“Amy, did you hear that?”
“Charley...I was trying to talk about something serious. Will you put those damn binoculars down? Remember how much trouble they got us in last time?”
Charley lowered his binoculars slightly and sighed. “I’m sorry, Amy, but I know I heard something.”
“You’ve just been jumpy lately, Charley. We all have…” she said, sadly. “But we got him. I know it still… It still feels strange out there, but… I mean I still feel a sense of dread when I look at that house, but we both know it’s empty.”
Charley was miles away, caught up in thought. He brought his binoculars back up to his eyes and leaned closer to the window.
“Charley, please…” Amy whispered.
“Shh...I think I saw something in the bushes…” Charley focused his binoculars, a shape was starting to form, something moving…
The curtains were drawn shut forcefully. “Amy! Shit, there was something there!”
“It was a dog, Charley.” Amy said, anger rising in her voice. “Charley, I need you to listen...I need you to talk, too. I know it’s bugging you.”
“Amy, I don’t want to talk about it. I don’t want to hear about it. I wasn’t there for you and I wasn’t there for him either and it just… It kills me, Amy. I can’t stand to hear about it. Don’t you think i feel guilty enough?”
They sat down on the bed with a simultaneous sigh. Amy put her head in her hands. The scars on her neck caught some light from the desk lamp. Charley ran the back of his hand lightly over them. Amy sighed and leaned up to kiss him. Charley looked shocked and pushed her away, gently.
“Amy, I’m sorry. I’m sorry…” Tears were falling and his voice was shaking a bit. “I shouldn’t. I could have kept us all out of this if I had just been smarter...You wouldn’t have...Ed would…” He buried his head in his arm, and his elbow almost hit Amy. She ducked and re-positioned herself, wrapping an arm around Charley to comfort him.
“You shouldn’t blame yourself, Charley.”
“But you did…” He whispered.
“You said so yourself. I was supposed to protect you, it was my fault.”
Charley shrugged her arm off and walked back to the window, wiping the tears off his face violently.
“Maybe you should go now, Amy. It’s late. You should get some sleep.” He said, coldly.
“Fine.” She said, exasperated, as she grabbed her things. She stomped towards the door. Leave it to Charley to make it about himself when she needed to talk. When she had so many things on her mind, so many things torturing her thoughts all day.
She softened as she reached the door. He’d been through a lot as well… It wasn’t fair to… Well, none of it was fair.
“Will I see you tomorrow?”
“Sure. It’s a school day, isn’t it?”
“Ugh!” Amy slammed the door and stomped down the stairs. Charley heard his mother call goodbye to her but didn’t hear Amy reply. Great. Now she was going to come up and ask him what was wrong.