I groaned as the knocks on the door became more rapid. I opened my eyes and realised it was time to get up anyways. Groggily, I got myself out of the couch which was my bed for last night.
I think Stella is still asleep.
It was quite late when we got back from the terrace and I asked her to crash at my place after Val texted me that Mae would be staying with him for the night and I figured Stella would not want to be alone.
How I make exceptions for this girl is out of my understanding now.
I undid the lock and threw open the door expecting it to be Carl which meant I will have to send him away since Stella was here and she does not even know that I am a Hyland. I think its for better because people tend to change when they come to know who I am and what I am capable of. Not to brag but I run an empire so it was a surprise to me as well when she asked me where did I work when I took her around the city for a walk a few weeks back. Its always a fresh air when someone sees you like a normal twenty four year old guy that you are and not some business tycoon who needs to be worshipped at his feet every second of the day which is something I manage to endure everyday.
That is one of the reasons why I am comfortable with her around me.
Which reminds me that I have got to talk to Brooke who works in my company. I did not know that until Stella informed me. I do not know why she has not told Stella yet or maybe she has but its no big deal to her? However much I wanted that to be the reason I knew its not. She naturally seems to have no idea about who I am.
However all my thoughts flew away when I saw who it was.
I grinned at the cute little surprise at my doorstep. I picked her up and threw her over my shoulder making her giggle as she hugged me with her small hands.
"What are you doing here little one?" I asked and looked at Julie in question who stood in the doorway smiling at us.
"Hey Charles." She said and I motioned her to come inside but she shook her head and I realised she looked in a little hurry. "How are you?"
"I am good Julie, how are you?" I asked. "I didn't expect you guys to be here."
Honestly, it was not much of a bother to me. Julie has been a great sister-in law to me and the only person who would see the reason in my actions unlike my mom and brother who think I am a hard case which needs to be cracked and this puffball in my hands is my six year old niece, Roseline Hyland, the youngest of our family. She holds all of our hearts.
"I know I am really sorry for swinging by like this but I really need a favour." She said and I let Rosie slide down from my arms as she ran inside the house squealing uncontrollably and I prayed that her voice did not wake Stella up.
"Sure why don't you come in and we can talk?"
"Actually I am good I just wanted to ask if you could take care of Rosie for two days while I visit my mother? She is really sick and Elijah is coming with me as well." She said and I contemplated.
"What about mom?" I asked wondering what happened to her.
"Valerie is out of town with her social group on some charity trip." She informed and I rolled my eyes.
"I guess that does not leave me with much of an option then." I said. Its not that Rosie was a hard job to be taken care of but I was more worried about the fact that who will look after her when I am in the office. "Don't worry. I'll take care of her."
"Oh my god thanks Charles. It means a lot." She said hugging me. "I'll have her stuff sent to you in a few hours okay?"
I nodded and she thanked me again as she left after saying goodbye to her daughter who was least worried about her mother going away.
Why did I move places again?
Do not get me wrong, I love Rosie but babysitting her for two days sounded harder than all the meetings I have to sit in through a day.
"Rosie?" I called out but did not hear anything in return which forced me to look in kitchen and then finally into my room where Stella was hopefully asleep. "Rosie?" I called out again softly and found her standing beside my bed where Stella was looking deep into her slumber while Rosie kept staring at her like she had found that alien everyone keeps talking about at her age.
I unlocked my phone and clicked a photo of the scene in front of me.
"Who is she Charlie?" Despite everyone forcing her to call me Uncle Charles she has always been adamant to call me Charlie and I think thats really adorable. I feel like I have a little sister. I crouched down to her level.
"That Rosie, is the sleeping beauty." I told her in a whisper of voice and saw her face perking up.
"From the fairy tale?" She asked sounding hopeful. Her bubbling excitement was barely contained.
"Yes." I said nodding. "She is asleep right now but don't worry we will wake her up."
"Well you know how, don't you?" I asked her back.
She frowned, her small chubby face settled into a pout as she shook her head and I pretended to be sad along with her.
"Well too bad hon, I don't know how to wake her up either." I said. "How about this? I go take a shower and you sit here quietly until I come back and then we can think about some idea to wake her up together?
I managed not chuckle at her cute face while she tried to process my words.
She nodded frantically and climbed on the bed sitting cross legged beside Stella, looking at her in wonder, thinking she was indeed the sleeping beauty.
I went to take a quick shower and dressed up in a suit for office. I left the top two buttons of my shirt open and grabbed the tie and placed it neatly in the pocket of my coat. I will wear it later. After putting on my shoes and some cologne, I walked out my closet to find Rosie still near Stella looking at her with her head in her hands.
