Authors note: This is the third story in the Always and Forever series based on the characters Charlotte and Cooper from Private Practice.
Disclaimer - I do not own Charlotte, Cooper or any of the regulars from Private Practice. I just like to play with them but I'm proud to own their children (Andie, Chase, Noah and Drew) and grandchildren (Harper, Brayden and the rest). =)
The first fic in the series - ALWAYS and FOREVER- covers the first years of Charlotte and Cooper's married life and the start of their family.
The second fic- ALWAYS and FOREVER: The Sequel: Growing Pains- covers Charlotte and Cooper as parents of teenagers on their way to becoming young adults.
The third fic- ALWAYS and FOREVER : The Third Sequel : Still the One - covers Charlotte and Cooper as parents and grandparents now. They are definitely not going to be boring grandparents. Lots of good times and angst await you in this newest fic.
Special props go out to one of my awesome reader/reviewer's -Amy Hale. You are ALL awesome but Amy gave me the idea for this third fic. The prologue begins with a scene in a cemetery. The following chapter takes place five years earlier. The story will cover what happened over those five years to lead up until the cemetery scene. And there is a lot to cover, some of it will tug at your hearts and some of it will make you laugh but mostly it will entertain you.
To clear up any confusion, I will use Harper as a time reference. In the prologue she is 12 years old. In the following chapter she is 7. We will watch her grow older along with everyone else over the next five years until we end up at the prologue. There will be one chapter to follow the prologue scene to close up the story and then an epilogue that takes place a few years later. I hope that makes it clear for y'all. If you have any questions feel free to send me a DM.
Here we go- Hold on! It's going to be a long, twisty and bumpy ride. =)
ALWAYS & FOREVER
Third Sequel- Still The One.
Charlotte and Cooper sit on a bench in the cemetery while Harper and her two younger brothers run in circles, playing tag, around them. Chase stands in front of them, nervously waiting with his hands in his pockets. "Here she comes." Cooper points to a blonde slender figure walking in the cemetery entrance. An older gentleman and small child follow behind her.
Tess approaches Chase and his parents. "Hello." She says to them all. "This is a bit awkward. Isn't it?"
Chase's eyes light up at the sight of her. "It's great to see you." He takes his hand out of his pocket to shake with Tess.
The older gentleman and a small boy of about four years approach them now. Tess turns around. "Dad, can you believe we're finally meeting up with Chase Freedman and his parents again? It's been so long."
The older gentleman nods. Chase extends his hand out to greet him but the older man keeps his hands behind his back.
Cooper stands up from the bench followed by Charlotte. "Mr. Powers. It's nice to see you again." Cooper extends his hand out. Tess's father returns the gesture. "It's nice to see you again, Dr. Freedman."
Charlotte also shakes hands with Tess's father. "I'm sorry about your wife. I'm sorry we missed the funeral."
"Thank you." Tess's father shakes Charlotte's hand. "It's been hard on our family."
"Yes" Cooper agrees. "A death in the family takes a toll on everyone. We know all about that."
Chase looks down at the small boy with the brown hair and blue eyes, clutching a Thomas the Train in his hand. "Hello."
The mini-Chase looks up at him. "Hi."
"I see you like Thomas the Train?" Chase asks the boy.
"Yes." The little boy nods, wondering why this strange man is talking to him. Harper and her younger brothers stare at the boy.
Tess looks at her father. "Dad, Chase and I need to talk. Would you mind taking Brayden to the park next door to play? We shouldn't be long."
"Fine." Mr. Powers nods.
"Mind if Charlotte and I come along with you?" Cooper asks Tess's dad. "Our grandchildren would love to play with Brayden."
"That's up to Tess." Mr. Powers answers.
"It's fine, dad. Brayden should get to know his cousins."
Charlotte and Cooper follow Mr. Powers to the park with the four children in tow.
Chase and Tess both take a seat on the bench now. "Why did you ask me to meet you at a cemetery?" Tess asks. "My father and I thought it was an odd place to meet."
