Few hours later, sun has risen announcing a new beginning and a new day has come, spreading its warm rays to the land, chasing away the dark and besiege it; at 9 in the morning Anna woke up to the voice of her ringing phone, displaying at the screen the number of Diego, he called her to check on her and to remind her with the meeting she had at the edition house; she looked over the apartment searching for Martin but he was already gone, why my heart pound that loud when I think of him? She thought to herself, why am I searching for him, I know he is not here, I should stop giving myself false hope; she went to the bathroom preparing to go to Andorra city where the edition house located, she took a shower then she brushed her golden chestnut hair, making it a pony tail, she opened the dresser and stood in front of it choosing what to wear and thinking of what style that Martin loves, what if I met him by chance? I think he likes girly dresses, but what if the weather changes later, no I will wear my winter clothes, I will not risk it. After changing her outfits she was about to leave but she noticed the pot of ginger soup which Martin cooked the last night, she smiled as she is thinking of him; she poured herself a bowl and ate it before leaving, once she is out, she closed the door carefully and checked the lock twice, ”Don forget it like yesterday dumb head ” she thought to herself.

I should visit Nana before I go, maybe she wants something from the city, she went to Nanas place to tell her shes leaving; she knocked several times but no answer, ”Maybe she went somewhere with Linda ”.

The ride to the Andorra city was about three hours long, the weather was sunny and the road was filled with life, decorated with pine trees on both sides, crossing its path through the dense forests. At 4 pm, she arrived to the city and took a cab to the edition the house, where she waited in the reception;

”Hola, it is me, Anna Ruiz; Im supposed to meet the editor today, I received a letter from you yesterday ”

”Yes Miss Anna, wait here please he has a meeting now, Ill call you whenever he finishes ” the secretary replied her.

Few minutes passes, she saw the boy who brought her the letter, ”you! ” she yelled, ”You are the one who came yesterday, how are you today, I hope that Diego didn scare you that much ”.

He get surprised by seeing her and a little bit scared, ”Hola Miss Anna, no Im not scared, I apology again for my behavior, but what are you doing here? You work here? ” he asked,

”Oh no, if I told him then my secret would be revealed, or what if he already knows? ” she thought to herself, ”No I don , I just came to see Armand, you know him, he is your friend, he is my friend too ” she said,

”Yes I know, he talks about you a lot ”

”He does? ” she asked surprisingly,

”Yes he does, actually we were talking about you just by now he was behind me … look here he comes ”

When Armand saw Anna with his friend he froze at his place, and then his friend called him, ”Armand come, Anna is here she was looking for you ”

”Anna, when did you come, you didn call me ” Armand said scratching his head in confusion,

”You know Miss Anna we were talking about you, Armand told us that you know each other since a long time; excuse my curiosity but how can you be patient like that? ”

”Patient about what? ” she asked,

”The distant relationship, I know it is hard ”

”Lets go my friend we have a work to do… I don want to lose my job because of you ” Armand said, grabbing his friend to make him stop talking,

”Wait, where are you going, did you tell her about the party in the Christmas Eve ”, he said talking to Armand

”Ill tell her later lets go ” Armand replied insisting to leave,

”What party? He didn tell me about any party ” Anna replied,

”Why you are shutting my mouth let me talk; we and our friends arranged a party in the Christmas Eve for the winter vacation we asked him to invite you so we can finally get to know you ”

”Ah, a school party right? ” she replied,

”Yes exactly, and we would be happy to have you with us ”, he said,

”Yes, sure I will come; Armands friends are mine too, ” Anna said, giving Armand a look promising with punishment,

”Excuse me now; Ill have to return to my work ”;

When Armands friend walks away he wanted to go after him but Anna grabbed him from his neck asking about what is happening; ”Where are you going? You won run away from me, tell me now, at this moment what he was talking about, speak now ” she said angrily;

”Anna please don get mad let me explain it for you ” he replied begging her for forgiveness, ”listen Anna, I did something that might make you angry ”;

”What did you do? Is it bad? Did you get yourself in troubles? ”

”No, not that ”

”Talk then!!! ” she yelled;

”I TOLD MY FRIENDS YOU ARE MY GIRLFRIEND!!!! ” he replied covering hid face of fear,

”WHAT!!! ” she yelled again,

”Please don hit me ” he begged,

”I would not hit you in front of people you idiot, why would you tell them that? Why me? I am literally in the age of your teachers. Don you have so many friends? ” she replied in lower voice, because everyone heard her yelling before,

”Im sorry you can punish me however you like but please help me this time, look, they are preparing for a party next month, and they dared me to bring a girlfriend because they didn believe that I have one ”

”Of course no one would believe you, ok tell me when the party is made and I will do my best to come ” she replied,

”Thank you Anna you are my savior ” he said happily,

”Don be so happy, you still have to be punished, idiot ”, she replied.

When he left her to his work, the secretary called on her to enter the editors office, when she enters she get stunned by the beauty of the office, just like in the movies, he was talking in the phone when he saw her he beckoned her to close the door behind her and sit down, she sat at the chair before his desk, made of the finest redwood in a stunning shape, decorated with artistic antiques and a small plaque decorated with his name: Mr. Manuel.

”Welcome Miss Ruiz, it is the first time that I met you even though you are the most famous author in this edition house, I would like to congratulate you on the success you made in this three years, you made this work not only for children but also you made adults enjoy it too, I don lie to you when I say that I read it with my kids ”, said the editor Manuel complimenting her,

”It wouldn be succeeded if you didn accepted sir, and the graphic designers made a great work too, it is a work of a team not only me ”, said Anna shyly,

”I like your modesty Miss Ruiz, but this is not our subject today, I asked for you to discuss the last events in your story, to be more specific, the last two chapters ”, said Manuel while pouring a drink for Anna,

”Yes, sure I am ready to discuss all the events, thank you sir but I don drink ”, she answered refusing to drink,

”Oh, shame on that, you should try some new thing, or how can you describe what you didn try ”, said Manuel insisting on her to drink,

”Yes mister, you are right about that, but the comic is directed to all sort of ages starting from six years old, it would be bad to make picture for them this actions ”, said Anna, and again refusing to drink in a polite and cleaver way,

”I like you more Miss Ruiz, I wonder why I didn met you before; it is true as you said that we can show kids actions that would be inappropriate for them, unfortunately those acts are not just about alcohol and the adult subjects like twisted scenes, some of thoughts will be dangerous too, like convincing them of new theories that contradict the values of society ”, said Manuel while sitting on the chair in front of her,

”I am sorry mister Manuel, but I don understand what theories you are talking about? ” said Anna feeling uncomfortable,

”You are cleaver Miss Ruiz, so I won hide it from you, we have received several complaints about your story; some parents saw that it contains several misleading ideas and some destroy history, some complain that their children have become so attached to it that their grades in school have become low and their teachers complain about their strange answers, and when they saw it they knew that your story had something to do with it ”, said Manuel,

”But, Mr. Manuel, there is a note on the first page of each issue that the events here are fictitious and unreal and their purpose is only entertainment, it is not my fault if these parents do not know how to raise their children, they do not have the right to blame someone else for their failure. In my city there are homeless, orphans children who have no one beside them, this story helped to learn to read, no one complained about it, no children nor their parents ”, said Anna feeling both angry and sad for accusing her for corrupting society;

”Well you are right about that, but these folks are really serious about filing a lawsuit against our publishing house, and I am not ready to lose it, you know you are not the only we are publishing for, there are many writers whose fame is more than yours, and don forget that you are hiding you real identity, no one know you at all, you survived yourself, but all the blame falls on me because of you, so I will dictate my new terms to you, either you abide by the status quo and change the style of the story, or else I will have to stop it ”, he replied her,

”But if you change the style of the story, it will become boring and no one will read it, in any case you will stop publishing it, this is unfair, Sir ”, she said sadly,

”Don think that way Miss, you are talented and I trust your talent, you will find some way to change the style of the story and make it exciting at the same time, just trust yourself, as we trust you ”, said Manuel trying to calm her and encourage her,

”Thank you for your encouragement, sir, and I am sorry to get you in trouble because of me. Please accept my apologies ”, said Anna,

”No need to apology, it was a pleasure to meet you today, Miss Ruiz, you may go now ”, said Manuel,

”Thank you sir, it was an honor to meet you, have a good day sir ”, she said Anna, wishing him a good day before she left.

