September 23, 2014 at 12:41am
Personal fluff stuff: (1) That Moment.
The busy streets of London do not lend to a fast commute by bus. This, is why many of us find ourselves in the Underground, the Tube network. The tube gives us generally a faster connection to where we want to go. Does it go with finding love too?
For the past months I’ve been pretty occupied with my studies, majoring on somewhat ACCA program, that zombified me in a way. After passing the nerve wracking licensure exams, that’s basically when I started opening myself to my friends’ personal wishes - to date again. Odd thing is, them feels not right. No sparks. Nada. Until I found myself that fateful morning heading to the Ravenscourt Park station after spending and stressing out the night at the office. FYI I am not that workaholic, I’m just a very passionate person and a very reliable cousin to my boss.
And one more thing, can we keep this whatever-you-may-call-it our secret? Okay?
The station was completely empty when I arrived. I pulled out a notebook and pen, which I kept in my large bag just in case. Old school writing, whatever. I didn’t bother to sit down, but stood where I approximated the door would stop. Then I began to write.
I had a few minutes of peace before I heard the familiar rumbling down the tracks. To my dismay, it stopped directly in between two cars, and I was left with a choice.
Left, or right.
So, being the left handed person I was, I chose right as that direction usually doesn’t get much attention, even if I do drive on that side.
I should have picked left.
My car was almost completely empty. As I was on the right end, the far left was occupied by a Gothic couple feverishly sucking each others’ faces off. Towards the middle was a darling old lady reading the newspaper, a grocery bag by her feet, though there wasn’t a clue as to where she’d find groceries at seven in the morning on a Sunday. Across from her, hastily typing on his blackberry was a young businessman, suit, briefcase, all fit. I, was by myself in my corner, writing in my notebook with my big bag on my lap.
I looked through the window into the next car, the one that had been to my right. It was slightly more crowded but not too much. It was also then that I saw the reason why I should have gone to the left.
Sitting in a seat that would have been directly next to me had there not been space and walls between us, was the most beautiful man I’d ever seen. Judging from his profile, at least.
He had tousled, auburn hair and a lovely plain scarf tied tightly around his neck. There were black headphones covering his ears and he was wearing a gray pea coat. From what I could tell he was reading a book. His gorgeous lips did not move with any lyrics to the music. But, I notice that after turning a page of his fingers ran through his hair and it began to move with what I guessed was the beat of the song.
Dear Cupid. If he was a musician I’d die from too much swooning.
I found myself staring for a little while before turning back to my page and writing. Of course, there were several times over the course of the next few stops that I looked up and stared at him. After that, the old woman and businessman had left. The couple had slowed their activity and were now speaking in hushed tones, seeming to grow louder and angrier as they went.
More people had gotten on, thought none had come near me. I glanced up to the window, a break from work only to find the guy was looking at me.
We both froze, eyes wide as we stared at each other. As the moments passed, I felt my cheeks heat up in a blush. I looked down, embarrassed and tied my own scarf tighter around me. I tucked a strand of hair behind my ear and when I looked up, he was grinning charmingly at me. It was so infectious, I couldn’t help but smile back. His grin widened and he looked down for a moment then glanced back up. His eyes were a stunning brown. He pressed a hand against the window, holding a piece of paper up to me with “Hi” written on it.
Personal fluff stuff: (2) That moment.
I couldn’t help it. My smile grew wider as I saw the playful smile and the gleam in his eyes, I shyly waved. He gave me a crooked, toothy grin, perfect pearly whites. The paper was taken away and he looked down for a moment before replacing it.
“My name is Steve,” it read.
The stupid grin on my face had to be enough for him to have continued and he watched me expectantly. I laughed. Was it really happening? I figured, whatever. I’d make the most out of this.
On the page next to what I was working on I wrote “Gab.”
I looked at him and his eyes were dancing all over the place. He looked back down, writing again I was assuming, so I took the opportunity to catch my breath. I was pretty sure breathing in his presence was impossible.
I looked up when movement in the corner of my eye caught my attention. His paper was back. “Very pretty name. You live in London?” I laughed again and blushed, looking down. He had a perfect smile on his lips and was studying my face. The intensity in his eyes was nearly distracting. I found myself staring at him while my hand wrote, resulting in his return message being sloppy.
Our conversation continued this way, our universities (different obviously), where we lived (rather close) until I heard my station approaching. We both paused as the announcement was made and I looked at him with a small smile as I gathered my things and stepped out onto the platform. The window blew all around me as I pushed my notebook back into my bag and dug out my ticket. I closed the button, put the bag over my shoulder and shoved my hands in my pockets, ready to head for the connection train.
“Hello,” a musical, velvety voice called.
My head shot up, there he was. Plaid scarf, gray pea coat, and now that I could see it, rather fitting dark jeans and black shoes. The headphones were around his neck, on top of the scarf and his hands were in his pockets as he slowly walked towards me, a smile playing on his lips.
“Hello….” I said back quietly, turning towards him.
“Nice to meet you,” he grinned and held out his hand for me to shake. I took it, but jumped when I touched his skin. An electric current ran through me and he must have felt the shock too, I could tell it from the way he was looking at me.
“Would you, uhm..” he looked around nervously, as if the sudden jolt between us had changed something. “Would you mind if I accompanied you, as we live in the same neighborhood and are taking the same lines?”
Seriously, now. Was this actually happening to me? I decided that as this was definitely one of the best moments of my life, I was going to play along.
“Certainly,” was my reply, and together we headed towards the Piccadilly line.
“Twelve stops,” I said, looking at the map above the door.
