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 had almost called and cancelled tonight's dinner when she got home and saw the size of the black eye she gained from her meeting with the fence post. It most definitely looks worse than it feels. Even after icing it all day, there was no denying she had a black eye, not to mention the hand shaped bruise that had been nice enough to form on her arm. She didn't have the heart to cancel, she knows her and Charlie's relationship is fragile enough at the moment.
So here she is, about to walk through the familiar door, into the familiar kitchen, to be greeted by lots of familiar faces, and now she has to try and explain away a massive black eye. She's already decided not to drop Angelo in it, having concluded that, that would only serve to make a bad situation worse.
She takes a deep breath and enters the kitchen; she looks at the ground as she crosses the threshold, awaiting the inevitable reaction.
Charlie has been rushing around like a lunatic trying to make everything perfect before Joey arrives. Luckily Leah has agreed to cook, so there won't be any culinary disasters. She had tried on about a million different outfits, luckily she had Ruby's help for that, shouting out pearls of wisdom such as 'too cas', 'too dressy', 'crack whore chic'. In the end they were both satisfied with her choice of black jeans and black vest. Simplistic but beautiful was Ruby's final verdict.
The time had arrived, Charlie, Ruby and Leah are all pottering around in the kitchen, VJ is in the front room watching TV, Joey sheepishly enters the kitchen, they can all tell there's something wrong with her but they're not really sure what it is, Charlie's heart sinks assuming the worst.
"Hey guys." Joey looks up as she speaks. There are the gasps she was expecting.
Charlie is to her in a second, hands on her face. "What the hell happened?"
Joey is taken aback by having Charlie in such close proximity, her brain stops working properly. "I erm, well, I. . ." she needs to concentrate. "I walked into a wall." Well that was lame.
Charlie knows she's lying, to be fair so do Leah and Ruby. Ruby doesn't have the restraint of the adults. "That's bull Joey."
The three adults just look at Ruby open mouthed, there's youthful exuberance for you. Once they get over the initial shock of Ruby's little outburst Charlie turns back around to face Joey determined to get to the bottom of this. Just as she's about to ask Joey for the truth again, something catches her eye.
Joey knows she's seen the bruise on her arm, she knew she should have worn longer sleeves, before she can stop her she lifts the shirt sleeve the rest of the way up revealing the hand shaped imprint on her arm.
"The wall grabbed you as well did it?" Charlie isn't impressed. Ruby and Leah both gasp at the mark, someone really went to town on her.
Again Ruby is the first to speak. "Joey who the hell did this to you?"
"I think you need to answer that Joey." Charlie is serious.
Joey knows there's no way out of it now, she's going to have to tell the truth. "I just didn't want to cause any more trouble, that's why I wasn't going to tell you." Joey has to qualify what she's about to say. They're all waiting for an answer.
"He didn't mean to. It's just when he grabbed me I freaked out, and I struggled, so really it was kinda half my fault."
"Joey who did this to you?" Charlie is losing patience, but she manages not to be too abrupt in asking.
"It was Angelo." Joey looks away from Charlie as she utters the words; she knows she won't be impressed.
"What?" Charlie is in disbelief. "Why would Angelo grab you?" She wasn't questioning Joey, she knew without doubt that she was telling the truth, she just can't fathom why Angelo, or anyone for that matter would want to physically hurt Joey.
"He was warning me to stay away from you."
"What. He's got no right. I'm going to destroy him."Charlie grabs her keys from the side and starts for the back door. Joey acts as a human block. Charlie looks like she's about to argue, Joey gets in there first.
"You work with Angelo. You can talk to him tomorrow at the station." Joey tries her best to plead with her eyes.
"But. . ."
"Charlie, let's not let him ruin our night."
The red mist clears, Charlie knows it can wait until tomorrow; all she wants to do tonight is reacquaint herself with Joey.
"Okay. Okay." She nods, Angelo can wait. But she is going to make him pay.
They had a great evening. VJ was so excited his buddy was back, they had already made plans to play cards next time Joey was over. Dinner had finished a little while ago, Ruby and VJ had both disappeared to their rooms, they said to do homework, the rest were dubious.
Leah made herself busy with the dishes, leaving Charlie and Joey alone for the first time. They decided to go for a walk, giving themselves some real privacy, and the chance to talk properly. Charlie is surprised at how nervous she feels, she knows this next conversation could make or break her relationship with Joey, hell the rest of her life even. She has no idea what she'll do if Joey has decided that she's not willing to give her another chance.
Joey is feeling equally nervous, not really sure what's going to happen, she's still not entirely sure what she wants, let alone what Charlie wants, ever since she found out about her and Angelo all she can think is perhaps the feelings weren't as strong as she thought they were, if it was that easy for Charlie to move on that quickly, they can't have been, can they?
They have been walking in a comfortable silence so far, both lost in their own thoughts. They settle against a wall looking out over the ocean. The nervousness hits them both tenfold. Charlie anxiously plays with her jacket; Joey just focuses on the waves. Charlie catches her doing it, and the words just start to flow.
"I used to come out here every evening after you left, and just stare at the ocean."
Joey looks over at Charlie startled initially that she had spoken, but then equally startled by her words. She can't help the grin that forms on her face; Charlie sees it and is instantly embarrassed.
"Did it help?" Joey asks through her grin.
