Light dappled the wall. The pattern reminded her of a string of pearls. Like the painting A Young Woman Standing at a Virginal. Vermeer had painted the pearls translucent, blending into the woman’s skin. Nina blinked. The pearls disappeared. Rather, morphed into something else. She rubbed her eyes and blinked again.
She was in a room, she realized, with a chandelier of opulent crystals casting light onto a wall of . . . books? The bookstore. With a start, she sat up. “Jack?”
He appeared out of nowhere. Maybe he’d been there all along. “Tea?” He handed her a dainty cup, his fingers too large to grasp the delicate curve of the handle.
Knees to her chest, she took the cup and cradled the warmth. “How long have I been sleeping?” Everything appeared fuzzy. She couldn’t quite clear the cobwebs.
“You were out, Nina.” He tucked in beside her on the formal chaise lounge. “You passed out.” Concern hardened his stare as if he might find a reason for what happened by simply looking at her. “I considered taking you to the hospital.”
She took a long sip. And another. The fog began to lift. She remembered the road trip. The newspaper. The gallery. The bartender with kind eyes. Her senses heightened when she recalled what the bartender had said: his aunt had worked at the gallery in the eighties. Nina couldn’t remember her name. Then again, she was bad at names.
They were sitting beside a sash window. Outside, a bright sky begged for a playful walk. Inside, shadows hid between the bookcases, appearing cavernous, fading into an abyss. The bookstore was eerily quiet. Something fel t off.
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