Clara stared at the files. Stacks on top of stacks, on top of boxes, on top of cabinets. As she sorted through them, she couldn't stop herself from thinking about how pointless it all felt, making her stomach nauseated in the process.

She wondered why she'd come into work at all. She'd been telling herself that it was important to make it in, but when she'd called Shane and explained what had happened, he all but insisted that she stay home for the day – but she just wouldn't listen. Now she just felt like a showoff – someone who made a big show about coming in to her summer intern job when her aunt was lying unconscious in the hospital. And all so she could dig through old architectural files in a basement storage room.

Shane came down, announcing himself with an obvious throat clearing. Clara thought he was probably worried he'd catch her off guard and crying. She appreciated the warning – it hadn't happened yet today, but a bout of tears was a definite possibility.

"You doing okay down here?" Shane asked.

"Yes," Clara said, looking at the printout she'd been crossing her way through with a red marker. "I've found... about three-quarters of the archives we need."

The room smelled like clay – the kind of clay that surrounded a creek she and her friends used to play near when they were kids. She'd had a quick flashback as soon as she walked downstairs earlier, throwing her off for a moment before she realized the cause.

Shane looked around the room. Clara thought about how the fluorescent lights must be making her look as nasty as Shane now appeared. It didn't bother her, though. Somehow, nasty lighting felt appropriate.

"Lovely record archive we have, huh?" Shane said, gesturing around the basement.

"Ha," Clara said. "It seems functional. And convenient – everything you want, just down a flight of stairs."

Shane ran his finger along the dusty edge of one of the cabinets. "Oh, this isn't everything," he said. "Just the stuff from the past five years. This building's nice, but it's never had enough space for us to store all of our old files."

Clara flipped another box lid and flipped through the folders inside. "Oh. I thought this was everything. So where does everything else go?"

Shane wiped his finger clean on the carpet. "We rent a storage facility north on the island. You and I may wind up taking a trip there next week. Our staff doesn't need to go there too often, but one of our prospects asked us for some old records. I'll show you how to get into the place, in case you need to do it again on your own."

"Sounds good," Clara said, though the last thing on her mind was some future trip to a storage facility. Nicholas would be picking her up in half an hour and she was rushing to make sure she'd be finished with this task in time for his arrival. It was strange to imagine him at Fogelsang. Clara wondered if he'd park out front and wait in the car, or if he'd come inside and ask the receptionist to call her. She hadn't worked out that part of the plan. She hoped he'd go with the second option – she wouldn't mind having him come inside to see where she worked.

"Hey," Shane said, adopting a new, more sincere tone. "I know you're still waiting to hear what's going on with your aunt. I just wanted to let you know that you can work your schedule out however you need to. We'll adapt to you. Don't stress out." He looked around the basement again, "It's only work."

Clara appreciated the sentiment, but she suspected from his tone that Shane had already planned out this conversation and was now acting as the ambassador for whoever else at Fogelsang – almost certainly Theresa – was concerned about a teenager suddenly living on her own in a new town. It came off as just shy of condescension.

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