She was already well aware that wishing wouldn’t do any good. It didn’t stop her from wishing it did because she didn’t know what else to do. It was hard seeing him like this, hard knowing Sophie was… dead and there wasn’t a thing she could do about it. Still.. she was beginning to think it’d just better for both of them if she didn’t say anything. Just stayed quiet and if he spoke she could nod her head or something. Words wouldn’t do her any good, there was nothing she could say, and everything she had said thus far just seemed to bother him. Or rather make him seem angry but then, she figured he was angry. That it was one of many emotions going on inside of him but that wasn’t surprising. Anger would be mixed in with grief and.. anger seemed like an easier thing to focus on. It seemed like being around Jenna was out of the question but she couldn’t help thinking he’d be better off with someone else there. Someone other than her because she’d been doing a completely crap job of it so far and it made her wonder if she shouldn’t call someone. Maybe someone who’d been through this.. maybe they’d know what to say (or in Ruby’s case what not to say) or.. something. It was sad to think there were a number of adults in the town who could relate to losing a child. Ruby didn’t really even want to think about it, it just made her sad. Especially when her mind moved to Annie… and how hard it’d been to even admit in her head that she was gone. Dead. It still felt difficult so she wasn’t planning on being able to wrap her head around Sophie being.. gone too anytime soon.
His outburst didn’t really shock her, not when she’d pretty much already realized he was angry. He had every right to be but she wasn’t sure how much better being destructive would make him feel. Not that Ruby thought she could really talk because her methods for handling overwhelming emotions wasn’t exactly healthy either. It didn’t even really do any good half the time. It used to.. the release and all that but overtime it felt like she needed… more. To go deeper to really feel anything and.. she just wished she could stop having all these thoughts swirling around in her head. In a way it was easier to focus on anything but Sophie.. to not focus on her inability to do anything for Charlie. It was just… ugh, none of the stuff in her head mattered. She wanted it all to go away before her head exploded. Ruby turned her attention to the flipped over table, sidestepping it as he seemed to collapse on the couch, folding in on himself. Her heart clenched painfully at the sight and even though she’d basically told herself she would keep her distance she found herself moving towards him. He probably didn’t want her to but she wasn’t thinking about that as she moved onto the couch and wrapped her arms around him.
Charlie realised he’d have to pick that back up and if he’d have been in a different state of mind he’d probably have given a dramatic sigh and set about doing just that. Not that he thought he’d have done that in another mindset but… you never know. He didn’t have the best track record. He thought about apologising because she didn’t need to see him like that but he didn’t. Honestly, that wasn’t anywhere close to conveying the amount of things that were going on inside of him. It’s not like it was a big table, it had just been there in front of him and he’d been pissed off and… ugh. Why wouldn’t this just stop? What did he have to do to fix it? Nothing. There really wasn’t anything that was going to make all of this better was there? Sophie was gone and how was he ever going to fill in the hole that had left? Charlie didn’t see this ever feeling better. He couldn’t see much past this moment but if he could then all he’d see was a future feeling exactly like he did right now. People got past it. He knew that. They learned how to live with it. People learned how to live with a lot of things but how? How did they do that? He’d lost people in the past, sure, but none of them felt quite like this felt. If they had then he couldn’t remember. Maybe pain was more something that people learned how to forget about. Charlie would have loved to forget about this. Erase it. Even if he’d had to drink all the alcohol in Baberton but he didn’t think alcohol would be any help. It hadn’t been helping when Ruby had found him earlier.
He almost forgot about Ruby until she started moving. Charlie didn’t look up but he sort of knew she was going to sit down next to him or something. He expected it but he wasn’t sure whether or not he’d expected her to wrap her arms around him. At first he wanted to shrug her off and leave the room. Not because he didn’t want her to do it, he’d wanted her to before, but just because he wanted to stay angry. Stay in his little bubble of rage and not let it fizzle out and he knew being in Ruby’s arms, being that close to her, would make it hard to stay that way. Difficult to hold onto the blind rage that wanted to completely consume him. It only took him a few seconds to lean into her though, shifting a little so that he could slide his free arm around her and pull her close to his side. Part of him still felt bad asking her here, letting himself find any sort of comfort in her presence when that wasn’t what she was for… when he couldn’t just run to her all the time but she didn’t seem to have a problem being here. Unless she just felt bad. Probably. He closed his eyes and sighed because he was so tired but how could he go to sleep? He tried to focus on Ruby. On something other than Sophie but it was hard. He still didn’t know what to say and he still felt sort of out of it. “I don’t know what I’m supposed to do.. or say.”
