Strictly Charlie Contest - 1st Place Winner in Public Poll
Title: Love and Charlie Swan
Pairing (if applicable): Charlie/Harry (slash)
Summary: Forks' chief of police is no stranger to love, but he's no friend of it either. Now, he has to face the true reason why. They say the truth sets you free, but it may be the one thing that actually scares Charlie Swan. AH Non-Canon pairings and slash
~Love and Charlie Swan~
Renee Higginbotham, more recently Dwyer, was the love of my life.
At least, she was when I was seventeen.
She was everything a teenage boy would consider perfect – friendly, easy going, great sense of humor, got along with all my friends and – most important – she was female, and willing.
When you're young and horny, your priorities are a little skewed by hormones.
Hell, who am I kidding? Your priorities are your hormones.
We gave each other our virginity in just about the corniest way possible. After prom our senior year, we parked at a trailhead up in the National Forest, a few miles off the main highway. We lay down in the bed of my friend Billy's beat up old Chevy truck, so Renee could see the stars. I thought I was being pretty romantic with a mini cooler full of Bartles & Jaymes and two or three old sleeping bags for padding. She thought it was sweet.
Renting a hotel room would have been the decent thing to do but, being the sheriff's son, my face was a little too familiar for that little gem to go overlooked by the local Days Inn front desk clerk. She happened to be married to one of Dad's deputies.
Ahhh, small town life.
On the night in question, I was prepared with three condoms and a couple of shop towels for clean-up. Hey, I was thoughtful like that. I would have brought more condoms, but didn't want to look like a complete horndog. Three, I thought, was reasonable considering I would probably pop off the first couple of times like a two-pump-chump. I had hopes we'd get to go a third time.
Turns out, it didn't matter anyway. Fate's an evil bitch.
I knew condoms came in sizes but I apparently underestimated my… equipment. How did we discover this, you ask? Well, she put a hole in the first one when she was trying to put it one me, being all sexy and stuff, until her Lee Press-On nail poked straight through it like a big toe through an old sock. I tried doing it myself with the second condom, only I managed to bite a hole in it trying to get the wrapper open. The third one ripped before I'd rolled it half way down.
We were both so worked up we were practically in tears. Perfect opportunity, hours alone with the girl I loved, and she had all that warm, naked skin…
"Come on, Charlie…" she said, snaking her hand down between us to rub the head of my bare dick against her slippery skin. "How unlucky can we be? I mean, what are the odds?"
Unfortunately, the odds were not in our favor. I have no one to blame but myself for what followed. Well, I could blame my dick…
We got married in front of the Justice of the Peace the day after we graduated from high school, and ten days later I left for the police academy. Two months after our graduating from the academy, our daughter Isabella was born. On my twenty-first birthday, when my Little Bells was barely three years old, I signed the divorce papers.
I was miserable. Alone, with an empty, quiet house. Alone in my bed, alone in my kitchen. Alone, listening to the house settle when I should have been hearing little feet on the hall floor, little splashes from the bathtub, little giggles from the back yard. For some reason, I never really missed Renee. Just my Little Bells.
Harry was always there for me, in those first days after she left. Harry, Billy Black and all our friends helped me pick myself up and dusted me off when Renee left with Bella, unwilling to spend her life as a small town cop's wife.
Harry raised his glass and everyone at the table followed suit. "To Charlie!" he said. "Forks' newest bachelor and the best friend any of us could ask for." He winked at me and clinked his whiskey against mine. "To Charlie," they all chimed. I caught the twinkle in Harry's eye and smiled in spite of myself. He slammed his shot and threw his arms around me, patting my back roughly, but quietly whispering in my ear "I got ya, buddy. It'll be alright." I nodded and leaned against him for as long as I could without looking like a girl.
They were all there for me, but Harry was there first. As far back as I could remember, practically, there was always Harry.
I looked up into the warmest brown eyes I'd ever seen. "Waitin' for my dad. What are you doin'?"
"Waitin' for my dad." He plopped down on the bench beside me, looking over his shoulder at the sporting goods store behind us, knocking his sneakers against each other.
The silence was comfortable. "You like to fish?" I asked, fiddling with part of a broken spinner.
He nodded. "My dad ties flies. We fish a lot."
I smiled. "Cool."
"You live around here?" he asked, squinting against a sunbeam.
I nodded. "My dad's the Sheriff."
"Cool," he mumbled, seemingly impressed. "We should go fishin' some time. Ya wanna?"
