Lake Fae Chapter 17: Bar Shifts Are Boring

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It wasn’t long before I was spending my nights in my dad’s bar. Though it was difficult at first, after a few practices mixology came naturally to me. But all that work was a little useless, the bar was practically empty except the few regulars, who usually just wanted a beer.

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But tonight was different. Around eleven the doors swung open and in walked the prettiest girl I’ve ever laid eyes on. My jaw fell to the floor like a cartoon character, I probably looked like a fool but I was so dumbfounded by her beauty.

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She was so different from Freesia. She was classy, she looked like she had her life together and most of all she didn’t look like a drug addict. Dating again wasn’t on my agenda, but maybe this girl could be good for me.

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“Evening, what would you like?” I asked her as she sat down right in front of me.

“A mojito, please” She flashed me a smile. “Hey, you look familiar, do we know each other from somewhere?” She cocked her head slightly and narrowed her eyes.

“I don’t think so, I’d remember a face as pretty as yours.” I flirted. My game had definitely improved over the years, I wasn’t very suave when I had first started dating Freesia. It had improved so much, she giggled sheepishly.

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“Hey wait, you’re the keyboardist for Time Association, right?” Realization brightened up her face.

“Was. We broke up.” I finished her drink and placed it in front of her. I had been recognized a few times before, it wasn’t completely unusual for me.

“That’s too bad, I really liked your music. You know, I was at your very first gig. When that red-head kid was your drummer.” She laughed and took a sip of her drink. That night seemed like a million years ago, it was hard to believe she remembered it.

“Wow, that’s awesome.” I chuckled as I wiped down the counter in front of me.

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“If you don’t mind my asking, what happened?” She asked.

“Uh, the drummer was banging my girlfriend, also known as our lead singer. Wasn’t pretty.” I smirked.

“Oh my god, that’s awful. I’m sorry.”

“It’s alright, I’m better off without them. They’re all crackheads.” Finding Blackberry and Freesia was a blessing in disguise.

“Well then, to new beginnings.” She held up her glass and I held up a beer, we clinked them together and took a drink. She finished her drink and set the glass down before standing up.

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She threw a wad of cash down on the counter and winked at me before strutting over to one of the few video games we had here. She was odd, but not in a bad way. She was odd in the way that it was impossible for me to figure out. It was intriguing.

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After about an hour of video games, she quit and headed for the door. She threw the doors open and strutted out, but glanced back at me before leaving completely.

“Goodnight, Lake.” She winked.

“Goodnight,” I smiled at her, and realized I hadn’t even gotten her name. But it was too late to ask, she was already gone.

———–

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Days in the bar were even slower than the nights. The place was a ghost town, I was surprised my dad could afford to keep this place open. Instead of spending the days alone, I’d often call Allium in to keep me company. There wasn’t much to do here though, so we usually just ended up being bored together.

The girl hadn’t shown up again, it’d been a while since I’d seen her. I never even found out her name and now it seemed like I should just give up hoping, it was obvious she was never coming back.

“No offence dude, but this place is a shithole.” Al sighed from his place on the bar counter.

“None taken, it’s a crappy place but at least I’m making money.” I shrugged. A crappy job was better than no job, at least in my opinion. I needed the cash, Al and I had found an apartment and we were gonna move in next month.

“Think I could get a job here?”

“You’d have to ask my dad.” I responded while wiping down the counter for the millionth time. It seemed like no matter how much I scrubbed it, this counter would not get clean enough. This day couldn’t possibly get better.

But I was so wrong.

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The saloon-style doors swung open and in walked a girl with bright yellow hair and a red dress. It was the girl from before. Instantly my heart skipped a beat, now was my chance to make a move on her.

“Welcome.” I smiled at her, playing it cool.

“Hey Lake, how are you?” She smiled happily before taking a seat at the bar.

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“I’m great, but I didn’t catch you’re name last time.”

“Oh, right. My name is Ginger.” She smiled shyly.

“That’s a pretty name.” I gave her a flirty grin. “So Ginger, what can I get you today?”

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“Well,” She started, leaning forward nervously. “I actually wanted to see if you wanted to hang out. I know you’re working and all but I just wanted to ask.”

“R-really?” I asked, flustered.

“Yea. Do you want to?”

“Yea I do, but my boss would kill me if I left early.” Saying ‘my dad would kill me’ would be embarrassing, so I said boss instead. It technically wasn’t a lie.

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“Hey dude, this is perfect! You go and I’ll take over for you, and then you’re ‘boss’ will see how good I am and he’ll have to hire me.” Allium offered generously, I was also glad he referred to my dad as my boss, I guess he caught on.

“Really dude? You’d do that for me?”

“Of course, now go! Don’t let a girl like that get away.” He winked at me before pushing me away from the bar.

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I walked around the counter and offered Ginger my arm. She giggled sheepishly before daintily grabbing my bicep.

“Where to?” I asked as we strolled out the door.

“How about the park? It’s beautiful this time of day.” She offered.

“Sounds like a great idea.” I smiled before holding the door open for her. She smiled back and thanked me, she was so kind and polite. So different from Freesia. So much better than her. I couldn’t wait to get to know her better. Who knows, maybe she could be the one.

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Jasmine Fae Chapter 5: Mission Impossible

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“Thanks for gathering on such short notice.” My parents stood at the front of the room. They called an emergency F.R.O. meeting with just a few board members.

“Let’s jump right in, Hero, would you start us off?” My mom gestured to our old family friend.

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“Well, as you all know, my men and I have been working on disarming the trap in the ocean so we can send people out. So far, we’ve only been able to disarm it for a few minutes at most. But yesterday, we were able to disarm it for forty-five minutes.”

“What does this mean?” Iris asked excitedly.

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“This mean that we’ll be able to send someone out there.” Grandma explained.

“This is huge.” Grandpa exclaimed.

“Yes, but are we sure we’re ready for this? We don’t know what’s out there. Sending someone out there could be a suicide mission.”

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“I’ll do it.” I blurted out. It was perfect, I needed to get out of this place. I also loved F.R.O., so why not volunteer for this?

“Jasmine, we can’t let you do this.” My grandma sounded worried.

“I’m turning eighteen next month, there’s not really anything you can do to stop me.” I gave her a tight smile. I get that she was worried, but I had to make my own decisions.

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“Sweetheart, I think you should think about this. This is a huge decision, you should at least take a few days to think it over.” My grandpa suggested.

“No, I’ve made up my mind. I’m volunteering.” I turned to Hero. “What do I have to do and when do I leave?”

He didn’t answer me and looked at my dad.

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“Jazzy, I can’t let you do this.” My dad said.