What should I do now? She thinks to herself, what she would do if her story will be stopped, who will accepted again, she probably will lose her job too, and she is not ready to go back and live with Matilda especially that she didn make it up with her since the last time. She left the building feeling sad and confused, not knowing about the new challenge, wither she could bit it or she will surrender; in the middle of this distress she sat at the road boards, laying her head between her knees drawn by the dark thoughts until she remembered that Linda studies in this town so she called her to hung out with her maybe she clears her mind,

”Hola, Linda, it is me Anna, I call you from Andorra what do you say if we hung out today? ” said Anna talking on the phone,

”Hola, Anna, I am happy to hear from you, yes why not, I will be happy to ”, said Linda,

”Okay great then, can you come to me because I don know the city well ”, said Anna shyly,

”Okay no problem just tell me where you are at ”, said Linda,

”I am in front the edition house of Andorra ”,

”Great, don move from there, twenty minutes and I will be there ”, said Linda

”Okay, I will stick to my place ”, said Anna jokingly,

Twenty minutes later, Linda arrived with her boyfriend, while walking towards her Anna stood up from her place feeling awkward because she was sitting on the pavement like a homeless person, and she noticed that they laughed at seeing her sitting like that,

”How much did you gather from begging in the road? ” Linda asked Anna jokingly laughing,

But Anna felt awkward specially that she brings a friend stranger to her, she gently punched Lindas arm and said: ”I just sat here a minute before you arrive, it is your fault you let me wait all that time, you said twenty minutes not an hour ”,

”It has passed twenty minutes exactly ”, Linda replied her laughing,

”Well, I felt in an hour you know I hate waiting, I am sorry I didn salute your friend ”, said Anna greeting Lindas friend,

”Sorry it is my fault I didn introduce you to each other, this is Marc my boyfriend, and this is Anna my friend ”, said Linda introducing them,

”Hola, nice to meet you Anna I am Marc abbreviation for Marcus, Linda told me about you before but I didn have the chance to meet you, you study together? ” asked Marc,

”Nice to meet you too, no I don study now, I am her grandmothers neighbor we often meet at her house ”, said Anna,

”Why we are standing here lets go somewhere I know a fine place here I invite you for a meal today ”, said Marc, being nice to them by inviting them to a restaurant,

”That is so kind of you, I am sorry if I interrupted you maybe you want some time alone together ”, Anna said feeling awkward,

”No dear, we are always together we really want to spend the time with you, come on we will have a good time today ”, said Linda comforting her,

”Yes Anna, I love to get to know my lovers friends ”, said Marc hugging Linda,

”Okay, thank you again ”, said Anna, smiling shyly,

(___) was a pretty classy restaurant that amazes Anna with its modern architecture, not just modern but she felt like it is from the future, but still keeping the traditional touch, with fancy chandeliers hanging from the roof like fairy dust bulbs, ignites with a dime soft light, decorated with mirrors shaped in pretty pictures, animals or fairy tale creatures, it walls are made of Pyrex glass in which makes you have a nice view when you sit next to it, ”Give me that view and I will write for ever without stopping, it is better than the wall of my room ”, said Anna talking to herself. The waiter come to them wearing an outfit so elegant that Anna thought that he was the owner of the place, until he gives them the menus, once she opened the menu she got chocked by the prices, they were so expensive with meals she never saw before, she saw her fellows order a type of food she never heard of, but she ordered the cheapest one so as not to embarrass him with an expensive bill.

”So, tell me about you Anna, what you do in your life? ” said Marc,

”Believe me my life is not so interesting, I live in an old avenue and I work at a book shop, I spent my time between the books and my small apartment, I am a real boring person, oh, I forgot one detail, I have one day in the week I go to the countryside, I know a man there who raise horses, I love to help him just to play with horses, and he thought I came to help him ”, said Anna,

”I don see that your life is boring, I see that working in the countryside suits you, and it is certainly fun, especially raising pigs and cleaning up the manure of cattle ”, said Marc and his words embarrassed her,

”Well, this is not the life in countryside that you know, it is completely different, there are different sectors now, and every farmer has a different investment than others ”, said Anna trying to avoid embarrassment but he didn pay any attention to her words and he continued talking to Linda ignoring her, she felt shrinking in front of them especially that the difference in the social class appeared between them, starting from their clothes and even this place, they had noticed that her fascination with it because she was not used to enter such places, but they were accustomed to a life of luxury. Linda felt that Anna is not comfortable, and that Marc is acting arrogantly, so she tried to soften the air by talking to her,

”Tell me Anna, how is granny, I didn saw her in a long time, it is the period of exams you know it better than me ”, said Linda,

”Believe me I didn hear from her in a while, I visited her this morning but she wasn there ”, Anna replied,

”Really, she don usually move from her house ”, said Linda feeling surprised,

”Who knows, maybe she visited one of her friends ”, Anna replied,

”Marc, do you know that Anna is graduated with a master degree in biology science? ” said Linda trying to brag about Anna,

”Really, that means you are older than us? Waah, you really look like a high school student, I am really impressed, congratulations for your achievements, this is the first year for me in the college and I can figure out how to pass this year with a good grade ”, said Marc feeling impressed,

”The first year is always hard, you will get used to it later ”, said Anna.

When the waiter come with their dishes they changed the dialogue topic to the food and cooking, lucky for Anna that she learned cooking since a very young age thanks to Matilda, in the end she is not always bad, she do some kind things like teaching her basics of being a fine lady, sometimes Anna feels like she came from a Victorian royal family, she loves art, embroidery and definitely she loves being ideal, maybe this is what make her turn into a hateful person and making everyone around her suffering.

Watching them being so harmonic together makes Anna feels like a third wheel and she is an intruder among them, she asks permission to go to the bathroom, and there she blamed herself for putting herself in this situation and embarrassing herself, slapping her face wishing she could find an exit for this trouble, suddenly a girl come closer to her washing her hand, she was wearing the waiters outfits and she knows she works here,

”You regret coming to our place? ” said the waitress,

”What? ” Anna answered feeling confused,

”You are not the first one, I worked here for a short time but I always see the same thing, those reach people they love to underestimate others, they took them to luxury places just to brag about their life ”, said the waitress arranging her hair looking through the mirror,

”You are mistaking them for others, that girl is my best friend ”, said Anna defending them,

”Then you should tell you best friend to open her eyes ”, said the girl putting her hand on Annas shoulder in confident then she left the bathroom.

Her words makes Anna feeling confused and doubting Lindas relationship with Marc, she went to them and told them that she got a call from home and she needs to go back especially that it is getting late and the dark almost fall, they understood her situation and they wished her a save raid to her home.

She went out feeling relief being away from that stressed atmosphere that no one can bare, but at least she discovered a new world, the world of easy money, that makes its owners grow in luxury and comfort that they have no achievement, that makes them jealous of others who have an interesting life, so they try to humiliate them by bragging about what they have and make them feel too small in front of them. ”Poor Linda I hope she discovers his truth soon or he will make her sad ”, said Anna thinking about her friend. She was stunned by the beautiful streets and the classy shops that display the most beautiful dresses and shiny jewelry on their fronts, she enters one of those shops to check on the sales and maybe by something for herself, but she was chocked by the prices, ”what, 100 Euros for a shoe! Who can buy it? Ah of course, those who love to brag about it ”, said Anna while checking on the prices, and acting in the mirror like she is one of the reach people, ”100 Euro for a shoe, it is definitely worthless, who would buy it, Ah of course, the countrymen ”, said Anna talking in front of the mirror laughing at herself, then suddenly a beautiful girl wearing classy clothes approaches to her, ”miss do you want to try it? ” said the girl

”No, I am sorry, here you go you can try it, I was just starring at it ” said Anna feeling awkward putting back the shoe

”Miss I work here and I am here to help find what you want ”, said the girl gently.

”You work here wearing this outfit? Waah, I thought you are business woman or something like that ”, said Anna feeling amazed by the girl.

”Thank you Miss, it looks like you are new here, right? ” said the girl.

”Yes something like that, I am visiting a friend and I wanted to pass by, I really like your outfits ”, said Anna

”Well, then I have the best outfits that suits your beauty, come with me to the second floor please ”

”Yes I would love to ”, said Anna feeling uncomfortable that she put herself into this awkward situation, ”How will I pay for it now, it would be bad to just leave like that, I had enough of being humiliate today, I wish I didn come in the first place ”, said Anna thinking to herself.

”This white dress with golden pearls is the new collection of ZARA for this winter It will suit you perfectly; you can try with it this theater beige coat, or this blazer, for your special meetings or dining with friends, I have here this lady suit from CHANEL, as you see the white color is the color of this season, you can decorate it with golden accessories or black ones. So, what would you try first? ” said the girl holding dresses for her,

Anna was stunned by the dresses and feeling awkward by the dilemma she is stuck in, she randomly chooses the white dress to try it, and she took her to the dressing room,

”I think there is someone already there, I will wait here, you can go to your work I don want to stop you from your work ”, said Anna.

