Taxis, Charlotte decided, were just as temperamental as aeroplanes and twice as crafty. She clutched at the door handle as her driver swerved around yet another corner at breakneck speed. There were too many cars and the roads, they were far too narrow. It was a sheer bloody miracle that anyone managed to get from A to B safely in this country. Her driver, he had told her that his name was Jimmy, hammered the heel of his palm against the centre of the steering wheel and yelled at another car as they sped past. Charlotte twisted in her seat to look out of the rear window and mouth a quick apology to the driver of the other vehicle, but they had already left him far behind. She turned back and gripped the handle again. Oh, she was so very out of her depth. California had been sold to her as a paradise, with serene locals, clean air and relatively quiet streets. So far, it seemed she needn't have bothered flying all the way there from England, because the hustle and bustle was exactly like that of London.
Thankfully, someone seemed to have heard her prayers and thought it best to answer them, as within the next few minutes, the roads cleared and they began to steadily climb a hill. The road twisted around and around, the trees beginning to clear as they gained altitude. Eventually, they reached the top of the hill and Charlotte was gifted with the sight of the city, only just beginning to wake up under the grimy, lilac softness of a California morning before they continued on the winding road. She settled back in her seat, now that they had slowed down considerably and she didn't feel like she was back on the aeroplane that had brought her there.
It took a little time after that for them to reach their destination, but eventually the squat, yellow taxi pulled up outside the Walt Disney Studios with a squeal and a jerk. Charlotte huffed and smoothed down her hair, which had been perfectly done up when she'd left, but now it looked quite similar to a bird's nest. Her driver hopped out and opened the door for her. She thanked him as she dug into her handbag for the right cash to give him.
"Walt Disney Studios." He stated proudly, rocking back and forth on his heels. He was a young man, barely older than eighteen, and proud of a job well done.
"Thank you." She said again as she finally fished out her purse. With the money stowed carefully in his pocket, Jimmy gave her a quick salute.
"You here on business?" He asked, which she would've found quite nosey if he weren't so young.
"New job." She told him simply and Jimmy nodded.
"Me too." He replied, patting the roof of the car fondly. Charlotte raised her eyebrows and tried to disguise her derisive laugh as a cough.
"You don't say." She said, then felt unkind, but the young man didn't seem to have noticed her sarcasm. He gave her a wide, toothy, American grin then a cheery wave.
"Well, goodbye now." He called, before sliding back into the driver's seat and slamming the door shut. She heard him turn on the radio full blast before the tyres began to spin and he tore off down the road. Charlotte watched him leave, wincing as he rounded the corner without slowing down. With a sigh, she pushed her handbag straps further onto her shoulder and readjusted her grip on her small suitcase. She looked up at the banner-like sign that was spread across the entrance to the lot and squared her shoulders. New country, new job, new me, she thought for the umpteenth time that day. It had become her mantra and had served her well, especially as a reminder as to why she was there, and that it wasn't all dizzying aeroplane rides, strange new food and taxi drivers that wanted to kill her. She walked up to the entrance to the lot where a security guard was sat inside a metal cubicle, a red and white striped traffic barrier next to it. She knocked politely on the glass window and it slid away so that the old, whiskery security guard could poke his head out.
"Hi," She started uncertainly. She could feel her confidence waning under the reproachful stare of the guard. "It's my first day and I'm not sure where to-"
"First building on the left." The old man squawked, jabbing a crooked thumb over to where a small, square building sat. Charlotte nodded, though she felt slightly taken aback by his abruptness. She thanked him and he raised the security barrier. She had to duck a little to get under it safely but soon she was on her way again. Charlie looked back over her shoulder as the wizened man disappeared out of sight, the glass window sliding shut with a blunt 'thunk'.
God, she was nervous. In all her life, she'd never worked anywhere so renowned, so accomplished and well, famous. When she'd gotten the telephone call three days ago telling her that she'd got the job and they wanted her there as soon as possible, she'd been beside herself with joy. She simply couldn't believe it. This place was so alien. The food, the people, the scenery, it was all so big. There was far too much to take in. She'd arrived yesterday and had been immediately swept away by taxi to her hotel, which was quite close to the Studios. It was the cheapest accommodation she could find but she would only be staying for a short while, a month at the most. It wasn't exactly the nicest place in the world, but it had everything she needed. Her small suitcase bumped against the side of her leg as a little reminder that they had invited her, so she must be good enough. The suitcase carried an all manner of pens, pencils, pastels and charcoals, some paints and a simply ridiculous amount of paper. She was there to draw, to paint, to bring their story to life. She was going to be a part of something huge, which was both exhilarating and frightening. But it was too late to turn back now, she'd already reached the doors of the building.
