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In Edenridge 6 days ago Forum: Casual Roleplay
TIMESTAMP: Flashback, Sophomore Year
FT.
Penelope James, Charlie Decker & Rhonda Decker


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Charlie and his books.

In typical Hard Times fashion, the lanky teen had decided to raid the Edenridge Public Library for the tomes of the ancients to unlock the secrets of the great and mythical past; a phrase which here means he grabbed a load of books pertaining to Eden history and family trees for a class assignment.

Beau had been feeling especially Beau-ish in their literature class and had assigned the students the task of finding their own story to present to the class, one pertaining to their own kin somewhere amongst the annals of Edenridge lore and folk tale. This would not be a difficult task for some, Edenridge had its fair share of ghost stories and a third of the class was descended from the men and women that founded their sleepy hamlet. One quick Google and that’s a passing grade for some people. Not for Charlie and Poppy though, if they were going to it, they were going to do it right.

Charlie himself was a story. The events of the previous winter and his poisoning of Allison Davies meant that he would go down in infamy the same way that his father had; murderer. Edenridge locals had done well to make sure that he and even his poor mother would never forget that fact. Charlie Decker, killer of innocence. James Strongbow, the preacher who burned down his own church with parrishers and choir boys inside. Charlie wasn’t going to give those people that looked down on him the satisfaction of talking about his own history. He would go further back and find a story that would honour his name rather than spit on it and he was most certainly going to avoid bringing her into this.

That wound was still very fresh, Mitena or Tena as she preferred was the sister Charlie never knew that he had. Around the time of Allison’s death, they had been assigned a genealogy task and he was shocked to find that his father had borne a daughter back home on the Blue Hill Reservation. He had only discovered her existence when the town was rocked by Ally’s death and Charlie was blamed. He didn’t really know what to do, so he held it secret, even from Poppy. She was his everything but a lot was happening and Charlie the wordsmith just didn’t know how to articulate himself. Finally, after an age, he wrote the girl a letter and to his surprise, Tena responded. After a short while, they decided to meet up in Boston with Ronnie and the tribal Chief Christian Coldwind as chaperones. For all intents and purposes the meeting went well and the newly discovered siblings held a lot in common. However Charlie was cautious about exploring more, he was already a target on multiple fronts and he really didn’t want to drag this poor innocent young girl into his dark world. Thus he kept her at a distance, still writing her letters but keeping her safe.

And was where he found himself on this fine day, writing his sister a letter whilst Poppy James sat on his bed, her head buried in the books that Charlie brought her so that she could research her family history.

“That little blonde girl was in the library again,” Charlie didn’t look up from his writings as he spoke. “That girl gives me the creeps. Very pretty but very creepy. Eyes like a snake just watching you as you move around the stacks. Shudder.”

“Jane?” Penelope glanced in her binder where she printed out articles about those in her family, on both sides of her family. James and Mooney. She was finding out quickly why her parents were no longer on talking terms with any of their living relatives. They both were crime infested but to different extents. “That’s what her name tag says. She doesn’t look like a Jane. She’s pretty sweet, heavy accent though.”

The past week Penelope focused on her James side. She found out her father has a dead brother, a living brother still at the trailer park not too far off from the orphanage, and a brother on death row. From what she gathered, they were patriotic and all served the military at one point in time, her father was an exception and chose to become a police officer instead. Sadly, their service was drowned out by all their bad deeds.

Before and after their service they all had an extensive history of legal problems and multiple arrests. She didn’t have access to the police database but based on the articles she found, she was sure there was detailed information there about each James man, including her father. All she had was new articles about each James boy, a couple instances revolving around all of them (theft). It was becoming clearer and clearer why her father leaned on the serpents. Hell, the brother on death row committed murder and the people that were killed were her grandparents.

This brought to light why her father talked so highly about the good times and the memory of his three friends: Reaper, Rusty, and Rooster. It started to feel like he filled a void with the SSS because his own family was beyond saving. His family thought they were cursed and played the white trash role given to them by the town. Beyond that? The James family were a poor family that had always been around but following the breadcrumbs past her father’s immediate family was near impossible. Hard to track the history of a family that never mattered.

The books she had opened were the yearbooks between the years of 1950 and 1954 and a book written in 1964 by Cadence Robinson called Sinking Soul, a ‘based on a true story’ romance-horror novel. A fantastical account on the murder of Karen Nowinski and an analysis of the mind of Gregory Mooney. Turns out Cadence was Karen’s best friend and was haunted by her best friend’s ghost. Without her consent, Cadence’s mother published the story which was originally a homework assignment. While it didn’t go beyond New England, it was a cherished cult classic in Massachusetts. “Did you find anything interesting, Charlie? I might need a goddamn shot after all this. I want to find one good thing! Not some psycho killer bullshit or money laundering scandal.” There was that too. Her mom’s parents laundered money for the cartel. Was she doomed like the rest of her family?

Lifting his head up from his private letter, Charlie leaned back in his chair. “Well,” He began. “I apparently had a great great grand uncle on my Mom’s side that may or may not have been on the Titanic, no one really knows actually. Wonder if he was Leo or Billy Zayne?” He put down his pencil just after finishing the final sentence She is the Captain of mine and slipped the note into his bag. “Oh and turns out I’ve got some family on my dad’s side on a reservation somewhere. Doubt they know I exist though, I imagine he was made Craven by the tribe for what he did.”

It was a cold fact that even if James Winters hadn’t started the fire that killed six people at St Paul’s he was still at fault. He couldn’t save them and he took his own life. It was dishonourable and it was cowardly and it was not becoming of a member of the tribe. It was never made clear to Charlie whether James knew that Rhonda was pregnant with him when he put that gun to his head. He had broached the subject a few times but his mother always had the same response: had he known, he wouldn’t have done it. Charlie, of course, had his doubts.

Ronnie poked her head around the slightly ajar door with a plate of steaming cookies and a big grin on her face. “Hey guys, I got some peanut butter cookies. Freshly maaade,” She sang. “Your favourite baby.” The beautiful older woman placed them on the desk next to her son as she glanced over at Poppy with her big green eyes. “And make sure to take some in a bag for your Mom, Poppy. Oh and take some for Mordechai too, that boy is skinnier every time I see him. Get it? See him cos I’m going blind? You get it,” She laughed to herself at her own joke as she watched her baby boy roll his dark eyes. “Ok I’ll go, keep hard at work Charlie Jay. Love you both.” She waved before departing again, making sure to leave the door as she found it, so she could listen in.

Penelope was quick to grab a cookie and stuff her face. She grabbed another one and placed it in her mouth when her eyes caught something in the 1954 yearbook. She would’ve responded to Charlie but his mom entered and she brought a yummy, yummy treat she couldn’t ignore. So, her mouth was preoccupied. With the cookie in mouth, she muttered, “No way…” In the sophomore year, there was a boy named Jonathan Carlisle-Mooney. Flipping through the pages fast, scanning it, she found a picture of Jonathan and Gregory together on the basketball court.

In this moment, her history got ten times worse. Frantically, the cookie dropping on her lap, Poppy grabbed her phone and looked up the name to find out any information she could on Jonathan. You gotta’ be shitting me. She found his obituary copied from a news article and posted on a website. Year 1986. He was the cousin of Gregory and his father was the FOUNDER of Edenridge National Laboratory. He died two years after his dad, Nikolas Carlisle, at the age of 48, and was a forensic scientist for the Edenridge Police.

Instead of taking a break, Penelope went into a full panic mode grabbing different books and flipping through all the pages catching onto the Carlisle name. It was because of her family… The Hangman… Last Night in Paradise... Nathaniel and Esther Carlisle… Aponi… that Charlie’s people… it was her family’s fault that…

Watching his love flick through page after page wasn’t really the turn on that some might expect to be for bookworm Charlie. He got up off of his seat and made his way over to the bed where Poppy sat, bringing his mothers cookies. He sat back down next to her, placing one supportive hand on the back of her neck and the other rested gently on her thigh. “You ok, what was that?” He glanced down at the pages that had swept Pop’s up into whatever wave of emotion she was currently feeling.

Carlisle.

It was a name held both aloft and buried six feet deep in Edenridge. A plaque long since degraded and downtrodden sat towards the centre of Main Street which had that name etched onto it, along with that of Callahan, Cleary, O’Brien and O’Hara. It was a name carried on buildings and indeed on the very street which the two teens grew up and were currently sitting on. Carlisle. Named for the Judge. The man who systematically eliminated sin in the embryonic town’s early years, including his own daughter if legend and folklore was to be believed. The man who almost single-handedly drove the Indigenous population of this land away from their ancestral home because he didn’t like the color of their skin. Carlisle. The source of the so-called curse of Edenridge.

Was Poppy a Carlisle? If that was the case, not only did that mean she was, quite literally, a part of the town but it also meant that if the stories were true, their ancestors were in love and that it was her family that stole everything from his. Of course that would be the case, it was Charlie and it was Poppy. Good shit never happened to them. Seemed like their progenitors suffered the same way. “Well shit, Pops. You’re a Foundling.”

“No, don’t say that,” Penelope closed one of the books and grabbed the deserted cookie she had abandoned on her lap before this discovery. “I really don’t need to stand out more than I already do by being Rocky’s daughter.” Taking small nibbles of the cookie, she leaned back on the bed frame, her body taking Charlie with her. Impassive and empty, she stared at the yearbook that connected it all. “How am I supposed to write about this? I don’t want people to know that I’m related to the fucking Hangman and Roman Carlisle who owned a sex trafficking operation and the infamous Clover killer Gregory. And worse! Nathaniel Carlisle. Literally the one that started it all.”

Finishing up her cookie, her dull eyes began to glint with color and life, saddening the more she realized how awful this was, “That’s all of the known history.” She glanced over to Charlie, her Charlie, and frowned. Were they doomed from the start? Love doesn’t fare well between a native and a Carlisle. “What kind of fucked up misfortune is that? Sorry but my ancestors killed your people and drove them out of town.” If people knew that, how would their opinions change? Being a foundling was one thing, but being a Carlisle held so much more weight than that. To her, that name was an evil omen. “Sorry but every other generation my ancestors find a way to nurture the goddamn land by watering it with someone else’s blood. Sorry I’m literally the legacy of evil.” It was clear as day that Penelope knew her Edenridge history. A little too well. And she truly believed Nathaniel Carlisle was the reason this town was cursed. Call her superstitious or whatever but not too long ago her sister was murdered, which felt like payback for some sort of wrongdoing. They say she committed suicide but that’s fucking bullshit. Maxine would never do that. Truly, her family was paying for their father’s sin and they would continue to do so for as long as they had Carlisle in their blood. With an absent mind, Penelope fiddled with her teardrop necklace. As Joseph Stalin said, a single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic.

“I mean…” Charlie wrapped his arm around the small young woman and let out a little half laugh. “I’d go and see a band called Legacy of Evil.” He used his free hand to grab one of his mothers cookies and bring it towards his mouth. “I know a thing or two about shitty legacies, trust me but here’s the secret; you might have some Carlisle blood in you and you might have some weird redneck James blood too but you’re also the daughter of a hero cop and a charity worker, sister to a badass and the light that stops me, Decky, Jade and a lot of other reprobates from turning full heel. You’re not your family Pops, you’re a good person…the best person.”

In true Charlie fashion, the teen demolished his cookie like a starved hyena, dropping crumbs all over his bed. Only this one was actually done for comic effect rather than the usual instance of him just being disgusting. “Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you. Shannon Alder.” The Serpent boy spoke, still with biscuit in his mouth. “It doesn’t matter that you’re a Carlisle, it matters that you’re Poppy.”

