy with a sigh.

"Because I like her." Brax said and Darcy frowned.

"I thought you loved mum." Darcy said and Brax nodded.

"I'll always love your mum, but I don't think she will be coming back"

"Will Charlie be our new mummy?" Chase asked innocently.

Brax smiled softly. "I think so, buddy, but let's not get too far ahead of ourselves." He noticed Jade get up from her chair and rush into her room, the door slamming behind her.

"I'm gonna go talk to her." Brax said and Casey lifted a hand, stopping Brax from going past him.

"Brax, I'll go talk to her." Casey told him and Brax nodded, he wasn't in the mood to argue with his brother.

Casey walked down the hallway to Jade's room. He knocked softly on the door. "Jade?"

"Go away." Came the response. Casey sighed, he knew that his niece was stubborn. She always thought that her mum would come back, but the reality was that she wasn't going to come back, not anytime soon anyway. Casey opened the door anyway, ignoring Jade's protests.

"Jadey," Casey said softly, using Jade's nickname from when she was a kid. "What's wrong?"

"I want mum to come back." Jade cried into her pillow as Casey rubbed soft circles on her back.

"I know Jadey," Casey told his fourteen year old niece. "But it's been three years. Do you really want your Dad to wait forever?"

"Yes." Jade said with a stubborn pout and Casey smiled slightly.

"You want him to be happy don't you Jade?"

"I guess but I don't want another mother." Jade said firmly and Casey nodded.

"I understand, how about a friend? Charlie can be your friend." Casey said and Jade sighed.

"Dad really likes her doesnt he?"

"Yeah honey he does." Casey confirmed and Jade felt a small tear escape her eye as she threw her arms around Casey.

"I miss her Uncle Casey."

"We all miss your mum Jade."


Brax sighed as he looked at his children, Chase seemed about the only one to be happy. Brax loved his kids, he really did, he would do anything for them but he wanted to have Charlie too in his life, even if his kids disapproved for a while.

"Come on guys, you understand I need to move on? I need to be happy as well." Brax said but Samantha got up and threw herself in Kyle's lap.

"I'm not having another mummy! Tell him Uncle Kyle please?" Samantha begged and Kyle glanced at Brax with a raised eyebrow.

"No one is replacing your mum Sammie," Kyle said softly. "But Charlie will make your Dad happy, you want that don't you?"

"I guess so." Sammie said.

"Listen guys, we can't wait for your mum forever," Brax told his kids. "It's been three years."

"But Dad, can't you wait a bit longer?" Jack asked. "Mum could come back soon."

"But what if she doesn't?" Brax asked. "Do you really want me to let Charlie go?"

Jack groaned but shook his head.

"Guess not."

"You'll take it slow won't you dad?" Darcy asked and Brax smiled slightly.

"Of course sweetie."

"So you're not gonna get married?" Cassie asked her arms crossed and her head tilted as she studied her dad, Brax chuckled.

"No, I'm not ready for that just yet." Brax said as Kyle tried to hide a smile at Brax's shocked face.

"Then I guess its okay." Taylah confirmed as she picked up the TV remote and flopped down on the couch - just like that the discussion was over and Brax smiled, he knew he had great kids even if they fought.

"Thanks kids."

"So when are you and Charlie going to go out again?" Taylah asked as she changed the channel to Nickelodeon.

"Spongebob!" Chase exclaimed and sat down next to Taylah.

"Hopefully soon." Brax answered Taylah.

"Who's gonna look after us?" Cassie asked from her spot on the floor, where she was lying down doing her maths homework.

"Your uncles, of course." Brax answered. He was so grateful for his brothers, they helped him out all the time with the kids, especially since Tegan left.

"Not them again!" Jack teased as he rolled his eyes and Kyle threw a cushion at him causing the girls to giggle.


Charlie walked into her bedroom only to be bombarded by her nine children all crowded onto her queensized bed.

"Wow, what do I owe the pleasure?" Charlie teased.

"Are you dating Brax?" Emily asked.

"Is Brax gonna be my new Dad?" Drew asked.

"Are you and Brax going to get married?" Lucas asked.

"Woah, woah," Charlie said, putting a hand up. "I don't know guys."

"Do you want to date Brax?" Ruby asked.

"Yes. But, only if you guys are happy." Charlie told her kids.

"After a little discussion we decided maybe it would be okay." Joey said and Charlie nodded slightly.

"Are you gonna move in together?" Brock asked and Charlie shook her head.

"We haven't been on a date yet." Charlie exclaimed and Ruby giggled.

"You went for drinks does that count?" Ruby asked and Charlie frowned.


"I think it does" Nicole said and Charlie turned to look at her, she had been so quiet until then.

"I don't think so."

"It does mum" Edward back Nicole up and Charlie shook her head.

"Mummy, can Kyle live here too?" Mia asked and Charlie laughed, her fasination with Kyle was still occuring. "They aren't going to be living with us Mi." Charlie said and Mia pouted.

"So when's your date?" Emily asked and Charlie shrugged as she lay down on the bed beside Drew.

"I don't know, soon."

"Who will look after us mummy?" Drew asked with a slight touch of panic in his voice and Charlie smiled at him reassuringly.

"Kyle!" Mia shouted and Ruby laughed at her sisters enthusiasm.

"I think Nicole and Ruby this time Mia."


"Okay, how about you guys will go over to Brax's and Nicole, Ruby and Kyle will look after you?" Charlie suggested. "Is that okay with you Nic and Rubes?"

"I guess so." Ruby said, Nicole gave a little nod.

"So that's sorted then," Charlie smiled at her kids. "What do you guys want for dinner?"


"Hot dogs!"


"It's spaghetti Mi" Drew said in a duh voice causing Mia's lip to tremble.

"Don't cry baby, we'll have spaghetti." Charlie said enthusiastically to get Mia to smile, and the little girl did smile brightly.


"Brax if you don't put me down right now..." Tamara didn't get to finish her sentence as the doorbell rang and Brax hurried over towards the door Tamara bouncing on his shoulders grumbling causing Brax to chuckle as he opened the door and saw Charlie and her group.

As he stared at Charlie he couldn't help but grin, she was wearing a red dress that clung to her body shaping her perfectly, her dark hair curled to one side.

"Wow!" Brax muttered. "You look fantastic Charlie." Brax said causing Charlie to blush.

"Not so bad yourself but I hope you don't plan on bring Tamara as an accessory." Charlie teased as Brax stepped adide to let them in, Brax laughed as he set Tamara down.

"Idiot." Tamara muttered as she punched him in the shoulder.

"That'll teach you not to almost break my fridge." Brax said and Tamara shrugged.

"Whatever you say dad." Tamara said sarcastically causing Brax to reach out again but she side stepped. "You have a date Brax but instead your picking on a defenseless teenager" Tamara sighed and Brax smirked.

"Defenseless my ass," Brax said.

"Casey!" Ruby exclaimed as she ran up to him and gave him a huge hug.

"Someone's pleased to see me." Casey said as he hugged Ruby back.

"Of course." Ruby told him, a smile on her face.

"So you ready?" Brax asked Charlie.