She pushed open the heavy, brass-framed door and looked around uncertainly. It was a reception area, with a long marble-topped desk stretching from one end of the room to the other. There was a row of chairs on either side of the entrance and, apart from a single man, they were empty. She strode up to the desk, determined to exude an air of grace and capability, her kitten heels clacking on the tiled floor. She reached out and gently rang the bell with the tips of her fingers. Almost instantaneously, a young woman appeared. She gave Charlotte a toothy, white smile.
"Good morning and welcome to the Walt Disney Studios. How can I be of assistance?" Charlotte smiled back at the woman and put her suitcase on the ground by feet.
"Good morning. I'm here to meet..." She paused and realised she didn't know who she was looking for. She frowned. "Hang on." She muttered before digging around in her bag for the letter she had received. It contained all the details she would need about her stay and work placement, including who she would be meeting. She glanced down at the paper in her hands and quickly found what she was looking for. "Don DaGradi?" She read aloud, then looked back up at the receptionist. She smiled and gestured behind her to the row of chairs.
"Don, your new artist is here." She called sweetly and Charlotte turned to find she was addressing the singular figure sitting in the waiting room. He jumped from his seat as if electrocuted and bounded over to her excitedly.
"Hi, Don DaGradi, pleasure to meet ya." He introduced himself, holding out his hand to her. Don appeared to be in his early fifties and he wore a grey suit with a thin black tie. A pair of thick, square glasses sat on the end of his nose and he certainly seemed friendly. "You must be-"
"Charlotte Johnson-Liddle, yes, hello." She replied smoothly as she took his hand and shook it firmly.
"Hello and good morning!" He said cheerfully, that American enthusiasm coming out in full force. "How was your flight?" Charlotte pulled a face and gave him a wry smile.
"Uneventful, thank goodness." She replied. She wouldn't mention the taxi until later, she wanted to make a good impression and moaning about her driver would not do. "I'm not the biggest fan of flying." She admitted.
"Ah, well, hopefully you'll be working here for a while, so you won't have to fly anywhere just yet." When Charlotte smiled, he jerked his head towards the huge doors and smiled back. "C'mon, I'll show you around." He said, and they were off. The pair waved a quick goodbye to the receptionist as they passed through the doors and then Charlotte was following Don as he meandered down the centre of the lot. "It's at this point that I'm obliged to give you a little speech that comes with the tour, if you think you can stand it." He joked, his hands shoved into his jacket pockets. Charlotte noticed this and realised just how relaxed it was there. Don seemed totally at ease, even enough to try and make her laugh. She really had fallen through the looking glass. Every other company she'd worked for had been very prim and proper.
"No, no, I'm terribly interested!" She said quickly, and she was. She knew very little about the history of the Studios and was hungry to learn. She smiled cheekily. "Go on, give your speech." She said, finding she liked the laid-back atmosphere they had there. Don laughed and clapped his hands together.
"Well, then." He said, holding his arms open wide and waggling his hands grandly. "The Walt Disney Company started in 1923 in a small office in Los Angeles. It was there that Walt Disney, and his brother Roy, produced a series of short live-action and animated films." Charlotte raised her eyebrows, happily surprised.
"I didn't know that." She told him. Don gave her a pointed look.
"Aren't you glad you took the tour?" He teased, making her laugh. He adopted his hyperbolic tour guide voice again and continued the spiel. "During the next fourteen years, many changes took place at the Disney Studios. Mickey Mouse was born in 1928, followed by Pluto, Goofy, Donald Duck and the rest of the gang." He jabbed his thumb over to a colourful poster on the wall of a building, conveniently displaying the characters he had just mentioned. "After the release of the critically acclaimed 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarves'," He nudged her arm to stress how impressive he was being and she laughed again. She very much liked DaGradi, and was glad she and him would be working closely. "We realised we needed to expand. So, with the profits from 'Snow White', Walt began designing a studio built specifically for making animated films." He gestured to a building on their right. "Over here we have the Animation Building, where the animators and the artists like yourself work. Across the street here, we have the Inking and Painting and the Camera buildings, where the artwork is completed and photographed." The buildings were all sleek and new, but they also held a standing that usually only came with buildings that were much, much older. It was as if they knew how important they were. "Next to Camera, in the Cutting building, the postproduction process happens." DaGradi span around so he was walking backwards and pointed down at the ground. "Here's a little tidbit, many of the buildings are linked together by an underground tunnel, so even in bad weather, the process isn't disrupted." Charlotte was impressed, this place really was as exciting as people said. "And here we are, the main building." Don announced proudly. Charlotte looked back at the lot they had walked down and shook her head in disbelief.