“And you’re a pig,” Penelope smiled, having watched him make a mess out of himself, as he devoured the cookie. She gestured around her own lips, to convey he had crumbs on his face which was kind of distracting. He couldn’t have eaten that cookie anymore gracelessly. Of course, she was used to it but now there was a trail of crumbs circling around his lips. Things had slowed down from their research, she could be in his presence and just stare. She was a fool for him and it could be read all over her expression. She adored him. She loved him. She needed him. Carlisle or not, Charlie was her everything.

Her green eyes went from his mouth to his eyes before chuckling, “Okay, okay. I’ll look at it more positively but I still don’t want to write about it.”

It was her, it was him, and they were alone on his bed. A normal thing in their routine and yet the older she got, the more she thought about the what if. What if she leaned forward and kissed him? What if.

Kiss her you idiot!

The words had rattled through Charlie’s brain so many times at this point that he had all but become numb to them. Why couldn’t he just open up and tell her? Tell her how she was the most important thing in his life. Tell her that she was his reason for getting up in the morning and going through all the shit that he did. Tell her that he had been in love with her since they were five and that she was everything he always wanted. Why couldn’t he just say the words instead of writing them on a page? Why?

“Well then we’ll just find something else,” He broke their shared gaze and returned his attention to the books string across the bed. “You know what you could do…tell them a story about Max. She was the best and kindest kind of person. I’m sure there’s something about her you could say. Something that would tug at the ol’ heartstrings.”

“Mm, I certainly could try,” Penelope rested her hand on the teardrop against her chest and brought her attention to the tomes laying before her. “It’s still kind of… fresh. One week I feel okay, the next I have her voice replaying in my head. I just try to imagine how it all happened and I can’t help but feel sad because she was supposed to have a future. I could see her become the next Beau. They’re both selfless people that want to help others through their love of literature.” Penelope grabbed her phone and went to her photo album, going to an old picture of Maxine with her, Charlie, Decky, Danny, and Jade. “She deserved to live. She was such a good fucking person. Better than me, that’s for sure.”

There would be no wedding bells for Max, no children, no chance to see beyond Edenridge if she ever entertained moving out. Truth be told, Penelope believed if Max was still alive, like their father, she would commit to her purpose and stay here, trying to help this town heal, even if it slowly killed her. Instead, she had none of that to look forward to and her death was quick, and hopefully painless.

“I loved your sister too,” Charlie lamented. “I remember sharing books with her and maybe stealing a few from her as well but she always knew. She always knew it was me and never said a word, I…” Before he could continue, he was interrupted by the sound of his phone vibrating on the bedside counter. He moved his dark eyes to the screen and noted a slew of messages incoming, all from the same number. “It’s ReyRey,” Charlie sighed. “I’m supposed to be working tonight, we must’ve lost track of time.”

Pulling himself off of the bed, he stuffed his phone into his back pocket and started to gather things from around the room. Finishing his ensemble with his signature leather jacket, Charlie made his way towards the open window that forever linked him and Poppy. “Feel free to stay, do your research. Mom would love the company…oh shit.” Making his way quickly back to the bed, the native boy grabbed a load of cookies and lined his pockets with them. “She said grab some for Decky. She’d kill me if I didn’t.” He leaned down and pressed a kiss to Poppy’s forehead. “You’re Poppy James. Not Poppy Carlisle. You’re a badass.”

Another thing she was used to. Charlie having to leave during random times of the day. No matter, tonight was a good night and she got to spend time with him. “And you’re my Charlie... Stay safe out there and come back home,” to me.


In Edenridge 7 days ago Forum: Casual Roleplay





Blue Hills Reservation
10 Miles Outside Edenridge
Lunchtime



It had been a warm, humid type of day on the Blue Hill Reservation. A storm was brewing in the East and could be seen from miles away. No doubt they were due for some heavy rain coming their way come nightfall. It was her sincerest hope that the horrid weather would pass by before or after Mitena Strongbow and her band played their set at the longhouse.

Tena had pretty much spent the morning trying to wire the acoustics right at Aponi’s Heart and had also spent most of the morning feeling like she was fighting a losing battle. The place was old and the Chief didn’t really have a lot of money to fix it up but it was home. The longhouse had been on the reservation for as long as the Rez itself had existed. It was as the name suggested, a king building with high old beams and plentiful decorations representing the tribe's history, even down to its name; Aponi’s Heart. It was a name that held much meaning to the Blue Hill people. Aponi was the poor girl who fell victim to the white man’s fear and rage. She was the girl whose death forced their ancestors to leave their land and settle elsewhere. Chief named it as a reminder to his people to not forget where they came from and what happened to them.

The dark haired beauty stood at the microphone on the short two foot stage, guitar in hand, testing out our vocals with a song from Jimmy Eat World, 23. She looked out at the empty dance floor where the crowd would be later. Johnny the Janitor was sweeping up the place ready for the evening’s festivities. Looking at him with her soft brown eyes Tena smiled; he looked like her brother; Charlie.



Tena still had the CD (remember those?) that Charlie had sent her from his home in Edenridge the summer before he…. It was a beautiful mix of sad songs and deep melancholy mixed with rage, so much rage. It was truly a glimpse into his mind and soul before the end of his life. When word had gotten to Blue Hills about the massacre her brother had undertaken, Mitena’s heart sank. She was lucky in that only a handful of people on the reservation even knew of her connection to the boy and those that knew were wonderful to her.

She wondered, she truly did, if he had been with his people on the Reservation if Charlie would’ve been ok? In the letters they all too briefly shared, her big brother spoke of people he loved. Friends and a girl specifically. Penelope. The way he spoke of her, his words were resonant and passionate.

”Whatever the pain I feel, no matter the hurt, I look through my window into hers and I see her. I see her and I know my life has meaning. She is the air I breathe. William Henley once said I am the Captain of my soul. She is the Captain of mine”

The young indigenous woman remembered his words as clear as the day was long. He obviously had people he cared for, people that meant everything to him but Charlie’s words were not always pleasant. Tena’s brother had so much pain, so much darkness. She wondered if they had been raised together as siblings should be, then maybe just maybe, life would change and the beautiful departed would no longer be that. Maybe people would have been saved? Ifs, buts and maybes were not Tena’s style however. Charlie did what he did and that was that. She couldn’t change that, she was just a humble native girl with a great ass and a talent for that thing called music, so that’s where her energy and her time would go, not dwelling on what could have been.

Mitena glanced down at her fingers as they plucked at her guitar strings and more specifically, the thick leather brace on her left wrist. It was his. Apparently her brother liked his Hot Topic bling. Luckily the brown leather worked well with her wardrobe. It was the last gift he sent her, along with the copy of his unfinished book. It took a little while but once Tena opened it up, she just couldn’t stop reading.

“Sound check sounds good, Tena” A warm but strong and authoritative voice called from behind the bar.

Raising her eyes upwards, she matched a gaze with the elder gentleman who stood there holding his towel over his shoulder like a proper bartender, which Chief Coldwind certainly wasn’t. He had been the leader of the tribe for over twenty years now. It was a title he inherited from his father and his father before him. Chief had just turned sixty yet he still carried himself with a jovial attitude, young at heart some might say. He was also still a total DILF. Ryan would go ballistic hearing those kinds of thoughts but she was also aware that the entire female and some male inhabitants of Blue Hills wanted to climb her grandfather like a tree. ”Oh hey, thanks Chief” She sweetly smiled as she climbed down from the stage, resting her guitar against the mic stand. ”I hear you’re gonna sell out tonight. We got enough beer?”

“As a matter of fact…” The Chief reached below the bar and pulled out a small ice cold bottle from the fridge. He popped the cap off and slid it across the bar to the gorgeous girl. “Spoke to a guy I know a few towns over, Cleary. Nice guy. Kind enough to send us some samples of his new brew. So I got a few crates. We should be good. I also spoke to Fallon, she’s gonna keep the lighthorseman away from Aponi’s tonight, give you girls a little chance to raise some hell” The older man placed both his palms flat in the bar and leaned forward slightly, always the authority. “Not too much hell though or the Great Spirit will have my ass ok?”

“I can’t promise that, I hear Big Bear is in town” She rested her hand on his for a brief moment and smiled before taking a step back. ”Thanks Chief, means a lot” Tena picked up the bottle and examined the label. Huh? It came from Edenridge: what a coincidence. Then again, New England was a small place. She took a swig from the bottle and her eyebrow cocked highly. ”That is some good shit”

“Language”

“It’s called English, get with the times Grandpa” A voice called back as three beautiful women entered the bar. Ryan, the source of the voice was a pint sized poison pixie. She was followed by Heather carrying herself like a queen and Odina, the youngest of them, rambling to herself. The rest of Tena’s band, Red Wolf Road, had arrived at Aponi’s Heart.

Chief Coldwind looked upon his granddaughter with a grin as she climbed onto the small stage and sat down next to her bass. She was a lot like her late grandmother. No shits given in this life. ”I’m afraid that ship has sailed. I’m an old man now”

As the other girls got onto the stage following Ryan and began to set up their own instruments for practice, Tena considered her life on the Reservation. It was comfortable, it was safe. She was surrounded by people that loved her like her girls on the stage or the Chief. Her auntie Jadyn had been a godsend and Resi and everyone. They say “It takes a village” and for Mitena that really was the truth. With no father to speak on and after her mothers passing, the entire tribe took to raising her. From the minute she picked up a guitar, from the day she admitted to liking girls as well as guys and the day she found out her brother was a murderer, the Blue Hills tribe supported her and di rignr by her. They were “Sidanelv”…that meant family. All of them.

Taking her beer up on stage with her, Tena placed it down by her stool as she picked up her guitar again. [color=BB986B“So the first set goes like this; we open with Kickstart my Heart. Then we do Your Love and Back on the Chain Gang before we switch up to the acoustics. Gonna open that with Paint the Silence, Constant Knot and then round out the hour with 23. Plan?”[/color] The other three girls muttered amongst themselves for a moment before nodding their heads in agreement. ”Alrighty then, count us in Odina”

3, 2, 1, let’s jam.
In Edenridge 17 days ago Forum: Casual Roleplay
@BrutalBx & @LovelyComplex
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Muttering curses in Russian to herself, Anya trekked from one side of town to the other. Examining her wrists and the tight red marks around each, signs of being restrained, she spat on the sidewalk and kept moving forward to her next destination. All in a day's work. Around her neck rested royal blue, noise-canceling bluetooth headphones and blasting out of them was sudno (Boris Ryzhy) by Molchat DOMA.

First, she grabbed her headphones and put them on her ears, eliminating one of her senses to her surroundings, which allowed her to focus on her biggest strength. Her eye sight. Pulling her jacket sleeves down to cover her recent job, she stood at the corner waiting for the light to turn red. With a harsh, cold, and distant look, she bobbed her head to the music. A complete contrast to her bitchface.

When the street light transitioned, Anya stuffed her hands in her pockets. Her contemplative gaze scanned the liveliness of Main Street before she took a step forward. Casually, she smiled and nodded at those that walked past her. They barely made eye contact with her, caught up with their day. As per usual, nothing changed in Edenridge. Briefly, she looked over her shoulder to survey behind her. When the close was clear, she turned into an alleyway and disappeared.

Hyde emerged from the taxi and stepped out onto Main Street, leaving it parked by Absolute Sound. Having this new set of wheels thanks to that mouthy little prick did have its advantages. Now he didn’t have to walk everywhere being the main one.

He blew the fire from his lungs before tossing the cigarette he was smoking down into a nearby storm drain as he gazed out upon the hustle and bustle of central Edenridge. He really fucking hated this Norman Rockewell painted bullshit. All these faces, all these places, empty souls the lot. Plastic mannequins painted to look like people. Stardust floating in infinite space whilst angels danced upon a pinhead…or maybe it was just a town of cunts.

