There was a knock at the door. Amy closed her book, got up and answered the door. There he was again, just like any other night, off his face and need her care. Always having 'conveniently' forgotten his own room number, but some how he managed to remember hers. 'Come in then. Can't let too many people see you like this.' she said with a sigh, gently grabbing Charlie by his elbow and leading him inside.
Amy sat Charlie down on the couch and started to make him some coffee, it had become a routine for Amy. Go to the show, hang around with Charlie and the band for a while before heading to the Hotel room, waiting for that knock at the door. Depending on how pissed, or high Charlie was when she left, Amy sometime wrote her room number on the back of his hand, just in case. 'I'm really sorry to do this to you again, Amy.' Charlie mumbled as she passed him the mug of hot coffee. "I know you are."
had been following Charlie for some time now, they'd become close.
She still smiled when the memory of their first meeting wandered back
into her thoughts, seeing Charlie, and the band, in a small group at
the side of the stage. She could feel the nerves in her stomach,
about to make it explode, as she built up the courage to approach
him. 'Great set tonight,' was all that she could think of, 'You
played my favourite'
'Really, which one was that?'
''Crazy World', I love the bass line in that'
'That's my favourite too', Amy couldn't have hoped for a better response. Now what? Does she offer to buy him a drink? Or wait for him to make the first move? 'So, do you play anything?' Charlie's voice had interrupted her thoughts.
'Oh a bit of this and that, not much of a performer though.'
'Neither am I' he said with a smile.
'My name's Amy, by the way.''Charlie', and with the introductions out of the way, the conversation flowed without much effort. With a few more meetings they had grown close, and the friendship was forged. Nothing ever romantic, there was a hidden agreement that neither wanted to ruin what they had. He showed her the world, and she kept him safe.
'You had a good show tonight.'
'Yeah, there were some great chicks there tonight.' Amy felt the slight bite of jealously, but kept her mouth shut. 'Did much happen after I left?'
'Not really. Some of the boys stayed for a bit, as well.'
'As usual' she thought. 'Did you behave yourself this time?'
'Of course' he said taking the last mouthful of coffee. 'What book are you reading?'
'An old favourite, 'Pride and Prejudice''
'I see.' The conversations had become more forced lately. Amy was beginning to get tired of waiting from him to call on her. Sure she enjoyed travelling, but she missed the old Charlie. The Charlie who used to hate Liam's drugs, and was teaching her the guitar, and she talked freely with. He had become a shell of himself, sure he didn't look much different, but he'd become what he used to hate. He'd become addicted. It was no longer about the music, now it was about finding the next hit.
'You've got the day off tomorrow, do you want to have a look around Sydney with me?'
'Depends how I'm feeling, but I should be up for that'
'Great! We'll find the old places we visited the first time round. And have a look at that shop Liam was telling us about'
'Liam! Shit, that reminds me! I must go and see him about that tour they've got lined up for us.'
'You don't have to see him tomorrow, we've got plenty of time here! You need a day off, besides, he certainly won't agree if you turn up with a hang over'
'God, you're right. You're always right!' and so they talked, until Charlie feel asleep on the couch. Amy covered him with a blanket, then went to bed herself. Tonight had been a good night, she knew where he was.
Amy woke up the next day, got up, had a shower, got dressed, then went out to have a look at the beautiful morning view. She glanced back into the room, and at the couch were Charlie lay sleeping peacefully in a knot of blankets and limbs. A smile crept on to her face as she thought 'If only he could remain this peaceful all the time', but she knew he would soon be awake, and she'd need to have some coffee waiting. When Charlie finally woke-up it was yet another routine of coffee, shower, back to his room to get him some clean clothes, and half the day would usually have passed. Charlie was clean and awake, ready to take on another day. 'What's the plan for today, Amy?'
'Don't you remember? Of course you don't. We're going exploring'
'Sounds great! But I really need some breakfast first, I'm starving!'
'Alright, well we've missed breakfast, but it really can't be too hard to find something!'
And so the day began. It was during these days off that Amy caught glimpses of the old Charlie, but usually not for very long. Within a few hours he would be heading off to the closest toilets he could find, he always though she never knew what was going on in there. However, Amy kept her thoughts to herself.
the two reached the shop the Liam had told Amy about. It really was
the most incredible place she had ever seen. Everywhere she could
look there were musical instruments, thousands of CDs, and old,
classic vinyl records. It really was heaven for two musicians, they
were like two little children in a toy shop. 'Looks like Liam
finally got something right for a change. This shop is amazing!''Yeah,
I had no idea that it would be this huge!'
