Chapter Twenty-Two: Childhood Part 22

The mood was sour as Charlie finally came home. His wife Dot was just laying on the couch holding onto a pillow with tears coming down her cheeks. He removed his hat and coat, putting them on the coat hanger by the door. Dot couldn't bear to look at him as she just listened to him doing this.

"Where have you been?" Dot simply asked; still looking into the distance away from him.

Charlie knew something wasn't right as he just paused. Trying to think of an excuse as he always did.

"I went into the city" Charlie tried to say.

"For over 5 hours?"

"Yes! I went around some of the shops and pubs. Had some lunch and erm...I was just wandering around and having a long think about the future really. Why?"

"Really? I only gave you" Dot paused as she had to think about how much money he went with and when she remembered, she told him.."I gave you three pounds"

"Well, I might have did some hiding to avoid a train fare and might have gotten some old mates to buy me a few drinks in the pub. Why? Who have you been talking to?" Charlie asked nervously.

Thinking he's been caught with Pat and somebody told her. Hence why she looks so upset however no, she didn't know anything about it and something like that wouldn't upset her. She was too use to it by now sadly

"Nobody...I've been talking to nobody" Dot replied.

Finally looking up at him as she got up from the couch. She looked utterly distraught, Charlie was finally twigging on that this was something serious. This wasn't because of him and his thoughts turned to Nick for the first time in his life.

"Is Nick alright?" Charlie questioned.

"Nick? You do remember him then...That's a relief"

"You're scaring me now, Dorothy. Tell me the matter, I can't help you if you don't tell me. Has your mother died? Is that it? I know she's not been well as late"

"It's the baby, Charlie. It's gone"

"What do you mean?"

"I mean it's gone...Gone and never coming back. It was a miscarriage, Charlie. I fell down the stairs and the next minute, I saw blood. Dr Legg said the fall made it happen...Everyone was looking for you, Charlie but you weren't there because you're never there"

The man just looked down in shame. He was truly ashamed.

"I'm sorry. I would have been there had I knew and you know that" Charlie insisted.

"I was so scared, Charlie. I had Ethel with me but I wanted you there. You're my husband and you weren't there"

"Like I said, I would have been there had I knew...I'm sorry Dot, really I am. You look exhausted. Let's go to bed, come on" Charlie gently spoke.

"I just want you to hold me" Dot confessed.

Charlie paused slightly before pulling her in for a hug. She sobbed into his shoulder as she felt his arms wrap around her. Deep down, he was just as heartbroken. Truly he was however he rarely let his true feelings known to Dot. He told his other wife Rose things but he would never tell Dot these things. She bailed him out when he had money problems but his other problems were left with Rose.

...

The Cotton family made their way out the door the following morning. Last night was difficult for them all. Dot managed to get some sleep and that was mostly down to having Charlie there with her. The woman got about halfway out however she couldn't face it, she knew she would have people coming up to her all day and telling her how sorry they were. Well she didn't want to hear it. She never wanted it brought up again (and she never would bring it up again). Nick wouldn't either in the future. It was almost like it never even happened.

"I can't do this, Charlie" Dot confessed with a shiver.

"Do what?"

"Go out and have people looking at me and feeling sorry for me. I don't want to be reminded, I know what I lost. I don't need them telling me they are sorry, I know they are but that won't help me"

"Well...You can't stay inside forever, can you? Isn't it better to go out now and have it over and done with?"

"I need to go to church, Charlie. Please let's all go to church and pray together, that's all I want right now"

This request made Charlie raise an eyebrow. He rarely went to church, he didn't even go on Sunday with her and Nick.

"You can pray inside" Charlie replied.

"No! I need to go to church...Please don't be selfish Charlie Cotton. Our baby is up in heaven and we need to pray to Jesus. Tell him our feelings and our worries, let him know how sorry we are. Let him know we understand he did it for a reason-"

"Alright...Alright! I get the picture...Look I'm finding this just as hard as you but we need to keep it together"

"Please take me then"

"Fine. If it makes you feel better, we can go"

"Yes. Come on Nick, we are going to church to pray. You need to pray for me and your pa...Pray for our souls" Dot spoke.

"What about my soul?" Nick asked.

"Your soul doesn't need praying for. You're a child...If you died tomorrow, God would take you but he wouldn't take me or your pa until we repented"

This made Charlie barge in between them slightly. He didn't believe all that and Dot shouldn't be talking to Nick like this yet. She wasn't in a good state of mind, was she? She was scaring the child actually. He was thinking all sorts, like how if he died; he wouldn't see his parents again because they wouldn't go to Heaven with him.

"Your ma's very upset, Nick. Don't listen to her" Charlie spoke up.

"I am very upset! And you know why! How can you be so thoughtless, Charlie?"

"You're the one talking about Hell, Dorothy. Telling our son we are going to Hell if we don't pray right this second"

"I never said that! I said we need to pray for our souls so we don't go to Hell...Nick understands that, he's a smart boy. You're the one who scares him, Charlie Cotton. You always hit him when you're angry or call him names...All I'm doing is trying to save us"

This constant arguing was always around when Nick was a child. They weren't normal arguments either, they were quite nasty at times. He heard a lot of things during them, some he wishes he hadn't.

"Oh, really?" Charlie asked back with a scoff.

"Yes...Well if it was for you, he would be dead"

Though as soon as Dot said this, she regretted it. Nick looked instantly confused and almost upset.

"What?" Nick blurted out.

"Nothing" Charlie spat.

Dot and Charlie were talking about the time when he tried to get her to have an abortion. She didn't of cause and Nick was the result. Though this was not something Dot ever wanted him to know (but he did find out eventually).

...

Sitting in the pub a few hours later. Charlie was drinking a lot. Den thought he was drinking far too much. The miscarriage had led to a bigger rift in the marriage and he was tempted to go again. Go back to Rose and never look back, he didn't want to stay and put up with all this. Angie was looking over at the man from behind the bar, she was personally disgusted he was here and not with Dot.

"He should be with Dot" Angie spoke quietly to her husband Den.

"Come on, Ange...Let the man drown his sorrows. It's not as though he's laughing about it, is it?"

"Oh, so if something bad happened to Sharon. You would be alright to get drunk and leave me alone?"

"Well that's not the same thing, is it? Besides...I would never do that...I'm going to go over and have a word with him"

Den was thus now walking over towards Charlie. The man was drinking still when he looked up at Den, giving him a small nod.

"I'm sorry to hear about the miscarriage, Charlie" Den began.

"Yes? Well it happens sometimes, doesn't it? Dot's taking it worse to tell you the truth, she's praying a lot and talking about Hell"

"And you want to drink until you can think no more. I get it but Charlie, I ain't watching you get drunk. Be a man and go home, take her rubbish if you have to. Just don't be a fool, you leave her now and nobody round here will like you again"

"So what?"

"You're going back to your bird in Liverpool, aren't ya?"

"Most likely, Den. I ain't sticking round here...Why would I want to stay with Dot and my abnormal son when I got a normal wife and son over there? I know it's harsh but everyone knows it's true"

"Your abnormal son is really going to hate you when he grows up" Den correctly predicted.

"Maybe he will but I can't go sticking around. I need to pack my bags and go, Dot has plenty of friends around here and I think Nick will be worse off with me here"

"Keep talking, Charlie. You will come up with a good enough lie to salve your conscience soon"

Though the man just tutted in response. Making Den retreat back behind the bar. Well he tried but there's no getting through to some people.

...

TBC