Rated for mild profanity. Painful Silence.
Mikey jumped as the shrill bell rang out loudly, signaling the end of the school day. He stood up, shoving his school work back into his backpack and slinging it over his shoulder, crossing the room Art room in a couple strides and out into the busy hallway. He pushed his way through the hallway and towards the exit; he just wanted to get out of the hell everyone called school.
As he made his way through the crowd moving the opposite way he carefully skimmed the hall for Charlie. He hadn’t seen her at all that day except for that morning. His heart grew heavy and he wished that he hadn’t refused her help. He was just so worried for her; because of the conversation he had overheard in the bathroom he was even more scared that Charlie could be pregnant. He shuddered when he thought of Charlie even having sex! He had to talk to her, even with Devon’s stern warning to stay away; he had to know if she was all right.
He sighed when he reached the door and hadn’t seen Charlie; he pushed the door open angrily and walked outside shivering as the cold air chilled his warm skin. He pulled his jacket tighter around his body and began walking down the side of the road heading towards Burke’s Comic Union. It wasn’t Mikey’s favorite way to spend his evenings, but working was better then doing nothing at home. So he got paid to do nothing at work. Mikey would usually wait for Gerard outside of the school gates, but he really didn’t feel like it today. So he kept walking down the road, keeping his head tucked down to avoid some of the cold air that brushed harshly against the bare skin of his face. He hated winter, yeah it was pretty when it snowed, but he still had to walk to school and work everyday.
In a few minutes he reached the store, pushing open the door ad walking to the counter, snatching his nametag off the register and walking to the back room to clock in.
“Hey Mikey,” His boss Keith greeted him from his perch outside the backroom door.
“Oh hey, Keith,” Mikey said turning respectfully to his boss.
“New employee today, she’s in the back room if you want to chat it up with her,” Keith said as he flicked through a comic. Mikey rolled his eyes, as if he wasn’t about to go into the backroom. Thanks for the invitation Keith, like I needed your approval, Mikey thought smugly.
“That’s cool,” He said, reaching a hand for the doorknob. Not eager to meet the new employee, but rather eager to get away from conversation with his boss.
Keith nodded absently, his eyes scanning a page before settling with it and focusing on its text. Mikey took this as his dismissal and opened the door, slipping inside.
Once inside the backroom Mikey closed the door quietly, the girl who Keith had talked about stood with her back to him. Mikey was rather stunned that the new employee was a girl. He had only seen three girls come in the shop: Charlie, his own mother, and an ex-girlfriend of Gerard’s. So he weighed his options, either the girl was extremely ugly or extremely weird.
Mikey watched the girl carefully. Her back still to him, he slid his backpack off his shoulders and set it gently on the floor. He sat down in a single black chair by the wooden counter that was covered by work forms and a small silver toaster. Mikey wasn’t exactly sure why there was a random toaster, but Gerard always enjoyed put plastic toys in it and making the backroom smell like ass for two weeks.
Mikey sat there for a moment, contemplating on whether to say something or stay quiet until she turned around and noticed he was sitting there watching her like a creeper. But from what he could tell the girl wasn’t terribly ugly. Actually from behind she looked normal, maybe even pretty. She had straight brown shoulder-length hair and a slim body, as Mikey began to think about it she was about the same height as Charlie.
So Mikey made the decision to make him noticeable, he cautiously cleared his throat. The girl jumped, turning around quickly to face Mikey. He sat back stunned in his seat once he realized she was actually normal. He had to admit, with a flutter of embarrassment, that she was pretty too. She had a soft, round face and light green eyes, both looking far to petite compared to her tight black jeans and Metallica t-shirt.
“Oh, hi,” The girl said carefully, shifting awkwardly on her feet.
Mikey opened his mouth to say something, but nothing came out. He just sat there with his mouth wide open, until the door opened. Mikey let out a sigh of relief as Gerard came bustling in the room without noticing the girl fidgeting nervously in the corner.
“Thanks for waiting for me, jerk,” Gerard said as he tossed off his backpack onto the ground.
“Gerard,” Mikey hissed at his brother, holding up his pointer finger and wiggling it in their new coworkers direction.
Gerard raised an eyebrow at his brother before turning in the direction he was pointing, Mikey watched as his brother went from annoyed to flirtatious in about five seconds.
“Well hello there,” He said in a deeper voice than usual. Mikey rolled his eyes, and Gerard was supposedly the one who had a girlfriend.
