Chapter one: At First Sight

It all started with a crystal-leaded mermaid figurine.

Allyne had taken the entire day off to get her best friend, Snow, a present. Yes. Her name is Snow, as in the white stuff that falls from the sky during winter.

They had first met at the orientation back in college and have been friends since. And now, ten years later, they're still friends and would probably be until they one of them throws their slippers and die.

Snow also has a sister named Rainne and a brother named Hale. No, it wasn't a coincidence, it's a result of their mother's quirkiness.

Allyne was browsing from store after store until she finds something that was worth buying. She only had one friend in the world. Just one. She blames her quick and ruthless tongue for that.

It might help with the type of work that she has but not to meet new friends. She learned that a long time ago. When the world that sheltered her too much let her fly only to have her fall right into her face.

She was about to give up and move on to a different mall when she saw "Angellus". From the looks of it, it was a new store. The banners and the flowers outside told her as much.

It was store that held too much expensive stuff. One could tell just by looking at it. It was just her thing. Nothing like an expensive trinket to show them how much you're worth, right?

She was looking for something that Snow would love to have. Allyne had a feeling that this was her last birthday as a single woman. The talk she had with Ian a few days ago said as much.

Ian walked into her office and formally asked for a meeting. They went out to lunch and it was then that he broke the news.

He was proposing.

Tonight.

True, she doesn't give a damn about men but to see your best friend tied up to some guy, left her too much to think about.

She was happy for her friend but petrified that she would lose her. That he would destroy her.

Ian was a great guy, funny and surprise, surprise, he was the only one who didn't run away at the site of Snow's best friend.

Allyne isn't the typical beautiful, ambitious accountant. She was the type who'd stare straight at your eyes and give you what you deserve. The type who'd make men run the opposite way because of the thick wall that surrounds her. Or was it because of her intelligence? The kind that'd make the people around her feel stupid and useless.

There are only three people allowed in her space. Mamita, the person who practically raised her from her diaper years, then there's Snow and of course Snow's mom. There were four then but her mom passed away some five years past.

As soon as she stepped inside the store, the saleslady immediately perked up and said a cheerful "Good morning Ma'am." Correctly deducing that Allyne was not a thrifty shopper.

Allyne nodded to the saleslady and continued on, browsing through the pieces that the store offered. On one side were the jewelries adorned with crystals, jades and more. On opposite side, were the pieces that caught her attention.

There were crystal pieces of angels, cats, tigers and a lot more but what captured her attention was the mermaid. It was encased in a glass box separated from the other pieces, she motioned to the sales clerk to take it out.

When the saleslady carefully arranged the piece on top of the table, Allyne closely examined it. It was about five inches in height, and it was a crystal leaded. The mermaid was sitting on a huge coral, caught in the act of combing her hair with a fork, not far from the cartoon version. Her eyes were closed and her lips were smiling in a way that reminded her of Snow.

It was the smile full of dream-like happiness.

It was perfect.

Allyne smiled to the saleslady, the saleslady smiled back, not knowing that it was a rare moment. She only had in mind the commission she was going to get if Allyne bought the piece.

It was then that a deep voice said from behind, "That's perfect." Then snatched the piece from the table and took it to the counter.

Allyne watched the piece disappear into the huge hand. She turned to the saleslady and asked indignantly, "What was that?"

The saleslady gave her a hesitant smile and shrugged, looking helplessly at the guy in the counter.

Allyne walked in a sure glide towards the counter and tapped the guy on the shoulder.

"Excuse me." She said in a business-like way. It was the tone that was never mistaken by any of the people she worked with. It had been known to make her secretary and her subordinates quake with fear.

The man turned around and raised an eyebrow in question.

"I believe I saw that first." Allyne said, motioning to the piece that the cashier was wrapping in a box. The cashier was smart enough to know not to interfere.

The man looked at the her, her eyes blazing with indignation. He took in the white long sleeved blouse down to the navy blue skirt she wearing up to the flesh three-inch pointed high heels she had on. He belatedly noticed the bag that matched the color of her shoes in her left hand.

He had mistaken her for a saleslady.

Big mistake.

He smiled sheepishly, hoping the lady wouldn't make a scene and said, "Really? I thought you were one of them."

If anything her eyes got greener, "What did you just say?" She asked in a dangerous soft voice. It wasn't a blonde bimbo's voice but it came from someone who was used to getting their way. The kind that was used to being in command.

He tried to explain again, "Look lady, I'm really sorry. I thought you were one of them. I didn't notice you were carrying that bag."

Allyne slipped the bag to her left shoulder and crossed her arms over her chest, "Excuse me?" She looked like a saleslady? She refused to think how much her entire outfit cost.

The insufferable guy sighed yet again and said, "I'm really sorry. I really thought you were one of them. It's been done. I've purchased it." Motioning to the box the saleslady was wrapping and then added, "There's nothing you can do."

"Really?" She asked softly.

At the look of her face, Marcus grimaced. "Yes. Really. Look, I said I'm sorry. I am in a hurry and I still have a meeting with a client in a few minutes."

It was his lunch hour and he needed to get this done before tackling the meeting he had this afternoon. And at the rate they were going there's a possibility that he won't make it on time.