Charlie nodded. "Yeah," She turned to her kids. "See you guys later, okay?"

"Bye Mum!" Came a chorus of voices.

Charlie smiled as Brax said goodbye to his lot. He closed the door behind them and as soon as they got in the car, Brax blindfolded Charlie.

"Brax!" Charlie exclaimed. "What are you doing? Where are we going?"

"You'll see." Brax said mysteriously as he drove off.


When they arrived at their mystery location, Brax led a blind Charlie inside before taking off the blindfold.

"Oh, Brax." Charlie sighed happily as she looked around Angelo's. It was dark, lit only by candles scattered around the entire restaurant.

"Do you like it?"

"It's so beautiful Brax." Charlie smiled as Brax led her to a table and pulled out a chair for her.

"Only the best for you." Brax grinned as he poured her a wine and poured some beer for himself. "Tonight is about you, us. No kids," Brax told her as he leaned forward and took her hand. "Tonight I want to get to know you, I want to know the real Charlie"

"You do know me." Charlie said with a smile but Brax shook his head.

"I know Charlie the mum, I want just Charlie." Brax said and Charlie smiled.

"Charlie the mum and just Charlie are the same person. What do you want to know?" Charlie asked and Brax looked thoughtful for a moment.

"Lets start with the easy stuff, favourite colour?"

"Blue, yours?" Charlie asked with a raised eyebrow and Brax shook his head.

"We are getting to know you, not me." Brax said but Charlie wagged her finger.

"Fair is fair."

"Oh alright, blue" Brax said and Charlie smiled, it was another thing they had in common.

"Favourite place?"

"Home," Charlie said honestly. "And the police station and the beach."

"Your favourite place is home?" Brax asked as he took Charlie's hand.

"Yeah, it's where my kids are."

"You are so cute, you know that Charlie?" Brax asked. Charlie blushed. "I am not." Charlie said.

"Yes you are." Brax teased as he leant across the table his mouth inches from her, her ruby red lips staring him in the face. Charlie smiled at him running her tongue over her lips as she leaned forward that inch more, their lips connecting in an electrifying moment. Charlie melted into the kiss, her hands tangling in Brax's hair in an attempt to press him closer to her.

"That was amazing." Charlie said once they had broken apart reluctantly.

"It was," Brax agreed, wishing that Charlie's lips were on his again. "Umm, favorite food?" Brax said as he tried to shake the the kiss from his head; trying to focus on the date. the kiss was lovely, it was hot he wanted more but he wanted to get to know her first.

"I love pizza." Charlie smiled and Brax grinned at her.

"Same," Brax said with a smile but as he looked at her he couldn't help it, he leaned across the table once again and claimed her lips to his. "Moving too fast?" Brax asked between kisses unwilling to pull her soft plump lips from his.

"No, its perfect." Charlie said unable to pull herself away from him.


"Dad's gonna kill you." Taylah said as she twirled around in a circle teasing Casey, Kyle and Tamara as everyone stared at the smashed kitchen window.

"Really gonna kill you." Samantha teased and Drew gasped.

"Brax won't kill them right?" Drew said tugging on Nicole's leg.

"No, of course not Drewie." Nicole told her youngest brother.

"Casey, it's all your fault!" Tamara said, annoyed as she surveyed the damage.

"It was Kyle's idea!"

"Was not!" Kyle said as he put his arms around Tamara from behind.

"Okay, who cares who's idea it was to play football in the house, it's still broken," Ruby interrupted. "So what do you want to do?"

"What do we want to do?" Casey asked as he turned to face her. "Run might be a good idea."

"Brax is gonna kill us" Tamara groaned and Cassie giggled.

"He told you not to play football in the house/"

"Cas, do me a favour? Be quiet" Casey said as he turned to Kyle. "What do we do? You older, you need to figure it out."

"Figure what out?"

Casey whirled around to see Brax and Charlie. "Nothing."

"They broke the kitchen window." Cassie sang out.

Brax glared at the older Braxtons and Bucktons. "Who did?"

"Casey, Tamara and Kyle." Samantha answered.

"Thanks Sammie!" Casey groaned.

"You did what?" Brax asked sternly as he turned to them and Casey pointed at Kyle.

"His fault." Casey said and Kyle shook his head.

"What are you a 3 year old?" Kyle asked and Tamara looked at Brax. "Totally the boys fault." Tamara said and Kyle glanced down at her.

"Are you trying to get me your boyfriend killed?"

"Brax please don't kill them" Drew and Edward begged and Brax glanced down at them.

"I'm not going to kill them"

"Promise?" The boys asked innocently and Brax smiled.

"I promise" Brax said and Mia glanced at him from up in Ruby's arms.

"You no be mad at my Kyle, no be mad Baks." Mia said and Brax groaned, he was mad but he couldn't show that to a three year old. "I'm not mad" Brax said and Tamara looked at him with a raised eyebrow.

"Really?" Tamara asked but when Brax turned to her she could see in his eyes that was clearly not the case.

"Clean it up. We will talk about this later." Brax said firmly and Charlie couldn't help but chuckle as they headed out of the room quickly.

"So are they in trouble?" Charlie asked once the kids were out of earshot.

"They sure are," Brax said through gritted teeth. "They know I trust them to keep the house in one piece, they know the rules."'

"Are you going to punish them?" Charlie asked.

"Yeah, the money for the replacement window will be coming out of each of their paychecks," Brax said. "Charls, they should've been showing a better example for the kids."

"I know Brax, but accidents happen," Charlie said. "Don't worry about it once you've punished them, it's clear that it was an accident."

Brax ran a frustrated hand through his hair. "I know."

"I should probably be getting the kids home." Charlie said, noticing that Drew and Mia were asleep, Mia's head in Drew's lap.

"Yeah, its late. Need a hand?" Brax said as he noticed Edwards head starting to fall as he was slowly slipping into sleep.

"If you wouldn't mind." Charlie said.

"If you want, they can crash here, I've got a spare cot that Mia can sleep in."

"She hasn't been in a cot for a while now." Charlie frowned.

"It's just for one night." Brax pointed out.

Charlie nodded. "What about my oldest kids?"

"If they're awake, they can go back to yours. The younger ones can stay here if you want."

"Thanks Brax," Charlie smiled. "That makes things a lot easier."

"You know I had a really good time tonight." Brax said as he gave her a cheesy smile, Charlie blushed and nodded.

"So did I."

"I want to continue this, another date." Brax said and Charlie nodded.

"I'm not going anywhere," Charlie promised.



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Chapter Seven:

6 Months Later.

Brax looked down at the sleeping beauty beside him, Charlie was spread out across the bed her face tucked into her pillow. Even after six months Brax couldn't believe he got to wake up to her twice a week. He'd tried to get her to move in but there was something holding her back, Brax had a feeling it was Roman but he couldn't be sure. The other option was Nicole but lately they had been getting on well. Nicole had finally come around to the idea of Charlie moving on and things were a lot happier between the two families.