"Oh.." It was likely too much to expect seeing her to really have helped any but.. she’d thought it would do something. Make him feel.. not alone in this or something because he had to be feeling alone, right? The cat comment at the pub hadn’t exactly put her mind at ease. Ruby figured there wasn’t really anything reassuring about any of this so it wasn’t like she’d stop worrying. She knew she would, even if she knew he probably wouldn’t want her to worry about him. Just like she still thought he probably didn’t actually want her there, that’d he’d changed his mind pretty much straight after calling her but.. it didn’t matter. She was there and she didn’t plan on going anywhere.. at least not now. She just wished there was something she could do but clearly wishing wouldn’t get her anywhere. Ruby wondered whether it’d help him to lie down or something because it was late and he looked drained. Sleep seemed out of the question as it seemed doubtful if she couldn’t find sleep that he’d be able to. It might help though.. if he could. Just for a little while because exhausting himself while he had all these emotions bottled up probably wasn’t doing wonders for him. Still.. she didn’t really feel like she could say that or.. anything so she just sat there, feeling as useless as ever.
Ruby didn’t really know why she’d taken his hand. It was possible she’d wanted to offer some kind of comfort or.. support or she didn’t really know. It didn’t seem like it’d really do anything so maybe it was more for herself than him. “I’m sorry..” She felt bad and wasn’t exactly sure why she was apologizing because it wasn’t like she’d made him see her. He’d probably have seen her regardless of her bringing it up but still. Ruby felt her stomach twist as she watched him, feeling him pull away before he wiped at his eyes. He didn’t seem like he wanted to cry or breakdown and it wasn’t like she could blame him. She wouldn’t have wanted to either but she still thought holding it all inside wasn’t going to make anything better. It’d probably just make him feel worse. Ruby wanted to hug him, the urge was overwhelming but she pushed it down because she didn’t really think that’d help either. Ugh. Ruby hated being so bad at this.. hated not knowing what to say. When someone was upset she normally tried to distract them… talk about something else or do something that’d take their mind off it. That’s what she did for herself but… it just didn’t seem like the right thing to do now so she’d just have to continue feeling at a loss. “I know..” She chewed her bottom lip, looking over at him. “I wish you didn’t have to..”
Maybe it was silly not to want to be with Jenna instead. To not want to be around her and mourn with her but right at that moment Charlie didn’t think he ever wanted to even look at his ex wife again. He’d have to obviously but he didn’t want anything to do with her. Not right now. Not when it was a massive reminder of what they’d had and what they’d lost. Sophie had come from them and… no, he couldn’t even think about it. There were lots of things he didn’t want to think about. Like whether or not she’d suffered a lot of pain or if she’d been scared. How long her body had just… lay there. How badly he’d failed and how he’d never have the slightest chance to make anything right because she was.. dead. Charlie stared at their hands on the table. It was better than looking at her face because he wasn’t sure he wanted to see what was there. Or in her eyes. He really shouldn’t have called her because some distant part of his brain remembered how she always ended up thinking she was awkward and he didn’t want to make her uncomfortable with long stretches of silence or him saying things that she wouldn’t be able to answer. He wasn’t exactly focusing on that thought, everything considered, but it was floating around somewhere in his head.
Charlie lifted his gaze to her face when she spoke, staring at her as if he was looking through her and then he shrugged. “Wishing’s not going to do any good.” He pushed the chair back and stood up, wandering away back out into the hall. He shouldn’t have called her. Not that he didn’t like having her around but he shouldn’t want her here. He couldn’t lean on her, he didn’t even know what they were now. Part of him might have seen her as a friend but he doubted it was possible for them to be that without all the other stuff. He’d gotten too attached. He suddenly started feeling a little wrong for actually letting her in the house. Sophie hadn’t liked it that they were together. She’d wanted him to stop seeing her and he hadn’t because he’d been selfish and now… Sophie was gone and was he still betraying her? It’s not like he’d invited Ruby round to make out or anything but should he want to be around her at all? They were all wrong. Everything was all wrong. He walked into the living room and, in a random explosion of rage that he couldn’t even begin to explain, he upturned the coffee table. For a few seconds he just stood there staring at the mess and then he took a deep breath, turning away. “I can’t do this.” He muttered, collapsing on the sofa and leaning his head on his hand. “I can’t.”
