Healing Charles

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2.

•••

~Stella

I reached the office before I was supposed to so I decided to help myself with a tour around the huge building while I sipped on my coffee. It had a traditional infrastructure with modern touch and it was all very attractive. I was walking around in utter fascination and did not notice the person coming towards me. I almost bumped into him but held my dignity just in time.

His eyes widened as well.

"I am so sorry." He said quickly, he had this thick dutch accent and was tall and lean with thick glasses around his eyes. His curly hair almost flashed in my eyes, having dazzling red roots that were set atop his head.

"Don't be. My apologies, I wasn't watching out my way." I said politely.

"I am John by the way." He smiled and extended his hand which I took as realisation hit me.

"Oh John Otis?" I asked shaking his hand and he nodded giving me a confused look. "Hello Sir, I am Stella."

"Stella Summers, right. Call me John." He said, beckoning me to follow him as he started to walk up the stairs and I followed his lead. "Why are you here so early?"

"Good impression?" It sounded more like a question though. How am I supposed to tell him that I was pissed off at a certain guy who appeared at the other window all of a sudden while I was almost naked so I stormed off from my own apartment this morning and just for a heads up, I do not know him at all? Yeah I can not exactly tell that to my new boss.

To my surprise, John chuckled.

"Thats not needed. Your CV was enough of an impression itself." I blushed at his compliment and thanked him while my sub-conscience did a little summersault at the good start. It lifted my mood considerably and the unappealing event from the morning totally slipped from my attention.

We walked down a few hallways before he stopped in front of a heavy dark-wood door which John pushed open easily to reveal a beautiful office behind it.

As we entered in, I noticed there were two offices in there. The one we were standing in was small and had a glass desk in corner with a swivel chair. The desk had all sorts of papers and pens all ready to be used. This looked more like an entrance to another office which was behind the glass doors in front of me. I looked around at the large shelfs which had number of books stocked up with no room left. It was such a nest kind of place and smelled heavenly in the fragrance of books which I absolutely adore.

"Welcome to to your office." He said. His words laced with warmness. "This is your desk."

"Thank you, John." I said in awe. I was not really expecting anything more than a cubicle let alone a desk with my name on it but this was too good.

"You can go through that list on your desk, it will help you with your day's tasks and further accordingly. I'll be in there if you need my help with anything. All the best." He said and went into his own office through the glass separation.

I am having the best day of my life. All the best for yours too.

I quickly texted Mae and wished her. It was her first day at the work too. Putting my phone on silent, I dived into working on my own tasks.

I prepared my own diary for jotting down the details and making a check list of all the manuscripts that I was supposed to read by the end of the week.

I was so engrossed in my work that I completely forgot it was almost lunch time. I grabbed some sandwiches from the cafeteria I found earlier today from my exploring and sat with few of the colleagues discussing about the real working of this place. They were all really welcoming and did not let me feel like I was the most inexperienced which of course I was.

The day passed by very quickly after the lunch and it was a successful one. I texted Mae when I was done with my work so that she could pick me up on her way back to home.

"Hey." I said sliding into the passenger's side. "How was your day?"

"Great. It was tiring but great." She said beaming at me and I could not help but reflect her smile. "I am not going to ask about yours because of all the texts you kept sending me the whole day."

I laughed at her flat face.

It was then, when we entered into our apartment that it hit me again in the face and I told everything to Mae about the guy who would not look away as I stood embarrassing myself this morning.

"My my Stella! You have a real treat right across your room!" She wiggled her brows and I almost threw up.

"I don't think so. He looked at me like I was standing naked in his room and it did not affect him even a bit." I said casually.

"Doubt that." I have always hated Mae's teasing sing sang voice. However I always love to prove her wrong. Any guy she ever tries to set me up with never works out mostly because I chase them away on purpose which she does not need to know or else I will never hear an end of it.

"Alright you know what? I do not even know him so whatever you are thinking just stop." I said in finality and she nodded in fakery just for exaggeration.

She can be so delusional sometimes.

I went to my room and made sure that all the curtains were drawn over the window and reminded myself to never change my clothes in the room. I went into the closet and took off my work clothes and slipped into comfortable shorts and a baggy tee.

