A/N:Wow, it's been a long time since I've posted anything. I had forgotten how to. hehe

I'm a Big Brave Dog
By Evilevergreen

Summary: [One Shot] Chuckie realizes he is now brave enough to go after what he wants, but in the process of doing so he may end up losing it all.

Lil was furious as she sat on the couch facing the door waiting for her husband to come home. They had gone to bed together that night, but when she woke up, several hours later, she noticed that he was out of bed. This was normal though; he often had a habit of going to each of their children's rooms and watching them sleep. It was an endearing quality that she loved about him. So she had gotten out of bed and went to her eldest child, Marlana's room. When she didn't find him there she went down the hall to their son, Chris' room, but to her disappointment he wasn't there either.

"Please, not again," she whispered to herself as she went downstairs and entered the kitchen. She opened the door that lead to the garage and sighed heavily as she found what she feared. . . Chuckie's car was gone. Lil turned her head slightly to look at the time on the microwave. She found that it was almost two in the morning as she slammed the garage door loudly, before locking it.

She then made her way to the living room and proceeded to wait; as she did she heard someone behind her as a light was switched on. "Mom?" Lil turned around to find her fourteen year old son. "Are you alright? I thought I heard something down here."

Lil cringed, now only realizing how loud slamming the door must have been. "I'm sorry, Chris, I didn't mean to wake you," she told him with a smile. "But you should go back to bed, it's late."

"Okay." He nodded his head and was about to turn around, but stopped. "Uh, where's dad?" he asked.

"Don't worry about your father. Go back to bed," she said to him sternly and Chris said nothing more as he obeyed.

Lil waited almost two hour, in the dark, but she found a way to keep herself busy before she finally heard Chuckie's car pull up into the driveway. She watched the door intensely as she saw it open. "Who the hell is it, Chuckie?"

Chuckie immediately jumped back, not expecting to find his wife waiting on him. "Lil, why aren't you in bed?" he asked as he turned on the lights and put away his keys. He turned back to his wife and as he did his brow furrowed. "What are my bags doing out here?"

Lil crossed her arms over her chest, but remained seated. She then said once again, but slower, "Who the hell is it?"

"Who is who?" he asked as he walked over to pick up his bag which was seating next to Lil's feet, but before he could touch the handle, Lil took his wrist.

"Don't play stupid with me, Chuckie. I'm not blind. Who are you cheating on me with?"

Chuckie's head snapped towards her. "You think I'm what?" His eyes had grown wide, surely he had misheard her.

"Don't make me repeat it," she whispered. His reaction though had given her hope, maybe she had jumped to the wrong conclusion, or maybe, on a more realistic note, he was just surprise that she finally spoke up. She knew this had been going on for years. Him sneaking out in the middle of the night and returning before he thought she was awake.

"Lil," he bent back up and sat next to her on the couch, "I'm not cheating on you."

She wanted to believe him so badly, but she could tell when he was lying. He never made eye contact and he fidget with is fingers. . . like he was doing now. "Just tell me who she is, Chuckie?" Lil had to know who was the woman who was making her husband risk the life he had with his family.

Chuckie's shoulders slumped as he realized he could no longer lie to her and rose his head to look into her eyes. "It doesn't matter anymore. I ended it tonight."

"So you think that makes it alright?" she shouted in a whisper. "Like it erases everything?" She stood up, not wanting to be near him.

"No, of course not." He stood up too. "Look, we're both a little upset right now, okay? So let's just go to bed and talk about this in the morning," he asked of her before reaching out for her, but she slapped his hand away.

"You're not even sorry, are you?" She looked surprised at the discovery. Lil held herself as she spoke, "I bet she dumped you." A smile spread across her face. "I bet she broke your heart and sent you crawling home."

"No," Chuckie shook his head, "I ended it." He placed his hand on his chest. "Me, Lil."

"It was Angelica, wasn't it?" Lil wiped away a falling tear. "You were always putty in her hands."

"It wasn't Angelica!" he yelled. "She's not even in town this week and you know it!"

"Stop yelling," she warned him. "You'll wake Maralana and Chris."

"Don't hide behind our children," he told her angrily. "And stop acting. I'm tired of walking around this lie."

"Chuckie-" she shook her head as she was cut off.

"No!" he yelled loudly, surprised at his own volume, as was she, they both remained silent and stared at each other. Then finally Chuckie continued. "You've known," he began softly. "You've always known. . ."