Either or.

Placing his bloodied hands into his pockets, the Devil took one step forward before noting a whisp of blonde hair that he recognised instantly. “Well well,” Hyde’s little wolf of a sister roaming amongst the sheep. He had been watching her for days, like a good big brother should, making sure she stayed in her lane. Anya had her own life, Hyde wasn’t about to interfere unless he had to but damn was he curious.

She has been spending a lot of time with Jade which was fine, everybody needed a distraction now and again. Every Sunday, in the diner his mother once worked, she would be there, socialising with the suicide blonde, acclimating to the human condition and becoming more and more like one of them. At first, Hyde had followed purely due to his deal with Taylor but then it became much more. It became a primal instinct that he could not ignore. He was interested to see what the young child of Zima was up to on this fine morning. Hyde knew she had worked the previous evening, that was something he didn’t have to get involved in but what she was doing now? Well he took a few steps forward and began to follow his sibling,

It was a big brother's job to protect after all.

Climbing out of the dumpster with a duffel in hand, Anya dropped it on the floor, then followed suit. Wiping the garbage off her, she grumbled to herself. She hated this part. Once she was cleaned, she grabbed onto the bag and picked up her pace, checking her pocket watch. She needed to get going or else the bitch would whine to her caretaker about her ‘slacking’. Returning books a minute late was intolerable at the library.

Taking a quick right, the Basilisk found her destination in sight. The place she frequented and unbeknownst to most, slept at. The public library. Stopping in her tracks, she looked up at the sky, feeling eyes on her. The same eyes that had been watching her for days, weeks even. She was surely going to hear a mouthful from the Librarian for leading the Devil into deep waters.

Oh well.

Anya was a puppet in the grand scheme of things and if that meant she had the Devil beside her constantly, well, that didn’t seem like a ‘her’ problem. Spitting once again to the side (she was chewing tobacco), Anya strutted forward, seeing the mayor’s daughter at a distance entering the library. Such a regular, that girl. The Librarian adored the youngest Grimm baby. Instead of entering the library through the front entrance, she slipped through the gardens, sought out the cellar door, unlocked it and disappeared once more.

What were the sordid details hidden in the pages of the thousand and four books at Edenridge Public Library? And what was it that kept driving Anya back there? Hyde knew of his proclivities, he knew what she did and when she did it but he never knew the why or the who? Her reasons were her own or she was working for someone. He had his theories, of course he did but at the end of the day it didn’t really matter. A girl’s gotta eat.

Hyde climbed the steps and entered the old building. He hadn’t actually been there in years, physically inside of the building. In Mrs. McLaren’s class in middle school, he and Jonesy tried to set fire to the history section as a prelude to the Burning Boat Festival. Jonesy was immediately caught by a librarian and reprimanded and of course, blames Hyde for the entire thing. That was fine, he was going to get a beating when he got home one way or another. It just meant that it would be the studded belt rather than the simple leather one.

This building just felt old. He didn’t believe in the ghost stories of this town but if he did, he would certainly believe that this library was haunted by all manner of the macabre. Hyde wandered the shelves, his cold blue eyes drifting around the stacks, looking for any sign of Anya.

Tossing the duffel bag on her cot, Anya scanned the muted wall with photos of many faces of Edenridge and all the threads that connected them together. Cracking her neck, her eyes resting on the photo of the Mayor’s daughter — a sign of curiosity and interest that didn’t belong to her. Swiftly, she cleaned herself with a sink and changed into fresh clothes that didn’t smell like garbage. Grabbing the cup on her sink, she pulled out the tobacco between her cheek and lower lip, and dropped it. Disgusting habit of her’s. She hated it.

After checking her pocket watch once more, the Basilisk sighed and made her way upstairs, leaving the duffel behind. Time to show her face and pretend to feel fulfilled. All in a day’s work. Walking out of the basement door, she went through the murder mystery section and entered a small sitting area where Kylee Grimm was on her laptop. The girl looked sad.

Instead of invading the Mayor’s baby girl’s privacy, Anya glanced at the Librarian who was helping someone check out books. It looked like a romance fanatic. Not even a good romance series of books either. It was a trash romance: Fifty Shades of Grey. Gag. She never read it but she was told of all types of books here, seeing how she was seen as the Librarian’s assistant and needed to know how to direct people to their interested genres. Make suggestions. Just bullshit her way through this place, acting like she knew books like that Decker kid did. The women locked eyes with one another -- a sign of acknowledgement. Once the older woman gave a subtle gesture to go away, the blonde disappeared once more into the labyrinth of books.

Now he was getting annoyed. Hyde rhythmically tapped his fingers together to try and steal the growing fever in his blood. This place was a fucking maze and somewhere in there was Anya. Why couldn’t she just go sit on a wall ledge like all the other fucking bitches? No she had to come into this dustier than a nun’s cunt place and play hide and seek. Fuck, if she wasn’t family he would throttle her in her sleep.

Taking a deep breath, the Devil listened out into the silence for footsteps. It was early, there really couldn’t be that many people in the library. He could hear the shuffling of feet a few stacks down. Turning on his heel, he made his way back from where he came from until he reached a new section and sure enough, the familiar golden hair stood at the far end of the shelves.

“I understand the need for a cover but this is a bit much isn’t it? Unless your hiding bodies in the cookery book section.”

“Hello brother,” Anya grabbed a book off the shelf and absentmindedly opened it. After a brief moment of silence, she showed him the cover, “You like poetry?” The book was Paradise Lost by John Milton. “This book speaks ‘you’. I don’t know how to read but I was told how it go. ‘Better to reign in Hell, than to serve in Heaven’,” The quote sounded like a parrot mimicking someone else’s words, in decent English but still slightly broken.

“The fuck does that even mean?” Hyde shook his head. “And how can you be an assistant in a damn library if you can’t even read? You know what? Not important.” The more Hyde found out about his sister the more confused he got, she just didn’t make any kind of sense. Anya was certainly not as simple as she made herself out to be. Grabbing a nearby chair, the dark passenger dragged it out from a table and took a seat. “Sit down,” his tone shifted quickly. The slight jovial voice he held before was now replaced by something much more serious.

Closing the book, loudly, so that it echoed in their area, the Basilisk dully blinked at her brother. He was silly to think that tone worked on her. It might have worked on all his past lovers and Ley and whoever else thirsted for him before he choked them out, but she was a different creature entirely. Strolling to the table, she dropped the book in front of him and clicked her tongue, “Is this so you tell me why you follow me here or why you come to diner Sundays watching me?”

He should’ve known that Anya would’ve clocked him. She was much better at that stealth shit than he was. Problem was she had gotten sloppy and if Hyde could follow her anybody could. “You? Oh dear sweet precious simple fucking Anya.” With a slap of his palm on the table, Hyde stood up to his full height. “I’m not there for you, I’m there for that pretty little girlfriend of yours.”

Crossing her arms, watching him, a decent difference in height, Anya was unfazed at the mention of Jade. This was how her brother liked to play ball. He liked getting a rise out of others. Press all their buttons until he attacks, attacks, attacks, striking fear in them. He did love seeing all those girls squirm. “Great. So why you here then?”

“I’m here because you are losing your touch,” Hyde grabbed a hold of his sister's wrists and held them aloft between them. “Tied up were you? You let someone get to you. I followed you and I’m a fucking moron. You think nobody else could track you here? Sloppy behavior, Anya.” As the siblings spoke, another body turned into their stack and Hyde pointed a single finger at them. “Walk away now or I will tear your fucking nose off.” As swiftly as they had arrived they left, “And we need to talk about Mika.”

As her brother held onto her and Hyde was making a scene, Anya’s eyes immediately went to the camera. Shaking her head, warning her brother to stop, she gestured for him to grab her hand so she could lead them somewhere more private. It was his to take but she wasn’t going to say or move until he willingly agreed.

The fuck was this? He watched his sister’s eyes climb over his shoulder and he glanced back ever so slightly. In the corner of his peripheral he could see something and with his trained eye he could tell it was a camera. She was clever. Hyde normally wouldn’t be too worried about being seen but judging by the look on Anya's face maybe this time he should be? He took a hold of the blonde's hand and let her take the lead.

Sliding, creeping, and maneuvering around the library, avoiding all areas where she knew there were cameras, only getting caught on the ones that seemed to lead to the bathroom, Anya took out a large set of master keys and brought Hyde to the restricted and first edition book room. This room was temperature controlled, keeping these ancient books that likely cost a fortune and that were delicately repaired in mint condition. Slithering in like the mythical snake she was, she pulled her brother in and closed the door behind them, “You no come here no more. We can talk. You have my number. Whenever. I don’t care. Just not here.”

“Not here? Not here?” Hyde chuckled slightly. Anya and her secrets. “Anya I will burn this fucking place to the ground,” He hissed before taking a step back. He had to keep reminding himself that the woman standing before him was his little sister. That she was family. She was riling him up. “You don’t ever, tell me what I can and can’t do. Nobody does. Remember who you’re talking to.” He placed his hands on his hips and sighed. “I need you to do better, for this family.”

“Or what? You hurt me? Strangle me? Kill me? Please.” Anya rolled her eyes at her brother who knew very little about her. He never even saw her fight. In addition to all that, he was so, so, so very stupid. Burn this place down, make a whole new set of problems in this hellhole they called home. Enough. This might work on girlfriends but I am not them.” Leaning against the wall, eyeing Hyde, she waited not so patiently, “What about Mika?” He was wasting her time and now she had to see if she had more work on her plate in terms of keeping an eye on their naive little brother.

He had to stay calm. He had to maintain his composure lest something terrible was going to happen. “I don’t trust our darling baby brother,” Hyde spat his simmering rage into the floor in a MM unhygienic glob. “Since I got out, something is different. He’s not himself, he’s gone soft. They’re going to eat him alive, assimilate him into one of those white picket fence, holier than thou, pieces of wank. We are not going to let that happen.” Running a hand through his red hair, Hyde gazed upon his sister as she glared at him. “Big brother is home now and it’s time for a change.”

Walking towards the bookshelf that housed tomes of days gone past, of stories of a generation, one of a kind books, Hyde reached out and claimed one into his embrace. “You need to tighten up your shit, Anya, and we need to bring Mika back to his real family.” Reaching into his pocket, the Devil pulled a lighter and flickered its flame into life. He held it against the ancient text before it caught fire and he tossed it into a nearby trash bin. “We’re gonna burn anyone that gets in our way. Anyone.”

“Including Gonzalez?” Anya raised an eyebrow, not understanding what was wrong with the fantasy of perfect suburbia. If anyone out of the three of them could live a trauma free life and just exist, that was Mikhail. “Family with your son?” Hyde should know that there were many players in this town that changed how Mika saw things. His second family, away from Ivan. The Southies. The O’Haras. That cute little redhead, Caitlin Cleary, he carelessly took around in his truck.

“Oh!” The Basilisk had just remembered. Pulling out her phone, she started spamming her brother with pictures. “You asked, there you go.”

Hyde looked upon the face of his child and he was lost for words. What a beautiful boy. He was innocent and pure, such a bright smile and he didn’t even know that his father existed. He had watched from afar as Ley took the child hand in hand through life. It was killing him. He shared the same eyes as them all, the Zima eyes, cold, frosty but his had a subtle warmth, like the warm water of a hot spring. Part of him wanted to let this lie, let his boy be raised to join the hive but then again, Rafael was a part of him. He belonged with him, he was his son. “You heard me,” He stated. “We’ll burn anyone.”

