A/N: Hey, lovelies! Most of you know me for my How to Rock fics! :) Anyway, I thought I'd try something new! RAGS! :D Hope you guys like it!
These are only drabbles! It kind of works it's way through Charlie's childhood!
Disclaimer: I WISH I owned Rags.
'Cause you know I'd walk a thousand mile so I could just see you... tonight! Mrs. Prince sang.
Charlie, her only son, was scrubbing down the counters of the restaurant listening to his mother sing. The bell on the door rings as someone enters the restaurant. It's Charlie's mother's husband-to-be, Arthur. Charlie scowls as the man who's replacing his father kisses his mother's cheek. She laughs and tells Charlie to just leave the cleaning stuff for later and go play in his room.
Charlie, scowling, walks up to his room and slams his door.
It's not fair is father walked out before he was born. It's not fair that he doesn't have what all those other kids have.
All those other kids at school have nice things, cool clothes, and both parents.
Why can't I have that? Charlie thinks.
Charlie kicks his feets as he sits in the waiting room. He's trying not to cry. His mother told him to be brave. She said she'd be okay. He just has to believe it. You're supposed to believe everything your parents tell you, and if they say they'll be fine... well, they have to be right! Right?
A nurse comes out and grabs Charlie's hand. "Your mother would like to see you," she says.
Charlie nods and follows the nurse down a long corridor past the big, heavy blue doors.
"She's in there," the nurse says, pointing to a door of light wood with a small window. Charlie looks up at the nurse, not sure exactly why she's just walking away.
He looks back at the door, and pushes it open. His mother's lying on the hospital bed, just waiting for him to come closer. He shuts the door and walks toward his mother.
"Charlie," she says, her voice hoarse from coughing so much the last year. She runs her fingers through his hair and he just watches her face. "You know I love you, right?" she says.
He doesn't know what to say... mostly because he doesn't know what to make of the situation. Arthur pulled him out of school in the middle of his teacher's lesson and drove him here.
"You'll be okay though..." Charlie says. "You told me you would."
His mother gives him a sad smile and says, "Well... sometimes people are wrong," she says slowly.
"But you aren't," Charlie says, defiantly. Stubborn, like all eight-year-old children.
"No, baby... sometimes mommy's wrong, too," she answers, watching as the sure expression on his face falters. Charlie doesn't really understand what she's saying.
"What do you mean?" he asks, stepping back from the bed.
"I mean, Mommy isn't okay. She hasn't been... do you understand?" she says slowly, feeling horribly awful inside.
Charlie shakes his head.
"Mommy's gonna have to leave... soon..." she says, tears falling down her face.
"Where are you going to go?"
"Mommy's going away..."
"But you'll come back?" Charlie says, trying to keep the hope that's left inside of him. The hope that's quickly slipping away. He doesn't understand this new feeling, but he knows he doesn't like it. His voice cracks a bit with a small sob.
She shakes her head and pulls Charlie toward her. She cries into his shoulder, and Charlie forces back anymore of his sobs, but his mother crying is one of the saddest things he's ever known, and so he cries too.
A nurse comes to collect him as one of the doctors comes in to check on his mother. He kicks and screams and cries... but they get him out of the room and give him to Reginald who's come back to the hospital to wait.
"I'll be bringing it in later. My stepson, Charlie, and I will be back," Arthur says to Pawn Shop owner. Charlie stands by Arthur's side, pouting. He loves the piano his mother always played. But now Arthur's just going to sell it for a stupid karaoke machine.
"Is this Charlie?" the Pawn Shop owner asks, pointing to the little boy hiding behind Arthur with a pout on his face.
Charlie looks up a second as the man comes around from behind the counter and backs up.
"Stubborn little fella," the man comments, shaking his head and laughing a little. Charlie just scowls, failing to see what is apparently funny about the current situation. Arthur grabs behind him Charlie's arm and pulls him forward.
Charlie bites back a snide comment and looks up the owner.
"Looks like her a bit," Arthur says, trying to seem like he actually cares about anything concerning Charlie. Which is a lie. Arthur doesn't care. Charlie can even quote, "You're mother died and left me with you and this dump of a restaurant."
Truthfully, this peeved Charlie off like you wouldn't believe.
"Yeah, I see it," the owner says. He goes back behind the counter and into the back room.
