zIFBoards - Free Forum Hosting
Fully Featured & Customizable Free Forums

Learn More · Sign-up for Free
Welcome to Oceanside Wellness. We hope you enjoy your visit.


You're currently viewing our forum as a guest. This means you are limited to certain areas of the board and there are some features you can't use. If you join our community, you'll be able to access member-only sections, and use many member-only features such as customizing your profile, sending personal messages, and voting in polls. Registration is simple, fast, and completely free.


Join our community!


If you're already a member please log in to your account to access all of our features:

Name:   Password:


WELCOME
 

Welcome to Oceanside Wellness, a Private Practice discussion and fanfiction board. We accept all ships, including classic and unconventional pairings. Here you can find spoilers, fan art, great stories, games, challenges, and more.
 

STAFF
 



 

SISTER SITE
 

 

OTM
 
Photobucket
 

chat
 

 

affiliates
 






Affiliate with Us!



 

Credits
 
the site is credited to the admins of the board. the gorgeous skin was made by casey of the amazing forum CAUTION!. the characters belong to the members and the sidebar was made by molly of red carpet and rebellion.
 

Pages: (2) [1] 2  ( Go to first unread post ) REPLY TOPIC POLL 

 Life As We Know It
writergrl
Posted: Jan 30 2011, 06:02 AM


Member


Group: Members
Posts: 13
Member No.: 4
Joined: 24-January 11



So, I'm doing a test run here before posting on fanfiction.net.

Title: Life As We Know It
Author: WriterGrl
E-mail: tracyj16@gmail.com
Twitter: TracyJ516
Content: Charlotte & Cooper, Private Practice
Premise: As Charlotte & Cooper make preparations to spend their lives together, they are faced with a life-altering challenge sooner than anticipated.
Disclaimers: I own nothing and borrow lots. All Private Practice characters are property of ABC and Private Practice. All I own is the story I write and any characters that I create. Everything written is purely for fun, creativity and for my imagination.
Author's note: This story is completely alternate universe, as in I'm creating my own canon. Although, this story is loosely based on the movie, "Life As We Know It" that starred Josh Duhamel and Katherine Heigl. The basic premise is there, but I'm writing my take on how Charlotte and Cooper would handle the situation.
Feedback: I always appreciate feedback. It helps me write the story, as I take into account the thoughts of others.
________________________________

Life As We Know It

Chapter 1



Cooper walked into Violet’s office, stopping a few feet from her desk. “I want to get married,” he blurted out.

Violet looked up from her computer screen with an eyebrow raised and smirked. “Sure, but I know two people that may have a problem with that.”

“Ha. Funny,” he sat down on the couch, running a hand through his hair.

"Well, have you and Charlotte talked about setting a date?”

“Not really. There’s never been a good time,” he replied.

Violet’s brow furrowed. “Didn’t the two of you just get back from a trip to Alabama? I figured with all the time you spent together, setting a wedding date would have been something that would come up while you were there.”

“It never did. Don’t get me wrong, we had a great time and all,” Cooper smiled, thinking back to how much he enjoyed the trip. “I guess it’s just something I thought would casually bring itself up, you know?”

“And now the both of you are back and super busy.”

“Yeah. Charlotte’s stuck at St. Ambrose all day and probably will get home late. She mentioned something about having to fix a mess or two that happened while we were away.”

Violet smiled and was amused at how head over heels her close friend was for Charlotte. Make no mistake, she disliked the blonde doctor at first, thinking of her as the medical professional equivalent to Cruella de Ville and wasn’t deserving of Cooper, who was the complete opposite in terms of personality. But over time, Violet grew to like Charlotte and understand why she was the way she was. And deep down, she knew that somewhere inside was a warm heart that was guarded by a tough exterior that only Cooper could get past.

“Well, I really don’t know what to tell you,” she said.

Cooper nodded and smiled back. “It’s okay. I wasn’t expecting any advice. I just needed to get it out,” he stood up. “I should go. I’ve got a few more patients and then maybe I’ll go and surprise Charlotte with some dinner. Thanks for listening, Vi.”

“Anytime,” Violet waved, watching Cooper leave her office.

--

Charlotte sighed deeply staring at the stack of paperwork in front of her. She and Cooper had only been gone for five days and it amazed her how it all piled up. After spending a good portion of the day getting up to speed on what she’d missed and also being on the phone following up on her rescheduled appointments.

It was nearly seven-thirty when Charlotte finally got started on the stack of paperwork. She heard a knock at the door and looked up, “Yeah?”

The door slowly opened, Cooper sticking his head inside. “Hi. I figured you’d be working late, so I brought dinner,” he held up a paper bag. “Chinese?”

Charlotte smiled, motioning for him to come inside. “Bring it here. I’m famished.”

Cooper entered, carefully shutting the door behind him. He placed the paper bag on the desk, taking its contents out and placing it in front of Charlotte. Sitting down across from her, he handed the blonde a paper plate, a fork and some napkins.

Charlotte didn’t wait and immediately opened one of the containers to reveal General Tso’s chicken, while the other container had fried rice. Cooper placed a good amount of both on her plate and she quickly dug in.

“Well, someone is hungry,” Cooper commented, putting a forkful of rice into his mouth.

“I told you I was famished,” Charlotte replied, taking another bite of chicken. “I barely had anythin’ for lunch, ‘cause I was so busy.”

Cooper sipped his soda. “Looks like you barely made a dent,” eyeing the stack of paperwork. “Are you going to be long?”

Charlotte followed Cooper’s gaze and was reminded that her day was nowhere near done. Truthfully, she was exhausted and didn’t want to stay and do paperwork. But a part of her didn’t want to leave it all to get done the next day. “Not too long. I want to get started on some of this stuff and I’ll just finish it up tomorrow,” she replied, satisfied with the inner compromise. “You wanna wait?”

“Sure,” he nodded, reaching for the container of fried rice.

They continued with their usual dinner banter, sharing the happenings of their respective days. Cooper filled Charlotte in on what they’d missed at Oceanside, while Charlotte vented about a couple of issues that occurred while they were away.

While Cooper was cleaning up, Charlotte got a start on the stack of paperwork, reminding herself that there wasn’t a pressing need to get it done that night. But Charlotte being the way she was had gotten so engrossed in what she was doing and lost track of time, finishing everything anyway. Of course, it also could have been because Cooper had dozed off on her couch, leaving her with the peace and quiet she’d been seeking since arriving in the morning.

Neatly piling everything off to the corner of her desk, Charlotte logged off her computer and reached for her bag. She walked around the desk and toward Cooper, bending down to press a kiss on his forehead.

“Hey,” she said softly, rousing the man from his sleep. “Let’s go home.”

“Huhmm?” Cooper’s eyes slowly opened. He sat up and tried to glance at the clock on the wall. “What time is it?”

“A little past ten,” Charlotte held out her hand to him. “Come on. Where are your keys? I’ll drive.”

Cooper reached into his pocket, handing the blonde his car keys. Wrapping an arm around her waist, they walked out of her office, shutting the door closed behind them.

They got home in a reasonable amount of time, Charlotte chuckling softly to herself the whole way while Cooper slept in the passenger seat. She surmised the guy had a long day at the practice. Either that or his body was having a wicked time getting adjusted back to being on West coast time, after being in Alabama.

Once again, she roused him awake and he in turn apologized for being a lump for most of the evening. They walked hand in hand into the loft, Cooper making a beeline for the bathroom after getting inside.

“Someone seems mighty exhausted,” Charlotte commented, kicking off her heels and placing them inside the closet.

“I think it was the Chinese that put me into a food coma,” Cooper replied, exiting the bathroom completely changed with his dirty laundry in his hands. He dropped it into the hamper and sat on the bed.

“I pretty much figured that,” Charlotte entered the bathroom and came back out a few minutes later, dressed and ready for bed. She climbed in next to Cooper and laid back against the pillows. “It’s okay though. I got through that pile of paperwork that was on my desk.”

“I figured you would,” Cooper reached over to turn off the light on his side of the bed. He then leaned toward Charlotte and kissed her. “Good night.”

“Night,” she smiled back.

Now wide awake, Cooper laid there in silence for the next few minutes, unable to fall back asleep. He turned to his side and stared at Charlotte, slightly smiling at her.

“You know how I find it creepy when you do that,” Charlotte spoke, eyes still closed. “Quit starin’ at me.”

“Sorry. I couldn’t help it.”

“Yeah, I know.”

After a minute, Charlotte opened her eyes and turned to Cooper who was lying on his back, still awake. “What’s the matter? Can’t sleep after the nap you had earlier?”

“Probably,” Cooper replied.

Charlotte smirked. “Wanna get busy then?” she grabbed his t-shirt, ready to pull it off when his hand stopped her. “What? You don’t want any?”

“Not tonight,” he replied with a straight face.

Brow furrowed, Charlotte pressed the back of her hand to his forehead. “You’re turnin’ down sex? You don’t seem warm.”

Cooper took hold of the blonde’s hand, pressing his lips to it. “I’m fine. I was just laying here thinking about something.”

“Oh? Well, hope you’re not hurtin’ yourself,” she laughed, propping herself up and resting her head on her hand. “So? Spill… whatcha thinkin’ about?”

Cooper smiled. “I was wondering when we’d tossing around some possible wedding dates. I mean, it doesn’t have to be anytime soon, but I was thinking that maybe we could set a date… have something to work towards, you know?” he said, entwining his fingers with hers. “Just a thought.”

Charlotte didn’t reply for a few seconds, then finally met his loving gaze with a smile of her own. “You’re right, we should.”

“Really?”

“Yes, really.”

Cooper leaned into Charlotte, kissing her deeply. “I was thinking sometime in the fall. Not too warm.”

“Fall sounds good,” Charlotte yawned, realizing she was more exhausted then she thought. “I’m thinking late September. A Saturday…sunset.”

“Alright, last Saturday in September it is. I’ll mark the date in a calendar in the morning,” Cooper made a mental note to himself to put the date down tomorrow when he got into his office.

Charlotte yawned again, trying to fight off the beckoning slumber. “Great, now let’s get some sleep. I tired and wasn’t as fortunate as you to have taken a nap a couple of hours ago.”

Cooper turned in bed, draping an arm over Charlotte’s waist. “Good night again.”

“G’night…” Charlotte muttered, drifting off to sleep within minutes.

Unable to fall asleep just yet, Cooper remained awake for a little while longer, proud of himself at how easy it was to get his fiancée to agree on setting a wedding date. Albeit, he had some worries, considering the subject hadn’t been brought up, but after the wonderful time they had in Monroeville, he figured it was time they made their union official. With a smile on his face, he closed his eyes.

After years of a rocky courtship, he was convinced nothing would stand in their way.

-end chapter
King & Freedman
Posted: Jan 30 2011, 08:37 PM


Administrator


Group: Admin
Posts: 77
Member No.: 1
Joined: 8-January 11



This is great so far. I love me some Charp. I can't wait to see where you take this and how they handle their little surprise smile.gif
writergrl
Posted: Jan 31 2011, 04:08 AM


Member


Group: Members
Posts: 13
Member No.: 4
Joined: 24-January 11



Title: Life As We Know It
Author: WriterGrl
E-mail: tracyj16@gmail.com
Twitter: TracyJ516
Content: Charlotte & Cooper, Private Practice
Premise: As Charlotte & Cooper make preparations to spend their lives together, they are faced with a life-altering challenge sooner than anticipated.
Disclaimers: I own nothing and borrow lots. All Private Practice characters are property of ABC and Private Practice. All I own is the story I write and any characters that I create. Everything written is purely for fun, creativity and for my imagination.
Feedback: I always appreciate feedback. It helps me write the story, as I take into account the thoughts of others.
Author's note: I don't normally update this fast, but I'm trying to get back into a habit of writing weekly. So hopefully the next update will be a week from today.

____________________________

Chapter 2

Cooper whistled to himself as he entered the kitchen at Oceanside Wellness. He grabbed a mug out of the cabinet and poured himself some coffee, still whistling. After the wonderful night of sleep he had and the talk with Charlotte, he was determined not to let anything ruin his day.

“Someone is chipper this morning,” Sam commented upon entering the kitchen. He grabbed the carton of juice from inside the fridge and poured some into a glass. Taking a sip, he looked at Cooper. “So, are you going to share what the reason is for your delightful mood?”

The pediatrician didn’t reply for a few seconds and then proceeded to smile at Sam. “Charlotte and I finally set a wedding date.”

“Oh? That’s great!” Sam patted his friend on the back.

“Yeah,” Cooper nodded. “She and I talked about it last night and it’s finally set. We’ve got something to work towards.”

“Something to work towards?” another voice in the room said. Both men turned to find Violet standing on the other side of the island. She eyed Sam and then Cooper, noticing the smile on his face. “Oh my God, there’s a date. There’s finally a date.”

Cooper grinned at his best friend, taking another sip of coffee and swallowing. “Yep, a date. We’re looking at the last weekend on September.”

“Early fall… pretty,” Violet replied.

“Yep,” he checked his watch. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a patient coming in a few minutes.”

Sam and Violet watched Cooper exit the kitchen and walk gleefully down the corridor to his office. They looked at each other for a second and laughed.

“He’s amusing when he’s giddy,” Sam commented.

Violet continued to laugh, nodding in agreement. “You’d think he was the excited bride. But that’s Cooper for you. And after seeing the ups and downs he and Charlotte have gone through, setting a date for their wedding is well, huge for him.”

“He deserves it,” Sam agreed.

--

Charlotte sat in her office, staring at her engagement ring. She couldn’t help looking at it and the way it shined when the sun hit it from a certain angle. Some moments, it would shine so bright that anyone could notice it from across the room. She loved how it conveyed so clearly to other men that she was taken…off the market, officially unavailable.

Her mind drifted to last night and the conversation she had with Cooper. Reaching for the calendar, she flipped to the month of September, marking the last Saturday with a red pen. Cooper and her had set a date, a wedding date…a date when she’d be walking down the aisle where he would be waiting for her at the end of it.
It made sense that they set a date for their wedding. Given the fact they were engaged for a while now, it was time for them to make it official. Albeit, the thought of picking a wedding date had crossed her mind every now and then, but a part of her had always put it off, figuring they’d talk about it when the time was right.

It was then when Charlotte realized what had prompted Cooper to bring up the subject. She thought back to their trip to Monroeville and the time spent with her brothers and their families. She remembered watching him play with her nieces and nephews, rolling around in the grass with them, playing tag and lending a helping hand with their pets that roamed the grounds. She realized Cooper wanted that for the both of them, a life together and a family.

A knock at the door brought Charlotte back to the present, interrupting her quiet reverie. “Come in,” she said, looking up to find Naomi at the door. “Hey,” motioning her colleague to step inside and sit down. “What’s goin’ on?”

“Not much,” Naomi sat down across from the blonde. “I was here checking on a patient who was admitted yesterday. Thought I’d come by and say hello. I didn’t see you at the practice.”

“I’ve been here catchin’ up on things,” Charlotte replied. “I’ll be back at Oceanside hopefully by the end of the week, as long as nothin’ else goes to hell in a handbasket.”

Naomi smiled. “I have no idea how you do it. I have enough trouble making sure things run smoothly at the practice.”

“Believe me, runnin’ this hospital is no easy task,” Charlotte sat back in her chair. “It may look like it, but there are some days where I just wanna pull my hair out.”

“Well, you do a good job at keeping yourself together.”

“Thank you. I like to think that’s one of my better qualities.”

“So…” Naomi drawled. “I heard something about a wedding in late September?”

Charlotte rolled her eyes and chuckled. “Cooper spread the wonderful news already?”

