Healing Charles

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17.

~Stella

"What is going on between you and Charles?" Mae asked as she sat on the bar stool eating her breakfast.

"Nothing." I popped the last piece of waffle in my mouth and gave her a weird look.

Where does she get these absurd ideas?

"Oh really?" She gave me a challenging look. "Lets me bring this to your notice again. You guys get tattoos together, then you stay at his place on a working night and now you are taking a leave from office to babysit his niece. Thats nothing?"

I rolled my eyes. I will never hear an end of this.

"For god's sake, tattoos were not a big deal Mae and as for last night, I crashed at his place because you were with Val and I did not want to be alone." I said. "And babysitting? I am sure that is what people do nowadays to cover their secret love life."

My sarcasm came out with no restraints whatsoever. Fluent as ever.

"Why didn't you want to be alone?" She asked frowning.

I do not blame her to catch that part out of everything that was coming out of my mouth. Usually I would never mind it if I am alone because I know I am not lonely.

"Because..." I sighed and told her everything. What good would it do otherwise anyways? "And so I did not want to come here and sleep all by myself."

"Oh my god Stella!" She got up and hugged me while a lone tear rolled down my cheeks as I shuddered remembering how good as gone I was in that creepy guy's hands.

"Its okay. I am fine now." I did not catch her muffled words as she hugged me for a while before pulling away.

"Did he hurt you?" She asked to make sure I was not lying and I shook my head. "See I told you not to go to those damned libraries but you never listen to me!"

I scoffed. Yeah right.

"Charles saved me. The least I could do is babysit Rosie for him." I said and she nodded.

"Awright then." She picked up her coat and bag. "I'll be back soon. Don't go about strolling in the streets though."

I rolled my eyes and waved at her getting ready myself. I made sure I had everything that I needed and put on my sneakers, making way to Charles's place.

I knocked on his door and heard Rosie's muffled calls for his Charlieeeee to open the door. I chuckled to myself and waited for a few seconds before the door flew open revealing Charles. Holy mother of sweet Jesus! I resisted from openly gawking at him and controlled my reflexes from making it too obvious that he was indeed looking really sharp and neat in a way I have never seen him. I vaguely remember him from this early morning and that he was dressed up in his office clothes but Rosie had my attention captured for most of the part but now? Well him standing there like he was some fashion model straight out of his Vogue cover shoot did not exactly go unnoticed.

He was wearing dark grey formals and a white shirt underneath it with its top buttons undone. It perfectly revealed his strong collarbone and defined muscles sneaking down his chest. He looked so intimidating that I gulped all the sarcastic remarks down my throat. What stood out the most was his usually messy hair tamed back in clean way and his face was looking more sculpted than ever. His looks were smoldering hot.

"Hi."

Can you be any more lame, Stella?

I do not know, can I? Can I?!

My sub conscious tends to become extremely snarky at times like these when I need her to cooperate the most.

I think you can.

Shut up.

"Hey." He said and smiled. "C'mon in."

I relaxed a bit realising he did not catch my moment. This has to be Mae's doing. She constantly keeps on nagging me about Charles that I can not help but have these weird thoughts about him. They make me feel really conscious about myself when I am near him.

"Stella!" Rosie was jumping up and down on the couch, making most out of its plushiness.

"Hello Rosie." I waved at her but she was too busy in laughing and enjoying herself.

"Down girl!" Charles caught her hand and picked her up in his arms making her giggle. I smiled at how adorable they looked. One would never expect of Charles to be this good with a six year old kid. "Now listen to me."

She stopped instantly and payed attention to her uncle.

"Be good to Stella while I am gone." She nodded frantically. "And no sugar okay?"

"I promise." She held up her pinky finger for Charles to take and he did so by linking his finger through hers. Can this get any more heart melting? He put her down and she went back to resume her hopping spree.

He turned to me and motioned me to join him in kitchen.

"Wassup?" I asked, sitting on the breakfast stool.

"How are you?" He asked in a sincere tone.

"Good."

"Really?"

"Yes Charles. Thank you for taking care of me yesterday." I said beaming at him and he relaxed. His eyes left their ruthless invigilation and he nodded.

"Will you be okay with Rosie?" He asked and I gave him a flat look.

"I am the one babysitting her, not the other way around genius."

He rolled his eyes.

