A/N So new story here. This is something that I've had bits and pieces floating in my head for a while now. It kind of comes as an offshoot of my Final Scene story where Chuck was a radio DJ back at Stanford. It is A/U and doesn't really have anything to do with that story other than it being sort of the genesis of the concept. I had a bit of a moment last night where in dealing with a lot of my feelings of melancholy about the final moments of the show a flash of inspiration came and this is the result. Though I do see the beauty in the finale and am amazed by the incredible performances, the sadness I had anticipated about the end of something that had been such a big part of my life is also accompanied by a feeling of melancholy that I really never saw coming. Especially when Fedak told us we were getting a "love letter to the fans." I don't know what kind of love letters he has received in his life but this wasn't what I would call one. I love deep meaningful stories with lots of subtext but I didn't want one here. Thirty seconds more and a few choice words and the show would have ended with a fans ending, not the writers ending we got. It will be a long time I think before I can really start a rewatch without a feeling that in the end none of what I am watching ultimately matters as it may or may not be gone forever to the most important character in the show for me, Sarah Bartowski.
For those wondering the next chapter of Life, Love and Lies should be up next week. I'm not sure how often I will update this one as I want to get back to that as we are in the meat of the story now but this is a fun place to come to whenever I need the inspiration.
You know the drill. I don't own Chuck because if I did the last words spoken on the show would have been "I love you Chuck, with all my heart."
Mar. 23, 2003
KZSU Studio 3
"Morgan, can you get me Oliver Nelson's Stolen Moments? I want to start the show tonight with it. I think it's going to be one of 'those nights' tonight."
"No problem Chuck. I'll grab the usual, McCoy Tyner, Sun Ra, Oregon and Eric Dolphy"
"Thanks Buddy, you always seem to know what I'm feeling."
"Well we are hetero life partners after all."
"That we are my friend, that we are."
Chuck Bartowski, a tall, lanky brunette young man, a self professed nerd, was a senior in Electrical and Computer engineering at Stanford University. His acceptance to the prestigious school had been the highlight of his young life. A life that had seen many highs but far too many lows for someone so positive and kind. Through it all his demeanor never changed. He always put his friends and family first and his natural expression always seemed to be that of an infectious smile that lit up a room for anyone lucky enough to see it. Unfortunately some took his kindness and selflessness as a weakness. They either took advantage of it or they dismissed him as just another nerd in a school full of them. Those like his sister Ellie, a first year intern at Westside Hospital back in Burbank and his constant partner in crime, Morgan, knew how special he was and tried to never let him forget it even when life's little or not so little bumps got him down.
Chuck and Morgan began their weekly ritual of picking material for Chuck's Sunday night Jazz show on KZSU, the student run radio station of Stanford University. Chuck was involved in a lot of campus activities but these 4 hours from 10pm to 2am each sunday night were his therapy, his escape from all of the stress of maintaining a 3.8 GPA at one of the nations most difficult and expensive Universities. He had to maintain a 3.5 to keep his full scholarship as he had no other source of financial support other than himself or what his sister could spare after her expenses.
All the stress of his day to day life seemed to slip away when Chuck sat down in front of that microphone each week. For those 4 hours he was in his own world. What made it so great for him is he also got to spend those hours with his best friend from childhood, Morgan Grimes.
Chuck and Morgan had been best buddies since the days of elementary school. Chuck had been the one that pulled Morgan out of his locker after that dick head Cole Barker and the rest of his future wife beater friends had stuffed him in amongst his pics of Jeri Ryan, Sarah Michelle Geller, along with half eaten bags of Doritos and rank gym socks.
But Morgan had been there for Chuck too. The day his mom disappeared, Morgan had stayed over in Chuck's room and they stayed up all night watching a Back To The Future marathon on his VCR. For some reason Morgan had a particular liking for the DeLorean used in the film and had told Chuck that if he ever got rich that was the car he wanted to own. He had even already picked out the vanity plate he was going to register the car with. Even though Chuck knew it was lame, he also knew that DeMorgan was perfect for his little buddy and he really hoped one day he got a chance to ride in it. The thought of speeding down the I-5 doing about 80 mph in a stainless steel batwing car with his friends special plates bolted on the front and rear just seemed like heaven on earth. Well at least it was to Morgan and that was good enough for Chuck.