“I heard from Sam and Violet,” Naomi laughed, already aware of the blonde’s slight disdain for how fast news spreads at the practice. “And well… Cooper’s been smiling all day.”

“I figured as much,” the blonde replied, stealing a quick glance at her engagement ring. She met the other doctor’s gaze and smiled. “Yeah, end of September sounds about right.”

“Charlotte King…settling down. Who would have ever thought,” Naomi commented, earning another eye roll from the blonde sitting across from her.

“Stranger things have happened.”

“I’m happy for you…for you and Cooper.”

“Thank you.”

“Will Violet be your wedding planner?” Naomi asked, albeit partly in a joking way and perhaps serious too. “I mean, she did a great job with Maya’s wedding.”

Charlotte raised an eyebrow, casting a sarcastic gaze at the other doctor, who she now considered somewhat of a close friend. “You’re joking right?”

“Hmm…yes and no,” Naomi shrugged. “Just a suggestion. I know you’re not at the stage of planning yet, but I wanted to toss the idea out there. I know you’re not one to ask for help, but it’s something to take into consideration.”

“Noted,” Charlotte nodded.

Before Naomi could continue the conversation, Charlotte was paged, pulling her away from what would end up being one of the few times she was able to sit down for an extended period of time. She spent the remainder of the day being pulled in all different directions, dealing with other doctors, families and various administrative issues at St. Ambrose.

It was almost eight in the evening when Charlotte made it back to her office, feeling mentally exhausted, if not more than the night before. She was tempted to sit down for a moment to catch her breath, but decided not to for fear she may not want to get up. After shutting down her computer, she grabbed her purse, bag and car keys, and walked out of her office.

Charlotte arrived back to the loft in record time, walking in the door to find dinner ready and waiting for her. Closing the door behind her, she smiled and spotted Cooper coming out of the bedroom. “Just what I needed,” she said, dropping her keys into the dish and kicking off her heels. “Once again, I am tired and hungry.”

“Eat up,” Cooper motioned toward the table, pulling a chair out for her.

“Thanks, I will,” Charlotte sat down and draped the napkin on her lap. She wasted no time, immediately grabbing the fork and knife, and attacking her food.

Cooper sat across from her, trying to stifle a smile but was unsuccessful. He began eating, all the while observing his fiancée who was halfway done with her food before he could even make a dent in the food on his plate.

“I take it you skipped a meal today?” he asked.

Charlotte stopped for a moment, meeting Cooper’s gaze. “That obvious, huh?”

“Just a little.”

“I had a salad, but I guess it wasn’t enough.”

Cooper swallowed his food and took a sip of his drink. “I know you have a busy day, but you have to make time to eat.”

“Yeah, I know. It’s just the last two days have been hectic,” she explained but agreed that he had a point.

“Well, maybe tomorrow things will be less hectic,” Cooper commented, hoping he would be right. “If you want, I can drop by with some lunch. I don’t have any patients between 12 and 2.”

Charlotte nodded. “Sure, I’d like that.”

After dinner, Cooper shooed Charlotte away from the kitchen, telling her that he’d take care of cleaning things up and that she should go and relax. She obliged him, heading into the bathroom and beginning her nighttime routine. Twenty minutes later, she was ready for bed and climbed in, sitting against the pillows with a book in her lap.

Cooper joined her a short while later, his breath minty from brushing his teeth. “You staying up for a bit longer?”

“Gimme a few minutes, I’ll be done with this chapter and then I’m goin’ to sleep,” Charlotte replied, keeping her eyes on the page.

“Okay,” he shifted to his side and turned off his bedside lamp. He laid back against the pillows, folding his hands over his stomach.

As promised, a few minutes later, Charlotte closed her book and set it on the bedside table. She turned off the lamp on her side of the bed and then moved closer to Cooper, taking his hand into hers. “So, I hear everyone at the practice knows when we’re gettin’ married.”

“Yep,” he nodded. “I hope you’re not mad that I told Sam and Violet. I was a bit giddy this morning.”

“It’s okay,” she rested her head against his shoulder. “Naomi came by the hospital and we got to talkin’. Plus I figured everyone would find out, seein’ as how nothing ever stays a secret there. She even suggested we ask Violet to help plan.”

Cooper laughed. “Really? I bet you were thrilled with the suggestion.”

“Ha. I tossed Naomi a very sarcastic look. But I said I’d consider the idea,” Charlotte said, knowing that it wasn’t a response Cooper expected to hear. She felt him turn to his side, eyeing her suspiciously. “What?”

“Are you saying you’d let Violet, my best friend Violet…the Violet you’re mean to most of the time… You’d let her help plan our wedding?” he rambled.

Charlotte met his gaze with a somewhat stern look of her own. “Now I didn’t say yes. I said I’d consider the idea. There’s a difference,” she emphasized. “Besides, I know you’d probably entertain the idea if we did need some help.”

“Only if you want to,” Cooper replied.

“Well, I’m not sayin’ yes, but I’m not sayin’ no either.”

“Okay.”

Charlotte yawned. “Now let’s get some sleep. I’ve got another long day tomorrow,” she kissed him deeply. “Good night.”

“Good night,” he settled in bed, wrapping an arm around the blonde.

Both Cooper and Charlotte surrendered to sleep almost immediately, especially Charlotte who was tired from the second consecutive busy day of work. Exhaustion was also probably the reason why she didn’t hear her cell phone ringing on the bedside table ringing an hour later.

“Charlotte…” Cooper muttered, lightly nudging her awake so she could silence the offending object. “Charlotte, your phone…”

“What?” Charlotte slowly opened eyes. It took her a few seconds to realize her cell phone was ringing. She reached for it and saw the caller ID. “Duke, I know I’m two hours behind you, but what in God’s name has you callin’ at this ungodly hour for you?” She waited for her older brother to explain himself.

Suddenly, Charlotte found herself wide-awake and sitting up in bed, jarred by what Duke had just told her. “No, not Landry. Are you sure?” she choked back a small sob. “Fine, okay. Yes, we’ll try and get the first flight out. Okay… yes… bye.”

Cooper turned over in bed, somewhat awake after hearing Charlotte’s conversation with her brother. “Why did Duke call?”

Charlotte finally exhaled a breath she didn’t realize she’d been holding. “It’s Landry,” she stared straight ahead, eyes brimming with moisture. “There was an accident.”

~end chapter
AddieSam23
Posted: Jan 31 2011, 06:15 AM


Advanced Member


Group: Admin
Posts: 62
Member No.: 2
Joined: 8-January 11



Wow I love this fic, writergrrl. So well written, very in character too. I loved the contrast of chapters. How one and most of 2 were like status quo and even happy and then suddenly life went on hold for Landry's death. Whoever Landry is. Maybe a sister of Charlotte's...

Either way, this is excellent. Your writing skills are amazing. I am glad we have this story here. Lately the ones Charp fics I can find are related to Char's rape and as well done as they usually are, I need something diferent. Something that gives me hope and this does. Can't wait to see Charlotte and Coop with a little one! lol
King & Freedman
Posted: Feb 1 2011, 08:45 PM


Administrator


Group: Admin
Posts: 77
Member No.: 1
Joined: 8-January 11



ITA with Daphne. I can't wait to see Charp with the tiny human. I know its going to be comical, especially on Charlotte's part. I'm now anticipating the next update smile.gif
King & Freedman
Posted: Feb 1 2011, 08:49 PM


Administrator


Group: Admin
Posts: 77
Member No.: 1
Joined: 8-January 11



QUOTE (AddieSam23 @ Jan 31 2011, 06:15 AM)
How one and most of 2 were like status quo and even happy and then suddenly life went on hold for Landry's death. Whoever Landry is. Maybe a sister of Charlotte's...

Landry and Duke are Charlotte's brother. We met them when Charlotte went back to Alabama when her father was dying.
writergrl
Posted: Feb 2 2011, 01:41 AM


Member


Group: Members
Posts: 13
Member No.: 4
Joined: 24-January 11



Thanks for the kind words. I'm having a really good time writing this story, because as you can see, I've managed to finish the next chapter already. If I can keep the motivation going, I may be able to get another chapter up by Sunday.

Title: Life As We Know It
Author: WriterGrl
E-mail: tracyj16@gmail.com
Twitter: TracyJ516
Content: Charlotte & Cooper, Private Practice
Premise: As Charlotte & Cooper make preparations to spend their lives together, they are faced with a life-altering challenge sooner than anticipated.
Disclaimers: I own nothing and borrow lots. All Private Practice characters are property of ABC and Private Practice. All I own is the story I write and any characters that I create. Everything written is purely for fun, creativity and for my imagination.
Feedback: I always appreciate feedback. It helps me write the story, as I take into account the thoughts of others.
Author's note: This chapter is a bit on the sad side, but here we will see a different side of Charlotte. She is human after all.

_______________________

Chapter 3

Charlotte King wasn’t someone who liked showing emotion. She was headstrong, confident and had a tendency to never show weakness, despite the challenges in front of her. It was how she got people to respect her and take her seriously. It was how she became the woman she was today.

But today, Charlotte was not a strong, confident woman. Despite trying to maintain that façade, inside she was crumbling, her emotions were raw and her heart ached. She stood in front of the mirror, staring at her tired reflection as she tried to fix her hair. For the past ten minutes, she had tried to put it up but was unsuccessful each time, getting more and more annoyed by the second. Sighing deeply, she gave up and slammed the comb onto the dresser, fighting back the moisture that was brimming in the corners of her eyes.

Charlotte still couldn’t believe it. Landry, her younger brother was gone. What made it even harder to believe was that she’d just seen him few days ago, having said goodbye after spending a week in Monroeville to celebrate the birthday of his son. She remembered the smiles and the laughs they shared, the joy and the fun. Most of all, she remembered the long talk she had with him and Duke, at how they vowed to be more involved with each other’s lives and not let distance keep them from having a close family relationship.

And now here she was, back at the family estate, getting ready to lay Landry to rest.

Charlotte stepped back from the dresser, deciding that it was no use to keep trying with her hair. She sat at the edge of the bed, her downcast gaze falling to the floor and wondered how she would get through the morning. It was almost nine o’clock and the services were set to start at ten.

Lifting her gaze, she found herself looking around the room, her eyes landing on a photograph from her childhood. It was a picture of her with Duke and Landry. Charlotte stood in the middle, with both boys flanking at her sides. They were smiling, Duke holding a fishing rod while Landry and Charlotte were holding up a fish they had caught. The photo brought back the vivid memory for Charlotte, causing her to smile slightly.

Cooper gently pushed the door open and saw Charlotte sitting at the end of the bed, gazing toward the wall. He followed her line of vision and noticed the photo. “How old were you in that picture?”

“About ten or eleven,” Charlotte replied, still staring at the picture. “Duke was teaching Landry and me how to fish. Big Daddy didn’t want to buy all of us fishing rods, so Duke said he’d let us use his,” she smiled a little, remembering that day. “Landry couldn’t get the fish to bite the hook but I caught one on my first try. I still remember the look on Landry’s face. He was so mad that his sister was showin’ him up.”

“I’d probably be the same way if I had a sister who was better than me at certain things,” Cooper replied. He continued to eye the photo. “I didn’t realize Landry was a skinny kid.”

Charlotte chuckled softly. “He was pretty scrawny. Big Daddy used to think he’d never grow. Then one year, he went and shot up like a weed. Left me behind as the short one.”

“Nah, you’re not short. You’re just petite.”

“Thanks.”

The blonde finally turned to him after a moment and met his gaze. His heart ached when he saw the forlorn look on her face. He could tell she’d been crying earlier, when no one was around. Cooper reached for Charlotte’s hand, fingers entwining with hers. “We should go. The cars are waiting downstairs for everyone.”

Charlotte stood up, still holding Cooper’s hand and left the bedroom. They walked down the steps in silence, Cooper holding her hand the whole way. It wasn’t until the reached the doorway when Charlotte stopped, unable to step out the door.

“Sweetie?” Cooper looked back at her.

“Coop, I don’t know if I can do this,” Charlotte shook her head. For the first time in a long time, the blonde was showing weakness.

Cooper held out his hand. “Yes you can. I’ll be by your side the whole time. I’m not going to let you fall.”

Charlotte took a deep breath, straightening her posture. She reached for Cooper’s hand, stepped out the front door and walked toward the car. Getting inside, they sat in the backseat, Charlotte holding her fiancée’s hand the whole way to the church.

Cooper remained true to his word, never leaving Charlotte’s side. Sitting with the rest of the King family in the church, he held her hand throughout the service. Periodically, he’d glance sideways at her noticing the moisture brimming in her eyes, but never allowing the tears to fall. Sitting there, he wished Charlotte would let herself cry but knew she wouldn’t. He knew she’d never let herself show any emotion in public.

Duke gave the eulogy, speaking for the family, as Charlotte turned down any requests for her to speak at the service. In turn, it was the eldest child of the King family, speaking on behalf of Charlotte and their mother. Cooper took a quick look down to the end of the row, where he saw Mrs. King dabbing a handkerchief to her eyes.

“Before I conclude, I’d like to ask if my sister Charlotte wants to add anything,” Duke turned his gaze to the blonde.

Charlotte’s posture stiffened. She hated being put on the spot like this, especially when everyone was now focusing their attention on her.

“You can do this,” Cooper whispered.

“I can’t…” her voice trembled slightly.

Cooper squeezed her hand reassuringly. “Yes you can. Just look at me. I’ll be right here.”

Charlotte took a deep breath, stood up slowly and straightened her dress. She walked up to the lectern, looking back at Cooper as she cleared her throat. “I um… I really didn’t have anythin’ prepared since Duke was speakin’ for the family. But now I’m here and I…” she took a quick glance at the casket then looked back at everyone. She took a few seconds to compose herself before speaking again. “You know, not many people know this except for Duke and myself, but Landry was a brat.” Everyone chuckled, giving her the confidence to continue. “Only reason why I’m sayin’ is because he just couldn’t stop followin’ us around and wantin’ to get his way. But I guess that’s what little brothers are supposed to do aside from rattin’ us out to Big Daddy.”

She turned her gaze toward Duke. “As I was gettin’ ready this morning, I found myself lookin’ at a photo of three of us when we were kids. It was when we went fishing and I still remember how you let us use your rod, Duke. Landry was eight years old, I was ten and you were nine. I’ll never forget how frustrated he was when he couldn’t catch a fish,” she said smiling at Duke, who was smiling back at her, as they recalled the memory.

“Landry spent a good hour arguing with Duke, sayin’ that they needed to find different worms. So Duke, being the good big brother obliged him and got him another worm. Only thing is, Landry hated puttin’ the bait on the hook so then he’d come runnin’ to me, askin’ his big sis to do it for him. Too bad I was the one who ended up catchin’ a fish that day. I still remember how mad he was at me. But the one thing I never forgot was how he came to my room before we went to bed, thankin’ me for helpin’ him with the worm,” she laughed a little at the memory, her chest tightening at the same time. “He always did come runnin’ to us when he needed help, but that’s what I always loved about Landry. He was never ashamed to ask for help and never hesitated helpin’ others, because the little brother who I called a brat turned out to be a good man.”

Charlotte paused for a few seconds and sought out Cooper’s supportive gaze. “A few weeks ago, I was sittin’ in my office and my phone rang. It was Landry. At first, I thought he was callin’ because he needed something. Turns out, he called asking me to come home for a few days because his baby boy was turnin’ a year old and he wanted me to be there for the celebration. We got to talkin’ and Landry just sounded so excited and despite being the busy doctor that I am, somethin’ in me told me that I couldn’t turn him down. And well, I’m glad I didn’t because it allowed me to spend time with my brother and realize how much I had missed him. And now that God’s called him home, I’m going to miss him forever.”

