Jasmine Fae Chapter 3: Red Hot

A/N Sorry for the wait on this chapter, I wish I had a valid excuse but I don’t. I got way too into Supernatural and I’ve been watching it obsessively instead of playing sims. But I managed to pull myself away long enough to get a chapter put together. Thanks for waiting!

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Mom and Dad planned a huge party for Ivy and Iris’s birthday. They were turning fourteen, they were gonna be starting high school soon. They were both really excited, they couldn’t wait to be able to do older kid things.

My parents were sad that their youngest kids were getting older, so they decided to throw a huge party with all of the family. When I say all of the family, I mean all of them.

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The first ones to arrive were Aunt Fern and Uncle Palm. They had just had a new baby, a little boy named Ficus. The middle child, Periwinkle was becoming a handful, just like Venus. But that didn’t make Venus like him any more.

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The second ones to arrive were Aunt Missy and Aunt Amber. They weren’t officially married, they said they didn’t need to. They also didn’t have any children, but they were happy with just the two of them.

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The next to arrive was Uncle Dill and Aunt Alyssum. Alyssum was Dill’s third wife, he divorced his first wife before I was born, married his second wife soon after, divorced her a few years later, then married again. Alyssum was Aunt Fern’s half-sister, which made the whole thing a little strange. They weren’t exactly my favorite relatives.

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Papa was the next to show up. We didn’t see him often, he was involved in some sketchy stuff but Dad still wanted us to have a relationship with him. He never remarried after his wife left him, but I know he’s been dating around.

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Uncle Carrot and Uncle Maple showed up soon after. They were probably the most famous couple in our family. Maple was a famous television actor, and Carrot was a star athlete. Iris looked up to him, she was obsessed with sports and she wanted to be just like him.

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Last but certainly not least, my favorite relatives arrived. Grandma and Grandpa were the coolest people I’ve ever met. Grandpa was a rockstar, he still sold out shows every weekend. Grandma had retired from music, but she still drove her motorcycle everywhere. That’s pretty bad-ass for a woman approaching sixty.

Uncle Basil was pretty cool too. He was actually my great-uncle, but it was just easier to call him uncle. He was an author, he wrote about his times with the scientists and how they fixed his hearing. He also still volunteered for experiments, so he could steal our old texts from the scientists.

My cousin Aster was a tough guy. His mom recently died, Aunt Poppy was a drug addict and she overdosed a few months ago. He wasn’t too affected by it, his mom abandoned him when he was a toddler and he’d lived with our grandparents his whole life. He spoke to her probably ten times in his life, but still it had to have been hard on him.

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We all had to gather in the backyard, since the house would probably explode if we tried to fit everyone in there. My sister’s were anxious to get into their teens, so we started almost immediately after everyone arrived.

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Ivy went first, since she was born first. I also think she wanted to go first so she could get this over with. She hated being outside, and she hated being surrounded by people, so this was pretty much hell for her. But she was excited to be a teenager, so she didn’t complain.

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Iris went right after. She was ever more excited than Ivy. High school for her meant sports, and she couldn’t wait.

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Even though they were twins, they honestly couldn’t be any different. Ivy was even more shut in now that she was a teen, all she wanted to do was curl up with a book and ignore everyone. Iris on the other hand, only got more social. As soon as she finished her transformation she was texting someone. She was like a little butterfly.

But even though they were polar opposites, they were the best of friends. They were practically inseparable at home, I just hope they can keep that bond throughout high school.

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After cake, everyone just started talking and hanging out. It was nice to have all my family together, I don’t think we’ve all been together at once like this.

“Hey babe, having fun?” I asked Ash, the girls let me invite one person, and since Venus was already a relative I decided on Ash. He had to meet my family eventually, why not get it all done in one shot?

“Yea, Your family is awesome! Why didn’t you tell me your uncles are Maple and Carrot Reyna? They’re like the two coolest guys ever.” He told me excitedly. I laughed, I never took him as the kind of person who’d get star-struck.

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“It never came up.” I teased. “So, you like my family?”

“Yea, they’re a little nuts but all great families are.” He smiled. He was right, we were pretty nuts.

“My parents seem to like you.” My parents weren’t really strict about boys, so I wasn’t surprised when they told me they really liked him.

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“That’s good.” He took my hands in his and smiled at me. “Jazz, I know we’ve only been dating a few weeks, but I feel like we really get each other, and well, I’m in love with you.”

“Wow, that was unexpected.”

“Sorry. Did that make you uncomfortable?”

“No, of course not. I thought you’d be freaked out by my family, I didn’t expect you to like them, and I didn’t expect you to say that you love me after meeting them.” I said with a laugh.

“Oh, good.”

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“Oh, and just so you know, I love you too.”

———-

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The party lasted for a few hours, but before long it was time for everyone to leave. Me, Iris, Ivy and Ash decided to hang out here for a while, we had nothing better to do for the rest of the day.

We tried to get Venus to hang out with us, but she hasn’t been herself lately. With the abortion, the break up, and her new little brother, she was under a lot of stress. I’m hoping that she’ll bounce back soon, especially after I confront Cherry next week. Maybe after I put her in her place, Venus will feel a little better.

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But right now I was gonna talk to my sisters about high-school.

“So guys, you excited for high school? I asked.

“Hell yea.” Iris cheers from the floor.  “I can’t wait to enter tournaments, it’s gonna be awesome!” Since our school was the only one in town, we didn’t have a rival school to play team sports against. So our school did single-person sports, and held tournaments every five weeks.

“Yea, of course you will. You’re more of a sports freak than Uncle Carrot.” I joked. “What about you Ivy?”

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“Well, I’m looking forward to the library. I hear they’ve got thousands of books there.” I cocked an eyebrow.

“Is that it?”

“Yea, and I guess I’m excited that I’m finally old enough to start sitting in on F.R.O. meetings.”

“Oh yea, that’s gotta be cool.” Ash said. He knew about F.R.O., but he was too young to join. The only reason we were allowed in the meetings was because our parents ran the entire organization. And because one of us would be taking on the leadership role in a few years.

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“I can’t wait until you’re old enough to join, it’s gonna be so awesome.” I scooted closer to him.

“Me either. Maybe one day we could go on a mission together.”

“Mmm, you know I love it when you talk about missions.” I half-moaned, making Iris make a fake puking noise.

“God Jazz, I never expected you to be the love-y type.” She joked. I threw a candy wrapper at her.

“Shut up.” I pouted, and she stuck her tongue out at me.

Maybe now that my sisters are older, we could actually be friends.

———-

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“You okay V?” I asked my cousin as we walked into school a few days later. She’d only been back to school a few times since what happened.

“I guess. I just wanna get this over with.”

“Hey, isn’t that your sister?” Ash whispered quietly to me, and pointed over to the corner where Sage’s locker was.

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“Holy crap I think it is.” I whispered back. Iris was standing at Sage’s locker, and it looked like she was flirting with him.

“Shit.” He cursed under his breath.

