Chapter One: Twist of Fate
It was on a crowded subway, the first time they met. It was her first time riding alone and she still wasn't used to the whole system. She clutched her messenger bag to her side tightly as she entered, grasping hold of the closest pole she could find.
And then, just as she was starting to exhale, a hand closed around hers briefly.
"Oh, sorry." The words were spoken softly, huskily, hoarsely. She looked up, meeting dusky gray eyes.
He studied her openly. High cheekbones, soft features. Skin the color of hot chocolate with too much milk. A simple brown t-shirt and jeans. Hair the color of caramel and gathered in a loose, curly bun. She looked nervous, fidgety.
"You're new at this, huh?"
She couldn't seem to look away from his eyes.
"Yeah." She looked down self-consciously, tucking a bit of hair behind her ear, a smile lighting up her face.
"Where you headed?" He had a soft smile teasing his lips. He really was quite handsome. His dark, inky hair fell into his eyes. His captivating gray eyes.
"School." He nodded. Someone bumped into him a bit, and he fell against the pole, his body too close and his eyes boring straight into hers. There was a silence, in which they just stared at each other. She never wanted to look away. She wanted to talk to him, to get to know everything about him.
"I feel like I know you." He broke the silence, his face even closer now, his breath warm on her face. It smelled like coffee. His eyes reminded her of clouds on a stormy day. She felt dizzy.
"I - " And then the subway stopped, and her senses came back to her and she realized that this is where she got off. She motioned behind her with a sharp gesture of her thumb. "I have to go." She was flushed and scared half to death by this beautiful boy that was staring at her with the strangest look on his face. She began walking backwards, towards the sliding doors, almost falling over a poor elderly lady, barely missing a girl and her dad.
"Wait…!" He jutted through the people, reaching her just as she was stepping outside of the closing doors. Her mouth was open and her eyes were a little widened at the fact that he was chasing her. He knew it would sound cliched and stupid once he said it, but he couldn't help it.
"Tell me your name!"
"Kate." She breathed, though she knew he couldn't hear her. He furrowed his brow, leaning close to her as he could, people blocking her from view. He searched for her frantically, his eyes roaming until he saw her, still standing there.
"What?" The doors were closing and he knew that if he didn't hear it now, he probably never would.
"It's Kate!" She yelled, over the noise, over the sounds of the subway pulling off again, over her voice in her own head asking her what the heck she was thinking.
He's a complete stranger.
The doors slid closed and he smiled at her through the smudged and dirty glass. She watched as he bit his lip and the subway pulled off and she wondered why, even when he was gone, she couldn't seem to move.
He leaned against a pole and only one thought was running through his head…
The second time it was just as much by chance. She was strolling down the street after school had let out, ambling home. She stopped at a small coffee shop, buying a mocha-flavored drink and sipping it slowly as she walked along.
She really did love it here. The big city, all of the people. So much to do, so much to see. A paradise for a girl of about 17, an ambitious romanticist. The coffee was cupped in both hands, as it was a little chilly and she was trying to ease some of the warmth into her fingers. Her hair was thrown up messily, she never really paid too much attention to it. Her eyes were roving the sidewalk, watching the people, observing the goings-on around her. Worn-in jeans matched with an oversized gray sweater and uniform converses made her blend into the crowd even more.
But he still found her.
He was coming the other way, looking just as much like everyone else that she never would have noticed him. Him with his stormy gray eyes.
He had never stopped thinking about her. She had always remembered him.
She took a sip, burning her tongue a bit, but savoring the rich coffee taste. She didn't see him until he'd seen her. She probably wouldn't have seen him, though, if he hadn't been standing stock still in front of her.
"Kate." She froze as soon as the word left his lips. His lips. She hadn't looked at them before. They were perfect.
"Oh my God." She muttered under her breath, she was close enough to reach out her hand and touch him. "I thought I'd never - " The look in his eyes stopped her.
He'd known. He'd known he would see her again.
"I never got to tell you." He started. She had to take another step forward to hear him completely. "I'm Dom." He held out his hand. She took it, gingerly, tenderly. He shook, his hand lingered in hers. Then she pulled hers away.
"Dom." The name rolled off of her tongue just right. Dom. He brushed back his hair, nodding.
"Can I walk with you?" She nodded. His voice was just like she'd remembered. Throaty and deep and laced with un-expressed emotion. "Where are you headed?"
"Home." She replied, looking at him, wondering why he was taking an interest in her. Him with his pale, creamy-smooth skin and heather-colored eyes. He nodded again, his hair falling back into his face delicately. It really was quite endearing. Excitement and nervousness curled around her throat and she couldn't help the slight shaking in her fingers. She took another sip of coffee.
"How far is it?" His head was inclined a little, his hands deep in his pockets.
"Um…" Glancing around she noted the photography store not far from her house. "A few blocks." He half-smiled.
"Okay." She looked up at him again, but he was watching the people go by nonchalantly.
"Didn't see you on the subway this morning." He said, completely out of the blue. She knew that she should feel awkward and out of place, but it was really just the opposite. She felt absolutely relaxed, and, well, normal.
"I switch on and off." She replied. Another sip of coffee. "It was a nice day." He nodded.
"I love this weather." She nodded.
"Me too." He studied her. She looked soft. She smelled like cinnamon and books. He liked it
"You read a lot, huh?" She cocked an eyebrow.
"Yeah. How could you tell?" He shrugged, another half-smile lighting up his eyes.
"Lucky guess. Plus, the glasses on top of your head." She laughed, her hand feeling for the forest-green glasses perched on her head.
"I just need them for reading." He nodded. They took a left turn and continued to walk. "How about you? Do you read?" He nodded.
"I read. I write more." She took a drink of her coffee. It wasn't so hot anymore. "So how are you adjusting?" She chuckled. "To living New York?"
"Am I that obvious?" He shook his head.
"Only to the well-trained eye."
"Almost a month now. We moved from a little po-dunk town where I've lived all my life and knew everyone." He nodded.
"I'll bet you left a lot of good friends there." She nodded; the bit of aching that she felt for her friends violently pushed down before it had a chance to resurface. "Why'd you move?"
"My mom got a better job." She replied. "Plus, I'm closer to my dad now."
"Yeah." She finished off the coffee and threw it in a nearby trashcan. "It was a pretty nasty one." He didn't try to comfort her, he just nodded. She wasn't sure if she liked that about him yet or not.
"Sorry." He looked sorry, she realized. His brow was creased and his jaw firm.
"So…you've lived in New York for a while I take it?" He almost laughed.
"All my life." She studied him openly for almost a minute; he noticed and scratched the back of his head self-consciously.
"What?" She shook her head, smiling.
"Nothing…I was just thinking, what's a guy like you doing interested in a girl like me?" His eyes traveled over her face for a bit. It wasn't just about the skin.
"Good question." She thought he was teasing, but she couldn't tell. "I don't really know. There's just…" He paused, then finished a few seconds later. "Something about you." She crossed her arms in front of her as they walked. Something about the way his eyes moved enraptured her.
"I feel like I know you." She echoed his words from the subway. He paused, remembering, then cracked the closest that she'd seen him get to a smile.
"I wanna show you something." He held out his hand, a twinkle lighting up his dusky eyes. "Come with me?" Her heart jumped into her throat. Here was a gorgeous, mysterious, white boy, around her own age, who'd lived in New York his whole life (or so he claimed) extending a steady hand out to her. A complete stranger. He could be a psycho, rapist, mass-murderer or something. She honest to goodness had no way of knowing if he was telling her the truth or not.
But she took his hand anyway.