The Chance Love of George and Jackie This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

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If I've ever been described as "extraordinary", there was quite the pause between "extra" and "ordinary".

I've got a plain face, plain hair, plain clothes. I'm too tall, my arms are gawky, and I don't know how to hold myself so I don't look awkward.

I work in a boring office building, grey floors, grey walls, and smudged windows are the key elements. However, while the building is dismal and sad, the people within it are not, excluding me, of course.

I have a cubicle right smack dab in the middle of the floor, surrounded by vibrant people. Gina, just to my left, wears bright red lipstick everyday, laughing whenever she feels like it. She laughs just for the fun of it.

Abigail, to my right, dresses less gaudy, but she has a personality that fills the room. It even overpowers Gina's rambunctious laughter during the work day.

Across the aisle, is Jeremy, and he's almost as exciting as Gina. Jeremy is the stereotypical gay man, though. Laughs like a woman, waves his hands, and loves to touch when having a conversation.

But I get the pleasure of staring right at George, for his cubicle is located right in front of my face. We have chit-chat on a daily basis, but I'm not much of a talker. Neither is George, evidently, because we exchange the usual greetings and then settle into our various accounting programs.

He looks haphazardly put together everyday, but it also has an air of upkeep about it. His glasses slip down his nose when he concentrates on his work, and, frankly, it's adorable.

"Are you ready for the party tonight, Jackie?" Gina asks in her generally annoying voice, popping her head over my cubicle wall.

"I guess," I murmur, glancing at her briefly before flicking my eyes back to my computer screen.

"You're going, right?"

"Maybe, if I can get a cab," I lie through my teeth. I'm not going.

She nods, accepting my lies, before turning her head slightly. "And you, George?" she asks. "Are you going?"

"Hmm, what?" he responds, looking up.

"Are you going?" Gina repeats herself. "To the party tonight?"

"Oh, I don't know," he says, nervously. "Are you going, Jackie?"

"Me? Maybe," I answer.

"Cabs are pretty sketch around here," he tells Gina, "I don't know if I'll be able to get one."

"Where do you two live, in the boondocks?" she cries, laughing that rambunctious laugh.

"Just north of 42nd," George murmurs, staring at his computer's screen.

"Really?" I ask, astounded. "Me, too."

"There! You try to get a cab together, they always stop for the pretty girls anyway, Jackie," Gina jokes. "So, George, you've got a guaranteed ride!" She grins before ducking back behind her wall.

"I guess," he murmurs, looking at me. "You want to share a cab with silly old me?"

I smile, nodding. "Only if you'll have me," I agree.

He chuckles, resuming his work. I do the same.

~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~

As usual, George and I are the last ones to leave. Although, to be fair, everyone else skipped out early to prepare for the evening's festivities. At six o'clock, I stand up, gathering my bag and winter coat. "You leaving?" George asks, glancing over the felt wall.

"Yes," I reply, "I've got a party to prepare for, after all."

"Of course, yes," he says, nodding. After a moment, he stands up as well. "Shall I walk you home? Presuming you do walk, that is."

"That would be lovely," I accept, going around Gina's cubicle to wait at the vacant one beside George's. "I don't plan on staying late at the party tonight, if you wanted to ride back together."

"I didn't either," he agrees, buttoning his grey coat. "Ready?"

"Whenever you are," I smile, buttoning my purple pea coat. We walk side by side down the hallway in silence. 'This is going to be one helluva night,' I think, shaking my head slightly.

Outside, I reach into my messenger bag and grab my scarf, wrapping it tightly around my neck. "It's quite chilly, isn't it?" he asks, watching my swaddle my neck. He stuffs his hands in his pockets.

"Quite," I reply, stopping on the corner, waiting for the light to change. His cheeks have flushed, although I am unsure if it is because he is cold or if he is embarrassed.

"No snow, though," he points out, glancing at me only to find me looking at him. I quickly shift my gaze to the pavement in front of me.

"It's quite disappointing," I add, wishing my coat had pockets as well.

"You like the snow, then?" he inquires, looking at me again while adjusting his glasses. The light changes, and we resume our trek to our homes.

"I love walking in it at night," I reply, feeling quite silly for divulging such a childish aspect of myself. "It's peaceful. Romantic. Not like, 'let's make out' romantic. More like Anne of Green Gables romantic. If you know what I mean."

He chuckles, watching me flex my fingers in an effort to keep them warm. "I think snow would be very bad for your hands," he jokes, taking his large, slender hand out of his pocket and extending it towards mine. "Care for a warming hand?"

'Calm down, Jackie, this is nothing. He just wants to save your fingers from hypothermia,' I calm myself, nodding. His hand envelopes mine, easily, warming my frozen fingers.

