DISCLAIMER: The characters herein are used without permission. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Okay, so I don't really actually watch Home and Away, but I was on YouTube browsing other videos when I came across the Charlie Joey Love Story, and got engrossed, and watched the whole thing. I literally lost my whole evening. Anyway I was so taken with the story I decided to write my own. As I say I don't really watch the show, so I have no idea what has happened since well I know Joey didn't come back, and I know Charlie got hit by Brett's car, and possibly died later on at some point. But needless to say my story won't be following the reality of the show because I really have no idea what that is!! Sooooo let me know what you think.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To debrafitzakerley[at]yahoo.co.uk
One More Chance
Joey went back to Mitchell's last night and had met the aforementioned daughter, Lily. She was a livewire, but luckily she was only a year or so younger than Joey, and they had got on like a house on fire, they both seemed to share the same questionable sense of humour. Mitchell is starting to wonder what he's let himself in for, luckily he was off back on another long haul in a couple of weeks.
He's given Joey a week off before she has to start at the garage, give her plenty of time to sort her life out as he put it, she knows he means bite the bullet and see how the land lies with Charlie. To be honest she's dreading it. But is just about to take her first steps back into reality, she has just crossed the threshold into the diner. She gulps and finally looks up, scanning the room.
Within seconds she's been dived on, she barely has time to comprehend who it is; she's just enveloped into a bear hug.
"Joey Collins, is that you." She screams excitedly, Ruby Buckton. Joey smiles.
"Hey Rubes, long time no see."
Ruby smacks her friend on the arm, her expression changes from pure delight to something a lot more serious.
"You're damn right it's been a long time. Where the hell have you been Joey?" Joey sees the sadness in her eyes, and it makes her feel about two feet tall, she answers Ruby's question rather feebly and simplistically.
"I've been on a long haul Rubes."
Not impressed, Ruby's current expression reads 'well duh.' "I know that Joey. What I don't know is why you had to run away?"
Joey can't have this conversation in the middle of the diner, and not with Ruby. "I think that's something me and Charlie should talk about."
And there it was the elephant in the room. She can't help but ask her next question. "How is Charlie?"
"Well she cried herself to sleep every night for a month after you left." The anger is still evident in Ruby's voice, but she softens a little when she sees the wholesale remorse on Joey's face. Ruby reaches out and grabs Joey's arm causing her to look her in the eyes.
"She's okay." Joey nods, she needs to ask her next question.
"Has she met anyone else?" Ruby is taken aback by the level of feeling in Joey's eyes. She looks like the answer to this question could break her. Ruby's scared it might, but she can't lie.
"Look, as far as I know, she's doing something with Angelo." Ruby watches Joey like a hawk, she thinks she actually sees the moment her heart breaks.
Joey can't help the stray tear that falls from her eye. Of course Charlie had moved on why wouldn't she have. She quickly moves her hand to wipe the tear, hoping Ruby hasn't seen it. But the look of sorrow on the teenagers face tells her that she has. Now Joey feels even worse. She feels utterly stupid.
"Joey, I don't think it's anything serious. And I'm for damn sure she doesn't feel one percent for him of what she felt for you."
Joey just nods her head. She can't bring herself to speak. "Look I've gotta get to school. But how do you feel about meeting up later, we can catch up properly."
"I'd really like that Rubes. I've missed you." She really had, she felt like her Charlie and Ruby had kinda been like family before, the only family she'd really know.
"I've missed you too Jo."
They embrace once more before Ruby skips out of the door, and Joey heads for a coffee. That was hard. A lot harder than she'd expected. So Charlie had moved on. It just makes Joey feel empty, completely and utterly empty.
Charlie is sitting in the kitchen nursing a coffee, lost in her thoughts. Trying to figure out exactly how she got to this point in her life. Where did it all go wrong? It is of course a question she knows the answer to, it all went wrong on the beach just over three months ago, when she lost herself to insecurity, and fell into Hugo's arms. She sighs as she recalls, it hasn't been lost on her that the three month deadline was up, and she hasn't seen or heard anything from Joey.
She swallows down the emotion; she doesn't want to cry anymore tears. She thinks to her current situation. Angelo. She really doesn't know how it happened. He was just there, wow great reason to fall into a relationship Charlie, she berates herself.
Before she has chance to lose herself in another one of her self pity parties, something which has become a regular occurrence over the last few months, Ruby comes flying through the back door of Leah's house, startling Charlie with her over exuberance.
"Whoa, where's the fire?"
