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I Didn't Have A Choice

Guest Melbelle94

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Story Title: I Didn't Have A Choice.
Type: S/M
Main Characters: Charlie, Brax, Ruby, Casey.
BTTB Rating: T
Genre: Hurt/Comfort, Friendship, Romance
Spoilers: No
Warnings: Language.
Summary: They are moving back to the bay and the secret she's kept for sixteen years is unleashed by the person she least expected, can the family survive a secret so huge?



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



Chapter One:

As she sat on the cream carpet packing the small box full of objects so precious to her, she couldn't help but flip the book in her hand open to see the page of photos. The photo of her holding two newborn babies, both so dear to her but she remembered that day so clearly. It was the day her life changed dramatically and she made one of the toughest decisions of her life one she regretted every day.

Not because of what she chose but because she allowed herself to be forced into such a situation.


She sat there in the white hospital room Summerbay's hospital. Sitting with her newborn twins she stared at her father with a saddened expression he was flustered by anger as he demanded a decision.
She knew it was hard for him to accept that his little girl was growing up, becoming a woman to early for her age. But what other choice did she have?

Looking down at the newborns that slept peacefully in her arms she felt the warmth of love spread threw her heart the need to protect them.
Her daughter had an brown tone to her skin much like that of her fathers, her little light brown hair was a dead ringer for his but she did get her mother's eyes those deep brown orbs.
Her son had a fairer tone to his skin he was much more like her, with his little brown almost black hair being much more like hers but he had his father's eyes, those deep blue glistening eyes.
She loved them both equally her entire heart was big enough for the both of them.

If it wasn't for her parents standing there, looking down on her she would have taken them both, protected them with all her heart.
Her babies, her first two children, her piece of their father, her life.
But she listened as they yelled as they gave her the choice.

"You can't keep them both, you have one or none it's your choice, choose!" Her father shouted and she cringed holding her babies tighter.

"I can't dad how can I choose between them? There my children" She asked her and father scowled at her, his grimace growing bigger as he glanced at the children.

"Well then we will make the choice for you" Her mother reached over pulling her granddaughter from her daughter's arms. "You can keep the girl say goodbye to your son" Her mother said as she grabbed her husband hand and walked from the room with her granddaughter still sleeping.
She let the tears slide down her cheeks as she hugged her precious boy tighter to her chest she allowed herself to feel the emotion of utter hopelessness pour over her as she stared at her newborn.

"I'm sorry, if I have a choice I would choose you both" She murmured as she wrapped her arms tighter around the little boy lifting him up she laid a kiss to his forehead. "I love you more then you'll ever know please understand" She whispered as she fought back more tears climbing off the hospital bed she wrapped her jacket tighter around both her and the baby before making her way from the hospital room.

As she gently placed the basket on the doorstop she hoped she had brought enough blankets to keep her little guy warm.
It was dark outside; no one could see her as she leaned down and kissed him one last time. She was being made to do this to leave him behind; her heart was breaking in two.

Looking up at the house it was dark; she knew they would all be sleeping. She loved the family that lived here, they had treated her as one of them, as part of their family.
She'd raised the little boy and loved the older one with all her heart.
She knew they'd look after her son after all he was part of her part of them.
She knew her love would take special care of her little miracle, to watch him grow and guide him. It would help him also as now he would have a part of her with him always.

Upon hearing a little cry she knew it was time to go, moving away from the basket was harder than anyone could possibly imagine but she knew she had no choice, turning around she fled hearing the faint cry in the background as she ran.

End Flashback;

"Mum! Are you ready? We need to leave for the airport like now" A sweet voice came floating down the hallway pulling Charlie from her thoughts hearing her daughters voice made her smile but also made her wonder what his would be like what her sons voice would sound like.

"Um nearly, just a few more things to pack" Charlie murmured as she quickly packed the photo album in the box before pushing herself of the ground and grabbing the box in her arms she couldn't let her sixteen year old daughter see what was in there.
It would raise questions if Ruby asked it would raise questions that Charlie would never know the answers too.

"You're as slow as a turtle" Ruby said with a laugh as she crossed to the other side of the room and started throwing things in a box. "Our plane leaves in two hours and you're not even finished packing yet!" Ruby scolded as she taped the box shut.

"Sorry Rubes, I have just been thinking" Charlie murmured as she looked over towards her daughter, who saw that look in her mother's eyes and immediately crossed the room to wrap her arms around the one woman who has always been there for her.

"Thinking about going home?" Ruby asked as she laid her head against her mother's shoulder.

"Well technically our home is here Ruby, you have never even been to Summerbay" Charlie said as she kissed Ruby's hair, but Ruby pulled back and shook her head Charlie had never mentioned to Ruby that was where she was born, Ruby thought she had been born in the city.

"Home is where your heart is mum and your hearts not here in Perth. Also I don't have to have been to Summerbay you have told me enough stories for me to understand how much that small little town means to you" Ruby said with a smile as walked away from her mother and picked up a box before she left the room, Charlie just stood there staring.

"It's not so much about the town but the people in it Ruby" Charlie whispered even though she knew Ruby couldn't hear her.


Charlie and Ruby walked along the beach letting their toes sink deep into the golden sand as they took in the surrounding of the beach the crashing of the waves hitting the shore it allowed the thoughts that Charlie was trying to repress come rushing back to her mind.
She tried to make her mind off the thoughts by taking in the details of Summerbay noticing that things were both familiar and new.
Summerbay had changed so much since she was last here, she saw new buildings, new faces, she saw a familiar but yet oddly new Summerbay in front of her and now she was seeing it in a whole new light after all this was her home.

Ruby had been right home is where the heart is and even tho the reason she had left Summerbay was far from a happy one but more like one she was unable to forgive herself for at least now she was able to move forward a little knowing she was back in one of the most homely places in the world.

Charlie could only hope that the past she was trying so hard to bury wouldn't come creeping up on her; she hoped that by coming back she wasn't making a mistake that could place her relationship with Ruby in jeopardy.


Darryl Braxton stood outside his youngest brothers' door pounding on it with his fist he didn't understand why his two younger brothers had such a hard time getting up for school.

"Casey would you get up already!" Brax shouted as he pounded on the bedroom door. "You have school" Brax shouted but he got no reply which only made the oldest Braxton more irritated so he did the one thing he only reserved for Heath, a threat. "Seriously! If I have to come in there I'll ****ing kill ya" Brax shouted to which he heard a groan.

"I'm up, I'm up alright" Casey moaned from behind the door, he didn't want to go to school but Brax had this stupid idea in his head that he wanted Casey to make sure he graduated so that he had a life that none of the Braxton's had ever had, a life he would be proud of.
But Casey didn't want to finish school he wanted to be a Riverboy like Heath like Brax was/is.

"Good, you have like fifteen minutes" Brax shouted as he walked away from the door, Casey just groaned again as he rolled out of bed and onto the floor landing with a thud if Brax wasn't so pushy he would see that Casey didn't want to finish school.

When Casey walked out of the bedroom dressed in his school uniform Brax looked up and glared at his younger brother.
The little boy that once existed was now a teenager a moody but growing teenager.
Brax had promised himself that he would protect Casey and make sure that he helped the boy succeed in life but Casey only wanted to make it difficult.

"What are you still doing here? I thought you had work" Casey said as he dumped his bag down at the table and grabbed a piece of toast off Kyle's plate the eighteen year old grumbled and went to swat his younger brother's hand away.

"I do, but I realised you were late. You better not do this every morning when I'm not here" Brax said in a threatening tone to which Casey shrugged and Kyle laughed as he dumped his plate in the sink, Casey immediately sent his brother a death glare as he spoke to Brax.

"I get to school" Casey said and Brax stood up and through Casey his school bag.

"Good, now get to school now" Brax said firmly and Casey nodded.

"Yeah yeah, I'm going" Casey said in a flippant attitude causing Brax to whack him over the head.

"Get rid of that attitude as well" Brax shouted as he watched Casey walk out the door nearly being knocked over by Heath who was running in.

"Have a good day Case" Heath shouted as he leaned against the back of the couch panting and trying to catch his breath.

"Aren't you going?" Brax asked Kyle with a scowl and his brother shrugged.

"Yeah I'm gonna meet Case at Leah's, lay off Brax" Kyle muttered as he went to grab his bag, Brax huffed to himself parenting his brothers was harder then it looked. Turning to Heath he raised an eyebrow. "What's up with you? Where have ya been?" Brax asked as he looked at his other brother who looked like he had just ran a marathon.

"Better question, where haven't I been. I stayed at Bianca's last night" Heath said but was interrupted by Brax.

"With Bianca right?" Brax asked with a cheeky grin and Heath shook his head.

"Nah she wasn't there, I just went over to have coffee and cake with Irene! Of course she was there you idiot" Heath growled out. "Now would you listen already this is bloody important" Heath said as he watched Brax reach for his car keys.