"Hey buddy you can put back A Love Supreme as I don't think we are going that deep tonight."
"Ok Chuck, I just thought after the way Jill dumped you, you might be looking to play a little bit of After The Rain to kind of get your head straight."
"Thanks buddy, but you know, I've decided I'm ok with it. If she really thinks that Bryce is better than me, so be it. I never did anything to her that warrants being treated that way by her and so I'm done worrying about it. She'll learn like every other one of Bryce's conquests that as soon as he's gotten what he wants from her, his eyes will be on to his next target. Believe me I know. I spent more nights on the fraternity couch after going to our room and finding a tie on the doorknob than I care to remember. Women have spent more nights as Bryce's roommate than I have and I lived with him since we pledged sophomore year."
"Yea, it's almost like he's freaking James Bond the number of women he has had. A couple of smiles and a few well rehearsed lines and they are practically begging to have his children. I just wish we got some of his leftovers. Even his rejects are 8's."
"I know buddy but that's not me and its not you either. One day we are going to find girls that are going to not be impressed by the good looks, the charm, and the killer smile of jerks like Bryce Larkin. They are going to look for something more and buddy that's when they are going to see you and me. Guys like Bryce may be on top, in more ways than one, right now but a few years from now, we nerds are going to be their bosses."
"Damn straight" Morgan reached over and he and Chuck slapped a nerd high five.
After a few moments of quiet thouth Morgan was the first to speak. "Say Chuck, do you actually believe that shit you were just spewing?"
Chuck laughed at the absurdity of it all. He knew the reality he lived in. "Well I was just channeling my inner Ellie. I was talking to her last week after I walked in on Jill and Bryce going at it in my freaking bed. Not only did that asshole break the bro code but he banged my girlfriend in my own freaking bed and forgot to put the god damn tie on the door for one."
"Maybe, do you think he did it on purpose?"
"I hope not Morgan. That's cold even for a douchebag like Bryce. I'm just glad we are graduating soon and I won't have to put up with his crap much longer. Thanks for letting me move in with you. I know its cramped but I'm done with being Bryce's friend and roommate but I can't afford anything else right now."
"I understand Hans and it's no problem. You would have done the same for me."
"Amen to that, Chewy."
"By the way, what's up with you and Anna?"
"Nothing. She's heading back to Hawaii after graduation and that's it. I guess it's never gonna happen for me and my asian princess."
"Too bad man. I know how much you liked her rather bizarre wardrobe among other things."
"I know, no one rocks the Catholic School girl uniform quite like Anna."
Chuck and Morgan both kind of looked of into space. Catholic school girls with white shirts, short plaid skirts and long jackets were a mutual fantasy they had shared since puberty.
Chuck turned and noticed the clock on the wall. The NPR radio show would be ending soon and it was time to get into the studio and get some music cued up.
"What are you starting with tonight Chuck?"
"Well after the Oliver Nelson song I think I'll move on to Song for my Father by Horace Silver. I heard Ricky Don't Lose Your Number on that classic rock station today walking to my EE 416 class and it made me think of it. Steely Dan always stole from the greats."
"Ok Chuck, you're on in 10 seconds. 5,..4.. 3.. 2.. " Morgan pointed to Chuck as he faded out the Prairie Home Companion and opened the mike for his best friend.
"This is KSZU-FM Palo Alto California. The student run radio station of Stanford University. My name is Chuck Bartowski and along with my partner Morgan Grimes its time for sunday night jazz. So sit back, put down your laptops, put away those Motorola Razor phones and for the next four hours listen to the best in the only true American music, jazz and R&B.
"Also if you would like to call in a request please do so. We would love to hear from you. The request line is 650 723-9010. Remember listeners, we actually play the requests you make unlike those top 40 stations that only play what they are told to play. Just try and request a song that's not on their playlist, you are never gonna hear it. That's not going to happen at KSZU. You request it and if we have it, we re going to play it.
