Think you've had a bad day? Spend the morning with Kasey.
A thunderous boom yanked Kasey from the nightmare; the vampire’s fangs had been sinking into her soft, creamy throat, and she could still feel the heat of his breath. Disoriented, Kasey bolted upright and sucked in a deep breath. She reached up a trembling hand to brush back long damp strands of blond hair. Her faded-blue nightgown clung to her body.
Another crack of lightning lit up the bedroom. No vampires lurked behind the oak dresser pressed up against the wall to her right. On the opposite wall, the only thing that prowled under the mounted flat screen TV was a pile of shoes. Next to it, the closet door gaped open revealing only a mound of dirty clothes and a row of neatly hung dresses along with Jack’s uniforms.
“Kasey?” A satiny black comforter filled with downy muffled Jack’s voice. “What time is it?”
Kasey shot a glance at the nightstand and gasped. The alarm clock blinked, mocking her with its large flashing red numbers.
“Ah, nuts! The electricity’s been out.” Kasey dove for her blackberry. “Oh, no, Jack! I’m gonna be late for work. It’s already seven.”
“Go take your shower,” Jack mumbled popping his head up. His chaotic blond curls and glassy blue eyes testified to his own restless night. For just a moment, Kasey felt her eyes straying to his neck – just in case. “Go, honey,” he repeated. “I’ll make the coffee.”
“Thanks! You’re a doll” Kasey jumped up on the bed and bounced over Jack and across the King size mattress. She was already stripping off her nightgown as she sprung off the bed and sprinted for the shower. Her feet registered the shock of moving from the white berber carpet to the cold marble tile of the bathroom.
The row of lights above the room-length vanity and double sinks blinded her. Squinting, she could almost make out the marble counters and silver fixtures adorning them. Stepping into the shower stall, she reached down and turned on the water. Icy needles blasted her skin.
“Jack!” Kasey squeeled, jumping back. “The hot water heater is on the fritz again. I thought you fixed it.”
“Sorry,” Jack said strolling into the bathroom. “Ummm, How about I go make that coffee now?”
“Wonderful,” she muttered, “Well, at least it’s gotta be a quick one anyway.”
Jack stood by the front door as Kasey came flying into the living room. In one hand he held a silver coffee mug; in the other hand he held her leather briefcase.
“Here you go. Only 20 minutes behind schedule.” Jack handed her the mug and briefcase, leaned over to kiss her cheek, and opened the door for her.
“Oh, thanks, Jack. Gotta run.” Kasey brushed past Jack and stepped out onto the porch of their small ranch-style home. The rain seemed to have eased for the moment. Kasey had always been proud of the curb appeal of their home. Burgundy shutters set off cream-colored siding, and daffodils lined the sidewalk all the way to the drive. There sat her blue Honda Civic, dwarfed by Jack’s white Toyota Tundra with its extended cab. One look and Kasey’s heart plummeted.
“Jack!” Kasey whirled back to the house. He still stood at the door with a bemused expression on his face. “Jack, I’m taking the truck; the Honda’s got a flat.”
“What?” Jack lost the smile and started down the sidewalk in his boxers.
“Jack, don’t you think you should get dressed before you change the tire?”
“Oh,” Jack said, looking down to inspect his white Hanes 57’s. “Why? I wouldn’t have to worry about getting anything dirty.”
“Ohhh!” Kasey yanked open the door to the truck. At 5’3” and in a black A-line skirt, climbing up into the monster was no easy feat. She threw the briefcase up ahead of her and hiked her skirt up above her thighs. She ignored the whistle from the porch and used the pull handle to step up onto the runner.
In no time at all, the V-8 engine had roared to life and Kasey was pulling out of the cul-de-sac. A right turn onto Nation Avenue had her speeding down the street toward the freeway. Six blocks from her home, Kasey took a sip of coffee and looked up just in time to slam her brakes. The coffee sloshed up over the rim, splashing her white blouse as the Tundra skidded to a halt inches from the front driver’s side of a police cruiser.
The light was red and so was the cop’s face. Kasey’s heart pounded; she eased the truck into reverse and backed up, giving him plenty of room to exit his vehicle. She had a feeling he wanted to talk to her. He did, and out of the goodness of his heart, he only gave her a ten minute lecture and a ticket for running a red light. The way she figured it - she got off easy.
Kasey sprinted through the double glass doors of Granger and Sons, a manufacturer of spark plugs, where she had worked as middle management for the past three years. She was 20 minutes late, but hoped her boss would let it slide this one time. As Kasey dodged a puddle, her feet caught her eye. She groaned. One of the flats was a dark blue, the other black.
He was waiting for her by her desk. His gray pin-striped suit draped over his paunch, his comb-over greasier than ever. As he smiled, his pointed eye teeth - longer than most - captured Kasey’s attention. She shivered.
“Good morning, Mr. Granger.” Kasey started, setting down her briefcase. “I’m so sorry I’m late, but you wouldn’t believe the morning I’ve had. The electricity…”
Mr. Granger held up his hand, interrupting her. “It’s okay, Ms. Leighman. Would you mind stepping into my office? There’s something I need to discuss with you.” He gestured for her to follow him into his corner office where an entire glass wall overlooked the parking lot. Kasey had always found his office to be a bit pretentious. A plush beige carpet lined the room setting off a massive cherry desk that dominated the room. Diplomas and awards decorated the dark paneled walls. Mr. Granger slid into his high-backed leather chair and offered Kasey a seat in one of the Victorian-style wing chairs.
“Ms. Leighman, this is not easy for me.”
Kasey raised an eyebrow. Her stomach clenched.
“But I’m afraid we are going to have to let you go.”
“Wait, if this is because I was late…”
“No, no! You’ve been an exemplary employee, and I’ll give you a glowing recommendation, but we are downsizing. The economy and all…” Mr. Granger trailed off as if that was all that needed to be said.
“You can finish out the day if you want or you can take the rest of the day off with pay, of course. Your choice.” He flashed his eye teeth at her again.
“I think,” Kasey said, feeling the tears well up in her eyes. “I’ll go home and try the other side of the bed.”
Word Count = 1,192