The sky was dark, almost a purply-grey-black color. Rain poured down clanging against the glass of the bus stop. The street wasn’t very busy and anyone who did happen to drive by was paying attention to the road and nothing much of anything else. Way up in the grey sky scrapers that lined the street, the politicians, the lawyers, and the businessmen were complaining about having to run out in the rain to catch a cab home. At the corner a bus made a wide turn and barreled through the puddle. The red double decker showed as it reached the bus stop. The doors swung open with a hiss and the driver stared down in to the little glass shelter. Through the pouring rain ran a girl, her head partly hidden by a black hood and a soft purple scarf. With a white fleece gloved hand, she dropped her coins in to the slot and made her way down the aisle. She stumbled as the bus started forward again and sat down in the window seat. She put her large purple plaid book bag in the empty chair next to her. The girl folded her hands in her lap and bit her bottom lip. The chair squeaked a little every time she moved which under other circumstances, would have been fine, except for the fact that she never stopped moving. She leaned to the left as the bus pulled around the corner absentmindedly hanging onto her bag. The corners of her mouth moved up in a little grin, and the girl glanced around the nearly empty bus. The only other people on were an annoyed business woman who was texting angrily and two teenage girls that seemed to be off in their own little land. One was painting her nails and listening to the other talk about something quickly and quietly. They both burst into a short fit of giggles and started talking excitedly. The girl’s grin grew bigger when she heard their laughter.
She held her bag as the bus slowed to a stop at the next bus stop. The doors opened with a hiss of steam. A grey fedora appeared and rose slowly. Below it was a man’s face. The collar of his dark grey wool coat was turned up against the rain and wind outside. He held the change for the fare in a black leather gloved hand. The driver waited for him to enter the change and took off right away when the man did. The man didn’t stumble like the girl had when the bus pulled forward. The girl noticed the black slacks and black shoes he wore under his knee length trench coat, how he walked with a slight limp and used his umbrella as a cain. The man stopped by the girl’s seat. He looked down at her and she up at him.
“Is this seat taken?” His voice was rich and deep. He looked just like the others who had come to her two months ago. The girl looked around at all of the other empty seats then back up at him.
“No.” She took her bag off the seat and laid it on her lap. The man sat down where her bag had been. He put the point of his umbrella between his feet and positioned his hands on top. The man stared straight ahead not saying anymore. The girl looked out the window at the grey-purple-black sky watching the rain fall against the windowpanes of sky scrapers.
The man cleared his throat. “Hello.”
She looked at him. “Hi.”
“My name is Mr. Thomas.”
“Alice Thorton.” She shifted to face him a little surprised that he didn’t know her name. The others had. Alice stuck out her hand. He shook it.
“Pleasure to meet you, Miss Thorton.”
“And you, Mr. Thomas.” She waited for him to say more.
“A young man came into my office this morning asking for me. He gave me a letter and told me that if I ever meet a Miss Alice Thorton. I was to give it to her. I asked him how I would know if it was the right Alice and he told me that I would know when I saw her. He didn’t say anymore, just walked out.” Mr. Thomas stood up as the bus came to a stop. He reached into his pocket and took out a crisp white envelope. Alice took it from him. “Have a good night, Miss Thorton.” He nodded and walked back to the front. He walked down the steps. At the bottom, his fedora fell out of sight. Alice watched him walk across the sidewalk to the shelter. He stood there waiting as the bus pulled away.
Alice looked down at the letter. The stationary was thick and creamy, very expensive stuff. On the front in blue ink written in cursive was Miss Alice Thorton. She looked around the bus again wondering if anyone had noticed Mr. Thomas talking to her. Nothing had changed. Alice carefully opened the letter knowing what it would contain and already hating it.