Status: Weekly Updates

A Day at a Time

Twenty One

"You have to go, Gerald," Charlie groans, rolling over to come face to face with him.

"It's so early," He replies, pulling the covers up past his eyes. Charlie smiles at him, thinking for a moment how cute he looks with his hair a mess against her pillows. She snaps out of it quickly, tugging the blanket away from him and getting up herself.

"You have to go, Melissa will be here any minute. We have to get ready for the funeral," She says, earning Geralds attention. He leans up on his elbows, eyes following her across the room as she picks up their scattered clothing. She picks up his boxers, tossing them towards him but he simply ignores the gesture, getting out of bed and making his way towards her.

He wraps his arms around her waist from behind while she fusses with the coffee pot. "I'm sorry, I didn't realize that was today. Are you okay?" He mumbles into her hair. She leans back into him as the coffee begins to brew and nods gently. "I can come with you if you want." He suggests, "Let me be there for you."

She shakes her head, separating from him gently before turning around, "I don't think that's the best idea. I don't need anyone asking about you."

"I'll stay in the back, fly on the wall. Promise."


Gerald sits in the back as promised, minding his own business but watching Charlie and her sister
Gerald sits in the back as promised, minding his own business but watching Charlie and her sister. He watches as they make their way forward in front of their friends and family to tell stories about their mother. He sees Charlie shivering as the wind blows. He watches Melissa and Charlie make their way back to take their seats and he sees as they lean into each other with tears running down their faces. He longs to reach for her and let her bury her head into his chest but he respects her boundaries, not wanting to cause romantic speculation in front of her family at such an inappropriate time.

What came next, he did not expect to see.

As the funeral came to a close and their friends and family placed a flower on Charlotte's grave as a final goodbye, an older man approached the area. He precedes a younger boy along with a blonde petite woman closer to his age. His hair is salt and pepper with a five o'clock shadow and wrinkles decorating his face. He is short, height standing much less than Geralds, closer to Charlie and Melissa's. And that's when it clicked.

"You can't be here," Gerald commands after making his way to the group and blocking their path before the women can see what's happening. He glances behind him and sees that they're still in conversation with people he hasn't met.

"Who the fuck are you?" The man questions aggressively. The child is behind the couple is watching blissfully as two squirrels circle a tree before running upwards. The woman beside him is staring at the ground awkwardly, she mumbles something along the lines of 'I told you we shouldn't have come' while reaching out for the man's arm but Gerald interrupts uninterested.

"I'm warning you, man, leave before I remove you," he threatens, receiving a shocked look from the woman.

That's when Charlie turns around, having thought she heard Geralds forceful voice from the crowd.

It was if the world had stopped for a moment to Charlie. It was suddenly quiet and everyone around her froze but Gerald could see that this isn't the case. From his perspective he can see all the guests turning around with her, looking to see what the commotion was. Other faces in the crowd that he didn't recognize had stopped along with Charlie and Melissa's while bystanders such as Alex and Jack looked as confused as ever to why there is such a sudden pause.

Gerald can see the wheels turning in her head, anger causing the veins on her forehead and neck to become visible under her olive skin. That's when she rushes towards him, Melissa quick to follow but Charlie stretches her hand out as to ask her not to.

She steps in front of Gerald, gently shoving him away and harshly whispers at her father, "What do you think you're doing here and what, you're going to bring your whole fucking family. What the hell is this? You can't just ruin our lives and disappear then come back when my fucking mom is dead! You don't deserve to be here, we thought you were fucking dead. You need to leave!"

Gerald gently pulls Charlie back by her shoulders and whispers in her ear, "Everyone is looking, Char."

"I don't care, he needs to leave," she snaps, pulling away from Gerald.

"I just wanted to see you and your sister, Charlie. I wanted to know that you're okay," Her father tries to reason.

"We're not okay, we haven't been okay since you started drinking and left my mother," Charlie spat, "And look how that turned out!" She gestures around herself, at the crowd and her mother's grave. Gerald grabs Charlie this time, wrapping his arm around her waist firmly and leading her to back to Melissa's car where Melissa meets them.

He ushers her into the car before climbing into the driver's seat, reaching towards Melissa who hands him the keys and gets into the back allowing him to sit beside Charlie. She stares distantly out of the window, directly at the man and his new family who are awkwardly standing beside their mother's grave. No one in her family makes an apparent effort to speak with them, they instead chat in groups glancing toward the uninvited family every once in a while. Gerald reaches his arm across the center console and leaves his hand on Charlie's thigh rubbing slow comfortable circles.

"I can't believe he showed up," Charlie comments quietly in the passenger seat, more to herself than anything.

"Fuck him," Melissa replies flatly.

"He's just looking for attention," Gerald reassures, "They'll be gone soon."

"You mind if I stay with you tonight?" Melissa questions from behind Charlie who nods, "The house is so empty."

"Of course," She replies sending Gerald an apologetic look, assuming he would have spent the night.

When they exit Melissa's car Gerald turns to Charlie to say goodbye, she looks smaller to him and he is baffled that someone could make their daughter feel this way. She stands next to him, both leaning on the car while Melissa makes her way into the building.

"Thank you for looking out for us today," Charlie says, resting her head on his arm, much too short to reach his shoulder. "I want to be strong, you know? I'm just so mad."

"It's okay to not be okay, yee?" He mutters, wrapping his arm around her shoulder.