Serendipity - Chapter One

“Wait, Blythe,” my ex-boyfriend Finn orders loudly, causing a few curious stares from students around us in Arden Hills High School’s main hallway. “Just listen to me.” I squeeze my caramel brown eyes shut and open them again, turning to face Finn. I cross my tan arms expectantly and arch one perfectly arc-shaped eyebrow. I might as well get this over with now.

“What, Finn?” I ask with a little more venom in my voice than necessary.

I can see his expression harden slightly at my tone. “Hey, don’t be like that, Blythe. I just wanna talk.” Finn motions towards the school’s main doors with one muscular arm. “Let’s not talk here,” He suggests with a mischievous grin. “Come on, I’ll take you to Panera . . .” Finn names my favorite restaurant. Holding the promise of warm broccoli and cheddar soup with fresh bread over my head like that is low.

I struggle to resist returning his smile. “Fine. But this is not because I’m thinking about getting back together.” I tell Finn stubbornly and follow him outside and into the frigid, 19 degree air, also known as: Minnesota in December. I have to walk quickly to keep up with Finn’s long strides. At 5’3”, I’m much shorter than Finn, who stands at 6’2”.

Five minutes later, we find Finn’s brand new Toyota pickup. He doesn’t open the door for me – he never has – so I climb into the huge pickup by myself.

The short ride to Panera is silent (I think Finn notices that I don’t want to talk right now) and when we arrive, the restaurant is empty save for a couple people scattered around the comfortable booths. I unconsciously take our normal routine – I save our booth (window seat, on the left wall) while Finn orders our food. I wait patiently, rubbing my cold arms and wishing I had remembered to grab my winter jacket from my locker – I’m only wearing blue skinny jeans and a comfy (but thin) light brown sweater that brings out my caramel eyes.

My thoughts are interrupted as Finn slides in to the booth, sitting across from me.

“I want you back, Blythe.” Finn says confidently. I can’t say I’m surprised – he’s been trying to talk to me all week since I broke up with him on Monday morning. “I know I messed up, but I’m over that, honest. I’m so, so sorry, Blythe. It’s never gonna happen again.”

I sigh tiredly. “I would believe you, except that you said the same thing last time. And the time before. And th-”

“I know, I know.” Finn cuts me off, impatiently. “But it’s different this time, Blythe, it really is. Can’t you just believe me?”
I push my long, wavy blond hair back angrily and reply, “I have! Every. Single. Time. And I’m sick of it!” Last Saturday Finn was busted for the fourth time with unlawful possession of alcohol on public property – he had been drinking with some of his football friends in front of the school late at night. It’s a miracle he hasn’t gotten any real punishment besides multiple suspensions from both school and the football team.
“D*mn it, Blythe!” Finn reveals his one major flaw: his temper. “Can’t you see I’m trying to f***in’ fix it! And your self-righteous b****ing isn’t helping!” He yells before walking out the door and leaving me to find a way to pay for the food the waiter is bringing over. S***, I don’t even have my purse or wallet with me.
The waiter sets the food down with a cheerful, “Enjoy!”
I suddenly have the uncanny feeling that someone is staring at me. You know, the one that sends a small shiver down your spine and a tingle in your toes? I move my gaze slightly to the right, to the back of the restaurant and meet a stranger’s eyes. Okay, let me rephrase that: a hot stranger’s eyes. He has short, dark brown hair, with a strong jawline and tall but muscular physique. He looks older than me, maybe 22 or 23. But the most ___ part about him is the super intense look in his chocolate brown eyes. In fact, he’s staring at me so intensely, it’s a little uncomfortable.
I stand up slowly and walk over to him, sitting down across the small table. “I know this is gonna sound really strange, but can I borrow some money?” By the looks of him, he’s got plenty of it. Designer clothes, shoes, laptop . . . and I’m willing to bet that the shiny new Porsche outside is his.
He surprises me by looking strangely amused. “It depends, who’s asking?”
I contemplate this question briefly. Is it really wise to tell a complete stranger my name? Oh, what the hell. “Serendipity,” I tell the hot stranger. “Serendipity Blythe Lanier.”
His expression grows increasingly amused. “Serendipity. To find something good while looking for something else. Would you consider yourself ‘something good’?”
“It depends, who’s asking?” I shoot back at him with a flirtatious smile.
He laughs musically. “I’m Blake. Blake Crossfield-Patel.” He pauses briefly before asking, “Would you like a ride home? I noticed your boyfriend . . . left.”
“He’s not my boyfriend,” I say automatically, and blush. “And, um, no thanks.” Even though it’ll take me over an hour and a half to walk home, I don’t him to see where I live. See, I’ve been switching crappy apartments since I was sixteen, renting only from people that don’t mind bending a few laws to make an extra hundred dollars a month, since, technically, people have to be eighteen to rent an apartment. I never knew my parents (or any relatives, for that matter) and I ran away from the foster care system when I was sixteen to live on my own.
Blake gives me another one of his intense, soul-searching stares. “How long will it take to walk back to your house?”
“Oh, only like ten minutes. It’s close,” I lie.
“Bullsh*t,” Blake’s eyes twinkle mysteriously. “You’re a terrible liar, Serendipity. I’m driving you home.” He throws some money on the table and starts towards the door, but I sit frozen at the table. Everyone I’ve ever known has called me by my middle name, Blythe. It’s just faster. Easier.
Blake is the first person to call me by my name.





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