Chance Meetings

Damien and Ciara

Damien knew he was glowering darkly at the seat in front of him - and he didn't care. It had been a horrendous day – the last thing he wanted on the train was company. Especially as knowing his luck today, it would probably come in the form of some busybody old woman who would want conversation for most of the hour long journey home from Edinburgh.

The case he'd been desperate to help work on had been assigned away to someone else. He'd worked so hard for that case – done hours of research, taken time out that he really should have been using to study for his final exams to allow him to practise in Scotland – and now they had decided that really it was more in Debbie's area and she should work on it instead.

Blatant sexism.

And as if that hadn't been bad enough, the advocate who was supposed to be working with him on another case had attempted to feel him up after the 'working lunch' earlier. Alone in a lift with a much older woman who had a little too much red wine in her had not been the ideal time for a gentle letdown. It hadn't gone particularly well, and of course she could have some bearing on his grade, as well as his chances of getting full time employment with his current company after getting his LLB…

Damien ran his fingers through his hair and closed his eyes as the train pulled away from Waverly Station. Yes, it had been a bad day. He had never been so glad to see the buildings of Edinburgh pass by him – never been so glad to be out of the city. He considered getting his files out and doing some work – but he really wasn't in the mood.

"It's you!" a delighted male voice was saying to the girl in front of him, as he sat down beside her. They appeared to be having a joyful reunion. Damien mumbled to himself – couples, how infuriating – and put his MP3 player on, his earphones plugging his ears firmly as he closed his eyes again. Please let this journey be over soon…

He was nearly dozing, five minutes later, when the song he was listening to started skipping and juddering. For goodness sake, is everything out to get me today…?

Damien opened his eyes, fumbling in his pocket for the little machine – and noticed a scrap of paper lying in his lap. Strange…

He managed to the MP3 player off, and picked up the paper

'Text me'

and a phone number were written on it in neat handwriting.

What???

This was not a good time. He was not in a good mood, and no doubt this was some horrible, unattractive cow who he would really offend by saying something hurtful or stupid…

The couple in front of him were talking animatedly. Damien watched them, and suddenly felt a tiny bit of jealousy well up inside him. How come they could have the happy ending? How come they got to know each other, to love being in one another's company, when he was all alone…?

On the other hand, maybe he would text her. What harm would it do?

All right, I've text you. So, who are you, and why are you giving your phone number to strangers on the train?

Damien looked around suspiciously, waiting to hear a message tone as someone received the message he sent…but there was nothing. Just the voices of the two in front of him, talking about a mutual love of HMV or something else that only couples can think is interesting. Damien rolled his eyes…and his phone flashed.

Why hello there, lovely to hear from you! I thought you looked hot, decided to give you my number! Hope that's ok. So what's your name?

He couldn't help being amused at her bubbly tone – and her not so subtle avoidance tactics.

Thanks for the compliment, wish I could say the same about you, but I don't know who you are. I'm a bit stressed out, had a bad day at work. How are you?

Two can play at that game.

I'm okay, better now that I'm on the way home. Was down in Edinburgh – skiving uni to go see my ex! Not a good idea. What do you work as?

I'm probably a bit old for you, if you're at uni ;) . I'm in my last year of solicitor training, but started late. What are you studying?

Hey, I didn't mean to give that away! A solicitor – that explains the sexy suit! What age are you? And what's your name?

Not telling, and not telling, until you let me know who you are!

Damien laughed to himself. It had been a while since he had flirted so blatantly. It was fun…and it was taking his mind of his bad day, which was definitely a positive thing. He admitted to himself that it had been slightly cheeky telling her that he was too old – he was only twenty five, and plenty of girls went for older men!

But I don't want to let you know who I am- you'll be disappointed

Aww come on. I've been hit on by a very ugly fifty five year old today. You can't be worse than that!

Hehe. No, but really. Who was she!? Not that I can blame her ;)

Don't think that flirting will allow you to get away with evading the question! Who are you!?

