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The cold late February rain came down in sheets, and Terry's Converse high tops were soaked through. Sidewalks were lined with slush from all the melted snow. She'd lost the feeling in her toes on the walk from the bus stop. Still, she stayed in the frigid weather, staring at the pink awning across the street.
The neon flyer, now soggy with the letters blurring together, confirmed she had the right address. Maudern Style was, indeed, a beauty salon. Terry crossed the street, hobbling between speeding cabs. The last one barely missed her. A horn blared as the car hit a puddle, spraying the bottom of her cargo pants. The fabric now clung to her leg, outlining her brace.
She approached the large front window, making sure to keep her hood up. Light from inside cast a warm glow onto the cold, wet sidewalk. A slim woman with a long dark waves was cutting another woman's hair. She paused and turned, talking to someone out of Terry's field of vision. Then both the hairdresser and the client laughed.
Terry craned her neck to see more of the shop, careful to stay hidden under her hoodie. Maude was sitting at the reception desk studying a large book. Terry recognized the profile of Cleopatra on the front.
Maude would pause every few pages, then write something on a sticky note and paste it in the book. Movement from the back of the shop caught Terry's eye as a gray-haired woman in an apron came out and hugged Maude from behind. She planted a kiss on her cheek and placed a cupcake with fluffy icing beside the Cleopatra book.
Terry tried to swallow the unexpected lump of jealousy that had begun to grow. She wasn't prepared for this snippet of domestic bliss. Her guilt for not coming to Maude's defense in the bathroom slowly dissipated.
Her pocket buzzed with another text.
Are you on your way?
Terry put her head down and walked into the wind, both hating and relishing the stinging rain. She had money for a cab, but she was miserable and wanted to arrive at the museum in a mess, just to let her dad know how hard this was for her.
She turned the corner and saw the familiar castle-like facade and stone steps that led to the massive oak doors of the front entrance. Devonshire's crowning achievement had been reclaiming a crumbling hundred-year-old cathedral and turning it into a museum. Keeping the original masonry intact, the architects added a glass stairwell at the front, connecting all five levels and installing a massive domed skylight.
Her knee protested the last few steps. She pushed through the massive doors and was hit by an aroma of floor polish and old books.
A family of Velociraptor skeletons stood center stage in the rotunda to greet visitors. She crossed the lobby, noting how there was only one ticket wicket open. Ms. Bernard was right about one thing: The museum was in desperate need of some publicity. Presently, half the building was closed due to poor attendance. Less money coming in meant fewer staff, and fewer staff meant decreased access.
Her dad was supposed to change all that, though, plus the big secret exhibit—the secret Fraser had been nettling her about. Terry knew what was coming, but it was pretty small. She wasn't sure if it would be enough to save the museum. Of course, she didn't care much anyway. The sooner her dad set up the exhibit, the sooner they could leave.
Terry's shuffle echoed through the nearly empty reception area. Five floors encircled the rotunda, leaving a large open area in the middle of the museum all the way to the domed skylight in the roof. The design enabled natural light to pour into the middle of the building, keeping the main lobby well lit.
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Asp of Ascension (A Nefertari Hughes Mystery #1)Teen Fiction
Nefertari "Terry" Hughes has three rules for surviving high school: 1. Don't attract attention. 2. Don't get involved. 3. Don't' make trouble. A year after the accident that left her disabled and took her mother's life, sixteen-year-old Terry just w...