Watching Charles sleep, without his infamous frown, is so peaceful. He always seems to be on edge when he is awake, teetering between emotions that switch his mood back and forth in a split of nanosecond.
I sighed as I remained up, not really able to sleep after what just happened. Surely, we made out and however embarrassed I maybe I can not refuse the steamy tingles that still swim across my skin. His touch was dark, something that will pull you back into its deep clutches and I say that because only something as dark as that is truly able to show its naked desire so passionately and his passion had the kind of certainty, I didn't dare to question it and even though I can't believe at my own unchained control that I usually keep, it sure didn't feel wrong.
Yet, something just doesn't feel right either. Now that everything is so calm, I can feel how distracted I become when I am near him. He leaves me dazzled with his words. I think its a perpetual cycle with him acting on his first ticked nerve which leaves me unsure of everything around me, even myself for that matter. I am always lost when it comes to actually figuring him out and today was no exception. I guess thats essentially the problem here. With him, I don't keep a track. The aloofness between us dissolved undoubtedly but not like I would have liked it to and I am not certain if its completely gone for that matter.
Where does that leave us?
I got up and padded quietly towards the glass door that opened to reveal a balcony looking down on the back of the lodge, which was covered with perfectly manicured yard with a pool in its centre, two crescent shaped halves, their periphery circling around each other in two beautiful arches and I couldn't help but notice how it resembled Charles's tattoo, remotely.
Its beyond my comprehension ability to understand why Charles acts the way he does. Why did he come to interrupt my date when last forty-eight hours seemed just bearable to him without me? I still don't have answers to a million questions that run through my mind when he is away. It seems though, with him in the same room, somehow my mind stills enough to forget those unfitting things that bother me in his absence. In all the mayhem, the entirety of the argument precisely revolved around the most insignificant of things that really don't matter to either of us. Yes, a part of me knows now, understands, why he didn't tell me about him but then again it didn't solve the many knots that have already tied their ways into my stomach for some time now.
How do I tell him what I want? And to be very explicit, what I don't. I think the simple complexity of our not so subtle game of see-saw is that we don't really communicate and somehow all of a sudden I don't see myself really communicating with him either. For what is there to share? He has a life I know nothing about and there seems a generally clear point that I shouldn't be meddling in it either, I mean what good would it fetch me?
Of course I haven't forgotten about his proposition of seven dates but the prominent thing to focus on is his feelings for me. He likes me, where as I don't think I can classify my feelings for him just yet and its only fair that in meanwhile I rein in myself and not play with his end. Leading him on like that, I think I am better than that.
I don't deny my attraction for him, but its not strong enough for me to take a chance I would otherwise let slip past me. After all, I am a classic klutz when it comes down to feelings that are followed by relationships.
Relationship. Is that what he is looking forward to? Does his intention cover the possibility of a relationship with me? I hope not. As caring and as charming Charles is, he deserves someone who can reciprocate the favour and not me who is unfamiliar with the alphabets of romance.
I stilled when I heard footsteps behind me. I could almost feel his gaze burning on my back, fusing electrical chills up my spine and I resisted the urge to shiver from the effect which was so prominently felt by my physical existence without even seeing him. I turned around and just like I imagined, he was there.
Soft hair tousled into a mess falling over his forehead, smouldering eyes lit up with curiosity as he frowned at me ever so slightly. I held my breath as he folded his arms across his naked chest and leaned into the doorframe, trying to assess me. If it weren't for me, so breathless merely by one look into his scorching eyes, I would have taken time to appreciate his exquisite physique which I am starting to notice he likes to flaunt, but his eyes, they had my utter and unhindered attention. Its like they demanded a submission, even if it was in the middle of night and we both were wide awake. At least now. Those wanting eyes were so palpable with distinct caution, his walls were up and I held my tongue.
"What are you thinking?"
His question caught me off guard. I could hold back but I want to clear the air between us.
"I am still confused by your actions." Admitting is a lot harder than one would think and with Charles around, I am always admitting to something or the other, doing what I wouldn't even think of in my right senses. "Can't seem to conclude anything."
"Why so rushed to conclude everything so soon?" He titled his head to one side, as if mocking me further more on my lack of certainty. Though his face was as expressionless as ever. Serene poker face taunting me to go ahead. I pressed my lips into a firm line.
"Why did you bring me here when you didn't want me to be around in the first place?" His perfect brows twitched and drew closer, settling into a deep frown.
"Who said I didn't want to be around you?" Irritation creeped under my skin.
"You did." My words came out sharper that I had intended them to, almost snapping at him. How can he question the core of all the chaos? "You asked me to leave!"
