A/N: Hey guys. So I'm back with yet another story. (: This time, I'm planning for it to be a multi-chapter arc...so I will be writing this story alongside my other ongoing multi-chapter arc, Chuck vs the Dads (LOL hopefully I'll be able to churn out chapters fast enough to update regularly).
If any of you have watched the movie 'Life As We Know It', you may have a general idea of what this story is about. Throughout the story, I will be using some ideas from the movie, but of course, I will not be following it to its entirety (then it would be kinda redundant haha). :P Many things will or have been changed, and it has different charaters in it, so if you didn't like the movie, do still give this story a try (:
Because this story is kinda AU (with the setting and what the characters do and such), here is a bit of background information to get you started:
- Chuck is best friends with Bryce, and Sarah is best friends with Carina. They are are all in their mid-twenties...so about 24-26 years old.
- Bryce and Carina are both retired agents, and are married with a set of twins - Sophie and Tyler.
- Sarah works for the CIA as a field agent. She does not know Chuck works for the CIA at this point.
- Chuck works for the CIA as a tech analyst, his cover job is the Buymore. He does not know that Sarah works for the CIA at this point.
Soo...you're all set for now...hopefully.
And enough of my ramblings. Hope you enjoy!
Disclaimer: I do not own Chuck...and any mistakes are mine (hopefully there aren't many) :)
It was a beautiful sunny summer afternoon. The sun shone brightly, its rays streaming through the leaves of the large oak trees standing tall in the front lawn of a large cottage style house with a white exterior. The front porch was littered with a plethora of kids' toys, and helium balloons with 'Happy Birthday' and 'The Party's Here' written on them were tied all over the wooden railings.
Inside, Bryce and Carina were getting ready for their twins' first birthday party. Putting the finishing touches on the cake, Carina licked a dollop of leftover icing off her finger.
Outside, a black Porshe pulled up in the driveway. Stepping out of the car, Sarah walked over to the passenger side and grabbed her handbag and the presents she'd gotten her godchildren for their first birthday. Juggling the presents in her arms, she walked up the steps of the porch and let herself in.
Placing the presents in the pile of presents that had already accumulated in the entranceway, she sauntered through the house in search for her best friend. Using her stealthy spy skills, she quickly located Carina and the twins in the kitchen. Sneaking up behind her, she tapped her on the shoulder. 'Hey.'
Swivelling around with the twins in her arms, Carina let out a smile. 'You made it.'
Sarah smiled. 'Of course I did. I wouldn't miss it for the world.' Taking the baby girl from Carina's arms, she tickled the little girl's belly. 'Isn't that right, Sophie?'
Sophie giggled. Her twin brother, jealous of the attention she was getting, began squirming in Carina's arms. Sarah dropped her handbag on the counter and held out an arm for him. 'Hi Tyler.' Tyler gladly moved from his mom's arms into Sarah's.
'Who's turning one today?' Sarah asked the twins in her arms.
Tyler and Sophie both raised their hands.
'That's right.' Carina said, smoothing out Sophie's hair. 'My little babies are turning one.'
Just then, Tyler let out a large, whooping big fart. PTH!
'Aww, Tyler. That stinks.' Sarah exclaimed with a smile on her face.
Tyler gave her a devious smile, whilst Carina took him back in her arms. 'Come on. Let's get you changed.'
Guests were slowly drifting into the backyard through the side gate. The grass and patio were littered full with celebratory decorations. Chuck grabbed a sprite from a passing waiter and took a seat next to Bryce on the patio. 'Hey.'
'Hey dude. What's up?' Bryce greeted cheerfully.
'Nothing much.' Chuck said, taking a swig from the bottle.
'You mean the job 'job' or the cover 'job'?' Chuck asked.
Bryce chuckled. 'Both.'