Charlie stirred in her sleep and snuggled closer to Brax, who wrapped his arms around her. Charlie woke up and looked at Brax, a sleepy smile on her face. She loved waking up to Brax the two mornings she shared with him twice a week. She knew that she wanted to move in with him but she just thought that it was too soon, they had only been going out for six months. Plus, she didn't want to ruin things between her and Nicole, things were finally good between them and Nicole had warmed up to Brax.

"Move in with me?" Brax blurted out and Charlie sighed as she looked up at him, it was like he had been reading her thoughts.


"I know you think its too soon but this is it Charlie, I'm not going anywhere. Sorry to say your stuck with me."

"What about the kids? Where will we live? Brax its more then just us." Charlie reasoned and Brax nodded.

"Alright." Brax said. It sounded to Charlie like he saw her point but Brax had other ideas. He was going to prove to Charlie he could make it work and if he could then she would have no excuse and hopefully she would just agree.

First he needed to speak to Nicole, he just had to get Charlie out and he knew the perfect person to distract her.

"You understand?" Charlie asked unsurely and Brax nodded.

"Of course babe, take all the time you need." Brax said as he leaned down and kissed her forehead.

When Charlie got out of bed to go to the bathroom, Brax grabbed his cellphone from the bedside table and dialed a number.

"Hello?" Bianca answered.

"Hey, what are you doing today?" Brax asked.

"Nothing, why?"

"Can you take Charlie out?"

"Sure. What's going on?" Bianca asked, wondering what was going on.

"I just need you to distract her while I sort something out, please?" Brax asked.

"Okay. I'll be there around twelve."

"Sweet, thanks." Brax hung up just as Charlie came back into the bedroom.

"Who were you talking to?" Charlie asked sleepily.

"Just Bianca," Brax said as Charlie crawled back into bed. "Have I mentioned how incredibly beautiful you are lately?" Brax asked and Charlie smiled as she snuggled into his arms.

"No but I'm not against hearing you say it."

"Well Charlie Buckton you are incredibly beautiful even when you snore in your sleep." Brax teased and Charlie slapped his chest.

"I don't snore!"

"You sound like a train." Brax teased her.

"No I don't." Charlie whined and Brax chuckled.

"Dad! Get up, I'm hungry!" Jack shouted as he banged on the bedroom door.

"Move it loser!" Jade said to her brother as she tapped on the door. "Daddy, wake up. We are starving out here" Jade exaggerated causing Brax to roll his eyes.

"This is how you get him up," Darcy whispered to her siblings. "Dad! Uncle Kyle and Tamara are gonna shower together again!" Darcy shouted and the door flung open almost immediately.

"Kyle! Tamara! I told you both no showering together with the kids in the house." Brax yelled.

"What the hell are you shouting about? We're trying to sleep" Kyle shouted sleepily and Brax frowned as he turned to Darcy who was grinning cheekily. Jack and Jade grinning widely.

Brax looked down sternly at his kids. "You guys are old and ugly enough to sort breakfast out yourselves."

"But Dad!" Darcy protested.

"No buts, you're fifteen Darcy," Brax told his daughter firmly as Charlie appeared behind him, wearing her dressing gown.

"What's going on?" Charlie asked, hearing the commotion.

"Dad won't make us breakfast!" Jack whined.

"How old are you Jack?" Charlie asked.


"Exactly, do you really want Daddy to make you breakfast everyday?"

Jack pouted. "But he makes really good eggs!"

"What have I told you guys?" Brax asked. "No bugging me when Charlie's here."

"You told them that?" Charlie asked as she raised an eyebrow.

"Well, yeah. I only get two mornings with you." Brax reasoned.

"Brax, you can't tell them that!" Charlie said and Brax sighed.

"I get two mornings Charlie" Brax reasoned and Charlie shook her head.

"Go make their eggs." Charlie demanded and the twins high-fived each other.


Brax sighed heavily.

"Can we have hashbrowns too?" Jack asked cheekily. Brax whacked him softly on the head.

"Only if you make them yourself, I'm already cooking you eggs."

"Fine." Jack grumbled as he headed down the hall towards the kitchen.

"Baks! You wake." Mia giggled as she ran down the hallway throwing herself into his legs.

"Hey honey, did you have a good sleep?" Brax asked but Mia shook her head.

"No! Sammie kicks." Mia whined and Brax smiled, Samantha had always been a kicker from the moment she came home from hospital.

"That's not very nice of her. Now why don't you and mummy go wake everyone up while I cook breakfast." Brax suggested and Mia grinned.

"Okay Baks. Let's go mummy!" Mia said happily as she let go of Brax's legs and tugged at Charlie's hand. Charlie smiled at her daughter before they headed down the hallway, Mia banging on doors happily.


After breakfast, there was a knock on the door. Charlie opened it to find Bianca, who was dressed in shorts and a blue top, sunglasses perched on the top of her head.

"Hey Bi." Charlie greeted.

"Hey Charls!" Bianca exclaimed. "Wanna go shopping? I'm bored out of my mind. Rocco's at preschool and Heath is working."

Charlie smiled at Bianca. "I don't know Bi, I have the kids." Charlie started but Brax glanced up as he came out of the hallway.

"Relax Charls I can look after them."

"Brax you don't have to..." Charlie started but Brax shrugged.

"Go! Have a good time."

Charlie smiled. "Okay." Brax walked up to Charlie and pecked her on the lips.

"Go, have a good time."

"Okay!" Charlie exclaimed. "Let me go get my handbag."

As Charlie disappeared down the hall, Brax turned to Bianca.

"Thanks for doing this." Brax told Bianca.

"It's no problem, I want to hang out with Charlie anyway."

"What is it you're doing though?" Bianca asked curiously. In all the time she had known Brax he had never been so in love and she had a feeling he was planning something.

"I want Charlie to move in with me so I have to prove to her its gonna work. I have to house hunt and speak to the kids especially Nicole!" Brax said and Bianca squealed.

"Yes! I knew it would happen soon" Bianca said as she hugged Brax.

"Hands off, you have your own Braxton." Charlie teased.

Bianca laughed. "You ready?"

"Yep," Charlie said before kissing Brax. "I'll see you soon baby, don't let the kids get up to too much mischief."

"I'll try not to," Brax smiled. "See you later."

As soon as they left, Brax headed down the hallway. Banging on Kyle's door, he opened the door slightly.

"What?" Kyle groaned.

"You're in charge, I'm heading next door to grab Nicole, Ruby and Emily" Brax informed him and Kyle nodded.

"You need me to work today?" Tamara asked sleepily and Brax glanced at her.

"No I want you here, we are having a family discussion" Brax said and Kyle chuckled.

"Don't we just love those."

Brax grinned. "Just make sure the house doesn't get destroyed okay?"

"Yeah, yeah. Relax you're only going next door."


"What's this about Brax?" Nicole asked from her spot on the couch. All of the Braxton and Buckton kids were either sitting on couches or the floor and all of them were wondering what was going on.

"I want to know how you will all feel if Charlie and I moved in together." Brax told them.

"You mean move in here?" Ruby asked as she looked around. "It's not big enough."

"Exactly, which is why I want to find a new place with enough space for everyone."

"Even us?" Tamara asked.

Brax nodded. "Even you guys. I need you here."

