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A Chance Moment
If one happened to appear at the corner of these two certain streets– quiet in all its elegance– at exactly 4:07 in the afternoon, they would have heard the curious sounds of feet slapping the pavement.
The runner, from the sounds of it, was in a great rush, as they did not seem to care for how their sneakers– Adidas, if one was interested; old ones– were quickly becoming worn out, or more so, with each step.
As the sounds grew in loudness, one would have also observed (as a good observer would) breathless pants and the faint swishing of water in a half-full bottle. Or, if one would rather, a half-empty one.
By now, at 4:08 in the afternoon, the runner was rounding the corner. It was a young woman, of about only twenty or so years in age. Her blonde hair was pulled back into a ponytail, swaying with every step, like its namesake. Her blue eyes were trained on the ground and music blasted from her earbuds.
This woman lived in an ordinary, two-bedroom house. She lived alone and during the day, she would take the bus to the university across town. At night, she worked as a waitress at the local Applebee’s. Her name was Rozaline Belyakov (but everyone called her Roz).
As Rozaline worked on her daily jog, she was absorbed in her contemplations. It was a good thing that she had decided to run a new course next week instead of today, or she would have gotten herself lost. But as for the time being, she ran her usual blocks and became lost in her thoughts.
It was the middle of the month already, if she were to judge by the coldness creeping in, and she had to get money out to her family in Russia. Her father would need it; the farm hadn’t been doing well lately. There was also talk of sending one of her numerous cousins out to the States. Mikhail was a good farm-hand, but in this day and age, the family would need more than one college graduate.
The university Rozaline was enrolled at was involved in an international program, and she knew that they would jump at the chance to get a Kiev-native. Mikhail was smart enough and seemed to have enough common sense, so it wouldn’t be so hard to get him a law scholarship.
Of course, that brings around the question again of why exactly does Mikhail want to be a lawyer. He always seemed more interested in the arts, like Rozaline herself was.
Or maybe he’d just been humoring his younger cousin.
Well, if they did manage to get Mikhail out here– law major or not– then it was obvious that Cousin Aleksey would soon follow. They were “those Three,” as they were never too far from each other. And from what she understood, Aleksey would go into something as cold and distant and no-contact as he was.
Ew. Science was never her best, nor favorite, subject. Neither was math, and from what she understood, the two went hand-in-hand. Huh. Well, that explained a bit. No, actually, that explained a whole–
“Ugh,” Rozaline grunted– Annaliese would have a heart attack if the brunette saw how unladylike she was now– as she accidentally collided with a warm surface.
Stumbling back, she lifted her eyes to take in the person she had knocked into. It was a blonde man, also a runner from the looks of it. He gave a politician smile, one that didn’t stretch his face or reach his eyes.
“Sorry ‘bout that, miss,” he told her as they both straightened up. Rozaline narrowed her eyes slightly.
Perhaps it was a bit stereotypical for a farmer’s daughter, but she always had a distrust of politicians (and lawyers, for that matter). “No, no. It’s alright, Mister…?”
He held out his hand– wow, he was not really helping the impression here, now was he? –and introduced, “George Jones, nice to meet you.”
She took his hand a bit tentatively and replied, “Rozaline Belyakov; pleasure, I’m sure.”
George (the Politician, her mind added), smiled that smile once more. “Hey, as a real apology, let me buy you dinner.” Her eyebrows shot up in surprise.
“W– well, I have work today,” she informed him, tripping over the words in her shock.
He grinned, but this one had feeling in it. His eyes crinkled just slightly at the corners, and his face stretched, just like in a genuine smile. He even had dimples.
Rozaline really loved dimples.
“On your day off then,” George persisted. “C’mon.”
She looked away for a moment, but there was no mistaking the slight tugs at the edges of her lips for anything but a smile.
And that is why, if you stood at the fence between the park and the rest of the world, you would see a pair of runners speed on with a competitive air. They’d run on, chattering breathlessly away like birds in flight. Their feet smacked the pavement, in between one part of the world and the other.