i'm anything but ordinary.
It’s a tolerably-fine mist when the clouds obscure the sky, but in a few short minutes, when things go dark and she’s pelted in the face with cold water, she’s sent pinwheeling for the nearest bodega.

[“Shit, shit, shit,” is a reactive trinity frequently hissed under the breath of women brought up similarly, and she’s no exception.]

Rain is normal for New York City, especially this time of year, and despite that knowledge, no one seems to be prepared for it on this particularly mild May day. There are men in suits darting around with newspapers above their heads, and there’s a cat inside Cara’s temporary refuge that winds around her ankles while she wanders the aisles; inconspicuously biding her time while the thunder starts to roll in the distance.

There’s markedly less profanity when she finds a glass-bottle of Coca-Cola and a Snickers bar, but her small treasures can’t change the pressure system threading its way through Brooklyn. This is when she resigns herself to waiting it out, and the man perusing the Post behind the counter gives her a knowing nod before returning to his reading. He’s been through this before, seen women like her hundreds, if not thousands of times before that.. And fortunately, he agrees to sanction her temporary loitering.

Cara’s hair sticks to her neck uncomfortably as she walks, but she actually processes it when she hears a droid trill a bright series of beeps and boops, signaling a battery of text messages from her new boss’ new assistant.

[Glad to hear you’ve arrived. Thank-you for coming so last minute; Mr. Ward would like to meet with you for lunch, if you can make it. He’ll send a car.]

R2-D2 is effectively scoring the negotiation of a last-minute lecture, which she knows, all-too-well, serves as both a professional opportunity and a litmus test to investigate her behavior under pressure. Stressed, prepared, relaxed; never, sometimes, always; they’re all pinging around in her brain while her brow tics upward, and she thumbs back her assent.


Neck-deep in overanalysis, the next crash of thunder makes her nearly jump out of her skin. The rain sounds like it’s howling against the storefront, and no one seems to care but her; the cat might, she thinks, but the nonplussed feline has settled atop the pile of newspapers next to the brightly-lit lottery ticket display. The jackpot, she idly muses, is probably what Tony Stark makes per minute.

The furrow in her brow releases, and her smile flashes, fleeting and delicate, before her attention diverts again with the next thunder clap. The man behind the counter politely returns her fond look; his eyes are warm and kind when he asks if she’d like to take her chances on big money. Cara is equally polite when she declines, actively returning her attention to the assistant’s chirping messages, expertly dodging the subject. Her mental zig-zagging, she jokes ironically, draws the cat out from their slumber.

[It’s definitely projection.]

By the time she’s finished the Coca-Cola and the Snickers bar, the rain has settled into a steady clatter; it’s a slight improvement from the wild sheets that’d ushered her into the bodega earlier, but it shows no signs of stopping. She’s got to get back to her hotel and get a car for lunch, all in the span of an hour, and -- like the old man behind the counter seems to know -- she’s going to have to tough it out. He looks over his dark glasses and runs a hand over his balding head, smoothing down the fine, white hair he does have.

“You’ll be fine. Here.”

She catches a newspaper to hold over her head, an ordinary shield just like everyone else out in the god-awful storm. She’ll be fine, and she trusts his age-crackled assessment of her mettle. Cara Davies is a human like anyone else. Ordinary. The thought is reassuring as she strides toward the exit, tilting her head and asking for the store-owner’s name before departing. He declines, equally as polite as she’d been prior.

So distracted by the thought and her understanding wave goodbye, she can’t tell that the man in a dark suit and sunglasses that’d been milling around the shop’d been there for five minutes. Oblivious, Cara continues, hearing a call for a woman most-definitely-not-her fade into the white noise of New York.

“Miss? Miss! A word?”