"The new series of automobiles have certainly been causing an upward turn in sales, specifically in developed countries because of the upgraded services that are tech-team is able to provide. If we look at statistics-here in US, Italy, Uk, France and surprisingly in Australia as well, the new Hyland class-A series are commendably in demand." Jack, my colleague, went on with his presentation, reporting the progress of company in this month. "My team has narrowed down a list of some countries that are a perfect fit for business expansion that we have all agreed to. You should take a look at it Mr. Hyland."
He passed a file to me and I went through his suggestions. I didn't really pay attention to it since I already had a place in my mind.
"But an expansion is going to cost a fortune right now." Ms. Clarence, one of the board member, said and I controlled the urge to point out that a fortune was just a small part of everything that I can afford but modesty has always been my biggest flex.
"I certainly agree but if we look at the prospects of earnings it will yield, I think a good investment will pay off very quickly." Jack gave her a sharp look, trying to be patient. He despises that lady with passion.
Honestly, I don't know if I like anyone of them myself either and the more this meeting is stretching, the more my annoyance is edging towards the surface. I just want this to be over with as soon as possible.
"Very well then. I will take a look at all the files and let the board know at the end of next week." I said in finality, cutting it off, letting them know that this was over. "Have a good day everyone."
I got up with everyone following me and quickly exited the conference room so no one would stop me to indulge in boring talks. I hate all the board members, those elderly good-for nothing snobby asses who think they are way better than me just because I am young. I can sense it from their very looks that they give me, as if telling me that I am too innocent to be running a multinational company such as this but I can't exactly fire them right now. I need their experience but I don't think I can put up with their crap just for the sake of it. They envy my smooth way around everything, I can tell that by the way they look at me, but it comes naturally to me. I am good at what I do and don't step back from showing it.
Yet I have better things to do and right now I needed to be somewhere.
I called for Carl in my office.
"Carl, did Rosie reach home safely?" I asked while checking time in my phone.
"She did, Sir. I drove her home around noon." He informed and I nodded.
"Thank you Carl." I smiled at him gratefully. "Can you drive me home now?"
"Sure. I'll get the car ready." He nodded and left. I glanced out of the bay windows that cover one wall of my office. This is the only place where I feel the most powerful in the world and this is the only place where I feel the loneliest. Irony of it is not lost on me. The authority, the control that I chase after is unmatched for and I get it all right in my hands but even when its all here, I am never contended.
I am not crazy, I just don't belong here.
I sighed and turned around to make my way to the car that was waiting for me. I stopped by a florist on my way to Stella's place to get her a bouquet of her favourite flowers. I don't know what I am expecting, I don't even know if she will want to see me or not but I am hoping she will be willing to hear me. I know I fucked up real time but I want to fix it all up. I don't care anymore if she judges me or not, if she curses me out for not telling her about me. All I care about is her and I want her.
Staying away from her is not something I want to endure again because these two days have been hard on me. I don't know what I was thinking, maybe I wanted her to come and shout at me and tell me that I can't treat her like that or maybe I didn't, maybe I needed time to think about this. But either way, it kept me away from her and I don't want that. I don't want things to tear us apart from each other even if thats just for two days.
Its this girl, just this girl who makes me want to save things rather than leaving them unresolved like I usually do and I have no resistance when it comes to her. Its maddening.
"We are here, Mr. Hyland." I snapped out of my thoughts and thanked Carl before getting out of the car and instead going into my building, I made my way to Stella's place. I took the elevator to her floor and knocked impatiently once I was in front of her door. I took a deep breath when I heard some shuffling behind the door. She should be home by now.
"Hey Charles. Whatcha doin' here?"
I groaned as Mae answered the door and stood grinning at me.
"Where is Stella?" I asked, deciding to cut it short. I don't think I can put up with this annoying woman right now.
"Oh those are her favourite flowers! Thank you so much." She smirked and snatched the bouquet right from my hand. She turned around and went inside.
"For fuck's sake Mae!" I shouted following her inside.
"Such foul words!" I stopped as I saw the twins standing in the kitchen but Stella was no where to be seen.
"Look he brought flowers for Stella!" Mae showed them the stupid bouquet and unwrapped its paper before neatly putting them in a vase.
"Thats so sweet of you Charles." Brooke said and leaned against the counter. Why is Stella not with them? Is she in her room?
I rolled my eyes at them and ignored their remarks deciding to just go to her room myself.
"She is not here." I stopped at Mae's words.
"Stella is not here." She repeated and I frowned. I neared to the kitchen as the girls couldn't stop giving me their wolfish grins. Their expressions gave me a very uneasy feeling like something was up and I wouldn't be really pleased with it.
"Where is she then?"
"On a date." Bella announced with a proud look where as me? I felt like someone just fucking slapped me right in my face, and the girls had the audacity to look smug right now.
"Is that true?" I turned to Mae and asked slowly.
