Healing Charles

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13.

~Charles

I smirked when Stella walked away from me and I catch her lame attempt to hide her blush but I decide against teasing her about that. I check my phone which buzzed with Val's message that said he was near the food carts with others.

I looked up and spotted Stella at a jewellery stall, checking out some shitty hand made accessories. She deserved the diamonds from tiffany which I can just gift her right now if only she wouldn't freak out in my face. I went over to her and waited for her to be done so we could go back and join rest of the group.

She kept looking through different stuffs oblivious to me standing behind her.

I took this time to think about what is going on. I know we do not have anything between us but it surprises me how much I want to have something with her. Anything. She is precious and I do not think she knows that. Its not that I am spending my time with her because I have nothing better to do, in fact I am weirded out myself that its because I want to spend my time with this girlish woman, even though we barely know each other. I have never wanted to be with someone so much after my dad had passed away, in fact I have never paid much of my attention to anyone, before him too. I don't deny that there weren't some really hot chicks in my college but I would just mostly use them for my needs and anyways it was a mutual thing most of the time. It was always the same story, hang out with people who I barely knew, party, get drunk and then end up with some girl who wouldn't stop throwing herself at me. I slept with all those girls just out of pity at their desperate moves only to wake up and realise I am not in my room. Again. But with her, its different and I have no idea why. Only that, she gravitates my attention like no other and she has no idea how willing I am to have her all to myself.

I like it how she is always laughing which create depressions in her cheeks making her look fucking irresistible. If I had to describe her that way then she is a whole another sunshine vibe with brains. She is smart and knows better than to take my shit.

I remember the other day when she came barging into my house just to tell my ears off. I think that was the moment when I started wanting to know her better but I keep my limits at an arm's stretch especially knowing she does not see me like that.

She turned around and jumped a little when she saw me.

"Are you done yet?" I asked trying to look annoyed but I am sure she caught on to my tone which was far from that. I am always amused around her.

"Nobody asked you to wait for me." She said flipping her hair away from her face and I chuckled.

"Nobody tells me what to do anyways."

"Thats why you are such a brat." She said coming close to me and flicked my nose. She laughed when I crinkled my nose after her finger left a weird sensation there so I snatched her wrist and pulled her close to my side while my hand went around her shoulder and we started walking to join the others.

"You are lucky I like you or I would have thrown you over my shoulder and tossed you in that water barrel over there." I pointed out one when we crossed it. I felt her shoulder tensing slightly and I suddenly realised what I just said but she did not react which was a good and an equally bad thing. Instead she laughed.

"You wouldn't."

"Try me." I said in a fake threatening whisper in her ear. She smelled heavenly.

"Hmm would you be able to handle it when I disown you after that?" She asked turning her head up to look at me.

"I'll thrive-" I groaned when her sharp and bony elbow collided with my stomach. I looked up and she was standing there with an excited face like someone just told her that Santa was real. She grinned and wiggled her brows at me while I massaged my stinging skin.

"You are so going to regret this." I lurched and this time managed to grab her before she could escape me again like she did earlier. I bended and picked her up while she laughed and screamed all at the same time. She was really light so I had no trouble as I threw her over my shoulder and walked back to those barrels I had shown her a few minutes back. Everyone was glancing at us with amused expressions while some laughed at Stella's funny as hell threats.

"I will have shove tomatoes in your sockets after I scratch your eyes out Charles!" She screamed. "Put me down!"

I ignored her and snickered when I found the barrels. She realised my intentions and started to kick her legs and I had to remind her she was wearing a dress at which she only shouted more.

"I am wearing shorts underneath you highly unintelligent homo sapien!"

"Unintelligent eh?"

"No no no no no no no no no no!" She panicked. "I am sorry Charles, please put me down! Put me down!"

"Okay princess."

And splash!

I dumped her into the biggest barrel I caught sight of and laughed when she screamed coming back to the surface.

I folded my arms while grinning and wiggling my brows at her to mock her even more.

She narrowed her eyes and tried to get out of the barrel, completely soaked from head to toe.

"Bad move Charlie now we gotta hug." She laughed and widely opened her slim arms while walking in my direction.

I backed away.

"Oh no."

"Oh yes!"

And we ran. Her chasing me all the way until I found rest of the group sitting on the make shift table beside the taco cart. She was still far behind me so I decided to abandon that and join others.

"Where is Stella?" Bella asked as soon as I sat down and grabbed a taco from Caleb's hand. He glared at me but I was too hungry to give a fuck about it.

"Yeah look out for that drenched hobo for me while I relax." I said taking a bite out of delicious spicy taco.

"What?" Mae asked frowning. "Seriously where is she?"

I was about to answer when we all turned to look at Stella who was walking leisurely in our direction with her shoulders slouched and her lips set in an upside down frown. She was still soaking while her hair were all around her shoulders, too messy for her to even try and tame the long wet locks. She came closer to where we all were and stopped with her hands on her waist.

Everyone looked at her with their mouths open in shock but that was short lived when they all burst out in uncontrollable guffaws at her less than human appearance unable to really sympathise enough to be humble about it.

"Oh my god Stells what happened?" Brooke asked sobering up. Stella passed me a murderous look. She was cute.

"He threw me into a water barrel." She told and everyone laughed a little more. I saw her shiver slightly and since I was not wearing any jacket I asked Val to give his to Stella which she gladly took, thanking him.

Everyone went back to talking and eating their food.

"Hey Charles." I looked at Val who was giving me an uncomfortable look and I frowned.