"Why? For our awesome childcare services?" Casey teased his brother.

"Exactly," Brax smirked. "What do you think?"

"Will we have our own rooms?" Brock asked innocently and Brax glanced at him.

"Some of you will have to share."

"Kyle live with me?" Mia asked and Brax nodded.

"Can I share a room with Chase?" Drew asked excitedly.

"Yeah!" Chase exclaimed happily.

"Okay, Drew and Chase can share a room. Any other requests?"

"Can I share with Casey?" Ruby asked innocently.

Brax glanced at her. "In separate beds maybe."

"I'll share with Jade." Emily said as she linked arms with Jade.

"Come on Brax, separate beds? Kyle and Tamara share." Ruby whined.

"Don't even think about it Brax," Tamara warned. "We've been sharing a bed for a year now."

"Relax." Brax said.

"I guess I can share with Lucas." Joey offered.

"And I'll share with Sammie like I do now." Cassie said with a shrug.

"Nic? You okay with this?" Brax asked, noticing that Nicole had been quiet through all this.

"I don't know Brax." Nicole said honestly.

"You can share a room with me." Darcy offered.

Nicole managed a smile at the fifteen year old.

"If we find a place big enough, you can have your own room." Brax offered.

"I don't mind sharing with Darcy, I share with Ruby now. I just...I'm not sure how I feel." Nicole said and Edward climbed up on her lap.

"Its okay Nic. Mummy still loves you." Edward promised and Nicole smiled at him.

"I know."

"Are you not ready for this Nic?" Brax asked and Nicole looked at him.

"I don't know but I need to try at least for mum right?" Nicole asked and Brax smiled.

"You let me know at any stage if you feel uncomfortable." Brax said and Nicole nodded.

"So when do we get a new house dad?" Taylah asked.

"I'm going to start looking now and then all we need to do is convince Charlie it's a good idea."

"You mean Mum hasn't agreed?" Ruby asked.

"She's a bit hesitant because of you guys." Brax answered.

"So how do we convince her Dad?" Jack asked.

"Well I am hoping if I find the right house and you all show her that you want to live together then things will be okay." Brax said. Tamara got up quickly, coming back with a laptop.

"Well no time like the present to get started. I'll do the searching. Shout out what we need."

"A pool!" Lucas shouted and Brax chuckled.

"I think she means important things buddy."

"We need at least three bathrooms." Nicole suggested.

"Three?" Cassie asked. "That won't be enough."

"We need at least ten bedrooms." Emily said. "There's sixteen of us kids, plus you and Kyle and Mum and Brax."

"Okay, a few houses are coming up," Tamara said, turning to Brax. "These houses are really expensive, Brax, how will we afford this?"

"Easy, Charlie told me she has money saved and I get heaps from the restaurant." Brax answered.

"There's a few in the bay both with ten bedrooms and four bathrooms," Tamara said as Brax read over her shoulder. "Plus, they both have pools."

"Yeah!" Lucas shouted.

"How much is that one?" Brax asked and Tamara clicked into it

"650,000." Tamara said and Brax nodded.

"The other one?"


"I like that one. Alright come on the lot of you. We are going to look at it."


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Chapter Eight:

Brax stood at the top of the grey gravel driveway with Mia in his arms, seeing the house in front of him Brax was sure this was the house for them. The exterior was a dark grey with white window frames and crystal clear glass, the front door had a white wooden frame with clear glass so Brax could see into the foyer.

"Wow, this place is great dad! Can we move in now?" Jade asked and Brax chuckled.

"Not quite yet, come on the real estate agent is inside. Behave please." Brax begged all of them as they headed up the grey marble steps and to the front door.

"Hi! You must be Darryl," The real estate agent greeted as she opened the door. "It's a pleasure to meet you, is this your family?"

"Hi, call me Brax, please," Brax said. "These are mine and my girlfriends kids."

"Wow, you have quite a brood there," The real estate agent said. "Come in, come in."

"Dad, what's a brood?" Chase asked as they walked inside.

"Dad, this place is so huge!" Darcy exclaimed as she looked around.

"Look at how big the pool is!" Lucas shouted from where he was standing at the big bay window that overlooked the large, spacious backyard.

"Can we please get this house?" Emily asked.

"One thing at a time" Brax told them smiling at their enthusiasm. "Can I take a walk around?" Brax asked and the real estate agent nodded.

"Of course, take all the time you need."

"Kyle, Case, Tam. Keep an eye on the kids" Brax said as he looked around for Ruby and Nicole spotting them in the opening that led to the kitchen.

Brax passed Mia to Kyle and headed towards them, looking over their shoulders he noticed how big the kitchen was. The cupboards were white and the benches were a grey marble, in the middle was a large island. The kitchen was perfect for cooking for a big family.

"Think your mum will like the kitchen?"

"Do you want to die from food poisoning?" Ruby joked and Brax chuckled, as he turned to Nicole he saw the small smile on her lips. "I want you both to come upstairs and take a look, I need your opinion." Brax said and the girls looked slightly surprised. They knew Brax was nice but they honestly didn't think he would care much for their opinion.

"Sure. But just for the record I want you to buy this house." Ruby exclaimed as she headed towards the stairs, Nicole trailed slowly along at Brax's pace.

"As long as you have room for all mums shoes, she'll love it." Nicole said and Brax chuckled.

"So are you okay with this house?" Brax asked.

"Yeah, I really like it." Nicole told Brax.

"I'm glad to hear that Nic."

"Brax, can I ask you something?" Nicole asked as she stopped midway down the stairs.

"What is it?"

"Do you want to marry Mum?"

"I would love to Nic."

"So why don't you ask her?" Nicole asked.

"You'd be okay with that?" Brax asked. He knew that the girl had trouble with the idea of her mum moving on from her dad and marriage was the last thing he expected to hear from her.

"Well it would take so getting used to but if I'm honest you make her happy, the happiest she's been in years," Nicole said softly as she glance up at him. "Plus I guess you're not so bad" Nicole teased and Brax grinned - it was the first time she had showed any type of happiness, and aspect that she was a teenage girl.

"Well neither are you." Brax teased back and Nicole smiled.

"As long as she doesn't forget my dad, he loved her very much but she needs to be happy," Nicole said as they watched Chase and Drew come running towards them. "Those kids need a dad, you can't replace our biological one but you're a decent guy Brax and I can see you care." Nic said as Drew threw his arms around her waist.

"I more than care Nic, I love you all not just your mum." Brax told her and Nicole smiled.

"You love us?" Drew asked excitedly and Brax nodded.

"I do."

"Wow! Did you hear Chase, your dad loves me."

"Does that mean you and Charlie are going to be together forever and make more babies?" Chase asked innocently.

Brax and Nicole burst out laughing. "I don't think there will be any more babies Drew, there's already fifteen of you."

"So are we getting this house?" Ruby asked as she walked up to them. "I'm sure Mum will love it."

"Dad, can we please get this place?" Darcy begged. "Pretty pretty pretty please?"

"Yeah! Come on Brax this house is awesome!" Joey exclaimed and Brax rubbed the side of his head.

