Charlie and Amita( A Numb3rs Fanfiction)

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Snowy Owl
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06 Nov 2010, 8:55 pm

Chapters 1-2

Charlie held the envelope in his hand. The results inside could change his and Amita's life forever.

"Aren't you going to open it?" Amita asked .

Instead of answering her, his mind wandered off to how it all began...

It was the day after their return to Pasadena from England.

They slept soundly,, when they heard knocking.

"uh...?" Charlie mumbled.

The knocking continued; a bit more loudly.

"Who is it?" Amita groaned.

"Me." Alan said. "Is Charlie awake?"

"I am now." Charlie sat up.

"I need to talk to you, Charlie. It's kinda urgent."


"I'll explain when you come out. Amita, go back to sleep. I'm sure you're still jet lagged from the trip."

"Just go talk to him." Amita advised, suspicious, that Alan told her to go back to sleep.

"Fine." Charlie put on some sweat pants, and a shirt he found on the floor. Then he came out of the room.

"What is it, Dad?"

"There's a woman, with a child, in the living room."


"She claims that you're the kid's dad."

"What?" Charlie said more loudly than he intended." Let me talk to her."

Charlie, impatiently went down the stairs before Alan could protest.

Charlie asked the woman "Who are you?"

" Rose Connell's sister."

"Rose Connell?" Charlie repeated.

"So you did know her!"

"I'm not admitting anything." Charlie said, and looked at the boy, who had black, curly hair, and dark eyes.

"The Kid's name is Hugh." the woman said.

"What's going on?" Amita ran down the stairs. Alan followed suit.

"Uh...this woman claims that the child next to her is mine and that she's the sister of an ex girlfriend." Charlie said nervously.

Amita just looked at him, stunned.

"My sister told my mother that a Charles Eppes, a math professor, was the Hugh's father." the woman insisted. Look, I'll leave you my information, so that we can set up an appointment to do a DNA test. I'll happily give permission. I'll also wrote down the name of the prison, where Rose is at, but good luck getting anything outta her."

With the confused. boy in tow, the woman left. As soon the the door closed, Amita started. "What the hell, Charlie? I can't believe this is happening! Weren't you careful?"

"I was...mostly" Charlie said.

"Mostly? So I can expect more of these humiliations?"

"No no no no!" Charlie insisted.

"Don't you realize what you've gotten yourself into?"

"I know..."

"No you don't!" Amita snapped. "What are you gonna do now?"

Just then, Don came in.

"Hey guys! Who was that leaving the house?"

"Donnie!" Alan exclaimed with relief. "That was some woman, claiming that Charlie was the father of her nephew!"

"What? Hold on! Father?"

"Your brother" Amita seethed "has gotten himself into some trouble."

"Calm down and tell me what's going on?" Don firmly, but gently told everyone.

Alan told him about the the two visitors and what the woman had said.

"She must be pretty damn sure that you're the dad, if she's willing to agree to a DNA test." Don mused. "Did you go out with the kid's mom?"

"Briefly" Charlie admitted.

"How long ago?"

"Eight years ago."

"Charlie?" Amita's voice brought him back to the present.

"Oh..Right.." Charlie opened it, and read the results.

"Well?" Amita hinted as Charlie just stared at the results.

"I-I'm Hugh's father."

Now what?" Amita asked.

"Robin gave me the name of a good family lawyer." Charlie replied.

As they drove home in silence, Amita remembered how Charlie had made the fateful decision.

"I'm gonna do that DNA test." he told Amita, Don, and Alan "I need to get this nagging doubt out of my mind."

"I'd do the same thing." Don nodded.

"What if he is your son?What are you gonna do?" Amita asked.

"Bring him here to live with us" Charlie replied.

"Live with us?" Amita repeated

"Of course!"

A few days later, the couple went to see the lawyer, a Cuban American woman, named Gloria Martinez who has short, black hair. They met in her office on Wilshire boulevard and explained the situation to her.

"You'll have to jump through a lot of hoops."

"Why? He's my son!" Charlie demanded.

"I'm afraid that's how the system works, since you came late into the picture."

"What can we do to convince the social workers that we are fit to take care of Hugh?" Charlie asked.

"Being married helps. Do you have a spare room to give him?"

"Yes" Charlie said. "We live in a very nice house in a good neighborhood."

"So the current legal guardian won't put up a fight?"

"No" Charlie shook his head.

The lawyer gave them more advice " You'll have to present yourself in court, and Department of Children and Family Services will investigate your life and check out your home. Legal Custody will stay with them during the transition period, where they'll be making sure the child is adjusting well to living with you."

After leaving the lawyer's office, Charlie suggested, "Let's get stuff for his room."

"Sure." Amita agreed.

First, the couple went to the Home Depot to get some paint.

"What do you think?" Charlie held up a strip with a light blue paint.

"I like it."

"That's what you said about the other sample."

"They're all fine." Amita insisted.

"I can't make up my mind." Charlie complained.

"How about that one?" Amita quickly suggested a greenish blue color.


Then it was on to IKEA for the dresser and bed frame. They planned to put the boy in Don's old room, which was, at the moment used as a storage area.

They looked around in the kid's section of IKEA.

"So many choices." Charlie mused.

"How about that one?" Amita pointed to a plain looking bed frame.

