The Train to Loverville – P.S. I Love You

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Photo by Norman Tsui on Unsplash

“Have a good term, children,” the elegant old lady said, waving from the car window.

“Thanks, grandma,” answered Daphne Greyson, her best friend Edward Nottingham next to her, waving, bummed to see the car drive away. It had taken some convincing to drag him to Penn Station. He was set on driving north, but Daphne was adamant about riding the train.

The two teenagers from Savannah, Georgia, had arrived in New York the night before. They spent the night at Daphne’s grandma’s place in Manhattan before taking the 10:03 train to New Haven, Connecticut. The bus from their boarding school, Fulton Preparatory, would be waiting there for the kids that lived out of the State. Daphne and Edward would be starting their Senior year this fall, and it was a rite of passage to take the train instead of having your parents drop you off. It was also a great place to get the lay of the land for romantic prospects. Everybody tried to look their best for that train ride. The past generations of students had christened it “the Train to Loverville.”

Edward lifted their bags to the overhead compartment, and they both sat. The blonde girl called dibs on the window seat and pulled a book from her backpack, while the boy was settling with his iPhone and headphones. He gave her a look of disbelief.

“You are not reading that crap again, aren’t you?”

“Show some respect, Edward, if you do not like the series at least concede that all literature has value. This is modern mythology,” Daphne said, gesturing with the book.

“Sparkly vampires are modern mythology?”

She huffed and let the book on her lap with a soft slap.

“Yes, they are, just like a hidden wizarding school in Scotland is modern mythology too,” Daphne said and grabbed Edward’s iPhone to put it in front of his face. The screen showed the audiobook cover of The Half-Blood Prince. “How many times have you listened to this? Pot, meet kettle.”

The boy snatched it from her, lips pursed. “It’s the best one in the series.”

Daphne gave him a knowing smile, “and why is that? Do tell, what makes this book the best one?”

Edward went pink on the cheeks. “It’s the one where the love stories take form. And they all look super hot in the movie,” he admitted begrudgingly.

“Awe! Look at you, puppy, being all sensitive and romantic. Come here; you need your head scratched,” she said, opening her lap for her best friend to lean on it. She ran her fingers through his hair and sighed. “I guess we are both hoping for love this year, aren’t we, puppy?”

“I guess,” he admitted. I could say I’m going to ask Santa for a boyfriend, but I don’t want to wait so long. Christmas is a whole season away.”

That made Daphne chuckle. “Look at you, impatient little puppy. Alright then, let’s make the list of what you want, even if you don’t give it to Santa.”

“Why bother?”

Edward looked sad and skeptical. During the summer, he had come to terms with being a gay kid with ADHD in a traditional Savannah family that had no idea how to deal with anything outside a very restrictive box. His family did not reject him; that was a significant gain. They even turned a blind eye to him occasionally smoking pot, because that mellowed him down and allowed him to behave calmly during a five-course dinner with boring guests. But from that to actually allowing himself to dream and wish for happiness, it sounded too good to be true. He closed his eyes and tried to let his friend’s soothing touch relax him.

“Because you are worth it, puppy. And because the only way to get anything you want in life is to have clear goals.”

Edward smiled. He had trouble focusing his attention, so making lists was a strategy that helped him keep track of tasks and homework. Maybe it could work for his love life too.

“Fine. Let’s see. I want a boyfriend, no hookups. I’m not made for that kind of stuff. He has to be nice, no assholes.”

Daphne chuckled. “See? Lofty goals. Keep going.”

“I don’t know. What about you? Blonde and blue-eyed? Tall dark and handsome? A badass jock or a suffering artist?”

Daphne shook her head no. “I want someone different, not some cookie-cutter popular guy.”

“If you say that you want a pale sparkling weirdo that is psychopathically obsessed with you, I will get you locked up. Or call your mom and rat you out.”

Daphne laughed and slapped his arm in reprimand. “That’s not what I meant. I don’t have a clear idea; maybe I will know what I want when I see it?”

“What happened to clear goals?” Edward quipped, and that earned him a tickle attack.

At that moment they heard the conductor growl

“Y’all have to make it here on time. I should leave behind, make you wait for the next train, that’ll teach y’all a lesson. Go, find a place to sit.”

Two flustered looking boys made their way quickly down the corridor, dragging their bags. In front was Matthew Nettleton, one of their classmates, a shy boy with hazel eyes and a love for growing plants. Behind him came Koji Shuyama, a Japanese-American soccer player with a soft expression and bright pink hair.

Daphne had talked to Nettleton a few times in the past. Both of them were the quiet kind, so they tend to stay back when group activities were required and paired by default if none of their regular friends were around. She offered a little wave, and he responded with a soft “hey Daph.” Since she kept her gaze up, the second kid also mouthed a greeting and gave her a sweet smile. Her breath caught in her throat, and that called the attention of Edward, who from his low vantage point had been checking out Nettleton. He turned his face up to give his friend a malicious smile.

“Oh-oh. Are you gonna tell me that you like hot pink?”

“No!” Daphne blurted too quickly. “I don’t know, maybe,” she finally admitted. She turned her head to look through the slit between the seats. At that moment, Koji looked back, and their eyes met. He smiled again. She gave a little squeak and turn back around, a big nervous smile on her face. “Maybe a little.”

Edward sat up and looked behind at their classmates, who were setting their bags on the overhead compartments. To his disappointment, Matthew sat too fast, so he didn’t get another glimpse. But he had time to take a good look at Koji. After checking him up and down, he sat straight and gave his verdict.

“Hot pink boy has nice arms and a great ass. And he is a sweetheart. I approve. We need to work a plan for you to get on with him. I wouldn’t mind getting to know his friend Nettleton either,” the boy admitted, blushing.

“I told you taking the train was a good idea,” she quipped, tickling him again.

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