"Thanks," I murmur, liking the way it feels to have his hand touching mine. "I don't know that they would have lasted much longer," I laugh, looking at the grey, overcast sky.

We make silly chit-chat about our favorite kinds of weather for the next few blocks, only to wind up in front of my apartment far to soon. "Well," I sigh. "This is me."

"We will meet here at, oh, eight o'clock?" he asks, observing the terrible building I live in. "That should give you plenty of time to get ready, right?"

I nod, "Yes, it should. Thanks for walking me home, George."

"No problem, Jackie," he murmurs, waving as he walks away. "See you in an hour or so!"

I nod, waving, before entering my stale smelling apartment building. The dimly lit hallways creak beneath my feet, casting an eerie atmosphere about me, but I barely notice.

I'm actually excited for tonight.

~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~

I've picked out a sleek red dress cut just above my knees, playful but not slutty.

Before running out the door, I check my hair one more time. It's still curled perfectly. 'How long can that stay?' I think, chuckling. Quickly, I throw on a coating of lip gloss and grab a black coat, with pockets this time.

I lock my door from the outside and then proceed down the dingy hallway to the bustling street of New York City. George is standing idly by the stairs, smiling when I open the door. He offers his hand to assist me down the steps.

I grasp it, remembering how I slipped at the bottom of the stairs earlier this morning. "Thank you," I murmur, slipping my hands into my pockets.

"You look lovely," George says, wrapping his scarf tighter around his neck.

"You clean up well, yourself," I joke, softly hitting his arm.

"Aw, shucks," he laughs, stepping closer to the curb. He whistles loudly, summoning a taxi. As the yellow car stops moving completely, he pulls open the door. "Ladies first," he says.

I nod, smiling and climbing into the backseat. George slides in next to me, spewing the address to some restaurant the office has booked. He leans back, looking out the window.

"Excited for Christmas?" he asks, shifting uncomfortably in his seat.

"Yes, I'm probably just going to stay in the city, though," I answer. "Do you have any plans?"

"Oh, you know, just sit at home and do nothing," he chuckles.

"Want to spend Christmas together?"

"Coffee?"

"Sounds great," I smile, watching the bright lights of the city whip past my window. Soon, the taxi slows to a stop in front of a Boys and Girls Club. "Strange place for them to host a party, don't you think?"

"More space, less people, though," he points out. I suppose that makes sense. I nod, making a revelation noise.

Before I can reach for my purse, George whips out his wallet and pays the cabbie. "I'll get it on the way home," I tel him.

"Nonsense," he replies. "I got this!"

We laugh as we climb out of the tiny car and cross the damp pavement to the glass doors into the gymnasium marked with balloons. George holds the door open as I shuffle in.

"Uhm, meet over there," I point at an archway into the main party rooms, "in, say, two, three hours?"

"Sounds like a plan," he agrees, nodding. We walk in, greeted by Gina's screaming laughter.

"George, Jackie! You made it!" she yells.

"Somebody's been drinking," I say under my breath.

George laughs.

I guess he heard me.

He laughed at it. Oh, God, He laughed at my joke.

I proceed to blush profusely before making my way to the drinks table. I grab a bottle of something, it's a green bottle with no label. 'That's totally legit,' I think, twisting the cap off, using my coat as a buffer. I take a long drink.

The beer is bitter, almost sour, but I grimace and vow to drink the rest of it. 'No need to be wasteful,' I tell myself, taking another small sip.

I move away from the table of alcohol and stand idly in the corner, observing. Around the room, several round tables have been set up, and people I only know by sight have gathered around. Occasionally, I hear Gina laugh, presumably at the cutest intern's lame story.

Abigail sidles up beside me, holding a glass of water. "How are you, Jackie?" she asks, smiling warmly.

"Quite well, thank you," I reply, staring at the floor to avoid eye contact. "And yourself?"

"Very well," she laughs. "How was your ride with George?" She's trying to gauge if we're dating or not. Or if we're about to date.

"It was fine," I answer, awkwardly staring just past her shoulder. "A little awkward, but I've never really talked to him before, so that's understandable."

"Very understandable indeed," she chuckles. "I usually take the subway, which is like a taxi ride with someone you've never spoken to before, only instead of nice old George, you have the creepy homeless man trying to scam some change off of ya."

"I don't trust the subway," I joke. "Nah, I usually just walk wherever I need to go."

"You must not get out often, then."

"You got me there," I laugh, glancing at the ceiling.

Another woman wearing a green dress sidles up to Abigail's side. "Oh, Abby, have you met Frankie?" As Abigail shakes her head, she is led away, looking at me as if to say 'sorry, my friends are overbearing'.

Someone puts on music, fun music.

I smile, watching the people I work with.

