Jane Lambert in Timed Out , my forthcoming novel, does internet dating. But there the resemblance ends.
Brief Encounter 2012
From Click to Click: Tales of Internet Dating, ed Barbara Lorna Hudson, Kindle e-book, 2012.
A railway station isn’t like an airport. A few meeters and greeters, but not so much exuberance, fewer demonstrations of love. More bad tempers on show. Late trains and inaudible announcements.
There’s a stench from the men’s loos. The Ladies’ seems to have been visited by a pack of those puppies who like nothing better than a long, strong roll of toilet paper.
But the station is warm. You can read. And write. She’s drafting a message to another would-be soul mate from playingaway.com, the dating agency that matches people who want to cheat on their partner.
How many has she met here? How many times has she felt tempted to do a runner?
She’s heard of it happening—usually when people had agreed to meet in a pub or a café. Mostly it was the man who scarpered when he saw his disappointing date clutching the pre-arranged newspaper. Not that this could happen to her. Smiling to herself, she stretches out her long shapely legs and runs scarlet-tipped fingers through her glossy raven locks.
She hasn’t always been a stunner. In fact, before her makeover, she had one embarrassing experience at a station. They failed to recognise each other from the photos on the dating site and stood side by side, each holding a Times and talking crossly on their mobile phones:
‘Look, I’m outside Burger King as we agreed.’
‘No, I’m outside Burger King. You must be somewhere else.’
Eventually they turned to each other and made polite excuses and tried to make it into a joke. Unable to tell the truth: that they both looked older, fatter and plainer than expected.
This time will be different. He’s sure to look her up and down—they can’t stop themselves. A bit uncomfortable, but she’ll do the same to him. Fair’s fair.
He’ll fancy her—she doesn’t doubt it. And if she fancies him, she’ll ask him back to her flat. The camera is set up in readiness. And she’s bought a fresh supply of Viagra, just in case. She looks forward to her fat fee from the porno magazine. He wouldn’t dare demand a cut—far from it: she hopes to extract a fee from him as well, a reward for not blabbing to his wife.
The train arrives on time. She stands up on her killer heels and arranges her lovely face in a smile.