“I’ll deal with that later. I’ve got someone else I’ve gotta deal with right now.” I clenched my fists and made my way over to Cherry.

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“Hey Cherry, can you stop sucking face for a second? We need to talk.”

“Go away Mutt, can’t you see I’m busy?” She pulled away from Rye and glared at me.

“I don’t really give a shit.”

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“What?” She snapped, and pushed Rye off her. He walked away, and called his little jock friend to follow him.

“What is wrong with you?” I knew this wasn’t going to end well, but I didn’t care.

“What’s wrong with me? Haven’t you looked in the mirror? I’m not the weird Mutt girl.” She sneered.

“Screw you. Why are you always such a bitch to everyone?”

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“I’m not a bitch, I’m just giving you what you deserve.”

“I don’t really care what you do to me. You can call me names and whatever the hell you want, but why did you have to do such a terrible thing to Venus?”

“Aw, your cuzzie needs you to stand up for her? That’s so sad.” She laughed, and so did her little side-kick.

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“Listen, all I want is two things. One, I want you to leave Venus alone. Two, I wanna know why you torment me so much. I haven’t done anything wrong, and there’s no reason you should be messing with me at all.”

“You are the reason, you filthy little mutt.” I could feel my blood start to boil. She was really pissing me off.

“All I want is an explanation, then you can continue to give me all the shit you want.” I was pushing her, because I knew there had to be a reason for her to be doing this.

“I already told you. God, is your little hybrid brain that tiny?”

I don’t know what happened. I felt a huge rush of something over my body, it felt like a electrical shock, but like in a wave.

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All I saw was red and Cherry’s snobby little face cowering against a locker. I had my arm pinned against her neck, I don’t remember how it got there though.

“Tell me.” A voice growled. It sounded so savage and barbaric, but I soon realized it was my voice.

That snapped me out of it. I took a step back, removing my arm from her neck. She fell to the floor, and the red light vanished.

“Oh my god, Cherry.” I was freaking out. I was terrified I might’ve hurt her.

I held my hand out to help her off the floor. She pulled herself up, ignoring my hand.

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She stood in front of me with a blank expression on her face.

“I’m so sorry, are you okay?” I asked, but she ignored me.

“There is a reason I tease you.” She admitted, but her voice sounded monotonous, and I realized what I had done. My mom had told me about it when she was teaching me about fairy powers. I had put her into a truth trance.

“My mother had an affair with a fairy when I was six.” I was wracking my brain, trying to remember how to stop this. A crowd had gathered around us, and I had a feeling this wasn’t something she wanted people to know.

“She got pregnant, even though she was so careful. She tried to play it off as my father’s baby. But her plan was ruined when the baby came out with sparkles. But on closer inspection, they realized the little boy was also a vampire.”

I was shocked, I thought I was the only hybrid to ever exist. As soon as she said that, everyone started to whisper.

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Despite my best efforts to reverse the trance, Cherry was still talking.

“They decided not to let anyone know, and tell them the baby was a still born. They took the baby deep into the forest, and threw him into the electric field that surrounds the Valley. They couldn’t stand the thought of being outcasts. I torment you, because I’m jealous of you. I’m angry that you got to live, and my little brother didn’t.”

Everyone silenced. No one knew what to say.

Cherry broke out of her trance soon after she finished. I’ll never forget the way she looked at me. Her expression was filled with terror and sadness. She ran off crying after realized everyone was staring at her.

I couldn’t believe what I had done.

River Fae Chapter 17: Someone Special

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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.

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“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.”

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“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.

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“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.

——-

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“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.”

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“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.”

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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.

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“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.

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“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?”

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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.

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“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.

——-

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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.

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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.

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“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.

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“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.”

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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.

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“River! It’s time!”

——–

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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.

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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

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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?”

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“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.

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“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.

——-

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“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.”

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“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.

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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…

——-

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“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.

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“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.

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“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.

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“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.

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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.

——-

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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.

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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.”

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“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?”

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“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 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.

River Fae Chapter 12: Aftermath

*Nine months later*

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After losing both Gardenia and Tulip in such a short period of time, the cemetery was no longer a place of comfort. I was no longer fascinated with death, I was more angry than anything. It was amazing what a 360 I made in the last nine months. I stopped spirit hunting, in fear I was hunting people I loved. My new job was part-time at a bookstore, and it wasn’t as awful as I thought it would be.

Maple and I came to visit the cemetery every so often. He and I had both changed so much in the last few months. He was no longer the spontaneous man I used to know. He was much more reserved and quiet. It was painful to watch him sometimes. He no longer enjoyed acting, but I talked him into continuing, because I knew he’d regret leaving someday. I hoped that he’d come around soon.

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“Hey man, you ok?” Maple asked as he took a seat on the grass next to me.

“Same as always, you?”

“Same.” He responded.

“Do you think we spend too much time here?” I asked, we usually came twice a week.

“Maybe. But it helps, so I don’t think we should stop yet.” He sighed, and ran his fingers through his newly cut hair.

“Yea, I agree. But maybe we should go home for today, I’m starting to burn.” I pushed myself off the grass and helped Maple get up too.

“Oh dude, don’t forget the flowers.” He nudged me and gestured to the vase of flowers on the grass.

“Right. You go get the car, I need a minute.”

“Alright.” He said, and jogged off to get the car.

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I placed the flowers near Tulip’s headstone. I stood there for a second, just staring at the words written on the stone. I read the sentences over and over, until the words didn’t sound real anymore.

I was interrupted by Maple honking the horn at me from the front of the cemetery. I shook my head, trying to clear my thoughts. I took one last look at the headstones before jogging off to the car.

——-

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After everything that happened in our old house, Maple and I couldn’t live there anymore. We sold the house for a lot less than it was worth, but we didn’t care. We just couldn’t stand to be there anymore.

Our new house was in a homey little neighborhood in the middle of town. We didn’t exactly fit in here, it was more of a family neighborhood than a bachelor-pad neighborhood. But regardless, we really loved the new house. Fern and her husband lived in the house right across the street, so it made visits convenient and more frequent then I might have liked.

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“Hey Carrot, mind if I join?” I asked my half-brother as soon as I got home. He moved in with us not long after we moved in. Our father was tired of his bad-attitude, so he dumped him on me.

“Yea, if you don’t mind getting your ass beat.”

“I’d love to see you try.” I teased as I put on my own headset.

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Carrot was a tough opponent when it came to video games, I’m pretty sure we get that from our father.

“So how was your day?” I tried to make small talk with him. We still didn’t know each other very well, he was the sibling I spent the least time with.

“It was okay, we lost our game though. But it was a pretty close score, so I don’t feel too terrible about it.” Carrot was a professional athlete, and his team was actually really good. He invited Maple and I to his games all the time.

“That sucks, but you guys are good, you’ll beat ’em next time.”

“Yea.”

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“So how’s your family doing?” He always asked about my family, I think he might like them better than his own. His mom wasn’t exactly in his life, he didn’t get along well with our father, the only one he really liked was Fern.

