Jasmine Fae Chapter 5: Mission Impossible

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

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

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

“What does this mean?” Iris asked excitedly.

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

“This is huge.” Grandpa exclaimed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“How do you know what I want?”

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

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

“I’ve thought about it, Mom.”

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

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

I left the room without another word.

——–

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

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

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

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“I guess.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I’m sorry.”

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“I hope you come back someday.”

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

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

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

“Yea, good idea.”

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

“Hey babe, guess what.”

“What?”

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

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

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

“Babe, that sounds dangerous.”

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

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

“Hey, we’ve still got a month.”

“Yea, but then what?”

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

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

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

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

“Thanks.”

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

“You are such a sap.” I joked.

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

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

“So you’ll always remember me.”

“Thanks.” I couldn’t help but smile.

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

“Good.”

“I’ll miss you.”

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

 ———

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

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

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

“I’ll miss you guys too.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“You guys be good, okay?”

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

“I’ll miss you.” Ivy whispered.

“You too kiddo.”

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

“I love you Jazz.”

“I love you too.”

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

“I could never.”

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

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

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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 18: Second Chances

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I’d love to see you try.”

——-

*Hydrangea*

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

“Thank you.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Which would be better?”

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

“What do we do?”

“All we can do is wait.”

——–

*River*

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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“Hey bud, what’s up?”

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

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

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

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“ASTER. GET DOWN HERE.”

“No. You’re not the boss of me.”

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

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

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

——-

*Hydrangea*

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

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

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

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

“Am I in trouble?” Aster asked.

“Yes, that wasn’t nice, bud.”

“It was just a joke!”

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

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

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

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“Am I allowed to come back here?”

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

“Fine.”

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

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

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

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

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

It felt great to be an aunt.

——-

*River*

*Two months later*

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

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

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

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

“We should probably get started.” She laughed.

“You can go first.”

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

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

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“I love you, Hydrangea Fae.”

“I love you too, River Fae.”

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

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

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

River Fae Chapter 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 6: Nice to See You

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This case became my top priority, even after what happened last night. Right now my main priority was finding Gardenia and getting her home safely.

Besides, we were both exhausted last night. Neither of us knew what we were doing, so it probably meant nothing. Everything I said last night wasn’t thought through well. I did love Clover, I guess we were just growing apart. But I think I know how to fix it.

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“You texted me, what’s up?” Clover came into my room and leaned against my dresser.

“I did. I’m ready, Babe.” I told her, and moved all my stuff off the bed and onto the floor.

“W-what do you mean?” She cocked an eyebrow at me.

“I think you know exactly what I mean.” I smirked and jumped off my bed. I wanted to prove to her that I loved her, and maybe this would help us get closer.

“Babe are you sure?”

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“I’m sure that I love you.” I wrapped my arms around her waist and kissed her. It wasn’t entirely truthful yet, but I’m sure it will be once the deed is done. I mean, everyone says sex brings you closer, right?

“I love you too.” She beamed, she’s been asking for this for a while now. I picked her up and carried her over to the side of my bed.

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“Babe, are you really sure?” She asked me again. I responded by kissing her chest, up to her neck, then finally stopping at her lips.

“Positive.”

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“I love you, Clover.”

“I love you too, River.”

And well, you can guess what happened next.

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“Wow. That was amazing.” Clover curled up next to me later on. I grunted in response, earning myself a soft kick to the shin.

Honestly, I thought all my problems were gonna be solved by doing that with her. But it didn’t. At all. It made things worse, actually. I did love Clover. But I don’t love her in the way I thought I did. I didn’t love her like I was supposed to.

“We should do that more often.” She giggled. I nodded and kissed her forehead.

I knew I needed to break up with her, but we were living in the same house for a year, it’d be impossible to avoid her. Also her mood swings, I can barely handle it when I’m with her, how would she react if I tried to leave her.

I was in a very sticky situation.

——-

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“All she’s gonna do is ask you some questions, then we can go home, okay?” I led Clover out to the truck, I was taking her to meet with Detective Blu so she could get questioned.

“Okay. It won’t take too long, right?” She groaned.

“Don’t think so.” I held the car door open for her and we drove off.

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“Hey Fern.” I greeted my half-sister when we entered the headquarters. There was no one else there, as usual.

“You can just go right in.” Fern directed, never looking up from her typing.

“I’ll try to wait for you, but I’m meeting with a client soon and I might have to leave. But if I do, Fern said she can give you a ride home.” I told Clover, and gave her hand a little squeeze.

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“I’ll see you later, love.” She walked out of the room and into Detective Blu’s office.

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I brought a random book from Clover’s collection with me, I didn’t know how long I’d be waiting out here for. Detective Blu suspected Clover was involved in the disappearance of Gardenia.  I was slightly offended she would even think of such things, but I guess she did have her reasons. But still, Clover couldn’t even hurt a fly, let alone a grown woman.