Her eyes flashed yet again and before he knew it, she lashed out on him. "You don't get it do you?"

"Get what?" He scoffed before adding, "All I did was buy a gift for a friend." He had fifteen minutes left.

"I spent three hours looking for that." She crossed her arms on her chest, a telltale sign that she wasn't budging.

"Look, I already apologized what else do you want from me?"

"Give it back." A haughty chin lifted.

He let out an amused laugh and said, "Can't. And I wasn't kidding when I said I was in a hurry." He turned his back on her and took the bag from the counter.

Allyne wasn't going to let him go just like that so she called out when he reached the exit, "You egotistical son-of-a-bitch."

He whirled around and asked reasonably, "What the hell is your problem?"

"You. And all the men in the world." She said in disgust.

Great. She was a man hater. He looked at his watch and cursed, "I don't have time for this. I have an appointment and I'm running late as it is."

"Bastard." Allyne snarled.

Marcus was on his way out when he heard that last bit. He just couldn't let it pass so he turned around and sneered at her, "Resorting to name calling?"

"Only if the shoe fits." She countered, placing her hands on her hips.

"You don't know when to give up do you?"

She didn't reply but her face said it all.

Marcus closed the distance between them and said, "You clearly have a problem. It's up here." He said tapping her forehead then turned around and left.

Allyne was too shocked to say anything. No one had ever done what he just did and got away with it. She stupidly stared at the place where he disappeared into, carrying the one thing that she was look for.

Allyne woke up from her seething reverie when she heard a giggle coming from somewhere near. She whipped around to glare at the offender.

The saleslady in the other hand covered her mouth and gave her an apologetic smile. She then offered her something.

Allyne was to angry to look at it that she gave it to the cashier without even looking at it.

She unknowingly bought the same piece.

Allyne headed straight home after her excursion. Exhausted and annoyed, she headed straight to her room. After dumping her three hundred dollar handbag on the bed, she followed it and let herself ungraciously fall to the bed, face first.

She carefully placed the tip of her left two hundred dollar shoe to the back of the right shoe and nudged it off then did the same to the left shoe using her right foot. She heard the last shoe fall on the carpet that came all the way from Europe. That cost her five hundred dollars.

Every single furniture that she has in her room, costs over a hundred bucks. From the paintings, the sofa, the trunk that she had at the bottom of the bed, to the antique wooden cabinets she bought all the way from the Philippines, no one would dare say that she can't take care of herself.

Allyne snuggled deeper into her hundred dollar pillow while her hands reached for the others that were carefully arranged on her bed. There were six of them. Needless to say, she loved pillows. She could spend her entire day in bed with her pillows surrounding her.

Allyne lifted her head from the pillow and laid her head on the left side and looked at the two hundred dollar clock she had on top of the expensive antique nightstand. It was two o'clock in the afternoon.

She sighed when she heard footsteps outside the door. Mamita would often say that she would drown herself with pillows one of these days.

A soft knock came from outside.

"Come in." Allyne called out before turning over and laying on her back.

The door opened softly and a white haired beautiful being came inside. Mamita's eyes wrinkled in amusement when she saw the shoes on the carpet and the pillow Allyne was clutching to her chest.

At the ripe age of sixty eight, Mamita's eyes were still full of knowledge that would not be mistaken. Hence, the raising of eyebrows in question. She wasn't Spanish but her mother insisted on calling her that when she was young.

"It's nothing." Allyne replied.

"I know you. I've been with you ever since you got out of your mom's pregnant self enough to know that something is bothering you."

Allyne sat up and gave her a small smile. Mamita picked up the shoes she left on the carpet and carried it to her walk-in dressing room. Allyne knew her enough not to stop her, knowing that the old lady would never listen.

When she emerged from the dressing room, Mamita placed her hands on her hips and asked, "Well?"

Allyne's shoulders slumped down in defeat and confessed. "Ian's proposing tonight."

She heard a sigh come out of the old lady and felt her bed dip when Mamita sat down. She was her mother's companion, the lady who basically brought her mother up. Funny, she did the same for her.

"I've met Ian. He seems a good man." Allyne made a move to interrupt but was deterred when Mamita held her hand up then continued, "And I don't think he's anything like Christopher."

At the sound of the one person she hated the most, Allyne closed her eyes as if to block the image that came with the name.

"I'm sorry." Mamita patted her hand apologetically and then continued, "But you need to understand not all of them are like him." Allyne opened her eyes and found out that Mamita believed every word she said. Her beautiful albeit wrinkled blue eyes said it all.

Allyne disagreed.

She met Trenton five years ago and found out eight months later that he turned out exactly like him. Like Christopher.

Mamita sighed when she saw Allyne's face was set. "How long have you've known Ian?"

"Two years."

"In the past two years that you've known him, did he give you a reason to believe that he was like him?"

"No." Came the soft answer.

"Like that bastard Trenton?"

"No."Allyne's lips lifted to the side when she heard the snarl when she said the bastard's name. That was Mamita, protective and reasonable.

"There you go. Two years should be enough to know what a person really is like, don't you think?"