“You can’t really stop me.” I crossed my arms defiantly.

“Look, I can’t let you go on a suicide mission, Jasmine. What kind of father would I be if I let my daughter do something so dangerous?”

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“You don’t have to let me, I’m going whether or not you ‘let’ me. This is something I want to do, so I’m gonna do it.”

“This isn’t something you want to do.” My dad shook his head sadly.

“How do you know what I want?”

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My dad looked over at my mom. She smiled sadly at him, and nodded slightly.

“Fine, we won’t try and stop you,” She said, “But just think about this, okay?”

“I’ve thought about it, Mom.”

I looked around the room. Everyone was giving me looks of pity. I didn’t deserve their pity. I did something awful, and I needed to be punished for it. Dying slowly and painfully on a boat in the middle of the ocean sounded ideal.

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“I don’t need your pity.” I stood up and glared at them, then turned to Hero. “Call me, tell me what I have to do, and I’ll do it.”

I left the room without another word.

——–

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“So you’re really gonna do this?” I met up with Venus, Ash and my sisters after they got out of school the next day. I hadn’t been back at school since what happened, and I wasn’t going too. But at least I was actually leaving the house.

“Yea. I leave a few days after my birthday.” Hero and I had talked on the phone, and he gave me all the details. He’d be teaching me how to drive the boat in a few days.

“So, after that I’m never gonna see you again?” She asked sadly. I hated all the sadness surrounding this. I was doing a good thing.

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“I guess.”

“Have you told Ash?” I shook my head. “You should probably tell him. How do you think he’s gonna take it?”

“I don’t know, I hope he’ll be happy for me.”

“What? Why would he be happy about this? He’s probably never gonna see you again and you expect him to be happy?”

“Yea, but he’ll understand. We both love F.R.O. and I know he’d do the same thing if he could.”

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“Maybe he should go with you.” She suggested.

“No, this is something I have to do on my own.”

She sighed. “I’m really gonna miss you, Jazz.”

“I’m sorry.”

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“I hope you come back someday.”

“That doesn’t seem likely. I’ll probably die out there.”

She sighed again, and shook her head. “Whatever. Maybe you should go talk to Ash.”

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I could tell she was upset with me. But it didn’t matter, I’d be out of here soon, and it’ll be easier on her if she hates me when I go.

“Yea, good idea.”

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I approached him excitedly, I wanted him to think of this as a good thing, like I did.

“Hey babe, guess what.”

“What?”

“I’m going on a mission in about a month!” I smiled widely at him.

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He took my hands in his. “Oh my god, that’s amazing! What kind of mission is it?”

“An expeditionary one. They’ve figured out how to disarm the ocean traps long enough for me to get past them, and then I just explore the ocean, hopefully finding an island or another city.” His smile fell.

“Babe, that sounds dangerous.”

“Don’t worry. I’ll be fine. And besides, you and I both know I would die for this organization.”

“I know, I just don’t wanna lose you.” He sighed.

“Hey, we’ve still got a month.”

“Yea, but then what?”

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I took him in my arms and kissed him. “Let’s cross that bridge when we get to it, okay?”

“Okay.” He smiled. “I’m proud of you, babe.”

“Thanks. I’m glad, everyone else is trying to talk me out of this.”

“I know better, you’re stubborn and you’re dedicated, there’s no stopping you.”

“Thanks.”

“You’re welcome.” He grabbed my hand and started pulling me away. “I’m gonna win you something, so you can take it with you on your mission and if you miss me, you can just look at it and remember me.”

“You are such a sap.” I joked.

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He led me to the claw machine game. He wasn’t very good at the game, but I cheered him on anyway.

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To my surprise, he actually won me something. It was a tiny, plastic little animal. He grabbed it from the little slot and handed it to me.

“So you’ll always remember me.”

“Thanks.” I couldn’t help but smile.

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“I promise I’ll keep it with me all the time.”

“Good.”

“I’ll miss you.”

“I’ll miss you too.” He said. I gave him a small kiss and left the arcade. It was getting late, and I know he was hurting, and I didn’t want to make it worse.

 ———

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One month passed a lot faster than I thought it would. My birthday came and went, and now it was time for me to leave. I went around the other day, saying goodbye to all my friends and family. I didn’t want a lot of people at the beach saying goodbye.

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But still, my family showed up to see me off. I went down the line and said goodbye to all of them. First up were my grandparents.

“Oh Jazz, we’re gonna miss you.” My grandpa spoke sadly.

“I’ll miss you guys too.”

“Please, don’t let this be the last time I see you.” Grandma was about to cry, I’ve never seen her cry in my life. It was a weird feeling.

“I’ll try.” I lied. I knew I was gonna die out there, I only had a months worth of food, I doubt I’d be able to find any place before I die.

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Next up was Venus. She looked a lot different, her mom got her extensions and a new wardrobe for her eighteenth birthday. It was like I didn’t even know her anymore.

“Be careful, okay?” She said awkwardly. Things between us got weird after I volunteered to do this. I didn’t like leaving on a bad note with her, but I didn’t really have a choice.

“I will.” I lied again, lying to them would make me leaving easier.

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My parents were next, and they were the ones I was most worried about.

“I really wish you weren’t doing this.” My father crossed his arms.

“I’m sorry.” I didn’t know what else to say. What do you say when you’re leaving the two people who raised you? After a few seconds of silence, I finally choked out a small “Thank you.”

My father nodded slightly, and I nodded back. There wasn’t anything else to say.

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“Why do I have to lose everyone I’ve ever loved?” I heard my mom whisper to my dad, barely audible over the crashing of the waves. I felt my heart break, I hadn’t even thought about how my mom lost her parents and her husband during a mission. She also lost her sister, and now she was about to lose one of her daughters. I swallowed my tears and moved on to my sisters.

“You guys be good, okay?”

“We will, you be good too.” Iris smiled sadly at me. I worried about her, she didn’t have very good judgement. Hell, she was considering dating Sage until I told her that he was Venus’s ex. I just hoped she wouldn’t get into any serious crap after I left.

“I’ll miss you.” Ivy whispered.

“You too kiddo.”

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Ash was the last person in line. As soon as I saw him, I couldn’t help but kiss him.

“I love you Jazz.”

“I love you too.”

“Don’t forget me, okay?” He asked, his eyes brimming with tears. I felt horrible for hurting him, but I’d feel even worse if I stayed.

“I could never.”

I kissed him one last time before climbing into my boat.

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I sped off into the vast ocean, never looking back.

River Fae Chapter 21: Finale

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The years were flying by so fast it was hard to register everything that was happening. Jasmine had started school, Ivy and Iris were both walking and talking, and Drea had become the principal of the school. But that’s only scratching the surface.

