Disclaimer: I most definitely do not own anything to do with Rose Red. That all belongs to Stephen King.
A/N: I am absolutely in love with Nick Hardaway in this movie, and refuse to let him die! And people should look up photos of Julian Sands when he was younger! If you think he was sexy in Rose Red, God Almighty, you are in for a real treat! Plus he deserves some love! Even if it's a damn ghost! Which, don't worry, it won't be.
It will of course be 's niece who is going into psychology.:) Oh and I don't care about age difference! Never have! Hope you enjoy! Please Review!
Charlie Reardon sat in the chair behind her aunt's desk as she was finishing out her last class before final exams. She herself had come from her last class, her being in her first year of college at 19. She watched as her aunt finished out, and basically got harassed by an idiot reporter for the school newspaper, named Kevin Bollinger. Her aunt laughed it off, then was followed by the head of her department, Professor Miller. Charlie hung back and grabbed the back of Bollinger's shirt, dragging him backward. The young man looked very startled.
"Okay Bollinger! You leave my aunt and her investigation alone, or I'll tear the school records apart, and take anything I find that Miller's been hiding for you to the school board. Got it?!" She growled out. Bollinger looked like a deer in headlights, and nodded before getting shoved into the wall as she walked away, feeling rather happy with herself. When Charlie finally got to her aunt's office, Joyce had just put down the phone. She looked up and smiled.
"How goes it, Aunty Jay?" Charlie asks as she sits down in the chair in front of the desk. Joyce grinned at her.
"We've got Emery Waterman coming with us." She said. Her niece looked thoughtful.
"He's the postcog, right?" She asked, putting her feet on the desk. Her aunt nodded.
"That makes 7 people agreed so far. I'm just hoping that I can get Annie Wheaton. She's the one I want most. She's the one whose going to wake up Rose Red. I just know it!" She said, looking at the picture on the wall. The way she looked at it always made her uncomfortable, it was the biggest reason why Charlie kept her own abilities from her aunt. The only person who had known was her grandfather, and he was long since dead. She could tell that her aunt was a little bit crazy when it came to Rose Red, so she was careful. She decided to take her leave.
"Okay well I got stuff to do, so good luck with getting Annie to be able to go, Aunty Jay. See you Monday night." She said as she stood. Joyce came around the desk to give her a hug.
"See you Monday, sweetheart. Study hard, I know you'll do great." She said, before she pulled away, and her niece walked out the door.
Charlie walked out to the walkway and was stopped by a tall man with a sandy blonde hair. He also had a British accent when he spoke.
"Hello, would you be able to tell me where I could find Professor Reardon?" He asked, looking toward the college. She smiled.
"I know where she is, but I can tell you that she is in no mood to talk. You are?" She asked. He looked at her and smiled, holding out his hand.
"Nick Hardaway." She took his hand.
"Charles Reardon. But I go by Charlie." Nick smirked and kiss the back of her hand, before releasing it. Charlie laughed slightly. "Well! Aren't you a gentlemen!" Nick just grinned.
"Now you said your name was Reardon. Am I to assume that you are related to the good doctor?" He asked, seeming to search her eyes for something, then she felt a headache forming, meaning someone was trying to get in her head. Probably him.
"One, please refrain from trying to read my mind, it gives me a headache. Two, yes, I'm her niece." Nick looked slightly surprised.
"I will refrain from doing so. If you're her niece, you would know of the little 'field trip' to Rose Red, would you not?" He asked. She smirked at him.
"I would, in fact I'm going." He gave a calculating look.
"Does your aunt know about your abilities?" He asked softly, making her tense for a moment, then forced herself to relax.
"No she does not in fact. Nor will she. Got it?" She said, looking him straight in the eyes, daring him to contradict her. He just smiled.
"My lips are sealed, sweetheart."
A/N: And that is chapter 1! Hope you enjoyed it, and hope you review!
Chapter 2: Age Don't Matter
Nick Hardaway looked at the young woman in front of him with open admiration. Not that she noticed. No, Charles Reardon was absolutely oblivious to the looks she was getting from the older man. Not that they were unwelcome. In fact, she thought he was hot. And she just so happened to have a weakness for accents. And his was divine.
Charlie was leading him to a nearby bar & grill to answer any questions he may have. Once they came to the door, Nick held it open for her, making her smile and blush as she thanked him. She lead him to a more secluded table in the back of the large crowded room. They both got comfortable before she let out her senses to feel for his gifts.