As he's out of sight, Arthur elbows Charlie in the ribs. He holds in a grunt and walks away to look around the store. He looks at the old objects hanging on the walls and the things people don't want anymore littering the shelves.
"Charlie! Let's go!" Arthur calls, leaving the store. As Charlie walks to the door, the owner, Bernie his name is, says, "Charlie!"
Charlie stops in his tracks and turns to face the owner. He shrugs his shoulders with the impatient look of "Yeah?" on his face.
"I know how much you want that piano to stay. Tell you what; if you can come up with the money—doesn't matter when... I'll hold the piano until you can afford it," the owner says.
And for the first time in a long time, Charlie smiles.
He nods his head and leaves the store.
"You can't do anything right, can you?" Arthur yells. "As long as this place has my name on that deed, Charlie... you work for me," he storms, tossing a rag down on the counter. Arthur hated The Palace. In fact, given the chance, he'd sell the "dump" in a heartbeat.
Charlie glares at the man who's replaced both his mother and father. He takes a deep breath and does something he's wanted to do for a long time. He talks back. "Says who?"
Arthur steps closer to the boy and slams his palm across Charlie's face. He stumbles backward, nursing his cheek and now split lip. Biting his tongue until it draws blood, he runs up to his room.
Arthur follows him and halfway up the stairs he grabs Charlie's shirt collar and pulls him all the way upstairs. Stumbling and falling, Charlie tries to break free, or even protest, but Arthur keeps moving.
"Get in there!" he yells.
Charlie runs into his room, still holding his left cheek. Honestly, he feels like throwing up and screaming all at once. This is the first time Arthur's ever laid a hand on him, and the thought makes the contents of his stomach churn. Arthur doesn't seem to have any problem with what had just happened, however.
Arthur slams the door closed and locks it from the lock he's placed on the outside of the door. "Now, I suggest you stay there and make no noise! It should be fairly obvious why you're in there!" Arthur yells, a small hint of smugness playing at his tone.
Charlie takes deeps breaths, trying to make the churning in his stomach stop. He's never been abused before like so, and the idea scares him, but at the same time makes him sick. How could someone, even as bad as Arthur do such an awful thing?
Charlie sits down on the bed and grabs an old rag from the night stand. He keeps it for times like these, when he gets hurt. Andrew and Lloyd like to hide the band-aids and such from him. So the rag is all he's really got.
Gross really, but sometimes you have to make do with what you've got.
His stomach grumbles after a churning's stopped. He listens to make sure Arthur's walked away from the door. He can hear him yelling at his stepbrothers, Lloyd and Andrew, downstairs.
Quietly, Charlie slides open the window that used to be locked. He remembers the number of times he sat in his locked room and chipped the lock placed on the window. Anything to get out of that place and clear his thoughts.
Anywhere where Arthur is screaming his head off is not the place to do it.
Back to the once-locked window, he needed food after all.
Charlie lifts the window open and climbs down the drain pipe. There's a fast-food restaurant nearby. He pulls out the money he's earned that's left over and makes his way down the street.
It was much easier when you were here mom.
"Keep scrubbing," Arthur orders.
Charlie doesn't reply as he scrubs the counters. It's been almost eight years since Charlie's scrubbed these counters with his mother.
"Scrub harder," Arthur demands, his hands on his hips. He's watching over Charlie's shoulder like a hawk.
"I'm scrubbing as much as my hand will let me," Charlie retorts.
"What'd you just say to me?" Arthur yells, probably louder than is really necessary. But he doesn't care, and Charlie's used to this after all. Andrew and Lloyd are laughing in the back of the room, but Charlie ignores them.
"I was just telling you what's true," Charlie says smugly, tossing the rag down onto the counter.
"Don't get smart with me, Charlie! This is still my palace," Arthur says. "My name is on that deed, Charlie. Not yours!"
Charlie scoffs. "I'm going out," he says simply, not at all up for an argument with Arthur, or his stepbrothers.
"Hey, maybe he'll finally go missing," Andrew laughs, smirking. Lloyd just laughs with his brother, clueless to how cruel both Arthur and Andrew can be.
Charlie rolls his eyes and slips on his black leather jacket that's been resting on the back of one of the chairs.
"Curfew's at midnight," Arthur yells after him.
Charlie doesn't reply as he walks out of the restaurant. I can't wait till I can leave this dump.
A/N: And that's it for Charlie's childhood drabbles! :) I hope you enjoyed it and please let me know what you think! :D