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Ginger Beauty

By Grace Solis All Rights Reserved ©

Romance

Blurb

Harry Benford has spent a big part of his life fighting against his father's of making him the next CEO of his company and doing his best to follow his dreams. Marianne Hayes has spent a big part of her life surrendering to her grandparents' wishes and obsessive desire to control her, forgetting how to live a life of her own. But there comes a moment in which two lost souls collide in the place where people say dreams come true.

Chapter 1

I have lost my mind.

That’s the only explanation I can find to what I did. First I yelled at my dad in front of half of his employees. Then I stormed out of the building of his office. Later I went to my place and packed and took a cab to the airport just to end up on a flight with no idea where I was going.

So yes, I have lost my mind.

It has been a while since I stopped being my father’s number one fan, but what I did yesterday crossed every line and boundary I have ever known and I will sure as hell be in deep trouble when I go back home.

But my father doesn’t understand me and what I want. It has been so long since the last time he took the time to listen and actually pay attention to what I say. Whatever he wants he gets, but I refuse to be one of his puppets.

I know what I want and what I like.

Some people like literature, others science, and some other bunch business, but I’m not one of those who belong to any of those categories. I like art and my father can’t understand… or simply doesn’t want to.

Not only do I like art, but I like when it involves people because they always turn out to be more interesting and tell fascinating stories.

That’s mainly why I would rather be somewhere crowded instead of all by myself, locked up in an office, surrounded by papers and facing a computer.

Considering that, Disney sounds like a perfect place, doesn’t it?

Everyone says it is the place where dreams come true, but how much truth is there in the statement? I, myself, have never been one to believe in bullshit about fairy tales and happily ever after because I’ve never seen them. People around me live their everyday lives through break-ups, misery and pain, so it isn’t a big surprise I don’t believe in those things.

I do believe in love, but not in happy endings. I know for a fact there’s always something shadowing happiness.

To be honest, I hate being in Disney, but this place was my fastest option, though next time I want to escape I’ll make sure I check the destination of my plane. I’ve always thought Disney is a place for girls, for women, probably because when I was young my sister made me go with her to meet all the princesses the first time we were here. What ten-year-old boy wouldn’t hate Disney if it happened to them? Plus, considering the horrendous mood I am in at the moment, I can’t stand everyone around me being so happy.

But thinking about it, I might find here what I’m looking for which is new faces, new emotions, new feelings, and new stories. All those to draw and someday -once I’m back in London- paint.

Magic Kingdom -to be more specific- is a place where magic becomes real. But not the kind of magic everyone believes in, one of fairy tales or made with a wand. I’m talking about the kind of magic caused by the sight of so many different people doing a thousand different things at the same time.

So with the thought of finding something worth my time, I try to be cheery like the people around me.

As I sit on a bench by the castle, I look around.

A couple of steps away from me, a family is taking a picture in front of the beautiful attraction of Cinderella’s castle. A family of four: a boy, a girl who is probably the eldest and their parents. They kind of remind me of me and my family, of when we were kind of happy and together. A bit careless, kind of free.

Deciding they are not what I need at the moment, I move my gaze somewhere else and focus instead on a girl -around the age of six, I think- with a Minnie Mouse costume taking a picture with Mary Poppins. The character tells her something and, from where I am, I can see the girl giggling. What does her laugh sound like?

I try to spot her parents and I do almost immediately. They are standing beside the photographer. Both parents with their cell phones out and I am almost one hundred percent sure they are taking pictures of their daughter… I even think the mother has some tears in her eyes, even though I can’t be certain. But I bet the girl is their first child.

A little farther from the people around Mary Poppins is a young couple. They can’t be older than thirty, so yeah, they are young, they seem to be around my age. They are holding hands as they walk and he is telling her something that makes her laugh. They seem really happy, but not like a cliché couple showing off their love to the world with excessive PDA. They are the nice kind of happy, simply being themselves and staying in their own little bubble without making the world around them feel uncomfortable.

To their left is a family with two kids, one boy who might be around the age of ten and a girl around fifteen. The girl has her brows pulled down in a deep frown and her arms crossed over her chest as she stares at her parents, who are both crouched down to be eye level with her brother. I bet she’s annoyed at the three of them. At her brother for being the favorite and at her parents for giving him so much attention.

They also remind me of days I would rather not think about, so I stand up from my spot and start walking away.

The music around the place is so cheerful I think it is helping me let go of the rage that has been consuming me since I left my father’s office.

I bop my head up and down to the rhythm of the music as I keep walking. I spot Minnie Mouse and a rather long queue of kids with parents who want to take a picture with her.

I should take a picture with her as well. Maybe later I will, to have a small reminder of my short trip here.

“Abigail!”

I stop in my tracks at the sound of a woman’s voice. I don’t know how it is possible, but I can hear her perfectly over the sound of the music and the noise of everyone around me.

I try to find the source of the voice, but I seem to be the only one who heard it, considering no one else stops what they are doing.

No one. There seems to be no one around me screaming. Smiley faces surround me, so I resume my stroll.

“Abigail!”

Again, I stop and my eyes scan the crowd around me.

There’s something in her voice. Something sounding a lot like despair.

Once again, there seems to be no one except for kids jumping, parents laughing, Disney characters walking around, everyone happy, and everyone calm.

I’ve said it already, I’ve lost my mind.

I’m about to give up and start walking when I spot her.

A ginger woman running in my direction with a boy in her arms. The kid has her thumb in his mouth and bounces up and down as his mother runs. She must be the mother considering she seems so out of herself as she runs and screams.

“Abi stop, please!”

I move my gaze from the woman and look around trying to find Abigail.

A girl with her red hair tied up in a ponytail is running around and getting herself lost in the sea of people walking around the castle, all while laughing at her mother’s despair.

Seriously?

If the mother weren’t carrying her son and the bag which probably contains her children’s things, she would be fast enough to run after the girl and catch up with her, but since that’s not the case, she is slower than her daughter.

Without thinking twice, I drop my own bag to the floor and start making my way towards the little girl. My long legs carry me faster to where she is, though it is hard to keep up with her since it’s easy for her to make her way around the bodies of people.

“Abigail, please!” The despair and sadness in the mother’s voice snap something inside of me and my fast-paced walk turns into running to get to the kid before she gets any further into the crowd.

The girl glances back at her mom and covers her mouth with her little hands as she giggles.

Before the little creature can take another step, I get to where she is and crouch down to wrap her in my arms. She yelps at my sudden action and turns her head, staring back at me with fear clear in her features. A pout makes its way on her face and tells me she’s about to start crying, so I do the first thing that comes into my mind.

I lift her up and hold her as if she were flying. “And there goes Tinkerbell, flying across the sky and spreading her pixie dust all over everyone!” At my words, she soon starts giggling and I can’t help the sigh of relief that escapes my lips as I keep making my way to the mother -who stops in her tracks to see what I’m doing with wide eyes.

“Higher, higher!” The girl squeals. “And faster!”

I laugh and do as she says. Once I am near her mom, I move around the woman and keep playing with her daughter. It feels good to do this.

Constantly -and without doing it on purpose- I find myself surrounded by boring adults. Despite me being an adult, I hate people who take life too seriously and tend to forget this is our only shot at life and if we don’t live every day as if it were the last, one day we will look back and regret it… or even worse, we won’t even get the chance to do that.

So that’s why now it’s refreshing to be with a child who doesn’t have a care in the world other than the scold she will probably get from her mother for running away in such a way.

Once I put her back on her feet in front of her mother, I make sure to grab her hand so she doesn’t start running again.

The woman in front of me has such a thankful and relieved expression on her face that I want to hug her.

“Here she is, safe and sound,” I say.

“Oh my God, thank you so much,” the mother says, before going into full hysterics and bursts out crying.

Mine and her kids’ surprise is evident as we stare at her. She tells me with a weird movement of her free hand to take her son from her arms. I do as she says and watch her as she crouches down to be eye level with her daughter.

“Oh my God, Abigail, you scared me so much! Never do that to me again, got it? Never!” She cries and shakes her daughter by her little shoulders. Confusion is evident in the girl’s face since she probably doesn’t understand the seriousness of her actions and why her mother is crying and so out of control.

The little boy in my arms pokes my cheek and makes me turn my attention to him. He has a bright smile on his face and I can’t help but give him one of mine. He pokes my dimple and I laugh. He has red hair like his mother and sister and Green eyes. He’s cute.

I’m so caught up in the cuteness of the kid in my arms, I don’t notice his mother standing up with her daughter in her arms, trying to control her tears.

It takes me by surprise when -with her free arm- she pulls me in for a hug. It is a bit awkward considering we are both holding a child, but I still wrap my free arm around her waist, whispering soothing words in her ear. I try not to get lost in the strawberry scent coming out of her hair, but I must admit it is quite hard.

When she pulls away, she has a smile on her face that nearly makes my heart stop.

I know is rude to stare, but God.

She’s breathtaking, honestly. Her ginger hair falls in perfectly disheveled waves and gives her an innocent touch. The Green in her eyes is captivating and I have to remind myself to look away from them if I want to keep breathing. She seems young to be the mother of two kids already and I want to ask her how old she is, but at the same time, I don’t want to offend her. But she can’t be even close to thirty. Her smile is so big and bright it is unreal.

As breathtaking as it can be, the smile is so big it gives her away and tells me as well how fake it is. How used she must be to put one on for the world she doesn’t even realize it’s not genuine anymore. Or well, maybe to those around her it doesn’t matter at all, but to me -someone who likes real people- it does.

“Hi, I’m Harry Benford,” I say, offering her my free hand to shake.

She does. “Nice to meet you, Harry. I’m Marianne… Marianne Hayes.”

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