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Somebody Else Who Could Have Been Us

by Luc Reid

... and when we found out that in your parallel universe you barely knew each other, the letter went on, we were fit to be tied! Well, good luck (like you need it, ha ha!). That's all for now, these things are expensive. -- Jared and Bethany

"So," Jared said, his heart beating fast. "Pretty crazy, huh?"

Bethany's gaze flickered to and from Jared behind her glasses. Jared was distracted by the way her skin seemed to glow against the crisp linen of her blouse, by the sunlight turning the tiny hairs on her forearm golden.

"I don't think we should see each other," she whispered.

Jared leaned forward, realized he was acting proprietary, leaned back. The park bench creaked. "But Bethany ... we ... but doesn't it sound perfect? We found each other there. Why not here, too?"

Bethany turned away, blinking, and shook her head. "They're not us. They're ... somebody else who could have been us," she said, not looking at him. She pulled her coat tight around her and picked up her purse. "I'm sorry. I can't fall in love just because a letter tells me to. I'm really sorry."

Jared wanted to grab her arm or shout after her, but he didn't have the right. Still, as she stood, he watched her knees straighten as though they were something that belonged to him, memorized the rhythm of her steps away from the bench. He knew she was just scared, caught off-balance. It was strange news to get all of a sudden. He'd keep after her, gentle but persistent, thoughtful, never pushing. Sooner or later, she'd realize they were meant to be together. Even having talked with her for just fifteen minutes, he could feel how right that was.


Bethany forced herself to walk slowly, not to look back. For two years she'd been invisible to him, and now, after ten minutes, he was in love.

She had to choke back a wondering laugh, remembering how little time it had taken her and the other Bethany to come up with the letter. She hoped things were going just as well in the other universe.


Nice twist at the end. You could permute this idea into a series.

Posted by: Jop | March 28, 2007 2:27 PM

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