Well it has been ages since I published a story so I thought I would give writing a go again! This is an intro just to give you an idea of Charlie's home life and back story before the real story begins so I'll be back soon with the first chapter. So enjoy! TKAMB aka Becky
If there was one thing that Charlie Ryder could be certain of is that her mother marrying therefore changing her surname was the best thing that ever happened in the world. Not for the happiness of her parents but for the relief of Charlie never having to use her mother's maiden name of O'Connell. To others there is nothing wrong with having such a surname but to Charlie it was awful. As soon as someone found out she is from the O'Connell family the same question she had come to loath was asked: 'are you related to THE Alex O'Connell, the famous archaeologist?' and so all conversation turned to him. Charlie had always wished she had a pound for every time she was asked that question and if so she would have been a millionaire by the time she hit her teens.
Alex O'Connell was her grandfather and was famous worldwide appearing in television series, writing books, giving interviews and making his mark on the world of archaeology. It was hard living in his shadow especially since he was plastered all over the place and never liked to stand still. Often Charlie and her mother never knew where he was. One day he'd be interviewed on the radio in London and next day pop up for an interview on television in Tokyo. As her mother told her "it's better not to keep track of him else your head will be all in a spin before breakfast". He was a man of mystery to her and in some ways she liked it like that, others she didn't.
There was only one other thing that Charlie was certain of in her life and that was no matter how hard she tried her grandfather would never understand nor take the time to get to know her. Their strained relationship began before her birth when upon hearing he was to become a grandfather Alex didn't celebrate or offer congratulations to Charlie's mother Sophia, his only daughter. Instead he fled the country and went on a yearlong dig in Cairo which meant he would miss the birth. It caused a rift between father and daughter so strong in their already strained relationship that they didn't speak for nearly ten years. Sophia left England for New York to be with the man who she loved, they married soon after Charlie's birth and settled for a happy life in America with Sophia becoming a writer and her husband Mike becoming a music teacher and musician performing in clubs, restaurants and concerts for extra money. All Charlie could remember from her childhood was blissful happiness and growing extremely close to her father. He taught her everything he knew about music, they often drove Sophia crazy playing instruments together when she was trying to write in her study, and the two shared a bond that no one could deny. Charlie was happy, with two loving parents and lived content that as long as they were together everything was fine.
All that changed when at the age of 10 Charlie's happy and content world was turned upside down. Mike passed away after a lengthy cancer battle that he and Sophia kept on the quiet side for Charlie's sake. In secret she knew that her father was ill and watched him fade away over course of four years but she didn't talk about it with him or her mum, instead she played music, made up songs and tried as much as she could to make her father smile each day. If it was from a song or a joke or a silly play she performed she didn't care, as long as she got that smile from him she went to sleep happy and encouraged that her father was ok.
Then the trouble started for Charlie. Sophia fell into a deep depression causing her to constantly cry, stay in bed all day and shut Charlie out. It meant that Charlie would often spend the days alone in her room all day with no one to talk too. One time she remembered going a whole week without seeing her mother and having to do food shopping herself in order to eat. Charlie was rather shy when it came to strangers and always had been so she didn't have many friends to confined in so she turned to her music once more. With the loss of Mike, Sophia changed for the worse but luckily she recognised the warning signs of depression in time and got help quickly. Her brother Nicholas, the only family member she had that was a constant presence in her life and went to Mike's funeral, begged Sophia to come to England with him whilst she battled her depression so he and his wife could care for Charlie when needs be and be a source of help and support. Sophia agreed and to Charlie's dismay the two headed to England to live in a house that Nicholas owned and was newly developed to sell. It was meant to be only for the summer holidays so Charlie would be back at her school in New York City with a healthier more stable mother but they never returned except when they would visit for a few weeks in the summer where they would visit Mike's grave and remember when they were happy as a family. Sophia bought the house off her brother, began to write again and found she could be content in life again. She even started laughing again – something that Charlie loved to hear from her mother and had missed it so. Sophia found that once she was stable the thought of going back to a place where she would be alone again on a permanent basis terrified her and there was no way she could return. Charlie was devastated but didn't show it to keep her mother happy and healthy.
Then something unexpected happened – Alex, Sophia's father turned up on the doorstep. Charlie had only seen him in pictures in the paper or on tv so to have him turn up on the doorstep made her stomach flip. It was like when you saw a celebrity in the flesh, it felt odd and confusing and startling. It was a day that Nicholas was visiting and when Alex turned up it was revealed that Nicholas knew he was coming to Sophia's shock. Charlie watched Alex enter from the upstairs hallway. She felt afraid so quickly hid before his eyes fell on her. He looked around the hallway seeming to judge the items and the state of the place before heading for the living room. It was then that Charlie heard the yelling from the living room as her mother began to yell at her uncle for betraying her. Knowing it was not a good idea to stick around; Charlie quickly grabbed her guitar and backpack full of plan music paper, notepads and pens and headed out the front door. When she came back almost four hours later Alex was still there and she officially met him for the very first time.
She quickly realised that Alex didn't want to get to know her since the only things he asked were what was she studying at school and how did she like the British weather. When Nicholas's children where around Alex treated them like they were the best things in the world laughing and playing with them. When alone with Charlie the two didn't do anything and if she was in a situation when they were alone or forced to be together the two sat in silence since Alex wouldn't talk to her. Fair to say anytime together was a long and arduous experience.
Knowing that her grandfather couldn't stand her or even acknowledge her existence was hard to take but she clung to the fact that he had no interference in her life – that was until Charlie was pulled out of the public school she had been attending for the two months since arriving in England and was put in a private school, the same one her mother attended as a child. She had started to get used to the school system and how public school worked only to have it all change. Her new school was five miles away from their England home so she only had to attend during the day rather than board there, but she had to start all over again as the new girl with the American accent that didn't talk to people and was played her guitar all the time which was draining. She got picked on but didn't care and didn't burden her mother with her problems even though she knew she should tell her. Her music gave Charlie a purpose and an outlet to her problems which she was thankful for. Although still keeping some distance Alex became more and more prominent in Sophia's life which Charlie was happy for her mother for but deep inside she hated it.
So now five years down the line, 2001 saw that Charlie was fifteen, still had her American accent, still was picked on and teased for being different and still the odd one out at school and in her family. She didn't tell anyone of her troubles and never really spoke to her grandfather. In the course of the five years she had grown to be five foot nine, skinny and with long loose curled black hair that fell to half way down her back and big dark brown eyes. She wore whatever was comfortable and was a tomboy through and through, always had been, always will be. Alex still wouldn't acknowledge her and kept conversations to the weather. For five years she bit her tongue and put up with his insults. She knew if she could get through just one more year of teasing from school and her grandfather dislike of her then she could leave school and England for good if she wanted.
Just one more year, that's all. Besides, it couldn't all change in one year she thought ... could it?