A tear escaped and fell down Charlotte’s cheek. “Landry always had a saying and it drove me crazy when he’d repeat it over and over. Whenever we faced a challenge in our lives, he always said that we should keep moving forward. Landry wouldn’t want us to dwell in sadness today, but to keep moving forward with our lives. So today, as we all say goodbye to him, we should move forward with our lives because it’s what he’d want us to do,” she wiped her cheek. “Thank you.”

Charlotte walked back towards the first row and went straight into Cooper’s arms. She leaned her head on his shoulder, searching for his hand, taking hold of it and never letting go. She’d remain that way for the rest of the service and the burial. Afterwards, they returned to the King estate, along with everyone else but she didn’t say a word since speaking at the service.

Aside from saying ‘thank you’ and accepting everyone’s condolences, Charlotte managed to keep a strong façade up for the duration of the day. Luckily for her, Duke shouldered most of the duties at the reception, speaking with everyone who attended. Their mother unfortunately, had retreated to her room not long after arriving home, most likely finding comfort in alcohol.

The guests were finally gone by early evening, allowing Charlotte to breathe a little easier. She walked down the long hall and found Duke sitting in their father’s study, glass of brandy in hand. He looked up at her and nodded, acknowledging her presence.

“Hey,” Charlotte said, entering the room. She sat down on the leather couch, running her hand across the somewhat smooth surface. “I just wanted to say thank you.”

Duke to a sip of brandy and swallowed. “No need to thank me. I jus’ didn’t want you regrettin’ not sayin’ anything, you know?”

“Yeah…”

They sat in silence for a moment, Duke taking another sip. Charlotte eyed the alcohol on the tray, contemplating the thought of joining her brother with a drink but decided against it. The last thing she needed to do was to numb the grief.

“I completely forgot about the fishin’ story,” Duke finally spoke. He was smiling, recalling the memory. “He was quite the brat that day, tellin’ me how I wasn’t a fishin’ expert and that we should go and get Big Daddy to tell us the right way of doin’ things.”

“A brat that turned into a fine man,” Charlotte commented. “Gone too soon…both he and Shelley.”

Duke stared straight ahead. “They say everythin’ happens for a reason. Ever since the accident, I haven’t figured out what the reason is for takin’ our brother and his wife away from us. Takin’ the only parents little Zane will have.”

Charlotte gasped. “Oh God, what’s going to happen with Zane?”

“I’m supposin’ we’ll be findin’ that out tomorrow when the lawyer comes by with Landry’s will.”

“You’re kiddin’ me. Landry had his will drawn up already? I haven’t even put any thought to somethin’ like that.”

Duke nodded. “Did it after Zane was born. Guess he wanted to make sure his affairs were in order in case anything should happen.”

Charlotte sat back. “Well, can’t say he wasn’t prepared,” she replied. “What time is the lawyer supposed to be comin’ by?”

“Noon, I think. You’ll be here for another day or two, yes?”

“Yes. But if you need me to stay longer, I can arrange it. Cooper may have to fly back though.”

Duke smiled. “That Cooper, he’s a good man. You two should make things official.”

“Well, since you mention it, the ceremony is at the end of September,” Charlotte said, smiling for the first time today. “I trust that you’ll be there. You, Daisy and the kids.”

“I wouldn’t miss it for the world, Lottie,” Duke assured.

Lottie. Charlotte hadn’t heard that nickname in a long while. In fact, the last time she heard it was when they were teenagers. “Wow, talk about a blast from the past.”

“What? Me callin’ you Lottie? You know it’s my nickname for you.”

“Yeah I know. It’s just that I haven’t heard it in years. It um… it brings back memories, that’s all,” Charlotte felt tears brimming in the corners of her eyes. “Goddamnit Duke, you’re makin’ me cry and I don’t want to cry.”

Duke moved from his chair and went to Charlotte. He draped an arm over her shoulder. “Now come on Lottie. I know you like being the tough girl and all, but it’s okay to cry. Big Daddy ain’t gonna think less of you from up there,” he said, pointing to the ceiling. “He’s got Landry with him now to rag on.”

Charlotte laughed. Her brother sure had a way with trying to brighten up a mood from one second to another. “I forgot how wicked your humor is.”

“That’s what makes us Kings unique,” Duke replied, pushing a lock of blonde hair away from his sister’s face. “You’re the strong one. The one that takes no crap. Me, I’m the smart one,” earning a light nudge in the ribs from Charlotte. “Oof… okay, fine. I’m the jokester. But you have to give me credit, I am smart, considerin’ how well I run Big Daddy’s business.”

“Fine, I’ll give you that,” Charlotte conceded, then yawned. She looked at the clock and sighed. “It’s only eight and I’m dead tired.”

Duke got up, pouring some water into his empty glass. “It’s been a long day. Why don’t you head off and be with that fiancée of yours. I’m sure Cooper’s feelin’ a lil; lonely right now.”

Heeding her brother’s suggestion, Charlotte stood up from the couch. “I’ll see you tomorrow then. Good night, Duke.”

“Night Lottie. Sleep well.”

Charlotte made her way back up the steps and walked toward the bedroom, where she found Cooper sitting on the bed with a laptop open. He looked up from the screen and smiled at her.

“Have a good talk with your brother?” Cooper asked. He closed the laptop, setting it on the bedside table.

Charlotte said down next to him. “Yeah. He and I have a meetin’ with Landry’s lawyer tomorrow. Apparently, he’s comin’ by with Landry’s will.”

“Okay. Is there anything you need me to do tomorrow?”

“Nothin’ really. I feel bad that you’re here havin’ to sit idle while I take care of things.”

Cooper smiled, shrugging his shoulders. “Don’t. I want to be here with you,” he leaned over, cupping the blonde’s face. “I want to be here for you.”

“Thank you,” Charlotte said lovingly.

“Besides, who else will keep the kids occupied while you and Duke meet with the lawyer? I’ll officially be their Uncle Cooper by year’s end, so why not spend time with them now.”

The blonde laughed. “Duke’s kids adore you, all three of them. And it’s because you’re the only one willin’ to roll around in the dirt with them.”

“What can I say, I’m just a big kid sometimes,” Cooper replied. He noticed how the look on Charlotte’s face quickly changed, the smile that was there had disappeared. “Hey, what’s wrong?”

Charlotte sighed. “I was just thinkin’ about Landry’s son. Zane is never goin’ to get to know his dad and the man that he was.”

Cooper reached over and pulled Charlotte into his arms. His kissed her cheek. “Zane will know who his dad was because you and Duke will tell him stories. That’s how he’ll get to know his father.”

They would remain in that position for several moments before Charlotte moved from Cooper’s embrace, deciding it was time to get ready for bed. After the long day they had, she wanted nothing more than to get some sleep, as it was time to move forward with life and face the next day.

--

Charlotte stood in her father’s study, waiting for Duke to arrive with Landry’s attorney. Part of her wished she was with Cooper, who was roaming somewhere on the grounds, most likely by the stables. It wasn’t noon yet, but Charlotte was beginning to feel a little antsy, which of course unnerved her. She was never antsy, but given the circumstances as of late, it made sense with the change in her demeanor.

Hearing footsteps and conversation approaching the study, Charlotte turned and saw Duke enter with someone about their age walking beside him. Both men came up to Charlotte, Duke introducing her to the man she surmised was Landry’s lawyer.

“Charlotte, this is Travis Rogers.”

“Travis Rogers?” Charlotte’s brow furrowed, recognizing the name. “Wait…didn’t you go to school with Landry?”

Travis nodded. “You are correct,” he held out his hand to the blonde, shaking hers firmly. “As I told Duke, I’m very sorry for your loss. Landry was a great man. His wife Shelley was a sweetheart.”

“Thank you,” Charlotte appreciated the sentiment. She motioned toward the couches, “Shall we get started?”

All three sat down, Duke sitting next to Charlotte, while Travis sat across from them. He took out a brown manila envelope from his briefcase, removing Landry’s will from inside. Duke and Charlotte eyed Travis intently, both wondering what the documents said.

“Now, as you both know, Landry was an attorney himself, but he wanted me to handle all of his legal matters should there be…” he paused, holding the will in his hands. “Well, you know. So I guess I should get to readin’ this.”

Duke and Charlotte watched Travis unfold the document, both taking a deep breath.

“To my brother and sister, Duke and Charlotte, I leave my home and all monies Shelly and I have saved,” Travis read. “I also designate Duke as Chief Trustee of my law practice, deeming him responsible for management and all financial matters.”

Duke’s brow furrowed. “He’s leaving me his law practice? I don’t know a thing about lawyerin’.”

“He was well aware of that, which is why he named you Chief Trustee. Your main responsibilities are to make sure business runs smoothly. His partners are the ones who will keep the practice afloat,” Travis explained. “All you’d need to do is have them keep you posted on things, like the logistical stuff.”

Charlotte nodded. “So it’s pretty straightforward, Landry left us everything he had and nothin’ for Momma.”

“Well, he set up a financial account for your mother,” Travis added. “He didn’t want to burden either of you with any more responsibilities than what you already have, so he designated me as the person to disburse monies to her once a month for well, living expenses and such.”

“Leave it to Landry to be prepared,” Charlotte chuckled. It was typical of her brother to do such a thing, making sure their Momma was taken care of. She then wondered what would happen to Landry’s son, as nothing was mentioned about him yet. “Travis, what about Zane? Did Landry put any provisions in there for his son?”

Travis smiled. “Ah, I was just getting’ to that,” he flipped the page, revealing a second page to the will. “With regards to guardianship of my son, Zane Nicholas King. I name my sister, Charlotte King, sole guardian of the minor child, effective immediately upon the unfortunate event of the death of myself and my wife.”

Charlotte gasped. She shook her head, unable to believe what she just heard. “I’m sorry. Mind repeatin’ that again?”

“Sure,” Travis reread what was stated in Landry’s will. “With regards to guardianship of my son, Zane Nicholas King. I name my sister, Charlotte King, sole guardian of the minor child, effective immediately upon the unfortunate event of the death of myself and my wife.”

“This can’t be,” Charlotte said, still finding it hard to believe. “Landry must have lost his marbles when he drew that provision up. He wants me to raise his son?” she reached over, motioning for Travis to hand the will to her. “Let me see that.”

Travis obliged, giving the document to the blonde. “I assure you, this is what he wanted. Given how Duke already has three young kids of his own, he didn’t want to add another to his brood. So, he felt you would be the next best person to raise his son.”

Charlotte held Landry’s will in her hands, reading and rereading what it said. After a moment, she handed it back to Travis. “Says there, he’s set up a trust fund for Zane.”

“Yes, he did,” Travis nodded. “Landry wanted to make sure his son was set up financially until the age of 21. You’d be the trustee to that fund, of course, as Zane is a minor.”

Charlotte sat there for a moment, hands folded in her lap not saying anything.

Duke became concerned after a few seconds, turning to look at his sister. “Lottie?” he watched her stand up and walk toward the terrace doors. “Lottie, where are you going?”

“I just need a moment. I’m goin’ to get some air,” Charlotte replied, opening the terrace doors and stepping outside.

~end chapter
King & Freedman
Posted: Feb 3 2011, 03:39 PM


Administrator


Group: Admin
Posts: 77
Member No.: 1
Joined: 8-January 11



Aww, that was a very sad chapter. Sad, but conveying. I love how you seem to get the characters. I can actually see Paul and KaDee acting these scenes out. And the whole King family seems like a hoot together, especially if they aren't dealing with a loss.

I can't wait to read more of this. I have a feeling that Cooper could be more than instrumental in helping Charlotte make her decision. Can't wait to read the next part smile.gif
writergrl
Posted: Feb 4 2011, 07:11 PM


Member


Group: Members
Posts: 13
Member No.: 4
Joined: 24-January 11



Title: Life As We Know It
Author: WriterGrl
E-mail: tracyj16@gmail.com
Twitter: TracyJ516
Content: Charlotte & Cooper, Private Practice
Premise: As Charlotte & Cooper make preparations to spend their lives together, they are faced with a life-altering challenge sooner than anticipated.
Disclaimers: I own nothing and borrow lots. All Private Practice characters are property of ABC and Private Practice. All I own is the story I write and any characters that I create. Everything written is purely for fun, creativity and for my imagination.
Feedback: I always appreciate feedback. It helps me write the story, as I take into account the thoughts of others.
Author's note: While I try my best to remain true to each character and personality, as this story progresses, characters will begin to change a little, especially our main ones. As I see it, characters in a story are never static. They change over time as a story goes along.

_________________________

Chapter 4

Travis and Duke observed Charlotte through the terrace doors. They had been watching her for the past ten minutes, wondering when she’d come back inside.

“I can tell she wasn’t expecting this,” Travis commented.

Duke shook his head. “Not at all. But you know, I’m not surprised that Landry did this,” he turned to Travis. “He always known deep inside, Charlotte’s got the motherin’ instinct in her.”

“Well, she doesn’t seem so thrilled about the news right now.”

“I’d give her time. She’s still trying to process everything. Landry did right by naming Charlotte as Zane’s guardian. My nephew will be well taken care of.”

“We’ve still got some things to talk about regarding Landry’s son. But it can wait until tomorrow. I’ll let your sister absorb all of this news,” Travis picked up an envelope and brought it over to Duke. “Landry also left this for Charlotte. I don’t know if he had some eerie premonition or somethin’, but he came by my office about a month ago and dropped it off. Said she should get this too, in the event of his death.”

--

Charlotte stood on the terrace, hands pressed against the railing. She looked out at the open area, her mind still trying to process everything. Landry had entrusted her with the responsibility of raising his son.

Before this afternoon, she had thought the reading of Landry’s will would only involve dividing his assets, but that wasn’t all. His will included passing on responsibilities, the most important one of all having to do with raising Zane. It was one she wasn’t expecting, let alone ready for.

All of her life, she never had a female role model to look up to. Her mother used alcohol as an escape, diving into the bottle daily and leaving her children to fend for themselves. Albeit, the hired help at the King household had in part been tasked with the responsibility of making sure the children were taken care of, but not once did Charlotte ever see her mother really take on the responsibility of being a parent.

Perhaps her mother did at some point, maybe cared that she had children, but Charlotte figured she was too young to remember. And now here she was, someone who has been put in charge of raising a child when she hadn’t the slightest idea where to start. It was funny in a way, as Charlotte knew how to do everything else in life successfully, like being a doctor and running a hospital. But when it came to kids, that was a different story altogether.

“Lottie?” Duke spoke from behind. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah, I’m fine,” Charlotte replied. She saw Duke walk toward her. “I still think Landry was three-sheets to the wind when he had that provision drawn up in his will. Were you aware of this? I mean, did he even talk to you about it?”

Duke shook his head in disagreement. “No, he didn’t. I’m as surprised as you are, but I believe he knew what he was doin’. Here,” he handed the envelope to his sister. “Travis said this was for you.”

Charlotte carefully opened the envelope, revealing a letter inside. “It’s from Landry,” she began reading the words on the page.

Dear Charlotte,

I know what you’re thinking sis. I’ve gone and lost my marbles naming you as Zane’s guardian. And as much as you refuse to believe it right now, I knew what I was doing. But you’re probably still shaking your head as you read this, which is why I’m writing this letter.

As you know by now, I’ve joined Big Daddy up in heaven. Yes, I know… gone too soon. Writing this makes my heart hurt, because I’m thinking about Zane. Zane is the best gift God has ever given Shelly and me. He’s my reason for getting up every morning, because seeing that smile on his little face just lights up the room.

And now, Zane will be in your care. I hope he brings you as much joy in your life as he has done in mine.

I know you’re thinking to yourself that you can’t do this…that you don’t have the mothering instinct in you because of how Momma neglected us. Well, I say you can do this. I know you can because I believe in you.

