The rest of the day Charla chose not to worry about the money, like before, many, many, many times before she knew that panic and worry would do nothing to help in this. As much as she did worry she knew that it would do nothing in the long run. However she did remember to bring that notebook, the one which logged any amount of money that she had found over the past two years since the blackouts began.
And yet somehow or another a different log would be added, almost in a familiar handwriting of what happened with the money afterword’s, as if not to cause Charla more worry and stress then she already had. It was strange seeing it but again there wasn’t really anything she could really do about it. Going to the police wasn’t an option, and her father, who was already dealing with stress from work, didn’t need to know.
All of it was logged in a small read leather notebook, one of which could always go unnoticed in Charla’s room that was in her bedside table’s drawer.
Dressing in a white and black sleeved baseball Tee and light blue jeans Charla headed downstairs where she saw Nina in the living room watching Television while folding up laundry. She was currently watching a game show while also doing housework; the little girl had a talent to multitask that was for sure. But looking around the place Charla noticed that Isaac didn’t seem to be home anymore.
“Nina,” she said drawing the girl’s attention. “Where’s your father? He’s not around; did he get a call from work?”
Nina shook her head. “No, a little bit after I woke up Dad said that were some things he wanted to get for dinner tonight. I would have gone with him but since you didn’t take your house key with you. He was acting a bit strange.”
“Strange?” Charla asked.
“Yeah but he didn’t say what was wrong, but maybe I’m just jumping to conclusions…”
Charla was quite, as self-regret came through, she should have just kept her mouth shut. I’ll have to apologize to him when he gets back for what I said earlier. I just keep make things worse don’t I?
“Something wrong?” Nina asked making Charla snap out of her thought.
“Oh, no, it’s nothing. Say, do you want any help with the laundry?”
“No that’s okay, thanks though.” she said with a smile before going back to doing the house work.
Charla looked to the television as it changed to that of the local news and weather reports, the news caster mentioning about how the killer from Charla’s city was still out there and to be vigilant in finding the culprit. She looked at the screen with a disturbed grimace, at some point today she needed to tell her father what was happening, even though it was the last thing she wished to do, even more so with her uncle not here it made her feel like what she said was definitely out of line.
She signed inwardly. I really screwed this up didn’t I… great. “Do you know when your father will be back?”
Nina paused in folding laundry. “I think sometime later this afternoon. Why?”
Charla offered a slight smile. “No reason,” she looked back to the television with a slight worried expression. “Just wondering that’s all…”
Isaac sat in his car, after talking to Charla her words hadn’t left his mind, granted many people had said things like that before form people, but many meant it to criticize and point fingers at what he was doing wrong as a parent.
But Charla’s words weren’t accusing or blaming what so ever. It was just a knowing look, as if she knew full well as to the reasons for his actions. Even if it was ones she did not agree with the girl understood.
Some people would get angry and yell, but Isaac couldn’t. He couldn’t get angry at the girl for stating a fact that he himself was ignoring for a good while now. Or more like he acted like it wasn’t there, and over time people just seemed to forget that it ever happened. Nina had become much more independent and Isaac just continued on with his work.
With a deep sigh Isaac exited his car and stood in the parking lot of the police station. Though now as he stood in the parking lot it felt all the more obvious that he used work to run from his own personal feelings. I really do use work as an excuse don’t I? He thought to himself and sighed. If Johan were here I’m sure he’d chew me out over it… still, since I’m already here I might as well speak to Claude.
Though to Isaac’s surprise it didn’t take him long to find his partner, the odd man was outside taking a coffee brake near the front entrance.
“Hey,” Isaac said as he walked over to the man. “I thought you’d be inside.”
“It’s too stuffy in there,” he said as he took a sip. “But what are you doing here? I thought today was your day off.”
“It is, just grabbing some food for the family tonight, thought I’d swing by and say hi, see how the case was going.”
“You didn’t need to make an excuse to find that out.” Claude told him bluntly. “You could have just called, but my answer still would have been the same. Nothing different yet with these cases, the perpetrator behind the recent attacks on the illegal fighting, what’s more though a few of the ones running the illegal fights seem adamant in leaving the town for good and some have. The remaining few are being brash saying they’ll take on this new fighter, but that isn’t anything new.” He paused in looking at his notes to glance at Isaac. “But I am looking at someone of interest on this case.”
“Is that so?”