As the girls grew, so did their personalities. All three girls were so different, it was hard to believe they were sisters.

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Jasmine was a very independent little girl. Even though her sisters were older now, she chose to play by herself. Or maybe the twins chose to play with just each other. I’m not entirely sure what happened there, but either way Jasmine played by herself. Sometimes Venus would come over to play, but she was getting older and didn’t want to play as much anymore.

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I felt bad for her, I knew she was having a hard time in school, but she refused to talk to me about it. I wanted to help her, I would do anything for any of my girls, but if she didn’t come to me and tell me she needed help there wasn’t much I could do. Drea and I didn’t want to force it out of her, we both knew that would drive her away. We didn’t want that, we wanted our kids to feel like they could come to us for anything.

The teasing probably centered around her mixed status. So far, she was the only hybrid we knew of, so of course that made her an easy target for bullying. Drea and I worried about her status, we weren’t sure what powers she possessed. We’ve heard of young supernaturals having magical outbursts, and we feared that would happen with her. If she got pushed to the edge, there’s no telling what her powers could do.

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Despite her trouble with the kids in school, Jazzy had great grades. She always did her homework before going outside to play. But that didn’t mean she didn’t need homework help every once in a while. Drea and I both sucked at math, but lucky for us Aster was a math whiz. He’d always come over and help her with her homework whenever we asked.

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As for the twins, they weren’t as easy to deal with as Jazzy. Having twins is a lot harder than having one child. When one cries, the other one cries too. When one is hungry, the other needs a change. It’s difficult, especially during the day when Hydrangea is at work.

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But they weren’t just twins. Each girl had a personality of her own, and they were vastly different from each others. Iris was loud and stubborn, but she was also very interested in her reflection. Her favorite thing to do was sit in front of the mirror and cry.

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And boy, could she cry. Iris had a strong set of lungs in her, that’s for sure. She could wail so loud it woke up the neighbors. A lot of the time we didn’t know why she was crying, she’d just cry for no reason whenever she felt like it.

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Ivy was the exact opposite. She didn’t cry, and we had trouble teaching her to talk. But we soon found out that she could talk, she just chose not to.

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Ivy had no problem learning her other skills. She had no trouble walking, and potty training was a breeze with her. Drea and I came to the conclusion that our daughter might just be shy. She didn’t like seeing people outside of her immediate family, while Iris always ran to anyone who entered the house.

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Despite her shyness, Ivy had a very kind heart. She always tried to comfort Iris when she cried, but Iris would never let her. She also would try to comfort Jazzy when she was upset, but Jazzy refused to even admit she was upset. It was a little discouraging to Ivy, but she still tried to comfort those around her. I knew she was going to grow up to be a very kind young woman.

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The five of us were doing great. My life was as perfect as it could possibly be.

But of course when you least expect it, your past comes back to haunt you.

I found out about it through the news channel. I didn’t know how to respond when I saw her face on the TV screen again.

Clover Lyn had died in prison. She had overdosed on some pills someone snuck into the prison.

I didn’t know how to feel. I hated her for years after what she did. I knew I could never forgive her, but I knew someone who would be torn up over this.

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I knew him well enough to know where he’d be.

“Hey Hero, you okay?” I asked, he looked up at me and shook his head.

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“Why are you here? After what she did to you and your friends?” His voice was hoarse, it was obvious he’d been crying for a while.

“I’m not here for her. I had a feeling you’d be here, and I wanted to see how you were doing.”

“You’re a good kid, River.”

“Thanks. Are you okay? Do you need anything?”

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“No. I’m good, thanks though. I accepted that my little girl’s gone a long time ago. It’s just, now that she really is, it’s a lot harder than I imagined.”

I tried to put myself in his shoes. How would I react if one of my daughters murdered multiple people? I would never stop loving my daughters, no matter what. But it must be hard to love someone when they do something like she did.

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“If you do ever need anything, Drea and I will always be here for you, okay?”

“You have a good heart, kid. I should get out of here, it’s not healthy for me to spend so much time here. I’ll see you around.” He patted me on the shoulder and left the cemetery.

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After Hero left, I stayed and just stared at her headstone. Part of my was still furious with her, that part of me was glad she had passed. But the other part of me felt sorry for her. She wasn’t well when she did what she did. I knew I couldn’t blame her for what she did.

Another part of me always worried she would break out of prison and come find me. It was a small part, but still a part. I was terrified she would take Drea from me too. But now I didn’t have to worry about that anymore.

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It felt wrong, for me to be relieved that someone was dead. Even if that person did horrible things. Was I wrong to feel relieved? I’m not sure, but there was one thing I was sure of.

I wouldn’t be coming back to the cemetery any time soon.


And that’s a wrap!

This generation has been a roller-coaster, for me and for River. I’ve really enjoyed writing his story, and I’m a little sad that it’s over. But, I’m ready to start the next generation. I’m really excited about generation 3, it’s gonna be awesome. I’ll put the heir vote up soon, I can’t wait to see who you choose to take on the Fae family legacy!

River Fae Chapter 18: Second Chances

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Jasmine was the greatest thing that ever happened to Hydrangea and I. She was such an amazing baby, neither of us wanted to leave her. But Drea started working at the elementary school, and I started taking night shifts at the bookstore so one of us could be with her at all times. We didn’t want to hire a babysitter or a nanny, we were extremely protective of our baby.

But we couldn’t keep her to ourselves forever. Mom was begging me to come over, she was dying to meet her first granddaughter, and she was so hard to say no to.

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My parents came over about a week after Jazzy was born. They brought Aster with them, and I was excited to try and get to know my nephew better.

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“How are you guys?” I asked my mom after I greeted them at the door.

“We’re doing okay.” She smiled tightly then turned to Drea with a huge grin. “So, where’s my little granddaughter?”

The girls headed upstairs to visit with the baby, and Dad and I headed for the video game system that Aster was already setting up.

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“Hey, what’s up kiddo?” I asked as I sat down next to Aster.

“You have a lot of video games.” he stated without looking away from the TV screen.

“Yea, I’ve been collecting since I was your age.”

“You’re old.” He said, and Dad laughed.

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“Hey, I’m not that old.” I picked up my own controller and joined him. “You are so on. Dad, wanna join?”

“Sure, why not.” He laughed and grabbed the remaining controller.

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“I’m gonna destroy both of you.” Aster threatened.

“I’d love to see you try.”

——-

*Hydrangea*

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“Oh my god Drea, she’s gorgeous.” Primrose carefully lifted Jazz from her crib.

“Thank you.”

