Chapter 8 : Change

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EVERYTHING had changed, that much Charlie knew. He couldn't comprehend how much, until he received an important letter from a connection in the Ministry, early the next morning. He stared down at the words, the chatter from his parents falling away.

"Charlie, are you okay?"

He jumped a mile high when he felt his mother's weathered hand touch him gently.

"Yeah, yeah, I'm okay. Mum, I need to get back to Romania and I can't take Charlotte with." He said, desperation on his face.

His mother gave him a look, her obvious displeasure making him wanting to cringe.

"She's your wife, and you have to take responsibility of your actions. You are always going to be my baby boy but it's time you show me that you are the man you say you are."

"Mum, how have I not shown you that I am an adult? I'm twenty-six for Merlin's sake."

His mother eyed him, making him wish he didn't sound like a petulant child when he uttered those words.

"You married a woman you haven't seen since school, at another person's wedding, because you were drunk."

"I didn't realize I was the only one who got married." He muttered and she walked up to him.

He flinched, expecting her to explode on him. Instead, her warm hand lifted his head up so that he could look into her eyes.

"So, since there's two of you, why do you want to leave her here and not give her the choice?"

He didn't reply, the guilt from her words making him silent.

"Talk to her and for Merlin's sake, if you don't ask your boss, how would you know he will say no?"

Molly walked out of the kitchen, after winking at her son. Her knitting needles flew behind her, the needles glinting in the merry sun. Charlie stood up, nodded to his father who was reading a newspaper, his mind in turmoil. He left the kitchen, rubbing his forehead. A headache was forming. 

He didn't know how to handle this. He wasn't used to asking anyone else advice or permission. He was used to doing things on his own and now, he had to talk to Charlotte.

He trudged up the stairs and entered his old room. It was full, her two suitcases taking most of the space in the small room. She had apparated to her hotel to collect her luggage and check out, her whole demeanor panicked. She had spent most of the previous day doing this, coming back with a calm and collected expression on her face.

Charlotte was sleeping, her hair spread out on the pillow. Her eyes were fluttering and she was twitching whilst she dreamed. She had slept in, having tossed and turned next to him all night. He wanted to reach out to her during the evening but held himself back.

Ever since they found out they had to stay married, there was an awkwardness between the two. She had started to withdraw herself from him and he couldn't bring himself to touch her. He felt trapped and he was sure, she did too.

He sat down on his desk chair, grabbing a piece of parchment to write a letter to his boss, Claude van der Buit. He used to be a colleague of Charlie's when he arrived there after school but was promoted when their old boss, Frans passed away from severe dragon fire burns. 

He grabbed an old quill from the drawer in his desk, and lubricated an old ink pot with his wand. He stared down at the blank page, his mind just as blank.

He swallowed, after a few minutes and glanced back at Charlotte. She was lying on her side now, her hair over her face. Her one arm reached towards the side he slept on and this made his mind set on what actions he wanted to take.

Maybe his mother wasn't wrong.

After writing a short letter, he was about to stand up before a thought entered his mind. He grabbed another piece of parchment and scrawled a request to his acquaintance. Maybe his connection would help in getting her to Romania with him.

After all, his acquaintance knew and loved Charlotte too.

He grabbed the two letters, and stopped at the door frame. He looked down at Charlotte, and felt a warmth emit in his stomach.

She looked so peaceful.

He swallowed, trying to get the knot to unravel from his throat. He left his room and knocked on his brother's room. George hadn't left for his shop yet, but since it was Sunday, he was getting ready to leave.

"George, can I borrow your owl?" Charlie called through the wooden door.

The door peeked open and his brother's dark brown eyes showed.

"Sure. Here, I'll send them for you." George stuck out his hand.

"Thanks, CVB goes to my sanctuary in Romania and AH goes to the Ministry." Charlie said, giving his letters to his brother.

The brown eyes sparkled in curiosity but George didn't ask.

"I really appreciate it, thanks mate." Charlie smiled and left his younger brother, trying to avoid the obvious curiosity.

He walked down the stairs and into their kitchen. It was empty, even though his mother had charmed the dishes to be washed. He heard conversation filtering in through the window, and walked outside. His parents were sitting on some chairs under the big tree in their yard and chatting with each other. The sun was quite warm today and the older couple seemed to be enjoying the shade and sun, the birds a beautiful soundtrack.

"Mum, dad." Charlie smiled, charming a chair for him to join the two.

He sat down, settling into the comfortable chair. He spread out his legs and stared out across their yard and the field surrounding it.

"Did you speak to her?" His mother asked.

"No, she was still sleeping." As he said this, Prongs, George's owl flew out of his window.

"Are you going to?"

"What's this, Molly?" His father asked and he glanced at his parents.

Charlie felt grateful for the interruption as she turned to her husband and explained the situation.

"Oh, son, I agree with your mum. You're married now, you need to communicate. It took us years to figure this out but if we had been told this early in our marriage, we would have avoided many arguments." His father smiled, grabbing his wife's hand.

"Your father is right, Charlie. Look, she's awake now. Maybe go speak to her." Molly gestured towards the back door of Charlie's childhood home.

Charlie looked and sucked in a small breath, staring at his new wife. She was standing at the door, her hands around a cup of coffee. She was dressed in her pajama's still, her hair thrown up into a ponytail. They weren't as young as they were in Hogwarts but he still felt the same way he felt then.

She was one of the most beautiful women he had ever seen.

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