They wandered around the store together trying out the different guitars, pianos, basses, and other instruments that they had no idea how to play. They searched through the records and CDs, laughing at some of the bands they remembered as kids. Charlie was completely happy, and for once it wasn't because of his drugs, he was genuinely happy. It took quite some effort to actually leave the shop. It wasn't until the shop owner came over to them and said that the shop would be closing, that they actually left. They gathered up a collection of CDs and old records to get, and were just about to leave when one of the shop assistants came up and asked if she could have and autograph. Naturally Charlie was flattered and signed the piece of paper, and posed for a few photos. 'I was devastated when I heard the Driveshaft was going to break up, I absolutely loved the band. Say 'Hi!' to Liam for me when you see him next.' This caused a serious look came over Charlie's face.
'What do you mean Driveshaft broke up! We're still going strong! We actually might have a new tour coming up soon.'
'Oh, well I didn't mean to offend you, but I will be first in line for that tour.'
'Yeah, you'd better be, they'll be going fast. I can tell you that!'
'Yeah, well it was nice to meet you!'
Charlie left the store. 'Thanks again, for letting us stay a little bit longer!' Amy said as she left to catch up the Charlie.
'Charlie! Charlie, wait! What was that all about!' Amy said grabbing Charlie's arm.
'What was what all about?'
'You know what I mean. You nearly bit that girls head off back there!'
'No I didn't. I was perfectly nice to her.'
'Come on Charlie! Something's changed, you were so happy before, then suddenly you became grumpy just because she mentioned the bre…'
'I'm fine! I just…I just need to go to the loo, alright!'
'Fine! Don't talk about it! There's one on the corner' They continued to walk in silence until they reached the toilet. In went a grumpy Charlie, only to be replaced by a much more relaxed one when he came back out. Charlie could really make her mad sometimes. Why couldn't he just see what was happening to him, before it was too late, but she knew he wouldn't stop, at least, not yet.
'Sorry Amy, shall we find a place for dinner then?'
'Yeah, but I really need to go to bed, I can't believe you kept me up so late last night!'
'Sorry about that as well. Don't worry I promise I'll be good tomorrow!'
Amy was definitely not sure how much she could believe that. She knew she'd receive that knock at the door, just like every other night. 'Thanks Charlie, I'm sure you will'
Amy woke up early again. This time she was alone in the room, Charlie was down the hall, with some other random girl. Amy was still fuming about the night before. 'He could have at least waited till I had left before he started to flirt' she thought to herself as she went out to the balcony, her mind continually re-accounting the night. The waitress had only paid attention to him because she recognised who he was, and that was only after at least an hour of them being there. Not much she could do now though, and with that she'd put it out of her mind, as she got ready to head down for breakfast.
Amy had plenty of time before her and Charlie had to head off to the new gig for a sound check, though she'd already decided to avoid his room for as long as possible. She decided to go in search of another book shop, no doubt she'd finish 'Pride and Prejudice' before they had to leave, even if it was only in two days. It was the last show tonight, recovery for Charlie tomorrow, then on the flight to LA, which she was regretting for some reason. Charlie could easily go and see Liam before they left, even though there wasn't much point, in Amy's mind. There's no way he would want to get back in to touring, it was too difficult for him to leave the first time. Why would he want to give up all that hard work?
There was a cool breeze that woke Amy from her thoughts as she wandered along the path with a green park on one side, the wide green bay on the other. It was the perfect day, she had found paradise, and she had to leave it soon. Though, she didn't really have to go with Charlie, it was possible for her to stay behind. Charlie wouldn't take it well though, he'd surely think she was deserting him. But she wasn't, Amy was just tired of travelling, she wanted to just stop, breathe, and let him know how she felt. She had to do it, now just to get the courage.
went back to the Hotel, after having convinced herself that it was
time to go to the sound check and get Charlie ready for the gig.
'You're a girl! What do you think will help me draw chicks
tonight?' Charlie said jokingly before one of his earlier gigs.
'Just flash them a smile and you'll get covered in them'
'Right. But seriously, which shirt!'