"Please, don't," Lil begged just as softly. "Don't make it real."

". . . about how I felt about him." He took a deep breath. "And you married me anyway, loved me anyway, and bared my children. . . anyway. " Chuckie feeling a bit relieved with his confession, sat back down on the couch. He crossed his fingers as he rested his arms on his legs. "But do you know why I married you, Lil?"

"Because, I was the closest you could have to him," she admitted weakly. "You married me out of default."

"I would never refer to you as my default choice, but yes," he admitted sadly. "Back then, I married you because of him. I loved you-"

"It's just loved now?" she looked hurt as she asked.

"I love you, Lil," he corrected himself.

"Just not as much as my brother, right?"

"Yes, because I love you more than him." He stood up again and made his way to his wife. He took either side of her face in his hands. "I ended it with him tonight because I finally realized we've hurt you long enough. I was hurting you, when you have done nothing, but be there for me. You are what I want Lil. My life without you means nothing."

Another tear slipped down Lil's face as Chuckie kissed her forehead. "Then I guess you're nothing, Chuckie."

"Lil?" he pulled back and looked at her with a curious expression.

"You've picked the wrong night to dump, Phil," she said her brother's name for the first time in that early morning. "Because today I'm filing for divorce." Chuckie gasped in horror. "I love you, but you can't deny who you are. I thought after sixteen years of marriage, I could change you, but you'll always be in love with Phil and he'll always be in love you." She walked over to Chuckie's bags. "You were right, no more lies, no more pretending." She then picked one of the bags up. "Here. Go back to Phil. Tell him you've made a mistake and that you've finally decided to leave me."

"No," he told her as he made her drop the bag.

"Chuckie, please." She fell along with the bag. Her composure gone as she cried. "I can't live like this anymore. Just wondering when you will be brave enough to do it on your own and waiting for it," her voice cracked, "breaks my heart."

"Lil, you still don't get it." He dropped to his knees in front of her, tears now building within his own eyes. "When I realized that I was in love with you, I wasted no time making you my wife. When I was afraid of the future when it came to the births of Marlana and Chris, you comforted me and told me I would be a great father. When Tommy-" he chocked back his tears, "when Tommy was killed and I blamed myself, it was you that I turned to. You make me feel brave, Lil. You make me feel as if I can do anything."

"Doesn't Phil make you feel that way?"

"No, Phil makes me feel dependent. He wants to make me believe that I need him when I don't," he tried to explain. "Lil, I don't want a divorce, because I was finally brave enough to cut myself away from him, brave enough to set myself free. I am now brave enough to live the life I have always been afraid to live, with you." He placed his hand on her cheek and forced her to look at him. "I thought I wasn't good enough. I thought I didn't deserve you," he scoffed. "I probably still don't, but I want to be what you deserve," he admitted.

Lil slowly began to shake her head. "I don't think-"

"Please," Chuckie interrupted her. "Please forgive me. I am s so so sorry, Lil. Please," he begged.

Lil opened her mouth to speak, but then closed it again, as if debating her words. Chuckie held his breath in anticipation. Then finally she spoke, "No." Chuckie felt his stomach drop. "It's time for me to be brave now," she began. "You have been a part of my life since before I can remember. And to think of a life without you, without Phil, it seems unbearable." Tears slid down her cheeks. "I'm broken," she whispered and Chuckie lowered his gaze. "And the only way I can pick up the pieces, is to find the strength to let you go." She stood up.

"Please, don't do this," Chuckie cried as he reached out for her.

"Get out." The sound was so soft leaving her lips, Chuckie almost missed it. She pushed the bag towards him, before taking a step back. "Just go," she begged.

Chuckie nodded his head, knowing there was nothing more to say. He picked up his bag and headed back towards the garage and as he closed the door to lock it, he heard Lil begin to sob loudly. It took all his effort not to go back in and comfort her, but he didn't have that right anymore. He had made his choice and now she had made her.

He walked over to the car and was about to get inside when he heard the garage door open behind him. "Chuckie!" she yelled out for him. "Don't-" she began, but didn't quite know what she was asking.

It was in that moment Chuckie realized, she would never be brave enough to let him go. And so he would have to have the strength for both of them. "I love you, Lil," he told her gently, before finally getting into the car and driving away.

The End