“I’m going to…” Lucy stumbled over her feet and pointed to the door. She left the house with all eyes on her. Whether it was information overload or the fact that she might actually believe them, fresh air was needed.

It was dark outside. The only light was from the moon that flitted in through the ceiling of leaves. Lucy had no idea where to go, but she didn’t care. From the front steps, she took a hard left.

She followed a path of uneven stepping stones that cut through the grass lawn. It wrapped around to the back of the house and ended far enough away that Lucy deemed it a great spot to drop.

The stones had led her to a rather large pond with subtle, yet beautiful landscaping around the edge and through the middle. Lucy sat crossed-legged at the edge of the water and took a deep breath, letting it out in a noisy sigh.

She closed her eyes, added a few more deep breaths, before giving up with a groan and falling on her back. She stayed like that for a long time. The grass beneath her had grown cold and damp. A chill had little bumps raised on her arms, but she didn’t bother moving, even when a voice broke the silence.

“You look cold.”

Lucy squinted in the dark. A dark figure stood above her, blocking the only light from the moon. From the moody tone, she made a not-so-wild guess on her visitor. “A nice man would offer me his jacket.”

Sullivan sat down next to her. He didn’t offer.

Holding back a scoff, she sat up and they both stared over the water.

“I,” Sullivan scratched the back of his neck. “I know this is a lot. It always is the first time.” He quickly glanced at Lucy. “You are a big part of this. You can’t turn away.”

Lucy could have laughed. She wasn’t sure if that was a pep talk, attempt at persuasion, or Sullivan being nice. She did know that he sounded the same as always—angry.

They sat for a few more moments. A soft breeze chilled the air and filled the awkward silence. Lucy thought about all of her questions, the endless ones about her future self, the ones about her family, her real family, and the ones about this village and the people in it.

She shook her head and stood up, brushing off her jeans. She waited for Sullivan to stand up and she followed him back to the house. When they walked inside, the soft chatter stopped.

Lucy wrung her hands together. All eyes were on her. She shrugged off the nerves. “I’ll help.”

A collective sigh of relief settled in the room. A couple smiles grew. Piper walked up and brushed Lucy’s hair behind her ear.

“Thank you,” she said and then paused with a loving look. “We’ll start in the morning.” She turned around and clasped her hands. “Sullivan, why don’t you have Lucy stay in your guest room. It’s much too late to bring her home.”

The two froze at the suggestion. Piper noticed and knocked Sullivan on the shoulder. “Get to it, Sully,” she left the room, “and lock the door on your way out!”

The other men had already left the room, leaving Sullivan and Lucy alone, the latter’s eyes darting across the room until she heard another slap of the screen door.

Sullivan had left her.

Her shoulders dropped. “Really,” she muttered and ran out after him. She was all the way down the steps when she realized she had to lock the front door. She actually did run to catch up to him after that.

His house was close and he waited for Lucy on the porch. It surprised her a little, but not as much as when he held the door open for her. It showed on her face and he shrugged in response.

The house was the same as Piper’s, small, cozy, and simple. Sullivan pointed across the room. “Bed’s made up in there. I’ll wake you in the morning.” He left without another glance.

Lucy sighed and walked to her room for the night. She plopped down on the bed—the only piece of furniture—and looked to the ceiling.

What was she getting herself into?

Thank you for reading my story! Many more chapters to come!


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