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The light of the sun—for once not drowned out by ominous grey clouds—painted the world in overly bright colors that made Nina's eyes blur as a dull ache started up in her head. Nina simply pushed the pain away. She'd been doing that a lot as of late.

Still, she didn't pause to think about that. Nina didn't stop to think about anything but the task at hand, her steps never faltering for even a second as she made her way down the street. Her hand clutched the phone in her pocket and her eyes focused ahead as she walked past neatly trimmed lawns with scattered leaves painting them in golds and reds. She tried not to look at them, lest she be reminded of woods in the fall and a seemingly never ending hall.

The street was quiet, most people at work and school, and the only person she ran into as she walked from her car to the address on her phone was the mail carrier. Nina tried to act like the world wasn't crumbling around her as she pulled on a small smile and greeted the woman sorting out mail to be delivered. It was a simple action that took more effort than Nina cared to admit.

When she finally stood before the address she'd been looking for, Nina couldn't help but feel both relieved to be at her destination and anxious about what she would find there. She hardly wanted to consider what she would know by the time she walked back out of the white door of the modest—and completely unassuming—little home.

Nina walked up the short path to the front door, took a breath and let it out in one long exhale. Once she'd calmed herself, she knocked on the door, and waited. It was only a minute later that the door opened, and Nina found herself staring at a middle aged man with a tired look in his brown eyes. He was neatly dressed, though that didn't surprise NIna. who knew he'd been waiting for her. She still appreciated the effort.

"Good morning, Mr. Sadeghi. I'm Nina Sheppard, we spoke over the phone." Nina wondered if he would ask for her credentials. She was prepared to show them, of course. She just hoped he wouldn't call her workplace only to find out she was on leave.

"Yes, I've been waiting for you. Come in, please," the man said, stepping aside to let Nina in.

She stepped inside and immediately felt the warmth of the home wrap around her—a comforting sensation she needed more than she would have thought.

"I hope I'm not bothering you," she said as she removed her coat, mostly out of politeness than because she truly cared.

"No, it's fine. I've been taking some time off from work to deal with . . . things." He led her away from the entrance and into a small but comfortable living room. The scent of freshly brewed coffee hung in the air, enticing and calming to Nina. "Please, have a seat."

Nina sat on a couch that felt far more comfortable than her own. She supposed it was probably because of the long hours she spent on it pouring over information on Alice and Fearnley.

"Would you like a drink? Tea, coffee?"

"Coffee would be great, thank you," Nina said, hoping the drink would help her feel more at ease.

Sadeghi left the room and Nina was left to sit and take in the room she was in. The place made her think of Fearnley's apartment, though it wasn't so much because of the similarities as it was because of the differences between the two. The room she was sitting in felt arm, lived in, memories of the people who lived there woven into every inch of it. From the corner of her eye, she could see what were undoubtedly pictures hanging from the wall—pictures she didn't have the courage to look at directly. Once again, Nina found herself thinking of the bare walls in her home for a moment before she was back in the hall, steps echoing and the glint of silver just ahead.

"Here you go."

Nina nearly jumped at the sound of Mr. Sadeghi's voice, too caught up in her thoughts to have heard him return. She blinked away the distant look that had been in her eyes and watched as a tray with two cups of coffee was set before her on the coffee table.

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