Don't Walk Away

Written by Miranda

Written after Intervention, Season 3, Ep. 20

Bailey slammed his jeep door. The last twenty-four hours had been pretty awful. After his family's accusation, Callie's desertion, and this new revelation of a family secret, Bailey considered yesterday to rank as one of the worst. He shifted the six-pack of beer to his other hand as he climbed the stairs to his apartment.

He let himself in and practically collapsed on his bed. But the pounding in his head wouldn't let him relax. Bailey stumbled to the bathroom and opened the medicine cabinet. He pulled out a bottle of aspirin, sending cough syrup and Band-Aids crashing into the sink. His head hurting more every second, Bailey searched for something to drink. As usual, the refrigerator was next to empty.

Frustrated, Bailey slammed the refrigerator door. His gaze rested on the six-pack he had brought home. 'Oh, what the heck,' Bailey thought, reaching for a can. He tipped his head back and washed the aspirin down with a long drink. He drained the can as Callie opened the door.

An uncomfortable silence engulfed the room as the two locked gazes. Callie's eyes moved to the beer can Bailey held. Bailey followed her gaze.

"Don't even start with me," he said defensively.

Callie shook her head and dropped her keys on a table. "I didn't say a word." She watched as Bailey opened another beer.

"Maybe that's the problem," Bailey mumbled.

"What?" Callie asked.

Bailey took a gulp from his beer. "Nothing."

Callie pulled off her coat with an angry jerk. "Bailey, if you have something to say, just say it."

"Fine," he answered. "Why did you disappear yesterday? Where were you when I had five people jumping on me? Gee, thanks, Cal, for the support. Thanks for being there when it really mattered."

Callie shrugged her shoulders. "Hey, I warned you. I don't do that kind of thing-all that family stuff. That thing yesterday was none of my business."

"You're supposed to be my girlfriend, Callie," Bailey reminded her. "Usually, being supportive is in the job description."

Callie gave him a cold stare. "Not in mine." And with a toss of her hair, she turned and went to her bedroom. She slammed the door behind her. Bailey stared at the closed door for a moment. With shrug of his shoulders, Bailey finished off his second beer. And then he reached for another.


Charlie woke suddenly. He could feel someone staring at him before he even opened his eyes. Turning to lay on his side, Charlie reached for his bedside lamp. He blinked furiously as he tried to focus on the person standing in the doorway.

"Claudia," Charlie said sleepily. "Why are you up?" He checked his bedside clock. "It's three in the morning," he informed his sister. That's when Charlie noticed her tear-streaked face.

"What's wrong, Claud?" he asked.

Claudia's voice was shaky with emotion. "I...I had a...a dream...nightmare. A bad one."

"Oh, Claudia," Charlie sat up and held out his arms to her. "Come here, sweetie."

She did and the tears came ast Charlie hugged her close. He let her cry for a few minutes before asking questions.

"You want to tell me about it?"

Claudia took a shuddering breath. "I keep seeing them. Mom and Dad. It''s that night. I see them at the intersection, and then Walter Alcott running the red light, and then him hitting them."

"Oh, Claud. Not again." Charlie remembered all too well Claudia's nightmares that occurred every night for nearly three months after their parents' deaths.

"And then," Claudia's voice became choked with tears, "then he-Walter Alcott-he changes. He becomes...becomes...Bailey. Walter Alcott changes to Bailey." Claudia couldn't continue.

Charlie held her as the sobs took over. "Okay. It's okay, Claud. I'm right here, sweetheart."

The question was asked in the voice of a little girl. "Can I stay here with you tonight?" Claudia managed to ask through the tears.

"Yeah, Claud. Of course."

Charlie waited while his sister laid down and carefully covered her with the blankets. He turned off the light and laid down. Listening to Claudia's deep and steady breathing, Charlie stared at the ceiling. When would this all end?


Sarah nearly fell from her perch on a chair as she pulled a box off her top closet shelf.

"Where is that biology book?" she muttered to herself, opening the box. She began shuffling through the contents of the box. Her hands trembled when she emptied a manila envelope on her bed. A dozen or so pictures now lay on her comforter. Pictures that once held places of honor on her mirror. Pictures of herself and Bailey.

