Rating: T (mostly)
Summary: New York City has a population of approximately 18.9 million people; at least five million of them take the subway five days a week. There will always be that one person out of those 18.9 million citizens; those five million riders that will be in your presence every day and you may never know it till one day. And that one day may be the day your life changes.
I was presented with a prompt from Arie (lookatthestar), so this is for her.
It's a beautiful Saturday afternoon in the remarkably iconic Empire State; New York. The city is buzzing as per usual and for once I'm actually looking forward to a day away from the office. As my boots click on the pavement, I huddle myself into my thick coat to shield any blistering winds. Sure Ohio has prepared me for this, but it doesn't physically ever mean I'm truly prepared.
My breath is easily visible as I exhale. I have to rub my hands together to form some heat and place them on my face to prevent it from feeling like I've been hit with an iceberg. The slushie facials in high school didn't prepare me for this.
I frantically push my way through the crowd, before jaywalking with the best of them to Central Park. I hoped to find a bench under one of the big trees as the leaves change and hit the floor in a pile under my feet. It's one thing I love about the Northeast coast; the change of seasons seemed to be something of a tourist attraction—certainly was for me as soon as I moved here.
I kick my feet in some already formed piles and giggle as they jump up around me, before plopping down in place. I hold my book in one hand and a nice hot cup of coffee in the other. The aroma of hazelnut fuels through me as I take a sip, finally sitting down on a bench.
Crossing my legs over, I begin to read on the page I left off. It's nothing out of the ordinary for me to read leisurely, but I certainly don't have enough time during the week to make it through a page let alone a full chapter.
I suppose I should've expected this when I decided to major in marketing at Yale. I don't even have time to visit home on the holidays and that's depressing to say the least. I know my mother misses me terribly as does my father. My home is pretty much uncharted territory. I desperately wanted to get away from the high grass fields full of cattle and horses. I always craved for something more—modern in a respect. My home was amazing to live in when I was younger, but things have changed. In a way, I'm glad I can't make it home so I can avoid the constant interrogation of why I'm not married, especially now that New York legalized marriage for gay and lesbians. Though my parents accept my way of life, I have to bite my tongue every time they ask. What can I say? I don't have time to date either. My career is demanding, especially now that I'm head of the advertising department of the company.
I flip through to the next page as I sip my coffee, which instantly sends a warm tingling sensation down my spine, causing a chill to arise. The confusing logic behind that is strangely fascinating. But that aside, success! I've made it through a page with no interruptions. I smile triumphantly at myself, when my phone begins to ring. I roll my eyes at the coincidence, before answering it, knowing it's Brittany.
"Hello Britt," I answer through the receiver and I place the receipt I'm using as a bookmark back in place. I don't like ruining the corners of books by bending them down to keep my place.
"What are you doing right now?" She asks and I look around at my surroundings, spotting a few joggers and just random passers. Some attending benches and even people sitting by the fountain and on the steps—I didn't realize how busy it was today.
"Um in Central Park, why?" I finally reply, taking another sip of my coffee.
"Well I'm coming over there right now because I miss you and we need to talk and hang out," Brittany says somewhat breathlessly. My guess is she just ran across the street, which street—I'm not sure of, but like me, Brittany is an Ohio native and only moved to New York after attending a dancing academy on the West coast. Let's just say, she's been dancing professionally for Broadway since. She's that amazing and I can vouch to that.
"Okay, but Britt, I was planning to just relax today and you know—read," I shrug to my phone. It wasn't that I didn't want to see my best friend because she is right. It's been awhile since we've actually spent time together now with her show in full swing and rehearsals never ending. But I'm also on a nonstop turntable of events and just once, I'd like to relax with a nice cup of coffee and a good book, but I wouldn't know that since I seem to be interrupted anytime I try to engorge myself in it.
She sighs on the other line. "Stop being a grandma, I'm almost there and we are going to have lunch. No objections," she tells me and I try to restrain myself from rolling my eyes again, but I can't help myself. There really is no arguing with her, so I just give in to humor her. Besides, she said we needed to talk. I hope she's not breaking up with me…
Yes, humor me please.