She nodded excitedly.
I took in a sharp breath and closed my eyes at the piercing feeling that ran through my body, causing a great deal of physical pain.
"Why?" I asked. A million thoughts running through my brain in that very split second and I just asked why.
"Why not?" Mae fired back.
Thats it. I grabbed the vase that she used to keep the shitty flowers that I had brought for the girl who was now out on a date with some fucking guy who wasn't me!
"No Charles! Thats my favourite vase! You maybe a millionaire but I am not and thats a very expensive vase! Keep it back!" Mae looked at me with wide eyes and her jab was enough to set me off like nothing. I threw it across the room with full force and breathed heavily in the silence it left after crashing down into infinite pieces against floor.
The only sound that was resonating through the room was my loud breathing that was growing ragged with the wild pressure of rage I was feeling inside me. I turned around to face Mae who looked unaffected by my rage where as the twins, they had crawled several inches away from me.
"You really are a jerk." She muttered, glaring at me.
"SHUT THE FUCK UP!!" I shouted at her and for a second her feigned boldness slipped but she quickly covered it back. "WHO THE HELL SHE WENT ON A FUCKING DATE WITH?!"
"Why? You gonna chase after her?" I ran a hand through my hair.
"I SWEAR TO GOD MAE IF-"
"If? What would you do Charles? I mean its not like you treat her right, do you?" Mae's acid tone was meant to burn my insides but all I could feel was the ice that washed over me, turning every bit of my existence cold. I guess Robert Frost was not far from the truth after all. To say that for destruction ice is also great and would suffice. The precise summary of what I felt. The destruction that Mae's words were capable of acted judiciously and aptly rendered me wounded, my burn writhing in the piercing cold of hurt that followed.
I was surprised, dazed to feel the intensity of hurt that greeted me, hurt that swirled through me, hurt that connected me to Stella, hurt that somehow let me feel the taste of pain I had caused her.
"Its only fair that she explores her options." Mae continued where as me? I couldn't feel myself. Her laugh kept ringing in my ear, back from when I had chased her through crowd at the festival, her voice that gave away her nervousness as I had kissed her for the very first time, her shining eyes as she had looked into mine and took me on the offer. I was the one who was supposed to take her on a date. Seven dates. I was the one to do it right for her yet I am the one who is here when she is out on a date with someone else. Did she change her mind? Did she finally decide that I am not worth it? I know I am not but I want to be, for her.
"She doesn't want me anymore." The shock of anger that wavered over me again was energising. The ice finally melting away, in its place fire consuming me. Some say the world will end in fire, some say in ice. From what I've tasted of desire, I hold with those who favour fire. Stella is my desire, my want and right now my need and I know enough to know that if she isn't with me then she would be the fire that will destroy my world that wants to be around her.
"Calm down Hyland. She is at De Kas." Mae said smiling at me. I didn't expect her to tell me that easily but I didn't waste any second to walk out from there. I don't know what my mind was telling me to do or what my thoughts wanted me to think about, all I knew was that she was out with someone who wasn't me and that was like a dagger to my heart. I couldn't bear the thought of her with someone else!
"It worked." I heard Mae laughing behind me as I left but tuned everything out, not able to bear to think of anything right now.
I took long strides towards my car that was parked in the building parking lot and got in without a second wasted. I pulled it out from its designated space and got out on the street. I was numb from my own wrath which was thriving at a high that I never thought I was capable of. This anger, this rage was not just one simple emotion that I thought was my answer to every thing in my life but this unusual fire inside me was fuelled by hurt that was stirring up a sense of betrayal inside me.
How could she do this to me?
Am I that late in saving what I wanted to save that she didn't even stop to wait for me? Two days, just two days and she is already out on a date with someone else! She said she doesn't date and I trusted her! I know it was my fault that I didn't tell her who I was but that didn't mean my feelings for her were a lie as well! But she had to go ahead and do this! She has me fucking crushed right under her foot and still I am chasing her like a mad man out for blood!
I don't care who she is out with but all I know is she shouldn't be and so I am going to get her back. She is wrong if she thinks this is over! She is mine! She is fucking mine and I can't bear the thought of her with someone else. Did she move on? No. She can't!
Christ! How can she be out like this?
After what felt like an eternity of torturous ride, I finally made it to the restaurant she was supposedly in with her so called date and got out of my car, leaving the keys with Valet, telling him to hold it for fifteen minutes because I'll be coming back soon. Hopefully with her.
I don't know why am I chasing her when she clearly doesn't want me to or why else she would be out on a date? But I pushed away that thought and instead walked in. I am familiar with this place, have attended several business lunches here myself but I don't think I'll ever set a foot again in this place if Stella doesn't come with me.
Thats right. If she doesn't come with me now, I'll leave her forever.
"Mr. Hyland!" I turned around to look at the manager who was rushing in my direction. "What a pleasant surprise, Sir!"
