Fate and Laundry Soap:
It was a Friday, which was an odd time of the week for anyone to be doing laundry, but there she was. Hunched between a plastic yellow basket of whites and a folded pile of second hand towels she sat catching up on some Sociology reading and chewing on her thumbnail. To anyone else she looked like any other college student, except it was Friday night, and she was sitting on a beige washer in a run down Laundromat instead of partying. If you'd asked any other kid, they probably would have chosen Smirnoff over Du Bois. Maybe that's why he noticed her.
She was cute – not drop dead gorgeous or retaining the look that stopped men in their tracks – just cute. Her plain brown hair was pulled back in a messy pony tail and she wore no make-up, just chewed on her left thumbnail and scanned pages that meant nothing to him. Her eyes were brown, and from his vantage point he noted they contained the edges of amber; he wondered if they ever sparkled.
What he was doing there was nothing short of a coincidence. They needed a fresh change of clothes after traveling for so long, and since they weren't supposed to play until the next day, they had thought to seek out the nearest Laundromat around. It was strange that of all the places in the city, they had chosen that one, on that particular night, at that particular time – and that particular girl.
He shoved his laundry in a washer a few down from where she sat, and chose to sit on the one next to it. She didn't even look his way, which was odd because, well, he was a heart throb. Two thousand screaming fans had just been calling his name not twenty-four hours beforehand, and the plain girl on the washer hadn't so much as glanced his way. He sighed loudly, then darted his eyes in her direction, but she remained fixated with the pages of her book.
"Hey, do you…uh, have the time?" he asked, grasping for some kind of conversational starter. He'd never been terribly good at starting a conversation, really; it was hard to start one when one girl or another was always babbling away at first contact.
She glanced up at him finally and blinked, as if being awakened from sleep. Those brown eyes darted to the blatantly obvious clock ticking on the cracked wall, then back at him in a kind of confusion. "Um, almost eight."
"Oh, cool." Silence ticked towards eight with resounding movements, even above the noise of washers and dryers. He'd never felt this awkward before. A silent sigh, this time, was emitted from his lips, and he scratched a mop of sandy brown hair and sprung out in all different directions; girls said it was a sexy bed head look.
"What book are you reading?" he blurted finally, trying to get a good look of her expression while appearing to be studying the cover of her paperback.
Nervous eyes darted to him again as she shrugged. "Just some sociology theory." She replied quietly, as if reading sociology were no different than reading Vogue.
"Ah, some personal reading, then." He smirked in amusement and hoped his twinkling green eyes would conjure up the same curiosity about him as he had for her.
The corner of her mouth curved for the briefest of moments before she shook her head. "No, homework. I'm a sophomore at Cardinal U."
"Huh. What are you studying to be?"
"Oh, um…I don't know." She smiled softly, unperturbed by her indecisiveness. "What…are you studying?"
He chuckled and shrugged. "Uh, rock n' roll – ology I guess, just to make it sound more important. I'm in the band The Tips."
He was almost offended when her eyebrows rose and her face contorted to contained laughter, or maybe surprised amusement. "The Tips?"
"Never heard of us?"
"No," she laughed a little as she shook her head, "Definitely not The Tips."
"Oh, well," he hopped off his washer and sauntered closer to her, "You definitely should."
Her soft smile returned and she gave a nod. "Yeah, maybe I will."
Silence ensued and her brown eyes quickly darted back to her book, as if it would save her from the lull in conversation. He wasn't satisfied. Leaning against he stack of dryers across from her he shoved his hands in his pockets and tilted his head "What are you doing here?"
For the first time her brown eyes met his green ones, startled. "Pardon?"
He shrugged. "I was just wondering what you were doing here on a Friday."
A slightly amused expression crossed her face. She had soft features, he noted, especially when her lips curved just slightly and her hair hung around her face. "I'm washing my laundry; it's a Laundromat, so I'm pretty sure that's okay."
"Yeah, but it's Friday night."