“They’re ok. Poppy got kicked out and my parents are raising Aster. They love the little guy but I worry about them. They’re getting older, they don’t need to be raising another kid.” I sighed, my sister was getting worse and they didn’t have a choice.

“That sucks man. But he’s a pretty good kid, I doubt he gives them much trouble.”

“Yea, but he’s so full of energy, it can be hard for them to keep up.” I spent a lot of time with my family after what happened, and I always noticed how tired out my parents got after playing with Aster.

“Hey, if they ever need a baby-sitter, they can call me. They know me, and I love the little guy.” He offered. I smiled, I was glad both sides of my family could get along.

“I’ll let them know.” I laughed, and pulled out my cell to text my mom. When I unlocked my phone I noticed my boss had texted me. She was asking me to go to the library and see what books had been checked out the most this month. “Crap, I gotta run to the library real quick.” I ripped my headset off as fast as I could and grabbed my car keys.

“Thanks for leaving me hanging.” Carrot joked.

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“I’ll be back in a few.” I called out for both Carrot and Maple to hear.

——–

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“Detective Blu?” I cautiously approached my former boss. She glanced over at me, and gasped.

“River, how are you?” She asked. I hadn’t seen her since the night everything happened. It was good to see her.

“I’m doing alright, how are you?” Even though I didn’t see her anymore, I found myself worrying about her. Tulip was the only family she had, and I worried she would have a breakdown or something.

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“I’m okay.” She smiled sadly, leading me to believe she wasn’t being truthful. “Oh and by the way, I’m not a detective anymore. You can just call me Hydrangea, or Drea if you’d like.”

“Oh, sorry. What happened?” I asked, hoping it wasn’t too personal of a question.

“I quit. I decided detective work wasn’t something I wanted to do.” She explained. I felt terrible for her, I knew she loved her work and it upset me that she quit.

“Oh, that’s too bad.”

“Yea, and I heard you quit the ghost-busting business.”

“I did, I just lost interest I guess.” I lied, we both knew we were lying. But it was better than admitting the truth.

“That’s too bad.”

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“Hey so, I have something I need to do right now, but we should catch up soon. Do you wanna come over for dinner?” I offered.

“Dinner? With a vampire?” She joked. The Hydrangea I knew never joked, but I was glad she could be a little more light-hearted.

“Ha-ha, fine. Maybe you could come over for a movie? Or, Maple and I have a pool, if you wanna come over and test that out.” As soon as I mentioned pool, her eyes lit up.

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“Now that sounds like an offer I can’t refuse.” She laughed.

“Awesome, I’ll text you.”

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“It was really great to see you, River.” She beamed.

“You too, Drea.” I had never addressed her by her first name, and it felt foreign in my mouth.

We said our goodbyes, and she headed out of the library and I for the bookshelf.

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Wait, what exactly was I here for?

——–

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I got home a little while later, and found all the video game stuff put away and Carrot was no where to be found.

“Carrot?” I called out as I climbed the stairs. I heard a grunt come from our shared bedroom, so I followed the noise.

“Hey bro, is everything ok?” He was curled up on his bed, and he looked miserable.

“Not really.”

“What happened?” I walked over to my bed and flopped down on it.

“Cinnamon dumped me.” He mumbled. Cinnamon was his high school sweet-heart, and he was absolutely head over heals for the girl.

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“What? Why would she do that?” I asked after flipping on the TV.

“She said I’ve been too distant lately, whatever the hell that means.”

“That sucks, man. You wanna talk it out?” I joked, knowing how much Carrot hated talking about feelings. I knew that because that’s all Fern made him do.

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“Barf. I’d rather stick my face in a toilet.” He fake retched.

“Alright, but you sure you’re gonna be ok?”

“Yea, I’ll get over it.” He laughed. I smiled, I was glad I could make him laugh when he was upset. I finally felt like we were actually brothers.

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I kicked off my shoes and my jeans and climbed under my blankets. “Night.” I called to both Carrot and Maple, who slept in the room next to us.

“Night.” They both yelled back. It didn’t take long for me to doze off, and when I did, it was one of those rare nights when I didn’t have a nightmare.

River Fae Chapter 11: Snapped

Warning: There’s blood in this chapter, don’t read if blood is triggering to you. Thank you.

*Tulip*

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“I really think you could use my help.”

“It’s really not necessary Clover, I’m almost done.” I replied, not noticing her coming closer and closer to me. She gripped my shoulder hard and pulled me around roughly.

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“Hey what the-” I started to say, before I noticed what she held against my throat. It was one of our knives from the kitchen.

“I think you do need my help.” She laughed manically. “This date is with River, yes?” I didn’t answer, but I think she could tell from my fear that she was right. “He’s just going to hurt you. If I kill you now, you won’t get hurt later. River is a terrible person, Tulip. But you aren’t much better. You stole him from me. He was mine, and you took him from me. If I kill you right now, it’ll do both of us favor. Now, if you scream it’ll only make it worse.”

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She started to move the knife closer to my neck, but I grabbed her wrists before she could do anything.

“C’mon Clover. You don’t want to kill me. I know you’re upset with me, but that’s no reason to commit murder. You don’t wanna be locked up for the rest of your life, do you?”

“Oh don’t play dumb. You and I both know I killed Gardenia. You saw me putting the knife back. They’re closing in on me, and I might as well just finish what I started.” She giggled, breaking free from my grasp. She was right, I saw her putting the knife back in the knife holder. I never said anything out of fear she would hurt me. So much for that.

“Please don’t.” I whispered, my voice hoarse. I didn’t want to die, not like this.

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Before I could defend myself she jabbed the knife hard into my stomach. I screamed out from the pain, hopefully alarming River. I could probably survive one stab wound, I just needed him to get here before she could do anything else. But she was too fast. She pulled the knife out of me, my wound starting to pour blood. I looked her in the eyes, begging her with them to stop. She didn’t. In fact, she smiled at me, and stabbed me again. And again. In different places all over my body. I was losing blood, and I was losing it fast. There was no way I could defend myself.

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When she finally stopped, I couldn’t even stand. I was surprised I was even still alive, but she never stabbed my heart. She stabbed me too many times, I knew I wasn’t going to make it. I was going to bleed out on my own bathroom floor.

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I curled into a ball, while laying in a puddle of my own blood. My vision was starting to fade, so I closed my eyes. The last thing I heard before I faded into the blackness was Clover’s maniacal giggles.

——

*River*

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I was getting ready in my room when I heard a scream coming from upstairs. Tulip screamed often, she was a tough woman but she was easily scared by bugs. I put my pants on and headed upstairs to see what was wrong.

I was taking my sweet time with the stairs to avoid getting sweaty before my date. But by the time I reached the top, I heard a thud come from the bathroom.

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As soon as I reached the third floor I took off running for the bathroom. My mind was racing with scenarios of what I could find behind that door. She could’ve slipped and hit her head. Or maybe she was feeling faint. Even with my vampire speed, it seemed like the distance between the staircase and the bathroom stretched on for miles.

