Journal 16: She doesn't win you. You win her.

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A/N: Hi everyone. I'll keep this short and sweet. Here's the newest entry to Brandon's journal. This happens around the same time as Charlotte's meeting with the Championettes. Enjoy!

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My mother, having come from an old and influential family, had been doing philanthropy since she was a teenager. Becoming Mrs. Maxfield changed nothing for her when it came to that except maybe give her causes more weight. Evelyn came from a family of diplomats that doing charity work was a natural next step for her after she married Dad. Both women were the toast of Boston—gracing every society page, every charity gala, every fundraiser.

Then there's Charlotte—adorable in her fancy dress and sneakers, an ex-diner waitress, practically an orphan, champion of the poor and helpless, wielder of a mean right hook I've fortunately managed to avoid, and verbal trasher of the unworthy.

Despite her impressive resume though, she apparently couldn't fit the mold of the Championettes that in my opinion was too small anyway for Charlotte's big heart.

I should've known it, the moment Charlotte mentioned the coveted invite from the prestigious group. It didn't occur to me then that they would have ulterior motives because to be honest, my first thought was why not? Why wouldn't anyone love her? How could anyone not love her?

And then I remember how I was the first time we met—my own tendencies at underestimating her, thinking the worst of her. So yes, I understood that people will have their prejudices. But it didn't mean it didn't make me angry. That may seem hypocritical to some but I'll gladly admit to anyone that I was happy to have been proven wrong when it came to my first impression of Charlotte.

It took a couple of calls for Felicity to ferret out exactly what happened. The staff is always willing to talk if you ask them the right questions. It was only the fact that Charlotte needed me to be there by her side that prevented me from marching down to Clifton House and rattling the place up to its rafters. But my wife, with her usual tendency to downplay her suffering, simply tried to put the whole thing behind her.

I watched the fleeting mix of emotions on her face as I held her in my arms after I dragged her into my office, trying to pry the truth from her despite her obvious reluctance. I knew, even without her putting it in so many words, that she was quietly devastated by what she considered her failure to live up to the reputation of a Mrs. Maxfield. And she believed enough in what she stood up for that afternoon to not change her mind, even if it meant not fulfilling what she pretty much thought were my own expectations of her role.

Screw the checkboxes.

While being Mrs. Maxfield was synonymous to a lot of fancy, lofty social accomplishments, the bottomline of those great, powerful women in the past was the strength of their character. Both had to be remarkable if they could not only marry a man like my father but love him as well for his complicated inner workings. Charlotte had survived more than her fair share of adversity, stopping for no rest when she took me on my offer to turn her world upside down for a year.

An easy fix would be to pay her admittance to the Championettes—to offer so much money and support they would probably spit back out their own words only to eat them again.

But I knew Charlotte wouldn't want that.

Even more so, it wouldn't get her what she really wanted—genuine respect.

Me greasing up my wife's way to everyone's good side will only serve to worsen their perception of her. She didn't need my money to show them just exactly what they were passing up. She just needed the smallest opportunity. And it irritated me that for all of my own influence, I was helpless to let Charlotte navigate her way among the society sharks.

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