I Never Needed You

"That is no way to talk about your family," Sophia chided as she walked out into the hallway to greet her guests. "Welcome to Indiana. I'm sorry that we couldn't give you a little better weather for your trip."

"It's okay. It's just a little mind-numbing shock for us," Jacob grinned as he walked over to Sophia and gave her a light hug. "It's good to see you again."

"You too. Please, come meet the rest of the family. Regardless of what Charity has told you, we don't bite, I promise."

"Says you," Charity muttered darkly as she grabbed Christian's hand and followed everyone into the family room.

"They can't be that bad," Christian said as he lightly kissed her on her temple.

Right in front of her brothers and father.

"Which one of you is Christian?" Derek demanded from the chair that he and Kim were currently sharing.

"That would be the one currently holding her hand you moron," Anthony said, rolling his eyes as he got off of the couch.

"Well excuse me if I can't see anything!" Derek snapped as he pushed Kim gently to the side of the chair so that he could get up also.

"Now then, why don't you follow us Christian, it would seem as if we have a few matters to discuss," Anthony drawled as he locked eyes with Christian.

"Don't you dare Anthony Michael. Stop trying to act like you're part of the mafia," Charity demanded with hot eyes as she glared at both of her brothers.

"Well if this isn't a little awkward. Boys, sit down and play nice. Jacob, Nichol, please excuse my family. They can be a little, well, misguided sometimes," Sophia apologized with a sigh. "Please sit down. Would you like anything to eat or drink?"

.0.0.

Charity nervously watched her family interact with the Sinclair's. Soon enough the questioning was going to start and she was going to have to end up yelling at her brothers. She was of the firm opinion that the only person who had the right to make Christian feel bad was herself. She didn't need them doing it for her.

"Stop fidgeting," Christian whispered into her ear as he grabbed her hand and softly caressed it.

"I can't help it. They're going to attack you soon," she told him, her eyes never leaving her brothers figures. Sure, right now they were laughing over some stupid joke that Mike was telling them, but just wait. They were going to attack.

"And I'll answer any questions that they have when it comes to that. They deserve to have their say. I'd do the same thing if it was Diana."

Taking her eyes off of Anthony, Charity looked at Christian with a frown. "You're completely crazy, did you know that?" she asked him incredulously. "I don't know anyone who would voluntarily go in to some deserted room with a group of Italian's to be questioned."

"What can I say, I'm special," he laughed as he brought her hand up to his lips and softly kissed them before he turned back to the conversation that was going on around them.

"No kidding," she muttered with a shake of her head. This had to be one of the oddest nights of her life.

"So, Christian," Derek drawled suddenly, instantly putting Charity on alert. "I've heard that you have an interest in cars...care to see our collection?"

"No," Charity answered quickly, in-sync with Christian's "yes".

"Let the man decide for himself, jeez, sis," Anthony grinned as Derek and he got up from the dinning room table, motioning for Chris to do the same.

"Don't worry, I'll come back in one piece," Christian joked as he placed a soft kiss on her head before leaving the room in her brother's wake.

"Dad," Charity whined, looking at her father with pleading eyes.

"It's either now or later," he shrugged with an apologetic look in his eyes. "Might as well let them get it out now."

"You're no help!" she huffed angrily, already knowing that her mother wasn't going to help either. It was a conspiracy. She was sure of it.

"Sorry, sweetheart," Alexander shrugged.

"Sure you are."

"Don't worry, Char, I'm sure that Chris will be fine," Diana reassured her with a smile.

Absently nodding her head, Charity looked up at the ceiling and wondered if anyone would notice if she suddenly slipped out to the garage.

Of course they would.

"So what do you have planned for tomorrow?" Sophia asked her, causing Charity to give up her escape route.

"I was thinking about bringing them out to snowboard. I have some paying back to do for my surfing lessons," she smirked. Chris was going to be hurting after she was done with his lesson.

"Oh, lord. Just go easy on them," Sophia laughed. "I know how you get. You're going too aren't you Kim?"

"Of course," Kim laughed, her blue eyes dancing mischievously. "I've never been one to skip out on the fun, now have I? I think that we've managed to talk all of our high school friends that are in the area right now to come too, it should be interesting."

"Did you finally get a hold of Sammy? I talked to him last week and he said that he might be able to make it, but I haven't heard from him since."