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When I swung open the bathroom door, it took me a few seconds to register what was going on. Tulip was curled up on the floor, covered in what looked like blood. To my left, Clover sat on the bathtub. She held a bloody knife lazily against her face.

I went through a range of emotions in a matter of seconds. Shock, anger, rage, sadness, and finally panic.

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“River, she’s not ready yet! How could you just barge in here while she’s getting ready for your date?” Clover giggled. She licked the blood off the knife while keeping eye contact with me.

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“But now that you’re here, don’t you think she looks lovely? I thought the dress could use a little something more, and now it looks fantastic. Don’t you think so?” She obviously had gone insane.

I panicked, and backed up straight into the door. My hand searched frantically for the door nob, and when I finally found it, I swung the door open as fast as I could and ran out.

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I knew that the image of Tulip lying on the bathroom floor would never leave my mind.

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I ran into my room and locked the door. I didn’t hear footsteps behind me, she wasn’t following me. I sank to the floor, my entire body started to go numb.

It took me a few moments before I realized I needed to call for help. My cellphone was thankfully in my pocket, so I dialed 911 and curled up into a ball. “9-1-1, what’s your emergency?” A kind woman’s voice asked.

“M-my ex-girlfriend stabbed my current girlfriend. I think she’s dead. I need help.” I frantically explained into the phone. I gave her my address and she said help was on the way.

I could already hear sirens as soon as I hung up the phone. In this moment I was extremely thankful I lived in such a small town. It was only minutes before I heard multiple footsteps run through the house. I yelled out to them, telling them they were on the third floor. Screenshot-3161

The only thing I could hear was the shouting of men from upstairs. I didn’t even realize that I wasn’t alone in the room anymore.

“River?” A voice asked, making me jump. “Shh, it’s ok. It’s me, Fern. Let’s get you out of here, ok?” I nodded, and she helped me off my bedroom floor.

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She sat me down on the bench in front of my house and told me to stay there. I obeyed, even though I wanted to run as far away as I possibly could.

I sat there as officers and paramedics came in and out. They carried out a large, black bag but I completely ignored them. I didn’t want to believe this was real.

A car came speeding down the road, parking crazily in front of my house. A woman jumped out of the drivers seat, and I realized it was Detective Blu.

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“Maxwell, what’s going on?” She asked frantically.

“Hydrangea you might want to sit down for this.” He told her, trying to sooth her.

“I don’t have time for this, tell me what happened!” She screamed. I’ve never seen her so out of control.

“There was another murder.” He told her quietly.

“Murder? Who was it?” She whispered.

“Clover Lyn is the murderer, Tulip Lance is the victim.”

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“Don’t lie to me, Maxwell. This isn’t funny.” She yelled at him.

“I’d never lie to you Drea. I’m so sorry.”

“This is impossible.” She buried her face in her hands and started to sob. “Not my baby sister.”

“Come sit.” Officer Freedman wrapped his arm around her shoulders and guided her to the bench I was on.

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“This is all my fault.” She sobbed.

“How? It’s more my fault than yours.” I admitted. It was all my fault Clover and Tulip even knew each other. It was all my fault for dating her right after I dumped Clover. It was my fault, not Detective Blu’s.

“I knew Clover killed Gardenia. I knew it, and I didn’t get her away from my sister. I didn’t think she’d strike again.”

“I loved her.”

“Clover? Yea well she’s a murderer, so sorry bud but that’s over.” She was hysterical, and honestly it freaked me out.

“No. Not Clover. Tulip. We were supposed to go on our first real date tonight.” I started to cry also. Detective Blu looked at me sadly, and wiped her eyes.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t know.”

“It’s ok.”

“You’re a great guy, you’re the only guy worthy of dating my sister. But this isn’t your fault.”

“We don’t know that.” I buried my head in me knees and sobbed. The both of us stayed quiet until we heard the front door open again. It was my sister, her hands held Clover’s handcuffed one’s tightly against her back.

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Clover looked straight ahead while being lead to the police car. She didn’t even glance over at me, but I stood there and stared at her. She had blood on her chin and her hands. She has a wild look in her eyes and her hair was flying in all directions. She looked nothing like the Clover I used to know, the Clover I used to love. She’s murdered the only two woman I’ve ever loved.

And she never even gave it a second thought.

———–

A/N Hey guys, I know Primrose’s generation was a lot shorter, but River’s is only halfway done. He’s gonna have at least 20 chapters. Thanks so much for reading, I say this all the time but I really mean it. I’m so sorry this chapter was such a downer, but it had to be done. 

River Fae Chapter 8: It’ll Work Out in the End

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“Homicide? That’s like murder, right?” Tulip’s dumbass partner, Max, asked Detective Blu. She sighed heavily and nodded.

“Yes, that’s ‘like murder.'”

“Okay, well, do we have a suspect?” Tulip tapped her pencil on the desk impatiently.

“Only one. Out of all the people I questioned, there’s only one who could have a possible motive.” She explained.

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“Who?” I asked, even though I was pretty sure I already knew the answer, and I knew I wouldn’t like it.

“Clover Lyn.” She cleared her throat and crossed her arms again.

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I shot up out of my chair, sending it flying back. “You’re joking right? Clover has trouble opening a jar of pickles, she couldn’t possibly murder someone.” I was angry she was still suggesting this, it was absurd.

“I don’t joke, River. She has a motive, her alibi isn’t solid. She’s definitely a person of interest right now.”

“What do you mean her alibi isn’t solid? On the day Gardenia went missing Clover was at work.” She had been working that day, how is that not solid?

“It was a Saturday, she was the only one there that day. She said she came in to work on a few articles, but there’s no solid proof.”

“This is insane, Clover would never commit a crime like this.”

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“I’m not here to argue with you, River. I’m giving you the facts. We can’t overlook this just because she’s your girlfriend. A woman is dead. It’s our job to find out who did this. We can’t overlook anything. Do you not want to find this person? Do you want this to happen again?” She balled her fists and gave me a glare that made me cringe.

“Of course not. I just think we’re barking up the wrong tree here. Are you sure we’ve looked at everyone? There has to be another possible suspect.”

“I will be questioning everyone again, but that includes Clover.”

“Alright, whatever gets this person found.” I sat back down and avoided everyone’s eyes but Detective Blu. I was a little embarrassed with my behavior, but I honestly didn’t think Clover was capable of this. There’s no way she could stab someone once, let alone repeatedly.

Detective Blu went on to give us the new details about the body and the murder. She told us that she had so many stab wounds to her chest it was impossible to count how many there were. Her neck was broken, but that happened post-mortem. Detective Blu thinks that the murderer stabbed her repeatedly and threw the corpse off a cliff and into the ocean, breaking her neck on the sea floor. She also told us there was no DNA evidence, since the body was in the ocean so long it was all long gone.

I knew this wasn’t going to be as easy as I originally thought.

——

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When we were done discussing the case, I hung back to apologize to Detective Blu for losing my cool. She accepted my apology, and I felt a lot better as I left the backroom. Well at least until I reached the lobby.