“And… the plan? Mika has life here. Something you, me, don’t.” A month ago, Anya would be in full agreement with her brother, believing Mika was going soft. What brought them together was their hardships and their hate for their father. But then she met Jade and Jade treated her not like a weapon, not like this tool, and not like a means to an end. She treated her like a human.

Maybe deep down, Anya did have a heart and actually hated her circumstances. Maybe deep down, she was losing her touch because she was sick of it. She didn’t want this life anymore. Whether it was doing the bidding for one group or another, her caretaker or her psycho brother, Anya never felt like her own person. She was here to get a job done. Nothing more, nothing less. Still, she held back telling Hyde everything she knew. The Basilisk was sure the man knew about Mika’s family, his sisters, and all his friends on the Southside, like Mordechai and Penelope, but she also knew he had no idea about the object of all Mika’s desires. The bane of their brother’s existence. His weakness. The woman that made him want to do better. A privileged, mousey girl that was born and raised on Scott Street. “What.. you want me to do?”

Hyde looked over at the burning trash fire that he started and lost himself in the flames. “I want you to do what you do best. See everything. Know everything. Then when the time is right we’re going to destroy the source of this family's problems. Do you understand?”

“Yes,” While taking in the fire with her brother, Anya grabbed her pocket watch for the thrice time. The sound of time was comforting to her. Like life, it kept going; each second counting, and one day, she knew her clock would stop and there she believed she’d be at peace. Dropping it at her side, her gaze glanced to her older brother as she subtly dismissed, “I’ll text you.”

Hyde nodded his head. This wasn’t where he thought this conversation would go but that’s where it was. He looked at his sister once more before pointing to the growing blaze beside them. “You might want to put that out, love you,” And he truly did he thought to himself as he departed the library.

It was a shame he was probably going to have to kill her one day.
In Edenridge 22 days ago Forum: Casual Roleplay

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@BrutalBx & @LovelyComplex
A little bit after Jamie's conversation with Clay - Monday afternoon

To say she was intrigued would be an understatement.

Reagan Ramsey had long forgotten her time in Edenridge and she had done so purposely. Growing up, it was always about the founding families, about the popular crowd that dominated the town like it was the kingdom of Avalon. Reagan, with an IQ as high as hers, knew that to survive, she had to become one of them. So when she turned fourteen and began attending Edenridge High, she did just that, she became one of them. She followed Allison like everybody else because that’s what she was supposed to do. Reagan laughed at every joke, she went to every party, she even dated some stupid jock types. A good little soldier.

Then Allison got herself dead and there was an opening for a new Queen.

In stark contrast to the late Miss Davies, Reagan’s regime at the top of the mountain was tougher. She was not warm and kind like her predecessor. No, the eldest Ramsey daughter was cold and logical. She mapped out every performance down to the absolute millisecond. Failure was not an option. She aced every test with an A+ average and carried herself with such a powerful presence. She was undeniable and unattainable. She was the Supreme.

Once she had graduated, Reagan didn’t look back. She moved out of Eden with the goal of making something of herself. First was college, which she of course perfected. Why? Well because she was perfect. Then came med school. That was a little tougher but luckily for her, she had some friends in high places and got herself a good placement in Cape Cod and a lovely little beach house.

Then why return to Edenridge at all with such a comfortable life? Her sister. Mei was everything Reagan was not. She was wild, emotional, a powder keg of unrestricted energy. They were opposites, true but when her sister called her and told her about the mysterious letters that everyone was receiving, she just had to come back. Not out of care for her sibling but out of sheer curiosity. There was a new player in town, someone with an eye for control. Something that Reagan had longed for her entire life.

After netting herself a cushty little summer gig at the Sinclair Clinic, the ice bitch made it a point to get in contact with old friends, the Royal Flush Gang some called them. Aiyana, Shriya, and Jamie; all three girls were different, vastly so. They came from all four corners of Eden to create they’re little gang.

Their story started in middle school in PE during a pool session when headstrong and whip-smart Shriya, or Riri as her friends have grown to call her, embarrassed a fool of a boy who couldn’t take no for an answer. He was cornering Vivia Belmonte, the best friend of Allison Davies, who seemed to have enough on her mind and didn’t need a sleazy boy trying to touch her. The Belmonte girl was a flirt, she’d give her that, but there were clear signs that Brayden was not her type and was overstepping his boundaries. Reagan had front row seats to this ruthless humiliation and decided that this girl was worth investing in.

While they complimented each other in sharp wit and independence, the two girls shared different values and interests. Riri made decisions for her family while Reagan lived for herself. Riri preferred history and language, while Reagan was and still is a science girl. Riri likes going to food truck festivals and supporting local vendors and Reagan has a palette for fine dining and high fashion. Different and yet, they understood each other like no other. They balanced one another and were each other’s ride or dies. As different as they seemed, they sure as hell looked hot standing next to each other and their presence, especially together? Something fierce.

Along the way, before they entered highschool, the shrewd, proud, and nonconforming duo stumbled upon Jamie O’Hara sitting with the boys that were swiftly gaining the rep as ‘the Elite’. The girls had coincidentally gone to Lyon Park around the same time Jamie was there with the boys and there they approached her, when she finally wasn’t hiding behind her twin brother, simply enjoying the rays. They saw her while she did watercolours at a picnic table and they talked to her. Not for her brother, but for her. They wanted to know more behind the beautiful, whimsical wallflower that was always surrounded by a bunch of boys. They discovered fast it was exceedingly hard to hate anything about Jamie, so from there they decided to take her in as their own.

Beautiful people had to stick together. For Jamie’s status, as a child from a founding family, this was a risk Reagan was willing to take. It helped that Jamie has good bone structure, a symmetrical face, and an in with the popular kids. Was their original intentions not as sugary sweet as Jamie probably thought? Absolutely, but overtime, she found a way in their hearts and someone, at least in Riri’s case, worth protecting.

The last piece to the puzzle of a group that gossip girls called the “Royal Flush Gang”, comparing each one of their personalities to a suit in a card deck, was when Jamie found a girl, not from Edenridge, with exotic, gorgeous features, and a worldly perspective. She hung out with the token metal head, Anthony “Oz” Ossos, two years younger than them at the Godmothers, more often than not. The following week, in November, they discovered that this girl was a transfer and in their year. Reagan and Shriya could not let this beautiful thing go to waste and commit social suicide. During lunch, they gently nudged Jamie to fetch her as the new girl sat all by her lonesome self, reading a book, The Odyssey by Homer.

From there, they discovered that her name was Aiyana Summerhill, they’d call her Yana, and she came all the way from Blue Hill Reservations. She was staying with the Ossos family to attend Edenridge High and get her highschool diploma. Admirable, really. Yana had a mind full of curiosities, ideas, and so many questions. It intrigued the girls. Her whole upbringing interested them, especially when she shared tales of Blue Hill and talked about her absent father, Big Bear. She was a remarkable addition to the Royals and together, they’d take control over the school by being brilliant, beautiful, and a little bit bitchy. That was the goal. However, it was short lived when Jamie left at the end of freshman year. As tragic as that was to lose such a dear friend over mysterious circumstances, they still had three. Both Reagan and Riri would put their claws deep into Yana so that she turns out exactly how she’s supposed to be.

One of them.

And that’s how the Royal Flush came to be and whenever they are seen together, it’s like a blast from the past.

The Supreme couldn’t help but call this little get together of her girls on this fine day. A storm was coming, that much was clear by the black clouds slowly creeping closer to them from across the distant sky. Yet another one was also brewing closer to home. When Reagan had awoken that morning to find one of the letters she had been so excited to read, there was the hint of a glow of elation in the usually stoic woman. Only this letter was nothing like what her imoto had described. This had nothing to do with the Queenly predecessor. No this one was all about another of the so-called Elite; David the Duke. Her sweet little Jamie’s big brother. Maybe interesting things did happen in this town after all?

Reagan sat in the private outside area that she had reserved for her court, her long, gorgeous legs crossed and shining under the morning sunlight. She was dressed in a short white dress, white being her signature colour in the same way black was her sisters. When the high gate opened, she was there, cigarette between her red painted lips, ready to greet her first guest.

“Hello darling.”

Habitually, the first one to arrive, responding to Reagan’s call the fastest, was Shriya. Riri was a fashion icon and a trendsetter. She always had a knack for style and absolutely adored the wedding scene. Contrary to popular belief, she did not pursue a degree in medicine like her parents wanted her to and like her whole hometown assumed she would (she’s a brilliant woman, after all).

Instead after graduation she moved to Pinehurst, assisted her aunt with her clothing shop, Banyan Tree Boutique & Apothecary, and worked on starting her own business. Over the years, with limited assistance from her family, Riri became an up-and-coming wedding planner. Her business plan highlighted diversity and expert knowledge on Indian and South Asian Weddings, with the goal to embrace all couples and work with them to create a memorable and meaningful experience. Regardless of sexuality or beliefs, she wanted to make something beautiful.

A day to remember.

Her business, Shriya & Company, is all about incorporating traditional elements while making the festivities feel modern and personalised. She and her team love to serve a diversity of couples, finding ways to blend each partner’s preferences, style, culture together into a perfect, harmonious mix. Coming in, looking like a sexy tigress, Riri greeted her best friend with a smile, gave a firm, formal and respectful bow, and took a seat beside her. If there was something Reagan learned a long time ago Shriya rarely made physical contact with others in public.

The two women were in the backyard of the Secret Garden sitting in one of the few bistro tables available. The Bolans, with their business partner, Lily-Rose Darling, had bought the house behind their’s, demolished it, and expanded their backyard in order to have the most square footage in comparison to other residents in Eastbrook. Eastbrook certainly wasn’t Scott Street but the Bolans made due with what was offered and now they have the most appealing outdoor situation. A scenic wonder, full of peace, serenity, and love.

Having already eaten before she got here, like the night before since she was fasting, Riri didn’t bother grabbing a menu and ordering something. She was content. Being in the sun with her friends would be more than enough nourishment for her. “Hello my beloved.” Clasping her hands together, resting them on her lap, the alluring woman with a wheat complexion and a gold undertone inquired with her strong, yet euphonic voice, “How well do you think she’s handling this?” She could only mean Jamie, seeing how Riri understood Reagan the best and had a feeling this meeting was called because of the letters.

Reagan tapped the length of her cigarette to allow the flickering ember to alight a little more as the ashes dropped away into the bowl. “Knowing our little Jamie, she’s probably a mess,” the Supreme Ice Queen mused. “She’s likely spent the morning hiding in her fathers den, crying in her Daddy’s arms whilst that idiot Russell scours the town trying to find the postman to beat him up. Neanderthal.”

Some would say that Reagan always wanted to be above her station, that she was desperate to be an Elite which was why she surrounded herself with the powerful women that she did. The truth of the matter was that she never wanted to be one of the Elite, she wanted to overthrow them. Reagan came from an amazing family, her father Will, a tremendous man who bequeathed in her the same warrior spirit that he himself had, Bushido. Shannon, her mother, was shrewd, intelligent, someone who rose above others through sheer intellect and drive alone. Then there was her baby sister, the demon dream girl her fans called her. They didn’t see eye to eye but Mei inspired her all the same. She was unashamedly her, whoever that was and to Reagan, that was a special trait to have.

Riri, Yana and especially Jamie, their friendship was a tactical manoeuvre for Reagan. The world around her was playing checkers whilst she played chess. She brushed a crease out of her dress just as a waitress arrived. “Four Mojitos please, sweetie and tell them to go hard on the rum.” Reagan ordered quickly as she sent the waitress on her way. She wasn’t messing around today, there were too many things to discuss. “You look amazing, by the way. I love that dress.”