Do you know why my dad sent me to live with you? It’s kind of weird, seeing as you two don’t exactly get on…
That’s a polite way of putting it… but I really wouldn’t know.
She barely flinched at his tone, part of her having expected it. At least it was a real response.. not that she thought anger was the best emotion to latch onto but it was something. Better than him being completely numb and out of it.. or she thought so anyway. So it was fine and it’s not like it wasn’t true, she’d known there wasn’t really anything she could get that’d make it better. Nothing she could say or do which was still frustrating but it was what it was. Ruby waved off his apology, she didn’t think he should be sorry. It’d been a stupid question, right? She just hadn’t known what else to say… what more to do for him. It didn’t really feel like there was anything anyone could do at this point so she didn’t feel like it was a specific failing of hers. It had occurred to Ruby that Charlie might start blaming himself, that he might start with the what ifs. She’d certainly driven herself crazy with them in the past when there were things she desperately wished she could’ve changed. Tim wasn’t something she wanted to think about, especially not now but she’d had so many what ifs that she could’ve filled several notebooks with them. Ruby hoped Charlie wasn’t thinking like that.. it’d probably be difficult not to but she knew firsthand it didn’t change anything. It didn’t make it any better it just… made it feel worse. Or it had for her but obviously this situation was different. She glanced around the kitchen, wishing for the millionth time she could find something to do that’d help in any way. There was nothing and ugh, she just had to get it through her head but that wasn’t easy. Not when the alternative was standing around watching someone she loved suffer. She supposed she should just focus on being glad he wasn’t pushing her leaving again.
That didn’t rule out the possibility that he still might. She wouldn’t be surprised if in a few minutes he brought it up again but she was stubborn. It was unlikely she’d go unless he actually dragged her to the door or something like that which she hoped he wouldn’t actually do. Ruby didn’t want to leave him alone… that much was true but it wasn’t just that. She wanted to be there, with feeling the way she did about Sophie.. it was comforting to be around him. Not that she’d started focusing on her feelings because it was better not to. She’d be no use to him if she let her own feelings about it all get in the way. “Oh, um..” Ruby nodded instead of saying anything else. She didn’t want to let on she thought he might not want her to sit since it’d mean her being near him. She didn’t know why she’d gotten that into her head but it was there. She sat down as he said he’d seen Jenna. That was… good, right? Ruby wondered whether it’d been on purpose since he’d seemed so against it earlier on. “Was it.. I mean.. did it help?” Ruby bit her lip, unsure about touching him but before she could go back and forth on it she reached out, touching his hand. If he pulled away she’d get it. Ruby still didn’t know whether there’d have been any comfort in seeing her but she thought maybe. It was why she’d brought it up at the pub and she figured it definitely had to be more of a comfort than being around her since it wasn’t like a Ruby could fully understand what he was going through. As much as she’d loved Sophie.. it wasn’t the same thing.
Charlie briefly wondered what was going on in Ruby’s head. He wasn’t sure why but he just wished he could be out of his own. She had enough stuff going on without him piling on the grief. Not that he was really doing that.. was he doing anything? Charlie wasn’t entirely sure what his reactions had been like because sometimes he felt faraway and then a second later he’d feel like he’d been smacked right back down into reality. It was very difficult to explain but it’s not like he thought he’d have to try. He just… how could Sophie not be alive anymore? It didn’t make any sense because she had been. She’d been there. Weeks ago, he’d seen her and she’d smiled and then she’d gone out… and she just hadn’t come home. He should have tried harder. Got the police to actually do something. Surely that was wrong of them? To sit on their hands for so long. To do such a half-assed job of ‘looking’ for her when they should have had fucking search parties organised. Were they all fucking stupid? “Help?” He asked, snapping out of it at Ruby’s question. He shook his head, the slightest hint of a bitter laugh leaving his lips as he did. “No, it didn’t help.” He wished he didn’t feel like he was snapping at her… it’s not like it was her fault. He was just angry and sad and he didn’t know how to deal with it. He never did. Charlie usually got very angry at things that upset him and let it all out that way.. but some things he still felt like he was holding inside. Why did this have to happen? Sophie had never hurt anyone, she didn’t deserve it.
