Reunited- A Love Story Evolved
Sitting on the beach, a thousand thoughts were swimming through her head. She had come almost every day and sat looking out the sea. There was something about the water lapping up against her feet and the way the sun set. She couldn't imagine life before this.
The image of Joey talking about her love of the beach and boats was very much a fresh one, almost as though she had said it only yesterday.
Ah Joey... 12 months has passed since she got on the boat saying that it would only be for 3 months and she needed to find a way past the Hugo & Charlie infidelity.
It wasn't supposed to matter, it was just a stupid mistake but Joey left anyway. She couldnt forgive Charlie, and to say she could would only make it worse. Charlie didn't fight for her that day... well... maybe not as much as she should have. She should have told Joey, she shouldn't have gone to work the night before. She should have fought harder.
OH! Everything was such a mess, Joey hadn't been gone very long and Angelo had come back, and she got all jealous over May and ended up back with Angelo in what could only be descibed as a work convenient relationship.
Now it was all over with Angelo, between the relevation that Ruby was her daughter and being bashed by Hugo in the people smuggling case, it was just too much. Charlie woke up one morning to realise there were only 2 people that mattered in this world and Angelo wasn't one of them. So she told him it was over. This had happened 2 months ago.
Charlie was in a repetitive cycle... each day led her to the beach again and again, hoping her one true love, her soulmate would return and she could make up for all the pain she had caused.
With her head buried in her knees, crying for what seemed like hours, Charlie hadn't noticed a boat arrive into Summer Bay. It had moored and its crew disembarked.
With her back to the wharf, she was totally oblivious to one beauty walking towards her...
Joey was petrified of coming back to Summer Bay. No one knew she was returning and every fibre in her being said to stay on the boat, as she had done on several occasions before when she had returned. Such was the beauty of noone knowing you were back but today was different. As the boat had sailed in she saw someone sitting on the sand and as the boat got closer, she realised it was Charlie. She couldn't mistake beauty like that anywhere.
Joey disembarked and parted with the rest of the crew, slowly descending down the beac.
She heard Charlie crying, her head buried in her knees.
For a moment she was hesistant to approach Charlie... what would cause her to be so upset? Has she been like this the entire time she was gone? Almost in a sweep of a second, she had put her bags down and wrapped her arms around Charlie like she had never left.
Charlie didn't hear the footsteps or the bags reaching the sand but her crying stopped as she felt a pair of arms around her. She knew who they belonged to! A smile spread across her face. She whispered...
"Joey, you're back!"
Joey couldnt say anything more than a soft "yes" before nuzzling her face into Charlie's neck.
They held onto each other a long time after that. Each of them too scared to break the contact between them, both of them wating to wash away the pain of the last 12 months apart but not knowing where to begin.
Eventually Charlie turned around slowly to find Joeys eyes filled with tears, she wiped them away with her thumbs saying "I'm so sorry... I shouldnt have let you go, I love you, I've never stopped loving you, I'm just so sorry".
Joey looked deep into Charlies eyes, they weren't the same cheeky, lively eyes she had met and fallen in love with. They were lifeless, sad and drained of any happiness.
"Charlie..." she hesitated, unsure of what to say next. "I don't know how long i'm back for but i don't want to spend it talking about the past. Can we focus on today and tomorrow instead?"
"What do you mean? Your family's here, Ruby, Leah, VJ and I are here, we love you. I want you to stay, please? Please!?"
"I'm going to be honest with you Charlie, this isnt the first time i have come back to Summer Bay. It's the first time i got off the boat since i left you but i have come in several times, i was just unable to step foot off the boats. Today i saw you one the beach, i knew it was you, your beautiful hair flowing in the wind. I was totally mesmerised. I couldn't get you out of my mind. I had to see you", she smiled.
Charlie was in shock. Despite variuos attempts to locate Joey, she was unable to despite having access to police records and information that ordinary citizens didn't have access to. Now she understood why. All that time on a boat meant one thing, no land address. No phone numbers and mobile phones, well they're so easy to swap and change numbers on.
"Come home with me please Joey", she begged, "I want to have your frienship if nothing else. I love you, I'm in love with you. I'll tell you everything of whats gone in my life since you've been gone. I'll hold nothing back if you'll let me. I'm not the same woman you left. I'm certain of one thing first and foremost. You're my soulmate. You're the love of my life and i don't want to let you go ever again. I want to prove to you we belong together. I want to wake up every morning and go to sleep every night with you by my side. I want to make you happy!"
Joey was the one who was shellshocked now. Never before had Charlie expressed her love with such confidence. This was a different Charlie, a more confident soul. Maybe this was the turning curve? Maybe this could work? she thought.
"I tell you what..." a smile casting across her face, with a cheekyness in her eyes, "since i have nowhere to stay tonight, we can hang out and you tell me whats been going on in Summer Bay and we'll see where it goes."
Charlie was happy, she couldn't contain her excitment with the thought that Joey was coming home. They could be together at last. All the mistakes of the past could be erased. A new future to be written.
"I'm starving, lets stop by the diner and grab something to eat"
"OK" and with that, they headed towards Charlies car to put Joey's bags back and grab some takeaway.
Joey was a little hesitant going back to the diner. She was afraid of the people she could bump into, like Hugo and Colleen. Her hestitance dissapeared as Charlie grabbed her hand and intertwined her fingers through Joeys. This was a more confident, happy Charlie. She wasn't going to shy away from the prying eyes of the small minded people. Her love for Joey was going to be expressed in public with no shame. Or was it? A seed of doubt began to grow.