"So, you're a little bit of everything then?" She said casually. Instead of getting defensive like a lot of people would, he just smirked at her.
"So, you're a lot of everything then?" He countered. Charlie glared at him, before sighing and looking down at her hands. She then looked up at him with a small smile.
"Yeah, I guess you could say that." Nick gave her a contemplative look for a moment, before he decided to ask what he really wanted to know.
"Why do you seem so forlorn about having these gifts?" He looked her over as she slumped back against the booth. She stared up the ceiling for a few moments before looking over at him with a pensive expression.
"I suppose you could say it's because of people like my aunt. People who become so obsessed they forget to care the people that have the abilities. I don't really feel comfortable going to Rose Red, but someone has to take care of my aunt. Only person, besides yourself now, was my grandfather. That's only because he had some of them too." She said smiling. Nick gave her a sad smile as she continued. "Then there's the fact that people start thinking you're some kind of freak because you start freaking out thanks to hearing their voices in your head." Nick smirked at that last bit.
"Yes, I know exactly how that is. Especially since when I was younger I got caught making things move with my mind. At least now you're going to be surrounded by people like yourself." He said. She snorted.
"Yeah I wonder how well that's going to go over. You know she trying to get a 15 year-old autistic girl with abilities to go with us. I have nothing against her, it's that she's so young and she has the abilities I do. I don't care if that house is now a dead cell right now. The minute we set foot on the grounds, it won't be anymore. And it will be dangerous. A kid should not go anywhere near that place." Charlie growled out, the spoon in her water glass starting to spin in irritation. Nick put his hand on her arm in a placating manner. She relaxed, or at least enough for the spoon to stop trying to race the water in her glass. She gave him a grateful smile, before his hand fell away.
"I think you're right. But the most we can do is use our own abilities to keep her safe. And stay alive." The last statement made her cringe. Sadly it was the truth with all the disappearances, it was a very likely prospect that they could die while they were there.
"Yeah I know. Especially since I don't have a chance in Hell of changing her mind on either not going to Rose Red or not taking Annie. Even if I told her about my own abilities and fears. By the way, the current owner of Rose Red, Steve Rimbauer is also a psychic. He just suppresses and denies his abilities." She said casually. This seemed to get Nick's attention.
"Why does he do that?" He asked, clasping his hands in front of him and leaning over the table toward her. Charlie did the same.
"Truthfully? Want my honest opinion?" She asked, and only continued when she go a nod in return. "Well, I think it has to do Rose Red itself. He used to go there when he was younger with his mother. I think he saw something that scared him, and he didn't want to be able to see it again, so he suppresses what makes him able to see these things." Nick nodded in understanding.
"I can't say that I blame him. I know that if I could have figured out how to do it as a child, I would have." Charlie nodded with a smile.
"I think the only time that someone suppresses anything is because they can't handle it. So you could handle your abilities, and whatever consequences they had. Same as me. Or I would have more than likely suppressed mine as well." She said, now looking out over the rest of the bar, before turning back to her table companion. "So, what is it you want to know? About the trip I mean." He smiled, then leaned back in his seat again.
"How many of us are going, and what all can they do." She sighed and leaned back as well, closing her eyes in concentration.
"Well, the two of us, obviously. Then some post cog named Emery Waterman, who has mommy issues from what I could get over the phone. Then Aunt Jay, who has the equipment. Steven Rimbauer who I can't get a read on. A precog named Victor Kandinsky, who has heart disease. Pam Asbury who is a psychometric. Cathy Kramer who is a automatic writer. Now we are just waiting to see if we can get Annie, who will also be coming with her older sister Rachel. If we get the last two it will be ten of us going to what I am going to term, a hell house." Nick was nodding along with each of the names, and gave a grimace at her last statement.
"You very well may be right about that. By the way, how old are you?" That threw Charlie off for a second. He asked that straight out of the blue. He seemed to catch that and just gave her that devious grin, causing her give a small laugh.
"I'm 19. But I'll be 20 on the 24th of June. What about yourself?" She asked while picking up her glass to take a drink. He just smiled and raised an eyebrow in her direction before answering.