"Well it reminded me of you. But then it reminded me of how stupid I'd been to lose you. So it was swings and roundabouts I guess." Charlie just shrugs her shoulders as she speaks.
And here it is, Joey has to ask the question she's been dying to since she found out about it. She takes a deep breath before proceeding. "Why did you start seeing Angelo? Before the three months was up?"
Well that's the question Charlie was dreading more than most, trust Joey to jump in right at the deep end. She knows she's has to be honest.
"Truthfully. I don't know." She knows Joey deserves a better answer than that, and she struggles to try and give her one.
"I was just so low when you left. After a couple of months Angelo was just around, he provided comfort, made me feel good about myself, I guess I needed that. I didn't think you would ever forgive me. I know I'll never fully forgive myself. I just feel like I don't deserve you."
Joey nods at Charlie's words. She tentatively reaches out along the wall and grabs Charlie's hand. "I do forgive you."
"What?" Charlie hadn't realised she had started crying, but at hearing that Joey forgives her, and feeling her hand in hers again makes the tears double in quantity.
"I realised when I was on that boat, that I pushed you too hard. It must have been so difficult for you, everyone judging you like that. I didn't really stop to think about how you were feeling."
"It's no excuse for what I did Joey." Charlie is quite unwavering through her tears.
"I know that, I don't condone what you did, I'm just saying I can understand why it happened, and I forgive you. I don't think it was all your fault. Like I say, I pushed too hard."
Joey steadies herself again before she continues, she knows what she's about to say won't be easy for Charlie to hear. "The thing is Charlie as much as I can forgive you for Hugo. I'm not totally convinced that you're over the insecurities that led you to making that mistake. Because of that, I don't trust you not to make the same mistake again."
Charlie's heart aches at the news that Joey doesn't trust her. But she needs some sort of hope to grasp onto, so through her still flowing tears she basically begs Joey. "Please, give me the chance to earn your trust back."
She knows that Charlie is basically asking her for another chance. Joey's heart is screaming, 'just take her back you fool.' Her head is screaming 'be careful.' The last thing she wants is to get hurt again, but she knows she'll never forgive herself if she doesn't try, so she decides to meet her heart and her head somewhere in the middle.
"If we take things really slowly, and by that I mean both of us. I won't push you to do or tell anyone you don't want to. And you give me the time I need to learn to trust you again."
"I can do that." Charlie answers instantaneously. Happy to have hope. Joey smiles at the speed of her answer. She strokes her fingers which are still entwined in her own.
Joey needs to set one important ground rule; she needs to be really clear about this with Charlie. "Look Charlie I know this is early days and everything, and we haven't really defined what we are now. But if were gunna give this another go, I need to know that whatever we define ourselves as, I want us to be exclusive."
Joey feels rather shy about putting that out there, but if they are going to give this a try she needs to know that she won't be sharing Charlie with anyone again.
"Joey, I don't want anyone else. And I'm only sorry I didn't work that out in time last time."
The compassion evident in Charlie's answer brings the smile back to Joey's face. She squeezes Charlie's hand.
"So we're doing this?" Charlie can't hide the excitement in her voice.
"We're doing this." Joey confirms.
Charlie is so unbelievably happy, she pulls Joey into a hug, when she pulls back she gets lost in those beautiful brown eyes, god she's missed these eyes, so full of feeling. Full of possibility. She can't believe Joey would ever give her a second chance, but here she is leaning into her embrace with the second chance that she's longed for.
Charlie decides to be bold, and leans further into her former lover she has needed this since she heard Joey was back in town, hell she's needed it since Joey first left town, their lips meet. Tentatively at first, Charlie isn't sure how this kiss fits into the whole 'taking it slow' agreement they've just made, the last thing she wants to do is move too fast and scare Joey off. But this feels so wonderful.
Joey wonders at this particular point in time why on earth she's just suggested taking things slow. At that same point she seems to remember there is a method to this madness, and as much as she doesn't want to she knows she needs to stop this particular kiss before it gets too far.
She pulls back slowly, not wanting to hurt Charlie's feelings. Their foreheads are resting against each other, they are both breathing heavily, eyes closed.
It took both of them a minute to recover from the kiss, but when they do they are grinning like idiots. They spent the rest of the evening catching up and really reacquainting themselves. The topics ranged from work to Brett, Joey had been surprised to learn that he had hit Charlie with his car. If he hadn't disappeared from the face of the earth, she would give him a piece of her mind.
She had been round to the house she shared with Brett earlier in the day, taken aback to find that another family was living there now. It didn't surprise her that Brett hadn't even attempted to let her know where he'd gone, if she's honest, she's not really too bothered.
She also filled Charlie in on her new surrogate family. Charlie was happy at least that Mitchell and Lily are taking good care of her girl. Although she hopes to take over that particular role in the future.
They have been talking for over an hour, and the light is really starting to fade now.
"I better go." Joey states reluctantly.
As much as Charlie doesn't want to let her go, she understands and she will do anything in the short term to make this work in the long term.
"Okay." There's a sadness tinged in her voice.
"I've had a really great time tonight, thank you for inviting me over."
"Thank you for coming."
Joey steals another quick kiss, which Charlie is more than happy to provide. "Come back to the house with me and I'll drive you home." Joey nods, and they start to head back in the direction of Leah's house.
The evening definitely had to be considered a success. Both Charlie and Joey went to bed that night, excited about what the future could hold.
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