Mikey was in love with Charlie whether he knew it or not. But what he didn't know was what he was getting himself into when he found out.
Mikey tapped his pen impatiently on the cash register counter of Burke’s Comic Union, he glanced nervously at the clock. She was fifteen minutes late. He let out a puff of frustration and kept hitting his pen against the counter. Keith, Mikey’s boss, came down one of the isles of comics and stopped once he saw Mikey restlessly fidgeting behind the register.
“Mikey, are you alright?” Keith asked. Mikey jumped, he hadn’t noticed Keith had walked up, he was too busy waiting for-
The chime of the bell on the front door rang loudly throughout the store. Mikey’s head jerked in it’s direction and he watched in awe as she came walking into the store with her hands dug deeply into her leather jacket, her brown hair falling gracefully off her shoulder.
“Hi Charlie!” Mikey blurted out loudly and his face turned bright red. Charlie jumped and turned around, she smiled once she saw Mikey and waved happily. Mikey let out a sigh of relief. He looked down at his shoes and when he glanced up she was making her way towards the isles.
Charlene Diane Malmgren was the most amazing person Mikey had ever met in his entire life, or so he thought. Charlie was the only girl who would talk to Mikey and even had the nerve to sit with him at lunch. Charlie was perfect in every way, her long hair and soft brown eyes, the way she didn’t care what other people thought, how she loved comics and came by the store every day after school. Mikey also had the biggest crush on her. He couldn’t help it, she was beautiful and amazing, but her being the most awesome seventeen year old made her the favorite of the majority of the males at Mercy Preparatory High School.
“Mikey!” Keith shouted snapping his fingers in front of Mikey’s face. He blinked in surprise and was launched out of his thoughts about Charlie.
“Yes?” Mikey responded as politely as he could. It was hard not to answer snottily, he loved thinking about Charlie and how much he just wanted her to feel the same way he did.
“Looks like Charlie needs some help,” He said as he pointed towards her. Mikey followed Keith’s gaze. Charlie, the vertically challenged person she was, couldn’t reach a certain comic and was jumping up trying to reach it. Mikey smiled, it was the cutest sight he had ever seen. He nodded quickly to Keith before hurriedly walking towards Charlie, excitement resonating in his bones.
The excitement died when he watched Gerard walk swiftly down the isle, grab the comic Charlie was trying to get and hand it to her with a flirty smile. Mikey watched in horror as Charlie smiled back. He clenched his hands into a fist as he silently supervised the scene; Gerard was striking up an ever-so-friendly conversation with Charlie. Then Charlie laughed. Mikey’s heart felt like his heart was going to fall out of his butt. Gerard had made her laugh. His eyes welled with tears and he quickly blinked them away, he was so angry with Gerard right now. He began stomping back to the register and sat moodily waiting for Charlie to come over. Once she finally did he saw the smile that Gerard had no doubt left on her face. Mikey grew jealous very quickly.
“Hey Mikes,” She said in her angelic voice as she put her comic down on the counter. Mikey softened, there was no way he could stay angry or jealous when Charlie was just so… so perfect.
“Hey Char,” He used the nickname he gave her just to prove that he knew her better than his no good brother. He slowly rang up her comic trying to get as much time with her as he could.
“So I was thinking maybe you want to come over to my house tonight and play some video games or something?” Charlie suggested as she fiddled with her hands. Mikey’s face grew hot. Charlie had just asked him over to her house. He nodded not trusting his own voice. “Great, you can just stop by once you get done with work. Maybe you could bring your brother too?”
Mikey stopped what he was doing and looked up from his hands. Charlie was gazing over at Gerard who was unpacking boxes in the corner. Mikey scowled angrily. He quickly opened the register, got Charlie’s change and slammed it onto the table. Charlie jumped and looked innocently up at him. Mikey slumped his shoulders and avoided her gaze.
“Whatever.” He mumbled. Mikey heard Charlie sigh and he instantly regretted his actions. He lifted his head to watch her walk towards the doors. “See you later Charlie.” He shouted after her. She turned around and waved, walking backwards the rest of the way out of the door. Mikey sighed and flopped down onto the stool behind the register.
“Mikey, that girl, Charlotte, she’s so hot.” Gerard said as he walked over and stood next to Mikey, leaning up against the wall. Mikey clenched his jaw, he didn’t even know her name!
“It’s Charlene, not Charlotte.” Mikey muttered through gritted teeth. He was so jealous of Gerard. Gerard got everything the good looks, the girls, the outgoing attitude. Mikey hated Gerard for that. Gerard didn’t even know Charlie and yet she was still laughing with him. Mikey knew everything about Charlie, her shitty family life, her dumbass ex-boyfriends, the way she blew her hair out of her face instead of using her fingers, and whenever she got really mad she would cry and then get more mad because she was crying… Mikey mentally slapped himself before he could start daydreaming about things that will never happened.
“Oh, well she seems to like you.” Gerard said simply. Mikey jumped and stared in amazement at his brother.
“She does?” He managed to choke out. Gerard snorted and rolled his eyes at his brother.
