Healing Charles

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1.

Charles & Stella

"Love is a fear to behold."

...

~Stella

One of the greatest feelings in the world is finding a sense of independence. No more bounds to schedules that are meant to be checked out of the to-do lists before the day ends at the designated curfew. No more dormitory life even though I miss it, but this is what I have always wanted so I can definitely settle with missing the dorm-life.

To move in with my best friend and find a job with the best publishing house in Amsterdam.

Check.

"Alright Summers admire it later. Move your ass so I can get these boxes in." Mae snapped from behind me and I chuckled before getting out of the doorway. She went in and I followed her steps into our new apartment. Mae has been my best friend since forever. We went to the same high school and there after the same college where we met the other half of our girl gang who I am sure are on their way. "Can you believe we are actually here?"

We bumped our fists.

"We made it."

Mae went to order lunch for us and I pushed all the boxes that had our stuff in them to one corner before going ahead and flopping down on couch. The apartment had the perfect brick wall interior with large bay windows looking out on busy streets. The beige furniture around it was blending just fine with the dark walls. There was an open kitchen right in the middle and two hallways, each along side it leading to our rooms which I have not explored yet. Though Mae called shots on one of them so I guess there is not much exploring left anyways.

"HELLO GIRLSSSSS!" I recognised Bella's loud voice as she hollered on her way in. I laughed as Brooke hit her on head to shut her up. I jumped up and hugged them. It was so nice to finally meet them. Mae came into the hall and exchanged her share of greetings before all of us settled down like old times.

"How far do you guys live from here?" Mae asked the twins. Bella and Brooke are non identical twins and to be honest they could not get any more different from each other. Bella takes after her mother, blonde and loud while Brooke is a more pacified creature of Sheller family, brunette and she gets it from her father.

I love these two. Mae and I met them in college. We shared the same dorm, all four of us and they became my family without a second wasted. I do not know what I would have done without them. They are my sisters, if you may.

"Not far. Just two blocks down." Bella informed and got up to answer the door. The lunch is here. She came back with four boxes of pizzas and sodas in her hand and we all dug our faces in it without holding our manners in place.

We were in college when we decided to get jobs in the same city after our graduation, which our families agreed to right away and Amsterdam was a perfect pick. Before coming here I applied for Assistant to junior editor-Fiction at Hartland Publishing House which of course is a best firm of publishers and a dream job for me.

I have always wanted to be a writer and this will help me grow and perfect my skills in the most right way.

"I think we should go for a party tonight." I snapped out of my thoughts and frowned.

"Hell no." I refused immediately. "I have to unpack before the weekend is over. I am starting with my job on Monday."

"Like we are asking for your permission." Bella gave me a flat face and I narrowed my eyes at her. I am sure no one would agree. I looked at Brooke for some support.

"Okay maybe not a party but we can go for couple of drinks to kick start our new lives?" I groaned at Brooke's treachery. "What? It will be fun."

"Mae?"

"Oh I am in." She shrugged me off before I can even start to convince her otherwise.

"Fine!" I gave in and everyone whooped.

"Thats settled then. I'll text you the place and time. Toodles." Bella said getting up and ready to leave with Brooke following her. Mae left to clean up the left overs of our lunch and I decided to go and check out my new room.

I walked down the hallway and opened the door to my room and faltered in my step when I saw the window that, oh my god this is why she called the shots!

"MAE ANDREA PARKER!" I shouted as I rushed to the window and threw the lock open before sliding the glass away as I let the shock settle in. I heard her footsteps and I turned around with my hands folded across my chest. She stood in the doorway, a sheepish grin on her face. "How can you do this? Its not fair!"

"Oh don't be so dramatic, Stella. Its just how it is." My eyebrows shot up.

"An empty room? You have an empty room for a view through your window?" I asked. Its simply creepy. First the two windows completely looking over into the two rooms across from each other thats such an architectural flaw! Who does not understand the concept of privacy? And second, the room from across mine is empty, no one lives there which makes it so eerie.

"No but hey mine serves a view of an old lady! Happy?" She said gagging. As if that made me feel any better.

"At least someones there." I said sarcastically.