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“Hi sweetheart. I’m your Gamma.” She said in a baby voice. Jazzy cooed, and snuggled against Prim’s shoulder.

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“How are you guys doing?” She asked when she turned to me.

“We’re doing good, we’ve developed a system, and it’s been working so far.”

“Good, that’s good. Are you guys nervous?”

“About being parents? Yea, I guess you could say that.” I admitted. I was terrified of messing up, but I guess all parents feel like that at some point.

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“No, that’s normal sweetheart. I was talking about her… status.” She hesitated, and suddenly I understood what she was saying. She was worried about Jasmine’s mixed occult status.

“Oh. Yea, I’m nervous. But the doctors said not to worry, it was bound to happen eventually, now that vampires and Fae are interacting.

“I know, but I’m a little worried. Technically speaking, she shouldn’t even exist. Hybrid occults aren’t supposed to happen.” I was a little offended, but she did have a point. We always learned that it was physically impossible.

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“I know. But it happened, so now what?”

“Well, we don’t know what kind of power she has. There’s a number of possibilities. She could have extremely heightened powers from both states, or she could have extremely dull powers.”

“Which would be better?”

“The dull powers. If she’s too strong, people will get scared. And when people get scared of someone, the do terrible things. We need to watch out for this one.” She said, snuggling Jazzy close to her.

“What do we do?”

“All we can do is wait.”

——–

*River*

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“Are you serious?” Dad whined when Aster beat the both of us.

“I told you I was gonna destroy you.” He laughed.

“Yea, yea, whatever.” I brushed it off, I was pretty embarrassed to get my ass handed to me by a six year old boy, but I didn’t let them know that.

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“I’m bored.” Aster tossed his controller onto the coffee table. “Do you have anything fun around here?”

“We just got some new playground stuff put in the backyard, wanna go test it out?”

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He was running out the back door before I could even get off the couch.

“Watch out for that one, he may seem sweet but that’s how he reels you in.” Dad said as he was starting a new game.

“He can’t be that bad.” He’s just a kid, he can’t be that terrible, right?

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He was already up in the tree house by the time I got outside. “Hey kiddo, how’s the tree house?”

“It’s so awesome!” He yelled back, before disappearing inside it.

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I took a seat at the picnic table and made sure he didn’t get hurt. The kid was still a little hostile towards me, but it definitely wasn’t as bad as the first time we met. He was a pretty good kid, and he deserved a better mother than my sister. Poppy had willingly given custody to our parents and now no one knew where she went. Dad thinks she’s with her latest boyfriend, who’s a part of the crime circle in the bad part of town.

The poor kid didn’t have either of his parents in his life. But t least he had my parents, which were probably better than his actual parents anyway. But still, people want their biological parents in their life in one way or another. I know I did.

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“Hey, Uncle River, come over here.” Aster called, breaking me away from my thoughts.

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“Hey bud, what’s up?”

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He stuck his head back into the tree house, and was confused. Why would he call me over here if he didn’t want something?

But I realized too late what he was about to do.

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Somehow, he’d gotten a bucket full of water up there. He emptied the entire thing onto my head, in the middle of winter. He was so gonna get it.

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“ASTER. GET DOWN HERE.”

“No. You’re not the boss of me.”

“Fine, then I’ll go get someone who is.” I felt like a child, but I didn’t exactly know how to handle a situation like this.

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“Oh my gosh, River what happened?” My mom asked when I came storming inside.

“Aster.” I said before heading for the shower upstairs.

——-

*Hydrangea*

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“I’ll go talk to him.” Jeremy laughed before heading outback. I felt bad for River, but it was kinda funny.

“God, that kid is gonna be the death of me.” Prim said with a small laugh. “Hopefully Jazzy won’t be so difficult.”

“I hope so too.” We laughed, and Jeremy came back with Aster in tow.

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“Jasmine is getting fussy, I’ll take her upstairs.” Primrose said as soon as they took a seat.

“Am I in trouble?” Aster asked.

“Yes, that wasn’t nice, bud.”

“It was just a joke!”

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“It wasn’t very funny.” Jeremy scolded, making Aster roll his eyes and look at me.

“Aunt Drea, did you think it was funny?” He asked. It made my heart soar to hear him call me his aunt. I honestly never thought I’d be an aunt after I lost Tuli.

“I can’t answer that.” I glanced at Jeremy, who was biting his cheek to keep from laughing.

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“Am I allowed to come back here?”

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“Of course, It’s fine with me, but all you gotta do is apologize to your uncle.” I hoped I was saying the right thing, I honestly didn’t know much about disciplining a child.

“Fine.”

“We’ll have him call later.” Jeremy smiled at me, and I knew I said the right thing. “We should get going, Aster’s got a soccer game later.”

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“Can I come back in the summer? I really wanna try out that water slide.” He asked.

“Of course, we’d love to have you over.”

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“Thanks Aunty, I can’t wait!” He cheered.

“Of course. Good luck at your game today.” I added, and gave him a hug goodbye.

It felt great to be an aunt.

——-

*River*

*Two months later*

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Drea and I were finally comfortable with having a babysitter, so we decided the first thing we’d do was get married. Mom did most of the planning, but there wasn’t much to plan. We were just having a small wedding with some family. Not everyone could make it due to work or other commitments, and we didn’t really mind. We knew that they’d be here if the could, and that’s all that really mattered.

Drea looked absolutely gorgeous in her dress. As she walked down the aisle towards me, I felt like my chest was going to explode. I really, really loved her. And now I was about to marry her.

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“Hi.” She whispered when she reached the arch.

“Hi.” I said back. We stood the for a second, just staring at each other. I wanted to remember every second of this day.

“We should probably get started.” She laughed.

“You can go first.”

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“Okay, well um River, honestly when I met you I didn’t think much of you. You were important to my organization, but back then I didn’t realize how important you would become to me personally. But I’m so glad you’re in my life now. You’ve given me so much. A second chance at happiness, a home, and a daughter. The least I could do is give you my hand in marriage.” Both of us were tearing up as she slid the ring onto my finger.

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“I remember getting that first call from you, asking me to help you with the case. In all honesty, I almost didn’t answer. I had no idea how much that one call would change my life. We’ve both been through a lot, but now we have each other, and we never have to go through anything alone. I want to make you the happiest woman in the world, because you’ve already made me the happiest man.” I slid her ring onto her finger, and now everyone was bawling.

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“I love you, Hydrangea Fae.”

“I love you too, River Fae.”

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We shared our first kiss as husband and wife, and it was absolutely magical.

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Everyone cheered as we pulled apart. I grabbed her hand and squeezed it.

I couldn’t wait to spend the rest of my life with her.

River Fae Chapter 15: Who’s Fault is it Anyway?

