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Hello Again, Charlie Brown by CrystalNeonSummerSnow

Genre: Friendship/Hurt/Comfort

Character's POV: Charlie Brown

Summary: It's been five years since Charlie Brown's seen his friends. When he hears that he and Sally are moving to Seattle, they're excited to hear that the gang will be reunited. In the pit of his gut, Charlie Brown knows something bad will happen, and his prediction comes true when Lucy needs all the comfort she needs.


My eyes woke to a starlit setting outside. Another sleepless night as usual. I stretched myself up from under the quilts and groaned from the pain of my back popping. Slipping my bunny slippers on (it was a gift from Aunt Debra, okay?), I decided that since I didn't have anything better to do, maybe I should take a stroll down memory lane.


I looked at the corner and noticed a broken bat. Heh, my last day in the little league. Who knew that Lucy had such a temper? Pretty much everyone when I accidentally hit her in the face and gave her a broken nose. I wasn't surprised that she didn't talk to me even the day I moved. Continuing my reminiscing, I noticed a medal pinned to my billboard. My 3rd place award from the 4th grade science fair, and all I did my project on was on the solar system. My thoughts of the happy days were cut short when I slumped back into bed, boxes surrounding me wall to wall.


I noticed a small figure with his tail wagging and standing on his hind legs. Snoopy.


He pounced into my lap and curled up into a ball. I gently patted his head. Man's best friend. I stayed still on the bed, flat on my back, letting the dark room fill me with a cold farewell from when I was seperated from the gang.


I remembered it like it was yesterday....


The snow was continuous. Convenient weather for a sad and gloomy day. 10 years old and still a blockhead, I walked somberly down the neighbor hood and interlaced my fingers to do my signature awkward turtle. I still couldn't believe that my family and I were moving.


I know I was fairly abused by my friends, verbally most of the time, but somehow the pain felt good. It molded me into a stong boy. The only house I stopped at was the Van Pelt residence -- Linus and Lucy's house.


Sally hugged onto my arm and saw my shoulder and sleeve stained from her crying. She had to say farewell to his "sweet baboo" Linus while I had to say goodbye to Lucy, a girl who I'd certainly most remember. Knocking on the door and ringing the door bell repeatedly, I realized after a series of attempts that they weren't home. We nodded our heads together and headed for the car.


....where surprisingly everyone crowded the car.


" Guys? What are you doing here?" I asked excitedly.


" We came to say goodbye to you." Linus replied with his security blanket wrapped around his neck like a scarf. From hugging to even crying, everyone gave their goodbyes one at a time. Sally's goodbye to Linus was, typically, embracing him and kissing his cheek one too many times; only this time, Linus just hugged back. Peppermint Patty slapped my back and said,


" Seeya later, sly dog."


My eyes glanced at Woodstock hugging Snoopy's nose and a warm, but crooked, smile tugged at me from each corner. The last goodbye I expected to recive was from Lucy. Everyone looked at us and all that surrounded us was silence. Intense, real silence, not just those awkward pauses you see on teen drama shows. Of course, in my mind, I expected her to just push me in the car, call me a blockhead as usual, and turn her back as my military father drove off into the fog.


Yet, surprisingly, Lucy's eyes were filled with anything but rage and crabbiness.


She rubbed the bruise she still had on her nose and took another step closer. She stook her hand out and motioned me to shake it. I cocked an eyebrow up as a way to ask why, and she just grunted in her tomboy tone,


" Look, I'm making a truce with you, blockhead. Do you want me to slug you instead?"


I nervously obeyed and shook her hand. For a moment, we didn't let go and just stared into each other's eyes for a moment, trying to find an answer to what we should do next. I asked myself what it would be like to kiss Lucy for once. But then, my head started throbbing as if something slapped my brain. Probably a way of saying it'd be a fool's errand to kiss such a bully.


But as usual, I ignored.