"I don't like it." Charlie disagreed.

"It doesn't have to be fancy." Amita said. "We need something that he won't outgrow, and that's not too hard too assemble."

"How about that one?" Charlie pointed to a dark blue twin sized bed frame.

"It'll go with the paint." Amita shrugged.

"Let's get it then."

The couple got the number of the model, and went on to look for a dresser.

"This is almost like shopping for a baby." Charlie remarked.

"Well, this way we can practice." Amita agreed

"I still can't believe it," Charlie shook his head. "I've got a kid. There's so much to do."

"One step at a time." Amita said. "Let's decide on a dresser."

After a while they did, made their purchases, and went home.


That night, Charlie talked with the aunt, and arranged a visit.

"You can see him tomorrow." she promised. "I know that you'll provide him with a good home. I did my research. As I said before, I'd keep him, but I live in a bad neighborhood and just can't handle him. Having his mother in jail has caused him to act up at school. To make things worse, just two days ago, he pretended to have cancer in order to sell more lemonade. Wore a scarf over his head and everything! I made him give the money to charity, apologize to the neighbors, and go with nurse friend of mine to the children's ward at County."

"Hopefully he learned his lesson." Charlie said.

"I hope so."

Finally, with Amita at his side, drove to South Central Los Angeles. Stopping in front of the house, Charlie just sat there nervously.

"It'll be fine." Amita put his arm around him. "Like your Dad said, you're still in time to make a difference in his life."

"I don't know if I'm ready." Charlie worried.

"You'll do fine." Amita assured him. "You've got your dad to help you."

Charlie opened the car door,"Let's go."

Tentatively, he knocked on the door; Amita stood right next to him.

The door opened, and the aunt, named Sarah, opened smiled and welcomed them. "Come in. Would you like anything?."

"No thank you." Amita said as she and Charlie sat down.

"Hugh!" Sarah called. "Come to the living room."

Eventually, a little boy, with the black, curly hair, and dark eyes came into the living room.

"Hi" he said, sizing up his father.

"Hi!" Charlie said awkwardly.

"We heard that you're seven years old?" Amita asked to make conversation.


"I was thinking the three of us could eat at McDonald's and see a movie?" Charlie suggested.

"I like Burger King better." the boy said.

"Hugh!" Sarah scolded.

"It's fine." Charlie assured her.

"We'd better get going, so we have enough time to eat before the movie." Amita suggested.

"Let's go." Charlie agreed, and got up.

"Behave yourself." Sarah whispered to the boy.

The trio went in the car, and Amita drove so that father and son could talk.

"What grade are you in?"

"I'm going into second grade." Hugh replied.

"Great!" Charlie smiled.

"What subject do you like?"


"None?" Charlie repeated.

"School is boring."

"Maybe it's too easy?" Charlie asked hopefully.


"What do you like to do when you're not in school?"

"Play video games, watch tv, write to my mom." the boy said, "but my video games and computer got taken away."

"Taken away?" Charlie repeated.

"When they took my mom to jail." the boy complained. "And all my toys too. Aunt Sarah won't buy me any."

"I'm...sorry to hear that." Charlie commiserated.

"When people with guns came to our apartment." The boy looked away. "One of them took her away, and some mean lady picked me up."

"How was she mean?" Amita asked.

The boy explained. "She wouldn't let me visit mom, or get my stuff."

He looked out the window, and the ride to Burger king continued in silence.


Snowy Owl
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07 Nov 2010, 12:50 pm

Chapter 3

As Charlie, Amita, and Hugh drove in silence towards the Burger King near the movie theater, Charlie recalled the last time he was in Rose's apartment.

Charlie woke up to the noise of vomiting. Concerned, he asked from bed, "Are you okay?"

"Fine.." She muttered after a pause and rinsing her mouth. Rose got out of the bathroom. Her medium brown hair hung loose"Must have been something from the take out."

"Maybe..." CHarlie sat up.

"Who's Amita?" she asked,suddenly. Her deep blue her stared right into him.

"Amita?" He repeated uncomfortably.

"You said her name in your sleep." Rose crossed her arms.

"No one. " Charlie insisted nervously.

"Liar" Rose shook her head. "She's probably a student or a colleague, which is it?

"Student." Charlie admitted, but argued. "But I don' even remember what I dreamed about. Maybe my dream was about teaching." He didn't mention that Amita was a favorite graduate student on whom he had a slight crush, and he had just agreed to be her disertation advisor next year.

"I doubt it. Not going by the tone." She frowned.

"I've been thinking, ...I don't think that this will work out." Charlie said, not looking at her


"All we do is eat, and then its straight to bed."

"Yeah so?"

"I want more."

" You want someone to discuss math theories with? Huh? Maybe you should hook up with Amita then."

"Rose!Come on!" Charlie protested. " Anyway my mom needs me."

Just then, His cell phone rang.


Don seethed. "Mom has her chemo appointment in ten minutes. Where the hell are you?"

"Working on a project." Charlie lied. "I'll be there."

"Don't bother." Don furiously hung up the phone.

"Who was that?"

"My brother."

"The one who lives in New Mexico?"

"Yeah...he came home to help with with my mother.

"At least you got some support."

"He says its until mom gets better, but..." Charlie swallowed. "I heard him talking to a moving company last night."

