Wednesday, 2 May 2007
02:25:34 AM (GMT)
I woke up, slightly dazed and confused, to the sound of running water. What the...?
I realize that Julie is no longer asleep beside me and make the conclusion that she
is probably playing in the sink of something. I get up and walk into the living room
only to find Julie fast asleep on the couch. Maybe she left the water running in the
kitchen? I sigh and walk into my kitchen, only to be surprised once more. Alex is
making something in a pot and is adding water to it. He turns around when I enter the
room and gives me a gentle smile.
"Have a nice nap?" He asks and I nod and settle at the kitchen table. I look
around and notice that my new roll of paper towels are almost gone. There's also a
bucket of soapy water sitting on the floor beside the table.
"What did she do?" I ask after awhile of watching Alex walk back and forth across
the kitchen floor. He pauses and turns around to face me. I can practically tell he's
debating on whether to tell me or not.
"Don't worry about it. It's all cleaned up. Can you check on Julie while I finish
this?" He asks as he turns back towards the stove. I nod and stand up and walk back
into the living room and walk over to the couch with the still sleeping Julie on it.
I notice that she's kicked off her blanket so I bend down to pick it up. Suddenly
very dizzy and sick to my stomach I rush to the bathroom and lean over the toilet.
This view has become way too familiar over the past two months. Feeling that familiar
ache in my stomach once again, I lean over the toilet for the second time. Once it's
passed I lean back against the bathtub weakly and build up enough strength to stand
up, but as soon as I get to my feet the ache returns and I end up in front of the
toilet for a third time. I feel gentle hands pulling my hair away and when it finally
passed I collapse against him. We stay there for awhile, him holding me against his
chest and letting me cry. After a couple minutes he helps me to my feet again after I
had gained some strength back, but after a couple of seconds I begin to get wobbly.
Without a second thought, Alex carefully picks me up and carries me into my bedroom
and places me down like I'm a piece of glass or something. He sits down beside me and
brushes my hair away from my eyes with tender hands. After a few peaceful minutes, he
slowly gets to his feet, places a kiss on my forehead, turns the light off, and walks
out of the room, quietly shuttting the door behind him. I give into sleep a few
seconds later and slowly drift off into a much needed night of sleep.
I awoke to the sun shining through my bedroom window. The apartment was silent
except for the constant ticking of the clock in the kitchen and the soft hum of the
heater. I thought I was alone, but I was sure that there was someone else there by
the time I entered the living room. Alex had cleaned up the kitchen and washed the
dishes before going home, or so I thought. I walked over to the kitchen table and
found a note lying there in front of my usual chair.
I'm spending the night out with Matt. I just dropped by to grab a change of
clothes for school tomorrow. Who's the hot guy that was making dinner? He said you
didn't feel well and was sleeping, so I just grabbed my stuff and left. I'll expect a
details when I get home though!
Okay, seriously, where has she been for the past like month and a half? Actually,
never mind. I have a bigger problem. Who in the world is in my apartment? I have no
idea who could be here unless...? I quietly make my way to Cheyanne's bedroom and
slowly open the door. I smile to myself as I proceed to enter the room. Alex must've
decided to stay the night. He and Julie are lying on Cheyanne's bed, Julie curled up
beside him. I carefully pull the covers up over both of them and walk back out into
the hall and go to my bedroom. I grab a pair of jeans that amazingly still fit and a
loose T'shirt and decide to go and take a shower before getting dressed. After taking
my shower, I quickly pull the jeans and the shirt on and brush my shoulder length
chesnut curls until they are shiny and not as tangled as they were previously. I
brush my teeth and then walk back into the kitchen. After searching through my almost
completely empty kitchen for something edible, I finally decide on a piece of toast
and some milk. Just as I was finishing my breakfast, Julie comes running into the
kitchen, Alex not far behind.
"Julie, quieten down you're going to wake Charlie up." He says as they emerge from
the hallway into the kitchen.
"Too late." I say, still sitting at the table. I must of startled Alex because he
jumped a little before looking over at me. Then he grins and walks over to the table
and sits down.
