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.

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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?

River Fae Chapter 3: Who You Gonna Call?

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“Hey babe, have you been feeling okay lately?” Clover and I were watching a boring movie, and I thought now would be a good time to talk to her. She’s been acting strange since we moved, and I wanted to make sure she was okay.

“I’m fine, why?” She narrowed her eyes at me.

“I’m just wondering, you seem a little on edge lately.”

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“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” She frowned at me, looking like a sad puppy.

“Clover, I’m just asking. I didn’t really mean anything by it.”

“You think I’m crazy, don’t you?” She started to sob.

“No, no of course not babe.”

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“I’m fine, okay? You can stop asking me now, okay? I’m fine.” She pouted.

“Usually when a girl says she’s fine, she really isn’t.” As soon as that came out of my mouth I regretted it.

“Are you calling me a liar?”

“Of course not Clover. I didn’t mean it like that. I just want to make sure you’re okay.”

“I’m fine. Why do you even care?”

“You’re my girlfriend, I don’t want you to be upset.”

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“You don’t care about me!” She screamed and jumped off the couch.

“What? Of course I care about you.” I stood up too.

“If you cared about me you wouldn’t treat me like this!” She was getting hysterical now. I was really regretting bringing this up at all.

“Clover what are you talking about?”

“You know exactly what I’m talking about! If you loved me you wouldn’t share a house with another woman!”

“That’s what this is about? Clover, I told you, I don’t love her. I barely even know her. I only love you, you know that babe.” I tried to calm her down.

“But still! How can I trust you around her? We don’t know her, she could tempt you or something!”

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“Do you really think that? Do you really not trust me?” I trusted her with all my heart, how could she doubt me like that? I’ve never done anything to break her trust, so why doesn’t she trust me?

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“Oh River, I’m so sorry baby. I didn’t mean it like that. It’s not that I don’t trust you, I don’t trust her.” She was now on the verge of tears again. Her moods were changing so fast it was hard to keep track of it all.

“She’s a nice girl, love. We’re kinda stuck with her for a while, so can you at least try to be civil?” I wasn’t asking a lot.

“I’ll try. But she better keep her paws off of you.”

“I think she will.” I smiled at her.

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She practically jumped on me when she kissed me. I definitely wasn’t expecting that, it was like all traces of our fight was gone. Like it never happened.

“I’ve got an interview to do, I’ll be home in a few hours, okay?” She kissed me one more time then ran out the front door before I could respond.

See what I mean?

——-

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“Ugh, I hate this job.” Maple flopped onto the sofa a little while later. I hadn’t really moved since Clover left, I was kind of in shock after the whole ordeal.

“Then quit if you don’t like it.” I offered.

“I caaan’t” He groaned. “It’s an entry position, if I ever want to get anywhere in the film industry I gotta do this stupid job.”

“What do you even do?”

“Everything everyone else doesn’t wanna do.” He groaned again.

“Hey, can I ask you for some advice?” I asked hesitantly.

“Of course. Girl drama?”

“How did you know?” I gaped. This guy was pretty good.

“I can tell. What’s up?”

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“I’m not even really sure. She’s just been acting so moody. No matter what I say, it’s wrong. It’s driving me nuts.” I sighed.

“So basically she’s just being a girl?” He giggled.

“No, she’s never been like this. We’ve been dating for five years, you’d think I’d notice something like this.”

“Is there any chance she could be, y’know.” He nudged my leg.

“What?”

“Could she be pregnant?”

“We haven’t even um, done it yet.” I admitted. It was kind of embarrassing, most people I know lost their virginity in high school.

“Hmm. Maybe she’s jealous?”

“She has been going on about Tulip.”

“That’s too bad, I think they’d be great friends.” He sighed. I turned my attention back to the television, until he hit me in the arm. “Dude, I think I have an idea.”

——-

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The next evening, I came home and was about to crash on my bed when my phone started to ring. I didn’t recognize the number, but I answered it anyway.

“Hello?”

“Hey River, it’s Fern” My half sister said from the other side of the phone.

“Oh hey, how are you?”

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“I’m doing great. Just got married. But that’s not why I called.” She’s like eighteen, why would she get married so young? Eh, not my business I guess.

“Then what’s up?”

“I met someone the other day who could really use your help.” She explained quickly.

“What? What do you mean?”

“She got an infestation of sorts.” She paused, I waited for her to elaborate but she didn’t.

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“Fern, what are you talking about?”

“Your gift. Remember what I said?”

“I do. What do you need me to do?” I didn’t want my gift to go to waste, like she warned.

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“She has a spirit infestation, and she needs them out. I’ve got the device you need to capture them, all you gotta do is meet with her tomorrow then go over to her place and capture the little shits.” It didn’t sound too hard, I bet I could do it.