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Drea and I co-ran the F.R.O. meetings for the next few months. It was going really well, she and I got along great and we were both very passionate about the subject. After learning about everything the scientists have done, I wanted to break free too. In school they taught us about the scientists and the times before the discovery of supernaturals, but they always sugarcoated it. I learned more about our history here than I ever did in twelve years of school. I had no idea how much the older generation suffered.

We were planning a large meeting with every member of F.R.O., not just us board members. We had to plan carefully, there were a lot of us and we didn’t want to draw unwanted attention from the scientists. I didn’t even want to think about what could happen if we got found out. It wouldn’t be pretty.

“Well, I think we should wrap this up for today.” Drea clapped her hands together and smiled. Everyone slowly filed out of the small conference room one by one, and it was driving me insane. I was itching for the next part of our co-directing. My favorite part. As soon as the last person left, Drea made her way over to my stool.

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“Will the boys be home?” Drea whispered after she kissed me. “I’m not sure, I think Maple might be going out with some friends, not sure about Carrot though.” I shrugged. “Well, there’s two floors, I doubt he needs both of them.” She smirked.

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“Well, we should probably go claim a floor, the first one has too many windows.” I offered her my arm, and we left HQ excitedly.

——-

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“Pst, Carrot. Wake up.” I urged my half-brother awake. I wasn’t entirely sure how he’d fallen asleep so fast after our meeting.

“What do you want.” He mumbled. “I”m too tired for this.”

“Why? You fell asleep before me last night.”

“What do you want?” He asked, ignoring my question.

“Um, can Drea and I use the room?”

“Again?” He rolled his eyes when I nodded. “Fine, but I’m cranking my music this time.”

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“Thanks man, I owe you one.”

“Lucky for all of us, I’m not a screamer.” He mumbled, probably thinking I couldn’t hear him. As soon as he left the room, I pulled Drea into it.

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We didn’t waste any time making use of the second floor and the second floor bathroom.

——-

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This week I had to go to the cemetery alone, Maple was working overtime at the studio in hopes of getting promoted. I didn’t mind that much, it wasn’t that big of a deal.

The cemetery was pretty deserted when I got there. Not many people were buried here, most people preferred to be cremated or buried on their own property. Maple and I usually had the place to ourselves.

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But it wasn’t completely deserted, I realized this when I glanced over at Chrissy’s grave and saw Hero looking miserable. I wasn’t exactly on the best terms with the man but I couldn’t just walk away without doing anything.

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“Hey, mind if I sit?” I asked as I approached him cautiously.

“Her cat died today.” He mumbled.

“What?”

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“Her cat, Atlantic.  He died today. He was older than you.” He wiped his eyes and took a swig out of one of the many beer bottles scattering the ground.

“He was old, it happens. Are you ok?” I didn’t really know what to say, I’ve never seen him so upset like this. Not even when Chrissy died.

“He was all I had left of her.” He sobbed. I felt awful. He really did love his wife, and their only child turned out so awful, it must’ve been so hard for him.

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“I was such an awful father.”

“That’s not true. You didn’t do anything wrong.” I tried to comfort him, but I wasn’t very good at it.

“But I did. It’s all my fault.”

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“You can’t blame yourself for something your daughter did. You did the best you could, there’s nothing you could’ve done differently.” I tried to be convincing, I didn’t entirely believe what I was saying but I couldn’t kick him while he was down. I honestly never really thought about how this all effected him. I don’t think anyone really thinks about the murderers side of the family, and how it effects them. People usually only think about the victims side of the family.

“My daughter killed two innocent women. I must’ve gone wrong somewhere.”

“That’s not your fault. You didn’t tell her to do that. She wasn’t sane, and if it’s anyone’s fault, it’s mine. I should’ve told someone she wasn’t stable. I should’ve gotten her the help she needed. If it’s anyone’s fault, its mine.” I admitted. I’ve been over it a million times in my mind, and it should’ve been obvious to me. She wasn’t sane, she needed help. And instead, I made it so much worse. It really was all my fault.

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“I’ve always known she was unstable. She did things as a child, horrible things. I knew something was wrong, but I didn’t want to admit it to myself. I didn’t want to believe there was something wrong with the child Chrissy and I created. If I had accepted that, and gotten her the help she needed, this wouldn’t have happened.” He started sobbing again, and chugged the rest of his beer.

“Hey, why don’t we go back to my house? I can make us some hot coffee, and we can talk there.” I felt horrible for him, he was no longer the strong army man I once knew. He was a broken man who had lost everything he loved, and I knew I couldn’t leave him out here alone.

“Yea, that sounds good.” He smiled at me through his tears. He tried to stand up on his own, but he was much drunker than he realized because he fell right over. I helped him onto his feet and wrapped my arm around his shoulder.

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“Shouldn’t we pick up the bottles?” He mumbled as I guided him out of the cemetery.

“Nah, if we do, then what will the teenagers who work the night shift clean?” I joked, making him laugh.

“True, true.”

——-

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“How you feeling?” I asked Hero after I got him to my house.

“Alright. Thanks for this kid, I’ve been having a hard time lately and this really means a lot.”

“No problem, you’ve always been like an uncle to me.”

“Why aren’t you mad at me?” He sighed and placed his chin in his palm.

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“Because this isn’t your fault.” I couldn’t be mad at him anymore after seeing him like this. He needed support right now, not hate.

“I just told you why it was my fault.”

“I know you think that it’s your fault, but it isn’t. I know it’s hard to admit there’s something wrong with someone you love, and I don’t blame you for any of this. You shouldn’t blame yourself for this either.”

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“It’s so easy to blame myself. It’s a lot easier than blaming her. I don’t want to believe my only child is a monster. It’s hard to believe that the tiny baby I once held in my arms became a cold-blooded murderer. If I tell myself it’s my fault, it’s a lot easier.”

“I don’t know what it’s like to be a father, but I do know what it’s like to blame yourself for something that’s not your fault. But what happened is neither my fault or yours. We didn’t do anything wrong, we didn’t know how bad she was. That’s not our fault.”

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“I’m so sorry, River.”

“I’m sorry too.”

——-

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“I’m glad the two of you could talk, I think you both need it.” Drea and I were taking a walk up to the lake, she said we should go outside more. It was a little strange but I went with it.

“Yea, it really helped.”

“That’s good.” She smiled. We walked in silence for a while, until she stopped me right next to the lake.

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“River, I need to tell you something.” She blurted out nervously.

“Is everything okay?”

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“Just promise me you won’t get mad. I-I really don’t want you to be mad at m-me.” She started to sob.