With Reagan ordering drinks, it was 5 O’Clock somewhere, Riri knew this was when her fasting would end. One does not simply refuse a drink from the Supreme. Perhaps she should get something small. Too bad they were at a place that only served small dishes like hand sandwiches. She could use some delicious curry made by her brother in Westwood. Before the waitress walked away, Shriya cleared her throat, “Side of fruit too. You know what, just give us the afternoon tea special. I’m sure our girls would love some scones.” The cute waitress with pigtails and a beaming smile nodded before prancing off. Turning back to the ice queen, Riri gave a radiant beam, “Thank you. You look amazing too. You always do.”

Inside Hummingbird Creations, Aiyana Summerhill held onto Jamie O’Hara’s arm, having picked her up and driven them here, and looked around at all the plants. This place was a trap for her. Stopping for a moment, Yana found herself grabbing a heart-shaped leaf of a Pothos plant. Such a healthy baby. With the right space, light, and care, it would surely grow to be such a pretty little thing.

Nope, do not give into temptation. She might be making good money at the reservation working at the casino but she wasn’t making gold and a lot of her money went back to her community. She couldn’t buy yet another plant. She already had three of these! “Take me away, Jamie. I’m about to spend my entire fortune in this godforsaken place.” The two ladies had already had their initial conversation of ‘how are yous’ and ‘do you need anything’ in the car. Now their focus needed to be to get to Reagan. Neither needed to upset their friend by being late. They knew better than that.

It had taken a few hours for Jamie to stop trembling. After initially screaming at Clay about why the letters were still going, why they were now focusing on her brother and why he had mustard stains on his uniform, she fell into his arms crying. He always had a knack for comfort. She then found Russ and he took care of her like he always did. He was a puppy. A big stupid puppy. When her father returned from his morning workout, it fell on Jamie to tell him what was happening. Needless to say, the Coach did not take it well.

She was happy that Yana had made the trip down from Blue Hill to pick her up. Jamie didn’t really want to walk through town and see all the prying eyes staring at her. They always had, ever since she was a little girl. Back then it was somewhat innocent. The daughter of one of the most beloved members of the town populace, the Coach. A little blonde beauty with a big smile and dimples. She was a Foundling: she was royalty. Then those adoring eyes turned curious when Jamie was pulled out of school. Nobody ever really knew why and they were even more shocked when she returned for her freshman year in high school. David was her security blanket and his star shone bright very quickly, the warmth of which helped her a lot. Then it all fell apart again after the “incident”. Jamie left again and this time it was for good but the curious always found a way and those glares became sour when David died. To them, it was like Jamie knew what he did. Like she was protecting him. But she knew. She always knew that he was innocent. It was all wrong, they had it all wrong.

Her eyes were red and puffy from all the crying as Jamie held on to Yana’a arm tightly. She had tried to gussy herself up and make herself look presentable since she knew the Ice Bitch would comment in it. Appearance was everything to Reagan and it didn’t matter how Jamie was feeling, if the Royal Flush Gang were meeting, she had to look amazing. Those were the rules set by the Supreme and one did not go against the ladyship.

“Are things good on the Reservation? I’ve been meaning to come by….”

“I have no complaints. Dad—” By father, she meant the Chief and not her biological one. “—is good at keeping the family tight as ever. Odina did a hula dancing workshop for everyone. That was fun. And business is booming at Blue Suns.” Even with how positive Yana’s experience was at Blue Hill, her tone said otherwise, as if she was getting bored with her usual routine. She loved her home, she really did, but aside from the events they hosted from time to time to keep the community close knitted, it was the same-o, same-o. One thing she missed was living in Edenridge at the Ossos house. At least in Edenridge, there was always something going on.

Not exiting the flower shop just yet, Yana stopped in her tracks to ask, “How’s married life? Russ is treating you well?” The Cherokee woman had always worried about her friend. Russ was good, their wedding was beautiful and prepared by Riri, but… they never seemed like the ideal fit. To be honest, Yana always thought Jamie settled because she was too scared to be alone.

“Russ is Russ,” Jamie lamented. “I love him, he looks after me. Still hasn’t got two brain cells to rub together. It’s a good job he can point a gun and shoot for the army otherwise I don’t know who would have him,” the demure O’Hara twin let out a soft little chuckle before her bright smile fell back to its current default morose state. “He didn’t want to talk about the letter other than to see how I am. He’s not really good with that sort of thing.”

Russell had always been in Jamie’s life. The tall, blonde haired baboon who was essentially the Elite’s muscle meathead. He wasn’t cool like David, clever like Francis, hardworking like Rhett or charming like Clay. No Russ was just a big lug who wouldn’t hurt a fly but definitely had the potential too, like Lenny from Of Mice and Men. He had a good heart. After David passed it was Russell who reached out and made Jamie feel safe. That was probably why she ended up married to him. It was convenient for them both really. Russ served overseas most of the time anyway. They were married in name only really. They loved each other no doubt but in what kind of way Jamie wasn’t really sure.

“Let’s go say hi to her highness then, shall we?”

“We shall.” It was a good thing Aiyana would go out of her way for Jamie. She adored her. She would move mountains for her best friend. Where Russ lacked, Yana was determined to fill. At least in terms of platonic love. Yana knew there was only things a lover could do and as much as Yana found her friend beautiful, they both were extremely heterosexual. They were lovers of each other’s souls but beyond that, they both were searching for more to feel complete. Making their way to the table the other two Royals were sitting at, Yana grinned, “Hey pretty ladies! Long time no see.”

At this point in time, the table had both drinks and food.

“Wow wow wow, what’s the occasion? Riri finally going to be a bride instead of a bridesmaid?” Yana humorously joked before releasing Jamie and taking a seat beside Reagan and across from Riri.

“Ha. Ha. Very funny,” Shriya rolled her eyes, taking a sip of her mojito.

“I’m just saying, all your exes are dumb. You’re killing it, Riri, and one day, one day someone is going to love all of you.”

Jamie shrank into her chair, locking her fingers like a little girl with her head tucked, hiding away inside of herself so as to not draw the attention of those around her but she knew, she knew exactly why this meeting was called and she was just waiting for the words.

“Ladies,” Reagan clapped her hands together to call her court to attention. “We’ll have time to discuss fashion and fun in a moment.” Her dark eyes fell upon the woman opposite, the one that didn’t want to be seen but the Supreme saw everything. “Jamie, darling. Let’s not hide ourselves from our friends. Chin up.” Like a den mother, she called the shots, she always did. “We all know why we are here. This morning we received letters that pertain to our little Jamie’s brother. A tragedy, of course but nevertheless it is our duty as friends to take care of each other and help where we can. Jamie, what do you know?”

Jamie did her best to quiet the voices in her head. She breathed in and exhaled in short moments to find her peace. She looked for David’s smile in her memory, his curly hair and that stupid music that he listened to. He was her happy place. Looking up from her lap, Jamie placed her hands gently onto the table before her. “Not a lot. I don’t know where the letters came from. I’ve never seen them. David never mentioned them to me. You knew my brother, not exactly a wordsmith. Wherever he had these love letters stashed, it obviously wasn’t that good of a hiding place.”

“Do you think there’s more?” Reagan asked. “You said letters. Not letter. So you think there’s more than one?”

Jamie looked towards Riri and Yana for support. She hated feeling like she was being interrogated but the Supreme was the Supreme. “I don’t know. Probably.”

“There has to be,” Yana started grabbing pastries and putting them on her plate. “The date looks awfully familiar.”

“It’s the day after Allison died,” Riri noted, taking another deep sip of her drink. Placing it down, she tapped her long nails on the table, “Perhaps the rumours were right.” David had died under the influence of alcohol and there was talk that he committed suicide. The next day, there was talk about him being romantically involved with a minor but that was quickly brushed away. “Oh and Jamie, please let us know if this becomes too much. I know this must suck. The worst period of your life coming back to haunt you. Whoever is behind this is simply pure evil.”

Aiyana frowned at the whole situation. David was painted out to be a pedophile and if the rumours were true, that would break Jamie’s heart, “Yeah, just let us know if it becomes too much. We’re here for you,” In hopes to ease Jamie’s anxiety, Yana reached for her drink, aiming for the four of them to do a little toast before getting into such a heavy topic. Lifting up her glass with one hand and squeezing Jamie’s hand with the other, Yana asserted, “We’re sisters after all.”

“I…” Jamie gripped onto Yana’s hand as tightly as she could. “I don’t think they’re evil. Whoever is doing this. I don’t…I just…this is a lot.” Her breathing began to get heavy as she fought through the anguish and the stress. She took hold of her glass and raised it with Aiyana’s. “Sisters.”

Reagan clicked her tongue as she joined her friends with their toast. This whole thing was very interesting. Her computer-like brain was running the numbers, the mathematical equation as to why all this was happening. The people, the dates, the wording, it was all there to be analysed and if the police were hiring idiots like Clay fucking Costigan, there was no wonder that they had failed to crack the case when the contents of the letters were about her predecessor Allison Davies.

“It all stems back to that party. That’s where it all changed.”

Reagan had missed that particular evening. Most of the squad had gone down with a sickness. Reagan on the other hand, faked said sickness so that she could purposely miss the Shining Star. Instead she was out on the town in Boston. Without her, Allison’s routine was supposed to fail. The town would lose faith and the Queen would abdicate her throne for someone more deserving. Turns out she ended up dying instead. Strange days indeed.

“Collect yourself, Jamie. We’ll get through this.”

“Of course we will,” Yana reaffirmed Reagan’s words just so Jamie can see she was not alone. After the sentimental part was done, the girls took a sip of their mojitos before going back to the gritty stuff. Today was going to be a long day, that’s for sure.
In Edenridge 28 days ago Forum: Casual Roleplay





Stopped at a red light for what felt like the millionth time today, Clay gripped onto the steering wheel as tightly as he possibly could. It didn’t really matter if he was late for work, Sly would cover for him; the frustration had absolutely nothing to do with that. No, the man they call McDungus was pissed off because the lunatic that had been tormenting his beloved home all summer was back and this time they were deep diving into the lives of some of his dearest friends. On top of that he had gone through an argument with Cat, their first ever. He wasn’t a big fan of that, not by a long shot.

Pulling off to the side of the road, Clayton parked up outside of the station. Part of him didn’t even want to walk in. Part of him just wanted to go back to his apartment, bury his head in a pillow and listen to Boys II Men. David would mock him for that course of action, no doubt. Duke always said if it wasn’t classic rock then it wasn’t real music. Hell, Clay remembered the first time that Davey came to school having found Coach’s stash of vinyl records in the attic and he was a changed man. Lamb loved it. She always wanted to be around David. Sometimes, Clayton thought that she preferred Davey to him. Then again, a lot of people did.

There was just something about Davey.





”Criminal Justice, Clay huh?” David threw the mini basketball into the air and caught it between words. His curly hair was flopped back against the edge of the couch and his eyes gazed up at the ceiling of his family basement; the safe haven of the Elite. ”Can’t believe my bestest friend in all the world is gonna become a cop and arrest me”

”Well don’t do any stupid shit and I won’t will I?” Clayton was devouring his third sandwich from the Godmother. ”Besides, I only just got my acceptance letter to Lowell. I got a few years before I’m lifting people off the streets, Duke”

It was the summer after graduation and everyone was moving on with their lives, to college, to work, to whatever the future held for them. Clay was off to Lowell; Russ had already enlisted in the army and shipped off to basic training. Rhett had begun working with his family all the time now, he was pretty much a non factor in their lives now and Francis had already left for New York. Allison had been gone for so long now that their group had all but fractured. Down in the O'Hara basement we’re the remnants of the Elite; Clay and David and their respective twins.

