HOOKED by Brenda Rothert
Of course it’s raining. My L train stop is only a quarter of a mile away and I’m actually having a good hair day. Karma is laughing at me as I pull the hood of my sweatshirt up over my head, because this is one of those downpours that will soak through my clothes in a matter of seconds. And thanks to the biting late October downtown Chicago wind, I’m also freezing.
“Damn it,” I mutter as I duck to keep my face out of the pouring rain. Tony’s already going to be pissed that I look like a drowned rat—I don’t need to add rain-smeared makeup to the visual.
I work in housekeeping at Dupont Tower, and yeah, it’s a swanky hotel, but still. You’d think I was posing for a magazine spread for the place by the way my boss, Tony, expects the staff to look every day.
“Are you a clean-cut, polished ambassador for the Dupont?” he always asks us with his well-groomed brows arched. If we can’t say yes, we’re written up and sent home without pay. It already happened to me once when I spilled coffee on my uniform and didn’t have a spare to change into.
Tony’s a real prick, but even he can’t fault me for getting rained on while walking to my train stop.
On the bright side, I was dragging ass when I woke up at six-thirty this morning to get ready for work, and this icy rainstorm has me feeling wide awake. Hopefully with the help of another strong cup of coffee I can stay this way. I was up studying for an exam until two a.m.
Chemistry is the hardest college class I’ve taken so far. It doesn’t help that I’m twenty-five and haven’t even thought about science since high school.
My exam is this evening, and when I finish it I’m going to cook myself the cheesiest grilled cheese ever and sleep so hard. I’m only taking two classes this semester, but between working forty hours a week at the Dupont and tending bar on Friday nights, it’s all I can do to keep up.
At this rate I’ll have my bachelor’s degree in . . . six more years. Hopefully then I can get a job that pays enough for me to stop scraping by and eating peanut butter sandwiches the last few days of every month.