Rose put a hand on his shoulder. "Go home. Be with your mother."

Amita's announcement that they were at Burger King interrupted his thoughts.

After an employee took their order, the trio sat down in a booth.

"So, uh...what has your aunt told you about me?" Charlie asked.

"That you're my dad and that you'll take better care of me than she will." the boy replied. "And that my mom couldn't find you. That's why you didn't know about me."

"I'm so sorry!" Charlie said somberly. "If I had known, I would have been there sooner."

"Are you my dad's girlfriend?" the boy asked Amita, suddenly.

"She's my wife." Charlie corrected him. "And your stepmother."

"I'm not trying to replace your mother." Amita assured the boy, and gave Charlie a sharp glare.

Just then, their number was called.

"I'll get it." Charlie got up.

When the food came, everyone dug in. Soon, the boy asked, "What movie are we gonna see?"

"It's about a boy who goes on an adventure to save his baby brother." Amita replied,and looked at her watch. "We should finish eating in twenty minutes."


At the movie theater, Charlie bought a large popcorn, and three medium sodas.

After the movie, the couple brought the child back to his aunt's house.

"Amita and I already fixed up a room for you." Charlie told the boy as they walked towards the front door. "Soon, you'll get to met Grandpa Alan, Uncle Don, and soon to be aunt, Robin."

"I gotta another grandpa?"



"I'll see you soon?"


"Here's my cell number." Charlie gave Hugh a piece of paper. "Call me anytime. If I don't answer, leave a message and I call you back as soon as I can."


Aunt Sarah came out, thanked the couple, and sent Hugh to the house.

"By the way." She told them "I told Hugh that his mother couldn't find you, because I didn't want him to know that, well, Rose didn't want you to know about Hugh."

Charlie nodded.


Some time passed, and Charlie, with Amita and his lawyer beside him, went to court to start the process of getting custody of the boy. The judge assigned a social worker to Hugh's case.

Before the couple knew it, they were subject to interviews and home inspection.

The week after, they were interviewed by Sharon, the social worker assigned to Hugh.

"So both of you teach and consult?" she asked them, looking at the file. They were in her plain, windowless cubicle.

"Yes." Charlie replied. "But we'd be willing to cut down on our consulting."

"Amita, how do you feel about raising another woman's child?" Sharon, a blonde with brown-hazel eyes asked bluntly.

"I'm fine with it." Amita said.

"It's hard enough being patient with one's own children" She pointed to a picture of some children, presumably hers, on her desk. "Let alone someone else's."

"I'm willing to take on the challenge and give that little boy a stable home life." Amita replied.

"His own aunt doesn't want to take care of him. He's difficult" the social worker challenged.

Charlie, despite his best efforts, started to grow annoyed. "Look, he's my son, and we've shown you that we can provide a stable home life. What more do you want? Would you rather give him to strangers who only take him in to gain a little extra cash?"

"I'll need to see your home." Shraron said.

"Fine with us."

They set a date for the home inspection.

On they day before the social worker's visit, Amita, Charlie and Alan cleaned the house from top to bottom. The results made them proud.

"This place looks like a home from Architectural digest." Alan tiredly smiled.

"Hopefully, this will impress the social worker." Charlie commented


Sharon, came into the Craftsman the very next morning.

"Welcome to our Home." Charlie said.

"Is this a craftsman?" She asked.

"Yeah." Charlie replied.

"I used to live in one." Sharon said.

"Really?" Amita asked.

Charlie piped up,"You know, I uh..grew up in this very house."

"Did you?"

"Yeah. I bought it off my father a few years back." Charlie explained.

WIth the the couple gave their tour, and ended it with the back yard.

"I see you have a koi pond." Sharon remarked.

" I'd be willing to put a barrier around it." Charlie replied quickly, kicking himself.

"It's not that deep." Amita added.

"And the fish are harmless." Charlie said.

"It's fine." Sharon assured them.


Finally, after the Fall semester started at Cal SCi, Sharon called.

"You can have temporary custody of Hugh."

"That's great! Thank you!" CHarlie exclaimed.

"DCFS will still have legal custody, at least for while, but you can take him home." With that, Sharon hung up.

Happily, Charlie ran to where Amita taught a lower division course.

He waited at the doorway until she looked his way during the lecture.

Charlie mouthed, "We have custody."


Snowy Owl
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09 Nov 2010, 3:04 pm

Chapter 4

Finally, the day for Hugh to move in came. Amita and Charlie went to Sarah's house to pick him up. The boy waited for them with a duffel bag.

"Hi!" he said.

The couple greeted him back. After saying goodbye to his aunt Sarah, he got into the car.

"Are you sure you got everything you need?" Charlie asked.

"Yeah," Hugh replied.


Soon, they arrived at the house. Don and Robin talked in the living room, while Alan cooked.

"Hugh, you remember Uncle Don and Aunt Robin?" Charlie asked as he, Amita and the boy came in.

"Hi Hugh!" Robin smiled. Don greeted the boy as well.

"I'm gonna put his bag in your room, sit down, relax," Charlie told the boy, who had visited the Eppes home once before.

"Grandpa Alan is making your favorite, mac and cheese," Amita told Hugh.


Alan then came out of the kitchen to greet his grandson.

