50% Always, Forever / Chapter 2: Who is He?

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Chapter 2: Who is He?

Eduardo Bautista.

That was his name.

He was the son of an old servant that the Herrera Family had.

Living in the small provincial town of San Simon, one would have to work and slave away for hours on end in order to avail basic life-sustaining goods. That is, unless you are a part of the high society.

Eduardo's family was unfortunately not a part of the "blessed rich crowd". They barely even had enough food on the table as it is! So, the boy — who was nearly a young man (he was twelve) — decided to work as a servant in the Mayor's household in order to earn a little more money and help his family.

When Isabela first saw him, he was busy trimming the grass on the mansion's front lawn. She was immediately intrigued by his calm and cold nature. He seemed like the serious type — only talking when asked. Not to mention that he kept his sentences curt and aloof. A man of few words, perhaps? Surprisingly, Isabela somehow found herself wondering what his handsome face would look like with a smile.

Yes, despite his poor social and economic family background, Eduardo was surely a handsome young lad. His hair was black and shiny. It looked soft to touch and smooth to run your fingers through — not that Isabela would ever dare to do so. His brown eyes that looked sharp and menacing showed quite intriguing depths. His sun-kissed skin was of a healthy bronze complexion, tanned from long hours of working under the sun. His physique was yet to be developed for he was still on the lanky side but his stature was already tall for boys his age.

Even though the boy was obviously a recluse, the little lady still felt excited to have someone close to her age around the mansion. He may seem antisocial but Isabela could tell that he was still a polite and righteous kid — different from the other kids of the alta sociedad.

However, contrary to what one would think, Isabela did not approach him. Brought up in a certain way and taught about proper etiquette, manners, and societal norms, Isabela was certainly a "dalagang Filipina" (noble young lady) who was conscious of her words and actions.

It was already a scandalous thing for a young woman to initiate a conversation with a man. It was even preposterous for an aristocratic young lady to be found conversing alone with a servant male. Society had its standards and unspoken rules that the people had to follow. Grace and elegance was something to be expected of young ladies. No exceptions.

Yet, as funny as it seems, fate surely has its own ways.

It was Sunday. As per weekly customs, the Herrera family had set out to Church to attend the mass and offer prayers. After the mass, Mayor Herrera was unsurprisingly surrounded by people. They greet him, wish him and his family a blessed life, and try to engage in more small talks. Needless to say, there are a lot of people who are adamant in being under the Mayor's good graces. Mrs. Herrera undoubtedly stayed by her husband's side, engaging in lively chatter with her amigas and the other women present. Isabela who neither wanted to get involved in exchanging pleasantries nor be under other people's incriminating eyes, excused herself and made her way back to the carriage.

She was tired of having to put up a polite and overly-friendly act in front of other people. She could only inwardly sigh and pray that they can return home as soon as possible.

Lost in her thoughts of misery, she failed to properly put her foot on the steps of the carriage and lost her balance.

"Señorita!" Eduardo, who was their coachman for the day, cried out in alarm. He swiftly stretched out his arms to catch her and released a sigh of relief upon successfully doing so. "Are you alright, señorita?"

Isabela stared dumbfounded at the young man's charming face. But what captured her most was his brown eyes. They initially expressed anxiousness and concern but then it turned into something that resembled awe and admiration. The strong arms that were wrapped around her waist, giving her a sense of security, seemed to have tightened a bit. This caused the young lady to snap out of her daze. Breaking out of her weird thoughts, Isabela felt the heat spread out across her face and even to the tip of her ears. She stood up straight and cast her face downwards. She couldn't bear to look into his eyes.

"Yes, I'm alright. Thank you," she softly muttered and hurriedly went inside the carriage.

Eduardo was left there, standing still and mind a mess. All he could think of was that, "She's beautiful."


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