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A Tangled Web Chapter Eight: Things Lost

Title: A Tangled Web Chapter Eight: Things Lost
Fandoms: Cold Case
Author: tyhyin
Pairings: Brogan Cooper/Charlotte Cooper, Sean 'Coop' Cooper/Ronald Turing
Disclaimer: I don't own Cold Case or the episode 'Forever Blue', this is just for fun.
Summary: Charlotte Cooper is a woman trapped by religion and love.
Spoilers: None unless you haven't seen 'Forever Blue'
Ratings: PG-13
Authors Note: Comments=Love

Chapter Eight- Things Lost

Charlotte Cooper is a woman trapped by religion and love. One weighs down on her whereas the other lifts her up. She remembers when she soared, when the love she had for Brogan and the love he had for her were wings on her back. When Brogan still left roses on her desk at the hospital and kissed her every time he left the house even if she were still asleep. Things that showed her he thought about her. She remembers the first years of their marriage and smiles. Brogan was handsome and charming then in his uniform with his hair combed neat. She could never resist that uniform. They moved into a little house near her parents, Brogan made a swing for the backyard saying "Our son is gonna wanna have a swing set." Charlotte planted roses and made lemonade. That is how the first three years of their marriage went. Brogan would go to the station in his freshly starched uniform and fix things around the house and she would garden and cook.

She remembers explicitly the night Sean was conceived. It was on ordinary night, like all those preceding it. Brogan came home and the moment he stepped in the door she noticed his hair was out of place. A stray curl edging over his forehead and she reached up to brush it away. Her hand fell to his cheek of its own accord and she saw his eyes saturate with lust. Before sex was a thing calculated, a thing done when they had time. Passion was allocated its time frame. This was not. She remembers how Brogan's hands found her waist and she shivered. When he kissed her then it felt as if he was reaching inside her and searching for something. Brogan drew back and she slid her hand from his hip to his arse making him grin. His uniform shirt was open at the top and a tuft of blonde, almost transparent chest hair was peeking over at her. How she loved his chest hair. Brogan huffed and picked her up his arms overlapping as they pressed her close to his chest. She wrapped her legs around his waist and gasped when she felt his hardness press against her groin.

He walked them upstairs as she peppered his check with kisses. In their room he threw her on the bed and stepped back. She sat waiting, thinking how if he got his cuffs out she would go wild. Instead her stared at her as he removed his shirt. He was built as a man should be. Muscular shoulders, firm muscle and hair everywhere. She licked her lips as his hands went to his belt buckle. He removed his pants without ceremony and kicked off his shoes. Socks be damned. All of a sudden he was stood before her his underwear tight against the hard outline of his cock. Charlotte felt overdressed. Unbuttoning her blouse as fast as she could she let it fall from her shoulders. She got off the bed, stood before Brogan and let her skirt pool at her feet. Kicking it to the side she reached behind her back and released the clasp of her bra. She held it in place as she removed her arms. Then she threw that to the side also. Brogan groaned as she walked forward. His eyes flickered from her face to her breasts and back again. When she could feel his breath on her she hooked her fingers around the elastic of his underwear and pulled down. His penis sprang free bobbing up and down, alert and pulsing. She stepped out of her knickers and pressed herself against him. He kissed her again as he walked them backwards to the bed. He laid her down gently, with reverence almost. Brogan dropped to his knees, one leg either side of hers.

A smile grew on Charlotte's face stretching at the corners and from above her he mirrored it. He kissed both her breasts, light as a feather as he lowered himself so they were flush against one another. Charlotte turned her head pressing her lips to his jaw and nodded, she was ready. Brogan slid in. There, right then with her eyes rolled back into her head and Brogan grunting as he grasped the sheet under her was the best sex she would ever have. Subsequently it would also be the last time she would have sex with her husband for another ten years. The day she told Brogan she was pregnant everything changed. Oh, he was ecstatic why wouldn't he be he had always wanted a son but gradually things changed. He started taking night patrols and he stopped fixing things around the house. Worst of all he stopped kissing her before he left for work, that one stung the most. He had always made time for it before. Her pregnancy was a normal one, her stomach grew and her hormones flared. All the while Brogan changed in more and more small but significant ways, significant to her anyway. He doted on her, stood her mood swings but she knew his mind was elsewhere. After nine months she gave birth to the most beautiful baby boy she had ever seen in a hospital room so white it blinded her to open her eyes. Brogan missed it, he was out on patrol. Her mother was the one who squeezed her hand, her father the one who paced outside. That day thirty seven years ago set the tone for the rest of their marriage and their sons childhood.