She walks up to me wearing her knee high boots with a pure white scarf and skinny jeans. She looks flashy and you wouldn't know that either one of us lived in a cow dunk town. She instantly engulfs me in a tight embrace as if she hasn't seen me in years and I suppose it feels that way at times.
We begin strolling along the path together as I carry my giant purse close to me, placing my book inside with the rest of my contents.
"Are you planning on running away with that suitcase there Quinn?" She jests and I only have the heart to mock her as we continue to stroll up towards the steps. I accidentally bump into someone and I turn my head to apologize to the young woman, probably no older than Brittany and I. She just smiles and gets back to her own book—oh how I envy her right now.
I turn back to Brittany as she begins to go into a story about the production. I find it tedious in a way to listen to her achievements and while I have my own, I find her always wanting more out of me. Brittany is the sort of friend that looks out for you and just wants your happiness, but that happiness that you have sometimes isn't the kind she's searching for you to have—if that makes any sense at all.
We sit in a booth and look through our menus. I purse my lips out looking at the selections. I really am not that hungry, but since I was forced against my will to come on this lunch outing, I might as well roll with it—she is paying.
"Q you have to tell me about what's going on with you," she states, handing her menu to the waiter after we've ordered and I look at her questionably.
"Well—I got promoted to head of the advertising department at work," I tell her proudly with a big smile. She eyes me carefully with a small smile, hoping for more—like I expected.
"So, no love life still? Not even sweet lady kisses on the weekend?" She asks with quirk eyebrow and I roll my eyes, scoffing.
"God Britt—"I loll my head to the side, resting my forehead on my hand.
"No I mean seriously Quinn. You are the loneliest person I have ever met and I say that because I love you," she says pointedly and I stare at her, nodding un-amused.
"Oh yeah, I feel loved right now," I grumble, taking a sip of my iced tea, knowing alcohol really would save me from this conversation—I'm seriously considering it right about now.
"Q, your last relationship was like what—college?" Brittany asks using her hands to make grand gestures. I have half a mind to just walk away, but I know she is doing this because she cares. Much like my parents banter on and on with me about why I'm not married, but I am only twenty five; I didn't realize my biological clock breaks by this time. Are they assuming I won't be pretty enough for someone in say a year or two?
"I just want you to be happy. I mean all you do is go to work, come home, and sleep," Brittany scoffs, digging into her gigantic burger. Where she puts it, I'll never know because she eats this way constantly. I'm jealous—so I settle for my grilled chicken and mix veggies; brownie points for being healthy—fuck now I want a brownie.
"I have you know, I do go home and eat, and shower—sometimes sit down and watch television before I go to bed," I answer back sarcastically, holding my fork out at her; points out and she just smirks, rolling her eyes, taking another bite of her burger.
"Look I know you want me to be happy, but I am. I'm independent, I like it that way, and besides why the hell do I need someone? For my sexual needs?" I ask and she widens her eyes, gesturing like it's obvious with her mouth full. "Please Britt, I can do that myself," I wave off which forces her to choke a little. I smirk as she helps the food go down with her Coke.
She begins to laugh after she swallows and I humor her since she nearly almost died from choking on cow. "I'll tell you what, once I get situated in my new position, I will start getting serious about relationships," I tell her and she smiles as a little bit of ketchup gets stuck on the corner of her mouth. I giggle, shaking my head, before handing her napkin and pointing where the smudge is, so she can wipe it off.
"Oh hey, I can set you up with one of the dancers on the product—"I cut her off.
"No," I say simply as she tries to reason with me about the benefits of dating a dancer. They have killer bodies (obviously; Brittany) and they know how to move out of bed and in bed (I wouldn't know that and don't care to find out; Brittany).
"Britt, I can't date a dancer because in all actuality, the idea creeps me out because you're my best friend and I love you, but not like that and the thought of dating a dancer is like sleeping with you and well—you catch my drift," I shrug and she looks at me confused, even though we've both reached that mutual understanding, but she shifts as if to take that answer as a good reason.
"I couldn't date a marketer," she mumbles, biting into a French fry with a smirk and I throw a used napkin across the table at her as she giggles catching it, before dropping the topic entirely.
My weekend came and went as I had expected, so I sit in my brand new office, swirling back and forth in my leather chair in amazement. I love my job sure, but I just wish it was far less demanding. I can't get my weekends to myself anymore—who doesn't want their weekends?
