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Mama and Junior left the next morning. They waved goodbye from the car. Well, Junior waved goodbye when he looked behind him, backing out of the driveway. Mama was only looking forward.
Lauren wondered what she was supposed to do now. She’d been pretty much left to her own devices the night before, with the exception of Mama forcing her to sit at dinner with Junior and Mr. Briggs, nobody saying much of anything, everyone pretending they were too busy chewing.
In the morning, she’d wandered down to the same room where they’d had dinner the night before, surprised to find food already left out. Eggs, bacon, toast, jam, juice, and coffee. No people, though.
She wouldn’t have even known that Mama and Junior were going if she hadn’t heard the car starting up outside. Junior was very proud of the noise his car made when it was starting.
Unable to think of anything else to do, Lauren retraced her steps from the previous day, looking for Mr. Briggs’ office. It wasn’t that she had anything to say to him, or even wanted to see him in particular. But he was the only other person there she knew.
The door to his office was closed. Lauren pressed her ear to the crack, straining to hear whether or not he was inside. When she couldn’t make out a single sound, Lauren cautiously turned the knob with both hands, peeking in first with one eye, then the other.
The lights were off, the drapes closed. She stepped inside, taking care to close the door behind her and flicking on the light-switch.
It wasn’t very interesting. Just a lot of books on shelves, papers on the big desk, wooden filing cabinets carved to match the chairs and, as she’d noticed last night, a half-dozen models of buildings encased in glass and perched on stands just a little taller than Lauren was.
She dragged a chair over so she could climb on and take a peek. The first structure looked just like any old building. Lauren didn’t know what made it so special that it deserved to be shown off like this.
Thinking maybe the next one would prove more interesting, Lauren pushed her chair over a couple more inches and scrambled up to look again. Nope. Just another building.
She was in the process of being disappointed by the fifth and final one when Mr. Briggs returned. Lauren guessed it was the carpeting out in the hallway that had kept her from hearing him coming.
He looked surprised to see her. But Lauren couldn’t tell if he was also mad.
Nevertheless, she jumped off the chair, furiously trying to wipe the smudge marks her shoes left on the fabric with her palms and sleeves.
“I wasn’t doing anything,” Lauren swore, though anyone with eyes could see that she had, in fact, been doing… something. Most likely something she wasn’t supposed to.
To Be Continued
About the Author
Alina Adams wrote the “As the World Turns” tie-ins, “Oakdale Confidential” and “The Man From Oakdale,” and co-wrote “Guiding Light’s” “Jonathan’s Story.” She was the Creative Content Producer for “Another World Today,” and worked on the 2013 relaunches of “All My Children” and “One Life To Live.” Her books include romance novels, figure skating murder mysteries, and the historical family saga, “The Nesting Dolls,” from HarperCollins. Read more at: AlinaAdams.com