Hiya - as promised - I'm posting part II/Chapter 2 of Charlie's headspace series - I'm just now thinking this does need a darn ass title, but we suck at naming things (this is why we have multiple Johns, Michaels, Jims, in our system.

But anyways - you might want to read the first part - should be read in order.


Here's the second chapter - it's a tad bit longer than Chapter 1, but in any case - enjoy

--Michael and everyone else-

Following Morning

Hotel in the outskirts of New Orleans


After his second cup of coffee, Jack sat at small table at his hotel restaurant with his continental breakfast he continued to eat.  He watched Phillip pick small portions of food off the buffet tables before he sat down, across from him.


"What time you think we should get there?" Jack asked Phillip as he ate the last of his muffin.


"Before noon, probably.  Dr. Jackson's expecting us to have our paperwork in order before he's released," Phillip said quietly.


"You flying back with us?"


"No, have things to finish up here, but I'll catch up with you early next week.  I'll give you everything you need to get him set up with a good P.O. and literature about the program he'll need to be enrolled in." Jack blinked at him and almost opened his mouth to say something and then changed his mind. "He'll be okay, trust me when I say I've seen worse; I've seen it.  Just make sure Chuck, David or whatever he likes to call himself stays away from him.  If he comes within one hundred feet – let me know and I'll file those assault charges we talked about."


Phillip was referring to Charlie's stepfather currently missing in action, Jack only knew him under his legal name: Chuck Ernstein.  Later he found out that he was living under an alias and his real first name was David.  From what he was told, he was an abusive son-of-a-bitch, Charlie's file contained photographs from various visits to the E.R. with broken bones, bruises and mysterious burns.  Jack shook his head, how does someone live like this and the stupid ass cops protect the assholes that did this? Jack just had too many questions that Charlie's file had no answers for. My own kid, on suicide watch, why we have to sign the paperwork to release him, Jack gritted his teeth in anger, he's only thirteen for Chrissakes.


Both men drove separately to the psych ward of the hospital Charlie was being held.  Jack wanted to talk to Dr. Jackson first, he didn't know if Charlie was aware that he was picking him up or what kind of shape he'll be in.


The first 20 minutes with Dr. Jackson was spent filling out/signing paperwork with Phillip's assistance.  Once the legal paperwork was completed – Phillip said good bye, shook hands with both men and left the hospital.


"How lucid is he?"  Jack asked Dr. Jackson as they traveled down several corridors to the juvenile section of the psychiatric ward.


"Won't be when you enter the room, he may or may not recognize you.  Should last for a day or so.  I'll give you medication that should keep him calm if he gets agitated once he's in California.  My advice is to see that he sees a doctor right away, he's already exhibiting signs of withdrawals.  I'll give you medication for that as well," Dr. Jackson briefed him.


"Withdrawals from what?" Jack asked him as he stopped in the middle of the hallway.


"I'll make sure he has methadone when he leaves here."


"What? Methadone.." Jack suddenly stopped, he knew what Methadone was largely prescribed for: heroin addiction.


"Brace yourself, he may seem like a weak kid, but he's been through hell and back quite often."


After that, Dr Jackson motioned an orderly to let him through a barred door through the secured area of the Juvenile wing.


Soon, Jack would see his son for the first time in 3-4 years.



Several days Later

Orange County, CA


Charlie ate at the table quietly, he didn't make eye contact with either of his two siblings: George and Trisha.  Jack tried to make conversation, but he seemed content with eating and heading off to bed early.


When Charlie was ready to head off to bed, instead he was subjected to an inspection of his closet and every drawer in his room.  Jack hated doing this, from years of struggling with alcohol addiction, he knew this routine well.


Charlie looked less gaunt than the day he came to get him from the hospital, dark circles around his eyes and bandages around his wrists were stark reminders that he wasn't a normal kid.


"I was thinking of having Michael come by tomorrow, you haven't seen him since you were seven," Jack said to Charlie as he finished his room inspection.


"Okay," Charlie said, quietly as he looked into his father's face briefly, he just wanted to go to sleep and not think about going to school the next day or about his first appointment with his probation officer.  He just wanted to be left alone, and stay out of trouble.


Charlie fell asleep listening to the radio at 8:45 PM and woke up to George pulling the sheets off him the next morning.


"Get up you ass!" Charlie heard George's obnoxious yelling as his body was pulled to the floor and off his bed.

"Fucking Chrissakes, I'm awake dammit!" Charlie cursed as loud as he could, before he ran to the bathroom to shower.


His first day at school was spent in the school's psychologist's office.


"Your school attendance wasn't very good, so you're being held back one year, correct?" the woman that referred to herself as Dr. Gennie asked him as he sat in her office and blinked.


"Yeah, didn't go to school much," Charlie said as if he didn't give a shit about school or her for that matter.  He just wanted to get through the day without any attention drawn to him by other kids.  The junior high school was in a small wealthy town in Orange County, he knew that people talked.


