Chapter One

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[This short story is a work of fiction I had the opportunity to write for Schick Quattro YOU™. I hope you'll enjoy this young woman's journey of discovery and adventure, with unexpected friendships and romance too!]

Reya ran the last stretch of her jog along Toronto's lakeshore. The official start of summer was a week away but the blistering sun was off to an early start. She wiped the sweat off her forehead, tightened her long black ponytail and turned towards a grassy hill, approaching the first row of high-rise condominiums.

As a child growing up in a small town outside of Toronto, Reya had often fantasized about the bustling energy of the city, but usually only as a far off dream too far to reach. By the time she reached university and pursued her bachelor of business degree, her destiny to wind up in the city seemed all but inevitable.

What she hadn't anticipated was moving up the ranks so quickly, in the downtown advertising agency where she'd gotten her first job. Whatever the reason, whether luck or opportunity, she was standing on the precipice of a whole new career change at only twenty-six.

Reya ran further towards the busier parts of downtown, making her turn onto King Street West. The lively area of theatres and restaurants wasn't far from her home, a fact that made the nearby flower shop a regular haunt.

She stopped to catch her breath in front of a display of colourful flowers, and after only a few seconds of deliberation, she chose a bright assortment in orange and yellow.

She paid and carried her parcel towards a quieter side street, anchored by an unassuming warehouse surrounded by trees.

She stepped inside the inviting lobby of the warehouse-turned-loft.

The concierge greeted her warmly. "Good run, Ms. Gil?"

Reya smiled. "Not my best time but there's always tomorrow!"

She took the elevator to the fourth floor, and in moments was standing inside her spacious loft. The large windows filled the space with a sunny glow, shedding light on cozy furniture and high-end appliances. She'd worked hard to afford a place like this, so hard in fact that a friend had approached her with his plan for a non-profit start-up. He needed an accomplished advertising mind like Reya's, to make the biggest splash for his hunger-fighting organization. Even though her salary wouldn't match what she'd been making, she had a passion for the cause and it was the highest title she'd held.

Despite all of that, celebrating was the last thing on her mind.

She frowned as she arranged the flowers in a vase on the kitchen table. Once satisfied, she plopped herself onto a chair. "New job, new breakup," she said. 

Her intercom buzzed and it startled her into action.

She started fixing her hair and dabbing any sweat from her face.

"Came to his senses eh?" she said smiling. "I knew it."

She answered the intercom phone. "Yes?"

The concierge's voice crackled through the phone. "Your friend Jane is here; usually I let her up but since you just came back from you run --"

"No no, it's fine," Reya said, her smile now gone. "Send her up!"

Reya unlocked the door and plopped back onto her chair, not the least bit excited for what her best friend had in store.

***

Jane stormed into Reya's apartment armed with cupcakes and a bottle of rosé. She studied Reya in her workout gear. "Oh," she said. "You ran."

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