A train screeched to a halt before her, and Spencer checked her watch. Right on schedule. Hers would be the next one in. Exhaling deeply, she tightened her grip on her luggage as passengers began to file out, and the impending boarders bustled around eagerly like bees swarming in their hive. In another life, she would have hated this moment and the chaos it entailed. But here and now, so far removed from every other version of herself, Spencer embraced the sounds and the smells, the faces and the freedom. She knew how much she would miss this when the semester was over - and it would be, soon, she reminded herself.
The sound of her name caught her attention, and she instinctively looked up. On the other side of the platform, a boy with a lopsided grin waved at her, and she could have sworn she was seeing a ghost.
"Caleb?" Spencer asked, hardly believing her eyes. Her feet must have believed, though, because they were already propelling her through the crowd. He was moving, too, eyes locked on hers, and they met somewhere in the middle. It really was him.
Their arms wrapped around each other, and in an instant she was transported to a different world, the one she'd worked so hard to leave behind. She wasn't sure if the surge of emotion she felt was comfort or fear.
Caleb pulled away, holding his old friend at arms length as he scanned her face and attempted to process the situation. A million miles away from home, years between them, and somehow they ended up in the same city at the same train station on the same platform at the very same second. It didn't seem like it could be real, but then, neither did so much of what they'd been through.
"What are you doing here?" he asked incredulously.
"Study abroad," Spencer answered quickly, then, just as fast, "What are you doing here?"
"Backpacking. Been making my way across Europe for a few months now," he said, letting go of her. He had needed a fresh start, needed to get away from New York, from Rosewood, from his obligations, and from his heartache.
Spencer's wide eyes were still registering his presence. He ran a nervous hand through his hair, enduring a lengthy moment of her silent stare. Caleb cocked his head curiously.
"S-sorry," she stuttered, "I'm just - this is so weird." The throaty laugh that followed overflowed with disbelief.
"It is, isn't it?" He replied, his laughter joining hers. "What are the odds?"
"Well, statistically speaking, you encounter an average of -" Spencer started, then Caleb interjected, "Spencer Hastings. Some things never change." He smirked, shaking his head.
"Yeah," Spencer smiled. Her eyes dropped down to her feet as she thought about her life, where she was, and where she thought she'd be. She looked back up at him. "Some things do," she said pointedly.
"Some things do," he agreed, meeting her all too familiar gaze. It was an unexpected reminder of everything he'd been trying to escape, but somehow, he didn't mind. It was also a reminder that someone else could understand.
Suddenly the squeal of another train brought reality crashing down on them. "Oh, that's mine," Spencer muttered. The rest of the world came back to life as the high of their chance encounter faded away, and they remembered the places and the people they were supposed to be.
Caleb offered a small grin. "Well, it was good seeing you."
"Yeah, it was good seeing you, too," she told him, reaching up to touch his arm sincerely. "Really good." With a small wave and a final parting smile, she picked up her bags and headed for the boarding line. He watched her figure begin to disappear into the crowd.
Caleb called after her, "Hey, Spencer!" Her head whipped around, eyebrows raised. "Where are you going?" he asked.
"Salamanca!" Her raspy voice cracked slightly as it fought to be heard over the commotion. Caleb nodded. She was just about to turn away when she heard his voice echo through the station once more.
"Do you have to go?"