The Chattel Girl

BY : tooshoes
Category: DC Verse Television > SuperGirl
Dragon prints: 1804
Disclaimer: I do not own Supergirl, nor the characters or any story elements from TV show. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

Chapter image:  https://www.mediafire.com/view/2a7y7saw3fh69jr/BratNiedzwiedz_SG05.jpg/file


Today starts like any other workday, except that I wake up from the ringing of a neighbors’ alarm clock, rather than from my own. That’s a new one.

The changes are coming faster now, but I think I can handle it.

When I was younger, the changes were hitting me all at once, and it was overwhelming. But now, I feel the changes one at a time, and it’s easier to adjust. I don’t need to use my super-vision if I don’t want to, and I don’t need to pay attention to sounds that are too quiet for most anyone else to hear. I can tune them out.  Sometimes I am surprised by my strength, but that only means that I need to be more careful than before.

I’m trying to be optimistic. The Danvers had always told me that I needed the pills, and that if I stopped taking them, it would be disastrous, but they were never clear what actually would happen. Maybe I would lose my mind or get a mysterious disease. Maybe my degenerate genes would make me into a horrible person.

I had watched my cousin’s adventures on TV just like everyone else, wondering what it would be like to have his powers. Most people would love to have those powers, but not me. The possibilities had frightened me ever since I was a child. But now those powers are blossoming within me and they feel nothing like I had imagined.

Maybe the biggest surprise is how sensitive I feel to everything. Kal-El gives everyone the impression that nothing hurts him, but that’s not my experience with having powers. Instead, all of my senses feel raw. I’m handling it better than when I first experienced it as a child, but it can feel almost overwhelming even now. The sounds of cars on the street are as loud to me now as a train engine once seemed, passing me at the station. A cloudy day seems as bright as a sunny day in the desert. When I’m hungry, I feel like I’m starving. If I scratch my arm with my fingernail, it feels like I’ve cut it with a knife, though the skin remains completely undamaged. I understand why Kal-El wouldn’t want people to know about this aspect of his powers -- because enemies could use it against him.

But being sensitive is not all bad, because good feelings are enhanced, too. When I made cinnamon toast this morning, it tasted like tiramisu! A warm shower feels like heaven. Even when something hurts, there is the flip side, where it feels good, like after stretching my muscles or even scratching an itch. All of those feelings are enhanced together, pain and pleasure.

And most recently, I'm starting to change on the outside. My breasts grew from an A to a B cup in a week, and my nipples puffed out. My pussy swelled a bit, too. My feelings are very unsettling.

But whenever I walk outside in the sun, I feel great!

This morning, the sun floats above National City in a clear, blue sky, and blasts through my apartment window, making me excited to start the workday by walking to the office. One of the best feelings I’ve had since refusing my medication happens when the yellow sunshine meets my bare skin. It feels so hot, yet it wraps around me like a hug, energizing me like caffeine. Best of all, if I stayed out in the blazing sun all day, my skin would never burn.

In the past, I would cover up for my walk to work with a knee-length skirt and stockings underneath, but now I want to feel as much sun as possible. This morning I go braless in a thin, cotton blouse that shows a ton of cleavage. I decide to test CatCo’s dress policy further by wearing a very short miniskirt to soak up more sun and show off my legs. When I look in the mirror, I like what I see. It feels dangerous, but I can do even better. I replace my usual flats with 5-inch heels. These torture devices were almost unwearable months ago, but they feel comfortable now, even for a long walk, and they really show off my legs in this miniskirt!

To think, just a month ago I was embarrassed if someone noticed my legs or my boobs. I used to feel invisible, but lately, I’ve been getting compliments, even from Cat, and I feel much better about my body now. I just need to be careful; Alex tells me that the line between fashionable and slutty is narrow, and I know I'm pushing way beyond what Alex would approve of. When I cross that line at work, I’m sure everyone will let me know.

I spend too much time in front of the mirror this morning, trying to see the changes in my body that I can’t feel. I’m amazed when I see how smooth the skin under my eyes has become. Have I somehow grown younger since scrapping the pills?

When I finally look at the clock, it’s panic time, so I collect my things and nearly swallow four breakfast bars, then I’m off to work.