"Yeah, he said that he'd be at the lodge around ten-ish with his group of friends from college. I think that he has a new girlfriend too that I want to bug him about," Kim grinned. "He really likes her."

"You are so mean to your cousin. I can't see why he wants to put up with you," Charity laughed. "We have a nice group of people going then."

"At least a million of us. Tony and Derek are coming along with their friends too I think," Kim nodded as she took a sip of the white wine that was in front of her.

That was one thing about the St. Clair house, wine was never far from your grasp. And age was never a matter as long as you didn't over-indulge in it.

"Ugh. Is Mike coming?" Charity asked, her nose wrinkled up in disgust at the though of Derek's crazily obsessed friend.

"I don't think so. He and Derek had a few words in regards to you a couple of weeks ago, and I don't think that they've talked since then."

"As bad as this sounds, good," Charity sighed happily.

"Why you talking bout me?" Mike interrupted suddenly, causing Charity to scowl at him.

"If you'd listen to the whole conversation, you'd realize that there is more than one Mike, jeez," Diana laughed as she lightly hit him over the head.

"Yeah, Mr. Nosy!" Charity echoed.

"Hey! I'm not nosy, I'm just naturally inquisitive," Mike protested, pouting just a little.

"That's the same thing, isn't it?" Kim laughed at him.

Amazingly enough, it seemed as if everyone got on wonderfully with each other – including Christian. Which is why Charity didn't understand why her stupid brothers had to kidnap her boyfriend. They liked him, she could see it in the way that they talked to him.

"What is taking them so long!" she huffed as she looked up at the clock. They had been gone for almost an hour now.

.0.0.

"What'd they say to you?" Charity asked as soon as she got a free moment with Christian. Which was hours later.

"Nothing. We came to an understanding and that's all that you need to know. They're just looking out for you Charity," Christian told her softly as he continued to pace the library that she had drug him into.

"Why didn't you tell me?" he demanded suddenly, causing Charity to frown.

"That my brother's are idiots? Or that they care about me?" she asked slowly, not following his line of thought.

"About the baby. Why didn't you tell me that you were pregnant?" he demanded, his blue eyes flashing with the pain that he was feeling inside.

"I-wha-who-? I'm going to freaking kill them!" Charity growled as she looked away from Christian. She had been planning on telling him after the holidays, but of course her brothers just had to take away that chance.

"Regardless, why didn't you call me and tell me that you were pregnant with my child?" Christian asked, sounding too calm for Charity's liking. If she was in his shoes she would be demanding – loudly.

"You said that you didn't want me any longer and that nothing was going to change your mind. I figured that a baby would change it either," she shrugged, not looking at him. Regardless if it ended up being for the better or not, Charity still had a hard time talking about the baby. It had been a part of her that she had disparately wanted, but had lost because she had been too stubborn to see that she couldn't have everything that life offered her.

"Charity – I – I don't know what to say. It would have changed things. I would have never let you go through anything alone. You've seen the kind of family that I come from, that would have been my child. I would have wanted a part in it's life," Christian told her.

"Yeah, but would you have been able to deal with me at the same time?" she asked him quietly. "I was scared that you would feel compelled to feel affectionate to me, and I didn't want that. It doesn't matter now anyways, we're together and the baby isn't here."

"What happened?" he asked softly, moving so that he could sit in front of her on the coffee table.

"I lost it. Stress, malnutrition, not enough sleep. It died because I was too stubborn to realize that I couldn't handle everything that was thrown my way. That maybe I'm not as strong as I lead everyone to believe," she told him, tears in her eyes. "I wanted it so bad. Just so I could have that small piece of you in my life for always. And because of me, I lost it. I'm so sorry."

"Shh," Christian soothed as he moved to sit on the couch beside her, drawing her into his lap so that she could cry. "It's okay. Shh."

"Why aren't you mad at me?" she asked as the tears started to soak the front of his shirt.

"Because I know you, and I know that you would have never kept something that important from me unless you truly thought that it was for the best. I'm sad that you thought that you couldn't come to me and tell me, and trust me to help you and be there for you, but I understand why you were of the opinion that I wouldn't care. I wasn't very nice to you the last couple of times that we had talked."

"I love you," she said softly, hiccuping through the last word.

"I love you, too. Please never be scared to tell me anything again."

"I promise."

"Let's go to bed," he told her as he got up from the couch, her still in his arms. "Where do I go?"

.0.0.

