Title: Love…And Other Mistakes≤/p>

Author: FraidyCat

Summary: The Eppes Boys share more than they think.

Disclaimer: Don't own 'em.

Chapter 1

Charlie fell out of bed.

Anna leaned up on her elbows and peered over the side, regarded him for a moment. "I may have been a little…athletic."

Charlie sat on the floor and stared up at her. "I resent the implication that you are too…athletic…for me."

She smiled, slowly. It started, as it always did when it was genuine, in her eyes. "Enthusiastic, then."

He shook his head and beads of sweat flew out of his hair. "Still not good. I won't have you disparaging my enthusiasm."

"I'm not. Truly. I'm sure if you had been expecting it…"

A knock sounded at the door.

Anna reached quickly for a sheet. "I thought you said nobody was home!", she hissed.

Charlie shrugged, then stood easily from his position on the floor so that he could join her under the sheet. "There wasn't. Somebody is here now, though."

"No kidding. And they say you're only good with numbers."

Another knock. "Charlie? You in there?"

Anna tried to scoot farther down the bed. "Did you lock the door?"

Charlie stopped her progress with a well-placed hand, then raised his voice over her whisper. "I'm here, Dad. What do you need?"

The doorknob began to turn. "I thought I heard something. You al…is this door locked?"

"Um…yeah. I…went to bed early?"

"Charlie, are you ill? It's only 6 o'clock. Your brother will be here soon for dinner. And you never lock the door."

"Fine, Dad. I'm very well. Thank you."

Anna flopped over onto her stomach so that she could bury her face in the pillow. She was suddenly overtaken with a fit of giggles.

"What was that noise?"

"I…dropped something. S'okay. Everything is good in here."

After a few moments of silence, Alan's tone changed. "Do you think you might be joining us for dinner?"

"Don't think so, Dad. Not…not real hungry, right now." Charlie was close to giggling himself. Or screaming. Wasn't sure which.

There was more silence, but he hadn't heard Alan walk away, so he knew his father was still outside.

"Perhaps your friend is hungry."

Charlie's eyes widened and Anna's burst of laughter wasn't entirely suppressed by the pillow.

"My…my friend?"

"It's only spaghetti, mind you, but I have garlic bread — and a nice cherry pie for dessert."

Charlie knew that he was blushing. If he could decide who to kill first, either his father or Anna would be in danger.

"About that pie, Dad…"

More silence. Then, "You ate the entire pie?"

Charlie's voice squeaked. "Not…not exactly…"

Alan's sigh must have been gargantuan to be heard through the door. "Do I still have ice cream?"

Charlie felt like a child. "Yes, sir."

Alan cleared his throat. "Well. Dinner is at 7, if you and your friend would like to come down."

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

A forkful of spaghetti clattered to his plate. Don stared at his father. "What did you say?"

Alan tore at the bread in his hand. "I said, 'Charlie has a girl upstairs'. But that was probably wrong. I should think it was a woman."

"You're kidding."

Alan shook his head, reached for the glass of wine.

"Charlie just marched some woman in here, said 'Hey Dad, I think I'll be having sex tonight instead of dinner', and off they went up the stairs?"

Alan glared over the rim of the glass as he lowered it to the table. "Don, there's no reason to be rude. And he didn't do that. I just got home an hour ago myself, and they were already up there."

"So you haven't seen her."

"No."

"Then…have you heard her?"

Alan reddened. "His door is locked. He talked to me, but he wouldn't let me in."

Don had to admit that was a little strange. But still… "Is that all?"

"Dessert is missing."

Don was glad he hadn't started eating again, because he probably would have choked. "What?"

"I got a nice cherry pie at the bakery, today. I don't care to know what they did with it."

Don considered the possibilities and made a decision. "I will never eat cherry pie again."

"Then you'll be happy to hear that they left the ice cream alone."

Don picked up his fork again. The spaghetti had fallen off, so he began to twirl some more onto the tines. "Unbelieveable," he said to the plate.

Alan finished chewing. "I'll admit, at first I was surprised. But this is his house. He's 31 years old."

Don gave up and slurped a strand, wiped his mouth. "It's not that. He brought her here. He knows you live here, too."

Alan frowned. "I'm also an adult. I can be 'cool'. Or whatever people are now."

Don shook his head. "No, that's not what I mean either. He had to know there was a chance the two of you would…meet. He must be ready to defend their relationship." Alan looked interested, so he continued, lowering his voice dramatically. "He must be in love."

Alan brightened considerably.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

"So you're ready for this, right?"

Anna smiled up at Charlie. "It is why I came over, this afternoon." Her smile took on a hint of debauchery. "Well. One of the reasons, anyway."

Charlie grinned. "Just don't let my Dad freak you out. He'll be talking about grandchildren within five minutes."

He grabbed Anna's hand with one of his own and used the other to push open the swinging door into the kitchen. Don and Alan both looked up and stared, like deer caught in the headlights. Charlie concentrated on his father. "I'd like you to meet a friend of mine. Anna, this is my father, Alan, and my brother, Don. And this is…"

"Oh my God." Charlie heard Anna's intake of breath, felt her hand slip out of his. He turned to look at her, and was startled at how pale she had become.

"Sweetie?"

"Oh, my God," she said again, and seemed to grow even paler. Charlie followed the track of her eyes, which were glued on…Don? Confused and worried, he saw that Don was almost as white as Anna. He saw his brother stand slowly and open his mouth to speak.

"This is my ex-wife," said Don quietly. "This is Anna Martin."