River Fae Chapter 11: Snapped

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

*Tulip*

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“I really think you could use my help.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

——

*River*

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Murder? Who was it?” She whispered.

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

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

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

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

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

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“This is all my fault.” She sobbed.

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

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

“I loved her.”

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

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

“I’m sorry, I didn’t know.”

“It’s ok.”

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

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

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

And she never even gave it a second thought.

———–

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

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River Fae Chapter 10: Tension

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To say things were awkward would be an understatement. I always tried to be out of the house when I knew Clover would be home. Working nights finally came in handy, I would leave the house before she came home and I’d get home after she’d fallen asleep.

But even with all my clever avoidance techniques, I’d still see her around the house every so often. Sometimes I’d ignore her just like she was ignoring me, but other times I’d try and strike up a conversation. Today was one of those days.

“Hey Clo, I like you’re haircut.” I said. She cut her hair to about chin length a little while ago. I’m pretty sure she did it herself, I found yellow hair all over the bathroom floor not long ago.

She completely ignored me and went straight for the refrigerator. She usually did whenever I tried to talk to her.

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She got a salad from the fridge and headed for the table. She usually brought her food up to her room, but I guess we were making progress.

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We ate in silence. If anyone had walked in right then they’d probably choke on the tension in the air.

“Don’t speak to me ever again.” she said after a few intense minutes of quiet.

“Sorry.”

“You should be. You are a terrible person.” She glared at me between bites of her salad.

“I’m not a terrible person. I can’t help it if I don’t love you anymore.”

“You are such an asshole. You better watch your back.”

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“You know, you really shouldn’t threaten someone who’s working on a murder case, on which you’re a suspect.” I stood up, threw my blood pouch away and went upstairs to find Tulip. I didn’t care if anyone knew anymore. I was tired of hiding from someone who’s opinion doesn’t matter to me.

——-

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“So you really don’t care what she thinks?” Tulip asked me the next day when I took her to the beach down the street.

“Not at all. She’s my ex-girlfriend, you’re my current girlfriend. Her opinion doesn’t matter to me. I used to care if she got upset, but she’s been so freaking rude to me. I just don’t care anymore.”

“I don’t think we should piss her off, River. She’s a murder suspect.”

“I promise, I won’t let her hurt you. If she did kill Gardenia, Detective Blu will find evidence. She’s great at her job, you know that.”

“I know, but I can’t help but be worried.”

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“Don’t worry about her. Today is about us, so let’s have fun, okay?” I said. I was tired of thinking about Clover. I couldn’t wait until she was completely out of my life.

“Alright.” She agree. I pushed my lips against hers.

“So, what should we do first?”

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“Um, I don’t know.” She looked away shyly. Tulip wasn’t a very shy person, so either she was messing with me or she was nervous.

She pushed me in the chest lightly and screamed “You’re it!” Before running off towards the water.

I knew she had to be messing with me.

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“Hey, that was so not cool.” I called after her as she ran into the ocean.

“Aw, did someone’s feelings get hurt?” She mocked me with a baby voice.

“Oh this is so on.” I fake threatened, and made my way into the water.

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As soon as I was close enough, I started to splash her as much as I possibly could.

“Ahh, River stop.” She laughed.

“Never.” I yelled, sending another wave her way.

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“You’re the worst.” She splashed me back as hard as she could.

“You know you like it.”

“Oh shut it.”

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The both of us were laughing too hard to do any real damage, but we were having the time of our lives.

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“Ah, stop!” I screeched.

“A-ha! The tables have turned!” She laughed. “I’ll stop if you admit that I win” She was still splashing, so I had no other choice.

“Fine, fine! You win!”

“Good.”

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“I’ll always let you win.” I approached her and took her face in my hand.

“Wow, who knew Mr. Fae was a little sap.” She laughed.

“You know you like it.”

“I do.” She said, and touched her lips to mine.

——-

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A little while later we got out of the water and just hung out on the shore.

“Hey River.”

“Yea?”

“Now that you don’t care who knows, can we go on a date?” Tulip asked. I cracked a smile.

“Of course. How’s tomorrow night?”

“Sounds great.” She smiled, and pushed me down onto the sand.

