Charlie Ever After

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39| Tanner

I watched as Lydia peeled out of the driveway like a professional race car driver. Admittedly I am both terrified by her yet love her at the same time. She came in like a protective mama bear protecting her cubs. I still can’t wrap my head around why Charlie would up and leave without telling Lydia and Isaac. She was devastated last night, and hearing what she went through ripped my heart to shreds, but I know how important the two of them are to her, and it doesn’t make sense that she would leave them in the dark, knowing how worried they would be. My best guess is that she was in complete fight or flight mode- and chose to run to me. Part of me is selfishly happy that she chose me over them, but the other half of me can’t imagine how betrayed the both of them must feel by Charlie’s actions.

Once they’re safely down the block, I make my way upstairs and flop down onto my bed with a groan, my mind running a million miles a minute— every thought revolving around Charlie. I’ve realized that I’m completely clueless on what to do for her. I know the obvious— be a good boyfriend, but I just feel like there’s more that I should be doing. My phone vibrating in my pocket drags me away from my thoughts. I pull the device out of my pocket, checking the caller ID before answering.

“Hey Trish. What’s up? How are the girls?”

A soft chuckle echos on the other end causing a small smile to quirk up at the corner of my lips. “They’re good, giving me more and more gray hairs as the days go on.” Another small laugh. “Your father and I were just wondering if you still wanted us to come to this Parents’ Ball that the school is hosting soon.”

“Oh shit.” To be honest, I had completely forgot about the event. Every year UA hosts a “ball” of sorts for students and their parents, to welcome everyone to the new school year in a total cheesy way. “Of course. A chance to force dad to wear a tux, it’s perfect.” Both of us let out deep belly laughs, catching up a little more before ending the call a few moments later.

After getting off the phone with Trish, the idea of the Parents’ Ball and Charlie still fresh on my mind, I pull up my contact list and find Isaac’s number and pressing call. Within a few rings I hear his familiar voice answer.

“Hey man. I uh, just wanted to let you know that Charlie is safe. Lydia came in here hot and heavy and stole her away. I’m sorry, I didn’t know she just ran off like that. If I knew, I would’ve called or texted.”

“It’s fine, man. I’m glad she’s safe. I figured she ran to you.” I can hear the smile in his voice.

“What do you mean?” My curiosity getting the best of me.

“Charlie is a very emotional person. Usually it’s Lydia and I that she runs to. We drove by her moms last night and she told us that Charlie left after an argument and I had a feeling that she went to you.”

Hearing him say the words twists a knife deep in my chest.

“I’m glad she has you, Tanner.”

His words put me at ease slightly, but not fully. I let out a deep sigh and rake a hand through my unruly hair. “What do I do, Isaac. I feel so lost. I can see how much she’s hurting and I feel completely helpless.”

This time, it’s Isaac sighing. “Just love her, Tanner. You’re already doing a amazing job at making her happy. Be there for her. Love her. Listen to her, and hold her close when she needs it the most. All you have to do is continue doing what you’re doing and be you. You’re a good guy Tanner. Charlie needed someone like you and I think you may have needed someone like her as well.”

His words instantly warm my heart. I suck in a deep, shaky breath before slowly letting it out between my teeth. “Thank you. I definitely try my hardest. She deserves it.”

“Yeah she does.” Isaac’s voice is soft yet strained. “She’s like a second sister to me and seeing her in pain sucks. But she’s lucky to have you.”

And with that, we say our goodbyes and hang up.

I lay in bed for over an hour mulling over the conversation with Isaac. Charlie means the world to me, and I’d do anything in my power to take the sadness and pain away from her and replace it with all of the happiness that she deserves.

~

A/N: I just wanted to give you guys this cute little chapter. It came to me and I knew it wasn’t going to amount to a full chapter, but couldn’t bring it in me to can it. I hope you guys enjoy!

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