"I am 34, and will be 35 in August." He said, looking down at his own drink.(Don't know if that's his real age, and I don't really care either.) She just rolled her eyes as she got a glimpse of his thoughts. Like age made a difference to her. He was hot, was a gentleman, seemed intelligent, and had an amazing accent. What more could she want!? Not that he knew that because she had shields up in her mind. She didn't look at him as she said her next thought.
"It doesn't matter you know." His head snapped up when she said that, but she kept her gaze down.
"What are you talking about?" He asked, but she could tell he already knew exactly what she meant. She smirked and looked up at him.
"The age difference. You're 15 years older than me, big deal. I know that you have a thing for me. You actually think pretty loudly." Nick cringed at that. "And I'd be lying if I said I didn't have a thing for you. Plus my dad was 23 years older than my mom. I'd kinda be a hypocrite if I had something to say about it. Dontcha think?" Charlie said with a small smile, which was returned. After a moment she looked up at the clock and gasped. It was already almost midnight. Nick looked as well, before turning back to her.
"Do you need to get going? I didn't realize it was so late." He said. Charlie nodded as she dug through her purse for paper and a pen. She grinned in triumph as she pulled both out of her 'black hole' of a purse. She then wrote down her cell number and handed it to Nick. He gave her a questioning look, to which she rolled her eyes.
"We meet again on Monday but then the actual trip is on Friday after that. So this is so you can call me before then. Now I got to go. It was nice meeting you today Nick. Hope to hear from you." She said with a smile before getting up and heading for the door. Nick watched with a smile all the way.
Chapter 3: You Won't Die At Rose Red
Nick leaned on his counter looking at his phone on wall, then looking at the number on the kitchen table. He had only met Charlie yesterday, but he felt so drawn to her. He was so tempted to call her right now. But would that annoy her? That was the biggest question. He had no idea. The age difference was causing him no small amount of anxiety. Not the age difference itself, but the differences in social cues and such they grew up with. She had said for him to call her before Monday, but would just after seeing her be acceptable. After another few minutes of battle within his head, he grabbed the paper and phone, dialed the number, putting it up to his ear and waited for it to ring.
"Hello?" a sleepy voice answered from the other end. Nick gave a small smile.
"Charlie?" He got a grunt of confirmation. "It's Nick." There was a shuffling that sounded like papers before a reply came.
"Nick! Hey! How are you!?" She replied in an excited voice. Well that showed Nick his fears were unfounded.
"I'm wonderful. I was calling wondering if you wanted to get some coffee this afternoon. Maybe now even?" The reply was immediate.
"Yes! I was just about to take a break from studying anyway. Just let me change out of my pj's." That made Nick chuckle.
"You're still in your pajamas?" He asked. That earned him a breathy laugh from the woman on the end of the phone.
"Well yeah! I mean, I was already going to be studying, which is unpleasant, why be in anything besides my pj's for it?" She said with a bunch of rustling in the background. He was grinning after that.
"Well, you do that and I'll meet you at the café next to that bar and grill you took me to. Does that sound acceptable?" He waited a moment before a hum of agreement was heard.
"Yeah sounds good! I'll see you in little bit!" The call cut off after that, and Nick was left grinning before he went to get ready and leave.
Nick was sitting in a booth deep in thought when he was startled out of his thoughts by someone plopping down in the seat across from him. He looked up to see the woman he had met only yesterday with a devious smirk on her heart shaped face, her green eyes alight with mischief. Her long, wavy auburn hair hung in a braid over her left shoulder. She wore a black tank top under a red and black plaid, long-sleeve, button up shirt, then dark wash blue skinny jeans, and black hiking boots.
"Penny for your thoughts? They seemed pretty intense." She asked leaning over the table towards him. Nick gave her a small smile, while looking down at the coffee mug in his hands.
"They are. I'm thinking about Rose Red. It's not safe. And truthfully, before I ran into you… I had been planning on telling Joyce that I had decided to refuse her offer." Charlie's eyes widened.
"Then why are you going? It better not just be to impress me or something." Nick flashed her a quick grin, before he sobered again.
"No, it's not that. I doubt I need to do something insanely stupid to get you to notice me. Especially since I got you to come out to coffee with me." He said the last part while looking her in the eyes and giving her that devious grin. Her eyes narrowed slightly, even as her lips quirked into a smile.
"Then what is it? Why would you go if you know it's a monumentally stupid idea? Hell! I wouldn't be going if my aunt wasn't!" Nick gave her a piercing look at that statement, slightly unnerving her.
