I didn't think we'd finish Chapter 4 this quickly but we did, it's about 6 pages, it's either really long or short, depending on your take on it.  Right now, we're going to hit a couple of brick walls, since the first gap starts between this chapter and chapter 5, so we're going to have this as the stopping point and then skip over 6 months to the following year. 

Don't worry, we'll fill you in what's going to happen between that time (some big stuff, but mostly blanks which is why we're not writing it).  Also, particularly in 1983 until 1984 - Charlie basically spent a lot of time out front battling stuff.  It'll get interesting towards the end of 1984, and the main theme of the story starts.

FYI - after this chapter - may need to post trigger warnings - it'll start getting dicey and frankly I'm not sure if how comfortable Charlie will be about it being posted, but you know this is the reason why he's not writing it.

Any case the links to the previous three chapters - please go to this entry --> Links to ch 1 & 2 plus Ch 3 entry

Enjoy reading





October 1982

Charlie suddenly felt dizzy during history class, so he quickly got to a seat so he could catch his breath.  His breathing became shallow and the last image he remembered was Michael's face before he passed out.

He wasn't sure how long he'd been asleep before waking up in the hospital bed, seeing his father there with his now ex-wife Lynne at his side.

"What bloody happened?" Charlie asked as he came to, feeling like he needed to vomit before the nurse handed him something to throw up in as he put his head to the side to do so.  "I feel like shit."

"Shh, you realize how lucky you are?" His father's rather pissed off voice surrounded his private hospital room.

"How long have been out?" Charlie asked him as he saw the doctor come into his room.

"You went into a seizure before we brought you here and had to pump your stomach at least once before we realized that you didn't ingest the drug," Dr Wilshire's bag shined as Charlie squinted to read it. "You're lucky that you survived, I've seen adults die from this."

Oh fuck, I should have been careful, Charlie thought and then he realized he had no business touching the shit again.

"You realize when you take methadone what happens if you start using again, don't you?" Dr Wilshire asked him.

"Screw up my system completely?" Charlie asked an obvious rhetorical question as he saw the doctor nod.

"We're still waiting for results of additional blood work before I can better assess the damage to your kidneys.  Right now, you need a lot of rest, and hopefully you'll be home soon."

Charlie's nurse came into the room, read to change his bed as his father, stepmother stepped into the doctor's office to talk to him about his condition.

"Is he in an outpatient drug rehabilitation program at all?" Dr. Wilshire asked Jack.

"They didn't have anything for kids his age, otherwise he'd be in it now.  They don't even have NA meetings in our area for kids his age right now.  Since he's been back I've been doing daily inspections of his room, unless he's not doing this at home," Jack answered.

"That's a possibility. Methadone alone's not going to help his body with the addiction, I believe he needs to be in a more aggressive program."

"Rehab?"

"Yes, and there's one in Los Angeles that has a great juvenile wing, your insurance company covers it and that's what I'm recommending for him.  This needs to happen right away, so he's in a more controlled and structured environment.  I'm concerned about his weight, he's quite underweight and needs to gain at least 20 pounds.  Does he eat at home?"

"Far as I know he's eating."

"Has he gone through major childhood traumas?"

"Which one you want to pick? He's had a lot of them."

***

Wellness Center
Few Days Later
Somewhere in the mountains near Los Angeles

Jack made sure that Charlie was checked in quickly in the mountain-like-resort looking rehabilitation center for juveniles.  He could use the fresh air I suppose, Jack thought as a woman named Jocelyn showed him around the facility.

"You will be required to come here at least once a week for family therapy, because this is a structured program, please only visit during posted hours and days, which should be in your handbook.  I assure you that he will be well taken care of, schooling will be provided for the three months he's here and he will be allowed visits home on weekends if Dr. Ratmer signs off on it," Jocelyn told him in a very pleasant voice as they walked by the various patient living quarters.

"Holidays?" Jack asked her, because he knew Thanksgiving was around the corner.

"I'd check with Dr. Ratmer in another week or so about him being ready to come home by this time.  You are also welcomed to bring your family here and we may have accommodations for close family members for duration of the long weekend," She answered as she led them inside through a long hallways to Dr. Ratmer's office. 

Dr Ratmer was a petite woman in her mid-forties, she wore jeans and a button down shirt.  She motioned for them to come inside to sit in her office.  Jocelyn said good-bye to them before leaving the doctor's office, shutting the door behind them.

"I just want to leave you both prepared that this is a long program, and he may stay here longer than three months," Dr. Ratmer cut to the chase, Jack could tell she didn't waste time.

"Just that he recently came home after not seeing him for years, I'm just afraid of losing him again, you know?" Jack admitted to her as he saw her nod.

"At first your visits will be restricted to yourself and his mother if she chooses to come, and then at some point when Charlie's more stable, I'd expect your family should be free to visit him during whichever days/hours allowed. So, since you have at least a half hour before you need to leave, please tell me about yourselves."

"Like I said before, he just came home after being away for 2-3 years, I've been sober going on 9 years soon.  This is Lynne, even though we're not married anymore, she's still my best friend."

"What about Charlie's mother?"

"I don't know where she is, we've been trying to locate her.  She's in the south somewhere I think, married to this guy that was physically abusive to Charlie and his younger brother. I don't know what happened to his younger brother, or much about his step dad. I lost touch with them about a year after they moved to Louisiana.  Basically I don't know a lot of what happened to him while he was there except from whatever reports the D.A. from New Orleans gave to me, which wasn't much."

"He'll be a challenge then.  How often could you make it out here weekly to do family therapy?"

***

First Week of December

Toby and George watched TV, while Trisha attempted to do her homework with her dad helping her in the kitchen.  Jack had to put his hands over his ears, the boys were just.. loud.