"Hugh! How are ya?"



The six eventually had dinner in the dining room. Hugh liked the mac and cheese, but it couldn't compare to his mother's.

For desert, there was store bought pound cake. It went well until Charlie brought up occupations.

"Hugh, Aunt Robin is a lawyer, but for the government, and Uncle Don works for the FBI."

"The cops for the whole country?" Hugh sniffed. "People from the FBI took my mom and toys away. "

"They were just doing their jobs," Don said gently.

"That's what the mean lady said. She said that mom did stuff she wasn't supposed to do."

"More desert anyone?" Alan piped up, seeing no solution to the argument.

"I'll take like a second piece," Amita said.

"Anyway, I'm a mathematician, as you know," Charlie continued.

"I don't like math," the boy said. "It's boring."

"You just haven't gotten to the good stuff, yet," Charlie argued.

"Little Buddy, why don't you come with me to work one day?" Don asked Hugh, "I'll show you around. You could see what the FBI really does. It helps and protects people by catching bad guys. "

Hugh exclaimed defensively, "My mom is not a bad guy!"

Robin gave Don a warning glare. "Why don't we play a game?"

"How about UNO?" Amita thought it as a game the boy could play.


The couple enrolled Hugh in the elementary school near their home, as it had better academic scores and it was closer to them.

"Hugh! Get up!" Charlie called out on the first day of the new school.

"Okay," the boy groaned and got up. Thankfully, Charlie did not have class until nine in the morning, so he made Hugh some oatmeal.

When the boy finally came to the dining room, dressed, he groaned. "I don't like oatmeal. I want coco puffs."

"Too much sugar," Charlie said.

With a sour face, he ate his oatmeal, and then it was time to go.

Charlie dropped him off, and then went to work.

After school, Hugh stayed in the after school program until four, when Amita picked him up.

"How was school?" she asked.

"Okay. We gotta class pet."


"A rat."

"What's its name?"


"How's the teacher?"

"She gave too much homework," Hugh complained.

"It's for your own good," Amita promised.

Hugh started playing a video game right when they got home.

"What about your homework?" Amita asked pointedly.


"Now. Turn that off," she said firmly.



Less than a week later, the principal called Charlie, and asked him to come to the school right away.

Charlie did so, and saw his son, sitting with a pout, on a chair in the office.

Before he could ask the boy anything, the secretary asked, "Are you Dr. Eppes?"


"The principal is ready to see you."

"Thanks." Charlie gave his son a look and walked towards the office marked "Principal". Then he knocked.

"Come in."

Charlie opened the door, to see a middle aged woman with salt and pepper hair and dark brown eyes. She wore a pantsuit. Near her aging desk stood a very full bookshelf.

After some polite greetings and introductions, Charlie asked, "What seems to be the problem?"

"Your son, Hugh, was caught selling pencils full of glitter during recess." She pulled them out of a drawer. "He charged two dollars each for them."

"Two dollars?" Charlie recognized the plain pencils he had bought the boy under all the glitter.

"When I had a chat with him, he said that it was for his mother's Christmas present."

"Ms. Wong, I am very sorry about my son's behavior," Charlie tried to explain. "It's just that his ...mother is in jail, and I only recently was made aware of his existence. DCFS just gave me physical custody, not too long ago."

"Do you have any other children?" Ms. Wong asked.


"What your son did was essentially put glitter all over some pencils and overcharge for them. That is a learned behavior."

"I assure you that he will unlearn it," Charlie promised. "He'll refund everyone who bought a pencil from him."

"He can return to class, tomorrow."

"You're going to suspend him?" Charlie worried.

"No, but he needs time to think about what he did. I had another student get him his homework."

"Thank you."


During the ride back to Cal Sci, Charlie had a serious talk with Hugh.

"I thought you needed those pencils! You lied!"

"I just wanted to get my mom a Christmas present," the boy pouted.

"If you wanna earn money, then maybe you could help around the house more."


"There'll be no TV or video games for a week."

During Charlie's next class, Hugh worked on homework. Afterwards, Amita came to Charlie's office with lunch.

"Why aren't you at school?" Amita asked the boy.

"He got into trouble for selling pencils with glitter," Charlie told her. "He can't watch TV or play video games for a week."

"Sounds reasonable," Amita said to show a united front in front of the boy. "Anyway, I brought lunch. I'll split my sandwhich with Hugh."

After lunch Hugh, wrote his mother a letter, while Charlie lectured in one of his graduate level courses.

Dear Mom,

I liked your story about the sikic kid. It was cool. My new school is okay. The principal is mean. She sent me home for seling pensils during resess. Aunt Sarah calls sometimes. Dad wont' let me watch tv or play video games for a week. Dad is nice though. I miss you.




Snowy Owl
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09 Nov 2010, 3:06 pm

Chapter 5

At Alan's suggestion, Charlie asked the boy the following night at dinner, "Are there any sports that you like? I was thinking of signing you up for one."

"Soccer," the boy said.

"Fine. I'll see about signing you up with AYSO," Charlie said

"Okay," Hugh said, and then changed the subject. "Could you mail something for me?"


"It's a letter for my mom."

"Alright," Charlie nodded. "I'll drop it off tomorrow."