He nodded. “Nothing concrete yet, by the way how’s living with your Niece? Your daughter really seems to like her.”
“You think so?”
“You aren’t aware of it?” Claude asked with slight surprise but then his surprised expression became blank. “Well, you do tend to prioritize work so that’s to be expected if you haven’t noticed anything.”
“It’s not like I do that on purpose.” He told the man sternly.
Claude noted his expression. “Something happen?”
“Charla commented on how I seem to use work as an escape for grief.”
“Is that so? Then good for her,” Isaac looked at his partner with shock. “Though I’m surprised it wasn’t your daughter.”
“I---!” Isaac began only to stop. “Why would you praise her for something like that? And if you were bothered by this why did you never say anything?”
“Because it wasn’t my place too,” Claude said simply, as he then took another sip of his coffee. “Certain issues in regards with family should be dealt with family, not outsiders. Although with that said, in other cases other people should get involved.”
Isaac frowned at him. “What are you talking about now?”
Claude looked at him over the rim of his mug. “What do you know of your Niece’s situation?” he asked as he put his mug down and then picked up his notepad.
What was this man trying to get at now? “My brother sent her here to keep her safe after the incidents in the city.”
“And there were no other reasons?” Claude said making Isaac frown at the man. “I only ask this because when I first entered the home, the way she looked at me was with shocked-horror. As if I was a monster, her body even moved to shield Nina. But when she realized I wasn’t the person she thought I was the girl seemed to relax.” He tapped his notes with the knuckle of his index finger. “No one would react in that way if they didn’t have a reason too. That’s why I asked if you knew there was more than one reason for her coming here.”
Isaac was silent, in his mind he went over the previous conversation that he had with Johan in regards to letting Charla stay in his home. And no matter how many times he went over it his older brother gave no indication that there was any other reason but keeping his daughter safe while she suffered from an illness.
“Johan never said anything that would make me think there was another reason as to why she would be coming here. But you make it sound like my brother has something to hide.”
“I don’t mean anything by it,” Claude said. “But I do think there is more going on with that girl but she might not be willing to share. She seems pretty guarded, and an observer too. The entire time I was there she kept her gaze on me, as if studying me. It was like she was trying to silently gauge if I was a threat or not.”
“It sounds like Johan.” Isaac said with a slight laugh. “He was always like that, even when we were kids, he’d silently observe people; he probably still does that even now.”
“I suppose that could be hereditary.” Then there was a silent moment before Claude stood up. “I think you should probably head back home now. Your daughter might be worried.”
“Right, I’ll see you on Monday, but let me know if something comes up.”
“I always do.” Claude said as Isaac made his way back to his car, Claude then glanced to the notes recalling Charla’s expression and the look of fear but also that of untold rage that seemed to emanate from her thin slight athletic frame. The look that she had as if looking on to what she believed was a true monster.
Whoever that person was, if they were truly here Claude had no doubt that Charla would have attacked. If I was the person you thought I might have been what would you have done Charla Liebert? You’re skilled in a fight, your hands and the grip you have proven that when we first met. There is more to this then I think Isaac and I are both aware of. I’ll have to look deeper if I want to find out. But what in the world would cause that girl to give off such a feeling of anger and rage, and to whom and why?
Charla had given up in trying asking Nina if she needed help with any of the housework; in the end the little girl was just too self-reliant and independent. Though Charla did have to give Nina her dues, that girl could be a speed demon with house work. Nina could have her own house cleaning service in the future if she wanted. Though that eight year old girl seemed contended in how things were at the moment.
So in the end Charla ended up going back to her room, had done several stretches, looked over her school work for the coming week and was now continuing to read one of the books that, Setsuko Satonaka, the owner of the bookstore gave her for free.
At this point Charla was halfway through the book and she was enjoying it so far, but at the moment her mind was in other places, drifting in and out of the void of sleep, since not having anything to do she could feel something in the depths of her mind tugging her to sleep. She shook her head; no she couldn’t sleep just yet. It was late afternoon for crying out loud.
Sleeping now would be pointless, although as if recently she had been sleeping better and during the week Alex made no mention of seeing her out and about at night so that at least was a good sign but if it wasn’t for the sudden influx in cash she wouldn’t have been so worried.
She glanced to her nightstand where her cellphone lay. I should call him… she thought as her hand reached for it only for her body to go still when there was a knock at the door and her hand withdrew. “Yes?”
