"Would it change anything if I said that it wasn't the right thing for him to do?"
Charlie blinked once, startled. That's... actually a good question. Would it change anything? She wanted to say no automatically, without thought, but she did think about it.
She loved Royce. She knew him, and trusted him, and understood him to be a caring, self-sacrificing person that fiercely protected the people he cared about. Based on what she just learned, for the longest time, that only applied to Rosemary, his friend and family. But now he cared about Charlie too, though to what degree she didn't know. But he did care. And he wanted to protect her. All these things pointed to one simple truth- Royce was a good person.
Does anything of what she learned today change the way she feels about him? No, it doesn't. But then again, nor does it make it any easier to sit with the idea that she might lose him.
Charlie sighed again, rubbing her arms to keep warm, as she thought about that a bit further. Royce was a good person, one who protected others, one who felt it was his responsibility to protect others. He may not be one to necessarily follow all of the rules, but he did follow his own ones. He did whatever he felt was right, and was necessary.
Would he feel that staying in New Hope was right? That staying with her was right? Or would he realize that he and Rosemary had a home already, complete with a family? Which was the correct path?
She chuckled lightly, casting puffs of visible air floating in between them. She met Crowne's eyes and said, "No, I guess it doesn't change anything at all. Royce will make whatever decision he thinks is best, and no matter what it is, I won't stop loving him. I can't."
"You're not telling him any of this, by the way," she added, slanting her eyes at him. "It's not your story to tell, after all. It's mine."
Royce isn't mine. He doesn't belong to me. I can't keep him here.
"And, as promised, I'll take this," she continued, leaning around and plucking the card from the fingers stuck in his back pocket. She didn't even glance at the address- not her business- and continued walking past him. "I'll make sure he gets it. Thank you for being honest with me. I have to go now. Goodbye Alexander Crowne." And she didn't stop walking until she reached the shed, stepped inside, shut the door and sat back down at her desk to complete her work.