I OWN NOTHING YOU RECOGNIZE (AND SOME THINGS YOU DON'T.) Please don't steal my work. I worked really hard on this and I don't want to read the exact same story on another site with the names changed. Not cool.
A/N: Alright! Let's get this show on the road!
The Pull of Destiny
Chapter One- Uh Oh
Watching Dalton School's newest and most lovey-dovey couple exchange spit while I sat opposite them in the booth at Denny's and wished I was somewhere else wasn't the way I wanted to spend my Monday afternoon. I don't have anything against PDA, but being the third wheel sucks. Unfortunately, every time my BFF Robyn Miller gets a new boyfriend (which happens more often than you would believe), a third wheel is exactly what I become. Just the annoying tagger-on who wants to go home but can't because her best friend doesn't want her first date with her 'Mr. Right' to be awkward. Yeah right. Robyn throws all her morals out of the front door when she hooks up with a new guy. Most of the time, she's so busy with 'Mr. Right' that she doesn't even notice that I'm there, glancing at my watch every five seconds and wolfing down cold fries, cold pizza or cold burgers (depending on where we're eating that day). And feel free to disagree with me, but if I want to see two hot teens make out in New York City, I'll go home and watch Gossip Girl.
So that's why when my House Adviser, Mrs. Williams, asked me to deliver homework to a kid who hadn't bothered to turn up for school today, I jumped at the chance.
She approached me as I was being buffeted out of my last class of the day by students who apparently just couldn't wait to rush out into the cold, her arms filled with a sheaf of files.
"Celsiana, may I have a word?" she asked, her long skirt swirling around her ankles as she stopped in front of me.
"Sure," I replied with trepidation, my eyes sweeping the hall for an escape route. When Mrs. Williams wanted a word, it usually meant that a lecture was at hand. Unfortunately, all I saw was Robyn and my other best friend, Shazia El Hamed, lurking behind a pillar. Robyn was frowning at me.
Uh oh. I'm making her late for her tête-à-tête with flavor of the week.
I shrugged slightly in Robyn's direction, hoping that Mrs. Williams didn't see. It wasn't my fault!
"Okay, these are all homework files of students who didn't show up today," Mrs. Williams said as she rested her back against the wall, holding up the files.
"Oh," I said, wondering what that had to do with me. I had showed up today, hadn't I?
Behind Mrs. Williams, Robyn was tapping her watch, looking increasingly irritated. Hiding a smile, Shazia hugged her and took off. The daughter of a Saudi Arabian oil merchant, Shazia's chauffeured limo came to pick her up at precisely 2.30 pm. The plus side was she didn't have to walk in the rain, but she had never been on the subway! Every New York City resident should go on the subway at least once. That's my opinion. Since Mrs. Williams was leafing through her files, I found a chance to tap my watch and hold up 5 fingers.
"Five seconds," I mouthed, knowing full well it wouldn't be five seconds. Mrs. Williams took forever to get to the point, and Robyn knew it. Still, anything that put off the inevitable (in this case, trying not to watch Robyn and her boyfriend have a fun time while trying not to feel like the loser I was) was a bonus, in my book.
Five seconds turned into ten, which turned into a minute and Mrs. Williams still hadn't said anything to indicate why she was making me stand here, attracting weird looks from my classmates as they filled the hall. In fact, she hadn't said anything at all, still engrossed in her files. I shifted from one foot to another, scratching the back of my neck with my free hand.
This is getting stupid.
"Uh, Mrs. Williams, I need to-," I started hesitantly, not exactly sure what I had to do but knowing that if she didn't get to the point soon, I would have to leave. Just up and leave without saying anything. She probably wouldn't even notice.
"Here it is," she exclaimed loudly, whipping out a blue file with our school logo emblazoned on the front. She looked up at me, a strand of her graying hair falling into her face. "Celsiana, can you do me a favour?"
"Um, sure," I replied, crossing my fingers behind my back.
Please don't send me to deliver a message to Coach Russell.
Coach Russell was the football varsity coach and he made it a mission to hit on every female student he talked to.