”Ok, I will be down there if you want help just call me ”, said the girl,

”That is kind of you, thank you, I will call you if I need help ”, replied Anna shyly,

When the girl went down stairs, she let out a sight: ”Oh boy, what will I do now? I can run away she will saw me, but this dress is so pretty, I really love it, but I can waste my money now, I didn gather the whole prize of the house, I hope that Matilda knows what I am doing for her when she saw the house ”, said Anna talking to herself and trying the dress in the mirror imagining herself wearing all luxury outfits, and how her life would be if she was as reach as them, then she saw a man getting out of the dressing room, he looked so dignified and refined by the look of his clothes, and Anna didn take her eyes off him, looking at him in admiration, but when he turned around it was a startling surprise, he was the only person she didn expect to appear in this place. Martin? How? Why are you here? With scattered words, Anna spoke with signs of astonishment on her face, and when he saw her he get surprised as well and he quickly hide his wounded arm behind him,

”Martin, what a coincidence to meet you here, I swear to god that I am not stalking you, it is just a coincidence as I said before ”, said Anna nervously,

Martin smiles to her and said: ”Maybe I am the one who is stalking you, what are you doing here, shopping? ” he asked,

”No, I mean, if you are stalking me you should know ”, she said joking,

Martin laughed then he got closer to her and examined the dress she holds, ”Nice dress you have in your hand, you have an elegant taste; will you buy this? ” he asked,

”Yes I was about to buy but I tried all the sizes they have but none of them suits me, I am not lucky today but I will find another one; oh no, are you injured Martin? ” said Anna feeling worried when she saw the bandages in his forearm,

”Don worry it is just a scratch ”, he said before the girl from the shop interrupted them,

”Did you try it Miss? If it doesn fit you we have all sizes you can try them all ” said the girl,

At that moment, Anna wished that the land cracks beneath her feet and swallows her, she felt embarrassed like she never felt before and Martin noticed her confused feelings; ”It wouldn get any worst ” she thought to herself but she was wrong as the events will be getting worse, when Linda and Marc entered the same shop,

”Oh no, I am dead now ”, she thought to herself,

”Anna, you are here, I thought you went back home ”, said Linda,

”Is this the one who called you? We are sorry if we forced you to spent time with us earlier, we didn know you are here with your boyfriend ”, said Marc apologizing to Anna and Martin,

”No, it is not what you think, oh my god, why everyone is misunderstanding me today? ” said Anna angrily,

”Are you okay Anna? Why are you upset? ” said Linda feeling worried about her friend,

Anna put her hands on her face feeling awkward, ”It is complicated, I am sorry for yelling at you, it is just I am having a bad day ”,

”Miss, will you buy this dress? ” said the girl from the shop,

She was about to answer her but Martin took the dress from her and said: ”Yes we will take it, she likes it and I like my girlfriends taste ”, then he blinked to Anna sending her a hidden message to play along, she didn understand first but she accepted in the end, he held her hand like a gentleman and they walked down stairs together.

”Looks like your peasant friend found for herself a sugar daddy ”, said Marc talking in the back of Anna,

”What are you talking about, she is my friend you can talk bad of her in her absence ”, said Linda feeling angry,

”What? It is the truth, I know this kind of girls, and I advise you to cut your relationship with her ”, said Marc showing his arrogance and hate against Anna,

”You are being mean to her, you don know her and you can judge her from the first time, when you get to know her more you will find that she is a great person ”, said Linda defending Anna,

”Okay, I will prove my opinion to you ”, said Marc,

Meanwhile at the checkout counter, Anna was standing next to Martin while he pays for the dress, and she felt guilty for making him pay for a very expansive outfit that she didn plan to buy,

”Will you pay with a master card sir? ” asked the girl,

”Yes, here you go ”, said Martin giving her his card,

”Your check is 350 Euro, here is your purchases Mr. Martin; thank you for visiting our shop ”, said the girl giving them the shopping bag.

”I am sorry Martin for putting you in this situation, I will pay you back when we get back home ”, said Anna apologizing to Martin,

”Consider it as an apologize gift for entering your house with no permission ”, said Martin comforting her, then he invited her to having dinner with him, while they were about to get in the car, they heard Marc calling them, they turned around to him and he was running towards them,

”Wait my friends, it is inappropriate to let you go without inviting you for a dinner or a drink, please accept our invitation, we are meeting our friends tonight at the night club, and we will be happy to have you with us tonight ”, said Marc inviting them politely but deep inside he was up to something bad;

Martin asked Anna if she wants to go and he will accompany her if she is willing to go with them, at first she hesitated but Linda begged her to join them, and told her that they will have fun together this night, so she accepted in condition of leaving before 10:00 pm. They go together to the Mar Oscuro night club, it was 7:30 pm and the club was already filled with people, dancing around, chatting and drinking along, the music was loud, the lights were flashing with different colors, Martin was holding Annas hand securing her from being abused by others, they went to a table where three of Lindas and Marcs friends were there waiting for their arrival, they sat with them and ordered drinks, and they were enjoying the conversation with Anna and Martin especially when that knew that he is in the military service, but Marc seemed to hate this situation because he wanted to make them appear like losers so he start humiliating Anna again,

”Do you know guys that Anna is a horse rider? It is so cool, I wish I had a horse instead the cars that my father always buys to me; I see that the countryside life is filled with fun, cow grazing, cleaning pigs and gathering eggs, I wish I can spend just one day there ”, said Marc and his words made everyone get annoyed,

”What did we talk about before? Stop this madness now ”, said Linda whispering to Marc, but they heard her,

”Again with your notes, I didn say anything it is the truth I am showing how impressed I am with her countryside life, I am sorry Anna did I annoyed you with my words? ” said Marc pretending to be nice to her,

”Not at all my friend, I know that your parent still forcing you to spend time at home and this is why you are interested with other peoples life, I really understand your situation ”, said Anna with cleaver words that made him embarrassed,

”Tell me Marc, what is the business that your father working with? ” said Martin asking Marc,

”Industry, he is interested in industry ”, Marc replied with choppy words,

”I know that all business men work in industry, I am asking about what kind of industry ”, Martin asked him again, but when he was about to answer Martin interrupted him saying: ”Wait, you are Marcus Alvarez, you mean your father has the Alvarez Group of animal feed industry? ” said Martin,

Marc left chocked by Martin, he didn know that he knows him, ”How did you know? I mean yes this is my fathers business ”, said Marc feeling terrified,

”Can you believe that I knew him by chance, he is a real gentleman, we were investigating a case of importing fraudulent resources that were used in the manufacturing of the feed ”, Martin replied him,

”What do you mean by animal feed? You mean cats and dogs food? ” said Anna asking about it,

”No dear, they manufacture cattle feed, you know like cows and sheep ”, Martin replied her interrupting Marc,

”You said that your father works on fabric manufacturing ”, said Linda talking to Marc,

His face turn red, swallowing his saliva he answered her: ”Yes, he was before, but now he changed his interests ”, but she seemed to not believing him, giving him an angry glance,

”Oh, yes, I remembered it, once our neighbor bought those industrial feed, and all of his cattle got sick, he said that he will never bought it again ”, said Anna laughing,

”Enough talking about that; would you like to dance with me? ” said Martin asking her to dance with him,

”But I don know how to dance ”, she replied him shyly,

”Neither I, so lets learn together ”, Martin said, then he held her hand and they walked side by side to the dance floor.

Poor Marcus he was put into a very awkward situation when he was planning to embarrass them; and now his friends start on noticing his bad behaviors and they left him alone.

In the dance floor Anna was having her best time ever moving her body randomly bumping in other people, she couldn stop laughing about herself and how she moves and then he held her waist and grabbed her closer to him,

”Lets stop acting like clowns now and do a slow dance ”, said Martin while holding her tight,

”I don know this dance either, I am sorry for embarrassing you ”, said Anna shyly putting her hands on his chest,

”I will tell you a secret, throughout the ages, women doesn know how to do slow dance they just move with their partner ”, he replied,

”You mean that I just need to follow your lead? This is easier ”, she said,

”And you should put your arms around my neck ”, said Martin showing her the right way to dance,

She slowly put her arms around his neck, feeling shy of being closer to him she lowered her head looking away and her face blushed like roses blooming in spring making her look prettier.

