Plogue & Chapter 1

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Prologue

Emilio

Barcelona

20 years ago

"I'm gonna miss you, Sofia."

She lowered her beautiful hazel eyes and stared at her white shoes with the small gold stars on the toecaps. "I'm gonna miss you too, Emilio." I could hear the trembling in her voice as if she were holding back her tears.

We stood on the balcony of Sofia's bedroom and the soft wind played with her long dark-brown hair, shielding her face for me. I could have never imagined I would have to say good-bye to my best friend. We'd been as thick as thieves for as long as I could remember. We went to the same kindergarten, and then became classmates at school. We did everything together – played, rode bicycles, went swimming. Our fathers were best friends too and I honestly believed it would be like that forever.

"Do you really have to go to America?" If someone told me back then there was a chance she would stay, I would do anything in my power to make it happen.

She nodded, still avoiding looking at me. "My grandpa offered my dad a new job there."

Sofia's mom, Elisa, was half-American. She moved to Spain when she married Sofia's father, Santiago Alcantar. But as far as I knew, Elisa's parents always wanted her to return to the States.

"How long are you going to stay there?"

Sofia shrugged. "Mom said I would be attending school in San Antonio. I guess it means we won't be coming back here any time soon."

"I see..." I signed, squinting into the sun. "Why won't they let you stay here? You could live with us. Mom and dad love you as if you were their daughter."

It was the first time since the beginning of our talk that Sofia looked at me. I swear I had never seen so much sadness in her eyes.

She swallowed and smiled. But I knew it was forced because she had the most beautiful smile in the world and what I could see now was not even close to that.

"We're not saying goodbye forever, Emilio." She touched my shoulder and rubbed it slightly. "We can call each other and write letters. Now that you and I both know how to write and read, it won't be a problem."

"Right."

Sofia and I were eight. Her mom was our English teacher and thanks to her classes, my friend and I could speak English so well. We spoke Spanish as well, but English was our favorite language. We pretended to be foreign spies and always laughed when our friends couldn't understand what we were saying to each other.

"I'll be sending you letters every week, or better – every day." She gave me another smile and this time it looked a little more natural. "I will never forget you, Emilio."

I smiled too. "You will always be my best friend, Sofia."

She stepped closer and hugged me. "And you will be mine."

I didn't want to leave, but it was time for me to go.

Sofia walked me to the door and waved goodbye. I waved back, then shoved my hands into my pockets and went home, feeling as down as ever.

It was the worst day of my life. But the most terrible part of it would hit me later...

I was walking down the road, all alone and thirsty. The day was suffocating hot. Even though it wasn't news to the mid-Summer season in Barcelona. The city was packed with tourists. They were everywhere around you. Locals always avoided going to the city during the day. But when the night came, a new life started. Everyone went out to enjoy the freshness of the night air. Cafes and restaurants turned on the streetlights and the city looked like one endless garland. Sofia and I loved taking long walks around the city. Our parents wouldn't let us to the city center alone, but sometimes we would go there with them and enjoy the festive atmosphere that died with the first rays of a new day.

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