Some of you may have read this already, I decided to post the chapters of the story I've written so far on my blog for the next couple of posts. Hopefully you enjoy.
Chapter 1, Entrances
Lucy was late, lost and strangely enough, laughing. It was something she did, the laughing, when she was frustrated or upset. She figured that at least it beat crying, which was what she did when she was angry. She was hoping this whole situation would be incredibly funny to her later; her hysterical laughing was just a preamble. It really wasn’t funny, though, and try as she might she had a feeling that there would be nothing funny in the recall about this later, either.
She was looking for a door, one that she was incredibly late in finding. The door belonged to her father’s best friend and sometimes business associate, James Swallin. It was supposedly located as a side door of his business, Swallin and Assoc Realty Co, which Lucy was struggling to find.
Already annoyed, Lucy thought about the situation. Her father had left her a cryptic voicemail last night while she was at work which had her slightly worried. It wasn’t really so much of what he said but the tone in his voice, the nervous edginess she heard in his voice as he left his brief message.
“Loos darling,” he had cooed his nickname for her onto the machine, trying too hard to sound casual. “It’s Daddy... I was wondering if you were free tomorrow morning to come down to James’s office and meet with him and me. It’s important. You know the place, right? Down in Sainsbury, on Market Street. Meet us at…let’s say 11 am? James and I have a…proposal for you. See you in the morning, baby.” Lucy wondered when he ever called himself “daddy” unless he wanted something from her. She had a bad feeling about this whole thing before she even finished listening to the message. Her father never called unless he needed a favor.
The whole thing irritated. She did not know where this office was, she had never been there before. Lucy had looked it up on mapquest last night and printed off directions, swearing under her breath that she even had to go. Her guilt and familial duty required her to show up but she didn’t have to listen to what they had to say. Mostly he probably wanted her to do a quick job for him or some other type of favor. Last time she did a “quick job” for her father she found herself out of a place to live. She sighed and tried not to think about the whole awful event.
To make matters even worse, she had forgotten to set her alarm this morning, much to her chagrin. She left her apartment in a sleepy daze, rushing to leave. She forgot her directions on the printer, so of course she got lost. By the time she found the street she needed she was already fifteen minutes late. She parked on the street and searched for a quarter to pay the meter, not ready to add a parking ticket to this day that was already off to a bad start.
Once parked, Lucy tried to grab her cell phone out of her pocket to call her father. And then realized she didn’t have pockets. She was wearing a skirt, the first thing she could find in her thick headed rush to get out of her apartment, which meant that she left her phone on the nightstand.
“Gah!” was all she could think to say. Her father was going to kill her. She cursed her own forgetfulness and contemplated returning home for it only briefly. If she went home she wouldn’t come back, that was for sure. Besides, the office had to be on this block somewhere. She would just have to find it the old-fashioned way, by walking and looking.
Lucy checked her watch again, it read 11:32. She was now more than a half hour late to this “proposal meeting”. She sighed again. It was going to be a very long and trying day, she could tell. Her stomach grumbled noisily, agreeing with her and reminding her that she forgot to eat breakfast on top of everything else.
She started looking around for some clue that would tip her off as to where the office was located. All the buildings in this part of town looked the same pretty much so that wasn’t much help. About two blocks from where she parked her Honda Accord she found her dad’s blue Monte Carlo parked. Double checking that it was, in fact, his vehicle she looked up at the building it was parked by.
The building loomed above her five stories. It was remarkably unremarkable. A plain brick building with no doors on the street, there was a deli on one corner, an out-of-business signed window on the other. She was wondering if that really was her father’s car, that maybe she was in the completely wrong place when she noticed something. It wasn’t like she saw anything in particular, she just felt compelled to look a little closer. It was a weird feeling, there was something interesting and even, she struggled for the word…unique about this building, even though she had never been here before. Even though the building was incredibly unremarkable she was fascinated with it for reasons she couldn’t explain.
Lucy noticed The Door. She could have sworn that it wasn’t there a minute ago, even though it had been there the whole time. It was so plain and boring that her mind had filtered it out before she had even taken stock of it. But now, something was different. The Door was in the middle of the building, nondescript and boring. It probably wouldn’t even have caught her attention on any other day, but today she was undeniably lost. And The Door was open, she noticed. It was just a crack but it was enough for her to want to look inside, and as she thought that, she suddenly had to look inside it.
She walked closer to the door and turned her head to look inside. It was dark, she leaned in closer. Unconscious of the action, her hand reached out to grab the door knob. It was a dull metallic color, the shine long since rubbed off with years of use and weathering. As her fingertips grazed the top of the knob a small charge pulsed into her fingers. It didn’t hurt at all, the tingling feeling that charged up her arms almost felt pleasant. She closed her hand around the handle, and leaned in to push the door open when a hand closed on her shoulder and pulled her around. Startled, she felt the door quickly pull closed as she was turned and she pulled her hand from the knob.
Her heart was still racing as she looked up to see who was randomly grabbing her in the street. Relief washed over her almost immediately as she recognized her father. “Jesus Dad, you scared the crap outta me!”
“Lucy! What in the world are you doing? I’ve been calling your phone for the last half hour! And even now, I just called your name and you ignored me, what is wrong with you today?” He chastised. “You’re late!”
Lucy looked at her father not sure if relief was the right feeling. Dread immediately replaced the relief when she realized the situation. And following the dread quick quickly her annoyance and anger. “Well, sorry dad! I forgot my phone this morning, I forgot my directions, I forgot to eat breakfast. I’m not having a good day, I’m starving and I got incredibly lost because you assumed I knew how to get here!” Her heart was still racing from being startled by her father and she found herself getting more and more excitable. She took a deep breath before she continued. Her father just stared at her, surprised by her tone of voice. “I’m sorry dad. I’ve just had a bad morning. Please tell me this meeting at least has coffee.”
“Yes, we have coffee but it’s probably left over from this morning. You know James isn’t much of a drinker. Come on, this way, we have already made them wait long enough.”
Lucy followed her father across the street. She tripped in a small pothole when she heard what her father was saying, twisting her ankle in her strappy sandals. “What do you mean that we have made them wait long enough? Who are we talking about?” They had crossed the street and her father’s hand was reaching out for the door. She mentally added her shoe choice to the list of things that had already gone wrong today. She felt that she couldn’t possibly be more annoyed than she was at this moment.
Her father did not answer her question, avoiding eye contact. It was obvious that this meeting was going to be painful. He ushered her inside a door that had a small sign on it, J. Swallin Realty Co.