Sean was a beautiful baby, she remembered looking at him and wondering if he was what cherubs looked like. With his blonde curls and pale blue eyes he fills her heart. If not for him she would never have survived, her marriage would never have survived Brogan's drastic change. She felt as though her heart was slowly being siphoned of all the things that sustained it. For the first few months, when she needed him the most Brogan did switch back to day patrols. But Sean was never a loud child so he was soon went back to doing days as well as nights. As Sean grew older, she and Brogan grew further apart. He would go to the station in the morning, sleep in the afternoon and then go back to the station at night. They fought endlessly, she would cry and Brogan would end up sleeping on the couch but nothing was ever resolved. They fell into a rut that formed itself around Sean. Brogan said he was working so much because they needed the money. Charlotte told him that they didn't need it at the expense of him. It didn't change anything. But despite all this, years later Sean will tell her that he had a happy childhood. His memories full of smiles, laughs and ice cream at the park. For a short period whilst Sean was teething, Charlotte worried that Brogan was having an affair. There could be no other explanation but sensibility won out and the thought left her head as angry as it came in. She still loved him as fiercely as she did when they were newlyweds.

Charlotte misses the days when she was Sean's world. Brogan like their moon, only visible a certain amount of the time. One day when Sean was in nursery he came out waving a piece of paper at her. Smiling as she remembers how he wouldn't show it to her until they got home. In the kitchen he hung up his little coat and backpack on his hook near the door. Charlotte acted impatient to make him giggle. When the paper was revealed as they knelt in front of the coffee table she tried to freeze her smile. It was a drawing of Sean and her holding hands in front of their house. The colours strayed out of the lines and the house was out of proportion but she had never loved a drawing more. With a "Do you like it Mama?" her eyes went to her son again and she promised him she loved it. Over the period of that afternoon she persuaded Sean to copy the original but add Daddy this time. As Sean got his wax crayons and started Charlotte folded the first drawing carefully and put it in her handbag for safe keeping. So she could look at it whenever she wanted. Later when Sean showed her the finished drawing with Brogan added she made a big thing of sticking it to the refrigerator with magnets.

When Brogan got home later that afternoon he noticed the drawing without any prompting. Charlotte watched as his eyes widened and he grabbed little Sean into a bear hug like no other. Whilst he was facing her looking over his father's shoulder, Sean brought his chubby pointer finger to his lips and mouthed 'shhhh' around it. She winked back, she had asked Sean if he would keep the first drawing a secret, just between them. He had looked ponderous for a few seconds until he kissed her cheek and said "Ok Mama." That night before Brogan left for his night shift he kissed them both twice, even to the extent of waking Sean up to do so. Charlotte would never regret asking Sean to lie to his father because for that night she felt the wings on her back unfurl slightly. Also at the age of thirteen Sean would tell her that the memory of that night is his first real memory of his father. Sean doesn't remember the first drawing but she thinks it is better that way and to this day that first drawing still resides in her handbag. Edges softened and limp from countless unfolding and re-folding it is still there and there it shall stay.

It was when Sean was around seventeen that Brogan decided he needed to have the 'talk' with him. Personally Charlotte thought she could have handled it better and with less embarrassment. Brogan still on the same work schedule had come home one afternoon and took his chance. Charlotte had just stood perplexed at the kitchen sink until she realised what was going on then she had giggled to herself and turned back to the washing up. If she recalls right it was an hour or so later that Brogan emerged from Sean’s room, face red and definitely embarrassed. He looked at her sheepishly and she had held back her 'I told you so'. Time had been kind on them both. She had fewer wrinkles than the women she knew and Brogan still had his musculature. Sean was developing that same musculature. Ever since he hit puberty she watched him grow into a man, one she is proud of. Sean is all the son she ever hoped for polite, handsome and very charming.

Sometimes he reminds her of a young Brogan when she was his priority not the force. Brogan slowly worked his way up the ranks in Philly PD with his constant overtime and good performances he was promoted to Lieutenant. She knew she should be proud, she remembers feeling proud at first but then dawned on her that it was just another thing that would keep him away from her and Sean. Brogan made her a thousand promises. Little ones that made a small 'snap' when he broke them to big ones that cracked so loud the house shook. He promised he'd be careful out on patrols, promised that he'd bring home milk and eggs, promised he'd come to Sean's seventh birthday party. Disappointment became a staple in the Cooper house. Now years later she regrets that she didn't think to ask that he promise to always love her.