"Fine. Don't give her any sweet treat, she is diabetic." He said and I nodded making it a mental note of foremost importance. "And put her down for nap around noon so it will give you some quiet to do your work."

"Yes Sir."

He smirked.

"Oh what I will give to have you call me that all the time."

I narrowed my eyes which oddly gave him all the satisfaction he needed. Our heated stare down was interrupted when someone cleared their throat behind us.

I turned around when Charles looked away and behind me.

There was a man standing with his hands clasped in front of him. He was, like Charles, dressed up in an office suit but looked more humble unlike Charles who reflected menacing vibes of domination. The man was fairly middle aged and had very soft features which highlighted his clever blue eyes.

He nodded at Charles.

"Your car is here, Sir."

I almost choked on my saliva at how respectfully he addressed Charles. Despite his age, he was looking at Charles with deference that was quite weird for me to digest. I did not know people literally worshipped his presence.

I looked back at Charles who was nodding in agreement.

I half expected him to introduce me to the man who stood patiently for Charles to join him but he did not instead he just said a quick good bye and retreated to a rather hasty departure.

I frowned at his sudden odd behaviour but shrugged it off as soon as Rosie smiled at me.

"So what do you want to do, hon?" I joined her on the couch and we flopped down next to each other.

"I don't know." Her shoulders were slouched and she jutted her lower lip out to stress her cuteness.

"Would you like to draw something?"

Her face perked up and she nodded. I gave her some of my colour pens and a paper as she sat on the ground beside the center table. I scrolled through my phone while she concentrated on her task.

"Stella?" I looked up and found Rosie looking at me already.

"Yes Rosie?"

"I don't know how to draw." She pouted and her adorable existence just got topped with a cherry.

"Its okay kiddo." I said putting away my phone and turning to her. "We can think about other ways to entertain you."

"Really?"

"Yeah how about we try my play station?" I asked her and I could see her trying to make sense out of my words.

"What is that?"

"Video games?" I asked her instead and she beamed.

"Okay!" She bobbed her head. I took her with me to my place and fetched the play station before coming back to Charles's place again.

I carefully unwrapped all the gaming consoles and connected server to the television in living room which was just twice the size of what we have at our place. I am starting to think Charles is quite loaded and also too modest to show that.

I glanced at Rosie who was watching all the stuff in amazement and frankly she looked way too impressed for a girl of her age who as per standard manual of what is thought to be a girl's guidebook, would have been handed with a barbie in her hands.

"You like it?" I asked as I flipped through several games, deciding to settle on drive club.

"Yes!" She exclaimed when I handed her a console. It took me a while to explain her all the operations and thankfully she was smart enough to catch on the second time.

"Alright then. Its Rosie versus Stella." I cleared my throat and put on a fake commentary voice, earning a giggle from Rosie. "How are you feeling Rosie?"

She sat a little straighter as if she was being interviewed for real so I played along and stretched my hand over as a mic for her.

"Awesome!" She laughed.

"What if Stella wins?"

And there it was. I could blame Charles for influencing a six year old and corrupting her like that but right now seeing Rosie smirk and looking competitive, reminded me of how that look is an exact miniature replica of an original one I happen to admire on a certain guy.

She was after all his niece.

"She won't!"

"Are you sure?" I asked, grinning. Honestly I am liking her spirit more than anything right now. She is more pleasant to play with than Mae who I have to literally threaten into playing with me.

"Oh yeah!"

We started the game and I dashed past her car putting a good distance between us because apparently Rosie forgot how to accelerate hers. I reminded her again and she tried to catch upto me. I completed a lap and slowed down for her to come closer.

"I am going to win!" I whooped mocking her.

"Nooooo!" She used her boost to its maximum not knowing I was practically crawling just so she could come to the level. We raced a few more laps before entering into the final one. I let her zoom past me and drove leisurely behind her, occasionally bumping into her which would swivel her car off the track every now and then. "Go go go!"

"Yayyyyyyy!"

"Aw man." We both cried out when Rosie won. She danced around abandoning her console and chirping merrily in her victory. "You are a great player Rosie!"

She looked proud alright.

"Can we bump our fists?" She asked with wide eyes.

"Why?"

"Because we are so cool!" I chuckled at her answer.

"Sure." We bumped our fists and went back to playing some more. "Are you hungry?"

She nodded concentrating on TV.