"This is Lucas Astor's homework file." She squinted at me. "You do know Lucas Astor, don't you?"
I nodded, resisting the strong urge to roll my eyes to the ceiling. Of course I knew Luke Astor. There wasn't a single person who went to this school, from kindergarten to senior year, who didn't know who Luke Astor was. He was one of the richest, most popular students around.
"Yes, Mrs. Williams, I know Lucas," I said, marveling at my poker face.
Mrs. Williams sighed theatrically, fanning her face with Luke's file. I understood her relief (I think) but that was a little overdramatic for my taste. "Thank goodness. That makes it so much easier." I was just about to ask 'makes what so much easier' when she told me. My heart sank down to my boots as she spoke. "What I want you to do is deliver Lucas's homework." Ugh. Out of all the friends Luke has, why me? I barely even talk to the guy! "Joanna Winthrop was supposed to deliver it to him-apparently they have a little something something going on."
She stopped and looked at me expectantly after imparting this little nugget of information. I was still trying to get over her saying 'a little something something going on' so I just looked as curious as I could and said "Really?"
"Lucas called to ask for Joanna specifically but she didn't show at my office," Mrs. Williams continued. "You don't mind doing this, do you?"
My mind raced. Spend the afternoon watching Robyn make out or drop off the homework and rush home? Easy choice.
"Sure, I'll do it," I said, taking care to put an eager smile on my face.
At least now I had a valid excuse to blow off Robyn without feeling bad.
Mrs. Williams smiled so widely I almost heard her cheekbone's creak. "Excellent! You're a life saver, Celsiana!"
Funny. The way my cousin told it, I was a waste of space. Oh, well, each to his or her own, I guess. I smiled back at her, banishing those thoughts to the back of my mind. Plenty of time to deal with thatwhen I got home. School and work were my sanctuaries; at least when I was there, I could pretend like everything was alright. I didn't want that to change, because when I got home, it was another story.
"You were my first choice because you're responsible and also, you sit near Lucas in Science, don't you?" Mrs. Williams went on.
I nodded yet again, starting to feel like a bobble head doll.
Not like sitting near to Luke meant anything. Heirs of old money like Luke Astor didn't talk to commoners on financial aid like me. Not to sound bitter or anything, but I bet if the shoe was on the other foot, Luke probably wouldn't even know who I was, let alone agree to drop off my homework at home. And him being a typical Upper East Sider, he'd probably get lost in my East Harlem neighborhood. But my aunt says, 'God rewards you for all your good deeds' and she's rarely wrong about anything. I wondered what my reward for doing this good deed would be, feeling slightly guilty for doing it but unable to stop myself. Maybe a cup of tea in the Astor house. That would be a sweet reward, it was cold outside. This reminded me-.
"Where does Luke live?"
Just asking that question made me feel supremely stupid and I stared down at my white boots, not daring to look up at Mrs. Williams. She had to be laughing at me. As a female member of the student body, it was my duty to know where Luke lived. All the girls at Dalton adored Luke because he was pretty adorable, I guess, even though he was a bit of a jerk. He was cute, loud and your typical party animal and skirt chaser. He mostly dated smoking hot blondes and spent his lunch breaks hanging out under the bleachers with his crew or playing the bass guitar in the music studio. Unfortunately, he played quite well, which was only more ammo for his flock of fawning fan girls. They thought the fact that the guy played a bit of bass guitar put him on the level of Jimi Hendrix. Sample of an overheard conversation about him: "OMG, he's like, super hawt! And he's like totally in a band, y'know!"
Yeah, our school isn't exempt from its share of valley girls. Pretty weird, since we're in NYC, but whatever.
"He lives on Park Avenue."
Of course. Where else could a moneyed descendant of an importantly famous family live in Manhattan? Duh, Celsi.
Fishing in her skirt pocket, Mrs. Williams pulled out a piece of paper and handed it to me. Scribbled on it was an address. "Here's the address," she said. "It's on your way home, so that should be convenient."
"Yeah, well, kind off," I said, stuffing the paper into my parka pocket. I was feeling impatient now. This conversation shouldn't be taking this long! It should have been over ages ago.