"I'll ask my dad," I said, hoping he'd agree.
Just then I heard my dad's voice. "Looks like the boys already met!" Carrying his new rod, he came walking out of Newton's with the biggest, burliest mad I'd ever seen, with long black hair in a braid down his back.
"Sure does, Chet. You tell Marie I said hello, and come on down to La Push next weekend. We'll get these boys out on a boat, okay?"
"Sure thing, Seth. Nice to see you!"
Dad took my hand and we walked away. I looked over my shoulder at my new friend and called out to him. "What's your name?"
"Harry Clearwater," he shouted, waving and smiling.
"I'm Charlie Swan!"
"See ya later, Charlie!"
"See ya, Harry!"
Three years after Renee divorced me, Harry was my best man when I married Esme Platt, in a far more frou-frou ceremony than I would have chosen. It was important to her, so I didn't fuss. Standing at the altar, watching her walk down the aisle toward me, all dressed in white and carrying an armload of flowers, was overwhelming. Having Harry at my side kept me grounded, kept me calm. I took a deep breath as she walked closer and closer, and found it odd that instead of thinking about my almost bride, I was thinking about Harry. I dismissed the thought as nerves, and reassured myself that marrying Esme was the right decision.
I had a knack for picking up strays, and I guess Esme was one of those. She'd been through a rough patch, and I had helped her a few times with some domestic disturbance issues with her ex-boyfriend. That's how we met, actually. Against my better professional judgment, I'd become her shoulder to cry on. She needed a man in her life to anchor her, she'd said, and I guess I fit the part. She told me my life needed 'a woman's touch to soften the edges' and I didn't disagree. I knew my life needed something. I was at a loss to understand what, but she seemed so sure that I took her at her word.
All I knew were simple pleasures – cold beer on a hot afternoon, nabbing a criminal to keep the boredom at bay, Harry to fish with and maybe watch a game now and then. I didn't need much. Esme moved in and set about making my house a home. Curtains, paint, flowers under the front window, pictures on the mantle, hot meal on my table, a little passion in my bed…
I loved her. Truly, I did. She brought warmth to my life that I realized I'd been sorely missing. We didn't have what you would call a fairy-tale marriage, but I thought things were fine. She was caring and beautiful, easy to get on with for the most part… until she wasn't. It took less than a year.
The house was too quiet. Instead of hanging up my side arm in the hall closet, I unsnapped the keeper and rested my hand on the grip. I made my way through the house, avoiding the boards I knew would squeak. Nothing was disturbed; there were no signs of forced entry or foul play, but something was off. I crept up the stairs, the hairs on the back of my neck standing on end, terrified of what I might find. There, in the center of my bed, was a hand written note in a distinctive script. I looked around the room and realized several dresser drawers were open and empty, as was Esme's closet.
I only took the things that were mine before we met. The shared checkbook and my bank cards are on the counter. I took enough out of the joint account to get me back to Ohio and hire a lawyer.
I can't compete with Harry any more.
I'm sorry. I hope you find happiness.
Billy, Harry and I drove to Seattle that weekend and got blind fucking drunk.
Funny, looking back, how blind I truly was.
"I gotta take a leak."
Harry leaned in close, his breath hot on my neck. It was loud in the club, so you had to get close like that to hear each other. "Is that blond guy still giving you the eye?"
Shuddering, I drained the last of my beer and looked over my shoulder, all drunky-casual like, no doubt. "Yep."
"Well, watch your ass. He might want a piece of it." Billy laughed, but Harry didn't. I laughed the comment off by shaking my ass as I walked away.
The men's room was down a dimly-lit hallway behind the bar. I felt lucky to make it on one piece, apparently a little more buzzed than I realized. I relieved myself and stepped back out into the hallway a little disoriented. I tripped over my own feet and found myself up against the stranger with the roving eye.
"Easy there big guy," he said, low and slow. I backed up against the wall, surprised by his unexpected presence.
"Hey, sorry about that." I straightened my shoulders but he didn't back away.
"You looked a little lonely out there. Your friend not taking god care of you?"
"Your boyfriend. The big guy with the short black hair. I got the vibe he's not giving you what you need." His warm palm trailed my arm from shoulder to wrist, where his fingertips lingered while my brain caught up to his words.
"What? He's not my – wait – I don't – I'm not…" I pulled my hand back from his and slid to the side, away from him.