'Stressful as usual.' He let out a sigh. 'Ever since you left, I haven't really gotten anywhere new with the programme. The heads are really putting down the pressure on me now.' He took another sip of his drink. 'As for the Buymore...well, let's just say dealing with all the drama between Morgan, Jeff and Lester is tiring enough.'
Bryce shook his head in sympathy. 'Glad I left that.'
Chuck gave him a light punch in the shoulder. 'You lucky guy. The dream girl, the dream house, the dream job, the dream family. You've got it all.'
Bryce nodded with a smile on his face. 'Happy as can be,' he said, turning to give Carina a wave in the kitchen before turning to look at Chuck. 'How 'bout you? Have you ever thought about settling down? Quitting the agency? You can come join me. Then we can go into business together and become world renounced freelance professional tech analysts.'
Chuck pursed his lips as he thought about it. Bryce returned his punch from earlier on. 'Come on. You know you want it.'
Chuck let out a sad laugh. 'They're never going to let me go now I'm the only one left on the project.'
'You haven't tried. I thought that for along while too – '
'But they still have me.'
'Okay. Well then, what about finding a girl?'
Chuck stifled a laugh. 'Even more hopeless in that area. I'm such a nerd. The word nerd and girl just don't go in the same sentence.'
'Just look at you. You're smart, tall and handsome. Who wouldn't fall for you?'
'Stop it.' Chuck said, clearly embarrassed.
Carina and Sarah stood in the kitchen finishing up the thank-you gifts. Carina had just handed Tyler and Sophie off to Bryce.
It was silent for a while, each girl concentrating on what they were doing. Then, staring out the window, Carina broke the silence. 'You see that guy sitting next to Bryce out there? The one in the black shirt and the navy jeans holding Sophie?'
Sarah looked up from the bow she was tying and located the man her friend had just described. 'Yeah?'
'Isn't he cute?'
Sarah shrugged, blushing slightly. 'I guess.'
'His name is Chuck.'
Adverting her glance from the window and finishing the bow off, she picked up an extra piece of ribbon and began fiddling with it. 'I know. I saw him at your wedding and your baby shower.'
'Why don't you go talk to him?'
She dropped the piece of ribbon and turned to look at Carina. 'Well firstly, if you're trying to get me to date him, it's not allowed in the agency. And secondly, I have absolutely no experience with guys - '
'You've had plenty of experience...' Carina joked.
'Carina.' She gave her friend a light punch on the shoulder. 'You know what I mean.'
'Come on.' Carina nudged her back. 'It wouldn't hurt to give it a try. I mean, just look at me and Bryce. We both worked for the agency, but after months of denial, we finally decided to give it a shot. Look at how far we've come. For the first time in my life, I feel content. I'd never thought I would say this, but I actually enjoy being a housewife. Quitting the CIA was the best thing I'd ever done in my life.'
'I don't know.' Sarah said hesitantly.
'Hey. I'm going to go find Carina to see if we can get the festivities started. Do you think you can watch them for a while?' Bryce said, pointing to Sophie – who was asleep in Chuck's arms – and Tyler – who was playing with some cups and spoons next to Chuck's chair on the patio.
'No problem.' Chuck said
'Thanks.' Bryce said. 'Oh, and by the way, you're still up for the trip to the Maldives right? Carina and I are going to confirm the booking tonight.'
'Umm...sure.' Chuck looked over at Bryce. 'Send me the cost and I'll write you a check.'
'No. It's our treat – for being such a great godparent to our children.'
Chuck was about to object when Bryce stood up to leave. 'Gotta' go. Wife's calling. Catch you later.' He gave Chuck a light pat on the shoulder before walking into the house.
Staring down at the sleeping baby in his arms, he though about what Bryce had just asked him. Do I want a family? He asked himself.
Tyler accidently threw a cup too far, and it landed in front of the sliding doors that led into the house. Desperate for his cup back, he abandoned everything he had in his hands and began crawling over to the stray cup.
'Tyler.' Chuck called. 'Tyler. Don't move. Let me get it for you.'