"How are you doing at home?"
Mrs. Williams had a concerned look on her face and I tried my best not to sigh. Not this question again.
A couple of months ago, I had come into school with a bruise on my chin. Even after I told her that I ran into a door, she wouldn't believe me and contacted my aunt to hold a meeting with her. My aunt spilled her guts, telling her about how rough my cousin Nathan could be, especially when he had been drinking (which was constantly). Mrs. Williams automatically assumed that Nathan had hit me (not true. He threw a book at me, but that's okay. I'm used to it) and decided to make herself my confidant.
"Good," I replied, hoping that she wasn't going to press me. "My cousin got a job, so that's been better."
She smiled again and I immediately felt my heart tighten with guilt. There I was, feeling defensive when she was asking me, but she was doing it for my own benefit. Still, there were some things I felt like I had to keep to myself, like how Nathan went on a drunken rampage through the apartment every once in a while, breaking things and cursing everyone out. When that happened, I took refuge in my room, my iPod turned up high so that I didn't have to hear my aunt cry. Mrs. Williams didn't need to know that. 'Brush your shoulders off' was the motto that I lived by. I was strong. I had to be, to get through every night.
"That's good." To my gratitude, she didn't continue on the subject, instead handing me (finally!) Luke's file. "Okay, here's the file and tell Lucas he'd better come in tomorrow unless he's dying. And if he's dying, I want a note from his doctor."
I took the file, holding it under my arm. "Did he say what was wrong?" I asked curiously.
"No," Mrs. Williams said, her voice slightly bitter. "He's an Astor. He doesn't need an excuse not to show up at school."
I shrugged. Made sense. His dad was on the school board, after all. Luke was always causing disruptions in the school, but he got so much leeway it was like he owned the place.
Mrs. Williams's thin lips pursed. "I'm sure he just has a hang over. And that homework ought to sober him right up."
Robyn wasn't impressed that I was ditching her to go deliver Luke's homework.
"No, you have to come with me," she pleaded, clutching on to my arm as we walked to the station, trying not to slip on the frosty sidewalk. "I'm gonna be so nervous alone with him!"
I had to laugh at her. "Rob, you guys have been alone before! I wasn't there when he asked you out!" I reminded her. She turned to me, her cheeks reddened by the cold, pouting at me.
"And you should have seen how awkward that was," she said, sighing. "I need you, Celsi! You give off a positive vibe!"
She bumped her hip against mine, making me giggle. "Why, thank you! And here I was thinking my vibe was kinda creepy, in a stalkerish way."
I thought that was pretty funny (which just goes to show that my sense of humor is garbage) but Robyn didn't crack a smile, clutching my arm so tight I had pins and needles.
"Ha-ha. Seriously though, when you're around, my dates go smoother," she said, twirling a lock of her blonde hair around her gloved finger. "And my boyfriends last longer."
I shook my head before she'd even finished her sentence. "Rob, none of your boyfriends last for a long time! The longest you've had a boyfriend for is a month," I told her, trying to jog her memory. "You're a serial dater."
Robyn gave me a superior look. "Actually, it was a month and two days," she said. I shrugged. Same difference.
"I don't think me not being there will ruin your chances with this one," I said, patting her arm reassuringly. Even though their first date was off to a pretty bad start. I mean, the guy had asked to meet with Robyn at the subway, for goodness sakes! All of her other boyfriend, as short-lived as they might be, at least had enough class to pick her up by car. I wasn't being a snob, but Robyn, even though she was one of the most down to earth rich girls I had ever met, was still a Fifth Avenue princess. She had been on the subway a couple of times (I made sure of that) but never to meet a guy she was going on a date with. "Just be yourself. Make eye contact. Smile. Tell him his cologne smells good. You'll have him whipped in no time."
We made our slow, torturous way down the subway station stairs, getting pushed this way and that. Robyn kept a tight hold on me (if that's even possible), her eyes darting from one place to another. She hated the subway, always thought people were about to jack her Louis Vuitton purse.
