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The Life We Were Given


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Thanks for the comments! Hope everyone had a lovely easter! :)

Chapter Six

“I never thought I’d see you again” Brax exhaled, as he took in just how much his ex lover had changed. Her hair was slightly shorter, giving her a slightly older look but other than that she still remained Charlie.

“I don’t think anyone did” Charlie smiled. “You’re taking this a lot better than I expected”

“I was a mess, Charlie a total wreck” Brax admitted. “Finally began to get back on my feet when Pirovic took Casey from us as well” he sighed.

“Ruby told me” Charlie bit her lip. “I’m really sorry Brax, Casey was a good kid”

“Was about to get engaged too” Brax shook his head sadly. “You don’t know the girl, she moved to the bay after you di- went away” he corrected himself. “I think part of me is handling seeing you again so well because I’m not actually sure if you are real” he laughed.

“I wanted to come back so much” Charlie sighed. “I moved back as soon as I heard from the cops, but eh I didn’t even imagine how awkward it would be to pop back into everyone’s lives like I haven’t been presumed dead” she smiled. “I heard your news by the way, congratulations when is the baby due?”

Brax’s lips broke into a soft smile after hearing that. Part of him dreaded telling Charlie that he was with Ricky but it still didn’t mean he was going to avoid mentioning Ricky altogether. She had helped him through the lowest of the low and now she was carrying his baby, Brax loved her more than ever.

“Er two weeks, but it could come anytime” he smiled. “I’m feeling pretty nervous, I mean my first kid” he tried to hide his grin.

Charlie winced, noticeably enough for Brax to realise.

“What’s up?” he asked.

“There’s something I didn’t tell you, a few weeks into witness protection I found out I was expecting a child” she paused, before continuing. “Our child”

“What?” Brax furrowed his eyebrows.

“This baby, it won’t be your first. We have a child together, a daughter and she’s three years old” Charlie revealed.

Brax gasped at the irony at it all, with the situation with Heath and him and Ricky joking about having any secret kids, Brax just couldn’t believe this was happening to him now.

“Wh..wha…eh?” he struggled to get his words out, his mind was racing and he found he had a headache due to overthinking.

“I wanted to tell you but I couldn’t” Charlie let a few tears fall down her face. “But please Brax I don’t care about the money or whether you accept me being here, just please accept Sophie because she deserves it” she stood up and went to leave. “We’re staying in the bay, so no doubt you will meet her at some point” she exhaled.

With that she left the house, leaving Brax alone with his thoughts.


“I can’t believe he could be so braindead” Bianca seethed to Ricky and Phoebe.

“Well you know Heath” Phoebe muttered, rolling her eyes. “I don’t think he even has one brain cell”

“Bianca he is really sorry” Ricky found herself supporting Heath, but she was close to both Heath and Bianca and she certainly wasn’t going to take sides now.

“I just can’t believe it. We finally talk about trying again for a baby but no need Heath has children popping up from the past left right and centre” she sobbed

harder as Ricky passed her a tissue. “A few days before our wedding and he could still act like he was the happiest man alive knowing he had cheated”

“What do you think you’re gonna do B?” Phoebe asked. “Because as braindead as he is, he’s still your husband and you love him”

“I honestly don’t know” Bianca admitted. “The woman is handing over the baby to Heath for good, I can’t sit through life bringing up another woman’s baby”

“Bianca don’t do anything you might regret” Ricky warned. “Regardless of everything Heath thinks the world of you” she smiled. “I better shoot, Brax doesn’t like me being away too long so close to labour” she smiled again and Phoebe stood up and followed her.

“You’ll be fine B” Both girls chorused before leaving, and Bianca found herself finally at peace to be able to come to a rational decision.


“I think you have jinxed me” Brax muttered to Heath as he sat on the couch.

“What do you mean?” Heath wondered.

“You have babies popping up, Ii have toddlers popping up” he still looked pale from seeing Charlie and hearing her revelation.

“What?” Heath muttered. “You got that Natalie chick pregnant?” he screwed his face up. “At least you didn’t cheat” he sighed, pining for his wife.

“Not Natalie, Charlie” he realised this wasn’t the best way to tell his brother Charlie was in fact alive, but he really didn’t care, he had to tell someone, and Heath was clearly the best choice.

“Buckton’s dead, how can you have a kid with a dead woman?” Heath furrowed his eyebrows the same way Brax had.

“Turns out she isn’t, she’s been in witness protection, her and my kid” Brax grimaced as Heath’s eyes widened.

