SAVING CHARLOTTE

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Five Dollar Bill

Alex POV

Charlotte

She was the only thing running through my mind. I was still pissed after everything that happened last night. I was pissed that I wasn't there for her, pissed that she didn't call me to give her a ride home. I was pissed at those girls who touched her. I was pissed at the trio. Why were they even there in the first place? I leaned back into my chair that I was currently sitting at and took in my surroundings for the hundredth time. It still amaze me how my father got us this far in such little time. I was in my own cubicle at my father's company sending some last minute emails to his clients. Plain desktop with papers stacked unorganized, pencils that weren't sharpened and an empty coffee mug. I hastily rubbed the sleepiness from my eyes that started to water when I yawned.

I balanced a barbie pencil that Charlotte got me a while back in between my nose and upper lip and kicked my feet up onto the desk stretching my legs even though there was barely enough space for that.

Grant told me a lot about those three guys. I don't remember everything he informed me, but I do remember the words "delinquent" and "trouble maker" and if I'm correct "assholes."

I've never actually seen them do anything bad since I hardly ever go to school these days but I do trust Grant's words, even if it's all rumor talk. I know those types of people and the guys automatically fall into that category. So why were they at Charlotte's house? I know for a damn fact that they weren't returning a book to her.

That's one thing about Charlotte. She is the worlds worst liar and she knows it. It's a wonder how Grant can't see right through her lies.

My phone vibrated against my pocket pulling me out of my thoughts. I fished for my phone in hopes Charlotte texted me.

Dad:

Before you leave the office, make sure you send Samuel the attachment I emailed you a couple of days ago...... then go straight home.

There's my other problem.

Samuel.

I did a little spin on my chair contemplating whether or not if I should send the email.

"Fuck it."

I printed out the email sending Samuel a quick text that I have some papers to drop by at his house. But first I need to stop by the house. Immediately I pulled out my Marlboro pack and popped a cigarette in my mouth swirling it around. The smell of nicotine wafted around the small room and a lady at the front desk coughed sending me a cold glare. I let out a small smirk flipping her off.

The sweltering sun was blazing down on me as soon as I walked outside. As I yanked my truck door open and drove out of the parking lot I thought of all the things I can say to Samuel. That bastard couldn't even get to the phone for an emergency. I've never really liked him if I'm being honest. Don't get me wrong, he's a respectful man full of pride. Maybe too much pride. He never really caused any problems for me and he helped out my father a lot. I respect him for that and for Charlotte.

I thought back to the first day when I met Charlotte a year ago. My Dad and me needed money to keep a roof over our heads, a basic problem in today's world. Charlotte and Samuel were walking out of a pawn shop while my Dad was on the streets practically begging for money. I gripped the steering wheel, sharply turning a corner just thinking about it.

Pathetic

My Dad had so much pride and he lost his dignity on that street. I remember me yelling at him to get up, to stop embarrassing himself.

*Flashback*

"Dad sit the fuck down, we don't need their damn money."

He ignored me and leaned against the brick wall rubbing his eyebrow.

A couple walked by us laughing at some paper they were holding. My Dad quickly scrambled up to his feet shoving a sign into their faces, begging for a dollar.

"Please I need the money for my son."

"Dad," I hissed, roughly pulling his arm back. I said a quick apology to the couple and shoved my Dad against a pole.

"What the hell Alex? I had them right there dammit."

"Did you not hear a damn thing I said. I'll get a fucking job. You don't have to be out here on your knees like an ass. Have some respect for yourself." I rubbed my hands against my pants feeling the heat burning my skin.

He shook his head, shoving me backwards. "What you need to do is let me handle the problems and go to fucking school. Yeah, you think I didn't know? You skipping school and shit, I'm doing this for your benefit!" He poked me hard on the chest before turning away from me. How did he know about school?

I sat back down and roughly pulled out a flower from the ground putting the stem into the corner of my mouth. Just then the pawn shop next to us opened with a Man and a girl walking out.

His daughter?

He had his arm wrapped around her neck whispering something into her ear. The girl face was pale and her eyes swept the streets with an unreadable expression. I let out a scoff when I looked more closely at the guy. He had on polished black shoes and a fancy suit that stretched across his chest whenever he adjusted his arm around the girls neck. She flinched every time his hands grazed her cheek.

Rich people.

