Foreword: This flash fic was inspired by a scenario I witnessed on a train the other day. I was in London, on my way to meet with a friend. The train was fairly packed. I noticed a woman who was using crutches. A man asked her whether she wanted to sit down. She declined, saying that she’d be getting off at the next station. He responded with an awkward laugh and said he was too. Neither of them actually disembarked the train at the next station. They both stayed on the train quite a while longer.
So I thought, how much of that exchange was just some spiel of politeness? Were they playing some sort of unwitting game in which both parties were too embarrassed to accept that spare seat? Then, my mind wandered beyond this…
(written in first-person male POV)
I see You
You stand there, leaning on your crutches as the tube rumbles through the dark tunnel . As we pass through the space between Sloane Square and South Kensington, the light flickers on and off ever so slightly with each side-to-side motion. I run my eyes over the cast binding your left foot and wonder how you ended up hurting yourself like that. A skiing accident perhaps? Or did you trap your foot in some unsuspecting rabbit hole in the ground? Or…could it be that you’re just one of those seriously clumsy people who trips over their feet in a fucked-up enough fashion that you manage to shatter millions of tiny bones in the process? I can’t decide.
You look uncomfortable, like you’re desperate to sit down. But nobody lets you, do they? No-one is considerate enough to allow you the luxury of a seat so you can rest those weary feet. Look at them all, perfectly able-bodied, and yet parking their arses down so defiantly, their eyes fixed on the alluring glare of their phone screens. It only takes a single glance to notice that their expressions are entirely placid and disengaged. Your legs are shaking as you try to keep your balance. Thankfully, there are enough people either side of you to act as a kind of buffer. You remain upright. But still, it really does look like you could do with a seat.
The tube grinds to a halt. The announcement sounds. This is South Kensington. The doors bleep open and a small crowd of people filters out. The previously occupied seat directly beside you becomes vacant. I see you…your eyes darting around like you want to sit down so badly. You look like you’re about to wet yourself amidst your desire for comfort. But I don’t want you to be uncomfortable. So I walk over and block access to the seat before anybody else decides they want to snatch it up.
“Would you like to sit here?” I say.
“No, it’s alright,” you say, all flustered and dismissive. “I’m getting off at the next station anyway.”
“Oh?” I give an awkward laugh. “Well, strangely enough so am I.”
“Really?” You laugh in response. It’s a cute sound. Not too loud, but just audible enough for me. “T-thank you anyway. I appreciate the offer.”
We exchange silent, awkward glances before resuming our original positions. Someone quickly parks themselves in that spare seat, plugging up their ears with buds. Now you’re back at square one, left to your own devices again. But you’re only going as far as the next stop, aren’t you? That’s why I’m unable to harbour the same level of guilt that seemed to rise up in me a few minutes earlier.
It seems like you can handle yourself just fine.
Despite this, my curiosity always gets the better of me in situations like these. My gaze lingers on your resilient, yet wavering frame. It’s clear as day you’re just waiting for that moment of freedom when you can get off this hellish train and back up to the city streets again. Those pavements are probably slick with rain by now; the smattering of droplets still clinging to my umbrella reminds me of this. But I’m sure the weather isn’t top of mind right now. After all, how often does it not rain in England? Most likely, wherever you’re going after you get off at Earl’s Court isn’t far from the station, not with those crutches. Why on earth would a beautiful creature like you put your body through more torture? From where I’m standing, you deserve so much more than that.
Don’t punish yourself, darling.
The train pulls up at Earls Court. Another pre-recorded electronic notice plays over the speaker. This is Earl’s Court. Please remember to take all your personal belongings when leaving the train. The doors open, and yet again, people rush in and out just like an army of ants. This is where we both said we’d be getting off. And yet neither of us budge, not even an inch. You shuffle towards the opposite side of the carriage.
Now, what is this? I didn’t make up my side of the story. I really am supposed to be disembarking here. But you know what? Tonight, I’m in no hurry. There’s nobody waiting for me when I get home, nothing but a minimalist apartment with some leftover takeaway in the fridge. It seems that your lies have been exposed. What kind of game are we playing here? Were you deliberately trying to avoid spilling the truth because you just wanted to be polite? Ah, that oh-so-inconvenient brand of social awkwardness we hold in such high esteem in this country. Or perhaps your sense of curiosity is exactly like mine.
At this point, I’m sure you’re wondering why I’m still here. And in truth, so am I. But my feet don’t want to move. My brain doesn’t even remotely register the need for action. They’re both stuck in place as if I’ve smeared superglue all over the soles in a moment of madness and now it’s come back to curse me.
We’re not facing each other directly but I’m staring at your reflection in the window. It’s like we’re standing side-by-side and yet we’re not even close. Our gazes meet for a matter of seconds. You serve me a lop-sided grin. I reciprocate, though I notice that mine is decidedly warmer and more natural. Then, you avert your eyes. I know it, you’re up to something here.
Am I…making you nervous?
