Chapter 1

13.5K 489 8

It took her twelve minutes to do her makeup.

It looked like it must have taken hours, but Aiden knew that it took her only twelve because, on his morning commute, he noticed her.

On a surgical rotation at Princess Catherine Hospital, Aiden's hours were not regular but, if he was on an early shift, he made sure that he caught the 7:02 train. For close to six months now he had enjoyed watching her, invariably running to the platform, coat open, scarf trailing, coffee in hand, just making the train and sitting breathless for a couple of moments, before she'd delve in her handbag and start to skillfully apply her makeup.

He knew that she did her mascara only when the train was in a station. He knew she was stunning and that her long blonde hair would be neatly tied back by 7:10 and Aiden also knew that he preferred her without makeup more than with.

There were three things different about her this freezing Monday morning though.

Firstly, she was making no attempt to do her face.

Instead she sat with her coat open, revealing her immaculate grey suit, staring into space, her very pretty face void of makeup and, if anything, rather strained.

Secondly, on her ring finger there was a very sparkly engagement ring that, without real reason, given that they'd never spoken a single word to the other, brought a curious sense of disappointment to Aiden.

His colleague, Jed, had been teasing him and had told Aiden to finally do something about the mystery woman on the train.

Aiden was glad that he hadn't now because, given she was clearly seeing someone, he'd have just made a fool of himself.

The third thing that was different though was that, unlike other mornings, where they occasionally made eye contact and either looked away and pretended they hadn't or would give the other a brief smile, although lately, a less than brief smile, this morning she was completely lost in her own world.

Aiden glanced up from the news he was reading on his phone and saw that her blue eyes were filling with tears. She scrabbled in her handbag and came up with a serviette and loudly blew her nose.

Yes, it was very different this morning because she was seriously starting to cry. Aiden could almost feel her absolute sense of horror and panic as she started to break down in a very public place.

He pretended not to notice of course.

Just as everyone on the train did.

The train stopped at a station, where it generally paused for a while. There were three more stops to go before she usually got off but Aiden watched as she hitched up her handbag and fled from the train. She stood on the platform taking deep breaths and then, giving into her tears, slumped against the wall and cried.

It was none of his business.

Had the train not still sat idling Aiden might just have carried on to work but he couldn't simply sit there and watch her cry.

Aiden got off.

200 Harley Street:  Her Perfect StrangerRead this story for FREE!