Sienna was a fiery red headed nineteen year old with a temper to match if wound up the wrong way. She came from a rather large family with many over protective brothers and a younger sister who had every wish to be like her, although Sienna wished she didn’t. Her parents were well respected in the community. Her father being the councillor in charge of funding for the youths of London and surprisingly the kids loved him. Her mother was a housewife with an extraordinary talent for cooking which often meant the house was full.
It was a fairly big house with plenty of guest bedrooms now that most of her brothers had moved out, well apparently they had moved out but now they spent more time at the house than they did when they lived there.
Her eldest brother, Cedric, had moved out before she was a teenager and he had married at twenty to a woman named Cassandra. He now had three children, an eight-year-old boy named Alexander, a five-year-old girl named Gabriella and a toddler named Connor. He would usually arrive early in the morning and leave late at night but his family prevented him from staying overnight.
Cedric himself, Sienna had barely spoken to until he moved out, she supposed it was the age gap; she spoke to him a lot more now. Cedric was mature but always joking around in a way.
Sienna’s second eldest brother, Ivan, was now twenty-eight a year younger than Cedric. He lived with his fiancée of six months and his five-year-old daughter Marianna. He had moved out three years after Cedric so he could move in with his girlfriend and he was only now marrying her. Ivan was just as much a comedian as Cedric; the pair of them were a nightmare when they got together.
Her third eldest brother, Kenneth, was a studious person. At school he achieved the highest grades in his year. He never joined in with the fun but he never ruined it either. He moved out two years after Ivan, and currently going out with a genetic scientist and has been since last Easter.
Her fourth eldest brother, Steven, still lived at home not that it made any difference the house was still always full twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. Steven had recently broken off with his girlfriend and was now going out with a journalist. Steven was and always had been a womaniser much to their mother’s disgust. He was extremely close to his two eldest brothers.
Her fifth, sixth and seventh eldest brothers, Michael, Oliver and William were triplets and completely identical. They were sometimes hard to keep track of, hard to keep separated and hard to keep in control. They could be geniuses if they wanted to be but the problem was they didn’t want to be therefore they never applied themselves to anything.
Her youngest brother, Ryan, was a year older than her and still living at home. The small age gap between them brought the two close whilst they were growing up. Although Ryan sometimes he insisted that a year was equivalent to seven.
Ryan’s best friend (Liam) since he was eleven and Sienna’s hero (explained in story) also came to stay frequently although he had his own house in West London. He came to their house whenever his semi-fame or loneliness got to him. He was orphaned now or at least wished to be. His father ran off when he was one and his mother he lost to a house fire when he was twelve. That was when Sienna’s family took him in and looked after him.
Sienna’s younger and only sister, Molly was fifteen and as stated earlier had every intention of being a clone of Sienna. She wasn’t doing too well; she had a boyfriend for Valentines Day and was counting down the days till she got her present. Sienna had never ever had a boyfriend on Valentines Day actually she hardly ever had boyfriends at all.
The family were extremely close, surprisingly for such a large family and it’s many adopted members like Cassandra and Liam.
Barely dressed, Sienna sat at the kitchen table in the dim gloom that was morning, wallowing in self-pity. Which was perfectly normal for her at this time of year. Valentine’s Day was five days away and everyone in her family had a partner to spend it with except her, as usual. She hated being around her family during times like these, times when she couldn’t join in with the questioning and answering. It was always the same, on the lead up to that awful day her parents would ask the usual routine of questions about plans for Valentine’s day. Last year the routine changed slightly she didn’t gain the pity and sympathy she loathed for not having anything to do on that day nor anyone to be with, no instead her mother skipped her completely as if she wasn’t sitting at the kitchen table at all. At first Sienna thought she was dreaming but no pinch woke her and if she was then she still hadn’t woken. She wished they would just care a little that she yet again was alone but knew that the last four Valentine’s days she just wished they would ignore her and save her the embarrassment of speaking it out in front of the entire family.
Everyone had someone. Cedric his wife, Ivan his fiancé, Kenneth was planning a proposal to his girlfriend, Steven had Mary-Ella, the triplets were planning on going to West London with their girlfriends of three months, Ryan was going out to dinner with a girl he met at college, Molly was going round her boyfriends house and her parents were going round Cedric’s to look after all the kids of the family. Leaving Sienna at home alone. ‘Well at least I’ll be able to get some work done for once’ she thought but then again did she really want to spend a night when everyone else is enjoying themselves writing editorials for a newspaper, that is if they ever thought her worthy of an assignment.
