It was a clear, sunny, spring day in Salt Lake City, Utah. It had been a very cold winter and today was the first day in a very long time that the weather had been warm and sunny. Jess looked longingly out the second floor window of her downtown office building. She wished she could spend the day outside. Instead, she was stuck at work for another four hours.
Jess, a twenty-two year old girl with copper red hair that hung in straight layers to her shoulder blades, wished that time would speed up. It had been a long, hard week at work and there was no sign that her work load would be decreasing anytime soon. Jess worked as an administrative assistant and was responsible for a wide variety of tasks. Lately, her inbox was overflowing with a wide variety of projects that needed to be done. All of them required a large amount of time and all of them needed to be completed as quickly as possible.
Time continued to drag on as Jess worked feverishly, attempting to get her work load to a more manageable level. Finally, she glanced at the clock and smiled wearily. It was time to head home. Jess quickly shoved her cell phone into her pocket, shut down her computer, and grabbed her big, black backpack as she headed outside into the sunlight. As Jess walked to her bus stop, she called her best friend, Wil, to see how his day at school had gone.
“Hey Wil,” Jess said into her phone as Wil’s familiar voice answered her call. “How was school? Learn anything interesting?”
“Not really,” Wil replied. “It was just another boring day. Sid and I are just about to head out to get some food. We’re having trouble deciding what we want to eat, though.”
Jess grinned. After five years of being friends with Wil, she was used to his unexplainable inability to decide where to eat. Most of the time, she, Wil and their friends would sit for a half an hour, or sometimes longer, just trying to decide where to get food. After offering several suggestions on where they could eat, Jess said goodbye and hung up the phone.
Jess enjoyed the remainder of the walk to where she would get on the bus that would take her home. It really was a fabulous day. It was finally warm enough that she could have removed the dark green winter coat she wore, but she didn’t want to carry it. Once on the bus, she waved at her dad, who also rode that bus home from work.
The bus ride went smoothly and uneventfully. Once at home, Jess let her dog, a border collie named Rain, outside and fed her. Once Rain was taken care of and chewing happily on what was left of the huge bone Jess had gotten her earlier in the week, Jess changed out of her work clothes, and into a pair of striped pajama pants and a black tank top. Once she was more comfortably dressed, she scrounged in the fridge for dinner. She settled on bean and cheese burritos. As her oven preheated, she went into her office to check her e-mail.
She scanned through the e-mails quickly. Most of them were junk that she deleted without opening. Then she saw something that made her excited, and slightly nervous. There was an e-mail from her older brother, John, who was currently serving as a Marine in the Iraq war.
Jess was the youngest of five children. Her oldest sibling was her sister Jane. Jane was in her early thirties and was divorced with three children, Abby, Tim, and Denise. Jane and Jess had never been close, due partly to the 8 year age gap between them and also their very different personalities. They did, however, get along and enjoyed each other’s company now that they were older.
Jared, the second oldest, had always been quiet and shy. In his teenage years, he mostly stayed in his room playing video games when he wasn’t at school or work. He had loosened up and relaxed considerably after getting married to Joann. Jo was a burst of fun and energy. When she was around, she would have everyone laughing and joking within a few minutes. It took a while for Jess’ family to adjust to this since most of them were more on the shy and serious side. Jess loved it since she had always been the one in her family who was more relaxed and less serious. It was nice that the rest of her family could loosen up, if only a little, now.
Next in line was Adam, with his wife Rebecca and their two children, two-year-old Michael, and two month old Lisa. Jess had always considered Adam to be the nerdiest of her three brothers even though all three were incredibly nerdy in their own way. She supposed that she felt this way because Adam looked the part of the typical nerd. He wore glasses and was usually seen in slacks and a collared shirt with pens in the pocket.
After Adam, came John, Jess’ closest sibling in age and looks. All of the other siblings where only a year or two apart, but John was three years older than Jess. John was married to Stacy. They didn’t have any children yet, but that wasn’t really a bad thing since John was away in Iraq while Stacy waited patiently at home for his return. Stacy was similar to Jared’s wife. They were both happy and energetic. Stacy would have the family in fits of laughter when she would tell a story about what happened at work or something her mom did since she was so animated while telling a story and would usually over exaggerate everything. It was always fun when Jo and Stacy were around.
Jess quickly read the e-mail from John. Nothing was wrong. He was just giving an update on how he and his Marine buddies passed the time between missions. Jess logged out of her e-mail and went to the kitchen to make and eat her dinner. Rain lingered nearby as Jess ate. Once Jess was done with her dinner and had everything cleaned up, she went into the living room to see if anything good was on TV.
She turned on the TV and plopped into her favorite, oversized chair with a sigh. It was nice to be able to relax. She should probably take Rain for a walk since it was such a nice day, but she couldn’t find the energy to get out of the chair, now that she was sitting. Looking around, she realized that the remote was not on the arm of the chair as it normally was. She groaned as she saw it across the room, sitting on a bookshelf. Slightly amused at how lazy she was suddenly feeling, so tried to talk herself out of getting up to grab the remote.
As she stared at the TV with some annoying reality show, wishing she could change the channel without getting up, something strange happened. There was a flicker of movement off to her left by one of the bookshelves. Jess ignored the movement, thinking that there was a fly or that Rain had tossed one of her toys in that direction, and tried to pay attention to the crazy people causing drama. It happened again, and this time Jess could not ignore it. The remote was now half way between the bookshelf and the chair she was sitting in.