Ten: Fate

Andrea watched Keith out of the corner of her eye, and tried to look casual, instead of what she felt inside (which happened to be exceedingly curious).

How was it that he had turned up here, her favourite restaurant? And on the very day too, that Alexis had promised to buy her dinner, “Not for any particular reason, just because I can’t have you eating microwave meals for the rest of your time until the wiring gets fixed.. .Which may be never.”

“Gee, you’re optimistic,” Andrea had remarked sarcastically.

“Well, I would be with the life I’ve had,” Alexis had said whilst taking a drag from her cigarette.

Andrea had given the stick a dirty look, but said nothing more.

Finishing off an Eton Mess (with extra strawberries), Andrea looked up to Keith again. He was looking rather lonely and Andrea was sure that he wasn’t still on his first pint.

“Bitter...” Alexis observed. Andrea guessed that she wasn’t just talking about the beer.

“I can tell,” she continued, “He’s loved and lost-”

“Would you please stop analysing everyone you see!”

“I’m not! I just notice these things, since Darren...” Alexis blushed and trailed off. It was the first time Andrea had seen her let her emotional guard down.

“Anyway,” the friend perked up again, “You’d better move now if you wanna catch cute Keith; he’s finally mooching out of here.”

Leaving her dessert almost eaten, Andrea could think of nothing better than intercepting Keith and finally having a one-on-one with him...sort of.

“So, Keith,” she spoke as soon as she’d managed to grab his wrist. It may have seemed a little ‘clingy’ but, to Andrea, it was the only way to get the man’s full attention. He whipped round, shocked at first, then surprised, but finally, relaxed.

“Andrea, what...?”

“Do you come here often?” She bubbled with enthusiasm.

“No, no, it’s my first time here. I was just spending an evening al- um... passing the time. And a workmate of mine recommended this place. Do you come here often?”

“It’s my first time too,” Andrea lied unexpectedly, eager to share something with Keith.

“Oh...”

“Well, we keep meeting, don’t we?”

“Yeah...”

Andrea blushed; it was getting more and more awkward by the second.

“I was thinking, because Fate has this thing about placing us in situations together, how about we just go ‘with the flow’.”

Gosh, that was almost as corny as one of Keith’s jokes...  sorry, Keith.

She whipped out an unused biro and a scrap of an old shopping-list from the large tan overcoat that she was wearing.

“Here, have my number... that is, if the pen decides to work. Do you have one I could borrow?”

Keith laughed and (after a quick search round his coat) pulled one out. With it fell a piece of paper, unnoticed by either.

“There!” Andrea finally presented Keith with the shopping-list and her number written in scruffy spiralling script. They both blushed again, as such a little- but incredibly important- piece of paper changed hands.

Suddenly Andrea noticed the little shred of paper that had floated down from Keith’s pocket.

“Here,” she said, picking it up slowly, and subconsciously flipping it round to see the small picture on the underside. A dark, petite and beautiful woman was laughing and had her arms around Keith, who was also looking the perfect picture of happiness.

For an instant, it filled Andrea with jealously... And she didn’t know why.

 

 

The End

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