He wasn't sure why he put it upon himself to watch over her. She didn't need it, really. She was in stable condition now, sleeping peacefully, after being briefly distubed from the uproar over the water earlier on. Jack had confirmed that she was healthy, and wouldn't suffer any more complications. So why was he still here?
He tried to believe it was because he couldn't sleep, but he could easily stay awake by himself, at his own area of the huge island if he wanted to, instead of looking over her while she slept, like the creepy stalker-type. He told himself it was because he had nothing better to do, and if he was going to be awake all night anyway, he might as well watch over her. But in fact, he was actually exhausted, and if he were to go somewhere else, he'd probably fall asleep in an instant. Scratch that. He'd lay awake worrying about her all night, if he left. Either way, he wouldn't be getting much sleep, and he felt it was more useful to spend his insomnia looking at Claire than the tossing and turning while staring at the sky or the ocean. This island was a dangerous place.
He knew more about the dangers of the island than most of the people did. He'd seen the bear, he'd seen the boars, and he'd been chased through the jungle by something larger than all of them combined. If one of those things decided to come out and look for a quick meal, a pregnant woman awoken from her sleep, who's stomach was so large she could barely walk, let alone run, who had collapsed earlier that day would't be difficult prey. Not that he'd be much help or anything, if King Kong or Godzilla or whatever that thing was showed up. Another reason why he should just leave. But he couldn't and he bloody hated himself for it.
He should not be paying so much attention to a girl like this. This girl was not his type, and never had been. While he might not have always liked the type he was destined to be with, he accepted it. He was a rock star. A rock star wasn't supposed to end up with a girl like Claire. He was supposed to be with groupies, with bad girls, girls who partied and stayed out all night and did every type of drug they could find. Sure, once in a while he'd wondered what it would be like to have a 'nice girl' at his side. Someone with whom he could have a relationship, rather than a quick shag. Someone who would know him, and come to love him, to understand him. Thoughts like that occurred very scarcely, before the plane had crashed. When he was feeling particularily lonely, he would ponder it, and imagine it. Nice girls didn't need guys like Charlie.
Nice girls who liked to travel and laugh and have intelligent conversation did not end up with druggie rock stars. Maybe they'd spend a night with one, because they believed there was a chance for love, and then gotten their heart broken, but they never ended up with them. Why would they, when they could end up with smart, kind, funny men with stable jobs who took them to cozy restaurants and plays.
Before the island, if did have one of those rare thoughts, it was with a faceless woman. If he ever wondered what it would be like to just walk along the beach with a girl, or sit on a couch under a big blanket watching T.V. with a girl, it was always a fictional woman. The hair color could be black, or brown, or blonde, or red, and he was fine with that.
But now those thoughts occurred more often, and the faceless girl now looked uncomfortably familiar. It was a gorgeous face, framed by blonde waves, with a smile unlike any he'd ever seen before. She had a laugh that made something flip in his stomach everytime he heard it. And he heard it a lot. She was lost on a desserted island, with a limited amount of medical supplies, the due date of when her baby was to be born approaching, but she still managed to laugh more often than anyone else on the island. The thing that affected him so much about that laugh was that it was real.
He couldn't recall hearing the real laughter of a woman, caused by things he'd said. The girls he'd made laugh were crazed fans who would laugh if he told them the chicken crossing the road joke. It was hollow, empty and drunken. But when Claire laughed, he never had to question whether it was real or not. He just had to look into her eyes, and he could see that the laughter reached it. Most people didn't even understand his sense of humor. She seemed to share it. Making her smile had been some of his brightest times on the island
He shook his head, trying to bring his thoughts to something else. He could not develop feelings for such a good, sweet person. He knew the real reason why he never got a nice girl was because he didn't deserve one. He was a slacker who woke up at 3 P.M. each day, watched T.V., got high, signed autographs and partied the night away. His mum and his sister always said that he had a good, pure heart, but had gotten onto the wrong track. But they'd believed he'd grow up one day, fall in love with a good woman and be a father. Charlie always scoffed at the though of it. That idea, to him, sounded like a trip to Mars. It sounded like it could be nice, but it was never gonna happen. He wouldn't know HOW to grow up, even if he wanted to. He'd just have to stick with tough, bitchy party-girls for life.