The girl cocked an eyebrow at him, her small face turning a little bit to the right, “Hi,” She said slowly. Gerard walked over to her. She took a step back nervously, bumping into the wall.
“I’m Gerard, that’s my brother Mikey,” He said pointing a finer aimlessly around his shoulder at Mikey. Fear flashed quickly through the poor girls eyes as Gerard put one hand up against the wall only inches away from her head.
“I, uh, I’m Scout,” The girl said, her eyes flitting between the two brothers. The seconds felt endless as Gerard smirked at her.
“Mikey, Gerard! Get the hell out here we have customers!” Keith called from outside the door. Mikey stood immediately, watching his brother retreat from the corner of his eye and follow him out of the backroom and into the shop. Mikey was relieved to get out of the tense atmosphere; he was confused why he felt the need to protect this girl he had just met. Mikey shook his head, dismissing the thoughts before they even began to formulate.
Once he reached the register he turned around and saw his brother heading for the back isle’s and Scout walking over his way. Mikey looked down, fiddling nervously with a pen.
“Hey,” Scout said carefully as she took a place next to him. Mikey swallowed, looking up at her. She smiled at him.
“Hi,” He said dryly. Not fully understanding why he was suddenly so nervous he couldn’t really remember how to make his tongue function to spit out words.
“So…” Scout said tapping her painted black nails, “How long have you been working here?” Scout asked trying to form conversation.
“Almost a year,” Mikey answered.
“Oh that’s cool,” Scout said looking away at something on the floor.
Two customers came to the register with a stack of comics; obediently Mikey took them and began to ring them up. He was hyperaware that Scout was watching him intently; Mikey blushed when his shaky fingers accidentally dropped a comic on the counter loudly. Picking it up as carefully as possible and mumbling an apology to the two men, he continued until finally he had finished and the customers were making their way out the door.
“So where do you go to school?” Mikey asked as he rolled anxiously on the balls of his feet. Scout flashed him a toothy smile and he suddenly got a weird feeling in his stomach. The kind of feeling he only got from Charlie.
Charlie laughed as Devon threw a fluffy pink scarf around his shoulder dramatically and did a model strut down the drug store isle, pulling the hot pink and overlarge sunglasses down to the tip of his nose before parading around the isle in his flashy ensemble.
“Dev! Stop it!” Charlie gasped out as she clutched her sides and fell on the floor laughing.
Devon laughed out loud before taking the bright red hat off and placing it back on a rack and sitting down on the floor of the small drug store next to his girlfriend. He smiled at her before kissing her temple and wrapping his arms around her waist. Charlie giggled softly and relaxed into his embrace, the fluff of his pink scarf tickling the back of her neck. This was one of the many reasons she dated Dev, she thought, for the moments like this, when she was just happy.
Devon let out a slow sigh and pulled away so he could see Charlie’s face, “So should we do what we came here for?” He asked softly.
Charlie looked down at her lap and nodded. Dev stood taking one of Charlie’s hands and pulling her up with him. He took off the scarf and sunglasses and put them away before, together, they walked to the end of the isle and towards the section that everyone knew was meant for an awkward purchase. Charlie hesitated as they got closer, Dev put one hand on the small of her back and one on the side of her waist, giving her a small push for encouragement.
“Dev, I don’t think it would be noticeable yet, maybe we should just wait,” Charlie gushed out as she stared at the shelves full of pregnancy tests, birth control, and various other sex-related things.
“Charlene Diane Malmgren,” Devon said in a half-playful tone as he reached out and grabbed two tests, he took her hands gently and put one of them in her palm. “You can have this one for now, and I’ll have the other one for later,” He said as he kissed the soft skin behind her ear.
“You seem so calm, Dev, I don’t know how you do it,” Charlie said as she closed her fingers around the square box.
Dev laughed lowly, “I’m shitting my pants on the inside right now,” He confessed.
Charlie smiled turning around in Dev’s arms and kissing him softly. She was finally beginning to forget about the feelings she had for Mikey and letting Dev’s near perfection sink in. She was lucky to be with Devon and was going to keep it that way as long as possible.
“Let’s get this overwith shall we?” Dev asked with a smile before looping his pinky finger with Charlie’s and walking to the front counter. The woman working the register smiled warmly at them, and surprisingly to the both of them, the smile didn’t fade when she saw their purchases.
“That was weird,” Dev commented as they walked out of the drug store hand in hand.
