Ordinary People

Prompt: Breath


She was breathless when she got into the subway car, seconds before the doors glided shut and the train lurched forward. She clung to a pole for balance. There were no seats available.

Grant sat opposite her. Her breast was heaving from the rush to make the train. He thought she had a very sexy figure, nice tits and ass, and not too fat or thin. Her hair was short, and he preferred long hair. If she was his girlfriend he would not let her cut her hair.

Not that she would ever be his girlfriend. Bitches like that never went for the quiet, nice guys like Grant. They liked flashy looks and money, lots of it. She would probably laugh in his face if he tried to talk to her.

She wore a navy-coloured suit, the skirt just at her knees. Probably had some high-paying job, and probably because she was female. He didn’t automatically qualify for college entry, or was promoted to meet the quota of female staff at a company. Grant believed in merit, not free rides. Yet he would be called a sexist if he said that out loud.

She probably expects me to stand up and give her my seat, Grant thought. Feminist types always wanted it both ways. Equal this and that, but pay for my dinner, give me alimony, fight my wars, give me your seat on the subway. It was cognitive dissonance at its worst.

He looked at her legs, smooth and supple under her stockings. Then back to her face. She had put on a pair of sunglasses, even though the light was dim. Stuck-up bitch.

Eva gasped for breath, relieved she’d caught the train. If she was late again there might be a reprimand, even dismissal. It was almost impossible to get Jenny off to school in the morning these days. She would have to speak to her teachers; if only they were available in the evenings or the weekend. She would have to beg for an afternoon off, which wouldn’t help matters at all.

Then she noticed the man opposite, who sat facing her. Of course he couldn’t help but see her; she was directly in front of him. But he looked her up and down, slowly, and she shivered involuntarily. He continued to stare at her, his brows furrowed, and so she made her own split-second assessment:

He was no taller than her, but probably a bit heavier. He wasn’t muscular, but bulky enough to overwhelm her. He would probably not be able to outrun her, once she kicked off her heels.

Then the plan:

She would get off the train early, if the car started to empty of people before he got off. Lateness be damned. She wouldn’t cross the street in the tunnel as she usually did; it was too dimly lit. She would get out into the open air as soon as possible.

If he was following her, she wouldn’t go directly to the office. She would get a taxi, drive around a few minutes, and then to her building.

The man wouldn’t look away. He was staring at her legs. She put her sunglasses on. They inexplicably made her feel less vulnerable. She took her keys out of her pocket.

Her mother had shown her how to use a set of keys as a weapon. They were all she had to protect herself. She’d tangled them between her fingers many times before.