"We'll put you into a mixture of seventh and eighth grade courses and see where it goes at the end of the school year.  You'll need to see me at least once a week and at the end of the year, your case will be evaluated to see if you need to continue to see someone here or if you can do this outside of school. Hopefully your transition will go smoothly," her last statement almost sounded like a snicker to him or he could be imagining it.  He didn't like the tone of her voice, everyone in this town were always know-it-all types.


When he left administration office, he was happy to see an old friend of his, Carrie.  He hadn't seen her since he turned nine.


"Michael told me you came back," Carrie said to him as he offered to carry her books.  "You're okay?"  She asked him gently in a non-judgmental way.  She was the only person he could confide in, the only person on this planet he always trusted.


"So you figured this be the first place you'd find me?" He asked her and then she nodded her head.  He walked with her to her locker, which was coincidently adjacent to his. "Interesting coincidence, your locker.."


"Yeah I know.  We could share if you want, unless…" she started to say to him until she noticed the bandages on his wrists.


"It'd be nice to share," He said and then he noticed her staring at his arms.


"Sorry – I didn't mean to," Carrie apologized to him.


"It's okay, I guess people are gonna ask me about it sooner or later. You doing anything for lunch?"  He asked her as he looked at the large clock in the school hallway.


"Just eating it with you," She said in a sweet voice before they both disembarked to their separate classes.


He was happy to sit with her at lunchtime, it beat sitting with George and Trisha, he didn't want them reporting everything about his day back to their dad.


He was kind of quiet at lunch, he really just wanted to talk to Carrie in a private place – not at school, he was paranoid about kids overhearing what's being said.


They walked around the track after school was out, before darting to their rendezvous spot to be picked up by their parents.


"If you don't want to talk about it, you don't have to," Carrie said to him as they started their walk around the track.


"It's okay, the hospital was kind of a blur, and I kinda don't remember what I did when I was in there.  I have no idea how long I was in there, a while I guess," He shrugged as he talked with his old British accent starting to return.


"Try to kill yourself?"


"Yeah.  Now they have me on methadone treatments, but it's better than shooting up." His statement made Carrie stand up straight and stop walking. "Yeah, it's what they give to heroin addicts"


"Weren't you afraid of needles?"


"Yeah, when I was five," he said and then quickly changed the subject, he didn't want to go into details about his drug addiction.  Once they were on the sidewalk, Charlie saw his dad's car pull up. "I guess this is it?  Wanna come over this weekend if dad doesn't make me do a bunch of therapy stuff?"


"Yeah, I'll ask my mom," she said before he disappeared into his dad's car.


On the way home, he thought about Carrie, how much he's always liked her, even if she didn’t feel the same way.  She had a way about her, he could trust her and not have the feeling of being judged in any way.


"How did it go?"  Jack asked Charlie.


This time he opened up a little bit, "It was alright, the school shrink needs some work I think." He just realized that his old accent was returning, and that things will eventually be okay.



Following Saturday

Same Week

Charlie's bedroom


Jack made sure that Charlie kept the door to his room open since Carrie was over at the house.


"See, you're not reading the entire thing," Carrie pointed out a newspaper article he wasn't interested in reading in the least.  Carrie pulled her shoulder length blonde hair to a ponytail, he wondered how it'd be like brushing her hair.  He didn't know why that desire came over him, just did.  He didn't think she noticed boys much, since she was a year behind him.  Small in stature, she was well developed for a twelve year old, he knew that she's been teased because of it.


"I don't bloody care about bloody horses in Kentucky," he laughed with his accent completely back.


"Are you going to start explaining to people you haven't been to England yet?" Carrie asked as she giggled.


"So touché! I've been there, just don't remember anything." Truth of the matter was, not only he doesn't remember being back in the U.K. he didn't remember much of his life in the past 5 years.  He just realized how cute Carrie was, thought about kissing her but he knew she wasn't into him. I’m not sure what she's bloody into, Charlie thought about whether she liked boys or girls, oh fuck she's only twelve years old, why am I even thinking about it?


Carrie stayed over for dinner, Charlie was definitely more talkative with her around. she was the only person that Jack knew of that could bring him out of his shell.  She watched television with their family for a while until it was time to go home.  Jack drove her home, even though she lived several streets down.


At bedtime, Charlie waited for his dad to finish inspecting his room like he did that same morning, on his bed.


"It was nice to see you open up," Jack remarked to Charlie as he sat down at the edge of his bed.


"I dunno why, but I totally trust her," Charlie said as he grabbed his pillow.


"I'm happy that she came by.  So uh, first meeting with your PO Tuesday?"


"Yeah, you're picking me up after school right?"


"Don't forget, this is not a meeting you can talk you way out of.  It's either you go, or get jail time," Jack reminded him before he left the room.

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January 2015


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