'The grey one with, your 'comfy jeans''
'Perfect! Again, you save my life!' Charlie gave her a kiss on the cheek, which caused Amy to try desperately not to blush. She really should have been used to the signs of affection that he showed her, but the butterflies were still there. 'Well we should really head off now, if we're to get there in time'
'Okay, but I just have to…get something from the other room'
'We don't have much time, could you please hurry?'
Sound check went smoothly, with Charlie and the band laughing there way through the songs. It was never sound check that Amy was worried about; it was the actual shows that caused her to worry the most. Amy was never completely sure of what he would get up to, she could only sit back, watch and hope that nothing went wrong.
Pain was how Amy awoke the next day, with a throbbing numbness in her head. She had given into Charlie's constant pleas for her to have one more drink, one more dance, just another 10 minutes. At least she was able to keep a drunken eye on Charlie, and managed to keep him reasonably under control, but he still disappeared occasionally. The club had great atmosphere, with a fantastic crowd to support the band. It really was a great show, from what she could remember. There was a bonus to being with the band though, she did have her choice of men, but there was always the one that was out of her reach.
stumbled into have a shower, in an effort to stop the room from
spinning as much as it was. It at this point that she realised, she
didn't quite remember how she managed to get back to the room, but
decided it wasn't all that important anyway. She got changed and
slowly started to make her self a coffee. While the kettle was
boiling, she escaped the sound to again look over the city, hopefully
the crisp morning air would wake her up, not that there way much of a
morning left. It wasn't until she turned back inside that she
noticed a body on the couch. Charlie was on the couch again,
oblivious to the terrible sound that was coming from the kitchen
area. At least it kind of explain how she got back to room. The kind
smile came across he face again, he was peaceful, but would need to
be woken soon, she always felt mean doing that to him. Especially as
she knew some part of what he would be feeling. They had to visit
Liam, after all that was the main reason they had ventured to the
other side of the planet. 'Come on Charlie. Time to wake up'
'I've got some coffee, you have to wake up'
'Charlie! We have to see Liam soon, and it'd be better if you're a little more sober!'
'Liam? Got it… Okay…I'm…awa…' Amy rolled her eyes as he fell back into a slumber, and pulled the blanket off Charlie, as he cringed at the cool breeze hit is skin. 'You made me do that!'
'Fine. Where's that coffee?'
'Get your own bloody coffee!' Amy laughed.
After Amy gave Charlie a few moments to wake up, and she was able to drink enough coffee to stop the room from making her dizzy, she decided it was best to get out and start the day. They found a place for brunch, and were able to watch the boats out on the harbour. 'Do you know what you want to say to him?'
'Join the band?'
'I'm serious Charlie. You have to get this just right.'
'I'll say what I need to.'
'Do you want me there?'
'No, it's probably better if you're not there. More personal, you know?'
'Yep, we'll finish this then head over, okay?'
'Okay. I'd better be ready now, or I never will be.' She knew this was the most difficult thing Charlie could have to do that the moment. Liam could make or break this tour, she felt sorry for Liam, she knew what he would say. He had a family, that's all that mattered to him at the moment. No money would change that.
taxi pulled up in front of a light blue weatherboard house,
surrounded by a lush green garden. There was a slight hesitation
before any action was taken. 'Nice house he's got. Are you sure
you'll be fine to do this on your own?'
'Yeah, I think so. It's my brother…I'll be fine. Yes. Good.' Charlie took a deep breath before opening the door and getting out of the car. 'Charlie, remember, I'll be right here.' A weak smile from Charlie and he turned up the path leading to the front door. Amy watched from the distance, hoping that the conversation she was watching wouldn't turn to arguing anytime soon. 'He's in a band isn't he?' Amy was snapped back to reality. 'Oh, Charlie? Yeah, Driveshaft.'
'I though I recognised him. The other guy is too, right? Charlie seems nice though. You've done well.'
'Yeah, well, not quite.'
'I hear ya. You know I don't get many famous people. I had Ben Affleck once, or at least I thought it was him. Really nice though, great chap.'
'Dannii Minogue as well. She wasn't too bad, would have preferred Kylie, bit more famous, and a great arse, not that Dannii didn't have one.'
Charlie started to walk back towards the taxi, clearly it hadn't gone as he had hoped. 'Oh he's coming back, just to the airport when he gets here thanks. Oh, and it might be better if you don't ask about the band.'
