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The sky was raging, pouring buckets of water from the clouds and sending spine-rattling flashes of lightning. The atmosphere was gray, dampening the mood. A few minutes earlier, the sky had been clear and bright, usually signs of a beautiful day ahead. But the tables turned when the clouds rolled in and began pouring. Shoes clicked against the wet concrete as people rushed about to get to their destination as soon as possible, trying desperately to stay dry.

The sudden change in weather was undoubtedly a surprise for Jesse Orr, who had been walking to the bus station. His bad luck remained, however, and he got soaked to the bone. "Great," he thought, gritting his teeth in frustration. He gave up trying to keep himself dry and let the water soak him to the bone. His thick suit stuck uncomfortably to his damp skin, and the brunette's hair plastered to his forehead.

Thankfully, the bus station was covered and relatively dry. Jesse dropped onto the bench, him and his briefcase dripping with water. The raindrops pounded on the plastic covering, spilling over the edges and splashing onto the ground. The young man checked his watch, shaking some water off, he had a few minutes before the bus arrived, so he leaned back and closed his eyes.

Aimee Warden, a freckle-faced redhead, was frantically trying to keep her folder of papers dry as she hurried to the bus stop. She tucked it into her suit jacket while silently berating herself for not using a bag to carry her belongings. The drenched woman finally reached the station and sat stiffly in the cold seat. She gently patted her wet bun. It was no longer neat but damp and saggy. "All that time getting ready, gone to waste," she muttered, pulling the hair tie and letting her hair down.

A deafening boom of thunder echoed through the city. The two screamed unintentionally. They looked at each other, each surprised at the other's outburst. "This storm's something, isn't it?" Jesse said weakly, laughing nervously.

Aimee grinned sheepishly and hugged her folder to her chest. "Yeah," she agreed. "It happened so out of the blue as well. I wasn't at all prepared for it, so I got soaked. I'm assuming you didn't expect it, either?"

Jesse put his arms down and held onto the edge of his seat tightly, turning his knuckles white. "I got soaked too. Suits and water aren't the best combinations."

They smiled at each other and turned forward again. The station became quiet and awkward. The only sound was the patter of raindrops against the concrete and people walking by. Another strike of lightning lit up the sky, making the hair stand up on their skin.

"So... How long have you been living here?" Aimee asked, trying to break the silence and have a conversation.

"I've lived here for most of my life," Jesse explained. "What about you? Are you new? I haven't seen you at this station before."

"Yes, I am. I have a job interview in an hour or so. Hopefully, I get the job so I can settle down. But I've never lived in the city before. I lived in the country just a few years back before going to college."

"It's not too tricky once you get used to it. It'll happen event-" Jesse interrupted himself with a yawn. He shook his head and continued his sentence. "Eventually. It'll happen eventually."

"Are you in college, or do you have a job?" she asked, ignoring his sleepiness.

"I have a job. It's a dull office job, but it pays the bills." Jesse yawned again, stretching to wake himself up. "Sorry. Didn't get much sleep last night."

"You're fine, don't worry about it." The redhead put her legs back down, swinging them slightly. She pulled out a wrapped pastry from her pocket, unwrapped it, and bit into it. Her face lit up with happiness as she ate, like a child. She tore off some and held it out to her companion. "Want some?"

Jesse held up his arm and shook his head. "No, thanks. Egg allergy."

"You're allergic to eggs?! How do you live without cakes and stuff?"

"If you've never had it, you can't miss it," he admitted, grinning sheepishly. "I had a cake once when one for my first birthday. That's when I had my first allergic reaction. I don't remember it, but I remember my mom saying it was terrifying for her."

"I've never been allergic to anything. I guess I'm lucky. Or maybe it's just because I lived on a farm and was around the produce all the time." 

"A farm? It must be a lot quieter than in the city. A lot more relaxing too. I went to a farm, maybe once or twice, but only to visit my grandparents. It was nice, but their animals always woke me up at the crack of dawn. I barely got any sleep while I was there."

"It looks like you barely get any sleep now," she noted, gesturing to the gray bags resting underneath his eyes.

"Do I look that tired?" Jesse asked exasperatedly, rubbing his face in an attempt to wake himself up.

"Yeah. You look like you haven't slept for years. What's your sleep routine?"

"Sleep late, wake up early, work all day." He sighed, propping his head on his arm. "Not the best routine. Gives me barely any time to relax. But I could complain about my job all day, and it wouldn't do me any good."

"Jeez, is work life that bad?" Aimee asked, feeling a little more uncertain about her decision to move to the city.

"Not necessarily. I just do a shitty job of taking care of myself." He leaned back, staring through the somewhat clear plastic roof. "I'm not an independent person, as you can tell. Being alone isn't my strong suit."

"Me neither. I never went anywhere else, but I knew every square inch of my farm. Then I went to college, and I had no one else to depend on besides myself. Being in an unfamiliar area didn't make it any better. I'm surprised I was able to make it through college."

The two fell silent again, listening to the storm. The initial storm was leaving, letting warm sunbeams slip through the dark clouds. Remaining water dripped onto the ground, making the shadows look wobbly. People put down their umbrellas and the city brightened again. The bus drove up and squealed to a stop. Jesse checked the time and got up, straightening his suit. He held his hand out to Aimee. "It was a pleasure meeting you," he said.

"The pleasure is all mine," she replied sweetly, shaking his hand.

Jesse smiled and nodded, climbing onto the bus. The doors closed and the bus drove away. He waved one last time through the window and disappeared into traffic. Eventually, Aimee's bus drove around. She gathered her things and hopped on, looking forward to meeting Jesse the following day when she went back to the bus stop.

July 10, 2020 21:09

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2 comments

21:51 Jul 16, 2020

Nice, sweet story, it sounds like the kind of random encounter that might define the rest of their lives, you've left me curious now :). I liked the descriptions at the start, especially about Jesse getting soaked and how the rain kept coming down. I would maybe point out that those descriptions about the rain were mainly regarding touch, you might want to mix it in a bit more (the smell, the sound - you do talk about the pounding on the bus stop, but I think some more of that would help with the atmosphere you're building). Also, the par...

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Valerie Deguzman
08:47 Jul 17, 2020

Thanks for the feedback! I'm glad you enjoyed the story :)

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