You have some fans, Stella.
Rosie saw me and she jumped from bed and ran towards me, her excitement back.
"I know how to wake her up!" She chirped and I gave her my undivided attention.
"Come." She grabbed my fingers with her little hands and took me towards Stella who I was starting to think of as an actual alien now. She really is a heavy sleeper. "Kiss her."
My head snapped at Rosie.
She gave me that look that said 'trust me, I have thought this through even though I am just a six year old kid'.
"Because the sleeping beauty wakes up when the prince kisses her."
Oh trust me Rosie if only I could do that, I would have done that a long time ago. Stella is that irresistible but somehow I am surviving the torture of liking her from a distance.
What did you say?
Thats right even my subconscious jumped at the thought of liking her. I know its sudden but what am going to do with it buried deep inside me? Might as well just admit that to myself since I can not tell her that.
"No I think you should kiss her on the cheeks."
"But I am not a Prince."
"But you are a princess and a princess's kiss can wake the other princess." I said making the whole thing, mentally cringing at my own words. I think my balls need a more masculine treatment after today.
"Really?" She asked cheering up again and climbed on to the bed. She leaned in and kissed Stella on cheeks but she did not wake up.I acted quick and kicked her shin from behind to pull her out of her dreamy land so that Rosie would not cry who I could sense was literally on the edge of bawling as I saw her lips quivering already.
She stirred a little. I am telling you she is more like a sleeping monster.
"Oh she is waking up Charlie! It worked!" Rosie started jumping on the bed and squealed so loud that Stella woke up instantly. She looked at Rosie who was on her toes with the elation on seeing the sleeping beauty awake.
"Hi." Stella said smiling when I gave her a look.
"Hi I am," I held my breath when Rosie was about to say her name realising she will say her last name too. "Rosie."
I sighed, relaxing.
"Hey Rosie, that a very pretty name." Stella said shaking hands with her. "I am Stella."
Rosie frowned. Here we go.
"But Charlie said you are sleeping beauty."
"Sleeping beauty huh?"
Both of them turned to me. Rosie with wide accusing eyes while Stella looked awfully amused.
"Who wants breakfast?" I asked instead and glared at Stella who snickered at my dodge. I asked Rosie to go out and wait for me.
"Who is she Charlieeee?" She asked in a teasing sing sang voice.
"She is my niece and I gotta babysit her for next two days."
"She is adorable."
"Yeah." I agreed. "Listen can you watch her for few hours? I have got a really important meeting this morning. I promise I will get out of there as soon as I can."
She rubbed her eyes and face. I watched her subtly from head to toe. She was wearing my old tee which reached to the middle of her thigh exposing her legs.
She is making this hard for me every minute.
"I have to go to office too." She said biting her lip and I nodded in understanding. I half expected that. "But you know what its fine. I'll call in sick and work from home."
"You can do that?"
"Yeah." She nodded smiling and I pecked her cheeks.
"Thanks." I pulled away and saw her eyes widen in surprise. "The prince kisses the princess remember?"
She hit my arm and I laughed walking out while she changed back into the clothes she had on last night. I found Rosie in the kitchen banging spoons together. I Picked her up and dropped her on the counter while I made pancakes.
"What do you wanna eat with pancakes, Rosie?" I asked and saw her looking at Stella who was standing near the island counter. She waved at Rosie who returned it enthusiastically.
"Look Charlie, its Stella!" She looked between me and Stella making both of us laugh.
"You hungry?" I asked her and she nodded.
"I'll pass though. I gotta call my office first and bring my stuff over so I can look after her." She said.
"Alright. Hey thats my t-shirt!" I said when my eyes shifted to the tee hung over her shoulder.
"Not anymore Charlie." She said making her way to the front door.
"What do I get in return?" I asked, smirking at her.
She faulted in her steps and looked thoughtful.
"I am your friend even when you are a classic example of A-word. Isn't that enough?"
I could see the humour in her words but somehow she just rubbed the sore nerve in the most innocent way, the way only she can do.
And apparently Stella, no its not enough.
"Fair game Ms. Summers." I showed her two thumbs up and she saluted to me on her way out.
"You like her Charlie?" I turned to Rosie who was giving me a mischievous grin.
"I do." She nodded frantically.
"Well I guess we both can agree to that, huh?" I said more to myself and shrugged off the stinging feeling.
My pancakes needed more attention right now.
Hey guys !!
Just wanna let you know that your support so far means a lot.
Fun fact : I know there not much going on in this chapter except for the fact Charles did admit that he likes Stella but this is more like a opening chapter to what is coming next.
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