I leaned in closer to her face and she looked at me gob smacked. She didn't even respond with a slap or an insult, didn't even blink. My lips was an inch away to pressing them upon hers, but I instead targeted her soft, rosy cheek. Everyone gasped at my act of affection and she still stood frozen. I pulled away just to meet my eyes with hers glistening with curbed tears.


I mouthed a goodbye to her and stepped into the car with Sally slouching herself in, too. I looked one last time at everyone, eyes boring at them. Tears flowing down their cheeks. A few sniffles. Even coming from Lucy. I showed my pain by sheding one tear, just one, and saying in a friendly tone,


" Thanks for everything, guys."


With Snoopy in my lap and Sally preparing to quietly sob herself to sleep on the way to Fresno, I turned my head away from the sight of my friends vanishing from my life.


I blinked a couple of times and I was back in my 15 year-old body and my room was still painted red and boxes were towering over my head. Snoopy licked my cheeks in a sympathetic way. Oh God, I was crying throughout the whole thing.


I soon felt someone sit next to me on the bed.


" Charlie Brown?" Sally asked, patting my shoulder. I sat up and sighed. She still resumed her annoying, yet caring preteen attitude to this day. She looked at me and shook her head. She could easily see pain. Lots and lots of pain.


" Are you still awake?"


" You know me, sis. Where's Mom?" I didn't bother to ask about Dad; I knew he was still in Iraq invading enemy lines.


" Working late again."


" I still don't understand why we should move if Dad's not coming with us." Sally's face turned into one of disapproval.


" Charlie Brown, you blockhead, you know that he's planning on retiring and coming home soon, but Mom wants to move to Seattle. Something about a surprise waiting there for you."


My head shot up. What surprise? What would wait for me in Seattle? It'd be the same, most likely. I move into a new school after summer, I get bullied, and have a crush that would turn me down. Same old story of a teenage blockhead. Sally quickly resumed her sympathetic feelings and tried to lighten me up.


" Remember when you traded Lucy to Peppermint Patty?" A fake smile beamed across my face. At least she's trying to attempt levity. I turned my head back at her and tapped my fingers on the patches of purple and beige on the quilt. Ah, the memories of how bad Lucy was as a right fielder.


" Who could forget? She couldn't even use a shopping cart to catch to ball. O Great Baseball God, please tell me she's improved over the years." We laughed dryly in unison for a moment, but it quickly died out. She stood up and said,


" I'll be in my room. C'mon, Snoopy, old boy."


I was left alone again; alone to think over my past. I flipped a switch to turn on the lights. I tore off some of the duct tape and pulled out my navy blue Inspiron and clicked on an auto-tune icon. I pondered while putting the CD in wondreing about what to sing. Then when I played the beat, the first few words came out.


♪ Just gonna stand there and watch me burn?♪

♪ That's alright becuase I like the way it hurts...♪


I don't know why I like that song so much, but somehow it releases any guilt in me. With the beat continuing for the first verse, I remembered Nikki Flores' cover version for Love the Way You Lie and then the lyrics flew out of my mouth.


♪ It's either one way or the other♪

♪ We either love or we hate each other♪

♪ We both know that it ain't right♪


Soon, another silent flashback hit me. I remembered the time I was at Violet's pool party (no, I wasn't put on the wrong invitation list!), Lucy appeared in a white dress adorned with printed yellow daisies and smugly bounded her bouffant around. Even though I never said this, she was amazingly beautiful. When I realized I was finishing the chorus, the idea of the second verse popped in my head.


♪ Felt paralyzed from your kisses♪

♪ All the misters and little misses♪

♪ Always got in our business♪

♪ Ever since all we do is fight♪

♪ A fairytale crossed with the dark side♪

♪ Neither of which we want♪


It's not like I never remembered my cover version and was singing it for the first time and getting it perfectly right. I remembered singing it at the talent show and winning first place for the first time. I felt like I wanted to wanted to pull out my trophy and look at my reflection happily, but like the rest of my things, it was stored safely in their cardboard prisons for the night. Finally the final verse came. Noticing it was 3 am on the grandfather clock in the living room, I had to wrap it up and leave the verse short and sweet.


