Chance - A Short Story by Rae Blair

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
"Fate has plans for all of us," He stated. "And every person who enters our lives is meant to be there, for one reason or another. I never could have imagined just how much fate had planned for you and I."

Submitted: May 15, 2013

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Submitted: May 15, 2013

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Liz was already up and running late when she heard the third reminder alarm buzzing from her smartphone. She grumbled through her toothbrush before spitting globs of toothpaste in to the sink and rinsing it away. 

"Yes, work! I know, I know!" She cried out, running back in to her bedroom in only her high-waist pencil skirt and bra; hair still in curlers. A woman in her position of power could easily excuse any late arrival to the office, but tardiness was a huge disappointment to her personally. Things had just been so stressing lately for Liz. She was only twenty-three years old and while most of her same-aged friends were out with the girls at night, still in University, and working a part-time, nine-to-five retail job, she was CEO of her own fashion magazine enterprise. She had made her way from the bottom of the pyramid; lugging heavy stones that scratched at her ankles, only causing her to have callused symbols of strength rather than dampening her spirits. She hated straying from success. And people who were late, often weren't successful.

Ring! Ring!

The intercom to her upscale studio apartment buzzed. It must have been her taxi. Liz never earned her license in her teenage years and somehow, it wasn't on her priority list nowadays. Today, though, she regretted the lack of having her own vehicle and permit to drive it.

"Coming! Coming! God damn it, hold on!" She tucked her white blouse in to her deep-red skirt and fashioned a leopard-print belt around her mid-section. It snagged on her shirt, cause a small tear. 

"Fuck!" Looking around the room for a quick fix, she heard the intercom buzz once more. In a hurry, she grabbed a blazer from her closet and ran out the door. Thankfully, her work belongings were always ready to go! Liz bolted outside faster than the strike of lightning. She was just in time... to watch her taxi glide down the street and disappear down a side-road. As if this wasn't enough - she had left her hair curlers in. Furiously, she tugged them out of her hair and checked herself out in the reflection on her phone screen.

"Okay... at least that's looking good!" 

Liz breathed deeply. She inhaled through her nose for a few moments, then exhaled through her mouth. She walked a few feet to the bus stop; this being New York, the chances of her grabbing another taxi were slim. She'd sooner arrive by public transit. Unlike many of the city's highrollers, Liz was humble. The only person she believed she could be better than was herself. She had no shame or sense of belittlement by using public transit; no matter the other kinds of people who shared this method of transportation. When the bus arrived, she paid her fare and sat three rows back on the right - closest to the window, of course. A few minutes in to the ride, a man got on the bus and began to argue with the driver. A few of the obvious regulars rolled their eyes and called out to him.

"Get off the bus, you scum!"

"We're trying to get to our jobs! Something you wouldn't know about!"

"Not this bum again..."

Liz couldn't believe the rudeness of those around her and tuned in to the quarrel between the shabby-dressed man and the bus driver. He was trying to get on the bus because he had an interview as a janitor at a high school across town. He was arrested on Friday for sleeping inside of a public park bathroom and they had just let his out this morning, being Monday. The bus driver put him down, informing him that there was no way an educational institution would allow him a job, especially after spending the weekend in a jail cell. He pleaded, saying that he knew that, once given a chance, he would be hired and the school board would see past his homelessness and past arrests for such little, harmless activites. This man was so desperate to make this interview, he actually bent down on his knees and begged. Liz felt her heart sink as she watched him toss his dignity out the door.

"Fine." The driver responded. A few people sighed in disbelief. The homeless man rose to his feet and took a few steps before being stopped by the driver, once again. "Eh, eh, eh. Cough up some fare. I didn't say the ride was free."

Both Liz and the man stared blankly towards the city bus driver. Was he stupid, or just that ignorant? Liz had had enough. She rose to her feet, walked towards the front of the bus and dropped the necesarry fare in to the machine. It spat out a ticket, which she grabbed and handed to the homeless man. His eyes glistened with thankful tears and he silently nodded his head. She smiled warmly at him before shooting a sharp, disapproving glare towards the driver. The rest of the ride was entirely silent as everybody processed the situation and re-evaluated their reactions to his prescence. He sat beside her the entire ride, thanking her again as he exited the bus at the high school. Liz handed him another round of fare before saying goodbye.