”I like it when you blush whenever I come closer to you ”, said Martin enjoying being lost in her eyes and resisting his urge to kiss her,

”I am not blushing it is just that I am tired of moving, thats all ”, she replied,

”Is it your first time on a night club? ” he asked trying to change the atmosphere between them,

”Well it depends, I can say yes and I can say no ”, said Anna

”How is that? Explain to me please ”, said Martin,

”Ok I will tell you the story, so I was in the high school, me and my colleagues decided to celebrate at a night club, but in the same time we couldn go because, first we are under age to be allowed to enter a nightclub, and secondly none of us will be allowed to be out so late at night, so we came out with a brilliant idea, we made our own night club in our friends grandparents house while they were travelling, we crafted light effects and we set up everything for the party; so everything were going well but the end was unexpected ”, said Anna recounting the story,

”Please tell me what happened next ”, he asked,

”We burned the place, we didn secure the wires and an electric spark occurred, we were lucky that we noticed the fire before it spreads, since that incident we refused to go to any party ”, said Anna laughing,

”I really don know what to say, but what surprised me more is that you weren alone all of your life, through your words I see that you had a lot of friends, what happened now? ” he asked curiously,

”I had a lot of friends before and I loved them so much, but when we graduated from high school our paths has disconnected and each one has his own plans, that made me sad and I didn want to make new friends so I don be sad when we split up, but it doesn mean that I hate having friends ”, she replied,

”Well, you convinced me with your words, who is your friend that you came with her today? ” said Martin,

”She is Linda, my neighbors granddaughter, she studies her and I called her to hangout when I visited the city and she wasn alone, Marc is her boyfriend ”, she replied,

”They seem to have a fight right now, I think that we ruined their relationship ”, said Martin,

”No we didn , he deserves it, he is the one who was mocking me and make look so retired ”, she replied,

”I see that you don feel comfortable around here, I know you still sick and you must be feeling tired now, we can go if you want ”, said Martin when he noticed that she was tired,

She stopped dancing and replied him saying: ”Don worry I am fine but I didn like the club to be honest, and I really want to leave, it is getting late too; I have to go back to my town ”.

”Okay, lets go then ”, said Martin.

They left the place walking through the big crowd, once they were out she felt like she was in a grave and she took a deep breath, breathing fresh air, they get in the car and he drive towards Ainsa,

”Why you didn bring your car the first time you came to Ainsa, and the last time too, you make me walk all the day ”, said Anna remembering the last date they had together,

”You really have a sharp memory, back than it wasn available thats all ”, he replied laughing,

”It is not a sharp memory we just met twice, how I will forget about it ”, she replied, then she turned on the radio telling him that she loves to hear music when she is in a ride, they listened to the music watching the dark sky above them until she fall asleep tired. After two hours in the road they arrived to the town, he parks the car under the castle bridge waiting for the rain to stop, minutes later Anna woke up feeling strange of being in the car then she remembered when she saw him next to her,

”Oh, no what an awkward situation, I will never forget this day it was filled with embarrassing events, I am sorry I fall asleep leaving you alone ”, said Anna rearranging her hair, suddenly he leaned towards her putting his hand behind her head, at first she thought he want to kiss her but he let down her hair,

”You will look more beautiful if you let down your hair like that ”, said Martin after he arranged her hair, ”I am sorry, you will have to wait here until the rain stops ”,

”I am the one who should apology, you are stuck with me here ”, said Anna then she noticed a poster on the wall outside, it was a poster of the cinema showing the announcement for the Gladiator movie, which will be shown tomorrow, ”Oh my god, it is the Gladiator movie, I have to watch it tomorrow, will you come with me, I invite you ”, said Anna with excitement,

”I never saw this movie, what it its story? It looks like a historical movie ” said Martin examining the poster,

”What? You never watched that masterpiece? Where you were living man? Your life has been wasted for nothing ”, said Anna feeling surprised by him,

”What would you say if I tell you that I never watched a movie ”, said Martin,

His words left her open-mouthed, ”You are not a normal person; the first cinematic work was in 1895 it means 122 years ago, I am sure that the grandsons of that director are dead by now, you are insulting he founder of the cinema ”,

”I really don like watching movies, I get bored whenever I watch one ”, he said,

”What do you say if you go with me tomorrow to the cinema, I am sure you will like it and it will make you change your mind about movies ”, said Anna,

”It depends on the type of the movie, tell me about its story ”, said Martin asking about the movie,

”The story was set in Roman times, recount the story of a once powerful general forced to become a common gladiator, you know that back in the tames they had gladiators to entertain rich people and make poor ones forgot their reality, anyway, the Cesar was about to make that general the new Cesar but his son was younger than him and he felt jealous, so he choked his father to death before announcing who would be the new Cesar, and he lied and told them that the emperor made him the Cesar before his death, the general knew that the emperor was murdered by his son, so he went to gather his army but they caught him and set him to death, but the general was strong and intelligent so he managed to escape and he heads towards his family, unfortunately he arrived too late and they already murdered them in the worst way, he was injured and he fall down fainted. A convoy of gladiators passed by him and when they checked that he was alive they took him with them and forced him to fight in the arena, and through the gladiator games he set his way to have his revenge ”, said Anna recounting the story,

”I would watch the story if you draw it in comics, you a special way of recounting ”, said Martin flirting with her,

”Don change the subject you need to watch the movie ”, said Anna forcing him to go with her,

”Okay I will go with you in one condition, tell me why you are attached with that movie, I saw how you reacted when you saw the poster ”, said Martin,

”You know that no one can lie to you, don you? You notice every single detail, you need to relax sometimes ”, said Anna,

”Don change the subject, I will not go if you don answer ”, said Martin,

”Looks like I can evade the question ”, she replied him, then she let out a sight and looked from the window staring at the pouring rain and said: ”It was in a rainy day like this, the school was canceled and my father took a day off from work to spend the day together, he made a ginger soup for launch, then I went to sleep. In the apartment we rented there was an old DVD player, and it was broken, when I was sleeping my father was working on it, and after some effort he managed to fix it, then he go out to buy a DVD movie from the DVD store and he shoos the Gladiator movie because he loves historical stories and movies, actually he love history, I remember that every weekend he take me to a historical place in the town and he recount me the stories that happened there, anyway, when he come back I was already awake holding my teddy bear and waiting for him, he told that he has a surprise for me, we made pop corn and we sat watching the movie, I was so happy back than because it was the first time ever I watch a movie, later it became a tradition between us we watch it every weekend. What I love about the movie is the main character, he remind me with my father, he has the same principle, same personality, and even the same way of showing love to their families, because at the last scene we see that the hero welcomes death with open arms just so he can unite with his wife and son, unlike the beginning of the story where we see him fighting men and fighting death just so he can reunite with them, the film depicts the contradiction of his feelings all along the story but his goal is the same. I remember what my father told me describing the hero of the story, he said that men who have been exhausted by life and wars, and fought side by side know the true mans metal, so this is why in the end they carry their leader, who has become just a gladiator and accused of treason after he was once the general of the army, but they left their king to rot his body alone. He also told me that person is known by his actions and his attitudes, not by his crown and jewelry ”, said Anna recounting the story then she suddenly reacted like she discovered something she didn know before: ”Oh my god, you tricked me, you just made me tell you the whole story of the movie so you don have to go and watch it, oh you are cunning; Bravo I am super impressed by your intelligence ”, said Anna feeling stupid,

He laughed at her so loud that he tears up, ”You are so funny, I did not trick you to avoid going with you, I just love how you recount stories, I love listening to you talking, I could stay here with you forever if you keep on talking ”, said Martin while leaning his head on the car seat starring passionately at her,

”I think I should work on a radio then, if you really like my voice, usually I don talk too much and people always say that I am boring, and when I am with people I like to be with they say that I talk too much and I am annoying, it is just depend on who I am talking to ”, said Anna rubbing her fingers nervously,

”Okay than, I have to keep my promise and I will come to the cinema tomorrow, you win ”, said Martin,

”Okay, so tomorrow at nine in the evening we will meet, it is a promise we should cross our pinky together ”, said Anna before she hold his hand and cross her pinky with his, as a sign for a promise bond.