As always, my job starts the moment I leave my apartment. I have too much work each day to fit into office hours.  The first thing I need to do is buy Cat’s almond-milk latte at the café, along with regular coffees for the team. Next, while juggling all of that, I call an agent to get tickets for Cat’s mother to a show she has already seen twice. The tickets only went on sale this morning, so I need to hurry to get the best seats. I wish my newfound powers would make my job easier, but it barely makes a difference, and even if I perform my job a little faster, Cat just adds more errands to my list. I’m not complaining, mind you. It’s just ironic that the faster I do my job, the more Cat expects from me.

Come to think of it, that’s probably normal with every job.

An agent on the phone puts me on hold, and I stop at a crosswalk, where a traffic light commands me to not walk. So I wait there in limbo for a whole minute, frustrated that I’m getting nothing done while this light refuses to change, and the ticket agent keeps me on hold. I struggle holding my phone to my ear while balancing a tray of coffee with my other hand, and keeping my purse from falling off my shoulder down to my elbow. I’m so distracted that I don’t notice that a man has walked up behind me at the crosswalk.

He gets my attention, though, when I feel his hand brush against my ass!

All of the confidence I’ve been feeling all week abandons me in an instant, and I’m that chattel girl, again. I hold my breath and remain perfectly still, like a mouse playing dead when a cat strikes.

The groper takes my lack of response as permission to invade my body further, sliding his fingers under my mini and probing my panties. I gasp and nearly drop the coffees. I feel helpless to do anything, though later today, I will think of a dozen ways I might have resisted.

But I didn't even consider discouraging him.

“You are very beautiful, Ma’am,” he says with a low, southern accent, as his hand slides up, over my ass to my waist. I finally look at him. He looks handsome, fierce and strong. I’m not sure whether I’m feeling flattered, offended or intimidated. “Please let me take you out tonight,” he says confidently, “and we will get to know each other better.”

I can barely even breathe. I’m confused on a number of levels, but the only thing that comes to my mind is that I already have a date tonight. “I’m sorry,” I say sincerely, “but I can’t.”

“Not to worry. We’ll meet again,” he says mysteriously, looking more gratified than disappointed. His hand goes back under my skirt to steal one last touch, knowing I won’t resist.

And then he walks away.

I feel paralyzed. The “walk” signal has come and gone, but I’m still waiting at the corner, trying to process everything that just happened. What he did was outrageous, yet I’m not angry. I’m closer to laughing or running away in shame.

He was unbelievably rude, yet he was so polite with his request, and he took no for an answer like a gentleman. I’m afraid that if I didn’t already have a date, I would have granted his request. My pussy reacted the instant he touched me, and now my panties are warm and wet. I had never been turned on so easily and quickly before.

What is wrong with me? I wonder, but I’m afraid to find out.

The next time the traffic light tells me to walk, three more men have walked up behind me. Did they see what happened? Will they try the same thing? I can't look at them. I don't want to know. I let them go first before finally crossing the street behind them.

I feel like my mind has reset. I had at least three more items on my to-do list for this walk to work, but when I arrive at the elevator at CatCo, I can’t remember any of it.

I pull myself together during that short trip to the 47th floor. I barely remember to put on my glasses before the door opens.

As usual, my best friend at CatCo meets me as I leave the elevator and enter the main office space, and he immediately makes me forget about the sexual assault that has hijacked my sense of identity for the last ten minutes.

Winn Schott has always been delightfully kooky, and I love the way he bounces from confidence to self-doubt and is always promoting fun conspiracy theories. Lately, he has been trying to convince me that aliens are everywhere, which is hilarious for obvious reasons, but I have to pretend that he’s crazy.

He thrusts his iPad in my face before I can even get to my desk, whispering very loudly, “Did you see this? There was an armored car robbery last night.”

“Any witnesses?” I challenge playfully, knowing that is where the story would fall apart.

“Uh, well, the drivers were in the bank, but there was this homeless guy who swears the perp had horns, like on his head!” he says too loudly.

“Homeless guy?” I ask then laugh while handing out coffees. I’m terrible at lying, so I can’t look at Winn. I keep my eyes pointed at my desk. Someday, I’m sure I’ll be part of his conspiracy theories.

“I’m telling you, Kara, they are out there,” he persists, “Aliens!”

“Winn, there is no such thing as aliens!” I say unconvincingly. I'm beyond a bad liar. Everyone knows that some aliens exist, but even I don’t believe aliens are everywhere, as he seems to be saying.

Winn is not easily discouraged, and he pushes on, defending his belief by pointing to a news source he himself contributes to. Sometimes I think he argues just to make me laugh.

