Discalimer: Not mine
Author's note: Just a fun little story I couldn't get out of my head. It takes place after "Maternity Leave." Mostly Charlie and Claire stuff with my own working Theroy about Sawyer (Good with glasses- jerk without). If you like this story check out "You'll Accompany Me" my other Lost story. Feedback is ALWAYS welcomed. Enjoy!
It was a normal day, or as normal as any day could be on the Island. Claire walked, squishing the sand between her toes, holding Aaron near to her chest. Out of the corner of her eye she saw Charlie, staring off into the ocean. She hissed and turned away in disgust. This action didn't go unnoticed by a fellow survivor.
"You still mad at him, Sunshine?" A southern draw called from his tent. He looked up from the book he was reading and touched his new glasses.
Claire didn't answer and Sawyer pushed further, "He seemed pretty worried when Aaron was sick, he kept walking past Sun, checking in but staying away due to the self imposed restraining order."
"I don't want that man near my baby." She finally said. "I don't trust him, I can't."
Sawyer pulled off his glasses and became more aggravated, "Oh, but the Crazy French Chick who kidnapped your baby, you're cool with? Gee, I don't remember, who ran through the jungle to go save the child you didn't even brother to name? It was Sayid and someone?"
"Yeah, and he stopped to pick up some heroin on the way!" She spit back. Until now, she couldn't pinpoint why she had felt so betrayed by Charlie; why her soul ached to look at him, "He would never choose me over the drugs."
Sawyer scoffed, stood up and started to walk away. He felt the anger building up; he knew the truth but refused to tell anyone. Charlie did and always would choose Claire over the heroin. Hell, he could choose Claire even over himself, but she was too selfish to see that. Sawyer knew the facts and understood them. He knew no one showed as much loyalty as Charlie had to Claire. Expect maybe Sayid to Shannon, but at least he was sleeping with her. Sawyer was fairly certain Charlie wouldn't seduce Claire. She was a mother after all.
Claire called out to Sawyer, "What do you care?"
Then he admitted a dark truth, "I don't, but a kid needs a father and there's a shortage of good men on this island."
"I didn't have to father to raise me."
He glared at her before walking into the jungle, "Yeah, and look how good you turned out."
Charlie had been staring as the water changed shape while formed waves and crashed onto the beach. He was always amazed at how his eye could never really focus on one part of the wave because it was constantly moving. The ocean always made him think of the big picture, not just the details. He smiled, as images popped onto his head from his life before the island.
"You look lost in thought." Jack and Hurley headed towards him.
Charlie shook the last reminiscence of his daydream out of his head and looked over at Jack. Jack the constant leader, worrier and brother.
"Dude, what's up?" Hurley, feel good best friend.
"Nothing, just wishing Claire would kiss me passionately and forgive me."
A sad smile and a pat on the back from Jack, "I think you might need to give up on that dream."
Charlie sadness filled his eyes as he looked back at the water, "I'm starting to forget."
"Forget what?" Hurley looked concerned.
"Its little things, the way tea tastes in the morning, the way a C cord sounds through an amp. I'm forgetting things I never wanted to forget. I guess it was bound to happen, being separated from society for so long. Still it stings, you know."
Hurley sighed, "I forgot the way my mom's laugh."
"I miss driving my car." Jack admitted.
"But still there are some things I'm trying to hold on to, but it's like trying to hold a wave, impossible." He smiled as his mind recaptured what he thought he lost. "I bought a picture the day before the flight to LA. I had it shipped to my flat, it's been sitting there for a nearly two months now. I hope it wasn't nicked. That's also assuming my landlady hasn't thrown out my stuff." His eyes rested on the horizon.
Jack and Hurley stirred waiting for the story they knew would be coming.
"I'm a really bad flier. Horrible. I normally travel with more heroin when I fly then any other time." Charlie started to chuckle, "My worst nightmare was to be flying over an ocean, the plane crash on a deserted island and I would run out of drugs,"
Hurley blinked, "Are you kidding?"
"Gee, if this was your worse nightmare, you would think you would have packed better." Jack smirked.
"Yeah.. But with the polar bears and the monster eating pilots and the Others, this place is a lot worse. After I realized I was alive, my first thought was, "Bloody Hell." Normally I have LOT more, fear of running out was worse than the fear of getting caught with it. This time I didn't have a lot with me. The day before the flight, I was walking around Sydney with some annoying chippy girl. She only wanted me for the drugs. I knew it but she was hot, so I put up with it. It was one of those rare times for an addict, after coming down from a high, but before your body started to crave it again. It wasn't a good feeling, but it was refreshing, sort of, and it was the only time I could get any work done. She, damn I can't even remember her name, dragged me into a gallery." He rubbed his head and groaned, "the stuff was HORRIBLE! Modern art for the sake of art, it didn't say anything, and if it did, the meaning was so superficial. It was like bad high school poetry."
Jack laughed. His wife had the same taste in art. While he didn't know a lot about it, he knew crappy art when he saw it.
"The shop girl started to tell me all about the artist, but the more she talked the more I hated him. His girlfriend was pregnant and things weren't working out and she left him, hence his transition into the darker colors. It sounded like bull to me. He probably walked out on her. His art was supposed to be personal, like you were looking into his soul, as she put it, but all I saw was a wanker."
