Once the two had walked into the sub shop, the aroma of the bread filled Derek’s nose. All that was on the boy’s mind was the subs, and what kind of sub he should get. This was actually Derek’s first time stepping into the shop, but because of the delightful scent of bread Derek figured their subs would be pretty good. Derek looked over at Charlie, only to roll his eyes at her grin. He shrugged when she said if he wanted to share his darkest secret, although Derek didn’t exactly have any dark secrets. For laughs, Derek got closer to Charlie and began to whisper in her ear “My favorite Care Bear is the Love-a-Lot Bear…” He started to laugh as he pulled his head back. Now looking for a seat, Derek turned back to Charlie. “Always There Bear comes in dead second, though.” He laughed even harder.
“Yeah, and I like you too, you’re a pretty good friend.” Derek said. Although they hadn’t had much time together aside from the dare party, Derek considered Charlie a close friend. He thought that she would always be there to listen, just as Derek would be there for her. The two had a similar past with their brothers, and that made it easier for the two to understand each other. Now sitting down, Derek noticed the group of boys. They didn’t seem to be much of a bother, but eye contact with one of them caused Derek to turn back to Charlie. “So… You know what you’re gonna get?” Derek asked her while holding a small menu in his hands.
Charlie had sat and had her arms folded across the table, a placid smile on her face at this point. She wanted to stop whatever uncomfortable situation might develop around them in its tracks, mostly because she was thinking about the fact that they both had fairly bad reputations, if for different reasons, his being much simpler than hers, she realised, since his wasn’t based on something he had done, but instead, something that was pushed upon him. Still, she figured the fact that she was the crazy one and he had a reputation for being ‘gay’ as was brought up at her party would have a bad effect on whatever would potentially happen. Still, when he leant in and whispered about care bears, she couldn’t help but snort, a wide grin spreading across her face. “I’d have to go with Always There Bear, you know. I really would. I hope that doesn’t come between our friendship or anything.” She grinned, playing like this was a very serious topic, “I hope you can understand and respect my choice and know that I’m still the same person I always was.” She paused, realising what speech she was mimicking, “Oh, that’s it. I’m out of the closet now. I’m an Always There Bear girl and proud.”
She settled again as he began to change to a properly more serious topic, talking about their friendship. She did think that he seemed to be a genuinely trustworthy person and for that, she was extremely glad. Charlie really, as much as she’d deny this if it was brought up, had nothing at all in her life. A dead brother, an absent father, an absent mother, a dead best friend and lover, a dead-end job, - no pun intended - a missing career… In the end, she really had lost anything that meant anything and she hated it. Without knowing it, she had been seeking someone in her life. Recently, she’d found a few more friends, though none that she’d gotten really close to. She couldn’t see herself doing it, but she was definitely reaching. She paused, sparing a quick glance at the menu. “Meatball… you?”
“That’s right…” Derek said as he stretched his arms. Even though walking woke Derek up quite a bit, he still felt somewhat tired. Plus, the running gave him a spark of energy. “Oh, so I shouldn’t trust you?” Derek asked, with a grin of his own. “What? Are you going to blackmail me if I were to tell you my deepest, darkest secret?”
As Charlie began to walk, Derek seemed to copy her with his hands in his pockets. Seeing as they grew closer to the sub shop, Derek licked his lips. He had barely eaten all day today, and Derek was luckily avoiding having his stomach growl the entire time. The boy thought for a moment, why did he actually give in so easily? “Uh…” Derek pulled his hands from his pockets and brought them to his head, trying to think of an actual reason that didn’t make him seem weird. “I guess I figured it would be nice to hang out with you…” Derek answered, turning to face Charlie. “Besides, it’s not like I have many people that ask me to hang out with them…” He added, turning away as a depressed look grew upon his face. Most of the time, Derek would have been a bit pessimistic about the whole thing. But for some reason, Derek was more optimistic about hanging out with Charlie. “What about you? Why ask me to go for a walk?”
As they walked into the sub shop, Charlie hunched her shoulders up, shivering slightly in the wind. She was joking when she was telling him that she wasn’t trustworthy, but that led to the question of did he actually trust her? Did he really trust her, just from the conversation that they’d had, short but serious, at the dare party? She supposed, thinking about it seriously, that she had come to trust him today, so why should he trust her as well? She’d never given him any reason not to trust her and she doubted that she ever really would. “You’d have to tell me your darkest secret first.” She grinned, “Care to share it, then?”
