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Strangers on a Bus

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In Carmilla’s mind, an hour long daily commute on a city bus was somewhere between a trip to the dentist and getting trampled by wildebeest in terms of enjoyment level. But she couldn’t beat the free cost of living at home and even sitting on the bus surrounded by the oddly scented air of too many bodies crushed together was preferable to risking getting a roommate who used chore wheels and wanted to be ‘total besties for life’.

So Carmilla took the bus.

Eventually, she started to notice the regulars. The man with the crazy eyes and the guitar. The woman with the dog that Carmilla was pretty sure had a bad case of the farts. The nearly shirtless teenage boy who jumped out of his way to give his seat up for anyone over 40 who walked on the bus.

And the tiny cupcake.

The same girl every monday, wednesday and friday would board the bus two stops after her with a pair of cupcakes balanced in her hand. The girl was cute. Short, brunette, and constantly bouncing along to the music in the headphones that seemed to be glued to her ears.

A couple times Carmilla had caught her staring.

To be fair, a couple of times she had caught Carmilla staring.

Then, of course, there were all the times where neither caught the other staring.

Carmilla typically used the experience for people watching. Her latest observational victim was the teenage boy talking on his phone in hushed tones in the back corner seat of the bus.

Carmilla was pretty sure that the guy was trying to buy something illegal when the bus lurched to a sudden stop. She jolted, secure in her seat. The the breath whooshed from her chest as something heavy slammed into her gut, followed by a squishing sensation on her chest.

Coughing at the impact, Carmilla looked down to see her shirt covered in icing and a pair of legs sitting in her lap. She felt a brief flutter of skin on skin contact along her neck and a heavy weight on her shoulder indicating.

With a heavy exhale at the unexpected weight, Carmilla looked up. A pair of brown eyes stared back at her. For a moment they were soft and flecked with sunlight. Then they widened.

Cupcake girl. Which would explain her sticky chest.

“Oh no!” The girl on her lap shot back to stand in front of her, “I am so so sorry. The bus jerked and I fell and I shouldn’t have been carrying so much stuff. But I was so sure that I’d be fine and, now.” The girl winced.

Carmilla almost had a heart attack when the girl reached out and put a hand on her chest.

“I usually like to take a girl to dinner before we start rounding the bases, cupcake” Carmilla quipped.

The girl drew back instantly, turning the prettiest shade of red Carmilla had ever seen, “Sorry! Sorry. I totally overstepped. Personal space right.” The girl’s hands were fluttering in the air, “it’s just. My cupcakes. and you’ve got icing all over you.”

“So,” Carmilla said, enjoying the colour on the girl’s cheeks, “you decided that after flinging yourself onto my lap didn’t bring me around to your charms, the best solution was to get a little handsy?”

The older gentleman sitting next to them tried to muffle his guffaw. Something flashed in the girl’s eyes and she drew herself up straighter, “I was not,” she hissed, “trying to charm you. I fell over and then I was trying to get you cleaned up. Like a decent person.”

Carmilla shrugged, “Whatever helps you sleep at night, cupcake.”

“I sleep just fine thank you,” the girl lurched forward as the bus jolted, coming nose to nose with Carmilla but managing to not quite touch her. The smell of chocolate danced over Carmilla’s nose, covering the scent of stale bus air.

Carmilla tutted as the girl righted herself, “Someone as cute as you shouldn’t be sleeping ‘just fine’. You have be having some sleepless nights.” She gave a long wink to make her point.

The older gentleman next to her was starting to lose it. Muffling his laughter behind a handkerchief.

“That,” the girl said, grabbing onto a nearby railing to keep herself from falling, “is absolutely none of your business.”

“It is if your lack of sexual satisfaction is sending you straight into my lap to cop a feel,” Carmilla said, watching for her stop, “I would have worn a better bra.”

“If I wanted to be sexually satisfied then I would be,” the girl blurted, loud enough enough that heads were turning. The teenage boy across the aisle basically drooling. She turned a pretty shade of pink and lowered her voice, “Besides, you’re the one making rude, lewd comments on the bus.”

Carmilla started. She leaned back against the seat, her hands crossing her torso and wrapping around her back. Carmilla looked down at her lap and mumbled, “Sorry.”

There was no comment in return and Carmila assumed that the girl had simply turned away. Sighing softly, she looked down at her shirt. It was definitely ruined. The icing created an abstract colour pattern against the dark material.

“Here,” a white wipe was waved under Carmilla’s nose, the wet edge brushing against her chin. It hovered in her vision as the girl’s soft voice said, “I figured that maybe I wouldn’t just be grabby this time.”

Carmilla took the offered wipe and started dabbing it on her shirt. When she glanced back up, the girl was staring at her. An oddly pensive look on her face as the girl worried at her bottom lip with her teeth.

“Careful, cupcake,” Carmilla said, “don’t hurt yourself thinking too hard.”

The girl took a step towards her, grabbing the bar above Carmilla’s head to keep her balance, “You stopped talking,” the girl said.

Carmilla scowled to avoid squirming under the girl’s gaze, “We don’t all need to talk a mile a minute to strangers we just met. Especially,” Carmilla flicked her hair over her eyes, “if it’s unappreciated.”

Again there was a lull in the conversation. Carmilla turned to the window, watching as the bus pulled into her neighbourhood. The old man sitting next to her tucked his handkerchief back into his pocket.

“I never said it was unappreciated,” the girls whisper danced lightly past her ears.

Carmilla’s head flipped back towards the girl. She was staring straight at Carmilla but fidgeting slightly. Carmilla gave her a once over, letting her eyes drag over the brunette’s frame, “Well then cupcake,” Carmilla stood as the bus rolled to her stop. The girl’s face unbunched slightly.Then Carmilla leaned close, getting right in the girl’s ear and slightly rubbing her icing covered chest against the girl’s arm, “Tell you what,” Carmilla’s voice came out huskier than she’d intended, “if you ever want my help with that frustration, cupcake. Please feel free to use my lap at any time.”

The girl’s face bunched up into an adorable scrunch. Before the stranger could get a word in edgewise, Carmilla turned and strutted off the bus.

She was just clearing the doors when a gravelly old voice shot down the bus, “Well, what are you doing girl! You don’t let a woman like that walk off a bus. If I was a young whippersnapper like you then I’d be after her myself!”

Maybe, the bus wasn’t so bad.