A/N: So, this is my first Lost fic! I was the last in my family to watch, but I absolutely love Charlie/Claire! I am nowhere near caught up on the entire series, so please forgive any mistakes I make. This is, if you couldn't tell, a fake interview with Charlie, set probably two or three years after The End. Read and review pleasssseee!
Disclaimer: Like I could ever dream up half of the crazy stuff that goes on in the Lost world. Does not belong to me!
Keeping Up The Pace
By Adam Nichol
"Bloody hell!" Charlie Pace exclaims as he inspects his guitar carefully. "String's almost ready to snap. How the hell did that happen between last night's show and tonight?"
Pace's eyes narrow as he carefully scrutinizes the ailing guitar string. One finger plucks it gently, while the other hand holds on to the neck. The guitar lets out a long, painful wail that, even to my own untuned, listening ears, says something is not right.
Pace sighs in frustration and scribbles a note reading needs to be fixed. String broken, affixing it to the neck of the guitar. He sets the instrument down in a bay of four or five other guitars, taking care that it stands out from the rest, off to the side. As he turns away, one hand reaches out and his fingers comb down the neck of a beat-up acoustic guitar. For the first time, a small, genuine smile lights his face.
Only then does Pace notice he has company, and he strides to me with a smile, offering his hand out. I rise from my seat immediately.
" 'Lo there. Charlie Pace," he introduces himself.
He gives my hand a firm shake and beckons to one of the couches. We sit down, and I take in my surroundings as Pace empties his noticeably full pockets.
The tour bus we sit in is spacious by regular standards. We are in a living room of sorts, furnished with soft couches and squat tables. In the next room, I can make out the outline of five or six bunk beds, and a bathroom on the other side. Past that, it is too dark to see.
"So," Pace begins, cracking an impish smile. "Now that you've seen the condition of our hardware, y'must have some idea what we're dealing with out here. Like a bloody warzone."
I laugh with him, relaxing slightly. The loose atmosphere is fun, as is the bus that Pace and his band, DriveShaft, will spend the next month on at least, while they round the country on their You, All, Everybody tour. Sixteen cities have already been lined up and have sold out in minutes, while the band's sophomore CD, Lost in a Crowd, has gone platinum twice in the two months it has been out.
With the band's ever climbing success, it's easy to imagine how the band could fall prey to inflated egos. However, when I mention it to Pace, he bursts into peals of laughter.
"Rock star syndrome," he guffaws. "Yeah, well nowadays they make a cure for that. It's called a wife."
I laugh, surprised because in all press interviews, Charlie Pace has never mentioned a wife.
"'Cause I don't have one," the notoriously private star amends. "I like to keep people guessin'."
"So no wife?" I ask.
Pace's brow furrows, as if he's deciding how to answer. "Not in the most literal sense of the term."
"But you are taken?" I press.
A smile lights his face. "Yep. Couple years now."
He reclines in his chair, and I can practically hear the groans of DriveShaft's legions of female fans.
"How did you meet your girlfriend?" I ask him. Pace laughs as if I've asked something ridiculous of him. Shaking his head, he maintains that it's a "damn long story", and I wouldn't believe him if he told me. He will, however, tell me that it involves "somewhere deserted, until it was filled with the most important people in my life, peanut butter, and an unfortunate flooding shaft."
I am absolutely baffled by now, but Pace does not expand on his explanation. Rather, he smiles privately, and I somehow imagine that if his girlfriend were here, they would be sharing a secret look at this point. Reluctantly, I switch the topic.
"Does your girlfriend come with you on tour?"
He shakes his head. "Back in Melbourne now. She'll meet me on another leg of the tour." His lips purse and his eyes flick to a picture on the wall. I squint and manage to make out Pace standing beside a blond woman, both of their faces wreathed in smiles.
"Sodding long time away, though," Pace adds, a shadow falling across his face. "Good thing I keep a piece of her with me at all times."
I ask what that would be, but he simply smiles and shifts the subject to the tour. He's excited, jumpy, nearly bouncing in his seat as he talks about music. He tells me about writing his own songs.
"Liam tries, but they're bloody awful," he explains, his voice tinged with brotherly affection. "Lucky he's a good band mate. Decent brother, too."
We talk about what stop on the tour he's most excited for, and he tell me he can't wait for Chicago.
"I always planned to move there, but I got sidetracked a few years ago."
This strikes me as odd, because Chicago's not exactly rock central, but Pace insists he finds something special there. I ask if he ever plans to move there, and he chuckles.
"Not exactly up to me. Melbourne is our home for now, but you never know. Tour is taking us all over the place. It's the best part about touring, getting to see all these places you wouldn't otherwise, and getting to play for millions of people. Isn't much that beats that."
Perhaps not, but a few years back, DriveShaft had a very different reputation then now. Endless rumors about drug addictions followed the band relentlessly, and most members of the band have confirmed their validity. Clearly, though, they are not proud of this time. Even as I ask Pace about the claims, his eyes darken with a mixture of shame and anger.
"The old days," he confirms. "Yeah, we did some stupid things back in the day. Could have bloody gotten myself killed, the way I was going."
"Drugs?" I inquire.
He snorts. "Wish it were just the drugs. We'll just say I did some daft things. I'd never go back now, not for one day. Something to be said for sobriety, I guess." Pace cracks a smile. "Because I don't think that it's just a coincidence that the band started getting good after we all got clean."
I laugh with him, until we are interrupted by a commotion near the bunk beds. Liam Pace, Charlie's brother, strides into the room, carrying something in his hands.
"Sorry, Char. He started screaming. Won't calm down for me, he only wants you."
Liam stands directly in front of Charlie, but I strain to see what he has deposited in Charlie's lap anyway. After a few moments, Liam moves away and I have the shock of my life when I see the rocker holding a very sleepy-looking toddler, the child's thumb in his mouth and a very sheepish look on Charlie's face.
Charlie's mouth opens but the child beats him to it, a wail erupting from his tiny body.
"Daddy!" The child sobs.
Pace's entire body language changes, his arms coming round the little boy, stroking his hair and whispering softly in his ear.
"Shhh, Aaron," I make out. "What's it that's upset you?"
"Bad dream," the child wails around his thumb. "Don' want Uncle Liam. Want daddy."
Pace continues soothing the child, rubbing a hand up and down the boy's back as I catch my first look at the boy. He looks unmistakably like his father, same dark blond hair, same slim build, same ears that stick out noticeably from his head. Standing with their heads touching, they make a striking picture as father and son. It occurs to me that this must be the piece of his girlfriend back home that Pace was referring too.
In some three or four minutes, the child has calmed down enough to fall back to sleep against his father.
"You have a son," I observe.
He smiles. "That I do."
"He looks just like you."
Charlie smiles privately again, looking down at the little boy sleeping against him. "Thanks. It always means a lot to hear that. His mum is back working in Melbourne, so sometimes this little guy comes with me on tour. Loves it, he gets to see all the attractions in every city we go to, gets to have a late bedtime and eat whatever he wants."
I laugh. "What could be better for a little boy?"
The rest of our interview goes quickly, as Pace is now on a time limit until the boy wakes again. We discuss the band's new record, the rest of the tour, and his bandmates' reaction to bringing a child on tour. As it turns out, most of them have children of their own too, so they "triple team", Pace explains.
As I disembark the bus, the picture of Pace and his son is still in my head. I stifle a wry laugh. The rock world, I decide, is a lot more homey then I ever would have thought.