"Incredible." She breathed, taking everything in with wide eyes. "It's absolutely marvellous." She looked back at Don and was surprised to find him grinning with excitement. She didn't have time to ask what he was smiling about because Don's next question knocked her feet out from under her.
"Wanna go meet the man himself?" Charlotte's eyes grew even wider. Yes! Yes, of course she wanted to meet him! But then the manners that her mother had drilled into her took over and she cleared her throat.
"I don't want to trouble either of you." She said, but Don waved a hand dismissively.
"It's no trouble. Walt always wants to meet new people, especially folks who're working on the pictures." He insisted. Charlotte eyed the building in front of them, trying to suppress the excited smile that was threatening to take over any second.
"Alright then." She decided finally and Don gave a happy cheer. Charlotte chuckled at his clowning and followed him up the steps and into the main building. Soon, they were in yet another office area. A short, pretty secretary was sitting behind a desk, talking animatedly on the telephone, but she put it down when she saw them enter.
"Hiya, Dolly." DaGradi greeted her. The woman smiled sweetly and stood from her seat.
"Hi, Don." She replied, before her eyes turned curiously to Charlotte. DaGradi stepped aside and introduced her with a grand gesture.
"This is Miss. Charlotte Johnson-Liddle. She's our new concept artist. Gonna help the boys put their music to pictures." He explained. Charlotte smiled at the young woman as she shook her hand and Dolly smiled back.
"Charlotte, it's so nice to meet ya." She greeted her, just as enthusiastically as Don had. "Can I get you a drink? Tea? Coffee? Anything?"
"No, thank you. I'm fine." Dolly grinned at her, leaning her elbows on the desk then resting her chin on her palm.
"So, where are you from?" She asked conversationally. Charlotte was about to answer when Don pointedly cleared his throat.
"Dolly, if you could tell Walt we're here." He told the young woman, raising his eyebrows at her. Immediately, Dolly straightened up.
"Right, gotcha." She said, tutting at herself for getting distracted. She smiled at them again before tottering off to fetch the man himself. Don chuckled at Dolly's attitude before remembering something important.
"Oh, before you meet him, just gotta tell you, the guy hates being called Mr. Disney." He told Charlotte, who looked confused.
"Then what should I call him?" She asked. Don lowered his eyebrows, his eyes narrowing.
"Well, Walt." He said, as if it were obvious. Her complete look of shock surprised him. Charlotte's eyes were wide, her mouth hanging open, something her mother would have said was very unladylike.
"I couldn't possibly-" She began to say, but a loud cough interrupted her and then a man suddenly came striding into the room.
"You must be Charlotte." He boomed as he met her and Don in the centre of the room. Charlotte gazed up at the man in wonder. Never, in all her life, had she ever thought she would meet Walt Disney himself.
"Yes." She managed after a moment's pause. She took his offered hand and tried to keep her feet on the ground as he vigorously shook it. "It's terribly nice to meet you." She glanced quickly at Don before adding, "Walt." It felt odd addressing someone by their first name after only having just met them. Again, she thought of what her mother might say and felt even more uncomfortable, but she kept up her smile as the larger than life man continued to speak.
"It's nice to meet you too, Charlotte." He said warmly, and she truly felt like he meant it. She'd always admired the magical, fantastic man. She had loved art since she was a young girl, and Disney's films were kindling for the fires of her imagination. He had inspired her, as she was sure he had inspired many other young children. And now, here he was, shaking her hand and beaming away like Father Christmas. "It's always a pleasure to meet the people who're going to be working with me." Charlotte began to smile too, not knowing quite where to look.
"Well, thank you." She replied meekly. Disney looked to Don and clapped his hands together.