♪ Now even though♪

♪ You may hate me♪

♪ Just thought I'd say♪

♪ O how I love thee♪


Okay, now I was losing it. My eyes were flooding up with more and more tears, begging to cascade all the way down to my toes and even on the tacky blue button eyes of those stupid slippers. Still, my will tends to be stronger than emotion. Ending the verse with,


♪ That's alright because I love the way you lie.

♪ I love the way you lie (3x)♪

♪ Just gonna stand there and watch me burn?♪

♪ That's alright because I like the way it hurts♪

♪ Just gonna stand there and hear me cry?♪

♪ That's alright because I love the way you lie♪

♪ I love the way you lie♫


Burning my auto-tuned cover onto the CD and ejecting it, I picked up my laptop for a moment just to pack it away and fall asleep innocently as if I never touched it, I played my CD just to hear how horrible I was. To my surprise I sounded a lot better than I had hoped. Hearing the ending, I finally burst.


My will has failed again.


The plane ride to Seattle was short, but with my mind running off with my imagination, it felt like a year until we finally reached out destination. A lot of thoughts cluttered my head. How's Snoopy doing in the back with the other animals? What will the middle of summer have in store for me? How many friends or enemies will I make? Too many thoughts, so little time.


" Prepare for landing, pasangers." the robotic, yet female voice said over the intercom.


With one dive into the Seatlle airport, I looked at the usual rain pouring hard on the windows. In the parking lot, we waited for the moving truck to meet us here, but then a black SUV pulled up in front of us with a middle-aged woman behind the wheel; my guess, 43.


" Need a lift to your new house? I'd be happy to take you there."


" But we don't know you, m'am." I politely responded. My mother patted my head as a way to let the nice woman finish her greeting. She giggled and said,


" Oh, don't worry, Charlie Brown. I remember you. I'm Crystal Van Pelt."


Pause.


Van Pelt? You mean, as in the same last name Linus and Lucy have? My heart beated so loud, I bet they all heard me. Sally cheeped girlishly and stepped into the car to find her soon-to-be boyfriend and my best friend in the backseat. He threw his arm around her and gave me a knuckle touch.


" Charlie! Hey, how are you doing?"


" Really good, now. Where's Lucy?" He dodged the question and instantly changed the subject.


" Umm, like my coat? I made it out of my old blanekt." I shot my graceless smile and looked down at my brown sneakers. He turned his head back to me and aksed,


" So, what have you been doing lately?"


" Oh, the usual: trying to improve in baseball, listening to R&B, reading Nicholas Sparks novels over and over. NOw, I direct the question at you."


" Oh, well, I've been playing online chess and helping Schroeder with his piano-playing."


" Wha..? Schroeder's living here?"


" Dude, everyone from the old gang is living here. Peppermint Patty, Marci, Pigpen, Violet, and a whole lot more."


My smile became more calm and warm as I replied with,


" Cool."


Soon, my new house appeared before us and conveniently, Linus would be my next-door neighbor. He took me and Sally inside while my mother went inside my house. All we really just did for the next hour was play Mario & Sonic at the Olympics on his Wii. Soon, he took me into his room. I could tell that he didn't have much of a personality change just by looking around his room. He still had little Star Wars figurines and a potted fern hanging from the ceiling. Despite my enjoying the tour of his room, I repeated the question I asked earlier with a more serious emphasis,


" Where is Lucy?"


He looked at me, what it felt like, forever until he pointed at the backyard. Rushing out there without hesitation, I saw a polished wooden casked with velvelt and a dead man inside. On the other table was a tombstone inscripted,

Sammuel Jacob Van Pelt

1963-2010

My eyes slowly shot over to Lucy on her knees, weeping. My heart sunk to my feet and I quietly shut the door. Linus looked through the screen and nodded.


" Yep, our father died. Had a heart attack a month ago, but survived. Yet a week ago, some jived loser pointed a gun right at Dad's heart and shot him. We're planning on doing the funeral tomorrow night; what's convenient it that the forecast calls for rain."


