The reception was coming to a close and Charlie had gone to say goodbye to a few relatives so Hazel went to the bar to grab another drink. Taking a seat on the stool, she watched the bartender maker her martini when she felt someone else come up next to her, also placing an order.
She heard the woman beside her clear her throat before the word “Hey” left her lips.
Turning her head, Hazel’s eyes went wide when they landed on Morgana.
“Hey.” She replied, politely, trying to keep a cool exterior while sweating bullets on the inside.
“I’m Morgana.” She held her hand out for a shake. “You must be Charlie’s new fling.”
“Hazel.” She replied, shaking the taller woman’s hand.
Hazel was slightly offended by the term “new fling” and the tone it was said in, but from what she’d heard about their breakup, Morgana was still pretty bitter and it showed.
“Pleasure to meet you Hazel.” Morgana nodded. “So tell me, how long have the two of you been a thing?”
The bartender handed Hazel her drink and before answering, she took a sip to gather herself.
“A little less than a year.” She replied, not really offering much information.
“A little less than a year?” Morgana repeated, cocking a brow. “That’s very interesting seeing as he was just at my place in LA a few months ago. Hm, well, I guess that’s just how these actors are. Short attention spans and all…”
Hazel felt her stomach drop down in a knot at what she’d just heard. She could tell by Morgana’s attitude that she was trying purposely to be nasty but what if she was telling the truth? They had dated for 6 years. That’s not something someone just throws away. He swore to her that they hadn’t spoken in over a year. That those feelings weren’t there anymore. So which of them was lying?
By the look on Morgana’s face, she could see that the woman was proud of herself for hitting a nerve.
Receiving her drink from the bartender, she once again looked at Hazel, with a long smirk on her lips.
“Oh relax honey. That’s just how these men are. Y’know – rich, famous, do whatever they want types. Just enjoy your 15 minutes with him before he’s on to the next – or back with the best where he belongs.”
With that, she gave Hazel a wave as she walked away.
She couldn’t believe how someone could be that nasty. Whatever happened to women sticking together? She’d never had reason to believe that Charlie was seeing anyone else. Not recently anyway. At first she’d had her doubts as to someone of his stature being interested in a random sales associate – but Charlie genuinely had a way of making her feel like the only woman in his life.
Now she was starting to doubt that. But was it worth it over the words of a bitter ex?
Taking her drink with her, she made her way outside for air. Confrontation wasn’t her thing. It made her stomach bubble like she was going to throw up. Especially the fact that she’d never met this woman.
She leaned back against the cold, prickled wall of the hotel taking a deep breath. Was she in over her head? Dating Charlie was a dream come true. He was such a gentleman. He was kind. He was sweet. Could he really have been with Morgana a few months ago?
“Haz, hey baby.”
She heard Charlie’s voice come up towards her.
“What’re you doing out here?”
“I – uh – just – just getting some are.” Hazel replied, trying to keep her calm.
“Well here,” He smiled, taking off his jacket, throwing it over her shoulders. “It’s chilly out here.”
She smiled, lowering her head to look down at the ground. “Thanks. It was stuffy in there.”
He wrapped his arm around her, pulling her into his side. “I know, thanks for dealing with it.”
“Oh it wasn’t so bad, you’re family was actually super sweet.”
He laughed, kissing her head. “Are you ready to call it a night?”
“Yeah, yeah I think so.” She nodded, reeling in the comfort.
See – this was the Charlie she knew. The one that made her smile and feel safe.
Charlie’s breath tickled her shoulder as he slept next her. She replayed her conversation with Morgana over and over again. How seriously should she take her word? The Charlie she’d gotten to know didn’t seem like the type to be a player. His family hadn’t let off that impression either.
“Charlie…” She whispered, tracing her fingertips over the lines of his face.
“Hmm..?” he returned, not opening his eyes.
“Charlie, do you love me?” Hazel asked.
She wasn’t one for straight forward confrontation but this whole relationship was something new. She had to give him the benefit of the doubt.
“What?” He asked, finally peeking out from half-shut eyelids.
“Do you love me?”
“Of course I do.” he replied. “You okay?”
She nodded, biting her bottom lip hesitantly before speaking again. “Were you with Morgana a few months ago?”
“What?” He asked, suddenly wide awake. “Where’d that come from?”
Hazel sat up, rubbing her eyes before crossing her arms over her chest. “I spoke to Morgana earlier, before you ran into me outside. She… she had some things to say about you still being with her and that eventually you’ll end up right back with her.”
He sat up, his body positioned towards her, placing one hand on her thigh, the other on her back as he looked down at her with concern.
“You believed that?”
“I mean,” She shook her head, lifting her eyes to meet his. “No. but I’ve also never been in this position before.”
“What position?” He asked, his voice more serious.
“Dating someone of your stature…” She replied. “You can have any woman you want…”
“It’s about trust Hazel. I’m with you.”
“I know, but – “
“There is no but babe. Either you trust me or you don’t.”
“I – I trust you. I just…. So you weren’t with her?”
“No.” He sighed, leaning his forehead against hers. “No i wasn’t. Whenever I’m away from you all I do is work. The second I get any time off I come see you. I would never do that to you.”
Her heart finally slowed to a normal beat for the first time since her talk with Morgana. She just needed to hear him say it.
“Haz… you mean more to me than anyone. I’ve never felt a connection like I have with you. Even my brother took notice. Look …” He said before stopping, seemingly nervous in his own way. “What do you think about moving to LA with me?”
It was the only thing she could think to get out of her mouth. Move in with him? Were they ready for that?
“What about … school? My job? Charlie -”
“Haz, what if you didn’t have to work? You could just focus on school? You could transfer to UCLA or even do online classes … It’s up to you. If you really want you can get a job out there but you wouldn’t need to. I… I know it’s a lot to ask but I’ve thought of this a million times. I just want you with me. I don’t like the constant distance babe. I want to come home every single day and be with you.”
“Charlie” She breathed.
“Just just say yes and i could have movers at your place the second we land.”