He follows me to our desks, which are side-by-side, and as I’m placing the coffee tray on my desk, I notice an action figure standing in front of my monitor. Winn has a dozen such dolls posed around his workstation, so I think this doll is merely misplaced until I look more closely. “Oh, my!” I say, recognizing that the action figure is – me!

I hold the doll in my hands and look it over. The doll is wearing almost the same clothes I’m wearing now, except the miniskirt is even shorter, and the clothes are tighter and more revealing. Winn's dolls are disturbingly detailed. I should say something to him. Every action figure on Winn’s desk wears a skimpy, outrageous costume. His creations are not respectful, so why do I love them? Winn likes to give me gifts that make me blush. They are always personal and inappropriate and something I didn't know I wanted.

“This is amazing!” I say. “It looks just like me. How did you give it my face?”

Winn shrugs as though it was nothing. “I see your face every day, so I sculpted it using my 3-D printer. That part was easy, but it took a few times to get the paint just right. That I had to do by hand.”

“Thank you! I love it!” I say sincerely while holding the doll over my heart, and then I give it back to him. “But you should keep it. I would feel embarrassed having a doll of myself on my desk!”

"Take it home with you," he suggests.

I take a deep breath. The last time I took one of his gifts home, Alex found it and it got me in trouble, but I nod. "Okay."

He looks sad when I hide his doll in my desk drawer, so I follow that with a quick kiss on the cheek, and I make a request: “Oh, I know, you should make a Cat Grant doll! Right? She would make a great action figure!”

He looks down. I don’t know if he even heard me, because something else is on his mind. He collects himself, and his confidence seems shot when he asks meekly, “Hey, I, um, was wondering if maybe you wanna, I don’t know, go see a movie tonight.”

“Really?” I respond, swallowing, expecting him to suddenly confess that he is joking.  Winn has been hovering around me since I started working at CatCo, and I had waited for months for him to ask me out. He never did. “You want to go out … with me?”

He nods hopefully.

Why did he wait so long to ask?

I cross my arms and take a deep breath. Yesterday I would have jumped at the offer. But this invitation is coming on the heels of a stranger hitting on me in the street, and I feel uncomfortable, so I give him the same answer I gave the stranger: “Oh … I can’t. I’m sorry, I have a date.”

“Really? A date?” he repeats the words, disappointed, and he probably does not believe that I have a date on a Thursday night. “That’s great. Dating is fun,” he mutters dejectedly then challenges, “Who is that with?”

“Oh, it’s a computer date. The app says we’re 82% compatible … so .. should be good,” I say as though I have any idea what the statistic means.

“You know you can’t quantify chemistry based on algorithms,” he argues, making fun of my dating strategy.

“Winn, isn’t your whole life based on algorithms?” I tease him back.

“Yes, so if there was an algorithm for love, I think I’d know about that, right?” he insists, then he makes a great pitch: “People can’t be figured out by adding up their likes, subtracting their dislikes, and dividing by their genetics. You can’t peg people that way, Kara. Love comes out of nowhere. You’re gonna know it when it hits you. It will be like ‘Ka-pow!’ and before you know it, you’re falling.”

I smile like he said something funny, but it is not funny at all. What he said haunts me.

I hadn’t thought twice about asking a computer for love advice. I just told the robot what I like and dislike, and poof -- here's my match! My whole life had been pre-determined by machines, both on Krypton and Earth, so leaving my love-life in the hands of a machine seemed like the natural thing to do. I've always wanted to be in love and for someone to love me, but I'm skeptical that either is possible for someone like me. Surrendering to machines and destiny has brought me nothing but pain, yet that is how I was raised, so I keep going back to it.

Come to think of it, this computer date a really stupid idea. I only agreed to it because I didn't know of another way.

I look up, and my eyes lock with Winn’s eyes. I don’t know what to do, and I hope Winn sees that.  I hope he talks me out of my date. Please ask me out again, I wish, and don’t take no for an answer!

But neither of us are good at taking the initiative. Winn can’t hear the uncertainty in my voice or see the conflict in my eyes. He doesn’t know what it takes to win me.

“I expect to hear all about your date tomorrow,” Winn says teasingly, “so I can say I told you so.”

“My date wants to meet in a bar,” I tell him, and then I laugh because I know how Winn feels about men in bars.

“Oh, really?” Winn responds with a weak smile, unsure if I’m playing with him. “Remember, never take your eyes off your drink.”