”You’re disgusting” Lamb grimaced watching her older brother drop meat all over himself as he slovenly destroyed his meal in such a way that one would think he had never eaten before. ”How are we even related? You are a goddamn animal”

Lamb loved her brother, she really did but she also deftly struggled to actually like him. Even when they were children, the big of heart and only slightly dumb of ass Clayton and her just couldn’t find that thing that connected them beyond blood. They were twins for goodness sake yet the pair of them just didn’t fit together. Not like David and Jamie, one only had to look at them and you could not only see but you could feel that they were twins, two halves of the same person, split to give the world an equal load of happiness and joy. When the Costigan’s were split into their respective halves. something was missing in the process, something that made them, them.

”The fuck did I do?”

Jamie brushed her long hair out of her face as she watched the assorted friends before her. Her brother was on the couch that he had claimed ten years ago when he and Clayton found it by the side of the road in Eastbrook. Lamby sat on a nearby chair, her face distorted as she watched her twin who himself was sat by the table stuffing his face. She knew it was all going to come to an end, it had to. High school was over and the world around them was about to change forever. Most of their friends had already begun to make their moves towards their futures, Jamie herself was leaving within the next week for Brown. The nerves were real though, she couldn’t help but be worried that wouldn’t know what to do with someone with issues like hers.

”Are you going to see that friend of yours before you leave, Clay? The one from the comic store?”

“Oh yeah, Ava or something? We had Beau’s lit with her. Total fox. There’s no way you’re not hitting that sixteen. You legit fuck anything with two legs” David sat up from the couch and tossed the ball he had at Clay, missing him purposely but giving his best friend a startle.

“Davey” Jamie lamented.

“What? It’s the truth!”

Lamb began to giggle as they poked fun at her elder sibling. “They’re not wrong brother, you’re a bit of a whore” She couldn’t even count the amount of times she had heard Clayton sneaking some girl into his bedroom through his window and then sneaking them out again. She couldn’t count how many times she had heard that stupid line he always said about breakfast. God, he was a fucking idiot.

“Whoa whoa whoa” Clay threw down his sandwich. ”First off, her name is Avery. Two, no I am not fucking her, we’re friends. I can have friends outside of you guys, you know? Three, just shut up” He didn’t particularly enjoy David ridiculing his friendships but he knew there was never meant to be any offence. Davey wasn’t malicious, sometimes he just lacked tact.

“Great comeback, Costigan”

“Stop! Carry on and your ass is grass you hear me, Duke. I’m not the one with the secret girlfriend”

David laughed it off. He had an infectious laugh. Jamie and Lamb soon followed, with Clay finally joining them. He was going to miss this, the teasing and the laughing. They were all leaving him. They were all going to be something and get out of this damn town. He wasn’t but that was ok because he had her. She was there and as long she was there, so too would David be. ”And on that note” The Duke got up to his feet and bowed to his gathered court ”I gotta make like a tree and get out of here”

“Fuck me, you two are as bad as each other” Laura turned to look at Jamie with a soft smile on her face. “Are we sure they’re not the twins? Cos Jamie baby we can’t be related to them”

“Sadly, we’re stuck with them Lamby but there are worse options”





How could he have missed all the signs? He knew. They knew. They all knew. They joked about it. They didn’t think it was anything serious but it was, deathly so.

Fuck.

How could David be so careless? Clay knew that his best friend wasn’t a bad person. He wasn't an evil person and he definitely didn’t think he was a child predator. He made a mistake and he had paid for it. His family, his friends, they all paid for it. Then why the fuck were they going through it again?!

The tears began to well up in his dark eyes as his hold on the steering wheel grew tighter with every passing thought. He sniffled to try and stem the tears but it didn’t work. He was ok. He was always ok. Clay was always as cool as a cucumber. Nothing ever bothered him. He could just shrug it off and go find a warm body to lie down with. Everyone knew that Clay was fine. He was absolutely fine.

Was he fuck.

With an almighty roar, Clayton screamed out his frustrations. He began to pound down onto the steering wheel with balled up fists. He stamped down on the door of the car, like a child having a tantrum. He flung his head down, butting the wheel as he sobbed.

Why?






Clay dropped his bag onto the floor with a deft thud as he entered his apartment. Things had just gotten more complicated and complicated and his simple mind needed to process. Dragging his feet as he walked into the apartment, Clayton collapsed onto his couch and propped his aching lower half onto the coffee table. He reached into his pocket and pulled out his phone to text Cat and let her know he was home. It was funny how quickly he and his new lady had fallen into this kind of routine. Whatever time Clay got home, be it midnight or seven am, he would always message Kitty and let her know that he was home safe and secure. Her concern made his heart flutter. Maybe she would come over when she woke up? He could do with the company.

It had been over a month since the last Decker letter. Chief Broadus, Sly, everyone said they had stopped. Yet Clay’s brief reunion with Jamie proved otherwise and now they were targeting David. Allison was one thing but Duke? Everybody knew his dirty laundry, what he did. What else was there to know? How many secrets did this Decker kid have? He put his head in his hands and let out a muffled yell because the silence was deafening. ”Alexa? Play Spotify”

As the dulcet tones of Motley Crue’s Vince Neil exploded through the speaker, Clay glanced at the photo on the wall of him and his own crew, including the infamous David. It was a photo taken on the last night that they were all together, their last night of innocence before the outside world finally corrupted them. It was a day of triumph and heartbreak, a day in some ways, Clay would rather soon forget because of what it meant. He closed his watering eyes and drifted into memory.




December 4th, 2016
Pinehurst Academy’s Basketball Court
Celtics VS Monarchs Championship Game



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“You hear that? That’s an entire town whose hopes and dreams are resting on your shoulders, boys.”

Coach John O’Hara had once worn the same green and white jerseys that his players were currently adorned in. This was enemy territory. This was Pinehurst: home of the Monarchs. And this was rivalry week. Days of pranks and violence were all about to come to an end through four quarters, thirty two minutes of basketball. “The girls have already warmed them up. They’ve got their trophy. Now it’s time for us to bring it all home.”

Coach placed his hands one hand on his hip and lifted the brim of his cap with the other to survey his dynamite team. Francis Callahan, the most talented point scorer in Edenridge history. Rhett Cleary at center, the top defensive player in the division. Russell Lord, the best small forward John had ever coached. There was Clay Costigan, a versatile player at power forward with an uncanny three point rate and then there was David; his own baby boy. Davey took a bad fall in a game earlier in the season, and suffered a broken rib. John was worried about playing his son for the full game which was why he had called up Danny Belmonte from the freshman squad as back up.

“For most of you, this will be the last rivalry game you ever play. It’ll be the last time you’re all together in this environment. Soak it all in, gentlemen. Let me ask you something--” John looked at the boys: each of them their own men, with their own personalities, with their own goals, dreams and their own destinies. This game, no matter how much he bigged it up and pushed it forward, was just that: a game. A particle of dust in the infinity of space. “Why do you wanna win this? Right now, every one of you tell me: why do you wanna win this game?”

Francis stood up-- the leader, as he always was. “I want to win this for you, Coach. You gave us everything, made us who we are, made us good men. This one's for you.”

Russell followed and folded his large arms across his chest. “I’m doing it for these guys beside me, these soldiers on the battlefield. We have an enemy we have to destroy and I can’t do it alone.”

Coach turned his steely gaze to Rhett, arguably the quietest of his players. “What’cha got, twenty one? Why do you want to win?”

Rhett cracked his neck before focusing in and firmly giving his response, “It’s not worth winning if you can’t win big, right? I want to take it home, Coach.” Cleary was aware that this was only a stepping stone to get where he needed to go. To the rest of the world this was just another game but to him and his friends? This was the end of a chapter and the start of the next. Might as well go out loudly and proudly. It wasn’t about the trophy. It was about the feeling of all of them achieving greatness together, like they’ve done for years. This game was sacred to his team and he would make sure to protect what they had, at all cost.

Clay brushed his hands through his long silky hair and grinned from ear to ear; the goofy sort of grin that had been his trademark for years. Before he opened his mouth, the Coach placed a hard foot on one of the nearby benches, the loud rattle of the bolts cracking beneath his step causing the boys to jump. “No jokes, sixteen, or I swear to God my foot is going up your ass and out of your mouth. Try kissing all the girls then, kiddo.”

Taken aback a little bit (only a little), Clay looked at his teammates, his brothers, the four boys he had known since diapers. “I just want to do something good, something meaningful. It’s a game, sure, but then out there, it’s a little hope. A little something they can be proud of when our town goes to shit.”

“Fuck me, Clay, you gotta stop with that shit. People will start to think you’re a good guy.” David got to his feet. He was arguably the most rebellious of the Elite but he had good reason. Being the son of the town's beloved coach was tough enough as it was; but actually playing for him was another kettle of fish altogether. “I saw you last night with Sawyer Steen, that certainly wasn’t nice.” David looked to his father, whose vein was beginning to bulge beneath his cap, which usually meant he was annoyed or the dog had gotten into the trash again. “We want to win, Coach, because it’s what we’re supposed to do. We’re players, we throw the ball around, it goes in the hoop and we win. It’s not about fame or fortune or glory. It’s just about the game and having fun.”

The redness that had risen in Coach’s face had subsided as he listened to his boy talk. He was right, maybe he had done this speech before. “You got it in one, Davey. It’s about fun. You want to win because it’s fun. You want to play because it’s fun.” The elder man looked to the youngest boy in the room, little Danny Belmonte. He made his way over to him and knelt down to his eye level. “Danny, wherever you go in life, whatever you do, whoever you love, remember this feeling. Remember these boys. They are all good men and something to aspire to be. At the end of the day, this is not about winning. The game is not about throwing a ball around, it’s about having fun and growing as a person. So, you wanna win with us, twenty seven?”

The Italian boy was awestruck. He had listened to the Elite, the goddamn Elite, speak through their hearts, never hesitating with anything they said. They knew what they wanted and who they were going to be. They knew who they were and they all had this incredible synergy that any young lad would want to aspire for. They were determined, motivated, and full of vigor! They were amazing. Bringing his eyes from the coach to Clay, Rhett, Russ, David, and then Francis, a shy yet lovable smile rose on Danny’s face, “Yeah! You guys are the best and I want to be the best, so let’s do this. Let’s win!” This was exciting. Even if he was benched for the whole game, he would have a blast because he had front row seats to watch the Elite in their element. Honest to God, a dream of his, achieved.

Coach rose up to standing again as the PA system burst into life. LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, YOUR EDENRIDGE CELTICS! Followed by the voice was the heavy riff of the Celtics signature walk out music. Coach pulled his hat down and looked at his team. They were all good boys. “They’re playing our song, boys. It’s time to do work. No luck but what you make.”

NO LUCK BUT WHAT YOU MAKE!

The Elite yelled in unison as they followed their leader out of the locker room and down towards the tunnel to the basketball court and their Pinehurst enemies.
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She couldn’t remember much.

Cutting through Lyon Park was not an unusual thing on her evening jog. Most people would feel unsafe doing so but not Bev; she had protection. ReyRey had promised her and her family safe passage through the Southside in exchange for a small slice of their house flipping business. Seemed reasonable in Edenridge terms. It boggled the mind then as to why she remembered so clearly being pulled into the tree line and beaten, so savagely. She would try to fight back but whoever had accosted her was three sizes bigger.

After being knocked out, Beverly had awoken to this empty room. It looked old, dirty and the floor, God the floor was coated in what she could only assume to be old, dried blood. The terror she felt in that moment was something spectacular. This room was so eerily quiet, deathly silent save for Beverly’s own heartbeat, which currently felt like it was about to explode from her chest. She couldn’t move. Her hands and feet were bound to the chair, the only thing besides herself in the room and a small table that stood before her was another seat on the opposing side.