But Tyler didn't listen – he kept crawling towards his cup. Chuck chased after him carrying Sophie in his arms, trying not to wake her. 'Tyler, watch out.' Chuck warned the baby.
But it was too late. Tyler had already crashed into Sarah, who'd just come out of the sliding doors. He began crying, and Sarah scooped him up in her arms. 'It's okay, Tyler.' She said, stroking his head gently. 'Does it hurt?'
Tyler nodded. 'Let me give you a kiss.' Sarah said, kissing his head. 'Does it feel better now?'
Tyler nodded again, and his cries began to die down. Placing his thumb in his mouth, he leaned his head on Sarah's shoulder.
Sarah looked up and found Chuck standing in front of her. They stood staring at each other, neither person saying anything.
'Uhh...hi.' Sarah finally started, sticking out her right hand for him to shake.
'Hi.' He replied, frantically shifting Sophie into his left arm so he could shake her hand.
'I'm Sarah,' she introduced.
'I know.' Chuck smiled. 'The beautiful, mysterious best friend of my best friend's wife.'
'Mysterious?' Sarah asked with her eyebrows raised.
Chuck let out a nervous laugh, his face reddening with embarrassment. 'No, no...uh I thought it just made me sound more sophisticated.' He paused. 'I'm Chuck by the way.'
'You're a funny guy, Chuck.'
Just then, Tyler began squirming in her arms. 'What do you want buddy?' Sarah asked.
He pointed at the stray cup on the floor, and Sarah leaned down and retrieved it for him. She handed it to him, but he didn't get a firm grasp on it. It clattered onto the floor again.
'I've got it.' Carina said, sauntering over. Picking up the cup off the ground, she took her son back in her arms. Straightening up, she turned and saw Chuck staring.
'Hi Chuckie!' She greeted.
'Uhh...Hi.' He stammered, overwhelmed by how many beautiful people were standing in front of him.
Carina gave him a bright smile, before leaning in to whisper something into Sarah's ear. 'So you did listen to my advice.'
Sarah was about to object and tell her what happened when Carina gave her a slap on the butt before walking away. 'Way to go girl.'
Sarah felt her cheeks reddening as she watched her friend walk off. 'That's Carina for you.'
Turning back to Chuck, she found him staring at her. There was another long, awkward pause.
'Umm...I'm just going to go to the bathroom.' Sarah said, using her thumb to point to the house.
Chuck broke his trance. 'What? Uhh...sorry. Yeah. Go ahead.' He rambled. 'I'm just going to return Sophie to her parents.'
'Okay,' Sarah said with a smile.
'Okay,' Chuck said, smiling back.
However, they both stood grounded to their spot.
'Yeah...I'm going to go now,' Sarah said awkwardly.
They both turned and walked away at the same time to perform their respective tasks.
The party was a great success. Tyler and Sophie both had a blast, and they were both exhausted. The caterers were cleaning up in the kitchen and getting ready to leave. The number of guests slowly dwindled down until Chuck and Sarah were the only ones left.
Chuck was outside with Bryce cleaning up the garden and the patio, whilst Sarah headed in with Carina to put the twins to bed.
'So,' Carina started.
'Yeah?' Sarah said, watching her friend wrestle an onesie onto her daughter.
'The Maldives trip. Are you free?'
'Umm...I should be. That is, if the CIA doesn't decide to spring an impromptu mission on me.' Sarah said.
'Great. Then I'll confirm the booking tonight.'
Just then, Sarah felt her phone vibrate once, indicating that she had a new text. Pulling her phone out, she read the contents of the text before replacing the phone in her pocket. 'Gotta' go. Duty calls.'
'Go save the world, my friend.' Carina joked.
Sarah laughed at her friend's antics. 'See you around.'
One Week Later
Bartowski Residence, 8pm
Chuck finally got home after working overnight the previous night. Walking into his apartment, he threw his keys into the bowl and jumped straight into the shower.
