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A Fateful Bet

DISCLAIMER: The following is of fictional work and should not be taken seriously or be accounted for actual facts in any way. It is not aim to confuse or mislead anyone for that matter. It is not meant to offend or disrespect any of the artists mentioned in the work either. Its purpose only serves to entertain and share with other fans who also like those artists. Thank you for reading.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Joanne wandered along the woods without any source of purpose in mind. She just wanted to take a walk to cool her mind. Along the path, she took into her hands to enjoy nature’s changing scenery. She hadn’t slowed down and actually looked at the many things around her recently. That was what happened when one indulged into the materialistic world along with the rest of the world. There ought to be some sacrifices. Yet she smiled because she could always pull out and take a break at times, just like now. She wasn’t going to wallow into misery and cried out injustice ever so dramatically like those daily TV shows. If people would just stop for a second and understand that every one of them had choices. As whether they would exert themselves to bravely choose or not, it was up to them.
Hearing a rustling sound somewhere to her left, she turned and spotted a rabbit running away. She took chase after it, feeling like she could be silly for just this moment. She soon reached a creek and settled down at a nearby rock, looking at the early morning’s sun light shining down her. It was indeed a breath-taking sight. She had always felt nature was at its best when it was in the early morning, when the sun was still in its process of making the routine daily appearance. And the dews that had made themselves comfortable on various objects were able to shine when the sun reached its place, creating a somewhat mystical effect.
And as if wanting to end her joyous moment, her cell phone rang. She was surprised that it had reception around the area yet picked up anyway. Though her smile hadn’t left her face yet. She was still staring at a tree nearby and its leaves that had been touched by the sun and sparkling as the ray passed the dew-line clinging onto the edges of the leaves.
“Hello?” She answered.
“Where are you now?” Her co-worker demanded from the other side.
Her mood wasn’t spoiled though. Not quite yet. “Just out the woods for a bit, what’s going on?”
“We have a meeting in half an hour, Miss,” Her co-worker mocked. “If we’re late, the deal’s off. I thought I told you how important it is since last month when we began working on the project.”
“I’ll be there,” Joanne reassured her co-worker, not minding the girl’s bossy attitude.
Her co-worker hung up after that, knowing there was nothing else she could do. She could have nagged even more, but Joanne would come up with some equally witty response anyway. Joanne slammed her cell phone shut and returned it to her pocket. She finally got up from her spot and glimpsed the area once more, feeling a lingering stir inside. She knew she could always return. Yet the feeling would never be the same the next time. Each experience was different from one another. But she didn’t dwell. She increased her pace and made her way back to civilization.
“Again?” She asked, looking around some unknown bushes, thinking it was another rabbit after hearing some more rustling. “Maybe another day, Little Rabbit.”
“So I’m a rabbit now?” A familiar voice asked.
Joanne, alarmed and amused at the same time, turned to her right and spotted a familiar silhouette. He finally revealed himself and had a smile on his face as he made his way toward her.
“Ah Ru, what are you doing here?” She asked, her eyes cautious and scanning his face for signs of a conspiracy.
“I called into your workplace and they said you’re not there yet so I thought I stop by here and check,” Calvin answered.
They resumed their steps after the initial surprise.
“How do you know I’ll be here?” Joanne asked after a while.
“I don’t,” Calvin answered. “That’s why I’m checking.”
Joanne still had on her somewhat curious and somewhat of a teasing smile directed at Calvin. “That still doesn’t explain why you know I could be here.”
Calvin reached a hand up to scratch his hand, feeling nervous from her glare. “Luck?”
“You don’t believe in luck,” She reminded him, her teasing smile even wider by now. “Just like how I don’t believe in fate.”
It was Calvin’s turn to let out set of teasing laughter. “That coming from a person who’s a wedding planner?”
Joanne shrugged, still not caring if he was teasing her. She had always been the one delivering any sort of teasing anyway. “The more I don’t believe in fate.”
“Giving up on love because you’ve too many fake get together?”
Joanne wrinkled her face then, her pace slowing. She turned him with yet another curious look. “Who said anything about giving up on love? I just said I don’t believe in fate, not love.”
It was Calvin’s turn to shrug. “Wouldn’t it be the same?”
Her footsteps resumed its rapidity again. “Fate is a process, not a necessity.”
“But doesn’t fate have some sort of play in it regardless?”
“Believing in fate is just promoting laziness.”
Calvin wrinkled his face and turned to her. “What does laziness have to do with anything?”
“Doesn’t it though? Believing solely in fate means that people will just sit around and wait for something happen. Then blaming it on fate in the end if they do not meet whoever they want. Instead, they should be blaming themselves for their laziness.”
Calvin let out another laugh, shaking his head. “You should be a philosopher.”
Joanne knew he was joking so she played along. “Maybe I will.”
“I’ll send you a pair of glasses to complete your prop.”
She didn’t say anything else but just let out a wry smile. They finally reached the brink of the woods and stopped at the path leading to the main road.
“How about we make a bet then?” Calvin said when they reached his car.
Joanne’s challenging look made its appearance at that time. “Oh?”
“Repeat one of your disappearing acts again but not here. If I could find you again, then call it fate.”
Joanne displayed her amused look again. “What kind of bet is that? We’ve known each other since young. Of course you know my habits. It’s not hard to find me.”
“Then prove to me that your abilities could excel fate.”
Joanne could see the determination in his eyes so she finally nodded. Yet her serious look didn’t stick. Her teasing expression was on again. “Loser will have to buy the winner a large scoop of ice cream.”
“Fine with me.”
They reached out their hands and shook on it. Then they got into Calvin’s car. Joanne had hauled a Taxi earlier to work because her car was in the shop. Yet she couldn’t resist the urge to take a look when the driver drove by. Now, she was glad Calvin had stopped by because she would really be late for the meeting, considering it was rare to find a Taxi around this area. But she wasn’t convinced on fate. Not yet. Not until she failed. If she failed.

