Brice woke the next morning feeling sore and out of sorts, not sure he was ready to face the idea of being at liberty for six weeks. As he showered he considered the idea of an extended vacation, but couldn’t think of anywhere he wanted to go that he hadn’t been to already. He got out, dried off, thought about shaving then muttered “The hell with it,” and went to get dressed.
After a protracted, and to him tasteless, breakfast, Brice wandered the condo. He paused to pick up the game controller then tossed it down in disgust. A check of the few books he owned proved uninteresting. He wasn’t the least bit inclined to go down to the building’s gym to work out, and it was still a bit chilly for a swim. He could go for a run, but one look at the cloud-filled sky and he put that idea on hold as well.
There was one thing he could do, he realized with a bit of a smile. It would at least kill a couple of hours or more if he put his mind to it. He snagged his jacket from the front hall closet then headed out.
Half an hour later he pulled off of Lake Shore Drive to head west into Lincoln Park. When he turned onto the street he needed, he sighed. There were trucks and cars parked the length of it. He finally found a parking place a block away then strolled back to his destination. He stopped across the street to look at the house. Even after two months it still gave him a thrill to realize it was his, lock, stock and barrel.
He crossed the street, walked up the short sidewalk to the steps and through the open front door.
“Hey, Brice,” he heard someone call out. Turning, he saw Morgan, the head contractor, nodded and went to join him.
“How’s it going?” Brice asked.
“We’re actually a bit ahead of schedule. I was going to call you to get you down here but you saved me the trouble. Come on, I’ll give you a tour so you can see where we’re at.”
With all the non-load bearing walls gone and only the bare studs visible the ground floor seemed cavernous. Brice took it all in as he imagined what it would look like when it was finished. The workmen had started on the sweeping staircases. They would lead to the second floor from the back of what was going to be a massive entry hall. Off to the left was the area that eventually would become a living room running the depth of the house. To the right, the plans called for a dining room. The kitchen and pantry would fill the rest of that side of the ground floor.
Brice followed Morgan to the flight of stairs at the back of the ground floor that had been left intact to give access to the second floor. When they got up there, Brice saw the new walls had already been framed in and men were putting up drywall. As they walked down the hall, Brice envisioned it with the long balcony that would span the area between the two staircases.
“This is going to be perfect,” he told Morgan.
“I agree, although I have a few suggestions I’d like you to think about.”
They spent the next twenty minutes moving from room to room on this floor, and then the one above it, as Morgan talked and Brice listened. With only a couple of small quibbles, Brice agreed to all of Morgan’s changes.
They were on their way to the stairs when Brice suddenly pulled to a halt at a doorway to what would be a guest bedroom. Several men were inside, taping and mudding the drywall. One instantly caught his attention when he saw the flaming red hair showing from under the man’s hardhat.
The man turned slightly to say something to one of the workmen beside him, and Brice again got the feeling that he knew him from somewhere. If only I could figure out where. He was sorely tempted to go talk to him but Morgan said something that required his attention and he put that thought aside.