He found that he couldn't really focus the past week. He'd spent a lot of his time thinking about Sarah. I mean, it wasn't like he hadn't seen her around before, but the encounter they had at the party was just...different. It was different than before.
When he came out of the shower, he found that he had one missed call and that it had gone to voicemail. Grabbing some orange juice out of the fridge, he pressed the 'play voicemail button.'
'You have 1 message.' There was a brief silence. Mr Bartowski, this is the Child Protection Services Centre. We have Sophie and Tyler Larkin in custody now. As their guardian, we ask you to come collect them as soon as possible. Thank you.'
Re-dialing the number, he found that the line was busy. Searching up the address of the Child Protection Services centre, Chuck grabbed his keys and rushed out the door.
Sarah had just finished a week long mission in Milan. Carrying a large duffle bag, she walked out of the departure hall in search for a taxi. She couldn't wait to get back to her apartment – her muscles ached of fatigue, and she craved a long, warm, bubbly bath and lots of sleep.
She was half way to the taxi stand when her phone began vibrating. Stepping to one side, she dropped her heavy duffle bag on the ground and reached into her pocket and pulled out her phone. 'Hello?'
'Ms Walker?' The person on the phone asked.
'This is Kristin Woods, a caseworker from the Child Protective Services centre. I am calling about Sophie and Tyler Larkin.'
Sarah was confused. Why are they calling about Sophie and Tyler? Bryce and Carina are perfectly capable parents.
'I'm sorry. I just zoned out a little there.' Sarah said, placing a hand on her forehead. 'Yes? What about the kids?'
'We have Sophie and Tyler in custody now. As their guardian, we ask you to pick them up from our centre as soon as possible.'
'What?' Sarah said in a worried voice. 'Why do you have them in custody?'
'I'm sorry, but I am not allowed to disclose such information across the phone. I will explain everything to you once you get here.'
'Okay...' Sarah said hesitantly as she began pacing back and forth around her duffle bag. 'Uhh...whereabouts are you located?'
'131 East Union Street, Pasadena.'
'Okay. Thanks. I'll be there soon.' Hanging up her phone, she hoisted her duffle bag onto her shoulder once more and hurried towards the taxi stand.
Sarah stepped into the Child Protective Services Centre and looked around, unsure of where she was supposed to be.
The receptionist looked up from her computer. 'Hi ma'am. Can I help you?'
'Uhh...yeah.' Sarah said, walking over to the receptionist's table. 'My name is Sarah Walker, and I'm here for Sophie and Tyler Larkin.'
'Okay. Hold on a minute.' The receptionist typed something into her computer. Then, standing up, she walked out from around her desk. 'This way please.'
They went up a couple of floors then walked down a couple of corridors. Looking around, Sarah was bewildered at how big the place was. And contrary to what she thought it would be – white, cold and unwelcoming – it was a rather nice place.
The receptionist finally came to a stop. 'Here. Your caseworker will be with you shortly.'
Peering into the room, she found Chuck sitting on a couch with his eyes half closed and Tyler and Sophie both fast asleep in his lap. Walking into the room, she set her duffle down by the door.
'Chuck?' She said in a quiet voice.
His eyes snapped open. Blinking a couple of times to get them to focus, he looked up and found Sarah standing by the door. 'Sarah? Why are you here?'
'I could ask you the same thing.' Sarah said.
Easing the twins off his lap and carefully placing them on the sofa, making sure not to wake them up, he stood up and walked towards Sarah. 'I got a call about the twins.'
'Me too.' She snuck a glance at Sophie and Tyler. 'Do you know what happened? Where are Carina and Bryce?'
'No. No one's told me anything. And I've tried calling them both, but neither of them picked up.'
Before Sarah could say anything, a voice at the door interrupted her. 'Mr Bartowski, Ms Walker, Ms Woods will see you now.'
Chuck walked into the caseworker's office with Sarah trailing closely behind him.