"Maybe."

"Allyne, I think Snow will be happy with him."

"I think so too."

"So?"

"I'll try Mamita." Allyne gave in with a smile. She vowed that she will.

Ian wasn't one of them. Right?

"That's a good girl." Mamita said, obviously missing the doubtful expression she had on her face. The old lady stood up and continued rambling.

"Now, rest your feet, God knows you've been wearing those killer shoes that would do you no good. Buying all these things would not get your head out of the water. If your mother saw you right now..." Mamita clucked before she disappeared out of the bedroom.

Twenty-six years and she's still being treated like a baby.

Allyne sighed, let herself fall to the bed and reached out to set the alarm to five, just in time to get ready for the party.


&o&


Marcus Willich threw the folder, with more force than usual, on top of his table, ignoring his friend who was casually lounging on one on the couches set up in his office. He was reading a business magazine.

He was so near to closing the account but then client just had to have second thoughts.

It was all her fault. He arrived at the meeting twenty minutes late. All because of one stupid woman with pointed heels.

Marcus had decided to take over the business when his father suffered from a stroke two years ago. That didn't stop his dad from checking up on him from time to time though, making sure his golden boy was doing a good job. Thank God he was on a cruise with his mom and won't be coming back until the next month or else he'd never let Marcus live this down.

He slumped on his swivel chair and rubbed his eyes.

"Bad day, huh?" Ian drawled out, closing the magazine and placing it on the coffee table.

Marcus leaned back on his swivel chair and regarded his friend with a piercing gaze. "You have no idea."

"What is it this time?" Ian asked, leaning forward.

"The Porsche." He replied resignedly.

Ian winced.

When Marcus started to take over his dad's furniture and automobile business, he unknowingly invited himself to what he calls 'A Deal From Hell'.

It was a deal that he and his dad made to make sure that he was doing his job.

One deal, one wager.

If Marcus loses the deal, one of his 'favorite things' would be forfeited. If he closes it, he's gets one of his dad's.

Marcus' dad is now the proud owner of a Benz, two Ferrari's and an X-box. He's not quite sure what his dad's going to do with the them but he took it anyway.

On the other hand, he's not doing too bad either. He has his dad's yacht and a rifle collection under his belt. His dad's not doing any sailing or hunting anytime soon which is the reason why he was on a cruise.

But the Porsche was not even five months old. It led him to fight dirty.

He asked for his parent's rest house.

The beautiful place sits in the outskirts of the city, just by the beach. His dad grumbled about it but couldn't do anything because it was one of the stipulations of the deal.

Neither one of them can say no to what the other was asking for.

Marcus smiled inwardly, knowing what his mom would say when she founds out. His dad is going to be in real trouble then.

Ian chuckled at his friends' countenance before asking, "You guys are really playing it hard, huh?"

Marcus shrugged at that. He frowned when he spotted the carefully wrapped present beside his briefcase. That lady might have caused him his Porsche. He can't seem to get over that fact. The deal hasn't been closed yet but he doesn't feel all too good about this.

"What's with you?" Ian asked.

"Nothing. Just some stupid lady I mistakenly took for a salesperson." Marcus replied casually.

"Stupid lady?" Ian asked. He's never seen his friend call someone stupid unless he meant it.

"Yeah, some stupid lady and she might just have caused me my Porsche." Marcus grumbled his reply.

"Ah..." Ian knew better than to say anything.

"So, you ready for tonight?" Marcus asked directly, changing the subject.

"No, I mean whoever is?" Ian said, then began vibrating his knee up and down, his face changed from easy going to just plain nervous.

"Stop masturbating in my office." Marcus remarked smoothly.

"What?!" Ian's knee stopped in mid-action.

Marcus smiled his sardonic smile then pointedly looked at his friends knee, successfully distracting his friend from his dilemma.

Ian sighed, admitting that he fell right into his friends trap.

"You need to relax." Marcus said.

"I know. But I can't. It's not everyday that you ask someone to be your wife." Ian grumbled.

"It doesn't have to be like that you know." Marcus raised his eyebrows jokingly.

Ian scoffed at that. "This coming from guy who at the first sight of a clinging woman runs the other way?"

"Who says you have to marry them?" Marcus replied, placing his elbows on top of his table and leaning forward.

"You're hopeless." Ian said as he stood up to leave. "Don't forget tonight, Snow's expecting you. And Allyne's going to be there."

"Ah... The ever elusive Allyne."

When Ian started going out with Snow, they have been throwing Allyne to his way. It would have been better if he had a face to place with the name. Unbelievably, the woman had successfully avoided meeting him for the past two years.

It was quite a feat.

"Well, she's not that elusive anymore. She promised to be there and she will." Ian said with conviction.

"Whatever you say." Marcus said nodding but he doubt it.


Author's Note:

I'm back!

Well, what do you think? I have been working on this for more than 6 years. I was a sophomore in college then. I never got to finishing the story and I'm posting it here to pressure me into doing it. Yeah, this is me banging my head on the wall now.

Please read and review so I can continue on to the second chapter. I'm torn into making this a drama or humor. But it's definitely a love story. :-)