“You’re kidding me right?” he asked. “Buckton is actually alive and kicking?”

“Yup, cops came round this morning to fill me in on the news, she’s moving back to the bay and I have a child I never knew about.

“This is crazy” Heath spoke his words slowly. “Looks like I have jinxed you” he flashed a smile in Brax’s direction but it wasn’t met with a smile back.

“This time yesterday I was expecting a child in two weeks. Now I also have a daughter and a nephew and an ex-girlfriend I thought was dead” he started to laugh, although he couldn’t help it. “It’s insane it’s actually so insane” he spluttered, laughing until the colour had begun creeping back into his face.

Heath joined in, influenced by Brax, and the two brothers laughed about how hectic their lives had become in the past 24 hours.

“I have to go” Brax announced suddenly. “I have to see the kid” he ran out the door before Heath could say another word. “Tell Ricky I’ll be back later” he sprinted off leaving Heath alone.

Heath took his phone out and dialled Bianca’s number. He’d lost count of how many times he’d rang her. Just as he predicted, the call went to voicemail almost instantly.

“Bianca it’s me, please I just want to talk, I am so sorry I can’t even begin to explain how much you mean to me. Please pick up, I love you B”

With that he hung up, and what was laughter a few minutes ago turned to tears, as Heath struggled to resolve the situation he’d unexpectedly found himself in.

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Chapter 7

It wasn’t until after he ran out that Brax realised that he didn’t know Charlie’s address. However in a small town like summer bay, that didn’t seem to matter. Immediately racing to the one house he knew was empty, he found his ex lover cuddling her sleeping little girl. Their sleeping little girl.

“Charlie” Brax announced. Charlie turned around, waking Sophie up in the process and both spun round to face Brax.

“Brax” Charlie smiled, surprised at how quick he’d come round. A tired Sophie rested her head on Charlie’s shoulders.

“Mummy do you know everyone here?” Sophie yawned.

“Mummy used to live here” Charlie smiled. “So yes mummy knows everyone, this is Brax, he’s mummy’s friend” she flashed a smile in Brax’s direction. “Say hello to Brax” she nudged her younger daughter.

“Hello Brax” Sophie smiled cheerily now she’d given herself the chance to wake up.

Brax was taken aback. This little girl in front of him was his child. She had Ruby’s hair, and her mother’s features but Brax could see some features of Casey in her too. His heart panged for his younger brother. He would have loved to meet the latest additions to the Braxton clan.

“Hello Sophie” Brax smiled. Charlie shot him a look and he realised that she didn’t want to tell Sophie Brax’s true identity. Brax nodded at Charlie. It was still her call, and considering he’d just met Sophie for the first time he wasn’t about to cast judgement on Charlie’s decisions.

“Do you like the beach?” Sophie asked, seemingly the most important question to ask for a three year old’s perspective.

“I love the beach” Brax chuckled, staring at the child in awe.

“My big sister Ruby said she would take me today” Sophie sighed before her lips turned into a pout. “But she didn’t take me, can you take me”

“What did we say about stranger danger Sophie” Charlie warned.

“Mummy he’s not a stranger he’s Brax” Sophie shook her head at her mum as if she had known Brax all her life. “Not a stranger”

“Well he was to you five minutes ago” Charlie sighed putting her daughters hair into a ponytail. “And mummy will take you to the beach soon, we just have to settle in first”

“But we should see all your friends” Sophie protested.

“Eh I think some of them may be very surprised to see your mum” Brax chuckled. “Just like I was”

“Why?” Sophie demanded. Brax began to cover his tracks.

“Because when your mummy moved away we didn’t see or hear from her for a while so a lot of people might just be very surprised to see your mummy” Brax smiled.

“Oh ok but mummy you tell them all soon” Sophie looked with a fierce look in her eyes, making the grown ups laugh.

“Well mummy is going to tell them all tonight and you’re going to stay with Ruby and Romeo for a little bit” Charlie smiled. “Sophie why don’t you go get some toys and mummy will make us all some drinks”

“Okay mummy” Sophie replied, wriggling off her mother’s lap and racing upstairs. Charlie flashed a small smile at Brax. She still loved him, she’d never stopped but he simply wasn’t hers to have anymore. She sighed, promising herself to keep things with Brax simple, because she’d already split up her little family nest, and now that she’d returned, she wasn’t going to break up another family unit.


