The fortune teller told her where she’d meet the love of her life – and she was about to find out if it was true
KATE was just about to turn the corner into the open-plan office area where her desk was when she heard a shrill voice say, “Has anyone seen Kate? It’s really important I speak to her.”
Kate cringed. She knew the reason Lena wanted to speak to her so desperately. She was trying to set her up on another blind date. And no matter how many times Kate said no, she knew Lena would continue to badger her until she finally gave in.
Given the complete disasters every other blind date had resulted in Kate definitely didn’t want a repeat performance, but that wasn’t the only reason she tried to avoid Lena’s unwelcome matchmaking attempts – ever since she’d turned 15 she knew she was destined to meet the man she’d marry in Sydney, Australia.
Kate had stopped in her tracks but heard Lena’s voice getting closer.
“Quick, in here,” said an amused voice behind her. And she felt a hand enclose hers and gently tug her through the nearest doorway – into the photocopy room. It took a moment to register that it was Nathan who’d come to her rescue. “Hide behind the door,” he said. Nathan had just positioned himself next to the photocopier when Lena stood in the doorway. “Have you seen Kate? I can’t find her anywhere.”
“No,” said Nathan, his eyes containing only the barest twinkle of amusement. “I think I heard she had to go home early – a bit sick or something.”
Kate was afraid she’d reveal her hiding place behind the door through a burst of laughter. She didn’t know the resident Mr Always-Nice-Guy could be so devious!
“Oh,” said Lena, disappointed. “I guess I’ll have to find someone else for tonight then.” She walked off looking annoyed.
Only when Nathan double-checked the coast did he wave Kate out from behind the door.
“Thanks so much,” said Kate, “You absolutely saved me.”
Nathan gave her an endearingly shy smile. “Well, anything for my most favourite person in the building.”
Kate wondered if he was he about to ask her on a date again – which she’d politely decline again – but he didn’t. Instead he asked, “So when’s the big trip to Sydney?”
“Two weeks! I’m so excited. I’m already all packed.”
“Do you need a lift to the airport? I’d be happy to drive you there.” “I couldn’t ask you to do that.” “You didn’t ask. I’m offering. In fact, I’m not just offering. I insist.”
“You really are the nicest guy I know, Nathan.”
A wry smile crossed his lips. “Mmm, isn’t nice another word for boring?”
“Absolutely not!” She almost added that she hoped the man she’d meet in Sydney would be just like him. Funny, friendly, smart, helpful and, of course, nice, but she’d never told a soul what the fortune teller had told her years ago and she wasn’t about to start now.
She could just imagine the ridicule. Here she was, an intelligent 25-year-old woman, about to travel halfway around the world, all because of a fortune teller’s prediction when she was a teenager. She’d be the butt of jokes for weeks, if not months. And if Lena ever found out, she’d never hear the end of it.
“Well, I better get back to work,” said Nathan. “Keep your head down for the rest of the afternoon. If you need to hide again there’s always my office.”
“Thanks,” said Kate, “You’re a good friend.”
Nathan opened his mouth as if to say something, then closed it again. Instead he just smiled, then walked off.
AFTER an hour-and-a-half delay the plane was finally in the air. Kate looked out the small window and soon could see only wisps of cloud below. She may have been on her way to Sydney but surprisingly it was Nathan in her thoughts.
He was such a gentleman – driving her to the airport, carrying her luggage, buying her coffee when they knew the flight was delayed. He didn’t have the sort of looks that would automatically make heads turn but over the rim of her coffee cup while they waited for her boarding call she couldn’t help notice what a beautiful shade of deep green his eyes were, and how he got the cutest little dimple in his left cheek whenever he smiled.
Why hadn’t she noticed that before? Then she realised. She really hadn’t taken notice of any man who crossed her path
as always in the back of her mind was the fortune teller’s prediction.
Ten years prior Kate had accompanied her mother to the local fortune teller. Her mom had spent more than half an hour in the small room in the woman’s house and when they’d emerged later the smell of incense had followed them down the stairs. So had the fortune teller. She’d touched Kate’s arm. Even after all these years Kate could recall exactly what she’d said.
“I can see you standing in front of the Sydney Opera House in the arms of the man you’ll fall deeply in love with and marry.”
Kate wasn’t totally gullible, of course. Even at such a young age she took the prediction with a heavy dose of scepticism. It wasn’t until the predictions the fortune teller had given her mother started coming true – marrying again to a man in uniform, moving to the Cape, and having twin girls – that Kate began to plan her trip to Sydney. That’s why she’d been saving every cent possible since she started working and why she didn’t willingly go on dates. She already had a longstanding date with Sydney.
WHEN the plane landed there was another short train trip and then a walk to her hotel. When she stood on the balcony of her room she couldn’t believe the amazing views of the Opera House, the many huge white curved roofs looked like sails.
Knowing she wouldn’t be able to sleep while the sun was out she unpacked, showered, changed and headed to the Opera House.
A short walk later saw her soaking up the busy atmosphere: the portrait painters, ice creams vans, cafés, buskers and more. Rocking next to nearby wharves old wooden green ferries took on board passengers, ready to take them across the deep blue of the harbour. She walked past the ferries and soon found herself on the steps of the Opera House.
While she was standing there taking photos she heard a voice behind her. “Excuse me, you dropped this.” Was this it? thought Kate. Was this the moment she met the love of her life?
Kate turned and saw a man holding out her camera lens cleaning cloth. The man was at least 70 years old and had a smile full of missing teeth. Definitely not destiny material. “Thanks,” said Kate. “I didn’t realise I’d dropped it.” “I’m Tom. Are you on holiday?” “Yes, I’ve just arrived,” said Kate. “You’ll have to catch a ferry to Manly. You’ll love the beach there.” “Thanks for the tip.” Just then her phone beeped. It was a text from Nathan. Kate smiled while she read: “R U there yet?”
Kate replied: “Yes. On steps of Opera House rite now. Wonderful. 2morrow will climb 2 top of Harbour Bridge.”
A minute later another message from Nathan: “Don’t fall off.” Kate laughed. For the next two weeks Kate visited all the attractions of Sydney, including Manly Beach. Tom was right – it was amazing, but it was the ferry ride across in the lovely old green boat she enjoyed the most. She texted Nathan about all her adventures and looked forward to his replies.
It was on the last day before she flew out, while she was sitting at a café overlooking the harbour, that a gorgeous man approached her.
“May I join you?” he said in a voice that caressed like a lover’s embrace.
Kate looked up. Was this her destiny? But, as handsome as he was, all she could think about instead were deep green eyes and a dimpled smile. “I’m sorry. I’m just leaving.” When the plane landed back at home Nathan was waiting for her. When they arrived at her place she invited him in for coffee. They talked for hours while Kate showed him her photos.
Nathan checked his watch and sighed. “I really should go now,” he said. “I guess I’ll see you at work on Monday.”
“Sure. But before you go I just want to say thanks.” She pulled him close to hug him, her arms encircled his neck. Their eyes met. Slowly their heads drew closer until they kissed. Only when they pulled apart did Kate notice where they were standing. Right in front of a large poster she’d put on her wall years ago – the one of Sydney Opera House.
It would make a great honeymoon destination, Kate thought happily, as she pulled Nathan into another embrace.
‘May I join you?’ he said in a voice that caressed like a lover’s embrace.