En Route

by Rachel Woe (2017, All Rights Reserved)

Leila tapped the touchscreen and waited for the machine to convert her funds from one nebulous form of currency to another. She took the blue and yellow MetroCard, tucked it into the pocket of her brown jacket, and hurried downstairs through the turnstiles. She reached the platform just as the 4 Express train screeched into the Lexington Avenue terminal, relinquishing the hordes of disgruntled New Yorkers.

Wrinkling her nose at the cloud of body odor and bad cologne, Leila boarded the packed car. The lace hem of her cornflower-blue dress brushed the tops of her thighs as she wedged her way toward the middle. With her purse clutched tightly against her hip, she grasped the overhead handrail as the train began to move into the tunnel.

A man cleared his throat. Leila glanced down at the passenger seated directly in front of her and was startled to find him staring. Most regulars knew better than to maintain eye contact on the subway, but the duffel bag sandwiched between his feet gave the impression he might just be visiting.

The train surfaced. Diffused light filtered into the car and Leila cursed herself for not bringing an umbrella. Denim brushed her calf. She peered into the face of the man seated before her, his mouth tipped into a slight smile. He was actually quite cute, Leila thought. In fact, he was downright gorgeous. She took in his full eyebrows, strawberry-blonde locks, and five o’clock shadow. Strong, wide hands curved over splayed knees, inches from her thighs. He had long fingers with strong knuckles and pronounced veins that ran up the backs of his palms and into his sleeves.

A smile played at the edges of her own mouth. A man with nice hands: her kryptonite.

Leila’s insides coiled and she felt the urge to squeeze her legs together. She attempted to cross her right foot over her left, but found it impossible with the duffel bag resting at her feet. The man cocked an eyebrow. Her pulse quickened and she allowed her mouth to open into a slight pout.

The train descended into darkness once again. She slid her foot a few inches to the side, closing the distance between the man’s knee and hers. His forefinger and thumb brushed her skin. She gasped. He encircled her knee with his whole hand. Leila’s heart thudded in her ears, drowning out the low rumble of the train. She slid her other foot out, touching her other leg to his opposite knee.

He held her legs with both hands.

Leila swallowed thickly. What the hell was she doing? She knew nothing about this man, or what he might be capable of.

The stranger strummed his fingertips along the backs of her knees, as his gaze roved over her breasts and belly. The train turned a corner, heaving her forward. He slid his hands a few inches higher, to just below the hem of her dress. She fought back a whimper, then scanned the train car, afraid someone else might be watching. Everyone appeared to be minding their own business, including a woman in a red coat to the stranger’s immediate left; all she’d have to do is glance up and to the right to see him touching her. The man followed her gaze, adopted a smirk, then slid a hand beneath the hem of her dress, gently scratching her with short fingernails.

Leila’s muscles clenched. She squeezed the overhead bar.

The train staggered and wailed to a halt. A quick look downward revealed an obvious bulge along the inseam of the man’s pants. Desire watered her mouth. Passengers shuffled toward the doors and out of the car. As the crowd dissipated, the man lowered his hands to his own thighs, and an ache of disappointment gripped Leila’s chest.

“Turn around,” he said to her, his voice like gravel, “or walk away.”

The meaning of his words took a second to align with Leila’s arousal. He was giving her a chance to stop this—whatever this was—before it could go further than she wanted it to. Leila turned to face the crowd. New passengers clambered into the car, forcing the throng to pack even closer together. The man grasped her knees,  guiding her a half-step back between his legs.

The train lurched and was off again.

Leila clutched the overhead bar as her new friend trailed feather-light strokes along her outer thighs and up into her dress. Heat rose into her face, and she prayed that no one would notice the sweat beading at her hairline and on her upper lip. He caressed her legs, kneading her flesh with his fingers. Leila closed her eyes, caught somewhere between savoring the illicit contact and wishing that they were someplace private where he could really touch her. The man teased the backs of her thighs, then glided his thumbs between them. She inhaled sharply, her eyes snapping open.

He skimmed upward, pausing just below the crotch of her panties.

“Excuse me?” came a woman’s voice from somewhere behind her. Leila bristled. “Can you tell me if this train goes all the way up to Bedford Park?”

The man stilled his hands. Leila said a prayer.

“I believe it does,” he replied.

“Great, thanks.”

“My pleasure.”

Cheeky bastard. Leila expected his fingers to vanish after their close call, but they remained poised just below her bottom. Her heart sank as the train slowed to a stop once again. The conductor crackled over the intercom: “125th Street.”

The next stop would be hers.

A handful of people departed and even fewer got on. Again, the train pitched. Her new friend continued to stroke her inner thighs, gliding down and skimming back up.

Leila chewed her lip. She considered bending her knees to speed his ascent. When his fingers made contact with the crotch of her panties, she squeaked, grateful for the train’s incessant droning.

He drew a firm line back and forth along her folds, grazing her clitoris with each swipe. Leila’s nails cut into the heel of her hand as she tightened it around the bar.