My Dad eyes lit up as the two walked towards us. The mans phone went off making him abruptly stop pulling the girl to a halt. The girl snapped her heads towards her father and her hand flew to her stomach.

"Wait here" he said.

She gave him a slight nod and watched him as he went back into the pawn shop talking excessively into the phone. The girl pulled her hoodie sleeves over her fingers and kept her gaze towards the ground. She glanced at me and blushed when she caught my eye and quickly looked away. Her eyes trailed to the cardboard my Dad held in his hand, as he anxiously waited for the man to come out, and furrowed her eyebrows.

What was she thinking?

The girl hesitantly took a small step toward us while glancing into the pawn shop. She quickly ran towards me and held out a five dollar bill. I stared dumbstruck at her outstretched hands not really knowing what to do. Do I take it?

She gestured her hands wanting me to take it. I shook my head and looked up to meet her penetrating brown eyes which narrowed back at me.

"Take it." She threw the bill onto my lap and quickly ran back to her spot just in time because her Dad walked out.

"Sir, can you please help us out." My dad stood up pulling me along with him. I tried to pull my arm away but he only tightened his grip. I ground my teeth together itching to pull out a cigarette to replace the harmless flower.

"Me and my boy are in a really tight spot. I will- we would be so fucking grateful if you will please spare us some money."

The man turned towards my Dad and didn't even try to be discreet as he scrutinized him. I frowned and looked over towards my father. He had on a nice pair of washed jeans and a white button down shirt with the sleeves rolled up. Something crossed the mans face but it was gone as quick as it came.

"My name is Samuel. Samuel Ellison." He held out his arm towards my Dad, his watch glistening in the sunlight. My Dad eagerly grasped Samules hand giving it a firm shake.

"My name is Xavier and this is my boy, Alex." He nudged me forward and I gave Samuel a curt nod. He flashed me a bright smile before turning to the girl who had been staring at the ground the entire time.

"This beauty here is my daughter Charlotte. Show some manners and say hello."

"Hi." Charlotte's voice came out soft, very shy and quite. Her father scowled and placed his arms around her neck again.

"Well Xavier, I'm actually short on a business partner. Why don't you come down to my office and I'll see what I can do for you.

I snapped my heads towards Samuel squinting my eyes at him. He wouldn't offer a job that easily? My Dad and him quickly went into conversation about some boring shit as Charlotte and me trailed behind them. I glanced at her trying to make eye contact but she wouldn't budge. Finally I held out the five dollar bill she gave me.

"I don't think I'm going to be needing this anymore."

**End of flashback**

A car honked at me causing me to lose my grip of the steering wheel and I slightly went off the road. I rolled down my window, sticking my hand out of the car giving the driver the finger.

"Watch it fucker!" I angrily turned a corner the tires screeching in the process. I never liked the bastard. He may have helped what ever little family I have left but I hate how he treats Charlotte like shit. Okay maybe not that bad, I know he loves her. He told me she was the only thing he had left after everything that had happened to his wife. I'm just mad at how he sometimes put his job at top priority instead of his daughter.

"I love her so much. I'll do anything to protect her."

That's what he told me and I believe him. Who wouldn't want to protect her? Right off the bat I felt like I needed to protect her from this fucked up world. I smiled at the thought. She's my best friend, even though she is fifteen. If anything I see her as my sister and I'm her protective brother. Last nights occurrence came rushing back in. I'll kill those girls.

Finally, I reached home parking into the drive way and noticed the two teens- that were arguing with each other- at my doorstep. What where they doing here?

"Charlotte? Grant?"

I rushed over towards them shoving Grant out of the way to stand in front of Charlotte.

"Hey! That was totally uncalled for."

"Shut up."

"Shut up", Grant mimicked. I sent him a hard glare daring him to say something else. When he didn't I let a satisfied smirk slip from my lip. Charlotte cleared her throat looking everywhere but my eyes.

"Grant get what you need so we could leave."

My face fell. She wasn't here to talk to me. I'm so stupid. Charlotte started to walk away but didn't get very far.

"Oh no you don't." Grant grabbed her arm dragging her back to me. "I didn't waste my time coming here. Man up and say what you have to say"

Charlotte let our a huff shooting daggers towards Grant.

"Why don't both of you come in for a while to have a talk." I didn't miss the look Grant gave Charlotte.

