A chance encounter (short fiction)

Molly crossed the road, not actively looking as she did. She jumped in fright at the sound of the horn from an oncoming car. Her heart pumped fiercely, her fingers tingled and every part of her burned.

Safely on the footpath, Molly breathed in deeply through her nose, and exhaled through her mouth. She smoothed down the front of her dress, and tucked her hair behind her ears.

‘Are you alright?’

Molly looked around her. A man, who seemed vaguely recognisable, was rushing towards her.

‘I saw what happened. That driver didn’t slow down.’ His voice was smooth, like melted chocolate. ‘Are you OK?’ he repeated.

Molly nodded.

‘Can I buy you a coffee? There’s a cafe about three doors down.’

Molly hesitated. He noticed.

‘I can’t let you walk away without checking if you’re alright. Please. I insist.’

She smiled. ‘Thank you, but I am fine.’ The words came just as her knees buckled under her.

He grabbed her by the elbow and began to guide her to the cafe, saying, ‘You’re not fine. I truly insist on this.’

‘We don’t even know each other.’

‘Henry Merton,’ he responded quickly. ‘And you are…?’

‘Molly Rinton.’ As she spoke her own name, clarity over the identity of this man nearly caused her knees to give way again. She knew there was something familiar about him. The second richest person in the country, a bachelor and, if the lack of tabloid press and social media posts meant anything, an all-round good bloke.

Over coffee, they were completely in sync with each other’s humour and life goals. Their outlook over the future of the planet and humanity was matched too. Their conversation gained in momentum at each new topic. An hour after her near-miss with the car Henry cleared his throat.

‘I unfortunately have to go to a meeting now, but I’d love to see you again. And soon. How’s dinner on…’ he checked his calendar on his phone. ‘…tomorrow night?’

Molly grinned and nodded her head. ‘I can do that. Where?’

‘Give me your number and I’ll text you the details,’ Henry said.

Molly called out her number, tingling all over at her luck. This must be the new definition of serendipity.


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