Two fingers prodded her. Slipping beneath the elastic at her thigh crease, he made contact with Leila’s bare skin. She shivered at the touch. He resumed stroking back and forth over her lips before sliding between them, and Leila swore she heard a sharp intake of breath as he encountered her wetness.

The man spread her juices upward. He touched her clitoris.

Leila clenched her jaw as her new friend drew circles over the taut bundle of nerves. Each stroke elicited a sharp twinge of arousal, threatening to reduce her to a moaning, writhing, wanton thing before his eyes. The man slid his other hand up and over her backside, grabbing and squeezing. She swayed with the train as it banked left, her feet slipping a few inches and placing her even deeper into the vee of his legs.

Gasps became whimpers; twinges deepened into throbs. His touch was light, yet insistent, unrelenting as he thrummed her sensitive bud. She bit down hard on her tongue as the muscles in her groin tensed, spasmed—

“Now approaching 149th Street, Grand Concourse.”

She came, her knees liquefying. If it hadn’t been for her grip on the overhead bar, she would’ve collapsed onto his lap.

The brakes squealed as the train coasted toward the platform. Leila tapped the man’s shoe with her own. He withdrew from her panties, gliding his fingertips down the backs of her thighs, trailing wetness. The stranger shifted and stood, pressing his chest flush against Leila’s back. He was broader than she’d expected, and taller. She felt like a morsel in comparison, like he could swallow her whole.

His right hand covered hers on the bar while the other surreptitiously groped her backside. His breath gushed hot on her neck. Leila’s heart pounded so hard she was certain it would bust a hole through her chest.

The train stopped and the doors slid open. She leaned back against him, then snaked her palm out from under his. The last thing she felt of him was his hand as it uncoupled with her rear, and the resulting chill as her skin grew accustomed to the lack of touch.

After weaving through the crowded car, Leila stepped onto the station platform. Breathing deeply, in and out, she let the mob take her.

She moved in a daze. Someone’s shoe scraped the back of her heel as she approached the stairway. Was it his? Was he following her?

Leila pushed on, her pulse sprinting. She could lead him to her apartment. No, that would be insane. What if he was dangerous?

Panic and arousal coalesced in her belly as she debated whether or not to duck into a bathroom or find an attendant. She climbed the stairs two at a time, silently cursing the slow people ahead of her.

Gripping the banister, Leila hurled herself onto the top step and out to the street. She scanned the busy intersection, afraid to turn around, afraid to face his expectant stare. After all, she’d allowed him to get her off. Surely it was his turn now. She wasn’t sure what scared her more: the possibility that he might be hoping to collect, or the part of her that desperately wanted to return the favor.

This entire situation was crazy—crazy hot, but still, crazy.

Leila jogged across the street, her panties practically soaked through. Car horns and distant sirens blared. She swore she heard heavy footsteps trailing her as she rounded the corner of the Bronx General Post Office.

Or perhaps she only wanted to hear them. If she was willing to let a handsome stranger finger her on the subway, why not jerk him off in the privacy of her own home? She could take her time, draw it out, maybe wrap her panties around his cock; he struck her as the type who’d be into that.

But what if he turned out to be a stalker? She fought to rein in her pulse, to no avail. Then again, what if he was as good with his mouth as he was with his hands?

Leila spun around.

A stocky teenager in a crop-top stopped short, but not short enough. The impact knocked Leila back against a lamppost.

“The hell did you stop for?” the girl shouted.

Leila’s shoulder blade throbbed. “I…I’m sorry.”

“Dumb bitch.” The girl brushed herself off and continued down the sidewalk, muttering additional insults.

Leila blinked, her chest tight and hands shaking. A drop of rain tapped her forehead and trickled down her face, followed by another. The dark skies rumbled as plastic bags and newspapers whipped about the street.

Panting, Leila rested her full weight against the post and searched the street for a familiar face, but there was no sign of the handsome stranger with the skilled hands from the 4 Express train.

She looked for him the next day, and the day after. For weeks, she scanned the faces of strangers until she couldn’t remember if his eyes had been brown or hazel.

When she found him two months later, it was in Prospect Park in Brooklyn. He was tossing a yellow Frisbee back and forth with a small boy.

Leila watched them, rooted in place. She wasn’t the only one. A woman in a violet wrap dress lounged across a blue blanket. She called to the boy to come put on some sunscreen.

The boy flung the Frisbee toward the blanket and missed. It landed about a yard from Leila’s feet. She picked up the yellow disk just as the man, the stranger, Leila’s one-time friend, jogged over to claim it.

“Thanks,” he said to her.

Leila couldn’t speak.

Sunlight glinted off his plain gold ring as he reached for the Frisbee. Had he been wearing it that day on the train? She couldn’t remember. His thumb brushed hers in the exchange, and Leila found her voice.

“My pleasure,” she said.

Recognition flashed in the man’s hazel eyes, followed by heat and trepidation.

She never saw him again.

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