C H A P T E R • OO1
C H A P T E R • OO1; S E R E N D I P I T Y
I wish I had met her at a party, while being too intoxicated to notice the dimples in her cheek as she smiled at me. Or maybe I should have met her on holiday in some far away country, so now she would be nothing more than a picture on my laptop. I even would have been able to find peace with having met her through a friend, not being able to look at her in a certain way because she was already taken. Instead, I met Jules at the London Underground.
Some mornings, you wake up in your cosy bed, and when you look at the clock you decide you have time to roll over once more and hide away in your blanket for a little while longer. Other mornings, you wake up to a ceiling you’ve never seen before, and when you turn your head you are not surprised to see the pretty blonde you were flirting with maybe six hours earlier. This morning was neither of those. I shuffled through the London Underground, leaving one of the better nightly adventures I had been on behind me; a house party from one of my high school friends. There was something about people who invited anyone they had been to high school with to celebrate their minor successes in life that didn’t sit right with me. More than once had I been asked if I couldn’t be just happy for old high school friends; more than once had I replied that we, the person celebrating their success and me, had never really been friends. I pushed past some people, sighing and grunting as I made my way through the crowd. There were so many people at the Underground that day that I might have overlooked her if I had been luckier. Instead she was the only person I really noticed, letting everyone else walk by in a haze. I would have called her hair Sepia, or Russet, maybe even chocolate brown, but I had never taken interest in different shades of colour before that moment. Her eyes were Cambridge blue, I know that much now. The first time I met her, I did not know that yet. I just knew that for some reason I stopped dead in my tracks when her eyes met mine. The blues and greys flowing into each other leaked innocence and fear, while the green speckles in her pupils made me feel restless, wild. She was maybe 2 feet away when her fragile posture appeared from behind a man who had been pushing his way through the crowd. How had I not noticed her earlier? Maybe the reason simply was the way she had been hidden between and behind all of the other people making their way to wherever they had or wanted to go. Her gaze shifted back to the city map on the wall, as if she hadn’t even really seen me. Since I was standing still in the middle of a busy hall, I was bound to get pushed by someone. I still lost my balance when it happened, but only a little, so I could regain it by moving on of my feet just a little. With wide eyes I searched the hall for whoever had pushed me as I blinked a few times. When I couldn’t find them, I turned my gaze back to the girl who had grabbed my attention before.
“Are you lost?” I whispered. At least, to me it sounded like a whisper in the overcrowded hall of the underground, lost among thousands of shouts and cries. Yet the girl turned her gaze back to me, looking taken aback just a little. She arched her eyebrows, blinking a few times, before shaking her head absently. Once again, her gaze turned back to the city map.
“Jules,” she answered, doubt flickering in her eyes. “I am Jules.”