tagErotic CouplingsBeauty and the Geek Ch. 10

Beauty and the Geek Ch. 10

byfrozenhero1©

PART 1 – One Year Later

===================

"Charlie!" Olivia literally ran to her son as he walked through the front door, wrapping him in a smothering hug. "Oh Charlie, it's so good to see you!"

"Come on honey, at least give him a chance to set his bags down." Charlie's father, John, said with a grin. He was carrying two heavy duffels filled with Charlie's stuff from college, and more waited in the car.

"Oh hush." Olivia chided her husband, tears of happiness decorating her eyes. She placed her hands on Charlie's shoulders and regarded him. "You look great sweetie; you even put a little weight on that skinny frame of yours."

"The 'freshman 15' I guess." Charlie said, patting his still non-existent belly.

"Nonsense, you look wonderful. Oh honey, it's so good to have you home for the summer." Olivia wiped her cheek before hugging Charlie one more time. "I've missed you so much."

"I missed you too mom." Charlie grinned, dropping his bags and wrapping his mother in a firm embrace.

"Brian just called before you and your father walked in the door." Olivia mentioned, finally releasing Charlie from her motherly clutches. "He said he couldn't reach you on your cell, and wondered if you were home yet."

"Oh." Charlie dug into his pocket for his phone. "I turned it off on the plane; I must have forgotten to turn it back on..."

"You better give him a call." Olivia kissed Charlie's cheek. "Just be ready for dinner in about an hour, okay?"

"Okay mom." Charlie nodded, checking his cell. "And thanks for picking me up at the airport, dad."

"No problem son." John patted Charlie on the back. "Good to have you home, your mother has been driving me nuts over our empty nest."

Charlie grinned and asked, "Is Edward coming home for the summer too?" speaking of his older brother.

"I guess he's going to stay in Georgia, he's got a good job lined up for the summer."

"That's too bad. I guess I'll have to suffer mom's pampering all by myself."

"I can hear you!" Olivia called from the kitchen.

"Sorry mom!" Charlie called with a laugh. "I guess I better start unpacking my stuff..."

Charlie walked down the hall of his parent's rambler, lugging two heavy bags, and opened the door to his old bedroom. It was exactly the way he'd left it, and it seemed to Charlie as though a lifetime had passed since he'd been home though it had only been nine months. He felt like a different person after completing his first year of college, and despite the familiarity of home, it still felt a little foreign.

Setting his bags down, Charlie walked across the room to his dresser where a bunch of photographs were pinched into the frame of a mirror and smiled fondly at the images. There was one of him and his best friend Brian in their gowns on graduation day a year prior, one of Stacy at the beach from the previous summer, and of course there was Miley. As if Charlie could ever forget Miley...

Reaching forward, Charlie took one of the photos off his dresser mirror and looked at it. It was of him and Miley at prom, the two standing in each other's arms. She was so beautiful in that red dress he bought her, it still took Charlie's breath away. He hadn't seen Miley since the previous fall, and looking at their prom picture made Charlie's heart ache. Staring at that photo for several long moments, the memories flooded back...

== {1 year prior} ==

Charlie was at his locker the Tuesday morning following prom weekend, when his best friend approached.

"Dude! I am finally a man!" Brian announced; his arms in the air.

Charlie turned around with a broad grin. "Hey man, things went well with Cassie I take it?"

"It was awesome. I took her to my place after prom, lit some candles, and let the magic happen..." Brian swung his hips around proudly.

"Good thing your parents are on vacation, huh?" Charlie noted.

"I know, right? It would have been a little weird if my mom was watching me lose my virginity on the living room floor." Brian joked.

Charlie laughed, "The living room floor?"

"My magic can't be contained dude. It just happens, wherever and whenever."

Charlie rolled his eyes and nudged his locker door shut. "So you and Cassie...?"

"We're totally going out." Brian confirmed as they started towards homeroom. "Can you believe it? I have a girlfriend!"

"That's terrific man." Charlie patted Brian's shoulder. "I'm really happy for you."

"Yeah, the only bummer is I can't come over after school and work on our Captain Darkness comic. Cassie wants me to go to the mall with her."

Chuckling, Charlie advised "That's okay. But listen, if she asks you to join her in the women's dressing room, say 'yes'."

"Will do. So how was your weekend with Miley?" Brian asked, "Anything crazy happen while you two stayed at the Four Seasons?"

"Nope, it was nice and quiet." Charlie lied, recalling the 'threesome' with Miley and Stacy. "Just the two of us. A lot of room service and making out."