"Hope you didn't mind us staying, but after I fed Julie she fell back asleep and I
was to exhausted to carry her down to my car." He explains, watching me intently.
Then he spots the note that Cheyanne had left and makes a grab for it before I even
realize what he was doing. He reads it and laughs. Then he looks up at me
questioningly. I know exactly what he's thinking.
"I have no idea how she still doesn't know who you are. I've introduced you two
how many times now?" I ask, laughing too. He shakes his head and gets up and pours a
glass of juice for Julie.
"Five. Where as she been lately? The last like ten times I've been here she's been
gone." He says as he sits back down and pulls Julie onto his lap.
"Probably with Matt. She practically lives at his apartment. She only comes here
to change or grab her clothes." I explain as I watch Julie sit there quietly and sip
her juice. It's actually amazing how quiet she can be when she wants to. Alex nods
and shifts Julie to his other knee and then reaches for the newspaper that I had been
reading. His cell starts ringing a couple seconds later and he shifts Julie again and
answers it. After a few minutes of 'yes' and 'sures' he closes the cell again.
"C'mon Julie we're going to go see Grandma and Grandpa. Go grab your jacket." Alex
tells Julie and she runs off to find the jacket. "You can come too if you want. My
sister said she wanted to make an announcement of something so she invited us to an
early lunch." Alex says to me as he stands and walks into the living room to find his
daughter. I get up and follow behind him. I grab my jacket off of a chair and put it
on as Alex helps Julie into hers. A couple minutes later, we're all three in the
elevator going to the first floor. The elevator dings and the door opens. We step out
into the lobby and I take Julie's left hand while Alex takes her right. We walk out
into the chilly morning air together and make our way towards Alex's car.
"Wow." Was all I could manage as we got out of the car and made our way across the
yard to his parents' house. Actually, it looked more like a mansion. Everything was
perfect. The lawn was neat and a beautiful green, not a weed to be found. The house
was closer to the size of a small school than a house. Alex shifts Julie to his other
arm and rings the doorbell. After a few seconds the door is answered by a woman that
looks to be no older than twenty. She takes our jackets and I follow Alex and Julie
through a hallway and into what I guessed to be the living room. Everything is white.
The walls, the carpet, the ceiling, the furniture, even the cat. The white cat was
perched on top of a white fireplace and looked over at us as we entered the room. A
woman dressed in a designer suit sat on the end of the spotless white sofa reading a
newspaper. She looked up from the newspaper as we walked into the room.
"Alex, it's so nice to see you darling. And who is this? Alex not again!" She says
as she gets up to greet her son, but stops short when she notices me standing behind
him. She shook her head distastefully and sits back down. I was puzzled by her
reaction for a minute and then it clicked. She thought that my baby was Alex's.
"Mother, it's not mine." Alex told her as he sat down in the chair across from his
mother and motioned for me to sit in the one beside him. He was polite when he said
it, but I could he was irritated with this woman. To tell the truth I was getting
kind of angry myself. She was just ignoring my presence altogether now. Julie
struggled free of Alex's arms and quickly made her exit into the hall. I didn't blame
the poor child. I was tempted to get up and join her. They talked for awhile longer
and I could tell that Alex was getting close to yelling. And, like she had somehow
sensed the mood in the room, a woman that looked to be a couple year's older than
Alex entered the room.
"Alex! When did you get here?" She said excitedly as she ran and threw her arms
around Alex. This must be one of his sisters. He had said he had two on the drive
here. One older and one younger. This must be the older one, Sara. The woman was
quickly joined by a man that looked to be about the same age as her.
"About thirty minutes ago. How've you been? I haven't heard from you in weeks."
Alex said as he greeted the two of them.
"We've been really good actually. Who's this?" The woman asked as she stepped
closer to me and offered a friendly handshake. I shook her hand, but kep silent. I
decided to let Alex introduce us. The woman in front of me wasn't acting like Alex's
mother, to my relief. She was friendly and truly curious. I liked her already.
"Sara, this is Charlie. Charlie, this is my sister, Sara." ALex said with a smile
as he watched us. I smiled back at all three of them and finally found my voice.