She didn't seem to understand. "Um…yes? Why are you here?"
"Me? I'm washing laundry," he grinned, the one that melted girls into puddles so that they had to be scraped off the floor later on. Funny, it didn't seem to have any affect on her. "I party all the time, so when I get a break, or need some clothes…you know."
"Are you saying that I don't party?" she tilted her head, the soft smile fading.
Her reaction threw him, and he'd never been thrown before. "Yes – no! No, that's not what I meant to…say…that – well it's just that you…I… - I'm not really good at this whole…conversation…thing, am I?"
She shook her head sympathetically. "No."
He winced and rubbed the back of his head. "Sorry."
"Don't be." She shrugged.
"Okay – so let's start over, shall we?" he smiled at the amused twist of her lips. "I'm Adam."
"Amelie." Her tiny hand fit into his firm grip so tentatively, so hesitantly, he thought he might break it if he held it any longer.
They talked well into the night, until she had no more laundry left to fold, and he hadn't nearly begun on the large bag that held all of his belongings. Most of the time he did the talking, but he was able to coax a few words from her shy mouth. When the clock on the cracked wall glared midnight she fought off a yawn and tried to shrug away her lethargy, but he noticed and felt kind of bad. He offered to walk her home, and she'd only accepted because of his persistence, and his puppy dog face.
"It's weird," he mused once they'd left the small Laundromat and out into the October chill of fall. "I mean – this whole meeting."
She glanced over at him. "Why is it weird?"
He shrugged. "I don't know. I mean, it's not every day you meet a girl like you in a Laundromat on a Friday night."
"I guess not."
"I probably wouldn't have met you anywhere else if you think about it. If it hadn't been for my dirty laundry, my band, everything – we wouldn't have met. Don't you find that strange?" he insisted as if trying to prove a point.
The sleepy girl felt barely apt enough to get home without tripping carelessly on a crack in the sidewalk, let alone contemplate the meaning behind this new acquaintance. "A little, but things like that happen every day; it's Fate."
He thought about it for awhile, until the point of which they reached her tiny house, the one with the basement suite that she rented with a friend. For a moment they stood awkwardly, neither knowing what to say, how to part ways. No one had quite rendered him speechless before the way she had, and she hadn't even done it intentionally.
"Um…I guess…" he wanted to say 'I'll see you later', but later was so open-ended, and he wanted to see her sooner than later.
She stared at him expectantly, unknowing of what to say. He was peculiar, he was a little on the eccentric side; she liked that about him.
"I don't want to say goodbye." He blurted into the airy quiet. Green eyes stared at her with earnest. She could imagine – foolishly – herself melting in those eyes.
Her cheeks blushed a light shade of pink, even in the biting cold air. She laughed softly, wondering how to handle his outburst.
"I mean – I want to see you again – soon. Is that…okay?" a thought struck him suddenly. "You don't have a boyfriend or anything, do you?"
The light shade of pink turned to a heated red and she tucked a strand of her hair behind her ears. "No."
He grinned. "Good."
They exchanged numbers and he promised to call her as soon as possible, which, he determined, would be the moment he awoke the next morning. He hugged her goodnight, wrapping his arms around her small body, tentatively at first, then tighter when she squeezed back. She smelled of laundry soap and lavender, and she fit so perfectly against him. He waited until she had disappeared around the corner before reluctantly heading the way he'd come.
That was how it began. They would later tell their friends that they had met in that fateful Laundromat on a Friday, how the musician on the mind of every teenage girl in the country had met the quiet bookworm, and fallen for her. The magic may not have sparked at first – it took some months before she would come to accept the feelings he evoked in her – but they evolved eventually.
There are some things in life are left to chance, but this…this was Fate.
At least, that's what they claim.
A/N: oh, just say it already. Proverbial stones might be alright too. I plan on adding to Legend of the Laundromat Queen quite soon, hence the Laundromat-themed piece of rubbish.