River Fae Chapter 19: Don’t Be Mad

Screenshot-3884

The months were flying by, and before we knew it Jasmine was one year old. She was growing so fast I felt like if I blinked, I would miss everything and she’d be moving out tomorrow. She was becoming a bit of a handful now that she was getting older, but it was nothing Drea and I couldn’t handle. Just a lot of tantrums, and throwing her teddy bears. We hoped it was just a phase. 

Screenshot-3888

Drea was working and I was home with Jazzy as usual. I was trying to get her to start walking, but so far it wasn’t working.

Screenshot-3892

“She’s pretty stubborn.” Drea laughed from behind me, making me jump.

“What’re you doing home so early?”

“It was a half day today, I totally forgot about it.”

“Oh, that’s awesome.” I tried to urge Jazzy towards me but she just plopped right back down on the ground.

“Hey, can we talk outside for a second?” She asked nervously.

“Sure, is everything okay?”

“Yea, everything’s fine.” She answered before walking out of the nursery.

Screenshot-3896

“Hey, babe what’s up?” I closed the balcony door behind me. She looked upset, and I hated it when she was upset.

Screenshot-3899

“River, I wanna ask you something and you gotta promise not to get mad, and it’s totally okay if you say no, I just have to ask.”

“Of course Drea, you can ask me anything.”

“I wanna have another baby. I know we have our hands full with Jazzy, but I want more than one kid and I don’t want them to be too far apart in age.”

“Really? You want another baby? Why would I get mad at you for that?”

“I don’t know, I just thought you’d be upset since Jazzy is being a pain lately and you’d have to watch over her and the new baby during the day.”

“I’m not mad, I’d love to have another baby with you.” I smiled at her. I’ve been wanting another one for a while now, but I wasn’t sure if she wanted one too. She was the one who had to carry it for nine months, so I let her come to me.

Screenshot-3900

She squealed an jumped into my arms. “I can’t wait, I love you River.”

I sat her down on the railing and kissed her. “I love you too.” I scooped her into my arms and said, “Well, we should probably get started on this baby right away.”

Screenshot-3903

“Yea, sounds like a good idea.” She laughed. “Will Jazzy be okay in there alone for a while?”

“Don’t worry, I just put her down for her nap.”

“Oh, good.” She smirked as I carried her into the bedroom.

Screenshot-3905

“Let’s try for a boy this time, okay?” She asked.

“I don’t think we can control that, babe.”

———

*Hydrangea*

Screenshot-3913

It’s been a few months since River and I started trying for another child. We were getting a little worried, since it was so easy to conceive the first time. So I made a doctors appointment to make sure everything was okay.

“Hey Jazzy, there’s a block table, wanna go play with it.” She nodded at me excitedly and ran off for the toys.

“I’ll keep an eye on her, you go check in.” River grabbed a book from the shelf and took a seat next to the block table.

Screenshot-3921

“Hi, I’m here for my nine-thirty appointment with Doctor Brink.”

“Name please?” The bored looking young nurse asked.

“Hydrangea Fae.”

“Alright, you can take a seat, she’ll be with you in a minute.” She smiled at me.

Screenshot-3923

I took a seat next to River and sighed. “Babe, I’m nervous. What if we can’t have another baby?”

“Hey, don’t think like that. Let’s wait and hear what that doctor has to say before we get ourselves worked up, okay?” He always knew exactly what to say to make me feel better.

“Yea, you’re right. I’m probably just working myself up over nothing.”

“Everything’s gonna be okay, I promise.”

Screenshot-3929

“Mrs. Fae? The doctor will see you now.” I stood up and walked over to the nurse.

Screenshot-3930

“Right this way.” She led me into a hallway and handed me a folded hospital gown. “Here, put this on. She’s going to be doing a full examination.”

Screenshot-3932

When I finished changing into the gown, I took a seat on the examination table. My hands were clammy and shaky, I was extremely nervous. I’ve always been weary of doctors after hearing the horrible stories Basil told me about the doctors who tested him. I know they were human and the doctor I was seeing wasn’t, but still. I couldn’t help but be a little freaked out. There was also the fact that I could be finding out I can’t have any more children, which was terrifying in itself. So yea, I was pretty damn nervous.

Screenshot-3935

“Mrs. Fae? Hi, I’m Dr. Brink. How are you today?” An older vampire with pink hair came into the room.

“Nervous.” I admitted.

“That’s normal.” She told me as she took a seat.