"That is why. You are going. I'm worried about you. Rose Red will be after you and that child Annie. All because of the abilities that you have. I am going so that I can be there for you." By the end of his little speech, Charlie's eyes were wide and she was speechless. She then smiled and grabbed his hand from across the table. He smiled back at her and gave her hand a small squeeze.
"Well, I'm not going to lie. I feel a lot better with you going with us. It makes me feel a lot better." Just as she said that, her phone went off. She pulled it out with her free hand and looked to see that it was her aunt. " I'm going to take this outside." She said letting go of his hand after one last squeeze as she got up. Nick watched as she got up and answered the phone as she walked.
Nick watched her while she was outside, wondering what it was about her that drew him in. He had been around many women in his life. None had actually had any hold over him, besides his own gentlemen sensibilities of course. Maybe it was her personality or even just the sense of wonderment one gets when dealing with her abilities. He pondered this for a few more until Charlie sat across from him again. She looked slightly drained.
"What's got you so down?" He asked, leaning over the table and grabbing her hands in his. This caused her to look up at him with a tired smile.
"That was my aunt. She was going on and on about how great it's going to be at Rose Red and blah, blah, blah. It's starting to freak me out how obsessed she has become. There is going to be death when we get there. I know that much. There is not going to be anything great about it." She growled out the last part. Nick squeezed her hands and she smiled at him, before her gaze dropped to their entwined hands.
"You will not be one of those death's. I promise you that." He said that so much conviction and confidence that it made her feel safe. Then she was determined, and looked up at him with an intense gaze.
"Neither will you." Nick just stared at her for a moment before he smiled at her again. This brought a smile to her face as well. She then looked at her watch and sighed. "I need to get going. I have to study as much as possible before the exams on Tuesday. But do you want to meet up later tonight next door?" She asked as she gathered her purse and such to leave. Nick grinned.
"Absolutely! What do you say to seven?" He said also getting up after paying for his coffee. He noticed she never got anything, but that didn't bother him too much. She gave him a nod in affirmative as he opened the door for her. She waited as the door closed behind him, standing waiting to say goodbye to him. She stared at him for a moment before kissing him on the cheek with a smile and a quick 'see you tonight', before she turned around and walked toward her dorm. Nick stared after her in disbelief for a moment, before he chuckled and went to his car. That girl was certainly interesting.
Chapter 4: First Date
Charlie couldn't concentrate on studying. She was excited! It was weird, even though she had just seen him that morning, she couldn't wait to see Nick again! All she knew is she was not telling her aunt that she had met him. Not yet. She was going to be selfish and keep him to herself for now. By 6o'clock she was restless and wondering what to wear. Then she would chide herself about worrying. He saw her in her quick study break cloths. If that didn't scare him, then nothing would.
By 20 till 7 she was ready and out the door. She had decided to wear blue jeans and a green baby doll shirt. Her hair was up in a ponytail, and black heels. She also wore black eyeliner and mascara. When she got to the bar&grill Nick was waiting for her outside the door. He was wearing jeans, a gray long sleeve shirt, and of course his usual smirk.
"Well hello beautiful. I'm glad you could find the time in your busy study schedule to join me." Charlie giggled at his antics, as he opened the door for her. She quietly thanked him as she strode into the building, giving her hips a little extra sway as she did, knowing was watching her ass. Why wouldn't he, she had a nice ass. Well at least that's what she believed. She was a little conceited in that sense. Charlie led Nick back to the same booth they had shared before, they each took their previous seats. He just stared at her with a small smile, until she got curious.
"Okay, what's with the staring? You usually have something to say, and now you're just sitting there, looking at me with... With... I don't even know." Nick's smile got bigger after that.
"I was just thinking about how you seemed to have worked your way into my life. Usually I don't bother with people past my normal politeness, but you... You I can't seem to keep out of my head. And not in the mind reading sense. I'm just wondering what it is about you that I'm so drawn to." Charlie gave a breathless laugh.
"I was actually wondering something along the same lines. I'm usually harsh and avoid people outside my family. But you I like being around. I find you funny, charming, sexy, sweet, gentlemanly, and all around enjoyable. It's so strange." She said with a smile. Nick was about to respond when someone came to take their order. After a few minutes of discussion, and the waiter leaving Charlie looked to him again. "Alright spill. I know you were about to say something." Nick grinned.
