Lord! 7:43am ...
Realization hit her like a slab of ice. She had forgotten to set the alarm.
How could she have done that? But, there on the screen minutes ticked away, accusingly. Mocking her, her negligence. She felt indignation flush, but it wasn't going to get her where she needed to go in under an hour. Instantly, gripped by the horrifying prospect of lengthy unemployment, she flung back the covers and lurched herself at the bathroom.
Butterflies in the pit of her stomach churned, leaving no time to let the water heat up, Cami steeled herself against the cold gush from the shower head, but what was a girl to do? She really needed the job and now it looked like she had messed up. She scrubbed extra hard pushing the thought away, perhaps if she let her hair dry naturally and skipped coffee she could make it. The idea flashed through her mind like a light. Ten minutes in the bathroom. Now, that had to be a record! She loved a good soak, but with time marching she knew she had to get a move on.
Her clothes were still in disarray from her recent move. She had only been in the apartment a week. Sorting out the major hassles like making sure everything had actually arrived from her old place, and getting the furnishings set up had seemed more important than organizing her wardrobe. Now, she was mortified. She felt a sting of self loathing; how could she not have planned a get-the-job outfit.
What was wrong with her?
She pulled out a flimsy white button down that looked less casual than the other options in her closet, and delved amongst the hangers for a suitable skirt to match.
Jeans, sweats, denims. Oh! Those ever so lovely lace trimmed shorts, but nothing, literally nothing suitable to snag a meaningful career. Then, like a beacon, she spotted a wrap around skirt with a somewhat awkward tie thingy at the side that looked almost businesslike. Cami, yanked it out, and gave it the once over before deciding that it would have to do.
She changed faster than Superman, and perched herself in front of her bedroom mirror to fix her face. A scared looking, bare faced blonde stared back at her begging for make-up and warm beverages.
"Shut up, stupid! You won't be able to afford coffee at this rate, let alone lipstick," she ranted aloud at her reflection.
Satisfied with her self chastisment, Cami skitter through her routine. Base, lipstick on the cheeks, chin, and lips. Eye-liner in the rims, mascara on the lashes. Done!
She took a moment to comb her damp hair over her shoulders. It hung wet and uncomfortable against the thin fabric marking it instantly in dark clingy patches.
Oh well! Things were a little askew, but at least she was dressed and ready to hit the barrage that was rush hour, and try to get to her interview on time.
A blast of frigid air hit her as she grappled with her bag, umbrella and door knob in tandem, but she didn't have time to go back for a jacket or jumper to fight the cold.
Gawd! Hope I 'm not too shivery to do a decent impression of a competent legal assistant...
Horror at the thought nearly sent her back in to grab a coat, but the greater terror of being hopelessly late gripped her instead. Sheer fear, as sharp as the slamming of the door of lost opportunity galvanized her headlong into the morning traffic.
Cami had done a few turns around the neighborhood to familiarize herself with the layout of her new home. She knew where the underground's entrance ferried passengers to the trains below. She made a beeline, but she hadn't figured on the density of the pedestrian mass on the sidewalk. It's depth was literally staggering, almost impenetrable, she drew in a chilly gasp then stabbed into the melee with the point of her umbrella. A surprised looking dude with a gray coat flying out behind, stopped up short. She dug straight in not waiting to hear the strength or dirty tones of his rebuke. The crowd pulled her along with such force that she held only limited hope of not being swept clean passed her destination, but then she remembered the effect her umbrella had just had, and prayed it wouldn't let her down when she reached the apron at the head of the railway. It didn't.
Grinning at her ingenuity Cami raced down the stairs barely touching the tapered steel railing. The train sighed its intention to move at its passengers and she watched as they boarded, she spun on an extra dash of speed and managed to clamber on, awkwardly, seconds before the doors purred closed behind her. Relief flooded like the coffee high she had missed, it felt nearly as good. Cami let out her held breath in a whistle provoking a ghost of a smile from the dude ahead of her who looked so good, that if she hadn't been so very distracted, she might have considered him for dessert at the end of any and every future meal.
Clumsily, she collected herself, wishing she could be even a tad more elegant under the steady scrutiny of "MR. OhSoGorgeous". Then, once she had herself together, she headed into the train.
A slight resistance as she moved caught her, but she didn't consider it obstructing enough to stop for-- until a tug too late, anyway. Cami felt a distinct cool breeze on her legs exactly where her wrap-around should have been covering them.
Dear God! Her skirt was floating behind her firmly locked in the jaws of the train's door.
Cami, screeched, making everything impossibly worse. The hottie, looked like he was about to burst into unassailable laughter. Then, like a knight, he did the single worst thing he could've; he came to her rescue.
Humor rose tangibly like wafting smoke above the crowd, it bubbled and rolled down the length of the car, and with it Cami's color darkened from rose to crimson. "MR. Beautiful", looked confused for a moment then he focused on her skirt, billowing as it was, in the gentle undulation of the train's draft. Somehow she saw the whole thing pan out even before he reached for her wraparound, the air was so heavy with prediction that she felt the entire car pause with anticipation as he fumbled, then gripped her skirt firmly and yanked, hard. Devastated, Cami's watched as he pulled. It gave quite readily, tearing cleanly about halfway from the waistband. If the situation hadn't been so utterly tragic, the expression on the dude's face would have been hysterical. In total abjection, he offered the ripped rag to Cami, as if it might do some good, and that's when the laughter really started. The passengers couldn't seem to help themselves, in some cases they were doubled over as if in pain. The melodious rancor filled the car, end to end.
In defense, Cami did the only thing she could think of. She opened her umbrella. Strategically, it was difficult to decide which angle to protect, but she settled on the front concealing her vulnerability only slightly.
Thank God I wore my knickers.
The ridiculous thought rattled in her brain amid the chaos. Nevertheless, it was sobering. Cami hated the damn things and often dispensed with them. Her mind could not quite fathom the enormity of the embarrassment, had she forgotten. For the beat of a heart it improved the situation, somewhat. Then, to her absolute dread, the guy with the dregs of her skirt, barreled straight into her newly ballooned umbrella. It must have taken him by surprise. Perhaps he hadn't seen her lift it with determined intention. The needle edge, it seemed, struck him at a most uncomfortable spot. His mouth formed a perfect "O" and then he folded, fainting completely away, out cold, flat on the floor. Aghast, Cami simply stood, then she felt tears begin to spill.
Naturally, in response to her tantrum the commuters came to her aide. A sensible woman handed her a knitted coat with enough length to it to save the day. "Mr.Helpful", was prodded into wakefulness. He looked dazed and dreamy, but Cami didn't want to imagine how much he must have hated her at that juncture. All in all, she had to salvage something, she decided to make a run for it and see if she could still make her interview. Buttoning the last button on her borrowed coat, gratefully. Cami turned giving apologies all round. Then, after a fast exchange of telephone numbers, and a promise to return the woman's coat the following day on the same train, Cami alighted at her destination. Relief flooded she had never been so glad to leave a train. Momentarily, she caught a twinge in the pit of her stomach that made her feel awful for leaving her hopeful savior in the hands of the crowd, but she reckoned that he would not want her around at all, and besides the pass angers owed her a favour in payment for how thoroughly entertained they had been.