Chapter 5

Charlotte adjusted her top, trying to cover the bruise that was forming across her collarbone. She was walking outside to get the mail from the previous day before Max woke up and demanded breakfast. Opening the front door, Charlotte basked in the sunlight for a few seconds before grabbing the pile of bills out of the mailbox and going back inside. Searching the pile, her eyes landed on a piece of paper that wasn’t in an envelope. It obviously hadn’t been mailed, so Charlotte was skeptical as to who could’ve put it in the mailbox.

​​​The paper contained a phone number, and on the back a name and a message.

​​​‘Call if you ever need anything -Jonathan’

​​​She thought back to the day she met him in the grocery store parking lot, instantly knowing that it was him.

​​​Charlotte shoved the paper in the back pocket of her jeans upon hearing shuffling around in the bedroom, signaling that Max had woken up. She immediately started pulling out pots and pans, preparing to cook the large breakfast for Max.

​​​“Why isn’t breakfast ready yet?” he grumbled as he walked into the kitchen.

​​​“Sorry, I was checking the mail,” Charlotte replied, biting her lip and cracking three eggs into the pan.

​​​“I thought I told you not to get the mail,” he said, raising his voice and making Charlotte flinch when he slammed his hand on the counter beside her. He moved close to her, taking a fistful of her shirt in his hand and pulling her into him. Charlotte could still smell the alcohol on his breath from the night before.

​​​“Next time I tell you to do something, you better fucking do it,” he growled, spitting at her. Charlotte nodded and wiped off her face when Max let go of her. “I’m going out,” he snarled, grabbing his jacket and keys and slamming the door behind him.


​​​It was in the early hours of the morning that Charlotte was woken from a rather peaceful sleep by ringing. She glanced at the clock on the microwave, which read 3:34, before picking up the phone.

​​​“Hello?” Charlotte asked. She had a suspicion as to what the call was about, seeing as how Max had not returned home yet.

​​​“Hello Miss Matthews, this is Chicago Police Department. Your boyfriend Max is in holding for a misdemeanor and his bail are set at three hundred dollars, and he asked us to call you,” the officer said, Charlotte groaned and realized that she didn’t have three hundred dollars, but she knew she had to find a way to get Max out or she would have serious consequences.

​​​“Okay, thank you, I will pick him up in about an hour,” she replied, hanging up shortly after.

​​​Charlotte had an idea, though she felt horrible for even thinking about it. Eventually, she decided that it was her only option to get the money quickly, and went into her bedroom, finding the pants she had been wearing that day and digging in the back pocket.

​​​Charlotte returned to the phone, this time with a small piece of paper in her hand. Typing the digits in carefully, Charlotte bit her lip and tried to decide what to say. The phone rang three times before a gruff and tired voice answered.

​​​“Is this Jonathan?” Charlotte asked, and she realized that she didn’t know his last name.

​​​“Yes, may I ask who’s speaking?” he replied. Charlotte was already regretting calling, but she sucked up her pride and answered.

​​​“It’s Charlotte,” she said. “Look, I’m sorry I called in the middle of the night and we really don’t know each other very well but you’re really the only person I know here, and I’m in a fix and was wondering if you could help me?”

​​​“Oh yeah, sure, anything,” he replied and Charlotte noted how attentive he sounded. “What do you need?”

​​​Charlotte took a deep breath before responding, “I need three hundred dollars.” She cringed at how demanding she sounded. She didn’t mean to, but she was frustrated with Max and she let
​​​her emotion get the best of her.

​​​“Uh, sure I can help. When do you need it?” Jonathan replied, sounding confused. Charlotte pressed her palm to her forehead as she thought to herself how awkward the exchange was.

​​​“I need it within the hour,” she said, catching him off guard by the sharp inhale she heard.

​​​“Okay, well do you want to meet me at my apartment? I can give you the address,” he offered. Charlotte thought for a few seconds and decided that that plan was probably the best option.

​​​“Yeah, that would be great” she said, grabbing a pen to write down the address. She hung up shortly after and changed her clothes before grabbing the keys to Max’s car and leaving.


​​​Parking in the garage, Charlotte marveled at how tall the building that stood before her. Charlotte entered the building and walked toward the elevator, earning strange looks from the doorman and front desk worker. Ignoring the looks, she checked the paper she had written the floor and apartment number on and pressed the appropriate button. She swallowed and her ears popped, alarming her to high she was. The elevator stopped and the doors opened to a floor that only contained a few doors, so it wasn’t hard to find Jonathan’s. She took a deep breath before knocking on the door. From inside she could hear shuffling and footsteps getting closer to the door before it was opened and Jonathan was staring back at her from the other side. He looked flushed, like he had been rushing around before she arrived. Charlotte immediately felt awkward and regretted calling, but she had made it this far, so she figured she would get the money and leave as soon as possible.

​​​“Hi, do you want to come in?” he offered, giving a small smile.

​​​“Uh, I have to get going soon, but I wanted to say thank you for helping and I will pay you back, I swear,” she replied, hinting to the fact that she wasn’t coming in.

​​​Jonathan took it in stride and rushed to get her money. “You don’t have to pay me back, it’s okay,” he stated, handing her the cash.

​​​“I’ll pay you back,” she stated. Jonathan understood that she wanted to, and let the matter go.

​​​“Okay. Uh, if you ever need help again don’t hesitate to call anytime,” he said, rubbing the back of his neck and suppressing a yawn.

​​​“Thank you again,” Charlotte said. She left the building as quickly as she came and headed off toward the police station.
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