Ok. Some of you have already seen this, but I thought it deserved to be viewed seperately from the other ones. Check it out.
*** IMPORTANT FOR PEOPLE WHO DON"T READ GROW UP TOO FAST: Charley is Gerard's daughter. Thanks.
I can’t sleep anymore. Not without her. Not without Lindsey. All I can do is lay there and feel the empty space next to me, the one where she always was. I can’t roll over and feel her breath in my face, I can’t pull her close to me. Because she’s gone.
It’s ridiculous, because my daughter barely seems phased by her leaving us. She doesn’t seem any different, she hasn’t even asked about her. She says she’s fine, because now instead of one mommy and one daddy, she has five daddies. She’s as happy as ever.
But I’m not. This is ripping me apart and they see it. They all see it. Even Charley looks at me different; there’s almost a fear in her eyes now. Not of me, but for me.
I’m losing my grip. Twice, I’ve been driving, and come close to walking into a liquor store. Last night, I stood outside the door of one for nearly fifteen minutes, debating with myself over whether or not I should go inside. I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Not after how bad it was that first time. And I don’t want Charley to ever see that side of me. I don’t want her to know that I can be like that. So easily, I can be like that.
I can barely eat anymore. I just smoke, and drink coffee. Frankie has been trying to force food down my throat, and when I’m in front of Charley I make myself I eat, though I have no interest in it. It’s all my own damn fault anyhow. Everything is my fault. It always has been.
I'm in the car now, trying to drive home. Ray's watching Charley. I told him I had a few things to do, some places to go. He bought it.
Thunder shakes the world, my world. Rain is pelting down on my windsheild, making it difficult to see. I'm thinking too much now, about the things Lindsey and I have done in this car in the rain. The way I kissed her... I force myself to stop, turning on the radio, and gritting my teeth.
Summer has come and passed
The innocent can never last
Here comes the rain again
Falling from the stars
Drenched in my pain again
Becoming who we are
Tears blur my vision as I listen to the words, running down my cheeks and burning like flame. I swallow, but it doesn't do any good; the tears continue to fall from my eyes. I don't have the resistance, the energy to stop them anymore. I let them fall, and they come faster, harder. I begin to sob, my hands shake. I can't take it anymore; I jerk the car over to the side of the road, slamming on the brakes. I clutch my head in my hands, allowing the sobs to completely take me over. They wrack my entire body. I gasp, trying to breathe through it all, and struggling.
I'm not sure how long I cry. My sense of time has been screwed up, different since she left me. Time is broken. Just like me.
Eventually, I get in control enough to start driving again; I don't want to worry Ray by being too late. I force myself not to cry anymore, not for now. I don't want to have my eyes be red. It'd be too obvious, and I'm not good at hiding this as it is. I laugh bitterly to myself, and it's a weak sound. Cracked.
I sit in the parking lot for five minutes, making sure I have enough of a handle on myself. I get out, taking slow, deliberate steps. I climb my stairs, instead of the elevator, to give myself more time.
I take a deep breath, opening the door to my apartment. Ray is sitting on my couch, watching Van Helsing. He turns abruptly when I walk in.
"Hey Gee." He says, giving me a wide smile.
"Hey." My best reply.
Ray sees right through me, but he knows better than to say anything. He knows that I'll shatter. He stands up reluctantly. "I made Mac and Cheese for me and Charley. Have some of it." He's already on his way to kitchen, spooning stuff into a bowl for me.
I protest. "I don't want-"
But Ray shoots me a dark look. "Gerard. Eat. It."
I sit down, and take the bowl. I barely even taste it, putting it in my mouth and swallowing. Ray eyes me, and I'm forced to eat all of it. After I'm finished, Ray takes the bowl and tosses it in the sink then turns to me. He hugs me tightly.
"Hold on, ok Gerard? You can get through this."
Really? I don't think so. "Bye Ray."
"Bye Gee." He waves to me, and then I'm left on my own. I peek in at Charley, who is asleep, and should be; it's past eleven. I stroke her hair gently, pulling the blanket up over her more. She's all I have left. She's everything now. Me? I'm absolutely nothing. Nothing without her.
I make my way to my room, collapsing onto the bed. I'm exhausted, and I'm just now realizing how little sleep I've had. I feel my eyelids closing, and as much as I want to fight the sleep that's threatening to pull me under, I can't. I'm helpless to it. Just like everything else.
I'm walking down an empty street, staring at the ground. Aimless. I take steps forward, stumbling and tripping. Suddenly, I see a shadow in front of me. A shadow I know. A shadow of her. Suddenly I'm running like my life depends on it. Because my life does depend on it. Then, from behind me, I hear Charley.
"Daddy!" She's screaming. "Daddy, save me!" I want to go to her, but the shadow is slipping away. I have to follow it.
Charley screams louder, more frantically, and then suddenly, she's completely silent. I look, and she's lying on the pavement, crumpled. I see the shadow darting around a corner, gone from me. Somehow I know it's gone forever.
"You should have saved me Daddy," Charley whimpers. "You should have saved me." With one last shaky breath, she whispers Daddy one last time. And then she's gone. Just like the shadow, she's gone forever.
With a sickening truth, I realize the shadow was just a decoy. A distraction so they could take Charley from me. They knew I would pick the shadow. And I did. I picked it, and I lost everything.
I sit bolt upright, a cold sweat coating my face, dripping off the end of my nose. I'm breathing hard, and my stomach overturns. I jump up, streaking towards the bathroom with my hand clamped tightly over my mouth. I fall pathetically onto my knees in front of the toilet, lifting the lid as my stomach rejects the only thing I've eaten in the last three days. I grip the edge of the toilet with all my strength, because I'm afraid I'm going to slip onto the floor.
I get a couple seconds to breathe, ten maybe, and then I have to lean over to get sick a second time. My hair is matted against my forehead and the back of my neck. I'm reeling from lack of air, and ice cold fear. At the same time my skin is burning.
I'm done after another short moment, though I stay in front of the toilet, because my stomach is still heaving emptily. Nothing else comes up, just a little bit of the coffee I've been drinking. It had served a purpose at the time, though now I'm regretting drinking it.
I lie on the floor, tears sneaking down my face again. I'm gasping, desperately out of control. And yet, I'm more in control then I have been.
Like a zombie, I stand and walk into Charley's room. There's she is, still tucked tightly under the covers like I left her. I pull her into my arms, cradling her. She doesn't wake. My tears fall down on her face, and I wipe them away with my thumb.
"I love you. I won't pick the shadow." I whisper, my sobs shaking her gently. I look up to the ceiling, feeling my girl in my arms.
"Please, help me forget her. Please." I beg, sounding desperate. There's a sudden burst of wind and rain outside, that makes the hair stand up on my arms. I take it as a confirmation. Someone heard me.
I lean down over Charley, and whisper in her ear. "I'll always save you Charley. From now on, I'll always save you."
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