Ruby waltz's back into the kitchen and looks at Charlie dead serious, she's mulling over whether she should tell her the truth. She decides in the end, honesty is the best policy.
Charlie slightly concerned at the moment about her little sisters mental health, she's just gone from highly excited to deadly serious in the space of about three seconds, and hasn't spoken for the last 30 seconds just stared at Charlie. Although it seems she's about to break the silence.
"Promise me you won't freak out?"
Well that doesn't nothing to quell Charlie's concern, but she's intrigued enough by Ruby's behaviour to agree.
"Okay." She draws out the word, not really knowing what to expect from Ruby.
She takes a deep breath before just blurting it out. "I'm going to meet Joey."
Charlie's eyes practically fall out of her head, she has about a million questions running around her brain, but they all seem to be fighting to get out at the same time, and as such none actually make it, it's as if she lost the ability of speech.
Ruby just shakes her head, she hasn't got time for this, she dances out of the kitchen towards her bedroom. Charlie chases after her, still not fully regained the power of speech, but she manages to get out.
"What, Joey's back in the bay?" Just as Ruby's bedroom door slams in her face.
Charlie doesn't take the hint and just powers through the blockade, swinging the door open to see a shirtless Ruby.
"Charlie." It's best described as a high pitched squeal that leaves Ruby's lips. "Knock much."
"You can't just tell me Joey's back in town then run away."
"I can actually, because I'm gunna be late meeting her." Ruby just continues getting ready, Charlie obviously isn't going anywhere.
Charlie's mind is racing. Joey did come back, she actually came back. She can't help the smile that forms on her lips. But then reality hits and she remembers the state her life is in currently, and the smile leaves her face as quickly as it arrived.
"Did she mention me?" Charlie looks at the floor waiting for Ruby's answer, knowing it could potentially kill her.
Ruby pulls her t-shirt over her head and takes a look at her older sister; she sees a look on her face identical to the one she had seen on Joey's earlier, pure despair.
"Of course she asked about you." Ruby says it gently and lets Charlie process the information, the smile returns to her lips, but she needs to know more.
"Well what did she say?"
Ruby swallows, she knows this next part is not going to go down well with her sister. "Well she wasn't too impressed when I told her about you and Angelo."
Charlie's heart sinks. She's angry, and in this moment she misplaces it at Ruby. "What the hell did you tell her that for?"
"Because I didn't want to lie to her." Ruby sighs, she would love nothing more than to stay here and comfort her sister, but she really does have to run.
"Charlie I've gotta go. Look if it's meant to be it will be."
"Yeah if I stop breaking her heart every five minutes." Ruby squeezes her sister's shoulder as she runs out the door at the same speed she ran in five minutes ago.
Charlie slowly makes her way back into the kitchen, she's startled when someone enters through the back door, she starts to wonder what Ruby's forgotten, when she looks up and sees Angelo, her whole being just fills with sadness, what on earth is she doing? Well she decides she's not going to do it anymore. She's brought from her thoughts when Angelo starts to speak.
"You ready to go?"
She just looks at him like he's grown a second head. "What?"
The smile drops from his face; he can't believe she's forgotten. "Dinner. I've made reservations. Charlie I told you about this."
She can hear the anger in his voice; she cannot be bothered with him anymore. "I can't do this."
He exhales loudly. "Fine. Ill cancel the reservations, we can just eat here." He plonks himself down at the kitchen table opposite Charlie. He obviously hasn't understood what she means, and she is becoming increasingly irate.
"No, not dinner. This. Me and you. It's not what I want; it was never what I wanted."
She hopes that is a little clearer for him. He can't believe his ears. "What are you saying Charlie?"
Wow he's being really dense. She takes a deep breath to calm herself, and reminds herself that none of this is his fault.
"I don't want to see you anymore." She says it slowly, and steady, and looking him directly in the eyes.
He just shakes his head, and rises from the table. "Here we go again Charlie. Don't you ever get sick of this; you know we'll be back together in a couple of weeks?"
"No we won't." There's that anger again. "You're right, I am sick of this. I don't want you back."
It starts to sink in for him. "You really mean it this time, don't you?" She nods. "What's changed?"
"There's someone else. I need to prove to them that they're the one. I'll do anything to do that."
Now the anger has transferred to Angelo. "Who is he? I'll kill him."
Charlie's change in demeanour is instant, and he knows immediately. "Joey. She came back?"
