Healing Charles

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7.

•••

~Stella

"And Stella I want you to make notes on the new manuscript I gave to you today as soon as possible." John said as I sat in his office, updating him over all the meetings he was supposed to be in this week.

"Absolutely. How soon?" I asked noting it down in my diary.

"Tomorrow?" He asked and looked up to assess me.

"Sure Sir." I said without any hitch in my voice. It was not a big deal for me anyways.

"Great then I suppose it is time for you to leave?" He said going back to his work. I glanced at the clock and smiled. It sure was.

"Yes I will see tomorrow John." I said getting up and leaving his office. I closed the door behind me as I entered in mine.

I cleared up my desk and grabbed my coat and bag which had the manuscript in it all ready to leave. I was about to leave when my phone rang. I frowned.

I told Mae already that I will be walking home today as well.

When I checked the caller ID, it was unknown. Weird. I picked it up anyways.

"Hello." Someone said as soon as I answered the call.

"Who is this?" I asked.

"Ouch princess."

My eye brows shot up. Why was he calling me?

"Charles. How did you get my number?"

"I have my contacts." He said. "Anyways I was in the neighbourhood so thought I will stop by of course if you are not busy..."

"Oh no its no problem. I was about to leave anyways." I said not sure what was happening.

"Perfect. Meet me outside." And before I could say anything else the line disconnected.

I took an elevator to ground floor and crossed the reception area and got out of the front doors. I glanced around to find a particular guy but I did not see him anywhere. My phone rang again. I identified the number this time and answered.

"Where are you?" I asked still looking for him.

"Look straight." He said and my head turned to the front to find him standing across the street. He was wearing a black suit with an overcoat shrugged on over his shoulder, his hair looked a little messy and I was aware of how he was turning heads of everyone who was crossing him. "Wait there."

He cut the call and crossed the road smoothly.

"You just can not stay away, can you?" I joked as he came to stand in front of me.

"Ah using my cockiness against me now are we?" He smirked.

"Merely solving my doubts." I said shrugging though I am sure he sensed my sarcasm all along.

"C'mon." He said walking in opposite direction from where I am supposed to go.

"Where are we going?"

"Have you been around the city?" He asked and I shook my head. "Then keep walking."

I caught up to his side and tried to keep up with his long strides even though we were walking really slow compared to everyone around us who were walking with specific intentions to be somewhere.

"Why are you being my tour-guide today?" I asked curiously.

"No reason." He shrugged but did not say anything more.

"What were you doing here anyways?" I asked not sure why was he being so generous.

"Business." He said and I realised I have never asked him about his work.

"Where do you work?" I asked and he looked at me like I had grown two heads. Something crossed in his eyes and he frowned before answering.

"Hyland Industries." He said and I nodded.

"Brooke works there too." I said recalling.

"Really?" He mused more to himself and we kept on walking. We crossed many shops which were all looking posh and appealing to whoever walked past them. "C'mon this way."

Charles led us around the corner and I saw one of the canals around the city. We walked upto its sides and sat on the bench. I smiled as the street lights came to life reflecting on the surface of the water, illuminating the area around it as well. As the sun went down, cold wind started blowing around the streets yet I felt relatively warm at the sight of everything.

"This is so beautiful." I said sighing deeply. "Thank you for bringing me here."

He smiled.

I blinked to confirm that small smile he gave me was real or was it just my mind tricking my eyes into seeing things. His smile was so soft and small that the legitimacy of it was hard to affirm.

"Oh my god you smiled." I pointed it out and laughed which did not take much for him to cover his small slip and give me a dead pan of a look instead.

"People smile princess. Its not that big of a deal." He said in voice that parents usually use to explain a rather complex concept to their children.

"Yes it is. You hardly smile." I shrugged.

"Thats not true." He said frowning at my words.

We strolled around a little more before making our way back to the home. We exchanged occasional insults and laughed all the way back and it was fun. I enjoyed his company.

I was exhausted by the time we made it back to the apartments.

I was about to thank him again when his phone rang.

"Excuse me." He said and turned away to answer the call and I jumped a little when he snapped on the person who was holding the other side of the line.

I waited patiently for him to be done and when he got off the call and turned to me, I could not help but notice how tense he looked. His playful side was gone and he looked quite serious, with a distant look in those eyes, he almost looked cold.

"Are you okay?" I asked cautiously.

