When she woke the next morning, Cassie was not in her bed. Groaning inwardly, Lillian went into their bathroom to shower. With the water temperature just right, she could've stayed in there all day. It was while she stood with the warm water rinsing pleasantly over her body that she remembered her dream from the night before. Lillian dreamt she'd been sleeping in her bed when the man from her drawing came into the room. He didn't come through the door or window but merely faded into being. He didn't speak, at least not aloud in the room. His hands sort of gestured, beautiful movements made through the air, and somehow she understood. It was as if his voice were in her head to match the gestures of his hands. He knew her name. He said his name was Noah. He said she would soon be needed in his country. Then he faded away again. As she thought about it now in the shower, it all seemed rather silly and childish. But it all seemed so real. He was as lifelike as his sketch had seemed, even more so, but now he could move. Lillian opened her eyes to glance around the shower curtain at the clock by the sink. She still had an hour before she had to be at work, but her fingers were starting to get prune-y from staying in the shower too long. With a sigh, she shut off the comfortable water and toweled off. When she went back into her room, Cassie was just returning. She gave Lillian a look which said that nothing should be asked yet. Lillian shrugged with a shake of her head and continued to get dressed. Cassie, meanwhile, got into her own bed and promptly fell asleep. Lillian made sure she had all her things when she went downstairs for breakfast so she wouldn't have to disturb Cassie by coming back up. Breakfasts consisted of a bagel with cream cheese and half a grapefruit. The house was nice and quiet on Sunday mornings. None of them were particularly religious so no one was rushing off to church. Lillian was generally the only one who had to work on Sunday mornings so she tended not to see her roommates awake until the afternoon, if they'd not gone out to work themselves. After breakfast, Lillian made sure to pack her lunch and a snack. On her way out the door, she made sure to toss the newspaper inside.
The weather was in the process of cooling now that it was November. The days were still occasionally sunny, but there was a definite chill in the air. It was also becoming windier. The skies were generally overcast as if threatening to rain at any moment. Still, the wind was probably the worst part. It cut through whatever layers of clothing you tried to keep on for warmth and chilled you. For Lillian, this time of year meant less time biking to work and more time driving. Having a biting wind stinging you in the face while on a bike was something she couldn't stand for very long. She got into her car now because the weather forecast had mentioned a high possibility of rain. Her general commute by bike was 15-20 minutes depending on her speed. Her car simply took 8 minutes. The Borders was just on the other side of a large park down the street from their house, the other direction from their college. She had transferred to this store after starting at the one close to the Johanssons house. The work was decent enough. They had, on occasion, a crazy customer or two but the store was otherwise peaceful. It was in a suburban neighborhood so the store mostly catered to the locals and their whims. The last big event had been the release of the seventh Harry Potter book. Lillian had dressed as a Hogwarts student and all the staff were given wands to carry around. There were a lot of excited children, and even adults, in the store that evening. At midnight when the first copy was handed out there was almost a massive flurry for the people in line. Of course, this party had been exclusive to the people who had pre-ordered their copy. Several people, after receiving their book, took up residence in various parts of the store to read. All the stores that had the midnight release parties were supposed to stay open as long as each of their managers dictated, which could mean all night if someone had their heart set on letting as many people as possible finish the book. While Lillian thought it was great that one series of books had inspired so many people to start reading, she herself had not finished more than the first three books. It wasn't that she didn't like them, they were perfectly decent pieces of literature, but she doesn't didn't feel much motivation to keep reading. Unfortunately for Lillian, her manager was an avid Potter fan and was quite determined to let people stay as long as they needed to finish the book. When everyone had their copy of the book, the manager called a staff meeting near the registers to hand out the schedule for the rest of the night. She had planned for this all-nighter by putting two cots in the back room so that two staff members at a time could be napping while the others worked. Looking at her schedule, Lillian found she didn't get a nap until 4am. Her manager also planned for such an event as a prolonged wait for a nap by stocking their fridge in the break room with several different kinds of energy drink. She also promised that the coffee maker would be on and brewing all night. Lillian, who was not a big fan of coffee, was pleasantly surprised that her manager had this so well organized. Her time before her scheduled nap almost seemed to fly by and she quickly found herself snuggled under a nice comforter for her two hour nap. When she got up again at 6 feeling mostly refreshed, her manager suggested she go around and wake anybody who'd fallen asleep while reading. Only a few people had finished the book and only one of them was a child. Other children with bedtimes that had been ignored for this special occasion were carried off by their parents as soon as they fell asleep. Lillian worked straight from 6-9am at which point the store opened for its normal hours.