“Hey darl you here there’s supposed to be a big community announcement down at the surf club later on” Irene smiled looking down on Bianca who’s eyes were still tear stained.

“I don’t feel like going” Bianca sniffed.

“Well apparently it’s to do with the police anyway, so I doubt you’ll see Heath anyway, unless he comes down from work” Irene replied. “Darl you can’t hide away forever, and I know Heath has hurt you but you love each other”

“I can’t make him choose between me or his baby Irene” Bianca sniffed some more. “I could never be that horrible, his kid is going to end up in foster care if Heath abandons him” she paused. “But I can’t sit and take on a child that isn’t my own, that isn’t fair on any of us” she sighed. “It’s a tough situation but right now its best that I stay away” she smiled at Irene although Irene could tell she was still hurting.

“Well if you do feel like it, come round to the surf club, a bit of community bonding might do you the world of good” Irene smiled. “Although I don’t have a clue what it’s about” she smiled rubbing Bianca’s shoulder. “See you later love”

“See ya” Bianca replied, as the door shut behind Irene as the darkness crept back into the room. Bianca sighed, resting her head on the pillow, her heart and head torn on how to resolve the situation.


A couple of hours had passed and Brax left after a bit, although Charlie could tell he hadn’t wanted to. Sophie appeared to take a shine to Brax, and after promising that he too would take her to the beach one day, it pretty much ensured they were going to be pals. Charlie walked Brax out to the door.

“I remember doing this when we were at Leah’s” she smiled. “So many conversations at the door” she laughed. She was nervous, both of them knew it. Brax took her hands in his.

“I will always love you Charlie, but I love Ricky too” he clasped her hands tightly, overwhelmed at how right it felt. “You gave me Sophie and I loved you I really did but I love Ricky, she really helped me get back on my feet, I was a mess Charlie a real mess”

“I really wanted to come back Brax” Charlie sighed. “Giving birth alone wasn’t easy, bringing our child up alone wasn’t easy, leaving me eldest child to grieve a fake dead mother wasn’t easy. I love you too, and because of Soph I think a part of me always will but I never expected things to go back to how they were, things change and people change. I’m sure me and Ricky will meet soon” she smiled. “I really hope we can just be close friends” she smiled.

“I would like that” Brax smiled wrapping his arms around Charlie and pulling her in for a hug.

“To friends” Charlie smiled.

“To friends who had a kid together” Brax smiled. “Good luck telling the rest of the bay, I assume that’s the big community gathering, I won’t be there because I’m working but Ricky might be there. You can’t miss her, big baby bump and all that” he grinned letting go of Charlie. “See you soon.”


The community of summer bay squeezed together in the surf club. The cops stood up at the front as people were told to sit down in any chairs that were free. Alf was talking to another cop, trying to uncover the meaning of this meeting.

“I mean it was all a bit last minute and that what’s so flaming important?” he asked. The young female cop Katarina said that they had barely been briefed and only cops on the case fully knew the reason. She told Alf to take a seat, just as Georgina Watson came in to break the news.

“Hi if everyone would like to sit down and keep the noise down a bit” she smiled, waiting until the noise had bustled down and all the free seats had been taken. She looked around at some of the faces recognising them as people Charlie knew, although there were a few new faces, who although didn’t live in the bay at the time still needed to be briefed. She saw Ricky, looking ready to drop with the baby bump, sat next to Bianca who had just slipped in at the last moment. Watson found herself becoming nervous, and she cleared her throat to begin.

“There is a new person living in summer bay, as of yesterday”

“Didn’t know they had to conduct meetings on every new individual moving in” Ricky whispered to Bianca.

“They don’t” Bianca furrowed her eyebrows. “This is really strange” Ricky nodded in agreement and began to listen to Watson again.

“The new member of summer bay, has been a part of this community before and although has not interacted with all of you, it is vital that we brief each and every one of you of the situation.” Watson rambled meeting the eyes of many confused locals. “What is so different about this resident is a situation that we found was best a few years ago which meant they had to go into witness protection cutting of contact with all friends and family. Now that threat has been removed it means the individual is free to move back into the society they were once a part of”

“Who is it?” Alf asked on behalf of the entire community.

“She was the local cop. Around 4 years ago she was shot, and many people thought she had died”

Bianca gasped, turning round to catch Leah’s gaze who was sitting directly behind her.

“Do you think?” Bianca asked half a question and Leah nodded that yes she thought the exact same thing Bianca was thinking.

“Whats going on?” Ricky and Phoebe asked.