He smiled. "Sure, beautiful. I get it." He reached out to touch me again. "You change your mind, let me know. I'll be here all night." He slinked away slowly, looking over his shoulder and smirking, licking his lips.
I just stood there for a minute, staring after him.
Fucking hell, I was half hard.
I shook it off and went back to Billy and Harry, who hadn't stopped drinking in my brief absence. Harry slung his arm loosely around my neck and put his other hand on Billy's shoulder, making Billy wobble. We downed another set of shots, toasting once more my newly minted singledom. Afterward, Harry leaned close and planted a wet kiss on my cheek, right at the corner of my mouth.
"You're a good man, Charlie. The best. Esme was never good enough for you, and neither was that first one, either." He checked his shot glass for any missed dribbles, licking around the rim. He looked me in the eye, his voice dropping an octave, and leaned close once more. "No one's good enough for my Charlie."
He sagged against me and Billy had to help me wrestle him onto a bar stool. I got him some water and asked the bartender to cut him off for the night. After he sobered up a little we could head back to the hotel and sleep it off.
Just before we left, I saw my admirer head back toward the john, and for some reason I followed him. I needed to tell him it wasn't like that, that Harry wasn't like that. I mean, it was okay for people who were gay, or whatever. I had no problem with that. Consenting adults, behind closed doors and to each his own. But I'm not gay, and neither was Harry. He was happily married with two little kids, for Christ's sake.
My admirer was waiting for me in the hall, right outside the men's room, leaning against the wall.
"Shhh." I let him lead me by the wrist farther down the hall, into a dimly lit alcove where I could sort of hear other people, but not see them.
He backed me up and leaned against me, hard and tight. Too much whiskey had clearly slowed my reflexes, or I probably would have had him pressed face-first against the wall with one wrist pushed up between his shoulder blades. As quickly as that thought crossed my mind, his mouth was on mine, hot and insistent, hips rolling against mine to the rhythm of his lips and tongue. I brought my hands to his shoulders and pushed him back with what I knew was less than maximum effort on my part. His mouth left mine and trailed down my throat.
"Jesus…" I gasped. "What the hell…"
"Mmmm," he moaned, palming my frighteningly hard dick. "You gonna let me have some of that?"
I grabbed his wrist, intending to push him away, but it must have been the booze in my system that made it feel just too fucking good to say no. I ground myself into his hand, and he kissed me again.
"Yeah, that's it. Let me show you what you've been missing," he mumbled, and dropped to his knees. He tore open my jeans, pulled out my dick and deep-throated me. I was stunned, but not enough to keep me from holding him by the back of his head and thrusting into his mouth. He sucked me off in record time, humming while he swallowed and staying on me until I was insanely oversensitive.
I stood there, panting and speechless, as he tucked me back in and stood.
"You okay, beautiful? You look a little…"
I grabbed his face with both my hands and kissed the hell out of him, tasting myself on his lips. I flipped our positions, pinning him against the wall and grinding my hips against his, shocked for some reason that he was still hard, that I cared.
It hit me then, all at once, and I stumbled back from him. I stood there in shock, rubbing my mouth off with my sleeve. I'd kissed another man, let another man – a complete stranger – blow me in the back room of some random club in Seattle.
And I'd enjoyed it.
He looked a little sad, but laughed, shaking his head as he adjusted himself. "What's your name?"
"Charlie," I whispered, still spooked.
He reached in his pocket and pulled out his wallet, fumbling around for a business card. He stepped toward me as he stowed his wallet, and it startled me.
"Easy, there, Charlie. It's okay."
He took another step and I let him kiss me, soft and quick. He tucked the card into my hand. "I'm Carlisle. Call me when you get yourself figured out. Maybe you'll wanna play with someone other than your buddy out there – someone who knows what they're doing."
"Carlisle, I'm not…"
He smiled again as he walked away. "Pity."
I think I still have his card, somewhere. I'm not sure why I kept it. I never called.
Harry was there for me again, when I married Elizabeth Masen. She was a single mom with a teenage son that had run into trouble in town a time too many. I offered to mentor the boy, and we ended up a motley trio after a few months. I think part of me missed Bella, missed being a dad, being needed.
I saw Bella during the summer for a few weeks, once or twice for Christmas or Thanksgiving. She was never with me long enough for me to really feel like her daddy again. There were awkward hellos and getting-to-know-yous for a few days, several painfully silent meals at the diner, maybe a trip to the rez to visit Harry or Billy's kids, who were her age. As soon as things finally settled into something resembling comfortable between us, it would be time for her to go back to her mother.