“Sure, do you have her number?” I asked.

“She has your address, she’ll be at your house around one. Bye Bro.” She hung up before I could say anything else.

I guess I’ve got some spirits to catch.

——-

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I usually spent my days alone, just me and the video game system for the majority of the day. Tulip had a desk job at the police station, Clover had her journalism job and Maple had his studio job. Today I was doing a spirit job for some woman I’ve never met. Who knows, maybe she’ll be the first of many.

As soon as that thought crossed my mind, the doorbell rang.

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“Hiya, are you River?” A bubbly girl smiled from the porch.

“Yes I am.”

“I’m Gardenia, I talked to you’re sister about my infestation, she said you could help.” She batted her eyelashes and smiled.

“Yea, come on in.”

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“Take a seat. Can I get you anything to drink?”

“No I’m good, thanks.” Gardenia smiled and took a seat on the couch.

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“So, tell me a about the infestation, whats going on?” I didn’t really know what to ask her, but I assumed this was it.

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“Well, my furniture is floating around, shaking, crashing against things. They jump from object to object so I can’t really do anything about it.”

“Okay, sounds easy enough.” I smiled at her.

“Oh, and they only come out at night. Usually around five.”

“Alright, so it’s only one thirty, when should we leave here?” I didn’t mind hanging out with her until then, she seemed pretty cool.

“How about four thirty?”

“Sounds good.”

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“So, do you live here alone? It’s a really nice house.” She looked around the living room with a smile.

“No actually, I have two roommates and my girlfriend lives here too.” I explained.

“Oh cool. What’s it like having roommates?”

“They’re both really cool. My girlfriend doesn’t like them too much, but hopefully she’ll come around.”

“Oh, that’s too bad.”

“Yea I guess.” We continued to talk for a few hours until it was time to go. She’s a pretty interesting person. She works in the military, Mistletoe is actually her boss! She lives alone, which is why she’s so freaked out about the spirits. She has no siblings and her parents live across the street from her.

Gardenia was quickly becoming a good friend of mine.

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Her house was huge. It was like four stories or something! How can one person live in a house that size all alone? I guess I’m just used to being surrounded by people.

As soon as I stepped onto her property I could sense the spirits. They weren’t angry, but I couldn’t tell what exactly they were feeling.

Gardenia had brought over a jumpsuit my sister gave her, and a weird looking gun thing to catch the spirits.

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She showed me where the first spirit was and I got to work right away. It wasn’t hard to catch, I just wasn’t used to the machine so it took me a few minutes.

She watched me work the first few times, then got bored and wondered off somewhere. I didn’t mind, I was too absorbed in the work.

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I was really enjoying this job. I don’t know what was so much fun about it, but it was too much fun to be work. I really hoped more opportunities like this would come up.

Eventually, I caught all the spirits in her house and all her furniture was back to normal. I was glad I freed her from them, but I was kinda bummed it was over. It was so much fun.

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“Thank you so much River, you’re a hero!” She squealed and hugged me.

“No problem.” I smiled at her.

“Here, take this.” She tried to hand me a wad of cash.

“No, it’s okay. I really don’t mind doing it.” I didn’t want to take her money, it didn’t feel right.

“It’s okay, I have plenty of it.” She giggled.

“Are you sure?” She nodded, and shoved the wad into my hand.  I sighed, thanked her, and headed home.

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When I got there, I put the spirit boxes on my desk. They were so cool to look at, and I knew they couldn’t get out on their own so I wasn’t worried.

I was really liking the ghost hunting business.

——-

A/N Sorry for the random clothing change towards the end, he changed out of his jumpsuit and wouldn’t change back.

River Fae Chapter 2: Like Father, Like Daughter

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“A-are you sure we should do this? So many things could go wrong.” Clover paced her small bedroom, wringing her hands and muttering to herself.

I stopped in front of her and grabbed her hands. “Babe, it’s okay. I promise. You’re legal now, remember? There’s not much they can do to stop us.”  I assured her.

“But still. You know how my dad is. I’m his only child. We don’t know how he’ll react to this.” She tried to break away from me, but I held on tighter. But not tight enough to hurt her, I’d never want to harm her.

“Clover, I know it’s gonna be hard on him at first. But I promise, I’ll be right there to support you.” I cupped her face in my hands and she smiled at me.

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“You always know just what to say to me.” She remarked.

“That’s because I love you.” I kissed her softly.

“I love you too.” She laced her fingers in mine. “C’mon, we’ve been waiting for this.” She giggled and pulled me out of the room. Here goes nothing.

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My parents and her father sat on her living room couch. I don’t think they had any idea what was about to happen. It was terrifying, standing in front of them when I knew what we were about to admit. Clover glanced at me, and I nodded slightly. We decided she would be doing the talking, she’s always been better with words than me.

