Sullivan was out the door before Lucy even had time to finish her toast. She rolled her eyes, pushing off the counter and following him out. “You should probably eat,” she mumbled after stuffing the rest of the bread in her mouth.
“I’ll grab something at the bookstore.” He walked a bit slower this morning, allowing her to keep up at a normal pace, but his eyes didn’t stay in one place for long. It was nearly six in the morning and the city hadn’t quite woken up yet. Lack of people meant lack of cover.
The hybrid bookstore-coffee shop was a few streets down from Lucy’s apartment—her apartment being the corner between it and her shop. She had walked by it a few times to get to the bakery next door, but had never thought about stepping inside. She probably should have as research for her own little shop, though she wasn’t quite sure if she’d ever get the chance to revive it.
The trip over was quiet, with the lack of people bustling around missing and only the chirping of birds to fill the silence. Lucy stayed so close to Sullivan, her arm brushed against the rough fabric of a flimsy backpack slung on his shoulders.
When they came up to the store, Sullivan pulled back. He lightly held her arm. “We don’t have any connections here, so we need to act like normal customers. Look around, pull out different books, get coffee, but don’t look like you’re actually looking for something.”
Lucy nodded and grabbed his hand off her arm. She smirked and laced their fingers. “Normal,” she mused and pulled him inside. She just wanted to see more of Sullivan, any sort of reaction that wasn’t angry. She peered over her shoulder and saw his face relax. That would do for now.
The store smelt of fresh coffee and old paper. There was only one other person in there besides the two workers. It was an old woman and she was reading by the window.
Lucy went straight to the counter. It was earlier and a coffee would do her well. Sullivan came up behind her and added a breakfast sandwich to her order for himself. He continued their cover of an early morning couple with ease. Lucy deemed he was a good actor. Not a trace of anguish was left on his face.
After paying, she grabbed her coffee and put it to her lips. It was a wonderful way to start the morning. She wandered toward the bookshelves that lined the far half of the store. They stood all the way up to the ceiling. There were a lot of books to rifle through.
Sullivan started towards the windows, so Lucy walked to the back. The books seemed to be in order by genre and then author, but her common sense told her that the one they were looking for wouldn’t follow the rules.
Her fingers brushed the bindings as she went down to the end. She could barely reach the shelf second from the top and had no hope of stretching all the way up. Fortunately, the book was huge and would stick out.
Or so she thought.
Three shelves later and still no book and now she was back to back with Sullivan. Lucy ran her fingers through her hair. “It’s not here.”
Sullivan glanced around. No one else had come in since they’d been there. “Keep looking.”
She held in a groan, but moved to the next shelf, the one he had already checked, while he moved on to the one that she had already checked. She was beginning to think they got played, so she spent more of her time looking out the window then through the books.
The crowd had started to pick up as it usually did on a weekday morning, though surprisingly most rushed right past the shop. She would have thought this would be a prime spot for that running late coffee. While musing over the thought, Lucy failed to notice the bright white suit closing in and when she finally did, he were just a cross walk away.
She jumped in her spot and ran to the back. “Sullivan!” she whispered.
He had his arm stretched up all the way to the top of the book shelf and pulled down an old, dusty book.
Lucy’s face dropped. “Seriously? I looked there,” she mumbled.
He gave a half smile and shoved it into his backpack. “What did you need?”
Her eyes widened. “White suit guy is outside.”
The front door dinged and they froze in their spots or rather Lucy did until Sullivan pulled her to the far wall. They snuck down the rows to the corner, hiding behind the large shelf ends. The man from WDS was at the counter ordering. All they had to do was stay close to the shelf by the windows and sneak out the front door.
It was easy until they met the old lady sitting at a table, slightly blocking the aisle, but before either of them could say a thing, she turned around and winked. She stood up and pushed her chair in, grabbing her cane and walking to the side of the man farthest from the door.
“Excuse me, sir,” she said, touching his arm, “this is an awfully beautiful suit. Where in the world did you get it?” She met his gaze, which was now away from the front door.
Sullivan took the miracle as it came and ushered her out, following closely behind. His pace sped up as they rounded the corner.
“I thought you said you didn’t have any connections there.” Lucy was almost jogging to keep up.
He led them down an alley. “We don’t.”
“You don’t know who that was?”
On the other side, the street was more crowded and they easily blended in with the crowd. Her apartment was just another block down.
They slowed their pace, weaving between people, but keeping a low profile. Lucy concentrated on putting one foot in front of the other. Too many thoughts ran through her head that if she didn’t, she’d head face first into the concrete.
They made it to her apartment a few minutes later.
“You sure they won’t try and break in?” Lucy asked while locking and dead bolting her door.
Sullivan was double checking the windows and pulling the blinds. “They’ve never gone into anyone’s home before. We think it has something to do with their timeline. They don’t want to screw up what they have in the future.”
There wasn’t much reassurance in his voice. It sounded like he was reading off a script. He saw the effect that it had, or didn’t have, on Lucy and sighed, walking over to her. “We’ll be okay. I’ll call Piper. If we don’t make it back tomorrow, she’ll send help.”
Lucy tried to smile, she really did, but the heavy feeling grew from the pit of her stomach to her heart. She stepped away and took a deep breath, but her eyes landed on the discarded backpack on the floor.
This was going to be one hell of a night.
Finally got this sucker out! Also, FINALLY getting my writing mojo back.