"Look Casey has made me late because I wanted to make sure he got to school, so whatever you want to tell me can it wait til tonight?" Brax asked as he walked towards the door in a rush but Heath grabbed his arm.

"Can't wait!" Heath said urgently and Brax sighed as he chucked his keys back on the table and crossed his arms.

"Better be good then, I have work" Brax said as his eyebrows burrowed. "What did you do? Did you get Bianca pregnant? Because I want no part in that, she is one fiery blonde" Brax said with a chuckle and Heath shook his head vigorously.

"Stop joking around, this is important" Heath said and Brax shrugged.

"Getting someone pregnant is important to Heath" Brax said and Heath smirked.

"If I was telling you Bianca was pregnant you would kill me, now back to the main subject" Heath started but Brax just sighed and looked sternly at Heath.

"Get on with it" Brax said impatiently and Heath frowned.

"Well if you let me finish I would, Buckton's back in town" Heath murmured and Brax's jaw dropped.

"Who's Buckton?" Kyle asked coming back into the room but Brax didn't answer him he was too busy looking off into space an unreadable expression on his lips.


He walked out into the lounge room with a grin on his face the eighteen year old couldn't be happier as he glanced at the young eight year old boy curled up on the old sofa munching on cereal that he was eating out of the box.

Brax couldn't wait today he was meet to be seeing his girlfriend for the first time in three month's as she'd spontaneously gone on vacation a while ago even his little brother couldn't wait to see his saviour once more.


He jumped at the sound of his mother's voice as he saw her tumbling in threw the front door drunk and holding a basket in which a faint cry was coming from.

"Mum, what's in there?" Brax asked as he reached forward to take the basket of the drunken woman.

"A baby, here's the note" Cheryl Braxton had slurred waving the piece of white paper around aimlessly, Brax snatched it from her as she begun to walk off. "By the way your precious girlfriend has left town"

End Flashback;


All you need to know;

In family's;

Brax is 34.
Heath is 24.
Kyle is 18.
Casey is 16.
Darcy is 7.

Charlie is 32.
Ruby is 16.
Ross and Elise dead.

Bianca is 24.
April is 16.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Chapter Two;

Brax stood in the middle of the living room staring at his younger brother Heath his mouth was handing open slightly and he had gone completely silent, his body ridged.

Brax had gone so still Heath wasn't sure his brother was breathing.

When Charlie had left Brax's world had been turned upside down he loved her, more then he'd loved anyone. From the moment they met they had been like one they had done everything together.

And then one day she left without a word and Brax went through one of the worst times of his life.

That's when Casey came along Heath new Case was about the only thing that kept Brax from going insane.

"Charlie?" Brax finally whispered breaking the silence and pulling Heath from his thoughts before Brax quickly whipped round to Kyle. "School now!" Brax all but shouted at him and Kyle frowned but quickly walked out the door not wanting to argue with him this morning. "It could have been anyone what would she be doing back here?" Brax said Heath with a shake of his head as he went to pick up his keys once more.

"Brax I am telling you right now it is the same Charlie that helped me with my homework every day after school, that spent countless nights at our house because she didn't want to go home, she's the same Charlie that was there when dad got arrested and hid with me in the bedroom, she's the same Charlie I thought of as a mother even though she's only eight years older than me. So when I say she's here Brax I'm sure she is and this time she's not alone" Heath said as he plopped down on the couch opening a beer from last night that sat on the coffee table, there was another round of silence before Brax decided to speak.

"What do you mean she's not alone?" Brax asked slowly as he turned and shut the door, coming over he sat in the arm chair and stared directly at his brother but Heath shrugged.

"There was a teenager with her; she looked to be about Case's age. I didn't study them Brax, all I know is she's back in town and there's someone with her. I just thought I would warn you" Heath said with a shrug as he picked up the tv remote.

"No! No give me that" Brax said as he snatched the remote off Heath. "And that" Brax said as he took the beer as well. "Your opening the restaurant today I'm staying home, try to keep from ruining my restaurant" Brax said as he skulled the rest of the beer.


Charlie and Ruby stood on the front porch of Leah Patterson-Bakers house waiting for someone to answer the door. Charlie couldn't wait to see her best friend again it had been years since the moment she had left Charlie hadn't had contact with Leah or anyone else. It was something she wish she could change, after all Leah had been there for her always and then suddenly she had left without a single word she had wondered what Leah had thought about her sudden disappearance and it would appear she was about to find out.

Though Charlie was utterly surprised when a young boy around the age of ten answered the door.

"Can I help you?" He asked very politely causing Charlie to smile.

"I'm looking for Leah" Charlie said and the young boy nodded.

"Sure. MUM!" He yelled causing Ruby to cover her ears and Charlie to giggle.

"Your Leah's son" Charlie stated and he nodded.

"Yeah, I'm VJ and you are?" VJ asked as he looked at the two ladies standing in front of him but he was interrupted by his mother.

"Charlie?" Leah asked as she reached forward and grabbed her friend in a hug and squeezed her tightly, almost so tightly that Charlie couldn't believe. "Oh my god it's really you" Leah said as she took a step back, Charlie smiled brightly and nodded as she noticed the way Leah turned to look at the Ruby who was standing there awkwardly.

"Um Leah this is my daughter Ruby, Rubes this is my friend from way back Leah" Charlie said as gestured towards the ladies, Leah smiled and pulled Ruby into a nice warm hug.

"It's nice to meet you Ruby, now come on in I don't want you to catch a cold, it's not the warmest day today" Leah said as she stepped back to make room for Ruby and Charlie to step into the kitchen.

"Hey Leah before you shut that door is your son ready to go?"

Leah looked up upon hearing the voice and smiled.

"Hi Casey! Come on in I think he should be ready let me just go check, introduce yourself will you" Leah said as she flittered out of the kitchen leaving Charlie, Ruby and Casey to stare at each other awkwardly.

"Hi I'm Charlie and this is my daughter Ruby" Charlie said breaking the silence with her warm tinkering voice but her eyes lingered on Casey for a moment.

It was his eyes, she could swear she'd seen them before the familiarity of them made her wonder, had she meet him before? Did she know him?

"Nice to meet you both, I'm Casey" Casey said as Leah and VJ walked slowly into the room.

"Casey you'll still pick him up today right?" Leah asked and Casey shook his head.

"I have to work later, Kyle will drop him home thou" Casey said as VJ bolted out the door away from his mother who was trying to fix his hair.

"Great, say thank-you to Kyle for me. Have a good day the both of you" Leah called as Casey walked out of the house to catch up to VJ.

"So who's Casey?" Charlie asked as soon as the boy was out of sight she needed to know. Had he always lived here? How old was he?

Charlie didn't fail to notice the way Leah smiled as she walked over to put the kettle on.

"Well you remember Brax from Mangrove River? You used to date him, it was a really long time ago I know" Leah said with a teasing smile but Charlie froze up for a second before nodded slowly.

Her thoughts immediately went to that night but she tried to shake the thoughts from her head, it couldn't be.

"Umm yeah I remember" Charlie murmured and Leah nodded.

"Well that's Casey his younger brother, good kid. Since they moved to Summerbay he's been helping me by walking VJ to school in the mornings and occasionally bring him home, if not there other brother Kyle will" Leah said with a smile but Charlie looked down at her hands, she felt as though she was going to collapse, could that have been? No it couldn't have, she said Brax's younger brother.

Kyle? Another brother?

Charlie sighed and tried to regain her breath it is all a misunderstanding that's Brax's brother she thought to herself.

"Mum your old flame lives in the bay maybe we should go see him next" Ruby said with a whickered smile but Charlie just shook her head.

"No Rubes, what Brax and I had was a long time ago and I would be happy if we never brought that up again" Charlie said firmly causing Ruby to look at her weirdly before shrugging.

"Well anyway, how have you been and how long are you in the bay for?" Leah asked excitingly as she gave Ruby and Charlie a mug of hot chocolate each.

"I've been good thanks Leah and we are here to stay permanently" Charlie said with a slightly nervous smile, now that she knew Brax lived in town she wasn't sure she wanted to stay.

She didn't know how to feel.

"Oh have you found a place to live yet?" Leah asked as she took a sip of her hot chocolate but Charlie shook her head. "I have two spare rooms if you would like to stay here?" Leah said with a bright smile, Charlie went to say no but Ruby butted in.

"Oh really? Thank-you so much Leah, I wasn't looking forward to looking for houses and the company would be great" Ruby said with a bright smile.

Charlie tried to smile but she couldn't all she could think about was Brax and how close she would be to him living here, if she had her own house maybe she could of found one further away from the main town.

She didn't want Brax to know she was here.

"So Charlie catch me up" Leah said as she showed the girls to the living room taking a seat in the arm chair she watched the mother and daughter take a seat on the couch.