My hand jiggled the doorknob for a moment, but Linus tried to stop and warn me before I headed back out there.


" I wouldn't if I were you. Lucy gets crabbier than usual when she's upset."


I shook my head and walked back outside without any bit of worry. Lucy would probably be happy to see me. I bet she'd probably have little red and white hearts dance around her head once she lays eyes on me. I moved fastly, but gingerly in my pace, towards the girl on her knees collecting grass blades on her jeans from kneeling to the ground for too long.


I threw my arms around her once I was close enough.


" I'm so sorry for your loss, Lucy."


She jerked around and her eyes went up and down from looking at my dorky quiff all the way to my sweatervest. SHe angrily pushed me off and yelled,


" Charlie Brown?! Just when I suffer the worst days of my life, you come back?!" Huh, I expected her to be embracing me rather than confronting.


" I-Didn't you miss me?"


" I missed being away from you, that's what I missed, blockhead!" She swiftly kicked me in the thigh for a moment and I fell back to the ground as she stomped off.


I guess some things never change.


I sat on the sidewalk still taken aback from what happened. Lucy really didn't miss me? I thought that after all those years apart, she'd ask to cry on my shoulder and comfort her as much as I can. Well, I figured that even if she did need comfort, even if I cried for her, even if I were crazy enough to jump off a cliff for her, her feelings for me would never change. I would forever be known to her as a blockhead.


I was snapped back when I heard loud, blustering teasing right in front of me.


" Hey, dogface! Heard your father died. What happened? Did he see you in your dress again?" Patty teased Lucy. I gritted my teeth furiously. I'm still surprised that Patty would become the neighborhood bully instead of Lucy. I blinked several times and tried to ignore, but soon the insults got even more harsh and loud.


Marci tugged and Patty's shoulder.


" Sir, please quit teasing Lucy. She didn't do anything to you."


" Honey, you've got to stop calling me Sir. Besides, I'm surprised her father didn't die the day she was born, just by looking at her."


At that point, I began debating with myself with the topic being, Should I confront Patty? I mean, I know that Lucy acted a little heartless towards me yesterday, but still, it's not right for Patty to tease Lucy after the trama she's faced in her family. I walked up to Patty and turned her around to face me.


" What;s all this about? Why would you pick on Lucy for her father's death?"


" Oh, c'mon sly dog--"


" Don't call me by that name."


" Alright, why are you suddenly acting like her best friend? If I remember when we were 10, you told me that all Lucy did was abuse you in the most pointless way."


" It's been five years, Patty. People change. And in my eyes, Lucy is a gentle soul who just feels neglected. Turning a blind eye on her just because she treated me badly would be even more cruel than everything she did in the past. C'mon Lucy, let's go."


I grasped her hand and walked her back to her house. Before she headed back in, she turned to me and asked with a smile,


" See you at the funeral tonight?"


" You know it."


The restrained organ music spun all around and in my head. I approached the coffin with a bouquet of freashly-picked carnations and left it there on top of the tomb that would keep Mr. Van Pelt sealed. I sat back in my seat and hugged a shivering and crying Lucy.


When everyone left. Lucy and I were the only ones left standing. I started the conversation by handing her a carnation I saved wrapped in lace like a corsage.


" Thanks," she muttered in a tone that didn't sound as frustrated and depressed as I thought it would be. I then shuffled throuhg the clutter in my side pocket and handed a CD with a CD player she left on the floor in her room. She looked up at me for a moment, but I just responded by saying,


" I covered a song for you..."


I looked at her as she inserted the ear buds in her ears and listened to the song. She, at first, stood still and silent, almost like a statue, but then tears flooded down her cheeks and again and she quickly embraced me. I sighed in a loving way and looked back down at her.


" Thank you, Charlie Brown."


I soon felt smooth lips press themselves against mine as our fingers interlaced. I had finally felt happy after all those years of being bullied. When we released, I let out a breath and whispered in her ear,


" I love you, Lucy."


We then held hands and walked back inside.


I bet Mr. Van Pelt was looking down at us, smiling.

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