When we were kids, I never orgot how you took care of me, how you took care of Duke too.. You kept Duke and me in line, especially on the days when Momma forgot we existed. Charlotte, you had a mothering instinct in you then and you’ve got it in you now. You just have to let yourself believe.

And I’m sure, whatever man you’ve got in your life with love you and help you in any way he can with raising my son. I could have easily entrusted Zane to Duke, but being how he’s already got three young ones, I didn’t want to saddle him with my son.

You’ll be wonderful with him. I know you will.

Take care of Zane, Charlotte. Love him as much as you loved me, because he’s all you have left (aside from my money that is.) Raise him to be a good man, just like his daddy turned out to be.

And remember, I’ll always be watching over the both of you. I love you, sis.

-Landry


Duke watched Charlotte fold the letter and slip it back into the envelope. “Well, what’d it say?”

Charlotte pursed her lips together and inhaled deeply. “Said that he hope Zane brings me the same joy that he brought Landry,” she held the envelope in her hand and turned to face the open field. “Said that I’ve got the motherin’ instinct in me, regardless of what I think of myself.”

“I tend to think that too,” Duke placed a hand on his sister’s shoulder. “You did a good job taking care of Landry and me, if I remember correctly.”

“Landry and you… two peas on a doggone pod,” Charlotte chuckled to herself. “You know, there were days when I wanted to smack the both of you upside the head ‘cause you were both being a pain. Never gave me privacy or nothin’.”

Duke smiled. “But isn’t that what brothers are supposed to do?”

Charlotte rolled her eyes, shaking her head. “And you wonder why I begged Big Daddy to move into a room on the other side of the house.” She sighed softly, looking down at the letter in her hand. “I don’t know if I can do this. What if I mess that lil’ boy up? It was easy with you and Landry, ‘cause you both were kids already. I just made sure we all stayed outta trouble.”

“Lottie…” Duke drawled, putting both hands on his sister’s shoulders and looking directly into her eyes. “You can do it. I know you can. You’re gonna love that baby boy with everything in your heart, because every time you look into his eyes, you’ll see Landry in ‘em. Besides, you’re not alone in this. I mean, you’ll have Cooper’s help.”

“I have no idea how Cooper is going to react to this.”

“I think he’ll be thrilled. You did tell me how much he adores kids. Heck, Jacob hasn’t stopped talkin’ about Uncle Coop.”

Charlotte smiled. “He loves your kids too. Coop loves all kids. Loves ‘em so much that he’s already been picturin’ a baby in my belly.”

“See, he already knows you got the motherin’ gene in you,” Duke assured. “He’s gonna love helpin’ you raise Zane.” He noticed Charlotte looking past him and turned around to find Cooper walking across the grass. “Travis is still waiting inside, so I’m gonna go show him out. He’ll be back tomorrow to talk about the arrangements regarding Zane. I’ll leave you and Cooper to talk.”

Charlotte waited for her brother to close the terrace door before meeting Cooper by the railing. She greeted him with a kiss, seeking comfort in his arms. She remained there for a moment before stepping back and leading him to a pair of chairs. “I think we should sit down.”

“Okay,” Cooper replied, wiping some sweat off his brow. “Sorry, I had a little too much fun chasing Duke’s kids around. Jacob loves playing tag.”

“I can tell,” the blonde laughed. She took a deep breath, trying to figure out how to tell Cooper about the news. “So, Duke and I found out what Landry’s will said.”

“How’d that go?” he asked.

“Well, as expected, Landry left Duke and me his money and his house,” Charlotte began, thinking it would make sense to lead in with that. “He also left Duke the law practice and arranged some sort of financial account for Momma.”

Cooper smiled. “That’s great. So I guess you and Duke will split the assets?”

“I guess. He and I haven’t talked about that yet,” Charlotte replied. She moved forward a little, reaching for Cooper’s hand. “There’s somethin’ else, though. He named me Zane’s guardian,” she waited for a reaction from her fiancée and began to worry when he wasn’t saying anything. “Now I understand if you’re not ready for this, to be an instant dad and all. Heck, I don’t even know if I’m ready to be a mom.”

As expected, Cooper’s smile grew from ear to ear. “So, Landry wanted us to raise his son?” he saw Charlotte nod her head. “Wow, can’t say I expected this.”

“Neither did I and frankly, I’m really freaked out about it,” Charlotte replied, still holding his hand. “Coop, I’m gonna need your help, because I know I am not capable of doin’ this alone. I don’t know how to be a momma.”

Cooper squeezed the blonde’s hands reassuringly. “Sweetie, you already know how much I love kids. It’s why I became a pediatrician. Of course I’m going to help you. We’re in this together, you and me.”

Charlotte smiled, cupping his face and leaning in to kiss him. “You are an amazing man.”

“Thanks. I like to think that of myself too sometimes,” he grinned, Charlotte lightly smacking him on the knee. “You know, we’re going to need a bigger place. I don’t think it’s right raising a one-year old in the loft.”

“How soon can we find a bigger place?” Charlotte was in agreement. The loft was tight enough with the two of them living there, let alone how much more cramped it would get when they added Zane into the mix.

Cooper thought to himself for a moment. “Well, what do you think of one of the places we looked at last month? I remember you liked the one by the beach,” he suggested, trying to jog the blonde’s memory at the same time. “It’s got more than enough room and it’s not that far from the practice or St. Ambrose.”

Charlotte knew which house he was talking about, also recalling the morning they had spent looking at different places in the Santa Monica area. While living by the beach wasn’t necessarily at the top of her list, it was a convenient place for them to live. “Think you can contact the real estate agent to see if it’s still available?”

“I can give her a call later and find out. I’m sure it still is. If not, I bet we could find another place real quick.”

“Thanks.”

Charlotte moved closer to him, as they sat in silence for the next few minutes. It was the first time the blonde let herself relax after being internally wound up with emotion for the past two days. She took a deep breath and exhaled slowly, taking in the quiet moment.

The terrace door creaked open from behind, causing both of them to turn around. Duke stepped outside, holding Zane in his arms. The baby boy rubbed his eyes, sucking on the pacifier in his mouth as he leaned against Duke’s shoulder.

“Someone just woke up from his nap and I thought he could use some fresh air,” Duke said, carrying Zane over to where Cooper and Charlotte were seated. He leaned toward his sister, carefully transferring the baby boy into her arms. “There you go. You’re a natural. He loves you already.”

Charlotte cradled Zane in her arms, gently running her fingers through his soft blonde hair. She tried not to let her apprehension show as she held him. “Hey there, Little Man. Did you sleep okay?” hearing him whimper. “Oh what’s wrong? You miss your daddy, don’t you?”

Duke and Cooper stood by, watching Charlotte talk with the baby boy. Both men smiled at how loving she was toward Zane. “She’s a natural,” Duke whispered. “I don’t know why she keeps sayin’ she doesn’t have any motherin’ in her.”

Cooper motioned for Duke to step aside with him. They walked toward the opposite end of the terrace, completely out of earshot from Charlotte. “She’s afraid of turning out like your mother,” Cooper explained. “It’s one of the reasons why she’s been so resistant to idea of having kids.”

Duke glanced over his shoulder. “I figured that. Our Momma never really showed us any affection all the often. Makes sense that she’d feel that way since she had no one to learn from,” he turned around to watch the blonde. “But she’s got nothin’ to fear. From what we’re seeing right now, she’s already letting Zane into her heart,” hearing Zane giggle as his sister gently bounced the boy on her knee. “She’s gonna raise Zane well. You both will.”

“I know, I just need to get Charlotte to believe that,” Cooper said, finding himself unable to take his eyes off the blonde. “I’ve got a feeling that little boy is going to bring out a side of her she never knew existed.”

~end chapter
King & Freedman
Posted: Feb 5 2011, 12:47 AM


Administrator


Group: Admin
Posts: 77
Member No.: 1
Joined: 8-January 11



Aww, Charlotte and the baby are so adorable. It was another amazing chapter as always. I love where this is going so far, and I can tell that Charlotte and Cooper are going to be amazing parents to little Zane. I can't wait for the next installment.
writergrl
Posted: Feb 15 2011, 03:04 AM


Member


Group: Members
Posts: 13
Member No.: 4
Joined: 24-January 11



Title: Life As We Know It
Author: WriterGrl
E-mail: tracyj16@gmail.com
Twitter: TracyJ516
Content: Charlotte & Cooper, Private Practice
Premise: As Charlotte & Cooper make preparations to spend their lives together, they are faced with a life-altering challenge sooner than anticipated.
Disclaimers: I own nothing and borrow lots. All Private Practice characters are property of ABC and Private Practice. All I own is the story I write and any characters that I create. Everything written is purely for fun, creativity and for my imagination.
Feedback: I always appreciate feedback. It helps me write the story, as I take into account the thoughts of others.

________________________

Chapter 5

Cooper came into the study and found Charlotte on the phone. He surmised she was checking in with a member of her staff at St. Ambrose makeing sure things were running smoothly. While she remained on the phone, Cooper decided it would be a good time to call someone at Oceanside, just to see what was going on there.

“Hey Violet,” he spoke, stepping to the opposite end of the room so his conversation wasn’t clashing with Charlotte’s.

“Hey Coop. What’s going on?” Violet replied on the other end.

“Oh not much… Hey, I was wondering if I can ask a favor.”

“Sure, anything.”

“Can you go into my office and check my desk,” Cooper scratched his head, hoping what he needed was still there. “I think there’s a business card somewhere. It’s got the number for a realtor.”

Violet got up from her chair and went to Cooper’s office. “Okay, what am I looking for again?”

“A business card,” he replied. “Did you find it?”

“Hold on, I’m looking,” she said, searching his desk. “Oh, here it is. Palm Realty, Ellen Reed. You need the number?”

“Yes please,” he grabbed a pen and took down the phone number from Violet. “Thanks Vi.”

“I thought you and Charlotte were going to hold off on getting a new place. Did you two change your minds?” Violet inquired. She was aware that Cooper and Charlotte started hunting about a month ago, but had already heard that they decided to wait until they got married to move somewhere bigger than his loft. “Sorry, Coop. I shouldn’t even be asking. It isn’t any of my business.”

Cooper bit down on his lower lip. He was dying to tell Violet the news, since he always told his best friend of everything that was happening in his life, but he held back. This wasn’t his news to tell. It was Charlotte’s and it wouldn’t have been fair to her to say anything to anyone. “It’s nothing. We were just talking about it today and Charlotte wanted me to check with the agent to see if anything else had popped up on the market.”

“Okay… so how’s Charlotte doing?” Violet asked.

“Doing as well as can be expected,” Cooper looked over his shoulder at Charlotte, who was still on the phone. “She’s on the phone with whoever she left in charge at St. Ambrose. And from the looks of things, she doesn’t seem so happy with what she’s hearing.”

“Well, you know she runs a tight ship.”

“Yes, that she does.”

“But how is she dealing with her brother’s death?” Violet didn’t mean to slip into shrink mode, but it was second nature. Deep down though, she just cared about the blonde.

Cooper sighed. “She seems fine. I mean, she spoke at the service yesterday, despite saying she wouldn’t. So I think that’s something. I’m not too worried though. She hasn’t done anything out of the ordinary.”

“Well, everyone deals with grief in different ways, so maybe Charlotte’s found a way to deal with it all.”

“I think she has,” he replied, thinking about Zane. “Alright, I gotta go. Thanks for getting me that number. I’ll see you when I get back in a few days.”

“Okay, Coop. Talk to you soon.”

Just as Cooper was putting his cell phone down, Charlotte finished her call at the same time. She met gazes with Cooper, who was looking at her with concern.

“Is everything okay at the hospital?” he asked, but already knew the answer.

“Yes and no, but there really isn’t much I can do from here,” Charlotte ran a hand through her hair, wishing she could be in two places at once. Truthfully, she hated being away from her hospital, but there wasn’t anything she could do, as there were family matters that needed tending to.

Cooper moved toward the blonde, wrapping an arm around her. “I realize I haven’t asked you this lately, but how are you holding up? You looked pretty ragged.”

“I’m fine Coop,” Charlotte insisted. “Only reason why I look so ragged is because I’ve had a lot of my mind and I haven’t been sleepin’ well. I don’t think I have to tell you the reason why.”

“I was just checking.”

“Like I said, I’m fine. If I wasn’t feelin’ fine, I’d say something…and you know how much I hate when you smother me.”

“Sorry, sorry…” Cooper retreated. “So, I take it we’re in agreement that we need to move to a bigger place.”

Charlotte’s brow furrowed, wondering why they were having this conversation again. “I thought we talked about this earlier. Yes, we need to move to somewhere bigger than the loft if we’re gonna fit a crib for Zane and all his stuff.”

“Okay I was just making sure. But you’re aware that we’ll have to stay at the loft until everything is finalized,” Cooper reminded her. “We can set up a portable crib in the bedroom temporarily.”

“How long do you think it’ll take to get things finalized?” the blonde wondered. She figured it wouldn’t take too long if the property was still vacant.

“Maybe a week or two?” Cooper estimated. At best, it was an educated guess since he wasn’t a real estate expert. He figured the process would be fairly easy since they were already in the initial stages of buying a place, not too long ago. “I’d also have to talk to her about putting the loft on the market. But that shouldn’t be too hard.”

Charlotte looked at the clock on the wall. It was a little past noon and Travis was supposed to be coming around one o’clock to discuss Zane’s guardianship. She tried to stifle a yawn, feeling somewhat tired after not getting much sleep the night before. She had spent most of the night lying in bed, thinking about how her priorities would have to change, both hers and Cooper’s. It was a thought that wasn’t very appealing to her, but there really was no choice in the matter.

“Travis is should be here soon. I think there are some papers he needs me to sign or somethin’ like that,” Charlotte leaned against Cooper, reveling in the comfort of his arms.

“Do you want me to stay? Because, I can go and do something else if you need me to,” Cooper asked, inwardly hoping she didn’t want him to go anywhere.”

The blonde nodded. “You can stay. It’d be a good idea if you did since it’s you and me doin’ this together.”

“Okay.”

Travis arrived at one o’clock on the dot. He sat down across from Cooper and Charlotte, opened his briefcase and took out a set of papers. “Alright. This shouldn’t be too hard. It’s just some documents making it official that you’ll be Zane’s guardian,” he said to Charlotte. “Just formalities and all.”

“Alright,” she replied. “So, where do I sign?”

“Here,” Travis pointed to the bottom of the first page. Then he flipped to subsequent pages, “And here…here…and one more time here.”

Charlotte grabbed a pen and went about signing in the designated areas. After she was done, she handed back the document to Travis. “So that’s it? Everything is official?”

“Pretty much, yes,” he slid them back into a folder and put it inside his briefcase. “I just have to file them. But other than that, you’re now Zane’s official guardian.”

“What about Cooper? I mean, he’s raising the child with me and we’re engaged,” Charlotte inquired. It was a legitimate question to ask, considering Cooper was going to be a part of the child’s life.

“Well, when are you two plannin’ on gettin’ married?” Travis asked.

Cooper was quick to reply. “Sometime later this year.”

“Oh, well… that’s something I think we’ll handle when that time comes,” Travis answered. “Give me a call when you two officially tie the knot and I’ll see about Cooper,” he sat back in his chair. “So, the two of you gonna set down some roots here in Monroeville?”

“Actually, we’re going to bring Zane to California with us,” Charlotte replied, making it more of a statement than an answer. “We both have steady, respectable jobs out there.”

Travis raised an eyebrow, somewhat surprised that Charlotte wasn’t planning on staying in Alabama. He figured with her younger brother Duke close by, it would be sensible to stay near to family. “Ah, I see. I just thought, you know… you’ve got your brother here and all.”

