“Answer me, Charlie.” Kellan glared. I pressed my face into Jamie’s onesie as she smiled at her Daddy. “Charlotte, answer my question.”
“I don’t know.” I sighed as I reached for the bottle Jamie didn’t finish.
“It’s a yes or no question. Do you think I’d call you weak because you couldn’t afford something?” I looked down at the ground as I heard his boots on the cool tile floor.
“Come Lady Bug, Mommy and Daddy need to talk.” Will said clearing his throat picking up Jamie holding her head gently walking out of the room.
“Answer me, please.” He sighed sitting across from me. I looked up from under my lashes at him. His t-shirt was clinging to his chest as his uniform pants hung loosely around his hips, his red spenders hugging his every move. He really is gorgeous.
“It’s not that I thought you’d call me weak, per se.” He raised an eyebrow at me as the nerves in his jaw twitched. “Maybe I just want to be around Will more.”
“Don’t you bring me into this!” We turned to look at the doorway were the sound came from. I sighed.
“I don’t believe you.” His voice was short. He was pissed. He was really mad at me. “We promised to tell each other the truth.” He glared at me.
“It is the truth. I wanted to work more.” He slammed his hand on the island making me jump.
“Bullshit!” I flinched. “You look me in the eyes and tell me that you aren’t struggling with money.” He growled as I felt his hands gently pulling my face to look at him. He eyes searched mine. “I’m waiting.” I could feel the tears forming in my eyes. His face softened.
“I’m struggling.” I sniffled.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” He moved one of his hands so it was tangled up in my hair. “Why didn’t you ask me for help?”
“I can barely take care of her. Your money and the rest of mine is keeping her up in the boat while I struggle in the water.” He put his face in my hair sighing.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” He whispered. I breathed in his scent as I felt his hand drop down running over my side. “You’re too skinny.” He whispered as his hand ran over my hip. “I shouldn’t feel this bone.”
“Please, don’t.” He shook his head holding me close to him.
“Come back to me.” He kissed my head. “Please. Move back with me. I’ll take care of you two.”
“I can’t Kellan, not yet.” He sighed pulling back to look at me.
“I can’t let you struggle Charlie. I love you so much. I can’t.” I shook my head.
“I’m sorry, Kellan.” He stared at me.
“Why? Why wouldn’t you let me help you?” He ran his fingers over the bags under my eyes. “You’re pale. You look like you haven’t slept well in a long time. Why won’t you let me help you out?” I shook my head leaning it forward till I was on his shoulder.
“I’m not ready.” He took a deep breath, his entire chest expanding.
“I’ll wait. But you’re going to take my money do you understand me?” I nodded at him wrapping my arms around him. “I love you, Charlie. When you’re ready to tell me that again, I’ll be waiting.” He kissed my head. “When you’re ready to be my girlfriend again, I’ll be here waiting for you to tell me.” I looked up at him.
“You’re not mad I haven’t given you the chance yet?” He shook his head at me.
“Of course not. I’m just happy you didn’t tell to fuck off and take me to court after what I did.” My stomach growled loudly making him look down. “Are you hungry?” I shook my head.
“I’m fine.” He frowned as I bit my lip hard curing my stomach mentally for ruining the moment. He picked me up sitting me down on the stool.
“Stay, I’ll get you something.” I leaned on the counter as he went to the fridge.
“You know it’s my job to do that now.” He shook her head.
“It’s my job to care for you. So shush, I’m making you a sandwich.” I smiled at him as Will stuck his head back in the kitchen.
“Diaper bag? We got a pooper!” I smiled at him picking up the bag. Jamie smiled at me as I kissed her cheek.
“Good girl, pooping on your Uncle Will.” She gave me a smile as Will rolled his eyes before walking out.
“So I have thinking.” I sat back down as Kellan continued to make us sandwiches. “I’ll give over dinner to your place tonight.”
“Kellan, why don’t we just go to yours?” He shook his head.
“You’re not getting out of it this time. I’m going to come over. We are going to have dinner.” I sighed rubbing my hand over my face. “I’m going to bring over some food. It’s my night to have Jamie right?”
“Kellan, really I rather you didn’t come over…” He looked up as he gave me the plate with the sandwich on it.
“Well I don’t care. I’m coming over. You aren’t getting out of this one. I’ll be over at 8 with food.” I sighed picking up half of my sandwich.
“Next time?” He shook his head smiling.
“Nope. I’m coming over.” I sighed taking a bite of my food.
“Please.” He shook his head slowly taking a bite of his sandwich.
“Nope, Baby.” I frowned at him.
“Pain in my butt.” He winked at me as I finished off my half of my sandwich. “I better start cleaning.” He sighed nodding.
“I’ll go steal Jamie for a little while.” He smiled at me as I went off to clean the place up.
