Thursday, 2 June 2016

Underground Love (A Short Story)

I've been really into writing Short Stories at the moment and it is great practice for when I go to do my MA in Creative, Digital and Professional Writing in September. I thought I'd share with you one that I've written recently. I'm pretty proud of it!

Underground Love

Tyler sighed, taking one big gulp of his Americano as he stepped onto the drab, stuffy, smelly westbound central line train; another day, the same old same old. It was pretty stifling for someone who knew they needed a change. He looked up and down the carriage and took a seat as close to the doors as possible; he needed to be able to make a hasty escape once he got to his stop. As he sat down he noticed the seat was slightly damp, oh the joys. Another loud sigh escaped his lips as he braced himself for this uncomfortable journey. The train jolted into movement, almost sending him flying. It happened every time. Why couldn’t he just have good balance? Or better still not have to travel on the Underground every single weekday.

As the train moved further up the line in typical London commuter fashion it was soon filling up with city workers, students and tourists. Tyler soon became trapped in between a young woman who was obviously having a domestic with her partner of husband;

“I don’t care what you say anymore Nigel! I can’t be dealing with it! Either he goes or I go! No don’t start all that caring malarkey. I know you don’t really care!”

And a Japanese tourist who was getting to close for comfort and who also smelt quite a bit. It was all becoming too much and all Tyler felt like doing was standing up and just screaming at each and every single commuter. He felt this urge rising and he was just about to stand up when he was blindsided, blindsided by beauty. As an onslaught of commuters got both off and on the train, he spotted her. She was petite, with a slim body with a few onsets of curves with flowing golden locks and the most gorgeous, piercing blue eyes he’d ever seen. She was wearing a blue and white flowery dress with white flip flops. She was honestly the definition of perfection. She sat down on a seat a few away from him and pulled a book out of her brown satchel which was now placed on the floor behind her feet. Tyler knew he had to go and talk to her, but how? He had never been the best at talking to attractive women and since his last relationship had broken down six months ago he’d had trouble talking to the species all together. He sat back in his seat and his mind wandered to that dreaded morning six months ago;

“Tyler you know I can’t do this anymore!”

“Sarah please! You know we work well together” He pleaded as he watched the love of his life pack her clothes into a small black suitcase. She turned back to face him, her hands on her hips with a stern expression etched on her face to match. Tyler studied her from her short auburn hair to her gorgeous legs which went on forever. He wasn’t going to let her go without a fight.

“Read my lips Tyler” Sarah shouted “I slept with your older brother! Why are you still trying to force me to stay? I haven’t felt anything for you for months and I should’ve left then” Each word cut into Tyler like a knife. He had been willing to forgive her for her betrayal, surely that counted for something? He heard the zip of the suitcase and the sound of Sarah leaving the room. He followed her downstairs where she was halfway to opening their front door. He got there just in time to try and stop her one last time.

“Please Sarah, we can sort things out I promise you. Just please don’t leave. Let us sort things out” He begged, slightly on the verge of tears. Sarah just looked at him, her face expressionless. What had happened to the women he’d fallen in love with?

“Sorry Ty” She shook her head, still with that expressionless look “I can’t stay. I’ll be back in a few days to pick up the rest of my stuff” and with that she walked silently out the door and was gone; leaving Tyler a sobbing mess on the floor of his hallway.

A simple jolt brought his mind back to the present day and he soon realised that his train had stopped in the middle of a pitch black tunnel. Cue the onslaught of tuts and sighs and moans from fellow commuters. He knew that the train was probably waiting for a platform to clear, that was until he heard the rather monotone voice of the driver over the tannoy.

“Sorry for the delay folks there seems to be a broken down train at the station ahead, I’ll pass on any more information when I have it”.

The moans from fellow commuters got louder; many worrying about being late for work or meetings or university; whilst others were just panicking about being trapped underground. Tyler, although slightly cheesed off was starting to see the positives within the situation. It gave him more time to figure out how to speak to the mystery blonde. He glanced over at her and noticed that the seat next to her was now vacant, he wasn't sure when that had happened by he knew he had to make his move soon. He needed to get over his hurt from his ex and move on right? He breathed in and slowly stood up making his way over to the vacant seat. He sat down gingerly and breathed out again. He’d made progress! He was now sitting next to her, now all he needed to do was try and make conversation; but how to start? He glanced down at the book she was reading and saw that it was the first book in the Harry Potter series. He loved those books and knew this was a good starting point. He coughed slightly and went for it.