Sarah stared at the photos for a long time. She couldn't stand this. It was worse than when they had broken up. Sure, maybe she had missed him, but at least she still had been able to contact him. But this-this not knowing where he was or what he was doing-was torture. 'I can't stand this anymore,' Sarah decided, reaching for the phone on the nightstand. 'Forget the promise to Charlie.' She hit the speed dial button for Bailey's apartment, now glad she hadn't gotten around to deleting it. The phone rung once, twice, three times.

It was Callie that answered the phone.

"Hello?" Callie said.

Sarah opened her mouth to respond-and lost her nerve. She couldn't say a word.

"Hello?" Callie repeated in an annoyed tone.

Sarah hung up.


Callie returned the receiver to the hook, shrugging. She didn't really have time for a phone call anyway. She had an early morning class in a half-hour. "I need some orange juice," Callie decided, crossing the room to the refrigerator. She swung the door open and peered inside. The first thing she noticed was the beer. There were three six-packs in front of the normal things like milk and o.j. Callie stared at the contents of the fridge, forgetting her orange juice. Suddenly, she grabbed the beer-all of it. She set it on the counter next to the sink and methodically began pouring the cans, one by one, down the drain.


Frustrated, Charlie hung up the phone. That was the fifth-no, sixth-rehab clinic he had checked. Not one of them had seen or heard of a Bailey Salinger. 'No more,' Charlie told himself as he tried to ignore the guilty feeling in his stomach. No, this wasn't the same as calling Bailey. He wasn't contacting Bailey personally, just checking about Bailey. So Charlie wasn't really breaking the "no contact whatsoever" promise. But as much as Charlie tried to convince himself of this, that nagging feeling would not go away.


Claudia sneezed as she opened yet another dust-covered box. Still she kept searching. No need to let a little dust hinder her mission. Claudia was on a hunt-for what exactly, she wasn't sure. But she was looking for something, anything, to prove her father's alcoholism.

The first thing Claudia pulled from the box was Charlie's baby book. Bailey's, Julia's, and her own were in there, too. Sadly, Claudia realized that Owen's baby book would probably never be completed. Right after Owen was born, the accident had happened and...

No. Claudia shook her head to dispel the memories. "Stay focused," Claudia muttered to herself. But the next thing she found was her parents' wedding album. Claudia had seen this dozens of times, but she couldn't resist flipping through it again. She stared at her young and happy parents. Anger engulfed Claudia as she looked at a picture of her father. Did he have alcoholic tendencies even then? Did he ever imagine that he would almost destroy his own family with his drinking? Did he realize that even after his death, his addiction was still harming them through his son? A single tear splashed on the album. Then Claudia heard a noise.

"Claudia? Claud, are you down there?"

It was Charlie. Claudia quickly wiped away tears, hid the album, and grabbed some clean laundry. She didn't want her brother knowing about her quest. Not yet. Claudia looked up innocently as Charlie descended the basement stairs.

"Whatcha doin'?" he asked.

Claudia held up a towel. "Laundry."

"Oh. Thanks. Listen, I'm going to the restaurant for the early dinner shift. Want to come with me?" Charlie offered.

The restaurant. Dad's restaurant. The significance hit Claudia like a ton of bricks. No way was she going to set foot in Dad's restaurant. "No!" Claudia declared. The expression on Charlie's face made Claudia realize how forceful that had been. She softened her tone. "I mean, no. Thanks anyway."

"Are you sure?"

Claudia nodded. "I'm sure. I have a lot to do-laundry, dishes. Besides, my room's a mess. I'll just stay here. I'm okay. Really."

"I know," Charlie said. "Okay, I'll be back in a few hours. You know how to get hold of me if...if..."

"If anything happens," Claudia finished for him.

"Right." And with one last goodbye, Charlie headed upstairs.

Claudia waited until she heard the door close and the truck's motor start before she resumed her search. After a few more boxes, Claudia realized that she wasn't finding anything important. Discouraged, Claudia thought hard. Where would be a good place to look? Then it occurred to her. Mom's journals. They had to hold secrets. The key was finding them. Claudia last remembered seeing them in Julia's room. Feeling newly inspired, Claudia ran upstairs to find the journals.