He was very surprised by the touch of her hand on his, gaze moving there right away. He frowned, not because it was unwelcome but because it was just so unexpected. What was that supposed to be? Comfort? It didn’t feel very comforting but he did register, distantly, that it felt sort of nice. He swallowed, averting his gaze and moving his fingers just slightly. “I’m sure you thought it would be comforting to be with her but it wasn’t.” He hadn’t even wanted to see her and he wished he could rewind and avoid her.. stay in the pub or something because it had just been too horrible and he hated knowing that this was really happening. “It’s just that.. she’s..” He tried to take a breath but it felt like it got stuck in his throat as his vision suddenly blurred. “Shit..” He pulled his hand away from her so he could wipe away the tears. He didn’t want to do that. He couldn’t let himself. Charlie wanted to cry. On some level he really did and it’s not like he hadn’t cried already today.. there had been a few moments where he’d allowed himself but.. to really break down? He couldn’t do that. He didn’t know how he would be able to keep it together for much longer but he just didn’t feel like he’d be able to live through that. Then again, did it matter? He sighed as he somehow managed to compose himself a little and then reached out again without taking to take her hand. “I don’t want to feel like this.”
Ruby wasn’t really sure how Charlie was holding it together. He definitely seemed out of it.. like he was under water or something and everything she’d said to him thus far had taken a while to actually get through. If that made any sense.. she didn’t know but that’s how it seemed and she wondered if he’d really let himself cry.. or let it out in any way yet. She doubted it.. if the way he’d been acting earlier was anything to go off but she thought maybe he’d feel better.. maybe not much but even just a tiny bit if he did. If he just.. let go and stopped trying to keep all the pieces together. She wasn’t sure and.. it wasn’t like she was one to lecture anyone on facing things because she was practically the queen of denial.. of stuffing things down and hoping they’d go away if she just didn’t think about them long enough. It’s what she did and she couldn’t blame Charlie if he was doing the same but it worried her. To see him like this.. to know what he had to be going through because losing Sophie.. she didn’t even want to think about it. Didn’t want it to be real and so she couldn’t fully imagine what he must be thinking. Trying to actually accept it.. that she’d.. it was too much. Ruby didn’t want to think about it, not now when she was trying to be there for him.. not that he was really letting her be.
She couldn’t blame him.. it’s not like she thought she was much help or.. good to be around. Especially if he was thinking at all about the fact that some of the reasons he’d thought she skipped out on him was because of things to do with her and.. ugh. Not thinking about that seemed like a good plan but her mind was stupid and liked to dwell on things she didn’t want it to. That’s why alcohol usually helped so much (just.. not in the long run. It didn’t actually fix anything) but she hadn’t wanted to drink. She hadn’t wanted to do anything like that after she found out because.. it just seemed wrong. To want to drink until she forgot about what’d happened.. she couldn’t even really explain why she felt that way but she did. Maybe she was just losing it. “It’s okay..” She murmured. It was.. okay. To not know what to say.. it’s not like she expected him to.. and it’s not like she even knew what to say. There wasn’t anything that would make this better or go away so.. it just seemed difficult to find words. Ruby bit her lip, not sure whether she should go near him or keep her distance but she figured he wanted her to keep her distance if the next words out of his mouth were anything to go off. Right. Bothering her. She knew it was her own fault he’d think that way but.. still. It wasn’t a bother and she was worried about him.. he had to know that. It seemed like he’d begun changing his mind, was planning to just keep bringing up her leaving like he had at the pub but.. she shook her head. “Maybe I don’t but I am so..” She shrugged, feeling a little mean because it felt a bit like she was saying he’d just have to deal with it. “Can I.. get you anything?” She didn’t know what else to do. Somehow she didn’t even think tea would help in this situation and anyway, it wasn’t the actual tea that seemed to do anything, right? It was just the motions of it or whatever. “Or.. I don’t know.”