“Charlie was the old cop, and she was shot” Bianca whispered.

“Charlie as in the love of Brax’s life?” Ricky’s eyes widened.

“Too many similarities to be a coincidence surely” Leah leant forward.

“So this means she’s alive?” Bianca struggled to come to terms with the possibility her best friend was alive.

“I’m guessing by the chatter among you that most of you have uncovered who we’re talking about. For those who don’t, Charlotte or Charlie Buckton was a police officer here who was shot by a criminal called Jake Pirovic, who was also involved in the death of Casey Braxton and is now dead himself. Charlie Buckton and her daughter Sophie Buckton were placed in the witness protection scheme after it emerged that she was still in danger"

Bianca’s eyes widened as she looked at Ricky who clearly thought the same thing. “The kid has to be Brax’s doesn’t it?” she closed her eyes, attempting to hold back the tears. Bianca nodded.

“I think so” Bianca placed a hand on Ricky’s shoulder.

“Those who were extremely close to Charlie have already been informed that she was in witness protection” Watson continued as many people looked at each other in shock.

“So Brax already knows and he didn’t tell me” Ricky sighed, becoming increasingly distressed as Watson continued.

“Charlie will shortly be brought in by one of our officers but please don’t overwhelm her. From what I know the child is with Ruby Buckton so that Charlie can face you all as a community alone without having to explain to a three year old why an entire community is doubled over in shock at seeing her”

The door opened and Katarina the new cop brought Charlie in. Charlie could feel many pairs of eyes burning into her and the community began to whisper. Charlie took a few shaky steps before she turned to face the audience.

“Oh my god” Bianca whispered as Leah made an audible gasp behind her. The whispering stopped and the silence become almost unbearable as the community came to terms with the revelations. Just then the silence was broken by an excruciating scream and a circle was formed around Ricky as a huge puddle formed at her feet.

“I’m going into labour!”

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Chapter Eight

After 18 hours of labour, Oliver Casey Braxton finally made his entrance into the world. Complete with a mop of brown hair and big green eyes, both Brax and Ricky were positive they had never seen a baby so beautiful in all their lives. Both of them had put Charlie’s recent arrival to the back of their minds as they doted over Oliver, but as slept soundly, Brax knew he was going to have to explain himself.

“I’m sorry Ric, I never seen ya and I only just found out about Charlie coming back. I didn’t want to tell you over text”

“Are you going to leave me for her?” Ricky asked, her voice beginning to tremble. Brax took her hands in his.

“I have never heard something so stupid in my life” He smiled kissing his girlfriend on the cheek. “I loved Charlie and I will have to spend some time with the kid but Ric you helped me overcome so much stuff and you gave me our wonderful child. I am still completely madly uncontrollably in love with you, the same way I was yesterday. Nothing has to change” he smiled stroking her hair.

“And just yesterday we were talking about any of your exes popping up with kids” she gave a small smile. “The irony”

“I’m surprised you and Bianca haven’t joined forces for a Braxton hate club”

“It’s not as if you cheated on me, and you never knew she was alive or you have a baby” she narrowed her eyes. “Did you?”

“Of course I didn’t know” Brax sounded genuine and Ricky believed him instantly.

“So Oliver technically has an older sister” Ricky laughed. “And here I was thinking he was going to be the oldest of our brood”

“Oh aye, just how many do you think we’re having?” Brax nudged his girlfriend. Secretly he’d wanted more than one child but throughout the pregnancy, Ricky had insisted on only having the one. However even though Brax had two kids now, it still didn’t mean he wanted any more.

“I don’t know, maybe one or two more” Ricky laughed. “He is so cute” she gushed down at her newborn son.

“That’s because he takes after his mum” Brax laughed.

“Well I’m not going to disagree there” Ricky laughed as she held Brax’s hand. “I know you’re going to have a lot of catching up with Charlie and your daughter Brax, I understand that I just don’t want to be pushed aside at this time”

“I promise hand on heart I wouldn’t do that to ya ric” Brax smiled. “I love you so much, thanks for being so supportive”

Ricky smiled, as Brax leaned in and the pair shared a passionate embrace as they sealed their love and joy over the latest Braxton arrival.