“Hey, it’s okay. You can tell me anything. I promise I won’t get angry.” I assured her. I was nervous too, I had no idea what she was about to tell me, and I really hoped she wasn’t going to end things between us. I really liked what we had, and I didn’t want that to end.

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“I’m pregnant.”

River Fae Chapter 14: F.R.O.

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“Okay, now that everyone’s here we can get started.” Hydrangea smiled at us after Hero took a seat in the last remaining chair. I could feel him staring at me, but I couldn’t even look at him. He resembled her way too much.

“Alright, so River, Welcome to F.R.O.” She waved her arms around, showing off the room.

“F.R.O.?”

“Fae Restoration Organization. We’re trying to restore your family to power and break away from the scientists.” She explained.

“How long had this been going on?” I looked around the room at the familiar faces. It was obvious that this wasn’t the first meeting.

“Honestly, we’ve been doing this for a few years, sweetheart.” My mom chimed in.

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“Are we the only members?” If we were going to overthrow the scientists, we were gonna need a lot more people.

“Of course not, we’re just the board members.”

“What do you guys do?”

“We strategize. We need a plan.” Hydrangea spoke passionately about F.R.O., it was liberating to see her so invested in something. She was never like this when I worked with her. She was a cold woman who didn’t mess around, but there was no passion behind her coldness.

“Do we have a plan?”

“Multiple, but we need to be absolutely positive they’ll work.” She sighed. I had a feeling she was about to tell the story of the incident, and my feeling was right. “I had just gotten married when it happened. His name was Moss Blu, and he was the one who originally got my family into F.R.O. when I was a teenager. He was very passionate about the organization. He wanted to get out, explore the world. They had a plan, they were gonna travel through the forest and try and find what was out there, and then come back. The got about five miles into the forest, and they were all electrocuted to death. I told him to go, I told him it’d be a great opportunity. He didn’t want to go, but I talked him into it. And he went, and so did my parents. All three of them died. And ever since, I’ve been completely devoted to this organization. Now it’s all I have.”

She wasn’t even tearing up as she told this awful story. I would’ve expected at least one tear, but no. She was so much stronger than I ever even realized. Maybe that’s why she was so cold all the time, she had lost so much. She always blamed herself for what happened to her husband and her parents. She threw herself into her detective work so she could distract herself, and she tried so hard not to make another mistake. She thought things over too much, which caused her to slip up again. And now, she didn’t have anything to lose, so she threw herself into this.

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“And that’s why we need to make sure our plans are completely fool-proof. We already have limited members, we can’t afford to lose anyone. That’s why we need to figure out everything the scientists are doing to keep us in. We need to figure out how to get past them. We need to be one step ahead at all times.”

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“So far, all we know is that they have some kind of electric field surrounding the valley, and anyone who tries to cross it dies. We don’t know how to get past it, but we have people working on that. We also have the ocean, but we don’t know what they have out there. We also have people working on that, but nothing on either so far.” My mom explained. All this information was making my head spin.

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“Actually, we’ve got something on the ocean. They have something out there too, it’s kind of like a large fisherman’s trap. We’re figuring out how to disarm it, even if its just for a little while.” Hero announced.

“So what does this mean?” I asked.

“In a few years, we might be able to send someone for help.” Hydrangea admitted excitedly.

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“And how long is that going to take? Do we really want our children growing up in a world like this?” Fern cried. Oh yea, I forgot to mention, Fern is pregnant with her first child, so she’s been extremely moody for the past month.

“I don’t think we’ll be ready anytime soon, these scientists are much more advanced than us. It’s gonna take us years. Maybe your children will be the ones going on the mission.” Hero tried to encourage her, but that just upset her even more.

“I don’t want my children to have to risk their lives for this.”

“Yes, but we don’t know them yet, we can’t make their decisions for them before they’re even born.” Maple chimed in.

“Well it won’t be my children.” She crossed her arms like a child.

“Fine, we’ll have more people for the job anyways.” Drea smiled and changed the subject. “Speaking of that, Carrot how are you coming on recruiting new members?”

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“I’ve gotten at least ten more people involved, all of them originals.” Originals were what we called vampires and Fae who were here since the beginning of the experiments.

“No younger recruits?” Mom asked, and he shook his head.

“No, none of them are very interested. They don’t want to fight for something that could endanger their lives.” He said solemnly.

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“You could always stop by one of my concerts, there’s lots of younger, rebellious people who go to them. I bet you could get at least five more for the team.” Dill offered, and Carrot nodded.

“Will do.” It was weird for me to see my brothers interact, I had no idea they even knew each other.

“Alright, well I’ve got practice right now, I’ve gotta go.” Dill stood up and said goodbye, then left.

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Drea sat down in Dill’s empty seat, and turned to my mom. “So how is Basil doing with the books? Has he been able to score any more?”

“He’s there right now, actually.” Mom smirked.

“What books?”

“Oh, your uncle has been going back to the lab, volunteering for more experiments, and he’s been stealing a few of our old books every time he goes. He’s helped us out a lot, I mean look what he’s already gotten us.” She waved her hands over the table. There were a lot of old books here, it must’ve taken him forever to steal all these.

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“Is he doing okay? Are they hurting him?” I worried.

“He does what he has to too help us.” She simply stated.

“You’re okay with that?” I asked, I would’ve thought my mom would protest his return to the lab after everything he went through with scientists.

“No, but he’s a grown man. He chooses to go, there’s not much I can do to stop him.”

“Alright, does anyone have anything else?” Drea asked, trying to keep the tone in the room light.

“No, I don’t think so.” Maple looked around the room, and everyone nodded.

“Alrighty then, you’re dismissed.”

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“Except River, you stay.” Drea smirked at me as everyone else started to leave.

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“Actually Drea, would it be okay if I talked to him for a minute?” Hero asked. Drea looked at me, looking for an answer.

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“No, not today.” I tried to keep myself from getting angry with him. I knew it wasn’t his fault, but he was so easy to blame, it was hard not to.

He nodded slightly and left the room quickly. I felt kinda bad, he used to be like an uncle to me. But now it was hard to even look at him without seeing her.

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“He’s not a bad guy, River.” Drea said softly as I approached her.

“I know, I’m just not ready.”

“Understandable.” She smiled. “So, did you like the meeting?”

“I did, but why didn’t any of you tell me before?” I had been wondering that the whole time. They all were in this, and I had no idea. How long had it been going on like that?

“We were going to actually, that’s why I needed you on the Gardenia case and not Fern. She was already in this, and we wanted to make sure you were ready.”

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“And so you think I’m ready now?”

“I know you’re ready now.”

“I know I am too.” I smiled at her.

“So, how would you feel about being co-director?” She asked.