'Oh, sure thing, love.'
Charlie slumped into the car, and slammed the door behind him. 'Fucking twat! I'm perfectly fine. It's his fucking fault I'm hooked on the stuff anyway. But I'm not hooked I can stop! I don't need his help.'
'Charlie, just calm down.'
'Fuck him. I don't need him. He thinks I have a problem. I helped him when he needed me, but oh no, a simple tour is too much for Mr. Family-fucking-Man!'
'What did he say, Charlie?'
'He thinks I don't need the tour. He wants me to go into rehab. I don't need his fucking rehab!'
'May…maybe you do. You have been, sniffing a lot lately.'
'Oh fucking great! Not you too!' Charlie looked at Amy in disgust. 'Just when I thought someone would be on my side…'
'No, it's just you've been pretty stressed lately, I just thought...'
'You just thought, you just thought! Does anyone care what I just thought? No! That would actually require listening to me.'
'Look, get over yourself Charlie.' Amy didn't notice, but tears had begun to stream down her face. This was not only difficult for Charlie to hear, but she was finding it strange to finally be telling him what she'd been thinking for some time. 'Can you tell me honestly what song you played first last night? ...Well? Can you even remember last night?'
'I…' he fell quiet. The quietest she had ever seen Charlie. They sat for a moment, and just watched Sydney go past. 'I can't stay.'
'You don't have to catch the flight you know.'
'Yes I do! My Life is over there Amy.'
'Is it really a life? You do need time off. You've been really busy lately, you could use the time to better yourself. You don't know how difficult it is for me to see what you do to yourself. A different girl each night. Not being able to remember them. Not being able to even remember the show. I've been thinking. I can't go on like this anymore. I want to stay in one place for longer than a few days. I think I'm going to change flights, go home instead. See my family again. I haven't seen them for years, Charlie. Come with me.'
'I've told you I can't! I won't survive the trip without you'
'Then come with me'
They pulled up to the airport. The entire car was again quiet for a few moments, with only the crackling voices of other drivers coming through the radio. 'Well, here we are.'
'Thankyou' Amy paid the Taxi driver, as Charlie went around to the back and started to take out the bags. 'I'm sorry for that.' She handed him a hundred dollar note. 'Please, try and keep that conversation quiet.' He looked from her to the note, then back at her eyes. 'Now, don't you worry about that. Good Luck' and he pushed her hand back towards her. Amy gave him a smile as she went to go and catch up with Charlie. The wandered through the airport trying to find the right terminal, there were hundreds of people, all just going about their day. Some of them on the holiday that they'd being saving for ages for, others just going on yet another business flight. Eventually they found the international terminal, and joined one of the many queues. 'I'll help check you in then find a desk where I can change my flight'
'Can't you fly via Los Angles? Please'
'No Charlie, I don't think I could go through with it if I did. Look, I love you, but I miss the real Charlie, and if you can't see that. Then, well, I don't think this will work.'
'Amy. I… I think we're next.' They picked up their bags and shuffled towards the desk. Amy spoke with the woman behind the counter and made arrangement to change flights, then checked their bags on to the separate planes. Amy and Charlie picked up their remaining bags as they went through customs. Amy secretly hoped that he might get caught this time; at least it would mean that he wouldn't head back to the city that started it all. She never understood how Charlie always managed to avoid the sniffer dogs at the Airport, but somehow he did.
reached Charlie's gate. It was quiet to them, even though the rest
of the Airport was quite busy. They had the right timing, as the gate
had opened and most people were already on board. Charlie had to get
on the plane, this was good bye. They would see each other again, but
it was to be their first flights with out each other. They looked at
each other for a moment, dreading what had to happen next. Amy put
down her bags as she gave Charlie a long hug. 'Well, it looks like
this is it. If you change your mind, find me in London. You know
where I'll be.' Amy said while trying desperately to hold back
'Thankyou Amy. I know I've been a bit of a twat lately. I'm sorry for that, but I can't right now.'
'Unfortunately I understand. But I Love you, and that will never change.' Amy gave him the kiss that she'd always wanted to. A shocked Charlie looked at her once the moment was over. 'Well, I guess that was good bye then. I love you too, Amy' He smiled, gave her a kiss on the cheek, and went to the plane. Charlie waved goodbye as he turned the corner. Tears came down Amy's cheeks.