Her street was as it usually was on a weekday, full of people rushing and wandering. Lucy wanted to stop at her apartment to shower and brush her teeth. Realistically, she thought she’d be able to at least grab some fresh clothes.
Sullivan had a different idea. His arm hovered around her at times to keep her on track and he led her right past her place.
Once they were at her shop, she dug the keys out of her pocket. He didn’t let her grab her backpack, which at first annoyed her, but she hadn’t even gotten a chance to ask about her real father. She’d be back.
The shop looked as she left it, aside from another thin layer of dusting forming over everything she had cleaned a few days ago. Lucy sighed. All she wanted to do was to put this place back together.
Sullivan wasted no time in getting to work and wandered off to the other side of the room.
“There’s an extra room back there.” She pointed to the far corner. Sullivan stopped what he was doing and raised his eyebrows, looking between her and the very obvious door to another room.
Lucy shrugged. “Figured it’d be a good place to start because there is another hidden room inside.” She smirked. If only he would listen instead of assuming.
“That,” Sullivan stopped what he was doing and walked to the room, “should have been said before we got here.”
She rolled her eyes and followed him into the room. He had already pulled the remaining broken wall out of the way. It formed another doorway that was easy to walk through instead of tumbling over. Lucy was thankful for that.
“So what exactly are we looking for?” She stepped over broken pieces of wood and random scattered objects. Lucy had been so shocked the first time, she’d neglected the fact that it looked like a bomb went off.
Lucy pursed her lips together. His answers were so helpful. With a shake of the head, she started on the floor and picked up everything from pencils and scratch paper to science books and test tubes. At least in her corner, there was nothing out of the ordinary.
A scoff caught her attention.
“There’s nothing here.” Sullivan ran a hand through his hair. “This is where you found the book?”
“I found this room yesterday,” she stood up, wiping off her jeans, “and I found the book a few days ago.”
“Then why are we looking in here?” He glared.
“Really? You didn’t ask me if I found the book here, Sullivan, and this is a freaking hidden room!” Lucy threw her hands out from her waist. Mr. Lack of Emotion crossed his arms with a face expectant of a better answer.
She huffed, letting her arms fall to her sides and walked out of the room. “Over here.”
The bookshelf she found it on was in the opposite corner as the hidden room. Lucy stood under it with her hand on her hip. “It was up there,” she pointed to the top shelf, “but there isn’t anything else up there. I cleaned it.”
Sullivan reached up and pulled down a folded piece of paper.
“Okay, maybe I didn’t clean all of it,” she mumbled and rubbed her arm, but caught a sliver of a smile on his face. She grinned. “What is it?”
He unfolded it to a large rectangle sheet. They crouched down and flattened it on the floor. Faded lines filled the entire paper. “Blueprints.”
Lucy traced the lines. “They’re hand-drawn blueprints.” She looked up to find Sullivan already staring at her.
A knocked startled them, but Sullivan handled it much better, already up on his feet with the paper folded neatly when the door opened. She was still on the ground.
Lucy scrunched her nose and moved past him to the voice. “Dad?” She closed the distance between them with a hug. “What are you doing here?”
David laughed and patted her on the back. “You told me to build you a table, remember?”
She nodded. “Oh yeah, I forget.”
Her dad laughed, but his smile faded with a raise of his eyebrows. “Unless you already have help?”
Lucy turned on her heel. Sullivan had walked up behind them and held out his hand. “Sullivan Lawson, sir.”
“David Lexington,” he stepped forward to shake his hand, “and what are you doing with my daughter?”
She dropped her head into her hand. She thought the boy interrogations ended in high school.
“Just helping her out with the shop,” Sullivan gave a closed-mouth smile, “as a friend.”
David nodded once and smiled. “Great. It’s about time she had some help other than mine.”
“All right,” she clapped, “Dad we were actually just heading out, but you can measure what ever you need to measure and then lock up when you leave?” She grabbed Sullivan’s forearm and pulled him out the door. “Bye, love you!”
Once outside, she dropped his arm, but kept up her pace. Sullivan was taking his time. “Let’s go,” she said through her teeth. That didn’t affect him, so she impatiently waited in her spot.
“We need to go back there, Lucy.” He walked close to her once he caught up.
She clenched her jaw. “We’ll go back later once my dad is nowhere near.”
“You dad won’t mind if we work on cleaning the back room.”
Lucy shoved his shoulder and stopped. He got the hint and turned to her. “Every time I’ve found something related to whatever this is, the creepy people in perfect white suits have been lurking and trying to kill me, so no, we are not going back there until my dad leaves.”
She didn’t wait for his answer and started walking with the intention of going home. Sullivan let her. In her apartment, she locked the doors and closed the blinds.
“Let’s look at it here,” she said.
Sullivan nodded and took a seat on the couch, spreading out the paper on the coffee table. “This is the shop. It must have been drawn by the owner.” He brought his face closer to the drawing, scanning every inch.
Lucy sat down next to him and searched for the name she knew was the author. “There,” she pointed to the side she was sitting in front of, “Judas Hunt. He was the original owner of the shop.” She tilted her head and traced the outline above the name. “Sullivan,” she said slowly. Her fingers followed the angles of the staircase.
He looked over her shoulder. “Stairs?”
Her brow furrowed and she pulled the paper in front of her. Her eyes ran up and down. Everything else was there, even the hidden room. She sat straight up and looked Sullivan in the eyes.
“The stairs lead down. Sullivan, the shop doesn’t have a basement.”