"Ooh I don't know, do I really want to buy this house for all of you?" Brax teased as Samantha went up and wrapped an arm around her dad.

"Please daddy, I love this house." Samantha said with wide eyes, and that was the moment Brax knew he would cave.

"Okay, you all win." Brax said with a grin, Brock and Edward jumped up and wrapped their arms around him.

"Thank-you Brax! This is soooo cool."

"We'll take it." Brax told the real estate lady.

"That's great. I'll just need you to come into the kitchen to sign some papers."

"Okay. Kids, why don't you go play in the backyard while I sort things out?" Brax asked the kids.


After Brax signed the papers, he headed outside to find the kids were playing tag.

"Hey! Kids, come over here!" Brax yelled to make sure that he would be heard.

"What is it?" Sammie panted.

"I need you guys to do me a favour."

"What is it Daddy?" Chase asked.

"I need you to keep this secret from Charlie," Brax told them. "I want to surprise her."

"A surprise!" Mia exclaimed and Brax chuckled.

"Yeah, a surprise."

"Alright dad, heres the deal. We keep the secret and you buy us lunch." Cassie said and Brax cocked his head to the side - Cassie had always been the negotiator of the bunch.

"And it can't be pizza." Taylah added in and Brax sighed.

"Burgers?" Brax questioned and Cassie looked over at her siblings with a raised eyebrow, the Buckton children looked on curiously.

"Burgers it is" Cassie said as she reached out to shake her dads hand, Brax grinned as he pulled her into a hug, kissing her on the head.

"Ewww, dad!" Cassie complained.

"Don't eww dad me, you know you secretly love me." Brax teased her.


Bianca grinned as she looked down at the text she recieved from Brax.

- Done, bring her to 29 Coastly Lane. Thanks Bi.

"Come on Charls, we have to go." Bianca said and Charlie looked up from her coffee.

"What now?"

"Yes, right now. Hurry." Bianca said as she grabbed her bag, Charlie got up quickly and looked at her slightly panicked.

"Has something happened to the kids?"

"No, no. Just come on!"


"Where are we?" Charlie wondered as Bianca drove up a long driveway.

"You'll see." Bianca said mysteriously.

Charlie gasped as she saw the house. "Bi, what's going on?" She asked as she spotted Brax and the kids in front of the house, Brax holding a bouquet of flowers. "Oh my god."

Charlie climbed out of the car quickly and walked over to Brax her eyes wide.

"You didn't." Charlie murmured and Brax grinned.

"Charlotte Buckton, will you move in with me?" Brax asked and Charlie frowned slightly but to her left she could see Nicole nod briefly.

"Call me Charlotte again, I'll kill you," Charlie told him, a grin making her way across her face. "But yes Brax, I'll move in with you."

Brax put down the flowers down and picked Charlie up, twirling her around. "Brax, Brax, put me down!" She squealed.

"Finally, you agree" Brax shouted and Charlie giggled.

"How could I say no to this?" Charlie asked as she looked at the kids smiling at her with bright eyes.

"I don't know." Brax said honestly as Bianca walked up to him and nudged Brax slightly.

"Congratulations Brax, I was beginning to think I would never see the day." Bianca teased and Brax rolled his eyes.

"How come all my brothers date smartasses?" Brax wondered and Bianca punched him.

"Hey!" Tamara and Ruby exclaimed and Brax chuckled.

"Relax would you" Brax said as he looked at Charlie. "Do you want to go inside?"

"Yes! I thought you'd never ask" Charlie said as she went to take a step forward but Chase stepped in front of her.

"Cause your gonna live with me, are you my mummy?"

"Only if you want me to be." Charlie said honestly. She didn't want to replace Tegan as much as Brax didn't want to replace Roman.

"So who gets what room?" Taylah asked.

"Charlie and I get the biggest room," Brax answered. "Sammie, Cassie, Taylah, Lucas, Joey and Jack get the second and third biggest bedrooms since there's gonna be three of them in a room. Then size goes oldest to youngest. Sort yourselves out. Kyle."

"Yeah yeah, I'm in charge. Brax, I'm gonna start charging you by the hour." Kyle said as he picked Mia up and headed inside. Brax just chuckled, he knew Kyle wasn't serious.

"So, how did you get Nicole to agree?" Charlie asked as she watched her walk inside, Chase trailing behind her.

"It wasn't hard," Brax said honestly. "She knows I make youn happy."

"You do Brax." Charlie looked at him before leaning up and kissing him, her arms making her way around his neck and Brax's hands rested on Charlie's hips.

"Gross, Dad."

Brax and Charlie broke apart to see Taylah standing there.

"Just because I'm happy for you and Charlie doesn't mean that we want to see you make out." The twelve-year old said.

"Taylah, I thought I told you guys to sort yourselves out."

"I'm sorted. We get one of the biggest bedrooms." Taylah pouted.

"Then go inside and help your brothers and sisters."

"Fine." Taylah pouted again before heading back inside.

Brax shook head slightly as Charlie smiled at him.

"This is wonderful, really is Brax."

"Only the best for you." Brax said as he leaned in to kiss her.

"When do we move in?" Charlie asked and Brax grinned.

"Whenever you want, but I'm going to have to buy Cas and Sammie bunk beds, and I'll probably need to get Lucas and Joey some as well because the rooms won't fit three single beds and all their other junk." Brax said with a smile and Charlie pulled back.

"I can buy the boys beds." Charlie said but Brax just pulled her back into his arms.

"Charlie, I am going to buy them. I love those kids and I can afford to buy a bed."

"Baby, I wanna help pay off the house too, I have savings." Charlie protested but Brax held up a hand, stopping her.

"Baby, it's fine."

"It's not fine Brax," Charlie told him. "I can provide for this family too."

"I know Charlie, but this is our future I'm investing in. I want to provide for our family." Brax said as he pressed his forehead against her.

"I love you Brax." Charlie murmured softly and Brax grinned.

"Love you too baby."

"Mum, we picked out rooms." Emily said as the kids started to file out of the house.

"Did you?" Charlie asked. "Who are you sharing with?"

"Jade." Emily answered.

"That's good baby." Charlie replied.

"Mummy!" Mia squealed as she ran up to Charlie. "Kyle promised that he would give me heaps of piggyback rides when we move in!"

Charlie smiled at Kyle. She could tell that Kyle was smitten with the little girl.

"Did he now?" Charlie asked as she scooped Mia up into her arms.

"Ugh Brax, Tamara and I are gonna go past Angelo's. So we'll meet you at home." Kyle said as he came out the front door, Tamara holding his hand.

"Alright, bring the books home for me." Brax said and Kyle nodded as they quickly left. "They seem like they were up to something?" Brax asked and Charlie shrugged. "Might just be my imagination"

"Mum, can we move in right now?" Brock asked and Charlie laughed.

"Not right now buddy."


Brax sighed as he walked out of his bedroom nearly tripping over a box, it had been two weeks and moving day had finally arrived. Brax had realised it wasn't exactly easy moving everyone, there was just so many people.

"Cassie! I told you that was mine!"

Brax shook his head at the sound of Samantha's voice.

"No it isn't." Cassie said as she threw another cardboard box into the hallway.

