The evening passed in a blur of butterflies in the stomach, blushing cheeks and slightly sweaty palms.
Janine felt as though she were in some kind of film with Luke as her co-star.
After taking the plunge and agreeing to jump off the tube with him to stop somewhere for a drink, Janine felt as though she had spent a couple of hours being the complete center of Luke's universe. All he wanted to do was talk about her. Did she have any brothers or sisters? Where were her parents? Did she enjoy her job? What were her hopes, dreams, aspirations? Against her will almost, she was flattered into a state of quiet arousal and preening self-promotion. She wasn't always at ease talking about herself or her life, she was very much a private person especially with someone she hardly knew. But Luke seemed to have a way of asking questions and looking at her that made her want to open up and almost boast about herself.
The only slightly strange thing was that whenever she tried to ask questions about him, or his life, he seemed to be able to answer without giving anything in detail away, and would artfully steer the conversation back to her.
Not that she minded. When she was talking to him, his eyes would track hers as though magnetized and she had the impression he was drinking in her every word, to be analyzed and remembered fondly later. This was the reason her heart would keep skipping and her stomach would feel like it was made of water. The heat that was slowly rising from between her hips was not unwelcome either.
When the time came, she found it hard to have to suggest she leave as she needed to get the last train home. Much to her surprise she could have kept talking for a lot longer, but she was wary of the fact that she didn't really know this man and the amount of wine she had consumed was more than she had realized.
"Listen Luke, I have had a really nice time, but I must get back to the station so I can get home" she said.
"Of course, I'm sorry, I didn't realize how late it had got. I have to get the tube myself, so I'll walk you to the station" he replied.
"Oh, great, thanks" she said, as she gathered her jacket and handbag and headed toward the door.
As they walked toward the tube station entrance, Janine felt more comfortable than she probably should have done, and she put that down to a combination of the effect of the cold night-time air on her alcohol doused brain, and the proximity of Luke's body as he walked by her side. It felt as though he was a buffer against which she could lean as the exertions of the day and the lateness of the hour began to have a tiring effect. She didn't quite feel ready for any kind of physical contact, but she knew she would reflect on these feelings later at home and they would give her a warm glow that would follow her into sleep.
They arrived at the platform and their luck was in as the next train was two minutes away. Luke pulled a piece of paper from his inner pocket.
"Here, here's my email address and mobile number. I won't ask for yours, that way there's no pressure for you to call me" he said with a smile.
"OK, great, thanks!" Janine replied. She then thought to herself that that was a nice way of doing things... no pressure on her, but it shows she could be interested by taking the contact information. She had a feeling she would be at least emailing in the next day or two though.
"I had a really nice evening Luke, thank you" said Janine, "it's such a shame the night has to end right now".
As the train pulled into the station, with the usual cacophony of rushing air and screeching brakes, Janine could have sworn Luke replied "It's not going to, I'll be seeing you soon".
"I'm sorry, what?" said Janine, raising her voice above the noise.
"I said, I think so too, I hope I see you soon" shouted Luke.
The train doors opened and Janine stepped aboard, turning in the door to wave goodbye.
"Thanks again Luke, I'm sure we'll speak soon" she said with a smile.
She turned, and went and found a seat. She sat with her back to the platform and smiled to herself, thinking that for a spur of the moment decision, the evening had panned out very well.
As the doors closed, she didn't think to look over her shoulder and see if he was standing and watching. So she didn't see Luke suddenly sprint to the end of the train, and dive into the last set of doors.
The night hadn't come to an end just yet.