Authors: Christina Leija
Charlotte dropped Andrew off with Mrs. Nelson and left for work an hour earlier than usual. This of course was at the insistence of Mrs. Nelson who convinced Charlotte to go down and apply for a court appointed attorney to help with guidance if nothing else. Charlotte had spent the night holding Andrew as he slept, her whole world was that boy and Mrs. Nelson, the two people she loved most in this life and now her ex was threatening to take her world away.
She was still confused and angry with John, how could he have done this to her? How did he know how to get to her? Was she really that naive that she attracted only douche-tards? Disgusted with herself, Charlotte had been sick all day and unable to take her medicine and now she was feeling the emotional strain and exhaustion was threatening to take her over. Charlotte stopped by the first coffee shop that she could find for a quick pick-me-up and hurried to the subway towards the court house.
Charlotte finished the long and repetitive paper work to file a response and to hopefully gain another court appointed lawyer, at least to guide her. Charlotte was exhausted over the last few hours with everything that has transpired. Her head was pounding from a headache, no doubt caused from the stress and crying. Still Charlotte powered forward and took the subway to work. Hopefully her work would take her mind off everything and then she would approach the situation with a clear head, a useful technique she picked up in therapy.
Work flew by and all she could think about was getting home to Andrew. Alex was supposed to take Andrew for 3 days this coming Thursday, that only gave her 3 days with him and this time she dreaded letting him go, especially after Alex just filed a court judgment stating she is unfit and he has “proof” of significant changes that he believes he is legally bound to challenge the custody agreement.
While clocking out for her shift, Charlotte’s phone rang; without looking at it Charlotte answered only to be shocked by the info on the other line.
“Mrs. Jackson, this is the charge nurse at the cancer support center here in Brooklyn.”
“Yes…. How can I help you?” Charlotte’s voice was shaky and shocked. She had just gone in for further testing last week.
“We have your test results and ma’am I am sorry but we may not have many treatment options for cancer in your stage.” The nurse was stern and unemotional; this stabbed Charlotte on a personal level even though she knew she shouldn’t take it personally.
“Mrs. Jackson I need you to make an appointment to come in and discuss your options please.”
The shock still folded over Charlotte like a constricting blanket, not many treatment options? How long did she have? Did they find something new? On top of all going on with Alex, Charlotte felt more hopeless and scared for her son’s life, now more than ever.
The next week flew by and Charlotte had adjusted to not having John blow her phone up with his obnoxious texts every hour. Charlotte made it through Andrews three day absence, which in the long run offered her some much needed rest, this, of course was at the insistence of Ms. Nelson. Charlotte even received a letter that informed her that her public defender had been approved and would be readily available for her first court date in 2 weeks. Compared to last week, Charlotte was doing amazing.
Charlotte decided that a girl’s luncheon was much needed and she had decided to give Victoria a call. She hadn’t heard from her old friend in quite some time lately. Of course that can partially be blamed on John and his distraction. John, Charlotte thought….wonder what he is doing right now. Charlotte missed his touch and his horrible sense of humor that had the worst timing in the world. One of the most annoying, yet also one of the things she loved about him the most, his humor.
Pushing the memory aside she called Victoria for lunch at a quaint café’ up the road from 5th and Park Avenue. Her mood was instantly lifted at the idea of a stress free, drama free lunch with an old friend she could trust. Charlotte quickly got dressed and rushed out, this time with a hop in her step.
The sun was shining and felt wonderful for a fall day. Usually in September the weather began to cool dramatically. But today the patio table would be a wonderful option. The patio sat 6 small tables, just big enough for two people, three if you liked a cramped space. The café specialized in light lunches, wine and coffee drinks. The tables with black with smooth thin marble tops that shone with an elegance. The tops held a small crystal ball with floating lilies. Their table held a gorgeous orange and pink lily that seemed to open before them. This was just the relaxing day that Charlotte needed. A day she craved, a day where all her troubles and worries could temporarily disappear without any consequence.
Charlotte and Victoria ordered, Charlotte opted for grilled chicken with pineapple salsa and quinoa salad, while Victoria stuck to her usual house salad with lemon instead of dressing. The waitress was a bit clumsy, obviously new and nervous and this irritated Victoria slightly, which could be told by her snappy tone. Victoria always had high standards and that included her wait staff. Charlotte felt bad for the waitress and secretly prayed that she would get her confidence together or she would most likely not have a job left after today and that would be something Victoria would make sure of.