"Sure."

I moved the door mat to the side picking up the key to the house and shoved it into to lock. My house was nothing special. Basic living room with basic couches with a basic TV. The coffee table had a mug that was tipped over with last nights coffee spilled all over some papers. My school books- which I never used for my homework that's due Monday- were on the ground giving the place a homey look. Yeah right.

Charlotte took her usual spot and Grant sat on the floor pulling my books onto his lap.

Lets see who will apologize first.

*****

Charlotte's POV

Say it. Just say it.

Yeah well easier said than done. We've been sitting in the living room for five minutes and the word "sorry" hasn't been said from either of us. Grant has been the only one talking, asking questions about math. We really must be that awkward.

"So is this hard? Like, do you think the work will be easy. Is the homework hard?" Grant shut the text book that he found and kicked his leg out in front of him.

Alex picked up the book, placing it back on the coffee table and crossed his ankles.

"I wouldn't know.....I don't do the work."

"Right."

1 2 3 4 and.....

"Okay guys, just say the damn word already! I'm getting tired of asking these stupid math questions."

"No one asked for you to stay here" I snapped.

"Who was going to walk you home?" Grant threw his hands up in the air. Such a drama queen.

"You walked here alone?"

I let out a quiet groan and finally mustered the courage to face Alex. His deep green eyes stared back at me with disbelief etched onto his face.

Oops.

"Charlotte, how many times do I have to tell you. These streets are dangerous. Both of you shouldn't be walking alone around here."

"It's bright outside and Grant was with me."

"Don't drag me into this."

Alex stood up walking towards me while I coward into the couch.

"I don't give a fuck if it was bright outside or if Grant was with you. Why can't you just listen to me?"

No he didn't.

Who the heck does he think he is? I wrapped my arms around my stomach attempting to clam down. I wasn't here for another fight. Everywhere I go I always somehow end up stirring up some type of drama. Everything I do is always wrong and never right.

Did the monster tell you that?

"I'm sorry."

Silence

"What?"

"I shouldn't have acted the way I did last night, you were just trying to help and I was being a bitch about."

Stop lying to yourself.

In the corner of my eye I can see Grant covering his mouth with his hands trying to hide his smile. What a dork.

Alex cleared his throat clearly not expecting my apology.

He thought you were going to start an argument.

I hummed in agreement mentally smirking. I almost wanted to laugh out loud at his expression, loving every second of it. It's not everyday you see the Alex Stone at a loss of words.

"I'm sorry too."

I raised an eyebrow waiting for him to continue but he didn't. "Are you serious?"

He pulled me off the chair and squeezed me into his side. My face was muffled into his shirt that smelled like nicotine. I leaned against him letting him carry my weight as I snaked my arms around his waist. His fingers brushed my tangled hair away from my face giving him better access to look into my eyes.

"Hey I really am sorry. As much as love and care for you I really have no right to intrude."

"I-"

"No let me finish." he cut me off and lifted my face towards him when I looked away. "I don't know why I got so upset but I did.....actually no, that's not right. I was upset because of your damn Dad."

I tensed at the mention of that monster. This was not the direction I wanted this conversation to go. I forcefully laughed trying to get rid of the pain that exploded across my chest. Automatically horrible flashbacks went trough my head like a never ending film.

Stay focused. Don't let it show.

"Don't worry, I'm not taking it out on you. In fact I was actually planning on going over to your place to give Samuel some papers. I'll talk to him then."

I froze feeling my throat tightening. Terror washed over me, the hairs on my back raising.

"What?" I chocked out. I felt paralyzed to the ground. I wanted to step away from Alex, to run but my feet wouldn't allow me to do so. I was beyond terrified. I tried to take a deep breath to calm myself down before I go into a frenzy. One, deep breath, two deep breath, three deep breath. It's gonna be fine. This isn't going to be the first time Alex and the monster would hang out, I just need too calm down. Nothing is going to happen.

"Charlotte? You okay?" Alex voice was filled with concern.

I nodded my head not fully trusting my voice just yet.

"On your way can you drop me off? I don't really feel like walking home"

Calm down. Tell him you're fine.

I opened my mouth to say.... I don't know. What was I suppose to say?

But before I could get a word out, there was a loud knock at the door causing us to all freeze.

"Alex, it's Sammuel."

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