The caseworker looked up from her laptop. 'Please take a seat,' she said, pointing at the two chairs in front of the desk.
Chuck, being the gentleman he was, pulled out a chair for Sarah and waited for her to sit before he did so himself.
Shutting the laptop, the caseworker turned to look at the pair in front of her. 'Hi. I'm Kristin Woods. You can call me Kristin. I'll be your caseworker for the time being. I would like to start off by expressing my condolences for your loss.'
'Wha-what loss? I'm really confused here. Can somebody update me?' Chuck said in a jumbled mess.
Sarah knew it was not going to be good, so she braced herself for the worst.
Kristin let out a sad sigh as she lowered her eyes. 'I was hoping I wouldn't have to be the one to break it to you, but Carina and Bryce Larkin were involved in a car crash this afternoon. The driver of their car was drunk at the time of the crash...and unfortunately...' she paused as she sucked in a breath, '...they both passed away.'
Sarah let out a gasp as her hands immediately flew to her mouth. She leaned forward as Chuck leaned back in his chair, trying to contain the shock and control his emotions.
'I'm really sorry.' Kristin said sympathetically.
Sarah, having been through spy training, was able to control her emotions better. Choking back her tears and putting on a façade, she removed her hands from her mouth. 'What's going to happen to Sophie and Tyler?' She asked.
'It is the reason I have brought you two here.' Kristin started. Chuck held back his tears and sat back upright in his chair.
'Has Bryce and Carina ever talked to you about their guardianship arrangement?' She asked.
'Yes.' Chuck and Sarah answered together.
'Carina told me she had put me down as the twins' guardian...' Sarah started.
'...and Bryce told me he had put me down as their guardian.' Chuck finished.
Looking at the pair sitting in front of her, Kristin realized they'd both only been told snippets of their friends' guardianship arrangement. 'What you have both said is partly true. Bryce and Carina have named you two as joint guardians of their children.'
'Joint guardians? So as in together?'
'Yes Mr Bartowski.'
They both sat in silence, shocked at what they'd just found out.
I barely know him. Sarah thought to herself. I've only seen him around a couple of times...heck, how are we going to raise two kids together?
Bryce. Buddy. Chuck thought to himself. What's happening?
'Now if you're not comfortable with it – as in you don't think you want to or are able to take on the responsibility, I ask that you take it into much consideration. After all, it's two children's lives here we're talking about – '
'No.' Chuck said, looking over at Sarah, who gave him a small nod. 'We'll do it.'
Sarah didn't know why she just nodded her head. But it was Sophie and Tyler. She loved them with every fibre of her being and would do anything for them.
'Are you sure?' Kristin asked.
This time, they both nodded simultaneously. 'Yes.'
'Okay.' Kristin said as she picked up a pen and jotted something down in the folder. 'Great. Now for the logistics. Children adjust best in their own environment, so I would suggest you both move into their house – as hard as it may be - to take care of them.'
After a lot more talking and a bunch of paperwork, Kristin deemed Chuck and Sarah 'free to go'. Standing up, they shook hands with Kristin in turn as she handed them both a name card each. 'Here's my number. If I can be of any help, please let me know. Now if you would just wait outside my office for a couple of minutes, someone will be here shortly to bring you back to Sophie and Tyler.'
Upon exiting the room, Sarah found that she could no longer keep her composure anymore. Although she was still one of the best spies on the CIA, ever since Carina got married and had the twins, she found that she was no longer the cold-hearted, emotionally stunted spy she once was.
Leaning up against the wall outside the caseworker's office, she felt a few tears slip down her cheeks. Seeing Sarah cry, Chuck felt his eyes brimming with tears as well. Moving closer to her, he hesitantly put his arms around her. Feeling her lean in, he tightened his grasp on her and pulled her in for a hug.
'It's going to be okay.'
A/N: Hope you guys enjoyed, and any reviews would be much appreciated! (: