Chapter One - Dropped Flyers
I smiled at Jimmy, handing him a paint brush as he concentrated on tracing the cursive letters I had just written lightly in pencil on the wall. His blonde hair fell into his face shamelessly as his brow furrowed in focus, my own bright green eyes drifting around the room to see a few other kids scattered around the room with books, trying their hardest to read. Glancing at the door, the sign caught my eye: Children's Dyslexic Daycare.
Basically, I was volunteering here at the Children's Dyslexic Daycare to help these little kids that have dyslexia. We just helped them try to grasp what letters and numbers where what despite the mix-up that they have been experiencing already. It was hard to learn to read at the age of five when you had dyslexia, which doubled the hardness level drastically. This daycare was pretty much just looking after the kids and giving them extra help with their reading and writing skills.
"Aria, could you go pass out the flyers? Maggie said she'd take care of your shift," A worker, Karen, asked me with a wary look.
I nodded, "Yeah, sure."
Karen handed me the stack of papers and gave me a grateful look. "I don't know what we would do without you."
I laughed, walking past her and through the hallway before slipping out the front door, being greeted by the great world of London. I had moved here when I turned eighteen and herd about this volunteer job shortly after I rented myself an apartment; I've always liked helping people, and this was the best job yet.
To keep the actual bills paid, though, I have to work part time at Nandos - a restaurant. I do't mind being a waitress much, but after long hours and annoying shifts, you go home and collapse and never wake up. Sighing, I grabbed a few flyers and began stapling them onto posts, taping them onto metal land posts, and handing them out.
As I was walking, though, I ducked my head down to look at the amount of flyers I still had left. On the top read in bolded letters: Help raise money for children with dyslexia! Really, we were trying to raise money to help pay for the expenses of the new location the daycare had obtained as well as some new books that can help teach new methods to the kids and make it easier for them.
"Shit," I cursed just as I ran into someone, my flyers falling out of my arms while I stumbled backwards.
Two hands shot out and steadied me, saying, "Oh, shit, does anyone watch where they're going?"
Sighing, I bent down to collect the flyers and muttered, "Whatever."
"Er, I'll help." The masculine voice repeated, sounding melodic while mixed in with his British accent as he helped collect all of the papers.
As were were standing up, I looked at him and realized that this guy was hot. He had soft brown hair that seemed windswept and stuck in different directions to show he has been messing with it, a nice build, and friendly blue eyes that were now looking at my flyer. When he looked up, he had a smile on his lips - which only added to his attractiveness, by the way.
"You're taking donations to help dyslexic kids?" The man asked, voice smooth and inviting. "That's incredible."
I girnned at him. "Thanks. I volunteer at a daycare that helps kids with dyslexia and they're in need of supplies that can help with the little kids. They need to be interested to want to learn."
He stuck his hand out. "I'm Louis, by the way."
"Aria." I said, shaking his hand.
After I realeased his hand, Louis stuck it in his pocket and retrieved a wallet, opening it and taking a few bills out. "Well, Aria. I would like to donate to this daycare."
Obviously grateful, I took the money and noticed how much it was. "Are you sure?"
"But this is like, a lot of money..."
"Well, I was hoping I could maybe impress you and get your number?" Louis flashed a cheeky grin as I laughed. "What do you say, Aria?"
I smiled at him, putting the four hundred euros in my pocket and pulling out my phone. Handing it to him,Louis' grin only widened as he clicked a few buttons and entered his number, then proceeded to text himself so I had his number in return. When he handed it back, his blue eyes were sparkling and I was mentally high-fiving myself for getting asked out by such a hot guy that seemed to be pretty nice.
"Call me later - if you don't, then I still have your number." Louis told me teasingly, trying to look stern as I laughed once again. "I'll see you later."
I nodded. "See you later. Thank yo so much for the donation, by the way!"
He winked, taking a step backwards. "Anything to put a pretty smile on a pretty girls face."
Turning around, Louis continued to walk through the crowds of people as I watched after him, slightly dazed. Did that really just happen? Attempting to shake it off, I continued to pass out the flyers and hang them up before my arms ached and I decided to go back to the daycare. Walking back took around ten minutes - I hadn't ventured very far, and if I did, I would be walking back shortly after.
When I got back into the daycare, I smiled at a few parents who were picking their children up. Jimmy ran over to me and latched onto my leg, giving it a nice squeeze and hug as I giggled at him, ruffling his blonde hair. Looking up at me with the biggest blue eyes, I bit my tongue so I wouldn't 'aw' at him and watched as his eyes narrowed, knowing I was smiling because he was so cute.
"I don't like when you always call me cute, Miss Aria." Jimmy said, slowly prying himself off of me. "You make me feel like a kid."
I grinned at him. "Because you are a kid!"
Widening his eyes, I looked around before whispering, "Shush! I want to be taken seriously around here, okay?"
"Okay, Jimmy." I said with a laugh.
We walked back to my room together where I volunteered and, true to Karen's words, I saw Maggie had taken my place with painting the letters on the wall. When she saw me, she flashed me a quick smile before walking over. Maggie was an actual worker - she was thirty something with long red hair with stylish bangs, a small frame, but demanding grey eyes that made people take her seriously.
I slipped out the donations I had gathered and put them in her outstretched hand, saying, "Someone gave me four hundred euros today for our cause."
Her eyes widened as she gasped, "That's quite a lot! Why?"