I take in a deep breath and slightly wish it smelled like a brand new car would. You know when you're super stoked to get in a brand new, clean, dent free, car and it just smells—perfect? Apparently, new offices don't have that luxury. Bummer.
I sigh heavily, anticipating my phone to ring at any moment because the world wouldn't be set right otherwise. I sip my coffee and take in the silence, when a knock breaks through it. It never lasts.
"Come in," I call and in comes my assistant Tina Cohen Chang. The thing I found most interesting about Tina was that she is married to a man with the last name Chang, so I assumed she kept her last name and just hyphenated it; I was shocked to know that she really always had the last name Chang. The irony behind that certainly makes life easier under the governmental aspect.
"I have those files you asked for and Pepsi called asking for a new idea," Tina informs me, placing the files on my desk and I roll my eyes at the caller. If we don't have Pepsi, we have energy drink suppliers calling for something fresh—new.
"They just got a new idea. They have the commercial with the little carrot top wannabe as a Court Jester, that girl from X Factor and Elton John in one commercial! What the hell else could they want?" I argue and Tina just stands there silently, letting me vent. I just got promoted to this position, so our clients were already getting on my nerves.
"I always liked the basic ones," she finally comments and I looked back up at her, quirking my eyebrow, waiting for her to continue. "Like the old ones with the little girl and the jingle behind it," she shrugs and I smile thoughtfully. Those really were the best commercials.
I point my pen at her and smile back up at her. "I think you're on to something. She isn't eight years old anymore, but how cool would it be to bring that dark curly haired bundle of cuteness back?" I tell her and she smiles widely, nodding enthusiastically.
"Mrs. Chang, you are on your way," I say and she laughs, rolling her eyes at my sarcastic undertone, before walking out my office. Now I just have to call them back and pitch it to them—hopefully they'll go for it.
I step into the subway and it's packed to the bone as I feel people pushed up against me. It's the only frustrating thing about living in New York. The subway is disgusting and smells like pee, and you could feel the sweat just forming on other people's bodies.
It comes to a stop and I feel people push their ways out of the sliding doors. I roll my eyes at the urgency—it's not like we all don't want to get home after a long Monday, so we can pass out. I wonder what I should have for dinner—perhaps Chinese. I grimace at the pondering thought when I find my stomach growling rather loudly just as an elderly man comes up next to me.
"Someone's got an upset tiger," he chuckles and my eyes widen at the words. I have to laugh embarrassingly, when I feel breasts against my back.
My eyes quirk even bigger and I turn my head to the side and see a girl standing there, with her face buried in The Hunger Games. I'm slightly amused by this because I know of at least three people on my floor reading this series because of the movie that has just been released. I want to see it—I mean really I do, and I won't deny the plot sounds fascinating in a morbid kind of way, so I humor myself at this thought.
I turn back around to the smiling man, who is watching me carefully—maybe too carefully. Some pedestrians made room for him to sit and he really was staring at me way too closely for my liking.
"You want to sit down?" He asks and I turn my head around to the much smaller crowd as before, but I decline his offer by shaking my hand at him. "Oh c'mon dear, I have room," he presses on patting his lap and I look down to the dirty ground.
I'm no longer hungry.
I pop my door open with a little force, before throwing my keys on the table as soon as I walk in. I drop my bag on the table as well, kicking my heels off and carry them into my room. I toss them in my closet and quickly change out my clothes, hopping into the shower wanting to rinse off all the disgusting feelings of the subway and scrub the comments of that creepy old man off my body. I can honestly say the three years I've lived in the city that has never happened to me.
I shudder under the showerhead at the thought, before stepping out and drying off. I change into sweats, before crossing to the kitchen to grab a drink. I pull water out, thinking alcohol couldn't save me now from the events of today.
I plop down in front of the television and begin flipping through the channels. Everything I don't watch religiously is on or random entertainment news shows, oh and my all-time favorite—reality shows. I growl, finally settling on a movie channel, taking a swig of my water.
The movie is a romance comedy—something about a girl meets this guy and one thing leads to another and they have non-conventional sex. Wait, didn't they have a movie about that with Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher like just recently? It seems like they only changed a few things in the plot and the actors, but the concept is the same. I roll my eyes—the originality of today is absolutely ridiculous.