Hearing the phone ring Brax hurried into the lounge room and rummaged under a pile of clothes pulling out the phone.


"Hey, how's everything going on your end?" Charlie asked, Brax smiled as he heard her voice.

"Uh fine," Brax said as he heard a smash. "I take that back...one second," Brax said as he pulled the phone away from his ear. "What the hell was that?" Brax yelled.

"Uncle Casey broke my mirror!" Darcy shouted back and Brax groaned.

"Of course he did, bloody idiot," Brax muttered to himself as he picked the phone back up. "How's everything on your end babe?"

"Things are fine, just a bit hectic." Charlie sighed. Moving ten people from one house to another was a lot of hard work.

"No kidding. Casey just broke Darcy's mirror."

"Ouch." Charlie winced.


Charlie sighed. "What is it!" She yelled back.

"I can't find my skateboard!" Joey shouted and Charlie sighed.

"I don't know where it is!"

"Ouuuuchhh!" Ruby screamed as she slipped on the skateboard that was covered with paper. "Joey, I'm going to kill you!"

"Love you too sis!" Joey shouted as he hurried out to grab the skateboard. "Thanks for finding it!"

"Arghhhh!" Ruby screamed behind him as she massaged her foot.

"You okay?" Charlie sighed.

"I'm fine."

"Not you Brax, Ruby!" Charlie said.

"I'm okay Mum, just a bit bruised up that's all."

"What happened?" Brax asked but Charlie sighed in response as she went over to help Ruby up.

"You sure you're okay?" Charlie asked and Ruby nodded.

"Once I kill Joey I'll be amazing." Ruby said as she hobbled back towards the hallway.

"You sure you're alright over there?" Brax asked and Charlie giggled.

"Yeah for now, ask me in 20 minutes."

Brax chuckled.

"I will ask you then" Brax said as he watched Kyle open the front door.

"Ooh look who's here, the famous Grandma Cheryl." Kyle said and to his utter surprise Cheryl smiled.

"It's nice to see you as well Kyle, as you can see I'm a changed woman."

"Uh Charlie I gotta call you back" Brax said as he hung up the phone staring at his mother.

"Mum...what are you doing here?"

"Heard you met the love of your life."


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  • 3 weeks later...

Chapter Nine:

Brax stood with his arms crossed staring at his mother, for once be could see she was sober and she actually looked well. It was different, refreshing from the last time he saw her.

"How did you hear about Charlie?" Brax asked and Cheryl smiled.

"I keep in contact with Jade, she didn't want you to know. Email is wonderful." Cheryl said with a smile as she looked around the house. "I see you're moving, would you like a hand?"

"Uh Kyle, go next door and explain to Charlie why I hung up on her." Brax said and Kyle nodded as he headed out of the house.

"What's going on mum? Why are you here?" Brax asked suspiciously.

"I want to be apart of the family."


Kyle walked through the front door of Charlie's house seeing it was wide open. Charlie sat in the middle of the lounge, packing Mia's toys into a box.

"Hey Kyle." Charlie smiled warmly as she looked up to wipe the sweat from her forehead.

"Hey Charls, Brax wanted me to tell you why he hung up on you."

"Yeah?" Charlie asked. "Why's that?"

"Mum showed up."

"Your mum?" Charlie asked. "I thought she wasn't around."

"Well, apparently she had kept contact with Jade and she told her about you," Kyle said as he joined Charlie in packing up the toys. "And technically she's not my mum, she's their mum. But apparently she's changing." Kyle said with a roll of his eyes.

"You don't believe her?" Charlie asked and Kyle shrugged.

"I was 12 when I came to live with Brax, he was already living away from home. Case and Heath were living with him," Kyle explained and Charlie nodded. "I don't know much about her cause I've only met her a couple of times."

"Does she have another reason to be here?"

"I dunno, I just hope its a good one." Kyle said as Tamara came strolling into the house plonking down beside Charlie.

"Cheryl's back." Tamara said amused as she laid across the floor and picked up a ball rolling it in her hands.

"How long have you known Cheryl?" Charlie asked curiously, she didn't know a lot about how Tamara fit into the family.

"Oh I've only met her once but last time she was around it was horrible." Tamara said and Kyle chuckled.

"That's an understatement." Kyle said and Tamara nodded.

"How long have you been living with Brax?" Charlie asked and Tamara looked at her.

"Since I was 15, my mum's a douche bag. Brax is a lot like the father I never had" Tamara said and Kyle raised an eyebrow.

"Is the father you never had." Kyle interrupted and Charlie shushed him.

"She's talking."

"Brax is just that type of guy. Mum never cared if I went to school, if I ate or anything like that. Then I met Kyle which means I met Brax and man did my life change."

"He is a really caring person." Charlie murmured.

"He is, you picked a good one." Tamara smiled.

"I did," Charlie smiled back. "So how did you meet the Braxtons?"

"I came to Summer Bay when I was fifteen, I got sick of Mum never giving a **** about me," Tamara answered. "I started looking for a job and met Brax, he hired me on the spot and offered me a place to live and the rest is history."

"We started dating around six months after she started working at Angelos, we had mostly the same shifts."

"Brax didn't exactly approve at first." Tamara said and Kyle chuckled.

"That's an understatement, he grounded us both and banned us from being in the same room as each other." Kyle said and Charlie laughed.


"Really, he only let up when he realised we were sneaking around anyway. I had to promise to keep my grades up and Kyle had to promise he would still go to uni when he finished school. Other then that Brax was great." Tamara said with a smile.


Kyle grinned as Mia ran up to him and gave him a huge hug. "Hey Munchkin."

"Where's my hi?" Tamara asked in a teasing voice.

"Hi Tammy."

"Hi sweetheart" Tamara said with a smile.

"Kyle come look at this!" Mia begged and Kyle nodded.

"Alrighty, show me the way." Kyle said as he stood up and Mia tugged him from the room in a hurry causing Charlie and Tam to chuckle.

"My kids are gonna get a wake up call living with Brax aren't they? I'm so lenient." Charlie said with a sigh and Tamara shrugged.

"Nah Brax is pretty lenient, well I mean theres boundaries and if we do cross them well lets just say you don't want to do that. But he's great just don't expect any of your daughters to be allowed to date until they're like 40."

Brax sighed as he walked into Charlie's house and sat down on the couch pushing some of the toys aside.

"How's cruella?" Tamara asked and Brax raised an eyebrow at the nickname she adopted for his mother.

"What have I told you?" Brax asked and Tamara rolled her eyes.

"Not to call her that around the children."

"Tamara," Brax warned. "Sorry, how's Cheryl?" Tamara asked as she turned to Charlie with a knowing look, Charlie giggled her kids were in for a wake up call.

"Apparently changed, you and Kyle head home. She wants to speak to you both." Brax said and Tamara groaned.

"Brrraaaxx!" Tamara complained but Brax gave her a stern look.


"This is ridiculous." Tamara whined as she stood up and walked out of the house slamming the door, she really didn't like Cheryl.

"Is she okay?" Charlie asked and Brax sighed.

"I'll talk to her later." Brax promised Charlie as he helped her up from the floor and onto his lap.

