Lie to Me

~ by Hath, February 4, 2008

Jon thought he was going to cry, and he hadn’t done that for years.

They were so in love, but things were just so hard. He was too proud to accept help from his family and friends, but maybe he should. He had been robbed blind by people he trusted, and to her credit, Charlene had stood by him. His stubbornness had them living not exactly in poverty, but not really comfortably. He’d be damned if he’d go begging for help from Richie or the others. He felt that he got himself into this mess he had to get out of it on his own.

He had thought that starting over would be easy. He and the guys could just write another record, and they’d be on their way again. There was one problem with that. He couldn’t write anymore; couldn’t find the inspiration that used to follow him around like his shadow. He’d convinced the guys that he could do it, that he could get his shit together, but he needed a little time. They were all understanding, but made sure Jon understood that they weren’t just going to wait around for him.

He knew Charlie felt the strain, too. Jon looked through the doorway to the kitchen where she was standing, staring out the window. She had been sneaking around him lately, and he just knew that she was getting ready to leave him. He didn’t want to believe it but he’d been in town earlier and overheard people talking. She was leaving him; he was just the last one to know about it.

Charlie sighed. Jon was so pig-headed; he wouldn’t admit he needed help. She had been trying to find work, but this small town in New Jersey didn’t really have a need for a large animal vet. She applied at some local animal hospitals too, but it wasn’t looking good. She tried everything she could think of to help him snap out of this funk he’s been in for the last six months, but nothing had worked. Her failures were killing her. She had been in love with Jon since way back when he was ‘John’, and it took them a good long while to find each other again after high school. When they did though, the connection was instant and powerful. That she couldn’t use that connection to help him made her feel sad all the way to her soul.

She was there by his side all through the high times, and Charlie was determined to stand by him in the low. She wouldn’t leave him just because things took a turn for the worse. He was still the same man in there, under all that pain and anger – still the man she loved more than her own life. Charlie just didn’t know how to help him. Well, she had thought of one thing more to try, but she knew Jon wasn’t going to like it. Chancing a glance over her shoulder, she saw Jon looking at her. She offered a wan smile, and he looked away. Grabbing her phone from the counter, she slipped outside to once again call her father.

A few days later, Jon was in town for yet another meeting with his lawyers. They had been working with Jon to try to recoup some of what was taken from him, but the money had left the country months ago, and the paper trail was leading nowhere. After a discouraging session with the attorneys, Jon found himself in a coffee shop; the same one he and Charlie had frequented since they hooked up all those long years ago.

Talk at the counter stopped when he entered the shop. Everyone turned to look at him, and the pity in their eyes made him grit his teeth. Head held high, he strode to the counter and sat down, ordering his coffee to go. The waitress offered him a sad smile and said, “Good luck.”

“What do you mean,” Jon said, his eyes narrowing.

The waitress shook her head. “Just that I hear Big Mike is coming into town today.” She placed a gentle hand on his sleeve and said again, “Good luck.” Stunned, Jon left the shop without his coffee, and headed home.

When Jon got there, he found Charlie sitting in the kitchen. “Baby, what’s this I hear about your father coming in to town? What’s going on?”

Charlie looked uncomfortable. “He’s coming because I asked him to.” She wouldn’t look him in the eye. “I asked him for help.”

“Are you shitting me? Why?”

“Look around us,” Charlie said. “We deserve better than this. We need help while we sort out the mess THOSE people put us in. Is that so bad? Is this really as good as you think life can get now?”

Jon scrubbed at his face. “I know that I told you that I could make your dreams – our dreams – a reality. I can still do that; I just need some time to get through this. You need to give me more time.” He sighed. “I’m not proud of this,” he said. “This is just as hard for me as it is for you.”

“I know, baby, but you’re not letting me help you.” She strode, frustrated, around the room. When she turned back to Jon, there were tears in her eyes. “It is so hard seeing you like this – you’re losing yourself, I can see it.” She crossed to him, and gently caressed his cheek.

