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New York

Locklear’s penthouse was located in Midtown Manhattan, amongst the other noteworthy and popular skyscrapers. The sights kept Avis memorized as she plastered her face against the window. Chrysler building, the Trump building, Times Square and the Rockefeller Centre, all big names that she never thought she would see. There were so many people, so much traffic that for a moment she forgot about her troubles and felt safe in the mega urban city around her. It seemed pretty easy to get lost in one of these crowds, maybe she could lose her worries the same way.

The Locklear building stood out just like the others. Narrower, the modern building had a curved shape with many large glass windows the reflected the outside scenery, traffic and life. The name ‘Locklear stood out in bright blue lettering along the top third of the building where it seemed to branch back out. It reminded Avis of some of the recent torch designs from the Olympics.

“Mr. Locklear furnished the top three floors as his personal apartments, the rest of the floors are dedicated to the number of different projects he has on the go. Research and Development, Design, Technology, even a few testing floors for some of his more unique projects.” Eve Monroe explained as the two exited the car and walked through the large glass automative doors into the main foyer.

The open concept reception area was curved like the base of the building, with marble floors, columns and a fountain in the centre. The furniture had a modern touch to it, making the room feel comfortable and welcomed. Avis blinked as she followed Eve through, it was as if she had just entered a five star hotel, actually make that six star. She had never been in such a high class place before. Her eyes were wide, taking in everything she could. What made this better than just some classy hotel was that it was also a science lab. This was the place where Malcolm Locklear had created much of his modern tech and devices that were making him a household name. Avis bet he even had one of those anti-gravity machines around here somewhere.

“So he lives and works in this building?” Avis asked, while eyeing the security cameras as they walked across the foyer towards the back where five elevators awaited them. Could she beat his system? The curiosity of what else he could have here was getting to the techie inside of her.

“Yes, of course he has several properties around America, including a house in the Hamptons that he spends about the same amount of time in. He’s a workaholic and doesn’t like to be away from his building for too long.”

“Why, is he afraid of something?” Avis asked. “Or someone?” She raised an eyebrow at the assistant. She understood workaholics, her mother was one, but to remain in one building for days on end would drive Avis crazy… unless there was something pretty cool to distract her with.

“Working with top secret equipment, especially on projects with NASA can make anyone paranoid.” Mrs. Monroe answered as the entered a lift and pressed the penthouse button, it was the only one at the top of the row of several floors. “The Security company is now just a shell of what Mr. Locklear has turned it into. We are now on the cusps of introducing new forms of electronics, energy storage devices and as you seen with the anti-gravity display, space travel. Mr. Locklear has many plans and he’s definitely one to see them to completion.”

“Should you be telling me all of this?” Avis asked. Even the elevator seemed to sparkle.

“Mr. Locklear has given you some clearance.” Eve answered.

“So I  can check out the labs?” Avis asked, far too quickly. The excitement was written all over her face, she saw Eve stare at he with a smug smile.

“No.”

It was like a punch to the gut. Avis slumped against the side of the elevator. Her deflation seemed to give Eve even more to smile at.

“Given that you’ll be living here too, Mr. Locklear thought some closure on what he works on will help explain his absence.” Eve explained just as the doors opened.

Before Avis was a large, wide open room with cathedral like ceilings and floor to ceiling glass windows. There was hardwood floors throughout the apartment, black leather couches, a top of the line kitchen to her right with granite countertops, and a patio that overlooked the city around them.  Everything looked so neat and tidy, for some reason Avis expected a bachelor’s pad to be a bit more manly. This seemed like some professional setting for a photo shoot.

“The fridge is full, so help yourself. Just make sure to stay out of the liquor cabinet. I suggested to Mr. Locklear to lock it up, but he goes through it so quickly that he complained how much of a pain it would be. I trust that you won’t take advantage?” Monroe turned and held Avis’s eyes.

“I won’t sneak anything if that’s what you’re worried about.”

“Worried? You’re fifteen years old, god I’d would have been all over that at your age.” Monroe added with a smile. “Seriously i’m keeping tabs on the bottles, so don’t even think of trying anything.”