‘Maybe Liam would be staying here over Valentine’s Day, he wouldn’t want to stay in his house on his own, would he?’ she asked herself. She doubted he would have any plans seeing as he hadn’t had a date since May of the year before, not that he didn’t get the offers he just never accepted any of them. He hated being around girls they made him self-conscious. He’d had had one girlfriend that he took to a compulsory dance at Sienna’s father’s work and he didn’t see her again after that.
Sienna sighed, absently lifting a mug that was clutched in her right hand to her mouth before grimacing. It was stone cold therefore a lot more of the morning had passed than she realised. Placing the mug back onto the table she heard the kitchen door open.
A rather tired but somewhat surprised Liam stepped into the kitchen, “Er, Sienna? What are you doing up so early?” he asked as he looked her up and down before glancing at the clock then to the mug of tea held loosely in her hand on the table.
Sienna intended to imitate his eyes but took one glance at how she was dressed and blushed brightly.
Liam sat down at the table and raised an eyebrow at her, “What’s wrong? Sienna?” She gave him an innocent, curious glance to which he replied, “Oh come on, Sienna. It’s 5:30 in the morning and your sitting with a cold cup of tea, meaning you’ve been thinking long and hard about something.” There was a pause before he smiled and added “And you seem to have forgotten that you’re living in a house full of your over protective brothers. They wouldn’t like to see you dressed like that even in your own kitchen, they’ll all be trying to lend you a bigger t-shirt and Ryan would find you a larger replacement so he could have his boxers back. So…what’s the matter?” in a joking manner.
“Same time of year again” she muttered hoping not to be heard. Liam sighed before asking exasperatedly, “What happened to, was it Robert?”
“Robbie, I wouldn’t go out with him through Valentine’s Day” she said incredulously “He didn’t mean a thing to me.”
“Is there anyone you would go out with through Valentine’s Day? I get the feeling that you take this a little too seriously.”
“Me? What about you?”
Liam shifted uncomfortably, “What about me? I just don’t do girlfriends at all.”
“That’s what I don’t understand. Why not? I have an excuse, what’s yours?”
Liam raised his eyebrows sceptically, “You have an excuse? What’s that? All the guys in London are prats?” he said mockingly.
There was a lull in the conversation and Sienna found herself taking a sip from the mug before she could stop herself. Grimacing she stood and tipped the liquid down the sink determinedly not looking at Liam who was no doubt looking highly amused.
“Why are you up so early?” she asked him as she rinsed her cup out. He didn’t answer straight away and she was on the point of turning to look at him when he said, “I’m going back to West London today. I was planning on beating the morning rush hour.” He glanced at his watch, “But seeing as it’s nearly six I’ve missed my chance. It’s your fault. If you had sat there not answering my questions then I would have left ages ago.”
“The rush hour doesn’t start ‘till quarter to eight, Liam.”
“I know that but it’s a long walk from here to the station for someone who is half-asleep and can’t walk in a straight line particularly well. I usually get home right as the rush hour starts. If I leave now I would be caught in the middle of it.”
Sienna sighed, “So when are you planning on leaving then?”
Liam shrugged, “Midday I suppose. I hate being in this house when there’s nobody here. It’s so different from the constant noise.”
“I know, I have this place all to myself on Valentines Day, everybody’s going out. Why do you have to leave now, Liam, I don’t want to work while everyone’s having fun?” Sienna whined.
“I have to go back home, I haven’t been there in three weeks and I really need to get back to work. I haven’t written a word or drawn a line since I got here, I’m miles behind. I somehow don’t think you’ll be the only one working that night.” He paused, then “By the way have they given you an assignment yet?”
“No, I’m not yet worthy of it. So far the most interesting job I’ve had is editing the TV guide. Even that they re-wrote when I handed it in. Mary-Ella is trying to convince them to give me one, I don’t know maybe today’s my lucky day.”
“Your working with Mary-Ella?”
“Well, not really. We work in the same building but she’s a top journalist whereas I’m just the new girl that was given a job because of good connections. You know that Mary-Ella was the one who got me the job, right?”
He shook his head, “No, but it was a good job she did. I was afraid you’d never leave the house, you barely got out unless you had to since…well you know.” He finished lamely, “well I best be leaving”
“But it’s not midday” she said confused, he had said he was leaving at midday, hadn’t he.
