XVII

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Cecilia's P.O.V:

Fate. All celestial religions and other spiritual alternatives strongly emphasize on the point that everything, and everyone, are destined to exist in one's life. That everything is predetermined and unexpected by us mere mortals.

Oh really?

Have we no say in anything? And if we did, could we avoid certain things, or change their course? Could we skip to parts we actually needed, like this moment?

Alone. On a train. On my way from Paris to Provence. The persistent smell of the train furniture, the lingering smell of coffee in the air, the whoosh and flashing images of the surroundings. I just stared out the window, hopeless that anything exciting and semi-wonderful could ever happen on a train.

France was really wonderful, the nature, the cities, the civilization, the sophistication of it all. Most importantly no one knows you. They won't judge you based on your past, or make comments on the way you're living out of a suitcase, or the fact you have nowhere stable to settle. I can't go back home, it isn't 'home' to begin with. I never felt comfortable, I always felt like a guest expected to leave in any minute. The mumbling, my parents weren't major enthusiasts of my current lifestyle or condition, and that's their right I guess. I have my rights too. I need 'home'. I need somewhere to lay my head and sigh in content, I need a place where whenever I feel completely spaced out and still manage to find it, I need the safety and comfort it offers, warm tea, warm blankets, and my books.

I never imagined sharing it with anyone. Could there be anyone after Alex? I loved him so, gave him everything I had, consoled him after losing a case, celebrated with him when he won several, was with him when his mother died and cradled him like a child as he wept. I built a home with him, went on vacations with him, I gave myself fully and completely to him. Nevertheless, I was tossed aside for a newer model.

"Pardon?" the heavy French accent already registering the nationality of this person.

"Yes?" I turned to face this person. My companion for the rest of the train ride. Two hours and forty five minutes of it anyway.

We spoke of many things, he was on vacation and decided he wanted to check up on his widowed grandfather. He spoke of his grandparents with fondness and respect. I felt he was a bit envious of their love that stood the test of time. I kind of envied them too. We spoke of books, plays, theatre, how I missed it and Vincent suggesting we should go after we've seen the people we needed to see. I told him what happened to me and he told me of his ex-fiancé who only saw euro signs in him. He didn't judge, or interrupt, or offer advice. He nodded and listened intently. At the end, he put a comforting hand, never sympathetic only empathetic, and said "and only a true king would find wealth in only one gem".

After saying our goodbyes and exchanging contact information, we parted ways at the train station, I kept thinking of that train ride until I arrived at the villa.

A smile stretched from ear to ear. I was here, this villa. I was here, now where is the old lady?

I stood there, on the gravel courtyard, finding serenity in only the crunch sounds my shoes implicated on the gravel, and admiring it all. The authenticity of the architecture I dreamt of for the past year and four months, the aroma of the lavender that was already etched its mark on my brain, and the weather that was as delightful as ever.

I remembered this villa, and knew my way about it. I found the reception and a young lady received me. I was lucky enough to find a room, she says, and I finally felt that the fates smiled upon me. I was here. I was, in my head, home.

I walked around the place, had lunch, and walked some more. I waited for any of the old couple to appear in front of me, yet no one did. I started feeling concerned, where were they? Did something happen? No this must not be thought of, hopefully they are just strolling in this vast land that is their property.

It was near sunset, the light dimmed from intense to a milder tone, and I was in my room. I looked out the window, where could they be? Why aren't they here? I called the reception and asked about them, she said that the older man is back, just stepped in. I was grapping my jacket, when the thought hit me, where was she? They never left each other's side (as I can recall).

I ran to the reception, and asked her again. She directed me toward the dining room. At first I didn't recognize him. He looked beaten, like the world was a mighty stranger. He stared at his soup, distant. He didn't even notice me when I approached him, this got my senses alert. My fears had resurfaced and embodied themselves in reality, my expectations where dying like a candle in a storm, a single flame of hope fighting its imminent extinguish. I placed a hand gently on his shoulder and he looked at it, "Elise?" he whispered.

"No kind sir. I am not Elise. I am actually wondering where she is. You two are usually together." I gave a tight smile. When in grief you are tricked into denial, and I was tricked again.

"I can't follow her anymore. I wish I could. I will someday." His shaky voice whispering. This old, tired, struggling man has lost his reason to live. I too, lost the reason to ever find joy. I came looking for both of them and found only one of the lovebirds. My vision blurred and I could taste the salty liquid that escaped my eyes. This could not be happening. Where is she? Why isn't she here? I needed her, he needed her! Her kind words and loving heart. I needed advice, I needed her understanding and empathetic heart. Where is she?!

I couldn't handle this! I felt suffocated! I needed to get out of here. I ran out the nearest door, and towards the field. Where is that chair, where is it!? I ran and ran, my efforts fruitless! The vast field spanning miles and miles. I can't find it, I can't find her, and I came here for nothing. I fell to the floor and sobbed. I wept for the husband I lost, the life I had, this state I'm in, my nomad-ness, the old woman that will never offer me her time, the man who lost the love of his life, and my pathetic fate. I am useless to the universe for it had given up on me. My life superfluous not mattering to anyone.

I held on to the ground for dear life, digging my fingers as far as they could reach, the earth my sole comfort.

I heard footsteps getting closer and closer until they were in front of me. I did not care, who mattered to actually console me?

I was lifted gracefully and held by the shoulders.

I stared at the familiar figure that I thought I would not see anytime soon.

"Cecilia?" he said in disbelief.

"Vincent?" I too was surprised. Fate, what do you have in stored?

Track for this chapter: Dust clears- Clean Bandit

P.S: The woman in the picture is Cecilia

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