AN: I'm alive! I'm so sorry for leaving this story midway, but my life has been so crazy, I just didn't have it in me to try to write sappy fan fiction. But i'm back! Updates will unfortunately still be irregular but something is better than nothing.
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It took Charlie another two days to start talking. I would go to see him twice a day and just talk to him about my feelings. I would apologize over and over again because no matter what anybody said, I knew I was at least partly responsible for making him so unwell. I tried to ask Bob and some of his other friends about what had happened in the days before I saw him, but no one was really sure.
"I don't know. We found him sitting on the couch naked and unresponsive. It looked like he was watching TV even though it was off. I tried to get him to talk, I even hit him a little, but he didn't say anything. So I had to bring him to the hospital and they shifted him here in the psych ward. I don't know why or how it happened though," said one of his friends, George. It wasn't completely helpful but I suppose everything about this wasn't as mysterious anymore.
The day after I first saw him, I asked his mom. She had to have answers. I walked up to her in the waiting area and sat next to her.
"Hi, Mrs. Kelmeckis. How are you?"
She smiled weakly and said, "I'm alright, dear. How are you?"
"I'm okay. I'm just really worried about Charlie. I don't get- what happened?" I asked, and winced as I realized how helpless I sounded.
She sighed heavily and said, "I know you're confused, Sam. I realize nobody has stopped to tell you why this has happened."
I felt so weak. "Can you tell me?"
She ran her hand over her face and started, "Charlie has had…mental health problems since he was a little boy. And it's not surprising that this happened near his birthday, because his Aunt Helen passed away on his seventh birthday. He was so attached to her, she was his favorite person in the world- or at least that's how he liked to put it. He became sick after that, and he had to spend a lot of time in the hospital. It last happened when he was sixteen, and we thought he was getting better. But suddenly…I just don't understand…"
I remembered Charlie telling me about his Aunt. He spoke so fondly of her, as if she held the answers to the questions of the universe. I remembered the spark in his eyes when he remembered the good times with her. It made sense in a way. Maybe he was feeling unwell long before I met him the other day.
That's when I started feeling overwhelmed by guilt again because I wasn't there when he was falling apart and needed someone to keep him together. I literally lived two doors down and I couldn't help him.
I had to ask, "Is there anything I- I mean, anyone could have done to prevent this?"
She shook her head dejectedly and said, "I wish there was, Sam. God knows I would have done everything to stop this from coming back to him over and over again."
She broke down and I held her and told her to compose herself for Charlie's sake. It was a helpless situation for everyone involved. There were so many questions but no answers, and I didn't think anyone knew how they could be useful. Charlie still wasn't talking, and he still looked pained, and I just didn't know how to help him.
The day Charlie woke up was an emotionally challenging day. Thankfully it was a weekend and I didn't have any classes, so I got to sleep in and relax for a bit. I sipped on my coffee and read a few pages of a book without really absorbing anything. It was hard to put my head in one place but I tried to think about other things, and catch up on everything I had ignored in the past two days. I called up Mary Elizabeth and told her about what happened. She sounded concerned and told me to take care of him. I didn't need to be reminded. I got dressed to go to the hospital but I realized I was half an hour late. Rushing through the door, I quickly hailed a cab and made my way over to the hospital.
I really wasn't expecting anything to change. I figured it would be another day of me talking about my feelings in some irrational hope of compensating for the shit I put him through. I figured it would be another day of talking to Charlie's mom and reassuring her. I did not anticipate walking into Charlie's room and finding him out of his wheel chair and on the bed, drinking water. His family (I think) was sitting around him, trying to make conversation. I saw Charlie smiling weakly, looking extremely perplexed. I was frozen in place, I didn't know whether I should leave or stay and say hi. I decided on the former and just when I turned to leave I heard a meek but lovable voice call, "Sam?"
Any willpower I had managed to muster to leave the room melted when I heard his voice call my name. I froze in place and held back my tears. Now was not the time to cry. I turned around and when I saw him trying to give me a smile, I couldn't control my emotions. I was weeping and laughing and bawling and I was overwhelmed by my emotions. I loved this man so much; I wouldn't let go for anything now.
I stood there crying, unable to move, and his family started to excuse themselves. Charlie's mom gave me an encouraging pat on my shoulder, and people I guessed were his father, brother and sister smiled at me. I heard the door shut behind me and we were alone. I tried to keep my composure and carefully walked to his bedside. His intense gaze was the last straw for me, and I jumped on him, holding him tightly and sobbing. And for a full five minutes we just held each other with a grip so tight that nothing could tear us apart.
