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Chance Encounters(11)
Author: J. Sterling

“Really? No email? Nothing?” Alex couldn’t understand how they could spend an entire flight together and not exchange any kind of information.

“Shit, Alex. Nothing! This cannot be happening.” Jackson’s mind raced. There was no way he was going to just let this girl walk away and carry on with her life as if they had never crossed paths. He scanned his mind for all they had shared on the plane, desperately trying to pick out the one detail that could bring him to her.

“Maybe it’s for the best, man.” Alex’s tone quieted. “She does have a boyfriend.”

“I know. But it’s not like they’re married.” Jackson knew he treaded on dangerous ground. His feelings overwhelmed him, as his thoughts lacked reason. Normally, he’d never think twice about a girl with a boyfriend. But then again, he’d never felt this strongly for someone he’d just met before.

“Jax, did you really just say that?” Alex asked in shock. “You aren’t the home-wrecking type and last time I checked, you didn’t believe in cheating.”

“I know. I’m an asshole. It’s just…” He paused while he thought about how to word it. “There’s something about her.”

“I think you should just be thankful you two met and call it a day. If you’re supposed to see each other again, then you will. Can’t fight fate.”

A light bulb went off in Jackson’s head and he shouted into his cell, “Her job!”

“What?”

“She told me where she worked!” He let out a breath and relaxed back into the cushions of the cab seat.

“Jackson…”

“I know, I know. Dangerous ground, right?” Inside, Jackson knew what he was doing was wrong. But he couldn’t fight the way he felt when it came to this girl. The idea of walking away because she had a boyfriend seemed so inconsequential to him. He had to see her again.

“Just be careful. Don’t get in over your head. And don’t end up getting your ass kicked,” Alex warned.

Jackson laughed. “Thanks for the concern. I’ll call you tomorrow.” Jackson disconnected the call and put away his cell phone. He had a new determination. He scribbled some notes onto a piece of paper and smiled to himself as he watched the city race by.

Chapter Five

It had been days since the flight and Caroline was going crazy inside. She couldn’t stop thinking about Jackson and she searched everything she could think of online to find him. She browsed the dairy farms in upstate New York, just trying to see if one felt right to her. But when she found the contact information, there was never a Jackson listed. She searched social networking sites, convinced his name was rare enough to find easily. She was mistaken. Her best friend Bailey tried to talk her into putting an ad online, but Caroline couldn’t bring herself to do that.

“Maybe I’m trying too hard? Maybe I’m just supposed to let him go?”

“Maybe, but I don’t think so,” Bailey offered.

“Caroline, you have a call on line two.” The receptionist’s announcement boomed from Caroline’s speaker phone.

“Thank you, Lisa,” Caroline responded politely, assuming it was Clay or a client.

She pushed the button on line two and said, “Caroline Weber.” The line was quiet. “Hello?”

“Caroline?” the voice asked. Her heart did backflips inside her chest. She had heard his voice a million times in her head since they parted, but was still shocked at how familiar it was to her.

“Jackson?” The pitch of her voice rose with excitement.

“Yeah. I hope it’s okay that I called. It’s just that…” He paused, his voice hesitant.

“I’m so glad you called. How did you find me? I’ve been going crazy, thinking I was never going to talk to you again.” She tried to keep her voice quiet since she didn’t have a private office at work.

“Do you want to grab lunch? I’d really love to see you.”

“Today?” She checked her calendar and looked at her appointments amidst her rising heartbeat.

“If you can.”

“I can. One o’clock?” She knew that would give her the most free time between her work meetings.

“Sounds great.” He let out his breath with a small whoosh. “Where?”

She mentioned a small restaurant near the wharf and he said he knew where it was. She hung up the phone and cursed herself for her business meeting attire. If she knew she was going to see him, she would have definitely dressed differently.

Bailey stood in her cubicle and looked over the short wall in Caroline’s direction. She pointed and motioned her over. Caroline’s cheeks reddened with each step.

“Who was that on the phone, missy?” Bailey inquired.

“It was him!” Caroline couldn’t hide her excitement.

“Shut up! What did he want? How did he find you? What did he say?”

Caroline laughed at Bailey’s questions. “He remembered where I worked. He wants to have lunch. I’m meeting him in twenty minutes.”

“Oh, really?” Bailey said with mischief in her voice.

Bailey’s expression made Caroline feel conflicted. “Bails, don’t look at me like that. You’re killing me.”

Bailey cocked her eyebrow. “I could always go in your place. Tell him you chickened out. Or grew a conscience or something?”

“Bailey!” Caroline snapped.

   
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