I pushed through my anger, still holding onto my manners as I gave the short man my tight nod.
"Will you be dining with our services, Sir?"
"I am afraid not today but I want your help." I said impatiently and he bobbed his stuffed face in frantic nods.
"Anything, Mr. Hyland."
"I am looking for this girl." I showed him a picture of Stella in my phone. "She is here and I want to meet her."
He frowned at the picture and called one of his waiter to identify it. He nodded his head and asked me to follow him.
"This way, Sir." He turned around and I followed him into the main dining area with the manager on my tail.
Oh Stella you shouldn't have done this.
"There." The waiter pointed out to the table at the far side of the room, in the corner, and my eyes instantly settled on her beautiful face. She was laughing. I gulped. She was laughing with the guy who had his back turned to me. I nodded at the waiter and asked the manager to leave.
I walked slowly towards her, my angry eyes fixed on her as she concentrated on something he was saying. She frowned slightly and her face turned in my direction and it took her a second to react but she did. Her eyes went wide as soon as she saw me. Her lips parting in astonishment. Seeing her shocked face, the asshole she was with, turned around in confusion.
I didn't recognise him so of course that meant he was just as unimportant as I thought he would be.
I neared her table and stopped right in front of her while she looked at me, her nervousness prominently evident in her face and for once I really enjoyed the scare she was feeling knowing it was me who affected her that way, that she was indeed not okay with me being here, that it wasn't something she expected. Ever.
"Uh can I help you?" The asshole asked me. I didn't even glance at his way and held Stella's gaze, making her as uncomfortable as possible.
"Yes. You can leave."
"Excuse me?" I finally teared my gaze away from her and glared at the guy she was with.
"I said you," I pointed at him. "Can leave. Make it quick before I decide to smash your face."
My voice was too calm unlike the storm I was really struggling against from inside. I could see how easily threatened he was but tried to put on a brave face in front of Stella who wasn't even looking at him.
"I don't know who you are but I wouldn't hesitate to call the security." He said standing up to meet my eye level and I took the satisfaction in the fact that he was a few inches shorter than me.
"Go on." I dismissed him and turned to Stella who was looking really pale and quickly recovered herself from the initial shock of seeing me here. "Come with me."
I reached out to grab her hand but she jerked away.
I looked at her.
"What are you doing here?!" She exclaimed surprising all of us. She looked around and blushed. I am sure by now we had a very good crowd paying attention to unexpected drama served with food they were digging their faces in.
"Don't try me now Stella!" I hissed at her and saw her expression falling quicker than a blink of an eye and for once her smart mouth seemed to have lost all the words that she could have used against me.
"Seriously who is this guy Stella?" The asshole asked her and I finally lost it. I grabbed him by his collar and snapped.
"You speak, only when you are spoken to. Got it?"
"Oh my god Charles!" Stella grabbed my arm and forced me to let go of him. "Let him go! Please!"
The entire room had grown silent by now and I looked at Stella. She looked like she was on the verge of crying but somehow held back.
"I'll let him go if you come with me." I told her calmly. There was a brief contemplation that flitted across her beautifully sad eyes before she decided to give in and gave me a nod.
"Okay please just let him go!"
"What?! Whats going on Stella?!" The asshole asked angrily and I shoved him back into his seat and grabbed Stella's hand before she could say anything and walked out of there ignoring sharp whispers and glances in my direction, Stella hot on my heels.
Once we were out there, I asked for my car which they quickly got back for me. I held the gate open for Stella who got in without looking at me and I controlled myself from reaching out to her. I don't want to really start this until we are alone.
I got in behind the wheel and drove us out and away from the fucking restaurant in silence.
I contained myself from going off on her. I didn't want to scare her away like that, all I wanted was for her to talk to me, tell me that she didn't want to go on this date, that she still wants to go out with me, just me.
She didn't say anything.
I glanced at her and she wasn't even looking in my way which irritated me beyond the possibility that could allow me to put the feeling in words. I know I have done everything to deserve her resistance, her apprehension and her disappointment but not enough to let her slip away so easily. So instead of taking her to my place, I turned around and decided to take her to my lodge where she wouldn't be able to dodge me.
God I can't stop thinking about her with that guy and its simply painful. Just painful.
I cut off the ignition once we were there. We both sat in silence, breathing heavily.
"You shouldn't have done this to me, Stella." I looked at her, trying to fight the thunderous emotions that were rising inside me. Her head snapped in my direction and I shook mine as I left her in the car and got out.
I just couldn't bear to look at her anymore.
We were both hurt, yes-hurt and mad at each other but most of all, we felt misunderstood. Thats what got us real time in these two days.
And I could have cleaned up the mess, save it all, had she waited for me, she didn't.
And this fucked up part of me still wants to hold her close and kiss the hell out her.
I closed my eyes in pain as her soft voice came after me.
"Why didn't you come?"
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