They had no trouble getting back to the village. It surprised Lucy, but she didn’t voice it. It didn’t stay on her mind for long.
It was only Piper in the house. She was writing in a notebook, sitting at the center table. She closed it when she noticed the two walk inside.
“You look unsettled.”
Lucy bit her lip and looked at Sullivan and then back at Piper. She was staring at him, so Lucy looked again. His expression looked normal to her.
“I think we found a way in.” Sullivan narrowed his eyes and clenched his fists. He was getting angry or maybe anxious. Lucy couldn’t tell.
Piper took a deep breath in and motioned to the table. “Sit.” She reopened her notebook and flipped to a clean page. They all sat down, scooting their chairs in close.
“My shop,” Lucy leaned forward with her forearms on the table, “it’s in my shop.” Adrenaline scrambled in the pit of her stomach, taking over her words.
“Lucy had found a hidden room behind a flimsy fake wall. We found old blueprints of the building from the original owner. It led us to a hidden staircase, a tunnel, that led straight to the WDS.” Sullivan’s words were slow and to the point. His calm demeanor overtook her frantic one, despite him being visibly affected just moments before.
Piper had been scribbling down words, freezing at his last. “They’re underground?” The question was rhetorical. She barely gave them time to blink before she stood, pushing her chair back with her legs. “Of course. That’s why they seem to just disappear.”
Piper mumbled words with each step, seemingly putting puzzle pieces together Lucy didn’t even know existed. She stopped suddenly, turning to Sullivan. “Any luck with the book?”
“We haven’t even looked yet.” He shook his head. “We came straight here after the tunnel.”
She nodded and clasped her hands behind her back. “Go ask before the day is over. I’ll update the others upon their return.”
Sullivan nodded and got up, ready to leave.
Lucy, on the other hand, stayed in her spot. “Wait, that’s it?” They had been there less than five minutes. She didn’t want to leave. She still had questions to ask.
“We’ve still got work to do, Lucy.” Sullivan’s hand enclosed her shoulder. “We don’t waste time around here.”
She rubbed her eyes and sighed. Looking up, she saw Piper on the couch, writing in her notebook at light speed. There was no other choice. She followed Sullivan out the door and back into town.
Lucy assumed they would go back to her shop, so when they walked right by it, she jogged the few steps to catch up with Sullivan. “Where are we going?” She kept her voice down. No one around them was dressed in white, but that didn’t stop her from growing more paranoid by the second.
Sullivan leaned his head down slightly. “We have a contact. If anyone is going to know anything about the book, it’s him.”
She nodded and stayed close. They walked a couple blocks down from her apartment and shop, stopping at a popular convenience store stuck between a coffee shop and bakery. Inside there were aisles full of anything you might need on a whim, from food to toiletries.
“Ah, Sullivan.” A man stationed behind the front counter waved. “I was wondering when I’d get another visit.”
“Gus,” he walked up and shook his hand, “hopefully we didn’t come for nothing.”
The man, Gus, had wrinkled skin and dark hair that had almost completely turned gray. His eyes were bright, sticking out from his deep skin and when he smiled, his entire presence followed suit.
“You didn’t, in fact,” Gus leaned onto the counter and pointed at Lucy, “and this is the Lucy I keep hearing about?”
Her cheeks flushed, but she nodded and held out her hand. “I’m Lucy Lexington,” she said.
He shook her hand. “You’ve caused quite the scuttle among those jerks,” he pulled his hand back and grinned, “so boy am I glad to finally meet you.”
Despite his words giving her a rousing round of nausea, Lucy felt at ease around him. His joyful demeanor was a pleasant change.
Sullivan stepped forward and dropped his voice. “I’m assuming since you’ve heard about Lucy, you’ve heard about her book.”
Gus’ gaze shifted back and forth, checking the windows in the store. “They have it, though they sure are cocky ‘bout it. Sounds like they left it in the bookstore down on Second, the one with coffee. They think your group is too stupid to search in the open for it.”
Lucy shrugged to herself, musing over the statement and Sullivan shoulder bumped her. “Have you heard anything else, anything important?” he asked.
“That’s about it, Sullivan. Sometimes they talk about their leader—sounds like a crazy guy—but that’s it.” Guz lazily glanced over to the front door and snapped up. “You need to leave out the back now.” He walked out from behind the counter.
Sullivan and Lucy looked to the door and saw a few people dressed in white suits. The WDS had yet to notice them. He grabbed her arm and followed Gus.
“That bookstore opens at six in the morning. Go then and make it fast. They usually send some over for breakfast around seven.” Gus moved empty boxes out of the way and used his shoulder to force open a door that blended in with the walls. He motioned them out, just as the front door opened. “Good luck.”
Lucy hopped out first, looking down the alley both ways. She had no idea which way to go. Sullivan grabbed her arm again and started to run. They went away from the front of the building and turned left at the end of the alley. The street was narrowed and followed along the backs of the stores. They followed it all the way to her apartment.
Once they were safe inside and after Sullivan double checked the door and windows, Lucy crossed her arms.
“Who the hell was that?”
Sullivan peaked through the blinds of her living room window. Deciding they were safe, he sat down on the couch. “That was Gus. WDS goes to him for supplies. They think he’s on their side, but Gus is a war vet. He hates them.”
Lucy raised an eyebrow. “Double agent? That seems,” she paused and sat down facing him, “dangerous.”
He huffed. “What isn’t dangerous about this situation?”
A silence fell between them thick of the imminent dangers. It was clear to Lucy that she didn’t even know the half of it and that scared her, but those articles she found on her real father wouldn’t leave her mind. For some reason, she felt it was all related and she wanted answers.
Lucy took a deep breath and reached for the remote. “I assume you’re staying over, so we might as well start with a movie.”
Sullivan nodded slowly, but sunk deeper into the couch. “Maybe a comedy to lighten the mood?”
A small smile slid onto her face and she looked at him from the corner of her eye. He returned it, starting off the first relaxing night they’d had in days.
Thank you for reading! This story is something fun I’m doing to break up the long editing process of A Hero’s Secret, so it’s not as detailed as usual. Either way, I’m enjoying writing it and hope you are enjoying reading it!
Let me know if you’ve read the entire thing so far!