A cryptic remark

It was a puzzle how Leslie and Martin had ever gotten together.

Leslie had been minding her own business. She’d been making it perfectly clear that’s what she was doing. Her head was down, hair falling across her face, a newspaper folded neatly on her lap. She’d been scribbling on it while she waited at East Kingsley, but for the moment her pen was raised, its button between her teeth.

Martin sat beside her only because it was the last seat. His eyes drifted sideways. Intrigued by what was there, he focused his attention. His mind started turning things over. He couldn’t help himself. As the train pulled into Kingsley he lent across to her. ‘Great legs.’

‘What!’ Leslie bunched up against the wall to make a gap between them.

Martin blushed deeply. ‘I’m sorry. Five down. What Betty Grable had gets regal. It’s an anagram.’

Leslie started crossing out letters to check. ‘You’re right.’

‘I really am a klutz,’ said Martin. ‘I didn’t mean to frighten you.’

Leslie laughed. ‘The trouble is I can never quite get them.’

‘Me either,’ he confessed and he showed her his paper, open at the same page. Between them they filled each other’s gaps. By the time they reached Central they’d made an arrangement to do the next day’s puzzle together.

2011—Richard Holt / small stories about love (smallstoriesaboutlove.wordpress.com)