A loud noise echoed through the air. Sarah closed her eyes out of fear. She thought perhaps it was another firework going off, but when she opened her eyes she realized she was no longer holding Jeff's hand. She was back in the real, waking world again. She sighed, and then jumped out of bed when she heard the noise again, panicked. Then she felt incredibly silly when she got a look out her window and realized it was a thunderstorm.
Sarah back down at the edge of her bed and watched the rain fall outside. It was just before dawn, and the sky was still dark, except when the lightening struck, making the world outside look like daylight, if only for a few seconds. The rain made a soothing pitter patter sound on the roof, and Sarah laid back down and fell back asleep to the noise.
Before she knew it, it was morning time and she had to get up to go to work again. Sarah was less nervous today, although she still had some lingering doubts about how well she'd be able to do today, especially since Debbie said she'd be ringing on her own today. Debbie or another manager would probably still be close by, but the prospect of doing everything on her own scared Sarah.
That day at work was more fun than Sarah expected. It wasn't very busy because of the thunder storm that was still lingering on outside, so Sarah actually had time to relax. She went to lunch at around 2pm, and to her surprise another employee was already in the break room.
"Hey, you're new aren't you? Why don't you join me." the girl at one of the tables said. She was shorter, like Sarah, but was extremely skinny, almost like a twig. Sarah wanted to say no, wanted to run away from this social situation, but she sat down at the table with the girl. "I'm Emily."
"Hi Emily, I'm Sarah." Sarah said shyly, unpacking her lunch from her bag so as to avoid eye contact. She had packed a relatively normal lunch for herself, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and an apple. She looked over at Emily's lunch. She had a full spread of a sandwich, grapes, crackers, and some cookies. It was a lot of food for such a little girl.
"So how long have you been here for? You liking it so far?" Emily asked, too engrossed with eating her lunch to really pay much attention to Sarah. This made Sarah feel better, she really didn't like other people watching her eat.
"This is my second day. All I've been doing is the register so far, but I like it alright."
"Oh that's good. I heard from the manager of my department that you'll probably be moved to sportsware with us." Emily smiled. "Our manager is really a cool chick. Her name is Sam. Well she's nice as long as you don't get on your bad side. She lets you have a couple extra breaks to smoke if you need them, not that I smoke anymore." Sarah let Emily ramble on an on, enjoying listening and not having to say much. "Oh man one time Sam spazzed on us all though for not cleaning out the fitting rooms. 'You girls have to clean the fitting rooms! RAWR!'" Emily went into a hilariously high pitched voice for her imitation of Sam. "But yeah mostly she's cool people. Do you have a boyfriend?" Emily asked out of nowhere.
Sarah was too shocked to answer at first, but timidly said, "Well no."
"Oh do you have some hot dude you're going after then?"
"Well not exactly." Sarah thought briefly of holding Jeff's hand, but then brought herself back to reality. Dreams aren't real, she reminded herself.
"Oh well it's good to be single every once in while. My boyfriend can be a pain sometimes but he is mostly cool. Like this one time he forgot to do the dishes and I found him playing video games without a care in the world. I was going to yell at him but then he gave me these puppy dog eyes and I can't yell at him when he does that. He's just so forgetful sometimes but he always makes up for it. Last year he forgot it was Valentines Day, and I was so mad at him, but then at 11:59pm he shows up at my door with some roses that he got from who knows where and he gave them to me saying 'It's not too late for Valentines Day right'. So of course I had to forgive him, I mean that's just too cute right?"
Sarah laughed, feeling a bit jealous of Emily's relationship, but also amused at how many words she could say so quickly. "Well I gotta get back to work." Emily collecting all her garbage from the table. "We should hang out sometime though, it was fun talking to you." Talking at me, Sarah thought. When Emily stood up Sarah noticed the bulge on Emily's stomach. She must've noticed Sarah looking because she said, "Oh yes I'm gonna be having a baby soon. I can't wait." She smiled. "Well talk to you later bye Sarah!"
"Bye Emily," Sarah said trying to process all the information that had been thrown at her at once. She realized that Emily had asked her to hang out with her. That had never happened before in her life. She hadn't even really opened up to anyone yet, and she was already starting to make friends. It was hard for her to talk to people, but maybe she could. Maybe she should try to set up some time to get to know her coworkers better.
Sarah worked the rest of the day with a little more happiness than normal. She clocked out and went to get her things from her locker in the break room. She was alone down, she had hoped she could see Emily or Jenn again, but that didn't look like it was going to happen. Sarah left for the day, but on her way out she swore she saw him again. That boy that looked so much like her Jeff. Yet when she looked back in the direction of the store she thought she saw him, there was no one there. Sarah hoped she wasn't starting to hallucinate or anything like that.
Sarah drove home, her mind abuzz with the possibilities of having some real friends for the first time in her life, she almost forgot all about seeing the boy who looked like Jeff. When she got home there was no one there, and Sarah wasn't hungry enough for dinner yet, so she got on her computer.
She logged onto her Dreamtube account, and she saw that she had a message. She had never gotten a message before, although she had gotten quite a few comments on her videos. She looked at the message, it was from someone called TimeInABottle. The message simply said: "your dreams are amazing. i hope i can get a dreamsight too so that i can share my dreams as well. your latest dream interested me the most. i sent you a friend request on here, i hope we can be friends and when i get a dreamsight, youll watch my dreams as well."
Sarah giggled to herself over his typing style, and sent him a message back. It was much easier to be social over the internet, where she could make sure what she said was perfect before she sent it, and she didn't have to make eye contact with anyone. Sarah's message said, "It would be lovely to be friends with you. I'm glad you are enjoying my videos!" It was a short message, but she didn't think much had to be said.
She accepted his friend request, and went to look at his profile page. He had no videos uploaded, but he had favorited all of Sarah's videos. Sarah felt kinda proud about that, like she was doing something good, even if the only thing she was doing was dreaming. She saw that he was 18, just like her. He had no profile picture up, and Sarah briefly wondered what he looked like. She logged off her computer, feeling slightly more hungry now.
Now, for the first time since she had woken up this morning, Sarah found herself lost in her own thoughts about the dream she had the night before. As odd as it was she found herself wondering if Jeff had a crush on her. She wondered what he could've possibly had to tell her that he couldn't say in front of Lisa and Devon. It was probably silly to think of things in this way, but she couldn't help it. Her dreams were so realistic, it was hard to not think of them as real. That Jeff, Lisa, and Devon were real people. For a moment Sarah remembered the stuffed doll that Jeff had given her, and she almost wished it was here with her now. She missed it, even thought it wasn't real. Sarah gave up trying to think about her dreams, and turned the television on.
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