“I won’t. I promise.” I say a little too seriously. I don’t know whether to feel good that he worries about me or bad because he doesn’t try to stop me. What do I expect from him, anyway?

Then the answer hits me, and it’s depressing. I want Winn to save me from myself.

“Hey,” Winn asks gently. “Are you okay?”

Oh god, do I look as pathetic as I feel? Are these tears in my eyes?

Then I have this insane urge to tell him everything, but what I have to say is too big, so I tell him a small part of it. “I’m sorry, Winn. I’m OK. I’m getting off a medication that makes me feel like I'm nothing, and I … I just feel kind of off,” I say with a weak smile as if it’s funny.

Winn doesn’t know how to respond to that, so we look at each other awkwardly for a moment. A very long moment.

Then the moment is interrupted when I hear a subtle whining sound and a familiar voice. My head pops up like a dog hearing a dog whistle. “She’s here,” I announce.

Winn looks up, knowing what I mean, and two seconds after I said it, the elevator light blinks and the door opens.

“How do you do that?” he asks, amazed every time.

Everyone stands at attention when Cat enters the main office space. Today she wears a white blouse with a deep neckline, showing off her cleavage, with a silver chain and cross nestled in the valley of flesh. Below, she wears a pencil black skirt and tan leather sandals. She is the most powerful woman in the city, and she dresses with a confidence equal to that power. She's not ashamed to enhance that power with her sexuality. She inspires me.

“Good morning, Miss Grant,” a few of us greet in unison.

Cat struts between us as though we hadn’t said anything. She has something new to complain about, but it all sounds the same:

“The only reason I bought this building was because of the private elevator.  That way, I don’t have to get soaked in cheap cologne every morning getting to my office. Find out who used it, have them reprimanded, or bathed, I don’t care which.”

I grab Cat’s coffee, newspaper and some notes from my desk, and I chase Cat into her office. The coffee has cooled since I arrived, so I give it a quick blast with my vision.  “Here’s your latte, Miss Grant. Careful, it’s hot.”

“That will be new and different,” Cat bitches, taking the beverage without acknowledging me.

I pause for a moment, not sure if she wants her privacy or her assistant, but then she starts talking again, so I follow.

“I have a meeting with the board today at lunch, so cancel sushi with my mother, but give her those tickets, anyway. Oh, and cancel my therapist. I won’t need therapy if I don’t have to see my mother. Got it?”

I write it down on my pad and nod.

Cat takes a sip of the latte and immediately frowns. Then she says, “And I’ve emailed you a list. Prepare termination letters for the Tribune employees, as noted.  Use the lesser card stock, but don’t use the form letter. It’s better to do this more personally, handwritten. Normally, I’d go through the managers, but many of them are on the list, too, so that’s out.”

“You’re downsizing the Tribune?” I ask, staring down at Cat’s dress. I can’t quite look in her eyes. Cat’s firing process is brutal. I had been prepared every day to get one of those termination letters myself, but I never thought I’d be the person to hand them out. I’ve gotten to know the Tribune employees quite well. How can firing them possibly fall on me! I want to talk Cat out of this mistake.  “But that is where you started. You told me how proud you were of them. And now it’s over?”

“Go see if the new art director has those layouts ready,” Cat says, not meeting my eyes. But after an awkward silence, she looks up coldly and says, “It’s not that I don’t see your frown, it’s just that I don’t care enough to ask why it’s there.”

“So … they’re all going to lose their jobs?” I ask, then I cover my face with my hand.

“Oh, not the waterworks again!” Cat scolds. “I thought we cured you of that.”

I can’t help it.

My tears hit Cat like a low blow, so she responds. “Newspapers around the country are cutting back, except at the Daily Planet, of course, but Metropolis has a most sensational man who provides them with exclusive content every day of the week with either his heroism or his ego. If you really want to save the Tribune, Kara, crying won’t help. Go to work and find me a hero… But get me my layouts, first.”

I nod and hurry away before she decides to fire me, too.

Winn is waiting for me right outside the door, but I say, “I can’t talk right now,” nearly choking out the words. I hurry past him. I can’t have him to see me like this.

I walk into the ladies room to check my makeup and collect myself. Then I remember that I’m not wearing makeup, except lip gloss. That makes me feel a little better. But how am I going to go back out there? After a few minutes of meditation at the sink, I calm down and develop a plan. I refuse to work on the letters until the end of the day. Or maybe tomorrow morning. Cat won’t expect the letters until then, and maybe she’ll even change her mind. Actually, it’s more of a hope than a plan, but it’s all I got, and it’s enough for now.