Wait.

There was something! A slight sound, a faint whisper, footsteps! She tried to open her mouth to scream but nothing came out, the gag in there was muting her. Beverly’s tear stained eyes widened as the old, rusted door edged open and in walked two silhouetted figures. The larger of the two walked behind her, his face shrouded in darkness. The other stepped into the light. That face! A fresh face. A fresh start. It was the fucking Mayor.

“Good evening Beverly, thank you for having the good sense to be frightened.”

His voice was like butter, it was designed that way. His appearance was youthful and immaculate. Presentation is everything. From the fine pressed suit, to the short boy band style hair and five o’clock shadow from sleepless nights trying to help his beloved community; Theodore Grimm was a vision of a man. Most of Eden’s population loved him; he was everything one could want in a public official. Then there was the rest, the people who knew the real Teddy Grimm. A boy who grew up on the Southside before vanishing. A boy who, when looked at closely, embodied everything that was truly wrong with the cursed place.

He took the seat opposite of Beverly, crossing his legs and interlocking his fingers across his lap. He watched the bound woman for a moment, his brown/hazel eyes taking her in. It was as if he was reading her like one reads a book, soaking in all the possible information that he could before speaking. Finally, he reached into his jacket, not breaking eye contact once as he pulled a gun from it and placed it down onto the table.

“I am hoping that this…transaction of ours can come to a most satisfactory of endings; otherwise I have no problem, no problem at all, with going to your little girl's school…what is her name?” His tone was playful, almost sing songy. “…Of course Neveah. Yes, Neveah, and ripping her eyes out and feeding them to your elderly mother in the guise of her favourite, meatball sub from the Godmothers. So I suggest you do not, push me, Mrs O’Driscoll. Remember, you cannot lose if you do not play.”

The way he spoke. It was enthralling. He did not carry the same New England twang as did so many in the area. He sounded like Kelsey Grammar or like Cary Grant from the old movies that Beverly used to watch with her mother. Everything was so smooth, his cadence almost melodic. It was hypnotising but also, absolutely terrifying.

“How well, do you know your Edenridge history, Beverly? I must confess I was not the most..attentive student but I did really enjoy my history class, especially when the topic was local lore. Have you heard, dearest, of the Southside Reaper? His tales are rarely told outside of the snake pit but please, if you’ll indulge me, I’d like to weave you a yarn.”

Teddy folded his arms like a father, which he was, about to tell a bedtime story to a child. Yet the look in those eyes, this was not going to be Snow White and the Seven dwarves.

“Once upon a time, there were four brothers. Rusty, Rocky, Rooster and, of course, Reaper. Each of them had a unique set of skills. Rusty, he was the heater. He would take a bullet for his brothers, a shield around them from a world that was out to get them. Rocky, he was their collective heart. He saw what the others didn’t and felt everything. Rooster he was, he had a knack for fixing wounds, let's say. And then Reaper, we'll say he was efficient.”

The second man in the room, Beverly didn’t see much of him beyond a waif of blonde hair. He stood behind her, each of his hands on both of her shoulders. They were adorned in rings, his wrists in trinkets. She recognised them. This was the man that stood silent behind the Mayor during every appearance; his security. Laslow, was it?

“One day, the brothers came across a horrendous scene. An Irishman lay bloody but unbowed down at the train tracks, cowering from the bullets of unknown assailants. Of course, Rocky and Rooster took to caring for the man. Like the good big brother he was, Rusty drew their fire whilst the Reaper became a wraith and systematically took out everyone with cold precision. If I am not mistaken, which I rarely am, that man was your father, Mrs. O’Driscoll and if you haven’t figured it out by now, I am the Reaper and I have come to collect on a debt.”

The Reaper.

Those words made her heart sink even further into her chest. Of the many horror stories of the last, his was one told to every child on the Southside, a bogeyman used to scare kids away from the oh so easy life of crime that calls to them when living beyond Carlisle. Before she was frightened, now she was terrified.

“My colleague here is about to put a contract in front of you, predated to a few months ago naturally, which will sign over the land that you currently own on Charter Hill to the city. Then, once you’ve done that, you are going to take this nine millimetre, your husbands, you know the one. You are going to take it, put it in your mouth and blow your brains out. Now don’t worry about the mess, I pay people a lot of money to maintain standards around here. We will take you home, where your darling husband will find you. My brother, will then arrest him for your murder and darling, sweet little Neveah will become a ward of the state but please, do not be alarmed, I will make sure she is taken care of. The sins of the father shall only be held against his own child, not the rest of his family.”

Teddy motioned with his eyes as Sebastian began to remove Beverly’s gag from her mouth.

She knew there was no use in screaming. No use in calling for help. Maybe she could sweet talk him? She’d play ball, give him what he wanted and then she and Neveah could leave town and never look back. Beverly had often thought about it. She never wanted to get mixed up with these sort of people, she inherited her fathers bad luck. “I’ll sign anything please, don’t hurt my baby. You don’t have to kill me,” Her voice was breathless, she tried to take in the musty, copper tasting air as best she could but it was making her gag.

“Sweetheart, sign the papers and you have my word no harm will come to your child…” Teddy got up to his feet and placed his hands into his pockets. He towered over the woman and his face had not changed since he walked in the room, utterly calm and composed, like this was a normal conversation between friends. “Yet you, you made me ask twice and I so do hate repeating myself.”

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Collab with @LovelyComplex as Kylee Rose Grimm






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Seizing the hour with her father not having arrived home yet, he told that woman he was running late, Kylee picked his office lock with a bobby pin. Little tricks she’s taught herself over the years, getting into trouble with Roddy, her Shaggy. She would rather go through her father’s things than talk to him directly. He would just know she was getting involved in something she shouldn’t and make her feel guilty for it. All she had right now was her small Scooby Doo crew. They were the people she spent the most time with. Her boyfriend and her friend. She couldn’t let them down by going to the next meeting empty. When the door opened, Kylee did a quiet victory pose before slipping into her father’s domain, gingerly closing the door behind her. First phase complete. Infiltrated the Boss’ lair.

Now there was no time to waste. Straight to his desk to find anything to help clear his name but also see if he had any information that could push them forward. Her dad was the mayor! He had to have an idea who the perpetrator was. She looked at his computer and debated trying to unlock it. Unfortunately she wasn’t a hacker. If the information was anywhere it was there but she couldn’t think of the password for the life of her. There were no hints that she was aware of anywhere. Instead she rummaged through his papers, ledgers, his calendar to see if there was anything of note. Her father was an organized man. He wrote down all his expenses. They were likely coded to sound a certain way, but it was only a matter of time Kylee would decode that too. That was neither here nor there. She had to focus. What could she find, if anything, that helped her not be suspicious of her father?

“Kylee Rose?”

Teddy stood in the doorway of his office, hands behind his back in a strong stance akin to a military man. His voice was as calm as it always was, his face neutral if not slightly warm towards his youngest child. He took a single step forward into his throne room and closed the door behind him. By the frazzled look on his daughter's face he could tell she was looking for something but what could she be looking for in his office? “Precious, what are you doing in here? You know no one is to be in here when I am not in the house.” The Mayor of Eden took another deeper step forward and tilted his head ever so slightly.

“And do not lie to me, I will know.”

Immediately perking up but like a scared puppy that got caught eating human food, Kylee put her hands behind her back and covered her misdeeds with a smile, “Daddy!” Why was he home already?! She thought she had thirty more minutes. That bitch lied to her or didn’t know how to track time. “You see… tonight’s a big night for you and I wanted to find a tie! You remember when I got to pick your ties all the time when Mama Prue was alive? I thought I could do that again, seeing how the town’s on fire. A little good luck charm from me.” While Kylee was fantastic at lying, her father was the only person who had the best read on her. He did raise her after all. As he watched her with stern yet loving eyes, Kylee sidestepped away from his desk.

Of course. Teddy had been too busy orchestrating a large new venture that he had neglected his little girl. Kylee was probably sad and nostalgic because that friend of hers, what was his name? Robert? Ricky? Rodney? The Callahan boy. He had left town. The two of them had been inseparable; Ted didn’t much care for him. It must’ve gotten her thinking about Prue, they were ever so close. “I’m sorry I’ve been busy, child,” He manoeuvred himself around the desk to face her and placed his hands around her shoulders. “Of course you can pick a tie.” In his peripheral, the Mayor noted a small red stain on his short sleeve right by his cuff link. “I could also do with a fresh shirt, it’s hot out there today. Why don’t you grab one from my closet and we can talk a little.” He released her from his grip and motioned to a nearby door.

As obedient as ever, Kylee strolled to his closet to pick a nice shirt and a tie out. She glanced back at her father, contemplating and debating what colours would be nice. He looked best in black. Sure, he had pointed out it was hot today but black still looked phenomenal on him. It was his color. If the event wasn’t formal she would do away with the tie. It was summer and black shirts could easily be semi-dressy while still being casual. Unfortunately, it was formal. So tie it is!

Teddy took off his jacket and tie and began to unbutton his shirt to reveal his strongly built body, littered with scars of the days past that he darent talk about. Image was everything. He kept in shape with a meticulous Patrick Bateman like routine; there was a reason that housewives and young female voters always liked him and it wasn’t his stance on education. “I hear you may have found yourself a boyfriend?”

When she chose her set and he asked the question she dreaded to hear, Kylee kept her face toward the closet, away from his. She had to put her game face on. She couldn’t lie to him, she wasn’t necessarily subtle with Wes. He was bound to find out eventually. “Mhm! You’ve been so busy so I didn’t know when to tell you.” Turning on her heel with shirt and tie in hand, Kylee pranced back to her father, her arms stretching out to offer him his new wear for the night. “I really like this one, daddy.” Her statement was directed to Wes but could also stand for the clothes she picked out for him.

The Mayor took the clothing from his baby girl and began to re-dress himself. He reached into the desk drawer and took out a pair of music note cufflinks that he hooked into his sleeve. “You are a woman now, Kylee and I trust your decisions wholeheartedly but…” He popped his collar and wrapped the tie around his neck. “…be weary, be smart. You are the Mayor’s little girl, MY little girl and this boy, from my understanding, is a reporter from Pinehurst? Seems a bit too coincidental.”

While not having her emotions written on her face, Kylee was shocked to hear that Wesley was from Pinehurst. That was something that could’ve been easily brought up in a conversation at night, and yet he didn’t tell her. She wasn’t like the other Edenridgers with a blood feud with that town. She wasn’t even born in Edenridge! The hurt started setting in. She was blind sighted out of hope and love. She and Wes had so many similar attributes and yet, he didn’t want to tell her much of anything. He would drop little things here and there like his nerd background but nothing of emotional value that keeps a couple together.

When he was finished with his tie, Teddy pulled on his jacket before taking a seat at his desk. He took a hold of Kylee’s hand and pulled her gently ever so closer to him. “Don’t promise me, guarantee me that you will be careful. Give me your word, Kylee Rose.”

“I will, daddy,” Kylee was sad, really fucking sad, but if she displayed any of those emotions her father would go out of his way to make this his problem. “You look rather dashing, Mr. Grimm,” Kylee brightly smiled as her father released her hand. When he did so, she adjusted his tie, “People are suspicious. They think you might have something to do with the letters. I know you don’t though. I will do my best to protect your name. Do you have any idea who could be causing so much chaos?”