“Alright, alright.” Avis said, she didn’t even liquor and didn’t get what the big deal was about. With a sigh, she moved over to the kitchen set up, clicking her fingers on the island. Locklear didn’t spar any expense for this place, everything she saw seemed to be the top of the line for it’s make. No shortcuts, no cut backs, she bet everyting in the apartment would add up to a million dollars, more if you counted the real estate aspect. It really put to shame what she and her mother had lived in over the years.

“The cleaners come by every Wednesday at noon, you will be in school so that shouldn’t interrupt anything.” Monroe continued to speak. “There is a laundry shoot at the end of the hall to the left, laundry is done every Friday. If you need something cleaned sooner, there is a number here you can contact.” Monroe pointed to a list of numbers, names and what looked to be emergency contacts that stood on the end of the counter next to a cordless phone and intercom. “There is a list on the fridge for groceries, I pick up the list every monday and have it arranged for someone to do the shopping, just write down what you want and i’ll be there by Monday afternoon.”

“Does he do anything himself?” Avis asked, surprised at how many people Locklear had working for him.

“Not when it comes to living arrangements.” Monroe said with a sigh. “I’ll show you to your room.” The two walked past the elevator towards a spiral steal staircase with wooden steps towards a loft type area overlooking the common rooms below.

“The first door on your right here is the bathroom.” Monroe said, opening the door to show Avis the lavish washroom, complete with Jacuzzi soaker tub. “And the the last door straight ahead is yours.”

Avis opened the door to the room that seemed to be located just above the kitchen area below. Inside it felt just as unused as the apartment below. The walls had a soft lilac colour to them, and seemed to be the size of Avis’s entire first floor of their townhouse home back in Glasglow. To the one side was more of the floor to ceiling glass windows, on the opposite side was a massive queen size bed with three framed photos of black and white flowers above it. There were also enough pillows on the bed to make a fort out of. A comfortable sized desk was to the far wall, that curved around the corner to overlook the glass and city streets below. There were also a bookcase, that already contained a few books that Avis recognized as classics of literature as well as a number of science texts that seemed only picked for their looks and texture to add to the atmosphere of the room.

Approaching the desk, Avis was distracted by the items that laid there. There was a red leather bound pocket book that had a school emblem on it that Avis quickly picked up and leafed through before turning her gaze on the real item, a brand new laptop. Except she was not familiar with the model.

“It’s Locklear’s own software and hardware. It’s just past the testing phase and we are working on marketing as we speak, officially it should be released in the next six months.” Eve Monroe said from behind Avis.

“This is mine?” She asked. “I didn’t know Locklear was into harddrive or his own computers.”

“One of many secrets he likes to keep to himself until he’s ready to share it with the world. Give it six months, and you’ll see the difference. There’s also a cell there for you too.”

Sure enough Avis noticed a small silver pad the size of any other touch screen cell phone sitting next to the laptop, with a post it note attached.

“Enjoy, and let me know of any bugs.” Was the message, with an L afterwards. Avis wasn’t sure how to take this first bit of communication with her father. For starters she was overjoyed at being the first to handle his software an computer, but afterwards she felt a bit hollow inside. He left her a note instead of greeting her in person.

“How do you like the room?” The assistant asked, her gaze steady on Avis. “We weren’t sure what your colours were, so the designer picked out something that seemed universal. But we can always change it. And, don’t forget the best part.” Monroe moved to the right and opened a pair of french doors to a walk in closet. “Pretty nice, yes?”

“Ah, yeah, it’s great.” Avis said, with a forced smile. “It’s really great.”

“Good. Oh, here is your school uniform. If you want to try it on, we can have someone in to fit it to you.” Monroe said, continuing to ramble. The uniform consisted of a red plaid skirt, white coloured shirt, red blazer with a matching emblem from the book on it’s left breast pocket and tie. It seemed Locklear wasn’t going to waste her education, with a uniform like that Avis could only guess she was going to be in some rich private school.

“Do you have any other questions?” Eve asked gently.

“I.. no, I don’t think so.” Avis said, sitting down on the edge of the bed.

“Okay, you’ll be seeing a lot of me, and my number is there with the others. I have to catch up with Mr. Locklear, but let me know if you need anything else.” Eve said, the two exchanged an awkward silence before the assistant turned and left Avis alone to ponder and explore her new home.

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