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“Prim, Jeremy, Daddy. I’ve,” She glanced at me, ” I mean, we have something to tell you. River and I are dating.” She bit her lip and looked around the room nervously. Mom was smiling so wide I thought her face would break. Dad looked bored, and Hero’s face was turning a dark blue.

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“How long has this been going on?” He raged. Clover was trembling, and I wanted to comfort her but I also didn’t want to anger Hero any more.

“A while.” She whispered.

“I asked how long.”

“Since River was in high school.” She shrunk back against me.

“WHAT? He’s been out of high school for four years!” He glared at us, balling his fists. He started lunging at me, but Clover stopped him.

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“Daddy, please don’t be mad. I love him. He loves me.”

“What you’ve been doing is illegal, Clover!”

“What we’ve been doing? What do you think we’re doing? I am a VIRGIN Daddy. We’re simply dating, and he’s never tried to do anything like that with me.” She was angry now too, and I was terrified this was gonna get out of hand.

“Clover…” He sighed and put his head in his hand.

“Daddy, I’m an adult now. You can’t stop me.” She crossed her arms.

“Clover, I love you. And you’re right, you’re an adult now. And well, I’m glad it’s River. He’s a decent kid.”

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He turned to me and smiled. “You better treat her right, Boy. Or you’ll have to get a new ass.” He laughed heartily, and I laughed nervously. He really did scare me.

“I will.” I promised. He pulled me into a hug and squeezed me tightly. I wasn’t sure if he was trying to hug me or trying to kill me.

“Daddy, don’t hurt him” Clover giggled. He let go and laughed.

“Fine. I’ve gotta get to work.” He waved us off and left.

My parents had been sitting quietly this entire time, but as soon as Hero left my mom jumped off the couch and screamed.

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“Oh River, I’m so happy for you!” She jumped on me and hugged me. “Chrissy and I always talked about this! Oh gosh, I can’t believe this! This is so exciting!” She was squealing loudly and jumping around, pretty much the opposite of Hero.

“Thanks Mom.” I laughed.

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“Oh Clover sweetheart, this is so great!” She turned her attention to my girlfriend.

“Thanks Prim, I’m glad you’re so supportive.”

“Why wouldn’t I be? I’ve been hoping this would happen!” She kept squealing, and my dad finally stood up off the couch and grabbed her hand.

“C’mon Babe, let’s go home and calm you down.” He laughed.

“Fine. But this is so exciting!’ She was still squealing as he dragged her out the front door.

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“So baby, how do you think they’ll react when we tell them we’re moving out next week?” Clover smirked.

“Hopefully they’ll take it well.” I pulled her close to me and kissed her.

——

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“I can’t believe you’re moving out!” My mom cried as she clung to me. Clover and I were moving out today, and my mom wasn’t taking it very well.

“We’ll be just down the mountain Mom, you can visit us any time.” I assured her. She nodded and wiped her eyes.

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“I know, I know. I’m just emotional.” She choked. “I love you sweetheart.”

“I love you too Mom.”

“I want grandchildren. You’re siblings are lacking in that department. I’m getting old! I need grandbabies to spoil!” She started gushing.

“Mom, I’m not even married yet. I’m not ready for a child. Maybe you should talk to Dill about that, he’s the married one.” I laughed, and she nodded.

“I’ll call him right after you leave.” She grabbed my hand and squeezed it softly. I squeezed it back and smiled. “Oh Poppy, say goodbye to you’re brother.” She suddenly turned to my younger sister.

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“See ya later, Loser.” Poppy mumbled. She and I still weren’t very close. The older she got the less we liked each other. She was part of the reason I was leaving.

“Bye Poppy. It’s been nice sharing a room with you.” I joked, and we both snorted. The moving truck pulled up and honked. She jumped off the boxes and gave us a small wave before heading inside.

We all packed the boxes into the truck, and soon we were heading off to our new place.

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“So, what do you think?” I pulled Clover close to me.

“It’s perfect.” She gasped. I kissed her on the cheek.

“I’m so glad you like it. Hopefully our roommates are as great as the house.” We laughed.

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It was a three bedroom, two bathroom, three story house. Clover and I each got our own rooms on the second floor, and our roommates shared the one on the third floor. We hadn’t met them yet, but how bad could they be?

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“I’m gonna tear you another asshole if you beat me, Maple.” A blue haired girl screeched.

“I’d like to see you try.” The guy named Maple growled back.

Clover cleared her throat and they looked up from their video game. “Excuse me, we’re your new roommates.” She announced. The girl smiled and started over towards us, the boy following close behind her.

