You're Gonna Miss This by LaraMee

Main Character: Casey Wells

ATF - Future LB

Author's Note: I had to tweak this a little to make it fit the universe and its inhabitants. Based on the Trace Adkins song by the same name.

She was starin' out the window of their SUV
Complainin', sayin', “I can't wait to turn eighteen”
She said, “I'll make my own money and I'll make my own rules”
Momma put the car in park out there in front of the school
And she kissed her head, and said, “I was just like you…
You're gonna miss this
You're gonna want this back
You're gonna wish these days
Hadn't gone by so fast
These are some good times
So take a good look around
You may not know it now
But you're gonna miss this

Nettie Wells sat in the driver’s seat of her SUV, fighting back angry tears. She knew, on a professional level, that her great niece, Casey, was acting just like any other teenager. But, on a personal level, her heart was aching. At sixteen, Catherine Elizabeth Wells was struggling to become her own person. But it was certainly not easy to live through.


“No, Aunt Nettie, I mean it. Everyone one else is going to the party. Why can’t I?”

“For one, not everybody is going. I checked with Buck and he’s not allowing JD to go, either. Now, look, you know very well that if I thought you’d be safe, I’d have no trouble letting you go to this party. But, sweetheart, the Asher family is new to the area, and we don’t know anything about them. Now, if Amy’s parents were going to be home, maybe I’d be alright with you going. But it’s going to be unsupervised and that I can’t approve of.”

“You never approve of anything. You never let me do anything fun, it’s always don’t do this, you can’t do this. I can’t wait until I’m old enough that I don’t have to do what you say, I’ll be able to do what I want. I… oh, I HATE YOU!” Casey cried out as she shoved at the door and slammed it behind her before stomping up the stairs to the high school.

Behind her, Nettie released a heavy sigh. When she had adopted her nephew’s daughter at the age of two, she had known that there would be days that would make her nearly regret her decision. This was one of those days. Watching the teenager disappearing into the school building, she found herself remembering back to the first day Casey had come to live with her.

“Dis my woom?” The tiny toddler with the huge, chocolate brown eyes, had looked up at her with an expression of excitement. She had known only a corner of her parents’ bedroom, if that, where she slept in a thrift store crib, with tattered bedding, with a few, threadbare toys to play with. While Nettie and the others had bought Cate and Michael new furniture, bedding and toys for the little girl, they would soon disappear when the couple would pawn them off in an effort to get enough money for drugs.

“Yes, sweetheart, this is your room.” She reached down and stroked the soft, downy peachfuzz that covered the girl’s head. Her nephew, her brother in law, David’s, son, had simply shaved her bald rather than try to comb her normally thick, brown hair. Michael had fallen in with the “wrong crowd” as a pre-teen, and by the time he was sixteen, he had become an addict. At seventeen he had gotten Cate, Casey’s mother, pregnant. An addict as well, both of them struggled to make a life for themselves and their infant daughter. David and his wife, Elizabeth, had done their best to help the young couple, while Cate’s parents had simply turned their back on the young couple and their granddaughter. Nothing could help the young couple who had become polysubstance users, however. Just before Casey’s first birthday, Cate was arrested for burglary. Michael struggled to manage his addiction and his tiny daughter, but had finally come to acknowledge that he was not well enough to be her father. David had suffered a series of strokes that had left him partially paralyzed just a few months before, which left Elizabeth, in poor health herself, to care for him. Knowing only too well what could happen to a child in the system, she had stepped up and offered to take her great niece.

Things had worked out for the best for Catherine Elizabeth Wells, thankfully. Over the course of the following fourteen years, both David and Elizabeth had passed away. Both Michael and Cate had continued to struggle with their addictions until finally they, too, had been taken. David had overdosed, alone in an alley in Purgatorio. Cate had been shot and killed by police during a burglary gone wrong.

She had adopted Casey by then and managed to shield the young girl from as much of that heartbreak as she possibly could. She couldn’t protect her from everything, she knew that, but she was going to do everything in her power to give her the best life possible.