What do I give Rosie for lunch?

I texted Charles and waited for his reply. He texted back after a couple of minutes.

I have already made some vegetable soup & cheese sandwiches and left them in refrigerator. Just heat them. -c

He knows how to take care of everything, does he not?

What about me?:/

Pasta and cookie'n cream. In the bottom compartment ;)

I jumped up in excitement.

I found everything in the fridge as he said and popped the soup and sandwiches in the oven to heat them for Rosie and sure enough I found the pasta in the bottom shelf and ice cream in deep freezer. He clearly knows his way.

"C'mon Rosie. Lunch is ready." I called out getting her plate ready. We sat together on the dining table and I watched her as she ate her food.

"What do you wanna do after lunch?" I asked observing her graceful table manners. She totally knew how to work her way with all the silverware.

She chewed her food properly and gulped it down before answering.

"Mamma tells me to take a nap after I have my lunch. She says its healthy."

I nodded, smiling.

"Okay."

I tucked Rosie in the bed after lunch and she did not trouble me at all in fact she looked rather tired and slept instantly. I grabbed my share of food from the fridge and heated it in oven.

I looked around the place while I waited for pasta to be ready. Its like I was seeing this place for the first time, really seeing that is. His apartment though like mine was small but his was furnished rather fancily. I noticed how everything around the place looked sleek and expensive. Well Charles did mention that he works for Hyland Industries so of course that explains his elegant choice. They must be paying him really well since he can afford all of this.

Ding!

I took the pasta out of oven and poured it in a bowl. I grabbed everything I needed and made myself comfortable in the living area focusing on my work now. I checked my mail for all the manuscripts that had come in and classified them alphabetically in my diary.

My phone buzzed after a while and I checked it to find a message from Charles.

On my way to home. -c

I hit him back with an okay and checked the time. It was just one in the afternoon and I was about to resume my work when the doorbell went off. I shooted up from my place scrambling to take the door quickly before it could disturb Rosie and wake her up.

I expected it to be Charles since he texted me already but I halted when I saw a girl waiting as I opened the door.

Who is she?

I do not know but she definitely had the looks. She was wearing a sequin bodycon black dress and matching heels. Her flaming red hair were tied up in a neat bun, highlighting her delicate face. She had very high cheekbones and full lips that were turned upside down in a frown. Her face was completely caked with makeup and she looked like she might kill me right now.

Why that is? I have no idea but something in her green eyes was definitely on fire.

"Yes?" I asked not sure why she was here and most importantly who was she?

Her face screwed up as she gave me a filty look like I was some disgusting piece of leftover food from yesterday. I raised a brow at her not really in a mood to be patient.

"Who are you?" Wow her voice was really shrilly.

"Uh I could ask you the same thing?"

"This is Charles's place right?" She asked and I nodded. "Oh so you must be the maid. Scoot."

She shoved me aside and walked in without any hestitation whatsoever. Who does she think she is?!

"What do you think you are doing?" I demanded as she examined everything around her with a look of superiority. She gestured her hands in a way like she was dismissing me.

"You can go now."

"Excuse me?" And her attention finally turned to me.

"I said your work here is done. Shoo."

I was about to give her a piece of my mind for insulting me like that when his voice cut me off and I turned around to find him standing in the doorway with a completely blank expression.

"Don't talk to her like that, Vanessa." His voice was stern though and I looked back at who I am guessing was Vanessa and almost laughed at how comicial she looked at seeing Charles.

"Aw baby I have missed you so much."

She sassed her way towards Charles and threw her hands around his neck, pulling him in an embrace that did not look innocent at all. I looked away realising what was going on.

"Well I am leaving." I collected all my stuff hastily and left pretending that I did not hear Charles who was asking me to stay. I do not know why I was suddenly acting so awkward when I have nothing to do with them. Of course Charles is a young and a well doing man, why would he not have a girlfriend?

But deep down I was hoping that he did not.

Why?

I don't know, I just was and now that I know its not the case, somehow it hurts.

•••


'Sup guy!

Lol this chapter is more like a drama alert! Also How cute are Stella and Rosie together?

Fun fact : New character Vanessa, was a very much last minute character. When I sat down to write this chapter, I had a different thing in my mind but ended up somehow like this and more of it will be revealed in next chapter so stay together.

Vote & Comment.

Lia xo

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