"First up is a request of mine. Here's Oliver Nelson and Stolen Moments."
Oak Creek Residences
"Carina have you seen my beige cammie?"
"I think it's in the bathroom behind your hamper, Sarah."
"Thanks. I'm doing some delicates, do you need anything washed?"
"No I'm good but thanks anyway."
Carina Miller walked in to the small living room she shared with her best friend and roommate, Sarah Walker. The small two bedroom dorm/apartment they had for their senior year was a bit drab but they had managed to add a certain style to their surroundings. Carina and Sarah had roomed together since freshman year and had grown to become best friends. Sarah had a bit of a protective streak in her and that is exactly the thing her roommate needed from her closest ally. Carina had a habit of making really bad decisions with the men in her life. She either lusted after the pretty boy jerks who would screw her and be gone long before the sun came up or she turned her nose up at the 2 or 3 decent guys she met simply because they were nerds or didn't have the rather superficial image of someone she wanted on her arm. Image meant a lot to Carina and her sex life was all part of that image. She figured if the men were interested in her only for sex then it was much less likely she would get hurt by them. So she accepted how they treated her because it was better than getting your heart broken into a million pieces. Each party knew what they were getting into and the fewer strings attached the better as far as Carina was concerned. Besides at Stanford there was an abundance of hot guys and she would never run out of possible bed warmers.
Carina looked like a Swedish model, well except she was a redhead and not blonde, and with her looks and 'reputation' her dance card very rarely had any openings for the foreseeable future.
Sarah Walker on the other hand was different. Sure she was just as beautiful if not more so than Carina. She was blonde, tall, athletic and had incredibly deep blue eyes that seemed to go on forever. But her social life was never as active as her roommate's. She had dated during her four years at Stanford but it was never really a priority. She had had a brief but disastrous relationship that lasted all of three weeks freshman year with a real dirtbag, Bryce Larkin. That ended when she walked in on him in the shower with a leggy brunette when she stopped by his dorm one sunday morning. He had told her he couldn't go out that night because he didn't feel well after drinking all day while tailgating at the UCLA game. Sarah had felt bad for him and went over sunday morning to surprise him with some aspirin, vitamin B-12 and chicken soup. As she was heading up to his room on the second floor she heard his voice and the voice of an obviously giggling female coming from the bathroom at the end of the hall. She quickly opened the door and found the two naked lovers in the shower. The female was leaning against the tile wall of the shower while Sarah's supposed boyfriend was caressing her breasts as he made love to her.
Sarah simply walked over, threw back the shower curtain and poured the hot chicken soup over where the couple was joined together. After a few screams from them both Sarah simply turned and walked away vowing never to be caught by the seduction of another pretty boy who knew how to spin a few lines together as he was unbuttoning your blouse.
Sarah's childhood had certainly not been a traditional one. The daughter of a con man she had miraculously gotten into one of the most prestigious colleges in the country simply because she had earned it. She had always been a good student when she was in one place long enough to establish herself at school. Fortunately her dad was working a long con in San Diego for two years when Sarah was in high school. She managed to get straight A's and scored 1560 on her SAT's. Her guidance councilor was a Stanford alum and because he knew she had moved around alot and had no contact with her mom it seemed he decided to make a few calls and was able to get Sarah a scholarship. The timing was perfect as just before she was about to graduate high school Jack, her dad, was arrested on extortion charges. Her councilor found her a summer job so she could eat and let her stay in the room above his garage until she went off to Palo Alto in the fall.
During her years at college Sarah had excelled in all of her classes, in particular foreign languages. By her first semester of her junior year she spoke French, Spanish, Italian and of all things Polish. She said her great grandfather had emigrated from Poland when he was 15. It seemed that the entire family pitched in and were only able to send one child to America back during the great immigration of the early twentieth century.
With only two months to go till graduation Sarah had completed most of her work for her classes already and was simply working on her final thesis for one and waiting her final exams in the others. She wanted to go into International relations and possibly work for the State Department in DC after completing her studies. She was going to graduate Magna cum Laude with a degree in International Studies and a minor in foreign languages. She was beautiful, bright, focused and incredibly lonely.