Casey watched as JD continued to fidget in his seat. They were at one of the fancier restaurants in Denver, but he certainly didn’t seem to be enjoying that fact. The two of them were going to graduate high school tomorrow and he told her that he wanted to make the night special. Frowning slightly, Casey said, “JD is something wrong?”

Jumping at the sound of her voice, the young man said, “What? Wrong? Why?”

She couldn’t help but giggle at his stammering words. “Yeah, what’s wrong? You’re acting jumpier than a mouse emceeing a cat show.”

Blushing furiously, the young man pushed back his thick, black hair. “Ah, shoot, I guess I am. I’m sorry, Case, I wanted to make this night so special, and I’m ruining it.”

“John Daniel Dunne, you aren’t ruining anything,” she assured him as she reached out and took his trembling hand. “But if something’s bothering you, just go ahead and do it, or say it, or… whatever. Just face it so we can get back to enjoying being here. Okay?”

“Yeah, yeah, you’re right… uh… yeah, just go ahead and… say… face… yeah, totally… I… uh…” he continued to stammer, running his fingers through his hair, and continuing to blush. Twice he started to rise, then sat back down. On the third try he managed to gain his feet and stay there, then moved around to where Casey sat. He smiled as he looked down at her, fairly shimmering in a white dress that seemed to change colors wherever the light touched it. Her hair was drawn up in a cluster of curls, held with a silver clasp. He managed to say breathlessly, “You’re beautiful.”

“Uh, thank you? That’s not what has you all tied up in knots, is it?”

“No, no, it’s not…” managing a smile he reached into his jacket pocket as he dropped to one knee. Managing to open the box despite quivering fingers, he held it out as he asked, “Catherine Elizabeth Wells… will you marry me?”

Now it was her turn to find herself in a state of shock. “I… oh, my… John! Johnny… JD! Oh, yes… yes!” She continued to giggle, stammer and blush as he slid the ring on her finger. Holding it out to look at the simple, yet elegant ring, she felt tears streaming down her face, taking her make-up along for the ride. He lifted her to her feet and they embraced, drawing looks from the restaurant patrons around them. Applause broke out, the others wishing them good luck with cheers and shouts.


“Geez, JD, will you stop it already?” Vin reached out and pulled his younger brother’s hand away from his bowtie for what felt like the thousandth time. They were standing before the white, flower covered arbor they had erected in the yard, waiting for the rest of the bridal party to join them. JD looked very handsome in his pearl gray morning suit, while his brother was wearing his dress uniform.

The guests were all seated, Nettie sitting beside Chris, her eyes already red rimmed and shining with tears. Josiah, Ezra and Nathan were also sitting in front, along with Nathan’s wife, Raine. Their oldest, daughter Audrianna, was a Bride’s Maid, while their younger, daughter Kristiana, was their Flower Girl. Their sons, Nathanial and Ethan, were acting as Ushers. Only their toddlers, twins Eden and Aiden, were sitting the ceremony out, between their parents.

On the deck, there was a string quartet, one of Ezra’s gifts to the young couple, playing Mozart. As the music changed, the guests watching as the wedding procession began. First came Kristiana, the kindergartner tossing the flower petals along the white runner that created a walkway between the guest’s chairs. Behind her came Auddie, her dress reflecting the colors in JD’s tie and vest. Next came Beth Aames, Casey’s longtime friend and her Maid of Honor. When they had all taken their places, the music changed once more and the guests stood. Casey walked slowly down the aisle, her arm in Buck’s. Never having known her father, her soon to be father-in-law had come to fill that role when she and JD were children.

Buck was dressed in a black morning suit, his tie and vest matching the gray of JD’s suit. A closer look saw that, like Nettie, his eyes were red rimmed and his dark blue eyes were swimming with tears. Even his mustache was trembling slightly as he struggled to maintain his composure. As they reached the arbor, Buck turned, lifted the short veil that Casey was wearing, and gave her a kiss on the forehead. Taking one of her hands and one of JD’s, he joined them. In a choked, trembling voice, he said, “It seems like just yesterday that I was breakin’ up fights between you kids, and picking play-doh out of the carpet after your play dates. Now, here we are… here you two are… and it fills my heart that you’re taking this step. I wish you both many, many years of love and joy ahead.”