"You first; what has been happening in the bay?" Charlie asked anything to keep her mind off Brax.

"Okay, well let's see; you met my son VJ" Leah said indicating to the kitchen and Charlie beamed.

"I did, I can't believe you're a mother. Who's the father?" Charlie asked and she noticed the sadness that flickered in Leah's eyes before she smiled fondly.

"Vinnie; Charlie I would have contacted you to let you know if I knew how. I know you and Vinnie were close. He died" Leah murmured softly and Charlie gasped as she leaned forward to grasp Leah's hand.

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry I wasn't here" Charlie told her friend softly and Leah just smiled.

This was why they were best friends because Leah had always been forgiving and she didn't push issues or force people to answer questions. Charlie knew Leah would have questions about the night, about how she left without even a goodbye but she also know that Leah would wait for Charlie to be the one to speak first.

But Charlie knew Leah wouldn't be the only one with questions, there would be others in Summerbay who would want to know what happened sixteen years ago that forced her to leave, and what had happened recently that was now forcing her to return home.


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Chapter Three;

Once they'd left Leah's house with the promise of being back for dinner later that night Charlie decided to show Ruby a bit of the town she still recognized and explore the bit she didn't. She wanted to see how the town had changed over the last sixteen years, it was such a big time gap that she was sure things had changed drastically – she also wanted to show Ruby around a little so the teenager understood her way around a little, at least enough not to get lost after all Ruby wasn't the brightest at trying to navigate places.

Walking into the Surf Club Charlie smiled brightly to herself as she saw Irene coming out of the gym – Irene had been so kind hearted a real lovely lady and great friends with her mother before they all moved away.
She had no doubt that Irene would have questions as well but she also knew Irene would wait for answers much like Leah.

"Charlie Buckton?" Irene asked as she came to stand in front of Charlie – Charlie could only smile and nod slightly. "Oh love, it's wonderful to see you. Haven't you grown today a fine lady" Irene said enthusiastically as she pulled Charlie in for a crushing hug, Charlie couldn't help return the hug with a slight giggle in her throat.

"Hi Irene, it's wonderful to see you" Charlie said as she pulled away from the hug and grabbed Ruby's hand pulling her forward slightly. "Irene I would like you to meet my daughter, Ruby" Charlie told the older woman who smiled brightly once more.

"Oh a daughter, it's wonderful to meet you Ruby" Irene said as she pulled Ruby in for a light hug. "So much like your mother, I am sure you'll love the bay. You are staying for a while right Charlie?" Irene asked turning back to the older Buckton who smiled.

"Yes definitely a while, permanently actually" Charlie assured her and Irene nodded.

"Well then make sure you drop by the diner, I have to get back there now. We'll catch up properly soon love. It was wonderful to meet you Ruby" Irene said with another warm smile as she headed towards the exit.

"See you soon Irene" Charlie assured her again as she turned back to take in her surrounding but Ruby nudged her.

"She's a happy person" Ruby commented and Charlie laughed.

"Irene is a wonderful woman, she'll make a great friend in you easily Ruby" Charlie told her daughter as she took in how much the Surf Club had changed, it was defiantly in need of an upgrade but she never expected it to change this much.

"Hey there ladies! Can I help you?" A deep voice asked interrupting Charlie from her thoughts, looking over towards the counter she saw a man in a life guard uniform with grey hair stocking the fridge.

"We are alright thanks, just looking around. This place has changed so much" Charlie commented as she glanced around again.

"Yeah well we had to make room for the restaurant Angelo's upstairs" The older man said as he tilted his head towards the stairs.

"Oh, well that's defiantly new" Charlie said with a laugh – there had never been a restaurant upstairs before, in actual fact there had never been an upstairs. "I'm Charlie Buckton by the way, this is my daughter Ruby" Charlie said politely and Ruby gave a little wave.

"John Palmer, have you lived around here before?" John asked as he opened the next box of drinks.

"Yeah, I did. I moved to the city shortly after the birth of Ruby and then to Perth" Charlie said with a beaming smile and John nodded.

"Well it's nice to meet ya, take a look around and head up to Angelo's I know they are serving lunch right now" John said with a grin and Charlie nodded.

"Might do that, nice to meet you too" Charlie said as she turned away to see Ruby already over at the stairs ready to climb them; Ruby was always hungry something Charlie knew she got from her father, she was always eating and now that Charlie actually looked at the time and realised it was one o'clock she thought she had better eat.

"Coming Mum?" Ruby asked with a cheeky grin and Charlie shook her head as she followed Ruby up the stairs.

"Why are you so eager? I'm sure Angelo's isn't going anywhere!" Charlie teased as they got to the entrance of Angelo's only to see the place booming.

"This is why!" Ruby said with a grin. "It's the only actual restaurant in town it's bound to be packed, looks like where sitting at the bar" Ruby said as she twirled around and skipped towards the bar, Charlie sighed and followed Ruby over to the bar.


Brax sat on the couch drinking his fifth beer for the afternoon; he wasn't handling the news of Charlie being in town very well at all.
He didn't understand why after all these years she would finally decide to make an appearance, why after sixteen years she would think it's okay to walk back into the lives of those she left?

Brax remembered the days after she left very clearly he had to decide whether he was keeping the baby that was left on his doorstep, he could have used Charlie's help to make a decision like that, but she was know where to be found.

Brax's next weeks were so full on he never found out who the baby belonged to, he just decided for the sake of the child's life that he would raise the baby as his younger brother, he wasn't ready for the title of dad yet, even though both Heath and Casey had ended up calling him that several times when they were younger – because even though he thought he wasn't ready to be a full time dad, he still was in every sense of his being.

Then there was also having Kyle dumped on him two years later, another kid for Brax to raise and he wished Charlie had been there to help.
He's needed help back then – especially with Kyle and Heath.


That reminded Brax after Charlie had left he had to put up with the eight year old boy who didn't understand where his Charlie had gone.
Everyone in this whole town thought that Heath was a tough and angry Riverboy and yes he was angry, angry at Charlie for leaving him after she had promised she would always be there.

Heath thought of Charlie as a mother in those days, she helped him with everything, she tucked him in to bed at night, and made sure he was fed and bathed, Charlie did everything because his real mother couldn't have given too hoots what happened to Heath.

But he wasn't just angry at Charlie he was angry at his real mother too, because after Charlie left the woman who was meant to be his real mother left two years later claiming it was all too much for her.

When Charlie left it hurt not just Heath though, it killed Brax.

He honestly loved Charlie, yes they were young but he knew he wanted the spend the rest of his life with her and then one day she just up and left him out of the blue no phone call or letter. He tried to get in contact with her, not just for his sake but Heath's as well but it was no use she was gone.

Brax sat back and sculled another beer, if she so much as came near him Brax was determined to walk away this time; but while he might have been determined he honestly didn't know if he would have the strength.


At the restaurant Charlie and Ruby sat at the bar staring at the menu between them; they were half looking it over and half chatting. Ruby was rather enthusiastic about what life would and could be like here.
Even though Ruby wasn't exactly happy at the prospect of moving here when she'd first been told over time she was starting to see how much happier her mother had been since they arrived back and it made her think the move was something she could live with.
Plus Ruby wasn't exactly against the idea of living by the beach.

"Hey mum? Are you even listening to me?" Ruby asked as she waved a hand in front of her mother's face, Charlie smirked as she looked up at her rambling teenager with a raised eyebrow. "I was just saying how we actually know someone around here, it's the kid from this morning" Ruby told her and Charlie turned around and glanced towards the entrance to see Casey walking into Angelo's in his school uniform.

"Well I guess we do Ruby" Charlie said as she watched Casey walk towards the back room. But that's when Charlie froze – she couldn't believe if she had just heard things right.

"Um Rubes did he say 'Heath'?" Charlie stammered out and Ruby nodded.

"Yeah I think so; hey mum do you think they will give me a job here? You know I should work while we live here so I can have a life as well you know" Ruby said babbling on like usual but Charlie wasn't paying attention she was frozen staring at the door of which walked out Casey and 'Heath'.

It had been sixteen years – sixteen years since she'd seen Heath and now he wasn't a little boy anymore. He was a grown man.
He was working – he had tattoos! Charlie couldn't say that was something she approved of on the boy she once thought of as a son.

"Okay, well I'll see ya at 2:30pm. School lets out early today, see ya bro" Casey said as he started to walk away.

"Yeah mate, don't be late and make sure you tell Kyle or I'll have to knock your head off" Heath said teasingly as he walked behind the bar but he froze when he saw Charlie sitting there.

"Charlie…" Heath said softly.


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  • 2 weeks later...

Chapter Four;

Brax sighed as he set the empty beer bottle down on the table he didn't know what he was doing. Hiding from her? Hiding from her after sixteen years.

He didn't even know if she would remember him he would always remember her. But she left so easily without a goodbye that it was possible she just forgot.

