"Unfortunately, we found some more problems," he said, opening the basement door and reaching into the pitch black. "I managed to get your sink working for now, but I’ll bring in my plumber tomorrow."
Dori sucked in a sigh. He found the light switch and she went down the steps. She came to a slow halt, astonished by what she saw before her.
Lights hung from the ceiling by hooks. What had once resembled a hell mouth had been stripped down and swept clean. Tools were neatly piled under the coal shoot against the wall.
"It’s so clean," she blurted out.
"A clean site is a working site," he said. "And a safe one."
He cleared his throat. "I wanted to show this to you. See that bottle?"
She bent down to peer at an old wine bottle shoved between the river rock foundation and the floor. "Yeah."
"Someone thought that could help hold up your house." He ran his fingers along the cement between the rocks and it crumbled away.
Dori shivered as she thought about going to bed tonight.
"And see here? Someone cut into this beam when they added plumbing to the downstairs bathroom."
She obligingly looked up to where he was pointing. "And that’s not good?"
"Not when the beam is supposed to support your house. Anyway, we’re going to replace all of this with new 2500 psi, steel reinforced concrete and put in steel T straps to these girder beams." He reminded her of an artist who saw something beautiful on a blank canvas. "When we’re done, this place won’t go anywhere and none of the doors or windows will stick because the house will be level again."
"And the pipe?"
"My guy is going to look at it, and then after we get it retro-fitted, he’ll come back and reroute the pipe. The downstairs bathroom won’t have running water for two or three days."
"No, I mean only for three days? You guys work fast."
"Well, it’s how we-"
They both jumped when the door slammed shut at the top of the stairs. The force of it sent a rush of cold air against her back that zigzagged up her neck and sparkled across her scalp.
Damn him, she thought.
But Vicente wasn’t done yet. The lights flared and then the dark dropped down on them. Dori held her breath. The dark was so thick that it felt as if it pushed her eyeballs back into her head.
"Hold on," Gavin said, moving beside her. "Stay where you are. I’ll help you up the stairs."
"I don’t need you to-"
She started when he stood close enough that she felt his warmth. His hand cupped her elbow. "It’s just me," he said gently. "We’ll take it slow."
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