Maybe I can convince her. The Tribune is as much of an inspiration to National City as the Daily Planet is to Metropolis. The mission of the Daily Planet is "Truth, Justice and the American Way." Instead, the Tribune chose the mission of  "Courage, Freedom and Compassion." To some people, those are just words, but they speak to the different character of each city. I think those words are important. Maybe I can remind Cat what they mean.

I dry my eyes and orient myself. Chattel girl strikes again. Sometimes my emotions just take over. It's really scary!

But at least my tears weren’t wasted. Cat has to know she’s making a mistake, now. It’s just dangerous to be the person pointing that out to her.

I decide to get back to work, so I look at my notes to remember what is next: The media layouts.  That’s what Cat wants first, so if I get them quickly, I can probably avoid Cat for the rest of the day. I slip out of the restroom and hurry along the back of the building to the art studio and sneak inside.

Then I realize I hadn’t been in this room in a long time, and it looks nothing like I remember.

I’m startled by the array of photography equipment on the tables, ranging from antique to state-of-the-art. Photograph enlargements are hanging on the walls and stacked on the floors without a plan, and half-finished layout templates hang under work lights, pinned to corkboard.

I hear someone in the back, rummaging quietly like a thief.

“Hello?” I call out.

“Just a minute,” a man replies.

“Okay,” I say nervously, but I’m worried that Cat will terminate me personally if I don’t complete this one chore promptly.

Twenty seconds later, I see the tall, dark man emerge from the shadows. He smiles while he checks me out, and he’s not at all shy about where he is looking. Then he speaks, and his words flow seductively out of his sexy lips, “Hey, there … I’m the new guy.”

My knees quiver.  He is very handsome and disarmingly confident. It feels like he’s looking right into my soul, and I have to look away.

Then I see a framed photo of my cousin laying carelessly on a box. “Oh … this is …”, I begin then trail off as recognition kicks in. It’s that famous first photo of Superman from when he introduced himself to the world twenty years ago. I had almost forgotten that Superman didn’t reveal his true identity to the world until he was an adult, like me.

“That piece won me a Pulitzer because it was the first photo of him and it looks like I caught him in flight, but the truth is he posed for that one,” he brags. “He's a bit of a showman, if you hadn't noticed.”

I turn to face him, stunned.  I put the photo aside. “Oh my god, you are Jimmy Olsen!”

“James,” he corrects as he steps closer. “I was a kid when I took that photo. Everyone called me Jimmy back then, but now I go by James.”

“Oh, I’m sorry,” I say stupidly. I take a step back, feeling a little intimidated because James towers over me, as everyone seems to. James is much more handsome than I expected. I hear that he is Superman's friend. I don't hold that against him. Not much, anyway.

“And you are?” He asks, stepping forward as I retreat.  I've already forgotten the question. My eyes gravitate to his crotch; even without using X-ray vision, I can see that he is bulging in a big way through his trousers. Then his hand reaches forward, almost touching my boobs, startling me back to attention.

“Huh?” I ask, confused, as I shake his hand weakly.

Then his hand drops back down to his side, and I’m looking at his crotch again, except this time I’m seeing through the thin wall of cotton at his enormous cock pressing upward against his belt buckle. I can’t stop looking.

He smiles at me charmingly and prompts, “I never got your name.”

“Oh,” I respond dumbly, trying to collect myself, but I know my face is probably red, now. I’m disgusted with myself for looking at his cock for so long, and for using my super-vision for something so dirty. I even feel ashamed for dressing this way, because I made him hard under those slacks. While my imagination runs wild, he seems so calm, and then his question finally registers in my mind. “Uh … Kara! I’m Kara. Kara Danvers,” I introduce myself in the most awkward way possible, and I turn towards the door, too embarrassed to even live anymore.

“Aren’t you forgetting something?” he asks.

I look back at him, confused.

“The layouts?” he prompts while pointing at a few laminated pages displayed under a lamp.

“Oh!” I say. I giggle like an idiot when I walk in front of him and take the layouts. When I turn back around, hurrying to leave, he’s standing in front of the door! I’m not laughing anymore. I feel trapped. He touches my shoulder, and I can’t move. His hand looks so large. His cock is still erect, and he’s much taller than me even in these 5-inch heels. The smell of his cologne suffocates me in this tight space. “Uh … please,” I say like I’m begging, except it’s not clear what I’m begging for.

