The Chance It Could Happen

Four minutes changes everything. Lia Green, 17, misses her flight at JFK airport, is late to her father's second wedding in London with never-met stepmother. Lia meets the perfect girl. Jaimey is British, sits in her row. A long night on the plane passes in a blink, but the two lose track in arrival chaos. Can fate bring them together again?

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1. Prologue

There are so many ways it could have turned out differently. One in a million.
        Imagine if I hadn't forgotten the book I so desperately wanted to get rid of. I wouldn't have run back into the house while Mom waited outside with the car running, the engine setting loose a cloud of exhaust in the late-day heat.
        Or before that, even: Imagine if I hadn't waited to try on my dress that I resent, so that I might have noticed earlier that the straps were too long, this close from having everything show. Mom wouldn't have had to haul out her old sewing kit, that I haven't seen for ages, turning the kitchen counter into an operating table as she attempted to save the poor lifeless swath of purple silk at the very last minute.
        Or later: If I hadn't given myself a paper cut while printing out my ticket, all the while complaining that I didn't even want to go to the stupid thing, if I hadn't lost my phone charger, which I later found under the sweatshirt thrown on my bed, if there hadn't been traffic on the expressway to the airport. If we hadn't missed out exit causing a argument to burst between me and Mom. Or if I hadn't fumbled with the quarters for the toll, the coins rolling beneath the seat while the people in their cars behind us leaned hard on their horns.
        If the wheel of Mom's dreaded suitcase hadn't been off-kilter.
        If I had run a bit faster to the gate.
        Though maybe it wouldn't have mattered anyway.
        Perhaps the day's collection of delays is beside the point, and if it hadn't been one of those things, it would have just been something else: The weather over the Atlantic delaying everyone's flight, rain in London; which wouldn't be hard to believe, storm clouds hovering just a second too long before getting on with their day. Perhaps it was meant to be. I'm not a big believer in things like fate, or destiny, but then, I've never been a big believer in the punctuality of the airline industry, either.
        When has a plane ever left of time anyways?
        I've never missed a flight before in my life. Not ever. So what makes this time different? The delays? The slowness of my running? Or just pure chance?
        Whatever the reason, when I reach the gate this evening, it's to find the attendants sealing the door and shutting down computers. The clock above them says 6:48, and just beyond the window the plane sits like a hulking metal fortress; it's clear from the looks around her that nobody else is getting on that thing.
        I'm four minutes late. Four minutes. Which doesn't seem like all that much when you think about it; it's a commercial break, the period between classes, the time it takes to cook a microwave meal, or in this case, the time it takes for me to miss my flight. Four minutes is nothing; until it's everything. Every single day, in every single airport, there are people who make their flights at the very last moment, breathing a hard sigh of relief as they slump into their seats as the plane lurches itself skyward.
        But not me, not Lia Green. I let my bag slip from my hand in defeat as I stand at the window, watching the plane break away from the accordion-like ramp, it's wings rotating as it heads toward the runway without me.
        Across the ocean, my father is making one last toast, the white-gloved hotel staff polishing the silverware for tomorrow night's celebration. Behind me, the girl with a ticket for seat 18C on the next flight to London is eating a powdered doughnut, oblivious to the dusting of white on her shirt, or just not caring.
        I close my eyes, just for a moment, and when I open them again, the plane is gone. Like it vanished into thin air without a remembrance of it left behind.
        Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?



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I really hope you all enjoy this story, I've worked really hard on it, and I would love your guys' criticism and suggestions !! All comments welcome (:

"And O There are days in this life worth life and worth death."
Charles Dickens - Our Mutual Friend

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