“Oh c’mon Tulip, one date won’t hurt us.” Officer Freeman had his hand on her cheek, making her blush.

“Oh gosh Max, you know the rules. We’re not allowed to date our partners.” She was rejecting him, but the large smile plastered across her face told me she really didn’t want too.

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“If the first date goes well, we can switch partners. It’s not that big of a deal.”

“Ugh, fine. But just one date!” She giggled.

Just the night before she was kissing me. I thought she had feelings for me. I was starting to have feelings for her too. Last night I stayed up trying to figure out how to break it off with Clover, so I could be with Tulip. I couldn’t believe I ever considered such a thing.

I needed to get out of there.

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I ran out of HQ as fast as I could, I was lucky they didn’t notice me until I was already out the door.

——-

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The next morning, I took Clover and Tulip to HQ to be questioned again. I went first, then Tulip, and now we were waiting for Clover to finish. I knew it would take a while, and I wasn’t looking forward to sitting here alone with Tulip. Especially since Fern was working at the police station today instead of here, so we were completely alone.

“So, River. We kinda need to talk.” Tulip broke the silence between us first.

“What about?” I was mad, and I wanted to be difficult.

“You know what. The kiss. We need to talk about what this means for us.”

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“Well it obviously meant more to me than it did to you.”

“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” She crossed her arms and glared at me.

“Well I didn’t go on a date with someone else afterwords.” I knew I wasn’t being fair but I didn’t really care.

“It didn’t even go well. How did you know about that?”

“I was in the hall when he asked.”

“Oh, so you were eavesdropping?” She teased.

“No, just passing through.” I smirked, feeling a lot better after learning the date went south.

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“But seriously River, you’re gonna have to make a decision. It’s either me or Clover, I can’t keep going behind her back like that.”

“I understand, I just don’t want anyone to get hurt. I really want to be with you, but you know how Clover is. She screamed at Gardenia for even saying hi to me, what’s gonna happen to you if I break up with her for you?”

“So do you think Clover did this?” She nudged her head towards her sister’s office.

“I don’t know, the more I think about it the more it makes sense. But I wanna give her the benefit of the doubt.”

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“Fair enough.” She jumped down from the counter and sat on the ground in front of me. “So, whose it gonna be?”

“You want me to decide right now?”

“I think we both know you made up your mind a while ago.” She said. She was right, I already made my decision, I just didn’t want to act on it just yet. I climbed off my chair and sat next to her on the floor.

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“What’s gonna happen? I don’t trust her, we can’t trust her to be okay with this.” I voiced my concerns to Tulip. I really liked her and I didn’t want to put her life in danger.

“I don’t know what’s gonna happen. But it’ll work out in the end. I promise. She grabbed my hand off my knee and held it. “I’ll always be here for you, I’ve said that before and I’ll say it again because I really mean it. I’m willing to do whatever it takes to be with you.”

“Really?” I asked, I knew she liked me but I didn’t think she liked me that much.

“Of course.”

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I kissed her again. I couldn’t help myself. It didn’t matter that Clover was in the next room, and could come out of there at any second. I think that made it even more exciting. Kissing her was so much different from kissing Clover. I never wanted to stop.

“So River,” She pulled back slightly to talk to me. “Who do you choose?”

“As if it weren’t obvious, I pick you.” I kissed her quickly once more, before I pulled the both of us off the floor. “Now, let’s act natural. We don’t want anyone finding out before we’re ready.”

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We both sat quietly, glancing at each other every once in a while. We were both trying to hide our smiles, this wasn’t exactly the time to be smiling.

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“Alright, it looks like we’re done here. I’ll call you.” Detective Blu looked at the two of us with a concerned expression.

“C’mon babe, let’s go.” Clover demanded.

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But she was out the door before I could even stand up.

——

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“Well, good morning Mr. Lazy-pants. It’s one in the afternoon.” Tulip came in to wake me up, I had a late night that night.

“Hey, I’m not lazy. Just working hard. Speaking of work, why aren’t you there?”

“I took a sick day.” She smirked.

“Well then get that cute, pink butt over here.” I gestured to my bed and scooted over to make room for her.

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She cuddled against me and laid her hand on my chest. Lying there with her felt so right, even though it was technically wrong.

“So, how are you gonna do this?” She asked.

“I don’t know. I can’t use the whole ‘we’re better off as friends’ bit, we’ve been dating five years and we live together.”

“Yea, it’s a tricky situation. When are you gonna do it?”

“Today. I can’t keep pushing it back. I don’t want her to think this is going somewhere when it’s not.”

“You’re such a great guy, River. I feel bad about taking that away from her.” She sighed, her voice sounded like she was about to cry so I soothed her.

“Shh, don’t cry. You’re not taking anything away from anyone. It’s not working for me, even if I didn’t have you it wouldn’t work.” That calmed her down.

“Okay. I think I’ll be out when you do it though.”

“I think that’ll be best. Maybe you can take Maple with you. I don’t want him to have to hear that.”

“Mkay, I’ll take him to the club, he’s been begging me to go.” We laughed, he was very persistent when it came to clubbing.

“Sounds great.” I said. I kissed her forehead softly. “I promise it’s all gonna work out.”

“But what about after? She’s still going to be living here, we can’t date with her around.”

“I dated her for years in secret, I think we can manage dating in secret for a few months before our lease ends and she moves out.” I assured her. She didn’t say anything, she just smiled.

I rolled her over on top of me. “It’s not so bad dating in secret, it actually makes it even more interesting.”

“Sounds sexy.” She mocked. I fake scowled at her, and started to tickle her. “Ahh, River stop, stop!” She yelled through her giggles. I stopped when I was on top of her.

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“See? This is fun.” I scooped her up in my arms and kissed her.

“I wish everyday could be like this.” she pulled back slightly.

“Soon, I promise.” Our eyes met for a few intense seconds, before she rolled off the bed and ran out of my room.

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“Put on something comfortable, I’m about to kick your ass.” She said, and took off down the stairs. I couldn’t help but laugh, she sure knew how to ruin a moment.

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A few minutes later Tulip and I were in a full-on battle. The two of us were extremely competitive, and it was showing. We were both trash talking, throwing candy, tickle wars, you name it. It was the most fun I’ve had in a really long time. I couldn’t wait until this was an everyday thing.

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After a few hours of constant video games, Clover came home. I felt Tulip tense up beside me, Clover was home a few hours early and Maple wasn’t home yet so she couldn’t leave.

“Hey Clover, you’re home early.”

“Yea, I’ve got a headache. The boss sent me home early. I’ll be upstairs working on an article if you need me.” She didn’t look like she was in pain, but I didn’t want to make any assumptions.

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“You’re not gonna do it right now, right?” Tulip worried.

“Of course not, I’ll wait until Maple gets home.” She smiled, and we continued our game.

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“What the hell? How are you beating me? I’ve been playing since I was five!” I cried, no one has ever beaten me at this game, except Dill. He’s the one who taught me how to play, but other than him I’m undefeated.

“Natural talent, I guess.”