"What's with this racket?" Jack asked the boys.  It was obvious they were watching Football on television. "Could you please turn it down? Thanks."  Jack, annoyed went back to the kitchen table to finish assisting Trisha with her homework. 

Lynne came into the house with their two kids, Andrew & Christina. Andrew was barely a year old, she had him in a stroller as she came in through the backyard from next door.  Christina was at least two years old and very mobile.

"Hey, it's kind of cold outside, what's with the stroller?" Jack asked her as she removed her son out of it and put him on a high chair at the same time Christina on his lap.

"Sorry, we were out shopping and I was too lazy to take him out.  Jack, I've been getting weird phone calls and when I contacted the phone company about the hang ups, they say it's coming from Baton Rouge somewhere," Lynne told Jack as she started to feed Andrew.

"That's interesting, you don't think its Claire?" He asked Lynne if it could be Charlie's biological mother.

"Or it's that husband of hers, you haven't gotten any weird phone calls?" Lynne asked him.

"No.  Well she used to be your best friend, maybe you're the only person she can call.  Keep me posted, I'm not going to say anything to Charlie about it, since we don’t know if it's her that's calling."

"I know. I've really missed having her around, you know?"

"Yeah. Want me to look after Tina and Andrew for a while?" he asked her before Trisha spoke up.

"I don’t mind looking after them, I could take them into the play room next door for a while," Trisha offered as she put her palm out for keys.

"Call us if you need anything," Jack gave her the keys to Lynne's house next door.

Soon as Andrew was finished being fed, he was put back into the stroller, Trisha and Christina went out the front door to the house next door.

"So nice that she doesn't mind occasional babysitting.  So, is Irene still serious about buying that house?" Lynne changed the topic.

"Yeah, she keeps threatening everyone with it, I think Michael isn't happy with being too close to the extended family.  I guess he's getting close to being thirteen, you know how it is."

The rest of the day was pretty uneventful, Lynne, Andrew & Christina joined the entire family for dinner.  He knew that he was lucky to be close to his ex-wife, they've been friends for a long time.  He was worried that Claire may actually be trying to reach them, and that she may be in a lot of trouble.

***
 
Week Later
Mid-afternoon

Jack remembered driving to his driveway seeing that the lights were on inside his house, and he swore he turned them off when he left a few hours ago.  He just returned from City college, after talking to the dean of two departments he was interested in.

As the garage opened, he drove in and closed it.  Once inside the house, he recognized Charlie's mother, Claire sitting on the couch with Lynne.  Her blonde hair was greasy, like she hadn't slept or bathed in days.  She dabbed her eyes with Kleenex as he put down his briefcase to see what's wrong.

"I didn't have anyplace to go after being released from the shelter," Claire told her story in bits and pieces about escaping her now to be ex husband that abused her.

"Where's Chris?" Jack asked her midway through her story about Charlie's younger half brother.

"He's been in foster care, I haven't been able to see him for a while because David would show up," Claire explained.

"David?" Jack asked her.

"Oh yeah, that's Chuck's real name, I've only learned about it kind of recently," Claire referred to her to be ex husband.

"Oh, so he'd show up during your visits with Chris," Jack didn't press further about why Chris was in foster care, but it might be because of the physical abuse in the household.  "You could stay in the guest room downstairs since Toby's not staying over anymore until things get squared away."

"Thanks, I really appreciate it. I won't be here for long.  I'm going to call my mother tomorrow and maybe I'll just stay with my parents or something," Claire said, still shaken.

"Let's get you showered and down for a nap? You look exhausted," Lynne suggested as she walked her out of the room to upstairs.  Jack looked at her two suitcases and took them to the downstairs guest room.  He knew he'd have to clean up the shower in the guest bathroom since it was never used.

While cleaning the guest bathroom, Lynne was downstairs.

"She's sleeping?" Jack asked Lynne.
 
"Yeah she's in your room right now, but I'm sure she'll be hungry in a few hours  I'd be happy to get one of the spare bedrooms fixed up for her at the other house, I do have more room," Lynne offered. "Let me finish that, you need to decide what you're making for dinner." Lynne took the bathroom cleaners away from him, as she kicked him out of the guest bathroom.

Jack loved to cook, the kitchen was his place to think, reflect and of course eat.  Lynne knew him well enough to know that he felt overwhelmed by everything and keeping him busy with stuff he knew well, was the best thing for him right now.

Dinner was quiet he didn't converse with Claire much, the kids talked about celebrating Christmas or Hanukkah since members of his family celebrated both holidays.  He didn't care much for Church or synagogue, religion was a means of controlling people far as he was concerned.

Once the kids were in bed, Jack met up with Claire in the guest room to talk.

"Lynne's going to get one of the rooms at her place set up and I think she'd like the company," Jack told her.

"You don't want me around?" Claire asked him, looking very vulnerable and beautiful at the same time.

"It's not that, she has more space at her place.  She lives in the house next door, it's not like you're being banished or anything," His reply.  The truth was, he was a bit uncomfortable having her there, not just because of his past relationship with her used to be tumultuous, but because he knew that he'd end up in the same bed with her if she's in the same house and it was a road he didn't want to go down at this time.  Besides, there were still a lot of questions at the back of his head and he wasn't ready to trust her, yet.

He was in bed within the hour, he was left exhausted and wanted to leave the questions for you in the morning.

He also found it odd that she never asked where Charlie is.

Very interesting, she didn't even ask how he's doing or anything, Jack thought to himself as his bedroom went dark.  Maybe she thinks he's in jail or doesn't know that he's even here. No, she knows he's here, why would she come here in the first place?  Jack's head swirled as he drifted off to sleep.



The font/format looks kind of funky to me *will remind Mr wizard to fix it*.

Enjoy reading.. :)

--Michael--

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