I hated it.
Elizabeth's boy was a little shit. He had no father figure in his life and, even though she was far from a shrinking violet, he was becoming more than she could handle. Nearly everyone I knew cautioned me against getting involved with her romantically, but there was something that drew me in. Maybe it was her, ahem, passionate nature, or the fact that her son needed a strong male figure, but at twenty-eight years old I found myself saying I Do to wife number three.
Two years later, when her son "borrowed" my squad car and made it all the way to Olympia before he was caught, I called it quits. I'd damn near bankrupted myself keeping him out of juvie, paying for damages, bringing him back from various run-away adventures and trying to get him professional help. I even let him sit overnight in jail once, hoping a little tough love would yank his chain.
Nothing seemed to get through to him, or her. I'd seen kids like him before and knew all to well where he was headed, but she took it all with a shrug. I begged her to go to family counseling, but her indifference became too much for me to take.
She seemed surprised that it took me that long to ask them to leave.
I brought up the last of the empty boxes and placed them in the hallway outside our room. "Is there anything else I can… Liz?"
She turned to face me, tears marring her beautiful face. "Oh, sweetheart. Don't," I said. I hated to see a woman cry.
"Oh, Charlie…" She practically pounced on me, pulling at my shirt, rubbing her face into the crook of my neck, biting, kissing, and sucking at my skin.
"Just one more time, Charlie. Please? You're so fucking good." She pulled my shirt up over my head and started pulling at my jeans. "You always make me feel so fucking good. Give me that? One last time?"
Well, shit. Shit, fuck, shit.
Our clothes went flying in every direction. She pushed me down onto my back and rode me like a rodeo star craving a new belt buckle. I spanked her ass the way I knew she liked, and left my handprints bruised onto her hipbones for good measure. She clawed and scratched me from neck to hip, and left bite marks everywhere she could reach. She begged me to finish from behind her, and I pounded her hard enough that I was surprised she could walk afterwards. I was a little weak in the knees myself.
That was the end of Elizabeth. She packed up her rented U-haul and left for California. The divorce was final within a few short months and the last I heard, she'd married some biker in Los Angeles and her son was behind bars.
Harry and I 'celebrated' with far less liquor than the last time. He'd been diagnosed with a pretty serious heart condition and was trying to behave. We spent a weekend fishing and avoiding the world, just the two of us, a few rods and reels, a boat, and the water. We set up camp near our favorite fishing hole, in the perfect little spot to be left alone. We had a tent to share, enough supplies to keep us fed and happy, a fire pit to cook our catch, and perfect weather.
It was one of the best fishing trips we ever took, and one of the best weekends of my life.
I woke up to a warm, heavy arm draped over my belly, and a thick leg atop one of mine. My arm was numb, and I realized it was because his head was laying on it and he was still dead to the world.
Somehow during the night, we'd managed to shuffle our sleeping pallets up next to each other. It must have gotten cold, or something. He probably thought he was curled up next to Sue, warm and snug in their bed back home. Something about him all snuggled up next to me made me smile, even though I couldn't feel my fingers and he was sort of… starting to… grind on me?
I couldn't help but smile a little at the ribbing I was going to dish out when he finally woke up, until I realized I kind of liked what he was doing. I flashed back to that smoky, dim club all those years ago, and to Carlisle…
"Harry," I whispered. "Harry, wake up."
I wrapped my fingers around the arm that crossed my belly and jostled him a little, saying his name. He tightened his grip with both his arm and his leg, and was very clearly rubbing his morning wood against my hip.
Oh fucking hell.
"Harry," I said, a little more forcefully. "Wake. Up."
"Charlie," he moaned, and pulled me closer still, angling his face toward mine.
He kissed me then, and moaned, thrusting and clutching at me.
Oh, God – I'd never been so torn in all my life. All this time…
Sweet, devoted Sue. And Leah, and Seth…
I tried to push back from him, but he rolled on top of me, pinning me, grinding and kissing. Oh my God, all these years…
He was clearly awake. I caught glimpses of his eyes, wracked with pain and need, in between kisses and gropes and breathless pleas.
We came in our underwear like teenage boys, with our arms and legs intertwined.
We'd been best friends since we were six years old, and we had never once…
We flopped onto our backs, dazed, fingers still touching.
After a few moments, he whispered an apology and left the tent to go start breakfast.
