In anticipation of the release of A Twist of Fate on Friday, today I explore another theme of the book: predictability, or rather, breaking from predictability.
Callie, like so many of us, expects to follow a particular path through life. It’s a path already well-trodden: decent school, good degree, respectable job, a boyfriend her parents and friends approve of … She intends to continue down that path. Why? Because it’s the right path? Not necessarily. Again, like so many of us, she sticks to the predictable because it’s easy, because it’s expected. There is a certain comfort in predictability, even if it isn’t actually the best thing for us.
Paul Mason – bluff, northern, working class – is like no one she’s ever considered falling for. So when she falls for him profoundly and undeniably, she can’t cope. But then, she has an explanation for her surprising feelings – they survived a plane crash and are stranded together on a desert island! After a shock like that, one can be excused a few unexpected reactions, surely? So she tells herself …
But Paul isn’t so easy to forget. When they return to the UK, they find the media obsessed with their story. Even if Callie wants to forget about him, it seems the British public aren’t going to let her.
Is it for the best? Perhaps the best things that happen to us, happen not because we choose them, but because they choose us, however much we fight them. They may seem ridiculous at the time, but give them a few months or years, and you’ll wonder why you ever doubted.
Will it turn out like that for Callie? Wait and see. Here’s another teaser from Paul and Callie’s first moments on the island. Paul asks Callie why she broke it off with her boyfriend.
‘Is that what you should always try for – a developing relationship?’
‘Yes, don’t you think? There’s no point in being in something that just stagnates. You should grow together, always wake up thinking there’s something new to discover about the person. Something to figure out.’
‘So you’ve decided you haven’t figured him out after all?’
‘I don’t know. I just … he’s familiar to me. He’s easy. He treats me well.’
He paused briefly. ‘Is that enough? Does that leave you enough to figure out?’
‘I suppose I’ll find out.’
I fell quiet. So did he. It didn’t matter. It was an easy silence, the only sound the crackling of the fire. After a while, I said, ‘It’s strange isn’t it, you and me?’
‘How d’you mean?’
‘Well, here we are talking, getting on perfectly well. We probably would never have spoken to each other in real life. I mean … we may never have had the opportunity.’
‘I were sitting near you on the plane for over an hour. You could have talked then.’
‘So could you!’ I chided with a smile.
He laughed and poked the fire. ‘Mad, really.’
‘Well, we haven’t exactly got a lot in common, have we?’
He pouted. ‘Edward III.’
‘Apart from him.’
‘You never know though. There could be more. Try me.’
I smiled at his game. ‘Alright. Umm … Tea or coffee?’
‘Earl Grey or PG Tips?’
He looked at me wearily. ‘Whatever’s put in front of me.’
‘Downton or Game of Thrones?’
He chuckled. ‘I don’t mind a bit of Game of Thrones. S’pose you like all those posh people poncin’ about.’
‘Downton’s nice on a Sunday night. Cats or dogs?’
‘Me too. Rugby or football?’
‘Cricket. I’m a Yorkshireman, after all.’
‘There we go. I love cricket too.’
‘You were wrong then, weren’t you? We’ve got a lot in common.’ He smiled. I melted.
Paul stood up and stretched. ‘It’s gonna be a scorcher.’ He reached for a net he’d mocked up with a stick and some mesh. ‘I’m gonna try to catch us some fresh lunch.’
And right there in front of me, in one fluid motion, he pulled off his grey T-shirt. His naked torso revealed itself; broad, muscled, golden in the sun. I couldn’t help staring. I think my mouth fell open like a guppy. He could have mistaken me for one of the fish he was catching. Oh God, he was stunning.
His chest was smooth, save for the faintest dusting of dark hairs along his breast bone. At rest, the muscles swelled and dipped with smooth grace, but I suspected when he was using them, they’d firm up gloriously. I swallowed and remembered to drop my head. Paul bent to pick up the net again and looked out to sea. ‘There’s something else too.’
‘What?’ I asked, confused.
‘Something else we have in common.’
‘Survival. We have that in common. Life.’
He looked down and held my eyes. Had I ever wanted anything so much?
A Twist of Fate is released in e-book format on 5th June and in paperback on 18th June. It is available for pre-order now.