Charla was home late at night, again…for the third night in a row. Charla had talked to Brad about it and he knew that she should be home early, but with Rachel quitting now that she got an actual sustainable job and Jessica taking a sick leave, spots needed to be filled and shifts were extended. They had job openings, but no woman wanted to put stripper on a resume. It was usually a side job that is to be kept a secret, which was why Brad always paid the workers in cash so that it wouldn't come up on their accounts and backgrounds.
It was very late so when she walked into her apartment, Charla wasn't surprised when she saw that all of the lights were off except for the night-lights in her kids' room. She turned on the light in the short hallway. She took off her shoes and jacket before locking the door behind her. Charla ran a hand through her hair, relaxing slightly now that she was home. She walked into the smaller bedroom and looked inside. It was a sight that always put a smile on her face.
Her two kids were sleeping soundly. The radio was still playing as a way to help the kids to sleep. Both of the kids had lava-lamps as nightlights to help them sleep as well. Even in the low light Charla could see the mess on the floor. She told them to clean up the mess before she left. What had they been doing all night then?
By coming into the room, the observer would have been able to see the line between Allie's part of the room and Conner's part of the room. Though the walls were white and the floor was a dark brown hardwood, one part of the room held large boxes of building blocks, toy cars, and space toys while the other side of the room held dolls, stuffed ponies, and dress-up things that mostly held the colours pink or purple. However, Allie was starting to grow older and her interests were gearing toward lego and dinosaurs as well as her ponies and princess play. Even by the sheets that the mattresses had could tell the person who slept in what bed. Though both of the children slept on two mattresses stacked on each other, one mattress held a Toy Story comforter with black bed sheets while the other mattress had purple comforter with butterflies on it and the bed sheets were a bright pink.
Charla sighed and looked over the two. She could tell that both were sound asleep. Although she didn't want to risk waking them up, Charla walked as quietly as she could to them. She kneeled down before Conner's bed first and she readjusted his blanket so that it was over his shoulder and up to his chin to keep him warm. She kissed his cheek. The blonde-haired boy didn't even stir. Charla stroked his hair once and whispered goodnight to him before she got up and made a couple of steps to the other side of the room to Allie's bed. Charla kissed her daughter's forehead and the little girl stirred. Frowning, Charla told her, "I'm sorry that you awoke, baby-girl."
The little girl yawned lightly and sat up, opening her arms. Charla couldn't help but smile and she wrapped her arms around Allie, kissing her cheek. Sleepily, the little mouse-haired girl asked her, "where have you been, mommy?"
Charla sighed and answered her, "At work, baby. I'm sorry that I stayed so late again."
Like always, the little girl nodded in forgiveness and Charla felt her stomach sink. She didn't deserve the forgiveness and it made her feel sick every time she got it.
Leaning back a little, Charla kissed her cheek again and whispered, "I would have much rather stayed here, baby girl. I'll get to see you tomorrow though. Right now I need you to go to sleep, alright. I'll be here in the morning. I promise."
Tiredly, the little girl nodded and Charla smiled. She laid her daughter back on the bed and whispered to her, "that's my girl." Allie smiled and closed her big brown eyes as Charla brought her blanket up to her chin and kissed her one last time before leaving the room.
Charla didn't bother to go to the kitchen and get something to eat. She hadn't eaten for hours, but she was exhausted. Besides, she would only be able to eat a couple of apples and maybe an orange. She had to go shopping, but she couldn't do that until she got paid this weekend. Besides, she never ate much anyway. She mostly saved the food for her kids to make sure they got enough to eat. They always came first.
After shutting off the light to the hallway, Charla turned on the light to her bedroom. It wasn't too much of a mess seeing as there wasn't a lot of things that she owned personally. The only thing she had was the pile of dirty clothes that she needed to wash that was dirty, unless you counted the bed that she never makes.