"I thought that you said this was like surfing!" Christian groaned sometime the next afternoon as he once again found himself on his back in a bank full of snow.

"I never said that, you assumed that," Charity smirked as she came to a perfect stop on her own snowboard right in front of him. "Up you go," she instructed as she held out her hands for him to take.

"You are a sadistic brat," Christian groaned as he took her offered hands in his. And pulled her down to rest on him. "But this makes up for it."

"Does it now?" she grinned as she gave him a light kiss on the mouth just as she stuck a handful of snow down his back.

"Shit! Cold! Cold! Cold!" he cried as he squirmed around, sitting up in an attempt to get the now melting ice out of his jacket.

Laughing, Charity got up with an ease that made Christian narrow his eyes. He could do that without falling on his ass if he really wanted to.

"I'm going to get you for that," he warned her, pointing a finger in her direction.

"Only if you manage to get up in the first place," she grinned, then looked past him as someone shouted her name.

"You ready to make a run yet?" Kim asked as she came to a perfect halt in much of the same fashion that Charity had, making Christian narrow his eyes once again. He was a poor sport, he had no shame in admitting it.

"Would you be okay if I left you with Nikki while I go to the bottom of the hill? She'll go easier on you anyways," Charity grinned down at Christian.

"Oh, I didn't see you down there," Kim laughed. "I should have figured though. You've been down there all day," she said teasingly.

"Just wait until I get you on a surf board. We'll see who laughs then," Christian smiled.

"Nope. No thanks!"

"Anyways, feel free, but you better hope that I don't decide to show you how well I can really snowboard," Christian told Charity with a smirk as he somehow managed to get up without falling. If only he could do so without windmilling his arms and looking like an idiot at the same time, he'd be getting somewhere.

"I'm shaking in my boots," Charity laughed as she stretched the best that she could with the snowboard being strapped on her feet to give him a kiss.

"I'll be back shortly," she told him with a wink just as her brothers and the rest of their overly large group stopped next to them.

Christian was happy to notice that Mike and Diana hadn't gotten any better than he himself had in the three hours that they've been on the slopes.

"Don't break anything!" he yelled out as Kim and Charity expertly slid down the hill.

"I've never understood how someone so unbalanced can ride a snowboard better than I could," Anthony muttered as he watched his sister.

"That's because she spent every day of her winter breaks here in school, while you decided to go after, errr, other venues of fun," Derek smirked, causing Christian to laugh.

"I don't blame you on that one. Spend enough time on this snow and you might freeze valuable parts of your anatomy off in the process," Christian said with a grimace, suddenly scared for himself.

"Are you kidding, when I first was learning how to snowboard I spent ninety-nine percent of the day on that snow. It was horrible. Especially when they started to defrost," Anthony shuddered at the memory, causing Christian and Mike to look at each other in horror.

Maybe they might just end up going back to the lodge where it was safe, Christian thought.

0.0.0.

"I still can't believe that you fell for that story," Charity laughed later that night as she curled up next to Christian, a blanket thrown over them as she sipped her hot chocolate.

"Hey, it could happen! I mean, snow is frozen ice... you sit on it long enough and you become frozen!" Christian protested as he took a sip of her offered hot chocolate. "And Mike fell for it too."

"You can tell that you guys are from the warm side of the world," Alexander laughed as he continued to rub his wife's feet that had been strategically placed in his lap for just that purpose.

"You act like you've always been someone who lived in the snow yourself," Sophia couldn't help but point out to her husband as she took another one of her home-baked gingerbread cookies from the plate that she had placed on the coffee table.

"Regardless, I never fell for something like that!" Alexander protested with a playful look at his wife as he broke off part of her cookie and popped it into his mouth with a grin.

"Hey! That was mine!" she pouted.

"Gag," Charity, Anthony and Derek all said at the same time as they watched their parents flirt.

"Oh, shut it," Sophia laughed as she gave her husband a kiss.

"There is something that is totally gross about this display," Derek shuddered as he pulled Kim closer to his body. "Make it go away!"

Laughing Charity looked around the room with a smile. Everyone had piled into the main family room with cookies and hot chocolate after dinner. The fire place was crackling in the background and it was Christmas Eve.

"I want carols," Charity decided as she slid from Christian's arms and walked over to the black baby grand piano that was in the corner of the room.

Lifting the lid for the keys, Charity sat down and smiled as she started a familiar tune.