Charlie didn’t think that he really wanted Ruby to go. If he was going to be honest with himself.. most of him just wanted to curl up in a dark room with her until all of this stopped. Until he could breathe properly again because right now it felt too difficult. Maybe part of him didn’t even want to because what was the point? Charlie couldn’t see one and.. he was regretting ever coming back to this town. In this state, he’d probably even regret everything with Ruby. He loved her, not that he could focus on that at the moment, but if he never got involved with her maybe he’d have moved away again sooner… and Sophie wouldn’t have been left lying in the woods for weeks. Like she didn’t matter. Like no one cared enough to find her. Charlie turned away again when she said she was staying, quick to preventing the smile that was threatening to pull at the corners of his mouth from forming. He just didn’t feel like smiling. He’d done a few fake ones over the course of the day.. or maybe it was yesterday by now. What time was it? All he knew was that it was late and he felt like he shouldn’t have bothered Ruby at this hour. Had she been in bed? He wished he was in bed but all he’d do was lie awake and think… and listen to the quiet. Charlie wanted to stop thinking and maybe that’s why he’d gone to the pub. By this point, he wasn’t even bothered about all that stuff he used to feel about alcohol. It never seemed important anymore, he was clearly uptight about it and maybe he just needed to stop.
"What can you get for me that could possibly make me feel any better?" He replied, snapping slightly as he felt that anger come back in a powerful surge.. but it wasn’t about her and he was still levelheaded enough to feel regret tugging at him. "I…" Charlie sighed and shook his head, gritting his teeth as he covered his face. "I’m sorry." Ruby hadn’t done anything to him, she didn’t need him taking her head off for just trying to help. She was here.. she didn’t have to be. He leaned back and stared at the table. It was like all the tears were waiting, had been all day, and he kept catching himself having to blink them away and force his mind onto something else before it overwhelmed him. “It’s okay.” Was his final response to the question, managing to turn his head and give her a tiny smile. “You don’t have to stand over there, you can.. sit down.” Or not. It was all the same to him. He wondered if she wanted to go but was only staying because she felt like she had to.. because he’d called her and was all by himself and all that. A second later, Charlie suddenly (and randomly) decided that he hated this fucking kitchen. He looked down with a sniff. “I saw Jenna.” He mumbled, not sure why he was telling her but maybe it was because she’d brought up seeing her earlier… but he still wished he hadn’t because now he just felt like a mess. Not that he hadn’t felt like that before and he really wasn’t sure how to make it stop. Would he ever be able to make it stop?
She was a little relieved when he didn’t acknowledge her admission about being glad he’d called. Maybe he hadn’t even heard, that’d probably be a good thing, right? Ruby didn’t want him to suddenly change his mind and ask her to go.. not if it meant he’d be all by himself again. She didn’t like thinking about that, but he must have had his reasons for not calling Jenna instead.. or she figured he did. What those were she wasn’t sure other than guessing it might make all of this too real. It was real.. that was the hard part and no amount of denying it would really change anything but she knew that didn’t always mean you didn’t try. After Annie.. Ruby had. Even when they’d found her.. she’d still had trouble wrapping her head around the fact that she hadn’t just runaway and now Sophie.. it was too much to think about. It reminded her of the text and.. ugh. Made her wonder who would be next because it felt like they were being picked off just.. at a very slow pace. Not that she wanted to think like that because it was disturbing and not at all helpful to the situation but her thoughts seemed to have a mind of their own, jumping around the way they were. It was frustrating but better than focusing on the helpless feeling she had as she’d gone through the doorway. Ruby didn’t really think her presence would do anything.. make anything easier so it left her feeling like she just couldn’t.. do anything. Which.. she couldn’t but that wasn’t the point. Being around Charlie made it easier to ignore her own grief and in a way that made her feel horrible. It was just that.. it was easier to focus on what he must be feeling, all the pain, the sense of loss.
Ruby pushed those thoughts away, hating all of them as she caught a glimpse of Charlie’s face. It made her want to hug him again but she wasn’t really sure he’d be receptive. He’d let her at the pub but then.. he’d kind of been distant after. Not that she could blame him but his behavior, the way he’d looked.. it’d kind of scared her a little. He’d just seemed so.. she couldn’t even put her finger on the word but it hadn’t been right. Feeding the cat.. right. Sophie’s cat. The thought made her stomach drop, it’d be another reminder that Sophie wasn’t there but then.. that wasn’t the cats fault. She bit her lip, looking down for a few seconds as he said she didn’t have to stay before moving to follow him. Was he changing his mind already? Going to start suggesting she leave every five seconds like he had at the pub? Ruby wasn’t sure what she’d do then because she really didn’t see how she could just.. make him let her stay there but she didn’t want him to be alone like this and.. it just felt a little hopeless. “Well.. I’m going to.” She finally said as she decided he’d just have to deal with her presence because there was no real way she could leave now. She didn’t want to. “Do you.. want to sit down or something?” She looked over at him, not knowing what could help when it seemed like nothing would but it still seemed like he could be on the verge of breaking down at any time. She really didn’t know that it’d help anything but it felt like she should be doing something other than standing there staring at him.
