Squire’s Isle Created by Geonn Cannon

Luck Versus Fate

Summary: Jill spends her third wedding anniversary alone.

No intentional contact. That was the hard and fast rule of the game. Jill Hood-Colby woke to an empty bed, rolled onto her back, and ran her hand over the empty bed next to her. She lifted her head in momentary confusion, her memory of the plan coming back even as she saw that Patricia had already broken the rules. A single rose lay on the pillow with a note that said, “Couldn’t resist.” Jill smiled and smelled the rose before she kicked the blankets away. She was wearing her most comfortable pajamas, but the bed felt too empty to stay in for very long.

She carried the rose with her to the bathroom, letting it sit on the back of the toilet where she could see it while she showered.

#

Jill carried the vase into her classroom and placed it on the front of her desk. The single rose stood tall and proud, as red as a flower being used for a florist’s commercial. She put on her glasses and sat down, checking her lesson plan for the day. Stacy Green, the history teacher from across the hall, knocked on the doorframe and leaned in with a smile. “Congratulations. Which one is it?”

“Third.”

Stacy noticed the flower. “Oh, you lucky woman.”

Jill chuckled and stared at the rose for a moment longer. “Yeah. I’m really blessed.”

“I’ll see you at lunch. Unless you have plans?”

“Nope, totally free. I’ll decide where we’re going before then.”

Stacy nodded. “See you then.”

When she was alone again, Jill leaned forward. She gently cupped the bell of the rose with her fingertips and drew it toward her so she could smell it again.

#

After school let out and she finished with her work, Jill walked out to the parking lot. She loaded her car and looked up and down the street. There were a handful of pedestrians in colorful clothes, and she could see the very top of the ferry over the buildings in the town center. The water was crystal blue, and the evergreens rising on either side of the harbor looked like something off a postcard. It was gorgeous, but she couldn’t help but feel as if something was missing. She shut the trunk of her car and got behind the wheel.

It wasn’t even five o’clock, but she’d only had a small salad for lunch. She drove to the new sandwich shop near home and went inside to see what they had to offer. A long glass counter displayed the available ingredients, and a marker board on the back wall gave the names and contents of their various specialties. Jill examined the menu and then bent down to look through the glass at what she could add to the sandwich.

The bell over the door sounded and Jill stepped to the side to give the new customer room. She glanced up and offered a polite smile, only to see Patricia staring at her with surprised shock. Jill blinked. “Hey.”

“Hi.”

“Did… you see my car in the parking lot?”

Patricia turned and looked out the window. “No, I… where…”

Jill pointed. She had parked at the far side of the lot, out of sight from the main road due to a copse of trees. Her finger was shaking as she dropped her hand back to her side. They looked at each other and Patricia slowly smiled.

“We won.”

Jill laughed.

#

The Night Before
Jill groaned and lowered her head to kiss Patricia’s shoulders. She rested her cheek against the flat part of Patricia’s chest and settled her body lightly on top of her wife’s. Patricia looped one arm around Jill’s shoulders and stroked her hair with the other hand. The blanket was still tangled around their waists. Michael was with his father for the week, which had freed up their evening for their celebration.

The plan had been to make love straight through until midnight, welcoming their third anniversary with a carnal hello. Jill was starting to think she wouldn’t be able to make it. She begged for a rest, and Patricia chuckled and agreed.

They lay in silence for a while. Jill could hear Patricia’s heart beating and closed her eyes to let the familiar drum relax her. Her mind wandered as she thought to how long they had been together, and how they’d met.

“I didn’t even have that many dirty clothes.”

“Hm?”

Jill lifted her head. Patricia had been almost asleep. “The day we met in the laundromat. I could have gone another few days without doing my laundry. I had to keep them in my car all day at school, and then it started raining. I had to take my freshly laundered clothes out into the rain and… I could have just skipped it. I thought about skipping it.” She kissed Patricia’s chin. “I could have so easily missed you that day.”

Patricia stroked Jill’s hair. “But you didn’t.”

“No. And I’ll drop to my knees and thank whatever deity you name that I didn’t. But I can’t help wondering what if?” She folded her hands on Patricia’s chest and rested her chin on top of them. “I decided that it didn’t matter.”

“Oh?”

“This is a small town. An insanely small town. If we hadn’t met that day, we would have met some other time. I would have looked up and seen you standing there, and I would have had the same reaction I did in the laundromat. It was just a matter of time.”

“Big believer in fate, huh?”

“Oh, yeah.”

Patricia pulled Jill to her and they kissed. “Want to prove it?”

Jill arched an eyebrow.

#

No intentional contact. Patricia had to be up early for work anyway, so she would sneak out of bed without waking Jill. Then they would just go about their days and see what happened. The deadline of the game was six-thirty. If they hadn’t run into each other by then, they would go home and celebrate how lucky they had gotten that day in 2007.

Jill looked at her watch. “Three minutes to five.”

“I guess it was fate.” Patricia smiled and looked at the counter. “This isn’t much of an anniversary dinner. How about I take you to Gail’s and treat you right? In other words…” She smiled. “Would you like to have dinner with me?”

“Yes. I’d like that very much.” She slipped her arm around Patricia’s and let herself be led outside. They went to their own cars, Jill indicating she would follow Patricia to the restaurant. Patricia nodded, and Jill remembered the first time she had ever followed Patricia Hood. The conditions had been perfect to make her overlook an odious chore, but she’d still forced herself to do it. Whether their meeting had been dumb luck or the touch of fate, it was obvious to her now that they were meant to be together.

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