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“You’ve got a lot on you’re mind.” Fern startled me, I hadn’t even realized she was next to me. I had been here for quite some time now, and I was getting really into this book.

“How did you know that?”

“I know a lot of things, dear brother. Now, what’s bothering you?” I didn’t want to talk about this, not with Clover in the building.

“Gardenia is missing, that’s what’s bothering me.” That was the main thing, so it wasn’t really a lie.

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“You and I both know that’s not what I’m asking.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Fine, I can tell you don’t wanna talk about it. But I’m still gonna give you advice. Remember what I said to you that night we first met. I really mean it, River.” She sighed, and I tried to remember what she told me that night.

‘Be careful with Clover.’

I remember her saying that, and I thought about it a lot for the first few months afterwords. It still gave me the chills, how could she have known we were dating when we were so careful? It didn’t make sense then, and it still didn’t make much sense now.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about. Everything is fine.”

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“Whatever you say.” She giggled. Her cell phone buzzed, and she gasped. “Oh gosh, it’s already five, don’t you have a client?”

“I do. Thanks for reminding me. You can drive her home, right?”

“Of course. Good luck brother, with everything.” She chuckled.

I grabbed my book and my keys and left the headquarters thinking about everything but my job.

——-

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“Hey Kiddo, come on in.” My uncle ushered Clover and I inside my parents house. I decided to stop by and see them, I was really stressed and seeing them might do me some good.

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“Hey Mom.” I came in and she jumped off the floor and attacked me.

“Oh River sweetie its so great to see you.” She said. Clover took a seat next to Dad and they started to chat.

“Oh, who’s this?” I asked, noticing the toddler playing on the floor.

“River, this is Aster. He’s your nephew.”

“Oh Dill had a kid? Why didn’t he tell me I mean I know he’s busy but-” I started to say but my mom shook her head.

“No, this is Poppy’s son.”

“Oh.”

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“Well hey there little guy.” I took a seat on the floor in front of his toy box. He ignored me and tried to shove the cylinder block in the triangle slot.

“Hey, I think it goes in this one.” I offered, and he gave me a death glare. I didn’t even know babies could give death glares.

I glanced at my mom and she shrugged. “He’s a little hostile.”

“He gets that from his Mom.” Dad joked, making us all laugh.

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“Ugh, I thought I heard your voice.” My little sister came out from the bathroom with a scowl on her face.

“Nice to see you too, Poppy.” I smirked, making her even angrier.

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“I’m too hungover for your shit today. I’m going to bed, don’t piss off my son.” My mom sighed, making Poppy roll her eyes.

Poppy stomped up the stairs and slammed her door.

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“She’s been going out every night, getting piss drunk. Dad and I are getting tired of it, so we’ve given her an ultimatum. She has one more month to get sober or we’re kicking her out and taking custody of Aster.”

“Are you guys sure you want to raise another kid? I mean you’ve already had four. What about his father?”

“He’s worse than she is. That’s how they met, both got piss drunk and ended up sleeping together. She’s dating some other loser right now and his father doesn’t wanna be in his life. I can’t understand why, he’s adorable.” She smiled sadly and pet his head softly.

“Oh. Well I hope it works out.”

“Thanks kiddo. How are you? How’s work?” Mom and I didn’t talk often, but she did know I was working on the missing person case.

“It’s going okay. We don’t have any new leads as far as I know.” I said, and Aster threw his block down on the carpet angrily and started to cry. “Oh god, did I do something?”

“Of course not, he’s just hungry.” She picked him up off the floor and gestured for me to stand too.

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“Oh sweetheart, I hope everything works out. I’ve been following this on the news, it’s so strange, how someone can just disappear.”

“Yea, it is pretty weird.”

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“Have you tried talking to her spirit?”

“I have, either she’s not dead or she’s hiding until the body is found. I’m hoping for the former.”

“I think we all are. Have you spoken to Flora?” She asked, and Aster started to get fussy again.

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“Hold on sweetie, Gamma’s gonna get you a bottle in a sec.” She tickled the baby, making him scream with delight. “Anyway, have you?”

“I have, but she couldn’t give me anything useful.” I had to lie a little, I wasn’t supposed to give out a lot of details.

“Yea, they usually can’t.” She rolled her eyes “Darn spirits. It’d make life so much easier.” We both laughed, but stopped when my phone started to ring.

“I gotta get this.” I gestured to my phone. She nodded and headed to the kitchen to get Aster something to eat.

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I barely got a ‘hello’ out of my mouth before she started to speak. “River Fae, it’s Detective Blu, we’ve found Gardenia.”

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.