Let's pick up where we left off with Cloe and Eldor (who had just texted Ryder)... :)

P.S. The gif posted with this scene just happens to exist - I was looking for gifs of Shenae Grimes, the actress for Cloe, and found one with this subtitle on it! Isn't that super serendipitous?? The line isn't a direct quote from this story, but it may as well be, hehe ;)


Scene 2: The Natural Order

A.D. 2015

The moment, just as any other, had to end. And when it did, for better or for worse, of course her silly heart would start to beat again. Whether just to resume its routine rhythm, or to race in total rapture at the thought of seeing him. Either way, she would finally be released from this suspense, this fleeting yet infinite matter of seconds.

Her heart's efforts to arrange an encounter with Ryder had gone surprisingly smoothly, up to this point - she was glad that she had managed to casually mention Eldor's military friends, with a segue that had sort of made sense. And Eldor had then taken it upon himself to suggest that they try meeting up with the honeymooners, who just might be on Mykonos. Cloe had not expected the possibility of seeing Mr. Campion to be so convenient.

Then again, she reminded herself, there was no use in getting hopeful or excited when the man was taken - by a wife who, judging from the death glares that she'd given in the hotel lobby in Athens, would probably sooner murder Cloe than agree to a reunion.

And there was no use in speculating over anything at this point when she was about to hear the answer.

"Ah," Eldor uttered as he read the reply text from Ryder. "They just recently left Mykonos and are on Santorini now. Too bad the timing didn't work out."

It took every ounce of Cloe's dissembling abilities to hide the impact that this answer had on her. "Oh - yeah, Santorini is for lovers, so, uh..." she shrugged, forcing a facial expression intended to evince indifference, which probably came off more like constipation in appearance, "...given that they're on their honeymoon, that... that makes sense, I guess."

Eldor nodded as he tucked away his phone. "Yeah. And they'll only be there for a few more days before heading back to the States, so it looks like we won't be crossing paths with them - you said Santorini is the last of the islands on your itinerary?"

"Right," Cloe sighed, wishing for the first time on this trip that Naxos, Ios, and all the other isles could just be skipped. "But no worries, I... I was just curious, really, about your friendships from the military. Seems like it probably forges bonds of brotherhood and all."

He affirmed, and they fell back into their dynamic of easygoing chatting as if nothing had happened. From where Eldor sat, nothing significant had; so for the rest of the night, Cloe just had to don a smile and carry on as if her dumb heart weren't a hundred shades of sad.

She hoped the following morning would be better. But it hardly was, because by sunrise she had only slept a total of five minutes what with all the ruckus that'd resounded through the hostel grounds all night, and woke up with what seemed like several million mosquito bites. She scribbled down a note to include advice about bug spray in next year's travel guide. Apparently mosquitoes were a frequent pest on the Greek islands in the summer, especially in hotbeds of humidity and body heat such as crowded hostels, Eldor told her later, blaming himself for not having warned her. Cloe insisted in vain that he wasn't to blame. And she tried to look on the bright side, grateful that the bloodsucking bitches at least hadn't attacked her face.

The Fates (Book II)Read this story for FREE!