She was staying. He didn’t say anything but he was glad for some reason. A little annoyed too because part of him would rather just be on his own. Having nobody looking at him right now sounded like it would be nice but he also really didn’t want to be alone and it was confusing to be so conflicted and back and forth. It was almost like everything that was happening was happening in one bubble and Charlie was on his own in another bubble. He could see and hear everything but he wasn’t sure how to process it. If he even could. He wasn’t sure how to react because one wrong move could have him breaking down right there in the kitchen. What was he doing in the kitchen? It took him a moment to remember the cat. Where was the cat? He lifted his head and looked around but then heard Ruby’s voice again. “What?” He asked a second before it registered. Sit down. “Right.” He pulled the chair out and took a seat, feeling a bit like the movement had been almost mechanical. Which sounded strange. He just didn’t feel right and he didn’t know how to explain it. Charlie wanted everything to suddenly snap back to the way they’d been before. He thought he’d been miserable but… he hadn’t really known what real misery was. Misery wasn’t even the correct word. He sighed and folded his arms on the table in front of him.
Everything was quiet for a while. He almost forgot Ruby was there but he was sort of focusing on her presence as well. On the fact there was someone there. He supposed it was sort of nice but mostly because it gave him a reason to keep himself together. There really had to be some sort of a mistake because Sophie couldn’t be… he could still hardly think the word. Dead. It made him feel ill. He’d seen enough death in this town but he’d never actually thought that he’d experience it like this. Alicia’s death had been bad enough to come to terms with due to the guilt but… that seemed like nothing in comparison to the shock he was probably feeling right now. Charlie wasn’t sure how he should actually feel though and that was making him uncomfortable or something. He couldn’t put his finger on it. “I don’t know what to say.” He knew that probably didn’t need to be said out loud but he felt like he’d been sitting there in silence and.. it’s not like he thought he needed to be a great conversationalist right now but sitting there in silence was suffocating and he wanted to say something, he just didn’t know what. Charlie turned to look at her, silent again for another few moments as he studied her. “I shouldn’t have bothered you. You really.. don’t have to stay.” Whether he was testing her resolve or not, he had no idea, but he wondered how many times he would have to say she could leave before she just… did.
She still couldn’t believe Sophie was really gone. That she’d never see her again, never hear her voice. Even if it was just telling her off she’d have been happy with that. She hadn’t blamed her, she’d deserved her anger. But the idea of her feeling anything close to jealousy, thinking that Ruby had been trying to take Charlie away or something still made her insides hurt. She’d hoped Sophie hadn’t really thought that or known deep down that it wasn’t like that but she’d never gotten a chance to ask about it. Charlie seemed dazed and it took him a while to respond but it wasn’t like she minded. It just gave her more time to study him.. not that she wanted him to realize that. “I don’t..” She trailed off, letting him finish. Of course she didn’t think he was crazy for being outside. Going inside, knowing it’d be empty.. that had to be difficult. She didn’t think it was something he should’ve had to go through alone. The thought of him all alone, feeling like he didn’t anyone made her sad and she hated her part in it. “I’m glad you did..” She admitted quietly, not sure he’d even register the words through all the thoughts he was probably having. Her own head felt like it was racing or maybe just spinning so she could only imagine what a jumbled mess his thoughts might be. She nodded when he said he couldn’t live outside but didn’t say anything. Ruby figured he’d make a move to go inside when he felt ready and she didn’t want to rush him so she was surprised when he got up. She’d tried to hold onto him as he did since he seemed to be using her for support and part of her didn’t want to let go. She did since he had but she wished she didn’t have to because she wanted to offer him some kind of comfort. “Yeah.. of course.” She could go in first if it helped him. Ruby hoped it would but she didn’t really imagine her stepping inside would really do much but at least he wasn’t going in alone.