“I can’t believe I was stupid enough to fall for yet another looser.” Charlotte felt defeated and stupid in front of Victoria, but she knew that Victoria had never had any trouble with men, maybe her old friend could offer some help. “Charlotte darling, forget him, he betrayed you, and you don’t deserve to be treated like that.” Victoria was smooth and methodical in the way she spoke, similar to that of a snake getting ready to strike at the prey it’s been stalking. Charlotte excused herself and head to the bathroom. Her eyes had begun to water and crying in front of Victoria and the public was the last thing Charlotte was going to do. Crying had become an ever to common event in Charlottes life and this time, she would not let it control her or ruin her day.
As Charlotte walked off Victoria’s phone rang; “Hello darling, perfect timing I might add, the Bitch just ran off to the bathroom to wash away her poor tears.” Victoria made a face of pure disgust. Being in the company of Charlotte was bad enough when all she wanted to do was smack her, but now having to listen to her whine, Alex and his dear mommy owed her big time for this one. “No, my sweet she has no idea, she thinks some guy is to blame, stupid Bitch.” “I have to go; she’s on her way back.”
“Sorry about that I needed to freshen up a bit, it’s been a long and exhausting week.” Charlotte tried to not sound so anxious. Truth is she envied Victoria for her cool, calm and collected demeanor. Charlotte however wore her emotions on her sleeve. Charlotte spent the rest of lunch spilling her guts to Victoria, whom seemed to soak up everything Charlotte was saying with an open mind. She went over how she and John met, when her first met Andrew and how Ms. Nelson seemed to adore him, even still after all he had put her through. Ms. Nelson seemed to think that John was an innocent bystander in the whole situation, but Charlotte wasn’t so sure.
Charlotte felt relaxed and carefree after she bid good bye to Victoria, who seemed in a better mood than when they first came. Victoria told her it was just stress at work, so Charlotte blew it off.
Charlotte made it to the bus stop just in time to get Andrew off the school bus. Recently Andrew had insisted on riding the bus to school with his friends. It hurt her heart to see how grown up her boy had become. It hurt even more for Charlotte to think that she may not get enough time with Andrew before her cancer took over and death became her.
With court coming up Charlotte was getting more anxious by the minute. She had decided, at the insistence of Ms. Nelson, that she would take an extra shift at the hospital to help keep her mind busy and hopefully ware her out so she could get a little sleep, which Charlotte agreed was better than none at this point. The bags under Charlotte’s eyes had begun to grow so much that a stranger asked, out of concern, who punched her. She was emotionally exhausted, but Charlotte could not get her mind to rest at night. Charlotte knew that she would eventually lose her son to that monster, but she would only give in when God decided it was time.
The shift was flowing quickly due to the fast paced ER atmosphere and constant flow of patients tonight. Charlotte was thankful more than stressed. Feeling a bit more charged, Charlotte decided to help out another nurse who was falling a bit behind and looking exhausted. “Betty, I’ll take your next patient for vitals and exam if you want, you look like you can use a coffee fix.” Betty Sampson was all too happy and almost threw her chart at Charlotte before hurrying to the break room. Charlotte just smiled and giggled slightly, happy that she could help.
Charlotte’s smile turned shocked the moment she walked into the exam room to find the last person she wanted to see right now…..John.
Charlotte was so angry that she couldn’t speak, her exhaustion turned into pure adrenaline, all she could do was stare into a face just as shocked as hers. Fueling her anger was the tingle she felt in her most private area that made her want to run to him and rip off his clothes. He was still the sexiest man she had ever seen. His right hand was red and swollen, no doubt he punched something and most likely had broken his knuckles, and by the look of it multiple fractures. No matter his injuries her heart still jumped when she was around him and Charlotte wanted to feel him inside her. Charlotte snapped out of her day dream to remember all he had done to hurt her. He looked in pain, but not as bad as the emotional pain, that HE put her through!
Her brows frowned as her emotions surged. Never in her life had she ever felt empowered and wanted revenge more. He betrayed her; he hurt her and took advantage of her and her son. He was not going to get a word in. Charlotte knew she shouldn’t take this advantage to tell him off but her sense was gone and she decided to let her emotions fly. “How fucking dare you! You are the last damn person I ever want to see! Fuck, are you serious John?? How the fuck can you show up here and ruin my night? How can you take advantage of a person the way you used and hurt me? Then to bring my son in? You are a bastard and the lowest person I have ever met!” John tried to speak but Charlotte cut him off immediately and let her rant continue.
