Chapter 1

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It was her light blonde hair with pink ends. Or maybe it was her blue eyes, like blue ocean swells or stormy skies. Justin couldn't decide. He stood there staring at her feeling equal parts mesmerized and a complete dork. Her present was still in his hand. It hadn't occurred to him yet to give it to her. Phillip had shown him a picture of her and she was pretty there too but there was a boundless energy he felt instantly attracted to that outshone any physical beauty she had.

She trained those blue eyes on Justin. "Hi! Are you here for my party?"

"Yes," he said. His lame response sent blood rushing into his cheeks. "You must be Ophelia. You look just like the picture Phillip showed me." It took a great deal of energy not to turn around and walk away. This was not going like he'd hoped.

"Oh, you must be Justin!" the woman in the wheelchair sitting nearby said. "Glad you could make it. Phillip wasn't sure if you could or not."

"Come along," Ophelia said, grabbing his hand. "These other two are going to help Anna in the house, and then you can show me what you brought." Her hand was soft and delicate. She pulled him into the house. "I'm glad you could make it, though I hope you really wanted to come because, I don't know how he does it, but Phillip can be really persuasive.

"I wanted to come," he said. She turned around and smiled at him.

"Good," she said. "Tonight's going to be a blast. I'll tell you something. I don't think I know half the people here. My friends tend to bring other friends and the next thing I know we're spilling out into the yard."

The two men that had been outside with Ophelia and Anna were just getting her into the house. "Bryant and Garrett both have worked for Calvin Klein and a bunch of other ones but I can never keep track of them all. So, is this for me?" She pointed at the bag Justin held.

Justin handed the bag over to Ophelia. She pulled the tissue out and pulled out a smaller dark brown bag. "Wow, Justin," she said, a blush spreading across her cheeks.

"What is it?" Anna said.

"It's a $100 3kg bag of Vlahrona chocolate," Ophelia said, looking wide eyed at the package. "That's amazing. And too much." She looked up at Justin.

He pointed to the bag. "There's something else."

She reached in and pulled out a jar. When she twisted the lid, a gold twinkle lightly waved with the air movement of the house. She laughed. "Edible gold foil. I love it!"

Her laugh, he thought. Like twinkling bells. I'm so much in trouble.

"Phillip told me you're a pastry chef and so I went to Orson Gygi. The sales people there were very helpful."

Ophelia jumped up and hugged Justin. "Thank you. It's really too much but I still love it anyway. No one's got me expensive pastry making stuff before."

Justin smiled down at her, hugging her back. "You're welcome." Her hair brushed against his cheek. It was like down feathers and smelled slightly of apples.

"Come here. I need to show this to someone and I want you to come with me," she said, stuffing the gifts back in the bag, and taking Justin's hand and dragging him across the room.

She introduced him to so many, he lost track of names and faces after the first ten minutes. All he could think of was that she had her hand firmly in his the entire time, even when she could have let it go. They had circled back to the front room where they found Anna sitting in Bryant's lap laughing while the other man was goofing off in Anna's wheelchair. A movement caught Justin's eye and he saw Phil standing there with the oddest look on his face. In the next moment, Phil had left and Anna was scrambling to get back into her wheelchair.

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