Healing Charles

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10.

•••

~Stella

"Get up princess."

I groaned at his constant attempts to get me up and out of the bed. I deserve this sleep and its weekend for god's sake!

"Are you getting up or not?"

"No."

"Fine."

I rolled over my stomach and buried my face in the pillow, finally getting rid off him. It was very late when I got home last night from our little adventure and I am not ready to get up and go to Valentino's place today. Everyone has reached there already except of Charles who would not leave me alone. Even Mae left when I refused to budge. I need my sleep.

Suddenly I felt the comforter being ripped away from above me, coolness hitting me with its sharp sting. I cursed under my breath at him, instantly curling up in a ball and tucking my limbs underneath me for some heat.

"Still?"

"Leave me alone please." By this time I was practically begging for him to go away and let me have at my sleep peacefully.

In response, he grabbed my ankles and pulled me towards him with no strain at all. It was that easy. I wrestled against his hold but he just would not give up even when I tried to kick him away.

He grabbed me from my waist and threw me over his shoulders while I almost cried like a baby who is forced to get out of his bed on a Monday morning to attend the school.

He walked into my bathroom with me in his arms and dumped me on the basin counter. I gave him a flat look.

"What do you think you are doing?" I asked annoyed beyond my possible limits. He did not answer but kept looking through the cabinets beside the counter. He found my toothbrush and put a paste on it and almost shoved the brush in my mouth. "I hate you."

"Sure you do." He chuckled. "I'll be waiting in the drawing room. Dress up quickly."

He left and I made a face at his back.

I wanted to just go back to bed but thanks to him I was wide awake now so I had no option left but to get dressed and go with him so I did exactly that.

I took a quick shower and got dressed in my casual jeans and plain cotton Shirt. I threw my hair in a messy bun and put on my sneakers to go with the outfit.

I made my way out of the room and into the hall where I found Charles waiting while engrossed in his phone. I grabbed a canned juice from kitchen to quench my dry throat.

"Take a note in your memory that my room is off limits for you henceforth." I grumbled, my irritation taking an upward turn at seeing his handsome face. Nobody ruins my sleep, everyone knows better than to mess with me on that.

"Sure Ella Mella Peeee." He said in a sing sang voice and I turned to him with narrowed eyes at the new nick name.

I wish I had it in me to throw a punch on his perfectly chiseled jaw that could leave him with a thorough bruise to show off but he knew how to take advantage of his looks in a perfect bargain around people.

"You are lucky that I am tired or I would have mutilated you with my bare hands right now." My sarcasm has taken a violent turn today.

"That tempted to touch me huh?" He asked with an awfully boasted look with strange heat in his eyes which confused me for a second there.

"You wish."

I rolled my eyes at him before making my way out of the apartment. Mae texted me the address to Valentino's place and I had it on my GPS already which indicated thirty minutes of walk to my destination. Just what I needed.

We descended in elevator, all the while Charles kept giving me this amused look and I resisted the urge to snap. I just made a face at him and decided to just ignore the creature altogether.

"C'mon." He said and turned in the direction of his place where I am sure his bike was but I was not up for a ride so ignored his calls and kept walking in the opposite direction leisurely. I heard his light log of steps behind me to approach me as he came beside me. "What?"

I shrugged.

"Are we going for a silent treatment now?"

I was not but since you suggest so, I do think it has an appeal to it.

"Real mature Ella Mella Pee." He said and I could see his blank look through my side vision clearly.

Says the one who calls me name from the movie of fairies.

We walked quietly for a few minutes and I enjoyed the mild sun of Saturday morning. The streets were less crowded and it felt good to walk on the pavement slowly and without any rush to get to office.

I heard a groan from my side.

"Stella?"

I smoothed my grin that was threatening to break out. I did not know that he could not bear the silence like this which was really funny considering he was not much of a talker either. I knew that Charles was more of listener who was always inclined to catch details in conversations but I was never aware of the fact that he does not know how to handle silence even like this one where I could not help but mess with this new found information.

Thats right Charles. Payback it is.

"Do you know where you are going?" He asked smirking and I deliberately checked the maps that were showing the directions on my phone which suggested to turn right and I did as soon as his smug face faltered. "Alright I get it, you are the smart one."

Duh.

"Speak already."

No my friend. I am enjoying this silence way too much to give up this soon.

His exasperation was practically coming off in waves to me, letting me know that he was not taking it easy. I wanted to laugh but if I did, I would not be able to make out of it alive. His uneasy face was really funny.

I looked at my phone again and it showed we were almost there and I realised how nice and warm the neighbourhood around here looked. It was a full residential area and looked a posh one for that matter.

I was walking ahead when I realised Charles was not beside me which made me stop. Confused, I turned around and found him leaning against the street lamp with his hands folded across his chest. His bummed spirit was evident in his features and I finally took a pity on him.

