Chuck in a Moment

Chapter 1: Stuck in a Moment You Can't Get Out of

CAST (in order of appearance):
Chuck Bartowski – Zachary Levi
Ellie Woodcomb – Sarah Lancaster
Morgan Grimes – Joshua Gomez
Bryce Larkin – Matthew Bomer
Jill Roberts – Jordana Brewster
Jewel Staite – herself
Professor Fleming – Scott Alan Smith
Sarah Walker – Yvonne Strahovski
John Casey – Adam Baldwin
Carina Hansen – Mini Anden
Lou Baxter – Rachel Bilson
Veronica Mars – Kristen Bell
Devon Woodcomb – Ryan McPartlin
Logan Echolls – Jason Dohring

My name is Charles Irving Bartowski. Most people call my Chuck – my sister, my brother-in-law, my friends. There's also two CIA agents, a DEA agent, an FBI agent, and a Balboa County Supervisor in a pear tree who call me Chuck. Then there's an NSA agent and the director of the CIA, both of whom call me Bartowski. The Central Intelligence Agency calls me the Intersect. The National Security Agency calls me Protected Asset Number TX-8311H.

I'm not supposed to know that last one. But then, I know a lot of stuff I'm not supposed to know.

There's some things I'll never know that I wish I did, though. Like how to deal with women.

Let me explain. My history with women is, shall we say, checkered.

There's only one woman who I could ever trust completely and love without reservations. That's my sister – Eleanor Fae Woodcomb, née Bartowski. She is the first person I have a clear memory of. I don't remember my dad very well – he left my mom when I was eight, and I haven't seen him since – but I have crystal clear memories of Ellie going back to when I was three.

So, my mom. You might want to know why I don't trust her. Don't get me wrong – I love my mom dearly, and if she showed up right now, I would probably leap up and wrap her in a huge hug – right before I asked her why the hell she disappeared on me and Ellie my freshman year of high school.

Yeah. That's my mom.

I went to Beverly Hills High School my sophomore through senior years. You see, my mom had left Ellie and me a large chunk of cash – so that Ellie could go to college, and I could finish my high school education at Harvard-Westlake. Ellie and I decided that my college education was more important than me finishing high school at Harvard-Westlake, so when she got a full ride to UCLA, I moved into her off-campus apartment in Westwood with her. That was within BHHS's jurisdiction, so we were able to put away a LARGE amount of money.

Now, you may have seen Beverly Hills 90210 and said, "There's no way high school girls in Beverly Hills are that hot." If you said that, I'm here to tell you that you're dead wrong, my friend. Dead wrong. They are that hot and hotter.

I dated a lot of them when I was in high school – but I never got quite as far as one might think. You see, a lot of them wanted to "take our relationship to the next level", as girls in high school tend to say. I wouldn't have minded it, but every time things would start to progress that way, I would freak out. There went that relationship.

I ended up acquiring a rather unjustified reputation both as a man-whore and as a stud. And yet, despite both those reputations, I was still the 18 Year Old Virgin when I walked across the stage on June 11th, 1999.

Now, remember that large amount of money that Ellie and I saved up? Well, it came in handy. You see, I got accepted to Leland Stanford Junior College – better known to the world as Stanford University, in Palo Alto, up by the Bay Area. They gave me a sixty percent scholarship, and with the money we had saved, I only had to take out loans for about ten percent of my total expenses.

The first month I was there, I met somebody who quickly – and probably unfairly – supplanted Morgan Grimes as my best friend. His name was Bryce Larkin. He introduced me to the first girlfriend I ever had who didn't make me freak out. Her name was Jill Roberts.

Why didn't Jill make me freak out? I don't know. She was just as beautiful as any of those girls from Beverly Hills High – but she was a nerd. An unabashed nerd, just like me. An that was what made her so incredibly great.

Jill was the first girlfriend who I ever told I loved. Jill is also the girlfriend who walked away with my v-card. Yeah, my first time was probably a lot less exciting for her than it was for me, but hey. She was patient, and it got better and better from there.

Then, around September of 2002, things got weird. Jill started getting a little distant, and I had no idea why. Fortunately, that's right around the time that Joss Whedon's Firefly came on the air. I thought it was the greatest television show to ever air – in large part because of a character named Kaylee Frye. She was played by a Canadian actress by the name of Jewel Staite, and I thought she was perhaps the coolest character – EVER. Her presence on my screen (and on the tapes I made of all the episodes that aired before those bastards at FOX canceled the show) helped me get through the uncertainty of that fall semester.