Steve was standing behind me while I counted, and when the train took off I stumbled. I felt Steve’s strong hands on my back, holding me upright, and I grabbed one of the poles, bracing myself. I turned to him, my face bright red. I was sure.
“I’m sorry.” I muttered. He gave me crooked grin that was amazingly charming, and shrugged.
“So, what do you do for a living?”
“I do weddings. In fact, that’s the reason why I’m going home at seven on a Sunday morning.” I chuckled. “I’m also a writer you know. Well, at least to my friends.” Then I laughed of course. How stupid of me.
He sat down across from me, nodded appreciatively. “Wow. A wedding planner and a writer-to-her-friends, sounds like fun. It’s nice that you got to accomplish something like that. That’s your dream – I’d imagine.”
“Thanks, I’m very happy with what I do. How about you? A criminal by all means?”
He grinned and leaned forward onto his knees. “Sorry to disappoint you, Gab, but no. I save life.”
“Sure you did save my life from them tripping.”
He shook his head and laughed a little. “MD.”
“Oh. Sounds noble.” I smiled and leaned forward as well. Not your ordinary doctor, hell hot doctor.
“Why thank you. I also teach piano to kids every summer.”
“Living half of your dreams already?” I asked teasingly, since he’d put my career in such terms. He chuckled and sat straighter up, though still inclined towards me.
“I would love to compose music and have it performed by a large orchestra.” He said dreamily.
“So why haven’t you yet?” I challenged. Steve grinned.
“It takes me forever to write songs,” he said simply. “And once I do, I’m so tired of hearing them that I don’t want to go over them. At least not for a little while.”
The door to the carriage opened, announcing we were at Green Park. When the doors opened, a small group of people came inside, so rather than have to deal with the chatter of many people I moved across the carriage and sat immediately next to Steve. He grinned at me.
“What are you listening to?” I asked, motioning towards the headphones around his neck.
“I’ll let you listen as long as I can read what you were writing.” He challenged. I couldn’t help the smirk rising on my features.
“Deal.” I said, pulling the headphones from around his neck.
He snatched my purse and pulled out my notebook, opening it to the very beginning. A little part of me inside thought that it might have been a bad idea, since I tended to make really stupid notes about characters and such at the beginning. Oh well. He’d just handed over his iPod and gave me free reign over his music, and I was known to judge people based on their tastes.
We both became very quiet and the people around us settled, the train taking off again. When I pressed play, beautiful piano and violin chords met my ears, the middle of a song. It was perfect for a wedding. I looked at the title; My lady. The artist was unknown and when I backed up to the playlist there were even more unfamiliar titles, the name of the playlist read ‘Escape’.
“What is this?” I asked him, holding the screen for him to see. He smiled brightly, eyes playful once more.
“Those are mine,” he simply answered, and returned back to my page.
The fact that my mouth was hanging open probably was evidence enough that I was shocked. His music was a beautiful.
“I thought you didn’t write many songs?! It takes you forever!”
“That doesn’t mean I don’t write any at all,” he replied cheekily. He just looked down to my notebook, a finger following each line he read.
I bet Karen Joyce wouldn’t mind that this gorgeous being here had read her story first.
At Piccadilly Circus a larger group, for this time of morning, climbed onto the train. Among them was a group of teenage boys, clad in jeans and t-shirts, backpacks over their shoulders, all laughing heartily. I moved on to Steve’s artists, seeing how much we had in common – which was everything, essentially.
One of the boys, extremely tall and well built, jerked when the train started, falling into the seat next to me. His friends all laughed and sat down across from us, but he was just grinning widely.
“Sorry,” he said, turning to me to apologize.
I smiled at him politely before turning back to the iPod screen. Suddenly I felt an arm wrapped around my waist, pulling me closer to Steve. I looked up at him curiously, my cheeks turning a light pink. He simply smiled softly before looking back up to the boys.
“I’m Russel.” The one next to me said, alerting me for the first time to his American accent.
“Gab.” I said quietly, only glancing at him briefly. “And this is Steve.” My friend shook Russel’s hands with the one he had wrapped around me.
“Nice to meet you!” Russel said cheerfully, completely undeterred by Steve’s protective gestures. “We’re all here on a trip for a few months – heading to Paris in a couple of days.”
“Aren’t you cold?” I asked lightly.
They were dressed for summer, whereas we were bundled up entirely. Okay summer had officially started since the other day, but hey ‘London is London’, it still crazy cold in the morning. That being said, you also had to prepare yourself in getting your barbeques caught in the rain as you cheer for Wimbledon miracle.
Russel shrugged while the other boys laughed again.”It doesn’t bother us so much. We’re used to it, from where we come from.”
I nodded, and felt Steve’s hands tighter around me. So instead of continuing with the conversation, I looked at the page he was reading.
Russel attempted to start up the conversation again, but we politely ignored him. Thankfully at Covent Garden he got off, taking his group with him and leaving us in an echoing silence. I sighed, and Steve chuckled at me.
“What was up with the arm thing?” I asked as I sat up straighter and he took his hand back. I noticed I felt colder without him wrapped around me, and it hurt a little.. if that was possible.
He shrugged. “I didn’t like the way they were looking at you. And I’m very good at reading people. Those boys’ thoughts were far from noble.”
“You’re good at reading people?” I asked, then giggled. “Can you read minds, then, too?” He laughed loudly, a beautiful smile on his face.
“Nothing that much, no. But I’m a pretty good judge of character and I can tell from body language and expressions, what a person might be thinking. It’s a pretty useful talent.” I angled my body towards him and smiled, hoping I didn’t look like an idiot.
“So, what about me?”
Steve’s eyes glimmered as they stared into mine.
“You…” he murmured. “You. I can’t tell. You’re something else, entirely.”