Screenshot-3936

“So, what seems to be the problem?”

“My husband and I are having trouble conceiving. We’ve been trying for months and nothing yet.”

“Do you have any other children?” She asked as she started writing something in the folder on the counter.

“One. She’s about fifteen months.”

“Alright, let’s get this examination started.” She pulled on a pair of rubber gloves and snapped the wrist. I couldn’t help but gulp out of nervousness.

——–

Screenshot-3939

“Well, there’s not much I can tell you today. It’s gonna take at least a week until we get your test results back.” Dr. Brink told me after the examination.

“You can’t tell me anything?” I asked. I was shocked, I was hoping to get some answers today.

“Not yet. But you can come in next week when I get the test results back.”

“Alright. Thanks doctor.” I said, trying to hide my disappointment.

“Of course, Hun. See you next week.” She left the room, leaving me to change back into my clothes.

Screenshot-3943

When I walked back into the waiting room, River immediately shut his book and stood up.

“Hey, how’d it go?”

Screenshot-3949

I threw myself into his arms as soon as I got close enough to him. “We won’t know anything until we get the test results, which won’t be until next week.” I buried my face in his shoulder. I felt like I was about to cry.

“Shh, it’s okay. A week isn’t that long. We’ll have the results before you know it.” He lightly rubbed circles on my back, calming me down slightly.

“I’m so worried. I just want another baby.”

“I know, I do too.” He kissed my cheek. “Let’s try and distract ourselves, okay? How about we invite Fern and Venus over?”

“Yea, okay.”

——-

*River*

Screenshot-3952

Fern came over with Venus a few minutes after we got home from the doctors. Drea was upset, and I wanted to distract her. She got along well with my sister, and she was just across the street.

“Hey guys, come on in.” I invited the two of them inside.

“Hey, thank god you called. Venus has been bugging me to come over here since she woke up this morning.” Fern laughed. Little Venus grabbed a strand of my sister’s hair and pulled it lightly, signaling her to take her to her cousin. Venus was shy around me, she never said a word if she knew I was in the room.”Oh, let me take her upstairs real quick.”

Screenshot-3953

Venus was a bit older than Jazzy, but the two were extremely close. Jasmine’s first word was Venus, Drea wasn’t too happy about that.

The two of them looked more like sisters than cousins. Whenever Fern and I took them out together, people would mistake them for sisters. They had a strong bond, and I was extremely grateful. If Drea and I couldn’t have another baby, at least she’d have her cousin.

Screenshot-3954

“So, I hear you guys are having trouble conceiving again?” Fern asked when she sat down in the living room.

“How did you know that? We haven’t told anyone.” Drea was surprised, she often forgot that Fern had multiple sixth-sense abilities.

“I have a gift dear, I know a lot of things I shouldn’t know.”

Screenshot-3961

“Do you know if we’ll be able to conceive again?” She asked hopefully.

“I do.”

“Can you tell me?”

“I could, but what I know isn’t definite. The future isn’t set in stone, and I’m afraid if I give away too much information I could change it.” She explained.

“Eh, it was worth a shot.”

Screenshot-3962

“Don’t worry about it too much, you’ll stress yourself out. Stress can decrease your chances of conception. Maybe you just need a nice spa day, a little relaxation goes a long way.”

“Are you speaking from a sixth-sense point of view or from a friendly point of view?”

“I’m speaking from experience. I was so stressed out when Palm and I were trying to conceive. All it took was a nice couple spa day then bam, we were having a baby.”

Screenshot-3966

“You know, that actually sounds like a great idea. If the test results come back okay next week, then you and I should go to the spa.” She said to me. It didn’t exactly sound like my thing, but I’d be willing to go if it meant another baby.

“Alright, well if that does happen, Fern would you be able to take Jazzy for the night?”

“I’d love too, Venus has been bugging me to have a sleepover with her.”

Screenshot-3967

“You sure you’ll be able to handle the two of them? When they’re together they can be quite a handful.” Drea warned.

“I know, but I’ll deal.”

Screenshot-3978

“Besides Drea, she’s got Palm, his brother, and his parents. I think she’ll be fine.”

“I sure hope so.” Drea said, making us all laugh.

Advertisements

River Fae Chapter 18: Second Chances

Screenshot-3752

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.

Screenshot-3755

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.

Screenshot-3757

“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.

Screenshot-3759

“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.

Screenshot-3760

“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.

Screenshot-3765

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

“I’d love to see you try.”

