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Chapter 15- Charlie

Charlie began to stir about an hour after he passed out. Cassy and I are sitting nervously, just waiting for him to come around. Standing up, I pull a glass from the cabinet and pour Charlie some water. I hear him groaning as he sits up. "What the-" He mutters.

I move around the counter and bend down to him, my arm outstretched with the glass. "Here. Drink this." After he took a few sits, he stands up with my help. He takes a seat at the table and shakes his head.

"Man, I'm so sorry, I guess being back here is harder than I thought." He chuckles a bit, "I mean I actually thought I seen-" He trails off as he turns to the opposite side of the table to where Cassy sat. "Cassy? This can't be real." His breathing quickened.

I move over to him, grabbing his arm to ground him. "Charlie. I know this is hard, I reacted the same way. But this is real. She is here. Just not the way you want her to be." He can't look away from Cassy so she stands and moves to be in front of him.

"Hey, big bro. I missed you." You could hear the waver in her voice as she tried to hold back her tears, but they eventually started to fall. Charlie shed a few tears before he stood, moving to wrap Cassy in his arms but ending up going straight through her. He stumbles back until he is sitting in the chair again.

That was weird. How come I can touch her but he can't? This makes no sense and I feel so guilty that her brother can't hold her one last time. I can tell that he is hurting, and reliving the day of her death, and I hate that I can't do anything but just stand here and witness it.

"Cas- Why? Why did you do it?" Charlie whispers softly. Broken. I could tell that he was broken all over again. His voice was barely above a whisper and he still had tears trailing down his eyes. Cassy, looked to me helplessly, to which I gave her a little nod of encouragement. It is time she told him the truth and who knows, maybe Charlie could help with our plan.

I should leave them to talk. "I'm going to go take a shower, give you guys some privacy." I squeezed Charlie's shoulder on the way by and hurried up the stairs. I know that their talk was going to be long and emotional. I could only imagine how Charlie will feel once he learns that his step dad is the cause of all of their unhappiness and suffering. He will be devastated.

Once in my room, I hurry up and shower and dress in some sweatpants and a tank top. I wasn't in any hurry to go back downstairs so I just laid on my bed, pulling my phone out to find a message from Arden.

Arden- Hey, so I know you know my coffee order, but what is yours?

I smile goofily, happy by the distraction. Texting back, I like my coffee sweet. Some sugar and creamer, a pinch of actual coffee. Biting my lip, I keep the messages open to wait for his response to which I was surprised that it came almost immediately.

Arden- Sweet coffee for a sweet girl.

Arden- That was completely cheesy, but I'm not going to apologize.

I laugh out loud as I read over his texts. I can't remember being this giddy over messaging with someone. Rolling over onto my stomach, I message him back. It's all gouda. I love cheese. 😉

Arden- Well, that is a relief. I have a ton of cheddar... No like, really my dad bought me a big block of it. Like, what exactly and I suppose to do with it?

Giggling at his antics, I bite my lip as an idea pops into my head. It is bold, but maybe, just maybe it will work. I type- Well, I happen to be a pretty good cook. I can think of a few things I could use it for.

Arden- Then it is settled. After painting you are coming to mine to cook for me. Seems like a perfect payment for my hard work.

Butterflies erupt in my stomach before I text a quick, "It's a date.", before placing my phone down on my bedside table and moving off my bed. It's time for me to go check in on Cassy and Charlie.

By the time I walk into the kitchen, I notice several details automatically. Both of them have red puffy eyes, Cassy is playing something on my laptop, and Charlie's fists are clenched tightly. Before I could even utter a hello, Charlie swipes at my computer, sending it flying across the kitchen and into the wall. It smashes hard, crumbling to the ground in several pieces. I couldn't help the gasp that left my lips.

Charlie spins around at my noise. Guilt automatically replacing the rage in his face. "Shit. I'm sorry Abby. I wasn't thinking. I'll buy you another computer. " I just stare at the pieces as memories come rushing back into my mine that I've fought hard to suppress.

Conner throwing my computer off my bed and ripping my pajama pants off. Me trying to fight his hands off but it was never any use. The smell of alcohol lingering in the air as he breathed into my face. I shudder at the memories before I realize Charlie has me wrapped in his arms, and I was crying.

Shaking his arms off of me, I bury those memories back down the best I could, before I wipe furiously at my tears. "Oh, goodness. I'm so sorry. I'm an emotional mess today. Don't worry about the computer, maybe I could just get it fixed." I numbly walk over to the stove and put a put of water on.

My hands shaking so hard that Charlie came over, taking the pot from me and turning the stove on. "Abby, I'll get your computer fixed and if its unfixable I will pay for a new one. It is the least I can do." I nod, wanting the conversation to change off of the damn computer.

"So, how did your talk go?" I look between Cassy and Charlie as the rage returns to Charlie's features and Cassy looked defeated and helpless. Charlie spoke first.

"She told me everything. I'm sorry you had to get in the middle of all of this Abby, but I can't say I'm not thankful for you." He clenches his fists by his sides before his eyes narrow at the tape recorder still sitting on the table. "But that fucker is going to rot in prison when I'm done with him."

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