“Well, we’ve both got established lives in Los Angeles. It’s kind of hard to leave that behind,” Cooper commented. He wasn’t sure where Travis was going with this and it suddenly made him feel a little uneasy. “By the way, how can we get a hold of Zane’s medical records? It would be very helpful if we had that, in case anything should happen.”

“I can have those sent to the pediatrician, as soon as you get me his name,” he replied.

Cooper smiled. “You’re looking right at him.”

“I’ll have those dropped off here later this afternoon.”

“Thanks.”

Charlotte sensed the tension building in the room, most of it between Travis and Cooper. She knew it was time for this meeting to come to an end before things escalated. “Is there anything else I need to do?” she interjected. “Any other papers to sign?”

“No, that’s pretty much it,” Travis stood, picking up his briefcase. “I’ll have someone messenger Zane’s medical records over. You’ll have them before the evening.”

“Thanks,” Charlotte said. She walked around the table. “I’ll walk you out.”

Travis held up a hand. “No, it’s okay. I know my way. Take care and good luck. We’ll probably be in touch again soon.” And with that, he left the room.

Charlotte turned to Cooper and glared somewhat at him. “What was that? If I didn’t jump in, I thought I’d have to tear the two of you apart.”

“Sorry. There was something about him that didn’t feel right,” Cooper ran a hand through his hair. “Did you hear the way he was talking when we told him that we’re going to raise your nephew in LA?”

“Well, I’d much rather raise Zane here in familiar surroundings, since it seems like the most sensible ideas,” Charlotte started to explain. “But we have our lives out there in California. Not to mention our jobs. And while I love having family around… having Duke close by, I also don’t want to get caught up in the whole small town thing. Everyone knows everyone else’s business here. It’s like Oceanside on crack.”

Cooper laughed, amused at how his fiancée explained the Monroeville community. “So you’re saying no one can keep a secret here.”

“Pretty much,” Charlotte made a funny face. “You say one thing to the manager at the General Store and by evenin’ time, the pastor’s mother’s sister-in-law’s son who knows the deacon who knows the malt shop manager who knows the drug store clerk has the news. I’m tellin’ you, nothin’ ever stays a secret ‘round these parts.” She sighed, “You saw how many people showed up at Landry’s funeral. Practically the whole town.”

“I noticed,” Cooper said as he remembered the turnout. “All those people knew Landry?”

“Most of ‘em,” she nodded. “Some of ‘em knew of him, but came to pay their respects. You know how it is. Anyhow, we’re gettin’ off track. Is there somethin’ about Travis that seems off to you?”

Cooper shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t know. Maybe it was just me. I was a little put off with the way he was talking. It’s nothing.” He pulled Charlotte into his arms. “So your brother has Zane right now and we’ve don’t have anything to do this afternoon. I was thinking we could go for a walk? Maybe to the stables?”

Charlotte grinned. She had a feeling of where Cooper was going with this. She decided to go along with his idea. “The stables you say?” she said, eyebrow raised. “Maybe we could go for a ride or something?”

“Or something…” Cooper winked. He grabbed Charlotte’s hand, eagerly leading her out of the study.

Cooper and Charlotte were definitely going to have fun while they had the time.

--

“So, we agree to split the assets fifty-fifty?” Duke asked, holding yet another set of documents in front of him as he sat across from Charlotte.

“Yes, split the money equally,” Charlotte agreed. “You can have Landry’s house if you want. I got no use for it.”

“Are you sure about that Lottie? I mean, it’s Zane’s home too,” he replied, hoping his sister would change her mind about raising their nephew in California.

Charlotte sighed. “Duke, I told you already. Cooper and I have our lives in LA. We have friends there and jobs.”

“You can both be doctors here,” he countered. “I know County Hospital would hire you in a second as Chief-of Staff. And Coop… everyone would love another pediatrician in town.”

“Duke…” Charlotte drawled, saying his name with more emphasis. “I’m not gonna get into this again with you. Okay?”

“Alright,” Duke held up his hands, a sign he was retreating. The battle was already a lost one for him. “Just promise me one thing, Lottie.”

“What’s that?”

“Don’t go turnin’ Zane into some surfer boy. Remind him of where he came from.”

Charlotte nodded, smiling. “I promise. Now hand over those papers so I can sign ‘em.” She watched Duke slide them across the table. “Where do I sign again?”

“Right there on the bottom of the page,” he pointed. Charlotte signed her name and passed the documents back to him. “Alright, I’ll bring these over to Travis’ office tomorrow and then we’re done. All of Landry’s affairs have been taken care of.”

“And Zane’s things? They’re all packed?”

“Got everything you needed waitin’ in the foyer. What time are you and Cooper flying out tomorrow?”

Charlotte placed the cap back on the pen. “Early afternoon. Puts us back in LA sometime late afternoon.”

“I’m gonna miss you,” Duke smiled, ashamed to admit that he didn’t want his sister to leave. It had been nice having her around for the past few days, albeit the circumstances.

“Nothin’ is stopping you from comin’ out to visit,” Charlotte said nonchalantly. “It’s not like you can’t take a vacation or somethin’.”

“I guess the thought never crossed my mind.”

“You’re welcome to visit anytime. Plus, you’ll wanna see how the baby boy is growin’. “

Duke nodded. “Speaking of… where’s Zane?”

“Cooper’s got him. I think he was giving him a once over before we make the trip tomorrow,” the blonde replied. “He wants to make sure he’s okay and all.”

“You’ve got yourself a good man, Lottie. Don’t you ever let him go,” Duke advised, which pretty much meant he was giving her his seal of approval. “Don’t you worry what Momma thinks. She’s so far gone that she doesn’t even know what’s goin’ on half the time.”

Charlotte sighed deeply. She had gone to check on her mother earlier, just to see if she was remotely close to being lucid to talk, but saw it was of no use to even try. The minute she had opened the door to the room, her mother had was in any condition to have a conversation. So she turned around and walked back down the hall, reminding the help to check in on her every so often during the day.

“Duke, can you do me one thing?” the blonde asked. She realized the request may not go over so well, but thought to bring it up anyway. “I know Momma is a sore point with us and we’re evil for turnin’ our backs on her, but you think you could stop by here every now and then. You know, to check on things here. It’s the home where we grew up after all…and I’d hate to see things well…”

The younger man reached across the table. “Yes, I’ll check in on Momma every now and then. As much as we don’t like her, she is still our Momma.”

“Thank you Duke.”

“You should go on upstairs and get some sleep. Go be with Cooper and Zane. I’ll come by tomorrow before you go to say goodbye.”

Charlotte pushed her chair back and stood. “G’night Duke.”

“Night, Lottie. Sleep well…at least try to. Don’t think I haven’t been noticin’ the tired look in your eyes.”

“Nothing ever gets past you.”

“Nope, nothin’.”

Charlotte climbed the staircase and walked down the hall to the bedroom she was sharing with Cooper. She opened the door and found him sitting on the bed with Zane, rolling a ball back and forth with him. Every time Cooper rolled it toward the baby boy, he would giggle, which made Charlotte smile.

“Hey,” Cooper saw Charlotte standing at the door. “Come and join us. Zane and I could use the company.”

“In a minute. I just wanted to make sure everything is packed,” Charlotte walked over to their bags, looking to see if they had left anything out.

“Char, come on. I packed everything. Join us here on the bed,” Cooper urged. He wanted Charlotte to get to know her nephew a little more. “Please?” he took the child into his arms and pursed his lips together in a puppy-doglike face.

Charlotte shook her head, laughing because there was no way she could say no that face. It was probably her one weakness whenever Cooper looked at her that way. “Fine,” she relented, walking over to the bed and sitting down next to them. “Okay, now what?”

Cooper slid closer, still holding Zane in his arms. “I think someone wants to be held,” averting his eyes to the baby boy. “Go on, take him. He’s not going to break,” he watched Charlotte carefully take Zane into her arms. “See, he likes you.”

Zane fussed for a few seconds, before settling in the blonde’s embrace. He looked up at her curiously, his hand reaching for her necklace.”

“Hey now,” Charlotte gently pulled his tiny hand away and smiled slightly. “When you get a job of your own, you can afford your own jewelry.” She looked down at the smiling baby boy and gazed into his blue eyes. They reminded her so much of Landry and for a moment, it was like she was looking at her brother. “He looks just like him.”

“Really” Cooper asked, looking a little more closely at Zane. “I can see he’s got Landry’s eyes.”

“And his smile.”

“Think so?”

“Yeah, it’s just like the smile that Landry used to give me whenever he begged me not to tell Big Daddy on him,” Charlotte said, as Zane wrapped his tiny hand around her index finger. She turned her attention to him, admittedly somewhat taken by his adorable presence. “What?” she said, noticing Cooper was staring at her. “Why are you lookin’ at me like that?”

Cooper smiled. “No reason. Just watching the way you are with the kidlet.”

“Am I doin’ something wrong?”

“No, you’re doing just fine.”

Charlotte breathed a small sigh of relief. “Oh, okay.”

“I spoke to Sam earlier. He’s going to pick us up at the airport,” Cooper told her. “Since he’s got a baby seat in his car because of Olivia, we can put Zane in there for the drive back to the loft. Also, I’m going to ask Violet and Pete to lend us Lucas’ portable crib until we can get one of own. Lucas has outgrown it, so they’ve got no use for it anymore.”

“Sounds good,” the blonde replied. She saw Zane yawn and looked over at the clock. “I think it’s his bedtime. We should put him to sleep so he isn’t cranky tomorrow.” She watched Cooper move off the bed, wondering where he was going. “Hey, you runnin’ away from me now? I thought you said you’re gonna help.”

“Relax,” Cooper reassured her. “I’m going to get his bottle. Warm milk will help put him to sleep.”

“Oh…okay,” Charlotte said, feeling a little embarrassed. It was moments like this that showed that she was definitely a novice at parenting. She looked up at him. “Sorry Coop. I didn’t mean to jump all over you. I just thought… I’m new to all this parenting stuff.”

Cooper sat back down, reaching for her hand. “Char, don’t worry. We’re in this together and it’s going to be a learning experience for us,” he leaned over, kissing her. “You’ll get the hang of this soon.”

Charlotte bit down on her lip, looking away. “You seem light years ahead of me. I haven’t the slightest idea what to do.”

“You’ll learn.”

“I’m afraid of screwin’ up.”

“You won’t screw up,” Cooper admonished. “You’re doing a good job right now, knowing that it’s time to put him to bed. Now if you’ll let me go get his bottle, the sooner we can get him to sleep, the sooner you and I can get some sleep ourselves, with maybe some pre-bedtime fun.”

Charlotte nodded. “Okay, go. I’ll be fine here with him.”

“I’ll be right back,” Cooper rushed out of the bedroom.

Charlotte turned her attention back to Zane, who was busy playing with a set of plastic keys. She looked at him for a moment, hoping Cooper was right, that in time, she’d get the hang of being a parent. Smoothing down Zane’s blonde hair with her hand, she smiled at him. “I know I’m nothin’ like your Momma or your daddy, but I promise you that Cooper and I will do our best. I still think your daddy was crazy, wantin’ me to raise you but not much I can do ‘bout that now, so I guess you’re stuck with me,” she smiled slightly at the baby boy. “So you’ll have to cut Cooper and me a little slack. Okay?”

Zane gurgled, giving the plastic keys to Charlotte smiling back at her. “Alright, then I’ll take that as a yes.”

~end chapter
King & Freedman
Posted: Feb 15 2011, 04:09 PM


Administrator


Group: Admin
Posts: 77
Member No.: 1
Joined: 8-January 11



Great update. I love the Cooper/Charlotte relationship that you've established. I can't wait for them to head back to LA with the baby and see how everyone reacts.
writergrl
Posted: Mar 10 2011, 11:40 PM


Member


Group: Members
Posts: 13
Member No.: 4
Joined: 24-January 11



Title: Life As We Know It
Author: WriterGrl
E-mail: tracyj16@gmail.com
Twitter: TracyJ516
Content: Charlotte & Cooper, Private Practice
Premise: As Charlotte & Cooper make preparations to spend their lives together, they are faced with a life-altering challenge sooner than anticipated.
Disclaimers: I own nothing and borrow lots. All Private Practice characters are property of ABC and Private Practice. All I own is the story I write and any characters that I create. Everything written is purely for fun, creativity and for my imagination.
Feedback: I always appreciate feedback. It helps me write the story, as I take into account the thoughts of others.

_____________

Chapter 6

Sam pushed his sunglasses up and checked his watch. He leaned against his car, patiently waiting for Cooper and Charlotte to arrive. It had been a busy morning for him so far, having to shuttle Maya and Olivia around for errands because Dink was pulling an extra shift. Sam hoped Charlotte and Cooper didn’t mind the baby seat in the back, although he recalled Cooper telling him it was a good thing he did have one, since it would come in handy.

A few minutes later, Sam saw the reason why, raising his eyeglasses to make sure he wasn’t seeing things.

Charlotte King was walking towards him carrying a baby in her arms. He saw Cooper a few steps behind, pushing the cart with their luggage and a baby bag strapped over his shoulder.

“Hi…” Sam said, a bit confused at the tiny human Charlotte was holding. He distinctly remembered them leaving as a couple a few days ago and now they returned with one extra person in tow. He watched Charlotte walk past him and stand by the passenger side door. Sam immediately opened it for her and then looked over his shoulder at Cooper. “Do I want to know?”

“I’ll explain later,” Cooper replied. He placed the suitcases in Sam’s trunk, walked back around the car and got inside, holding the baby bag in his lap. He turned around, “You okay back there?”

Charlotte gave him a tired nod. “We’re fine. Let’s just get home.”

They drove in silence for the first few minutes until Sam couldn’t take it anymore. He glanced in the rearview mirror at the blonde haired, blue-eyed baby boy sitting in his granddaughter’s baby seat and was curious to find out where he came from.

Charlotte wasn’t oblivious to his occasional glances and decided to save him the trouble of asking. “So, you’re wonderin’ why Coop and I have a baby with us. ‘Cause don’t think I didn’t notice that weird look on your face when you saw me comin’ towards you.”

“Can’t hide anything from you Charlotte, huh?” Sam laughed as he drove. “Okay, yes. I am wondering why there is a baby. I’m assuming he’s related to you.”

“He’s my nephew,” the blonde answered. “Sam Bennett, meet Zane Nicholas King. I’d get into the whole story, but I’m too tired. I’ll let Cooper give you the cliff notes, since he likes to share.”

Sam glanced sideways at Cooper, but could tell his friend wasn’t up for telling any stories at the moment. Turning the corner, he pulled up in front of Cooper’s building. “Alright and we’re here,” he got out of the car and went to take the luggage out of the trunk. “I’ll let Addison and everyone else know you’re back.”

“Thanks,” Cooper replied. “Give us a day or two…”

“No problem,” Sam said, getting back into his car and driving away.

With the baby bag over his shoulder, Cooper grabbed hold of the other bags and walked inside with Charlotte and Zane. They went up to the loft quietly, except for the occasional soft cooing from Zane. After seeing Cooper struggle to get the door unlocked, Charlotte stepped in and turned the key, saving him from any further trouble.

Charlotte walked inside with Zane in her arms. “Well, this is going to be a tight fit,” she said, standing by the couch. “And we still don’t have anywhere for Zane to sleep.”

“Already taken care of,” Cooper called out from the bedroom, where he was putting all their bags. “I’m going to go by Violet and Pete’s in a little while to borrow some things. But it would also mean me telling them the reason why we need some of Lucas’ old stuff. Are you okay with that?”

“Go ahead and tell ‘em. Not like it’s a secret anymore, since Sam knows,” Charlotte sat down on the couch. She placed Zane down next to her and handed him the set of plastic keys to play with.