“Ugh, you suck.” I grumbled. I was a bit of a sore loser.

“No, I think you’re the one who sucks.” She joked, and I playfully punched her on the shoulder.

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“Hey guys, mind if I join?” Maple came walking in a few minutes after we started another game.

“Oh, I was gonna ask if you wanted to go out tonight.” Clover said, making his face light up.

“You mean like a club?” He asked, and she nodded. “Well then go put on that dress I bought you!”

“Mkay.” She put down her controller and bounded up the stairs.

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When she came back down, I was in awe. She looked gorgeous in her dress, almost like an angel.

“Damn girl. You look hot.” Maple gushed from the kitchen.

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“Wow, you look gorgeous.” I looked away from her, I didn’t want to seem suspicious in front of Maple.

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“Thanks River.” She grabbed my hands. “Good luck, call me if things get bad, I’ll be here as fast as I can.”

“Thanks, I think I can handle this. Have fun tonight.”

“Oh I will.” She winked.

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“Aye, not too much fun.” I said, making her laugh.

“Bye River.” Both her and Maple called as they left the house, leaving me alone with Clover. I took a deep breath and prepared myself.

This was not going to be easy.

River Fae Chapter 5: Really?

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“Hello?” My phone rang five minutes after the news reported Gardenia missing.

“Hello is this River Fae?” A professional woman’s voice demanded from the other side of the phone.

“This is him”

“This is Detective Hydrangea Blu. You’re half-sister Fern works for me, and she told me about your gift. I need you’re help with this missing person case.” She cut straight to the chase.

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“Are you sure this is a good idea? Gardenia is my friend, isn’t that a little too close to home?”

“Non-sense. Besides, you’re the only one who can help me.”

“But doesn’t my sister have the gift too?”

“Yes, but she can’t help me. I need you.” She was pushy, no doubt about that.

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“When do you need me?”

“Right now. This is urgent, we need to find her as soon as possible.”

——-

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The place was about a half hour drive from my house, but I got there as fast as I could. I was nervous, I really wanted to help but I didn’t know if I could, or what she wanted from me.

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I entered the building, inside was a waiting room and a receptionist desk next to a large fish tank built into the wall. It was a nice, professional place.

“I’m here to see Detective Blu.” I stated, hoping to get the attention of the receptionist.

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“Well well well, look who it is.” She smiled widely at me and put her hands on her hips. The receptionist was my half-sister, all grown up now.

“Oh gosh, hey Fern. I didn’t even recognize you, you look great!” I complimented her, I felt bad about not realizing it was her.

“Thanks bro. Detective Blu is through that hallway, first door.” She pointed to the hall.

“Thanks. Maybe we can get lunch some time?”

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“That’d be awesome River, but you should probably get in there now. Drea doesn’t like to be kept waiting.” She giggled.

“Noted. See ya later.” I waved her off and headed for the office.

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I knocked on the office door, and the came voice from the phone call called me into the room.

“Hello, I’m River.”

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“Hello River, take a seat. I’m Detective Blu.” She was a very professional looking woman, she had her hair in a tight bun, she was wearing a blazer, a skirt and pantyhose. She was extremely intimidating. Sitting in her office reminded me of being in the principals office in high school.

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“Thank you for coming, Mr. Fae. We could really use you’re help with the case.”

“It’s my pleasure, anything to help find Gardenia.”

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“I do need to ask you some questions about her, it’ll only take a few minutes.”

“Okay.”

“When was the last time you saw Gardenia Rico?” She pulled a pen out of her pen holder and started to write before I said anything.

“Last weekend at the winter fest, I was with my friends and my girlfriend. She came up to us and said hi.”

“Then what happened?”

“Um, she and my girlfriend got into a fight.”

“Was it a violent fight?”

I shook my head. “Just a lot of yelling.”

“Interesting.” She commented as she wrote on her paper.

“What do you mean? Are you saying my girlfriend is a suspect?” I tried to keep my voice down but I was getting angry.

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“Mr. Fae, I have to look at this from all angles. I will need to question her.” Detective Blu explained. I was offended she would even think Clover could be violent. “What is her name?”

“Clover Lyn.” I didn’t lie, I didn’t object. I knew better than that.

“Thank you. What were you doing on the day of her disappearance?”

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“I was with my roommate, we went to the art museum, out to dinner then back to our place.”

“Your roommates name?”

“Tulip Lance.” I said, and her face lit up.

“My sister? You live with my sister?”

“She’s your sister?” I knew Tulip had a sister who was a detective, I just didn’t make the connection.

“Yes, and it looks like I’ll have to question her too.”

“Alright.”

“That’s really all I have to ask you.” She closed her notebook and filed it in her desk.

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“So, what exactly do you need from me?” I asked, I wasn’t sure how my gift could help us.

“You can communicate with the dead, yes?”

“Yea.”

“Well, if Gardenia is dead, you could contact her.”

“And what if she’s not?” I didn’t want to consider the fact that my friend might be dead.

“Then you ask the spirits where she is.”

“I don’t know, they aren’t supposed to tell us things like that. We’re supposed to figure that out on our own. They can’t meddle with the living world.” It was true, I read it in one of the spirit books I found.

“Is there anything we could do to persuade them?”

“There is one thing.”

“What?”

“A seance, in the cemetery, on a full moon. They still can’t tell us everything, but they can give us riddles, so we have a little more to work with.” Another thing I learned from my spirit books.

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“The full moon is next week, we don’t have that kind of time, Mr. Fae.” She furrowed her eyebrows and tapped her pen.

“I’m sorry, I don’t know what else to do.”

“Try to get in touch with her spirit. If it doesn’t work, we know she’s alive. If it does, then we have an even bigger case on our hands.”

“I’ll go there tonight.”

“I’ll come with.” She offered. I’ve never communicated with the dead in front of people before. She can’t see them, so I’m gonna look like an idiot. And for some reason, I really didn’t want to look like an idiot in front of her.

——-

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“You do understand that you won’t be able to see her, right?” I asked her for the millionth time.

“Yes, I promise I won’t make fun of you.” She rolled her eyes.

“Okay, just making sure. I’ve only ever done this alone.” I admitted. She started to laugh, but then we heard a large crack from behind us. She jumped up off the bench and looked around the cemetery.

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“What was that?” She looked around nervously.

“Dunno.” I got up and looked around too.

“River sweetie, is that you?” A familiar hollow voice asked.

“Yea it’s me, Grandma.”

“River, is someone else here?” Detective Blu asked. I nodded and looked around for her. I spotted her to my right and approached her.

“Take a seat, Detective. It’ll only be a moment.”

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“Oh kiddo, don’t call me Grandma. It makes me feel old.” She laughed.

“Okay, I know you don’t have much time, and I need to ask you something.”

“What is it dear?”

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“Well, um my friend is missing and-“

“You need my help finding her?” She interrupted. “You know I can’t help you. I can’t meddle in living affairs.”

“I know, I know. I just thought it was worth a try.” I sighed.