"It's nice meeting you. Alex has told me a lot about you." I reply politely. Sara
finally noticed her mother's presence in the room and must've realized how
uncomfortable I was. She took the man beside her's hand and walked out of the room,
beckoning for Alex and I to follow. We walked a couple of minutes until we ended up
in the garden out behind the house.
"Sorry about my mother. She shouldn't have acted like that." Alex said as we
continued to follow the couple in front of us. The garden was as gorgeaus as the
house. All of the flowers were in perfect rows, again not a weed or a plant out of
place. I looked up at Alex and saw the pain in his eyes. How had he lived with this
woman for so long? I probably couldn't stand her for a week! How did he manage to
live with her for so long?
"That's okay. You couldn't help it. Who's the guy with Sara?" I ask, changing the
subject as the other couple walked off on there own.
"That's her husband, Michael. They've been married for close to two years now."
Alex replied as we sat down on a bench that was, guess what color, white.
"I have one more question. What's with all the white?" I ask as I looked back at
the house. He looked at me for a minute and burst into laughter. I laughed along with
"It's dull and boring. Which is exactly what both of my parents prefer." He
answers after a few more moments of laughter. I nod and think for a few seconds.
"Is your dad any nicer than your mom?" I ask, praying that he was. I don't think I
can handle another meeting like the one I had just experienced.
"I think so." He replied with a grin. He stands up and takes my hand again. I
stand too and walk with him until we come to a stable. They have horses too?
"C'mon, you haven't met Melanie yet." He says as he leads me into the brightly lit
stables.You would think that a stable would be less expensive looking than the house,
but this one wasn't. There were about a dozen stablehands walking around leading
horses or carrying buckets, saddles, and blankets. We continued to walk through the
stable until we walked out of the other side and came to a riding ring. There was a
girl on a bay horse riding around. She rode over to the fence when she noticed us and
"Alex! You finally got here!" The girl said as she took her riding helment off,
letting her strawberry-blonde hair fall downher back. She climbed over the fence and
gave Alex a hug when she had finally got over to us. Alex smiled and hugged her back.
"Melanie, this is Charlie. Charlie, this is my little sister, Melanie." Alex
introduced as he released Melanie and turned towards me again. Melanie smiled and
extended her hand like Sara had done a little while ago. I shook the hand she offered
me and smiled. The stable and the horses comforted me. They reminded me of home. My
parents own a horse stables where they teach riding lessons. I had been riding since
I was three.
"Do you ride?" Melanie asked as I petted the bay horse as she and Alex talked some
more. I nod and smile over at them.
"Since I was three. My parents own a horse stables called Oakland about an hour
away from here." I answer and Alex smiles. I hadn't told him much about my family
except that they refused to send me money anymore.
"I didn't know you could ride." Alex said as he walked over to where I was
standing beside the fence and reached across the fence and stroked the horse.
"What's his name?" I ask as I turn my attention to Melanie who had climbed back
over the fence.
"Amada. It means 'Loved One' in spanish." She replies as she mounted the horse
again and rode Amada around the ring again. Alex took my hand once more and led me
back to the house. We walk back down the hallway and then climbed the spiriling
staricase until we make it to the second floor and another hallway. Alex stops us in
front of the second door we come to and knocks. The door is opened by an older
version of Alex.
"Alex, when did you get here?" The man asks as he ushers us into what looks to be
an office. He unlike everyone else I had met, pulled Alex into a hug and then turns
"Dad, this is Charlie. Charlie, this is my dad." Alex introduces me for the fourth
time. His father doesn't hesitate to pull me into a hug either. I instantly feel
comfortable with Alex's father. Much like I had felt with Sara and Melanie. After a
couple more minutes in the office talking to Alex's father, he leads me out of the
room and back into the hallway. He then leads me to another room that resembles a
hotel room. He walks in and collapses onto the bed. I walked over and collapse beside
him. We just lay there for awhile in silence, staring up at the ceiling.
"Where's Julie?" I ask as I turn so I'm facing him.
"Probably taking a nap in her room. Why?" He asks curiously as he turns towards me.
"Just curious. I haven't seen her since she escaped from the living room. I was
tempted to join her." I admit and he smiles understandingly.
