So my brother convinced me to re-visit Cassie after three years of not liking where my original story (Fate & Coincidence) was going. I decided to make this my NaNoWriMo project so it's about 85% complete on my computer. I completely rewrote the story with a few chapters having the same theme/idea. This is the result.
The first four or five chapter are somewhat the same, but after that it's completely different.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
Twelve months, that’s how long Cassandra Mitchell had been away. Traveling the world, she did not have time to stop and think about her new reality. It was not something she wanted to think about. It was easier to ignore what happened. It was easier to tune out the noise of the city that never sleeps if she was never there. Cassie, of course, made sure to check in with her closest friends and family. But working was off of the table.
A year after Christian’s death and Cassie was finally heading home. She was not sure she was ready. Going home meant seeing old friends and seeing old places. Going home meant facing a reality without someone she loved deeply. It meant learning how to be herself again when she was not even sure she wanted to ever be that person or if she even could ever be that person again.
As the plane departed, Cassie was lost in thought. Iceland was her last stop before going home to New York City. Iceland was a big change for her after having spent much of her time in the warmer climates of South Asia. Cassie was not sure why she chose to end her yearlong world tour in the cold country, but she was glad she did. She was able to take a number of photos of the beautiful Icelandic countryside. Cassie smiled at the thought. Photography was a hobby she picked up while traveling.
The captain came on the loud speaker announcing they reached their cruising altitude. Cassie turned her head to the side and drifted off to sleep to the hum of the plane’s engines hoping only to wake up when the plane began to make its final descent.
Luke looked over at the woman sitting in the window-seat of his row. She had said nothing since he sat down. He wondered if the woman even noticed another person occupied the row. Luke did not mind that she did not notice him. He had already had a rough week and he really was not up for making small talk. His trip to Iceland was business-related.
Weeklong trips abroad were not new for Luke. He worked for an international law firm in their mergers and acquisitions department. As one of the few attorneys without a family, he was often called on to travel when the project called for it.
The plane rocked slightly. They hit a bit of turbulence. The woman, Luke noticed, stirred slightly but she did not awaken. Her new position had her head now turned toward Luke.
Luke studied his fellow passenger. She looked familiar; he knew her from somewhere. Her dark hair was pulled back into a messy bun exposing her large forehead. Her eyes were almond shaped and she had the full lips that most women in California pay for but never can seem to get. She wore no makeup. The woman was a natural beauty with seemingly flawless medium-brown skin.
The plane rocked again; however, this time the movement was more violent. The movement and ding of the fasten seatbelt sign managed to wake the woman Luke was inadvertently staring at.
Cassie jumped and opened her eyes. The plane’s sudden rocking and dips had her stomach dropping. At the same time, she noticed the man at the end of the row was studying her.
“Excuse me,” Cassie said.
Luke was startled out of his train of thought. “I’m sorry?”
“You’re staring at me.” Cassie said.
“I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable, it’s just that you look familiar. I think I’ve seen you before.” Luke explained.
Cassie studied the man for a few seconds. His brown hair, brown eyes and thin lips did seem familiar. She racked her brain hoping to stimulate her semi-photographic memory.
“You’re Luke Carrington. We went to school together,” Cassie said. In college, Cassie remembered him being slightly tanner and a little more frat-boy-like.
“That’s right! You’re Cassie” Luke said. “How have you been?”
“I’ve been alright.” Cassie said deciding engaging in small talk was better than focusing on the rough movements of the plane. “Yourself?”
“I can’t really complain too much,” Luke smiled. “So is New York your final stop, or do you have another plane to catch?”
“New York is my final destination.”
“Huh, must be fate.” Luke laughed.
Cassie tilted her head and wondered if he was being serious or joking. “So, Iceland? I’m guessing you were there on business.”
“How’d you guess?” Luke asked.
“The suit and tie kind of gave it away.”
“Of course it did. I had a meeting before my flight, hence the suit and tie. Otherwise I’d be wearing jeans and a T-shirt.”
“With sunglasses around your neck?” Cassie supplied. She remembered it was one of the things he always seemed to have on hand when they were in college.
Luke laughed, “Not so much anymore. What about you? Why were you in Iceland?”