He knew he couldn't hide if she was back here to live then he knew he had to get used to the idea.

And leaving Heath in charge of the restaurant well that couldn't be good for business.

It wasn't that he wanted to face Charlie but he didn't know if he would even see her and if he did then he had to remember what he promised himself sixteen years ago. That if she left with such ease he could never get back with her with ease.

If she walked away so quickly so easily there was a possibility she never loved him.

Sighing he pulling himself up from the couch and grabbed his car keys; he was going to the restaurant and if he saw her he would pretend it didn't matter.


Charlie stared silently at Heath unsure of what to say sixteen years had passed, sixteen long years. He'd grown into an adult and nothing she could possibly say now would make up for leaving him behind all those years.

No body thought they would ever be close her friend had laughed at her because they all knew Brax as a troublemaking Riverboy and Heath as his hot-headed young brother who was always causing fights at primary school.

But they had got close and she'd loved him then just like she loved Ruby now, like she loved Casey.

So what could she possibly say in any effort to explain herself?

"Charlie?" Heath repeated in question as he braced himself against the bar and Charlie gave a slight nervous smile as she brushed her dark hair back from her face.

"Hi Heath" Charlie murmured as she placed the menu in her hand back down on the bar, she knew she was going to have to talk to him, to explain just a little.

"What are you doing here?" Heath asked and as Charlie was about to answer Ruby cut in Charlie sighed as her forever rambling teenage daughter had something to say.

"We are back to live here! I'm Ruby, who are you?" Ruby asked with a bright and bubbly smile to which Heath just looked at her.

"Um nice to meet you Ruby, I'm Heath your mother used to date my brother" Heath said as he glanced back over to Charlie who was sitting there frozen. "So you're back for good?" Heath asked and Charlie nodded.

"Um yeah, we got back today" Charlie murmured and Heath raised an eyebrow.

"How long were you gonna wait until you decided you wanted to come see us?" Heath asked and Charlie dropped her gaze to the floor.

She knew they lived here Leah had told her but to be honest she wasn't or hadn't thought about going to visit them. Not if it meant seeing Brax and seeing the hurt in Heath's eyes.

She'd never even thought that she might see them around town she really hadn't thought it out at all.

"Watch your mouth"

Charlie knew that voice and it sent a shiver threw her spine; she had to will herself not to turn around and run towards him. She knew he wouldn't like that she knew he'd he angry with her, it was why she didn't want to see him. He'd want an explanation as well.

Instead she focused her eyes back on Heath who was glancing over towards the entrance, no doubt to where Brax was standing. Heath had this look in his eye; like he was being defiant. Much like the look he'd had when she'd first meet him as a younger kid.

"Brax" Heath went to speak but again Charlie heard the older Braxton; she could basically picture him in her mind glaring.

One day and she was already back in the world of the Braxton's her secret bubbling at the surface.

"Don't! Just get back to work" Brax ordered as he walked around the bar.

Charlie glanced up to look at him and was slightly surprised when Heath followed his orders and went back to work.

Brax on the other hand was studying her Charlie was aware that he'd always been able to see right through her and she hoped she'd got better at hiding her feelings.

"We don't sit around talking to customers here, something you want?" Brax asked his voice cool and Charlie immediately wanted to recoil but Ruby sat up straight.

"Who do you think you are? You can't be that rude to people" Ruby asked her voice high and Brax just looked at her Charlie sighed.

It was just like Ruby to use her voice when she didn't like something.

"I am the owner of the restaurant you are sitting in and I am your mother's ex-boyfriend. So are you ordering or not?" Brax asked and Charlie nodded slightly.

"Um can we um get a large Angelo's special?" Charlie stuttered and Brax nodded.

"It'll be out in a minute" Brax said as he turned and walked towards the kitchen leaving Charlie and Ruby sitting at the bar; he didn't look at her again and Charlie was surprised when she didn't see him again.

She wondered where he went but then shook the thoughts from her mind she couldn't face him again not without feeling all the guilt and remorse for the situation she had put them in.


It was almost three o'clock by the time Charlie and Ruby came to finishing up their meal and were getting ready to pack up. They'd been too caught up in chatting or in Charlie's case waiting nervously for one of the brothers to come and shake an explanation out of her that the time had just slipped away.

Ruby nodded towards the entrance then the boy they recognized as Casey walked through the door with another boy hot on his tail.

"Your both late" Heath commented Kyle shrugged but Casey rolled his eyes.

"Yeah, yeah where's Brax?" Casey asked as he headed towards the office but Heath stopped him by holding up his hand.

"I wouldn't mate, he's so not in the mood" Heath said with a roll of the eyes as he placed a few glasses down in a rack. "Casey you get your stuff and head out and Kyle you check the stock" Heath said and Casey nodded as he head to the back to grab his gear Kyle came behind the bar to grab the stock list.

"Since when are you in charge" Kyle snapped and Heath glared at the teenager.

"Your becoming a pain in the ass" Heath told him and Kyle shrugged.

"It's all because I live under Brax's tight rules" Kyle replied with a glare of his own before walking away just as Casey came back out.

"Alright, I'm gone. See ya bro" Casey said as he grabbed a takeout order and started out the entrance again.

Charlie glance over to where the teenager had left; she knew the only way to know for sure was so ask so she turned around and glanced over towards Heath who was staring at her.

"Your mother had other children?" Charlie asked and Heath raised an eyebrow before shaking his head.

"Something like that; Kyle's our half-brother and Casey doesn't know the real story only Brax, myself and our mother know" Heath said with a shrug as he started to gather Charlie and Ruby's plates.

"What do you mean something like that?" Charlie asked and Heath glanced back over to her.

"He was left on our doorstep" Heath said with slight disgust that made Charlie cringe but she quickly stilled herself as Brax came out of the office.

"I'm going home Heath, make sure you lock up" Brax said gruffly as he turned around and walked out of the restaurant leaving Charlie feeling rather guilty.

She knew Brax was going to take her return hard but she didn't want him to be angry at her after all he didn't know the whole story. Actually she wasn't even sure him knowing would help.

But thinking about what Heath had just told her was making her cringe all over again. Casey was indeed the same baby left on their doorstep and now she was going to have to deal with an ex, the person she loved with all her heart and the child she gave away.

"Mum, we are going to have to get going" Ruby said with a smile as she nudged her mother with her elbow causing Charlie to shake out of her thoughts.

"Uh yeah, I guess we better get going" Charlie murmured as she grabbed her bag off the stool. "How much do I owe you Heath?" Charlie asked and Heath just shook his head.

"It's on the house, but promise me if you decide to leave again, you will contact me first" Heath said with a soft smile and it made Charlie cringe.

She was aware her leaving had hurt him she just didn't know how deeply.

"Yes Heath, but I'm not going anywhere. I am so sorry for hurting you and Brax, you both meant the world to me" Charlie murmured as she carefully walked around the bar and reached up to hug him. "You have grown into a wonderful young man Heath; you are everything I dreamed you would be. I never should have left you" Charlie murmured as she kissed his cheek. "I'm sorry"

"I am not going to say it's okay Charlie, you really hurt me. But your back and I won't dwell on the past" Heath said as he gave Charlie another hug before shooing her back around the other side of the bar.

"Okay we better be going" Charlie said as she waved towards Heath.

"Yep, nice to meet you Ruby" Heath said with a grin before he paused and looked at the teenager again Charlie froze as she saw the way Heath was studying Ruby as if she was suddenly becoming a new fascination of his. "Wait a second, how old are ya?" Heath asked and Ruby shrugged.

"I'm sixteen why?" Ruby asked and Heath's jaw almost hit the ground.


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Chapter Five;

Heath leaned his back against the bar and cross his arms carefully over his chest as he stared at Ruby, his eyes wide and jaw dropped.

He couldn't believe the thoughts running threw his mind but even he was able to piece something like this together.

If she was sixteen then there was a chance that she could be Brax's there was a chance that Casey was her twin.

It just fit the timeline fit and if he could figure it out whom else would.

Shaking his head to clear his mind of anything thoughts he glanced over towards were Charlie was standing and saw her standing there looking at him frozen with what Heath would say was fear.

"Charlie" Heath said but the older woman just shook her head fiercely her eyes welding with tears as she grabbed onto Ruby's and pulled her closer. Ruby glanced at her mother with a strange look.

"No Heath please don't" Charlie please but anyone could have seen the determined look in Heath Braxton's eyes.

"No you can't walk away. Not this time Charlie I need to know the truth, did you? Are you his mother?" Heath asked his voice was holding an emotion Charlie couldn't quiet place and she glanced Ruby's hand even tighter as the teenager turned to face her mother.

"Mum, what's he talking about? Whose mother?" Ruby asked but Charlie just kept her eyes focused on Heath.