"Carina do you mind if I put on the radio while I read and do laundry?"
"That's fine Sarah I'm meeting a few folks down at Benny's bar, are you sure you don't want to come?"
"Nah, I'm good here."
"You know Sarah you are never going to meet that guy I know you dream about just sitting here in the apartment every night. He isn't going to just come into your room and carry you off to some beautiful beach where he tells you his life story and promises to be there for you, always."
"I know. But its sunday night and I have an 8 o'clock class tomorrow morning." Sarah looked at her friend and roommate and gave her a small smile that showed both a certain sadness but also an appreciation for the fact that Carina really did care about her.
"Well have fun organizing you underwear drawer." Carina gave Sarah a loving smirk and Sarah stuck her tongue out at her best friend.
After Carina left Sarah proceeded to gather her laundry and went downstairs to the communal laundry room and placed two loads in. She set her watch to go off in 45 minutes so she would remember to put what was ok to go into the dryer and then bring up her delicates to hang in her room.
After she returned to her dorm/apartment she walked over and turned on the small boombox that her father had given her when she was 14 for Christmas. It had been a particularly good year for him with the annual Salvation Army holiday con. Donations were good as the economy was booming during the Clinton years. It was one of the few things her father had ever given her and it meant a great deal.
She immediately was stunned by the loud hiphop station that Carina liked to listen to. She grabbed the tuning knob and spun the dial down toward the bottom of the FM band where she knew she would likely find the less popular music her father had taught her about during their rides between cities. Jack Burton as he was called then loved Jazz. He had been a trumpet player as a child and had even worked with the travelling Count Basie orchestra that was touring the midwest after the Count had died. Miles Davis, Freddie Hubbard, and Clifford Brown were all played during many a long journey from her dad's cassettes.
As Sarah spun the dial she came upon 90.1 FM. She knew this was the student run radio station and was always a good place to hear music you wouldn't hear on commercial radio. Just as she found it a warm deep soothing voice came through the speakers. Something about the voice she heard captivated her. Hearing him somehow made her smile and her heart seemed to skip a beat at the sound.
"This is KSZU-FM Palo Alto California. The student run radio station of Stanford University. My name is Chuck Bartowski and along with my partner Morgan Grimes its time for sunday night jazz."
Jazz she thought would be perfect while she worked. At least that is what she told herself. But surprisingly a part of her just wanted to hear that voice some more. It was just so soothing and she could only imagine the man it belonged to. Was he tall, short, brunette, blonde, straight, curly? Blue or brown eyes? Sarah all of a sudden shook herself out of her daydream. 'It's just a voice on the radio. Everyone on the radio has a soothing voice. That's how they get the job.' She chastised herself for thinking the thoughts of a school girl daydreaming about a boy she never met and could only imagine.
"Sarah, it's just a voice for Pete's sake." Sarah all of a sudden realized she had spoken that out loud and had no idea where her mind had drifted to. She turned her attention back to her laundry and she began to fold the things she had done earlier and put them away. 'You have class tomorrow morning, time to stop the wasted thoughts and get done what needs to be done' she thought.
After she had put away all of her clean laundry, the sweet piano melody of Song for My Father faded and Sarah's attention was again turned back to the radio. Would he speak? Would she hear those same warm sounds enter her lonely room? Would she feel the same small something she felt in her stomach when she first heard that adorable voice? 'Adorable? Where the hell did adorable come from?'
"That was the great Horace Silver with Song for My Father. I hope if you caught the basic melody line from Steely Dan you now know where it came from first. At least great artists like Donald Fagan acknowledge where they get their inspiration unlike those that try to hide behind changing one notelike that ridiculous Vanilla Ice clown."
Sarah lay down on her bed and smiled at just how confident, funny and endearing this Chuck Bartowski's voice was. For some reason it felt like lying in her bed listening to his beautiful voice he was there holding her somehow. It was the strangest feeling she had ever felt. A voice on the radio made her feel like she was being hugged and she couldn't help but smile and snuggle right into it. Somehow it made the loneliness she felt deep inside her lessen just a little bit.