"I don't really blame you. I would've but I wasn't sure if we could both get out
before she realized we were leaving and you would be stuck with her." He says with a
grin as I shift so my head is laying across his chest. He smiles and puts and arm
around me. We lay there for about fifteen minutes in silence and then Julie comes
running in and jumps up on the bed. I can tell Alex is about to yell at her for
jumping on the bed, but then he notices that she's crying.
"Pumpkin, what happened?" Alex asks as he sits up and pulls Julie into his lap and
holds her close. I have to smile at the sight of them sitting like that. Alex really
was an amazing father. After Julie had calmed down some, Alex asked her what happened
"Grandma yelled at me." She replied as she looked up at him, tears still on her
"Why would she do that?" Alex asked.
"I don't know. Clarice scratched me and I went and told her and she told me it was my
fault." She answered as tears fell down her cheeks again. Alex wiped her moist cheeks
with the bottom of his shirt and hugged her again.
"What were you doing to Clarice?" Alex asked suspiciously.
"I just tried to pet her and she got all mad and scratched my arm." Julie explained.
"Let me see." Alex said and she raised her arm up and indeed there was a pretty big
scratch on it.
"Ow, that hurts!" Julie exclaimed as Alex wiped the blood off with a kleenex.
"I know. Stay here with Charlie while I go get a band-aid." Alex says and gets
up and walks out of the room. Julie walks over to me and climbs up into my almost
unexistant lap. I suddenly get an idea to cheer her up. I take her small hand and
place it on my stomach where I had felt my daughter kick a couple hours ago. Julie
giggles. I smile at her and look over towards the door when I hear a noise. Alex is
leaning against the door frame watching the two of us. When he notices me watching
him he walks on into the room and crouches down in front of us. He takes Julie's arm
and places a band-aid over the scratch. Julie smiles up at him and then takes his
hand in her's and places his where her's had been on my stomach. He looks up at me
and smiles. I smile back and wordlessly place my hand over both of theirs. Alex looks
into my eyes with nothing short of adoration.
That perfect moment was ruined a few seconds later when the maid that had let us
in came in and announced that lunch was ready. After the maid had walked back out
into the hallway, Alex stood from where he had been crouching in the floor and picked
Julie up out of my lap. He shifted her to his other arm and helped me up. We walked
into the dining room together, Alex with one arm holding Julie and the other around
my shoulders. His mother looked disdainfully at us as we entered and took seats the
farthest away from her we could get.
"Alex, I hope that you are planning to punish your daughter for upseting Clarice."
His mother said as soon as everyone had gotten settled at the table. I could see the
muscles in Alex's jaw clinch as he tried to remain calm.
"Mother, how dare you expect me to be angry with my daughter! That spoiled beast
of yours is the one who needs an attitude adjustment! And perhaps Clarice's owner
could use one too. How dare you judge Charlie the way you did! You have no right to
treat her this way. And until you realize that, don't be expecting to see either one
of us anytime soon! Dad, Melanie, Sara, Michael, I'm sorry for ruining your lunch."
Alex finally explodes and then gets up and storms back outside, slamming the door
behind him. I look around at the table of stunned people and begin to feel extremely
awkward. I walk around the table to where Julie is sitting, staring wide-eyed after
her father. I look around once more at the silenced family sitting around the large
dining room table and take the little girl in my arms, giving her the confidence and
reasurance that she needs. Whispering comforting words to her, I carry her out of the
dining room and out onto the front porch. Where in the world did Alex go? Still
holding the little girl tightly in my arms, I walk down to the stable, hoping that
maybe Alex was there or that someone knew where he would be. I don't have to look
very far. Alex is leaning on the fence surrounding a gorgeus pasture, staring off
into the distance.
"Hey." I say softly as I go and stand beside him. He doesn't turn to face me, he
just keeps staring off into the space. I can tell he's still angry and he needs time
to cool off, so I begin rocking Julie gently from side to side. The little girl is
fast asleep in a matter of minutes. I continue to rock her though, letting the slow
motions calm me as much as it calms her. I begin to sing the song that my mother had
sung to me so many years ago softly, although Julie had lo