“Don’t get carried away now. And yeah, I mean I’ve seen you two together at school before.” Mikey smiled at this. He and Charlie were seen together and even though Charlie was considered one of those popular kids, she didn’t care about her image or whatever and still talked to him. In public.
“Yeah, we’re good friends.” Mikey said as he played with his fingers. Charlie and Mikey were good friends, she would invite him to all the popular kid parties and would call him whenever her dad and mom got into fights. On several occasions she came to his house and slept in his bed with him just to get away from her house, he had stayed up nearly the whole night watching her sleep and trying to make himself believe that she was literally there.
“Gerard,” Keith called, Gerard stood up straight and nodded. “There are more boxes in the back room to be unpacked. Get going.” Keith said and he disappeared into his office once more.
Gerard sighed and shuffled to the back room where at least twenty boxes full of comics waited to be shelved.
Mikey sat behind the counter thinking eagerly about going to Charlie’s house. He wasn’t going to tell Gerard that Charlie invited him too, Mikey felt bad doing it but he wanted to spend some alone time with Charlie. The bell to the door chimed again and Mikey turned to look who walked through the door, he rolled his eyes as he watched Frank saunter across the store to Mikey.
“Hey Mikey,” Frank said leaning against the counter. Mikey could smell the cigarette smoke on Frank’s skin and he scrunched his nose.
“Hi,” Mikey responded.
“You coming to my house tonight? We just got the new TV, I’m thinking massive movie marathon.” Frank said as he twiddled his thumbs. Mikey rolled his eyes at Frank. Frank had been Mikey’s best friend for several years now, in fact Frank was the only one who knew Mikey liked Charlie.
“As appealing as that sounds, I can’t I have plans tonight.” Mikey stated with a hint of triumph in his voice. Frank caught it and cocked an eyebrow at him.
“What’re you doing? Making out with our chemistry book?” Frank asked with a snort. Mikey glared at him.
“No. I’m going to Charlie’s.” He said. Mikey smiled to himself and took his eyes from Frank trying to hide his amusement.
“Oh you’re going to Charlie’s house, are you finally going to tell her you’re in love with her?” Frank teased.
“Shut up.” Mikey muttered and he threw a pen at Frank.
“Not my fault you won’t just fucking kiss her.” Frank said as he picked up the pen and threw it back. Mikey caught it uneasily and put it back down on the counter. He thought for a moment about kissing Charlie. His thoughts came to a permanent halt as all his blood rushed to one spot…
“Shut up,” He repeated as his face grew hot, "You know she has a boyfriend."
Frank rolled his eyes at Mikey, “Whatever, dude, well tell Gerard he’s invited to my place. We’re sleeping over so if you wanna drop by after your little visit at Charlie’s feel free.” Frank said as he slowly began making his way towards the door.
“Okay, Frank.” Mikey said with a wave.
“Have fun, use protection!” Frank shouted as he quickly ran from the store.
Mikey chuckled at him and started organizing the pennies in the penny tray.
Charlie slowly pushed back the iron kissing gate and made her way up the path towards her house. She could hear her father shouting from all the way down the street. Charlie sighed as she quietly opened the front door and stepped in. Her parents were in their room shouting about something pointless, Christopher her younger brother was watching TV on the tiny couch in their tiny living room with his fingers in his ears. Charlie kicked off her shoes and put her school bag down with her new comic tucked carefully inside.
“Hey, buddy.” She said as she sat down gingerly next to Chris. He was frowning and he snuggled into his sisters side with his fingers still pressed inside his ears. Charlie sighed and she heard something crash to the ground.
“I wish they would stop.” Chris whispered to her. Charlie nodded; she wished they would stop too. Her parents had been fighting for the past six months now; she waited every day for them to inform her that they were getting divorced. But for some reason that day was being put off for as long as possible.
“CHARLENE!” Charlie’s father bellowed. Charlie sighed as she gently stood up from the couch and stared at her father who was panting angrily.
“Yes,” She responded softly.
“Clean your mother up.” He spat at her before grabbing the car keys and trudging out of the small two story house making sure to slam the door loudly.
Charlie told Chris to stay on the couch as she walked into her parents room. She bit her lip as she saw the smashed lamp and bedside table, her mother right beside it. Charlie bent down and carefully helped her mother onto the bed, she went to the bathroom and grabbed the first aid kid and a wetted a paper towel. She gently began dabbing her mothers wounds and placing bandages over them. Charlie had gotten quite good at it, seeing as nearly every other day she would have to attend to her mother like this. At the moment her mother was conscious, but not speaking. She could tell her mom was just to tired and worn out so once Charlie was done she went to the kitchen and filled a pot with water to boil, deciding on making noodles for her and Chris.
She stirred the noodles silently and prayed to God that she would find a way to get out of this nightmare, she wanted to be able to run and never come back to this house. But whenever Charlie prayed for things like this she always found herself thinking about Mikey. There was no doubt in her mind that Mikey understood Charlie, Mikey was always there for her. That’s why she loved Mikey, he was one of her best friends and whenever she was alone at night after taking care of her mom or listening to her parents fight, she just wanted Mikey to be there to hold her and tell her everything would be alright, even though it wasn’t.
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