"You are aren't you? It all fits, your daughters sixteen, he's sixteenwe found him on our doorstep and you were nowhere to be found" Heath murmured as he glanced towards Ruby and back to Charlie. "She's his twin, you're his mother" Heath said and Charlie couldn't stop the tears that started to fall down her cheeks. "Your Casey's biological mother aren't you?" Heath asked and Charlie could only nod her head.

"Mum? What? What does he mean?" Ruby asked as she ripped her hand from her mother's grasp and Charlie immediately looked over to her daughter.

"Ruby it's not what you think, you have to listen to me" Charlie said quickly as she tried to keep her tears at bay.

"What? Listen to you? What does he mean twin? Mum please tell me this is a joke" Ruby said as she looked at Charlie, she couldn't believe this would her mother really keep something like this from her?

"Please Ruby you have to listen, let me explain please" Charlie pleaded as she reached for her daughter but Ruby pulled back.

"Alright I'm still here, so explain! What is Heath talking about?" Ruby asked rather loudly and Charlie flinched.

"Ruby when I fell pregnant I honestly thought I was only having one baby, Casey was a surprise" Charlie murmured softly as she saw the realisation of this being the truth cross Ruby's face. "Casey we a welcomed surprise, but not by my parents. They demanded I only keep one of you but I couldn't bring myself to choose, so they did. I wanted to keep you both, I loved you both equally I still do but they didn't want me to have him, so I left him with the only people I trusted to look after him. I left him with the Braxton's" Charlie murmured and Ruby finally let a few tears escape her eyes.

"Why didn't you ever tell me?" Ruby asked her facial expression showed how horrified she really was.

"To be honest Ruby I didn't know how to tell you, I couldn't just tell you that you had a twin when you were younger because if I did you would have asked so many questions about him, questions I couldn't answer, that I still can't answer" Charlie said her voice soft and weak as she again reached for Ruby's hand but the teenager pulled away again and started for the entrance.

"I need space" Ruby murmured as she run down the stairs away from Angelo's leaving Charlie standing there tears falling down her cheeks as Heath stared at her gaping at the truth, something he had been looking for since Casey turned up but when he wanted the truth he'd just asked and he realised by looking at Charlie he probably shouldn't have done that.

"Charlie I um I'm sorry, I shouldn't have asked like that" Heath said as he walked around the bar but Charlie just glanced up at him with a watery smile as she allowed the tears to keep falling.

"Not your fault; this shouldn't have happened" Charlie muttered shrugging off Heath's apology Heath though couldn't help but feel responsible for what just occurred.

He had a niece and a nephew he had also possibly ripped his whole family a part in a matter of seconds.

"I'm sorry" Heath muttered again as he put his arms around Charlie she allowed herself to be pulled into his chest, allowed herself to seek comfort in him.

She knew Ruby wouldn't want her to go looking, she knew Ruby would want space she also knew she would be lucky if Ruby ever spoke to her again.

The teenager was stubborn too stubborn for Charlie's liking.

Ruby was just like Brax so much it scared Charlie sometimes especially right now.


Ruby walked down the beach feeling the sand tickle her toes as she walked. She couldn't believe that Charlie had never told her about Casey, that she had a twin, that he existed, that she left him in Summerbay.

She couldn't believe her mother would have kept something like that from her they had always shared everything and had a bond like best friends.

All of which seemed like a lie right now.

Ruby kicked a lump of sand with her foot as she let the tears fall down her cheeks, her mother the one person that had always been there for her lied, lied to her about something rather important.

"Hey new girl"

Ruby's head whipped right around when she heard someone speaking only to see it was none other than Casey Braxton.

"What are you doing?" Casey asked and Ruby stood frozen before she realized she was going to have to speak.

Speak to her brother her twin brother who didn't even know the truth. The truth which would destroy his reality.

"Me? I'm not doing anything, what are you doing?" Ruby asked and Casey shrugged it was clear he was meant to be working by the looks of the pizza delivery bag that was beside him

"Avoiding going work and home like every teenager does" Casey said with a shrug and Ruby laughed he seemed like a genuinely nice kid.

"Going home can't be that bad and as for work I met your brothers Heath and Brax" Ruby said with a smirk and Casey frowned as he looked at her.

"Yeah home is home; works sucks when you've got all of us there. But Heath's alright, it's my older brother Brax that I have to worry about" Casey said with a laugh as he plopped down on the sand. "What's ya name?" Casey asked and Ruby glanced over at him.

"Ruby Ruby Buckton, you met me this morning remember?" Ruby asked with a giggle and Casey nodded.

"Yeah, you were with that other chick. Your mother aye?" Casey asked and Ruby had to stop herself from blurting out 'Your mother as well'.

"Yep that's Charlie, anyway I better get home. Nice to meet you Casey" Ruby said with a toothy grin and Casey shook his head.

"Guess I'll see you at school?" Casey asked and Ruby nodded.

"Yeah I guess you will, you know Casey you should be avoiding school not home" Ruby replied with a laugh as she skipped off down the beach feeling a little bit more guilty with each step.

She wanted to tell him she really did but she knew it wasn't her place to ruin his life by telling him it is all one big lie no that was her mother's place or even Brax's.

Brax her father.

There was another thing she couldn't believe and for a slight moment she wasn't sure she wanted to.


Casey walked up the porch to his house only to hear yelling coming from inside to other it might have been slightly alarming but to him it was normal. His brothers were always fighting whether it be with each other or against other people.

Always fighting generally he was fighting with Brax or trying to keep right out of it.

Right now right out of it seemed like a better idea.

Sinking down next to the front door he begun to listen to what they might be fighting about this time it was always better when he knew that way he could avoid the topic and a lecture from Brax.

But what he didn't expect was to hear something he couldn't imagine possible.

"What do you mean Charlie is Casey's biological mother?" Brax shouted and Casey banged his head against the wall as he closed his eyes, and there it was the truth.


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Chapter Six;

Casey ran down the beach – half unaware of even where he was running too.
His whole life; everything he had ever know, ever trusted in was suddenly being ripped away.
Was suddenly gone.
Charlie was apparently his biological mother.

He hadn't even known she'd existed until what – twelve, thirteen, fourteen hours ago? She'd just appeared with Ruby; appeared from know where and now his life was the one falling apart.

Ruby – did that mean he had a sister? By the looks of things a twin.
He was already stuck with brothers; three brothers. Could he even call them that anymore?

Who were they to him now? Were they just some strangers who had taken him in? Or was there a deeper meaning?

How did Heath know?
Why did Cheryl take him in?
Was this a joke or the truth?
Who exactly was Charlie?
How did Brax fit into all this?

And most importantly why was this happening to him?

Casey frowned when he saw Angelo's still lit up – with Brax and Heath at home he knew just where to get his underage self a drink and boy did he need it.


Brax stood in front of Heath with his arms crossed, chest puffed out and a glare across his face. If he could be growling he would be.
The famous Darryl Braxton temper was raging within him; it was wanting to be let out to deal with the situation he was currently being dealt.

Heath was just staring at him; Brax knew what his younger brother was trying to do. He was trying to gage a reaction; figure out how bad this was going to be.

"What do you mean Charlie is his biological mum?" Brax asked – his voice was dangerously low. He watched as Heath flinched slightly under the intense gaze.

"Well Ruby's sixteen, Casey's sixteen. Casey was found on our doorstep, Charlie was gone" Heath explained and Brax's eyes narrowed considerably.

"You've got to be ****ing kidding me" Brax swore as he ran his hands over his head angrily. "Are you trying to tell me Casey is my son?" Brax asked in pure frustration, his fists balling at his sides – Heath just nodded. "Ruby is my daughter?"

"Yeah" Heath muttered and Brax shook his head furiously – there wasn't a word to describe how he was feeling right now.
How angry he was that Charlie could keep something like this from him.

"I'm going to ****ing kill her" Brax growled as he picked up his car keys and stormed out of the house.

Heath didn't even try to stop him – he knew it would be no use; he'd probably just get his head bitten off in the process. Brax was after answers now and if Heath was being honest he wanted some bloody answers to.
But Brax would be fuming for a while now after all he now had kids.

Casey was his kid.


When Kyle walked back into Angelo's from taking the rubbish out he was surprised to see Casey sitting in a booth – his back to the entrance.
Rather surprised actually as he was under the impression all his brothers had gone home.
It was the reason he was so pissed off because he was stuck locking up, working still on a Friday night.

But all the thoughts stopped the moment he saw the bottle of whiskey in front of Casey and the half empty glass.
Kyle frowned it wasn't like Casey to be drinking, he never had before and Brax would kill him as he was underage.

"Case – what are you doing?" Kyle asked as he plopped down in the booth across from Casey.
They hadn't always got along great but they tried – manly after Brax nearly kicked them both out for punching on with each other.
But right now Casey just picked up his glass and took a swig.
"Do you want Brax to kill ya?" Kyle asked with a raised eyebrow but Casey just shrugged.

