Respect by @janebennett65 (498 words)

She bowed her head as she stood trembling in front of the sink. The smell of detergent was sickening. She was overwhelmed by nausea and had a sudden urge to vomit into the recently cleaned basin. Her face was hidden under a silken sheet of black, immaculately groomed hair and she had a look of pure terror on her lovely face. Her fingers painfully gripped the edge of the sink in an effort to keep herself upright.

This was just crap. Why was she doing this to herself? She did not need this, or deserve it. This was not what she had planned for herself 20 years ago. She should just leave, quietly and with dignity. They would find a replacement. Plenty of others would be lining up to do her job and would probably do it better. She lifted her head and grimaced at herself in the mirror. This was totally the wrong attitude. She excelled at what she did. She had just lost her confidence and those bastards out there were totally taking the piss. So she had messed up, and made a few mistakes. She was only human but knew this job inside out and backwards. Yes she was getting older, but that did not make her worthless or redundant. She had to let them know she was indispensable and therefore should be treated with the respect she deserved.

God knows this was not an easy job. She knew that when she took it on. If the dreams she had had when younger had come true, then she would be living a life of luxury, with a wonderful and supportive husband and 2.4 beautiful and adoring children. Yeah right.

That bitch didn't help matters. Fresh out of college and thought she knew it all. Only yesterday she had told her that she wasn't doing her job properly. How dare she? Fucking cheek. And that ridiculous man; acting like he was the boss? Total arsehole.

She shook herself mentally and physically and stood up straight. Reaching for the lipstick that she had placed at the side of the sink, she reapplied it and pinched her lips together. She smiled weakly at her reflection and felt another wave of panic surfacing. Just Breathe.

She would not let them get to her and certainly not allow them the pleasure of seeing her vulnerable like this. She would go out fighting. Allowing the anger to simmer and slowly replace the panic and fear, she told herself that she could do this.

With one last look in the mirror, she turned around and opened the door with a perfectly manicured hand. Walking out into the hallway she brushed imaginary creases from her skirt and then nervously smoothed down her blouse.

With her heart hammering in her chest and sweating palms, she forced a smile. Then holding her head up high and willing confidence, she turned purposefully towards the kitchen and prepared to go in and make her children and husband their breakfast.

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