During the spring semester of 2003, my world fell apart. I was headed for graduation. Hell, I was headed for being the valedictorian. And then, one day, I was summoned to the office of Professor Fleming. He told me that my roommate – Bryce Larkin – had discovered the answer key to the final exam in Fleming's class under my bed.

Now, that was total bullshit. I was completely innocent. Bryce the Bastard had somehow set me up, and Stanford ended up giving me the boot. But it got worse.

Not even a week after departing Stanford, I found out from a friend of mine in the fraternity that I was in that Jill had been cheating on me with – guess who! – Bryce the Bastard since August of the year before. No wonder she'd been so distant that whole previous semester. Oh, I laid into her good. I called her up, and I told her just what an evil bitch I thought she was. Perhaps not my finest moment in life, but damn did it feel good.

Four and a half years passed. I didn't have a single date, no girlfriends – nothing. I basically became a monk in nerd's clothing. Yes, nerd's clothing – I got a job at the Buy More up in Burbank, and became part of the Nerd Herd.

I'm sure you've seen our commercials, heard our radio ads. You've probably seen one of our stupid little roller skate Toyotas zipping about a city. Eleven bucks an hour – I could've made better money sitting on my ass in the guest services booth at the Beverly Center, but the clientele there made me want to remove my teeth with a pair of pliers.

On September 24th, 2007, everything changed. I received an e-mail from Bryce the Bastard containing the subliminally encoded database that turned me into the Intersect. The next day, the most stunningly beautiful woman I've ever known appeared in my life.

Sarah Elisabeth Walker. Born Elizabeth Lisa Reynolds, she had joined the Central Intelligence Agency in 2002 at the tender young age of 19. During her two hellish years at the University of Massachusetts, 9/11 had driven her Army veteran father around the bend, and his mental disorders had driven her mother to suicide. Unable to take any more, she called the man who had tried to recruit her in high school – CIA Director Arthur Jerrod Graham – and signed up.

Over the following five years, she became a legend within the CIA. She was considered one of the best agents in the Company, so much so that she acquired the nickname the Operative. That's something else I'm not supposed to know. I also know that she hates the nickname, but heck, as an avowed nerd and a devout Browncoat, I can't think of a higher honor for an intelligence agent than to have that nickname.

Anyway, she was sent to Los Angeles to either 1) retrieve the Intersect, 2) kill the person in its possession, or 3) improvise. She ended up having to improvise when it turned out the Intersect was me. An NSA agent by the name of John Casey had been sent to L.A. as well, and between the two of them, they turned into my protection team.

That's when one of the most agonizing periods in my life began. Sarah's cover in Los Angeles was as my girlfriend, and God, I would've given my two front teeth for her to have actually been my girlfriend. That was the thing – I really liked her. My sister was pretty sure that Sarah liked me a lot, too, and my sister has never been wrong about these kinds of things. However, the nature of Sarah's assignment kept her from ever being able to express those feelings.

In October, a Drug Enforcement Administration agent who Sarah had worked with before by the name of Carina showed up in Los Angeles. The woman was downright HOT. Smokin' body, red hair, bright green eyes – I mean, wow. Fantasies would have fantasies about her.

And for some reason passing understanding, she wanted me. She tried not once, not twice, but three times to get me to join her in her hotel room for some fun and games. I managed to resist all three times, but I wanted to know why she wanted me so badly. Carina said it was partly because she thought I was cute, and partly because she enjoyed taking what Sarah wanted. So there I had a second, independent confirmation that Sarah definitely had a thing for me – but Sarah wouldn't admit it herself.

So in November, I fake-broke-up with her. Why? Because I'd met this really cute girl named Lou. She was perky, she was funny, she was sweet, she wasn't afraid to be herself, and she made a hell of a pastrami sandwich. However, I got all of one date out of her before I discovered that she was inadvertently connected to an international smuggling ring.

Well, that fact ended up wrecking our relationship before it ever had a chance to get started. That, and the fact that Sarah and I were at the San Pedro Docks, we thought we were going to die, and Sarah kissed me. I don't mean just a brief kiss on the lips. I mean, she grabbed the back of my head, mashed her face against mine, and went spelunking with her tongue.

Was I complaining? Uh, no! Never in my entire life had I experienced as incredible a kiss as that. Of course, when we didn't end up dying, it got a little awkward, and then, my arch-nemesis – yes, indeed, Bryce the Bastard – showed up.

I caught him making out with Sarah in my bedroom. MY BEDROOM! Of course, later on, when he left, he asked Sarah to join him – and she turned him down. She said it was because of her assignment, but John Casey's bullshit detector is second-to-none, and he called her on it – more than once.