"Who cares"

"Alright Case, what's ya problem?" Kyle asked and Casey rolled his eyes his eyes with a huff.

"How'd ya feel when you found out about ya other family?" Casey asked and Kyle frowned as he rubbed a hand threw his air – Kyle didn't talk about it often; not really at all.

"I was fourteen when I found out and ****ing pissed, didn't know much different though I came to live with you guys when I was four. It's not every day you find out your life's been a lie" Kyle gritted out – it was obvious he hadn't forgiven his mother yet.
Casey scoffed though and Kyle looked at him.

"Well it ****ing seems common in this family" Casey spat and Kyle raised an eyebrow. "Apparently the new chick Charlie Buckton is my biological mother" Casey spat and Kyle's jaw clenched – he hadn't been expecting that.

"Give me some of that" Kyle said reaching for the bottle.

"Exactly, whiskey seems good right now" Casey told him taking another swig from his glass.

"How's Brax fit into this?" Kyle asked taking a swig from the bottle, Casey just shrugged.

"Dunno, probably some twisted way" Casey told him and Kyle frowned.

"I heard Heath and Brax talking about Charlie this morning, I think they mighta dated" Kyle said and Casey basically sprayed his drink everywhere.
Coughing when it went down the wrong way.

"Your saying that…" Casey trailed off and Kyle nodded as he started to see the alcohol taking effect on Casey.

"Yeah, Brax could be your dad" Kyle said – his voice was filled with an unidentifiable emotion. "Stay here, I'll clean up and take ya home" Kyle said taking both the bottle and glass from the table.

Casey didn't protest his eyes were already closing – he wasn't drunk but Kyle could see Case wouldn't be one to handle his alcohol now or ever.


Brax could hardly control his anger as he pulled up at Leah's house after finding out this was where Charlie was staying.
Getting out of the ute Brax slammed the car door in frustration.
He had every intention of going up to the door and banging on it furiously until Charlie opened it and then he would demand answers.

Answers he knew he deserved.
Answers he wanted.

After all his whole life was changing.

But getting to the front door he couldn't bring himself to knock as he heard what he assumed could only be a fight between Charlie and Ruby.
Ruby – his daughter.

"Ruby Please"

"No, no – you lied to me, my whole life. How could you?"

"Ruby I just…"

"No! Your about to destroy more people's lives"

"Ruby – this wasn't meant to happen"

"So you wanted to keep this a secret forever?"

"That's not what I meant"

"You're pathetic"

The door flung open and Brax was greeted by the sight of Ruby. She was crying – tears falling down her cheeks openly – her face flushed with anger as she moved forward and flung herself into his arms.

Brax stood still for a moment slightly unsure before he wrapped his arms around her small frame – the sixteen year old didn't budge she just cried into her chest.
He didn't know her but the sight of his daughter, his little girl crying was enough to pull at his heart strings – the ones he didn't think existed.
He could see Charlie staying in the doorway – one hand over her mouth and tears pouring down her cheeks.


Chapter Seven;

Brax stood still – frozen in place. His arms were wrapped tightly around Ruby who was crying into his chest. Brax could feel his shirt getting wet from her tears but he didn't say anything.
He was being hugged by his daughter for the first time.
He didn't need Charlie to confirm anything – he could see in Ruby's face that she was his child.
There was no doubt.

He couldn't tell you how long he held her for but for Brax it wasn't long enough. Because no amount of time holding her would make up for the sixteen years he missed, the milestones he missed.
He wanted an explanation but he didn't want to let Ruby go.

He didn't have much choice though when she pulled out of his arms and bolted – not into the house but towards the beach.
Brax turned to Charlie – he expected her to call after Ruby but he was surprised when he saw Charlie standing there motionless not calling for her daughter. He saw more silent tears fall and the look of remorse clouding her face.

Brax sighed in frustration – he wanted to yell at her, let his anger out but the tears in her eyes were enough to stop him.
He wanted an explanation; he wanted a proper explanation one that told him the whole truth, not just parts of it.

Sitting down angrily he shook his head and ran his hand threw his hair turning to Charlie with a raised eyebrow.
He watched her carefully as she took a step out into the cooler night air and wiped her tears away before shutting the front door and staring at him with remorse.

"I'm sorry" Charlie murmured and Brax just frowned – he couldn't believe that was all she said.
She'd been back one day and managed to turn his life upside down after being gone sixteen years and all she could say was I'm sorry.

"That's it?" Brax asked trying hard to control the temper that was raging within him.

"No – I; Brax I'm sorry. I wish it had turned out different. I wish you got to see Ruby grow and I got to see Casey, I wish things had been different" Charlie told him sincerely as she choked back a sob.
Brax nodded – she'd confirmed they were his children.
Now he wanted a proper explanation; not just what she wanted or wished had happened.

"Explain it – I want to know" Brax told her firmly and he heard a partial sigh come from her as she slid into a chair.

"I – I don't know where to start. I was young and so were you. You were already raising Heath and my parents didn't approve. When I told them I was pregnant they were so angry, when I started to show we went on holiday – just so you wouldn't see me. They wouldn't let me tell you" Charlie sobbed as she leaned back against the chair; her head resting on the wall of the house. "I didn't know I was having twins, Casey was a surprise – he had been hiding directly behind Ruby. I wanted them both but my parents would only let me keep one, they wanted me to choose but I couldn't so they did. They chose Ruby and left. I left Casey with you because if I couldn't raise him – you his father could"

Brax glanced at her – he could see the honestly in her eyes, her face, her stance.
Her parents; they had always been deemed kind people but they had never approved of him.
Because of where he lived, how he lived and what he did.

"Your parents?" Brax asked and he saw her nod slightly.

"They were so mad Brax; they actually made me terrified of them. I'm just sorry" Charlie muttered wiping away a few tears.

Brax sighed – looking at her he could see the hurt and betray in her eyes at the mention of her parents.
She had been young and was doing what her parents told her; like she had been taught.
He wasn't as angry with her but furious with her parents.
For doing that not only to their own daughter; but also to their grandchildren.
It disgusted him; disgusted him to all ends.

Brax couldn't help but slightly understand where she was coming from.
Her parents had once held so much respect in her world – Brax knew she had loved them with her everything. He just wasn't so sure how she felt now so he just nodded.

"Okay" He breathed out – there was still anger there just not as much. He knew there would always be some amount of anger there.

Hearing the ringing of his phone he pulled it from his pocket – seeing it was Kyle he sighed.
Another brother – another drama but yet still his responsibility so he had no choice but to answer the phone.
He had no choice but to listen to Kyle talk **** and then whatever it was about he would have to fix it.

"What?" Brax asked impatiently and he heard a slight chuckle from the other end.

"Aren't you a ray of sunshine" Kyle said and Brax growled.

"Kyle" Brax warned.

"Yeah, alright. Listen Casey came to Angelo's an I found him drinking. My guess he heard ya talkin' cause he knows. I brought him back and took him to his room. I think ya should talk to him" Kyle told his older brother his voice holding some seriousness and Brax sighed.

He didn't need this right now; Casey hadn't meant to find out this way.
Drinking? The kid was too young to drink.
He knew Casey was probably thinking his world was being turned upside down so he would need to go home and talk to him – if he'd even listen.

"Yeah; I'll be home soon" Brax told Kyle as he hung up.

Looking over at Charlie he sighed – she was looking at him with curiosity but seemed too afraid to ask.
He knew he had to tell her something but what he didn't know. What should he tell her – what did she deserve to know?

Rubbing a hand over his head – he glanced at her.

"Charlie – I raised Casey as a brother but also as a son, had I known I never would have had a choice to make" Brax sighed – a note would have been nice because he spent so many nights wondering. He saw another flash of guilt in her eyes.


"Look he knows and he is a good kid who's confused. Now I have to explain all this to him" Brax said as he watched her sit up straighter.

"I have no right to ask this but let me explain – I caused this I owe him an explanation" Charlie murmured softly.


Chapter Eight;

It was the early hours of the morning when they entered Brax's house, they'd spent a little longer talking trying to understand absolutely everything. He agreed to let her come talk to Casey because she could explain it better than he could. He didn't have the answers she would. But he wasn't sure Casey would want to listen.

The house was quiet when they got back but that was to be expected. Every normal person would have been in bed at these hours of the morning if they had a chance.
But instead here Brax was standing with his ex-girlfriend in the middle of the living room of his house.
She was fidgeting nervously and he didn't know what to say instead he indicated towards the couch.

Charlie smiled gratefully and took a seat – Brax wasn't the only one feeling awkward.
Being in her ex-boyfriends house was doing nothing to calm her nerves down.
Casey was just down the hall in his bedroom and after her impulsive offer to explain the situation Charlie was trying to work out what to say to him – if he even wanted to listen.