Later that evening, Julia hung up her coat and stepped into the kitchen. The house was strangely quiet.

"Charlie? Claudia? Owen?" Julia called. No answer. She shrugged, then noticed the blinking light on the answering machine. Julia's heart skipped a beat as she hit the play button. 'Please, please, let it be Bailey,' Julia pleaded prayerfully. But none of the voices belonged to her brother. There were messages from the dentist's office, Joe, and Grace, but no Bailey. Sighing, Julia headed upstairs to her room, ready for an early night's sleep. She needed to make up for lack of rest. But when Julia swung open her bedroom door, Claudia was sitting on Julia's bed with her back to the door. "Claudia!" Julia proclaimed in annoyance. After all, no matter how big the crisis, a person still had the right to privacy.

Claudia jumped at the sudden noise. "Julia! You scared me!"

"Oh, sorry," Julia started to apologize, then thought again. "Wait a minute. Why am I apologizing? This is my room. What are you doing in here?" Claudia was torn between wanting to hide her search and wanting to tell her sister about it. Seeing the exasperation on Julia's face, Claudia opted for choice number two. She held up the journals for Julia to see. "I was looking for these." Claudia studied her sister's expression. "After all, they're Mom's and I have a right to see them too, and..."

Julia motioned for her to stop. "Claud, Claud, okay. It's fine that you read them. I wasn't trying to hide them. But why now?"

Claudia seemed reluctant to reveal that detail. But Julia gave her a look, and Claudia knew she'd better 'fess up. "I was looking for stuff about Dad's alcoholism. I want to know what he was really like."

The expression on Julia's face was troubled. "Claud, I don't know if that's a great idea. You know, it's kind of like opening Pandora's box."

Claudia felt desperation overtake her. "Please, Jule, please don't make me stop. I need to know."

Julia decided not to make an issue of this. There was all ready too much to deal with. "Okay, Claud. Just do me a favor and go somewhere else. I need some sleep."

Claudia agreeably moved, and Julia immediately laid down, barely pausing to kick off her shoes. Claudia had just one more request. "Julia?"

"Hmmm?" Julia was all ready half asleep.

"Don't tell Charlie what I'm doing. I don't want him to know yet."

"Uh huh, sure. Whatever." Julia's voice was muffled by the pillow she had put over her head.

And taking the journals, Claudia left the room.


Charlie arrived home around ten that night. Not too late, considering how little he had been at the restaurant lately. The house was dark, although it was still pretty early by Salinger standards. Charlie would have guessed everyone was gone, but Julia's car was in the driveway. Curious, Charlie went upstairs. He checked on Owen first, who was sleeping peacefully. For a brief moment, Charlie wished that he could be as unaffected by all this as Owen was. With a sigh, Charlie approached Julia's door, and knocked softly before opening the door. He was surprised to find his sister sound asleep. She was sprawled across her bed fully clothed. Charlie smiled ruefully, knowing how much this was exhausting them all. Charlie pulled a blanket over Julia before quietly leaving the room. He crossed to Claudia's room next, expecting to find another sleeping sister. But Claudia's room was empty. Puzzled, Charlie tried to figure out where Claudia was. After all, the house was dark. Charlie groaned as he wondered if Claudia had gone off to find Bailey. He definitely wouldn't put a stunt like that past his spunky little sister. Then Charlie relaxed as a revelation hit him. He went to his own room. Sure enough, there was Claudia in his own bed. Charlie debated for a moment whether or not to move her and decided against it. He instead went downstairs in search of something to eat. When Charlie entered the kitchen, the blinking light on the answering machine caught his attention. Charlie pressed the play button, only to hear the same messages Julia had heard earlier. He replayed the message from Grace.

"Hi, Charlie. It's me. I'm just checking in. I wanted to tell you I got here safely and to see how everything is there. Give me a call when you can. I miss you."

Charlie listened to the message one more time. Then he deleted it without any intentions of calling back.