There's simply no way I can think of formulating this in a nice way :(. I got a character in my short story that's carrying a heavy cube. I want to say that the cube is leaning on her breast. You know, when you have something heavy to carry, you lean it towards your breast (the center of gravity moves and carrying it becomes easier). But for the life of me I can't find any good way to formulate this in a nice, literary way. Here's what I got so far:

In her left hand, she’s carrying the reason of her enthusiasm this afternoon: a dark gray cube which looks like it’s made from polished granite. It certainly is heavy so she’s balancing the object on her forearm letting it lean, protectively, against her breast.

I used Google to check if such expressions are common. They're not. I get 3 to 9 results. The 9 results are for "lean on her breast". "against her breast" has 7 results.

"protectively against her breast" is a common expression apparently, but not with the "lean" word. Perhaps I should use another word? If so, what do you think would indicate best what I'm trying to say?

Given the answers & comments below, this is my latest formulation:

It certainly is heavy so she’s holding the object on her forearm, cradling it protectively against her body.

  • 1
    clutched to her body or clutched to her chest could work, if you want to avoid using the word breast – cmcf Feb 24 '15 at 19:51
  • Actually that sounds better, thank you :). You read my mind: I would prefer to use breast in a more affectionate context. This is, after all, an object (at least at this point in the story). – Axonn Feb 24 '15 at 20:10
  • “It certainly is heavy, so …” is kind of an odd way to start the sentence. What is that certainly doing there? Is the intention something like “It looks heavy, judging by the way she carries it on her arm, clutching/cradling it against her body/chest for support”? – Janus Bahs Jacquet Feb 25 '15 at 0:00

Cradled against her breast. In this context, to cradle would mean to hold something that is precious in a protected manner.

  • Right! Cradled sounds much better, thanks! How does it look now? :). I edited. – Axonn Feb 24 '15 at 19:45

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