Meanwhile Charlie had been receiving visits from the entire bay by the looks of things. Those who didn’t know her didn’t come round unless they were with people that she knew personally. Currently she was sat in her living room, Sophie on the floor, and Leah and Bianca on either side of Charlie. Both, once had gotten over the initial shock were ecstatic to see her, although Bianca did feel a bit sorry for Ricky. She’d received a call from Brax that baby boy Braxton was here safely and after catching up with her once best friend, she would go to visit the baby hoping that Heath wouldn’t be there.

“Charlie, Sophie is so beautiful” Leah cooed over the three year old who was playing with her frozen dollies.

Charlie smiled. “She’s been my rock the past couple of years” she admitted. “Looking at her pretty little face every day reminded me that I had to stay strong for the people I’d left behind”

“This is so weird that you’re actually here though” Bianca admitted. “Although I could not be any more thrilled” she hesitated before adding. “However I am glad the cops did that meeting because if I’d seen you in the bay I’d have probably had a heart attack.

Charlie was glad her two closest friends didn’t pry much on what had gone on in her life while she’d been away. Instead she asked them both lots of questions, about what she’d missed, determined to get settled back into the bay as quickly as possible.

“Well I’m engaged” Leah announced showing off her ring. “To another teacher who lives in the bay as well, I’m sure you will meet him at some point”

“How’s VJ doing?” Charlie asked.

“Ah he’s growing up” Leah sighed, thinking of how difficult her son was being at the moment. “He doesn’t really get along with Zak but I think that’s probably because of the stick he gets at school over it”

Charlie nodded, sympathizing for the family as a whole in that situation.

“And I was married, to Heath” Bianca rolled out her words slowly.

“Oh bee what happened?” Charlie wrapped her arms around her friend who was determined not to cry.

“He has a baby” she admitted to both Charlie and Leah who gasped in shock.

“Oh Christ” Leah muttered. “What are you going to do?”

“I don’t know, I just know that it’s not fair to issue an ultimatum”

“Mummy” Sophie came over to the women with both dollies in her hands. “Elsa and Anna want to go to the beach and it should be okay now because all your friends know you are back now like Brax said” the little girl was fascinated at how many visitors they had received in such a short space of time.

“Oh did they?” Charlie replied.

“Yes they really did mummy. I tried to say no because mummy is busy but they wouldn’t listen” Sophie sighed, shaking her head at her dollies which made the three women laugh.

“Well okay we can go to the beach” Charlie replied and Sophie cheered, flinging her two dollies on the floor and trying to drag the hands of Charlie and Leah too.

“The beaaaach” she sang as Charlie picked her daughter up.

“What about your dollies?” Charlie asked amused that Sophie had dropped them on the floor. “I thought this was their idea”

Sophie stared at Charlie as if she was crazy.

“Mummy dollies can’t really talk you know” she replied seriously. The three women laughed again.

“Actually I should probably head to the hospital” Bianca looked a tad sheepish. “The baby is here”

Leah smiled, and so did Charlie even though she couldn’t help the sinking feeling in her stomach.

“Give them my congratulations” Charlie smiled.

“And mine too” Leah added.

Bianca waved goodbye to her friends and blew kisses to Sophie as she faded into the distance.

“You have that puppy dog look in your eyes” Leah widened her eyes, knowing exactly what Charlie was thinking.

“Things have changed Leah, I’m glad he’s happy” Charlie smiled as she swung Sophie round. “To the beach!”


Bianca arrived at the hospital just in time to see Heath leave the door. The pair faced each other and the awkwardness was clear. Heath longed to embrace his wife, and although she had had time to calm down, she still wasn’t in any mood for a reconciliation.

“I hear that Buckton rose from the dead” he began, attempting to break the ice.

“Was that really supposed to be funny?” Bianca retorted. Heath looked down at the floor.

“I love you Bianca and I am sorry” he sighed. “I couldn’t be any more sorry if I tried. But I can’t turn my back on my kid, he’ll go into the system”

“I know, I’m making it easy for you. You don’t have to choose”

“Well what about us?”

“There can’t be an us anymore” Bianca sighed. “You still cheated on me, and I can’t be with you and watch you raise a baby that isn’t my child, or pretend to be a mother to a child that isn’t even mine. I’m doing this for all of us even the kid. I’m walking away”

With that she turned and went into the room where Brax and Ricky were waiting with their newborn baby. Heath watched her go before leaving the hospital. He knew he’d really messed up big time and thanks to his mistake, he lost the only woman he’d ever truly loved.


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I discovered this story last night and read it in one go. What a great way for Charlie to come back into Brax's life. I am looking forward to see what happens next with Heath and Bianca and whether they sort out their problems.

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