Toward the end of January, there was a situation where the CIA thought that they were going to have to extract me to a secure facility. In the end, Sarah came to my rescue, and there was a brief moment of clarity on a helipad in downtown Los Angeles where there was absolutely no question about how we felt it each other.

The next day, she jumped off the Vincent Thomas Bridge in Long Beach.

For the first couple weeks, it felt like my heart had been physically ripped from my body. Then, it grew to be more of just a dull ache where my heart used to be. Finally, the Los Angeles County Coroner's office officially declared her dead.

Carina and Bryce both came out to Los Angeles for Sarah's memorial service. Then, that night, something happened – something I have never told anybody about, and will probably take to my grave.

I spent that night with DEA Agent Carina Hansen. It's not something I'm terribly proud of, but I don't regret it, either. Sure, maybe having sex with Carina wasn't the greatest idea given my state of mind, but she was willing to hold me and tell me that everything was going to be alright while I cried myself to sleep. For that, I can never thank her enough.

A few months passed. During that time, I wrote a video game. I wrote it about a guy who ended up accidentally downloading a huge government database into his head. Yeah, I know – real original plot. Shut up. I figured if I had to deal with this burden the government had laid upon me, I was going to make a few bucks off of it.

When I went to Comic-Con in July of 2008, I actually got to meet Jewel Staite. That's when I found out that she had actually been approached by Electronic Arts about voicing one of the characters in my game. I could've done backflips to China when I found out about that.

But there was somebody else I met at Comic-Con. Her name was Veronica Mars. We got off to a slightly rocky start – she lied to me from the get-go, and it was only after having a guilt attack after finding out about me and Sarah that she told me the truth – she was an FBI agent who had been assigned as the replacement handler for Sarah.

In truth, the powers that be would've liked for us to use a relationship as a cover, but the fact of the matter was that I was still in grieving, and so a) there was no way I could handle that, and b) there was no way anybody in real life would believe I could be in a relationship already. So we decided to just be friends for the time being.

On September 27th, Ellie Bartowski and Devon Woodcomb got married. Not too long after that, Veronica and I came to an agreement – we would allow our cover to turn into a relationship, but we would still just be friends in reality. It was actually almost funny what was happening there – the reverse of me and Sarah. Whereas Sarah had bottled up her feelings for me while I openly pined for her, Veronica had made it clear that she liked me while I bottled up my feelings for her.

Then we come to January 30th, 2009. The one year anniversary of the day Sarah jumped off the bridge. That night, I found myself on the bridge, in the same spot she had jumped from. I didn't know why I was there, except that I was actually considering taking the plunge myself. Veronica's friend Logan Echolls, the Balboa County Supervisor, for some reason showed up just then and stopped me. That night, I went to Veronica's apartment and told her that I didn't want to hold back my feelings for her any longer.

Things were going well – or so I thought. We had a little encounter with Carina in Arizona in early March, but I managed to fend her off without losing a limb or any other important body parts. But the truth of the matter behind our relationship was that I wasn't over Sarah yet. I really, truly thought I was, but when Ellie and Devon had their son, Reese Walker Woodcomb, I began imagining what it would be like to have kids – and in my mind's eye, the only person I could see myself having kids with was Sarah.

And so, at the beginning of May, I broke up with Veronica. It was painful. I loved her, I really did, but I had come to the realization that I loved her as a friend, whereas she was looking for something more, something that I couldn't give her, mentally or emotionally.

Six weeks later, my world was turned upside down. On the evening of June 13th, Ellie went into her son's bedroom to discover an intruder.

An intruder by the name of Sarah Walker.

It turned out that she hadn't committed suicide. She had jumped to escape from her life as Sarah Walker, because she couldn't let the CIA use her to hurt me any longer. I appreciated her motivations, but I was so incredibly angry that she hadn't just trusted me.

However, I was even happier to see her.

I was so happy to see her that I helped her escape from Veronica and Casey, both of whom wanted to arrest her. We spent a blissful forty-eight hours together on Catalina Island, just being ourselves, and being completely in love with each other, before Veronica and Casey caught up with us.

We were both charged with obstruction of justice, and Sarah was charged with falsifying her death. However, Veronica got Logan to pull some strings, evidence mysteriously disappeared, and the charges were dropped. We were home free.

And so we decided to take a roadtrip. You know, just go where the road took us, have fun. Today's the Fourth of July, and this morning, we hit the Pacific Coast Highway northbound, headed all the way up to Vancouver.

I have a problem, though. You see, there's something that I need to resolve before my relationship with Sarah goes any further, any deeper. I still care about Veronica a great deal – probably a lot more than I really should. I really, really need to take care of that.

So what's the problem?

Well, I think I may have just asked Sarah to marry me.