Chapter 1: Stranger [/]

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Year 2014

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Year 2014

"I'm sorry," she said to the cab driver. "Could you just drop me here? The building is actually around the corner."

"Sure," the man nodded, slowing down to stop by the side.

"Thank you," she uttered, passing the money to him before leaving the cab.

She watched the yellow car disappear before pulling out the phone Mathias gave her to dial him.

Upon the second ring, someone picked up.


"Hello, this is Lily," said the woman on the other line. "I'm Mathias' assistant. How may I help you?"

"Oh, this is Anaeya," she replied, confused. "Where's Mathias? I need to speak to him."

"The master is in an important meeting now," Lily answered, hesitating. "I'll make sure he calls you back. Goodbye."

"Wai-" she trailed off as the call ended. "La puta madre! That damn asshole just hung up on me," she yelled at the phone. "I'll walk there myself."

She shoved the phone into her bag and began walking when suddenly one of her heel snapped off. She stumbled, gripping a lamp post for support as she spluttered out more curses.

"Stupid heels," she said. In the sidelines, someone chuckled.

Anaeya turned around to find a boy sitting on a chair as he leaned against the wall with murals. There was a trolley next to him and it was filled with shoes and bottles of shoe polish.

It was obvious that he shine shoes for passerbys. Even the hoodie he wore had bits of shoe polish splattered here and there.

Her eyebrows scrunched when she realised that he had a sweet smile on his face. No. No, he was actually laughing at her. When they locked eyes, he stopped laughing and coughed instead, looking away.

"Excuse me," she said, approaching him. "Do you fix shoes?"

"Sí señorita," he replied.

She bent down to undo the straps of the heel and passed it to him. He looked at her with wide eyes before taking it to analyse the damage.

"Can you fix it?"

"Mhm," he said. "It'll take some time."

"I'm late anyways," she muttered, huffing. "So take your time."

He nodded and began to work. She stared as he expertly worked using his dirty hands. After a while, he stopped and looked up at her.

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