She smiled, feeling that this really did answer the questions, because if he’d come simply because he was friends with her, then he must’ve liked her enough as a friend to’ve taken up her offer and to’ve come with her for a walk despite the fact that he clearly didn’t want to. This made her feel a little better, because if he’d come with her because of guilt or because of pity, then that wasn’t a friend. That was left a person being a decent person. However, if he came with her because he liked her and he didn’t want to leave her on her own, well that was what a friend did. That was what someone you’re close to did. She needed someone willing to treat her that way. Sitting down, she began to consider the question. Why had she asked him? “We’re friends… I like you.” She flashed him a warm smile, casting a sidelong glance at a group of guys sitting at a nearby table, who were laughing and staring at the two of them. She could see that this was leading somewhere and she didn’t like it, but for the time being, she was going to ignore him.
“Am I really chasing her?” Derek whispered to himself, still running after Charlie. It’s bad enough that she had managed to get him to go out on this walk, but how did he end up chasing after her? He was still baffled at the fact that he wasn’t still at home sleeping. But staying home would’ve lead to him missing out on what seemed to be a good time, so far. Hanging out with Charlie seems to be one of the funnest things that he had done in awhile. Besides, the past experience with Charlie wasn’t exactly boring. The first time they actually spoke was because of a silly dare and it definitely caught Derek’s attention. So he had no reason to believe that this wouldn’t be a fun night. Derek watched as she got to the wall, stopping. Derek slowed down as Charlie took a stop and began to lean against the wall. As he walked, Derek took the time to catch his breath. Still within a slightly far distance, “Are you done running?” Derek yelled to her.
As he grew closer, Derek watched the grin on her mouth. “I don’t know, you don’t seem like an untrustworthy person.” He replied, now in front of Charlie. Derek did the same as Charlie and leaned against the wall. “Or should I not trust you at all?” Derek asked, smiling at her. Realizing that it must be getting pretty late, Derek took out his iPod to check the time. When he saw the time, he remembered that the two were supposed to go get food. “Hey, if you still wanna get something to eat, we better go now.” Derek said, taking his back from the wall and now standing back in front of Charlie.
Charlie wondered idly what it was about her that made people trust her. She’d got that since before, since she was a child in fact. She remembered once having someone tell her that the reason they’d trusted her was because she was open. There was nothing hidden at all in her, no secrets, she was open about whom she was. That, of course, wasn’t true, as there was still one secret no one knew about her. Her best kept and only secret, that is. Charlie hadn’t ever been good at keeping her own secrets, except for that one thing. She remembered her mother once telling her that we all became secretive when we found the thing that really needed to be hidden. That is, her mother had hidden that particular secret just as well. It’d always seemed quite the oxymoron to her. People trusted her because she was open. But the thing was that that should’ve implied she was terrible at keeping her secrets, but apparently, it made people believe that if she had nothing to hide, then she must be a good person. Of course, that had ended after the accident, but it’d always been something amusing to her. “I don’t seem untrustworthy…” She grinned, “Well, you’ll learn.”
She got up off of the wall, smiling a little bit less widely now, back to being calm at the least. She slid her hands into the pockets of her jeans and began to walk, quite calmly, towards where food awaited. If someone saw her now as opposed to a few moments ago, they wouldn’t’ve believed it was the same day, as her mood seemed to have changed so drastically. It wasn’t that her mood had changed, she was still in a good mood, still having fun, it was just that the idea of getting to the food on time had snapped her back to attention. She walked towards the food and glanced across at him, “So, what made you agree to come out with me rather than lazing around?”
Derek hoped what he had been saying was getting through to Charlie. He understood that she seemed to have come to terms with people’s opinions, but that doesn’t mean what they say is true. The only opinions that should matter to her are of those who are close to the girl. But he also knew that it isn’t that easy to ignore what other’s say. Aside from what the people of York have been saying, even distant family members have had their own say in what happened to Jacob, although they never said it directly to Derek. Most of the things said hurt him deeply, but he just hides it from everyone else.