John just needed to let her blow off steam, but every word out of her mouth cut him deep. How can she think that he betrayed her? He did nothing but love her, and fell in love with her. Her son and Charlotte had become a permanent fixture in his life. John wanted to tell her about how he was trying to help her and tried to explain the facts that he knew, but she would have none. John was completely lost and at this moment, he had no idea what to do.
Just as she finished, an older white haired nurse snapped the door open. Charlotte seemed embarrassed, though John couldn’t be sure, she could be red from anger. Either emotion he was just happy for a break from her on-going fury.
“What is going on in here?” The nurse demanded. Charlotte seemed to calm slightly though he wasn’t sure it wouldn’t save him from a continued lecture at a later date. “Ma’am I apologize, but I cannot see this patient, I am personally attached.” Charlotte was as calm as she could be, but she knew she was obviously flustered and shaking uncontrollably. Charlotte’s head charge nurse looked agitated and upset, Charlotte knew she would get a write up over this, but at this time she didn’t care. Charlotte felt hot and light headed from the sudden stress. Charlotte rushed out and went straight to the break room where she dropped to the corner and cried. All her anger and turned into tears and they just kept coming. Charlotte had managed to hold them in until she reached a place, any place, away from John. Seeing her cry is a satisfaction that she would not give to him.
John sympathetically looked at the nurse, whose expression was confused and angry. Great, just what he needed, another angry nurse, let alone angry female, at him. John felt defeated, he couldn’t win for loosing. Charlotte wouldn’t hear sense or listen to him at all. Now this nurse seemed angry and looked like she wanted to knock him out just because of the situation that just occurred. How was he supposed to know Charlotte was working tonight? She usually had Tuesdays off.
Approximately 2 hours later, after nervously finishing her shift, Mrs. Sharon Rise, the head charge nurse asked Charlotte to step inside her small office. The office was white painted brick and consisted of an old laminate tile floor. It was a typical office for a hospital. Large enough for a small desk that served the basic purposes of hospital and chart needs. The desk was aligned with a semi-comfy office chair and a hard plain maroon chair on the opposite side. The maroon chair Charlotte was now dreading having to sit in. Reluctantly she sat, knowing that she was going to get fired or at the least written up for her outburst to the patient. Charlotte had acted out of emotion, out of pain and betrayal. This was an action that her conscious had tried to reason and lost with. Charlotte had just now lost her job and failed not only herself but her son as well and at that thought Charlotte let the tears roll, though how she had anymore to release she was unsure.
Calmly Mrs. Rise sat down and her expression softened slightly, almost to a disappointed look rather than angry. Charlotte calm at the sight, though still unsure of what to expect next. “What happened in there?” Charlotte decided to tell Mrs. Rise the whole situation from start to finish and that being honest, may save her job. “Ma’am I know it was wrong and I don’t know what came over me, I am not one to act out of emotion.”
Charlotte was cut off by Mrs. Rise who took a deep breath before speaking. “I know you aren’t and that is the only reason I am not firing you. You are in the training process for a supervisory position and your actions could very well have ruined it. If it was anyone else you would be written up, call this your official warning, any other slip up and you will be terminated immediately. As of right now, this situation will go in your file as a verbal warning and should not affect your promotion.” Charlotte was shocked and humbled by the outcome. Her head down all she could say was a quiet yet audible thank you. A thank you that was meant and appreciated, Mrs. Rise knew this as well.
“Mrs. Jackson I need you to tell me if anything else will come up or if in anyway your personal life is going to affect your job again? This is something that we cannot have happen or be brought up again, do you understand? This is your one chance to be honest.” Charlotte thought about telling Mrs. Rise about her cancer, but at the same time that could and most likely would affect her promotion and right now she needed hope and a promotion that could benefit her son currently was hope. A way for her to provide for her child in a better way than now was hope. She hated to lie but she couldn’t let the words out I have cancer. Those words still scared her and she had still not fully come to terms with it. Last time she said those words a flood of emotions had hit her and Victoria told her that letting emotions takeover is a sign of weakness and that was something she didn’t want to look, weak. No matter the situation. “No, Ma’am, there is nothing else.”
At 6am Charlotte was thankful for the “meeting” and shift to be over. She would get home in time to wake Andrew from his slumber and get him ready for school. On the way home Charlotte stopped by the local market to gather fresh eggs, pancake batter and organic syrup from local farms. Waffles were in her mind today and it was a much needed distraction form the misery and stress that seemed to follow Charlotte around like a shadow she couldn’t get away from.