"I don't know," I lie, my mind traveling to Louis as I bit back a smile. "Anyway, I'm going to finish up while the rest of the parents pick up their kids, alright?"
She nodded, still surprised that I had managed to get somebody to give me four hundred euros for a cause. Other than that, I had collected a few five and ten euro bills - nothing too extravagant, compared to Louis' donation. As Maggie left the remaining eight kids in my care, I walked over to the double windows and pushed them open to let some of the niceday travel into the daycare room.
A little girl named Lindsay walked up to me and tugged on my shorts before I scooped her into my arms, balancing her on my hip. "Hey, Lindsay. How has your day been?"
She smiled her gap-toothed smile at me. "Good. I read two entire books today by myself!"
I high-fived her little hand. "Good job! You may be the best reader in the class," I said in a whispered tone, making her grin even wider. "But don't tell anyone I told you that, okay?"
"Okay, Miss Aria!" Lindsay chirped.
After I put her back down, her mom came and got her. Then Jimmy's dad got him, and so on. Soon it was time for me to shuffle out of the daycare and towards Nandos for my shift that started in fifteen minutes, knowing it was a short five minute drive when there was no traffic. Hopping in my pathetic mini-cooper, I drove off to the restaurant, humming a tune on the radio.
When I reached Nandos, I pulled into one of the employee parking spots and hopped out of the car, slipping into the front doors before venturing towards the back. As soon as I reached the employee area, I chaned into my uniform and tied my soft, almost unnoticeable brunette curls up into a ponytail. My friend, another waitress named Caitlin, tossed me a notepad and pen.
"You grab your tables," She said, imitating out manager, Rick.
I laughed, rolling my eyes. "Yeah, whatever. Get back to work unless you want to be fired, Cait!"
She just grinned at me. Rolling my eyes at my gorgeous friend, I walked past her to see her batting her bright green eyes innocently at me and snorted unattractively. She burst out in laughter at this, but I just walked towards my tables and circled around them, greetnig them with my name and a smile that - thankfully - didn't look as fake as it was.
After I got my first round of drinks for the first three tables, I collected their dinner order and put it in the kitchen. Another group of five boys with hoods covering their eyes strolled into my section, slipping down in one of my seats as they talked. My brow firrowed as I watched them all look suspicious, but approached them nonetheless.
"Hi, I'm Aria and I'll be your waitress." I said, handing them menus as they all stared at me through their glasses. "Do you need a minute or do you know what you want to drink?"
The one in the green answered in an Irish accent, "I think we can order now."
I nodded, slipping out a pand and pen and taking their four drink orders before landing on the fifth boy. He was in a zip-up blue hoodie and I could tell there was a tousled brown mess on his head even though his hood was pulled up. The only thing that seperated him from the other boys was the huge, pearly white grin planted on his lips as he looked at me.
Slowly, he pulled off his glasses and I found myself staring ito never ending blue eys. Well, hello love - fancy meeting you here."
A smile grew on my lips naturally as I asked, "Louis?"
"Wait," One boy interjected, looking in between us as I bit my lip, trying to conceal the stupid smile on my lips. "You two know each other?"
Louis nodded. "I ran into her today and made her drop all of her papers."
Some recognition dawned on his features. "Oh, right."
"Um," I interjected, making all eyes snap back to me again. "Louis, what do you want for a drink?"
"Right," He said, chuckling sheepishly. "I'll take an iced tea."
I nodded somewhat awkwardly, turning around and walking back towards the fountain and getting their drinks. Why were they all in disguises? They looked like they were doing something illegal - or running from the police before they could be caught form doing something illegal. My eyes widened slightly as I stopped putting their drinks on my tray, my mind wandering off.
Nervously, I bit my lip and brought the tray of drinks back to the boys. After handing them out, I hurried away, not liking how sketchy there boys looked right now. Oh God, what if I just got myself involved with a gang member? Panicking, I picked up my pace, but heard Louis call my name from the table before I could hide in the kitchen with the chef.
I turned around, seeing Louis standing in front of me. "What's the hurry, love?"
Looking at the ground, I said, "Um, Louis... are you and your friends in a gang or something?" Seriously, you're scaring me with your outfit..."
Forcing out an awkward laugh, I looked up at him, Louis stared at me blankly for a second before glancing back at his friends, then meeting my gaze with amusement dancing in his eyes and pearly grin showing itself off to me. In a moment, he was bursting out into a fit of laughter, making me take a cautious step backward. Oh God, was he crazy too?
"We aren't involved in a gang," Louis told me the moment he saw me step back as he sobered up. "I promise. The lads and I aren't doing anything illegal or bad, okay?"
"Then why are you in glasses and have your hoods up?" I muttered questioningly.
"We're hiding -" Louis cut himself off.
My brow furrowed as I looked at him expectantly, only to see him looking right back at me somewhat curious. "Go on..."
He nodded, "We're just hiding from girls."
I stared at him.
Louis stared at me.
Hesitantly, I nodded. "Uh, yeah, okay. Anyway, I'll be bacl at your table whrn your food is ready - I think my other tables are getting annoyed with me."
Louis nodded, flashing me an assuring grin. "Alright, love."
As he retreated, I thought to myself, what the hell is going on? Why would they be hiding from girls? I'm pretty sure even though he and probably his friends are attractive, girls wouldn't chase them and whatnot just to see them. Still, though, Louis seemed like a genuine guy, and I would allow myself to believe him - just until I found the truth, of course.