——-

*Hydrangea*

Screenshot-3767

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

“Thank you.”

Screenshot-3769

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

Screenshot-3781

“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.

Screenshot-3791

“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.

Screenshot-3785

“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*

Screenshot-3777

“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.

Screenshot-3786

“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?”

Screenshot-3790

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?

Screenshot-3797

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.

Screenshot-3799

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.

Screenshot-3804

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

Screenshot-3805

“Hey bud, what’s up?”

Screenshot-3806

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.

Screenshot-3808

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.

Screenshot-3809

“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.

Screenshot-3814

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

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

——-

*Hydrangea*

Screenshot-3817

“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.

Screenshot-3818

“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!”

Screenshot-3820

“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.

Screenshot-3821

“Am I allowed to come back here?”

Screenshot-3822

“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.”

Screenshot-3825

“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.”

Screenshot-3827

“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*

Screenshot-3832

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.

Screenshot-3842

“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.”

Screenshot-3843

“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.

Screenshot-3850

“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.

Screenshot-3854

“I love you, Hydrangea Fae.”

“I love you too, River Fae.”

Screenshot-3857

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

Screenshot-3860Screenshot-3861

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 17: Someone Special

Screenshot-3688

Maple and Carrot found a house about twenty minutes from ours, and they were moving out today. Hydrangea was extremely moody lately and today was no exception. She hung from my brothers neck, refusing to let go.

“I’m gonna miss you too much.” She was practically sobbing.

“I’m gonna miss you too, but you guys are starting a family. You don’t need your future brother’s in law living in your only other bedroom. I promise, we’re gonna visit all the time.” Carrot soothed her.

Screenshot-3685

“Hey man, I’m gonna miss having you in the room next door. We’ve been living together for so long, you’re practically a brother to me. And after I propose to him tonight, we’ll be one step closer to becoming actual brothers.” Maple told me quietly as he hugged me goodbye.

“You’re gonna propose?”

“Yea, I bought the ring last weekend.” He smiled shyly. “I really hope he says yes.”

“He will, he loves you.” I assured him. I knew Carrot would say yes, he told me the other day he wanted to propose to Maple.

“I sure hope so.” He hugged me again. “You better call us as soon as she goes into labor. We wanna be there for you guys the whole time.”

“Thanks man, we definitely will.”

Screenshot-3686

“Hey, Drea, how about you and I go shopping this weekend? I wanna get something for you and the baby.” Carrot offered.

“I’d love to.” She clung to his jacket even harder than before.

“Love, their truck is here. We kinda need him to help us load the truck.” I came up behind her and laid my palm on the small of her back.

“Oh. Sorry.”

“It’s fine. C’mon guys, let’s get this truck loaded.” Between the three of us, it only took a few trips to load all their boxes onto the truck. Soon the two of them were driving off to their new place.

Screenshot-3689

“You know, he’s gonna propose tonight.” I told Drea after the truck rounded the corner.

“Carrot? Yea, I know. He told me.”

“No, I was talking about Maple.” I laughed, Drea did too.

“Well, I can’t wait to hear that story.” She chuckled.

——-

Screenshot-3693

“Hey Love, maybe you should take a break. We’ve been working for hours.” It’s been about a month after Maple and Carrot moved out, and we were currently transforming their old room into a nursery. We found out we were having a girl, only ONE girl, thank god. Now that we knew the gender, we could decorate the nursery accordingly.

“I’m pregnant, not dying. I can work just fine. But it doesn’t matter, I’m done now.”

Screenshot-3695

“You did an amazing job.” I planted a nice big kiss on her lips.

“Thanks Babe, but don’t forget you helped too.”

“I know, but you picked out all the furniture and the colors. If I had this place would’ve looked awful.”

“True.” She laughed and pressed her growing stomach against me.

“Oh my god, did she just kick?” I asked after feeling a small movement against my own stomach.

“I think she did, maybe she’ll do it again.”

Screenshot-3698

I laid my hand against her, trying to feel the tiny kick again.

“I can’t feel anything.” I frowned. That was the first kick I felt, and I wanted to feel my baby move again. Every time she kicked before, Drea would call me but by the time I got to her Jazzy stopped kicking. It was frustrating.

“It’s okay, you’ll feel her kick soon.” She reassured me.

Screenshot-3700

“Hey Jazzy, will you kick for Daddy after he asks Mommy a question?” I spoke to her belly in a baby voice, making Drea stare at me funny.