"I was going to say, maybe it's a sign. Can't really be sure of course, never had any good signs before, with what I can do. Your thoughts?" Charlie sighed.
"Yeah maybe it is. But I'm I. the same boat as you. Not many good signs, besides I'm getting something good for Christmas." She said with a cocky grin, causing Nick to chuckle. "So, do you live here in Seattle or did you travel here just to go to Rose Red?" She asked, clamping her hands in front of her and resting her chin on them as she waited for him to answer.
"I do in fact live in Seattle, though I've lived all over. Most recent place before this was New Orleans. How about yourself, do you live here regularly or just for school?" He decided to try and annoy her by taking up the same pose she was in, but sadly she didn't react beyond a smile. Not easily annoyed, that was good.
"I was born and raised in Seattle. I have my own apartment now, using money my parents left me. I just have my aunt now and I could never relax living with her." Nick nodded in understanding.
"What happened to your parents, if I may ask?" Charlie gave a small smile.
"They died in a fire. They had gone on a date night when I was 17 and the restaurant caught on fire. They were trapped inside, and died from smoke inhalation before the firefighters could get to them." Nick grabbed her hands in his, rubbing circles on the back of them with his thumbs.
"I'm sorry that happened. It must have been hard for you and your aunt." Charlie shrugged.
"We were sad, but we knew they were in a better place. Or at least I hope they are. I know parents loved me, and would have done anything for me. We were on great terms, so I don't regret anything I did or didn't say, which is more than a lot of people can say. I just wish they could have been around for the milestones in my life. Getting married, having kids. Dad polishing a shotgun the first time he meets my boyfriends." They both shared a laugh over the last bit. She then looked up at him. "I wish they were around to meet you." Nick gave her a sad smile, kissing the back of her hand. Nick was again interruptedby the waiter, this time bringing their food. They ate a little before he continued.
"Well, my parents are also dead. but my sister's family will love you. That is if you would want to meet them of course, after the 'field trip' as you always term it." Charlie grinned.
"I would love that. Though, does that mean are going to term ourselves as something?" She asked, very curious at this point, as well as apprehensive. Nick looked nervous.
"If... If you want to, I definitely would not be opposed to it. But, like I said, up to you..." Charlie let him squirm for a moment before giving a bright smile and squeezing his hand.
"I would also not be opposed." Nick and surged forward to kiss her lightly on the lips before plopping back into his seat, leaving Charlie staring at him in surprise. She recovered a moment later, and rolled her eyes at her own behavior. She shouldn't be so starled, not like it was her first kiss. Then her eyes got wide, and she groaned dropping her head to the table. Nick grabbed her hands again.
"Are you alright?" Charlie looked up at him with a grimace.
"I just thought about my aunt. She's going to tease me endlessly." Nick's face was blank for a moment before he burst out laughing.
"Is that it? You can take a little teasing, can't you?" Charlie stuck her tongue at him in annoyance.
"Yeah I can handle it, doesn't mean I have to like it." She said with a slight pout, which Nick thought was adorable.
"True you don't have to like it, but it will be fine. You don't take crap from anyone. Right?" Charlie nodded in agreement, then stopped cocking her head to the side.
"Wait a minute. I never told you that. How did you get inside My head?" Nick smirked.
"I'm not the only one who thinks loudly." Charlie growled and smacked him playfully on the arm, then looked at the clock.
"Wow it's already almost 10! I didn't realize so much time had passed! I should probably get going, I still have to study tomorrow."
"I suppose this wonderful night had end sometime." Nick said with a dramatic sigh while paying, causing her to roll her eyes and grin.
"We could see each other for coffee again tomorrow if you you want." Nick smiled and nodded in assent.
"I would definitely like that." He said as they walked toward the door. He held it open for her again, letting it close behind them. "Well, I guess this is good night." Charlie smiled before walking toward him and pulling his face down into a kiss. It started slow, then became heated as she slid her arms around his neck and and he pulled her her against him, running his tongue along her lips. She opened her mouth with a small moan, her tongue reaching out to meet his in a fight for dominance, that lasted a few moments before they pulled a part for air. Charlie smiled up at him.
"No, that was good night." With that she pulled away from him and walked off down the street, hips swaying as she did. Nick just stared after her in wonder, before shoving his hands in his pockets with a grin and walking in the other direction. Oh he had definitely made the right choice tonight, and he could call her his.