Nina opened the door and peaked inside. “Dad’s home, and um… he said he wanted to talk to you about something.”
“Oh, okay, thank you Nina.” It’s most definitely about what I said this morning. She thought as she left her room and offered a slight smile to the girl. “I’ll go speak to him now.”
“Did something happen?” Nina asked with a questioning stare.
She shook her head. “No, at least I’m hoping nothing happened. But it’s nothing you need to worry about Nina I promise.” Charla headed down stairs and when she reached the foot of them she saw her uncle by the dining room table. She knew that parental look on his face right away; he wanted Charla to sit down so he could talk.
And she did what he asked of her in silence.
“Charla,” Isaac began. “You don’t have to look so troubled, I’m not angry with you.”
“Then what reason would there be to talk to me?” she asked after a moment of silence before looking at him with a slight sad expression. “If it’s about what I said to you this morning, I’m sorry. I was out of line when I said all of that to you, I just wasn’t aware of it until after I spoke about something I shouldn’t have.”
“Charla, you don’t need to apologize for speaking your mind,” Isaac told her. “But if you don’t mind me asking, why did you think that working was my escape from grief?”
“Why?” she repeated before sitting down across from him. “It’s because I’ve seen it before, I’ve dealt with it before. And still am.”
He stilled when he noticed how she emphasized herself in all this. “You? Not your father or your mother?”
Her hands became clasped tightly together while her brow furrowed slightly. “My mother had always been devoted to work, from the moment we were born to now; I never saw a change in her, like she never cared about us. But my father broke down, he cried, he was angry and worried constantly for me since I was all he had left. But for me… I retreated, I ran internally. I wanted to forget the feelings I had, the emotions, the images that still to this day replay in my mind like an old home movie stuck on loop. But I know I can’t forget, won’t forget. It stays even if I don’t want it too just like my emotions, so I lock them away.”
“But how is that similar to me?”
She glanced up at him. “You devoted yourself to your work when your wife died; your daughter devoted herself to keeping the house clean. My father devoted himself to me and I devoted myself school work to then best of my abilities while acting like I wasn’t there. High school and a job aren’t so different when you think about it. It was your way of coping with loss, I didn’t mean to sound like I was judging you it’s just…” she paused when noticing Nina on the stairs but continued anyhow. “I know what it’s like to come back to an empty house with no one to greet you when before there was always someone there to be happy to see you home. You and I share something in common with loss but it’s the same with Nina too.”
He smiled slightly. “I suppose your right, but even if it is true I’m still a cop, and I can’t stop my job because of how I feel.”
“But that’s not what…” she shook her head. “No never mind, I’m going to go check in Nina and ask what she’d like for dinner.” She said as she got up from the dinner table and headed to the stairs. Nina was no longer there.
Going up the remainder of the stairs Charla went to Nina’s room and knocked on the door. “Nina? Can I come in?”
The door opened up and Nina looked at Charla with those grey eyes of her’s. The little girl looked almost as if she was going to cry. But Charla wasn’t fully sure as to why.
“Are you okay?”
Nina nodded. “Dad told me, what happened to your brother. I’m sorry I didn’t remember.”
Charla knelt down to her and smiled. “It’s okay Nina; you were really little at the time, besides a lot of time has passed since then so you shouldn’t be sad for what happened to me.”
“But it’s not fair.”
No, no it’s not. Charla thought.
“But are you going to be okay?” Nina asked her suddenly. “You always look worried when the news comes on about your town.”
“Well, my Dad is there, that gives me enough reason to worry don’t you think?”
“Yeah I guess so. I worry a lot when Dad goes to work.” Nina then grasped her hand. “But I’ll greet you, whenever you come home okay?”
Charla looked at the girl with a slight surprised expression but then slowly smiled at her; she had a good indicator as to why Nina would say that. “Okay…” she gave her hand a slight squeeze. “Now let’s go see what your Dad brought home for dinner, here’s hoping it’s not frozen meals or something like that.”
Nina laughed. “Yeah!” the little girl headed down the stairs first and Charla glanced at her hand that Nina had just grasped.
“You really are a strong little girl. Stronger then me even… I wish I was like that at her age. Too bad I can’t rewind time.”
“Charla!” Nina called out to her. “What are you doing? Come down quickly before our dinners get cold!”
With her smile that grew slightly Charla headed down the stairs for dinner. “I’m coming, I’m coming.”