The rain stopped and she thanked him for the fabulous day she spent with, and then ride her home, she wished him a good night and she stood at the building door waiving to him until he disappeared from view; she unconsciously touched her hair and smiling as she remembers the way he let down her hair, when she was going upstairs drawn in her thoughts suddenly Rosa appeared in front of her from the dark like a ghost with her scary look, Anna jumped of fear and almost fall of the stairs,

”Where have you been Anna? Why did you back so late, did you see what hour it is now? ” said Rosa with I a rude way,

”You scared the hell out of me, what is wrong with you? I always return back late because of my work why you are suddenly interested of when I come back? You didn mention that in your rules anyway ”, said Anna angrily,

”Who is that guy who ride you till here? I said no men in the apartment ”, said Rosa,

”Oh is that so, why don you say from the very beginning that you like this man and you are stalking him every time he come, are sad because he left before you talk to him? ” said Anna mocking her,

Rosa gasped in surprise and then said angrily: ”You are a real nasty girl, how dare you talk to me like that, you know what I fire you from the apartment, get out now ”,

”With pleasure dear Rosa but you should bring back my money first, I paid you for this month and only one week passed, so you give me back my money and I will leave ”, said Anna challenging her,

The wicked lady didn know what to say and she was left dumb in chock because she never imagined that this kind and shy girl will ever act so strong like she did this day, as for Anna she also was surprised and impressed by herself, she didn knew that if she fight for herself she would win the fight, she always used to run away of fear that she would lose an argue or a fight, or maybe she get hurt. Once she entered her apartment, she dropped her bag, throw away her shoes and she jumped on her bad, laying there in the dark staring at the ceiling illuminated by moonlight sneaking between the cracks of the window curtains, playing with her hair and smiling like a dreamy girl, remembering every single detail of the time she spent with Martin and forgetting the bad events that faced her this day; This is what love is capable of, it takes you up in the sky and elevate you to the heavens, and cure all your wounds; this is what Anna is experiencing now and for her first time she fall in love.

The next day she woke up on the sun light and again she was late for her work, but the new thing this time is that she is not scared of being scolded by Diego for her lack of discipline, because she has a stronger feeling enough to make her jump in an active volcanos lava happily;

”Good morning Diego, sorry for getting late again ”, said Anna greeting him with a bright smile and a live full spirit,

”What morning? It is almost noon, you are lucky that we don have much work today ”, said Diego looking to the watch before she interrupted him while reading the newspaper,

”Don overreact Diego it is just ten in the morning, I will make it up to you and I will buy you launch today, what do you say if I bring you a large pizza with extra cheese and a french-fries in extra large quantity, or if you want something else tell me so I can tell the delivery guy ”, said Anna,

”No I can eat so much for lunch, although your idea is so delicious, but I will have a dinner out with my family tonight, so I need to leave earlier and you will close this evening ”, said Diego,

”What? No Diego why you didn tell me before I have plans for tonight too ”, said Anna with chock,

”It is not my problem, you was late and you have to work extras time to make up for it ”, said Diego in strict way,

”Okay than, can I close a little bit earlier? I really need to go back home before eight in the evening ”, said Anna insisting,

”Okay, you can close one half hour before time, and it is the last time I forgive you ”, said Diego,

”Thank you Diego, I love you so much ”, said Anna happily hugging and kissing him.

Long hours passed for this day, especially since the customers did not flock much, but Anna had another reason that made her count minutes and seconds in hope that this day would pass quickly, and all her thinking was directed towards her date tonight with Martin, and she began to think what to wear and which color suits her better, does she raise her hair or let it down, and what would he bring to her when he comes, chocolates or bouquet of flowers like in the movies and novels? All these thoughts clouded her mind. It was four in the evening and it still two and half hours to the closing time, and she seemed to give up hope and being so upset with waiting, ”Is the day being stretching this day? I can believe I did all the work, I cleaned the glass façade, wiped the floor, wiping dust from books and shelves, I cleaned the toilet and the day didn pass, what a luck I have, what if I get late on him what would he think about me? But wait a second, how will I contact him we didn exchange numbers, I am a stupid person I shouldve asked him before, I don know where my mind was, I think I will spend the rest of the time reading some books ”, said Anna talking to herself.

By reading the novel of ”The Notre Dame of Paris ” of Victor Hugo she spent the time she have left before going to her date, drowning in the impossible love story which took place in France back in the gothic times, she imagined herself dancing with Esmeralda on the gypsy music and helping Quasimodo getting close to her, before this day she used to read this story dreaming of its events but never understood the feelings that the writer wants to convey to every reader through different ages, because she never had experienced it, but now everything is clear for her and she feels that she reads it for the first time, now she has someone to share her love with, now she can feel what Quasimodo feels, and she even shed tears while reading, feeling sorry for all unfortunate love. Suddenly her phone rung and brought her to reality, it was Diego the caller,

”Hola Diego, is everything okay, why you called me? ” said Anna,

”What, I can here you properly, can you hear me ”, said Diego,

”I can barely hear you what is that noise are you in a war ”, said Anna joking,

”I wish it is a war, this is why I hate family night all those kids are driving me crazy, I really regret that I refused you launch invitation, can you believe that they cooked vegan food for tonight, they want to kill me ”, said Diego feeling upset, and yelling at naughty kids around him,

”You are so unlucky poor Diego, did you call to tell me about your bad night? ” she asked,

”No I am asking if you closed, because I forgot the second key there, I called to tell you that you have to open tomorrow morning ”, said Diego,

”What, it is already time to close? I didn pay attention to the time I will be late, thank you for calling, I will close now ”, said Anna rushing to close,

”Did you hear me, you have to open for tomorrow, hello, are you there? ” said Diego but she already hangout the phone, ”She didn hear me, okay than I will wake up late in the next morning anyway because this messy night ”, said Diego talking to himself,

In the other side Anna was rushing her way home to change and prepare herself for the night, once she got in she opened the shower and let it open while she prepare her clothes until the water get warmer, she opened the dresser and searched for a suitable dress to wear, but all her dresses are for summer, so she ended up choosing black leggings to hide her short legs and make herself look little bit taller, and a jeans jacket with her black ankle boots, she put her outfit on the bad and rushed to have a quick shower before putting a soft make up highlighting her wide sleepy eyes, and for her hair she let it down as he told her before how he likes it. At 8:30 she left the house in hope she arrive at time lucky for her she found a taxi not too far from her, and thanks to that she got in time before the movie starts, she about the tickets and stood outside waiting for Martin. Five minutes remain until the movie starts but he didn arrive yet, the movie started and no sign for him, and she was still standing outside walking back and forth watching the empty street and feels happy every time she saw a car passing by thinking it maybe was him, but none of this cars was for him, the movie ends and he didn show up, she sat there resting her cheek on her hand looking sad and feeling disappointed of him because he broke his promise to her. The movie theater closed and all workers has left and she still there crying like a broken angle and for this moment she has experienced the bitter side of love, as it elevate you to heavens it bury under the seventh land, and as it cure your wounds, it opens new ones to remind you with it forever.

”He left me again in the end, I deserve it, I am the one who fall stupidly in love with him, why would he keep his promise to me, who am I to him anyway, I am not that important for him, I was the one who was quick judge things, why I am sad now, why I am crying and for what, a lover? He is not my lover, stop acting like you have being dumped you stupid girl ”, said Anna desperately talking to herself and convincing herself that she was getting it wrong, and she rushed by her thoughts. In the dark cold night she went back home walking alone, broken hearted, and on her bad she lay down not having the strength to change, to wash or to eat, she just wanted to fall asleep and to forget about this bad night, the last events, and to forget about the person who is called Martin, with her worm tears burning her face making its way to the pillow she fall asleep hoping to wake up and find that it was all just a bad dream.

”Wake up Anna ”, a childe voice like an angle called on her from the dark, ”Anna, wake up, did you forget about us? ” the voice still calling, ”Come on, where is your charm smile and happy soul, come on Anna watch the moon with me, do you know what ancient Arab say about the winter moon? When they want to describe someone who is talented but is not appreciated by anyone, they say he is lost like the winter moon, because no one will watch the moonlight in the winter night for the cold weather, so come on Anna lets see his beauty and give it the appreciation it deserves, come on don leave it alone in this night, it shows its beauty for us to see, it is not nice to ignore it ”, said the mysterious voice calling urgency from the dark,

”Who is it? Who is calling me? Show yourself ”, said Anna waking up from her sleep,

”It is me Anna, didn you recognize my voice? It is Colt, I saw that you were sad and you didn visit us for so long time, where have you been Anna? ” said Colts voice,

”What, Colt, how is that possible? Am I dreaming? ” said Anna feeling confused,

”No Anna, I truly exist; we always existed, did you forget who we are? We are your thoughts and feelings ”, said Colts voice,

”Why can I see you? ” said Anna walking in the dark room,

”Come closer to the moonlight Anna, you will see me there ”, said Colts voice,

She walked towards the window, she opened the curtains and she was stunned by the beauty of the giant moon and its charming light, not feeling the cold that stings her skin, ”Yes, I can see you now, I can see you all, the whole crew, the ship and the sea, I can smell the wet wood of the ship, I can feel the sea spray on my face, and I can hear you fighting with Nova driving him crazy again, Ulf is reading his books, Kite is in his cabin reading maps and planning for the next adventure, and Mercury is watching the horizon, this is my passion, this is my happiness, this is my life, I can believe that I was about to give up on it just because of a passing cloud ”, said Anna looking up high watching the moon and smiling as she remembered her passion,

”You can see us now? I am happy for that, now we can have fun together like before, so come on, hold your pen and join us, a new adventure awaits us, and you will be the leader ”, said Colts voice.

