For Mabs. Love, IJKS xxx
"Where are we going now?" Charlie wondered.
Sure there was no more 'present' to discover. They'd reached tonight already.
"Now, we're going into the future," Jack told her.
She looked a little startled.
"Like Doctor Who?" she asked.
"Not quite like that," he said. "But this is the life you could lead if you don't do whatever it takes to get Joey back."
Charlie nodded and took a deep breath.
"Ready?" Jack asked.
"No," Charlie replied.
The scene changed anyway and she found herself knocking on a familiar door.
"Wait…" she managed.
She was stunned when Angelo Rosetta opened up and she fell into his arms.
"What the fuck am I doing?" she asked, utterly horrified.
She glanced at Jack, who looked equally uncomfortable. Angelo was the man who had killed him after all.
"Joey's left town," he explained. "She said she'd be back in three months and you could try again but she won't return."
Charlie's heart ached at the thought.
"Angelo got off the murder charges," Jack said. "He cut a deal to work on a secret case and gain his freedom."
The bitterness in his voice was clear.
"And you're sad and lonely and right at this moment, you believe that Ruby is about to lose her virginity to Xavier," he continued, staring at the closed door in front of them.
Neither of them liked to think about what was going on inside.
"But still, why would I…? I hate him! He killed my friend… he killed… you."
If she hated herself now, she knew she would hate herself even more in the future. She just hoped that this was not a future she had to endure.
"I'm afraid it gets worse," Jack told her.
"Can't say I'm surprised," Joey remarked bitterly.
She too had seen Charlie steal away into the night to hook up with a murderer.
"She never did have any class."
Shane sighed and put an arm on her shoulder.
"You can save her from this," he said.
"I don't want to fucking save her!" Joey snapped. "It's not difficult to stop yourself fucking every man that looks at you. You just don't do it!"
She was exhausted from all the emotions swirling around inside her. One minute her heart was breaking over what Charlie had endured as a teenager. Then she'd been happy to see them together and in love. The next minute she was furious with her for sleeping with Hugo. But then she'd been deeply affected by the state she had been in afterwards. And now, she was furious with her all over again.
"Maybe it's time to move on," Shane suggested.
The scene changed.
"Charlie!" Joey shrieked in horror as she saw the woman she reluctantly loved being run over with a car.
Instinct took over and she rushed forward, kneeling on the floor.
"You can fuck off," she snapped bitterly at Angelo, who remained oblivious to her presence.
He too knelt by the woman he loved and called an ambulance for help.
"Charlie," Joey said gently.
She loved her and hated her all at the same time but nothing in her would ever want to see her hurt.
She was surprised to find tears escape her eyes and only turned her attention when she heard the familiar voice of her brother, Brett, someone she would never forgive for his part in their breakup, claiming that the accident wasn't his fault.
"I'm dating him?" Charlie asked in sheer horror.
Jack chuckled softly.
"You've just been hit by a car," he remarked. "And your concern is about who you're with?"
"I'm with Angelo!" Charlie protested, pulling a disgusted face. "I mean, I don't think I'm a good person by any stretch of the imagination but I thought even I had standards."
She frowned and watched her 'boyfriend' tend to her while they waited for the ambulance to arrive. Behind her, Jack thought of Hugo. Charlie had no idea who she'd broken her relationship up for.
"What's wrong with her?" Joey asked quietly.
The scene had changed to the house and Charlie was sat on the sofa as if in some sort of trance. Shane watched Joey hurry up to her, full of tormented concern. She took her hand but of course, Charlie couldn't feel it.
"Shane?" Joey asked fearfully.
"Ruby knows the truth," Shane explained.
"About the rape?" Joey asked, her voice rather panicked. "About who Charlie really is?"
Shane nodded. Joey turned her attention back to Charlie, who looked like her heart was breaking. It was an expression not that far different to the pain Joey had detected in her eyes this very night, when Joey had learned her own truth.
"What's going to happen?" she asked worriedly.
"Nothing will ever be the same again," Shane informed her. "Ruby's going to move out and then run away. When she comes back, she'll struggle with Charlie a great deal and insist on living away from her, with Irene. She'll break Xavier's heart and start dating Geoff. But that won't last either."
Joey's heart felt heavy.
"If I tried to make things work with Charlie, would things go differently?" she asked.
"Yes," Shane said. "Ruby would still find out but in a much better way. You'd be the buffer to protect them both and keep them together."
"Isn't Angelo any good at that?" Joey asked, pulling a face.
She said his name with a high level of bitterness.
"No," Shane said. "After the car accident, he found out about you. He broke up with Charlie because she wasn't honest with him and didn't tell him."
"Always ashamed…" Joey remarked.
"He'll get back with her over this," Shane told her. "And he will support her. But right now, while Charlie's imploding, he's dropping her in it and telling her about the rape. Charlie hadn't got that far before Ruby had walked out."
"How stupid is this guy?" Joey wondered.
She turned back to Charlie, stroking her hand and wishing that she wasn't so broken.
"It's going to be a long road before Charlie and Ruby can restore their relationship," Shane told her. "And they won't have long before it'll be too late."
Joey jerked her head up, panicked.
"Sorry?" she said.
"Let's move on," Shane suggested.
The scene changed again.
Next time… Charlie and Joey watch Charlie's life with Angelo and then Brax…