"So why did you buy one of his pictures?" Jack asked.
"I didn't. In the back of the shop, in a far corner my eyes fell on the most beautiful piece of art I had ever seen. After the fact, I declared it the second most stunning thing in all of Australia."
Hurley asked, even though he knew the answer, "What was the first?"
A sweet and goofy smile etched its way on Charlie's face, "I saw her when I was putting my luggage in the overhead bin." Neither man needed him to explain.
Jack rubbed his chin, "I don't remember anyone from the plane, except Rose and Anna Lucia."
"I apparently stepped on Libby's foot, but I don't remember it either." Hurley added.
"Getting back to my story, I asked the shop girl about the picture in the back. She said the gallery owner found it in the artist's collection, but it isn't by the main artist. She thought it might have been by the girlfriend, but she wasn't sure. Normally there is a gallery mark up and I wanted the artist to get the complete value of the piece, so I overpaid by a few dollars."
Jack smirked, "I'm always amazed at your ability to convert money."
Charlie grinned, "I grew up in Europe before the Euro; I didn't have a choice. Anyway, a junkie always carries cash, and I asked for it to be shipped, mostly because I didn't want fly with it and I was afraid the chippy was going to sell it behind my back." His voice gets serious, "Whenever there's a party I always had more stuff with me, you know to share and what not, and when you compound that with the flight back to LA, I should have had a few ounces with me. But I spent all my money on the picture. It wasn't the first time I spent my drug money on something not related to drugs. Sometimes it was new clothes or a rare record or something. Almost always afterwards I would regret it, but not that time. I had the picture and that's all I needed."
A voice spoke, Australian filled with uncertainty, "Charlie," his stomach flipped at the sound of his name coming out of her lips. "Do you ever regret buying the picture?"
He studied her, but Claire's facial expression was a mystery. He answered honestly, the last time, the only time he had lied to her, it backfired. "Once. Jack, Kate and I were walking back from the cockpit, I had my stash in my pocket and we had just found the pilot's body. I was freaking out, understandably so, and I wished I had more then I had. I cursed at the picture. But instantly regretted it, it wasn't the picture's fault we crashed."
There was intensity in her eyes and face he had never seen before. Her voice was steady, but there was insecurity and fear hidden behind her words. "Charlie, can you describe the painting?"
He shook his head, "It wasn't a painting. It was a photograph; it was taken with black and white film and then digitally enhanced." Her eyes grew wide as he continued to speak, "there was depth in its simplicity. It was a flower, I don't know what type, but it was drooping slightly in a window sill. The sunlight surrounding it was lightly enhanced with golden hue. There was faded brick of different shades. It was taken in an apartment, and in the background there was a print of Picasso's Grey Guitar. I remember because I had the same one on my bedroom." He stumbled a little, "God, I'm really not doing it justice. I just remember feeling bittersweet. I liked that it appreciated the great works of art and didn't try to be anything more than what it was. I just sort of related to it." He shrugged uncomfortably. Sure, he was an artist, but he didn't like talking about his interpretations of art, it always seems pretentious .
He looked down and kicked the sand. First, he felt the tenderness of her hands on his bushy face as she lifted up his chin. She stepped closer to him, invading his space and he didn't mind the assault. His hands hung limply at his sides, unsure of what to do.
Her voice was soft so only he could hear, "That was mine. I was bored one day and decided to try my hand at photography, I worked on it at night when Thomas was asleep. He took it when he left."
Charlie couldn't speak. Conflicting emotions waged war in his mind. He knew he hated that artist. The idea that Thomas, Aaron's father, stole more from Claire then Charlie already had made him want to squeeze every living cell from Thomas' body. What kind of man could leave Claire? Who could leave their child? But all of that was overridden by the fact Claire was speaking to him, touching him, watching him. Kissing him.
Her lips brushed against his, lightly and tenderly. Every nerve in his body exploded with sensations at once; he saw colors in his mind's eye. His once limp arms wrapped around her waist and she shrugged forward, her chest pressed firmly against his. The kiss deepened and Charlie felt dizzy with bliss.
When the kiss broke and their lips lost contact, Charlie opened his eyes to witness the vision of Claire's wavy blond hair in the wind and eyes that looked like they were one the verge of watering. Her voice was shaky, "You chose me over the drugs before you even knew me."
He looked at her slightly confused, "But I would always choose you and Aaron over the drugs."
Claire wasn't sure why she believed him. Logically she had no reason to, but she did with ever fiber of being. The tiny butterflies that lived in her stomach were flying around her body were telling her he wasn't lying and the butterflies had never been wrong. She kissed him once more. "Charlie, come home."
Jack and Hurley looked at one another, mostly because watching Claire and Charlie felt like an invasion of their privacy.
"Dude, did you notice that Charlie's worse nightmare came true?"
"Yeah, did you notice he started off with saying he wished Claire would kiss him and forgive him?"
The two men blinked, Jack called out to the Brit, "CHARLIE! THINK ABOUT RESUCE BOATS AND PLANES!"