Now both of his hands grip my shoulders. I don't think he will let me go. I'm paralyzed, unsure what to do. But then he looks up and sees a security camera staring back at him. Finally, he steps aside.

I sigh.

Then we act like nothing just happened. I smile and wave goodbye. He does the same.

The door closes behind me.

Was this what Winn was talking about -- Ka-pow, and I’m falling? Well, I’m not sure I like it.

Only then does it occur to me that I could have simply pushed him out of the way, and he had no chance of stopping me, but I could never do that. I can’t do confrontations. I’m still a chattel girl, after all, born and raised, and I can’t help it. I’m just a mouse, and the cats can do whatever they want with me.

I’ve always been this way, but now even more so. Now, my body is betraying me, too.

I hurry back into the ladies room to discover that I’m sopping wet and sticky between my legs. It’s too gross to even think about. I can’t believe how shamefully I acted with James. I want to blame him.  Did Superman put him up to this? He checked me out first, and he actually had a hard-on!

But was I any better? I was practically drooling over him. This isn’t like me.

Or maybe this is totally like me, and I never knew it because of the Kryptophen.

I have to get a handle on this! I can't let this get any worse!

I clean myself up as best I can, considering I didn’t pack an extra set of panties this morning.

Then I decide it’s back to work. The best way through this is to bury myself in my job.

I head back to Cat’s office with the layouts she requested in my hand. I sigh in relief because Cat isn’t there, so I figure I can leave the folder on her desk and then get back to mine without even being noticed.

But Cat was following behind me into the office, and I jump when she says, “I’ll take that.”

I collect myself and hand her James’s work.

She looks it over and nods her approval, but she doesn’t have a compliment for me. Instead, she says, “That was quite a long trip back and forth to the art room, so let me guess: you’ve got all of those termination letters ready for my signature?”

I swallow and struggle for an answer, but I finally come out with, “I thought  … I mean, you said if I found you a hero …”

Cat snickers. “I know you didn’t go to college, Kara, but I thought even a high school graduate could recognize sarcasm. I don’t pay you for strategy, and I don’t pay you to speak your mind. I pay you to know what I want and make it happen. And what I want right now are those letters.”

I stare at Cat, but I’m too upset now for tears. The ever-rising pile of humiliation, frustration and disappointment is too big. I want to be angry because then I could unload these feelings, but instead it’s crushing me.

I absolutely must get out of here.

“Yes, Miss Grant,” I finally say and nearly storm out the door.

I can barely keep my balance when I arrive at my desk, and I can’t sit down.

Winn is sitting at his desk, minding his own business, but he takes one look at me and stands up. “Hey, Kara, are you okay?” he asks, and when I don’t immediately respond, he offers advice without knowing the facts: “You’re sweating… Maybe you should go back on that medication.”

“You weren’t listening!” I say a little too loudly, and tears build up behind my eyes, preparing to erupt.

Then Winn gently grabs my arm and says, “Sorry, shh, this isn’t the right place. Let’s go up on the roof and you can let loose.”

I nod, and he leads me to the stairwell. The roof is only two flights above us, and it’s never locked, so we are there in under a minute.

When I step out under the sunlight and the howling wind, a burst of energy tingles through my body.

“OK, now you can tell Cat what you think of her at the top of your lungs,” Winn says, half-serious, half-joking.

I close my eyes and face the sun and scream as loud as I can, and then I fall on my knees, as my anguish slowly evaporates.

“Wow, Kara … that was … something …” he says with an amazed look on his face.

I understand immediately, and I’m surprised Winn isn’t more shocked than he appears. The wind and open space must have muted my scream to a degree, but I have no doubt I screamed much louder than anyone he’d ever heard before.

But I’m not going to explain myself.

“Winn … can you cover for me in there?” I ask, not even sure what that would entail, but I know it’s a big favor to ask for.

“I, uh, yeah sure. No problem at all," he says with undue confidence. “Are you going somewhere?”

I nod. “I’m going home. I can’t talk to her again today. I just can’t. She wants me to tell a bunch of people in writing that they are fired, and I just … I just …”

Winn suddenly hugs me and says, “You don’t need to explain. I’ll take care of it.”

I melt in his arms, feeling like I belong here. I hate myself. I don't deserve him. “She’s not going to make it easy for you,” I warn.