"Don't act like you care." He snapped and went away not even looking behind once.

Of course.

That was too good to be true. I went up really, really frustrated with being treated like that every time. Did I ask him to walk me around the city and be a jerk about it? Absolutely not.

I do not understand what is his problem. If he thinks I am some low life he can toss around then he has got it all wrong. He can not just come in my life again and again when all he wants to do is be rude to me and exit when he is satisfied after dissing me.

I did not knock and just barged in through the front door regretting it immediately when I saw Mae and Valentino cuddling with each other.

"Geez guys take it to the room." I said turning away from them and walked into the kitchen to fetch myself some water so that I could cool off.

"Oh hey Stella, I was just about to leave." Valentino got up and grabbed his coat and waved before leaving shortly.

I turned to Mae instantly raising an eyebrow at her.

"You better explain that one."

"I like him." She said without even hesitating a bit. Her face had that glow in it which was a direct result of the way she said it. It sounded different this time.

"Take it slow." I said smiling, genuinely happy for her.

"I am." She said shyly and came to stand beside the island counter.

"What?" I asked when she kept staring at me.

"You seem off." She said frowning. I sighed and rolled my neck to ease off the tension I was feeling in my muscles but it did not help.

"You know what? I will be back in a while." I said and without anything said further left so I would not change my mind and go cold feet about it before it stops bothering me.

I took the elevator to the ground floor and exited the building, striding towards the neighbouring one. I entered in the lobby and took the elevator to the intended floor coming face to face with his front door.

I knocked or more like banged on the smooth wood so it was loud and clear enough for him to know that he can not get away from every time he decides to mess with me.

I heard the footsteps and within seconds I was looking into those eyes which were still distant but long cooled off. He looked at me in confusion.

"What are you doing here?" He asked with no trace of shame in his voice whatsoever.

"What am I doing?" I asked stepping towards him which he matched by taking one and more behind him as I continued my way into his house looking directly at him. "What are you doing? Who do you think you are? You think you can mess with me? Call me and walk me around the streets just to abandon me the next second? You think you can sass me around and be rude to me? Then you are wrong! Because I care! I care for my friends unless they are not being jerk in my face!"

I practically rambled my thoughts off, steaming my frustration off in his face.

"So we are friends huh?" His lips twitched and there was that smirk, threatening to peep as he managed to keep his expression smooth as always.

"So not the point Charles!" I exclaimed shaking my head not believing this guy who is such a thickhead to crack through.

"Alright I shouldn't have snapped at you." He said sighing.

"And?" I gave him an expectant look waiting for him to realise what he was missing.

"And you are welcomed in my humble abode." He turned around and walked into the drawing room which was pretty much the same as mine except his posh decor which was mostly black and white. All dark and shady like he is.

I gave him a dead pan.

"Honestly Charles you should be apologising to me." I said flopping down on the couch.

"I am letting you be comfortable in my place."

"Is that suppose to be an apology?" I asked giving him an 'are you for real?' Look.

"No. Why would I apologise?" He asked giving me that mischievously innocent look and I sighed.

"Whatever." I got up to leave remembering all the work which was in the cue to be completed. I have not even taken off my office clothes. "I'll see you later."

I made my way to the front door but jerked when I felt my hand being pulled and without any warning I collided with his chest as he snatched me towards him.

"Ouch." I winced as my nose hit his hard chest at an unpleasant angle. I looked up at him in question.

What was he trying to do? His eyes searched mine, finding something I had no idea about.

"Friends right?" He asked with that small smile I witnessed earlier and it did not take much for my heart to melt at his rare gesture.

I smiled.

"Friends."

I sat down on my desk after my dinner, trying to concentrate on my work but I could not.

I could not help but think about the moment I had with Charles which was one of those tick of the time that is considered as completely innocent yet I could not help but feel the goosebumps on my skin even now and I am not a fool to not recognise that this feeling, this feeling like I can still feel him around me is a direct aftermath of the way he looked at me.

The way he asked that simple question.

Friends right?

It sounded more like a start for something I will never be ready for and funnily enough I agreed to it as well.

It did not just take him by surprise but me as well when I said that I care. Why should I? Yet I do and for some unknown reason I do not deny it in anyway.

Messed up. Right?

I sighed after hammering my brains for an answer but did not get any.

Better get to the work.

•••


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