She hates Joey's name falling from his lips, he shouldn't be allowed to say it. Again she can't bring herself to speak so she just nods her head. He shakes his, he's lost for words. He just storms out of the back door. Charlie's glad that's over, now she just has to prepare herself for seeing Joey again. She decides Ruby will kill her if she turns up and interrupts the two of them, so she guesses the reunion will have to wait until later.
"So you were on that boat for a solid three months?" Ruby can't get her head around the fact that Joey hadn't been on dry land for so long, not even for supplies or anything.
The two girls had decided the diner was as good a place as any to catch up; they are currently sitting in a booth drinking milkshakes from straws. Joey is really pleased to be back. Ruby's laugh is infectious. They have been catching up for the best part of two hours now; neither of them had really noticed how much time had passed.
"Didn't you get really sea sick?"
Joey can't help but laugh out loud. Ruby can't understand why.
"Of course not. I love being out on the boats. It really was amazing to be out on the open waters for so long." Joey looks out of the window dreamily.
Ruby's heart sinks. "Oh." Joey can tell that's not a happy 'oh.'
"What is it?" She is really confused.
"Well if you love it that much, I guess you'll be heading out again pretty soon."
Joey smiles at how gutted Ruby seems by this news, she genuinely loves Ruby, like a sister of course, and it seems the feeling is definitely mutual. If only her big sister reciprocated feelings so well.
"Actually, I'll be sticking around in Summer Bay."
Ruby's face instantly lights up. Joey explains. "My boss Mitchell owns a garage here, and he's offered me a job as a trainee mechanic."
"So you'll be in Summer bay permanently?" The sentence gets more high pitched and more excited as it goes along.
"I'm afraid so. Do you think you can put up with me?" Joey smirks, as Ruby practically throws herself over the table and pulls Joey into a hug.
"Of course." She settles herself back down into her seat, on her side of the table. "Wow so you must really have made a good impression with your boss."
"Yeah I must have. It's actually him and his daughter I'm staying with at the moment. Just until I get somewhere else sorted."
Ruby had wondered where Joey was staying. "Him and his daughter huh?" she eyes Joey suspicially and Joey picks up on it immediately.
"Yeah, Mitchell and Lily Carter, she's a nurse at the hospital, and completely straight." Joey added that last past to quell Ruby's fears, not entirely sure why Ruby looked so worried, Charlie's moved on already after all.
"She knows you know?" She's says it so quietly, Joeys not sure she heard her right, she looks at her quizzically.
"Charlie, she knows you're back." Ruby clarifies.
"Oh. And?" Joey's not really sure why she's brought her sister up.
"She was mad that I told you about Angelo." Joey gets lost in her thoughts; the pain that she felt when Ruby first dropped that bombshell comes back with a vengeance.
Ruby can see the misery etched all over Joey's face, and she curses her sister for being so stupid. "She's still in love with you Joey."
Joey just shakes her head exasperated. Ruby's sweet for saying it. "Yeah well she's got a funny way of showing it."
Tension seems to be the main thing on the menu at the diner at the moment. It seems the God's are going to be kind to them though.
"Joey Collins is that you?"
Joey looks up she instantly recognises the voice as Aden, and she isn't disappointed when she sees his smiling face. She jumps out of her seat and he picks her up off the ground into a bear hug.
"I can't believe you're back. I mean you are back, for good?" He doesn't want to get his hopes up, but he needn't have worried, when his friend nods at him with the most brilliant smile on her face.
"Joey that's excellent. Right when are you free to catch up?"
Ruby, who has witnessed the whole exchange between the two friends, just smiles and decides to interrupt. "She's free right now."
"Are you sure?" Joey wants Ruby to know that she more than happy to stay with her, and catch up with Aden another time.
"Absolutely, Joey we've been here for almost three hours as it is."
Joey looks at her watch, and is stunned when Ruby's words are proved correct. Ruby quickly kisses her on the cheek.
"Why don't you come round for dinner one day this week? I'm sure Leah and VJ would love to see you too."
As apprehensive as she feels about seeing Charlie again, she's gotta admit she really wants to see Leah and VJ again, so she reluctantly accepts.
"I would love too."
"Great, I'll call you when it's all set." Ruby smiles and practically skips out of the Diner.
Aden turns to his friend. "So catch up?"
Joey smiles, she's really missed Aden. "How do you feel about getting good and wasted?"
"There's the best friend I know and love. I knew I'd missed you for a reason Collins."
They decide rather than get smashed at Noah's they will get a crate and head to the beach. Good times ahead.