"Alright how about I make this upto you by treating you tonight?" Mae asked with a puppy face.

"So no way we are exchanging rooms?"

"Nope."

"Fine you are buying the drinks." I sighed agreeing with the arrangement. She squealed and hugged me before going back to her room.

Rest of the evening, we busied ourselves into unpacking stuff. I unrolled my plushy queen sized mattress and dropped it on the floor bed. It took me couple of hours to get all my clothes out and neatly arranged in my walk-in closet which was a real treat considering I had a lot of clothes and shoes which were really hard to manage in those small dorms.

I checked the time and decided to take a shower before getting ready to go out. I wore a casual denim jeans topped with an olive blouse and sneakers to go with it. Letting my long wavy brown hair down my back, I made my way out and found Mae waiting in the kitchen.

"Ready?" She asked me and I nodded. We headed out and decided to walk since we were going to have drinks and it was not a great idea to drive the car back to the apartment after that and anyway the place Bella texted me was just a block down from ours and they were already there.

We found this small place called Sheperd's, which was a cozy place decorated in fairy lights. It was all wooden and glasses and had a small stage where a band was playing. I am definitely not going to regret this place. After spotting the twins, we made our way upto the table and flopped down on the high stools. We ordered our drinks and the talks followed in the wake.

"Guess what? I got the job at Hyland's." Brooke said after we completed our first round of shots.

"Oh my god Brooke! Congratulations! I am so happy for you!" Mae gushed enthusiastically and we all matched her excitement.

Hyland Industries is a multi-national company and a very well reputed one for that matter. Come to think of that Brooke is the only person amongst us, smart enough to get in it.

"Yep I am all in for becoming super rich and forgetting your sorry asses!" Brooke joked and drank a shot to it.

"Ooh la la!" We all turned around at Bella's super chirpy voice and looked at a guy behind us. Bella got up and went over to him confidently. Thats right, without any hesitation in her steps and chatted away with him, all flirty.

"Uh huh thats something only Bella can do." Mae said in awe and we laughed.

The night passed away quickly and we did a couple more rounds of drinks and continued talking with no worries. Our night was interrupted by a loud bang. We all turned at once as the whole bar fell silent because of the two man who decided to show their masculinity for satisfaction. People started crowding around them so I was really not able to see who the two guys were and decided to just ditch the place.

I got the girls out as soon as possible. No way I was getting us into a police brawl on our first day here.

We grabbed our dinner on our way back and parted ways.

I helped Mae get into the elevator without falling face first on the floor because she was that drunk and helped her until she was safely tucked away into her bed. I kept a bucket beside her bed and an aspirin with some water just in case she gets up.

The next day passed by in a blur in fact the whole weekend got over quickly.

The night before I started working was pretty terrifying. I was anxious. I did not want to mess anything up in anyway and that did not let me sleep easily.

Somehow I made it to the morning and woke up early than I had decided to so that my morning is not spent in a rush at all. I took a long calming shower that helped me in easing my nerves.

I got out, a towel wrapped around me and blow dried my hair before walking out of the closet to get dressed up in clothes I had laid out on my bed.

It was black formal pencil skirt and maroon blouse to go with it. I put some music on which was one of my old habits. It helps me start my day without complaining about it.

"Would you mind putting some clothes on?"

I almost dropped my towel with the speed at which I turned around. I gasped clutching my towel around me securely as my eyes met those dark grey eyes looking at me with a tinge of amusement in them. His face was completely passive, which did not justify those eyes which were alight with ill merriment. Heat creeped up on my cheeks.

Why had I not realised that someone moved in that apartment?

I stood frozen in my position, not really able to comprehend what was going on which was me being just an idiot that I am. He did not move either and stood there with his hands shoved lazily in his pockets.

"Well?"

I snapped out of my trance and snapped in anger.

"Well shut those damn eyes of yours, perv!" I screamed and closed the window and drew the curtains over it. Not before noticing his shocked face at my outburst.

Way to ruin my morning.

I got dressed up, feeling frustrated with this room again and left for work before anything else could ruin my first day anymore.

This architectural flaw sucks!

•••

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