"Sounds nice, dude. Things are finally coming together for us, you know? Things are going to be different from now on. I can sense it..."

A jock interrupted Brian and bumped shoulders as they crossed paths in the hallway, causing Brian to drop his books.

"Watch where you're going, geek." the jock laughed.

Brian let out a long sigh. "Then again, maybe some things will always be the same..."

"It'll be different at college." Charlie bent to help pick up Brian's stuff. "I promise."

=====

Miley walked into Charlie's house with him that afternoon after giving him a ride home from school. "What a long day, I could barely stay awake in my classes. It was awful going to bed without you last night, after sleeping in your arms for three nights in a row."

"I know." Charlie agreed, setting the day's mail on a kitchen counter. "I didn't sleep very well either. In fact, I conked out during my Social Studies class today for about ten minutes; I was so tired."

"Poor baby." Miley said while she casually flipped through the mail Charlie set down, feeling nosey. "Does that mean you're too pooped to fool around?"

"I think I'm getting my second wind." Charlie winked, opening the fridge and looking for a soda.

Miley smirked, finding an envelope addressed to Charlie. "Hey what's this? Says it's from Brown University..."

Charlie turned around from peering into the fridge, "Really?"

Miley handed the envelope over, "Did you apply there or something?"

"Yeah, like six months ago." Charlie answered, tearing it open. "But only on a lark, Brown is nearly impossible to get into."

Miley waited curiously as Charlie read through the letter.

"Holy shit." Charlie suddenly said.

"What is it?" Miley wondered, on edge.

"They accepted me..." Charlie smiled. "I got accepted to Brown!"

Miley manufactured a smile, not sharing her boyfriend's sudden joy. "Charlie, isn't Brown in Boston?"

"Providence, actually, but that's real close to Boston." he kept reading the letter, "They want to help me with financial aid too... this is so cool!"

"But you said you applied on a lark..." Miley frowned. "You're not really going there are you?"

Charlie looked to Miley, "Well, I didn't think I'd get accepted, but... why do you look so upset?"

"Charlie, I'll never be able to get into Brown." Miley informed him. "My grades are nowhere near as good as yours. If you go to Providence..."

"...we'll be apart." Charlie suddenly realized.

PART 2 - The Break-up

=================

Charlie listened to the phone ring as he sat on his bed staring at the prom picture of him and Miley.

Brian answered the phone and interrupted Charlie from his recollections. "Charlie?"

"Hey buddy, I'm home." Charlie said with a smile, setting the photo of him and Miley aside on the bed.

"Dude!" Brian exclaimed. "It's excellent to hear your voice, how long has it been?"

"I don't know..." Charlie considered. "Has it been since the holidays?"

Brian laughed, "We really sucked at keeping in touch this past year."

"I know." Charlie grinned. "It's crazy. So how have you been?"

"I've been okay." Brian replied. "I'm glad summer is here. Not looking forward to getting a job, but it'll be awesome to hang out with you again. What are you doing tonight?"

"I need to put some face time in with my parents." Charlie said. "Dinner in an hour, but after that I'm free?"

"Cool. Want to go to a party?" Brian asked.

"Party?" Charlie sounded curious; letting off some steam sounded perfect to him.

"Yeah. Stacy's having a soiree over at her parent's house. They're out of town and she wants to have everyone over to sort of kick off the summer. She's having kegs, munchies..."

"I don't know..." Charlie sounded dubious. "I'd love to see Stacy, but I'm sure Miley would be there. I don't know if I can handle seeing her yet."

There was only silence for several moments from Brian's end of the phone.

"What...?" Charlie asked. "What is it?"

"Nothing." Brian lied.

"C'mon man, just tell me." Charlie prodded. "Is it something about Miley?"

"Look man..." Brian sounded like someone just ran over his dog. "I hate being the one to tell you this, but Miley's seeing someone."

Charlie felt like someone kicked him in the gut.

"You should totally still come though." Brian urged. "I bet she'd be glad to see you. I know Stacy would be thrilled."

"Who is he?" Charlie asked in a somber voice.

"A guy from college." Brian answered. "Typical jock athlete."

Charlie winced, "Do you know him?"

"Not really. I've seen him around campus a few times, but I don't hang with the girls much anymore, not like last summer." Brian paused for a moment before continuing "You know how it is dude, the same old shit from high school. The popular kids keep to their own. I still see Stacy sometimes, but Miley..."

"What?" Charlie pressed, "What about Miley?"

"She's the most popular girl on campus, dude. She hangs with the popular elite. You know better than anybody how hot she is, and every guy there would kill for a shot at..."

