Part IV

Jadyn started her search where she had left off, in the art gallery. The young artist resisted the urge to enjoy the paintings as she trudged along looking in every nook and cranny (not to mention every woman's bathroom and gift shop) along the way. She hoped for just a glance of the billowing white sleeves and kaki pants of the suspect. She saw neither and such a thing bothered her.

She must be someplace flagged off-limits to museum guests. She thought as she started through the cafeteria a second time. There was still no sight of the mysterious girl. She may already be in the security room. Where is it I wonder, and how can I get in there?

She knew the direction her thoughts were headed could be dangerous. What if she was wrong and a security officer caught her where she didn't belong? She knew that whatever happened, each option could prove hazardous. But I must know! I don't want to call the red alert yet. There's still that very slim chance that I'm wrong.

She watched as a member of museum security suddenly passed her by. She wondered if he could lead her to where she wanted to go, but knew that such tactics would take too long. The only thing she was sure of now was that she was running out of time and people just didn't disappear into thin air. No. That girl was someplace in the museum and up to something malicious!

Suddenly, she happened upon a door at the end of a hallway. Museum Employees Only: the sign on the door read. Jadyn took a quick look around to see if she was being watched. The current room was empty. She grasped the door handle and offered up a silent prayer. Please don't make an alarm go off.

She turned the handle and pushed it open. No buzzer sounded. She sighed in relief. Thank goodness! Quickly, she entered and closed the door softly behind her. An empty hallway met her extending forward for at least fifty feet. Where do I look first? Rising on her tiptoes, she began her search.

Elsewhere in the Museum, Noel was experiencing a similar frustration to Jadyn, but, unlike her, it didn't ruin his day. No, he was actually in a fairy cheery mood. He praised himself for having thought of the museum as a great place for taking photographs. Now, not only was he living his first adventure, he had also found the perfect subject for his next piece: Jadyn Wright.

Of course, Jadyn didn't know anything about this yet. Actually, Noel was still trying to come up with the nerve to ask her. She was so different. With her dark hair and distinctive sense of style, she would be a truly unique subject for his next photo. He thought about the fountain in the park. It would be a good place to take the picture. A good mix of elegance and grunge. It would surly be a 4.0 project. Now, all he had to do was ask her, and persuade her that it was a good idea.

"Can I help you find anything?"

Noel turned as he was addressed by a pretty museum worker. She smiled at him and he smiled back.

"Um… no thank you. I was just resting." He scooted over as she claimed the space on the bench beside him.

"I just love Egyptian artifacts, don't you?" Her gaze wandered to the reflecting pool.

Noel nodded, his eyes staying trained on the sleeping youth in the corner. The young man still hadn't moved. Noel wondered how Jadyn was making out finding his accomplice.

"Is something wrong?"

When Noel turned back around, he noticed the museum worker was looking at him. Her inquisitive gaze flitted back between the college photographer and the sleeping student.

"Um…er… no." Noel answered quickly. He looked back to the sleeping youth, trying to come up with a suitable excuse. "He's just exhausted. You know, finals week and all; and I, being the mean older brother I am, drug him along on my museum visit and the poor ol' boy just totally conked out."

The woman didn't look like she believed him, but she didn't call his bluff either. "Well, I suggest you wake him and take him home where he can get some suitable rest." Her friendliness had now faded and she rose from her seat.

"Yes, ma'am." Noel nodded and rose as well, trying to make it seem like he planned to do just that. He waited for the lady to leave before taking his seat again and nervously looking at his watch. An hour had gone by and there was still no sign of Jadyn. C'mon girl, where are you?

He looked back at the snoozing boy, thinking maybe it was time that somebody woke him up. After all, he couldn't really leave him, and the museum guide could come back any minute and find out he hadn't really done anything about his 'brother' at all.

Making a final decision, Noel stood up and went to the boy's side. Then, grasping both of his shoulders, Noel began to shake. "Hey, kid. Wake up."

The boy's eyes suddenly flew open. Confusion flooded his features as his eyes focused on Noel. "What…who are you?"

Noel couldn't help but smirk as he offered this next line. "Guess."