Cooper grabbed his sunglasses and car keys. “Okay then, I’ll be back as soon as I can. I’ll grab some dinner too while I’m out.”

“And food for the baby while you’re at it.”

“Yes, already on my list.”

The door shut behind Cooper, leaving Charlotte alone with Zane. Her brow furrowed as she looked down at the baby boy, wondering what they could do to occupy their time. Their home wasn’t exactly equipped for kids, which left Charlotte at somewhat of a loss. And toys would only keep the baby boy distracted for so long.

“Well, I guess it’s just you and me,” Charlotte spoke, running her fingers through Zane’s soft blonde hair. “Got any ideas on what we should do?”

Zane looked at her, dropping the keys into her lap.

“I’d feed you, but Coop’s out gettin’ you some food,” the blonde said, knowing that she wouldn’t get a reply. “Maybe you want some milk? I think we’ve got some in the fridge.” She moved to get up off the couch but stopped, realizing she couldn’t leave Zane sitting there by himself. Spotting the baby bag, she reached for it and grabbed one of the empty bottles. “Alright, let’s go make you that bottle of milk,” she said, taking Zane into her arms.

It was a bit of a challenge, but a few minutes later, Charlotte was back on the couch with Zane cradled in her arms along with a bottle of milk. Realizing that she couldn’t just sit there and do nothing, she grabbed book from her bag and opened it to where left off and began reading, despite the precarious position.

An hour later, Charlotte heard the jingling of keys on the other side of the door, surmising Cooper was back. She was ready to get up and lend a hand when she looked down and saw the baby boy was still asleep. As the door opened, she pressed a finger to her lips, motioning for Cooper not to make too much noise as he carried in the portable crib.

“I’ve got a couple more things out in the hallway,” he said softly, walking back out and returned with diapers, some toys and bags of food.

“Geez Coop, what’d you go and do? Buy out the store?” Charlotte eyed everything he had carried in.

“No. I just got what I thought we needed,” Cooper replied, immediately getting the portable crib set up so Zane could lay in it. “Some of this stuff was Violet’s idea.”

Charlotte chuckled. “You and Violet must have had a field day then. What’d she say when you told her about our situation.”

“You mean about Zane,” he said, getting up to take baby from the blonde’s arms. He carried him to the portable crib and carefully laid him down. “She didn’t say much aside from offering to help if we needed a hand.”

“I’m surprised she didn’t follow you home so she could meet the little rascal,” Charlotte replied, stocking the cabinet with the food Cooper had bought. “Potato wedges, macaroni, cheese, carrots…” she looked inside the other bags to find more food than they ever had before. “Guess it’s time for us to change our eating habits.”

Cooper nodded, helping the blonde stock the kitchen. “Less take-out, more home cooking.”

“And how exactly are we going to figure all of this out? I have a packed schedule already with Oceanside and St. Ambrose. I’m not goin’ to have any time to cook dinner when I get back here,” Charlotte leaned against the counter, folding her arms across her chest. “You know, maybe it was better than Duke took Zane than us. Coop, we’re not ready to be parents.”

Cooper moved toward Charlotte, pushing her chin up with his hand. “Char, look at me. We can do this… I’m not going anywhere,” he said, looking intently into her eyes. “I know this is a big life change for us and we didn’t anticipate any of this, but that baby boy in there needs you, needs us. So we’re going to find a way to make this work.”

Before Charlotte could reply, a cry came from the bedroom, which meant Zane was awake. She was about to move away but Cooper stopped her, saying he’d go and pick him up. Charlotte meanwhile remained in the kitchen, watching him from a distance as he gently took the baby boy into his arms.

“Sounds like someone is hungry,” Cooper smiled at Zane, brushing his finger along his cheek. He pointed to a small container on the counter. “That’s chicken and rice soup inside of that. Let’s get the kiddo fed before he cries up a storm.” He disappeared for a few seconds to get a bib from inside the bag and tied it around Zane’s neck. “Alright, we’re going to have to work together on this one, since I don’t have the baby chair set up yet. Do you want to feed and I hold him or the other way around.”

“I guess I’ll try and feed the boy,” Charlotte shrugged, sitting down at the table with Cooper. She took of the lid and dipped the spoon into the soup. Before giving it to Zane, she brought the spoon to her lips and checked to see if the broth was still hot. “Alright, here goes nothin’,” she slowly moved the spoon towards Zane, who opened his tiny mouth slightly to take in a little bit of broth. Both Cooper and Charlotte held their breaths for a second and waited for a reaction. Much to their surprise, the baby boy didn’t spit any of it back out, which of course was a relief.

They spent the next two hours feeding Zane and then bathing him. It was a team effort and frustrating at some moments, but together, they accomplished the tasks. By the time they got Zane down to sleep, it was a little after ten and they were both exhausted.

Cooper walked out of the bathroom and climbed into bed. “I don’t know about you, but I’m tired.”

“He down for the count?” Charlotte asked.

Cooper looked over at a soundly asleep Zane laying in his crib. “Yep. And with our luck, sleep through most of the night.”

“I think you may have just jinxed us,” the blonde replied, settling against the pillows.

“Hopefully not,” Cooper reached over to turn off the bedside lamp. “Good night,” he said, kissing Charlotte as he laid his head on the pillows.

“Night,” Charlotte sighed. Unable to fall asleep right away, her gaze fell upon the sleeping baby boy. “Coop?”

“Yeah?”

“How are we goin’ to do this?”

Cooper sat up a little, propping his elbow on the pillow, head resting in his hand. Following Charlotte’s gaze, he replied, “It’s going to take a bit of compromise from the two of us, but I think we can work out something,” draping his arm over the blonde’s waist and pulling her close. “I know most of your hours are spent at St. Ambrose and when you’re not there, you’re at the practice.”

“Mmhmm…” Charlotte continued to watch Zane sleep from where she was laying in bed. “I don’t want to just pass the kid off to some babysitter or nanny. Duke, Landry and I had enough of that growin’ up. I mean, if we’re gonna be parents to Zane, I want us to be around as much as we can.”

“Why Charlotte King, it sounds like you’re thinking like a parent,” Cooper chuckled. Although she had her back to him, he was smiling at how his fiancée was beginning to come around to the idea of being a parent.

Charlotte turned over to face Cooper. “Well, not like there is much I can do. And I refuse to let that boy have the kind of life I did growin’ up. He’s gonna know he’s loved. So if I gotta change my ways a little to make sure he gets the best life possible, then that’s what I’m gonna do. But if you ever tell anyone I’m going soft, you can bet you’re not gettin’ any for a week.”

“Ah, there’s the Charlotte I know and love,” Cooper pressed a kiss to her forehead and smiled. “But see, you’re thinking like a mom already. You’re putting Zane’s needs before your own,” he pulled her closer so her head was resting on his shoulder. “We’ll work out some sort of a schedule so Zane won’t have to be with a babysitter all the time. For now, we can take him to Oceanside with us and he can stay with me when you’re at St. Ambrose.”

“I’m not too keen on that idea. That place is a bed of germs sometimes, dependin’ on how many sick kids go in and outta there,” Charlotte said, knowing it was a good point to bring up.

“Pete brought Lucas in for a period of time if I remember,” Cooper mentioned.

“But Pete doesn’t have kids coughin and sneezin’ all over him everyday.”

“Hmm…point taken. We need to come up with something, though,” he thought quietly to himself for a few moments before another idea came to mind. “But for now, we play it according to our schedules? Depending on how many patients I’ve got and what you have going on at Oceanside and St.Ambrose, we’ll work things out from there.”

“Fine,” Charlotte yawned, sleepiness beginning to set in. She moved closer to Cooper, resting her head along his shoulder. “Night.”

“G’night.”

Cooper awoke the next morning, hearing soft cooing from the other side of the room. Slowly, he turned over in bed only to find out the spot next to him was empty. Opening his eyes, he shielded them from the sunlight and saw Zane sitting up in his crib. He got out of bed and picked up the baby boy.

“Good morning, kiddo,” he smiled. “Did you sleep okay?”

The bathroom door slid open, Charlotte standing at the doorway showered and dressed. “Oh good, you’re up,” she stepped into the bedroom and walked toward the dresser to grab a pair of earrings. “I need to check in at the hospital,” she said, checking herself in the mirror then turning around and noticing the furrowed brow on Cooper’s face. “Come on now, what’s wrong?”

Cooper shrugged, a bit surprised the blonde was going into work. “Nothing, I just thought that we’d spend the day together. Maybe get things organized, take a look at a house. I don’t know.”

Charlotte walked over to Cooper, tilted her head and smiled at him. “And we will, later on today. I just need to check on things at the hospital. I’ve been gone from there long enough and I refuse to let someone else run things,” she cupped his face with her hand. “Coop, I need this. Just for a few hours, okay?”

“Fine. Go,” Cooper relented, knowing he wouldn’t be able to convince her to stay. “But this afternoon, we’re going to look at the house, okay?”

“Okay.”

“Good. Sooner you go, the sooner you get back.”

Charlotte kissed Cooper on the lips then went to grab her bag. “I’ll see you later.”

“See ya,” Cooper waved, taking Zane’s tiny hand and waving it at the blonde also. He watched the door close behind her before turning his attention to Zane. “Well buddy, it’s just you and me. How about we have some breakfast. Sound good?” he heard Zane coo a reply. “Alright, then. Breakfast.”

Later that morning, there was a knock at the door. Cooper opened it and found Violet standing on the other side. “Hey,” he smiled. “Someone is playing hooky, I see,” opening the door wider so she could come in.

Violet stepped inside. “No, not really. I don’t have a patient until two, so I thought I’d…” her eyes were drawn to the blonde haired baby boy sitting on the couch playing with a soft plastic car. “Oh my, is that?”

Cooper nodded, sitting back down and pulling the boy onto his lap. “Yes. Violet Turner meet Zane King.”

“Well, it’s nice to meet you Zane,” Violet leaned over and gently shook the baby boy’s small hand. “He’s adorable, Coop.”

“Thanks. You should’ve seen all the flight attendants, they were all baby crazy on the flight back here,” Cooper recalled their flight experience from the day before. “Charlotte couldn’t get off the plane fast enough when we landed.”

Violet looked around. “Speaking of Charlotte. Where is she?”

“St. Ambrose,” he replied. “When I woke up this morning, she was already showered and dressed.”

“Why am I not surprised? How’s Charlotte doing?”

“As well as can be said. I think she’s just trying to find some normalcy after the last two weeks.”

Violet held her arms out. “Mind if I hold him?” she asked. Cooper willingly handed the baby boy over. “Hey there,” she smiled, noticing his big blue eyes. “Oh, you are such a cutie. Lucas has a new playmate,” looking up at Cooper. “We should schedule a playdate or something. Come on, you know it’s a good idea.”

Cooper laughed, agreeing with his best friend’s suggestion. “Sounds good. We can do that after Charlotte and I, and Zane get all settled in.”

“So, finally taking the plunge, huh?” Violet replied, while letting Zane wrap his tiny hand around her finger. “Not quite the way you thought you and Charlotte would be starting a new life.”

“Well, most things in life are unexpected,” he glanced at Zane. “I mean, I never imagined becoming an instant family before marrying Charlotte, but now that it’s happening, I guess we’re just going to take it in stride.”

Violet raised an eyebrow. “And how is Charlotte handling all of this? I know she was never too keen with the idea of having kids and the whole building a family idea,” she inquired, curious to hear what Cooper had to say. “I’m sorry. I don’t mean to pry.”

“She’s starting to think a little differently, in terms of priorities,” Cooper replied, recalling the conversation from the night before. “I’m just hoping raising Zane will help bring her around to the idea of having one of our own someday. I think it will, though.”

“Oh? How so?”

“You have to see her with Zane. There’s a softer side of her that comes out,” Cooper smiled. “I think it’s more of her wanting to make sure the kiddo gets the best life possible. She’s mentioned over and over how she doesn’t want Zane to have the same kind of life she had growing up.”

Violet sat back, still holding Zane in her arms, who seemed content where he was. “What has she said?”

Cooper raked his fingers through his hair. “Charlotte told me about how it was mostly the nanny that had a presence in her life growing up. And after they got too old for a nanny, Charlotte’s dad put her in charge of making sure her brothers stayed in line,” he explained. “They never really had any role models growing up, which is why Charlotte’s been so reluctant about kids. But every time I see her with Zane, the nurturing aspect comes so naturally to her. I don’t know if she realizes it.”

“I’m not surprised. I’ve always figured there was a loving and caring person lurking inside that tough exterior.”

“She’s always been there, Vi,” Cooper reminded his friend. Reaching over, he carefully took Zane into his arms. “Uh oh, I think someone needs to be changed,” he sniffed near the baby boy’s rear end. ‘Yup, you do.”

Violet laughed. “I’m going to head back to the practice,” she got up and grabbed her purse. “When are you back at work?”

“Tomorrow, most likely. I’ve got the Waverly twins coming in at noon,” he answered, walking Violet to the door. “Thanks for coming by.”

“See you,” Violet smiled, reaching up and gently pinching Zane’s cheek. “And hopefully I’ll see you again soon, cutie.” She turned and saw Charlotte coming toward her. “Hey Charlotte, I was just about to head out. Your nephew is adorable.”

Charlotte nodded, giving the other doctor a small smile. “Thanks,” she watched her walked past. “Why are you running out like your pants are on fire?”

“Stayed longer than planned, got patients to get back to,” Violet shouted back, disappearing into the elevator.

Not thinking much of it, the blonde shrugged and walked into the loft. She dropped her bag by the door and looked around the room. “Coop? I’m back,” she called out. “Cooper?”

“In here,” he spoke from the bedroom.

Charlotte walked around the couch and went into the bedroom, where she saw Cooper trying to put a new diaper on Zane. From what she was able to observe, he was struggling considering how fidgety Zane was while laying on the bed. “Need some help?” she asked, unable to hold back a laugh.

“Please,” Cooper pleaded, smiling innocently. He handed the new diaper to the blonde, hoping she would be more successful. “Um… maybe you should… um… Char…”

Charlotte turned her head. “What? Can’t you see I’m tryin’ here?”

“Yeah, but it helps if you lift his legs,” he leaned over. “How about we tag team on this one.”

“Fine,” she moved over a little. “You take the legs, I’ll slip it underneath.”

Working together, they successfully put a new diaper on Zane. It wasn’t perfect, but they did it, which was the most important part. Charlotte reached for the baby boy’s shorts and put them back on Zane, then picked him up. “I was able to work out my schedule for the week. It meant moving some meetings around, but I think I’ve got it all covered.”

“That’s great!” Cooper came out of the bathroom, drying his hands with a towel. “And I’ve got a light schedule tomorrow. So maybe we can take him in with us to Oceanside? I’ll set up a playpen in my office?”

Charlotte still wasn’t too thrilled with the idea of bringing Zane to Oceanside Wellness, but since there was no alternative, she relented. “Alright, we’ll do that,” carrying Zane to the other side of the room and placing him in his crib. “I’m gonna get something to eat before we head out to meet the realtor. You made the appointment?”

“Yep, at two. It’s all set.”

“Good. The sooner we can get the paperwork going, the sooner we can be somewhere bigger and give us a little more room to stretch our legs.”

By the end of the day, Charlotte and Cooper had placed a down payment on a house by the beach. As it turns out, the house they had seen a month prior was no longer on the market, but they were able to find a more suitable place. The convenient upside of it all (in some ways) was that they’d be living a few houses down from where both Sam and Addison lived.