I sit there and watch longer, admiring the way Mila Kunis just effortlessly looks beautiful in every scene. Only to aspire to look like her—or maybe just marry her; I don't know, she's attractive, okay? I haven't had sex since college and I'm not planning to do the math to calculate how many years that's been.
I just don't understand how does one have no strings attached sex and not expect to develop feelings for the person? I think these movies say it all. Well sometimes it isn't returned, which is why I plan to never do that. I couldn't deal with being the one broken—it's happened before far too many times to count and I'm not about to let it happen again.
Next person I'm with, it'll be real. It'll mean something special to me. Who knows, maybe it'll be the person I end up walking down the aisle to.
Oh the internal quest of it all.
I step into the subway ready for another day at the office. I'm exhausted and by no means am I looking forward to going to work. I couldn't get to sleep at a proper hour because sirens from down below were blaring at unreasonable hours. I know that ambulance and police officers don't exactly have a time where they just close up, but why must the sirens be so obnoxiously loud? I mean really sirens, why?
I sigh, sitting down on one of the seats, happy to not have to stand for anybody. I cross my legs and look at my phone. It's early—about seven in the morning and I usually don't get out of work till about five or six, if I'm lucky. There's a meeting today with Pepsi that I desperately just want to get over with, since I have to pitch the idea of bringing the girl with the dimples back. We have to contact her and hope she'll agree to it, but she's probably, what? Eighteen now? Oh god, I'm so old.
I groan tiredly, yawning in the process. I blink a few times and it feels as if weights are connected to my lids and are threatening to be devils and push them down. I distract myself with the other people in the cart with me and my eyes finally land on a girl, listening to her iPod to herself. She's bobbing her head up and down slightly, looking out the window, even though it's completely dark since we're in fact underground.
She's wearing a hoodie over her head, so I can't actually see her face, but she has her feet up on her chair, so her knees are up to her chin. Only reason why I know she's a female is she's shaped like one and you can clearly see breasts in the hoodie—not that I'm staring or anything, but you know; distraction.
The cart comes to a stop and I pull my purse up over my shoulder and I walk out of the sliding door to make my way up the subway stairs to the real world. I rub my fingers over my eyes and sigh deeply, hoping that this meeting goes over well and painlessly.
Who am I kidding? Nothing is ever painless here.
I plop down on a seat on the subway after my day at the office ends. I can honestly say that it turned out a lot better than I intended it would; achievement. I think that's what my old principal used to say. I dig my phone out my purse and check the time, and I'm elated to see I've made it out on time. Things are turning around today for the better; it's just too bad all I do is go home afterwards and do it all over again. My life is so consistent; it's almost ridiculous.
I lean back in my seat and turn my head to see a girl buried in a book next to me. I didn't even realize she was there until now. I wonder what she's reading. She seems to be really caught up in it. I move my lips downward in curiosity, bending over to get a better look at the cover.
I tilt my head to the side—I can't seem to get a good look at it. I lean on my knees and finally make out the end of the title—Games. I roll my eyes; really? This is the second person I saw reading this book in two days—is it really that popular? Oh great, another Harry Potter and Twilight.
"Would you two like a moment alone?" I look up and see the girl looking over her book with an intense look of confusion on her face. I notice that I'm still leaning over in the position to look at her book.
I quickly lean back, knowing my cheeks are a deep shade of red. I've been caught in the act—of snooping on a book cover. I glance back over at her and she's still eyeing me curiously. She's stunning—so, so stunning. She has this dark complexion where I'm almost convinced it's natural, not that fake Jersey Shore tan—Hispanic is my guess; so exotic. She has these dark brown pools, like black holes you could just lose yourself in the abyss and these full lips, especially the bottom one. Oh God—I'm staring.
I look away embarrassed again and I see her smirk into the book, before I finally screw my eyes shut, moving my head back up.
"I'm sorry okay. I just got curious and there doesn't seem to be anyone else in this cart and I like to read, but I can't seem to get through an entire book these days," I ramble her practically my life story and she finally folds the corner of the page she's on—(oh my God, why would she do that? Poor book) and closes the hardcover and directs her attention to me.