“Harry Potter eh? I haven’t seen anyone reading the books in public for a long while” He said with somewhat confidence. The girl looked up at him and for a moment he was sure she was going to get up and move, but to his surprise she didn't.

“Oh right. I read them as a child, but recently I’ve just wanted to get back into them, so here we are” She had a slight Scottish accent, but that just made her even more appealing. He saw a tiny smile escape from her lips and it made his heart buzz.

“They are a work of literary genius” He was starting to ooze with confidence “the movies were good, but you could never beat the books, especially the original”.
The mystery woman beamed at him, his conversation skills were definitely working! Get in!

“I’ve never liked the films myself. I feel like too much was missed out and major plot points were missed, but hey that’s just me” She started laughing and even that was cute!

“Everyone is entitled to their own opinion I suppose” Things were going well, she hadn't walked away or ignored him “I’m Tyler by the way” He stretched out a hand.

“I’m Rose” she took his hand and shook it, looking directly into his eyes. God her eyes were things of beauty.

“Nice to meet you Rose such a beautiful name for a beautiful person”. Whoops, he wasn't actually meant to say that. Did it sound as cheesy to Rose as it did to Tyler? Was this the moment where she got up and walked away? A tight knot formed within the pits of his stomach. He was bracing himself for that moment, but instead he heard laughter coming from Rose.

“Why thank you Tyler” She laughed “such a cheesy line, but well executed”. He noticed that dimples appeared when she laughed which added to her cute persona. He needed to know this girl more.

“At least you didn't walk away, was worried you would actually” He said openly, causing Rose to laugh even more. “Anyway where are you headed once this train gets moving again?”

“Oh I’m just off to a University Lecture, it was meant to start 10 minutes ago, so I am definitely late. Guess I’ll have some explaining to do. What about you Tyler? Are you as interesting as you look?” She was genuinely interested in him, which brought a huge grin to Tyler’s face.

“University? What are you studying? If you don’t mind me asking? Oh I’m just off to work. I work in a bank. Nothing exciting, but it pays the bills if you get my drift”

“I study Creative Writing. I long to be an author someday so thought I’d study it to get some practice in really, and because I didn't really want to be tied down in an unfulfilling job”. Tyler nodded along. A girl with ambition, he definitely liked! “I didn’t mean offence about your job by the way” She nudged him “but surely you don’t want to work in a bank all your life?”

Tyler shook his head vigorously. “Of course not. My ultimate dream would be to travel the world. There are so many places I long to go, but I was previously tied down and plus I need money and to get money I need to work. I’d love to just pack it up though and just escape. Might happen someday” He sighed. He’d only just met this girl and already he was sharing his hopes and dreams with her. Surely that was a sign that she was meant to be?

Rose had been listening to his every word with wide eyes and genuine interest. “If I were you, Tyler I’d just go. You’re not tied down anymore and I’m sure you have enough money to keep you going for a few weeks after that just go with the flow. I’d love to travel too, I’d love to just being able to write about all the different experiences I’d have. Ahh, it’d be bliss!”

“You should come with me” He blurted out, causing her to giggle.

“I may have to take you up on that offer” Rose said, smiling and looking deep into his eyes “we’d have some fun wouldn’t we?”.

“Oh we certainly would! You could count on that”

The conversation then suddenly stopped, causing them both to sit in silence. He looked at Rose who looked deep in thought. What was she thinking about? Had he put her off by mentioning that? Please say he hadn’t! All of a sudden the train jolted into movement. Why did it have to start moving now? He needed to talk to Rose more. Who knows what stop she’d be getting off at? The next stop arrived and to his relief she didn’t get off. A few more stops came and went and she hadn’t moved. Time may be on his side.

Soon enough the train got his stop at Tottenham Court Road, he stood up to get off and to his surprise Rose also stood up.

“Is this your stop too?” He asked, bringing the awkwardness to a close.

“Yeah, how strange? Must be fate” She said, bringing Tyler hope.

They both stepped off the train onto the busy platform and walked side by side without saying anything towards the exit. They walked through the barriers and Tyler knew it was no or never, but before he even got a chance Rose spoke and got out a notebook and pen from her satchel.

“Hey Tyler” She started writing down something onto the paper “here is my number. Give me a call when you fancy meeting to discuss our trip” She handed it to him. He was in pure and utter shock.

“Oh I will do” He noticed himself stuttering. Get a grip.

“Well I’ll see you around”. She leaned into him, she smelt so good, like strawberries and cream and her soft lips brushed his cheek.

He then watched her walk out of the station and around the corner. Tyler smiled to himself; he may have truly found his underground love.

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