When Linda first looked at Eric, she presumed him to be a mechanical workaholic who was returning home after 14 hours of work. She hated such guys. The fact that her father always put his work before her had always been a cause of hurt and bitterness during her childhood.
Feeling her gaze on himself, Eric looked upans saw her staring. Linda quickly turned sideways when their eyes crossed for the first time. She didn't want him to think that she was interested. Eric found her phoney and opined that she was the kind of girl that he did not like. After a while, he smiled to himself and returned to his thoughts.
When the train screeched to a halt at the Victoria station, they both deboarded through the same door and walked towards the same escalator. Linda rushed for two reasons : one, she inwardly wanted to let him notice her and second, she wanted to beat him in the race to the exit. It seemed like a race for superiority to her. She reached the exit, she was baffled. She couldn't find the metro card. She had misplaced it.
London Tube is a very busy place. There are so many lines, so many stations and most of the times, so many people. Linda searched through her purse for overfive minutes but alas, she couldn't find it anywhere. It was lost. She was completely annoyed. Having to return to the starting point leaving the finishing line's glory for the rival to enjoy was totally not what she could digest. She didn't like losing to some random guy who worked 14 hours a day at a petty job.
She had an idea. An idea that could make her win.
She turned back. She could see him advancing towards her. She spoke first. Her first words being, 'Hey, I lost my card. Could you please come along with me to the platform, I think I dropped it near the elevator.'
He didn't say a word, trudged ahead.Exited. Linda was stunned. How could someone be so rude to a girl? More disappointing was the realization that she had lost her subconscious race to that machine. Fuming with anger, she kept looking at Eric until he disappeared from her sight. She started walking back towards the platform, dragging her sagging body, as if burdened by the recent loss.
'Hey,' a voice reached Linda's ears from behind. It was a deep baritone, similar to her Dad. She turned around. It was the same rude guy, now waving her metro card with a wide grin.
'Here it is.' He said.
She rushed back, in a huff. She collected the card with a wince. And didn't look at Eric at all.
'You didn't drop it here. You dropped it at the Piccadily Circus station. The moment you entered, trying to beat that teenaged chap in the race to the enter the station.' He said plainly. She was dumbfounded. She felt as if she was being stalked.
'By the way, this time, I won.' His serious face broke into a wide grin. She was beaten at her own game.
She had a choice to make. To smile, or to smirk. After a tough battle of thought, she chose the prior. And she came out through the exit grabbing her card from the gentleman.
'Hi, I'm Linda.'
'Eric.' They shook hands. Warmth at 11 PM. Pleasing.
'Cya, Linda.' Eric waved and took out his metro card to enter the station premises. She found it abrupt.
'I had to descend at the last station. I came up till here just to win this race.' He said and winked. His bleary eyes transformed the wink into a blink.
'I was a loser once. I won't allow it to happen twice.' She said and entered the station before him.
They spent their night alongside Thames. Chatting. Dreaming. Laughing. And racing! And after that time, she never lost (to) him.
P.S. Love is about being different yet similar. :)