"You look exhausted." Charlie commented and Brax sighed.

"I know."

"Are you okay with your mother being here?"

"I don't know to be honest," Brax said. "She said she's here to be apart of the family."

"Do you believe her?" Charlie asked and Brax sighed.

"She never seemed to care about us as kids, she was always off boozing and gambling. She left me to look after Casey and Heath. It was like I was being their parent," Brax paused, pushing some hair out of his face. "I don't know whether to believe her now. Do you believe that people can change?"

"I think they can if you give them the chance," Charlie answered. "It depends on how much they want to change though."

"Well she doesn't seem drunk today, so thats a start," Brax said as he pulled her closer to him. "If I give her a chance, then the kids will be fine they'll love it. I can't say she doesn't love her grandchildren because she adores them. Casey will adapt but Kyle and Tamara, it's going to be like world war three." Brax said exasperated and Charlie laughed.

"It won't be that bad, from the discussion we were just having they respect you. They'll respect your decision" Charlie assured him but Brax chuckled.

"You clearly don't know them, you can sit with me when I tell them. Then you'll see." Brax said and Charlie smiled.

"I bet you $10 they are fine." Charlie said and Brax raised an eyebrow.


"Yes really." Charlie said and Brax shook his head.

"Okay, deal." Brax said as he leaned in to kiss her, seeking comfort in her embrace.

"I love you Brax."

"I love you too Charlie, I can't wait to wake up to you every morning."


"Grandma, why are you here?" Taylah asked with a smile.

"I wanted to see how you all were doing." Cheryl said with a smile on her face.

"We're doing great!" Chase said excitedly as he crawled into her lap. "Hey grandma!"

"Look how big you are!" Cheryl exclaimed as she ran a hand through Chase's hair, just as Charlie and Brax walked through the door. "You must be Brax's new love, I'm Cheryl."

Charlie looked at Brax. "It's nice to meet you." Charlie said as she extended her hand out for Cheryl to shake. Instead, Cheryl put Chase down and gave Charlie a hug.

"It's nice to meet you too, Jade has told me a lot about you."

"She has now?" Charlie asked. "I hope they were all good things."

"Of course they were Charlie." Jade exclaimed and Charlie smiled.

"Now come sit, tell me about yourself. You're a mother I heard."

"Mother of 9." Charlie admitted and Cheryl smiled.

"Wow, lots of work but all joys I assume. I hope you will bring them across for me to meet them, after all they are my new grandchildren." Cheryl said as she looked up at Brax who was studying her unsurely.

"Of course I will, they are busy packing at the moment." Charlie said and Cheryl nodded.

"I understand, plus I have six here to catch up with. I've spoken to Casey," Cheryl said and Brax raised an eyebrow. "He's fine, grown into a fine young man. He went to let Heath know I was here," Cheryl said as she looked at Charlie again. "You will have coffee with me once you are settled in your new home."

"Uh of course."

"Good, I told Darcy and Taylah I would help them pack away the kitchen. Brax you will send Tamara and Kyle to talk to me won't you." Cheryl asked and Brax frowned.

"Kyle is next door with my daughter you'll be lucky to get her to let him go." Charlie said with a chuckle.

"I sent Tam over, didn't she make it?" Brax asked and Cheryl shook her head.

"No, I didn't see her arrive."

"Cas, is Tam in her room?" Brax called down the hallway.


"She's in so much trouble. I'll find her." Brax fumed as he stalked out into the backyard.

"She's a teenager." Cheryl shrugged as she got up to head to the kitchen.

"Here let me help." Charlie said as she shook her head to clear her thoughts from Brax.

"Now tell me about those 9 children of yours." Cheryl asked as she opened a box.


Brax walked up the stairs to Angelo's and into the restaurant, his eyes immediately found Tamara who was picking at a piece of pizza.

"Tam, you are in so much trouble." Brax told her as he dropped in a chair.

"Why?" Tamara asked. "You know I don't like Cruella!"

"Don't call her that Tamara," Brax said. "You need to talk to Mum."

"She doesn't like me!" Tamara exclaimed as she picked up her waterglass and refilled it. "I don't want to hear her nitpicking about everything."

"You're going home to talk to her, she wants to apologise." Brax explained and Tamara shrugged.

"I don't care."

"Fine if you wanna play it this way, you're grounded."

"I'm 18!"

"You live under my roof," Brax told her. "And my house, my rules."

"Brax!" Tamara complained.

"Don't Brax! me. Tamara, either you talk to her or you don't. It's up to you."

"I can't believe we've finally moved in," Charlie told Brax the next day as they snuggled on a lawn chair, watching the kids play in the pool, cooling down after a long day of unpacking. "It feels so surreal. We've got our own place."

"I know baby." Brax said, pressing a kiss on Charlie's hair.

"So have you managed to get Tam to talk to your mother?" Charlie asked.

"Nup," Brax shook his head. "She's being really difficult about it all."

"Do you blame her though?" Charlie asked. "It seems like Cheryl has given her and Kyle a lot of crap."

"I know but we can't start fresh until Tam has spoken to her. Kyle gave it a go, and look at him and my mum now they are talking." Brax said as he pointed across the yard were Cheryl was sitting with Kyle and Mia.

"So your solution is grounding her?" Charlie asked and Brax sighed.

"I know what your thinking but don't, I'll let her off the hook when she apologizes to me for talking back like she did. Then its her choice to talk to mum. I can't force but she'll come round I guess."

"Oh look talk about her and she appears" Brax teased as Tamara dropped down next to him.

"Talking about me?"

"We were, since Charlie is a permanent part of our lives I'll talk to her about you lot since you're a troublemaker" Brax joked and Tamara managed a small smile.

"I'll speak to her, its what you want right?" Tamara asked and Brax shrugged.

"Only if you want to" Brax said and Tamara nodded.

"I will, and I'm sorry for yelling at you" Tamara muttered and Brax nodded.

"You're grounded for tomorrow and then your free" Brax said and Tam nodded.

"I guess that's fair," Tamara said as she got up and leaned down to kiss his cheek. "I'll go get this over with."

Tamara stood in front of Cheryl who was watching Kyle attempt to teach Mia how to swim, looking up she gave a timid smile noticing Tamara.

"Lets talk."


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Chapter Ten:

"Look, I'm sorry if you don't believe me but I ain't here to cause trouble, I want to be part of this family." Cheryl told Tamara.

"I don't know if I should believe you," Tamara said. "You were so horrible about me and Kyle."

"Tamara, I was a drunk. I am not proud of what I said to you but I am sober now and I realise the mistake I made," Cheryl said softly and Tamara sighed. "Back then I didn't think and I acted like you were free loading from Darryl. I am sorry for that."

"Cheryl I have spent the last 2 years hating you." Tamara admitted and Cheryl nodded.

"Fair enough Tam but please just consider giving me a shot. I know I was wrong and I've changed I promise you this."

"Why should I believe you?" Tamara asked. "Give me one good reason."

"Well, I came here didn't I? Doesn't that count for something?"

"I guess." Tamara admitted.

"So what do you think? You'll give me another shot?"

