The surprise in the box

short stories

Staring at my watch, the bus is a few minutes late. Sighing I press play on the song and stare at the ground. It’s only the third week into the trimester and I feel like I’m already failing. I’m behind in all the readings and have begun contemplating dropping out of this trimester and trying again next year. It’d only be one class, what would the harm be right?

The bus pulls in and I smile. My best friend walks off and stands in front of me.

“So who is it that’s making you cry this time?” Her hands on her hips and her smile wide, bright and contagious.

“What makes you think it’s a someone and not a something?” I wink and give her a hug.

She shrugs her shoulders and hands me a box.

“What’s that?” My eyebrow flings up in confusion.

I take it from her. It doesn’t feel heavy. I try to open it and she slaps my hand away.

“Wait until you get home. It’s not safe for work if you know what I mean.” She winks at me and walks down the stairs.

I look at the box and laugh. I can only imagine what it is. I walk onto the bus, my eyes still on the box.

“Watch your step!” the driver says loudly.

Jumping, I drop the box onto the floor and the lid flies off . The contents of the box falls out. It’s the blue and green lingerie that I’ve been eyeing off for months. Shit! She wasn’t wrong about the ‘not safe for work’ business. The driver and I just stare at each other.

“I’m sorry!” I squeak and I’m down on my knees shoving the lingerie back into the box and walking fast towards the back of the bus without a second glance backwards.

I hear him laugh as he pulls away from the bus stop and drives off towards the roundabout.

Quickly getting out my phone I call my friend who answers on the second ring.

“Don’t tell me you are at home already?” she chimes loudly.

I laugh awkwardly and tell her what happened. There is a silence on her end for what feels like minutes but was only seconds. She starts laughing. Like a bellowing laugh that makes me imagine that she’s doubled over with tears streaming down her face.

“It’s not funny.” I say defensively. “He saw the bloody lingerie. What the hell are you doing buying me lingerie for?”

She doesn’t answer my question; she continues to laugh. The bus pulls into the first stop and I look up. The driver is looking in his mirror and me being so insecure thinks he’s staring at me still laughing at my humiliation.

“You bitched and moaned about how much you wanted this set so I got it for you. Besides it’ll come in handy for when you finally decide to break your vow of abstinence.” She thinks my vow is rubbish and constantly tells me how silly I am for even considering it.

Sighing I say my goodbyes and hang up the phone. The bus is a few minutes away from my stop and I can’t stop my heart beating fast from the adrenaline of the impending humiliation that I’ll feel once I walk past him.

Throwing my bag over my shoulder and hugging the box close to my chest I power walk towards the front of the bus intending on getting out as quick as possible. Just as I was stepping onto the footpath I hear someone speak.

“Good luck with your new lingerie miss.”

I turn to look at him before realising what I was doing and I start blushing bright red. He starts laughing as he pulls away from the station leaving me standing in complete shock that he had said that loud enough for the people close by to hear.

“Prick.” I whisper as I push the button to the elevator.

“Are you okay miss?” A quiet female voice ask me.

I nod. “I’ve just decided that I won’t be taking the University bus again for a while.”


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