After dinner, Hugh did his homework on the dining room table, while Amita graded quizzes across the way from him. Charlie watched a game with his father.

All too often, Hugh's mind wandered, and before he knew it, he remembered the night his world changed forever.

He had woken up from an odd dream, and now wanted to go to the bathroom, but resisted going as he was sleepy and the bed was cozy. He tried to get back to sleep, but the urgency finally won out. Reluctantly, he got out of bed and sleepily walked towards the bathroom, when he heard the front door of the apartment slam open.

"FBI!" someone yelled. Others followed the figure into the room where his mother slept, yelling, "FBI! Don't move." Soon, they all came out, with his mother, hands behind her back.

She turned to him. "Honey! It'll be okay."

Alan interrupted his thoughts, "Aren't you gonna finish your homework?"

"Yeah...," Hugh quickly replied.

"It's not gonna finish itself," Alan reminded him, as he went into the kitchen proper to get a beer.

Hugh worked on homework for a while, but then decided to eat an apple. So he went to get one from the fruit basket, as well as a large knife. For as long as he could remember his mother had sliced the apples for him, and so that's the way he preferred to eat them. As he cut the first slice, he wistfully thought of how nicely his mother's slices came out when he felt a pain on his finger while trying to cut a second slice, causing him to yell out.

The three adults ran in. Alan, without a word, got the boy's hand, and wrapped it in paper towels. Blood seeped all over.

"Charlie! Get the car ready!" Alan ordered. "Amita! Get me some towels!"

The couple obeyed him. Alan wrapped Hugh's hand with the towels, and led him towards Charlie's car. They went to the Emergency Room of the nearest hospital. After checking in and some waiting, they were led to a bed with curtains around it. Then, a nurse had Hugh soak his finger in some solution.

"It's to clean out the wound," the nurse said. Finally, after another while, the doctor, a middle aged man, came in.

"Hello, I'm ." He introduced himself and looked at the chart, then the boy. "And you're Hugh?"


"What happened?"

"I cut my finger."

"He apparently was trying to cut an apple with a large knife," Alan told the doctor.

The doctor looked at the wound; it looked as if the boy had almost sliced off part of his left index finger. Charlie cringed inwardly, as did Amita.

"This will need a few stitches, but he'll be fine," the doctor assured them and turned to Hugh. "I'm going to give you an injection so that it won't hurt to put on the stitches."


"The shot itself will hurt a little bit. I'll need you to be brave."


Hugh winced as the doctor injected him with the local anesthetic, but almost managed to stay still during the stitching.

Afterward, the doctor told the three adults, "The nurse will come by to tell you how to take care and dress the wound. Have a nice evening." The doctor left.

As they waited for the nurse, Alan told Hugh, "The next time you want an apple cut, let one of us know, alright?"

"Yes Grandpa."

"You're lucky you didn't slice the whole finger off!" Alan said.

"You really need to be careful with knives in general," Charlie said.

After the nurse gave them the needed instructions, they left for home. Thankfully, Charlie, after much effort, had managed to get Hugh into his insurance.


Later that night, the couple talked in bed.

"That was one of the most frightening experiences of my life!" Charlie lay back on his pillow.

"Good thing your dad was there," Amita said. "He knew just what to do."

"He sure least it wasn't too serious," Charlie remarked.

Amita thought of something. "We could get an apple slicer."

"That's a great idea."

The two talked a bit more about various things, and then eventually, the subject of Hugh's education came up.

"We should consider enrolling Hugh in private school?" Amita remarked

"The school Hugh is going to is pretty good," Charlie shrugged.

"He could go to a better school," Amita said. "We need to push him so that he'll improve his grades."

"I went to public school," Charlie pointed out.

"But had private tutors," Amita countered. "I've done some research and found some private, non religious schools, within half an hour of here, that score much better than Hugh's school."

"Let me see your research, and in the meantime, we can push Hugh to do better at school."


Sarah kindly offered to keep taking Hugh to visit his mother at Metropolitan Detention Center in Los Angeles. Amita quickly agreed to keep peace, though Charlie decided to visit her one day.

"Why didn't you tell me?" Charlie demanded, as they, for the first time in years, saw each other face to face. Rose had some fine lines, and the orange suit contrasted with her blue eyes. Her hair was very short.

"I didn't think you were up to it," she told him frankly. "You were so involved in your little ivory tower, and could barely cope with your mother's illness."

"I would have stepped up to the plate!" Chalrie argued. "I had a right to know."

"Charlie, I understood when you first came crying to me, but then I'd wake up to find you writing some math mumbo jumbo on my paper towels!"

"I was under a lot of stress, granted, but..."

"But nothing. Hugh needed someone who was with him then!"

"How about a mother who wasn't a con artist, huh?" Charlie snapped, having read her file. "Or didn't make him pretend to be autistic in order to make a buck?"

"I've been a good mother to him. He never lacked for love, food, or shelter!"

"He pretended to have cancer in order to sell more lemonade!"

"And has since faced the consequences," she told him.

"No thanks to you!" Charlie said, got up and angrily left.


After a few weeks, the couple went to talk with Hugh's teacher, Ms. Katz at the latter's classroom.

After the usual introductions, Charlie asked, "How is Hugh doing?"

"Well, he's a smart boy," the teacher began. "But he needs to improve in some areas."

