Starting Over

by Kelly Aten

Well, for all you folks out there reading this, I had better warn you ahead of time. Not only is this my first uber fan fiction story but it is also my first short fiction ever! So please don't be too hard on me if you are kind enough to give me any feedback. I am seriously interested in writing more and I would love a few pointers from all the real bards out there as well as from my fellow fans. Seriously though, I love fan fiction, just like I love music. Unfortunately my musical talent is limited to singing to myself in the shower. I have always wanted to create something for others to enjoy so I thought I would try my hand at being a bard. I know, I feel like a kid playing dress up right now but maybe my talent will grow and I'll be able to fill the bardic shoes. I hope you all enjoy.

This is a tale about two women. These women might seem familiar to you but they are not. It is just a figment of your imagination. So keep dreaming!

Disclaimers: None needed. Sorry everyone, this is a mild tale of two women who meet and become friends. I didn't feel confident enough to write much more. Heh, heh... maybe with the right feedback there could be a sequel where disclaimers might actually be needed. *grin*

The rain came down in icy buckets as she stood on the corner, suitcase in hand. She turned her head towards the sound of the vehicle coming down the street. The gloomy streetlights barely illuminated her form as she stepped up and hailed the cab. As the car pulled up to the curb she turned around and cast one last look at the dimly lit third floor window. She sighed as the realization struck that she had come to the point of no return. This was the last time she would see that window or even this street. This would be the final cut, severing all the ties to her past and leaving the life she had built over the last six years. The companionship, the security and all their accumulated possessions were gone with the faded daylight. She was finally ready to begin the rest of her life.

She slowly turned back towards the cab, shaking her wet reddish blonde hair from her face. When she opened the door and sat inside the sudden heat caused her to shiver.

The cabby looked at her through the rear view mirror and said "Where to"?

When she looked up to answer, the driver's blue eyes caught her attention. "I guess I don't know. Could you just drive for a while, please?"

"Sure lady, no problem. Any particular direction you had in mind?" The blond closed her eyes and thought for a second before saying "East, just drive East for a while."

For the next fifteen minutes the only sound that could be heard was the steady beat of the windshield wipers and wet tires cutting through standing water. As the driver made her way east across the city she glanced at the woman in the mirror. She looked upset but resolute; the streetlights reflecting the unshed tears in her bright green eyes. She thought 'How can such a beautiful woman look so sad?' In her experience she found that sometimes people like to open up to her on long rides. It reminded her of the days when she used to tend bar. People like to tell their trouble to a stranger because they know they will never see them again. You could learn a lot about people by listening to their problems.

Taking a chance she asked, "So what are you running from?" At first she thought the woman wasn't going to answer so she said, "Sorry, I didn't mean to pry. You just looked like you could use a friendly ear, and I listen pretty well."

The woman looked back up at the cabby "No, it's all right. It would only be prying if it were something I didn't want to tell. I don't really mind telling, it's just very confusing."

Glancing back at the blond she said, "Well, take your time. I'll listen when you're ready. My name's Cat and as long as you have the cash and no place you have to be, I'm your girl."

The woman smiled, "Thanks Cat. My name is Julie. I guess you're stuck being my girl then because tonight I've got the cash and no where to go."

Cat smiled, "Why don't you start there. Tell me why you're carrying a suitcase in the middle of the night but you don't have anywhere to go."

Julie gave a quick nod "Okay, that's as good a place to start as any I guess." She thought for a second before continuing. "I guess you could say I'm starting over. Tonight was officially the last night of a six year relationship with my fiancé. I gave him almost everything, the rest he'll ship to me once I find a place to live."

Cat quirked her right eyebrow in the mirror at her. "Really? Wow, that's a long time. Hmmm... Can I ask you a question?"

Julie ran her hand through her damp hair "Sure, go ahead."

Cat glanced back at her. "Why? I mean, why after six years?"

Julie sighed and shifted in her seat. "Now that's the confusing part. Ummm... I'm not really sure if I know. I had always felt... vaguely dissatisfied. One day I realized that I wasn't happy. It was more than that though; I realized that I never fell in love. For me it had become a relationship of convenience. There was love, companionship, and financial security. The problem is I realized I didn't love him romantically. The longer we were together, the more I thought of him as a brother. A best friend, not a lover." She looked up, a sad smile on her face "I wish I could have. He deserved better, more than I could give him. I don't regret the time we spent together, I just wish I hadn't hurt him in the end."

Cat glanced at her again in the mirror "If that's really the way you feel, then your decision was for the best. If you had stayed your problems would only have gotten worse. You would have ended up hating each other."

Julie sighed, "That doesn't make me feel any better though."

Cat took a chance and went on "You probably feel bad because you were the one who backed out of your relationship but you shouldn't feel that way."

She gave Julie a kind smile, the blonde only seeing it through her eyes in the mirror. "You might have hurt him but it was for his own good. It was for the good of both of you, so don't beat yourself up about it. Life goes on, eventually he will find himself someone who can give him what he needs." The cabby thought for a second. "That doesn't bother you does it? That he will find someone else?"