"I get it." Charlie interrupted, not wanting to hear any more.

"Look man, I'm sorry." Brian said. "I know its tough on you, but come to the party anyways. It'll be fun."

"Yeah okay, maybe. I'll call you after dinner?"

"Cool dude, I hope you come. Talk to you later."

Charlie hung up his cell phone and looked aside to the prom photo again, where it lay on his bedspread. It didn't surprise Charlie that Miley had a new boyfriend, but that didn't make the knowledge hurt any less. He wondered if going to Brown had been the right decision, and recalled the last time he had seen Miley...

== {9 months prior} ==

Miley burst into Charlie's bedroom, a mess of puffy eyes and tears.

"Miley!?" Charlie turned from packing. "What's wrong?"

"Charlie, you can't go... you can't leave me..." Miley made a beeline for him.

Charlie opened his arms to her, hugging tightly. "Miley, I thought we'd been over this."

"I know." Miley sniffled, clinging to Charlie. "I thought I could do it baby, I really did. All summer long I've been putting this day off, tricking myself into thinking I could handle a long distance relationship, but you're leaving tomorrow and I'm going to miss you so much..."

"I'm going to miss you too." Charlie kissed the dark curly tendrils atop Miley's head.

"Please don't go, Charlie." Miley begged.

"It's a little late for that, don't you think?" Charlie closed his eyes, trying to memorize the smell of Miley's hair.

"Charlie..." Miley's weak voice said. "I can't do it."

"You can't do what?" Charlie squinted, not understanding as Miley slipped out of his arms.

Miley wiped some mascara-stained tears from her cheek, "I can't handle the distance, it'll drive me crazy every day."

Charlie didn't like the sound of that. "What are you saying, you want to break up?"

"I don't know." Miley looked at Charlie's bags, thinking how ominously final they looked. "You were supposed to go to the University of Florida with me, that's what we agreed. Don't you remember when we talked about that at prom? We were going to go to school together. I would have joined you anywhere, but you picked a place I can't follow..."

"I remember." Charlie sighed, his heart heavy with guilt. "But that was before I found out about Brown. I can't pass up the opportunity to study at an ivy-league school. I wish we didn't have to be apart, but..."

"But Brown is more important to you than me." Miley near-whispered.

"That's not true Miley, you know that."

"Then stay." Miley challenged.

"That's not fair." Charlie said. "If you loved me you'd wait for me."

"And if you loved me you wouldn't leave!" Miley grew angry.

"I'm not abandoning you." Charlie pled his case. "I'll be back in May."

"And then gone again three months later. Why can't you Stay, Charlie? Stacy and Brian will both be at the U with me, but it won't be the same without you..."

"Miley, don't do this." Charlie begged. "It won't be that bad. I'll call you every day, there's cam chats, and text messages, and emails and..."

"I don't know if I can do it Charlie." Miley admitted. "I don't know if I can spend the next four years of my life waiting."

"So you won't wait for me?" Charlie asked in disbelief. "You want to break up?"

Miley regarded Charlie, fresh tears dripping down her cheeks, and then nodded. "I think we should. Maybe I can wait... I don't know. I guess we'll find out when you get back."

Charlie blinked, his own tears coming now. "Miley, wait..."

"Wait, Charlie? I'm just supposed to wait? I'm supposed to sit around for the next nine months, wishing we could be together? You're not supposed to leave me Charlie! We agreed to stay together, no matter what..."

"I'm not leaving you, I-I..." Charlie stammered.

"Yes you are Charlie. I thought I was the most important thing in your life, but obviously I was wrong." Miley sobbed and turned.

"Miley! Please, just hold on..."

=====

As Charlie stared at the prom photo, sitting on his bed, he remembered what he thought the night that Miley fled his room in tears. He thought there was no way Miley could break up with him, that she would call a day or two later and realize what a mistake she had made. He thought she would call and tell him that she loved him and would wait for him.

But that call never came.

Charlie had wanted to call her a thousand times over the course of the school year, but was afraid of what Miley would say. He feared she would end it forever, and in the back of Charlie's mind he maintained hope that somehow, someway, that when he got home for the summer she would have waited and that they would get back together. But when Brian told him about Miley's new boyfriend, Charlie figured he had lost her forever.

PART 3 - The Party

==============

"I'm glad you decided to come dude." Brian said after picking Charlie up.

Charlie sat in the passenger seat of Brian's car, unsure of his decision. "I'm still not convinced it's a good idea..."

"It'll be fine." Brian promised.