Before she knows it she's a brand new bride
In her one bedroom apartment and her daddy stops by
He tells her it's a nice place, she says, “It'll do for now”
Starts talkin' about babies and buyin' a house
Daddy shakes his head and says, “Baby, just slow down”

Cuz' you're gonna miss this
You're gonna want this back
You're gonna wish these days
Hadn't gone by so fast

These are some good times
So take a good look around
You may not know it now
But you're gonna miss this

“Here you go,” Casey said with a smile as she handed her father-in-law a steaming cup of coffee. She sat down on the chair across from him taking a sip from her own cup.

“Thanks, sweetheart.” Blowing on the cup, he looked around the little apartment. It was small, but neat and cozy. He was the first one to be invited over, the young couple exiling their family from seeing it until they were ready to “receive company”. They had invited him over for dinner, but then JD had been held up at work, leaving him to make conversation with his daughter-in-law while they waited.

“JD should be home shortly.”

“Yeah, I’d imagine. How’s school?” Casey was finishing up her final year of college, and would graduate with a master’s degree in social work. JD had graduated from MIT a year ago, going directly into a full time position from his internship and transferring back to Colorado, where Casey was waiting for him while she, too, got her education. They had married a month ago, in the backyard of the ranch he continued to share with Chris. JD had insisted on having Vin be his best man, so they had scheduled the wedding around Tanner’s leave from the military.

“School’s going great. Dr. Francis feels that I can get hired on as adjunct faculty as soon as I graduate if I want.”

“Sounds good, is that what you’re going to do?”

She shrugged. “I’m not sure. JD and I have been talking, and we’d really like to start a family soon. And heaven knows we aren’t going to be able to raise babies in this little apartment. Then, too, JD has been approached by some big corporations to come work for them out in California. So, I’m thinking I might like to focus in having a home first and then start on a family in another year. I can find work in the field out there, something that I can take a leave from when the babies come. I want three… JD wants four, so either way we’re going to need a lot more room and a lot more income.”

Buck smiled, the thought of grandchildren more than a little enticing. Then he sobered as she continued to map out a future focused on their own family. “Casey, you two are barely into your twenties, you’ve got a little time. Maybe you should focus on being a couple first –“

“Oh, Buck, we’ve known each other since we were five years old! We know everything about one another! What could we learn about one another now that we haven’t known for years? We’ve been talking about this a lot. The earlier we start a family, the more time we’ll have to spend with them. It’s going to be so wonderful!”

Shaking his head, he simply listened as she continued to map out the future she envisioned for herself and JD.


A very exhausted JD Dunne looked down at his even more exhausted wife of just over a year. Casey looked back at him, with the most amazing smile he had ever seen. Amazing because she was the most awesome person he had ever known, and amazing because she had just given birth to their first child. The nurse came and handed their swaddled infant son to her, and they both gazed on him with rapt expressions.

“Oh, my god, JD! He’s beautiful!” Casey gushed.

“Now, he’s our son, he’s handsome, not beautiful,” JD argued.

“Oh, whatever, just look at him,” Casey replied.

“Yeah, he’s pretty amazing, isn’t he?”

“The most amazing baby ever!”

“Now, I’m not sure you can call someone amazing less than an hour after they’re born,” Buck joked from where he sat nearby. He came over to look down at the new family and smiled as he took in the tiny, pink face that looked out from the blankets. “But, then again, he is pretty darn special.”

“About the most spectacular infant in the world,” Nettie said as she joined them at the bed. Reaching out to gently touch the tiny bundle, she said softly, “So have you two settled on a name?”