“Really? Why not someone who’s been here longer than I have?”

“Two reasons: One, you’re the heir to the Fae crown. If your family was still in power, you’d be the king. Two, because I like you a lot better than anyone else here.” She explained. I felt like she was flirting with me.

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“I’d love to be your co-director.” I flirted back.

“Welcome to the team.” She beamed.

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“There’s also something else I wanted to ask.” Drea looked away from me shyly.

“What is it?” I asked.

“Well, um, would you maybe wanna go out sometime?” She was nervous, and she looked freaking adorable. It was impossible to say no to her.

“I’d love to.”

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She kissed me quickly, I barely had any time to react. “Goodnight, Co-director.” She smirked, before running out of the conference room.

I had a lot to process tonight.

———

*Carrot*

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“Uh hey, Maple, can I talk to you?” I nervously entered Maple’s bedroom. I was about to do something that could jeopardize everything I had currently, but I didn’t care anymore. Things needed to be said.

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I was actually surprised he was even still awake. It was almost two in the morning, and I fully expected to walk right out of here without saying anything. Trust me, I’ve done it a million times before. I would wait until River started to snore, then I’d sneak out of the room and come in here to talk to him, but he’s always sleeping. But not tonight.

“Yea sure, give me a sec.” He said, without even looking up from the screen. I took a few more steps into the room, and I was now standing in the middle of the room.

He got up from the desk and made his way over to me. “Wanna take a seat?”

“No thanks, I’d prefer to stand.”

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“Are you okay? You seem really nervous.” He asked me, making me want to run out of the room without saying anything.

“Um, yea. I just h-have something I need to say to you.” I told him, my voice cracking under my nervousness.

“Sure.”

I took a deep breath, trying to remember the speech I practiced in the bathroom mirror a million times. “Um, so, we’ve been friends for a while, right?” I asked, and he gave me a puzzled look, then nodded. “Well um, I was just curious, but do you remember last night in the hot tub, when you said you were interested in someone?”

“Yea.”

“Well, I was wondering, who is it?”

“Why do you wanna know?”

“I was kinda hoping it was me.” I admitted.

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His face lit up like a Christmas tree. “Wait, really?”

“Yea. Ever since I started getting to know you I started to like you. It’s been really confusing, to be honest. I’ve been dating a girl for the past seven years of my life, I never thought I’d ever fall for a guy. But I guess shit happens.” I laughed, and thankfully so did he.

“What about your girlfriend?”

“She dumped me. Said I was too distant. I had a hard time being near her when I knew I was falling for someone else. I couldn’t do that to her, and I didn’t want a repeat of River. So I waited until she dumped me.”

“So now what?”

“Well you never answered my question, was it me?” I asked, and he nodded. “Thank god. I was gonna look like a damn fool if it wasn’t.”

“But Carrot, if we’re gonna do this, we’re gonna have to keep it a secret from River.” He frowned.

“Why? He’s pretty open-minded. He has a gay step-sister.”

“I know, but I don’t want him to feel like a third wheel. It’s weird living with a couple, and I don’t wanna put him through that. Not right now.” He grabbed my hand softly. “Can you do that?”

I nodded. “I’d do anything.”

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Maple smiled at me. “Me too.” He said, before pulling me into a kiss. Kissing him was so different from kissing Cinna. It was magical. I could feel him start to get hard against me, and I decided to be a tease.

So with a sudden burst of confidence, I pulled back from the kiss and grinned at him.

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“Night.” I kissed him on the cheek, then walked out of the room with a huge smile on my face.

River Fae Chapter 13: Making a Splash

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Hydrangea was coming over to swim today, and I was extremely nervous. We’ve only known each other in a professional environment, and I was afraid she wouldn’t like me outside of it. I really wanted her to like me, she was Tulip’s only remaining family and I knew that I’d have to make her like me if Tulip was still alive.

She told me she was gonna be here at ten, and it was now ten-thirty. I was worried she wouldn’t show, and I really hoped that wasn’t the case. It was so embarrassing to sit there with my friend and brother, waiting for someone who might not even show, so I sent them out to the pool early.

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Finally after fifteen more minutes of waiting, the doorbell rang. I jumped off the couch to answer the door. Hydrangea stood on the front porch nervously, I’ve never seen her so vulnerable. It was strange.

“Hey Drea, come on in.” I invited her in, and I noticed she had her hair down. I’ve never seen her hair down. I had no idea it was so long.

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“Thanks for inviting me over, you have such a nice house.” She looked around in awe. “Oh, and I’m sorry I’m so late, my roommate needed a ride to work.”

“It’s no problem, now c’mon, let’s go swim.” We laughed and I lead her outside.

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“Wow, you’re backyard is huge!” She exclaimed as she ran outside. I really liked this side of her. I hoped I could see it more often.

“Yea, it’s a lot bigger than our old backyard. I love it.” I smiled.

“Hey Drea, River, come on in.” Maple called from the pool.

“Race ya.” Drea yelled and took off running. I couldn’t help but chuckle.

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She took the slide and I took the diving board and on the count of three we went into the pool.

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When I surfaced, Carrot was getting out of the pool. “Getting out already?”

“You know I’m not a fan of water.” He mumbled, and headed inside.

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“You better come back out.” I yelled after him. He grunted and waved me off, making everyone laugh.

“You’re such an older brother.” Hydrangea splashed me. I suddenly remembered my beach date with Tulip the day before she died, and how we had a splashing fight in the water that day.

“Um hey, how about we have a breath holding contest?” I suggested, trying to distract myself.

“Sure, you in Maple?”

“Nah, I’m good.”

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Maple offered to be the judge, but I think he was too involved in his romance novel to care. I didn’t mind though, I just wanted to get my mind off Tulip.

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“Hell yea!” I yelled when I found out I won.

“Ugh, you suck.” Drea joked.

“Hey, wanna relax on some rafts? We’ve got a few more if you want one.”

“Sure, I’d love to.”

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A few minutes later all three of us were relaxing on rafts.

“So, Maple whatcha reading?” Hydrangea asked, and he laughed.

“Don’t think you’d be interested, it’s a homoerotic novel.” He laughed, and she scrunched her face in horror.

“You’re right, not my thing.”

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Just then, Carrot came back outside.

“Hey, can you get me a soda too?” I asked.

“Get it yourself, jerk.” He joked.

“Why do you guys have a vending machine in your backyard?” Drea wondered aloud.

“My dad knows a lot of shady guys.” He simply stated before taking a seat on one of the law chairs.

“Hey River, where’s your bathroom?” Drea jumped off her raft and into the pool.