"It's her first day, Don, what're you gonna show her?" He asked and the man eagerly turned to Charlotte.
"Well, I gave you a tour of the lot on the way over, so now I'll take you to see your new office and then you can meet the boys." When Charlotte nodded, Walt smiled and patted Don on the shoulder companionably.
"Say hi to them for me." He said, then he looked back at the artist. "I'll see you real soon, Charlotte." He promised, shaking her hand again.
"Goodbye." She said. Walt smiled brightly at her once more before walking back to his office. Don noticed the awestruck look on her face and chuckled.
"Don't worry," He said. "He has that effect on everybody."
Charlotte easily kept up with Don's fast pace as they walked through the bright, homely corridors. The walls were lined with photographs of Disney and his employees, artwork from past productions, and awards and certificates, framed with pride. Charlotte just about managed to take them all in before Don stopped outside a redwood door.
"Just through here." He said, gesturing for her to open it. Charlotte tried to rein in her excitement as she turned the handle and pushed open the door. Once she saw what was inside, the reins slipped from her grasp completely. Charlotte walked forward into the little room with wide eyes. "This is where you'll be working." Said Don as he followed her inside.
"Oh, wow!" Charlotte breathed as she turned in circles, trying to take in everything at once. The room was small but not cramped, and there was enough room for a wide desk and a comfortable chair with space left over to walk around them easily. There were a variety of supplies at her disposal, and they lined the many shelves. Pencils, pens, pastels, charcoals, paints, water colours, glue, scissors, and paper, in all kinds of shapes, sizes and colours. Along the far wall was a wide window that stretched from one end to the other. She could see a quiet road in the distance and right outside was a small grassy area with an array of bright flowers and a tree or two. The bright sunlight shone into the room, lighting up the pots and jars on the shelves so that they cast different coloured lights across the room. One wall had been left bare and was almost entirely made up of a large cork board where she could pin her artwork.
"What do you think?" Charlotte turned back to her guide and thought she might burst with happiness.
"It's perfect." She gushed, clutching her suitcase to her chest excitedly. Don chuckled and opened the door again.
"I'm glad you like it." He said. "Now, if you think you can drag yourself away from your office, I'll introduce you to the Shermans." Charlotte was reluctant to leave the room but she wanted to meet the famed brothers too. So she followed Don back out into the corridor and gently closed the door behind her, but not before taking one last look at what was now all hers. They turned left, like they were heading back to Dolly and her office, but they turned another corner before they reached her.
Following the chirpy piano music that flowed through the corridors, they eventually reached a door and Don stopped, gesturing for her to enter first. She smiled at him and pushed open the door, the music suddenly growing louder as she did so. The room was large but quite bare, its few commodities being a scattering of chairs, a long table and a piano, behind which were two men. The music stopped when Don and Charlotte entered the room and the brothers looked up interestedly.
"Bob! Dick! Come over here." Don called to them, waving them over. He gave Charlotte a reassuring smile as the brothers drew closer. Her nervousness must have been clear on her face. "I'd like you to meet Charlotte, our new concept artist." Don introduced her and the brothers smiled warmly, which helped to put her anxieties at ease. "Charlotte, you'll be working very closely with these two. Bob and Dick Sherman, music and lyrics."
"Hi." Said Bob as he reached forward and shook her hand. He had dark hair, bright blue eyes and a kind smile. Charlotte also noted the walking stick he leaned on heavily and wondered whether he'd gotten it in the war. But it was rude to speculate about what one couldn't be certain of, so she put the idea to rest.
"I've heard a lot about you two. You've done some incredible work." She told the brothers. Bob chuckled and turned to DaGradi.
"I like her, she can stay." He joked, making them all laugh.
"You're from England?" Asked the second brother, Dick. He looked younger and a little smilier. Unlike his brother, he had big brown eyes, but he had the same dark hair, styled in a slightly different way.
"London, yes." Charlotte nodded as she shook Dick's hand too.
"Just like our author." Noted Bob with an excited glance at his brother. It appeared that they were just as eager to meet the woman of the hour as Charlotte.
"Yes, I was wondering when I might speak with Mrs. Travers." She said, turning to Don. He shook his head.
"She'll be here in a few days." He told her. "Until then, you've got some time to work with the boys." He gestured to the table she could rest her things on and she smiled brightly at them.
