Part Forty One of You Will Find Your Way
Another step closer to maybe, sort of getting an answer.
Try as she might, Dallas falls asleep somewhere between Giselle turning the focus back to realizing that there’s possibly a connection between what happened all those years ago and the repeated weather occurrences from the other night, and Mathias and Hilda being incredibly evasive about what they may or may not know about the thinning between this known universe and—
A world not known.
As terrifying as it is, Dallas just can’t keep her eyes open any longer.
She wakes with a jolt to the sound of a pointed knock on the door, and her instincts and the stress from the week sends her heart pounding against her ribcage.
Her eyes flick from one side of the room to the other—Mathias is awake and alert, one hand on his sword, Hilda looks completely at ease, Luke is looking at the door with suspicion, while Giselle sleeps with half her body on the coffee table, the rest sprawled out to one side in a way that’s definitely doing no justice to the muscles in her back.
Dallas scrubs her hands through her hair, winces when she encounters a mass of dampened tangles, “I guess I should get that,” she grumbles when whoever’s out there knocks again, forceful and bold. “Hide the pointy things.”
She’s not sure if her words even make sense, she’s not remotely awake enough for that, and swings her legs over the side of the couch. When she stands, her right hip protests after so many hours lying on it, so when she takes the first step, she nearly falls on her face.
She’s beauty and she’s grace.
The clatter of the weapons being deposited in the kitchen follows her out of the living room and into the foyer, and whoever’s out there knocks again as she gets her hand on the deadbolt.
“Let me guess, the world is ending,” she grumbles and yanks the door open.
To Doctor Peter Sweeney.
“Oh, it’s you,” she deadpans. “What can I do for you, Doc?”
“It’s Doctor Sweeney,” he reminds for the umpteenth time, like it’s the most important thing Dallas should know. “You would do well to be nicer to me, what with your position with Giselle so precarious.”
Her brow ticks, “Precarious, you say?”
Peter’s chest puffs up, “Giselle and I had a wonderful dining experience last night. You would do well to know that. And if you would fetch Giselle for me? I’m taking her out to lunch.”
Dallas glances over her shoulder to where Giselle is still drooling on her elbow while Hilda watches and fortunately is resisting the urge to bring attention to herself by doing something ridiculous like cackling in that way she so enjoys.
Because it makes her sound like a super villain.
How is this her life?
“Unfortunately,” except in all the ways it’s really not. “Giselle is unavailable. Sorry Pete.”
“It’s still Doctor Sweeney to you,” he tries to peer around her and into the house, but fortunately the way the front door opens, it shields the cased opening into the living room where Giselle has since shifted and is now snoring into one of her old quarterly anthologies.
Dallas stands her ground, grunts when Sweeney’s shoulder bumps into her chest, “She’s not available,” she says through clenched teeth. “Not for whatever picnic you’re planning. Sorry.”
Sweeney glares, “I’d like to hear that from her.”
Well, there’s no way in hell that’s Dallas is going to wake Giselle for something like this moron, but before she has to come up with another reason that won’t lead Sweeney straight to the Dean—who has got to be tired of this shit—Hilda sidles up next to her, “Oh, and who is this?”
“Pete, meet Giselle’s girlfriend, Hilda.”
Out of the corner of her eye, she sees the amused glimmer in Hilda’s gaze, but most of her focus is one Sweeney and the way his gaze has narrowed onto her, like he’s trying to figure out where he’s seen Hilda before.
“Okay, so seeing as it’s the weekend and we have things to do, bye.”
Dallas slams the door in his face, but whatever, Giselle is not going to fire her no matter what Sweeney thinks. It’s fine.
She turns back toward the living room, but jolts when a palm smacks her hip and Hilda sidles around her, “You’re welcome.”
“Shut up,” she grumbles and follows in her footsteps, where Luke and Mathias are watching them both with interest, “What? It’s not like I could have told him she was some random chick Giselle picked up at the restaurant where he spent nearly two hours unsuccessfully trying to woo himself into her pants.”
Mathias shakes his head, “And yet we have more important things to worry about.”
“Right,” Dallas nods and carefully tips Giselle’s head and elbow off to the side so she can grab her notes. “What did I miss when I passed out last night?”
“We’ve figured out an early warning system thanks to the lightning, but we still don’t know where these things are coming from,” Luke reports as Dallas flicks through the paperwork. “So, it’s a start.”
Dallas shakes her head, “It’s not good enough. We need to know more about what these things are, where we’re coming from, and how the hell we can make this stop.”
“No,” she cuts Mathias off. “Maris wanted me to live a normal life, and I let her screw that up once. I’m not going to let it happen again. Giselle’s research is close to figuring out a way to cut a breach between universes. There has to be a way to take what she has so far to do the opposite.”
At the sound of her name, the woman busy leaving drool stains on the coffee table snorts and sits up, runs a hand through her tangled and matted hair, “What’d I miss?”
Hilda pats her shoulder before gliding off to the kitchen like she owns the place, “Nothing much. Doctor Sweeney came inquiring for a second date, but we figured you were better off getting some more sleep.”
While she’s clattering around, searching for the coffee mugs that Dallas isn’t inclined to point out to her at this point, Giselle tilts her head, “Tell me you were nice to him,” she mumbles around a yawn.
“He thinks you’re a sneeze away from firing me,” Dallas says, which doesn’t explain much.
Giselle huffs, “Great. I better start groveling to the Dean first-thing Monday.”
“And until then, we have to figure this out,” Mathias pipes up for the first time in a while.
Dallas scrubs her hands through her hair and over her face, “Well,” she says even as she thinks through what she’s going to say. “Theres always Special Collections.”
“You think the answers would be found there?”
With a snort, Dallas waves a hand at Mathias expression, “These people are dumb enough to keep a book that ripped me in half under moderate security. Who knows what else is in there?”
“Okay. How do we get in unnoticed?”
“Leave that to me.”
Dallas’ brows hike to her hairline as everyone looks at Luke, but then she remembers his military record, “They teaching advanced infiltration in the modern navy?”
He shrugs, evasive, “Or something.”
Dallas watches him a moment longer, shrugs, “All right then. Let’s figure out a way out of this mess.”
You Will Find Your Way continues with Part Forty One
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