There was a pause in the messages. She was a quick replier, and Damien realised that if she didn't reply, he would be disappointed. He wanted to see who this girl was…

My name is Ciara. I'm on the opposite side of the aisle, two seats ahead of you, facing forwards. I'm sitting on my own, and have brown hair. Eek! Why am I telling you this!?

Damien grinned to himself, refusing to admit that he had actually felt slightly relieved when her message had come through. His bad mood was swiftly evaporating. He stood up, moving into the aisle, as the train rushed on through the darkness. He approached the seat where she said she'd be, pausing beside it, and looked down at her.

She was concentrating hard on her magazine – probably far harder than a trashy gossip rag deserved – and she was definitely not what he expected. Black hair tied up in a neat bun, short black skirt and flat boots. Small neat glasses…flawless skin, full lips…

Damien slid into the seat next to her, his heart pounding. It wasn't how he'd expected to find himself feeling. Damien, in the main, was confident with women, bold, never too interested. As now, he rarely had to make the first move – yet somehow this felt different.

She looked up – and there were the sparkling, laughing grey eyes…mingled with the tiniest bit of something that might have been…surprise?

"Hi Ciara, nice to meet you," Damien said hoarsely. He cleared his throat, embarrassed, and forced his voice not to wobble slightly as she looked at him, her lips parting slightly. "I'm Damien, aged 25, trainee solicitor. Very much enjoyed your text messages!"

"Lovely to meet you, Damien," she said – and blushed.

Had Damien really once said that women that blushed were not for him? Too easily embarrassed, he had said? Too shy, too retiring, too innocent, was how he may have scathingly described them. No, in this moment Damien had decided that women that blushed…or this woman, in particular, were very definitely the most attractive that he had ever encountered.

"So, Ciara, tell me about you then? You weren't very forthcoming in your text messages!" he pointed out.

"I'm actually acting a bit out of character, today," she admitted, laughing slightly.

He winked, teasing her gently. "Never. You look like the type to be out on the pull every night. Is your phone not full of strangers' numbers?"

"Very funny! No, I'm studying English Literature with Linguistics at Dundee University, and I'm in second year. So I've just turned nineteen," she informed him.

"Do you like older men?" he asked, and grinned.

She blushed again, but held his gaze, surprisingly confident – "Oh yes, very much so! And don't be trying to faze me – that's mean! Do you like younger women?"

"Well, when they look like you…I could probably find it in myself…!"

"You don't have a girlfriend, do you?" she asked suddenly. "I mean, I didn't really think that through when I gave you my number…"

"I'm not a cheat, Ciara – if I'd had a girlfriend I wouldn't have text you. No, free and single at the moment, due to someone else's attraction to older men…" he rolled his eyes, not looking entirely bothered. It had been a while ago, he had had time to adjust to single life.

"Oh, sorry," she said, and went quiet for a moment or two. Then she looked up, a mischievous smile on her face – "So, tell me about the fifty five year old, then!"

Damien actually had to admit that he got a shock when his stop was called. It was remarkable the difference some stimulating conversation, and a very attractive girl, made to the journey.

"What's your stop?" he asked.

"This one – home to the excitement of my parents'," she said, and laughed.

"Oh, it's my stop too," he said, finding himself feeling embarrassingly pleased that he would have even longer to spend with her. They stood together, and he laughed when he discovered that she was nearly a head smaller than him – although at 6'1, he was a lot taller than the majority of women.

"You were right about the height difference!" he teased, and tried to get rid of the other traitorous thought that made him want to point out that for one so small, not only was she well endowed, but every single inch of her looked absolutely perfect. They stepped off the train, and paused on the platform.

"Have you had dinner?" he found himself asking. What was happening? Where was his desire to get home to his own flat and collapse mindlessly in front of the TV? Why was he making the effort with a girl, when usually they were the ones who were vying for his attention?