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“Awesome, I wanna go somewhere nice, so wear that beautiful white dress Maple bought you.”

“My clubbing dress?” She laughed, and I nodded. “Alright, whatever gets me into your pants.”

“Tulip!”

“Oh don’t be such a prude babe, there’s no one around.” She giggled, kissed my nose, and rolled off me. “C’mon, you’re starting to burn, Mr. Vampire. We should get you home.”

“Okay, help me close the umbrella?”

“Just leave it, I’ll have maple come back for it later. It’s not like anyone’s gonna take it, this is the good part of town.”

I shrugged. “Alright. Race you home!” I took off running, but she called for me to come back.

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“Fine, we’ll run together.” I took her hand in mine and we ran across the beach until we were in front of our house.

——

*Tulip*

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River and I were going on our first date today. I’ve been waiting for this day since he moved in. He’s an amazing guy, and I couldn’t wait to go on this date.

I was all alone on the third floor getting ready, Maple was working overtime, Clover was out I think, and River was in his bedroom getting ready also. The dress I was wearing was one of my favorites, even though I always complained when Maple made me wear it. I looked really hot in it, and River requested it so it was the obvious outfit choice.

I was applying the finishing touches to my makeup when the door creaked open.

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“Hey Tulip, need any help?” Clover stood right in front of the bathroom door, startling me.

“Um no, I’m good thanks.” I replied awkwardly. I had a feeling she knew about River and I. I continued to do my makeup, ignoring my company for the time being.

“Are you going to leave your hair that way?” She asked.

“Yea, I like it like this.”

“Oh ok.” She took a step closer. “Are you sure you don’t want my help?”

“I’m fine, really.”

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“I really think you could use my help.”

River Fae Chapter 9: Inspirational Bullsh*t

Warning: Contains strong language.

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I couldn’t even look at her when I went into her room. I felt horrible about what I was about to do, but it had to be done.

“Uh hey Clo, can we talk?”

“Sure babe, what’s up?” She got up from her computer and sat on the bed, gesturing for me to sit next to her.

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“Is everything okay? You seem tense.” Clover asked.

“Um no, not really.”

“What’s wrong?” She sounded worried, making me feel even worse.

“I can’t do this anymore.”

“What?”

“Clover… I’m so sorry.”

“What the hell are you talking about?” She sounded mad and panicked at the same time.

“I care about you Clover, and I always will. But I can’t be your boyfriend anymore.”

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“Why the hell not?” She was screaming now, just like I thought she would. I really hoped the neighbors didn’t call the cops.

“Clover, please calm down. I-”

“Calm down? How can I calm down when you’re fucking breaking up with me! I thought you loved me! What the hell happened?”

“I still do, just not in the way I did before.” I tried to explain, but that made her even angrier.

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“I can’t believe you’re doing this, after all we’ve been through. I left my father all alone to be with you, I can’t fucking believe you!” She was trying to guilt trip me, and I was definitely feeling guilty. But I knew things between us were over, no matter how bad she made me feel.

“He had my parents and my uncle. He’s not alone. You didn’t have to leave him, I thought you wanted too.”

“Yea and I thought you loved me.”

“Clover, I did. I really did. I just don’t feel that way anymore.”

“What changed? Why’d you stop?” She asked, her voice quivering as if she were about to cry.

“I don’t know. I honestly don’t know. But I do know that I can’t lead you on anymore.”

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“You are a piece of shit, River Fae. I thought you loved me. I was finally happy. I was out of that house, away from everything that made my life depressing, and then you fucking ruin it. How could you ruin my happiness?”

“Clover, that wasn’t my intention. I didn’t want to hurt you, but I’m unhappy.”

“Not everything is about you.” She glared. “You are so fucking selfish.”

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“Look, I’m just trying to do what’s best for us. I didn’t want to keep you from finding the right person. If you stay with my for any longer, you could miss your chance with someone who’ll love you for the rest of your life. I don’t wanna take that away from you.”

“I thought I already found him.”

“I know. I’m so sorry. But you will find him, I promise.” I really wanted her to be happy. I hated hurting people like this.

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“I don’t want anyone else.” She growled, reminding me of a demon or something.

“Clover, calm down. I know it hurts right now, but you’ll be over it soon. I’m nothing special. You are though, and you’ll find someone perfect for you.”