She turned to her desk and she walked towards it in happiness, she sat down and held her pen with passion and she draw into her world of black and white, under the moonlight that lit up her room she started and it guides her into the darkest sea until the sun rises and let her know that a new day has come holding new adventures to her in reality, and by that she knew for sure that life is a precious white jewel and it is madness to stain it with blackness of sorrow. She prepared herself to go out with all happiness like nothing ever happened the day before, but before she leaves the house she noticed the dress that he bought it for her, ”Should I throw it away? ” she thought to herself, then she left closing the door behind her, a moment later she went back and took the dress and throw it in the garbage container with no hesitation with no regret. This day she was early so she went to the shop walking enjoying the empty streets and the clean weather although it was cold but she warmed herself with love of life. She arrived to the shop and no sign for Diego, ”Strange thing, he never got late I hope he is not sick ”, said Anna talking to herself as she opens the shop, she put on her work outfit, turned on the radio and they were playing the Andalusia music playlist, her favorite playlist and she started her daily routing, cleaning the floor, wiping the dust and rearranging the books, and yet no sign for Diego, ”I must call him, what if something bad happened to him ”, said Anna, she took her phone and called several times for Diego before he answers,

”Hola, who is it? ” said Diego and his voice was sick,

”It is me Diego, I called to check on you are you okay, I get worried because you didn come early ”, said Anna,

”What are you talking about it is 6:00 in the morning, what are you doing there in that time? ” said Diego,

”What? Oh right, you are right about that, I didn get used to come early this is why I thought you were late, so are you coming now? ” said Anna,

”I was planning to sleep few more hours but you woke me up, so I am coming now ”, said Diego yawning,

”Okay cool, because I am starting to get bored ”, said Anna with excitement,

Minutes after her call with Diego the delivery truck loaded with the new shipment of books ordered by Diego parked in front of the shop, and the delivery workers started unloading the shipment as soon as they arrived,

”Good morning Anna, where is Diego? ” said the delivery man,

”He didn come yet, I will sign for him ”, said Anna before signing in the papers, then she remembered what the editor told her about people that are upset about her comics so she asked him if he know something, ”Tell me my friend, you do deliveries across the country right? ”

”Not all the country but I go to many places across the country ”, he answered,

”Do you know the comic of Novas adventures? ” she asked,

”Yes I know it, there are a several bookshops that buy it constantly ”, he answered,

”So what do you say about their opinion in the comics, are they angry with its content? ” she asked,

”No, what would they be angry with it? The people who read it love it, and every new shipment of the newest issue, runs out in few days, who said that they hate it? ” he asked disapprovingly,

”I was asking the same question, it just that a very few parents complains about their childrens behaviors and they blame the comic for that ”, she answered,

”Those kind of people, spoil their children a lot and when others give them notes about it they blame others for their bad parenting ”, said the man, showing his displeasure with these people,

”Believe me I say the same about them ”, she replied feeling happy and relief inside, for that she knew what people think about her work,

”Our work is done here, I wish that we could stay for few time to help you with arranging the books, but we have other deliveries ”, said the man before they leave,

”It is okay, thank you for your offer, see you next time, have a good day ”, said Anna nicely.

One of the best times for Anna is when arranging books in the shelves in special way, with high concentration, it may seem to the viewer that she is obsessed with order and cleanliness, but for her she treats books like piano keys playing the right notes like a professional musician, playing a beautiful charming music, she remembers the order of each shelf and book like a map in her mind, walking between shelves like jangle trees, and totally enjoying her time there. While she was busy with the books Diego enters the shop and his eyes are tired with dark circles underneath,

”Diego you come? Waah, your eyes are tired, what happened to you? I thought you were on a family gathering not in excavation site ”, sad Anna sarcastically,

”Don ask, this is why I hate kids, and I advise you don have kids until you have fun with your life, having kids is like suicide, do you have pain killers? ”, said Diego holding his head because of headache,

”This is how kids act, they are just living their time, once we were like them and now we have to bear their inconvenience as our parents did with us ”, said Anna giving him the painkillers, ”I forgot to tell you they bring the new shipment you asked for this month ”,

”Yes they called me, tell me what happened the day you go to Andorra ”, said Diego asking about her meeting with the editor, but she didn understand in the beginning and she thought he was talking about Martin,

”What, nothing happened, I just went to some shops and I returned home before sunset, why you are asking? ” said Anna hesitating and hiding her eyes for fear that he reveal her lie,

”You went shopping? Is that why you go for? What about your meeting? ” Diego asked her about the meeting,

”Oh the meeting yes, I totally forgot about it. Yes I remembered now, can you believe that he will stop my work just for some failure parents, he said that my stories are incites violence, distorts history and spoils the morals of children ”, said Anna reacting angrily when she remembered her meeting,

”Ah yes, I saw that before happens to many good writers, and for sure he asked you to reduce this type of events in the story, right? ” said Diego in confidence,

”Yes exactly, and if I don they will have to stop publishing it, if I change the type of the events it will be boring and no one will read it anymore, they will stop it anyway ”, said Anna angrily,

”There is someone who fears your success, now you are a danger for them and they fear to fade in your shadow ”, said Diego holding her shoulders,

”What? Why would they do such a thing? ” said Anna being chocked,

”This is how the world is going, so many talented people was crushed because they fear their success ”, said Diego,

”What should I do now? This is the only business I have for my own, I started it step by step and still working on it to make it grow bigger, and I am still in the first road, if they stop it now it will fade away ”, said Anna feeling sad and shedding tears,

”Don cry now Anna, just keep on doing what you are best with, if they want to sabotage you they will do it anyway, just don give up, you are talented person, and your talent will never fade if you keep on working on it ”, said Diego encouraging her,

She wiped her tears and smiled as he encouraged her and she continued her work, he was treating her like one of his children, since the first time he saw her, he thought of her as his own, especially when he knew that she lost her father when she was so young, that moment the feelings of fatherhood stirred in his heart towards her and he made himself the task of taking care of her, this is why he does not treat her harshly and coldly, and does place a barrier between them both like a master and his servant, nor does he pamper her much as people do with strangers who need sympathy, but he is strict with her when he wants to discipline her and is soft with her when she needs kindness and tenderness, exactly like what parents do, he tries his best to make it up to her, especially that her step mother is not doing her duties and it looks like she is trying to get her out of the house by any means because she treats her so harsh and cold, and for that he believes that god send her to him and made their paths come together because they both need each other, he always wanted a daughter and she needs a father, and now they both look after each other, she rushes to him every time she needs a shoulder to lean on it, and he forgets his worries every time he sees her, they both make a perfect team together facing life difficulties.

”Tell me Anna, do you have plans for the Christmas Eve? ” said Diego while he checks for the new shipment list,

”Oh about that I totally forgot, I am supposed to go with Armand to the party he is preparing with his friends weeks before the Christmas Eve, I still don know where or when ”, said Anna while moping the floor,

”What about Matilda, is she going to make a diner or something? ” said Diego,

”I really don know, she never show interest in Christmas or any occasions, or happiness, she is so weird ”, said Anna,

”You didn visit her in a while right, you should take her with you to that party, maybe that will help her to get out of the shell which she imprisoned herself in ”, said Diego,

”That would never happen, she refuses everything that make her leave the house plus she didn forgive me yet she still doesn want to see me when I visit her, she never leaves her room when I enter the house ”, said Anna,

”Why is that? What did you do? ” said Diego,

”Oh no, I didn tell him about that, what should I tell him now? ” Anna thought to herself feeling confused about telling him the truth, ”Well, it is about the time I met Martin, when I told her that I invited him to my place she got angry and said something hurtful to me, since then she didn want to talk to me ”, said Anna facing her back to him because she fears his reaction,

He closes the ledger, removes his classes and said: ”You mean that stranger who came to our town that day? You are still meeting him? Listen Anna Ill be clear to you, she was right about that, yes she shouldn say what she said or still refusing to talk to you, but she is right to be angry, how you let a stranger in your house, and I don like how you
e concerned about that strange man so much that you make him one of the characters; hes taking over your thoughts; you didn notice your behaves recently? ” said Diego,

