Jonah looked up for the third time, hoping to catch her eye. She’d gotten on at the yellow tinged Gloucester Road and had settled straight into her book, Atonement. Her eyes moved across the page, while a frown of concentration flickered across her forehead. Jonah held his copy of Atonement out in front of him sneaking furtive glances over the top to see if she’d noticed the coincidence.
Cheryl tore her eyes away from her book as the tube stopped – Hyde Park Corner – she glanced around the carriage as commuters shuffled round each other to get on and off. A man standing by the door was reading the same book, she noticed. He looked up and smiled and she found herself smiling back. He waved the book awkwardly and raised his eyebrows to indicate his approval of both their choices. Still smiling she bent her head and continued reading.
Half the train got off at Covent Garden and Jonah used the opportunity to move next to her and strike up a conversation about the book. By Kings Cross, he’d made her laugh twice and by the time they’d reached the end of the line at Cockfosters he had her phone number. They parted at the top of the stairs looking forward to seeing each other again.
Once Cheryl was out of sight, Jonah ran back into the station and down to the platform. He was already twenty minutes late and still had to get back to Finsbury Park to meet his fiancée to finalise the guest list. He wondered whether to go for the ‘signal failure’ or ‘had to work late’ excuse.