Winn smiles at me. “Don’t worry; I’ll keep her guessing, saying you are here or you are there, and if that doesn’t work, I’ll pull a rabbit out of a hat. By tomorrow, maybe I’ll be worthy of having my own action figure.”

I laugh and kiss him on the cheek and say,  “You already are, and if you give me a Winn action figure, I’ll keep it on my desk every day.”

And then I make my escape home while my best friend rescues me from the daily game of Cat and mouse.

The long walk in the sunlight fills me with energy but doesn’t brighten my spirits. Instead, it feeds my anxiety. When I’m finally home in my apartment, I don’t feel secure. I feel like I’ve brought all of my demons home with me.

I don't do well when I make mistakes. They remind me of who I am.

I feel selfish for involving Winn with my cowardly escape and lies. He doesn’t deserve that. 

I feel pathetic for crying in front of Cat.

And maybe most disturbing of all, I feel ashamed for how I reacted to James in the media room and to that stranger on the street. I don’t know what came over me. I’m being overwhelmed by feelings I’ve never had before. It's thrilling and it's frightening. Is this what it feels like to be a chattel girl? Or are these feelings just withdrawal symptoms?

The symptoms began months ago, when I first cut back on Kryptophen, but they were nowhere near as strong back then. Lately, after eliminating the medicine completely, the symptoms are much stronger.

I feel like I’m losing my will, even my identity. My heart beats faster. My muscles feel limp, and all of that new energy radiates instead from my skin and centers on my pussy.

I text Alex, saying that I need to see her, but I’m afraid that soon I’ll be lying to her, again.  I never lied to her while taking the kryptophen, but now I feel that I can’t tell her the truth. Maybe I can’t even handle the truth, myself. I would rather she send me back to the phantom zone than tell me again how reckless, immoral, and disrespectful I am.

Disgracefully, I chow down a box of pop-tarts while I wait for Alex to arrive.

She shows up at my door sooner than I expect, but I open the door before she’s even finished knocking.

Alex looks frazzled, but she talks fast: “This had better be important. I have a conference in Geneva, and I need to be on a plane in two hours.”

“Oh,” I say, feeling guilty and selfish. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have bothered you with something stupid like this.”

Alex sighs and enters my apartment. “What is it, Kara?”

I bite my nails and say, “Well, I have a blind date in an hour, and I don’t know what to do or what to wear.”

“Why do I put up with you?” Alex asks in frustration.

“I don’t know,” I reply honestly, looking at the floor. “Because you are my sister?”

“You’re useless,” she says, then she starts looking at my clothes, which I had laid out on my sofa. “Your clothes are everywhere. You’re more scatterbrained than usual. What’s going on.”

“I had a bad day at work,” I say, afraid to go into details, but I need to confide in someone, and Alex is the only person I’m allowed to confide in.

“Alright,” she says impatiently. “What happened?”

I tell her about how Cat dressed me down and demanded that I be the bad guy in the firing of several people.

“What’s wrong with that?” Alex responds. “You need to toughen up if you expect to make it in a competitive job like that.”

I sit down. “I know, but I thought things could be different. I thought that working for someone powerful like Cat Grant, who runs this huge media company, would make me better and more useful.”

“Kara, you are really silly, sometimes!” Alex says, laughing gently. “Imagine if your mom on Krypton heard you talking like that.”

I shudder. “I know. But … I’m like an American now, so it shouldn’t matter if I’m a chattel girl … right?”

Alex points at me sternly with her index finger and says, “The suggestion that everybody is created equal doesn’t apply to you, Kara, and you know it! On Earth, we have no way to tell how a person will turn out, but Krypton had it all figured out. You can’t change your cursed genes. They couldn’t even do that on Krypton. Face it, Kara, I know you want to be a good person, but you are damaged goods.”

“No!” I nearly shout, but I’m already crying. “Maybe none of that matters here. I don’t want to be a chattel girl, anymore!”

“Kara,” Alex begins knowingly, “Have you stopped taking your medicine?”

I can’t meet her eyes, and I can’t lie to her, either, so I exaggerate, “I … Well, I didn’t take it for a few days, but I feel good.”

“No, you don’t,” Alex insists, “or you wouldn’t have called me over here. Hey. I understand that you want to believe things are different, but being an American doesn’t change who you are. That medicine is as much for your benefit as it is for ours. So do me a favor: get your pills and take one right now. Just one; I don’t want you overdosing. You just need to get it back in your system and keep taking it, and I promise, you’ll start to feel better again soon.”

