Transparent Secret

Jay drove home in silence. He normally filled his hour-long commute home with the news but his mind needed quiet today. His entire work week had been day after day of amazement and it culminated on this Friday. Jay was a government scientist and on Monday, he felt he had a solid grasp of the world. Now he headed home to the only thing left he could count on; his wife, Cammie.

He had permission, orders technically, to explain part of the situation to his wife; the whole team did. Jay’s superiors understood how much their findings changed the world. No one could be expected to keep a secret that major at all much less from a loved one. He planned to spend the hour planning the best way to tell her. Instead, his mind remained blank. It refused to do more than get him home safely. He accidentally spent several seconds sitting in his car before he realized he was in his own garage. He might have spent longer if Cammie hadn’t waved at him from the door to the laundry room.

“You okay, hon? You’re lookin’ a bit dazed,” Cammie asked as he shut the car door and walked toward her. Jay chuckled to himself as he wrapped his arms around her, rested his head on her shoulder, and squeezed. It wasn’t the usual mindless after-work hug; he deliberately took time to feel her presence. She responded immediately and squeezed back. “What’s wrong?” Something was obviously on his mind.

“Science,” he sighed and released the hug. He kissed Cammie’s forehead and stared into her hazel eyes. “Let’s go inside. We need to talk.” Worry flashed across her face. She leaned back about to step away, but Jay shook his head. “Don’t worry. We…” he leaned forward and touched his nose to hers. “…are totally okay. It’s just some work stuff.” She nodded and turned around to lead him into the house.

“Since when can you talk to me about work stuff?” She asked over her shoulder. She led him through the kitchen and living room into their bedroom.

“Since I got ordered to,” Jay said. Once they arrived in the bedroom he walked forward just enough to fall forward on the bed. He rolled over while Cammie sat down next to him.

“Orders? Is it that serious?” Jay turned to look up at Cammie and nodded. Cammie turned to lay down next to him; he rolled over again so they were laying on their sides facing each other. “Okay. Hit me.” Jay took in a deep breath.

“Okay. Did you know that the Earth could be bought?” he asked.

“What?!” Cammie asked, then laughed in his face. “I thought you were being serious.” He nodded.

“Babe. I am.” Jay said with a sincere tone.

“What?” Cammie asked again; this time she was ready to listen.

“Remember I was buzzing on Monday night because of work?” Cammie nodded. “That day…,” Jay paused to change his thought. “Okay, this is where I start sharing my work with you. I promise none of this is a build-up to a joke or anything. This is all 100% real.”

“Okay. I’m listening,” Cammie replied.

“Monday we, my team and I…,” he shrugged. “…mostly me, made contact with an alternate universe.” Jay watched Cammie for any changes. Her eyes darkened with worry but she still listened intently. He continued. “On Tuesday they came to us. Two women, human just like us, walked out of a black hole and gave us a Q &A session. Well, I guess only one asked and answered questions, but I found out later she’s the assistant.” Jay noticed Cammie was growing uncomfortable the more he talked. After 7 years together he learned her signs pretty well. She shivered slightly, despite being in the middle of July. She nibbled at her right cheek but pretended not to.

“Wednesday they met the president…,” Jay reached down into his pocket; he was still wearing his suit jacket from work. “…and they brought samples of their technology.” He brought his hand up between them to show her a small, transparent rectangle. It looked like a playing card made of glass. “I’ll tell you about this later,” he returned it to his pocket. “Yesterday they met with the world leaders,” he shook his head and smiled. “It was the coolest teleconference ever; it felt like everyone was really in the same room. They have such cool tech! But, the point is they met with the world leaders and made them an offer. Today, our Earth is officially owned by a corporation called Sharp Development.”

Laughter exploded out of Cammie despite her efforts to contain it. She covered her mouth and bolted off the bed. She ran into their walk-in closet but Jay still heard her laughing as if she’d heard the funniest joke in the world. He sat up, worried she might have had a mental breakdown.

“You okay, babe?” he called.

“YES! HOLD ON!” she screamed back from the closet. She sounded lucid and in an amazing mood for some reason. Finally, she came running out of the closet with something in her hands. She leaped onto the bed and landed next to him. She held a small, wooden jewelry box.

“Okay, you know I love you, right?” she asked. He nodded. “I have a secret in my past I’ve never told you about,” she shrugged. “It’s not bad or anything. But it didn’t matter once I met you,” she smiled. Cammie opened the box.

“I had never thought about it before…,” she said, then reached in. The lid blocked Jay’s view; he could have looked over it but he wanted to let her talk through things at her own pace. “But when you asked me about the Earth being bought I thought of a company that could do it. I was actually getting worried it might be someone else, but you finally spit out the name. Sharp Development coming here is the best thing that can happen.” Cammie pulled her hand out of the box and showed Jay a glass card like the one he showed her. “And I can probably tell you more about this than you can tell me.”

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