As it had been since they had first met as capricious five year olds, JD and Casey hadn’t been able to agree on anything, and that included their baby’s name. Andrew, Brandon, Carson, Dennis, Edward, Frank, Gregory, Harper, Ian, Jeremy, Kevin, Liam, Marcus, Noel, Olson, Paul, Quincy, Riley, Seth, Thomas, Uriel, Victor, Wesley, Xander, Yancy and Zebulon had all been bantered about with no winner in sight. Their only point of agreement was that they wouldn’t have a “someone Junior” or a “Little someone”.

“Yes, we talked about it last night,” JD said.

“Because there wasn’t much of anything else to do,” Casey said in a teasing tone, a tired smile on her face. “There’s one person who’s meant so very much to both of us all of our lives. Someone that we can name him after without anyone referring to him as “Little” or “Junior”.”

Nettie’s expression changed as she found the young couple looking at her. “Wait, not me? I mean a little boy named Annette?”

Another giggle from Casey who finally said, “No, not Annette Joann. We’re going to name him Anthony Joseph.”

“If that’s okay?” JD asked when Nettie looked as if she might fall over.

“Okay? Oh, my, oh, I don’t know what to say!”

“How about yes?” Casey asked her aunt.

“Yes? Of course, yes! Oh my, yes!”

Five years later there's a plumber
Workin' on the water heater
Dog's barkin', phone's ringin'
One kid's cryin' and one kid's screamin'
And she keeps apologizin'

He says, “They don't bother me
I've got two babies of my own
One's thirty-six, one's twenty-three”
Huh, it's hard to believe

But you're gonna miss this
You're gonna want this back
You're gonna wish these days
Hadn't gone by so fast

These are some good times
So take a good look around
You may not know it now
But you're gonna miss this

You're gonna miss this
Yeah, you're gonna miss this

“Tony Joe Dunne, you come down here right now, young man!” Casey called up the stairs, where her oldest son had just disappeared.

“No Mama! Don’t want to!”

“Young man, I’ll give you to the count of three! One… Two… “ She held back a smile as she saw the little boy slowly climbing down the stairs, his head hanging low. “Thank you for minding me. Now, did you take your brother’s car?”

“No, Mama,” dark hair falling into his dark eyes, he shook his head adamantly.

“Then where is it?”

“I dunno…”

“Anthony…” she said with a note of warning in her voice. Just then the doorbell rang and she sighed. As she moved toward the door she said, “You need to go find his car, now, young man.”

“I dunno where it is!” Tony cried out, angrily.

“Young man, I’m giving you a time out,” she pointed to a small chair tucked away in a corner of the living room. Her stern expression let him know that he had better not argue the point. It didn’t mean he would be happy about it. His short legs walked stiffly as he stomped across the room and plopped down on the chair.

The doorbell was just beginning its second ring when she opened the door. And older man stood on the porch. He was dressed in a dark shirt and pants, a baseball cap on his head. There was a cartoon plunger on the front, with “Samuels Plumbing” across it. “I’m sorry, the boys…” She trailed off, shaking her head.

“It’s fine, Miss. I’m Clay Samuels, you called about a stopped up drain?”

“Yes, in the kitchen, it’s this way.” She led the way through the cluttered little house to the sink that had refused to drain after she had rinsed off the dishes. “It’s a mess, I’m afraid.”

“Not the worse I’ve seen, Miss, shouldn’t take me long to get it up and runnin’.” He nodded as he sat his toolbox carefully on the counter, doing his best not to disturb the stack of dishes sitting there.

Slipping around him, Casey pushed the dishes back, “Sorry.” Before anything more could be said, a shrill cry erupted from the other side of the table. She turned and moved toward her younger son, straining to get out of his high chair.

“Mama!” Came another cry for attention from the living room.

“Two more minutes, young man,” Casey said in a firm tone as she wrangled the young boy out of his chair. As she did her nose wrinkled as she detected the reason for the baby’s tears. She turned toward the plumber and said once again, “Sorry.”

“Miss, seriously, they don’t bother me at all. Just expressing their opinions.”