“Look, I know it’s not the full moon, but I can give you a little hint, perhaps. It doesn’t interfere with the investigation, just push it in the right direction.”

“Okay, what’s the hint?” I asked anxiously.

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“What you’re looking for is closer than you think.”

“So she close to us? Close to where?”

“I can’t tell you baby. But good luck.” I sighed, I knew she wouldn’t answer but it didn’t hurt to try.

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“Thanks Flora.” I hugged her translucent frame lightly, I was afraid my body would go through hers.

“Be careful.” Was all she said before she disappeared.

I shoved my hands in my pockets and sighed.

“What did she say?” Detective Blu asked, startling me.

“Oh god. I forgot you were there. How did that look to you?” I took a seat on the bench next to her.

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“Quite insane, actually.” She laughed. I felt my face start to burn with embarrassment.

“Oh god.”

“Don’t worry, I deal with insane on a daily basis. What did she say?” She repeated.

“She couldn’t tell me much. But she did give me a hint.”

“What is it?”

“‘What you’re looking for is closer than you think.’ I’m not entirely sure what that means, but maybe you do.” I questioned.

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“That’s a bit vague. It could mean anything.” She glanced at me. “Are you willing to help me? I could really use you on my team.”

“What could you possibly need me for?”

“You can contact the dead. If Gardenia is dead, then you’ll be able to contact her. If she’s dead now, she’s probably hiding until we discover the body. Once we do, she’ll be able to show herself.”

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“I really hope that’s not the case.”

“It could be, we have to look at this from all angles, Mr. Fae. Whether we like it or not, we have to consider it. It comes with the job.” She sighed.

“Call me River, please. And I don’t know if I can deal with it.”

“Well River, she could still be alive. We could try to get more clues from the spirits. It could be the difference between her living or dying.”

“Are you trying to guilt trip me?”

“Of course not. It’s just, I know what it’s like to be in that position. Where the decisions you make decide someones fate. It’s a lot to take on, and I guess I’d understand if you don’t wanna do it.” She sighed again, and I couldn’t help but wonder what had happened.

“I’ll do it.”

——-

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“So you’re really working with my sister?” Tulip laughed from the floor of the living room.

“Yea, why?”

“She’s a bit, uptight, nowadays. Have fun with that.”

“She seems nice enough.” Detective Blu wasn’t necessarily uptight, but she wasn’t exactly the type you’d see at a party.

“Eh, maybe. I guess I wouldn’t know, we don’t talk much.” She sighed and typed something on her laptop.

“Why not?”

“She shut everyone out after the incident.”

“What incident?” She had mentioned something in our cemetery visit, but I didn’t really think much of it.

“It’s not really my place to say.”

“Ah, okay. That’s okay.”

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“Yea, so if you’re expecting to be friends or whatever with her, you’re gonna be let down. She only talks to clients and her receptionist. She might seem tough, but she’s not. If this case goes south too, I’m gonna be worried about her.”

“What do you mean?”

“Let’s just hope we find Gardenia alive.” She looked me dead in the eyes and frowned. “My sister can’t handle failure.”

“Oh.” I glanced around the room until my eyes landed on the kitchen clock. Five-thirty. Shoot, I was meeting with a client at six, and I really didn’t want to be late. I let Tulip know before I ran upstairs to get my jumpsuit.

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“Bye Tulip.” I called as I headed out the door. She mumbled something without moving from the floor.

*Many hours later*

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When I finally came home from the client’s house, I found Tulip passed out on the couch near her laptop.

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I moved her laptop to the other couch and shook her lightly. “Hey, Tulip. Wake up.” She groaned and covered her face.

“Maple?”

“No, it’s River.” I whispered.

“Oh, hey. What time is it?” Her voice heavy with sleep.

“About three am.” She pulled herself into a sitting position and yawned. “Why aren’t you in bed?”

“I was waiting for you.”

“Why?” I asked, and pulled myself onto the couch next to her.

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“I’m not really sure.” She hesitated.

“Maybe we should get to bed then.”

“Maybe.” She was all jittery and nervous, I didn’t really understand why.

“What’s up? Everything okay?”

“Do you really love her?” She blurted out, then quickly covered her mouth. “Oh god. I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have asked that.”

“It’s okay. I guess I do. I don’t really know what love is, I’ve only been with her before.” I admitted.

“If you aren’t sure, it doesn’t really sound like love. But that’s just my opinion, it’s not really my place to say.” She avoided eye contact and twirled her hair around her finger.

“I don’t know if I love her, but do I have to know right now? I’m still young.”

“True.”

“Why are you asking me this?” I asked, and she buried her hands in her face.

“I-I don’t know. It’s late. I’m tired.”

“Then lets get you to bed.” I scooted closer to her to help her off the couch.

“Not yet.” She still had her hands on her face, but now she started to sob.

“Hey, Tulip what’s wrong?” I wrapped my arm around her shoulders and pulled her close to me.

“I w-want to move out.” She gasped between sobs

“What, why? Is it something I did?”

“Not really. I just feel bad, I really like you and you have a girlfriend and she lives here and I just feel really shitty about it. I don’t wanna get between your relationship so I’m gonna leave.” Tulip liked me?

“You don’t have to leave.”

“Yes I do.”

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“No you don’t.” I don’t know why, but I pulled her face up to mine, so close I could taste her breath. I wasn’t thinking, it was late and everything she was saying was going to my head.

“Why not? I just ruin everything.”

“No you don’t. You’re amazing.”

“Do you really mean that?” She beamed, and ran her fingers through my hair, making chills run down my spine.

“I do. I don’t want you to leave. It wouldn’t be the same around here.”

“Okay, I won’t.” She whispered.

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I don’t know which one of us ultimately closed the gap between our lips. But before I could register it, Tulip was kissing me and I was kissing back. Kissing her was so different from kissing Clover. It was almost… magical. It’s like Tulip and I had a connection that Clover and I didn’t. I really liked it.

Clover. Oh god, I’ve got a girlfriend. I can’t kiss Tulip while I have a girlfriend. I promise myself I’d never be that guy.

We both pulled back at the same time, as if we were in sync. I didn’t pull back because I didn’t want to kiss her, I didn’t want to hurt Clover.

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“Oh god.” She jumped off the couch and looked away from me. “River I’m so sorry I-“

“No, it’s my fault.” I interrupted. “Tulip…” I had to tell her I couldn’t do this, at least not while I was with Clover.

“I get it. It’s okay. Goodnight River.”

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She flew out of the room as fast as she could without saying anything else. I buried my face is my hands and groaned.

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I’m screwed.

River Fae Chapter 4: Life’s Too Short

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“Are you sure this is gonna work?” Maple and I were hanging out in my room this morning. He had come up with a plan to get Clover to be friends with Tulip, and I wasn’t entirely convinced it would work.

“Of course it’ll work. It’s impossible to hate anyone at a festival.” He said like it was the most obvious thing in the world.

“I hope you’re right. Things are getting kinda tense around here.”

“I’m always right.” He fake scoffed. “Get dressed, we’re leaving soon.” He sprung off my bed and left.