"Silent night,

Holy night,

All is calm,

All is bright,

Round yon Virgin."

It didn't take long for everyone else to join in the singing with her. This had to be one of her favorite parts of Christmas.

"Is there anything that you can't do?" Christian laughed as he walked over to the piano and sat down on the stool next to her.

"I can't surf," she laughed as she leaned her head on his shoulders, her fingers continuing their melody on the ivory keys.

"That you can't," he laughed as he wrapped the arm that was closest to her around her waist.

"Hey! That's not very nice! You can't snowboard," she told him, laughter ringing in her words.

"Eh. I'm still better at surfing," he said, winking at her as his fingers softly rubbed the soft skin on her side.

"Hey! I had to deal with Mom and Dad's lovey-dovey episodes, and now yours! This is getting to be too much for me," Anthony groaned in disgust as he looked over at his sister.

"You need to find someone to love, then maybe you wouldn't have such a hard time seeing this," Charity told him with a pointed look.

"What happened to the last girl? What was her name again..? Stacy, Tracy, Candy?"

"Nah, I think that it was something like Lydia," Anthony shrugged, dragging his hand through his dark locks as he looked away from his sister. He was going to get one of her famous womanizing lectures, and he knew it.

"You don't even know?" Mike blurted out in surprise. "Dude, that's ... well, that's kinda cool."

"Excuse me?" Diana asked him, her perfect eyebrow raised as she stared him down.

"Uh, well, I mean, for him, not uh, for me!" Mike stuttered, a wild, desperate look in his eyes as he tried to figure out how to get himself out of his newest predicament with his girlfriend.

"So, you think that it's cool to be with so many girls that you can't remember their name, huh?" She asked him in a low voice, causing his eyes to widen.

Charity looked at Christian with a frown. What was going on with these two?

"She's just giving him hell," he whispered into her ear, causing her to suppress a shiver. "She knows that his foot is more often then not in his mouth."

"She can really get him going, can't she?" she asked as she looked back towards the couple.

Mike was now nearly sweating bullets as Diana continued to glare at him and question him.

"You should have seen them a couple of weeks ago when he told her that she needed to lose some weight because he almost broke his back carrying her. I thought that she was going to murder him. So did he actually. The next day he brought her a carton full of candy and took her out to lunch and dinner just to make sure that she was eating. It was kind of funny," Christian laughed at the memory.

"They will definitely lead an interesting life," Charity remarked with a shake of her head as her fingers continued their journey across the ivory keys, this time breaking into one of her own compositions that had yet to be placed with any words.

"What's this song?" Kim asked from her place on Derek's lap, her blond hair falling down the side of the chair in a cascade as she tilted her head back to look at her best friend upside down.

"I don't know yet," Charity shrugged with a frown. "I wrote the music a couple of weeks ago, but I'm having a hard time putting lyrics to the melody."

"I like it." Kim told her with a smile. "It kind of has that achingly soft, in love, missing you, you're always on my mind sound to it."

Closing out the sounds of Mike's blustering apologies, Charity focused on the melody and found herself nodding her agreement with Kim. "You're right, it does. This is all your doing," she said with a light laugh towards Christian. "If I hadn't missed you so much, I wouldn't be plagued with a song with no lyrics."

"Should I say that I'm sorry that you missed me? Because I'd be lying if I did."

"Nah. As long as you missed me too," she told him as she lightly kissed him, laughing as she heard Anthony groan.

"None of that!" he instructed firmly.

"Oh, grow up, you big baby," Charity laughed as she ended her song and simply sat at the piano and looked around with a smile.

She really did love the holidays. Every one and every thing that she loved was in this one room. What could honestly be more perfect?

"I love you," Christian whispered as lightly kissed her temple and moved to get off of the stool, holding his hand out for her when he was standing.

"I love you too. You're probably the best thing that has ever happened to me," she said, smiling serenely as she was wrapped in his arms, her head resting against his chest as they slowly started to sway to music that only they could hear.

Nothing would ever change how she felt about this man. He was her everything.

Authors Notes:

Okay, so this chapter is done and for the next one it's the end of the story...so sad. I'm thinking of simply ending it with Christmas day...such a joyous time of the year...perfect for many announcements and surprises!

But...on the other hand, I'm possibly thinking about doing a side story on Derek and Kim...would any one be interested in reading that story?

Let me know!

As always, have happy readings!

Lisa