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“Hiya, I’m Tulip, this is Maple. Sorry about that, we get a little aggressive when it comes to video games.” She laughed.

“It’s all good. I’m River, and this is my girlfriend, Clover.” I smiled and held her hand. She gave them a small wave.

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“So, you guys like hot tubs?”

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I’ve never actually been in a hot tub before, and it was an amazing experience. It was so relaxing. It was also a good place to get to know our new roommates.

“So, how long have you guys been together?” Maple asked us.

“About five years.” Clover explained. “What about you guys?”

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Tulip looked at her with the most amused expression I’ve ever seen someone make. “We’re not together, Maple here bats for the other team.” The two of them laughed.

“Oh, I just thought since you shared a room…” Her voice trailed off, making the two giggled harder.

“It’s a pretty big room, there’s two beds there. But it’s okay, we actually get that a lot. No worries.” Maple smirked.

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“Well then, I hope neither of you make a move on my man!” She joked, except it sounded a little too threatening to be a joke.

“We won’t. He’s not exactly our type.” Maple assured her. “Tuli and I only date brothers.”

“Oh.” She laughed softly and leaned closer to me.

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She pulled my face to hers with a little more force than necessary, and kissed me passionately right there in the hot tub. I still wasn’t exactly comfortable with PDA, especially in front of people I just met.

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“Do you guys always make out like this?” Tulip asked. I pulled away from Clover quickly and shook my head.

“No, we’ve been dating in secret for a long time, I guess we’re still excited about being able to do that whenever we want.”

“Ah, that makes sense.” They said at the same time. We all laughed, well all of us except for Clover.

We chatted for a while, I learned a lot about my two new roommates. Tulip has a sister who’s a detective, though she hasn’t had many cases lately. Maple didn’t have any siblings, he was an only child but was kicked out of his family when he came out as gay. I felt terrible for him, but he didn’t really seem to mind. They met in high school, and they’ve been inseparable ever since. They’ve been living in this house for a year, and the previous roommates got kicked out because they kept stealing from them. I assured them we wouldn’t be like that.

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“It’s getting pretty late, I’m gonna hit the hay.” Maple climbed out of the hot tub.

“Night Maple.” We all said in unison.

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“We should be getting to bed too, Clo.” I offered. It was almost midnight and she was starting her new journalist job tomorrow.

“Yea, I think I’m gonna go too.” Tulip piped in. We all got out of the tub and dried off.

“Goodnight guys.” She called after us as we headed inside.

“Goodnight Tulip.” I replied, and Clover completely ignored her. I really hoped I didn’t have a problem on my hands.

——

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The next morning, I woke up feeling terrible about how hostile Clover was to Tulip. I felt like I should apologize, so that’s what I went to do. The third floor was small, there was a little reading nook, a door to my right, and an open doorway to my left. I assumed the open doorway was their room, and I was correct. I knocked on the wall to give them some warning, and Tulip called out “Come in.”

“Hey Tulip, can I talk to you?” I entered her room cautiously. Maple wasn’t there, but his bed was clearly slept in.

“Sure, come on in, take a seat. She gestured to her bed.

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“What’s up River?” She asked, yawning loudly after. I was a little uncomfortable, she was only wearing panties and a t-shirt. I’ve never really been alone with a half naked girl before, besides my little sister but I don’t think she counts.

“I’m sorry about last night.”

“What do you mean?”

“Clover. She was a little… hostile. I’m sorry, she’s just overprotective of me. I’m sure she’ll come around.” I explained quickly.

“It’s fine, I totally get it.” She smiled, and hopped off the bed, and pulled me off it too.

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“So River, what’re you doing today? Maple is working and I have nothing to do.”

“I’m about to go to the gym, would you like to tag along?” I offered. Clover hated the gym, so I always had to work out alone.

“I’d love too! Give me five minutes to get dressed.”

“Of course, I’ll meet you downstairs.” I waved as I left the room. I realized I needed to grab my gym bag, so I stopped by my room quickly.

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“What the hell were you doing upstairs?” Clover was standing in the middle of my room completely outraged.

“I was talking to Tulip.” I didn’t see any reason to lie to her, so I didn’t.

“Why?”

“We live with her, I think we should at least get to know her.” I bit my lip. I didn’t really want her to know what we were talking about.

“Didn’t you do that last night?” She crossed her arms.

“Clover…”

“Are you going somewhere?” She noticed the keys in my hand.

“Tulip and I are going to the gym.” I sighed. I didn’t want to fight.

“Oh no you’re not.”

“Fine. I’ll make up some excuse. Happy?” I gave up, it wasn’t really worth it.

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“Very.” She laced her fingers through mine and kissed me. Her entire demeanor changed and she was giggling happily.

That was weird.