Well now, there’s no need to feel that way around someone with a lot of common sense like me. The doors shut, and the train pulls away again with a deafening screech. And so the process repeats itself, arriving and departing over and over again, just like groundhog day. People board, people get off. It gets later into the evening but we stay firmly encapsulated inside this hellish carriage, caught in a peculiar web of noncommittal mutual deceit.
Eventually, we reach Ealing Broadway.
Game over, this is the end of the line.
This is Ealing Broadway where this train terminates. All change please.
There’s barely anybody left in our carriage, just a couple of teenagers, an elderly man and a woman wearing a business suit. At this stage, there’s really nowhere left to go, but here—this place which was never meant to be our destination from the start. But we’ve got to get off somewhere. The lie has gone too far now and neither of us can turn back, can we?
You straighten up and put all your weight back onto your crutches, stepping off the train with a slight limp. I let go of the handrail I’ve been gripping a little too intensely for the past ten minutes and follow you. A harsh breeze blows across my face. You amble along the platform with such visible determination towards a place you had no intention of visiting. Now, I’m really twitching with curiosity.
After all, isn’t this where all the fun begins?
I take in the sound my steel toe capped boots make as they slap against the shallow puddles that have formed on the platform. The way the rubber feet on your crutches creak as you move is somehow intoxicating. After a short while, we seem to become more synchronised until those alternating sounds harmonise completely. You fumble around in your coat pocket for your contactless card, tap it on the reader and limp to the entrance as fast as you can. You don’t even stop to look over your shoulder, not even once.
Of course, I’m sure you can sense me here. Can’t miss me.
I keep my eyes fixed on you as I swipe myself through the ticket gate. You are the sole object of my curiosity. Not the station staff, or any of the other passengers. Only you. The whole time, I make sure not to avert my gaze from the back of your head. I don’t even want to blink in case I miss the subtle rise and fall of your chest as you breathe. Yes, I’m behind you, but I can still hear your breath reverberating through my mind. It feels like my body is moving on autopilot, all by itself. As my pulse quickens, my own breaths become shallower as I try, albeit unsuccessfully, to contain my building excitement.
How can I even begin to explain this?
I walk out onto the street and take a good look around. You seem to have disappeared into thin air.
Damn it. I was so close to…
…so close to doing what…exactly? Realistically, what would have happened tonight? I mean, I’m not a stalker, I’m not a murderer, I’m not a rapist. Those are the kinds of scenarios that might typically arise from this kind of interaction. So what on earth has been compelling me to get to know more about you?
What the fuck is it?
And then, as if out of the shadows, you appear in front of me. I open my mouth to speak but before I can even get a word out, you push me against the wall with the base of one of your crutches, digging it right in the centre of my chest.
Ugh, that hurts.
“Hey…” You bring your face closer to mine and narrow your eyes. “Why are you following me?”
“I-I don’t know…”
Oh come on, why do I sound so tongue-tied right now?
“You said you were getting off at Earl’s Court.”
“Yeah, I was.” You’ve clearly sussed the situation. “But by the time I’d decided to get off the train it was already too late and the doors had closed.”
“Bull-shit,” you continue, pressing the rubber nub harder into me. I can feel the chest hairs getting trapped against the fabric of my shirt. “If that were the case, you would have got off at the next station and travelled back towards Earl’s Court. So why didn’t you?”
Of course, you’re right. I could have done that. And at this point every fibre in my body wishes I had stuck with my original plan.
You continue. “Which leads me to believe you struck up a conversation with me on purpose. Is that the kind of guy you are?”
“I didn’t have any ulterior motives.” I wave my hands around in the air to dismiss your reasoning. “I just wanted to offer you the seat, I swear that’s all there was to it.” That isn’t exactly a lie. “I thought you might need it since you hurt your ankle.”
“Oh, well. What a saint you are!” You let out a small, cynical chuckle. “But that doesn’t give you permission to stalk me like this.”
“I promise I wasn’t stalki-“
“Oh, you weren’t?” You scoff. “Well, that’s how it seemed. Think about it from an outsider’s perspective, mate.”
As with everything, there’s a counterargument. “Hey, I’m not the only one who said I was getting off at Earl’s Court. You said you were too.”
“I…” you gulp lightly and suck your lips inwards. “I have my reasons.”
“Oh, well please do share,” I say, the sarcasm dripping from my mouth. “I would love to hear all about them. You can go around blaming me for everything, but I can’t be the only guilty party here.”
“I’m not obligated to tell you anything.”
“As if that’s fair in any shape or form.” I shake my head from side to side in disbelief. “Do you think you can just corner me like this, with your fucking crutch, and not offer me any kind of explanation? I could have you done for assault.”
“Good luck on winning a potential assault claim.” You bring your face closer still. “So guess away, Sherlock. Why do you think I let you follow me?”
“Well then…” I smirk down at you. “I’m going to assume you had a hankering for a little ‘R&R’ and I was the first guy you came across who seemed like he might be remotely interested in you. Because I was being so gentlemanly.”