'Where's George?' I ask myself, looking around. Not surprisingly, he is standing against the wall, cornered into a conversation with a fellow coworker. He wipes at his hair and pushes up his glasses, quite adorably.

"Enjoying that beer?" a man who works on the floor above mine asks, looking at my dress.

I take a small sip, nodding. "It's quite good," I answer.

"I haven't seen many of the women with a beer in hand. They're drinking the fruity ones," he observes.

"Well, I'm one of a kind," I sigh. 'Lies. You are so ordinary, it's ridiculous, Jackie,' I think.

"Indeed you are," he agrees, holding at his arm. "I can take that coat off your hands, put it in coat check, you know."

"Where is the coat check?" I ask.

"Around the corner," he answers, pointing towards the second room where people are dancing.

"I'll go in a bit, thank you," I assure him, holding my coat closer, trying to hint at him that I'm done with this conversation.

"Suit yourself," he sighs, sticking his hand towards me. "The name's Logan. You are?"

"Jackie," I answer, ignoring his outstretched hand and taking a gulp of beer. He drops his hand to his side, and I continue observing George and all his quirks.

"So, Jackie, would you like to step out and get a breath of fresh air with me?" Logan asks.

I'm regretting wearing such a provocative dress now.

"No, thank you," I reply, politely.

For the first time, I look at Logan's face. He has chocolate brown eyes, rimmed with thick lashes. His skin is pasty, but that could just be the light, and he has slicked his hair down in an effort to create a retro style, but, frankly, it has failed.

"Alright," he says, leaning against the wall, stuffing his hand in his pocket.

I stand up straighter, "Well," I clear my throat, "I'm going over there now," I gesture towards George. Logan is giving me the creeps. "Lovely meeting you."

I swivel on my heel and scurry across the room, stopping briefly to make chit chat with Gina. Sidling up to George, I notice Logan has kept a safe distance, but, all the same, he is stealthily following me.

"How's your evening?" I ask George, watching Logan pretend to be interested in a conversation with a random coworker.

"Good, good," he answers, following my gaze. He swirls the ice in his glass of amber liquid. "Yours?"

"Has been rather uneventful, but that guy," I shrug my shoulder towards Logan, "is giving me the inexplicable creeps."

"Logan?"

"How did you know?"

"Because he's the creepiest person I've ever met," George replies, smiling. "Just chill over here for a while. Logan is intimidated by most other men. Hopefully, I'm one of those men."

For ten minutes, George and I chitchat mindlessly, at first, my only goal to stave off Logan, but, soon, I'm trying to learn more about George. I'm trying to indicate how cute he is to me.

I'm trying to get him to ask me out.

But then Logan has to decide George isn't that intimidating.

"George! I haven't seen you in a while, how've you been?" Logan asks in one breath.

"I'm doing fine," George responds, stepping closer to me. I'm far beyond just uncomfortable.

Logan freaks me out.

Why? I have no idea.

My hands are sweating, my heart is pounding, it's like I'm a kid again, and the popular girls are trying to talk to me.

"Still working in accounting?" Logan asks, looking at me as if I should laugh at his making fun of my profession.

"Yes, actually, Jackie works with me now, too," George points out. Logan burns red for a moment before shrugging it off.

"So, Jackie, would you like to ditch this place and go get a real drink somewhere else?" he asks, turning towards me. I pull my coat closer to me and take a swig of beer.

"No, thank you, Logan," I say, frankly.

"Aww, Little Darlin', just one little drink couldn't hurt, could it?"

"No, thanks," I repeat myself, putting extra irritation into my voice, "Logan"

"Just one," he whines.

"Logan, she said no," George says, with a surprising amount of authority.

"Who are you to talk like that to me?" Logan demands, puffing up his chest.

"Well, for starters, her boyfriend," George smirks, winking at me. He wraps his arm around my waist, and I smile. It feels right.

"Oh, uhm," Logan searches for words, messing with his greasy hair.

"Now, I suggest you move along before something happens," George orders, stroking my hand.

'Is he playing up the 'boyfriend' act or is this...real?' I ask myself inside, hoping for the latter.

Logan harrumphs as he walks away, and George releases my waist. "Erm, sorry, but, uh, y'know, he wouldn't leave, and, well, he was bothering you, anyway, and uhm," George trails off, blushing.

"It's alright, George. I don't mind in the slightest," I wink, chugging the last of my beer. "Now, I've got more alcohol to drink," I tease as I walk away.

I feel his eyes on me until I round the corner and put my coat in the coat check.

It feels glorious.

~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~

Exactly two and a half hours after we arrived, George and I meet at the large 'doorway' between the sparsely decorated gym and the main rooms specifically for group gatherings. "Did you-" George starts, but he is interrupted by Gina.