"Alright then." She walked to the table and placed her small suitcase on top. "How far have you gotten music-wise?" As she spoke, she flicked open the buckles of the suitcase and began to lay its contents out on the table.
"We've gotten pretty far, actually." Said Dick as he moved his way over to the piano. He raised their various pieces of sheet music in the air for her to see. "We've got a basic idea for all of them."
"Oh, fantastic!" Charlotte cried happily. She did like to be organised, so it brought her great joy to know that the brothers had not been idle.
"Some we've developed further than others. It's mostly chronological so it's easier for you to work with." Continued Dick, and he gave her this strange, eager-to-please look, like a child showing a teacher their homework. She hated unnecessary formalities, so she sat down on top of the table instead of a chair to show them she wasn't nearly as uptight and prim as she sounded.
"That's good to know." She said as got herself comfortable. She looked at each man in turn with raised eyebrows. "Shall we begin?" Don patted Bob's shoulder, sending him on his way to the piano.
"Yes, let's!" He cried, happy to start as soon as possible. It seemed everyone was just as excited to make the film as she was.
"So, we thought we'd play you the song then you could tell us what you think and whether you think something might need changing." Bob explained once he was stood next to the piano. Dick sat down on the stool so that just his head appeared over the top of the instrument.
"Then we'll look over the script and you can draw up a few ideas." He finished. He grinned eagerly. "Mary Poppins will start coming to life." Charlotte chuckled.
"How exciting." She nodded encouragingly to the brothers. "Do play me the first song." Dick shuffled the sheets so that the right music was in front. When he was done, he looked expectantly at Don, who straightened up from leaning against the wall and grabbed his script from the top of the piano.
"I'll be Bert." He told Charlotte as he found his line in the script. Charlotte giggled at the interaction but settled down when DaGradi began to speak. "All right, ladies and gents!" He called to Charlotte and an imaginary crowd in a bad Cockney accent. "Comical poems suitable for the occasion, extemporised and thought up before your very eyes. Alright, here we go!" He pointed to Dick who began to play and sing.
"Room here for everyone, gather around! The constable's responstable, now how does that sound?" He pounded the keys with gusto, smiling away as he acted it out with all his heart. As he sang to Charlotte, he seemed almost unable to contain himself with glee. Bob occasionally joined in, singing for a word or two, but he was much more controlled as he watched the artist for her reaction. "Hello, Miss. Lark, I've got one for you. Miss. Lark likes to walk in the park with Andrew!" Charlotte laughed again at the funny lyrics, much to the Shermans' surprise and delight. "Ah, Mrs. Cory a story for you. Your daughters were shorter than you, but they grew. Dear Miss. Persimmon..." The music slowed down considerably and Dick began to play a little more gently now.
"This is the part where Bert stops and looks around. He senses what's coming." Said Don, stepping forward to explain to the artist.
"Or rather, who's coming." Added Bob, making Charlotte's skin prickle. What had once been cheery, marching band music, was now delicate and almost eerie. These boys were good.
"Winds in the East, mist coming in. Like something is brewing, about to begin." Sang Dick, a little lower and quieter than before. "Can't put my finger on what lies in store, but I feel what's to happen all happened before." Charlotte waited until he had played the last lilting notes of the tune before applauding.
"That was wonderful!" She cried, grinning ecstatically. The three men blew a collective sigh of relief. Charlotte was the first person outside of the three of them to hear their songs. They hadn't even played them to Walt yet. It was a huge weight off their shoulders to know that the songs sounded just as good to others as they did to them.
"You liked it?" Bob asked. Charlotte shook her head in disbelief.
"It was perfect." She promised. "It's exactly how I imagined it would be." Dick gave a small smile when he understood what that meant.
"You've read the books too." He realised, nodding his head. She had clearly read the books as a child, just as he and his brother had done. Charlotte locked eyes with him for a moment and eventually began to smile back. Then she coughed awkwardly and looked away again.
"Of course I have. It's hard to find a person who hasn't." She said, waving his comment off. "Especially as I'm working on its film." She gave them all a pointed look. "You've all read it, haven't you?"
"Yes." They answered immediately. Charlotte smiled, pleased with the power she had.