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“Shut up. Shut up. I don’t want to hear anymore of your inspirational bullshit.”

“You know what, fine. I’m sorry I don’t love you anymore. But I’m not happy, and you can’t force me to be with you when I don’t want too. I’m done. This isn’t my problem anymore.” I was starting to get angry too. I didn’t want to be so mean but I had to get my point across.

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“Babe, c’mon, you don’t really want to do this. Don’t leave me.” She begged.

“If I didn’t want to do this, I wouldn’t be doing it. I’m sorry Clover, but it’s over.”

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“Fine.” She whispered as she started to cry. Her mascara ran down her face, making my heart sink. I always hated seeing people cry.

“Clover,” I started to approach her to comfort her. I wasn’t her boyfriend anymore but that didn’t mean I hated her.

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“GET OUT.” She screamed, lunging at me. I jumped back, protecting my junk. I admit she scared me.

“Fine, but Clover, I really am sorry.”

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“Fuck you.” She whispered as I left her bedroom.

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I went to my own bedroom and curled up on my bed. I could hear her sobbing through the wall. I felt awful. How could I be so heartless? How could I destroy someone’s feelings like that? Why did I have to be so selfish? I didn’t have to dump her. I was a heartless asshole who only thought about himself.

No, I’m being insane. I did the right thing, even if she was hurting right now. I couldn’t lead her on, especially since I was interested in someone else. But still, the sobs coming from the other room were heart wrenching.

I glanced over at the wall, and my eye was drawn to the picture of Clover and I. We seemed so happy, It was hard to believe this is where we ended up. I didn’t want this to happen. I didn’t expect to fall in love with someone else, but I guess that’s just how the world works. But still, I felt terrible for her, and for my mom. I knew my mom wanted us to get married, but that wasn’t what I wanted.

I knew I did the right thing, but I didn’t expect to feel this terrible about it.

——

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“So you just dumped the poor girl?” My step-brother’s wife gasped. I felt like I should talk to someone, and I hadn’t seen my brother in a while so I decided he was the one I’d see. His wife, Sha Sha, was a nice woman. She was a lot older than him, but he was happy and that’s all that matters, right?

“Yea. I feel awful about it, but I’d feel even worse if I led her on.” I admitted.

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“I just don’t really know how to act around her, y’know? I saw her in the hall this morning, and she ran back into her room the second she saw me. We’re gonna be living there for a while, I don’t know what to do.” The antique couch groaned underneath me as I rested my arms on my knees.

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“Give it some time, let her cool down for a while. You guys have known each other your entire lives, she’ll forgive you eventually. Just let her come to you.” Dill offered.

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“You make a good point, Babe. But they cant avoid each other forever, they live in the same house. If she doesn’t try talking to you in a week, you should try talking to her.”

“Sha, they dated for five years, I don’t think she can heal from that in a week.”

“Alright, if she doesn’t come to you in a month you go talk to her. That should be enough time to at least talk.”

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“Yea, I think a month is a good amount of time. I just hope things don’t get worse, I hate awkward situations.”

“Well you seem pretty good at getting yourself into them.” Sha Sha joked, making the three of us laugh.

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“Well I don’t want to waste all of your Leisure Day, so I’m gonna head home.” I announced.

“Are you sure you don’t wanna stay? We’re having a party today, you’re welcome to stay for it.” Sha Sha offered, but I shook my head.

“I can’t, I’ve made plans. But thanks for the offer.” She nodded, and we all got off the couches.

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“You need to stop by more.” Dill mumbled as he squished me into a hug.

“I will, you guys have an awesome place.”

“Thanks, it’s the oldest house here. It’s the only house that was here before the scientists started building Sunset Valley.” He explained.

“Wow, that’s pretty awesome.”

“Yea.”

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When he finally let go of me, I turned to Sha Sha. “Thanks for helping, it means a lot.”

“Any time kiddo. You can stop by any time, there’s always someone here. I’ve got a bunch of sons, probably around your age. So yea, any time.”

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“Oh I will, I’m gonna have to explore this house at some point, see if its haunted.” I half-joked. This house was so old, it had to be crawling with spirits.