*****

Joanne carried out their challenge the following Friday. Right after the planning for the royal wedding got approved. Well, it wasn’t actually some real royal wedding but it might as well be because the nature of the clients’ preferences. And it wasn’t like she would be scared she would offend some parties involved because she had her own reputation within the industry already. Yet she had to be patient for the sake of her fellow co-workers this time.
As she walked along the familiar path, her cunning smile was present. Calvin would never guess it. He had said ‘not here’ but she couldn’t resist it. Tricking him at his own game was her intention. He said it but it did not mean she would obey. Sometimes, a challenge was all about craftiness. And she didn’t mind using it. At least for this harmless game anyway. The only hint that Calvin would know of her disappearance was she would always arrive early but had lingered last time hence causing others to worry. This time, she did it on purpose to send him a hint, knowing he would call into work to check on her.
Arriving at the little creek once again, she settled on the edge of a boulder like last time. And like she had expected, the feeling of waiting was different this time. It wasn’t about waiting for the sun to cast its rays onto the many dew-contained leaves anymore. It was now also about waiting for a result that would determine her belief since young. For some reason, she knew Calvin wouldn’t back up down regardless. He not only had something to prove, but he had to carry through this challenge as a friend. Besides, if he dared to run, she would make sure all their friends near and far hear about it. She wasn’t exactly gossip queen, but she had her connections to some major gossip queens out there. It was just a matter of a few tweaks here and here to get the story rolling.
Smiling at the thought, she almost lost track of time. Almost. She glimpsed toward her left hand to check the time. Twenty minutes more and she would be winning. Because they both knew she needed to get to work.
“Waiting long?” Calvin’s voice spoke up from somewhere, startling her for a moment.
She soon recovered and turned toward the left area where the trees were. She got up from her spot and approached him, her face all scrunched up from the almost victory. But instead of throwing out some phrases to celebrate his win, he reached into a small cooler and took out a container. It was sealed up but still visible through its transparent lid. It was also cold to the touch as he handed it to her.
“You’re right,” Calvin said, handing her a spoon. “I knew you would be here because I knew you too well, not because fate.”
Somehow, she didn’t speak up to celebrate either. She shook her head. “No, I believe you now.”
He had on a puzzled look then, pondering why she was turning down a chance for victory. A practically giveaway that she would craved for in the past and would never let go of – even if just temporarily. Yet now, it was happening right before his eyes.
“Fate has let me open my eyes and see you at last,” Joanne finally spoke up to clarify her words. And she meant it because if it wasn’t fate, he would never realized how much he had spoiled her since whenever, always allowing her a happy victory instead of a scrunched up face with defeat.
Before he could react, she pulled him into a hug. And just like that, he knew what his response was.
“I believe in luck now,” Calvin said, smiling – and also tightening his grip around her. “If wasn’t for luck, then I wouldn’t be able to witness this day.”
She released him and let out a smile also. But they did not linger. Their smiles had said it all. They followed the familiar path leading back out to civilization, sharing the ice cream he brought her and chatting happily about all the random topics of the world. Yet this time, as a couple.
© Saturday, February 25th, 2012

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