I'll let you stay if you're a Good Boy, charlie. Only if you're really, really good. Be a Good Boy, yeah?

a Good Boy,

Really, really good—


I've made you a new world, charlie. A better one. It's my world, yours and mine, and you can stay—

I'll let you stay if you're a Good Boy—

Good Boy

Everything has a price. Charlie is beginning to hate Mr. Wonka's hands. He's started to notice these things about them that he doesn't like, and those things are piling up. Like how sometimes when they're alone Mr. Wonka's hands will creep under his jumper or under his shirt and rest coldly on his stomach or trail higher or lower depending on their whim, exploring. Like how these days 'sometimes' is so often it's 'all the time'. Like how he doesn't like what Mr. Wonka's hands are doing and wants them to stop.

Really good—

The cold, clammy feeling of the gloves on his bare skin bothers him, on those occasions Mr. Wonka decides that no barriers (except the gloves) are fun. And the incessant caressing motion of the long fingers concealed inside them bothers him too, as does how close Mr. Wonka has to be. He's started to jerk and twist away from Mr. Wonka's hands; to push or pull them out from under his clothes when they begin to creep under there and he can't convince himself it's not happening. And it works, for a little while. Right up until Mr. Wonka says it's time to go home then, to leave the work for another day, no buts… unless Charlie is really, really good.

Everything has a price, and this is Charlie's for a few hours of uninterrupted work, this is the price he'll eventually have to pay to stay longer and learn what to do in this factory.

Well— the hands begin to inch to where his shirt ends, the only easy point of access, because Charlie makes a point of wearing close-fitting trousers these days.

I'll let you stay— and the hands curl under and move up under one layer and then another, because glove-to-skin contact is what started the scuffle in the first place—

if you're really, really good— and Charlie can smell his breath, sweet and sugary and it makes him grit his teeth but he needs to know this factory, this inheritance, so he says, yes, yes, I'll be good, though in his head he's saying, get away from me, saying, don't touch me, saying, stop it, stop it, stopit stopitstopitSTOPIT!

Really, really good? Are you a Good Boy, charlie? I'll let you stay if you're a Good Boy, and you are good, aren't you—

It only takes seconds for the hands to reclaim their place, and they stay for longer on his skin then they would have if he'd done nothing. He's learning, one day at a time, it's just best to ignore it, when it begins to happen.

you are good aren't you—

Charlie needs to learn how to run this chocolate empire, how to play the game of this world Mr. Wonka's created, and if that means submitting to Mr. Wonka's own games – well, he can stand that. He's got time. Some part of him knows that when Mr. Wonka removes the gloves for their games, that's when he's in serious trouble, that's when game will go serious, and no amount of twisting or pushing away is going to help him then. He hates the dead, clammy feeling of them, but he loves the barrier they represent. He's got time until the gloves come off. And he needs to learn everything he can before they do. So when Mr. Wonka's hands begin their explorations he grits his teeth and schools his face to blankness instead. He needs to know what to do in the factory. That's worth the discomfort while Mr. Wonka's hands roam around and he can feel his breath, cloying and sweet on his neck. He needs to know, and Mr. Wonka knows he needs to know and knows Charlie won't do anything because of it.

I'll let you stay if you're a Good Boy, charlie—

Charlie notes that how much of a 'Good Boy' he is in Mr. Wonka's eyes is a direct response equal to whether or not he lets his hands touch him, stay under his clothes, stay on his skin. He keeps telling himself the price is getting too high, that he'll stop Mr. Wonka the next time it happens… but Mr. Wonka is very clever. He knows just what to do to get Charlie to stay, to submit. He knows he should play the game differently every time it begins, but Mr. Wonka is very good at making it turn back to the old formula.

I'll let you stay if you're a Good Boy. Only if you're really, really good, charlie.

Charlie knows there's some sort of line between what is acceptable behaviour and what is not, but he's not sure if Mr. Wonka's crossed it or not. How much does he owe Mr. Wonka? How much of this is adequate payment for what Mr. Wonka has given his family? And just how much of him asks for this treatment by staying still, by playing the game, by letting Mr. Wonka do what he wants in exchange for staying a little longer in the Inventing Room or the Fudge Room or the Nut Room or wherever to learn a little more?

DoN'T TouCh Me StOp iT GeT aWay FRoM mE!

Mr. Wonka never says 'don't tell', because Charlie has been warned enough about unsavoury characters to know this is one of the phrases to set him on edge, to alert him to the truth that what is hapening is wrong and he can fight it. He doesn't need to say 'don't tell', because Charlie already knows no one will believe him. Mr. Wonka is a friend. He's playing a game. He's not like that. He's such a child in his head he can't be like that. Charlie has to look into Mr. Wonka's eyes sometimes when leaving the hands alone is not enough, and Mr. Wonka is not a child. He's a cold and calculating predator with a vicious fake smile as he looks into Charlie's eyes.

He wonders why his family can't see it when he joins them for dinner, can't see the patent fakeness of the nervous motions and childlike simplicity and high-pitched giggles. Can't see the sly intelligence shining out of the corner of his eye as he glances at Charlie.

He takes long, hot showers that get steadily longer and hotter, and tells himself the stinging in his eyes is from the shampoo, despite the gaudy bottle declaring 'no more tears!'. Soulsick and heartsore, he wonders how long the price will keep growing, and how long he has before the gloves come off.

Poor maligned Mr. Wonka. Well anyway, that was… therapeutic. Now let's just move on and pretend it never existed.