"Remember folks the request line rings right here in the studio here at KSZU. It's not in some promotions or sales office somewhere. So if you want to hear something give me a call at 650 723-9010 and I'll have my oh so cool partner Cobra search our over 20 thousand albums for it. Next up is long one and one of my favorites. Sahara by McCoy Tyner."
Sarah sat up on the bed now a bit saddened by the fact the music was back on. "Sarah you are supposed to listen to the radio for the music, not the announcers voice. If you want to hear his voice so much give him a call. You know some jazz music so you won't be a complete fool when you call in"
Sarah thought about it. She had never called a request line in her life before. She really wasn't someone who liked popular music that much and that was the only place she had ever heard you could request. I mean what could possibly be a down side? He wouldn't know who was calling, she could just say hi, make her request and see if this guy was real. See if his voice sounded differently over the radio because they added some fancy electronic way of enhancing the warmth and caring in just a regular guys voice.
Hell maybe it was all just technology and he wasn't even a real person? So if he wasn't real then why was she so apprehensive and amazingly nervous about making the call? If he was real he was probably just some really dorky band geek with a great voice. 5'4" glasses, and a face that still suffered from late teenage acne. He probably had a closet of black t-shirts or worse yet wore a pocket protector on a white button down shirt.
Then again he could be tall, handsome, with curls she could run her fingers through. 'Wait what?.. where is this coming from? Maybe Carina's right I do need to get out more. Well the only way I'm going to figure this out is to pick up the phone and call the number. I bet he won't even answer. Maybe it will be his partner what did he call him? Martin? Morgan? oh yea Cobra. Cobra? Damn his parents must be sadists.'
Sarah took a deep breath, got up and reached for her cell phone that was sitting on charge on her desk. She flipped the phone open and looked at the numbers. Steadying her hand she entered the first 7 numbers and then immediately closed the phone. 'What the hell are you doing Sarah? You don't call a guy because he's got a nice voice? I'm just making a request for some Miles Davis. It will help me get my work done, that's all. Yea right keep telling yourself that. Ok fine I just want to know if this guy's voice is real or not ok? Is that so bad?'
Sarah opened up her phone again and dialed the number. On the third ring just as she was about to hang up a voice on the other end of the line answered.
"Hello, this is Chuck at KSZU-FM thanks for calling would you like to make a request?"
It was him and his voice sounded exactly the same. Warm, friendly, safe. After a few more seconds of silence the voice said again "Hello? Is anybody there?"
Sarah took a deep breath and swallowed. She hoped her mouth wasn't so dry that her voice cracked. She then spoke a little softer than she wanted. "Yes, I'm here."
"Great. Would you like to hear something in particular?"
"Yes, I'd like to make a request if I could please."
Sarah's heart was beating a mile a minute and she had no idea why. She needed to pick the right song top ask for. Why hadn't she thought of the one she wanted? Was he going to think she was an idiot for calling and not having a song picked out?
"Yes, I'd like to hear Flamenco Sketches by Miles Davis please."
"Wo,w one of my all time favorites. Great great choice. I'd love to play that for you..."
"Sarah, my name is Sarah."
"I'd love to play that song for you Sarah."
"Thank you, Chuck is it?"
"Yea, it's Chuck. I know no one names their kids Chuck anymore."
"I like it. It suits you."
"It does? Sarah is a beautiful name and I bet it suits you too."
"You have a great voice, Chuck. You sound very sweet on the radio."
"Sweet? Thanks for making me feel like I'm 8."
They both chuckled. After a few seconds of silence Sarah added. "You're funny Chuck. I like that."
Chuck gulped for a second and then realized that the song he was playing was ending shortly. "Hey Sarah I have to go. Thank you so much for the request. I'll play it right after the next song I promise. Call again anytime."
"Thank you Chuck. I will. Nice talking to you."
"Nice talking to you too, Sarah. Goodbye."
Sarah then hung up the phone and lay back down on her bed. She felt a smile come across her face. The nicest smile she had felt in a while. She definitely planned to call back again next week.
A/N2 Next up a bit of Chuck's POV and reaction to the phone call. How did Sarah's voice affect him? Will she call him next week? If she does where does it go from here?