That guy really was something.

——-

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“So, whose ready for some festival fun?” Maple cheered. Clover groaned from the backseat and Tulip and cheered too.

“This’ll be fun.” Tulip told Clover.

“Whatever.”

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When we got there, Maple went to park and left me alone with both of the girls.

“So, what’re we gonna do first?” The festival was practically empty, so we pretty much had the place to ourselves.

“How about a water balloon fight?” I offered. Even though it was winter, Maple said this would be a good idea and I trusted him.

“I call River for my team.” Clover insisted.

“How about guys against girls? It’ll be interesting.”

“I’m down with that.” Tulip smiled at her and she rolled her eyes.

“Whatever.”

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“You boys ready to get slain?” Tulip trash talked from the other side of the arena.

“Yea right! We’re gonna kick your asses!” Maple shouted back. I think they liked trash talking more than they did actually playing.

“Let’s just get this over with.” Clover complained.

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I made a silly face at Clover to try and get her out of her foul mood. She laughed at me, and made a face back. Maybe this plan might actually work.

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“Ahh!” Tulip took the first hit of the night. “Get him Clover!” She shouted.

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Clover nodded and picked up a water balloon and faced me. Uh oh.

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Luckily, I was able to dodge it.

“Rats! Get Maple!” Clover shouted at Tulip. They were actually working as a team.

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The game was pretty intense, but we totally beat the girls team. They were soaked, and we were just damp. It was pretty awesome.

“You guys cheated!” Tulip accused.

“Nah. We’re just good.” Maple laughed and I gave him a high five. She pouted and pulled herself off the ground.

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“Screw them, we did awesome.” Clover hugged Tulip, and Maple glanced at me and smirked.

“Yea we did.” They laughed.

“Hey girls, you guys wanna go to Hogan’s?” I offered.

“Sounds awesome.” Clover replied and ran over to me.

“Oh hey River, funny seeing you here!” A familiar voice said from behind us.

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“Hey Gardenia, how is everything?”

“Everything is great! I wanted to thank you again for the other day, you did a great job.” She remarked, and Clover grabbed onto my arm protectively.

“River, who is this?”

“I’m Gardenia Rico, nice to meet you.” She scoffed.

“What did you do for her?” Clover ignored her and spoke to me instead.

“Just an odd job at her house, why?”

“Are you sleeping with her?” She accused.

“Babe, of course not.”

“Oh, so this is your girlfriend. Nice to meet you.” Gardenia said in a very condescending tone.

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“You’re a bitch.”

“You’re the one making something out of nothing!” I wanted to stop them but I didn’t know if that would make it worse or not.

“How do I know you’re not sleeping with him?” She screamed. I’m glad everyone else at the festival had left.

“Um, maybe you should trust you’re boyfriend a little more, Sweetie.”

“Don’t tell me what to do!”

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“Look, all I wanted to do was thank him for his work. You’re fucking crazy.” Gardenia scowled at her.

“Yea right, you probably want to steal him away from me.” Clover was getting angrier by the second and it was starting to scare me.

“Yea, no thanks.” She retched and turned to me. “No offense, you’re not really my type. This is bullshit so I’m gonna go, thanks again River.”

“No problem.”

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“Don’t come back.” Clover growled.

“I won’t if you’re around.” She laughed and left the park.

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“So, we’re going to Hogan’s right?” Clover asked happily.

“Uh, yea. C’mon guys, I’ll drive.” I called out to Maple and Tulip who were leaning against the ice rink.

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The fight at the festival was completely forgotten by all but me once we got to the diner. Something about that gave me the chills whenever I thought about it.

——-

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“Hey Tulip, what’s up?”  She was outside looking through the telescope in broad daylight.

“Nothing really, why?”

“Well, Clover’s busy today, and I was wondering if you wanted to hang.”

“Will she be okay with that?” She pulled away from the telescope and gave me a quizzical look.

“Yea, you guys are cool now, right?”

“Let me grab my purse.” She laughed and took off into the house.

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“So where’re we going?” She asked as I drove my truck down the street.

“Anywhere you want.”

“Anywhere?” She giggled, and I rose an eyebrow and glanced at her.

“Yes, but then we do what I want later.”

“Okay. Make a left here.”

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“What is it supposed to be?” I asked her a few minutes after we got to the art museum.

She sighed and responded with “River, it’s abstract. It’s not supposed to be anything.”

“I really don’t understand art.” I shook my head.

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“I do, and this is awful. Everything in this place is awful. Look around.” She spun around in a circle with her arms outstretched.

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“I mean look at that, that’s a chair! That doesn’t deserve to be in a museum. This is bullshit.” She pouted.

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“We can go now. This was a bad idea.” We both started laughing, drawing the attention of an older couple on the other side of the room.

“Come on, lets go get some food.”

——-

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“That was fun, River. But we never did what you wanted to do.” Tulip and I had just gotten home from dinner, and now we were hanging out in the back of my truck.

“This is what I wanted to do. The sky is so pretty at night.” I said quietly.

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“It is.” She changed positions, and now she was lying right next to me. “Do you ever wonder what else is out there?”

“You mean in space?”

“No, in the world. All we know is Sunset Valley. But are there other places out there? Or is this all there is?” She asked, her voice light and airy.

“I don’t know.” I whispered back.

“Wouldn’t that be cool? Like, different places to see and visit. You’d never know what you’ll find next. Like a movie or a video game.”

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“There could be, Tulip. We don’t know. Maybe we should try and find out.”

“What do you mean? Like an adventure?” She beamed.

“Exactly.”

“I’d really like that.” She intertwined her fingers with mine. I didn’t even mind.

“Me too.”

“What about Clover?”

“She could come with us. Maple too.” I offered, and she frowned. “What?”

“Nothing.” She sighed and looked away.

“No, what’s wrong.”

“It’s nothing, I promise.” She caressed my hand with her thumb, and I believed her.

“It’s getting late, we should go to bed.” I offered. She nodded, and I helped her out of the truck bed.

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“Night River.” She whisper-yelled in the hallway outside my bedroom.

“Night Tulip.” I replied in the same tone. We both laughed quietly and headed to our respective rooms. I really liked spending time with her.

——-

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“How was you’re day yesterday babe?” Clover was having a good day today and I was avoiding anything that would set her off.

“It was good, I missed you though. How was your day?”

“It was boring. I had to do some articles at work. I missed you too.” She looked up from her book and grinned at me.

“Well you don’t have to work today. What do you want to do?”

“Maybe we could-” She started to say but was interrupted by Maple frantically entering the house.

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“River, put on channel seven, now” He demanded, out of breath.

“What’s going on?” His panicking was worrying me.

“Just do it, please.”

I turned off the video game system and put on the channel.

missing

“-has been reported missing. Sources say she hasn’t been home or heard from for days. Her car has been found outside of her workplace, with her purse, wallet and cellphone. If anyone has seen or heard from Gardenia Rico is the past day, please contact the police. Thank you.” A human news anchor reported from our TV.

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Gardenia was… missing?