A Stranger With No Agenda by Lada Redley

Wells Street is so well-hidden within the labyrinth of small streets in Central London. And like a red candy in a Skittles pack, it has its own flavor: there are little shops and cafes, there are houses and firms, and there is even a university. But other than that—the flavor—the street doesn’t have much to offer. If a stranger with no agenda were to walk past, he or she probably wouldn’t notice a single detail about the street, let alone its name.

That is exactly what happened the first time John Adwin found himself on Wells Street. His eyes were glued to the screen of his smartphone, where Google Maps shone brightly like a guiding light. John didn’t pay much attention to his surroundings, he was just following the impersonal orders of the app. What made him look up, he would never understand. But he did, and there she was—the beauty in a plain white apron. Her hair was up in a messy bun, her lips were stretched in a friendly smile. She was cleaning a table outside of a small cafe, and damn did John want to stop and help her.

“Hi.” His voice sounded hoarse and scary, but the girl’s smile didn’t fade as she warmly returned his greeting.

John hurried on, swearing under his breath, wishing he didn’t have to go to that bloody business meeting, wishing he could’ve stayed in that café where the girl was working. Sure, there was nothing particularly extraordinary about her, and yet John couldn’t stop thinking about her all the way to Oxford Street. It was not until he’d arrived at his meeting that he realised he had no idea where the café was. She might as well be thousands of miles away. John would not be able to find her in that web of London streets. Once again, he swore under his breath.

Naturally, during the course of the meeting, John forgot all about the girl and her friendly smile. It wasn’t until the following month that Wells Street mysteriously turned up in front of him again. John didn’t recognise it at first—it was just another street he passed on the way to another meeting. But then he saw her, the girl—smoking a little to the left of the café. She wore a grey apron this time, her hair hung in a ponytail, her lips were a thin line.

“Hi,” he smiled at her, and she offered a tired smile in return.

John’s eyes rushed to the wall of the nearest building. ‘WELLS ST,’ said the black lettering on a white metal sign.

Now he knew exactly where to find her.