Charlotte's lying in bed, slid up against Cooper, combing her fingers back through his hair. She gives it a little tug, getting his attention. "She's gonna be ok, Coop."
Cooper turns his head sharply towards her. "That's what you said last time."
She sighs. He does have a point. She said everything was going to work out for Betsy and that's the opposite of what's happened. She brushes her thumb against his cheek, sliding her hand upwards and running her fingers through his hair again. "She's tough."
"That's what you're going with? She's tough? So because she's tough, it's ok that both her parents died? So because she's tough, it's ok that her foster brother abused her? So because she's tough, it's ok that she's without a family—again?" He pauses. "That's like saying, because you're tough, it's ok that you were raped."
"Sorry. I'm sorry. I didn't mean—I'm sorry," he says, stumbling over his words.
She shakes it off and presses her body against his. She closes the gap between their lips and her nails graze his cheek as they kiss. She breaks from him and settles back down. She slips her hand in his and interlocks their fingers.
He turns his head and looks at her, their faces an inch apart. "Betsy's just a kid."
She nods. "She'll get her happy ending. I did," she says, glancing down at her hand that's intertwined with his, to take another look at her wedding ring.
The room falls eerily silent for a couple minutes and then he shifts and looks at her suddenly.
She raises an eyebrow. "What?"
He just looks at her, one of his eyebrows slowly creeping upwards and his smile growing.
"Spit it out, Coop."
"Let's adopt Betsy."
She blinks and coughs. "Excuse me?"
"Let's be her happy ending."
"We've had this conversation before."
"Nothin' has changed, Coop."
He sighs and nods. "Yeah, you're right. We should just let the state handle it 'cause that worked out so well the first time."
She glares at him. "I get that this sucks, Cooper, but us adoptin' Betsy isn't the solution." She gets off the bed and disappears into the bathroom.
He sighs. He knows she's right, but he also knows how long it can take for older children to find good homes—that is if they even do.
She opens the bathroom door and looks at him. "I thought you didn't want to adopt Betsy?"
She's not wrong. "At first I didn't, but I don't want to see her get bounced from one family to the next. She needs stability."
"And you really think we can provide her with that stability?"
He nods. "I do." He pauses. "Plus, this is what Dell would have wanted—for one of us to take responsibility of his daughter and keep her in the family."
"We've been married less than a week, I'm just startin' to truly feel like myself again, and we don't know the first thing about bein' parents in general, much less to an eight year-old who's been through as much as Betsy has."
"Parenting is a trial and error kind of job, Charlotte, whether the kid is eight or eight weeks."
She doesn't want to talk about this anymore, so she says, "I'll think about it."
He twists his mouth. "You're not just saying that to shut me up, are you?"
"I'll never tell." She laughs and gets off the bed again. "I'm gonna go get a snack. You want somethin'?"
"Ok." She goes into the living room and walks behind the kitchen divider.
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Warning: If you don't like Mason or that story-line, I suggest not reading this story because he will become a bigger part in later chapters.