Unlike her kid's room, this one was a lot smaller and instead of being colourful, it was brown in shades. The floor and furniture was a darker brown while her bed sheets were a lighter and milk chocolate type of brown. There was a large full length mirror in one of the corners to checked how she looked and a small desk where she held all of her make-up and clientel, but there was nothing that really made the room personal to her except for the pictures that she had of her kids on the nightstand and dresser.
Charla first and quickly took off her shirt and short skirt before finding a pair of pajama pants and a sweatshirt before shutting off her light and making her way to her bed. She almost flopped out on the bed, tired. Her stomach and legs made a work out and she was finding it all extremely painful right now. Her jobs made great cardio workouts, but she knew she was 'exercising' too much with the weight that she was. Charla didn't even know if she had muscle, just skin and bones.
Her bed was soft, comforting, but it was cold. Although, her apartment was always cold since heaters were expensive.
Charla sometimes wished that she could have the luxuries of life and even a simple normal home, but she and her children lived on the money that she made on her working nights as a stripper at Brad's and on the nights she wasn't working then, she was-to put into crude terms-working the corner.
The bed sheets were soft and comfortable, but they were cold. This apartment was usually cold since heaters cost a lot of money when sweaters and socks cost less. She knew that this place was a dump, but it better than living on the streets, like how she was living with Conner until Allie was born. It was hard those two years. They managed to live in an alleyway that protected them from the elements a little, but even those this apartment was a terrible environment to live in and raise her kids in but it was better than the fear of gangs or murderers getting to her and her kids. She lived in fear on the streets long enough.
You would have thought that Charla regretted running away from home at the age of fourteen, but she didn't. Living on the streets and working as a hooker since the age of fifteen and having the IQ of an extremely below average thirteen-year-old was better than living with two constantly drunk and abusive parents that kept her from getting good grades anyhow. They could barely even keep her healthy.
Health has never been too much of a problem to Charla personally, but it was her kid's that she worried about. Ever since Allie was born, Charla has been extremely underweight, but she left food for Conner and Allie. They were the ones who needed the food more than her. She wouldn't be her parents. She would make sure they had clean clothes and food to eat and knew that they were loved and she would never lay a hand on them. Never. She wanted to be a good parent. No, she wasn't always around when they went to bed, but she was always around in the morning for them and she stayed with them every chance that she had when she wasn't working. She wanted to be the parent that she never had. Charla knew how tough it could be and how much a person really needed their parents.
Charla was almost asleep, laying under the cold covers that were slowly starting to feel warm, but she heard little pitter patters. She could tell by the walk that it was Conner. Listening, Charla waited to see if he needed to go to the washroom, but the direction of the feet was coming to her room. She opened her eyes when the door to her room opened and she turned on the lamp light. Conner came in quietly, almost nervously. Charla gave him a slight smile, telling him in a soft voice, "hey, bud. I thought that you were asleep. I didn't wake you did I?"
The little boy shook his head. Charla asked, "can you tell me what is wrong then?"
Conner walked up to the bed. When he was close enough, Charla took him and lifted him onto the bed. The boy giggled and Charla whispered, "shh….!" Conner nodded, being reminded that Allie was still sleeping. Charla kissed his cheek and she held him close, her arms wrapping around him. She asked him, "did you have a bad dream?"
Again the boy shook his head and he told her, "no. I'm just glad that you are home."
Charla smiled and she kissed his cheek and told him, "I'm glad I am too." She knew that the little boy was going to be staying with her. Conner was always wanting to spend the nights with his mother if he could. Charla didn't mind though. She held him tightly as she leaned over and shut off the lamp light. In the darkness, Conner held her more tightly, but she told him, "it's alright buddy. I'm here, remember." She gave him another kiss but knew that she should not have tried to get him to be in the dark. She put on the lamp again at its lowest setting before getting the boy comfortable again.
She waited until the boy was asleep, laying on the bed beside her. It was past midnight at this point and Charla was exhausted, but she found herself having immense trouble falling asleep that she was lying in bed for another hour.