Written by Rachel
Set between "Square One" and "Free and Clear"
Charlie came in the front door. His mind was still spinning from his
evening with Daphne. She wasn't what he had expected to pop up in his
life. It was all happening rather fast. First the remission and now
woman. She was different than other women he had known. She had the
outgoing, fun-loving nature that Nina had, but somehow she was
Nina had been rather settled in her life, but this one didn't seem to
where she was going and it didn't seem to bother her. He remembered
that was how he had lived, before his parents had died. It seemed so
ago now. He pulled his coat off. Thank goodness he had left those
sweatpants in the truck. It would have been a long ride home in his
shorts. He walked through the hall, a figure in the living room
"Jule . . . what are you doing up so late?" he asked as he walked in the
darkened room and sat down next to his sister. It was clear that she
"I don't know. I just couldn't go back out there. It's too hard,"
said as she wiped away her tears.
"Hey, what's going on? Is it Griffin? What did he do?" Charlie asked
sat down next to her. His voice was full of concern.
"It's . . . I can't talk about this Charlie," she responded, pulling her
knees up to her chin. The defensive body language made it apparent that
was holding a great deal of pain within herself.
"Hey, I know I've been out of commission for a couple of months, but
me, Jule. You can talk to me about these things . . . hell, I'm the
you should talk to about these things. Is it money or the business?
"He cheated on me," she answered in a dull tone. "Yeah, it started
about the money and living here, but in the end he was the one who slept
with some tramp."
"Whoa, Julia, I'm sorry. This is my fault. I added to your problems
that was the last thing you needed," Charlie said as he pulled her near
him. She stayed stiff, unbending in his arms.
"It wasn't your fault, you didn't plan to get cancer. No, this is
fault and I just have to figure out if I can ever forgive him. I don't
if I can, but I know I can't sleep out there with him."
"You just do whatever you need to do Jule. If you want him out of here
tell him to leave tonight. You decide."
"No, he doesn't have anywhere to go. I'll just sleep on the couch
and we'll figure something out. You should go to bed, you still have
radiation tomorrow," she said and kissed him on the cheek. "Thanks
Charlie. I really just needed to tell someone about this."
"Thanks for reminding me," he answered in response to both of her
He stood up and headed towards the stairs. "Don't worry, Jule. It'll
better in the light of day."
Charlie sat on the swing in wait. He knew Griffin would get home around
pm and when he did Charlie wanted to talk to him. He thought about how
approach the situation, after all he had spent more time in Griffin's
than Julia's, but this was different. She was his sister and this man
caused her pain. It was unacceptable. The sound of the motorcycle
up the alley pulled him out of his thoughts. He grew tense as he waited
the gate to swing open.
"Hey Charlie!" Griffin greeted him.
"Griffin," Charlie answered. "Let's take a ride." He ushered his
brother-in-law to the truck and headed to the Palace of Fine Arts. The
gardens there seemed just as good a place to have this conversation as
"So, what's this all about?" Griffin asked.
"Probably what you think it's about, you cheating on my sister," Charlie
"So, she told you."
"Of course she told me. Griffin, I have given you the benefit of the
more times than I care to think. What the hell were you thinking?"
responded nearly shouting.
"I don't know. I wasn't, obviously. It just seemed like things had
bad for so long and then she left and told me to get out and I don't
It just seemed to hopeless. I can't believe I was so stupid."
"Yeah, it was pretty stupid," Charlie said.
"But, the thing is . . . I still love her. I've hurt her so much that I
don't know how she could ever forgive me, but I can't imagine not being
her. It hurts to think about it," Griffin said his voice cracking with
"Yeah, well the strange thing is I think she loves you too, but
that isn't enough. I've sat where you're sitting, more than once.
not something I'm proud of. I've hurt people that I love a lot. I
know if you know this, but I cheated on Kirsten. It happened pretty
on, but it wasn't any easier on us. It took her a long time and now
look back I don't think she ever got over that. She lost her trust in
and it was over before it started. Sure, we lasted another two years
the end I had hurt her very badly."
"I never wanted to hurt her. I just didn't think," Griffin answered.
"Yeah, but the thing is you did hurt her. You hurt my sister, Griffin.
don't know how she'll forgive you because I don't think I can, but you
to try. She wants to, so do whatever you have to. Go to marriage
counseling or see a shrink. I don't know, just figure something out
she is in so much pain right now."
They didn't talk much after that. When they got back to the house
disappeared into the shed. Charlie heard him take off on his motorcycle
while Charlie was fixing dinner. He was still deep in thought when the
"Hey, did you get my present?" the deep voice asked.
"Kevin! Good to hear from you and yes, I did get the present. Too bad
didn't tell her we canceled the party," Charlie answered laughing. It
good to talk to him again.
"When I heard the gathering was canceled I figured you might still need
celebrate. So did you?" Kevin asked.
"Well, she found Owen and I doing laundry. I don't think she had ever
asked to perform in a similar venue," Charlie responded.
"Wow! I hope Owen appreciated it."
"Sorry to disappoint you, but she didn't strip. I got her to help out
a little decorating instead, but actually I did run into her a couple of
days later," Charlie answered.
"Oh?" Kevin inquired.
"Yeah, I ran into her again and well, we went out last night. Just
but she's nice. I like her and I think you would to. We should get
together sometime," Charlie answered.
The conversation continued as Claudia drifted in from orchestra. Owen
followed her and finally Julia. Charlie got off the phone as dinner was
"This is weird," Claudia said as they all sat down.
"What do you mean?" Charlie answered defensively as he set the casserole
the table. "I know I haven't cooked for a while, but I don't think I
completely lost my touch."
"No, not that. I just don't think I've eaten a meal with all of us here
since like Thanksgiving. You couldn't stop barfing long enough for
Christmas." she said as she passed the salad to Julia.
"Don't remind me," Charlie interjected.
"Where's Griffin?" Claudia asked.
"I think he had to work late, it doesn't matter," Julia said quietly.
mood put a damper on the formerly festive nature.
Griffin walked in the kitchen as Julia finished the supper dishes.
"Where were you? You missed dinner." she asked.
"I was just trying to figure out what to do," Griffin answered.
"What to do?"
"Charlie talked to me this afternoon. He didn't seem to think we could
past this, but he did say one thing that made me have to figure out a
try," Griffin answered.
"What was that?"
"He said you still love me. If that's true Julia, then I can't give up.
have to try something. I went to this clinic place and they have
counseling. It's on this sliding scale so we can afford it. Will you
She stood there for a moment. It never had occurred to her that he
actually try to fix this problem. She knew that he loved her, but this
such an overt act of that love.
"Yes, I'll try it," she answered as she held her hand out to him. He
her outstretched hand and just held it.