I let him be for a while, puttering around breaking camp, packing up to go home. Right before we ate I stood behind him and wrapped my arms around him, burying my nose in his neck, relishing his weight against me. He twisted to face me but wouldn't let me pull away.
"It's okay. Okay?"
He nodded, resting his forehead against mine. "Kiss me? Just one… last…?"
Softly, so so softly, it was the first kiss that could have been, but never was. Tiny nibbles and licks, so slow. Just a taste, and that was all we had.
For our memories.
It never happened again.
I started spending more of my free time on the rez, and less of it in town. My empty house was too big, too quiet. Billy's wife Sarah passed the following year from cancer, and I stayed close to help him with the kids. It felt good to be needed, to have something to offer. I became part of the extended family in both houses – Black's and Clearwater's. Not a bad way to live. We had a good run, but it ended too soon.
The day I overheard dispatch calling for an ambulance to La Push, I knew. Deep down, I knew.
Harry was gone.
They held an open memorial service, but his burial was a private, Quileutes-only sort of thing.
That was fine with me.
I went fishing, instead.
I didn't need to see his casket draped with flowers or hear any prayers in his native language. I didn't need to wear a suit and stand stiffly beside Sue and his kids while they lowered him into the ground. I didn't need any of that to know he was gone. I felt it in every aching bone in my body.
After a few days, I stopped trying to figure out what hurt more – my head, or my heart, or my gut. I felt acutely that there were pieces of me missing. My whole life was riddled with gaps. Gaps I'd tried to fill in others' lives, gaps I'd tried to fill in my own life but never managed to. Gaps that were left behind and would never be filled.
A week or two after Harry passed, I stopped in to check on Sue. She seemed to be holding up well, but she was crumbling at the edges. I was too. I pulled her close for a hug, and she burst into tears.
"Oh, Charlie. I miss him so damn much, you can't even know."
"I know, Sue. I miss him, too."
I tucked her up under my arm and walked her to her bed, planning to tuck her in and tidy up a few things around the house that I knew had been overlooked since the funeral. She wouldn't let go of me. I sat down on the edge of their bed, where I knew he must have sat a thousand times himself. She clutched my hand to her chest, over her heart, and mine broke for her loss. For my loss.
I looked around the room – his slippers by the closet door, wrist watch on his night stand, reading glasses perched precariously on top of a book…
"You're so much like him, you know? Quiet and easy and good. I miss him, Charlie. The way he laughed, the sound of his voice, the way he kissed me, here," she pointed to a spot on her neck. "I miss him so much." She wrapped her arms around her middle and rocked herself as she wept.
I wiped a tear from her cheek with my thumb, and wasn't ashamed to wipe a few of my own away, as well. I sat there and comforted her until she calmed enough to sleep, and then I watched over her. I sat on their bed, where he'd slept, where they'd made love, made their children. I could still smell him – clean sweat and wood smoke. I could almost see the outline of his body curled next to hers, and I resisted the urge to lie in the spot that was his, just for a moment, to lay my head on his pillow and share a bed with him. Just once.
Instead, I waited until I was sure she was asleep, and let myself out.
Driving home, I though about the day we met, and the too-few years that led to this one.
"What's your name?"
"Harry Clearwater," he shouted, waving and smiling.
Tightening my fingertips on the wheel, I struggled not to think about the could-have-beens or should-have-dones, but the memories flooded in…
"Charlie," he moaned…
I had to pull over when I could barely see the road. I would like to have been there when he passed, to have held his hand, maybe, instead of writing old man Newton a speeding ticket on the 101.
Was he in pain? Was he at peace? Did he know what he meant to me?
A ray of light pierced the clouds, like the one that caught his eye the day we met.
It was the most sappy, ridiculous thing, but it made me smile.
I love you too, Harry.
I pulled back onto the highway, picked up my gear, and went fishing.
Endless thanks to Chele681 and EinfachMich for their support, encouragement and red pens, and to Jessypt for her diligence in rooting out extraneous commas. You three rock my silly little world. p.s. - Chele? you're right. it's TOTALLY hotter with Carlisle. :D
Thank you Thank you Thank you to Burntcore, Kimmydonn and McGee_42 for hosting and judging, and congratulations to all the other entrants and winners!
and thank YOU for reading, reviewing and voting!
HEY! you liked this? keep your eyes peeled for info on a continuation... cuz hey - Charlie deserves to get laid good and proper, too... right? *wink*