Cooper and Charlotte walked out of the elevator at Oceanside Wellness the next morning, pushing a stroller in front of them. Hoping not to draw attention to themselves, they walked past the reception desk and into Cooper’s office. Unfortunately, they were unsuccessful as they caused their colleagues’ heads to turn as they stood in the kitchen. One by one, they filed out into the corridor and stood outside of Cooper’s office.

Infamous for her lack of a verbal filter, Amelia was the first to speak. “Correct me if I’m wrong, but those two didn’t have a kid last time we saw them.”

Violet walked up to her friends and stood next to them. “Hey, what are we all looking at?”

“Cooper and Charlotte…and a baby,” Sheldon replied.

“Oh good, they’re here,” Violet smiled.

Naomi continued to watch the couple through the window. “Sam didn’t mention anything about them coming back with someone.”

“Whose kid is that?” Amelia asked, albeit abruptly.

“Charlotte’s nephew,” Sam answered, joining his colleagues outside of Cooper’s office. “Zane King, if I remember right.”

“Oh my God, is that?” the realization finally dawned on Naomi. “Charlotte’s brother wanted her to raise his son?”

“Yeah,” Violet nodded. “Sad isn’t it?”

Amelia turned to look at Violet, confused. “Did you just say it’s sad that Charlotte is raising her nephew? Well, there’s a vote of confidence if I ever heard one.”

Violet rolled her eyes.

“What’s going on? Why are we all standing outside of Cooper’s office?” Addison asked, the newest member to join the impromptu pow-wow outside of Cooper’s office. “Oh, is that the little guy?”

“Yes it is,” Sam said.

Charlotte turned around, startling everyone who had been standing outside watching her and Cooper. “You do know we can hear everything you all are saying,” she stated, crossing her arms in front of her. “If you all are so curious about what’s goin’ on, then just ask. No need to be standin’ there asking questions to each other when Cooper and I can give you straight answers.”

“Sorry,” Addison apologized. She was the first to go into Cooper’s office and bent down in front of the stroller. “Hey there buddy,” she smiled, heart melting at the sight of the baby boy. “How old is he?”

“Just turned a year old two weeks ago,” Charlotte replied. She turned her attention to Cooper who was still working on the playpen. “You gonna be much longer Coop?”

“Almost…” Cooper secured the last buckle. “Alright, done!” he motioned to the completed playpen. “There we go, now Zane has somewhere to stay while you and I work.”

Charlotte picked the baby up out of the stroller, pressing a kiss to the top of his head. “Good. Can you take him for the morning? I’ve got a patient coming in about a half hour and I need to prep.”

Cooper reached for Zane, taking him into his arms. “Go, I’ll be here. I’ve got nothing going on until the afternoon.”

“Thank you,” the blonde smiled. She brushed her hand along the top of the baby boy’s head. “now you be good for Cooper, you hear?” smiling playfully at him. “I’ll be back in a lil’ bit,” she walked out of the office and down the corridor to hers. “Y’all better not spoil the boy while I’m gone,” she shouted before disappearing inside.

Amelia, Sheldon, Sam and Naomi all laughed softly as they piled into Cooper’s tight office. Immediately, they crowded Addison, who was holding Zane. Each of them doted over the baby boy, as they passed him around the group.

“God, we’re such baby crazy people,” Naomi laughed, handing Zane back to Addison.

“No way, not me,” Amelia shook her head. “Babies are fun, when they’re all happy and smiling. But when they start crying, forget it… you’ll see me running out the door. I am so not ready for kids.”

“Well, not everyone is ready for the responsibility,” Violet said, her gaze focused on Zane. “Don’t worry, you’ll know when that time comes.”

“Yeah, sure,” Amelia chuckled. “I gotta go. I’m already running late for the monthly meeting of the nerd minds.”

Sam’s brow furrowed as he looked at Addison.

“Monthly neurologists brunch,” Addison clarified. She gently bounced Zane in her arms. “Hence, the meeting of nerd minds.”

“Oh,” Sam nodded. “Well, this is my cue to disappear. I’ve got patients,” he said, making his exit.

Violet, Naomi and Sheldon left for their offices not too long after, both citing the same reason of having patients waiting for them.

Cooper was now left Addison standing in his office. And from the looks of things, he could tell she had fallen in love with Charlotte’s nephew. “You know, you’re welcome in here anytime,” he said, watching her as he sat in his chair. “I don’t think Charlotte would mind.”

“Are you sure?” Addison sat down on the couch, letting Zane wrap his small hand around her finger. She looked into his blue eyes and smiled. “I don’t want to impose or anything.”

“No, it’s fine. Charlotte and I are still trying to work out some sort of balance in our schedules and we could use all the help we can get,”

“Well, then I’ll be glad to help.”

“Thanks.”

Addison spent the next hour in Cooper’s office, entertaining Zane and possibly, being entertained herself by the baby boy. In a way, it had been a good thing as it allowed Cooper to get caught up on some patient files. Cooper looked at the clock and noticed it was almost noon. As he was about to get up and take Zane to get fed, Charlotte walked into his office.

“Oh you’re still here,” Charlotte said, surprised to see the red head sitting there and began to wonder if she even left. Walking to Addison, she sat down and reached for Zane. “Hey there, were you a good boy?”

“No trouble at all,” Addison replied. “Right Coop?”

Cooper nodded, grateful Addison had helped him out by watching Zane all morning. “He was a perfect angel.”

Zane began to fuss in Charlotte’s arms. “That’s what I like to hear,” she said, noticing how the boy was whimpering. “Where’s the bag Coop? Sounds like Zane’s wantin’ something to eat.”

Cooper slid his chair back and picked up the baby bag. He opened it and took out a small container they had packed with food. “Here you go,” he handed it to Charlotte. “Need some help?”

Charlotte looked up at the clock. “Don’t you have the Waverly twins coming in a little bit?”

“They just called. They’re running an hour late,” Cooper replied. “I’ll go heat this up. You stay here.”

“Thanks Coop,” Charlotte sat back down, noticing Addison hadn’t left. “Don’t you have patients Montgomery?”

“Yeah, I do but not for a little while,” the redhead replied. “So, how are you holding up?”

“I’m fine,” Charlotte said, adjusting Zane in her arms. She saw the concern in the other doctor’s eyes. “Really, I’m fine. My brother’s dead, but I can’t dwell on that ‘cause I have to take care of his son now. Gotta keep movin’ forward, like he always said.”

Addison nodded. She could tell that Charlotte was avoiding the subject, surmising that she hadn’t allowed herself time to deal with the loss of her brother. Not wanting to press the subject, she shifted her attention to Zane. “So, I hear you and Cooper put a down payment on a house not to far from Sam and me.”

“Yeah.”

“Well, if you ever need any help or anyone to watch Zane.”

“Thanks Montgomery, I’ll keep that in mind. But I think Cooper and I are fine for now.”

“Just putting the offer out there,” Addison knew to retreat. She checked her watch, figuring it was time to return to her office. “I’m gonna go,” she said, as Cooper was coming back in. “I’ll see you all later.”

Cooper sat down next to Charlotte, brow furrowed at Addison’s sudden exit. “Did I miss something?”

“Nothin’… just Addison trying to get me to talk about how I’m dealin’ with everything.” she knew Addison meant well, trying to get her to open up, but in reality, she wasn’t looking to deal with those feelings just yet. Her main concern and priority were Zane and Cooper.

“Oh, okay,” Cooper said, knowing not to push the subject either. Scooping some mashed potatoes onto the tiny spoon, he held it up and motioned it toward Zane’s mouth, making the sound of an airplane along the way. “Here is comes,” he smiled. “Vroooommmmm…”

“An airplane doesn’t go vroom, Cooper,” Charlotte said, unamused.

Cooper playfully pouted. “Well, then what sound does it make?”

“Take Zane,” the blonde transferred the baby boy to Cooper and took the food from his hand. She scooped a little mashed potato onto the spoon. “Alright… here comes the plane,” she said, bringing the spoon to Zane’s mouth then looking up at Cooper. “You tell anyone I just did that, I will deny it.”

“Your secret is safe with me,” Cooper laughed. They spent the next half hour feeding Zane, before Cooper had to head over to the exam room to tend to his patients.

Charlotte placed Zane in his playpen and handed him a toy to keep him occupied. Leaning against the edge of his desk, she watched Cooper clean up the small mess that had been on the table. Surprisingly, she had enjoyed the last half hour with Cooper, as they both fed Zane. She never expected to enjoy it so much, but seeing how they both were struggling it made her feel good, knowing she wasn’t alone in this.

Life had thrown her a curveball, but she was dealing with it in the best way she could.

Cooper tossed the garbage into the trash can and saw Charlotte looking like she was a million miles away. “Hey,” he lightly rubbed her arm. “What are you thinking about?”

Charlotte shrugged. “Nothin’ much. Just thinkin’ about Landry,” she turned her gaze to Zane. “I have these small moments where I miss him.”

“I know, Sweetie,” he kissed the top of her head. “You can talk to me about it, if you need to. I’m here.”

“Yeah I know,” she sighed, leaning her head against his chest as they both stood there, watching Zane.

The rest of the day went by quickly, Charlotte spending a portion of the afternoon with Zane before asking Addison for a favor while she had to do a consult over the phone. She hated having to ask for help, but saw no choice as Cooper was tied up with a walk-in.

They arrived home just after sunset, Cooper opening the door for Charlotte who was carrying a sleeping Zane in her arms. Their evening was a quiet one, as they settled into a routine of dinner for themselves and then Zane. Not too long after, they bathed him and got him down for bed, Cooper taking the time to read a bedtime story to the one-year old.

Charlotte sat on the bed, amused at how Cooper was doting over the boy. While she wouldn’t admit it out loud, watching him tend to Zane warmed her heart. Cooper was truly meant for fatherhood.

Climbing into bed, he kissed her and smiled. “He’s down for the count,” he noticed the somewhat forlorn look on the blonde’s face. “Hey, what’s wrong?”

“Nothing… just thinkin’ about how our lives have changed,” she replied, trying to hide her sigh. “It’s been a week since the funeral and I’m still trying to grasp the fact that my brother is gone and his boy is here with us.”

Once again, Cooper saw the same faraway look in the blonde’s eyes, as he saw earlier in his office. It worried him slightly, wondering what it was that was going on in Charlotte’s head. “Hey, penny for your thoughts?”

Charlotte shook her head, Cooper’s voice bringing her attention back to the present. “It’s nothin’.”

“You sure?” he tilted his head slightly, looking at her with concern in his eyes.

“I’m fine. Just have a couple of things on my mind,” the blonde responded. “That’s all.”

“Things like what?

Charlotte rolled her eyes, knowing he wasn’t going to give up until she gave him some sort of an answer. “For once, Coop. Can I just have a time where I can keep my thoughts to myself? I just don’t feel like sharin’ right now.”

“Okay… okay,” Cooper responded in retreat. “Promise me something though?”

“What?”

“If you can’t talk to me, at least talk to someone… I don’t know, maybe Violet or Sheldon?”

“I don’t need my head shrunk I’m fine,” Charlotte countered. “But if I want to talk to someone, I will. For now, my priorities…our priority is making this instant family work.”

“But you’ll keep it in mind?”

Charlotte didn’t reply for a few seconds then finally relented. “Yes,” she breathed exasperatingly. “I’ll keep it in mind, but I’m not promising.”

“That’s all I need to hear,” Cooper smiled, knowing he hadn’t exactly won the battle, but still enjoyed the small victory, hoping this would be the start of Charlotte letting her walls down.

~end chapter
King & Freedman
Posted: Mar 13 2011, 01:43 AM


Administrator


Group: Admin
Posts: 77
Member No.: 1
Joined: 8-January 11



another great update. I love how they already have Zane incorporated into their lives. I can't wait to read more.
writergrl
Posted: Mar 21 2011, 12:32 AM


Member


Group: Members
Posts: 13
Member No.: 4
Joined: 24-January 11



Title: Life As We Know It
Author: WriterGrl
E-mail: tracyj16@gmail.com
Twitter: TracyJ516
Content: Charlotte & Cooper, Private Practice
Premise: As Charlotte & Cooper make preparations to spend their lives together, they are faced with a life-altering challenge sooner than anticipated.
Disclaimers: I own nothing and borrow lots. All Private Practice characters are property of ABC and Private Practice. All I own is the story I write and any characters that I create. Everything written is purely for fun, creativity and for my imagination.
Feedback: I always appreciate feedback. It helps me write the story, as I take into account the thoughts of others.

______________________

Chapter 8

Cooper woke up to the sound of soft cooing coming from the baby monitor on the nightstand. He turned over in bed and saw Charlotte was still asleep. Not having the heart to wake her on this Saturday morning, he carefully extricated himself from under the covers and slipped on his shorts. Tiptoeing out of the bedroom, he pulled the door shut behind him and walked down the hall, making a quick stop at the bathroom before reaching Zane’s room.

Opening the door, Cooper looked inside and saw Zane peeking out from in between the bars of his crib, spotting the now familiar face. “Hey there, buddy,” Cooper said with a smile on his face. He reached inside and picked up the baby boy. “I hope you don’t mind the bedhead. You woke your Uncle Cooper up a little earlier than he’d like on a Saturday morning.”

Zane looked at him, oblivious to what he was saying and patted him on the face. “Gooo…” he responded. “Gaaa…”

Cooper carried the boy out of the room. “Charlotte is still asleep, so it’s just you and me for breakfast,” he said, going down the stairs. Opening the cupboard, he stood there for a moment and wondered what to feed Zane. “How about some cereal. Sound good?” he brought the box to the counter and set Zane down in his high chair. “Now you sit tight, breakfast will be ready in a bit.”

It didn’t take long for him to prepare the cereal, as well as brew some coffee. He brewed enough for himself and Charlotte, knowing she would want a jolt of caffeine when she woke up. Cooper spent the next hour feeding Zane, while he himself munched on a bagel at the same time. Despite the small mess, he enjoyed this time with the baby boy, reveling in some male bonding time.

After cleaning up the remnants of breakfast, Cooper took Zane back upstairs to get him changed into a new outfit since the one he was wearing had cereal stains. “Ah, good as new,” he said, feeling rather proud of how he tackled his fatherly duties without any mishaps. “Why don’t we go take a peek and see if she’s awake,” he whispered, opening the bedroom door slightly and looking inside. “Nope, still asleep.”

Cooper took Zane out to the back of the house and sat on the chaise lounge chair with him on his lap. Together, they looked out at the ocean, taking in the morning breeze. “You know bud, when I was a kid, I used to dream about the ocean,” he said to the baby boy. “Where I grew up, there was no big blue sea for me to look out at. You’re one lucky kid, getting to grow up here in sunny California by the ocean. Maybe we’ll get you some surfing lessons when you get older,” he pondered the amusing thought. “Or maybe not… Not sure how Charlotte would feel about you growing up and turning into a surfer boy.”

He sighed to himself as a familiar face came to mind. “I used to know a guy that surfed. His name was Dell. Used to work at Oceanside but he’s up in heaven now with your dad.” Cooper leaned forward, pressing a kiss to the top of Zane’s head, quiet for a moment as his thought about how the baby boy would never get to know his father. Turning his head, he spotted a familiar face in the distance, jogging toward him.

Spotting Cooper, Sam slowed his pace as he approached his colleague’s beachfront deck. He pulled his earbuds out and draped them around his neck. “Hey Coop,” he wiped off the sweat from his brow. “Up early for a Saturday.”

“The little guy likes to wake with the sun,” Cooper replied, smoothing Zane’s hair down.

Sam smiled. “Ah… well, it’s nice to get an early start to the day,” he said, sitting down on the other lounge chair. “Charlotte awake?”

“Still sleeping,” Cooper glanced over his shoulder at the balcony. “She got pulled into a last minute meeting and came home late. So I thought I’d let her catch up on sleep.”