It's now around ten thirty. Joey and Aden have been drinking non-stop since around six, and are feeling ever so slightly tipsy. But they have well and truly caught up. They'd chatted about Charlie, Belle, Joey had been sorry to hear that the two of them had split up.
But mostly they had just had a really good time; they have spent the majority of the last four and half hours in creases of laughter. And now they find themselves lying on the beach near enough in silence, but a comfortable silence. The light is fading, and they are just listening to the waves, each of them lost in their own thoughts.
Aden can't help but voice his next question, it's something he's always wondered about with Joey, but the right moment to ask had never arisen, until now.
"Joey, have you never been into men?"
That was unexpected to say the least. So much so she lifts her body weight up and leans on her elbow so she can look at Aden to see if he's being serious, he looks sheepish, so it seems he is being serious.
"No. Not really." She decides to keep the mood playful. "You guys just don't do it for me."
Aden decides to take personal offense to this, and whips off the vest he's wearing. "What not even now?"
Joey has to laugh as Aden starts gesturing. "Nope. Sorry."
Right that's it. He launches onto Joey and starts tickling her. Joey screams out in laughter.
Charlie had watched the exchange between the two friends from the fence at the edge of the beach. They were both drunk, that much was obvious, they were surrounded by empty cans for one thing. Things were getting a little bit too flirty between them for Charlie's liking, not that she had any right to stop them, but she decides it's time to break up the party.
She reaches the two of them, Aden is still on top of her tickling her like crazy, and to be fair she seems to be enjoying it. They obviously have noticed that they have company.
Aden momentarily stops his assault. "I think Joey, we should just kiss, and see if you like it or not?" he's half joking, but kinda hoping she's up for it.
"Oh really. That's what you think is it?" She smiles they're both still being incredibly playful.
"Uh uh." Is all Aden can muster; he starts to lower his lips towards Joeys, who to her own great shock doesn't move hers away. But before they meet in the middle, they are both stunned by the sound of someone clearing their throat.
Charlie can't believe what she's seeing, where they actually about to kiss? She was not ready to see that, so she decided to make her presence known. To be fair to them they both look mortified. Aden jumps up so fast.
"Charlie, this isn't what it looks like." The fact that he looks guilty as hell as he's saying the words does nothing to help his case. Charlie can't bring herself to speak; he decides to make himself scarce.
"Right well it was great catching up Joey. I'll give you a call tomorrow." With that he scarpers down the beach.
Charlie is building herself up to looking down at Joey, at the moment she is hugging herself and looking out to sea. This is what she used to do when she was missing Joey, now Joey's right here in front of her, and she can't bring herself to look at her. What a coward.
Joey on the other hand has looked up at Charlie. She looks a little skinnier than the last time she saw her, and a little more tired. Right now she looks an emotional wreck, which truth be told is exactly how Joey feels, the tears that were on the verge a second ago are now rolling down her cheeks, the alcohol probably hasn't helped her in her quest to keep her emotions in check.
Charlie hasn't noticed Joey's current emotional state, he eyes still fixated on the ocean. Her mind still fixated on the situation that had almost played out right in front of her, a mere moment before.
"Where you really going to kiss him?" She can't mask the bitterness and pain from her voice.
After a minute or so, when Joey still hasn't answered, she finally builds up the courage to look down at her ex girlfriend, the love of her life. She is shocked when she sees her in floods of tears; she instantly sits next to her and pulls her into a hug. She rubs her back and soothes her until the tears subside. Now Joey feels really foolish.
"I don't know." She offers a belated answer to Charlie's question. "Anyway you're one to talk."
She can't help but berate Charlie, and her current domestic situation. "You're the one with a boyfriend."
Charlie knows she deserved that. "Actually I'm single."
This takes Joey by surprise. "Since when?"
"Since about five minutes after I found out you where back in town." Charlie smiles down at Joey who is still leaning into her.
"Was it really that much to ask you to wait three months for me?"
Charlie sighed. When Joey put it like that it made her feel even worse. She wants to talk this through with Joey; she really does, but not now, not with Joey in this state.
"Come on I'll give you a lift home." The look of shock on Joey's face spurs her on. "I want us to talk Joey. But not while you're drunk."
Point taken, Joey knows she's not the soberest she's ever been; she just follows Charlie and gets to her feet. Truth be told that was painful, but not as painful as she was expecting, probably because Charlie basically just confirmed she dumped her boyfriend for her. That is definitely something for Joey to hold onto.
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