Charlie giggled and let Dev lead her towards the parking lot where they had parked, “What did you expect?”
Devon shrugged, “Let’s try not to have to do that again.”
Charlie winced; she didn’t want to ever have to have sex again. Not with Dev and not with anyone else. She wasn’t ready for it and now she might be pregnant? She couldn’t handle it all, not at seventeen. Not when she was moving in a month, not now or ever. Sex was to complicate, to risky to even consider. They had been warned about sex in school and now that it actually happened the consequences came more real to her. She might just be a mother.
“Charlie, calm down baby just breathe,” Dev said soothingly as he pulled her into his chest.
Charlie blinked in surprise not remembering her walk across the parking lot and to Dev’s car, “Dev, what happened?”
Devon pulled away slowly, “Why don’t you tell me? We were fine until you started hyperventilating and scaring the hell out of me.”
Charlie blinked again, “I did?”
Dev let out a snort of laughter before kissing the tip of her nose, “Yeah you did,” He said before opening the car door and helping Charlie in.
Dev walked back around to the other side of the care and got in, turning the key in the ignition and backing out of the drug store parking lot. He looked over at Charlie as he drove in the direction of her house and smiled, taking one of his hands off the wheel and intertwining his fingers with Charlie’s; he smiled happily to himself.
“Hey, Dev?” Charlie said, turning in her seat to look at him.
Charlie smiled, “Let’s stop by Burke’s and pick up some comics or a new game or something to entertain us,” Charlie suggested.
A smile tugged at the corner of Dev’s lips, she was hinting that they would be doing something together instead of Devon just driving her home. Dev nodded turning on the road that the comic store was on and pulled swiftly into a parking space on the opposite side of the road.
Charlie climbed out of the car carefully then stuck her head back in, “I’ll go pick something, my surprise for you,” Charlie said excitedly. Devon laughed and nodded, a slow blush staining his cheeks when Charlie leaned across the seat to kiss him. Her hand landing mere millimeters away from his crotch for balance before she pulled out of the car and crossing the street disappearing into the small store. Dev let out a sigh, he loved it when Charlie was in a good mood and she rarely ever was nowadays.
Charlie couldn’t help smiling as she crossed the road and found the cement of the pavement under her feet. She felt giddy and excited as she pushed the door to her favorite store open. Gerard was working the counter and she skipped happily over to him.
“Hey Gee!” Charlie said as she skidded to a halt. Gerard looked up and smiled at her.
“Hey Charlie, how are you?” Gerard asked as he leaned on his forearms on the glass counter.
“I’m absolutely brilliant,” Charlie responded happily.
Gerard chuckled at her, “Nice kid, well Mikey’s in the backroom if you want to see him.”
“Thanks! Mikey always knows decent comics,” Charlie said before waving and skipping over to the backroom.
“Hi Keith!” Charlie called to the lazy boss as he sat on an old recliner chair and read a comic. Keith looked up and nodded before going back to his business. Charlie smiled before turning the knob and opening the door.
It only took five seconds to make Charlie’s day go from great to terrible. It only took five seconds for her to feel completely unwanted again. It only took five seconds for Mikey to break her heart into pieces again.
Charlie put her hand over her mouth to try to keep the sob that was threatening to come out in her throat. But all the feelings she had of doubt and failure and displeasure came rushing back into her system when she saw Mikey shoving his tongue down another girls throat. Charlie felt her throat close and her stomach twisted into an uncomfortable knot, all of the air in her lungs seemed to rush out leaving her with nothing. She let out a small cry of disbelief. Mikey noticed and pulled his mouth from the other girls, their lips making a small noise as they separated.
“Oh God, Charlie,” Mikey said slowly as he stepped away from the girl and towards her. Charlie shook her head trying to dispel the tears she didn’t want him seeing. “Charlie…” But she didn’t want to stay long enough to hear what he was going to say, so she turned on her heel and sprinted as fast as she could across the store.
“Charlie! Charlie, stop it! Charlie, come back!” Mikey shouted after her, but she wouldn’t listen and she didn’t want to listen. Mikey ran after her, his strides longer than hers as he caught up, but he wasn’t quick enough. Charlie ran out of the store and into the road.
“Charlie, no!” Mikey shouted, but he was too late. His brain registered the sound of squealing tires, the pained shout as car hit flesh, then the absent silence of pain echoing loudly in his ears.
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