“Of course. Bye River.” Sha Sha said. I said my goodbyes and left, I had someone else I needed to see.

——-

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“Hey Tulip.” She was alone in her shared bedroom, clicking away on her laptop.

“Hey River, where were you?” She asked, never looking up from the screen.

“I was at my brothers house.”

“Carrot?”

“Nope, my step-brother Dill.”

“You’ve got a lot of siblings.” She laughed.

“Yea, five siblings is a lot, but none of them are full blood siblings. I’m one of a kind.” I joked, making her giggle.

“So, what exactly happened last night? I heard her crying hysterically, so I’m assuming it didn’t go very well.” She swiveled her chair around to face me, and I told her everything.

“I’m a free agent now.” I flirted, making her grin. She stood from her chair and draped her arms around my neck.

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“Good.” She kissed me, taking me by surprise.

We stood there kissing for a while, and things kept getting hotter and hotter until I finally picked her up and carried her across the room. I picked her up and pushed her up against the wall and kissed her there.

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“Damn, that was hot, Fae.” Tulip moaned.

“That’s nothing, I can show you hot.”

“I’d love to see it.” She said, biting her lip. I picked her up again and carried her out into the hall. I kicked the bathroom door open and walked us over to the shower.

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I pushed her up against the shower and she wrapped her legs around my waist.  “This is pretty sexy.” She panted, out of breathe from our constant kissing.

“Good, but this isn’t even the sexy part.” I kissed her neck and ran my hand up her thigh, making her moan again.

“I’m so glad everyone’s out of the house today.” She said, just before we started to undress.

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One shower later, Tulip and I sat on the floor of her bedroom. This time was a lot different from my time with Clover. Doing that with Tulip proved to me that I made the right choice. I really did feel bad about hurting Clo, but I hoped she could find someone for her, just like I did.

“That was a lot better than I expected.” Tulip said.

“You thought I’d be bad?” I faked hurt.

“No, just not that good.” She admitted, and we both laughed.

This was only the beginning, but I was happier than I have been in years.

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

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

“Yes, that’s ‘like murder.'”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

——

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

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

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

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

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

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

I needed to get out of there.

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

——-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I was in the hall when he asked.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“You want me to decide right now?”

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

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

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

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

“Of course.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

——

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

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

“I took a sick day.” She smirked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Hey Clover, you’re home early.”

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

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

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

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

“Natural talent, I guess.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Oh I will.” She winked.

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

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

This was not going to be easy.

River Fae Chapter 7: There For You

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Detective Blu told me to meet her at the beach then hung up on me. Clover and I said quick goodbyes to my family and left as soon as possible. We didn’t speak the whole ride down to the beach, I was too nervous.

She didn’t tell me if Gardenia was dead or alive, but part of my mind knew the former was the case, but I was hoping it would be the latter.

The scene on the beach was the exact opposite of what I was expecting. I was expecting ambulances, police cars, paramedics, officers, etc. But it was pretty much the opposite. The only people on the beach were Detective Blu, my sister, Tulip, and a male officer.

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“Hello, Detective. I got here as fast as I could. What’s going on?” I approached her as she was talking to Fern.

“The station got a call about a strange object that got washed up on shore. When Tulip and her partner came out to check it out, they discovered it was Gardenia Rico’s body.” She explained.

“How come there’s barely anyone here?” Clover glanced around the beach.

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“There’s not much to do. We called the coroner who’s coming to collect the body, and figure out what happened to her. That’s why I called you. I was hoping you could try and contact her now, try and get a few more details.”

“I’ll try, but no promises.” I turned around to face Clover and she gave me a small nod.

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I made my way to the shore and stopped a few feet away from Gardenia.

I had been hoping this wasn’t how the case would turn out. Gardenia seemed like such a nice girl, even if she did have an issue with my girlfriend. She didn’t deserve this, at all. No one deserves to die, especially not her.

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It all felt so surreal. I couldn’t believe I was standing in front of her dead body, when only a few weeks ago I saw her alive. I felt guilty, like somehow this was all my fault. Part of me knew that was ridiculous, but I still had a nagging feeling in the back of my head that I had something to do with this.

I concentrated, trying to contact her spirit, but she didn’t want to be contacted. I didn’t understand why, we had found her body and we knew she was dead, why didn’t she wanna talk to me? Maybe I’d have to try when I’m alone.

