Harry Styles will never forget the first time he saw the love of his life.
It was a bitterly cold Monday morning in December, his very first day working at the token booth for the downtown Number 1 train at 66th Street. It’s a bit further from his apartment than his old post at 42nd Street, but Harry’s grateful that he no longer has to fight his way through Times Square crowds on a daily basis. 66th Street is a little bit quieter, the neighborhood more relaxed and less touristy; Harry feels like he’ll be happier here, despite the fact that his position is being made practically obsolete by these newfangled Metrocards that the MTA just started rolling out.
Harry had been pretty down in the dumps about this grand, new experiment in how New Yorkers navigate the subway system. He was aware that his time as a token collector was limited, despite the Union’s assurance that it would take at least a decade for the tokens to be phased out completely. And even though he’s usually pretty good about pulling himself out of a funk (he has to be), he was having trouble with it on this particular morning. Even though he was sure this would end up being the push he needed; after all, he never intended to be with the MTA this long. It was probably a sign, that was all. A sign that he should finally, finally get around to that culinary school application that he’s been putting off ever since his mom got sick.
It was a good thing. It was.
Still, he couldn’t help but feel sad and already a little bit nostalgic for the clink, clink, clink of the gold subway tokens in his window.
One clink of a subway token is all it took.
At 8:28 precisely, just as the rumble of the 8:30 train down the tunnel announced its imminent arrival, Harry looked up as he pressed the button to allow a passenger through the turnstile. His heart stuttered in his chest as his life irrevocably changed. The most beautiful man Harry had ever seen strode past his booth, clearly hastening to make the oncoming train. He was exquisitely dressed in a luxe camel coat that was perfectly tailored to showcase his broad shoulders and narrow waist; a soft looking red plaid scarf that could only be cashmere was neatly knotted around his neck. His brown hair was styled immaculately, enough product in it to hold everything in place, but not so much to make it look crunchy. And his strong jaw was dusted with just enough stubble to make Harry imagine what it might feel like on his inner thighs. He was in what appeared to be a blue pinstriped suit, his long navy-clad legs trailing down to gleaming leather shoes.
But that’s not what made him beautiful. Harry saw men like this man every day, well manicured and expensive looking, all of them off to their high-powered and very important jobs in Midtown and the Financial District. This man shouldn’t make any sort of impression on him, other than a passing sense of lust.
But then the man smiled at an elderly woman as the train pulled into the station, his warm brown eyes crinkling almost completely shut and his handsome face lighting up. Harry’s heart promptly fell out of his ass as he watched the man carefully place one hand on the small of the woman’s back, gently gripping her gnarled hand in the other as he helped her onto the train. Harry’s last glimpse of the most beautiful commuter in the world was the man guiding the little old lady to one of the few empty seats in the car and helping her sit.
That was all it took. Harry knew. He just knew.
He was going to marry him someday.
Harry saw him again the next day. And the day after that. And the next day after that. It becomes a thing, Harry looking for the dashing stranger every weekday morning between 8:15 and 8:30. He looks forward to it every morning, sighing dreamily as the man plops a token in his window, pushing his way through the turnstile, often clutching his briefcase in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other. It’s the highlight of Harry’s day, week, month, and year. (He refuses to acknowledge how sad that is. He has a life. He does. It just so happens to revolve around his job and his cat.) When it’s slow at work, Harry dreams up stories about him, imagining that he’s off to save the world at some very important law firm in Tribeca, where he obviously takes on at least half of his cases pro bono, championing the little guy against evil corporations. The man probably spends his lunch break playing with puppies at the dog park and every other weekend doing charity work for kids.
What else would the world’s most perfect man do, after all?
Because that’s what he is. Harry’s very own power-suited Prince Charming. Sure, they’ve never spoken. The man hasn’t ever really acknowledged his existence other than a brief nod every once in a while. That’s okay, though. Because Harry knows that one day they will speak to each other. He just knows it. Harry will say hello as the man drops the golden token through his window...and it will be perfect. The perfect beginning to his perfect love story.
If only he could find the courage to just do it.
Maybe tomorrow, Harry thinks as he watches the man stride confidently past his booth, looking immaculate as always.