”But what is it you don like about him? He didn seem to be dangerous ”, said Anna defending Martin,

”What I don like about him? Everything about him is strange, he is a stranger, older than you you
e not even from the same generation, and hes a liar ”, said Diego angrily,

”How could you tell hes a liar; what is it you know about him and I don ? ” said Anna curiously,

”Are you really asking this now? When you first met him you trusted him enough to invite him to your apartment but he left like a thief and he appears after a month and you just let him in again as if he left only the day before ”, said Diego

”He didn seem to be up on something bad, he just likes to hang-out with me and so I am, he just saw me as a friend who likes to be with, and I see him the same ”, said Anna and again defending him,

”Believe me Im speechless at this moment; I don understand how you think, you don have any experience with men, you will be easily deceived, they saw you as an easy target, I am really worried about you dear and I don want you to get hurt ”, said Diego,

”I am really grateful for your kindness with me and how you care about me, I would never handle this life if you were not by mi side, so please don get me wrong when I disagree with you, I just want you to trust me and my choices, I don have experience with men you say so let me try and learn, how will I get to learn if I don try and discover ”, said Anna gently,

”I know that you have your own desires, but at least let me know if you are facing troubles, I am sure that your father would say the same to you and yes every father wishes to see his daughter happy in her life and believe me they don bear to see tears in their beautiful eyes ”, said Diego,

”Oh Diego, my father would be as grateful to you as I am or even more, whatever I do to you, it will not be enough to return your favor with me, you were the father and the friend, I promise you I will tell you everything that happens to me, whether it was good or bad ”, said Anna kissing him in his forehead,

”Don do that dear, it is my duty ”, said Diego feeling awkward.

What a warm feeling they share between them at this moment like the precious warmth of a family in every house, the passerby can feel this warmth and be affected by it. From the window they witness the first snowflakes of this year announcing the beginning of December, the coldest month with its weather and the warmest month for the families start on gathering, the traveler returns, the distant worker takes the vacation he has been waiting for a long time, the quarrels reconcile, and all the family unite again after life separated them, and the quarrelsome hearts return to forget the differences and love again, hearts are called hearts to fluctuate between love and hate, but in the end they always soften and tend to love, for love is the fuel of hearts. Throughout ages and different races and even religions, we see that people allocate different days in ancient and modern cultures and civilizations, but their essence in one and it has one name which is Holiday, they may celebrate a religion, national or historical holiday, but the goal is one, and it is spreading happiness among people and consolidating the bonds of love and peace among all of them. Today you see that all the inhabitants of the world are celebrating different holidays together, meaning that they have finally understood the true essence of the feast.

And who might not like the feast. But a few kilometers away in a country place, a lone woman lives in an old house, fragile, bleak and dark, which was once full of warmth and love. A dry woman filled with sadness, no one knows her past or how she got to this extent of hatred, a woman haunted by bad luck, she married a widow who had a daughter, but he died after a short time and left her the daughter to take care of her when she did not even know how to take care of herself, but despite that, she no longer felt fatally lonely. That girl grew up and took an independent life, and that woman returned to her old friendliness, the loneliness that terrified her, the loneliness that drives her crazy, this woman is probably the only one who hates holidays because she is always alone, hates seeing people gather together around the dining table, sharing laughs, memories and even dreams of the future, but she sits alone with her loneliness, sharing her sorrows and sighing over her dreams that were buried before her. She sees herself as an empty body without a soul, without warmth, and from where she can give warmth that she did not know in her life. This woman used to do a strange tradition every feast season, she comes with scissors and cuts her hair to bury it, to remind herself with her dead dreams, then sits at the dining table and weeps for her luck and dreams, life is really cruel and unfair, thats what she used to say to herself, poor Matilda.

One week before Christmas, Anna decided to visit Matilda so that she could communicate with her this time and make her forget what had happened between them before, but this time she went earlier, as in the morning she would be in the orchard doing her daily work, but in the evening she would lock herself in her room because she knows when Anna is coming, so she doesn talk to her. She boarded the morning bus and headed towards the countryside, carrying a gift wrapped with a greeting card and an apology on it. Anna was doing everything she could to break the barrier Matilda had set between them, even if she saw no result but she never gave up. She arrived at the place as she had planned and actually saw Matilda in the orchard as she expected, she froze in place for fear of her reaction, as she had not seen her or spoken to her for a long time, but in the end she was encouraged and moved forward with hesitant steps and stood several meters behind her, Matilda heard the sound of steps behind her and turned quickly, she was holding a machete in her hand, and signs of panic appear on her face, as she thought she was being robbed, but Anna assured her that she was the one who came to visit her. Matildas features changed to the coldness she was accustomed to, then she looked away from her, ignoring her, and headed towards the house, then ordered her to carry the basket without looking at her, at that moment Anna smiled and knew that she had forgiven her. She entered with the basket and went to the kitchen as usual, washing and wiping the vegetables and then arranging them in their place, and she was trying to create a conversation with Matilda, and Matilda was replying to her with short answers, suddenly Anna smelled a good smell coming from the oven and asked her what she was cooking, Matilda answered her hesitantly that she was making a dessert she was preparing for this evening. Anna was surprised by this, as she had never seen her making sweets before, but rather it was the first time, so she knew that she had made them for her, as she was expecting her to come this day as usual, Anna always knew that Matilda is not completely emotionless, but she fights the darkness inside of her. Anna told her that she would make tea with honey to drink with these sweets, Matilda took it out of the oven and put it in the serving tray, and Anna brought the tea and they sat in the living room to enjoy it. When Anna ate the first piece, she was stunned by the intensity of its deliciousness, and she was more than sure that inside this woman there was a hidden love that was looking forward to getting out, and today it appeared through her sweets. She told her how delicious it was and expressed her admiration for it, so she noticed Matildas nervousness and her face blushed because she was not used to these feelings. Anna remembered her gift that she had brought to her, so she ran to get it and put it in front of her. It was a big size, so she was surprised and asked her about the price and that it was surely expensive, but Anna asked her to open it and give her opinion about it, Matilda opened it eagerly like a small child who received his first gift, and found it a beautiful box decorated with Victorian era decoration with two golden side locks, she opened it and got surprised by its contents, it was filled with all shades of oil, pastel and charcoal, and with professional paintbrushes. She examined it, touching it with her fingertips, as if she saw diamond jewelry in front of her, and her eyes sparkled with admiration, ”How you got them, surely they are expensive ”, Matilda asked,

”It doesn matter the price, the important thing is that you like it ”, Anna answered her,

Matilda lowered her head to hide her shy face, and spoke to her without looking at her: ”Thank you, you shouldn have bothered to buy a gift ”,

Anna asked her if she liked her, and she nodded, ”Yes. ” Anna said: ”Thats all I care if you like it, I know you make your own colors and I know that you don have a lot of resources so you only have the basic and dark colors, with this box you will be creating new paintings, Im sure one day you will have an exhibition Your own ”,

Matilda hesitated, not knowing what to answer, for she was not used to these feelings between them, so she stood up and took the teapot to fill it, saying that the tea needed more honey and that she was going to fill it. She ran to the kitchen, put the jug aside, and leaned herself against the wall, placing her hand on her heart, feeling its rapid pulse.

”What is happening to me today? I am not used to this closeness between us, I should not drift further, or else I will be hurt no more ”, said Matilda to herself, peeking at Anna behind the kitchen door, trying to convince herself not to get carried away by fake feelings. Perhaps she is also like Anna, protecting herself from getting hurt because of her sincere feelings, or like Martin, who protects himself for fear of hurting the people around him. In the end everyone has their own fears.

”You were late in the kitchen so I catch you up and I think maybe you need help ”, said Anna standing in the kitchen,

”Nothing, I was just looking for the tea, it ran out and I didn notice it, I should put it in my inventory next time our neighbor came ”, Matilda replied.

But Anna made a strange request that made her drop the jug in amazement, ”what did you say? ” Matilda asked her in amazement,

”I said why we don go to town together to buy what you need, its still daytime, we can go and come back before sunset, ” Sally replied,

”No, I don want to go, Ill give the money to our neighbor and he does as he always does ” Matilda replied hesitantly, not looking at her,

Anna didn push her so she tried to trick her and claimed her phone was ringing, and called Linda, ”Sorry my phone is ringing. Shes my friend. She must be in town for Christmas with her grandmother. Wait a minute. Ill be back. Hi Linda, why did you call? Im sorry Im not in the town, I am home with Matilda, what? You want to go out with me today? Ah right I know about sales and specials, I don really know I can come right now, ” said Anna, pretending to speak with Linda,

”What are you talking about? You
e the one calling, not me. What offers are you talking about? ” Linda answered her from the other side, not understanding what Anna was implying,

”Just come to the mall and Ill meet you there in a couple of hours, ” Anna answered in a low voice, so Matilda wouldn hear her.

