Where I follow, you'll go
Echo meet-cute based on Collide by Howie Day. What if they collided, but literally?
(Also this is the first time I'm writing echo-centered, I hope I didn't mess them up 😅)
Enjoy! 😁 (on A03)
Liz Ortecho was a bright up and coming scientist. Her research on the regeneration of brain cells had completely revolutionized the field, and there was talk about her getting a Nobel Prize soon enough.
Max Evans was a newly published author, not yet at the top of the charts, but with a new book that was getting more and more popular. His book had gotten the attention of a few well-renowned critics, putting pressure on him for his next story.
Liz was in Roswell for a convention. Her team would present their research and the medical advances that could follow, in hopes to get approved for human testing. This would be a massive step on the road to cure degenerative brain disorders.
Max was in Roswell as a stop for his road trip across the United States, in hopes to find inspiration for his next book. His goal was to go to various places that had a rich history and culture.
The convention lasted four days, but Liz’s team had arrived a few days earlier to prepare the cells they would be demonstrating their research on. Max had planned to stop in Roswell for a week, wanting to see as much as possible of the touristy attractions, while also enjoying the local life.
Some would say it was completely coincidental that they were in the same town at the same time; others would say the universe had aligned for this particular event.
After staying in Roswell for a few days, their paths never crossing, the inevitable happened. They both needed to buy groceries, at the same time, in the same supermarket.
It was at the corner of the canned food and the cheese that their lives collided. Or, in this case, their shopping carts collided.
Liz, taken by the force of the hit straight into her cart, stumbled to the side, before losing her balance and falling, taking the cart down with her.
“Shit, sorry,” Max said as he kneeled next to her, “Are you okay?”
She checked for any injuries, before sitting up, looking at the stranger who had walked into her. “Yeah,” she breathed out, taken by the man in front of her.
Max stood up, offering his hand to Liz, who grabbed it. They were facing now, and Max couldn’t look away from the woman in front of him.
“Uhm”, Liz said eventually, clearing her throat and pointing at her cart. “I should -”
As she bent down to get her stuff, bumping Max in the forehead as he did the same. The two of them giggled, Max blushing furiously, before continuing to put back everything that Liz wanted to purchase.
“Okay, well, sorry for the -” she waved between them, awkwardly, before grabbing her cart. “I should go, uhm, thanks for helping me tidy everything up.”
And with that she was gone, leaving a hopeless Max Evans in her wake.
Come on, Liz, she thought to herself, you’re here for a career changing conference, not to bump into cute guys. Shaking her head, trying to clear all thoughts of the handsome stranger who she had collided with, she tried to focus on her science, buying all her groceries and heading back to the hotel.
Little did she know, she had had a similar effect on Max, who was struggling to think of anything but her. With a sigh, he grabbed his cart and walked out of the aisle, to continue his shopping, when his eye caught something on the floor.
A pot of Ben & Jerry’s cookie dough and chocolate chip ice cream. Which certainly didn’t belong in the cannes food section. Picking up, he looked back in the direction Liz had left, wondering if maybe -
No, it couldn’t be. What was the probability that this pot belonged to her and wasn’t someone else’s purchase who had also fallen at the same place as Liz.
He quickly made his way to checkout, the rest of his shopping list forgotten. As soon as he had all his purchases in bags, he ran outside, in hopes to see the wonderful stranger he had just met.
But eventually, Max had to settle on a defeat - the woman was gone, and only left behind her a pot of ice cream.
He drove back to his hotel room, trying to clear his mind of the stranger he had collided with, trying to focus on his new book.
However, neither did a spectacular job at forgetting each other, rather they could,’t stop thinking of the stranger they had bumped into, desperantely to find each other again, but knowing that Roswell wasn’t that much of a small town, the probability of their paths crossing again was next to zero.
The universe must’ve been quite bad at maths, or have a serious sense of irony, as merely three days later, on their last day each, they collided once more.
Max had been going to the Wild Pony, a local bar, ever since he arrived, enjoying the lively atmosphere, observing the people around him as he wrote his book. In hindsight, he probably could’ve done a better job at observing.
Liz’s team wanted to enjoy their last day in Rowell, wanting to celebrate the success of their research and the approval of human testing.
Liz offered to buy her team drinks, as she had been the one to originally come up with their research (and she didn’t like others paying for her drinks).
This time, it was at the bar, as Liz turned around, carrying all the drinks for her teammates, that they collided. All of Liz’s drinks spilled on Max’s white shirt, but he only cared for a split second, before looking up and meeting Liz’s eyes.
“Shit, sorry,” Liz said, before raising her head, and seeing the same stranger as three days earlier, in a similar setting. “It’s you!” She exclaimed, her eyes widening as she took him in.
He was just as handsome, if not more, his white shirt getting transparent by the drinks spilled on it. Max giggled, before completely laughing, throwing his head back, Liz joining him, but not quite understanding what was so funny.
“We need to stop meeting this way,” he said once the laughter had died down. Liz couldn’t agree more, and she nodded eagerly.
She smiled at him, her teammates forgotten for the moment. “How about I buy you a drink? I promise I’ll try not to spill on you.”
Max’s cheeks got red, and he rubbed the back of his neck awkwardly, all while he nodded, not trusting his voice at the moment.
Liz’s teammates, worried about what was taking so long with the drinks, made their way to the bar. When they saw Liz with Max, and saw that she didn’t seem to need any backup, they ordered their own drinks and sat back down at their table - Liz deserved a break from all the science, and if that break was with a handsome man, who were they to deny her?
Liz ordered two drinks, and let Max carry them to a table outside, saying that she didn’t want to ruin his shirt more than she already had. After repeating once more that it was an accident, and besides he owned many identical white shirts, Max sat down, enjoying his drink in silence.
The two of them were quiet, but the air between them wasn’t as awkward as one might expect. This was only the second time they had met, but they fell in comfortable silence, as would old friends.
Eventually, as time went by, conversations flowing easily between them, discussing what brought them to Roswell, Liz remembered that she had a plane early the next morning.
“Oh, yeah,” Max said with a yawn, “I also have an early flight.” They stood up at the same time, staring at each other, not knowing what the best farewell would be. Because tomorrow, they would each take a plane, and would end up at two sides of the country.
Max was the first to move, extending his hand between them, inviting Liz to shake it. Liz smiled and shook her head, before leaning in for a hug. The hug was quite short, and both yearned for it to last longer, if not forever, but they didn’t know where the other stood, so they went their way, separately, to never see each other again.
“Wait!” Liz shouted, making Max turn around so fast she was worried his neck might snap. They each had already made some distance, so she had to practically run to get to his level. She handed him her business card, “Don’t be a stranger.”
Max took it with a soft smile, turning it towards the Wild Pony lights so he could read it. “Elizabeth Ortecho, PhD, Researcher for Genoryx,” he read, looking at Liz with pride in his eyes.
“Most people call me Liz,” she replied, instinctively.
“Max Evans, but most people just call me Max.”
Liz chuckled, “It was a pleasure meeting you, Max Evans. I hope it won’t be the last.”
“Who knows, maybe we could collide in another public place?”
And with that, they bid each other farewell, going back to their respective hotel rooms to pack their bags. They didn’t see each other on the way to the airport, but as they each looked through the window of their plane, they knew that this was not a ‘goodbye’, it was a ‘see you soon’.