Charlie glanced up to see Brax at the entrance of the kitchen. Smiling nervously she just nodded to him.
Charlie would have taken a whole bottle of wine to calm her nerves but she knew it would do nothing to keep her head clear.

"Water please" Charlie asked for and Brax nodded before disappearing into the kitchen for a moment.
Charlie could hear the tap running and she ran a hand threw her hair.
It was turning into being a very long night and she was basically working on no sleep.

Charlie glanced up and carefully took the glass from Brax.

"Thank-you" Charlie whispered and Brax nodded.

"I'm gonna go see if Case is awake, uh make yourself comfortable" Brax told her as he walked away.

At this time in the morning and having had a few drinks Brax wasn't sure Casey would be awake and if he was he wasn't sure what he should expect.
This is why he had allowed Charlie to come – because she needed to explain to the teenager.

Opening the door a little he saw Casey passed out of his bed; his face was flushed red slightly and his cheeks puffed out.
Sighing Brax couldn't help but stare at the teenager – he could see it now but watching him grow Brax had never suspected that Casey was his child; he'd never questioned it but now looking at him he could see it – he could see Charlie and certain features of himself.
Casey was his son and for sixteen years he didn't know it – for sixteen years he hadn't questioned it.


Charlie was curled up on the couch sleeping restlessly; tossing and turning Brax was in the arm chair sleeping as well. His head was tossed back and mouth opened slightly.
They hadn't meant to fall asleep but it happened. Casey wasn't awake but Charlie wanted to stay and wait for him – she told Brax she'd lose all courage she had if she left. So she stayed and they feel asleep waiting.

"Aye pretty boy, time to get up" Heath teased as he messed with Brax's hair.
Brax grunted as he stirred and Heath laughed.
"Right-o. I'm heading to Bianca's" Heath said as he left – making sure to slam the door, causing Charlie to stir and Brax to open his eyes.

"Idiot" Brax muttered and Charlie smirked – he was still the same Heath, causing grief.

Kyle was the next brother to emerge and he was dressed for work.
Charlie hadn't been introduced to him or even knew anything of him – other than he was there brother.
A brother she hadn't known about or that she existed but it wasn't like she could ask; it wasn't her right to know anything – anymore.

He nodded to them in acknowledgment – they were sitting at the table having a coffee and Charlie was slightly surprised when Brax spoke.

"Charlie – this is Kyle, my brother. Kyle this is Charlie" Brax introduced. "I need more of this crap" Brax said as he stood up to retrieve more coffee.

Charlie glanced at Kyle nervously, giving him a small smile – he returned it.

"Nice to meet ya Charlie, I'm the long lost brother" Kyle told her with a grin and Charlie smirked when she heard Brax mutter 'Long lost pain in my ass' Kyle just chuckled.

"Nice too meet you as well Kyle" Charlie said and Brax walked out of the kitchen.
Charlie could see in his face something was wrong an turning her head she saw Casey.

He was staring at her – while he looked sleepy and confused his face was clearly flushed in anger.

"Uh – I'll see ya's later" Kyle muttered quickly as he ducked out the front door.
He was leaving Charlie and Brax to fix the mess they created – but he wasn't going to get involved; both he and Heath agreed last night to stay out of it.

"Casey, come sit" Brax muttered but Casey shook his head.

"What's she doing here?" Casey asked quiet rudely, Brax frowned but Charlie was the one to speak.
She was well aware he'd probably shut her down but she needed to try.
So turned to him she smiled meekly and took a deep breath.

"I'm here to explain and apologize" Charlie told him and Casey turned to glare at her.

"Wasn't talking to you! I don't want an explanation from you" Casey spat – Charlie cringed but she knew he had every right to be angry. "You're not wanted here, just leave"

"Casey please; I owe you an explanation" Charlie pleaded but Casey shook his head.

"I want nothing from you; nothing" Casey spat at her and Brax raised his hand.

"Casey" Brax stared but Casey glared at him fiercely.

"Let me know when she leaves" Casey told Brax – there was something in his tone that sent chills up Charlie's spine.
Brax was about to follow him and bring him back to the lounge room to listen but it was Charlie who stopped him and for once she made sense.

"You can't force him to listen to me. One day he will want answers but not now. I'll go" Charlie told him and Brax shook his head.

"He should know the truth" Brax said and Charlie nodded as she slipped on her shoes.

"He will when the times right" Charlie told him and Brax nodded. "Thank-you for giving me a chance. I'm sorry" Charlie murmured and she left the house quietly – she didn't look back at Brax or even towards the hallway where Casey would be.


It had been two weeks – two weeks and she'd barely left her room – she couldn't. But when she did; when she left the house and went out into the town it was like she couldn't look around.
If Casey saw her – he would run the other way. If Ruby saw her it was much the same. With Brax it was different – he wouldn't run but wouldn't speak.
Heath and Kyle were different – they would acknowledge her presence and make small talk but it was the untold rule that they would never speak of the situation – it was the untold rule that she would never ask.

Trying to talk to Ruby had been hard – they were living under the same roof but the suborn teenager would try to avoid her at all costs.
She knew Brax would be having the same problem with Casey.
She knew the teens would be just as suborn as their father had been at that age.

Leah had tried to figure it out; she asked what was wrong but Charlie couldn't bring herself to speak about it – couldn't bring herself to confess to Leah the truth.

She didn't know if things would ever get even slightly better.
She knew she was losing both her children and she'd already lost Brax – all because of the parent's power – the power they had held over her.

Hearing the beeping on her phone – Charlie rolled over weakly picking it up.
It said an unknown number – flipping it open.

'Meet at Angelo's 1pm, I'll bring Casey. Bring Ruby – we are settling this' Brax


Chapter Nine;

Charlie walked into Angelo's at one o'clock with Ruby trailing behind her. The teenager had been more than reluctant to come – in fact Charlie had been reduced to begging and pleading.
Finally she had agreed.

Charlie still wasn't exactly sure how this would go down.
How Ruby would react and how Casey would react.

She slid into a booth and hoped Ruby would follow – she did.
They hadn't spoken since Ruby agreed to come to lunch and Charlie didn't want to open her mouth in fear Ruby would run.
In two weeks this was the closet they'd been to each other – Charlie didn't want to risk ruining that.

Just as she was about to speak Casey was shoved into the booth. The teenager was glaring – his arms crossed and his chest puffed out.
Charlie glanced up and Brax was standing above them his arms crossed and his facial expression stern.

"Charlie is going to explain" Brax told them and Casey immediately went to stand – Brax pushed him back down. "Sit, you're gonna listen"

"I don't want to hear it" Casey insisted and Ruby nodded.

"Agreed" Ruby muttered and Brax glared at them both.

"Your both staying and your both listening" Brax told them and Ruby glanced up at him – a death stare on her face.

"Who do you think you are?" Ruby snapped at him and Brax ran a hand threw his hair.

"I'm your father and you're going to listen to me. I missed out on sixteen years, that's already too much" Brax told her firmly.
He probably didn't have the right to start the father act now but he needed to do this.
The past needed to be out in the open, they needed to try and understand and work threw it together.
Even if they didn't like it – they were now a family.

"Let's get this over with" Casey muttered as Ruby crossed her arms and started to sulk.

Brax looked at them and once he was satisfied they would stay he took a seat beside Charlie and gave her an encouraging smile. Charlie only smiled back briefly as she twisted to look at her hands in her lap and turned to look at her children with a saddened expression.

"I didn't choose this. I was young when I fell pregnant I was fifteen going on sixteen. Brax was just eighteen and he already had Heath to look after; I do admit I freaked out. I made the mistake of going to my parents first – they never approved of Brax and had no intention of letting him know" Charlie told them and Ruby scoffed.

"You could have told him" Ruby muttered and Charlie sighed.

"I suppose I could have but my parents once held so much power over me. I respected them so much. They took me on holiday when I stared to show – I thought we were coming back so I could tell Brax instead it was for me to give birth and pack my things" Charlie paused and turned to Casey. "You were my surprise baby; hiding behind your sister. The moment you both were born I loved you equally but my parents they had different ideas. They'd been so angry when I told them I was pregnant"

"They never showed it towards me" Ruby told her disbelievingly and Charlie shook her head.

"True; they loved you Ruby. I was the one who copped a lot of their anger Ruby. They wanted me to choose one of you – to choose between you" Charlie said and Casey glanced at her.

"So you chose a daughter" Casey concluded.

"Casey" Brax started but Charlie shook her head.

"Brax its fine; but no Casey I didn't. My parents made the choice. I loved you both; I didn't have the strength in me to choose. They chose Ruby and took her from me so I would have no choice but to return after taking you to the Braxton's. I am so sorry – really sorry" Charlie told them both and that's when she noticed the tears running down Ruby's cheeks.