Now Lillian returned to her store, glad that no more late night parties were planned for book releases. She parked her car along the side of the building and went to ring the doorbell at the employee entrance. Almost a minute later, Frank came to let her in. "Morning Lily" he said, holding the door for her. "Morning Frank" Lillian entered the building and punched in at the time clock. "Anything special I should know about today?" Frank closed the door firmly. "Jill said something about reorganizing the language section to make room for a sale shelf there." Jill was their current manager, a stand in for Heather who was on maternity leave. "Why would we have a sale shelf in the language section? There's barely anything in that section as it is." Frank followed her down the hallway to the break room. "You know how she is, still trying to establish some authority in hopes that we'll make her job easier for her by doing everything she commands." Lillian put her jacket and purse in her locker and her lunch in the fridge. "How much longer until Heather comes back?" she was rooting around the fridge, trying to determine what was or wasn't hers. "She'll be back when she gets back. For now, I'm in charge," replied Jill who had entered the room silently and now stood with her arms crossed. Lillian quickly recovered from her surprise and decided to be an innocent brown-noser. "Of course you're in charge, who would be able to question that?" Frank, who was standing behind Jill, rolled his eyes. "I know you've already clocked in so don't stand around dawdling, get to work." She left the room in a huff. After they were sure she'd gone far enough away from the room, Frank said quietly, "I'm so glad she's only temporary. Imagine what it would be like with her as your manager all the time." Lillian took a thoughtful pose, "I think it would be very like working for Glenn Close in the Devil Wears Prada, except the Harry Potter books are already out." They shared a laugh as they went back to work.
The day was slow for Lillian. She spent the first half at the information desk and, with it being Sunday, more people were coming in for their newspapers than with urgent book requests. After her lunch break, Jill sent her into the language section to make room for a sale shelf. In the process of moving one of the displays she noticed a book for American Sign Language. It reminded her of Noah's gesturing to her which she didn't understand. What were the chances that it was… She reached for the dictionary but stopped herself after realizing how foolish it would be to try and communicate with a dream. Dreams were one-time things for her, except for that recurring nightmare. She was lucky enough to have something even remotely pleasant interrupt the nightmares and this one just happened to be slightly more memorable than others. Still, she was curious about the gestures. She made a mental note to browse through a sign dictionary at some point. Jill eventually came over to check on her progress and, for once, had nothing bad to say about her section organization. She did, of course, want her to work faster so that one of the people on register could take their lunch break. Lillian assured her she would be done in 15 minutes or less and got back to work. For the rest of her work day, Lillian was either working on one of the registers or assisting someone at the information desk. Around 2pm, Jill asked if she could stay a few extra hours to cover for someone who'd called in sick. Since she had nothing better to do on a Sunday afternoon, Lillian agreed to stay and Jill immediately sent her on break. Lillian stopped by the language section to grab a sign language dictionary before heading to the break room. She reclined on the couch and opened the book. The introduction explained a bit about the language and how it was used and then described the format of the book. It seemed that each chapter was grouped by types of speech, such as verbs or nouns or adjectives. It was suggested that, before you started on the words themselves, you should learn the basic alphabet. It would give you an idea of some of the handshapes that the signs used. Lillian turned to the two-page layout of the alphabet. For the next half hour she diligently went over each letter of the alphabet and then practiced spelling the word lists on the following page. By the time her break was over she had most of the letters except for the few that were extremely similar or just odd such as T, M, N, and X. For the rest of her day she went around slowly spelling the names of books or authors if she had the chance. It was kind of fun, like her own secret amusement. Nobody she knew was studying sign language, though there was probably a program or some classes at her college. It was never something she'd looked into or even thought about before. Toward the end of her day, Jill had mellowed out a bit and wasn't quite as bossy. She was an okay person besides her pointless ideas for the store. When Jill finally told her she could go home, it was around 6pm. Everyone else who'd begun the morning shift with her had long gone home. Lillian was about ready for dinner or a nap, or both. It being November, it was completely dark outside as she went out to her car. She vaguely remembered seeing a few customers with umbrellas in the store which explained why her car was wet. Somehow she'd never looked out the window all day. She started her car and left for home.