At the Station

train station, blog,Nina stood on one foot, and then the other. The train was three minutes late. She could not afford to miss one second of the project meeting in New York.

Knowing that the regular train sometimes got stuck at some godforsaken station on the way, she purchased a ticket for the more expensive high-speed Acela, which gave her an hour fudge time.

Peering at the watch on her wrist, she figured she now only had 55 minutes of fudge time.

Nina’s mouth started to water. She skipped breakfast to get to the Boston station on time. Plus, she was on a diet. She was between men and needed to trim down. Ha, as if she dated frequently.

In reality, she hadn’t “had” a man for eight months. And the last one had been a literal affair since he was married, promising her he was leaving “Betty the Beast.” That’s what Ben called his wife – soon to be ex-wife he swore every time they met surreptitiously at the Boston Park Plaza.

Each time she entered the up-end business hotel she wished she could find someone who swept her off her feet and took her to some romantic country inn, perhaps in Italy, or if not out-of-country, then in New Hampshire at least.flash fiction, romance, suspense

Nina heard heavy breathing in between her wishful thinking and noticed a man – a handsome man at that – racing down the concrete corridor, huffing and puffing when he reached her.

“Don’t worry,” Nina said to the man, “I don’t even see the headlights yet.”

He glanced at her strangely.

What, does he think, I’m flirting with him? Nina wondered. She mentally surveyed her 40-year-old self: conservative black suit, white blouse, medium black heels, silver watch, no rings on her fingers. Boring as hell.

In fact, that’s what Ben said to her eight months ago. “You don’t want to do anything fun.” This was after she told Ben that she wanted something better than the Boston Park Plaza.

“Um, excuse me. Miss?”

The harried man, carrying a blue and pink flowery valise that seemed totally out of kilter with his gray-suited business attire, faced Nina.

“Me?” she asked. He really was quite good-looking. Green eyes that were pleading with her now.

The train surprised her by roaring into the station. Nina took a step back from the yellow line just as the stranger swiftly handed her his decorative carry-on.

“I’m sorry,” he mouthed just as he swiftly turned and ran off. 

suspense, flash fiction, romanceThe train doors opened and the conductor shouted, “All Aboarrrrrd!”

Nina did just that. She climbed aboard holding her own overnight bag and the man’s pretty carrier, her purse over her shoulder.

She didn’t gasp until she sat down, settled in, and opened the bag.


romantic suspense, fiction giveaway

This fast-paced thriller, set in San Francisco and the quiet CA town of Stinson Beach, follows Sandra Eastman and the two men who almost destroy her world. 


143 thoughts on “At the Station

    • Thanks for guessing, Darlene. The only clue I can leave (except that it’s not a bomb in the literal sense) is that you’re absolutely right. Nina’s life may become much more interesting from now on….


  1. Now this is fun, Pamela. Okay I’ll say the blue and pink flowery valise contained all sorts of things (travel things too maybe) that belong to her previously unknown (to her) identical twin (or clone) AND that she was actually getting on the wrong train. The previous train was late. I noticed she had 55 minutes to spare. So her “twin” was supposed to get on that train. Of course the twin/clone is much more non-boring and never wears black suits. AND has an exciting life, into which Nina steps, using the contents of the bag. 😉

    TGIF hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Since you began the piece with “She could ‘not’ afford to miss one second of the project meeting in New York,” my thoughts hover around her professional life. (I might be going off on a tangent here.) Is someone attempting to edge her out, wanting that promotion? Distract her, confusing her already perplexed life. Is there a “professional” stalker? I so love the middle about her personal life.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m surprised she would take the bag, but maybe she was caught off guard and took it without thinking. I suppose it’s natural to take something that someone hands you. It was a relatively small bag, I presume, and with the flowery pattern on it, probably a woman’s bag. Maybe it was something he had stolen and was about to get caught with. I can’t see him giving a baby away. Would he be that unsympathetic?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, your guess is well thought out, Anneli. Yes, I assume Nina was so distracted with her personal problems that she didn’t think how stupid it would be to take that bag. But maybe she’s a sucker for a handsome face. Perhaps, a handsome THIEF’S face….?????

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Smarty Pants. An EXCELLENT possibility. But then, why would the man silently say “I’m sorry” as he took off? I’m sure you know the answer to that…. 🙂 Love your guess – THANK you.


      • Well, maybe Ben asked the ‘good-looking man’ to deliver the ‘flowery box’ – and the guy was just saying, ‘I’m sorry’ because he was in a hurry to meet his girlfriend or wife and didn’t have the time to chat! C’mon, admit it, it’s Ben’s divorce papers! Whatta I win? 🙂 ♥

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I have no idea. Of course, my head goes to the horrible possibilities:
    You said it wasn’t a bomb, so I’m thinking it’s Betty the Beast’s head. Um, probably not. I like Bernadette’s guess, and Billy Ray’s, but who’s the guy? Hmmm….