She glanced back at him, wanting to make sure he was still there which was probably stupid. It was unlikely he’d run away but… he just looked fragile in a way she’d never really seem before and it made the urge to wrap him up in her arms that much stronger. She couldn’t.. she couldn’t really do anything. It was frustrating knowing there wasn’t anything she could say or do to make the pain go away for him. Ruby had been trying to ignore her own grief, trying to push it back the way she always did when she thought about Annie but it was easier not to think about losing Sophie in terms of her feelings about it when she was with other people. Especially him since all she was able to focus on was what he must be feeling.. or rather, trying not to feel. He’d lost a daughter and she’d seen what that could do to people. Ruby still wasn’t completely sure why he’d called her, why he hadn’t reached out to Jenna. It seemed like he’d want her and under any other circumstance Ruby had to admit the thought would make her jealous. Thinking about his bonds with her and all of that but obviously that wasn’t anything like what she was thinking now. She just thought if he needed someone who’d understand completely it’d have been her. Still didn’t mean she wasn’t glad he’d called her. That it hadn’t out her mind at a little more ease to actually see him, even if it wasn’t really her place anymore. They were… well, she didn’t really know. Friends might work but it was hard to think of him that way when being around him had always made her feel so much more than that but she wasn’t really thinking about any of that right now. She was just thinking about him, how he was going to handle actually going inside and whether there was anything.. anything at all she could do to make it even slightly easier on him. Probably not. So better to just get it over with and actually make the step through the doorway.
Charlie didn’t register her telling him that she was glad he called her for a few seconds and then he couldn’t make sense of it. Why would she be glad? He was just being a problem again. Calling her up and expecting her to come running because he didn’t want to be on his own. She had enough problems without him being another one but it was difficult to hold onto all of that when all he could focus on was the flashing neon sign in his head telling him his daughter was gone. Someone had killed her and the police were going to say it was an accident, he just knew it… like she’d tripped and fallen down the bank of the river. He’d walked her through the woods when she was little, he knew that one side had a steep drop down, but why would she have been out there? She wouldn’t have hidden in the woods to get away from him, she’d have gone to someone’s house. Wouldn’t she? Last time he’d seen her, she’d looked tired, so he supposed she could have lost her footing… no. No, that wouldn’t explain -A’s message. Wasn’t an accident. Wasn’t intentional. Someone hurt her. -A knew who did it and he was going to find out who it was and he was going to wring their fucking neck. Angry again. Good. Focus on the anger. Charlie didn’t care if he had to take that message to the police. All bets were off now. If he had to expose -A, get the police to track them down, and get the information out of them… then he would.
Ugh, all of this was hurting his head. He wanted Ruby to wrap her arms around him so he could collapse but that wasn’t an option. He’d already felt himself wavering when she’d hugged him earlier at the pub and… no. He couldn’t stand that. All the looks and the hugs and the apologies. None of these people knew, they didn’t have a fucking clue. Well… he knew they probably did on some level, everyone had lost someone, but… this was his daughter. His baby. No, he couldn’t think about it. Charlie seemed to snap back into the moment very suddenly, realising Ruby had said something and moved and… oh, right. He looked down and thought about turning and walking away back down the street. He didn’t care where to.. just away from here. Far away. He shook his head even as he took an incredibly hesitant step forward, crossing over the threshold, a pained expression on his face. He had to live here by himself.. for the moment he’d forgotten all about his brother sending his troubled daughter to live with him. How could he think about that right now after all? Everything else had taken a back seat because he just needed to focus on keeping himself together or he’d fall apart and he didn’t know how he’d stop. How he’d get back up and keep going. How did people do that? “I need to feed the cat.” He mumbled, moving towards the kitchen on autopilot. “You don’t have to stay.” He added, just in case she felt like she shouldn’t be here. It wouldn’t surprise him if Ruby didn’t want to be anywhere near him. Was she still doing that thing where she was trying not to be herself? He didn’t know, it’s not like he’d asked, but she’d defaced Tim’s grave the other day or something… ugh, he couldn’t even think about it because all the other stuff kept popping back into his head. Sophie. He leaned against the back of a chair in the kitchen, forgetting what he’d even come in here for.
You won’t even know I’m here, I promise.
That’s understandable. You can just show me where it is and I’ll do all the setting up.
Or if you need some space, I can go stay in a hotel tonight.
No, it’s fine.. it’s up the stairs. End of the hall.