“Ask me a question?”

“Yea.” I said, as I lower myself to one knee.

Screenshot-3705

“River, what’re you doing?”

“Shh, let me talk for a sec.” I grabbed her hand and held it tenderly. “When we met, I had no idea how much you would end up meaning to me. We’ve been through a lot together, but this is only the beginning. I want to spend the rest of my life with you, Drea. So, Hydrangea Blu, will you marry me?”

Screenshot-3709

I pulled out the ring box from the pocket of my overalls and opened it up for her. She covered her mouth in surprise.

“Oh my god.” She whispered.

“We don’t have to get married yet, we can wait until a few months after the baby is born.” I suggested.

“Oh my god, yes. Yes!” She yelled excitedly. Thank god. I thought to myself. I was so worried she would say no. I don’t know why, but I guess every guy worries about that when proposing.

Screenshot-3719

“I love you, River.” She threw her arms around my as soon as I pulled myself off the ground.

“I love you too.” She pulled back a little so we were facing each other.

“Hey babe,” She said about a minute into our embrace, “could you run out and get me some frozen yogurt?” She asked.

“Of course.” I laughed.

——-

Screenshot-3723

Drea’s due date was quickly approaching, and we were getting anxious. We had everything prepared for the arrival of our little girl, and we both wanted her out as soon as possible. Drea was having a lot of back pain and ankle swelling, and I hated to see her in pain.  We were both hoping Jazzy would come out soon.

Screenshot-3735

I tried to distract the both of us with video games, and it usually always worked. Drea was extremely competitive and once she got started it was hard to get her to stop. But she was growing so restless even video games wouldn’t distract her.

Screenshot-3737

“How much longer do you think it’s gonna take?” She sighed and paused the video game.

“Not much longer. It should be any day now.” I assured her, her due date was tomorrow so it couldn’t be too long before she went into labor.

“Blah. It’s taking too long.”

“Be patient, love. I promise it’s all gonna be worth it.”

“Yea, whatever. I think I’m gonna go take a nap.” She slowly lifted herself off the couch, swatting my hand away when I tried to help.

Screenshot-3741

“Call out for me if you need me, okay?” I added before she started climbing the stairs.

“Yea, I know. Love you.”

“Love you too, Drea. Have a nice nap.”

Screenshot-3742

I got back to my video game as soon as Drea safely climbed the stairs. Once the baby comes, I know I won’t have much time to play video games, so I tried to enjoy it as much as possible.

But I didn’t have much time to play.

Screenshot-3743

“River! It’s time!”

——–

Screenshot-3747

Jasmine Tulip Fae was born eight hours later. She was gorgeous, she already had little tufts of hair, the same wine hue as my own. She had a skin color similar to my mothers, and she had her green eyes. But still, she was a perfect balance between Drea and I.

You see, our little Jasmine was the first vampire-fairy. She had vampire eyes and fairy sparkles, the first ever to be born with two supernatural powers. Our daughter was beautiful, and we both knew she would grow up to be someone really special.

Screenshot-3751

Drea took Jazzy up to our room as soon as she got home. We were all exhausted, and they were both asleep by the time I got upstairs.

In that moment, my heart swelled. I’ve never loved anyone like I loved the two girls sleeping in my bed.

It had to be the happiest night of my life.

River Fae Chapter 16: Game Plan

Screenshot-3631

I stood there, just staring at her for a good two minutes. Pregnant? We were always so careful, I didn’t think this would happen. I didn’t think I was ready to be a father. I had a part time job at a bookstore, that’s not gonna support a baby and Drea. Where would we live? I couldn’t ask Maple and Carrot to move out, I’d have to move out. I didn’t have enough money for a new place. Or baby stuff.

“River? Oh god, you are mad. I’m so sorry. You don’t have to be involved if you want. I can raise it on my own, you won’t even have to pay support. I’m so sorry.” She started rambling.

“Hey, I’m not mad. Just shocked. And extremely nervous.” I laughed.

“You’re not mad?” She beamed.

“Of course not. Why would I be mad?”

Screenshot-3640

“Oh thank god. I really didn’t wanna do this alone.” She threw her arms around me and buried her face in my shoulder.

“How far along are you?”

“About two months.” She told me. We’ve been seeing each other for about four months, so there was no doubt this baby was mine.

“So, we’ve got a lot to work out.”

“Yea, but I’m so glad we’re doing this together.”

“Me too.” I smiled at her.