"Why you, though?" she asked suddenly, keeping a watchful eye on the panhandler who flirted with me every morning on my way to school.
"Why me what?" I asked absently, my ears cocked for the announcement of the next train.
"Why do you have to be the one to give Luke his homework? Doesn't he have friends?"
Robyn sulked better and longer than anyone I knew. I looked in her dark brown eyes and knew she wasn't impressed. For some reason, she really thought I was her dating good luck charm.
"They're maybe too busy to do something as 'trivial' as take him his homework," I said musingly. "You know, they're prolly partying on a Monday afternoon or something."
Robyn raised her arms in the air, scowling. "Well, he could send his chauffeur to pick it up! You're not his maid!" Noting the looks people were giving her, she shifted closer to me, lowering her voice. "Or did he hire you and you didn't tell me?"
I smiled. It was nice that Robyn was so indignant on my behalf (even though her motives for being indignant were glaringly obvious) but it wasn't enough to change my mind. Tagging along on her dates made me feel pathetic. If I had a boyfriend, we could double date but guys who wanted to date Celsi sawyer were few and far between. Nobody at Dalton wanted to date a girl from the Barrio and it was probably a good thing. I knew I could never be flirty, pretty Robyn with a multitude of guys dying to date me, or Shazia, whose shy innocence attracted lots of interest, and I was fine with that. My vice were the sappy romance novels I had stashed under my bed and as soon as I got home, I planned to curl under my blanket and lose myself in someone else's (infinitely) more interesting world. Good times.
But in order to do that, I had to get away from Robyn, which would be harder than you'd think, simply because she refused to be left alone down here. So I was stuck waiting for interchangeable 'Mr' Right' of the month, a guy called Todd who was on the varsity football team. Todd was tall, blonde, handsome, a good kisser (according to Robyn) and would prolly put a girl like me to sleep. Unfortunately, Todd was running late.
"I think it's just a nice thing to do," I replied, shrugging. My book bag was so heavy that I felt the strap digging painfully into my shoulder and I shifted it onto my other shoulder, looking around the congested station for a sign of Todd. None.
"You know what your problem is?" Robyn faced me, her hands on her slim true Religion jeaned hips. "You're too nice, Celsi. You don't get something for nothing. Tell him that, and then tell his rich ass to pull out his wallet and pay up." She glanced around the station and leaned in closer to me, a strand of her hair brushing my cheek. "I mean, you have to take the subway for him and it's dirty in here."
"Sweetie, its okay. I have to take the subway anyway, remember? I don't have a driver or a limo," I reminded her placidly. An embarrassed expression flitted across her face, her cheeks flushing.
"God, I'm sorry, I- forgot. It's not that dirty down here, you know. And riding in a limo is overrated," she said hastily.
I couldn't stop a grin from darting on my face. "Its cool, girl." Looking over Robyn's shoulder, I caught sight of Todd's lanky frame coming down the stairs. "I gotta go. And Todd's coming."
I hugged Robyn, who immediately began to go into pre-date jitters. "OMG, is my hair alright?" she asked in a frantic whisper, patting her perfectly coiffed hair. "Does my makeup look good?"
I rolled my eyes. Typical Robyn behavior. "You look great," I reassured her. "Just remember what I told you and you'll be fine."
Breathing heavily, Todd came up behind us. "Hi Robyn," he said shyly, gazing at Robyn as if she was truly 'the one'. Wait for it, bud. You'll be kicked to the curb just like the rest of 'em. Looking at him, I gave him two weeks. His rep as a good kisser would save him. He spared me a glance. "Hi, Chelsea."
IT'S CELSI, DUDE!
"Hi, Todd," Robyn and I said in unison, a lovesick smile on Robyn's face as she gazed at him like she too had found her Prince Charming. Time for me to take my leave.
"I gotta get going, guys," I said, thanking my lucky stars that the train had just pulled up to the platform. "Have fun!"
Robyn gave me one last desperate look as I walked to the train. Before the doors shut, I heard her say wildly, "I love your cologne, Todd! What is it?"
Todd's pleased reply- "Hollister."