"I thought they loved us" Ruby sobbed and Charlie reached across to take her daughters hand – slightly shocked when Ruby pulled away.

"They do" Charlie murmured and Ruby sniffled – Charlie heard Casey shuffle and she saw the sixteen year old shifted nervously.

"Brax is my dad – Heath and Kyle are my Uncles? You're my mother and Ruby is my sister. To top it all off my grandparents didn't want me" Casey sighed as he leaned down so his head was rested against the table.

"Casey" Charlie started but the teenager sighed.

"Please don't" Casey said with a huff – he didn't think he could take anymore.
The information he had just been given was already too much to process.
He didn't just need a moment or two – he needed about a thousand.
It was just all still a bit surreal.

"Do you still love Brax?" Ruby asked suddenly and Casey raised his head to stare at Charlie.
She looked to be a deer caught in headlights as she stared at Ruby wide eyed – listening to Brax shift uncomfortably next to her.

The table was silent – Charlie hadn't spoken since the question was asked; she was too afraid to. If she spoke she was afraid any progress she made with her two children would be ruined.
She knew the answer it was clear; she'd always been in love with Brax but she wasn't sure she could admit it out loud again.
It would change things.

"Aye guys; everything sorted?" Heath teased and Charlie glanced up – she was thrilled to see him and thankful the attention was taken away from her and on to those who she hadn't been introduced to yet.

"Well it's been explained" Brax offered and Heath nodded.
It wasn't a whole lot but Brax was right – it all started with the explanation and Charlie felt better for having been able to give that.

"Good. Hey Charlie I want ya to meet someone or people actually" Heath said as he pointed to a beautiful blond who had her arms wrapped around a gorgeous young girl.

"Well – who ya got?" Charlie asked politely and Heath grinned.

"This is my fiancé Bianca – and here is mine and Tegan's eight year old daughter Darcy' Heath announced as he grinned proudly – Charlie smiled as she waved at them. "Bianca this is Charlie – she is Casey and Ruby's mum" Heath said and Charlie couldn't miss the flinch Casey did at the mention of her being his mum – but she tried not to show that it hurt her and instead nodded to Bianca. "And Darce this is your Aunty Charlie"

Darcy grinned at Charlie and Charlie couldn't help but smile back proudly at the meant of being introduced as Aunt. The young girl standing before her was clearly Heath's daughter – there was no question about it.

"It's a pleasure to meet you both" Charlie said softly and Bianca smiled.

"You as well – I'm looking forward to getting to know you" Bianca said as she jerked a thumb in the direction of two sixteen year old teenagers that were hugging. "That's my sister April and her boyfriend Dex"
Charlie couldn't help but smile as they looked to be so in love – it reminded her of her teenage years with Brax and how they used to be before she was forced to leave.

But glancing at Casey there was another girl – she looked to be about his age. With blond hair and blue eyes – she stood next to him running her and threw his hair.
Charlie smiled it was obviously his girlfriend.

"Hi – sorry, I'm Indy – Dex's twin. Casey's girlfriend" Indy said with a friendly smile and Charlie nodded.

"It's very nice to meet you Indy"

"Oh and these to idiots are; well ya know Kyle but the brown haired chick his pashing on with is Tamara" Heath said and the eighteen year olds pulled apart flashing Charlie half cocky/half embarrassed smiles – she just smiled back at them.

"Great more family for me to get to know" Ruby muttered.


Chapter Ten;

Charlie rolled over and buried her face in her pillow, the light was streaming through the window making it uncomfortable to sleep, pulling the blanket over her head it didn't seem to help. It wasn't like her to spend all day in bed but it seemed better then facing the reality – the reality being her daughter spending all waking moments at the Braxton's, it seemed to be making her miserable.

Charlie wasn't selfish she wanted Ruby to spend time with her family but the thought of her daughter warming up to them while the hate an anger towards her was still so real, it really was too much to bear.
Charlie wanted to give them all space to allow them to adjust to the new family they had become.

The anger Charlie was feeling towards her parents was simply growing, they had started all this, she had tried to fix it but she remembers that night all too clearly.
The shouting, the crashing, the first time but also the last that her father had hit her, then came the pleading, the apologising. It was torturous how her parents watched her every move never allowing her to take Ruby out alone in fear she would runway.

It had been horrible and she resented them every day more so now than ever as both her children hated her.


Casey slumped down against his bedroom door listening to the sound of his sisters' laughter, sister. Casey still couldn't wrap his head around it.

The loss was great – no longer did he have three brothers.

The gain was hard to bear, the thought of having a proper mother, a father, a sister – uncles and aunts. It was strange.
The thought of Brax being his biological father made him want to scream, it wasn't that he didn't love Brax – he did. But Brax being his protective, strict older brother was one thing, being his father was a complete turnaround, an upset of his life.
He didn't know how to adjust but the thought of having a proper mother was slightly comforting.


"Alright, alright. I'm coming" Charlie shouted as she pulled a jumper over her head annoyed when the knocking continued. Opening the door when she saw Heath the gasp was harsh, he gave her a warm smile to calm the nerves. "Still doing your annoying knock I see" Charlie mused trying to sound calm.

"Only for you, can you tell me why you're here, we are having a barbeque" Heath told her as he leaned against the doorway, Charlie frowned unsure of what he was implying.

"Ruby's there so yes I know there is a barbeque, I'm not there because I wasn't invited"

Heath smirked. "Your family" Heath stated and Charlie let a small smile grace her lips, it was amazing how he had forgiven her so quickly.

Charlie sighed. "It's not that simple"

"You love him, I see it, Bianca sees it, hell Kyle sees it" Heath exclaimed with a raised eyebrow. "Look Charlie things are complicated but that hasn't stopped Brax from loving you. Do you know how many people he has dated over the years?" Heath asked but the response wasn't needed. "None, he loves you. I'm the tough guy Charlie but love it's something we all need"

"It's complicated, too complicated" Charlie murmured and Heath groaned.

"No. No, it isn't" Heath said firmly as he looked at her solidly, taking a deep breath. "If Bianca and I can overcome Tegan turning up with Darcy, having a child die and then traitorous amounts of obstacles before our wedding then you can overcome this" Heath told her seriously.

"Child?" Charlie asked confused and Heath gave a pained smile.

"Rocco, my son with Bianca. He died. My point is Charlie, if Bianca and I can struggle through a parent's worst nightmare then so can you. You had to give up your child and if you speak to Brax then he will tell you that he understands"

"Heath" Charlie exhaled but Heath stepped forward.

"Do it, Charlie speak to him. He'll listen, he will love you" Heath told her as he turned around and left the house.

Charlie frowned, she knew Heath would love for her to get back with Brax but she didn't know if it was possible.

"I'm waiting"

Charlie jumped at the sound of his voice but looking out the window she could see him leaning on his car smiling cheekily.

"I ain't leaving without ya so do us both a favour and get dressed"


Brax sat on the grass with a beer held tightly in his hand as he studied Ruby, his daughter. It still felt strange to him it use those words but it wasn't beginning to come naturally. The time being spent getting to know her was worth it. There was so much to learn, to make up for and it was easy because it never felt forced.
Brax felt lucky because his daughter wanted to know him. The same couldn't be said for Casey, he didn't want to know his mother.


The tension was almost unbearable he wasn't dealing well at all. Brax expected it to be hard on him but it almost seemed to hard, the teenager was unwilling to accept it.

"Hey!" Ruby shouted and Brax looked over at her. "Mum's here"

Brax glanced over to the side gate stunned to see Charlie walking through the gate with Heath by her side. He had thought she'd been avoiding him, he wasn't angry at her – how could he be? Her parents were strict, demanding.

"Brax! Brax! Hey! Brax!" Ruby groaned when she realised he wasn't listening. "Dad!"

Brax froze as the word escaped Ruby's lips – turning to her he saw he smug smile but the pleading look in her eyes that wanted him to pretend it was normal, not to bring it up.

"Hmm" Brax murmured clearing his throat.

"Go talk to her, she's in love with you, she has always been in love with you" Ruby said as she smiled softly over at her mother who gave a weak smile back. "Please, I can see you love her too" Ruby said as she turned around and walked away.


Charlie held her breath as she felt his presence beside her; he had a certain way of being able to change the atmosphere.
She was uncertain of what to say, how to begin to conversation – the breath of relief came followed be a shaky gasp he grabbed her waist.

"I'm not wasting any more time, sixteen years is too long. I love you" Brax whispered as he pulled her close to him. "Say it" Brax pleaded.

"I love you too" Charlie said weakly.

"I'll never let you go, ever" Brax promised, he knew he couldn't let her go again, it wasn't possible. "I need you"

Charlie sighed as she rested her head against his chest. "I need you Brax, I need our kids"


Ruby nudged Casey with her arm as a stern look graced her face. "Give mum a chance, she's sick. She is going to need us all"


The end! Thanks for reading :)

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