“Okay.” I walk into my bathroom and slide the mirror open, revealing the medicine cabinet, which contains one bottle. Most of the pills are cut in half. I don’t want Alex to see the depth of my disobedience, so I only bring one pill back to the living room with a glass of water, and I take it in front of Alex.

“Good girl,” she says kindly and gives me a quick kiss on the cheek, which makes me feel much better than anything else she’s has done so far.

I lean into her and smile weakly. She wipes away my tears.

“So … tell me about this date of yours. What is he like?” Alex asks as she finally begins shuffling through my clothes.

“Oh, I don’t know,” I say while flopping onto an easy chair. “It’s just some phone app. It was like a robot, and it asked me some questions, and then it paired me with someone.”

“What kind of questions?” Alex challenges.

“Oh, the usual stuff, you know, things I like and dislike,” I begin, then I hesitate before deciding to tell her the rest. “And it asked me if wanted to try new stuff, something different and exciting.”

Alex raises an eyebrow, and I look away, embarrassed.

“Kara!” Alex gasps. “What were you thinking? You know how a guy is going to read that, don’t you? Did you send him any pictures?”

I laugh. “Of course, I had to send pictures!”

Alex then stares and waits.

“Nothing crazy,” I insist. “I mean, I was dressed like I am now. They were just selfies in the mirror. Then he sent me a few boring pics of himself in a suit.”

“Okay,” Alex says, relieved. “But even this is too revealing for a first date. We’ll find you something more appropriate.”

I nod, surprised that she isn’t more upset.

Alex lifts a black maxi dress from the sofa and holds it in front of her and looks in the mirror. I smile. Alex wore that dress last year, and I mentioned how sexy she looked in it. It was loose-fitting, like a robe, but the plunging neckline and leg slit were eye-catching. She was flattered by my compliment and gifted the dress to me, but it was much more her style than mine.

“For what it’s worth,” she begins cautiously, “I think this blind date is a good idea. I was afraid you’d do something stupid, like hook up with someone from the office.”

“Oh,” I mutter, then look away.

“Kara?” Alex says, seeing my shame, and her eyes bore into me. “Don’t tell me you’ve already done that.”

I shake my head quickly. “No, but Winn asked me out tonight, and, well, I already had this date, so I said no.”

Alex laughs. “That’s the pervert who gave you those dirty Japanese comic books for your birthday, right?”

I nod uncomfortably. “I know, but he’s nice. He tells me I’m pretty. He’s amazing with crafts and stuff. He gave me a doll today with my face on it.”

“A doll, huh?" Alex says knowingly, shaking her head in disbelief. "That sounds like harassment to me. Don’t you see? You are just a doll yourself to guys like that!”

“No, he’s always good to me, and he didn’t even mind when I told him that I have a date tonight,” I insist.

Alex sneers. “He should mind if he is really into you. He can’t be good for you if he’s willing to share you like he shares his dolls.”

I feel frustrated for Winn’s sake, so I snap, “But why would he want me for himself? I’m lucky that anyone likes me at all.”

Alex’s expression turns soft. “I’m just looking out for you, Kara.  Office romances are dangerous even if you find a good guy. This blind date is a better idea. Just be careful. Go see a movie or have dinner.”

I nod. I don't tell her where we will meet. I'm just happy that the argument is ending.

Alex holds up two outfits that look more appropriate for a job interview than for a date. “But I really have to hurry, now, so pick one already.”

I sigh, not liking either option, but I know the blue outfit fits me nicely, so I pick that one.

“Good, when in doubt, go with blue. That’s your color,” Alex says, placing the shirt and slacks in my hands. She hugs me and then turns quickly towards the door. “Alright, text me every detail of your date, and I will call when I’m back from Geneva. Have a good time, but don’t forget who you are. Make me proud.”

Then she closes the door behind her, leaving me alone and looking at the boring clothes she picked out for me. Her parting words linger in my mind like a bad aftertaste: “Make me proud.”

My stomach twists inside me, and suddenly I run to the bathroom, but I don’t make it in time. My puke lands on the floor, two feet in front of the toilet.

Bits of half-digested blueberry pop-tarts spread out in a concentric pattern, and in the middle of it all is the partially dissolved Kryptophen pill.

I kneel over the puke, waiting for a second round, but nothing more comes.

I wonder if it is even possible for Alex to be proud of me, or anyone else for that matter. 

I know I'll never feel proud of myself. 

 

 



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