The bus ride is slow and boring, potholes in the road making the bus dip and rock

Bus 303

The bus ride is slow and boring, potholes in the road making the bus dip and rock. Her forehead presses against the glass of the window, and only when flashing scenery looses its novelty does she bother to take a look at the rest of the bus' occupants. An old woman sits in a seat, a bag full of groceries by her feet.

Boring.

Some young punk with a shaved head and more piercings than she has fingers looks up at her and glares, flipping her the finger.

Nice, real nice.

The bus is relatively empty, and at last her eyes are drawn to the final passenger. She's seen him a few times, getting off at the corner near Standard-Charted. He's tall, even sitting down, maybe early forties, dark blond hair. A professional, she judges from the suit. Not bad, she thinks, and he looks up from the book he's reading, blue eyes flashing from behind glasses, and giving her a smile that sends her just a bit tingly.

No, not bad at all.

She smiles back at him, and barely notices when it begins raining. She notices however, when the bus slows to a stop, and all she can see is a blurred figure dashing from the rain into the bus. What she sees sends her reeling, but just a little.

He's about average height, but that's where anything average about him stops. He's beautiful. His hair is dark, a perfect black that reflects blue in clouded light, and clings with wet to his shoulder, his back. She wonders how long it would be dried. He leans against a pole a lets out a breath slowly, head tilting back to expose golden skin from the collar of his shirt, and she only startles when there is a sharp intake of breath and she realises it's her own.

The breath is lost in the rumbling quiet of the bus, but it draws his attention to her. She stops the second sharp breath, and it glitters in her throat, in her eyes. He's Asian, she thinks, he must be, sloe eyed, with more of that golden skin stretched over high cheekbones. He smiles again, and she manages a glimpse of white teeth.

She is content to stare from beneath her lashes, and he shows no discomfort from her scrutiny except to perhaps, shift uncomfortably in his still wet clothes. And they cling to him, over the gentle curve of one hip pressed against the pole, to the shape of his arms and down the surprisingly narrow expanse of his wrists.

When he gets off the bus, and her sight is not narrowed only to him anymore, does she realise she had not been the only one staring.

The next she sees him, he's dry. And she thinks it's a pity because sometimes the only way to actually see what a person looks like is when they're wet, and only their face shows in stark relief. But that does not mean being dry makes him less beautiful.

His hair is wavy, dry, and the ends slide at his waist, and curl past his elbows. He's wearing a pair worn jeans, with a hole over he knee, and she thinks it might be real and not one of those which come with the jeans, because he's got a tool box on the floor, next to his feet. He's sitting a few seats away from Blue Eyes from yesterday, who still has his book, but whether he was reading it or not was entirely debatable. Not unless the words were printed on the floor. But his eyes dart to his left every few seconds, and stare a few moments more than necessary. She is just a little appalled at first, because Sloe Eyes couldn't be more than twenty, but she catches a sultry smile, and a stare of his own that disillusions.

They're not for her.

And perhaps her heart cracks, just a little bit from that, but she hides it away. She contents herself instead to watch them, the shy blue eyes with their stares, and the dark sloe eyes with their replies. There are only three seats between them, but it feels like a universe and like an atom, and she can't take her eyes off them.

So she watches Sloe Eyes, with his subtle golden skin as he pulls out a packet of skittles and eats all the blue ones, and watches Blue Eyes as he pretends to read. The book is half limp in his hands, and she does not have enough cruelty in her to tell him the last stop had been his.

She's sorry, a bit, when she gets off at the next stop, because they're still sneaking glances, and he still hasn't realised.

When she gets on the bus again, there are only two seats between them. Sloe Eyes is eating a lollipop this time, blueberry, of course, and pretends not to notice the man staring at him.

They both pretend he's not doing some staring of his own.

It makes her laugh, duck her head down, and hold back a small sound of pain, because somewhere between two days ago and now she had realised she had wanted someone to stare at her too. But she puts it away, and once again, contents herself to watch.

She watches as he twirls the lollipop in his mouth, runs his tongue over the side again and again, and they both watch how Blue Eyes shifts, the tips of his ears red, but she thinks she's the only one who notices the longing that reflects in both pairs of eyes that never actually meet.

When she sees the both of them again, only one seat separates them. Sloe Eyes has tipped his head back again, eyes closed, sunlight on his face, with his hand braced on the empty seat that acts like a barricade. Blue Eyes is still trying to read his book, and it amuses her because it's quite obvious that the book is the last thing he wants to look at.

But she admires his courage for trying anyway.

For a moment Blue Eyes puts down his book on the empty seat, right next to the other's hand, long enough to stretch and rub the weariness from his eyes. He fumbles, not looking, for his book, and there's just a fraction of a touch between them before he's snatching his hand back away like he's been burned. There's a flare of emotion in both their faces before they both look away, and she can't rid herself of the feeling that she's just missed something important.

But Blue Eyes has buried himself in his book again, and now there's only Sloe Eyes who's not trying to hide his stares at all.

She misses the next few buses. Instead, she spends the next few days down with a cold, and a fever so high she dreams only of dark eyes and sultry smiles that hide nothing. When the fever finally breaks, the air in her bedroom is stale and smells of sickness and her, and she's more aware than ever of how there is no one to stare at her.

This time, when she gets on the bus, they're both already there. There's no seat between them, no space to act as a shield. They sit thigh to thigh, pressed as close as they can without being conspicuous. Blue Eyes still has his book, held with one hand low in his lap, and Sloe Eyes seems to have both hands in his pockets as he tips his head back in the sun that filters through tinted windows. There's movement as they both shift, and she has just enough time to see that it isn't just Sloe Eyes' hand in his pocket. She smiles at the sight of them covertly holding hands in a bus, and is pleasantly surprised when they smile back. The tips of Blue Eyes' ears are red again, but she can see a further tensioning in the line of his shoulder, and knows he's holding on tighter. Just as imperceptibly there's a slight upward curve in the other's mouth, one that forms a smile that tells the world he has a delicious secret to tell, but won't. He winks, she smiles.

Her head is pressed against the window again, rain clinging to the glass turning rays into freckles of light. She can hear quiet whispers is she listens hard enough, sweetly spoken murmurs, and words she cannot hear but can feel. She barely registers as the bus slows down for a passenger. She moves only to tuck her hair behind her ears from where it has fallen in her face. There is a sharp intake of breath that does not belong to her, and as she looks up all she sees are hazel eyes and wet brown hair.

He stares.