Recognition filled in his eyes, finally catching on. He sighed and pushed himself away from the door and stood straighter. I expected him to advance towards me but he just turned around and retreaded his way back into the room.
I gritted my teeth and followed him inside. His back was turned to me as he stood with his hands balled into fists by his side. I could see all the muscles in his back flexing with the tension in his body. Though, I have no idea why everything I bring up to discuss aggravates him like this. One word from me and he is ready to explode like a dynamite.
I glared at his back knowing how well all of this is pointless. I shouldn't be seeking something that he is so clearly adamant on not giving me.
"You know what Charles? You can stop stressing over my words. I am out of here anyways." The confidence in my words was surprising even to my own ears but I can't just sit around and play with time if he can't give me answers. I turned away from him and pulled his shirt over my head, already missing his scent as it faded away into air. I snatched my dress which was kept on the bench at the foot of his massive bed and got dressed into it, quickly
Just as I was about to grab my shoes, I felt my arms getting pulled away roughly and suddenly I was looking into a set of eyes that were threatening to burn down my defence that I was starting to create against him. He glowered at me.
"You think I don't want you?" He hissed at me. I looked away.
"No. Look at me Stella, tell me that you don't see a madness in my eyes thats just for you!"
That, I couldn't. His words were a mere synopsis of what his eyes couldn't articulate but the way they showed me their desire was so much more. It was like a conversation that flew between our orbs, swallowing me in like I would never simmer back to the surface again. Strange feeling, when drowning into his eyes was more thrilling than surfacing into reality yet reality was the basis and I can't trade my rationality for something that is not constant. He is not constant.
"Thats still not an answer." I whispered, breathless from the intensity of undeniable charge that washed over me. At any given moment, he would simple hear my heart throbbing against its cage, so wild, that I wouldn't be able to save myself from another admission, that he does in fact have an enchanting effect over me. Its so obvious.
He groaned and his grip on me loosened. Slowly, he took in a deep breath and pulled himself completely away from me, and sat down on the bed.
"I didn't want to hurt you Stella." His soft murmur was almost inaudible and for a second I contemplated whether he even said that. I scoffed which deepened the vulnerable lines on his face, edged in his beautifully chiseled face. "You don't believe me?"
I would have definitely overthought about his question if I hadn't exhausted that option already.
"Its a little hard when you contradict your own words." I said quietly, not really understanding how he can make this about my trust. His hands flew into his hair, running through the dark strands, tugging at the roots in a very familiar fashion that I have grown to associate with recognition of his frustration.
"Can't blame you." He muttered under his breath and shifted a little, patting beside him, inviting me to sit beside him. Instantly I was very alert. I took the seat beside him stiffly.
A very long silence stretched from his end to mine and for once it was not appropriately comfortable as it usually is. What seems to be like his eternal tension was coming off in waves over me.
"Stella I...I want you to be around. More than anyone I would like at this moment and you out of all the people should be able to tell that." His jaw was locked as he looked away from me. "But its not what I want, that matters. Every second that I spend with you is a hard attempt on my part to not hurt you."
He shook his head as if trying to shrug off something. Though I held my tongue, trying to prompt him to continue.
"I was just...abnormally disappointed with myself to keep you close that day. But I want you to be around." His words whipped sharply around my head. I didn't miss the contrast they were creating against each other. "Stella I couldn't live with myself knowing Rosie was hurt because of me-then again I made it worst by blaming it on you, I...shouldn't have but I was uncontrollable, wasn't I? I kept ruining everything." The abstract manner, his words were dressing in was ridiculously precise for me to understand what he was aiming for but I wanted him to say all of it.
"I work on a very shot temper and by now I have learned that my temper gets easily tested when you are near me. Thats why I asked you to leave."
I looked up to meet his gaze.
"Say something Stella." His pleading eyes were saying a lot more than what his mouth tried to hold back. I gulped, trying to swallow the lump in my throat. I don't want to let this go so easily. We run in circles and I want an out. I don't want to end this little feud knowing if tomorrow need be, he would easily opt out and leave me sinking in my own assumptions and myriad of thoughts that will raise a million insecurities inside of me.
"I don't know what to tell you." My words were soft yet they held a rather complex interpretation to me than he would ever understand and he was there, in a sudden swift moment, crouching in front of me, his hands taking mine in a firm hold as if he was about to shake me out of my own shady clutches, the ones that were slowly setting a foundation of my own walls.
"Tell me you are here, Stella. That you would stay." The desperation however I could not deny, even if I wanted to look over his piercing words, his eyes held me in place, begging me to see the reason they played with. I sighed.