Of course. I smiled as I found a seat. For years, I'd been giving Robyn relationship advice. It worked, surprisingly, since I had never had a boyfriend. 17 years old, a couple of dates (playing matchmaker was one of Robyn's hobbies) but no boyfriend. Well, according to the romance books I read, I wasn't alone. Unfortunately for me, in the romance books, the heroine found her Prince Charming at the end and lived happily ever after. Not me. I'd come to the painful conclusion that only a lucky few found their soul mates. My mom didn't, what made me think I would be so lucky? Of course, I actually don't know if my mom found her soul mate for sure. She abandoned me at my aunt's when I was 5. I was over it, even though every time the doorbell rang, my first thought was 'she's back!' My aunt told me not to hold out hope that she'd come back, but I still did. All people like me could do was watch Cinderella over and over and put ourselves in her glass slippers. I can't be the only person who does that, can I?
The subway trip took less than 15 minutes and I was standing in front of the red-brick building that was 720 Park Avenue, gaping at the people walking in and out. A lady draped in pearls and fur (PETA was so gonna be on her ass) stalked to her stretch limo, a tiny yapping dog in her arms. An old man in an expensively tailored suit was being escorted through the door by his much younger looking wife who was wearing a tight fitting designer dress.
I looked down at my outfit and groaned. Cheap looking (and just plain cheap) white parka jacket and matching boots, a fuzzy white flat cap from Target and a pair of wash faded jeans I found in Forever 21 for 410. My look was presentable for school (sure, I couldn't afford designer labels, but what of it?) but I figured they probably had a dress code for a place as elite as this. No jeans allowed, definitely.They are so not gonna let me in. Still, the file my fingers were clenched around was my immunity. I had to at least try.
Taking a couple of calming deep breaths that didn't help in calming me, I walked in, striding purposely to the gilded elevator like I had every right in the world to be there. The Astor's lived in the penthouse (naturally). Almost there...
"Excuse me, miss. Who are you here to see?"
There was no doubt which 'miss' the snooty voice behind me was addressing. I was the only person in the lobby under 30. Quaking, I turned to face a tall man with a pinched, pallid face. His eyes flicked down at my outfit and he totally disregarded me.
"I have a delivery for Luke Astor," I said, standing my ground, even though my first instinct was to run for the hills. The guy was creepy! Put a black cape on him and he could moonlight as Dracula.
"Very well," he said colorlessly, stretching his hand out to me. "Leave it with me. I'll be sure that he gets it."
In other words, hand me the damn delivery and get the hell out of this building, you're lowering the tone of this place.
I narrowed my eyes. No way was he getting in the way of me getting my tea in the Astor penthouse. I hadn't come all this way for nothing, you know!
"I was told expressly to deliver it into Luke Astor's hands," I said clearly, glad that my voice sounded strong. I was sure this guy was sapping my energy. "Sorry. You'll have to let me go up."
I thought that would sway him, but to no avail.
His lips tightening, Count Dracula said "I can't just 'let you go up'," in a cutting tone. "Master Astor left explicit instruction not to let anyone up to see him. I'm afraid you'll have to give me the package."
Clutching the file closer to me, I looked up at Count Dracula. "I didn't say it was a package. It's a file of important documents for Luke Astor's eyes only."
I wondered why Luke didn't want visitors. He was the most outgoing person I knew, always surrounded by his friends and hangers-on. Does he have the mumps? I grinned to myself at the thought. Now that would be a sight. Wait, did I get vaccinated for the mumps?
Grudgingly, like he was doing me a super huge favour, Count Dracula turned to the phone on the wall. "I suppose I can call to find out if Master Astor is expecting anything," he said shortly.
I shrugged. Sounded good to me.
An idea popped into my head as he picked up the phone. "Tell him its Joanna Winthrop," I said hastily as he dialed a number into the handset. He barely nodded to let me know he'd heard. Snobby jackass.
The definition of awkward would be if Joanna was up there with Luke. God, I hoped not. That would be so embarrassing for me.
The concierge spoke quietly into the phone in official tones, glaring at me occasionally. I kept my face neutral, my fingers cramping from keeping them crossed so long.