Chase switches his gaze from Tess to a marble headstone about thirty feet in the distance. "I come here a lot."
"Why?" Tess shrugs, a bit baffled.
"Come with me, I'll show you." Chase gets up and leads Tess to the grave. Tess gasps, looking at the marble headstone. "I'm sorry." She tells Chase. "I had no idea."
"How would you know?" Chase shrugs.
"I can't believe it." Tess stares at the image sketched on the headstone. "What in the world happened?"
"It's a long story. I'll tell you all about that later, right now I want to talk about Brayden."
"Why did you call me asking to meet Brayden now?" Tess asks. "After almost five years?"
"I explained to you on the phone I just found the letter last week." Chase pulls an envelope out of his pocket. "If I would have read the letter five years ago, I would have been there for you. I would have been there for the birth of my son." Chase's eyes start to water.
"I thought you read the letter and chose not to be there for me and Brayden." Tess's eyes start to water now too.
"I don't understand, Tess." Chase explains. "You know I've always wanted children. What would make you think I wouldn't want to be in Brayden's life?"
"First off, you didn't call me after I left you the letter…-"
Chase interrupts. "That's because I never saw the letter until last week."
"Second of all, I did come back three months later to talk to you, your momma told me you were engaged to Michelle. We dated for years, Chase, before you asked me to marry you but you got engaged to Michelle in three months?"
"It took us years to get engaged because we started dating when we were sixteen. We waited until we were out of medical school to get engaged. I got engaged to Michelle because you left me. You disappeared and I was lonely. I've haven't been alone since I was sixteen. I needed someone to fill the space after you left."
Tess raises her voice now to make it clear. "I left because you cheated on me when I was pregnant!"
Chase defends. "I didn't know you were pregnant. We were fighting at the time and I had a weak moment. I was wrong."
Tess swallows hard before speaking. "After I caught you cheating on me, I questioned if you ever loved me. I couldn't trust you so I left you my engagement ring and the letter, telling you I was pregnant. I said to meet me that Friday night at Giorgio's if you wanted to be a father to our baby, you never showed up."
"I found the ring lying on my desk but there was no letter." Chase sighs.
"We both know who took the letter." Tess shakes her head.
"I know now." Chase nods. "I'm sorry, Tess, but I never stopped loving you. I've been punished enough for cheating on you. I've missed out on the first four years of my son's life."
Tess nods with tears in her eyes. "Believe it or not, I was relieved when you called last week. I want Brayden to know you."
"I want to know him too, more than anything else in this world."
"Shall we go to the park so you can meet your son?"
"I'd love too." Chase beams. They take the five minute walk to the park, holding hands. It feels like they were never apart.
"Momma!" Brayden runs up to Tess. Cooper and Charlotte follow along with Tess's dad.
"I have someone I want you to meet, Bray-Bud." Tess picks the four year old up in her arms.
"Who, momma?" The bright blue eyed little boy asks.
She introduces Chase. "This is your daddy."
The little boy stares up at Chase with big blue eyes. "He's my daddy?"
Chase looks in his little boy's eyes. "Yes. I'm your daddy. I promise you that I'm your daddy for always and forever. Give me five." Chase holds his hand up, the little boy smacks it.
Tess tells her son. "And this is your grandma Charlotte and grandpa Cooper."
"Hi." Brayden hand slaps Charlotte.
"You look just like your daddy when he was your age." Charlotte gives the little boy a kiss on the cheek.
Cooper hand slaps the little boy. "It's nice to meet you, Brayden. I'm your other grandpa."
"I'm lucky, momma." Brayden looks up at Tess. "I have a grandma and two grandpa's"
"And cousins." Cooper tells him. "You see that blonde girl and those two little boys tagging along behind her?"
"Yes." Brayden nods.
"Those are your cousins."
"Can I go play with them, Momma?" Brayden asks Tess.
"Sure thing, Bray-Bud." Tess answers. "I'm gonna be sitting right here on the bench talking with your daddy."
Charlotte and Cooper sit with Tess's dad while they watch their grandchildren play.
The next chapter after this will start five years earlier.