Charlie nodded, not wanting to dwell on it. He looked at Brian again, "It has been way too long since we've hung out, I missed you. And check you out! I can't believe how great you look. You've lost a lot of weight."

Brian grinned as he drove. "Thanks dude. I guess the weight-loss bug hit after Cassie dumped me, I thought that maybe she'd take me back if I slimmed down."

"I'm still flabbergasted that she broke up with you on New Years." Charlie said.

"That's not even the half of it dude. Turns out she already had a new boyfriend, someone at her college in Miami. They'd been dating since Thanksgiving!"

"That sucks." Charlie replied.

"Yeah." Brian agreed. "That's how it goes I guess, long distance relationships never work."

Charlie glanced out the car window, "Tell me about it."

Brian winced. "Sorry dude."

"It's okay." Charlie assured him. "It's my own fault. I never should have left, I should have gone to the U with you guys."

"Your dad would have killed you had you done that." Brian commented. "I mean, you're an ivy leaguer!"

"I don't know if being an ivy leaguer is worth the cost. I miss Miley so much."

"There's got to be some hot girls at Brown though, right?"

Charlie lifted a shoulder, "I guess, but I didn't date. Most girls went for upper classmen, and to be honest I always held out hope that Miley and I would get back together."

Both friends sat in silence as Brian drove, thinking about how much things had changed... yet so many things still remained the same.

Charlie was the first to break the silence, "So you still hang with Stacy, you said?"

Brian nodded, "Yeah. Stacy's cool, you know? She didn't get quite as hung up in the popular crowd at college. We actually made out about a month and a half ago."

Charlie turned towards his friend, "What? Seriously?"

"Yeah." Brian confirmed. "We were both drunk as shit at this house party. She was telling me how great I looked since losing my weight, and we ended up making out for like an hour."

"Holy shit man..." Charlie grinned.

Brian shrugged, "Neither of us said anything about it the next day. She acted like nothing happened, so I figured it was just the booze and wasn't really into me, so I let it go."

"Wow. Are you into her?" Charlie asked, happy to be talking about anything but Miley.

"Who wouldn't be?" Brian declared. "She's beautiful, sexy, and cool as hell. You know Stacy as well as I do... she's got it together."

"Yeah." Charlie laughed quietly. "I miss her, I can't wait to see her. Is she seeing anyone?"

"No one regular." Brian informed. "She dates a lot, but nothing serious."

"Her and Miley are still real close, right?"

"Oh yeah, of course. They both moved out of their parent's, as a matter of fact They've got an apartment together near campus." Brian turned onto Stacy's street. "Damn, looks like a lot of people are here already."

Charlie looked among the crowd of cars but didn't see Miley's BMW. He thought maybe he'd luck out and wouldn't have to face her.

There were several people mulling around the yard talking and laughing as Charlie and Brian walked to the front door. Inside was even more crowded, and loud music blared in the living room. Charlie recognized a few people from high school, but most faces appeared unfamiliar. Charlie assumed they were Stacy's new college friends.

"Brian!" Stacy screamed, running from the kitchen with a plastic cup of beer sloshing in her hand. She looked fabulous in a white denim mini skirt, black blouse, and heels. Her blonde hair was longer than Charlie remembered, and feathered stylishly.

"Hey Stace." Brian hugged her. "Looks like quite the party already."

"Yep." Stacy grinned, already obviously inebriated. "I'm glad you're here sweetie."

"You are?" Brian sounded surprised.

Stacy nodded excitedly. "Of course. You want a beer?"

"In a sec." Brian answered. He pointed towards Charlie, "Look who I brought."

Stacy hadn't even noticed Charlie since she wasn't expecting him. She turned towards the direction Brian was pointing.

"Hey Stace." Charlie offered a little wave.

"Oh my god... Charlie? You're back?"

"Just flew in this afternoon."

Stacy latched a hug onto Charlie next, "It's so great to see you!"

Charlie smiled, hugging her right back. "You too."

"Come on you guys, beer's in the kitchen." Stacy led them towards the kegs. "Help yourself to some cups."

Brian grabbed a pair of plastic cups and handed one to Charlie before moving to the tap. "So you're glad to see me, huh?"

Stacy giggled, "Of course..."

Charlie glanced at his cup and didn't really feel like drinking. Plus it looked like Brian and Stacy wanted to flirt with each other, and Charlie didn't want to get in the way of that. So he wandered towards the sliding glass doors in the back of the kitchen, which led to a large back yard. Stepping outside, he scanned the crowd on the patio, and froze when he saw her.

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