“Pffftt.” You relieve the pressure on my chest and bring the crutch down to your side. Then, as you take a decisive step backwards, a single tear falls from your right eye. Your demeanour has undergone a complete three-hundred-and-sixty degree turn.
“Are you…alright?” I ask. Already I feel somewhat guilty. This is genuine concern now.
“Yes…I-I’m fine.” You wipe the tear away with your sleeve. “It’s just that I’m surprised you managed to figure it out so quickly and so…accurately.”
I ponder this for a moment. “You’re actually saying you’re interested in me…like that?”
You nod, more reservedly now. “I’ve seen you on this train before.”
“When exactly was tha-?”
“Nearly every day for the past six months.”
I’m baffled. “We’ve been commuting together for that long and I’ve only just noticed you today?” How is it even possible. I mean, you’re a good-looking woman.
“Well, the crutches aren’t exactly a regular thing, so that would explain why I was, shall we say, more visible today of all days.”
I cast my eyes down to your feet. Both are firmly planted on the ground. “They’re just for show, aren’t they?”
“N-no, of course not..” Your stammering gives the game away. “Why would I pretend to be temporarily disabled?”
“Because you knew there was a chance I’d be on the train, near that seat. It was a slim possibility, maybe, but that was all the opportunity you needed.” I move in closer, grab you by the arms and flip you so your back is flat against the wall. Both of the crutches fall to the ground with an almighty clang. “I have a confession. Today wasn’t really the first time I’d noticed you either.”
Your eyes widen as I say this. “Wh-what do you mean?”
I can almost feel your heartbeat thumping away harder and faster than ever before. “We’ve been commuting on this train for the best part of six months. I saw you, always pretending to be preoccupied with something on your phone, but you’d be subtly stealing a glance at me every minute or so.” I pause. “No, those were more than just glances, they were full-on stares. I was never looking at you directly, but my field of vision is rather wide, so I could easily spot you from the corner of my eye.”
You frown. “Why didn’t you ever say anything?”
“Well, at first you…didn’t catch my attention. But after a couple of months I realised how often you’d stare at me. At that point you did pique my interest and I’d actively look for you every time I boarded. It meant I could at least be in the same carriage. That was a start. Then today, while I was finally standing so close to you, I couldn’t help but notice the way you were hobbling around on those crutches. I simply knew this was the best chance I’d have to catch you. I would have got off at whichever stop you did.”
You smile. “Is that right?”
I push my body into yours, my insistent cock now fully tenting beneath my trousers. A small gasp escapes your lips as I slip the evidence of my arousal in the tight space between your legs.
“Tell me this is what you want and I’ll give it to you.”
“Y-yes. Fucking hell I want this.” You let out a dulcet moan as you feel me against you. “But…does it have to be here?”
Your entire body quivers as I lift your top and place my cold hand flat to your naval. You clear your throat and look me in the eye. I know that expression, it’s the same one you’ve been flashing me up until now, so full of lust and longing. I trace my fingers along your naval in an exploratory motion. As I reach the top, I proceed to gently cup both of your breasts, giving them a firm squeeze. Based on my experience, and time spent in underwear departments with ex-girlfriends, I’m going to guess that these are C cups. The left is a little smaller than the right, as is often the case. What am I even thinking? It doesn’t matter what size they are, I’m just enjoying the fact that they’re making my cock stiff as anything, and you look like you’re enjoying all the attention too. I pinch your pert nipples between my fingers and the pitch of your voice goes up a notch. It’s like music to my ears.
“Fuck…”, you manage through an inward breath. “How are you turning me on this much? I don’t even know you.”
I’m confident of my response to this one. “It’s not difficult to know what you want when I see you everyday. And anyway, you’re being so obedient.”
You say nothing, but the way your face screws up with visible delight tells you something is going right.
“Are you sure you’ll survive the walk if we go somewhere else?” I continue, increasing the amount of pressure on your nipples. I lean in closer and trace the inside of your leg, up to your pussy, teasing your engorged and throbbing clit through your knickers. “Or perhaps…” I flick your clit harshly. “You’re a bit too wet to wait?”
“Mmm. Alright.” You crane your neck backwards as you allow me to kiss your beck. Your hair splays out across the bricks on the wall. “Just…keep your voice down, okay?”
“You want me to stay quiet?” I chuckle. “I’m a professional, but what about you? After all, you’re the one whose face has flushed redder than a burning sunset.”
“Oh, don’t worry,” you say, a cheeky smile spanning your face. “I can be quiet as a mouse.”
With that, you reach down to grip the outline of my cock as it strains beneath these unbearably tight work trousers. Then, you slide your fingers from the base upwards with such eagerness it only makes me harder. My nostrils dilate with every push and caress from your fingers. A thin line of pre-cum is already rising and oozing from the tip. You, coupled with my overactive imagination, caused this to happen tonight, and I want you to be fully aware of that.
You’re going to get my cock so far up inside you that the mouse won’t stay quiet for long. We might even be arrested for public indecency.
But for now, let’s savour this moment and make each other fucking explode.