She woke with a jolt. A quick glance at the glowing numbers and she let out a string of curse words before scrambling out of bed.
Her uniform smelled of old grease, but she didn’t have time to wash last night after shift. It was that or sleep and she hadn’t been getting much of that lately.
Barely time to splash her face, she poured some cold coffee out of the pot into her travel mug. Maybe she’d grab some food if things were slow at the diner. Her stomach grumbled, but she ignored it.
She grabbed up her shoulder bag and went in search for her shoes. This shit hole of an apartment was a mess, but she barely had time to clean or make enough money to find something better.
A knock at the door stopped her mid-search and in her haste to make for the door, two things occurred.
She stubbed her toe on a loose floor board that needed fixed and she realized that today was also rent day.
“Fuck,” she hissed as she tried to recover from the throbbing pain that shot up her leg.
She groaned low and debated what to do. There was no dodging this visit by pretending to not be in.
The knock came again, rattling the flimsy door and spiking her heart rate.
“Rent’s due.” The knob turned and she was thankful she’d put stronger locks on the shitty door. “I know you’re in there.”
His voice was low and husky, and her stomach clenched. It was easier to just get it over with instead of stalling. She crossed quickly to the door.
She pulled the door open mid sentence, cringing when he graced her with a smarmy smile. The landlord was a big man whose weight was slowly shifting from the muscle of a body builder to the fat of a middle aged man. His thinning hairline and browning teeth moved him from attractive to lecherous and downright gross.
He leaned against the door frame, his bulk taking up enough space to make her feel crowded even with her back to the open room.
She took a step back to find some breathing room and distance. She spied her shoes and grabbed them without turning her back on him.
“I’ll have to pay you when I’m off shift later. I need to be off to work.”
His eyes took a slow trek down her body. She was extremely aware of the tightness of her blouse across her chest and where her skirt fell on her thighs. When he slowly licked his lips as he met her gaze, she crossed her arms over her chest.
“Unfortunately, I can’t wait. It was do first of the week as you know, and I need that money now.”
He shrugged as though he truly was sorry and she tamped down her frustration.
“Look, I just need until the end of the day and–”
“And I need my money.” He moved inside, shutting the door behind him.
She felt trapped, a fine tremor starting as she took another step back.
“Please.” Her back hit the wall and she dropped her shoes.
He held his hands up. “No need to be so nervous. I’m only asking for a little pre-payment and I’d be willing to wait.”
Even as he tried to reassure her, his eyes glinted with undisguised lust and continued to approach with easy steps.
She lifted her chin in defiance. “What if I don’t want to give you anything?”
His attitude changed at her words, his bulk solidifying into something bigger and terrifying. He stepped within inches of her, crowding her against the wall and making her feel small. Leaning in, he blew hot breath over her cheek even as she turned her face away.
“I’d hate to see such a hard working woman, such as yourself.” He placed an arm on either side of her head. “Out on the street.”
She gulped, feeling cornered. “Will you… I want my rent reduced and my floor fixed.”
He simply smiled down at her and she felt the tremor begin in earnest.
When he placed a firm hand on her shoulder guiding her to her knees, she went without a fight. His other hand went to the zipper of his jeans. Watching him free himself, listening to the clock tick and the leaky facet drip, she swallowed around a suddenly dry throat.
“Let’s see how good a tenant you can be first.”