Please let Luke let me up. Please let Luke let me up. Please let Luke let me up.
Finally, Count Dracula hung up and turned to me, his entire attitude changed.
"I'm sorry, Miss Winthrop," he said sycophantically, bowing in my direction. "Master Astor will see you. Please allow me to escort you upstairs."
I shuddered. No thanks! If I got on an elevator with him, I would go insane!
"That's okay, I'll get there myself, bud," I said casually, wondering what Luke had said to the Count to warrant such a change. I thanked him as he eagerly pressed a button to open an elevator for me and stepped in, my mind on another obstacle. Boy, Luke was sure gonna be mad that I wasn't really Joanna. And twice as mad that I came bearing homework. Standing in the empty elevator, I allowed myself a grin at my quick thinking. Posing as Joanna Winthrop, one of the bitchiest students at school, sure had its merits.
I rode up in the elevator all by myself until I belatedly realized that it was exclusively for the penthouse. That was cool. Unnecessary but cool nonetheless.
The elevator opened out onto a landing and I stepped out, wishing I had more eyes to take in all the lavishness. Bright lights accentuated the open space and expensive looking rugs and paintings decorated the foyer. It was beautiful.
A burly Mexican door man barred me from moving further into the foyer.
"May I help you, ma'am?" he asked politely.
"Yeah, I'm Joanna Winthrop,' I replied confidently. "I'm here to see Luke."
I was feeling cocky. I had gotten past Count Dracula, this guy, while big, looked like a pushover.
"Ma'am, you're not Joanna Winthrop," he said, looking me over slowly.
"Huh?" I said, racking my brain for something smart to say.
"Miss Winthrop comes here once or twice a week," the door man explained.
I raised my eyebrows. Huh, guess she really does have a little something something with Luke. What do you know?
"Besides, Miss Winthrop has black hair and grey eyes- and she's Caucasian."
I grimaced. Right. Time to plead. I'd come so far, I couldn't be stopped now! It was time for me to go hard as the hood I'm from or go home. And I didn't have expensive cookies at home like the Astor's definitely had. That being my motivation, I launched into honesty mode.
"Okay, fine, I'm not Joanna Winthrop," I conceded, leaning in closer to him and speaking in a low voice.
He nodded, his face impassive. But I'm sure he was laughing inside that I had the audacity to pose as Joanna. "Of course not."
"Cut me some slack! I came here all the way from Dalton School! Walking! In the rain, just to deliver Luke's homework." Okay, maybe not quite honesty mode. But I had walked in the rain to the subway. "I only said I was Joanna so he would let me in. if I'd said my real name, he wouldn't have let me up and I would have gotten into trouble at school. Know what I mean?"
The door man's face cracked into a smile and I sighed in relief. I should be a salesman, I was that good.
"I feel you," he quipped. I grinned.
"So, can you please let me in so I can give him this?"
I almost said 'I'll make it worth your while', but stopped myself at the last moment. Last thing I needed was him thinking I wanted to bribe him with sexual favors. I didn't. If push came to shove, I would bribe him with the 5 bucks I had in my pocket, not my body.
"Okay, fine," the door man said. "I'll buzz you in."
Beaming, I slapped him companionably on the back as he pressed the gold edged buzzer. "Thanks so much, man," I said cheerfully. The heavy looking door to the penthouse opened just as the bemused looking door man murmured "You're welcome, ma'am."
A butler in a black suit stood between me and a hot beverage. I stifled a groan. How many goons were there between Luke and the outside world? Did they have a master too that I was supposed to defeat before I could get to see the guy?
"Good afternoon, ma'am," the butler said in precise, clipped tones.
I smiled at him, bracing myself for another battle of wits. "Good afternoon to you, sire. I'm here for Luke Astor."
To my surprise, he stood aside to let me in. "Right this way, madam. Follow me."
I guess his goons ran the spectrum from nastily scary to polite.
My eyes wide, I followed the butler to the living room, trying to take in all I saw. Polished hardwood floors, valuable looking paintings on the wall- even the air smelt expensive. Bottled air, imported from Switzerland.