Julie looked up startled "God no, not at all! In fact, it's just the opposite. I want him to move on with his life, to find someone else. I want him to be happy because I really do love him. He's the sweetest guy a girl could ever ask for, he's just not for me."

Cat turned her head around to look at Julie as she pulled up to a stop sign. Julie was immediately struck by the beauty of the cabby. She thought to herself 'My god! With those cheekbones and that dark hair, she could be a model. What's she doing driving a cab, she's gorgeous.' When she met Cat's eyes she felt a brief connection, like and age-old ache.

Cat looked at the blonde curiously for a second as she watched the variety of emotions flicker across her face. Giving Julie a serious look she said, "Julie, you are a very strong woman and you have a big heart. You show an incredible amount of bravery to do what you did. You chose a hard road but it was the right thing to do. Don't lose heart now, you can make it somehow."

Julie just stared at her and before she could stop it, a sob tore it self past her lips. All of her fear, guilt and confusion poring itself from her soul.

Cat was quiet, letting the car idle at the stop sign. The sound of Julie's sobs tearing through her heart. 'It's not fair that she should be tormented by doing the right thing. It's no wonder she is so sad, she cut away her past and in doing so lost herself.'

As Julie started to get her sobs back under control she looked up into deep blue eyes. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to break down like that."

Cat gave her a tender smile "That's all right." She cocked her head quizzically "That's the first time you have let go isn't it?"

The blonde bit her bottom lip and looked at her hands. "Yes, it is. It's just so overwhelming. I... I'm scared. It wasn't an impulsive decision but I didn't plan ahead very well. Now I find myself in a cab in the middle of the night with no where to go and I'm crying my heart out to a strange cabbie."

Cat narrowed her eyes at the blonde "Strange huh?"

Julie immediately flushed bright red. "No! I.... uh, that's not what I meant. It's just... I meant a stranger, not that you were strange. I mean, I really don't know you well enough to call you strange." She sighed, "This isn't coming out very well at all."

Cat laughed out loud "You are just too funny! No, really. It's all right; I knew exactly what you meant. I was just giving you a hard time." Seeing Julie smile at her reassurance she went on, "Don't you have any family you could stay with?"

Julie frowned. "No, they wouldn't understand. They all love him and they wouldn't take this very well. Frankly, they can't understand why I haven't married and had a few children by now."

The dark-haired woman nodded in understanding "So you haven't told them yet?"

The blond shook her head and said quietly, "No."

Cat thought for a minute before coming to a decision. "So you need a place to stay?"

Julie looked up suspiciously "Yeah... why, do you know of a place?" She wondered why this woman had been so nice to her. This was a dark day and age and most people followed suit. But this woman was going out of her way to help her, beyond the price of a cab fare. She thought to herself 'What is her ulterior motive, she can't be doing this for nothing.'

The cabbie noticed the other woman's suspicious glare and laughed. "No really, it's all right. I'm not a psycho or anything. It's just... well, I had to start over once too and I know what you're going through. No ulterior motives other than to see you get back on your feet, I promise." After seeing the look of suspicion fall from the blonde's face she went on "Look, I know where there is an apartment for rent, if you're interested. It just happens to be in my building. It's fully furnished and I could probably get you in there tonight."

Julie looked at her in shock, unable to believe that she had found such good fortune and a friend on one of the worst days of her life. "How..." She started to ask before she was interrupted.

Cat smirked. "I happen to be good friends with the owner. One phone call and I can have the manager meet us there with the keys. You could fill out the paperwork tomorrow once you've had some sleep."

Julie looked like she was going to cry again. "I can't believe someone would do this for me, you're incredible. A real life saver."

Cat blushed all the way to her dark roots and faced away from her. "Umm... it's nothing, really. It's just that I couldn't let you go knowing I could do something to help. So, what do you say? Are you ready to start your next adventure in life?"

Julie beamed from the back seat "Yes, I like that." Suddenly a thought crossed her mind "Wait! What about you? You can't just leave. What time do you get off work?"

The cabbie turned around with a sheepish look on her face. Her skin was as red as it could get. "Uhh... about two hours ago?"

The blonde's eyebrows rose to her hairline. "What! Why didn't you say something? You could have kicked me out you know. Now I feel terrible for imposing on you."

The dark-haired woman hastily reassured her "No, it's ok. I just couldn't let you go after knowing your story." She didn't mention she was already off the clock when she saw the lonely woman standing on the curb, suitcase in hand. She felt drawn to the sad woman and couldn't pass her by. "And anyway, I didn't have anywhere I had to be. I was, and still am, more than glad to help. So... are you still ready for that adventure?"

Julie smiled at her new friend. "Yeah, I think I am." She laughed and waved an imperious hand at Cat "Take me home James."

Cat just smiled back and shook her head. She thought to herself 'An adventure, most definitely!'

The End


Well, what do you think? Come on help me out, I'm dyin' here! Do I make the cut or what? Just drop me a line with your praise or your gripes. At this point, either one would be welcome. Kelly

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