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missed connection

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Alec thought he would hate having to take the bus to work. He wanted to hate it, even. Then he’d have a reason to justify getting his own car despite living in the city.

He’d thought about buying one before, but Jace and Izzy always talked him out of it. No one drove in New York, they always argued. And besides, it wasn’t as though he could really afford one right now. Not when living with this siblings was basically the only way he could pay rent with his low paying, entry-level job and debt from student loans.

So the bus it was, and every day he stepped onboard begrudgingly and took the first empty seat he found, determined to keep his head down and ignore absolutely everything until he reached his stop.

Or at least, until he noticed the man who always got onto the bus at the stop right after his.

The man was hard to miss with his impeccably styled hair and sharp eyeliner that Alec knew would leave Izzy either in awe or extremely jealous. His clothing was what first caught Alec’s attention. The man’s style screamed expensive and excellent taste, and the stark contrast with the old city bus was almost laughable. But Alec wasn’t laughing.

He was crushing. Hard.

Because while the man’s eccentric style had certainly caught Alec’s attention, Alec found that he just couldn’t look away. The man was beautiful with his honeyed skin and soft, yet striking features, and his arms . God, those arms. Of course, he did look away. He didn’t want to be known as the creepy stalker on the bus. But he did steal glances, and they even exchanged friendly smiles whenever the man got on the bus. Alec considered that a win.

“You’re hopeless,” Izzy sighed when he’d told her about it over breakfast one morning.

“He smiled back, Izzy,” he insisted. “I’m fine .”

“Except you don’t even know his name,” Jace pointed out, earning a glare. He raised his hands defensively. “I’m just saying, smiling to be polite and smiling because you’re happy to see someone are very different.”

Alec frowned. “You guys are very rude,” he said. “I have to go, I have a bus to catch.”

“Talk to him!” Izzy called after him as he left.

That was a week ago, and Alec still hadn’t gotten up the nerve to move past friendly smiling. He knew his siblings were right. He could at least introduce himself. Then if beautiful bus man didn’t share his interest, at least maybe he’d have a new friend to make the bus rides more tolerable.

But he’d never thought of himself as a man of action. More like, a man of overthinking and dwelling on every possible bad outcome. Hell, it had taken him 22 years before he came out of the closet, even though his siblings and mom mostly knew by then and had already long supported him.

The bus rolled to a stop and Alec caught sight of the man standing at his bus stop through the grimy window. He held his breath as the doors squeaked open and the man deftly climbed the steps. The man paused at the front for a moment, looking around the seats. His eyes landed on Alec, catching him staring and Alec looked away quickly.

Way to go, Lightwood .

And then the man sat down. Right next to Alec. The bus started moving.

“Hello,” the man said, grinning.

Alec stared at the man in surprise and smiled hesitantly. “Hi.” He hated the question mark he could hear in his own voice, hoping embarrassment wasn’t painting his cheeks red.

“I’m Magnus,” the man said, holding out a perfectly manicured hand covered in rings.

Alec was instantly aware of the callouses covering his own hand from years of archery competitions as he shook the man’s--Magnus’s--hand. “I’m Alec.”

“Forgive me for being blunt,” Magnus said, “but I saw the post and I thought I should introduce myself.”

Alec’s brain was short-circuiting. What the hell is going on ? Maybe he’d fallen through a wormhole that morning into another universe.

“I, uh,” Alec started. Get it together , he cursed himself. “I’m glad you did, but, um. What post?”

Magnus raised an eyebrow. “The missed connection post? On Facebook.”

Alec’s forehead scrunched up. First the incredibly stunning man from the bus was talking to him and now he’d said it was because of a Facebook post ? “Can I...see the post?”

Magnus frowned. “Sure.” He pulled his phone out of his pocket and opened Facebook, scrolling for a moment to find it. He handed the phone to Alec, who stared incredulously at the page.

Missed connection , the post read. We ride the bus together every morning. You have spiky hair that’s a mohawk sometimes, and really nice clothes that I know absolutely nothing about, but you always look amazing. I sit by myself and probably look super brooding all the time. I smile at you when you get on the bus, and it makes me really happy when you smile back . I’m too shy to say anything on my own but--

The post went on, but Alec stopped reading. The bus was usually hot, the AC not strong enough to combat the tight space and metal box that may as well be an oven in the worst of the summer, but now it felt a million times hotter. “I’m going to kill them,” Alec muttered to himself, trying to ignore the furious blush in his own cheeks.

“I’m sorry?” Magnus asked, the confusion evident on his face.

“I didn’t write that,” Alec explained. “My brother and sister did, I think.”

“Ah,” Magnus said, the confusion being replaced by embarrassment and maybe disappointment.

“No, no,” Alec said quickly. “I mean, they wrote it for me, probably because they think I’m hopeless and they were tired of hearing me talk about the guy on the bus I’ve been crushing over for weeks without doing anything about it.”

The corner of Magnus’s mouth quirked up. “Just to be clear, I’m the guy on the bus you’ve been crushing over?”

Alec’s breath came out in a laugh as he nodded. “Yes, you are.”

Magnus smiled wider. His face lit up entirely with the grin, and Alec knew he was screwed. “Well, then, Alexander,” he said, and Alec’s lips quirked up at the unexpected use of his full name. “For the sake of transparency, you should know that I also have been crushing over a guy on the bus, who just so happens to be you.”

Alec grinned. “I love transparency.”

They talked for the rest of the ride, exchanging numbers when the bus reached Alec’s stop. He sent a text to Izzy as stepped off the bus.

TO:  Izzy - Sent 8:46 A.M.

--You’re a menace and I owe you one

His phone buzzed with a response almost immediately.

FROM:  Izzy - Received 8:47 A.M.

--let me plan the wedding and we’re even

Alec rolled his eyes, but the grin still hadn’t left his face. No, he thought. Riding the bus wasn’t so bad after all.