Healing Charles

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5.

•••

~Stella

I completed my night routine and went to bed after setting an alarm for next day. Its better to be at office where I would be able to focus on my work without anyone interrupting me with their flash lights and annoying knocks.

I fell asleep easily but as the night unfolded, I heard something in distance which forced me to get up and check what was going on. My eyes opened and I rubbed them to clear the blurriness around the sides. Frowning, I got up and realised it was a musical rhythm. Someone was playing guitar and it was not very hard to find that someone seeing how his silhouette was shining on my curtains against the light coming from his bedroom.

He is so not normal.

I got out of my bed and almost stumbled on my way to the window. Opening it, I saw him sitting on the sill, his head resting against the window frame. He looked so peaceful with his eyes closed as he strummed the chords softly to a song I could not identify.

He looked like he was somewhere far away, lost in his thought.

"Did I ruin your sleep, princess?"

I jumped when he opened his eyes and looked at me. I felt like I was a deer caught in headlights or more like deer caught ogling at him. His eyes were shining under the minimal light that was coming through his room and that is when I really saw his eyes and how beautiful they were. They were a deep shade of grey with emerald specks giving them a contrast. It was a beautiful metallic contrast.

Absolutely breath taking.

"No. I wasn't really sleeping." I lied. I did not feel like being sarcastic in the middle of night when he looked like he was in some trance. I did not want to be the one to break the bubble his music had formed around him. He looked at ease.

Anyways I was not really mad anymore.

"You really don't know how to lie, do you?" He asked smirking. I looked at him and gave a sheepish smile shrugging.

I conflicted whether to stay and accompany him or just go back to bed. Did he want to be alone?

"Do you mind?" I asked gesturing if I could sit with him or not. Its better to ask than having the window shut closed in your face. He shook his head and I sat on the sill as well.

"Why are you up so late?" I asked to strike a conversation.

"I am always up late. You are just a heavy sleeper." He said putting away his guitar down in his room as he turned to me.

"I am not." I said frowning. Or am I? How would I know. I just sleep and that is it.

He shrugged as if letting me be contend in what I believed and I did not push him any further myself.

"Charles?"

"Hm?"

"Don't be rude to me." I do not know why I said it but it just came out with no prior intentions. It was like my sub-conscience was speaking for herself without any filters attached.

He looked up at me and did not say anything, his eyes just searched my face like he could not figure out how I said something like that.

I could not figure it out myself. I know he has been rude to me and I do not deny it but what actually bothers me is that I barely know him and have done nothing to deserve that. If anything, he should be more than polite that I am being so patient with him when I can easily ignore him altogether.

Who am I kidding to? I can not just ignore him when he lives right across from me.

"Then don't be so good to me." He said and I bit my lip in confusion. His words caught me off guard. What does he mean by that?

"Why not?" I asked, countering his question.

Why would someone order bad for himself? I mean yes he has been a bit difficult with me but that does not mean I have to be rude with him as well. That is just not my nature.

"Never mind." He shrugged me off completely and I contemplated whether to ask him what he meant by that or not but decided against it. Its better to not rush it. I know this by now that he likes to keep things to himself and will lash out easily if he thinks someone is testing waters in his territory. "So what are you doing in Amsterdam?"

"Job." I replied and noticed how he turned the compass around to revolve the attention away from him. He cocked his head to the side. I am starting to think that it was his habit of some sort when he tries to scrutinise the subject on the desk. Right now it was me.

"Where?"

"Hartland Publishing House." I informed quite pleased with my achievement.

"I knew you were the literature kind of girl." He said chuckling softly.

"You say like its a bad thing."

"Not bad but that makes you a hopeless romantic." He said as a matter of fact and I laughed.

"Oh yeah? What else do you know?" I challenged him, laughing silently on how wrong he was.

"That you are afraid to admit that to yourself." He said looking at me with a serious look. I frowned not understanding what he was trying to point at.

"Why would I admit to something I am not?" I asked genuinely confused.

He raised an eyebrow at me which was more of an unsaid mockery at my ability to not get the obvious. Was I missing something?

"Do you like Mr. Darcy?" He asked.

