Charlie Ever After

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Parent's night is literally a week away and I have to somehow figure out a way to convince Charlie's father to make the trip on such short notice. I still don't even know how I'm going to contact him yet. I groan in frustration as I rush through campus to get home.

My phone vibrates in my back pocket with an incoming phone call. I dig my phone out of my pocket and glance at the screen before answering it.

"Hey, man. What's up?"

Isaac's familiar voice comes through the other end. "Not much. Just wanted to catch up and see how you're both doing."

I smile at his thoughtfulness. "We're doing okay."

"Just okay?" He questions.

"Well... um." The words get stuck in my throat. "Gavin somehow got her number and tried texting her. We got her number changed and everything, but I'm still worried."

I can hear his exasperated sigh on the other end of the line and his almost silent curse.

"Son of a bitch." He finally pipes up.

"He's like a pest that just won't go away."

I sigh at that, because it's true. Hasn't he caused Charlie enough pain and suffering?

"I know, but there's not much we can really do. Charlie is hesitant about going to the police. I tried begging her."

"I know. She's stubborn. She wants him to get what's coming to him. She's just scared."

I nod as if he can see me and then scrub my free hand over my face as I pull my keys out of my pocket and fumble for my house key before shoving it in the lock and letting myself inside.

"He'll get what he deserves. I'll make sure of it."

I don't even register the weight of the words I’ve said until Isaac speaks up, "Listen, man, don’t do anything stupid. Okay? Just worry about Charlie. He'll burn in hell."

I nod again before throwing my bookbag onto my bed and laying back, looking up at the ceiling.

"So, I was thinking—" I say, changing the subject.

"I've been trying to figure out something to do for Charlie. To cheer her up. She's gone through hell the past few months— hell, the past few years. I just want to do something special, to show her that I care."

I can practically hear Isaac swooning on the other end of the phone and can't help but to grin.

"Continue." He finally says after a moment of silence on my end.

"Well, we have the annual parent's evening coming up and I was thinking of inviting her father."

Isaac gasps on the other end.

"Um, that's an amazing idea!" He added emphasis on the word amazing, making it sound more like uh-may-zing.

I chuckle at his reaction. "Only problem, I have no idea how to get in touch with him or how to even bring it up. Be like, Oh hey, sir. I'm your daughter's boyfriend, do you want to travel six hours away to your daughter's college with a week's notice?"

Isaac laughs on the other end. "Chill. I'm almost positive that Lydia has his phone number. Between the three of us, we can come up with some kind of master plan."

I can already hear the gears turning in his head as he starts scheming up his master plan.

"I'll have Lydia send you over the number." And before I can even reply, the line goes dead.

I shake my head, a chuckle escaping before I heave myself out of bed and head to the bathroom to shower.

~

By the time I'm showered and dressed, Charlie is already laid out in my bed with a bag of chips resting on her chest as she flips through the choices on Netflix.

"Well, hello there." I grin down at her as she licked the salt from her fingers.

Finally registering that I’m in the room she looks up at me and smiles wide, throwing the bag of chips to the side before springing up and walking across the bed until she's standing in front of me, towering over me by at least a foot. I grin and scoop her up, her legs wrapping around my waist. She leans in and I capture her lips in a deep kiss, holding her body against me and savoring in the warmth of her.

After a moment our lips part and she leans her forehead against mine, a wide smile plastered across her full lips.

"How was your day babe?" I ask her before gently setting her back down on the bed. She crawls back to her spot, shoving her legs under the comforter and grabbing for her bag of salt and vinegar chips again.

"It wasn't too bad." She shrugs her shoulders before shoving her hand back into the bag of chips. "How about you, sweetheart?"

She shoves some chips into her mouth and I can't help but to watch her with a huge grin on my face. Somehow I fall harder for her every single day.

I lean back against my pile of pillows before reaching over and grabbing a handful of chips, popping a few into my mouth. "My day wasn't terrible. Better now that I'm with you." I look up at her and her face lights up with a smile.

"I love you." She says after a moment of silence— except for our chewing.

My heart melts at her words. I wrap my arm around her, pulling her body into me and placing a soft kiss on her forehead. "I love you too, baby."

~

My phone chimes at exactly ten p.m with a text message. Charlie is fast asleep next to me, curled up and pressed against me. I smile down at my girl— because well, I can't help but to smile when I look at her— before grabbing my phone from my night stand and unlocking it to read the new message.

It's from an unknown number, but as soon as I read the first line, I immediately know it's Lydia.

Here's Charlie's dad's number. His name is Andrew Oliphante. He's a complete sweetheart, you're going to love him. Call him. Like right now. And let me know what he says. Good luck! :)

At the bottom of the message is a phone number with a San Diego area code. I suck in a huge gulp of air before slowly sliding out of bed and making my way downstairs.

Once in the kitchen, I put on a pot of coffee and stare at the phone number as I wait for the pot to brew.

As soon the last drip hits the pot, I pour myself a cup and sit down at the kitchen island, phone in hand.

I take a large sip of the steaming hot coffee before finally smashing my finger down on the call button, listening to the ringing on the other end of the line.

"Hello?" A groggy voice answers.

Fuck, I didn't even think about how late it was.

"Hi, um—" I stumble over my words, stuttering like a goddamn fool.

"It's quarter after ten. I really hope this is important." Charlie's father says after a moment of silence. He may sound a bit annoyed but other than that he sounds like one of the nicest men alive, and that fact alone gives me a little bit of courage.

"Hi, Mr. Oliphant—'' I'm suddenly glad that Lydia had mentioned his name in her text message.

"My name is Tanner. I'm Charlie's boyfriend."

My next words don't even get their chance before Mr. Oliphant speaks up.

"Charlie, is she okay?" He sounds worried, and definitely awake now.

"Oh, no. Charlie is fine. I didn't mean to worry you, and I'm so sorry for calling so late." I force out a nervous chuckle.

"It's just kind of time sensitive." I bite my bottom lip and take a deep breath before biting the bullet and just getting the conversation over with.

"We have the annual Parent's evening coming up in a week, and I was wondering if at all you'd be able to make it. I'm sure you know all, but Charlie's been through a lot this year and I know how much it would mean to her if you were to come. I want to surprise her." I can't help the smile that tilts at the corners of my lips as I hear Charlie's father's sigh of relief on the other end.

"Boy, you had me worried sick." Mr. Oliphant laughs.

"Of course. Carlos and I wouldn't miss it for the world. Send over all of the details and we will be there."

My smile only grows to the nth degree at his answer. "Thank you, thank you, thank you." I know I probably sound like an excited school girl, but I don't fucking care— all I can think about is what Charlie's reaction will be to the surprise.

"Of course. And son, I've heard a lot of great things. I'm looking forward to finally getting to meet you in person."

And with his admission I'm left sitting at the kitchen island, cradling my cup of coffee in one hand and phone in the other for a good ten minutes after he hangs up— smiling like a complete lunatic. My plan is in motion, this will work and it will be fucking fantastic, and Charlie will love it.
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