“Well, I wish they wouldn’t be quite so vocal,” she sighed again as the phone began to ring.

“I get it!” Tony announced happily from his seat.

“You get up from that chair young man, your time out starts all over again.” Her words were responded to with a screech of anger.

Grabbing the handset, she pitched her voice loud enough to be heard over her two boys. “Hello?”

“Hey, Case, I’ve gotta work late tonight.”

“You what!? JD, we have dinner plans… Emma’s coming over in an hour to babysit Tony and Brayden… we’re supposed to meet Angi and Josh at –“

“Honey, I can’t help it. We ran into an emergency—“

“JD, you design video games! How much of an emergency can you have?”

“Casey, I promise, it’s important or I wouldn’t do this. Look, why don’t you go ahead out with Josh and Angi? If we get this wrapped up, I’ll meet you. Is that Bray crying?”

She let out a long suffering sigh. “Yes. Fine, I’ll see you later,” She replaced the handset, grimacing as Braydon chose that precise second to stop crying long enough to vomit down her shirt. Excusing herself with another apology she went off in search of a change for both herself and the cranky little boy. She returned a few minutes later, wearing a different blouse and two happy little boys. Just as she entered the room, barking erupted from beyond the back door.

“I’ll let him in!” Tony announced as he bounded across the room.

“Don’t you dare, we have company and you know Bob will make a nuisance of himself.”

“But Mama! Bob wants a come in!” The crying began again and was quickly echoed from the little boy in her arms.

“Okay, I think it’s naptime.” She said in a tone of exasperation.

“No Mama! I’m not tired!”

“Well, I am, young man. So let’s go.” Again, her no nonsense tone told the boys that this was not a time to argue. It didn’t stop the tears, however.

It was another ten minutes before she returned to the kitchen. By that time, the plumber was just wrapping up his work. “Well, Miss, you’ve got a working sink again.”

Managing a smile, Casey said, “I appreciate it, thank you! I’ll get my checkbook.”

“No, Miss, no charge.” He said with a smile.

“But… I mean I appreciate that, but I can’t let you –“

Raising a hand, the man said, “What this time gave me is worth a lot more than what I’d charge.”

Frowning, Casey said, “I don’t understand.”

“Miss, I’ve got two boys of my own. Not little ones any more. One’s 36 and the other’s 23 years old. Both of them are gone and out of the house. Kevin, the older one, lives in New York with his wife and their three little girls. Mark, the younger one, is studying in Indiana. My wife passed last year, and I get to see the boys once a year if I’m lucky. What’s goin’ on here? This just took me back to a time when my life was just darn near perfect.”

“Perfect? With crying and screaming and dogs barking, and –“ She paused when she saw that he was holding a wet, grime covered toy car. “Toy cars in the drain… that’s perfect?”

Clay Samuels smiled, but it was a wistful expression. “Yes Miss, that’s what I’m sayin’. Believe me, one day you’re gonna look back on these days and wish you’d had more time with those two while they’re young.”

“I’m… I don’t know what to say, Mr. Samuels. I’m sorry that you don’t have your family around… that you lost your wife. But still…”

He cleared his throat, working to mask his emotions. “Miss, you just take good care of those boys, and make sure you make a lot of good memories with them, promise?”

She smiled, “I promise.”

He smiled, “Then, that’s all the payment I need.”

Casey walked him to the door, thanking him more than once. Closing the door after he drove off, she turned and leaned against it, thinking about his words. She found herself thinking back to her own childhood, and how much she had enjoyed her life with her Great Aunt. She thought about the times she had enjoyed with the man who was now her husband, along with the six other men who had become as much her family as his. And she thought about the joy she had found in sharing those good times with her sons. She smiled and rubbed her belly; in a few months there would be a third child in their growing family.

Just then a cry came from upstairs, barking erupted from beyond the backdoor, and the phone began ringing once more. Patting her belly now, she said, “Just remember, Casey, you’re gonna miss this one day.”

The End

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July 27, 2013