“It’s the door right off the kitchen, it’s impossible to miss.” I explained, and soon she was gone leaving just us guys. I slid off my raft and swam up next to Maple.

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“Having fun?”

“You so like her.” He stated, never even looking up from his book.

“Nonsense, she’s just a friend.”

“I can tell you like her dude, and honestly I think you’d make a great match.”

“No, I think you’re wrong, bro.” I grumbled, before swimming away and climbing out of the pool.

There was no way I could like her, she’s my deceased girlfriend’s sister. I’d be a terrible person if I dated her, it’d be like spitting on Tulip’s grave. I could never do that to her, no matter how cute her sister looked in that swimsuit.

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“Hey, mind if I join you?” Hydrangea’s voice broke through my thoughts of her and Tulip.

“Yea, take a seat.” I offered.

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“Oh, by the way, I think the longer hair suits you quite well.” She told me as she got comfortable in the chair.

“Thanks, I just kinda stopped getting it cut. I was surprised how badass it made me look.” I joked, making her laugh.

“You do look pretty badass.”

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“Hey guys, I’m starting the bonfire.” Carrot called out to no one in particular.

“Don’t burn yourself this time, I don’t wanna take you to the hospital again.” Maple shouted from the pool.

“What?” Hydrangea asked, half laughing.

“Yea, this idiot managed to light his shorts on fire. He was smart enough to jump in the pool, though he did get pretty burned.” I explained, remembering the incident that occurred only a month ago.

“How brilliant.”

“Hey, it was an accident.” Carrot grunted.

“Doesn’t make it any less funny.” Maple remarked.

——-

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“Come on Carrot, its a hot tub, it’s not like you’re gonna drown in it.” Maple teased.

“People have drowned in them before.” He replied nervously. Maple rolled his eyes.

“Yea, unsupervised children. You’re an adult, surrounded by other adults. We’re not gonna let you drown.”

“Fine.” He gave up and climbed into the hot tub.

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“So Maple, how have you been? We haven’t talked in so long.” Drea asked him.

“I’m doing ok, I’ve got a good job, some good friends,” He said as he punched Carrot on the shoulder. “And an awesome house. I think I’m doing pretty good. How about you?”

“I’m doing fine.” She sighed. “So, are you still single?”

“Yea, but I’ve got my eye on someone.” He smirked.

“Oh really? Who?”

“It’s a secret.” Maple winked at her and sunk further into the hot tub.

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“This thing isn’t that bad.” My half-brother stated.

“Yea man, water isn’t evil” I splashed him, and he frowned.

“You suck.” He crossed his arms and I shrugged. I really loved messing with him.

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“Do you guys do this often?” Drea asked.

“Maple and I use it almost every night, it’s a life saver after a stressful day at work.”

“Yea, I bet.”

“I think this would stress me out more.” Carrot remarked. “I think I’m gonna go inside.”

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“You sure you don’t wanna stay?” Maple asked, and Carrot shook his head.

“I’d rather be playing video games.”

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“You know what, that sounds like a great idea.” He gave me a knowing smile, and I knew exactly what he was thinking. He wanted me to make a move on Drea. Not gonna happen, sorry.

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“Don’t have too much fun without me.” He winked at me, making me blush. I glanced over at Drea to see if she understood what was happening, but she was too busy looking at the stars.

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I waited until Maple was inside before I said anything else. “Having fun?”

“Lots. You guys have such a cool place.” She beamed.

“Thanks, the hot tub was my idea.” I bragged, and she giggled.

“It was a pretty great idea.”

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“You’ve really changed.” She stated.

“So have you.”

“Yea, I used to me pretty uptight. But after losing Tulip, I decided that wouldn’t get me anywhere in life. It took me a while to completely let loose, but now that I have I don’t regret it. I’m the happiest I’ve been since before the incident.” She said. This was the third time I’ve heard someone mention the incident, and I was curious to know what happened. So I asked.

“What incident?”

“It’s not something I can tell just anyone. If you really wanna know, you can meet me at HQ tomorrow at nine o-clock.”

“I thought you didn’t do detective work anymore?”

“I don’t.”

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“Will you be there?: She asked hopefully.

“Yea, I don’t see why not.”

“Awesome.” She smiled, and started to get up. “I should get going.”

“Hey, do you wanna dry off by the bonfire for a little while?”

“Sure.”

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“You know it’s not your fault, right?” Drea whispered, her voice barely audible over the crackling of the fire.

“I’m pretty sure you’re wrong.” I responded, making her sigh.

“I used to think the same thing. But we can’t control what others do. How were we supposed to know what Clover would do? There’s no way we could’ve known, and there’s nothing we could’ve done. Things like this can only be blamed on the person who actually did the murdering. Not the people around the victim. It took me a while to realize this, and I want you to realize it too.” She sighed.

“Well at least the person the blame for this is in jail for the rest of her life.” I couldn’t even say her name aloud, it hurt too much.

“Yea. River, I want you to think about what I said, okay?” I nodded. “Good, now walk me to my car?”

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I walked her up to the front to say goodbye, when she pulled me into a hug. “Thank you, I really needed this.” She whispered into my shoulder.

“Anytime Drea, anytime.” I rubbed her back soothingly.

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“So I’ll see you tomorrow?” She asked.

“Yea.” I whispered.

“Good. Night River.” She pulled away from our hug and headed off to her car.

——–

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The next morning I arrived at HQ at nine o-clock sharp. As usual, my sister was the only one in the waiting room.

“Hey Fern, is Hydrangea in today? She told me to meet her here today.” I told her as I approached the counter.

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“Yea, she’s here. Follow me.” She walked around the counter and ran into the hallway before I could even move.

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She entered the door next to Drea’s old office. I’ve never been in that room before, I always assumed it was empty. I guess not.

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Fern was just taking a seat when I entered the room. The room had a long table in it, kinda like the one in the backroom. The table was covered in books and it smelled like the library. I took a look around the room, noticing the people sitting at the table.

“What’s going on?” I asked. I thought it was just gonna be Drea and I.

“Oh hey River, glad you could make it. Take a seat.” Drea said.

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I took a seat without looking at anyone. I felt oddly out of place even though these people were some of my closest friends.

Drea was still standing there, just staring at an old map on the wall. Everyone else was completely silent, and even though I had a billion questions, I didn’t want to be the one to break the silence. Thankfully I didn’t have too.

“I know you’re confused River. Don’t worry, you’re not in trouble or anything. I’ll explain everything when our last member gets here.” Drea explained.

As if on cue, the door swung open, causing everyone in the room to look up.

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“Hey, so sorry I’m late.” The man said. It took me a few seconds, but then I recognized him.

My psycho ex-girlfriend’s father was here.