"Look up you guys!" she screams.

I tilt my neck up, expecting the worst, only to find a green plant hanging above us. 'Mistletoe? At a company party? What is this?' I ask myself.

George shrugs and leans in, kissing me quickly on the cheek.

"The deed hath been done!" he exclaims, causing laughter from the people immediately surrounding us.

"Do it right, George," Gina laughs, clapping.

"Uhm," he stalls, looking at the ceiling.

"Yes, George, do it right," I encourage, winking.

His eyes widen for a moment before he smirks, leaning in and placing his lips gently on mine.

Inside, it's like I've grown wings and gone to Heaven. I'm melting. My heart beats faster, and I feel my face flush with color.

But, too soon, George pulls away, and we stand idly for a moment. "Wow," Gina says, frankly. "That was happening."

"Indeed it was," George laughs, obviously embarrassed. I look at my feet for a moment.

"Well, goodnight, Gina and.. the rest," I say, loudly, waving.

"Goodnight to you all!" George exclaims, waving as well. We walk to the parking lot, closer than how we arrived. "Did you have a nice evening?"

"I did," I tell him, buttoning my coat. "And you?"

He looks at me for a moment, and I see something in his eyes. Just a flicker, but I think I see something. "It was magnificent," he agrees, raising his hand limply in an effort to hail a taxi.

"You have to do it more like this," I laugh, putting my pinkies in my mouth and releasing a piercing whistle. Almost immediately, a yellow car pulls up, and George opens the door for me.

I climb in, not sitting as close the door as I had the first ride. As George settles beside me, our knees touching, I slip my heels off, freeing my blistered toes.

"Standing too much?" he chuckles, patting my knee.

"Don't make fun of my poor little feet!" I exclaim, pretending to hit him.

"Yo, where we going'?" the cabby asks, loudly.

"Oh, uhm," George looks at me briefly before spewing out his address.

The cabby nods, ignoring us again. "Sorry," George apologizes, "I didn't know your address, and yeah."

"No problem, we only live two, three blocks apart from each other," I reply, shrugging.

"But what about your poor little feet?" he asks, cracking a smile, revealing his adorably crooked teeth.

"They'll live," I answer, hoping I'm speaking the truth.

"You sure?" he asks, dropping the joking. "I can give you a pair of shoes to walk in, if you want."

"That would be lovely," I agree, relieved I don't wave to walk home in four inch heels.

Soon, the taxi pulls up to George's apartment.

It's much better than mine.

"Thank you," George says, handing the cabby the fare.

"I told you I was going to get it," I point out on the street while George punches in the code to get in his building.

"And I told you I was going to get it anyway," he reminds me, opening the door. "Care to step in for a moment?"

I smile, taking my stocking-ed feet off the freezing pavement and stepping onto a plush carpet. It is dark in the hallway, an unexpected feature in such a nice building. George beings unlocking the first door on the right, and I stand by the door to the outside. I realize George has my shoes.

'How on Earth did that happen?' I ask myself, scrunching my eyebrows together. 'Oh well, too late to figure it out now.'

Suddenly, George disappears, and I move to stand in the doorway. George has a disturbingly nice apartment with white carpets and expensive furniture. Soon, he appears, handing me a pair of dress shoes. "Thank you," I say, bending over to slip them on my feet.

"No problem," he chuckles, leaning on the door frame and pushing his glasses up the bridge of his nose. "Thank you for sharing a cab with me."

"There was no sharing involved," I giggle, looking at the ground. 'God, why is he so flawlessly adorable?' I demand myself . 'Meanwhile, I'm over here, staring at his feet like a bumbling fool.'

I look up to say a final goodnight, but I can't, for George is kissing me again, softly. His fingers are tilting my chin up, and I close my eyes, enjoying this moment thoroughly. After his lips release mine, I stand there, crossing one arm across my waist to grasp the other arm.

"Well, thank you and goodnight," I say, blushing.

"Goodnight, Jackie," he murmurs, winking.

For the second time that night, I melt due to this man.

He is truly amazing.

I nod, walking towards the door.

"Jackie," George calls.

I turn, "Yes?

"See you in the morning."

"I'm expecting a walking partner," I laugh, jokingly. He laughs, as well, and I wave a little before stepping into the cold night.

~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~_~

The next morning, I put the finishing touches on my make up and make sure my hair looks perfect.

I slip my work flats on, grabbing my messenger bag and slipping it over my coat. I open my door, turning to lock it.

And guess what.

As I turn,I see George, standing at the bottom of my steps, waiting.

I practically skip down the stairs, and, at the bottom, he wraps his hands around my waist, spinning me around while throwing me into another kiss.

God, I'm in love with this man.





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