She shook her head – "I haven't actually. It will probably just be pasta…might even be able to stretch to some tomato sauce with it, if I can be bothered!"

"Do you want to go out somewhere? My treat?" he added hastily.

"No, no, I don't want to put you out. You're an old man, you have other commitments, and things to do," she said teasingly. He could tell she didn't think he was serious.

"Sure – me and my hot date with the TV," he said sarcastically. "No, please, Ciara, I'd love if you would come out for dinner with me." He smiled his most charming smile, and prayed hard…

"Well, if you insist…but I'll pay for myself."

"Whatever you say," he said with a grin, knowing that she certainly would not be paying for herself, but if that was what it took to get her to come out with him…

"Do you want me to carry your bags?" he offered, noticing that she carried two sturdy shopping bags, and seemed to be struggling slightly.

"If you don't mind," she said gratefully. Damien took the bags from her, and looked at her in surprise.

"Have you been buying bricks!?" he enquired teasingly, as they walked towards their chosen restaurant – an Italian, not far from the station.

"No, I haven't actually – I was just retrieving some stuff from my ex's flat. In those bags are…three pairs of shoes, about five DVDs, two CDs, some clothes and a toasted sandwich maker," Ciara informed him casually.

"A toasted sandwich maker!?" Damien started to laugh, and couldn't stop.

"I know, I know! I'm never lending a kitchen appliance to a boyfriend again! It's been a month and a half since we split up and since I've had a toastie – I've been having cravings!"

"Well, this might be slightly embarrassing to take into the restaurant," Damien smirked. "We should just ask them for a loaf of bread and a few slices of cheese!"

"I don't think I'm craving them that much!"


By the time dessert arrived, Damien knew. She was the one. The one who he wanted to kiss when he said goodbye to tonight – the one he didn't want to have to say goodbye to tonight. Damien knew that their meeting on the train hadn't just been chance – it had been meant to be.

Or was that too intense for a first date?

Especially for a notorious playboy…

Just as Ciara had claimed to be acting out of character, Damien was feeling remarkably unlike himself this evening.

"Will we get the bill?" Ciara asked, interrupting his thoughts. She looked at him across the table – "That is, if we can get his attention away from the girl in the corner!"

It was true – their waiter had been spending an inordinate amount of time serving, being helpful, and in general speaking to the girl at the table in the corner.

Damien grinned. "We can't begrudge anyone else a chance to meet someone special tonight." His meaning was obvious, and Ciara blushed, even as her mouth opened in a smile.

There was a tiny smudge of chocolate at the side of her mouth, and another on her tooth, and suddenly Damien decided that he couldn't wait, after all.

"Come on, let's go," he said, jumping up. He produced his wallet, approached the waiter, who looked round in surprise. "Will this cover it?" he demanded.

"Well yes, of course," said the waiter, "but…"

"The change can go towards your date tomorrow night," Damien said, and winked at the girl. "Thanks again."

And then they were out on the street, in the cool night air, and Ciara was looking up at him in surprise, her eyes sparkling with laughter.

"What got into you!?" she said.

"You've got chocolate on your mouth," he told her, ignoring the question.

"Oh no – where!?"

Damien drew her towards him. She wasn't laughing now. Her lips opened, and he knew she was feeling the same way as him…

"Here," he whispered against her lips, before then capturing them in the most tender kiss imaginable.

Her lips were warm and soft and yielding, and the kiss was deepening and deepening…

"I think I broke the toastie maker," she said breathlessly, when they could both speak again.

Damien glanced down, saw the bags both lying carelessly on the ground. He hadn't even heard them drop.

"Are there any rules about lending a girlfriend kitchen appliances…? Because I would be more than happy to oblige…"

There were no rules about that, and Ciara appeared delighted to accept. As they headed away from the restaurant, walking slowly, Damien could hardly believe how different he felt. All due to a chance meeting on the train.