“I know but the sooner I get home the more work I finish, meaning the sooner I get to come back here. See you later Sienna,” he answered as he swiftly left the kitchen.
“When’s later?” she shouted after him, just before the front door slammed shut she heard him say, “I don’t know…tomorrow.”
Sienna sat in front of the computer screen idly twisting a silver chain round her wrist.
A pile of mundane articles that required editing sat on the desk next to her cup of tea, which was no doubt cold; it was a growing to be a habit of hers.
There was a knock at the door and a stern looking middle-aged woman entered. She wore a professional yet disgusting burgundy suit and her hair was tired up in a bun.
“Miss Helsdale, have you finished editing Mr Hudson’s article on fishing yet?”
Sienna glared at the monitor as she typed, her fingers punching the letters harder than necessary. “It’s Holsdale and yes it’s on the table next to the door.” She pointed towards the article not taking her eyes off of the screen.
“Thank you. It’s nice to see you working hard, you’ll move up quickly, you will.” The lady said approvingly before disappearing out the room.
Sienna sighed and deleted the load of rubbish she had just written on the screen, it was a detailed description of her house and had been the first thing to come into her head when she realised she should have been working.
Reaching for an article off of the top of the pile she began to work as fast as she could, planning on finishing by lunchtime and gaining her free time.
When she had just finished the third to last of the pile Mary-Ella came bursting into her office. Sienna looked up shocked, “Yes?”
“I’ve got you an assignment,” she said excitedly, “It’s an article on local hero’s.”
Sienna couldn’t believe it, she had been given an assignment, she didn’t particularly care what the assignment was about, the fact was they had willingly given one to her.
“Mrs Bramley was looking through old articles and council letters from a few years back, she said she came across quite a few about local heroes and would like you to tie all the stories together in a three or more page article.”
“Three pages, I’ve never written an article before and she expects three pages.” Sienna muttered incredulous.
“Three or more,” Mary-Ella corrected, “but you’ll be fine, besides one of the local heroes was Liam when he saved you. Think about it, you can put a whole different light on the story; even get new quotes from him. So I thought you would be perfect for the job.” She smiled thrilled that she had helped out her boyfriend’s sister and just as she was turning to the door she added “Oh, can you tell Steven I can’t come to dinner tonight?”
Sienna nodded and watched her disappear out the door. Her words from that morning were ringing through her head, haunting her. Maybe today’s my lucky day. “Lucky day?” she questioned herself, “maybe if it wasn’t about local heroes and I didn’t have to think back to dark times five, six years ago.”
Sienna jumped up from her seat at her computer. For the past half hour she had been watching the minute hand’s progression round the clock, awaiting the arrival of five. She desperately wanted to get home and talk to Ryan about this article; she may even need his help in writing the whole story. She had never willingly listened to the story from her family’s point of view; it was terrifying enough from her own.
Just as she was leaving her office she realised their was one vital piece of information that Mary-Ella had failed to convey to her, when exactly was the deadline, when was this story supposed to be finished by. She found herself hoping a month or two but that was beyond ridiculous it was more likely a matter of weeks even days.
Hurrying up the stairs from the first floor to the third, she bumped into another of the top journalists, Andrew Lopton. Sienna knew for a fact that Mary-Ella worked alongside him as she had told countless stories of his jokes, some numerous times.
He was rather nasty in Sienna’s opinion, and definitely carried himself in such a way that you would have to be blind and death to call him modest.
“Has Mary-Ella left yet?” Sienna asked picking up a folder he dropped in the minor collision and handing it over. The man just shrugged and made to move around Sienna and continue on his way out of work.
“You must know, you just came from the same office. Please, it’s important.” She had no idea why she had pleaded with him to tell her, after all she could always go and check for herself but to tell the truth she really couldn’t be bothered to climb another staircase.
“Yes” was all the dark haired man said as he descended the stairs. Sienna glared at him as she said in the sweetest voice she could muster “Thank you, Mr Lopton” before she too descended the stairs and made her way out of the building.
The streets of London were busy; thousands of people were poring out of practically every building in the city and hurrying home. Rush hour, how she hated it. She had a rather strong fear of crowds; they made her feel extremely claustrophobic but she knew she still had to join them. It was either that or go home late and there was no way she was staying at work longer than necessary. With that thought she joined the throng of people making the way home.
Copyright © 2005 K J H