33 One thing that never changed

''Sir,'' the staff greeted them.

''Heels,'' was all Maxim said before he led her towards a couch that was positioned in front of a mirror.

''There are types and categories of heels,'' Diana said to the man who was standing in front of her, ''You can't just say heels and expect them to understand what you want—''

Her words were yet to finish before she saw different kinds of heels being displayed in front of her by the store staff.

She glanced at Maxim, who simply shrugged, ''Variety,'' the man said.

A small chuckle slipped her mouth.

As she looked at the heels, her gaze lingered on a pair of white stilettos. It had a chain ankle strap. It looked familiar for some reason.

"This one.''

Diana snapped out of her reverie when she heard Maxim's words.

And in the next moment, he knelt in front of her, holding the stilettos in his hand.

''I can do it myself,'' she pulled her feet back but he grabbed her ankles in time.

"Since I am compensating for your emotional distress caused by me when I carried you without your permission, let me just do it properly,'' he removed her sliders before putting the heels on her feet one by one.

Diana blinked, looking around the store where the ladies were ogling at Maxim. Some were even staring at her enviously.

She sighed helplessly. At this rate, he would never get himself a girlfriend. He was totally clueless about the female attention he was getting.

As he adjusted the straps of the heels, her attention shifted back to her feet.

Wearing a heel after what seemed like ages even though it has been a few weeks... she felt sentimental somehow.

How long has it been since she went on a shopping spree, or tasted some new wine? She had yet to dine in some 5-star restaurant?

"Pack this,'' Maxim said before he proceeded to remove the heels and helped her feet inside the sliders.

He passed his card to the staff assistant who was standing beside them.

And as Diana noticed the 'Jimmy Choo' bag in the woman's hand, realization dawned on her.

Just as Maxim stood up, she grabbed his elbow and pushed herself up from the couch, ''Warner!" she gasped, her voice barely above a whisper.

He looked at her, ''What?"

''That pair is really expensive. You have no idea about women's fashion but I am telling you that people can't afford certain lipsticks even if they end up selling their organs illegally,'' her lips parted in disbelief.

No wonder. No wonder those pretty heels looked familiar. Back in the Chen Mansion, she had seen them in a magazine the day before she ran away from that place.

Maxim looked at her blankly.

She realized that he must be taking time to digest it. She tugged at the sleeve of his shirt, ''$55K,'' she stated the price with a visible frown between her brows.

"Damn.''

Realizing that he understood the density of the situation, she let out another soft sigh. She could afford it with her diamond selling money but she was not going to squander right now considering how tight her finances were, ''Let's just—''

"I thought it was expensive,'' Maxim said.

Diana blinked.

Maxim let out a soft chuckle as he noticed her stunned expression, ''I can afford that much now,'' he spoke softly, ''Times have changed. Don't worry about my money.''

She glanced at the tycoon halo over his head before speaking righteously, ''But I can't accept...''

''Why not? Your proposition of being friends again doesn't stand anymore?"

Diana's eyes widened in realization.

...

Diana waited near Maxim's car as two store staff walked towards the car trunk with multiple bags in their hands.

Maxim sent her out first so she had no idea what else he brought other than the extravagant pair of heels for her. He must have gotten shoes for himself.

She has worn accessories more expensive than that yet she never thought it was a big deal. But now, juggling back and forth with a few hundred dollars for weeks made her realize just how valuable money was.

''Let's go,'' Maxim came to stand in front of her.

Diana tilted her head to look at him, "What was that back in the store?" she glanced at him seriously.

''We can talk back in the mansion.''

"Now,'' She did not want to keep mulling over it all the way. She'd rather know what he meant by asking her if that proposition of being friends still stood.

He looked at her quietly for a moment.

When she thought that he was not going to say anything, he spoke up, "I am sorry for yesterday,'' Maxim said.

''For saying that our friendship was convenient back then? And that I am approaching you again because it's convenient again?" she asked the man.

He lowered his head quietly, "I...''

She leaned back on his car, crossing her hands in front of her chest. Her blue dress swayed in the air.

The humidity was gradually lessening as autumn marked its arrival.

"I know you were angry at me so you snapped and maybe, you did not mean any of it. But what were you angry about? What did I do? Is it because I didn't call you during all these years?" Diana asked him without beating around the bush.

Maxim remained quiet.

But his face gave her the reasons. It was that. Her not contacting him but there was also something else. He would not have reacted that way if it was not a big deal.

"Let's start over again,'' Maxim glanced at her face, his onyx eyes sparkling with sincerity and determination.

Determination about what? She had no idea.

Diana did not push him for what he did not want to speak about. If he felt like he should discuss it with her, then he would do it without her pushing him.

''Start what again? You feel uncomfortable in my presence,'' she rolled her eyes at him.

His lips thinned.

"Also, what did you say?" she cleared her throat, mimicking his voice, ''Let's not make each other uncomfortable. Don't give me that 'we are friends' crap. Let's just stop this fiasco here blah blah blah.''

He lowered his head quietly again.

Diana stopped taunting him. She could almost picture an abandoned puppy in his place. Letting out a soft sigh, she approached him, ''You know what?"

He tilted his head to look at her, ''What?"

''You were right. Times have changed. You changed. I did. Our lives also changed,'' Diana shook her head, ''But there is one thing that never changed.''

Maxim raised a brow.

''No matter what you do, I can never stay mad at you when I see you. Or when you initiate the conversation despite your 'my words are more precious than mermaid's tears' attitude, I suddenly don't feel angry and upset anymore,'' she repeated the very same words that she said to him years ago when she thought he left a question unanswered just to let her get more marks and he came to talk to her the playground later.

Maxim's face softened before he smiled softly, revealing his dimples.

The smile on her face got wider, ''That should be the first genuine smile you spared in my direction after 6 years. What an accomplishment,'' she laughed when he blushed.

As they walked towards the car, he opened the door for her, placing his palm near the roof as she got inside.

He got inside the driver's seat before he looked at her, ''Do you remember your oath from that day?"

Diana thought about it for a moment, ''I swear on the only Chinese food stall in this vicinity that I won't overthink in the future. If I do break my promise, then this food stall will close down,'' she repeated the exact words that she had uttered that day, ''What about it?"

Maxim glanced at her resentfully, ''The only Chinese food stall in that vicinity closed down ages ago."

Diana: "..." Cough... It's just a coincidence. I don't overthink, alright?

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