He'd even tried to stick with the mean-girl pattern that had followed him throughout his life after the plane crashed. Shannon was attractive, tall and leggy. She had a great figure, and had probably gone to her fair share of frat parties in life. She suited him fine. But he felt nothing for her. She was just cold and ungrateful, and when he realized how she'd used him, he knew he couldn't develop feelings for her. He wanted a girl who filled him with warmth, who made him feel whole.
Charlie had found that girl, and he couldn't take his eyes off her, even to sleep. Even if he did manage to drag himself away from her, his thoughts were still on her smile. He knew that it was selfish and horrible of him to even think of what a relationship with Claire would be like. How could he possibly want to burden a sweet, gentle woman who struggled through piles of debris in order to put a decent memorial service together for the victims of the crash, with an unstable drug-addict like himself? She would soon have a baby to raise, and he would be suffering from withdrawl. She deserved better than a hopeless case like him.
Charlie reached out and tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. She let out a large snore, and he grinned. Never before had snoring sounded attractive to him in the slightest. But he couldn't help but find everything she did adorable, even beautiful. He was filled with self-disgust as he looked at her, despising the fact that he felt so much for her and knowing that it was wrong.
It would be cruel and selfish to ever act on the feelings that grew day by day. Raising a baby without a husband or family couldn't be easy, and if she had to deal with angsty, drug-addict boyfriend, it would be even harder. He knew he was a nice guy, like his mother said, but he was a nice guy with a lot of baggage. The nice guy in him knew that he would have to put his selfishness aside and make sure that Claire, and her melodic laugh belonged to him only in friendship.
Though firm in his conclusion in his head, Charlie's heart did not obey. As he drifted off to sleep beside her, a picture was playing in his mind of himself and Claire. Her arms were around his waist, laughing as he held her baby, who looked about ten months old, above his head, shaking it playful, it's laughter ringing throughout the island. He brought it down, still chuckling and sat down on the sand. He tugged at Claire's leg, and she joined him on the warm ground. She rested her cheek on his shoulder, while the baby gurgled to himself, crawling on the sand. Charlie placed a kiss on the top of head and a feeling of complete content swept over him. He no longer felt lost.
Charlie shook his head, and had to stop himself from yelling in rage. He stood up quickly, knocking over some empty bottles of water, and stormed out of the tent. He stood on the beach, letting out a string of curses, directed at the plane, at the island, at Claire, at himself, at everything. If it had never crashed, he'd probably be at a gig right now, with a packed room full of drunk kids head banging to his music. Afterwards, he'd probably meet one of the girls who had been in that crowd. They'd go to a bar, and then back to his place, and he'd never see her again. And he wouldn't know any different. He'd be satisfied.
He wouldn't know that there was more to life than sleeping, drinking, snorting, smoking, shooting up and playing his songs. He'd never have met the woman who laughed, REALLY laughed, at his jokes, even though she was carrying around a giant watermelon in her stomach, had passed out from the heat and was lost on an island with no one she knew. He'd never have met the woman who had a thousand troubles of her own but still took the time to let the dead be remembered, the woman who thanked him for looking into her eyes.
He had told her he wasn't afraid of her, and it was true, for the most part...SHE didn't scare him. What scared him was the feelings she forced him to have, the thoughts that went through his head when he looked at her, lying there, completely exhausted, in a makeshift tent, but still making an effort to laugh at his corny little attempts to cheer her up. He was scared at how much she had changed him, how she'd made him feel things he was alien to, that he'd never wanted to feel.
He'd never been in love before, he'd never even had strong feelings for a woman before, and he'd never had a relationship that lasted more than a couple of weeks. It couldn't be love, because, although he'd never felt it, he knew it couldn't happen so fast. But he also knew it was stronger than anything else he'd ever felt, and despite his will, it wouldn't go away. He'd never really thought about what it would be like to be a father before, and when he did, he'd felt afraid by the thought of so much responsibility. But tonight, when he decided to stay away from all thoughts of Claire romanitically, that was the first thing he'd seen. And the feeling he got wasn't fear, but happiness.
If you told Charlie he'd be trapped on an island with polar bears, monsters and forty-something strangers, internally battling feelings for a NICE woman, that was 8 months pregnant, he'd laugh at you and and ask for some of whatever drug you'd just taken. But here he was, completely consumed by this girl who was expecting a child, a girl who he could never allow himself to make any advances toward. He was trying to get her out of his head, and failing miserably. It wasn't yet love, but for a man who had never even been close to it, it was a landslide of emotion. There was definitely something odd about this island.