I pulled back to see his face up close. His sunken eyes were tired and full of tears, and he looked thin- he looked sick.
"Oh my god, Charlie. Oh my god, oh my god," I whispered again and again, not knowing what to say.
"Hi, Sam," he said quietly, and I heard the crack in his voice.
"Charlie, I was so worried about you. You just disappeared and I kept asking around and looking for you and you weren't there and then you were here and you wouldn't say anything. I was so worried. Oh my god, Charlie…I love you so much. Don't ever do that again, please. You scared the life out of me," I rushed out in one breath.
He grimaced and said, "I'm sorry, Sam. I didn't know this would happen. It hasn't happened in years and I'm as confused as you are. I just- I'm sorry. You don't have to worry about me anymore."
I slapped him lightly on the shoulder and said, "Of course I have to worry about you! You have no idea how miserable everything has been without you. I missed you so much. I missed you so much."
I took a deep breath and looked up at him. His eyes were full with emotion, and he was smiling but it looked more genuine. "I missed you too, Sam. I missed you, too."
"You're never getting away from me again. Ever," I said and held his face in my hands.
"I was never gone, Sam. I'm still here," he said. By this time we were both sobbing messes.
"I love you, Charlie."
"I love you, too."
He pulled me closer and pressed his lips to mine. My hands went in his hair as I took in the feel of his skin and the warmth of his touch. We parted but I kept on repeating those three words. And he smiled and pulled me in again in a tight embrace.
We spent some time catching up and figuring things out. I decided not to be stupid anymore and just go with it. I was in a relationship by the time that conversation ended. We called his family back in and Charlie formally introduced me as his girlfriend and his mother looked relieved, his father looked proud and his siblings looked happy.
From then on his therapy started, and it felt he was finally starting to figure some things out. Nobody was really kept in the loop about what they talked about, but I suppose that was only ethical. Two weeks into his sessions, I was at the hospital with Charlie's parents when the doctor said she needed to speak with them alone. It was a long time before they came out of the office and they looked shocked, sad, and mad. Obviously that talk hadn't been good. They both sat down silently and it looked like Charlie's dad was trying really hard not to cry.
"Is something wrong?" I asked.
Mr. Kelmeckis sniffed and said, "Sam, did Charlie ever…mention anything about his Aunt?"
"Aunt Helen?" They nodded. "Well, apart from everything I've told you, no. He's always had good things to say about her," I said.
That's when Mrs. Kelmeckis really started to cry. I was so confused, what was going on?
"What happened? Why are you crying?" I asked a bit frantically
"Sam, Charlie's Aunt, she-she molested…oh my goodness. All those years we lived in the same house and we never found out. I just don't understand," she said, sobbing heavily.
I was shocked out of my wits. How could that be? Charlie was so fond of her. "But…why didn't he ever tell anyone?"
"The doctor said he had repressed those memories, and it was only now that he remembered them. He said that it used to happen every week. I just- how could we have missed this? It was happening before our own eyes."
I didn't know what to do. Charlie's mom was crying and his dad put his head in his hands. I felt tears sting my own eyes. Charlie was one of the most goodhearted people I knew; I just didn't understand why this happened.
A few moments later I asked, "How is he taking it?"
His mom said, "The doctor said he's alright. This was obviously very hard for him, but he's trying to cope with it. Sam, could you please speak to him? I can't face him right now."
I walked into his room and saw him sitting on the floor, typing something on his typewriter. I walked over to him and put my hand on his shoulder. He paused to look at me and smiled; I could tell he had been crying.
"How are you, Charlie?" I asked, sitting down next to him.
"So, they told you?" He said, and I nodded, "I don't know, Sam. It's hard to think about and harder to actually mentally process, but it explains a lot of things that have happened in the past. I don't know what to think of her anymore. I think I just need some time to think about it, you know?"
I took hold of his arm and rested my head on his shoulder. "I know. But whenever you want to talk about it, you can talk to me. You know that right? I know you have a great doctor, but if ever you want to talk about it…"
He pressed a kiss to my hair and said, "I know I can talk to you, Sam. I will when I have to."
I sighed and took a moment to think about everything. It was such an incredibly messed up situation and Charlie just remembered this terrible thing but somehow I couldn't find it in me to feel defeated or pulled down. I was by his side now, and I had no plans of leaving. I believed that we could figure this out as well.
"Don't worry, Charlie. We'll be alright."
"We'll be alright."
SO MUCH SAP. Wow. I hope you liked this chapter. Do let me know in the reviews.
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