”She called me and asked me to accompany her to buy some things, especially since it is the season of sale, but I refused that I really want to spend the day with you ”, Anna said that while rubbing her hands,

”You should not refuse her request, you must go, it will be late anyway, and you must go back to town, ” Matilda replied hesitantly.

”Well, in fact, I am now confused between two options. I really want to stay with you more. On the other hand, I do not want to miss the offers in the mall, unless you come with me, we will all benefit. I also noticed that the house lacks some things. If you accompany me, we will have a nice time. Did I tell you that my friend is studying art in college? ” said Anna, hoping she would be persuaded, Matilda did not answer her immediately, but she was finally convinced, and it was a victory for Anna.

”Well, get ready, and Ill wait here ”, Anna couldn believe what just happened, for twelve years she couldn communicate with her, but today she is behaving unusually nice, perhaps this is the first step towards improving their relationship. Matilda wore a gray woolen coat and winter boots, they looked elegant on her, she always kept them for a day like this, as she did not always go out, or rather she did not go out at all. They went out together and closed the door behind her, but Anna went back and checked it again and told her that it had become a habit for her to check the door several times, but she sure did not tell her the reason, otherwise he became angry again. The bus stop was a five-minute walk away, and all this time they were silent. Matilda watched her footsteps, head down, holding her leather bag in one hand and her other hand in her pocket. They arrived at the station and when they were going to get on the bus, Matilda was surprised by her new look. ”Where are those minibuses? ” She asked in amazement. Anna replied that they had long ago replaced it with this more advanced ones, she told her she would find it more comfortable when she rode it. In fact, she did not feel the dizziness that she used to feel whenever she rode the old transportation. After a while, they reached the town, and Matildas features changed from inanimate to admiration for what around her. The city was full of Christmas decorations and the place was crowded with people, families with their children buying decorations and others buying gifts for children, while the traditional markets are filled with the aroma of delicious foods dedicated to this occasion. Matilda couldn hide her admiration and amazement at the place, and the only words she could say was, ”So much has changed in my heedlessness ”. Then she realized what made Anna seek to stay in town, and that she had lost so much joy folded in her place. They arrived at the mall and met Linda, who had just arrived, too. Together they toured all the shops and bought many things until they were tired, so Linda invited them to lunch in a restaurant at her own expense. ”It was a pleasure spending time with you, Mrs. Matilda, ” said Linda, complimenting Matilda.

”Thank you, Linda, I also had the pleasure of meeting you, in fact you are Annas first friend I met, ” Matilda replied,

”I knew you two would get along, especially since you both have the same passion, Matilda is an artist and Linda is studying plastic art in college, ” Anna said,

”Really, you do? Im fond of fine art, but my only problem is that Im not good at drawing at all. Can you help me with your experience, Mrs. Matilda? ” Linda asked insistently.

”Im certainly glad to share my experience with you, ” Matilda replied shyly.

”You know. I really like your style, especially your dress, as it is inspired by the fifties of the last century, that era was really the height of fashion, until the designers of this generation became inspired by that era, no matter what they did and developed from fashion, they would not be able to keep up with beauty at that time ” Linda said talking to Matilda.

”You mean that old outfit? You
e just complimenting me, its inconceivable that anyone likes this old thing, ” replied Matilda, sarcastically.

”Im telling the truth maam, Im not the only one who thinks that, youll see how everyone gets to wear those costumes, ” replied Linda.

”How about going to the hair salon after lunch, Ive never been there before, ” Anna said.

”Do you want to cut your hair? Did I ever tell you not to cut it? ” Matilda replied.

”No, I do not intend to cut it, the salon offers several services other than cutting, and I was talking about you, I am sure that you will love the place, especially when you change a little bit of your appearance, ” Anna replied.

”Do I look inappropriate? ” Matilda asked sadly.

”No, she doesn mean that, here every woman who changes her look will feel refreshed, men make fun of our excessive going to the salon, but they don know that it is worth a treatment at a psychiatrist ” Linda jokingly replied.

”Okay, if thats your opinion, Ill give it a try, ” replied Matilda, excited to go, but Anna was even more excited to see the change in Matilda and how she would react when she saw herself. They entered the salon, and fortunately for her, there was a vacant seat. She sat in it feeling very nervous, especially since the stylist was a man, as she was not close to men like this before. He gave her his phone and showed her his page on the Internet to choose the look that she wanted to get, Anna and Linda asked the hairdresser to cover the mirrors and not open it until he finishes his work completely for the suspense. Matilda had thick and silky black hair, beautifying her white skin and having prominent black eyebrows that did not need any modification, the stylist told her that it was rare to see such beautiful hair, he gave her the French bangs cut that look like Cleopatras hair but with a modern touch, then he put her cosmetics to highlight her beauty more.

When he finished his work, he asked the two girls to count to the number 3, after which the curtain of the mirror would come down, her reaction was spontaneous, when she saw herself in the mirror, and she covered her face in shy because of her unexpected beauty.

”Is this me? ” Matilda asked and did not believe herself and stood in front of the mirror, turning left and right, admiring glances examining every detail, ”You were right when you said a styling session equals a therapy session. Thank you really for making me come here, thank you both ”, she said happily.

”Im excited to try the dish we bought for dinner, Ive learned how to make homemade bread and Ill make it as soon as we arrive, ” said Anna, talking to Matilda, excited to go home and make dinner together. ”I think its time for me to go home too, ” Linda said, Anna and Matilda looked at each other and then decided to invite her to dinner and overnight with them, Linda was happy and accepted their invitation and then they headed to the station together and all the way Linda was asking many questions to Matilda about plastic art and asking for advice from her. When they arrived at the house, Matilda apologized to Linda and told her that she did not expect guests to come so the house was not tidy, Anna went to the kitchen and prepared the kitchen utensils in order to cook with Matilda and that was one of the happiest moments for her, she carried out all her directions and kept all her details and sometimes she asks her to let her do all the work for her so as not to spoil her new hairstyle. When they were waiting for dinner to be ready Anna asked Linda to go with her to her room to give her some pajamas, fortunately she had kept her old things. At the same time, Matilda was preparing the living room with a bed, because it was the warmest place, and finally dinner was prepared, and they all sat around the table, and everyone was happy, especially when Linda learned that Matilda grew up in Madrid. Matildas happiness was a reality that appeared from the twinkling of her eyes, she had always considered herself a worthless person, but today this strange girl considers her a treasure and a role model.

That night they sat around the fireplace and it was a girls night only chatting and flirting with pictures of celebrities and models, that night was the first night Anna and Matilda slept in the same place, and even the first time she was close to her, maybe this is the first step to remove the separation wall between them. Early in the morning Anna and Linda set out in order to arrive on time for work, but Matilda was not satisfied that they went without breakfast, so she prepared her own strawberry jam sandwiches for them to eat on the way, they thanked her and went together and Matilda stayed outside saying goodbye to them until they were out of sight.

”Why didn you tell me about Matilda before? If I had known all this information about her, I would have come to live with her. I really like her, ” Linda said admonishing Anna.

”Believe me, even I just found out about her; tell me Linda, where are you going to spend Christmas? ” Anna asked.

”In my house, especially since my grandmother Nana is with us now, ” Linda replied.

”What about Mark? Aren you going to party with him? ” Anna asked

”Please don remind me of him, I found out that he is a cheater and a liar, he cheated on me with a lot of girls, I was totally deceived by him, I cried a lot because I believed his lies and I was stupid, I was supposed to leave him when he tried to insult you that day ”, Linda replied with a sigh.

”You know, Im glad you found out his ugly truth. I knew from the first meeting with him that hes the kind of person who likes to be entertained by other peoples feelings, ” said Anna, ”How about you come with me to a party this weekend, Armand and his guys are going to have a party and Im invited ”,

”You mean a high school party? No, please. Then why are you going to such a party? ” Linda asked in astonishment.

”Long big story, don ask, then why don you want to go, you only graduated a short time ago, that is, everyone is there of your age, Im sure you will enjoy your time and maybe get to know someone there, I mean, Im the one who will get deadly bored there, ” said Anna, and after her insistence, Linda accepted her invitation.

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