Tamara nodded. "Okay."

"Hug?" Cheryl asked. Tamara laughed as she got pulled into a spine crushing hug.

"Cheryl, my spine." Tamara managed to get out.

"They look like they're getting along now." Charlie commented to Brax as they watched Cheryl and Tamara hug.

"Thank god," Brax sighed. "No more bitchy Tamara and mum won't be hounding me to talk to her. Life is perfect." Brax said as he kissed Charlie on the head but Charlie whacked his chest.

"Don't say that? Every time life is going good something happens."

"You're just being paranoid." Brax told Charlie. "Relax, why don't ya?"

"I don't know Brax," Charlie sighed. "It's what I'm used to I guess."

"Ruby and Uncle Casey are kissing!" Sammie informed Brax and Charlie.

"What did I tell you?!" Charlie said as she stood up. "Ruby! Casey! Not with the children around."

"Sorry mum!" Ruby shouted as she dragged Casey into the house.

"Relax babe, it's not a big deal. As long as they don't shower together like Kyle and Tam we are sweet." Brax said and when he saw Drew and Chase running towards him covered in dirt he groaned.

"See!" Charlie said to Brax.

"We were making dirt castles." Drew told his mum happily.

"They were so big!" Chase added.

"Relax Charlie, it's just a bit of dirt," Brax said. "Come on boys, let's get you cleaned up."

"Just you wait until something big happens Brax, then you won't be telling me to relax Brax." Charlie called after him, Brax just chuckled as he picked the boys up and took them in the house.

Brax was about to follow Chase and Drew out of the bathroom when Ruby and Nicole stepped in front of him, blocking his path.

"What is it?" Brax asked.

"So, it's been a while since you and Mum started dating." Nicole started.

"When are you going to marry her huh?" Ruby asked.

"Woah, woah, girls, slow down, what?" Brax asked. "Marrying Charlie?"

"You've got to be kidding me right?" Ruby asked. "The thought never crossed your mind?"

"Of course the thought crossed my mind," Brax said. "Don't you think it's a bit too soon?"

Ruby shook her head. "No, not at all. Right Nic?"

"I guess not." Nicole answered Ruby.

"Look Brax, you gotta do this." Ruby said and Nicole smiled slightly.

"I haven't been the most welcoming but don't you want to be a proper family?" Nicole asked and Brax glanced at them with a smirk.

"You're telling me you want me to propose right now?" Brax asked and the girls looked at him with appalled expressions.

"No!" Ruby shouted.

"We are gonna find you the perfect ring first," Nicole told him as she raised an eyebrow. "We are just informing you that we will be paying for a ring and proposing, understand?" Nicole asked but before Brax could answer they turned around and head down the hall leaving Brax stunned.

"Chaaaaaarrllliiiiiieeeeeeeeeeeeeee!" Came a yell from the front door.

"Hey Bi!" Charlie appeared at the front door to see her best friend and Heath, who was holding Rocco. "Come in! You look excited."

"We have an announcement to make." Heath said.

"You want to tell everyone?" Charlie asked. "I'll round up the kids."

"Yep. We want everyone to hear this."

Five minutes later, everyone was outside waiting to hear Bianca and Heath's news.

"Okay bro, spill, what is it?" Kyle asked.

"I'm pregnant!" Bianca exclaimed happily.

"Oh my god!" Charlie exclaimed, giving Bianca a huge hug. "Congratulations!"

"Thank you!" Bianca said happily.

"Good on ya bro, congrats." Brax told his brother as he gave him a hug.

"Eww, Auntie Bianca and Uncle Heath had sex." Taylah said, her nose wrinking in disgust.

"Eww!" Cassie exclaimed.

"What's sex?" Mia asked Charlie, who tried to stifle a laugh.

"Something you'll learn about when you're much, much older." Charlie told her daughter.

"Not until you're forty." Brax said.

"You have to have sex to have a baby!" Brock announced and Drew wrinkled his nose.

"Where is the baby?" Drew asked and Bianca rubbed her stomach.

"The baby is in my belly." Bianca told him and Chase frowned.

"How you get the baby out Aunty Bi?" Chase asked holding his hands out to the side confused.

"I know, I know!" Edward said jumping up and down. "It comes out the belly button!"

"Nuh uh, the baby will come out the mouth." Drew said proudly.

"Baby in your belly? Did you eat it?" Mia asked innocently.

The adults tried not to laugh, exchanging looks with each other.

"That's enough baby talk." Brax finally said.

"But you didn't tell us how to get the baby out!" Brock whined.

"Who wants to play soccer?" Tamara yelled, hoping to distract the kids.

"Oh no, you eat my cousin Auntie B. You naughty" Chase shouted and Tamara picked him up.

"Come on, come on, come on." Tam said but Darcy giggled.

"Come on daddy, tell them how the baby comes out." Darcy said innocently.

"Yeah! Tell us Baks!" Mia said.

"Okay, kids, that's enough." Charlie said.

"Charlie!" Chase complained. "Auntie Bi ate her baby!"

"No, she didn't," Charlie tried to tell the kids gently. "You'll learn about this kind of stuff when you're older."

"No, now!" Chase pouted.

"Nope, that's enough. Come on you go play soccer." Charlie said as she pushed the kids off towards the backyard.

"Thanks for that Bianca." Brax said as he rolled his eyes, Heath burst out laughing.

"That's the best thing I've ever heard!" Heath gasped out as he choked on his laugher. "Mummy, me forgots to ask. Are you going to eat a baby too?" Drew asked innocently.

"Yeah Charlie, are you going to eat a baby too?" Heath asked innocently and Charlie whacked him on the arm.

"Drew, baby, don't you think mummy and Brax have enough babies already?" Charlie asked gently.

"You should have another one."

"Sixteen kids, wow." Bianca commented.

"I think we have enough kids Drewie." Brax said affectionately, ruffling the boy's hair.

"I don't think so." Drew said with a pout. "Can I be a big brother mummy?"

"You're already a big brother to Mia." Brax tried to point out.

"Drew honey, mummy doesn't think she should have any more babies." Charlie said softly but Drew stomped his foot.

"Me want you to have a baby! Now mummy!" Drew demanded. "We can find you a baby to eat mummy, we can. We really can."

"No more baby talk!" Brax declared as he picked Drew up in the air. "You wanna go for a swim?" Brax teased as he held Drew in the air above the pool pretending to drop him.

"Noooo Brax, noooo." Drew screamed in a fit of giggles as he clung to Brax.

"You sure?" Brax teased.

"Yes Brax!"

"Say Brax is the best ever!"

"Never!" Drew squealed. Brax pretended to drop him. "No, okay Brax! You're the best ever!"

"What about me?" Charlie asked as Brax put Drew down. "Aren't I the best too?"

"Yes mummy, you the best too."


Darcy came running down the stairs and into the kitchen to find Charlie who was attempting to cook.


Charlie spun around to see a panicked Darcy, her eyes wide and Charlie glanced at her concerned.

"Whats wrong honey?" Charlie asked and Darcy just waved at her.

"Come quick something's wrong with Grandma. She's breathing funny and she vomited blood.


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