underclass, undertow.

They rode the subway back home together. She figured that that was what was normal, the routine. Telling shitty jokes and having normal conversations about classwork.

Phoebe was waiting for them in the subway car.

Honora stiffened up when she saw her.

" Phoebe, it's been a while, hasn't it?" her voice sounded sort of weird and tremulous.

Phoebe gave Vida and Klaude a dirty look. Why?

" So you've been going home with them instead of coming over? Everyone is really worried about you."

Honora shrugged and laughed awkwardly.

" Yeah, well, you know me and Klaude have always been pretty close, Pheebs. They're sort of going through some shi- stuff right now. I gotta be around for both of them."

Phoebe looked pretty crestfallen to hear that.

Vida spoke up.

" Well, at least you caught us today, Phoebe. You can hang out with us, if you-"

She looked almost mad.

" I don't."

That seemed to upset Honora, too.

" Don't be like that, Pheebs, she's just trying to be nice," she said.

" Hearst is always like that, Honora," Klaude sniped. He took his usual seat on the train.

" Klaude," Vida chastised, turning to him. " That was a little rude..."

" What? I'm just trying to be a good Christian. Snooty bitch vibes and all that," he mumbled defensively. He seemed to have been taken off guard by Vida defending Phoebe.

The train started moving.

Honora looked a little offended by that, but didn't say anything. She didn't sit down, but stood by Phoebe.

" I'll come see you guys on Sunday, if you're still okay with having me around..."

Vida took a seat next to Klaude.

" You know it's not the same. I wanted to see you today."





Honora got off the train with Phoebe.

" Can't fucking stand that bitch," Klaude said, sulky. They still had a few stations to go before Vida's stop.

" I'm sure that she doesn't mean any harm," Vida replied in weak defense.

" Yeah. No. She used to hang out with Vicky all the time, she's obnoxious as hell."

A couple moments of silence passed.

" Vida?"

" Yeah?"

" I lost so much this year. Sometimes I feel like I'm not alive at all."

He turned to look at her.

" I look like a ghost, don't I?"

She swallowed, feeling nervous. Her heart was pounding, too loud- it rang in her ears.

He had been-

A fake Klaude had been-

" Every time I look at you, I'm just grateful that you're alive."

The train stopped.