"Stay?" I tested the word. Slowly my conscious snapping into her place. "How can I stay in a place that doesn't belong to me?"
He kept quiet. His eyes wide with apprehension.
"You belong Stella. You belong with me." He was so comfortable in saying something that threw my heart against a bass drum, reverberating the effect of its unleashed thudding just like that. Can he hear that? In the silence as he waited, I swear if not for his ears, his eyes could surely make out what my body gave away.
I bit my lip and shook my head.
"No. I don't." I looked over his shoulder to avoid his scrutinisation. "I never did."
"You are desperately forcing yourself to believe that." He concluded. Just like that. Scary part is that he wasn't very far from the reality, the cruel truth of it. I kept my mouth shut and he laughed, though it was more like a groan that escaped from him. "Don't be so difficult princess."
"The only thing I don't want to be is an actress. Living by a mere script, getting used to recreate overrated scenes again and again." I snapped at his tone. "I don't want to belong somewhere knowing, if opportunity presented itself, you would easily trade me off in exchange for things you wouldn't explain me. You would rather have it all alone than share with me, whatever that is."
"You want me to share?" He was on his feet in a second and his expression turned to one of those rhetorical currents. He scoffed as if not believing what I had just said. "You were out the second you came to knew I am Charles Hyland then how am I supposed to know that if I share something with you, you wouldn't leave?"
"Kingsley." I muttered and his lips twitched, a smile that was fighting to break through his lips but he kept his ground and his eyes narrowed dangerously. I sighed. "I left because you asked me to Charles. Not because I wanted to. I never did."
"You didn't want to leave yet here you are ready to be out of that door any minute now."
"Thats because you are always so closed off Charles!" I jumped in one frantic movement. Exasperated by his inability to see what I was trying to point out. "You don't consider the possibility that in fact I want to understand you. Assuming the worst would only let you have your way for so long. You have this ridiculous notion that I would not understand but then again do you really want me to understand?"
He scowled and took a few steps in my direction, closing the gap that seemed to grow an inch by inch with each ticking second and I held my breath when his hands came up to caress my cheek.
"I don't care what you think Stella. I know you belong with me and there is no way I am letting you go." I closed my eyes. "Trust me baby, I am trying. All I ask for is time."
"You will never ask me to leave?" The hope in my voice was very small, absurdly fragile. Clutching on him and not ready to let go. What for? That I am still unaware of.
He scooped me up into a bone crushing kiss as his lips found me, letting me taste his firm thoughts in a toe curling movement as he traced my lips fiercely. There is something about his kiss, so absolute in its warmness that I crave nothing but its feel on mine. The way he lets me know his claims in such a delicate gesture yet so hot in its wake is kind of maddening.
"I promise." He whispered pulling away leaving me to ridiculously wanting in the loss of sweet contact. He chuckled at my reaction and flicked my nose.
I smiled slightly, feeling the positive shift in his mood.
"Okay." I gave in and he grinned but it soon turned into yet another frown. "What is it?"
I asked, worried he would change his mind.
"I am supposed to attend a brunch tomorrow." He winced like the remembrance of that thought physically pained him.
"Are you showing off Mr. Hyland?" I teased and he gave me a smirk.
"Its pleasing if you put it that way." He gave me a crooked smile. "But its true. Its more of a meeting arranged by my mother and her charity group. I am their primary funder among several others so I have to be there."
I chuckled, imagining him in such a formal setting.
"Well you enjoy."
"Will you come with me?" My eyes widened as he asked me. As flattered as I was at his question I quickly shifted through my brain for any excuse that could get me out of this safely. I don't want to cross paths with his mother again.
I bit my lip in guilt as he rolled eyes, already understanding my thoughts.
"You are coming anyway." He grounded out.
"I can't. I have to work tomorrow."
"Take an off."
"I can't just skip like that. They'll fire me."
"You can always work for me."
"And let you boss me around? I think I'll pass."
"Well Stella, you are coming." He stressed his words again and swiftly tugged at my dress, pulling it over my head quicker than I could blink.
"What are you doing?" I could feel heat rising to my cheeks as I tried to cover myself with my hands. He bent down and scooped me up in his arms, chuckling at my lost self. "Oh my god Charles what the heck are you doing?"
"Tucking you in princess. Its still very early in the morning and you should get some sleep." He put me down on the bed gently and pulled the covers upto my chin to my relief.
"What about you?" He smiled.
"I am here." He slipped under the sheets and scooted closer. I stared at his devastatingly handsome features, trying to take in every detail while he allowed me the luxury of looking at him like that. He pulled me closer and ever so softly, place a feather like kiss on my forehead. "You can count on that."
And I don't think I will doubt that for a long time.
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