I took a deep breath when I heard a knock at the front door. Jamie was playing on the floor in her Playplace while I was cleaning. I bit my lip as I opened the door to the apartment. “Hey, Baby.” Kellan said kissing my cheek walking in. “Where’s Jamie?”
“She is playing.” I walked over to the living room area to show him the Playplace, a little area that was covered in fabric where I could put her on the floor knowing she was safe. It was a god sent, I just plopped it onto the floor put the sides up and she has her tummy time.
“Hi Sugar.” He smiled at her rattling one of the toys making her eyes go wide in wonder. He looked up as I crossed my arms smiling. I was dressed up in my pajamas, a simple tank and some pajama pants. He looked around the room. “So this is where you live.” I nodded pulling at the end of my ponytail.
“Home, sweet, home.” He put the bags on the kitchen table before walking around the apartment looking at everything. I felt so exposed as I gave Jamie a pacifier to suck on. Kellan ran his hand over the wall where the paint was once-like 20 years ago- a brilliant white, now a cream color. He shook his head walking around the kitchen looking at the windows.
“Do you even have a fire detector in here?” He asked looking at me.
“It’s right there, it’s crap.” I pointed to the white box hanging loosely on the wall. “I tried to fix it, but I didn’t do too well.” He nodded.
“I’ll fix it. It’s my job.” He winked making me smiled he walked over to the window pulling at the curtains.
“What the hell?” He looked at the manufacturer. “Charlotte these windows are illegal. They expand in heat. They’re been banded for I don’t even know how long.” I looked down at my feet. “Charlie, if there was a fire they wouldn’t open. You’d be trapped.”
“I know.” He blinked at me.
“You know they’re here, that they’re dangerous, and you still live here?” I closed my eyes crossing my arms.
“I filed a complaint with my landlord and the building manager. I’ve done it so many times.” I shook my head. He took a deep breath. “They ignored me, every time.” He shook his head.
“I’m tell the Chief. He’ll make a call and we’ll be called in.” He looked at me. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
“I didn’t admit I’m living in a shit hole.” I shrugged. I walked into the kitchen taking the things out of the bag that he brought.
“Come live with me. Trust me; it’s the safest place you can be next to the Fire House.” I sighed putting the food into plates to heat up. He sighed walking over to wrap his arms around my waist. “I’ll fix this. I promise, Baby.” I turned to look at him as he leaned his hard chest against my back.
“They won’t listen. I’ve them so many times that I’m scared that something is going to happen. I’d be dead.” I close my eyes. “Jamie be dead too.” I covered my face. “They just ignore me.” Kellan turned me around.
“I’m going to fix this. I promise.” He stroked my face. I nodded. “I fix this. I will.” He leaned his head against mine. I pulled back as the food was ready. We had our dinner quietly as we listened to Jamie play before she fell asleep. I cleaned up our dishes as Kellan looked at the bedrooms. He walked out shaking his head.
“I don’t want to hear it.” His face was a tight line. “I can’t, not right now.” I walked into Jamie’s room picking up her things from her crib for her to spend the night at her Daddy’s. I had her bag ready to go so I just shoved everything in.
“Is she ready?” Kellan asked as I handed him her bag.
“Yeah.” I smiled at him. He sighed.
“You know we wouldn’t have to do this if you just came and lived with me.” I kissed his cheek before kissing Jamie, who was cradled asleep in her Daddy’s arms.
“I know. I’ll pick her up in the morning. Then your mother wants her for the day.” He nodded.
“I’ll see you tomorrow.” He kissed my cheek before putting Jamie in her car seat before leaving. I closed the door behind them sliding down it and crying.
I picked up Jamie from Kellan’s before he went to work and dropped her off at her Grandma’s for a fun day. I went back to the apartment to work, only to fall asleep on the couch two hours in. I woke with a start to a loud crash followed by a quick beep. What the hell was going on? I jumped up only to fall off the couch. “Damn it.” I screamed rubbing my arm. It smelt like something was burning. I haven’t cooked anything, I haven’t even eaten anything today. I rubbed my eyes trying to get the fogginess out of them from being woken up with a start. Was someone braking in? Was that the crash?
I look up and blink in horror. My hallway was on fire. I jump up. My house is on fire! I run to the door pulling at my nob only for my door to be stuck. No, this can’t be happening. I slammed my shoulder into the door trying to slam it open. I fell to the ground from the impact. Oh no. Please, please, no. I run to the windows as the flames started to turn my cream walls black. I slammed on the windows trying to open them. How did Kellan coming over to see my apartment and checking all of these fire hazards turn into a fucking fire the next day. “Help!” I screamed at the window as I watched people run past my apartment not caring.
“Please! Someone help!” I screamed going back to slam my body into the door again. I bit my lip in pain. I slid down the door as I started to cough. The flames were lapping closer to me. I was screwed. No one was coming to save me. I am alone. I close my eyes as I felt the tears rolling down my face. “Help!” I screeched. “Please!” No one was coming.
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