"I get it—you're using me as a distraction, it's okay," she says with a small smile. "I like being used," she widens her eyes slightly, using her hands for emphasis and I can tell she's being sarcastic with me.
I nod slowly, turning back to the opposite window. I can feel her eyes on me still and I try not letting it get to me, until I finally sigh. I can't stand when people just stare at me obviously—it makes me uncomfortable.
"The Hunger Games, really?" I groan and she begins to laugh heartily at my words, leaning further into her seat.
"Now you're insulting my choice of leisure reading," she comments and I shake my head, not intending to do that, but I just want to know what all the fuss about it is.
"I really want to see the movie and I've been told to read the book first," she shrugs, fiddling with the cover and I nod in understanding—I've been told that myself, but I clearly don't have the time.
"Yeah so I've heard," I say and she smiles down at the book as I cross my arms over each other.
"You know, you could read now. You have the time," she suggests, looking back up at me and I look around curiously. Why the hell didn't I think of that? I groan slightly at my stupidity. She laughs at my reaction and her nose scrunches up when she does so. Her belly moves along with her and I find it absolutely adorable. I mean sure I don't know her name and I don't plan on marrying the girl; hell I don't even know if anything will happen past this meeting, but I can't deny her being absolutely attractive.
The cart comes to a halt and I stand up from my seat as she does. I look at her confused and she smiles slightly.
"This is your stop?" I ask her curiously and she nods nonchalantly.
"Yeah, going to the movies," she says with a breathy undertone, placing the book under her arm as we walk out of the doors. I blink a few times at the irony of our previous conversation. I nod in understanding as she walks along side of me.
"What are you going to see?" I ask curiously, trying to strike up more of a conversation. I've never really met someone on a subway and she seems really nice, so I really wanted to keep this interaction going as long as possible.
"The Hunger Games," she replies, making me stop abruptly and quirk my eyebrow. She stops slightly in front of me, turning around with a smirk, while I chuckle at her, before walking slowly back up to her.
"I thought you wanted to read the book first," I state and we begin walking again and she shrugs somewhat.
"Yeah well at the rate I go, I'll have to wait until it hits DVD or worse—movie channels," she gasps in horror and I giggle at her reaction and lick my lips, before sucking my bottom lip in my mouth. I nod, humoring her though because I know a thing or two about that.
I stop at the front of my apartment's entrance and she stops with me. "Well this is me," I shrug and she looks up at the building, squinting her eyes as the sun begins to set behind the horizon or in this case, the building—so it's pretty much at its brightest.
"Wow, I walked you home and I didn't even know it," she gives me a tight lipped expression and I smile small, giving her a slight shrug. "I think you tricked me," she adds, pointing her finger at me and I laugh, gasping at the accusation.
"Now I would never," I chuckle and she smiles warmly, nodding with narrowed eyes.
"Yeah well I got my eye on you," she jests and I smile, nodding, pretending to brush it off as I turn to go into the revolving doors as she makes her way down the sidewalk.
Halfway in I hear a voice behind me. I turn around and she's back with her eyes low again. I smile at the way they do that. I don't even know why, but she already has me smitten.
"Come to the movies with me," she states instead of asks and I cross my arms over my chest, narrowing my eyes in confusion.
"I just met you on the subway, who's to say you're even really going to the movies? What if you're planning to kill me?" I ask amused and she smiles, laughing gently, swaying at my accusation. I crack a smile in return, letting her know I'm kidding.
"Well I know where you live now, so if that was my plan, I'll have other opportunities I'm sure," she replies and I turn my head away, taking my lip in between my teeth. I don't even know her name and she's asking me to go to the movies—is this even a date or what?
I nod much to my hesitancy and walk back down the steps. She holds her hand out for me and I look at it confused.
"Santana," she introduces with a large smile and I return it with a small laugh.
"Quinn," I reply, taking her hand and shaking it. The softness of her skin is unbelievable as she wraps her fingers around my palm.
"Well it's nice to meet you,"
So this is part of my free day submission, but overall it's a new story. I'll be valuing my writing time to this particular story. My other stories are on hiatus for now strictly because I need to be focused on this one. So I hope you all enjoyed the first chapter. It may be a little confusing at times to read this, but rest assure, everything will be answered in time. So please let me know what you think and I'll have another chapter out for you soon.