"Such as?" Charlie asked.

She replied, "He can express his ideas in a grade appropriate way, but seems to have trouble with spelling."

"What can we do to help him?" Charlie scratched his nose.

"Check his homework. Test him with the weekly vocabulary words."

"Anything else?" Amita asked.

"Take him to the library and encourage him to check out books."

"We can do that," Charlie agreed.

The teacher continued, "Sometimes he doesn't pay attention in class. Yesterday, I caught him writing a letter to his mother during the math lesson." She took out a paper from a drawer.

"His mother is in jail," Charlie admitted. "We only recently gained custody of Hugh."

"That explains a lot. Take a look at the letter."

Dear Mom:

I can't wate for Chrismas. I am gonna ask Santa for a TV for my room.

Amita said, "We'll talk to him about paying attention in class."

"He really needs to put in more effort here at school," Ms. Katz said.

"We'll see to it that he does," Charlie promised.


When they returned to the house, Alan, looking up from his paper, asked, "Hugh is in the shower. How did it go?"

"His spelling needs work and he sometimes doesn't pay attention," Charlie sighed.

"He was caught writing a letter to his mother during class," Amita added. "He expects Santa to give him a TV for his room.."

"We'll have to get a Christmas tree," Charlie realized.

"But get him something else. He's too young to have a TV in his room," Amita said.

"I agree," Alan nodded. "What about a bike?"

"That's a great idea," Amita smiled. "We'll leave a note from Santa saying that he's too young for a TV in his room."


When Hugh came out of the shower, Charlie checked his homework in the living room, after a short lecture on paying attention in class

"This book report is too short," Charlie told his son. "And you misspelled a few things."

"The book was stupid," the boy said as if that explained everything.

"At least say why it was stupid," Charlie said.



Amita and Charlie celebrated their anniversary by going out to dinner at a fancy restaurant alone, while Alan stayed with Hugh.

As they waited for their dinner, Charlie said, "Thank you."


"Being there, and helping me with Hugh. I know that he was more than you signed up for when you married me."

"I signed up to stay with you through everything," Amita reminded him.

The sommelier interrupted them to offer the wine list and make recommendations.

"So many choices," Charlie mused. "Why don't you pick one, Amita?"

"Sure," Amita said and did so.


After dinner, they went to a hotel, where they would spend the night.

"Alone at last!" Charlie said, after they checked in.

Amita just smiled at him as they waited for the elevator.



For Halloween, Hugh dressed as a wizard, with a blue robe,and pointy hat. Charlie took him trick or treating. When they got home, the boy tried to grab a candy, but was stopped by Alan's firm hand grabbing his.

"Let your father check it first."

"Why?" the boy asked, puzzled.

"There could be razors in the candy."

"That's an urban myth, Dad," Charlie scoffed.

"Where there's smoke, there's fire!" Alan countered, and took some of the candy out. "I'll check it myself."

Amita looked up from an astrophysics paper she was revising for publication. "You can only have five pieces, Hugh."

Hugh protested vehemently, "I want it all! I earned it!"

Charlie scolded the boy, "Don't take that tone with Amita!"

"For that, you'll only take three pieces," Alan added. "Once I check them, of course."

"Grandpa, you said that it's not good to waste stuff," the little boy said.

"It's not good to waste food," Alan corrected him.

"Candy can be dumped," Amita said.

"Maybe you could have two a day?" Alan suggested.

"Can I send some to my mom?"

"Sure," Charlie agreed.

"Can you take my picture, Dad? So I can send it to my mom too?"

"Let me get the camera," Charlie said and went to his and Amita's room.


At Amita's behest, Charlie had the boy go to a psychologist, Dr. Brenner, once a week. Soon, the couple was asked to see her themselves for a session.

They all sat in an ample room with a couch and a chair. The couple sat on the couch.

"As I mentioned before, I like to speak with the parents or guardians of my younger patients," Christine began. Her black hair was tied up, and she wore a gray skirt with a red shirt with short puffy sleeves.

"I admit, it was quite a change," Amita said. "We went from being a newly wedded couple, to being parents to a young boy all in one swoop."

"My dad's been a great help to us," Charlie added.

"Hugh's adjusting pretty well, I think," Amita said, "Though he really misses his mother."

Charlie said, "We're having a Christmas tree at our home for the very first time for Hugh's sake."

"According to the form you filled out, you're concerned as to how Hugh is coping with his mother's incarceration, and some behavioral issues?" the therapist asked.

"That's right," Amita nodded. "He's been through so much recently, between his mother getting arrested, and living with a dad he just met..."

"Those are quite a few changes," the therapist agreed.

"He tried to sell pencils full of glitter at school," Charlie added. "He charged two bucks each for them."

"Sounds like he has en entrepreneurial spirit," Brenner said. "He just choose the wrong place to manifest it in."

"He lied to me!" Charlie argued. "Telling me that he needed those pencils, and overcharged for them."

"He's also pretended to have cancer while running a lemonade stand," Amita pointed out.

"Now that's not right," the therapist agreed. "And it's definitely learned."

"His mother was a con artist," Charlie explained. "That's why she's in jail. She must have taught him that pretending to have cancer was okay."

"How was he punished?"

"At the time he was living with his aunt, who made him apologize to the neighbors and go to the children's ward of a hospital," Amita replied.

