English Girl in New York

By: Scarlet Wilson

She’d tried hard not to let the horror of the time frame appear on her face as she’d stood up and straightened her skirt. ‘Three weeks will be fine. Perfectly manageable.’ Her voice had wavered and she’d hoped he didn’t notice.

He’d stood up quickly. ‘Perfect, Carrie. I’m sure you’ll do a wonderful job for us.’

The train pulled into another station and Carrie felt the shuffle of bodies around her as the passengers edged even closer together to let the hordes of people on the platform board. It seemed as if the whole of New York City had been sent home early.

A cold hand brushed against hers and a woman gave her a tired smile. ‘They’ve closed Central Park—one of the trees collapsed under the weight of the snow. I’ve never heard of that before.’ She rolled her eyes. ‘I’m just praying the school buses get home. Some of the roads are closed because they don’t have enough snow ploughs and the grit wasn’t due to be delivered for another two weeks.’ Her face was flushed as she continued to talk. ‘I’ve never seen it so bad, have you? I bet we’re all snowed in for the next few days.’

Carrie gave a rueful shrug of her shoulders. ‘I’m not from around here. I’m from London. This is my first time in New York.’

The woman gave a little sigh. ‘Poor you. Well, welcome to the madhouse.’

Carrie watched as the train pulled out of the station. It didn’t seem to pick up speed at all, just crawled along slowly. Was there snow on the tracks, or was it the weight of too many passengers, desperate to get home before the transport system shut down completely? Please, just two more stops. Then she would be home.

Home. Was it home?

The apartment in West Village was gorgeous. Not quite a penthouse, but part of a brownstone and well out of her budget. West Village was perfect. It was like some tucked away part of London, full of gorgeous shops, coffee houses and restaurants. But it still wasn’t home.

Today, in the midst of this snowstorm, she wanted to go home to the smell of soup bubbling on the stove. She wanted to go home to the sound of a bubble bath being run, with candles lit around the edges. She wanted to go home somewhere with the curtains pulled, a fire flickering and a warm glow.

Anything other than her own footsteps echoing across the wooden floor in the empty apartment, and knowing that the next time she’d talk to another human being it would be with the man who ran the coffee stall across the street on the way to work the next morning.

She wrinkled her nose. It might not even come to that. The sky was darkening quickly. Maybe the woman next to her was right. Maybe they would end up snowed in. She might not speak to another human being for days.

She shifted the bag containing the laptop in her hands. She had enough work to last for days. The boss had been clear. Take enough to keep busy—don’t worry about getting into the office. If the snow continued she couldn’t count on seeing any of her workmates.

The people in her apartment block nodded on the way past, but there had never been a conversation. Never a friendly greeting. Maybe they were just used to the apartment being used by business people, staying for a few weeks and then leaving again. It would hardly seem worthwhile to reach out and make friends.

A shiver crept down her spine and her mind started to race.

Did she have emergency supplies? Were there any already in the apartment? How would she feel being snowed in in New York, where it felt as if she didn’t know a single person?

Sure, she had met people at work over the past two months. She’d even been out for a few after-work drinks. But the office she worked in wasn’t a friendly, sociable place. It was a fast-paced, frenetic, meet-the-deadline-before-you-die kind of place. She had colleagues, but she wasn’t too sure she had friends.

The train shuddered to a halt at Fourteenth Street and the door opened. ‘Everybody out!’

Her head jerked up and the carriage collectively groaned.


‘No way!’

‘What’s happening?’

A guard was next to the door. ‘This is the last stop, folks. Snow on the tracks. All trains are stopping. Everybody out.’

Carrie glanced at the sign. Fourteenth Street. One subway stop away from the apartment. She glanced down at her red suede ankle boots. She could kiss these babies goodbye. The ground outside was covered in thick, mucky slush. She didn’t even want to think about what they’d look like by the time she reached the apartment.

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