"Don't be a grumpy face Charles." I said smiling at him.

"I am sorry do I know you?"

I rolled my eyes.

"No you don't. Listen to your mamma and stay away from strangers."

He smirked.

"Feisty. I like it."

"Yeah I am a prototype. Not for sale."

Something shifted in his eyes and for the first I saw his smirk reaching upto his eyes. He did not look mad but his amusement was not the usual innocent expression that came from our constant banter but this time it looked different. Almost dangerous.

"Good to know I am enjoying the primary taste then."

I scoffed and turned around to resume walking. He followed beside me and this time he looked rather comfortable. We stopped in front of the building pointed out by the navigation arrow and went inside. Charles punched in the floor number when we entered in the elevator and we ascended the floors.

The building was sleek and modern and looked rather expensive indicating Valentino was loaded. We stopped on the seventh floor and my theory found its confirmation when I saw the only apartment that was on the floor.

"Is Valentino rich?" I asked Charles who knocked on the door and turned to me.

"Yeah. Why?" He asked giving me cautious look.

"Nothing." I shrugged. I had just asked that out of curiosity not because I wanted to raid him.

"You don't like rich?"

I thought about it.

Both of my parents had a job each. Well paid one for that matter in an multi national company so we, my sister and me, never really had anything to complain about. So I guess I never really knew what struggle meant when it came to financial aspect. Of course we were not super rich but the household did not run on a tight budget either. Everything was well within limits and we enjoyed it.

"I don't hate it either." I said shrugging and for some odd reason I caught his shoulders relaxing a bit. "Why do you ask?"

He was about to say something but stopped when the door flung open and Irwin greeted us.

"Hey look who decided to show up." He said snickering and left the door open for us to follow him inside.

Inside was just as fancy as it was in the lobby outside. The apartment looked like it demanded high maintenance. The interior was cool and minimal and had a welcoming charm to it. It was all really impressive. There was a staircase going to the next story and I heard voices indicating everyone was up there doing something.

Irwin climbed up the stairs and we followed his steps.

We entered into a room which was triple the size of my room back in our apartment. It was furnished in a dark theme which contrasted with the light coming in through the glass door on the other side of the room which opened to reveal a large balcony outside. It looked like a small lounge with a big screen at one side and a small bar on the other.

Everyone was sitting around in a circle eating pizzas. My stomach grumbled but I hesitated since I did not come early to help. Charles however did not hold back and made himself comfortable quickly. I found Valentino and apologised to him for coming in so late.

"Its okay Stells." He said winking and I relaxed.

"Hey." I said sitting beside Mae who was throwing daggers at me. She knew how to make me feel guilty.

"Where were you?" Bella asked as soon as I apologised to Mae for being such a lazy butt.

So I took the hint from her bright expectant look that everyone knew I was out late last night.

"I was with Charles." I informed casually. A sly smile broke out simultaneously on Mae and Bella's faces and I face palmed at how that came out. "Refrain from whatever ideas you are getting. We just went to grab some ice cream."

"Ice cream and tattoos." My head snapped as soon as Mae's words came out. I looked at her in shock.

"What?"

"No way!"

"You know?!"

Bella, Brooke and I cried out all at once while Mae sat there with much satisfactory look on her face, feeling pleased with our reactions.

"Oh I came into your room this morning to wake you up and guess what I found. You sleeping with your back turned to me which had these inked words. Hard to miss you know." She explained laughing. "Care to explain what the hell did you do last night?"

I sighed. Guess I can not bail out of this.

"I don't know. One second we were eating our ice creams and next thing I knew I was in this tattoo parlour which by the way was his idea and we got our first tattoos together." I told them. Not really understanding why they were looking so excited at this.

Everyone was giving me wide eyed look.

"Hey its not that big of a deal!" I said coming to my defence when they just kept on giving me those surprised looks.

"Uh huh." Brooke said smirking.

"Do you like him?" Bella asked me all of a sudden and I gave her a blank look.

"We are just friends Bella. Besides its just a tattoo." I said looking at her as if she had grown an extra limb on her back.

"You have just known him for weeks at a stretch and you guys are getting tattoos already. Next thing I know we are at a hospital waiting for you to pop his baby out." Bella said reverting back my expression.

"How about we consider their wedding first?" Brooke asked sarcastically to Bella who just laughed shrugging.

"Yes Brooke you are helping the situation. Thank you."

"Your welcome." She chirped getting up and went to sit beside Caleb who was engrossed in his phone. I noticed Irwin and Charles having a conversation with each other while Valentino was busy in collecting all the left boxes of pizzas to throw them out.

I sighed.

"Its fine Stella. You take your time." Mae whispered in my ear and proceeded to help Valentino who smiled at her.

I thought to myself, confused.

Time for what exactly?

•••

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