"What?"

"Carl called." He said. "He tried your cell but you didn't pick up and he asked me to inform you that your family is waiting for you."

"What did you just say?" My voice dropped down to a very calm octave which was a sign of my anger already brewing inside me.

"They are waiting for you at your place." He said. I could feel everyone looking at me, well not the girls they were busy in their own world which was a good thing because I can not stand to deal with them right now. I was ready to snap anytime.

"Take it easy bro." Caleb said patting my shoulder and Irwin nodded. Do not get me wrong, they have been my best friends since kindergarten. All our lives we have been together through thick and thin, had each other's back even if that meant getting ourselves into unspeakable troubles, they were there for me on each day since my dad died and know damn well why I hate to be around my family now. Before getting a place for myself that they would not come down to, I was always at one of their's house, crashing their place all the time with no judgements passed against me but right now none of their words mattered.

I did not say anything and got up without any further delay. All of them passed me a worried glance but knew better than to approach me right now. Without glancing back, I walked away. My mood was dangerously soared and I could feel my skin heating up with the impact of my temper right now. I pushed through overly excited crowd and barely managed myself from punching someone when they would not get the fuck out of my way.

I made it to the spot where I parked my bike and stopped when I heard her voice.

I balled my fists and turned around.

No. Stay away Stella.

"Where are you going Charles?" She came running in my direction with her face covered in worry and for some reason that irritated me enough to set me off.

"What is to you?" I snapped even though my conscious was screaming the rudest profanities at me in the back of my mind.

She took a step back at my angry tone.

Yes you should not be around me right now. Go away.

"If its not obvious enough then let me remind you that you are my ride back to home." She said slowly as if trying to not set me off but I was a gone case right now.

"Go away Stella. Bother someone else with your problems." I said dismissively and turned away from her to put on my helmet. I got on my bike while I saw her hurt face as she stood a couple of metres away from me but however much my mind was bugging me to stop and apologise to her, I could not. I had someone else to take care of so I took off, leaving her shocked in her spot behind me.

I drove as fast as I could to get to my place. My patience was wearing thin with the traffic and I cursed every person that was driving slow in front of me. I parked my bike in its designated spot and ran my way upto my apartment not waiting for the elevator.

I barged in through the front door which was open and saw Carl who was standing beside the couch where my mother was sitting. As usual she was dressed upto the notch in her expensive clothes and diamonds but none of that helped in brightening up her face which was set in firm disappointment directed towards me.

She used to be so humble and jolly with kind eyes before my dad and after him, all of that was gone. It was like dad took away a part of her with himself leaving the thorny side behind. I hate the fact that she changed.

"Its not his fault. We came here without any intimation." My head turned in the direction of my elder brother who was standing near the window in a sharp suit. Unlike me, he was the more groomed one. We shared similar looks, more or less but he always had an innocent edge with his neat profile.

I stopped myself from taking it out on Carl who stood with an apologetic face and sighed.

"Its fine Carl, you can go."

"Sir." He went away with a nod.

"Son." My mother got up and started to speak but I cut her off.

"Why are you here?"

The tension in this room was thick and threatening to strangle me for I could not bear it. Its what happens when Hylands are in one room especially now, when everything has become so pretentious.

"I came here to see you, Charles." She scowled and clasped her hands in front of her.

"Well I am good. You can go now." I said curtly. I was barely containing myself from bursting out which would only make her believe that she is right and that indeed I have an issue with myself. I am not broken. I refuse to believe that.

"Charles!" Elijah frowned at my rude tone. Seriously, what else did he expect? Showing up here without a notice when they know I do not want to see anyone, did they think I would be welcoming them with flowers and Champagne?

"What?!" I snapped and for a minute I wondered how he managed to remain so calm in all the situations, even in one like this. He has always been the perfect one. "What, Elijah?"

"Don't disrespect our mother." He said with no flicker of emotion in his face.

"Then start respecting my decision." I said stressing each word so they would get a point. "Don't come here when you know I want to be alone."

"But why, son?" My mother asked facing me. "How do you even live in a small space like this?"

Her face scrunched up as she looked around the apartment which admittedly was small but it was far better than her mansion which was not a home anymore but a cold place where everyone thought I was a ticking bomb which will blow away the entirety of empire which the Hyland Industries was.

"I manage perfectly fine, Mom. Now I will appreciate it if you just leave before I force you out myself." I said passively.

"I just want what isgood for you Charles." She said and for a second I thought I saw some kind of emotion in her eyes but it was gone as quickly as it came and she was her stoic self again. "Shall we, Elijah?"

He nodded and followed behind her as they made their way out of my place. I sighed, loosening a breath I did not know I was holding.

I went into my room and my eyes instantly roamed to Stella's window which showed her dark and empty room and I thought about how I abandoned her back at the festival.

She looked so hurt and it was all me.

The lights in her room came to life as she entered. She was still in her now dried off clothes and her hair folded up in a bun. Our eyes met and I went numb in my spot, unable to approach her. She came close to the window and I did the same, thinking of what to say after being so rude earlier.

Before I could open my mouth she closed the curtains and went away.

I sighed.

Well you deserve that.

The only girl I want to make happy is the girl I keep hurting again and again.

•••


Hey guys!!

What do you think about this story so far? Drop your views in the comment box.

Fun fact : I don't mean to offence anyone with the part where Charles describes a part of his college life in a very rude manner but I think thats necessary for his character to start revealing bits of his nature and how he was before meeting Stella.

Like, comment and REVIEW!

Lia xo

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