I walked out into the room and sat down on my desk to organise my things for tomorrow. Who was I kidding to I can never work without being in a schedule which I need to prepare a day prior to whatever work I am supposed to be doing the next day.

Its official. Stella Ivy Summers, you are an office nerd.

Dissing myself was not enough to stop me from doing it anyways so I took out the manuscript I had read today and started jotting down the essential notes. Might as well submit this tomorrow.

All of a sudden my attention snapped to the wall above my desk. I followed the trail of flash and turned around to find its source. A groan escaped from my mouth as I slouched in my chair when I saw it coming in through my curtains.

What is he? Five?

I waited for a few minutes but when he still did not take the hint I got up and snatched away the curtains, not opening the window.

He raised a brow at me as I folded my arms across my chest getting all defensive about not opening the window. Why was I even getting defensive at all? Its my window and I wish to keep it closed forever.

He waited for me to budge and when I did not, he smirked and thats when my attention actually drew to him. He was tall, well built, I could tell that with how his bicep muscles flexed as he held that flash torch in his hand. His dark messy hair were all over his forehead covering most of it and his eyes, his eyes were sparkling in the evening light of the dusk. Funny how I could notice all of that from behind the window.

I snapped my hand over my eyes when he flashed the light on my face. Ugh.

I threw open the window out of frustration so he would quit being a child.

"What?" I snapped.

"Easy Ms. snappy pants." He said sitting on his window sill. I glared at him and he rolled his eyes. Wow he rolls those eyes huh? I thought that face of his was not capable of expressions. "Fine I think we started off on wrong foot."

I gave him a funny look.

"We did not start anything at all." I said, giving a little extra stress on each word.

"I believe you coming out of your closet, naked, was something." He said, his smirk never leaving his face. My cheeks heated up giving away my embarrassment.

"Don't flatter yourself. I did not even know you live there." I said casually, shrugging to add the effect.

"You are running awfully under the knowledge." He said in his thick accent. Was he dutch?

"Let me guess, you are the kind of guy who thinks being cocky would earn him brownie points, right?" I said sitting on the bench under my window.

"Well if you say so."

"You think its attractive?" I asked screwing up my face to show my unpleasant expression.

"Not the aim, but do you think its attractive?" He asked cocking his head to side.

"I think you should get a life." I said rolling my eyes.

He did not say anything. His amused expression shifted and he was back to being his passive self.

Did I say something wrong?

"Alright. I tried." He shrugged getting up and it hit me that it was his way of getting familiar with people around him. He was obviously trying to strike a conversation which of course did not get anywhere because of the events of this morning.

"Fine." I said, sighing. "I was a little annoyed because of this morning."

He turned around with that expression still very much intact on his face.

I can never be that expressionless, ever. My face easily gives away what I maybe be thinking about. My face is a reflection that resembles my thoughts easily. I can not muster that blank look even if my life depended on it.

And then he smirked.

I left a breath I was holding internally.

It never occurred to me that why was I even trying with a guy I barely know?

"I didn't mean to catch you like that. It just happened." He said. Was it his way of apologising? Because it utterly sucked.

"Whatever." I said. "So are you a dutch?"

He nodded.

"Yep. And you are not I presume?" He asked coming closer to his window sill again. I shook my head. My family is originally from Spain but we settled here when my father moved places for his business.

"Spanish." I replied.

"Eso es interesante." He said in spanish, almost as if mocking me with that smirk of his.

"Always a show off, aren't you?" I said chuckling.

"Don't be so quick to judge." He said placing a hand on his heart as if my words deeply wounded him.

"You are an easy target." I said getting up.

"Am I now?"

I smiled turning away and deciding to go back to my work which I am supposed to complete today.

"Uh huh."

"I am Charles." I stopped and turned around.

Do people casually shake hands across the buildings from their windows? Is it normal? Or is it a forced tradition of this architectural flaw?

I smiled nevertheless and walked upto the window, accepting the truce.

"Stella."

And I had never felt so intimidated by anyone as I did when not his hand but the eyes pinned me with a gleaming look like initiating something I have not foreseen.

Or maybe I was just seeing things?

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