Liz arrived to work feeling refreshed, dispite her rough morning. Meeting that man really lifted her mood. She thought deeply about herself and her situation and how much she wished somebody had been there to do such a deed for her while she was at her lowest. During her teenage years, her parents divorced. She made some bad decisions; dropping out of school, leaving home for a shelter, abusing drugs and alcohol, taking up smoking, breaking the law... It was hard for her to break out of the lifestyle she had created for herself. When she finally did mature and was ready to start anew, nobody would give her the chance. Nobody would take her seriously because of her past. After months of depression surrounding her failures, she decided that the only hand that could feed her was her own. So, she visited the local library every day and created a blog. A blog on her one, life-long passion - fashion. It started out small and impersonal. She would collect images from around the Internet and compile them in to collages. Then, she started getting serious. She would interview "the NYPL Best Dressed" and conduct surveys or questionnaires. Soon, her blog was producing income. Once she had some money, she invested in an art course and started creating her own pieces. She would feature them on her blog; which soon became it's own domain. After two years, it had become the number one fashion website in New York and magazines everywhere wanted a piece of it. She decided this wasn't enough, and created her own magazine. Many of her employees were friends she had made through the blog who had a passion as fiery as her own. Needless to say, the magazine was as much of a hit as the website and blog. After merely one year, and eleven issues, she had connected with all of the big names in fashion and was the go-to magazine for all things style in North America.

Leaving work that day, Liz decided to stop for a coffee at a nearby cafe. A stroke of fate had the homeless man from the bus entering that cafe as well. He had just bought a small danish. She approached him with a smile on her face.

"Oh... hello!' He responded. "I'm so sorry, I hope you don't mind me spending the bus fare on this... It's just... I haven't eaten in a few days and I would rather walk than starve another day." 

His eyes held a familiar sadness.

"Not at all, friend. I never got your name, by the way! I'm Elizabeth Simmons - Liz." He shook her hand and introduced himself; she noticed the gentle, green eyes that were hidden beneath his dark, uncut hair. His face was young, maybe thirty, no more than thirty-five.

"I'm Jason... Jason Yemming." 

"Jason..." She repeated dreamily. "Would you like to have coffee, Jason?"

"Oh, Liz, you have given me quite enough." He replied humbly. "You don't need to bother yourself with my company."

"Please, I insist. It's no bother."

They sat at a table in the far corner of the cafe and Liz ordered a coffee with extra sugar. Her and Jason talked for a while about the day, how his interview had completely bombed due to the coincidental connection between the bus driver and the high school he had been applying at. Apparently, he was the son of a retired teacher who had left a hearty sum of money to the school board after passing. The family name was cherished in the school community. The driver had a large amount of influence and called to protest Jason's hiring calling him a "deranged, lazy criminal" and making other ridiculous and exaggerate claims.

"I'm so sorry that happened to you, Jason."

"Ah, it wasn't the job for me! Life has a funny way of showing us which way we are meant to go." He finished his danish. "By the way - I risk making you question my hetereosexuality here - but I have been meaning to compliment your leopard belt. I see that print everywhere. However, you pull it off magnificiently with the red. The contrast is just lovely."

Liz was pleasantly surprised.

"I know... I grew up in a family of sisters. I guess that's how I became cursed with a good eye for style."

"Oh, no, I'm just shocked! And hey, I work at a fashion magazine - trust me, I don't question anything. Especially good fashion sense."

They both smiled pleasantly.

"I took a few design courses in College. I always seemed to center my projects around fashion... My teachers thought it was beyond bizarre. Did you attend school?"

"No..." Liz reflected on her past, an idea forming in her mind. "I actually don't have a high school diploma, let alone a College degree!"

They spoke some more about Jason's College career and how his current homeless state was due to lack of availibility in the design workplace after graduation, and the fact that his student loans eventually caught up, gained interest and took everything he owned. His mother had passed around this time and his sisters became awful, ill-intented young women who stopped having contact with him after he expressed his distaste for their arguing over his mothers possessions at her funeral. They ended up selling everything and splitting the money. Jason took the home, which, again, was repossesed due to his debt. He showed Liz some of his fashion designs, mocking them as he did. She was absolutely impressed and inspired, though. She filled him in on how she created the magazine she works for from scratch.

"That's amazing, Liz. You should be quite proud."

"I am, Jason... you know what... this has been an excellent interview."

He stared at her with a puzzled expression. She smiled excitedly to the man in front of her.

"Jason, do you want to work for me? As an Assistant Lead Designer and Editor?"

Tears once again came to his eyes. He accepted without any hesitation.

 

***

Three years later, Jason - clean-cut and back on his feet - and Liz stood a few feet apart in front of a podium reciting vows. Here, he told the story of their meeting. He described her gentle, kind and humble soul. He expressed his gratefulness and love for her, and how he learned that day to never overlook a fellow human being and to always extend a helping hand to those in need.

"Fate has plans for all of us," He stated. "And every person who enters our lives is meant to be there, for one reason or another. I never could have imagined just how much fate had planned for you and I. I can never repay you for what you have given me, Elizabeth; for that day you reinvented my life. You gave me a job, a life, a purpose... a chance. I hope that my eternal and unwavering love is enough to show just how much you, and your kind soul, mean to me. I love you, Elizabeth Yemming. Forever."



© Copyright 2020 RaeBlair. All rights reserved.

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