"Who does not?" I asked as if he was being ridiculous.

"Exactly my point. Liking Darcy is an undeniable propensity of those who are hopeless romantic and can do nothing about it." He said as if resting his case with an argument that can not be challenged any further.

"The fact that a guy like you even knows who Darcy is a little contradicting to your argument." I said in my defence.

"You should be well known to not be a fan." He said shrugging. Of course he would know. In fact I am not surprised that he does not like Darcy. Guys would never like a character that fuels the expectations of girls for them. Typical.

In fact his words remind me of my parents when they used to debate about the exact same thing. My father would ridicule my mother and her fascination for liking Darcy. He went as far as to wear a shirt around her that said "No Darcy, please." and it was the only thing that set my mother off like nothing else.

I laughed remembering their stupid fights.

"What?" Charles gave me a confused look and I shook my head.

"To be honest with you, I am barely a romantic let alone the hopeless one." Why am I telling this to him? "Books are different."

"Enlighten me." Wow he was really interested in this, was he not?

"Guys in books are not reality, which is why they have so much appeal to those of us who find an escape in them. You close the book, you close its fabrication as well." I explained what I really feel after reading a good book.

"You must make your guy sweat out of his core system with all that stuff."

"I don't have a guy. So no sweating till now." I joked but he looked at me with surprise crossing his face.

"Don't you?" He asked sitting straight.

"I have never dated." I chuckled awkwardly. Why was he surprised so much? Its normal to not date when some people are not hopelessly romantic as he likes to say.

"Wow you exist." He said, his voice laced with what sounded like fascination which only tangled my thoughts all the way more. "Guys must be throwing themselves at you."

"Not the ones I want." I said biting my lip.

"And who do you want?"

"No one." It seemed to me as if there was a fleeting moment of expectation in his eyes which was gone as soon as words left my mouth or maybe it was just my mind playing tricks on me.

"You should sleep." He said standing up. I looked away from him and at the clock on my bedside drawer. It was almost four in the morning. "Goodnight, princess."

I smiled, yawning.

"Goodnight Charles."

I almost missed my alarm this morning. Night talks are good and interesting until you do not have an office to report to the next day especially when its Monday on cue. I made my way back to my office after I was done with the lunch hour and busied myself into work.

While I was doing the paperwork, my thoughts automatically drifted back to the night before.

That was the first conversation I had with Charles which did not end into anyone of us marching away. He was not being rude which kept me away from frustration as well. Its funny how I was almost expecting him to just snap and go away but for once he really talked even though it was far from anything that could help me know him better. He is like this really private person who is super sensitive and cautious when he talks. His words are so carefully put together that nothing he says uncovers his reality.

Yet what really bothers me right now is his reaction when he came to know about my lack of dating history.

Wow you exist.

What did he mean by that? Of course some of us exist who never date or pursue anything romantic because of our own problems. Consider it as a dating dyslexia. It is not a big deal, or is it? But when he really puts it like that added with his unnatural astonishment is not justified because it pushes me over the edge to the point I am starting to question myself.

It happens all the time. I would go as far as to say that I am not a very curious person. I do not ask a lot of questions to anyone or even myself but when it comes to him, my curiosity comes back from its la la land without any minute wasted maybe that is because I barely know him or maybe because he does not let me know him.

Either way it bothers me more than I would ever like to admit that, if not at all that is.

Its been hardly weeks at stretch that you know he even exists.

If time is the basis reference at to how long I should be minding my own business before trying to get to know people well then provide me with the ultimate flow chart, I will wait my whole life if that is what it suggests.

I thought sarcastically to myself and why am I even thinking about him? Its not like we are friends or something.

Friends do not think about each other like that.

Exactly. We are not.

Ping!

I checked my phone and immediately frowned when Mae, Brooke and Bella texted me all at the same time.

Mae:

Won't be able to pick you up today. See ya at home.

Ps. I'll bring your fav milkshake as an apology.

Uhm okay.

Brooke:

Why is Mae texting me all excited about this thing?

What thing?

Bella:

Your place after work;)

What the heck was going on?

•••


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