Derek furrowed his eyebrow, noticing Charlie’s grin. “What’s that for?” He asked, slightly confused. Once she mentioned that the movies sounded good, a delighted look grew upon his face. But then she said the word exercise. Derek noticed her grin once more. “Why do you keep-” Derek began to ask, only to stop to watch her run off. “Oh come on!” He yelled to her, laughing. There it was again, the grin. “Fine! I’ll chase you, but I’m never trusting that grin again!” He said as he began to run after her.
Getting up to the wall ahead of Derek, Charlie leaned against it and crossed her arms against her chest, reflecting that running away really maybe had been a little more than just a good natured joke. If she was honest with herself, Charlie knew that the reason she’d run away so quickly was probably a defence mechanism more than anything else. Ever since their family’s accident and since people had started calling her crazy, Charlie had taken to running away from talking about it, particularly when people had tried to convince her that she wasn’t crazy. It wasn’t something that she did on purpose or even a choice that she’d made, it was just that Charlie hated being under the analysis of others. Positive or negative analysis, she hated it. It seemed like every time someone made a judgement, positive or negative, it added condemnation to Charlie’s own perspective of herself. It’d become easier to run away when someone discussed with her the possibility of her being crazy than to face up to it, even when it was someone assuring her that they didn’t think that she was crazy. In fact, that was sometimes worse, though not for the reason that one might think.
In any case, she’d stopped and looked at Derek, the grin still plastered on her face, partially because of his last comment about not trusting it. This kind of crazy, the fun kind of crazy, was what she’d been before everything’d happened. The kind of crazy that did stuff for the hell of it and did things because she thought, very simply, that they’d be fun. She appreciated just about anyone who brought that out in her, because it was so rare at this point in time. Grinning, she waited until he got close enough that she wouldn’t have to yell and spoke again, “Since when did you trust that smile in the first place?”
I’m kind of tired, actually. How’re you?
How is everyone?
“Why would I think you’re crazy?” Derek questioned her. Of course he knew that there are reasons to believe so, but that just proves how strong she cared for her brother. When someone close to you dies, it feels like everything you knew was gone. It’s a terrible feeling, especially when you are constantly blaming yourself for everything. “I don’t think you’re crazy, you’re just hurting.” He told her, placing his arm around her shoulder. “Some people are just too ignorant to get that.” Derek said as he pulled is arm back, placing it at his side.
Derek turned his head when he heard her mumble. He smiled as he watched the girl walk. Charlie’s company was quite enjoyable. With anybody else, Derek would have felt awkward. In fact, if it wasn’t Charlie who had asked to Derek to go for a walk, he’d still be watching TV at home. But if that was the case, his mother would be home by now and would be giving Derek all sorts of chores to do before she had to leave for another shift at work. Derek stopped for a moment before answering, thinking of something they could do once they decided to hang out again. He surely didn’t want to go for another walk, although it isn’t that bad at all. “Hm, maybe we go see a movie sometime?” He suggested, thinking of all the movie trailers he had been seeing on TV. “That Sinister movie looks pretty good, maybe we can see it opening night? Or would you rather not see a scary movie?” Derek asked. When Charlie said something about a sub shop, Derek instantly thought of a good ham sandwich. “Mm… I think most of those places are open until 11.” He said, pulling out his iPod to check the time. Derek took a quick glance at the screen and then looked back at Charlie. “Yeah, we have some time before they close. Wanna head over now?” Derek asked her as he slipped the iPod back into his pocket.
Charlie had scoffed a little at that point in the conversation. Why would he think she was crazy? Maybe Derek understood better than most people what grief could do to a person, but she hardly saw him packing his whole life in and giving up. In fact, every time she’d spoken to him, he’d always seemed rather happy. She thought that that was a brilliant thing, frankly. Since for what felt like decades, Charlie had found little to no happiness in her life, she struggled to see happiness in other people as anything other than pure strength. Which, in turn, gave her a lot of respect for the people who were strong. Of course she agreed about people being ignorant. If you’re going to call someone crazy, it was just common decency to understand the person that you were passing a judgement on first. If someone was to really get to know Charlie, really understand her and then call her crazy, she couldn’t begrudge them that. It was ignorance and fear of the unknown that really, truly got to her.