To be honest, I’m not sure when I started to cry. But as soon as I realized, I tried to wipe away the tears before anyone noticed. I didn’t want them to think I couldn’t handle this. I could, I just felt guilty.

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“Babe, let’s get you home. You don’t need to see this. You can try again later.” Clover’s soft arms wrapped around me and clutched my arm.

“I have to help.” I whispered, my voice almost non-existent.

“You did. You tried, that’s what matters. I don’t think you’re in any state of mind to help with this right now. Let’s get you home.”

——–

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‘This is all your fault. How could you let her die like this?’ I mentally abused myself as I sat on the floor of my bathroom. I don’t really remember getting home, I just remember dashing up the stairs and locking myself in the bathroom. Clover pounded on the door for a while, but I ignored her and eventually she went away.

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“Pst, hey, Earth to River.” A delicate voice shook me away from my thoughts.

“Tulip, how’d you get in here?” I knew for a fact I locked the door.

“I have a master key set, I had to come in and make sure you’re okay.”

“I am.” I lied. I was not okay at all.

“You’re lying. Don’t you dare lie to me, Fae.” She grabbed my face in her hands and glared at me. “It’s not your fault. None of this is. I know it’s so easy to blame ourselves in situations like this, but please don’t. We’re gonna find out what really happened, and I know it doesn’t have anything to do with you.”

“How would you know that? For all we know it could be all my fault.” She shook my head vigorously, giving me a small headache.

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“Shut your mouth. You have nothing to do with this.” She dropped her hands and set one on my waist while the other grazed my chin.

“You’re right, I guess.”

“I know I am. Now, let’s get you out of this bathroom, it smells freaking awful. We really have to hire a new maid. This one sucks.” She joked as she helped me off the floor.

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“C’mon, we could both use some fresh air.” She grabbed my hand and pulled me out of the bathroom.

——-

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“There has to be something I could’ve done differently, right?” I buried my face in my hands. Tulip and I sat on the bench in our backyard that rarely ever got any use.

“River, please stop thinking about it. What’s done is done, and we can’t change the past. Instead of focusing on what we could’ve done differently, let’s think about what we can do to prevent it from happening again. Well, first we have to find out what happened. So until then, try to keep yourself occupied.”

“I’ll try.”

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“So, how was the visit with your parents?” She asked. It felt like that happened years ago, not this morning.

“I’m an uncle now. My little sister had a kid, his name is Aster. He’s the cutest little kid I’ve ever seen.” I gushed, remembering the adorable toddler.

“That’s great news! I’d love to have a nephew, but my sister isn’t ready yet.” I almost laughed at the idea, Detective Blu doesn’t seen like the motherly type.

“I think you’d make an awesome aunt.” I said, and she beamed.

“I can’t wait. I love kids, but I don’t like disciplining them. I’d rather be the cool aunt that spoils them and drives them home when they get drunk for the first time.” We both laughed, I could totally see her playing that role.

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“Yea, hopefully I can be the cool uncle. Don’t know if I’m cool enough for that though.” She giggled.

“Hey, at least you’re not the creepy uncle.”

“I just hope my sister can be a good mom. She’s always been trouble, and it seems like she’s just getting worse. I hope she gets better before he’s old enough to remember.”

“Me too.” She gave me a sad smile and laid her hand on mine. “Do you ever want kids?”

“I do, but I don’t know about Clover, she’s not very good with kids.” It’s true, she tried babysitting when she was sixteen, and it didn’t go well at all. She freaked out when she had to change the diaper and she called me to help her. I did all the work and she’s the one that got paid, but hey at least the kid didn’t get hurt.

“That’s too bad. I think you guys would have adorable kids.”

“Thanks.”

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“Hopefully she’ll reconsider when the time is right. Are you guys gonna get married?” She asked, her voice strained. We hadn’t talked about the kiss we shared, and I didn’t know how she stood with me. Did she like me? Was she just delirious? How did I feel about her?

“I don’t know. I’m not ready for marriage. Not yet.”

“Yea, getting married young never ends well.” She told me.