“Vacation. Iceland is a place I’ve always wanted to visit. It’s a beautiful country. I mean you know, you were just there too.”
“I actually didn’t get to see much of the scenery. I spent most of my time either in an office going over documents or in a hotel trying to get some sleep. Didn’t have too much time for sightseeing while I was there this time. Maybe next time I go I’ll have to make time to get out more.” Luke explained. “Any suggestions on what I should do?”
“Hmm,” Cassie thought for a moment. “You could go bird watching, whale watching or maybe scuba diving. There is this one park that is at the foot of a volcano and glacier. That was a sight to see.” Cassie suggested.
“Sounds like you had a lot of time to do a number of different things.” Luke said. “Did you go on your own, or were you with someone?” As there was no one sitting between them, Luke assumed Cassie traveled alone. He was curious, so he asked.
“I went by myself,” Cassie said. She turned away from Luke and looked out the window again. Their conversation was heading in to territory she did not want to travel through.
“Wow. I don’t know too many people who go on vacation alone. It’s usually something you only read about.” Luke commented.
Luke could feel the mood of their conversation was shifting. Cassie had turned away from him and her body language signaled she was closing up. It was almost as if he could see her building walls right in front of him. “You must have had a lot of time to think then?” Luke said more as a question than a statement. He was hoping to get back to the more lighthearted conversation they were having before Cassie’s temperament shifted.
Cassie turned her head back to Luke; her warm eyes had darkened slightly. “It’s not something I want to talk about.”
Before Luke could comment, another ding came over the intercom indicating it was once again safe to move around the cabin.
Cassie stood up, “Can you let me out?”
“Sure,” Luke said. He watched as she made her way to the front of the cabin toward the lavatory.
When Cassie returned to her seat, Luke was working on his laptop. He stood up to let her back into their row. After she sat down, Cassie pulled the blanket from the seat pocket in front of her and curled her body away from Luke. She stared out the window as she drifted back to sleep.
Luke put his laptop away as the crew asked the passengers to prepare for the descent into New York. With nothing else to do, he glanced over at Cassie who was still sleeping. He wondered what had caused her to close herself off during their earlier conversation. Luke noticed Cassie stirring, so he looked ahead of him to the front of the cabin.
After the plane landed and parked at its gate, Luke stood and opened the overhead compartment. He looked over to Cassie, “Do you have anything up here I can get down for you?”
Cassie shook her head, always the southern gentleman, she thought to herself before responding. “No, I can get it myself.”
Luke nodded his head and moved back to allow Cassie to exit their row and get her things from the overhead compartment. They exited the plane, Cassie first followed by Luke. He watched, as she seemed to speed walk away from him.
Cassie had finished up with customs and was heading out the door to the taxi stand when she heard Luke call her name. She slowed down and allowed him to catch up to her.
“You seemed to be in a rush.” Luke said.
“It’s been a long day; all I really want to do is go home and sleep.” Cassie said.
“Of course,” Luke said. “It was good seeing you. Maybe we’ll run into each other again sometime.”
Cassie rolled her eyes. She was not really in the mood. As much as she enjoyed having someone to talk to as the plane passed through rough air, she was not looking to begin any new relationships, be it friendship or something more. “That’s doubtful. New York’s a big city.”
Luke laughed, “When did you be come such a pessimist?”
“I’m a realist.” Cassie retorted.
“Right then, realist, maybe fate has other plans.” Luke suggested.
“I don’t believe in fate. Anyway it looks like some one is waiting for you.” Cassie said pointing to a gentleman in a suit holding a sign with Luke’s first initial and last name.
Luke looked to where Cassie was pointing. “Dammit. That means I have more work to do before I head home. It really was nice seeing you again, Cassie. Be it fate, or coincidence, serendipity or luck, I’m sure I’ll see you around again sometime. Unlike you, I believe things happen for a reason. Maybe this wasn’t a random occurrence.”
Cassie shook her head, “And maybe you’re just naïve. I think you better go; your guy looks like he’s going to leave without you.”
Luke looked back to where the chauffeur was standing to see him still patiently waiting. When he turned back to say something else to Cassie, she was gone. He could see her fleeing figure entering a taxi.