"Sounds reasonable," Brenner said. "How's he doing at school?"

"He sometimes doesn't pay attention in class," Amita said, "and needs to improve his spelling."

"He's capable of better grades," Charlie added.

"He does seem like a smart boy," the therapist remarked.

"My wife and I check his homework every day," Charlie said. "To make sure he did it right."

"That's a good way to make sure he does well at school," the therapist approved.

"Is there anything else we could do?" Amita asked.

"Encourage him to read a lot. That will help him in many areas."

"My father plays Scrabble with him," Charlie said. "And I made him a couple of math video games."

"You made him video games?" the therapist repeated.

"One of my PhDs is in Computer Science," Charlie explained.

"I see. What's the other one in?"

"Math," Charlie answered. "My wife has two PhDs as well."

"Computer Science and Astrophysics," Amita added. "We both teach and consult."

"So your schedules are pretty stable then?" Christine asked.

"It depends on whether we have consulting work or not," Amita said. "We've got my father-in-law to help us."

"How's it been for both of you? Balancing work and Hugh?"

"Tricky at times, but we're managing fine," Amita said. "Hugh's not a baby so that makes things a bit easier."

"How are you two bonding with him?"

"It's taken a bit, but we're progressing," Charlie said.

The trio talked some more until time ran out.


Snowy Owl
Snowy Owl

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Joined: 5 Nov 2010
Age: 39
Gender: Female
Posts: 165
Location: The Potatoe Kingdom

11 Nov 2010, 9:37 pm

Chapter 6

During one visit to see his mother, Hugh remarked, "A classmate's dad got outta jail early. He got Pa-roll or something. Could you get that?"

"Parole? I'm sorry, sweetie, but I don't qualify, not yet anyway. And then I have to apply for it."

"Oh..." Hugh's disappointment could be heard and seen on his face.

"The time will go by before you know it!" She made herself sound cheerful. "I miss you so much! You'll never know just how much."

The two sat at a small table in the visitor's area. Sarah sat on a table by herself to let mother and son bond. "Mortimer died."


"Dunno. He died after lunch on Monday." The boy sighed.

"I'm sorry to hear that."

"He was a nice rat. He never bit anyone."

"How's school otherwise? Does the teacher still give lots of homework?

"Yeah. Dad and Amita check it every day."

"Is it easy? Hard?"

"Math is boring."

"Just pretend it's money, and it'll be much easier," Rose advised.


"What are you doing for Thanksgiving?"

"Granpa Alan is gonna make a big dinner. Uncle Don and Aunt Robin are gonna be there."

"Is Granpa Alan a good cook?"


"Have you written to Santa yet?"

"I did. I asked for a TV for my room. I wanna watch cartoons in bed. Granpa Alan says that sometimes Santa brings something brings kids something better instead than what they asked for."

"Is that right?"


"Sweetie, I'd like you to ask your father to come see me. I need to talk to him," Rose told the kid.

"Okay," Hugh agreed, curious. "Why?"

"Grown up stuff."


With annoyance, Charlie came to see her, with Amita at his side.

"What do you want?"

"I wanted to talk to you guys about custody."

"Custody? You're still in prison," Charlie pointed out.

"I'll be eligible for Parole when Hugh is 15, but I wanted to get things straight."

"Like what?"

"That, when I get out, I''ll have him half the time."

"No," Charlie said adamantly.

"You don't even know if you're getting parole," Amita said diplomatically.

"My heart tells me that I will."

"Is this the same heart that told you to con all those people out of their money?" Charlie asked sardonically.

"A couple of the victims have turned religious and have forgiven me," Rose said. "They've agreed to speak at my parole hearing. I'm a different person now."

"Sure your are," Charlie said with doubt.

"I've been taking a writing course, and have a job. "

"A job?" Charlie repeated.

"A company made a deal with this prison so that inmates can work in the call center."

"Rose," Amita began. "Say you do get parole. You're going to need time for yourself, to get your life together."

"What I'm gonna need is my son back. As it is, I'm losing out on a good part of his childhood. He's always been my priority."

"That's why you did live a life of crime, huh? Because Hugh is so important to you?" Charlie snapped.

"You don't know what's it like," she began. "Especially with a kid to think about. As I'm sure you've noticed. They're kinda expensive."

"If you would have told me, I would have helped out with the expenses," Charlie scoffed. "Besides, what you wanted, was easy money."

"He never lacked for love, attention, or food with me!" Rose argued.

"How about this: when you get out, you can have him Christmas, some birthdays, alternate weekends, and three weeks in the summer?" Charlie proposed.

"Don't make me take you to court!" Rose warned.

"Go ahead. Take us to court," Charlie challenged her. "Let's see who the judge is going to prefer: the loving father and stepmother who have been raising him in a stable home, or the jobless felon of a mother?"


As they drove home, Amita suggested, "Rose has a right to see Hugh. He is her son."

"She wants him to live with her half the time," Charlie countered. "When she gets out. That can't happen. My offer is more than fair."


By and by, December came. The couple went with Hugh, on a weekend to get a tree.

"Which tree do you like?" Charlie asked the boy, when they were at a lot, where Christmas trees were sold.

"Can I get a big one?"