"Good." She said then she grabbed her paper and began to sketch. "So, Don," She addressed the writer, who jumped up from his seat. "When I read over your script, I really liked the idea of having the first scene out on the street." They'd sent here a copy soon after she'd agreed to join them so that she would have a head start on the concept artwork. She continued to draw, her brow creasing with concentration whilst the brothers tried to peer over from their place by the piano, not wanting to be caught trying to sneak a peek. "I was thinking it could look a little something..." She finished the drawing and held it up for them to see. "Like this." The men stepped closer to see what she had produced. It had only taken her a couple of seconds so her drawing was quite crude, but they could clearly see the beginnings of their film in scratchy pencil markings.
"Yes, I see it." Bob murmured, his eyes roaming over the page. Charlotte looked down at her drawing and began to explain the more important details.
"This is the park here and the lovely, little houses." She drew her finger to the centre of the page where a happy looking figure wearing a one-man-band suit was surrounded by a gaggle of less detailed figures. "Then here's Bert and his crowd." She looked up, biting her lip nervously. "What do you think?"
"It looks good." Don told her, smiling brightly. He'd known the moment he met her that he liked Charlotte, but now he knew that she'd be perfect for the job too. Charlotte went a little red at the impressed looks on their faces and jumped down from the table.
"It will look even better when I'm done with it." She said, looking down at the paper in front of her. It needed something else, something more. She studied it a little longer before she realised the three men were still standing in front of her table with interest. "You can continue with the music, I'm going to work on this some more." She said and they instantly relaxed. Don went to sit in a chair by the piano and drew out his script again, making notes here and there whilst the boys moved on to the next song that needed working on. As Charlotte sat and drew away to her heart's content, she realised just how happy she was. The music playing in the background, the bright sunlight streaming in through the window. It was a beautiful place to be. She let out a contented sigh and tapped the end of her pencil against her lips as she studied her drawing. It was pretty much finished, she just needed to fill it in. She thought about going back to her office, which she had only seen for a couple of seconds before DaGradi had whisked her away, and was just getting out of her chair when a voice stopped her.
"Do you want a drink?" She looked up to see Dick standing in front of her table, watching her expectantly. "Or something to eat?" Charlotte smiled up at him gratefully.
"I'd love a cup of tea." She said and the man grinned.
"I'll be right back." He promised before hurrying out of the door. Charlotte was surprised. He had stopped in the middle of a rehearsal to get her a drink she could've easily gotten for herself. When she'd agreed to it, she'd thought perhaps they had drinks close by. Now she realised he'd have to go back to the office to Dolly and make it there. A few minutes later, Dick was back with her drink. "One tea for the lovely lady." He said as he carefully passed her the cup. Charlotte hummed happily as his kind gesture warmed her hands.
"Thank you." She murmured, before taking an eager sip. She hadn't realised how thirsty she was. People had been offering her food and drink left, right and centre ever since she'd stepped off the plane and this was the first time she'd accepted the offer. She smiled up at him appreciatively and asked, "It's Richard, yes?" The man shrugged.
"Well, I go by Dick." He said, then he added. "But Richard's fine, I don't mind." Charlotte gave a huff of laughter and looked down at her cup of tea again. Dick slowly stepped from foot to foot, his hands folded behind his back. He felt shy and awkward, but he didn't quite know why. Charlotte seemed perfectly nice and had been nothing but kind to them since she'd stepped through the door. And she was, although he certainly hadn't put much thought into it, very pretty. She was around average height with curly, caramel brown hair that she seemed to constantly be tucking behind her ear. Her hazel eyes were intelligent and warm, and they lit up when she smiled. Her lips were painted a deep red colour and black eye liner defined her eyes. "Mm, lovely thank you." She breathed after she'd taken a sip of tea. She stood up from the desk and began to walk towards the door, teacup in hand. "I'm just popping to my office." She said and gave him a little wave before walking to the door. Dick watched her leave, floundering a little before he finally found the words.
"Do- Do you prefer Charlotte or Charlie?" He asked suddenly, returning the courtesy. Charlotte paused in the doorway and looked back at him thoughtfully.
"I've never been given the choice before." She realised, making Dick smile. She looked at him for a moment, titling her head to one side, and those eyes seemed to see straight through him. "Charlie." She decided finally, giving him a bright smile. "Charlie will do fine." Then she was gone.
"Okay. Good." He said to himself, returning the smile even if she couldn't see it. "Charlie." He murmured as he went back to the piano.