"Please have a seat. Master Astor shall be with you shortly," the butler said, gesturing to a plush couch.
"This living room is as big as my whole house," I blurted out.
"This isn't the living room, ma'am. It's the parlor."
Wow. Trying to act like sitting in parlors was a thing I did everyday, I made myself comfortable on the couch, my eyes flitting in four different directions at once.
"May I offer you refreshment?"
I perked up. Now we were getting to the good stuff. "Yes please," I said, placing my hands in my lap and trying to seem demure.
The butler smiled knowingly down at me. "Hot chocolate and cookies?"
Oh, that's it. He was so in.
"That sounds delightful- uh, what did you say your name was?"
I hate talking to people who give me food without knowing their names.
Looking slightly flustered, the butler said "Smith, ma'am."
"Call me Celsi. That sounds awesome, Mr. Smith," I said, giddy with the promise of impending food. Canteen lunch wasn't filling enough.
"Very well, Celsi," Mr. Smith said, a smile twitching his lips. "I'll be right back."
He bowed low and backed out of the living room- I mean, parlor. How 'Anne of Green Gables.'
Now, I have a problem. I'm one of the nosiest people you'll ever meet. When I'm at other people's houses, I constantly have the urge to snoop in their drawers and look under their beds. It's a major character flaw.
I got up and, looking over my shoulder to make sure that I was alone, walked slowly around the room, picking up mini sculptures and setting them down.
Then I saw it and, just like in the movies, everything else around me faded before my eyes. The Steinway and Sons Alma-Tadema grand piano Recreation, Legendary Collection was all I could see.
And just what is The Steinway and Sons Alma-Tadema grand piano Recreation, Legendary Collection, you might ask?
Only one of the rarest and best piano's in the world. Only a few exist, one at the White House, another at the Smithsonian Museum. It pulled me closer, making me feel like an artist coming face to face with a paint brush he knew Vincent Van Gogh had used.
In a trance, I touched the piano to convince myself it was real. I never thought that I would ever see an Alma-Tadema, let alone touch one. In rapture, I bent over the piano, running my fingers lightly over the keys. I closed my eyes, letting my fantasy of playing Carnegie Hall (a fantasy that nobody knew about) take over. I'm a self-taught pianist and even though my family(well, my aunt at least) and friends told me that I was amazingly good on the rare occasions that I played for them, I knew I wasn't nearly as good as they claimed. But with a piano like this, I could be. With a piano like this, I could be world renowned.
As I was lost in the bright lights of Carnegie Hall, suddenly a pair of arms slipped around my waist, pulling me back against a muscular body and effectively jolting me out of my reverie.
"I really want to lay you out on that piano," a husky voice murmured in my ear, hot breath fanning my neck as the scent of Irish Spring soap surrounded me.
Caught unawares, I did the most natural thing that came to mind. I snapped my head up, my heart thumping with fright (I swear I thought Count Dracula was trying to work me over) as I jerked my elbow back. It connected with something hard. A thud and a grunt of pain came from behind me and I whirled around, only to see Luke Astor lying on the hardwood floor, his hand over his nose.
A/N: Because I'll be leaving fictionpress soon (after I'm finished with JBSD and the Kissing Booth Princess sequel), I thought I would bring back The Pull of Destiny! Keep in mind that this is the original, unedited version that was on fictionpress a few years ago. The version which is on Amazon is edited, which is why it's for sale.
For my old readers- I hope you enjoy, and try not to cringe too much at the clicheness of this story lol.
To my new readers who are discovering Celsi and Luke's story for the first time, welcome and please, let me know if you enjoy it!
I'll be updating a chapter every two days because something about updating daily trips me out, so see you all in two days! My Authors Notes won't be as long as this one in the other chapters, I just wanted to properly say what was going on. Oh, check out the character pictures on my website hotcheriwrites dot com, and while you're there, vote to have a say in what I should write next (poll and story synopses available on the Fiction Corner), and become a member to have access to my new, original fiction which I'll be posting on there soon!