Screenshot-3641

“I love you, Drea.” This was the first time I’ve ever told her that I loved her. I’ve been wanting to say it for a while, but it never felt like the right time. But now it did.

“I love you too, River.” She said it back, and I couldn’t help but kiss her as passionately as I could.

——-

Screenshot-3646

“So, what’s our plan?” Drea came over the next day to work everything out.

“Well, I’d really like us to live together. Like as soon as possible. I want to be there for you throughout the whole thing.” My real father wasn’t around when my mom was pregnant with me, and I wanted to be the opposite. I wanted to make sure her pregnancy was as comfortable as possible.

“Well, my apartment is way too small for one person, let alone three. I was thinking maybe, could we live here? It already has a tree house, it’s perfect to raise a child here.”

“I know, but I can’t just ask Maple and Carrot to leave. They don’t have anywhere else to go.”

Screenshot-3648

“Well then we can help them find a place. We still have time before the baby comes, we could all live here for a few months while we find them a place. They’re pretty good friends, I bet they’d like sharing a place.” She smiled. “It’s all gonna work out.”

“I hope they don’t get mad, I know they like this place.”

“They can visit anytime they like.” The more she talked, the better this sounded. I didn’t really wanna kick them out, but I also really wanted a family. Drea’s plan sounded like a great one.

“Well, the boys are downstairs. Maybe we should get their say in this before we make any decisions.” I suggested.

Screenshot-3651

I helped her off the ground and wrapped my arms around her waist.

“Sounds like a good idea.” She draped her arms around my neck and kissed me cheek. “By the way, there’s no way I’m wearing a wedding dress while I’m pregnant.” She whispered in my ear before leaving the room.

I was glad we were on the same page, I wanted to wait until after our baby was born to get married. But of course, I have to ask her to marry me first…

——-

Screenshot-3652

“Thanks for your attentions guys, this is really important.” Drea was nervous, I was the only person she’d told about the pregnancy so far.

“No problem Drea.” Maple waved her off with a smile.

“Well, I guess I’ll just cut to the chase. I’m pregnant.” There was silence for a few seconds, Maple and Carrot’s expressions were completely blank.

“And we were wondering if Drea could move into the master with me, and you guys could share the second bedroom.” I broke the silence, it didn’t seem like anyone else was going to.

Screenshot-3655

“So, are you guys going to want the room for a nursery?” Maple asked.

“Only if you guys don’t mind. We can help you guys find a place.” I offered. Maple looked at Carrot, and Carrot gave him a small nod.

Screenshot-3658

“That sounds like a great idea.” He beamed. “But, Carrot and I have an announcement of our own.”

“You do?” Drea said exactly what I was thinking. What could they possibly have to announce?

“Well, um, we’ve been dating. For a while now. Probably as long as you guys have.” Maple smiled nervously, and Carrot avoided eye contact. Dating? I had no idea, they were pretty good at hiding it. I didn’t even know my brother was into guys, he never said anything to me. But if anyone was gonna date my brother, I’m glad it’s my best friend.

Screenshot-3660

“Yea, we started dating right after your first F.R.O. meeting. So yea, we don’t mind sharing a room for a while.” Carrot stood up and pulled Maple to him. They did make a cute couple.

“I knew it!” Drea whispered quietly, so only I could hear. I laughed and shook my head, I guess I was just oblivious.

Screenshot-3663

After Maple and Carrot broke out of their own little world, congratulations were in order. They were excited to be uncles, and Drea and I were excited that they were happy.

It was a great day.

——-

Screenshot-3664 Screenshot-3665

Drea moved in a little while later. We bought Maple and Carrot their own bed, and she brought hers from her apartment. She and I had some decorating disagreements, but we finally came to a compromise. I could keep the wallpaper, and she got to take down my sports posters and put her own things up. It wasn’t that big of a deal, hopefully I’ll be able to give them to my kid one day.

Maple and Carrot have been house hunting for a while, but they haven’t found anything they really liked. It seemed like they were looking at a different house every day. Today was one of those days when they were both out.

Screenshot-3671

Drea wasn’t showing yet, but the baby was our main topic of discussion. Right now, we were watching a random movie I borrowed from Carrot. It was a terrible movie, but we didn’t care, we weren’t really watching.

“So, I know it’s early, but I wanna decide on two names early on. I hate when people try and give me suggestions now, who knows how bad it’ll get when I start to show.” Drea rubbed her stomach idly.

