"One vistor at a time." the nurse stopped Neville.
He looked at her in surprise. "Who else is here? No one else has permission to visit my son."
"She didn't give her name, but I know who she is - the General's niece, Charlie." the nurse informed him. "I'm sorry, sir, I didn't know she wasn't allowed. She seemed to know all about Jason, I thought maybe,"
"Well, they're not." Neville broke in. His son and a Matheson? Never!
He strode down the hallway despite the nurse calling after him. He intended to make that girl leave his son alone, even if it meant dragging her out by her hair. He also intended to have words with Matheson later, how dare he let his niece anywhere near Jason!
He came to a sudden halt just outside the door of Jason's room. The scene inside was enough to make him want to run outside, find Miles Matheson, and force the man to control the girl. His son, the son of Tom Neville, formerly high ranking officer of the Monroe Militia and now of the Georgian Federation, was kissing Charlie Matheson, the daughter of Ben Matheson, farmer.
Neville couldn't stand for this. It just couldn't happen, not so long as he was still alive and able to stop it. He started to go into the room and then stopped. Julia would've be happy about it - Jason finally having a girlfriend. But the Matheson girl? Couldn't he have chosen someone else?
Charlie pulled herself away from Jason. "You sure you're feeling better?"
"I am now." he grinned up at her from his pillow. "I've wanted to do that for a while. If I'd known all it would take was a blow to the head..."
She blushed, "Shut up."
"Hey." he tried to tug her arm, to pull her closer again. "Hey, what happened here?" he held up her bandaged hand.
"It's nothing. Just a cut."
"Okay." he accepted her answer. "Your uncle is gonna be pissed about us."
She laughed. "Like your dad isn't going to be?"
"True, true. Mom'll like you though."
"My mom doesn't like you."
"She doesn't even know me yet! Hardly, anyway."
"So, um, there's an "us"?" Charlie asked, shyly.
"You want there to be?" Jason asked back, slightly surprised. Hadn't they been dancing around it for months now?
"Jason, what is this?" Neville finally made his way into the hospital room. He looked from one to the other, trying to gauge exactly what was going on by the expressions on their faces.
The two looked at him, identical looks on their faces, like teenagers being caught sneaking out. At least, that's exactly how Charlie felt, as she had been caught more then once doing just that. She glanced over at Jason, unsure what explanation to give his father.
"Charlie just came by to see how I was doing." Jason answered, smoothly.
Neville raised his eyebrows. So that was the story they were going with?
Charlie took the out Jason was offering."In fact, I was just about to leave when he woke up. I guess I'll see you later, Jason." She did not say good bye to Neville as she took her leave of the room.
Neville turned to face his son. "Jason, what the hell is wrong with you? She is a Matheson." he spat the name out as if it were dirt.
"So? I like Charlie. I don't care what her last name is or the fact she has no society connections, which is what you're really implying. I like Charlie as she is." Jason could feel his head starting to hurt again in anticipation of yet another argument with his dad.
"As she is? She is a Matheson! Why can't you understand that?" Neville really couldn't understand how his son couldn't understand that. "Once her uncle hears of this, there could be hell to pay!"
"Charlie wouldn't allow that."
"Do you know of the rumors that Miles is her father? Do you know that would make her illegimate?" Neville argued.
Now Jason could feel the blood pounding through his head as the headache began. "I have. It doesn't matter to me nor is it anyone's business."
Neville groaned and stomped out of the room. Why couldn't he knock some sense into his son?
Charlie rushed out of the hospital, anxious for fresh air. She leaned against the brick wall, her head spinning. It was what she wanted, right? She and Jason, an "us". She'd taken the chance, thrown caution to the wind and kissed him like she'd wanted to for weeks. She was tired of the death, of the war, and everything being turned upside down and taken away from her. Kissing Jason was the first real decision she'd gotten to make for herself since her father had been killed.
She wished there was someone she could talk to about it all. Everyone she would've talked to was gone in some way. The only ones left were Miles and Jason. She couldn't talk about kissing Neville's son with Miles as he was likely to go off on a rampage about it and how could she talk to Jason about it?
Slowly, she began walking toward the Presidential Residence, where she and Miles were staying. At least she had her own room there, where she could just sit and think for a while by herself, since she was unsure about talking to anyone.
Charlie liked to walk around Atlanta, it was so different then where she'd grown up. She'd never been to a big city before and it was everything she'd dreamed of. But it was also lonely, all those people and no one to talk to. She felt small and alone as she walked toward the Residence.
Once there, she hoped to just slip up to her room, without bumping into Miles. First, she'd have to get through security.
"Name?" the bored gate guard asked.
"Charlotte Matheson." she answered, having learned the hard way she had to give her full name.
"Okay." He shuffled some papers, pulling out a composite sketch. It was one of her "wanted" posters, which always amused her. He compared it to her. "Okay. You can go in.
The fact security was rather lax never crossed her mind because it was the first time she'd ever had to face any kind of security just to go to her room!
Miles looked up as Charlie came in. "Hey. Where've you been?" he went back to working, not truly concerned. She was twenty, after all, not two and it was broad daylight outside.
"Just out." Charlie answered, avoiding the question.
"Okay." he nodded in acknowledgement. "Did you get your hand looked at?"
"Um, yeah. It's okay."
"Stitches come out yet?" he sounded distracted, which she hoped for as it meant she'd be able to slip away easier.
"Good, good." he looked up again as Charlie was trying to make her exit. "So, how's Jason?"
She whirled around and nearly rammed herself into the door she had been opening. "Who?"
"Jason. You know, Neville's son. You like him, I don't. He's in the hospital, where you just admitted you were. You probably saw him, so how is he? Awake yet?" He managed to hide a smile. This was the only bit of his life that gave him any happiness at the moment and he was determined to find some.
"Oh! Um, well, yeah, he's awake. We didn't really get to talk or anything so um, I don't know, um," she stammered, wanting to know immediately what Miles knew and how he knew it so quickly but was nervous to ask him.
"Okay. Good. Glad to hear he's doing better."
"I'm gonna, just, you know, go to my room now." Charlie flung the door open and slammed it behind her.