“Yea. Hey, are you hungry? I could make you something to eat.” I drank blood, I didn’t need to eat food but I wanted to make her something.

“I think I’m just gonna go to bed. Thanks for the offer though, means a lot.” She squeezed my hand and we both got off the bench.

“Thanks Tulip, I really needed that.” I pulled her into a tight hug.

“It’s no problem, I’ll always be there for you.”

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I don’t know why I did it, but I kissed her. Again. This time I couldn’t blame it on our tiredness. This time I knew it was for real.

I got really into the kiss this time. I lost myself in her, it was like she put a spell on me. I couldn’t think about anything or anyone else if I tried. It was just the two of us.

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I pulled back slightly and she dropped her arms. Suddenly, I remembered that Clover was home.

“Oh god, is Clover home?”

“No, her boss called, asking her to cover a story for him” She answered softly. She and I both knew what the story was, and I didn’t want to think about that right now.

“Oh. Okay.” I bit my lip and smiled down at her. She kissed my nose softly and walked away.

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“Night River.” She called out as she walked away.

I had a lot to think about, but I knew one thing for sure.

I was falling in love with her.

——-

*Tulip*

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“What do you mean you kissed him? Tuli, he has a girlfriend! And she lives with us! Didn’t we talk about this? Neither of us were gonna date our roommates.” Maple was fuming at me. I told him about both of the times River and I kissed, even though I wasn’t entirely sure if the first time actually happened or if it was just a dream. I think it was a dream though, River never said anything about it again.

“I’m sorry okay? It just happened. He didn’t object, he kissed me back!” I knew it was stupid to defend myself in this situation, but I couldn’t help it. I really wanted him.

“God Tuli, you can’t do this. Do you really want to be a home-wrecker?” I shook my head. “I didn’t think so. What the hell were you thinking?”

I started to sob. “I-I don’t know!”

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“Oh god. I didn’t mean to make you cry.” Maple climbed up on my bed and wrapped his arm around my shoulder. “I’m sorry Tuli. I’m just freaked out. Clover scares me, I don’t know why but I don’t like her vibe. I don’t want you to get hurt.”

“She’s not going to hurt me, because she’s not gonna find out. I need to move out. I’ll find you a new roommate, I’ll try and get a cute boy for you.” I couldn’t live here anymore, not after all the trouble I was causing.

“That’s tempting, but I don’t think so.” He joked, making me laugh through my tears. “Now, you’re going to talk to River about this. You need to know where you guys stand. Then we can go from there.”

“You’re right. We need to talk. I don’t wanna be a home-wrecker, but I also think I’m in love with him.”

“Oh shit. Love? Seriously?” I nodded, and he sighed. “Well, I guess we’re just gonna have to deal with this.”

“I guess so.”

“Now come here, let’s go to sleep.”

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“Why don’t we look into a hot guy roommate anyway? Y’know, for the rent money.” He asked after he clapped the lights off.

“Oh shut up and sleep.” We laughed and drifted off to sleep.

——

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The next morning my sister called and asked us to come into HQ. My partner, Max, and I weren’t entirely thrilled to come in so early, today was our day off. But I came in anyway.

I should’ve known River would be there too. When he came into the backroom, I almost choked on my own spit. Max gave me a confused look but I just brushed him off. I didn’t know why Hydrangea called us in and I didn’t want to make a big scene.

His half-sister Fern came in a few minutes after him. She was obviously grumpy this morning. I usually avoided her though so I didn’t worry too much. I tried to glance over at River a few times, but he kept looking everywhere but at me. It kinda stung.

“Morning, crew.” My sister strode into the room with a tight smile plastered across her face. She’s been super uptight since the Incident, not that I blame her, I’m just not used to this Drea.

“Morning.” We all mumbled in response.

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She stood in front of the white board and crossed her arms. She looked like an angry school teacher, except we weren’t working on silly school work, this was a real life situation.

“I got the autopsy results back this morning.” She paused and glanced at the room. Suddenly everyone seemed to fully wake-up at the same time.

“What does it say?” Max asked.

“Well, I originally thought we’d have a drowning case, or a suicide case, on our hands. But drowning doesn’t give you multiple stab wounds to the chest.” We all gasped.

“That’s right crew, we’ve got a homicide case on our hands.”

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?