Status: New

A Day at a Time

Nine

Charlie is somewhere she did not expect to find herself, tangled in her sheets with Gerald. Her head lays on his chest as she stares blankly out the window. It's silent and awkward and she finds herself blurting out, "I don't want you to get the wrong impression. I'm not looking for a relationship or anything."
Her head bounces on his chest as he chuckles, "You're stealing my line."
She picks her head up, gaping at him, "You're an asshole."
"You said it."
"At least I felt kind of bad when I said it," she admitted, moving further away and pulling the sheets with her.
When she looked back at him, he was smiling at her with the familiar wrinkles of the corner of his eyes showing.
"So, where are you going?" She inquired, it was obvious as he laid peacefully beside her that he was not leaving just yet.
He turned to his side, facing her, "I'm leaving for a few shows in Europe. I'm not supposed to be back for a couple of months. After that, I'll be in the studio recording the new album."
She nodded, "Congrats."
"Don't worry, I won't forget you."
"I bet you tell that to all of the women you sleep with," she smiles at him, joking.
"Only the best ones."
She laughs turning over, "I'm going to sleep. You don't have to stay but you don't have to leave, okay?"
"Okay."
And Gerald didn't leave. When Charlie awoke the next morning she heard her shower running, Gerald's clothes remained scattered on her floor. With a surge of confidence, she got up meeting him in the shower. Unnoticed, she snaked her arms around his naked waist. Gerald turned around with a smirk dressing his face, "You just couldn't stay away."
"Shut up, I was just saying goodbye."
"Well then, a very good bye," Gerald muttered, leaning down to meet her short figure. He kissed his way down her neck to her breast hoisting her body up, gripping onto her ass and met her mouth with his own.
"Don't be a stranger," Gerald requested as he left the apartment. Charlie smiled at him before closing the door.
She made her way to her mother's house shortly after. Melissa was joining them for lunch and a movie.
They sat around their mom's television as Melissa scrolled through the channels, picking Lifetime from the list. Charlie scoffed, "You're kidding, right?"
"Shut up Charlie, I love these movies," Melissa remarked.
"You know it's all fake, obviously none of this would actually happen? What about that one movie where the woman tries to marry herself and then finds the 'love of her life'? Who writes this shit?"
"Not everyone has a perfect boyfriend like you, Charlie," Melissa retorts rolling her eyes.
"I don't have a boyfriend."
"What are you talking about? I know Gerald stayed over last night. What's with that?"
"We're just friends. He stays over sometimes, there's nothing there," Charlie denies. Charlie likes to keep her personal life to herself. She especially does not want her family involved.
She changes the subject swiftly, "You should get out there and date. I know it's scary but Stephen just wasn't the one for you, you shouldn't stop trying."
"I know, I know," Melissa dismissed Charlie's concerns. She pressed play and Charlie and Charlotte got comfortable on the couches, entertaining Melissa's movie choice.
A short while later Charlie awakes to Melissa shaking her shoulders. When she opens her eyes she sees Melissa pouting, "I can't believe you fell asleep. You would've liked this one, I swear!"
Charlie blinks at her and nods lying, "I saw most of it. It wasn't the worst thing I've ever seen."
"Whatever."
Charlie packs up to leave, she has another night shift tonight. Before leaving she kisses her mom on the forehead and makes her way to the door, "I love you ma, let me know if you need anything."
Later that evening, Charlie gets a chart with a too familiar name. She rounds the corner with Jules and pulls back the curtain. She should have known that her patient would have company.
"Good evening, Mr. Brannan," Charlie greets Grady, who's laying in the hospital bed looking worse than when Charlie had last seen him plastered. She nods over acknowledging Gerald, who is sitting in the guest chair.
"Jules tells me you're not feeling well. How long has this been going on?"
Grady opens his mouth to speak but a groan escapes, he holds his head, "At least a few days, it wasn't this bad before."
"Your temperature is 102.3°F, have you been vomiting at all?"
Grady shakes his head and Charlie proceeds to do her exam.
"I'll be right back," Charlie announces, leaving to find her prescription pad.
Gerald follows her out, touching her shoulder to pull her back, "He can still come on tour, right? We leave in a few hours."
Charlie tilts her head, "That's not a good idea, Gerald. You know that. Besides, he's going to get you sick."
"I need my photographer, what am I suppose to do?"
Charlie shrugs her shoulders, "As a doctor, that's not really my concern."
"Don't be like that," Gerald insist.
"I'm working, G." Charlie sighs, looking at Gerald sympathetically. She leaves him in the hallway, coming back a moment later.
"Alright, I'm going to give you a prescription for the pain but it seems like you have the flu," Charlie informs Grady, she continued to speak to Grady but turns to look at Gerald, "The best thing to do is to rest and drink an abundance of fluid."
Gerald nods understanding but he doesn't look happy.
While Grady is discharged, Charlie clocks out for a minute and heads outside for some fresh air. She finds Gerald leaning against the building smoking a cigarette.
"You can't do that here, you know?" She says, bluntly grabbing it from his fingers and putting it out under her shoe.
He laughs as she leans against the wall, dropping to sit on the ground for a moment. Gerald follows and they sit there.
"I know you're stressed about the tour and I'm sorry. Grady needs to stay home for a bit, he needs to get well and you can't afford to get sick."
"Thanks, mom. Got it," Gerald replies irritated.
"Hey, lose the attitude. Besides, don't you have someone whose job it is to find you a photographer?"
Gerald nods and sighs, "Sorry. I know, it's just like... Grady's good, you know? I trust him, he's the team. Europe is a big deal and the first shows are so important."
Charlie stands back up, knowing she has to go back to work, "You're going to be fine. Go to Europe, have fun."
Gerald smiles at her, standing up to embrace her. His chin rests perfectly on top of her head.
"Thank you."