Jon covered Charlie’s hand with his. “I need you to be strong for me,” he said, hating that he had to lean on her. “Don’t let me lose myself. I can’t lose you. You’re the one thing I know I can believe in. No matter what happens, if I can fix this, or even if I can’t, I need you.”

“Jon, I need you too, and I’m not going anywhere.” She leaned in to kiss him. “Jon, I don’t want to cry any more,” she said, sobbing. “I die a little bit each day that I can’t help you. I don’t want to die anymore, either.” She kissed him again, but pulled back as the doorbell rang

“Big Mike,” Jon muttered under his breath, and left out the back door.

Charlie let her father, cardiac specialist Dr. Michael “Big Mike” Scarpacci, into the house. After giving his daughter a hug, he leaned in to talk in a low voice. “You know you can always come home,” he said.

She just looked at him. “No. No one said that it’d be easy. I’m sticking by him. That’s not what I meant when I asked you for help.”

“I know,” Michael said, sighing. “Where is he?” Jon had circled around the small cottage, and had heard the exchange between Charlie and her father.

“He’s getting some air.” Charlene pushed a hand through her hair. “Can you help us or not?”

Michael nodded. “It’s done. This place is yours, free and clear.” He hugged his youngest daughter. “Now, please, you two need to get off this roller-coaster ride. These manic ups and downs are not healthy for either of you. You need stability, and you can’t have that if he’s not working. His work is his life. You have to help him.”

“I’m trying, Daddy. With everything I am and everything I have, I’m trying.”

Jon’s eyes filled with tears, listening to this exchange. When Big Mike left, Jon came back into the house, and took Charlene, his wife of five years, into his arms. “I love you,” he said. “Can you still love me, even after all this?”

By way of answer, Charlene kissed him tenderly, and led him to the bedroom.

Later, as Jon looked over at the smile on Charlie’s sleeping face, he felt something stir that he hadn’t felt for some time. His sub-conscious was poking at him. He could hear a soulful and sad melody playing in his head. He could almost hear the words.

Soundlessly, he slipped from their bed, and from their room. Grabbing his acoustic from the closet he had banished it to, hating its mocking silence, he sat in the living room and started to play.

A few minutes later, he started to sing…

Lie To Me

Rumor has it that your daddy's coming down, he's gonna pay the rent
Tell me baby, is this as good as life is gonna get
It feels like there's a stronger standing in these shoes
But, I know I can't lose me, 'cause then I'd be losing you

I know I promised baby I would be the one to make our dreams come true
I ain't too proud of all the struggles and the hard times we've been through
When this cold world comes between us, please tell me you'll be brave
'Cause I can realize the danger when forgiveness fades away

If you don't love me - lie to me
'Cause baby you're the one thing I believe
Let it all fall down around us, if
that's what's meant to be
Right now if you don't love me baby - lie to me

Pour another cup of coffee Babe, I got something to say to you
I ain't got the winning ticket – not the one that's gonna pull us through
No one said that it'd be easy. Let your old man take you home
But know that if you walk out on me then darling I’ll be gone

If you don't love me - lie to me
'Cause baby you're the one thing I believe
Let it all fall down around us, if that's what's meant to be
Right now if you can't love me baby - lie to me
Baby, I can take it

It's a bitch, but life's a roller coaster ride
The ups and downs will make you scream sometimes
It's hard believing that the thrill is gone
But we got to go around again, so let's hold on

If you don't love me - lie to me
'Cause baby you're the one thing I believe
Let it all fall down around us, if that's what's meant to be
Right now if you can't love me baby - lie to me
Lie to me
Baby, I can take it
C'mon lie to me

** Author's Note: This was an entry in a writing challenge over on T's Place.


Anonymous said...

I don't really know enough about these guys to feel right posting, but--from the standpoint of pure feeling, this is very well written, it conveys the heartsickness, the melancholy, but also the hope...

really, really well written. Brava...

Anonymous said...

this makes me wonder if there's truth to this song