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great story! I have no idea what’s in the bag. His eyes were pleading before he said sorry – something to do with the presentation she has make. Betty the Beast had found out and cut up her notes. But that doesn’t explain the guy. When will we find out?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I have to guess that he handed her a bag containing two tickets to a romantic country inn in Italy. There is also a note explaining that the man has been watching her from afar and thinks she should have a lovely trip with the man of her choice. His card is there and the suggestion that if she isn’t currently in a relationship he would love to join her.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hmmmm, my guess is that it contains something – maybe money – that has been passed from person to person. Each recipient at first thinks it’s a good thing (money) but then soon realizes that it can bring great sorrow and bad luck. The last recipient (in this case Nina) will either use it for good or will find herself passing the valise on to a new unsuspecting person. This also explains why the flowery valise didn’t match the man who gave it to her.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, don’t you have some fun ideas! You seem to be a natural plotter – you have a full-blown mystery here along with a moral at the end. And yes, this would certainly explain why the man had a flowery valise. I like it!


      • Your reply made me laugh. I actually thought about a puppy or kitty in the bag but did not think you would be soft about the subject. But gee, why not? As I write this, I am thinking that you could lure in lots of animal lovers if there were a wee homeless pet in the bag.


  8. Arghhh, you’re really going to leave us hanging? I think it’s diamonds. And please tell me this is the start of your next book, it’s a great page-turner.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha. Thanks, Les. I don’t think Nina’s story can be my next book, because everyone is already coming up with some great quick endings! DIAMONDS, though, that’s the first time jewels have been suggested. I like the way your mind works. xo


    • Of course you, Gerlinde, the food connoisseur, would think of champagne, bagels with lox, and chocolate-covered strawberries. For Nina’s sake, I hope this is what she discovers in that flowery bag. But I gotta tell you, I don’t think it’s going to be as mouth-watering. ;-0


  9. I think that the man handed Nina the bag filled with trash from his office waste can that he dumped into the flowery valise, his daughter’s that she’d left behind when she came to visit him on Take Your Daughter To Work Day. The trash contained a copy of an email, the man was not supposed to receive, that had been sent by the CEO of the company in which the CEO admitted to stealing funds that were now in a Cayman’s Island bank. The account number was on the email.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ally, you take the cake (and not the trash) for a fun, original, and well-thought out answer to what is in Nina’s bag. If it’s not trash and an e-mail with an account number, it sure should be. Nina’s life would finally turn the corner, huh? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Okay, since she gasped when she opened the bag, it has to be something she knows the value or import of — like money (that’s not my guess) or a lost/stolen family heirloom she had given up hope of ever finding (that’s my guess). Family jewelry, or a cherished piece of valuable porcelain from the old country, or a family bible with their genealogy written in, or the family silver set.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m not going to venture a guess. So, I won’t be a winner. Argh! (I don’t think there is a head in the bag, however.)

    When I opened your post yesterday the browser search did crazy twists like a heart fibrillator. Thus, I wait with baited breath. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Pam, I love your mystery stories! I, like many here thought it was going to be a bomb, but have changed my mind. I eagerly await the next installation for perhaps a little clue, lol. For now just to venture a guess I’ll say a million dollars, but I’m sure you are a lot more creative than that. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Inside his young daughter’s pretty overnight bag, was every shred of evidence that the gentleman was a double agent as well as a note … Please dispose of this at the end of your train ride. Wipe off your own fingerprints. Again, I’m sorry.”


      • Sure! It might be one with an alternating POV – Nina trying to figure out what the right thing to do is, and maybe bringing the bag to the police where she becomes suspected of being a spy herself, and from his, where no attempted deletion of his past could possibly work and assassins are on his tail. Of course, they would have to meet … You were talking abut a novel, right? LOL.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. First off, Pam, I truly enjoyed reading your story. It was tight and intriguing and I liked the story line. As to what was in the bag I’m thinking of the clues you gave: a blue and pink flowery valise (very feminine), that he said he was sorry, glances at her strangely, eyes pleading with her. Seems like the man is desperate to get rid of whatever is in the suitcase. He would be sorry because the contents would likely be trouble for Nina. There’s no indication in your story of its genre: romance, crime, sci-fi but knowing a bit your writing I’m guessing something dramatic like perhaps a weapon with blood on it.
    You left me hanging on, wanting to know more – which is a neat writing trick. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Sadly, it is a set of mementos accumulated over the period of her affair with Ben who ultimately decided that he had to come clean on the fact that he would not leave his wife and, the coward that he is, contracted the courier to return to her all those mementos. The flowery bag was Ben’s wife’s in which she handed Ben as she oversaw his clearing out anything that was associated with their affair.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Aha! I believe you are the first one to mention Ben’s wife. Rather prescient of you, but in different ways than expected… Stay tuned for tomorrow’s surprise. Thanks so much for joining in the fun!


  16. Pingback: Whatever You Want…. | roughwighting

  17. The Harried man in the suit, turned out to be in fact working for the legal firm representing
    “Betty the beast”. Inside the blue and pink flowery valise was a subpoena ordering Nina
    to appear as a hostile witness in Ben’s divorce case. It had been Betty’s idea, to use such a pretty bag, after all, who would suspect they were being served court papers…Betty was indeed a beast. It suddenly dawned on Nina if this news leaked out it could have explosive consequences for her desire to head up the project.


  18. Hi Pam.
    Intriguing. I’m still stuck on where the 55 minute wait went. She doesn’t recognize the man and it does seem to be a woman’s bag. You’ve introduced her affair. Is there a connection? I like the idea of the subpoena but it can’t be because she’d have to read it to know what it is and she recognizes its “uh oh” quality on first sight. Hmmmm. The plot, as one says, thickens.


Always a pleasure to read your thoughts.

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