Sean was sixteen when he first brought a girl home for dinner, a Leanne Rizzo from his Biology class. Charlotte remembers looking at her over the dining room table and thinking her a wannabe prostitute. Nowhere near good enough for son. But Sean was smiling and holding her hand on top of the tablecloth. Brogan was practically beaming next to her. He asked the usual questions designed to ascertain the girls intentions but it was just for show. He had already deemed this girl worthy. Leanne on her part was polite and answered each question with a smile. Charlotte spent the whole meal clamping her mouth down around question she knew Brogan would not appreciate her voicing. At the end of the night Leanne kissed her and Brogan on the cheek before going out the door with Sean so he could take her home. In hindsight she thinks she may have been a little harsh with initial judgement. But she never got the chance to get to know Leanne. Sean broke up with her a week later.

After that he brought home a steady stream of girls, each and everyone lasting only two weeks. Brogan saw it as "He's a real man Charlotte, he's having his pick of the woman." She couldn't believe he had said such a thing to her, it was another wedge driven into the foundations of their marriage. If she hadn't practically raised Sean by herself she would have fallen for it too. She hadn't brought him up to think of woman like Brogan does but what he was doing was bad in itself. She made a point to look, look as best she could without producing a magnifying glass and donning a deerstalker, but Sean didn't find the girls he brought home attractive. Some he didn't even like. It near made her weep to see so plainly the evidence that Brogan didn't know his son at all. Whereas Sean may have liked some of the girls he brought home it was never in the way Brogan thought.

Sean was popular in High School. He was a batter on the school baseball team and always had a girl on his arm. But he was a mans man, he thrived for the attention of his team mates. You didn't have to be Sherlock Holmes to see it, you just had to actually look. He had a team mate over at the house more than he did his girlfriends. It was when he was a Junior that it became one team mate that was always over, one boy with whom Sean was rarely seen without. He was Ronald Turing and he was a pitcher. They used to practice in the back yard and despite being smooth and precise on the field during games they were like newborn foals every Wednesday and Sunday. All long limbs and nervous of there footing.

Had she been a different woman, a different mother, had her father not bought their groceries from the black owned stores she would have told Brogan of her suspicions. But she didn't think what she saw blooming between her son and Ron was wrong nor what that meant about them was wrong and she knew what happened to boys Sean’s age once there families knew. Brogan would send Sean away to one of those camps to be 'healed' even though he isn't ill and she'd wear he throat raw screaming over the matter. Brogan can be cold when he wants to be. Her son was falling in love with his best friend. It was Ron that came up with Sean's nickname, Coop. That she had pulled a face at and told him "I named him Sean for a reason, Ronald." and the poor boy had turned as crimson as his hair and replied "Yes Ma'am."

But like a snowball it grew as more and more people heard it and soon it was all people addressed him as. Some not even knowing his given name. She never called him Coop, he was named after her father and so that is what she called him. Brogan grasped the nickname with a vigour Charlotte had never seen him exercise. One day Sean appeared at her shoulder as she was making an apple cobbler and whispered her name. Sean hadn't whispered her name since he was little and it was always when he was so upset he was scared to talk louder lest his emotions escape with the sound. She had turned to find him red eyed and his chin resting on his chest. God was with her that night, Brogan was at work.

Her arms were around him before anyone could blink and she fell into the tone she used to soothe him as a boy "Oh baby boy what's wrong?" and Sean had cried into her chest, fingers clutching at her back getting caught in her apron strings. When he his crying had slowed enough so he could breath without sobbing she lifted his head and asked "What is it sweet pea?" and he had told her. He had told her that he was in love but no-one could ever know, he told her that whenever he looked at this person his heart took flight and he fumbled with whatever he was doing. He mentioned their smile, their auburn hair, the pattern the freckles on their face made. She had asked him if this person knew and he had said "No, they'd kill me if they knew Ma." Although not dramatic it was not true, Ron would never hurt Sean. She was so tempted to tell Sean that Ron would never do that but instead asked who it was. Sean’s eyes darted from the clock on the wall to the fridge behind her and to other things around the kitchen apart from her. His eyes were going so fast she feared he'd make himself dizzy so she said "It's Ronald Turing isn't it love?" Sean’s eyes jerked back to hers as if they were set in a sling shot. They were wide and the colour was rapidly leaving his cheeks. A yes then she had thought. She smiled and kissed his forehead, and said turning back to the apples bubbling on the stove "Your grandfather was once arrested for being at a black rights march you know. He said it wasn't right to treat your fellow man the way the blacks are treated, I wanted to go with him so much but your Grandmother knew the violence the police unleashed on the marches and wouldn't let me. She had to go bail him out and when he got home he was covered in bruises and had a cut on his forehead. We both found it ironic that I fell for a policeman." The brown sugar she had added to the apples was all but dissolved when she had turned to her son and asked him if he understood her.