“Well, do you have an specific names you wanna run by me?” I had a suggestion, but I wanted to hear her ideas first.

“Well, for a girl, my mom always loved the name Ivy. She said if she had a third child, she would’ve named her that.”

“It’s nice, but I don’t think it’ll go with my idea for a middle name.”

Screenshot-3676

“Oh? And what’s your idea for a middle name?” She adjusted her position and placed my hand on her belly.

“If it’s a girl, I was thinking her middle name could be Tulip.” I suggested nervously. It was the first time I’d said her name since the incident.

“I think that’s a great idea.” She beamed. I knew she missed her sister, and I think this would be a great tribute to her.

“Alright, so we’ve got a girl middle name. How about a first name? Or a boy name?”

“How about Huckleberry? We could call him Huck for short.”

“I love it.” I smiled at her, she looked really beautiful that day. “Huckleberry Fae, how adorable.”

“And for a girl, I was thinking Orchid, or maybe Azalea?”

Screenshot-3682

“Those are both beautiful names, but I just thought of one that would work perfectly with the middle name we chose.” She shifted positions again, and laid her head in my lap.

“Let’s hear it.”

“I’ve always liked the name Jasmine. We could call her Jazz or Jazzy for short.”

“Jasmine Tulip Fae. I love it.” She laughed. “Huck and Jazz. How cute. If only we were having twins.” She joked.

“Yea, if only.” I laughed anxiously. I was terrified of having one child, and the thought of two at once was overwhelming.

Let’s cross our fingers and hope for a single birth…

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

Screenshot-3525

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.

Screenshot-3527

“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.

Screenshot-3534

“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.

——-

Screenshot-3536

“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.”

Screenshot-3541

“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.

Screenshot-3544 Screenshot-3547

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

——-

Screenshot-3600

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.

Screenshot-3601

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.

Screenshot-3603

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

“Her cat died today.” He mumbled.

“What?”

Screenshot-3610

“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.

Screenshot-3604

“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.”

Screenshot-3609

“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.

Screenshot-3606

“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.

Screenshot-3611

“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.”

——-

Screenshot-3614

“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.

Screenshot-3616

“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.”

Screenshot-3618

“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.”

Screenshot-3619

“I’m so sorry, River.”

“I’m sorry too.”

——-

Screenshot-3624

“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.

Screenshot-3625

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

“Is everything okay?”

Screenshot-3628

“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.

Screenshot-3630

“I’m pregnant.”

River Fae Chapter 14: F.R.O.

Screenshot-3372

“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.

Screenshot-3375

“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.

Screenshot-3373

“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.”

Screenshot-3382

“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.

Screenshot-3393

“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.

Screenshot-3396

“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?”

Screenshot-3410

“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.

Screenshot-3377

“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.

Screenshot-3414

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.

Screenshot-3403

“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.”

Screenshot-3421

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

Screenshot-3424

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

Screenshot-3425

“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.

Screenshot-3430

“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.”

Screenshot-3435

“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.

Screenshot-3455

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

“Welcome to the team.” She beamed.

Screenshot-3469

“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.”

Screenshot-3472

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*

Screenshot-3473

“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.

Screenshot-3476

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.”

Screenshot-3479

“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.

Screenshot-3480

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.”

Screenshot-3494

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.

Screenshot-3497

“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

Screenshot-3248

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.

Screenshot-3250

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.

Screenshot-3256

“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.

Screenshot-3265

“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.

Screenshot-3271

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

Screenshot-3274

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.

Screenshot-3275

“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.”

Screenshot-3280

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.

Screenshot-3283Screenshot-3286

“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.”

Screenshot-3297

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.”

Screenshot-3292

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.

Screenshot-3301

“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.

Screenshot-3302

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

“Yea, take a seat.” I offered.

Screenshot-3304

“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.”

Screenshot-3308

“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.

——-

Screenshot-3314

“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.

Screenshot-3320

“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.

Screenshot-3324

“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.

Screenshot-3325

“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.”

Screenshot-3330

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

“I’d rather be playing video games.”

Screenshot-3332

“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.

Screenshot-3339

“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.

Screenshot-3334

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.”

Screenshot-3321

“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.”

Screenshot-3322

“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.”

Screenshot-3342

“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?”

Screenshot-3343

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.

Screenshot-3348

“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.

——–

Screenshot-3351

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.

Screenshot-3352

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

Screenshot-3353

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.

Screenshot-3357

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.

Screenshot-3365

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.

Screenshot-3366

“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.