Charlie glanced up as she considered the prospect of going to see a movie. She grinned a little, because she’d just realised that he was taking the ‘lazy’ way out again. Maybe it was the competitive athlete in Charlie’s past that made her this way or maybe it was just her wanting to have a joke with him, she wasn’t certain. But it amused her that 2 from 2 times, he’d avoided physical activity in favour of either staying home or sitting down. True, she’d convinced him to do the former and true, she didn’t think that he was really lazy or actually the type who preferred to sit around, it was just an easy and comfortable joke to make. “Movies sound good…” She paused, poking his stomach, “But exercise is good. Don’t hide from it, it’ll find you.” Like that, she flashed a grin and then took off running, glad for the comfortable shoes that she was wearing, “Come find me.” She grinned back at him as she ran, almost like she was teasing somehow, even though she didn’t blame him. Perhaps it was just a burst of energy, or even maybe hunger, since the thought of food was making her stomach growl, but either way, she was enjoying herself.
With his wallet still in his hand, Derek scrolled through all of the apps his iPod had to offer. Nothing seemed to actually interest him, mostly because he’d rather talk with Charlie as the two walked. Derek didn’t have many friends, or people that he actually enjoyed talking to, but he felt comfortable around Charlie. Out of all the people in York, she understands Derek the most. They both had lost their brother, although in completely different ways. Derek knew that Charlie was someone that he could talk to without getting weird judgments considering Charlie definitely knew what it was like to get unwanted judgments. “Oh come on, Charlie. You’re not crazy!” He told her, nudging her shoulder. “Even if you were, you were never alone.” Derek said while he put both his wallet and iPod back into his pocket. He never did believe what people said about the girl. Even if what people say is true, it doesn’t change the fact that she’s a good person.
Derek began to walk, gently pulling Charlie along with him. “Oh, no. You don’t need to pay me back!” He said, pulling his hood over his head. Even though it was hardly even cold, the small breeze hitting his made him shiver. It was definitely fall, which meant Halloween was right around the corner and that pleased Derek. He even had his costume planned, but he wasn’t sure of what he’d be doing. Surely the people of York will be doing something interesting for the holiday. “I’m perfectly fine with paying next time, too… As long as there is a next time.” Derek said, smiling toward Charlie. “So, do you have any idea where we can go for food?” He asked, completely unaware of what was open and what was closed. Derek didn’t mind what they ate, he just knew that he hadn’t eaten much since breakfast and he was extremely hungry.
Charlie stifled a bright smile as he told her that she wasn’t crazy. It was times like these, times when people assured her that she wasn’t crazy that made Charlie wonder whether she actually was. Her seeing her brother every day, giving up a full ride out of York, giving up all her skills and passions. Surely that was wrong. Surely that meant there was something wrong with her or wrong with her judgements. She didn’t want to believe that she was crazy and that every time she saw her brother it was just in her head, but she knew that sooner or later, she was going to have to reassess everything and figure out where her life was going. She could stay in York, in her little house by the graveyard, work there every day and have little kids point at her the rest of her life. And one day, when she was old and grey and her brother was still a pre-adolescent, she was going to look back and wonder what the hell her life had been. So, was she crazy? Was she crazy for giving everything up? Or was she just grieving? Or was this worth it? Was there ever going to be anyone worth giving her brother up over? “I’m glad you don’t think I’m crazy…” Was all she could think to answer with.
Charlie stumbled a little, walking along beside Derek. “Why can’t I ever just walk straight anymore?” She mumbled under her breath, swinging her arms at her sides as she focused on keeping a straight pace beside him. Thinking about the possibility of them going out again, even if just for a walk like this, Charlie smiled a little. She realised that she did quite like Derek. He’d proven to be someone good to talk to and though she hadn’t realised it at the time, she had kind of missed conversing with him whilst he was gone, even though they’d only really had one proper conversation before he left. The conversation about the dare party. Still, it was easy to bond over something serious. That much was clear to anyone who’d been through something traumatic. In any case, she hoped they would spend more time together. “You don’t have to shout. But we can do something again.” She paused, thinking about food and where they could go to get good food. “I think there’s a cafe or a sub shop or something around the corner. That’s normally open late?”