“That’s pretty nice of you,” Sam smiled at little Zane. “So, how’s it going… all settled in?”

“Just a few boxes left to unpack but pretty much settled in.”

“Great. And it looks like you’ve made the adjustment to being a dad.”

Cooper looked down at the baby boy, smiling. “Pretty much. I mean, it hasn’t been easy but Charlotte and I are doing the best we can. Like all new parents, we’re learning.”

Sam nodded. He felt for his friend, having been in the position many years ago when Maya was born. “It gets easier…well, not literally because raising a kid doesn’t get any easier as they get older.”

“Gee Sam, thanks for the warning,” Cooper rolled his eyes.

“Oh, you know what I mean,” Sam chuckled. “I meant the whole being parents thing. It has its moments,” he reached across to hand Zane the toy block that had fallen onto the floor.

“I know what you mean,” Cooper laughed. “I’ll admit, it’s a little weird to be doing the parenting thing before Charlotte and I make it down the aisle. But then again, nothing is ever ordinary with us.”

Sam echoed the sentiment with a small laugh of his own. “Speaking of things out of the ordinary, I hear Charlotte and Violet were having an actual conversation the other day?” he inquired, having heard the tidbit from Pete. “Not saying that I don’t believe it, but I thought I’d get confirmation from you.”

Cooper nodded, recalling what he’d witnessed a few days ago. “You heard right. Pete and I were standing outside of her office. We couldn’t believe it at first, but they really were nice to each other. I think it’s because of the little guy.”

“Well, kids will do that,” Sam checked his watch and got up. “I should go and get back. Addison is probably up by now. Oh hey, before I go. If you and Charlotte ever need someone to watch Zane, we’re happy to volunteer. Actually, Addison volunteered the both of us. But I thought I’d put it out there.”

“Thanks. We’ll keep it in mind. See ya,” Cooper said, watching Sam jog away. He sat back in the chair, making sure his arms were securely around Zane. They would stay like that for the several minutes, enjoying the breeze and the sound of the ocean waves crashing against the shore.

It was a little past nine when Charlotte finally awoke, turning over in bed and expecting Cooper to be there. She was met with surprise to find his side of the bed empty. Figuring Zane had woken him up, she got out of bed and heard the sound of a baby laughing from outside. She opened the French door which led out onto the balcony and saw Cooper lying on the lounge chair with Zane. Standing there, she watched them for a few seconds, smiling as Cooper played with the baby boy.

“Hey…” she called out to them. “Careful you don’t drop him.”

Cooper sat up and turned around. “I won’t… Come down and join us!”

“I will, just give me a few minutes,” Charlotte disappeared back into the bedroom. Twenty minutes later, she was outside on the deck with a cup of coffee in hand. She sat down in the other lounge chair and took of sip of her drink. “How long you been up?”

“Since seven. Zane woke me up so he and I had some breakfast and enjoyed some male bonding time.”

“Male bonding time, huh?” Charlotte laughed, holding her arms out.

“Yeah. Me, him and Sam” Cooper sat up, passing the baby boy to her. “Any ideas on what to do today?”

Charlotte held Zane in her arms, letting him stand on her lap. “I was thinkin’ we go shopping or somethin’ Get this boy a couple of new outfits. I was fixin’ his stuff the other day and there’s a bunch of clothes that I know won’t fit him anymore.”

“Alright, I’m going to go get dressed. I can go change him if you want me to,” Cooper offered. “I know you haven’t had breakfast yet, so I can do it while you have something to eat and finish your coffee.”

“Yeah, that’d be great,” she replied, transferring Zane into Cooper’s arms. She followed them back into the house and went into the kitchen while Cooper went upstairs. Standing in front of the open fridge, she looked inside and grabbed a container of yogurt. It wasn’t her ideal breakfast, but it would have to do for the morning.

After driving all around Santa Monica, Cooper and Charlotte finally spotted the store they were looking for. They walked inside, Cooper carrying Zane in his arms and Charlotte next to him. For a moment, it was a bit overwhelming as they stood in the store not knowing where to start, since they never went clothes shopping for a child before.

“Oh look, a cute robe with ducks,” Cooper said, picking it up with his free hand.

Charlotte took the robe from him and placed it back on the rack. “We do not need a cute robe with ducks, since we never put him in a robe. We need to find some new stuff for him to wear,” she began looking through the various shirts hanging in front of her. “I think we’re going to be here a while.”

“We’ll be over there,” Cooper pointed towards the corner of the store.

Charlotte nodded, continuing to peruse the clothing rack and setting aside what she thought would look best on her nephew. She would remain there for a good period of time until Cooper returned, causing her to laugh when she saw what Zane was wearing.

“What? Too formal?” Cooper grinned.

“He looks like a tiny Monopoly guy,” she tried to stifle her laughter. “Only thing he’s missin’ is a top hat and monocle.”

“I was thinking a mini-Donald Trump,” he took hold of Zane’s arm and pointed. “You’re fired!”

Charlotte laughed out loud, drawing attention to some of the people around her. “Cute. We’ll have to revisit this tux when our wedding gets closer.”

“We’ll be back. Time to get the kidlet out of the penguin suit,” Cooper walked away. Ten minutes later, her found Charlotte in a different area of the store and presented Zane to her. “Well, what do you think?”

Once again, Charlotte laughed. Zane was now dressed in a pair of khaki colored pants, a plaid shirt and a brown sweater. “Wow Coop, you created your mini-me,” she said, noticing her fiancée's signature style and lack of color coordination. “I think that outfit is a keeper.”

Cooper smiled. “I’m going to trust what you just said was a compliment.”

The blonde smirked. “You could.”

“We’ll be right back,” Cooper walked away again, with the intention of changing Zane back into his own clothes. As he was about to do that, he was tempted with another outfit, knowing this one would certainly amuse Charlotte. Grabbing it off the rack, he went into the changing room and emerged a few minutes later. “Okay, last one.”

Charlotte eyed Zane for a few seconds. “You’re kiddin’ me right?” She knew Cooper was just playing around, or at least hoped her was upon seeing her nephew wearing a pair of board shorts, a sleeveless shirt, flip flops and a pair of sunglasses. “I refuse to dress him lookin’ like a surfer boy.”

“I like to call it beach wear,” Cooper replied, adjusting Zane’s sunglasses.

“Same thing,” the blonde commented, putting everything she’d picked into one neat pile. She carried everything to the counter. “Bring the last outfit you had him in over to me. I think we’re done here.”

“Be right back,” Cooper quickly disappeared into the changing room and put Zane back in his original jeans and t-shirt. He met Charlotte back at the counter, handing her the pants, plaid shirt and sweater.

As they walked out, Cooper couldn’t help but laugh. “I thought we were just going to buy a few things,” he said, eyeing the four bags of clothing Charlotte was carrying.

Charlotte shrugged, having remembered what she said earlier. “I like to have all our bases covered,” she said as they walked back to the car and placed the bags in the trunk. “He’ll grow out of all of ‘em before we even realize it.”

“You’re right. In fact, I think he’s already grown an inch since we left the store,” he smirked, earning a light smack in the ribs from the blonde while closing the trunk of the car.

“Very funny Coop,” Charlotte replied, walking to the passenger side. “Let’s grab some lunch. I’m starved and I think Zane is too.”

They spent the rest of the day driving around town, running errands and simply enjoying the nice day together. In some ways, this was the first time Cooper and Charlotte had had themselves a family day. The month was filled with craziness, between getting back up to speed at the workplace, finalizing the purchase of the house and the task of moving. For both of them, it felt good to finally have a day to breathe and enjoy each other’s company.

While it seemed out of the ordinary at first, Cooper and Charlotte were beginning to settle into their roles as parents. It wasn’t anything easy and given the ups and downs of the past few weeks, they were finally getting into a routine of sorts. Dinner was usually delegated to Cooper while clean up something Charlotte volunteered to do. Occasionally, they would alternate depending on how early or late Charlotte got home.

Bath time was probably the one task they flipped a coin on, since it wasn’t the easiest thing to do. Usually, whoever bathed Zane would emerge from the bathroom with their shirt or blouse covered with water stains because of how squirmy the baby was. Yet, neither of them really minded much since it was one of the times they’d see the most mischievous of smiles on his face.

That night though, Cooper volunteered to bathe Zane while Charlotte cleaned up the kitchen. It didn’t take long for her to complete the task, since they brought back pizza from their day out. Climbing the stairs, she heard the splashing of water and laughs coming from the bathroom, causing her to wonder if she was going to open the door and find a mess. Much to her surprise, she wasn’t met with a mess of water in the bathroom and found an amusing surprise instead.

“Coop?” she stood at the doorway, completely unable to contain her laughter at the sight before her. “Enjoyin’ yourself?” she asked, approaching the bathtub where Cooper was sitting inside with Zane on his lap. The two of them were surrounded by bubbles and various toys floating in the water. “Actually, I take that back. You two look like you’re a good time.”

Cooper handed Zane the rubber duck. “I didn’t want our fun day to end, so I thought I’d join him in his bubble bath,” he replied with a smile. “I figured it’d be easier to clean him up this way.”

“As long as the both of you get clean,” Charlotte bent down on her knees, pushing a toy boat towards Zane.

“We will.”

“You need help puttin’ him to bed?”

Cooper shook his head. “No, I got this one. You go and have martini or something. Relax. I’m going to enjoy daddy duty tonight.”

Charlotte smiled and got back up. “I’ll see you in bed.” Heeding Cooper’s suggestion, she went back downstairs, mixed herself a martini and savored it. The remainder of the evening was spent in bed, catching up on some reading while Cooper was busy with Zane. By the time he came into the bedroom, she had gotten through half of her book.

Cooper climbed into bed next to her, snuggling up against her warm body. “Today was fun,” he said, pressing a kiss to her cheek. “We need to have more days like this.”

“Yeah, I enjoyed this. First time in a long while I didn’t have work on my mind,” the blonde replied, setting her book down on the bedside table. She settled against the pillows and reached for Cooper’s hand. “And I’ll admit it, I had fun clothes shoppin’ for Zane. Never thought I’d enjoy it that much, but I did.”

“Welcome to parenthood,” Cooper smiled.

--

The slight breeze coming in from the window caused the curtains to sway slightly, while moonlight shone into the dark bedroom. Cooper slept peacefully in bed and he was having the most sensual dream. He was lying on the beach at a tropical island with Charlotte and she was feeding him grapes. Wanting to enjoy the moment more, he rolled over in bed, ready to envelop the woman in his life in a warm hug, but was unpleasantly surprised into wakefulness when his arm caught empty air in a now empty bed where his sleeping partner should have been.

“Charlotte?” he whispered out loud.

Expectations aside, this dreamtime quest for the woman he loved caused his heart to tighten a little at the suddenly lonely feeling. It had been a while since he slept without anyone at his side. Cooper was now completely awake, looking at the empty space and the bedding cool to the touch where his fiancée should have been. Blinking his heavy lidded eyes, he looked at the digital clock which read 3:01AM, the room still pitch black except for the moonlight that shone through the curtains courtesy of the night sky.

Cooper looked at the clock again, his eyes adjusting to the darkness around him. 3:02AM and where was Charlotte?

“Shhh, it’s okay Little Man, I’m here. You can go back to sleep now.”

Charlotte’s voice was still in the room, her tone so soothing it caused a smile to curl at his lips. He wondered what people did before baby monitors, laying back against the pillows, relishing the gentle and loving sound of Charlotte’s voice lulling Zane back to sleep. In the weeks since their return from Monroeville, this was the first time he heard her speaking so lovingly to the child.

Cooper wondered what else she was going to say to the baby boy, thinking to himself that if she began singing a lullaby he would definitely be a goner.

After another few minutes of listening, he got out of bed and made his way to Zane’s room. Cooper stopped at the doorway and simply stood there for a moment, gazing at a sight that would take anyone’s breath away.

His eyes became affixed on Charlotte. She was sitting in the rocking chair, holding Zane against her chest, her eyes closed as she hummed the melody to “Baby Mine.” The image made Cooper smile and his heart melt in such a way where words would not do the description justice.

For a moment, he thought to the future when she’d be holding the child that they created in her arms. In some ways, he hoped the image would become a reality in a year’s time.

Walking quietly into the room, he crouched down next to the rocking chair, pushing aside a lock of blonde hair away from her face. “Hey…” he whispered. “I was wondering where you disappeared to.”

Charlotte opened her eyes and looked at Cooper. “He was crying. I think it was a bad dream,” she replied, still cuddling Zane close. “Not that I know if babies dream or not.”

Cooper brought his hand to Zane’s head, smoothing down his hair. “Yes, they do dream. Not necessarily bad dreams though. I think he’s still adjusting to being with us.”

“You think?” the blonde asked, wondering if Cooper was right. “I guess I’m just thinkin’ about whether he’s missing his momma and daddy.”

“Or maybe it’s a little bit of you missing his daddy too?”

“Perhaps.”

“I think it’s more him getting used to being in a new place,” Cooper replied, trying to stifle a yawn. He looked at Zane, who was sound asleep in Charlotte’s arms. “You know, he looked mighty cute in that tux I dressed him in today.”

Charlotte recalled the image from earlier, laughing softly. “Yeah, he did.”

“You mentioned something about revisiting the outfit when it came time for our wedding,” he responded, broaching the subject carefully. “I know we haven’t talked about it much since we set a date, but I was thinking, with everything that’s happened…we can move the date back. I mean, if you want to.”

“I don’t think we should,” she replied, adjusting Zane who had fussed slightly. “I think we can still do it.”

“Think so?”

“Yeah, we can. I don’t think we should put it off. If we’re going to be parents to Zane, I want us to be officially together in every sense of the word. Plus, we’ve waited long enough. Life is too short Coop. We need to grab it by the horns and savor it in every way we can.”

Cooper’s heart swelled as he heard Charlotte talk about commitment. “Okay, we’ll keep the date as is.” Looking at Zane, he slowly got up and held out his hand. “Let’s go back to bed. Kiddo is sound asleep.”

“It’s alright, you go back. I want to stay here for a few more minutes. Make sure he’s snug as a bug in a rug,” Charlotte slowly stood and walked to the Zane’s crib. She gently placed him back down and pulled the blanket to his chest. “Go on.”

Cooper wrapped an arm around Charlotte’s waist, kissing her head. “The bed’s kinda lonely without you. So I’ll wait until you’re ready,” he said softly. “I’m content staying here, just watching him.” Truthfully, he just didn’t want to leave her side yet.

Charlotte sighed, reveling in the warmth of Cooper’s arms. She leaned her head against his shoulder, feeling his patience and trust. She was grateful for that, having someone who loved her so much in her life despite her flaws.

“Coop, I don’t know if I’ve said to you lately but I love you,” she placed her hand on top of his, her gaze still fixed on a sleeping Zane. “I know you don’t hear it much from me because I’m usually always comin’ or goin’ and my mind’s always on somethin’ else, but I love you.”

Cooper maneuvered himself around Charlotte, wrapping his arms around her from behind. Resting his chin on her shoulder, he looked down at the baby boy and whispered. “It’s okay, Char. Even when you don’t say it, I just know. I always know.”

~end chapter
0 User(s) are reading this topic (0 Guests and 0 Anonymous Users)
0 Members:
zIFBoards - Free Forum Hosting
Free Forums. Reliable service with over 8 years of experience.
Learn More · Sign-up for Free

options Pages: (2) [1] 2  REPLY TOPIC POLL 



Hosted for free by zIFBoards* (Terms of Use: Updated 2/10/2010) | Powered by Invision Power Board v1.3 Final © 2003 IPS, Inc.
Page creation time: 0.0948 seconds · Archive