It would be best for them both if they knew where the lines stood clearly so she had explained "I believe God made all of us the way he intends us to be, faults being part of a perfect whole and it is he who dictates what is and isn't wrong about a person. God made you so therefore he made you to love Ron and just maybe he made Ron to love you." Sean had cried some more, in relief and had gone to leave for his room but she had stopped him with a hand on his arm. She had kissed his forehead and whispered into his golden hair "I wont tell your father." To this day she has never told Brogan, their conversation and its topic being just another thing she kept from him in order to protect Sean. It was a few days later that she overheard Ron call Sean, 'Seany' and saw them kiss, she had smiled and walked back to the kitchen with the tray of refreshments still in her hands. Coop was only a nickname for everyone else to use. She would go back up stairs and conveniently cough on her way to Sean's room and say "Would you boys like some juice." pretending not to see that Sean’s shirt was untucked and Ronald’s hair was stuck up at odd angles. Sean had always been good at reading her so when she smiled he knew what it meant.

She watched proud as Sean graduated High School with good grades due to Ronald tutoring him and joined the Police Academy. He continued to live a double life simply because there was nothing else he could do. She hated the world for its small mind and quick to raise fists. Sean had formally introduced her to Ronald in his role as ‘boyfriend’ one dinner when Brogan was at work. She had kissed the boy on the cheek and treated him like a son. Charlotte knew that it was difficult being homosexual and even more difficult to find love. So to her that the two things had come together so beautifully was a miracle in itself. Brogan was promoted to Sergeant and Charlotte felt him drift further away. As if they were both on an ice flow already smashed into small pieces and the tide was pulling them in opposite directions. She had no energy to fight it anymore. Brogan had stopped being the man she married years ago.

It was during his second year of the academy that Charlotte saw her sons heart break in two. He and Ronald had managed to stay together and keep themselves hidden from people who would wish them harm. Ronald had trained as an accountant and was doing well for himself. But one day he came home to the word ‘faggot’ spray painted all over his driveway and fear was placed in his heart. A fear so huge it near pushed Sean out. However love persevered and Sean chased away the fear. Ronald stayed at there house a lot that year. Charlotte thinks he was scared to be alone and she remembers hugging him a lot. Everything was conspiring against them and she imagined that it must be how God feels, so full of love for the people he sees but powerless to stop any evil befalling them. It is just the way of the world. In the end fear engulfed Ronald and he moved away. She is sure he told Sean where but he never followed. He spent too much time in his room and barely ate. Brogan thought he was just heartsick over the most recent girl he had been out with. Charlotte could have killed him, grabbed a steak knife and jammed it into his chest when he said “It’s all right Char he’ll be onto a new girl soon, don’t you fret.“ All right they hadn’t told him but they hadn’t hidden it either, he was blind out of choice. It took a month but eventually Sean had mourned enough and he got back into the ‘life’ he had set out for himself.

Then he had met Jimmy. They were assigned partners and Charlotte was sure Brogan would see the love that shined from Sean whenever he spoke of him, but he remained blind. She looked at them together and saw two pieces of a whole. She saw Gods plan. Ronald was a stepping stone for Sean, a stepping stone to Jimmy. But Jimmy was married and had children. The cruelty of it was only quenched when she remembered that she could not know all of Gods plan. That she may never see the end of it. She wasn’t told or there to see it but she knew by the look of Sean that his heart had been filled instead of broken. Jimmy is still married though and that was most certainly not good. It isn’t perfect but they have their niche. Then after the baptism Brogan was in a foul mood and he wouldn’t tell her why. All he would tell her is that whatever it was that put him in the mood was being dealt with. She had never heard more ominous words in her life. It felt like a dark black thing in the pit of her stomach that was just waiting for its turn to deal pain on those she loved. The dark fear is looming over Sean and she doesn’t know how to stop it.
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