"How about that one?" Hugh pointed to a large tree, about seven or eight feet tall. For the longest time, he had wanted a large tree, but the apartments he had shared with his mom were always too small.

"Great! Let's get it!" Charlie agreed.

With great effort, Charlie, a lot employee and Amita tied it to the top of the car, as Hugh happily watched.

"It'll be your responsibility to water the tree," Amita told him.

"I will."


During Hugh's Christmas break, he got homework, mostly involving math and reading books from the library. Charlie, having done some research, wrote word problems for the boy. One such problem was

"I give you forty dollars, and you end up spending twenty nine dollars on candy. How much would you have left?" Hugh, in a relatively short time solved it, only to there were more such as. "Let's say, you have own a store that sells TVs, and sold two TVs on costing 239, and the other, 855, in one day. How much money total did you get?"

Charlie eventually checked the five problems, and declared that two of them were wrong.

"You didn't carry the one," he told the boy. "Have you finished that book you got from the library?"

"No. It's boring."

"But you chose it."

"I wanna get another one."

"Stick it out," Charlie advised. "Then you can get another one."


Finally, for Hugh, Christmas came. To his surprise he saw a bike, rather then a television laying under the tree upon going to it very early in the morning. He found a handwritten note:

Hugh: I've decided to give you a bike, because I saw that you didn't have one. I know you'll have much more fun with it.



Later that, day, Charlie patiently taught him to ride. With enough practice, Hugh was able to ride to and from school, or a classmates home, as needed.

Sometimes, though, he'd come home late. One of his classmates had access to the new game, Hell Spawn thanks to an older brother.

"Where were you, Hugh?" Alan asked when the boy came in one evening during dinner. Everyone had served themselves.

"At a classmate's house"

"To study or play?" Amita asked suspiciously.

"Study," the boy quickly said.

"So your homework is ready for me to check it?" Charlie asked.

"Almost...," the boy said nervously.

"Finish it after dinner."

"Okay." The boy sat down to eat. "Any mail?"

"Not today," Amita said.


"Maybe you should only visit your friends on the weekends," Amita suggested.

Hugh asked, "Why?"

"Because school comes first," Amita responded.


One evening at dinner, Charlie said, with a grin when everyone was served, "Amita has an announcement to make."

"I found a comet," Amita smiled.

"What's a comet?" Hugh asked.

"It's a small, icey body that goes across space," Charlie replied. "When it gets close to the sun, it displays a tail. "

"I'll show you a picture of one after dinner," Amita promised.

"That's great!" Alan approved.

Eventually, Amita published her findings, had them verified, and named the comet, Meyyalagi, after her late grandmother.


February came in the blink of an eye. Charlie and Amita discussed in bed what to do for Hugh's upcoming birthday.

"Let's take him and a few classmates to Chuck E. Cheese," Amita suggested. "Kids love it there. They can eat pizza, and play games. Plus there's no cleanup afterward."

"Sure!" Charlie agreed. "What about summer? I was thinking we could do Disney World."

He added , "When I was a kid, I wanted to go to Disney World, but Dad never saw the point."


"Because Disneyland was nearby."


"I tried to tell him that it wasn't the same thing, but he never listened," Charlie remembered. "What else could we do?"

"I need some time to do my research," Amita reminded him.

"What about Hugh?"

"We're taking him to Disney World," Amita said. "Most kids don't get to go anywhere."

"You're right," Charlie admitted.

At that moment, they heard a knock on their bedroom door.

"Who is it?" Charlie asked.

"Hugh. Can I come in?"

Amita, in a revealing night gown, threw a blanket over herself. Charlie sat in boxers and t-shirt.

"Yes," Charlie said. "What's up?"

Hugh didn't bother with a preamble, "I need a cell phone."

"A cell phone?" Charlie repeated. "But why?"

"What if I get kidnapped? What if there's a fire or something at school?"

"You're too young," Amita said firmly.

"A kid from my soccer team has one," the boy pouted.

"So?" Amita countered. "Cell phones are not for kids. We can talk about this when you're, say, 14."

"That's a long time," the boy protested.

Amita looked at the clock next to her side of the bed. "It's past your bedtime."

"Good night," Hugh sighed and left their room; closing the door behind him.

"We haven't gotten him his birthday present yet," Charlie remarked. "What about Hell Spawn? That new computer game? "

"Let's see what the rating on it is." Amita got her laptop from her canvas bag and looked it up. "It's rated T for Teen."

"What about a laptop?" Charlie suggested.

"A laptop! For a kid?"

"To do his homework and play video games on. I wouldn't have it hooked up to the net," Charlie said.

"He can do those two things on the desktop," Amita said.

"We could build it from different parts," Charlie said.

"That's too much."

"What do you suggest then?"

"A skateboard. I see him having lots of fun with it," Amita replied.

Charlie agreed.


At Hugh's birthday party, about ten boys showed up. Amita and Charlie gave them each a few tokens to play with after the extra large pizza had been eaten up by the group.

"Bet you three tokens I can beat you at air hockey!" Hugh challenged one of the guests.

"Sure," the other boy said, doubtfully and joined Hugh at the air hockey table.

As the kids played, Amita and Charlie relaxed.

"I hope he likes the skateboard-," the latter remarked.

"So do I."

[u] 8) 8)