She was fishing. Kylee was a journalist herself or at least she liked to think she was. Teddy did enjoy listening to her show first thing in the morning, hearing her on the radio did leave a little spark in his heart but then it was usually blown out by whatever fire he had to deal with on the day. “I’ve been on the police force every day since the first letter,” He didn’t mind Kylee choosing his looks for him, she had an eye for this. Hailey not so much and the boys, well they were the boys. He had no qualms calling Ky his favourite child. “Unfortunately, they’re small town cops with no money, they’re not interested. There are a handful who try but they’re set up to fail.” The Mayor glanced up at his baby and smiled; she was so much like her mother. “No, Precious, I have no idea who is behind it. I have theories like everyone else but that’s all I have. Not for lack of trying mind you.”

Teddy stood up to his feet and made his way over to the window; from his office at the Grimm estate, he could see the entirety of Edenridge. He could see from Scott Street, to Carlisle, Eastbrook and West; a map of his empire. “Why don’t you bring this boy to my announcement tonight? I’d like to meet him.”

Trailing behind him, Kylee glanced up at her father in adoration. Her eyes went from his stern yet chiselled face to the gorgeous view. Edenridge kept growing. A town this small with so much potential, so much life. She hoped the curse would break so that people could live in peace. Her father could be at peace.Peace in Eden was a beautiful dream. That, however, might be too much to ask for. “I will,” she answered. The hurt still sitting inside her. Was she a fool to trust this outsider? Did he even care about her? Did he even need her? Time and time again, Kylee felt disposable and maybe that’s exactly what she was. Natalia would agree. She was utter trash. “I think that will be good. You’re the most important person to me so it only makes sense for you to meet him.”

Teddy turned to his daughter and placed his hands on either side of her face. “Kylee, you are my youngest. You are the best of me. You are, along with your sister and your brothers the most important thing in the world to me. Family above all. I want all of you by my side as I right what is wrong with this place.” He leaned forward and gently kissed her forehead like only a father could. Returning his gaze to the town he controlled, the Mayor put one hand on the window and kept the other at Kylee’s cheek. “I know you meant well but do not step foot in this office again when I am not in the house. Do you understand?”

Absolutely devastated and defeated at her own insecurities with her relationship with Wes, Kylee nodded with a frown, “I understand, daddy. I’m sorry.” She was in over her head in finding the culprit of the letters and being the girl of Wes’ dream. She would never be deserving of love and that fucking hurt.





Excerpt from the diary of Charlie Decker; December 7th 2017

“Lang Leav wrote;

When two souls fall in love, there is nothing else but the yearning to be close to the other. The presence that is felt through a hand held, a voice heard, or a smile seen.

Souls do not have calendars or clocks, nor do they understand the notion of time or distance. They only know it feels right to be with one another.

This is the reason why you miss someone so much when they are not there even if they are only in the very next room. Your soul only feels their absence; it doesn't realize the separation is temporary.

A person died tonight. Someone I didn’t know all that well. What I do know is that person loved someone that they probably shouldn’t. Age and the years that separate us are such insurmountable odds. Love is love, or so they say. I have loved the same girl since I was five years old yet she has no idea. I am no authority on love.

I ask: is there such a thing as a wrong kind of love?”





The sun was rising over another day in Edenridge, Massachusetts. The air was warm but off on the distant horizon; a rain cloud hung like a veil, waiting to shroud the town in the darkness it’s residents fought so hard against.

Clay Costigan was finishing up his patrol as his car circled around the waking Scott Street. He had only been back in town a few weeks and already he had seen some shit. Luckily the previous night he had been assigned to roam some of the more affluent neighbourhoods in Eden, which is what he liked to call an easy shift. Scott Street was the sort of storybook, all American white picket fence type of place you’d only see in glossy teen dramas or movies. It rested on the far side of the lake and was home to the likes of the Mayor and the O’Hara clan. Hell, even Clay’s own parents lived only a block away. Old Edenridge Money. It was strange to think that a short swim across the cold water and you’d wind up just off of Carlisle Avenue and the entrance into the hellmouth known as the Southside.

Meena? Heeeeey, girl. How are you?”

”You’re back in town? Why didn’t you tell me?”

“I’m sorry babe, I’ve been super busy getting settled back in and stuff.”

"Well, I’m working at the Sinclair Clinic now, so I get that business. I was wondering when we could meet up? It’d be great to see you, handsome.”

"Errrmm….soon-ish. I’ll let you know. Sorry, Meena: gonna have to go-- getting a call on the radio. Stupid kids doing TikTok shit probably. I’ll be in touch soon. You look dynamite, by the way. Talk in a bit! Byyyee!” He swiftly hung up his ear piece and sighed. Meena was great but she was what one might call clingy and now that he had Cat in his life as he had always wanted, Clay had to curb those old habits. He realised there were probably a fair few similar phone calls that he would need to make. He loved Cat and he wasn’t about to let his past haunt him.

Pulling his car into park at the end of the road, Clay glanced out to the house on the end of the street; the O’Hara house. Home to the illustrious Coach John O’Hara and his wife and once the home of his children, David and Jamie, once upon a time two of Clay’s closest friends. They were a founding family, a legend and a legacy that had woven itself into the very fabric of Eden. Yet like with any other family unit, they were not a bloodline not without its fair share of demons.

John had the worst sort of luck. Not only was he a survivor of the Camp Eden Massacre of 1974. His younger sister Mary had run off with some gangster in New York and he hadn’t heard from her in years. He was shot by that godforsaken Charlie fucking Decker and his baby girl had her own issues. Yet amongst this, his greatest shame was his boy, the Duke to most everyone else…David. Poor David.

The thought of David and Jamie; twins, made Clay think of his own sibling, his own other half, Lamb. Laura and Clay were not what one would call close, despite sharing everything from the minute they were born yet that was a story for another time. He felt the need to call her. Lamb worked as a hostess at the Afterlife, so he knew that that moment she would likely be around. Grabbing his phone from the passenger seat, Clayton attempted to FaceTime his sister. On cue, she picked up almost immediately. It may have been early for most but both of the Costigan’ were just finishing their days.

"Hey, Lamby.”

”Clay? It’s like…6:45. Why are you calling me?” Lamb scratched the back of her head before placing her phone down to continue what she was doing, which looked like cleaning the bar.

”I dunno, I was just finishing my patrol and going past Duke’s. Made me think of you."

”Going by a pedophile's house made you think of me? I feel so loved, big brother.”

“You know what I mean, Lamb. It’s not… Like, I’m not trying to… I just wanted to check in. See how you’re doing. It’s been a minute. You good, you need anything?”

"Right now? A cigarette-- and maybe some blow. Oh! Sorry. Forgot my brother is a cop now. You spoke to Dad recently?”

”No. Mom’s says he’s extended his stay in Tahiti for another month. Apparently some late charter booking, lotta money and…” Before Clay could finish speaking, he was startled by a large bang on his window. He turned and saw another face from his past staring wide eyed at him holding a piece of paper up against the glass. "Lamby, I’m gonna call you back.” He dropped the call and threw his phone back onto the seat. He opened the door and climbed out of the patrol car. "Jamie? I didn’t know you were back in town. Are you ok?”

“I thought this shit had stopped, Clayton! The fucking police said this shit had stopped!” She forced the bit of paper in her hand into Clay’s chest.

He looked down at the page and began to read.

December 5, 2016

Dear David:

It’s been a couple of hours since you dropped me off here at home, but I feel like I’m still floating and riding up on cloud nine. You kissed me! I can’t believe you actually kissed me! Oh my God, I swear it all feels like I’m the star of some Hollywood teen romance movie: when the guy finally realizes the girl has been into him all along. You see, I have to confess that I've been smitten with you since I can remember-- long before the first time I saw you strolling down the halls of Edenridge High in your slim jeans, your white Nikes and that letterman jacket with “O’HARA 23” emblazoned across the back that I'd give everything to show off on myself. I grew up hearing all these stories about you, and I will admit that the things I heard and saw myself did somewhat discourage me from confessing my feelings for a long while. All the girls spoke about how handsome you were (as if I needed to be told what I had already established the second I laid my eyes on you in the first place). My brother and your best friends spoke about how you were one of the most popular and talented athletes the school had, how you were basically considered royalty at Eden yet remained the same goofy, charming and friendly guy everyone knew. But every person that said these wonderful things about you also gave out the same piece of advice: to stay as far away from you as they possibly could, because you were a player who went through girls like nobody’s business.

See, if I had been smart enough to listen to all the warnings people gave about you, none of this would’ve happened. I never would've allowed myself to even entertain the thought of seeing you as something other than one of my brother's best friends. I never would have approached you after the first game to tell you how amazing you’d done out there. I felt like such an idiot doing it, but your genuine smile and praise back had me grinning for the rest of that night, even after I knew you had spent it hooking up with Bailey Darensbourg. You never would’ve made it a point to at least smile at me and say hi every time we saw each other in the halls after that. We never would’ve interacted and flirted on and off, not quite friends anymore but definitely more than just acquaintances. You never would have offered to give me a ride home when the party became too much too soon, and instead of driving back straight away you took me to the most beautiful clearing by the lake near our houses. We never would’ve spent hours talking about everything and nothing, fantasizing about what life could be like outside of our families' shadows, with your strong arms around me pulling me closer to you as we sat in the bed of your pickup truck, with that cozy sherpa blanket keeping us extra warm.

If I had listened to all the warnings people gave me about you, I never would’ve had the guts to let you tilt my chin up to kiss me… And I never would’ve kissed you back with the same intensity and affection I’d been holding back for years.

And for each second your lips were locked in with mine, I felt myself falling for you just a little bit more.



@BrutalBx & @LovelyComplex
Timestamp: The Friday after Wednesday club night with Clay/Cat. It's a week after Ky/Wes got together.



____________________________________________________________________

Kylee Grimm had spent the past week spending an ungodly amount of time with her boyfriend. Fresh into Edenridge boyfriend. She had to play smart and not sleep over his place every night or her dad would ask too many questions. That didn’t mean she wouldn’t send him pictures, video chat with him, and fall asleep on call with him. She hadn’t dated since Natalia so this honeymoon phase was ecstasy to her. The beginnings always were. They had so much to explore and learn about each other, while of course, working together to solve the many mysteries of Edenridge. First starting with who was the perpetrator of the letters. Who was behind it all? Or they? Was it a group of people?

Even with all these questions on her mind, the mayor’s daughter was unable to focus on work because all she wanted to do was bad things to and with Wes. Their sessions were long but they didn’t have nearly as much sex as she wanted. She wanted more. No, she needed more. If she could, she would devour him every day and every night. One can say her sexual drive was high, even more so with Wesley because of this innate connection they shared. Some people just naturally turn you on. Wes was that for her.

Things were so good that if things got rocky between them, she wouldn’t care because all she wanted was him. They hadn’t fought, there were no lies between them, and he adored her. If anything, the past week had been purely sexual. If only he knew all the bad things she liked… There was so much to explore.

Now here she was, sitting outside of the Godmother in between her boyfriend and her friend, Clayton. Their little Scooby Doo crew, in terms of productivity… well, it was non-existent at the moment. She was on her laptop getting ready to take meeting notes. One thing she did add was that Clay could not find any traceable evidence on the letters or envelopes. Wes had been interviewing people and making a list of general suspects. As an outsider, he had a different perspective and he could pick up when townspeople were withholding information and/or lying to him. As for her, at least until she got distracted by the man whose hearty, loving heart radiated from his sexy body… that she liked to lick - Stop, Kylee - talked to a bunch of the townspeople to see if they had any personalized letters or if they were generic. What was the pattern? Was there a pattern?

There were a few people who did have personalized letters but it wasn’t enough for her to see through it. Whoever had Decker’s letters was a clever fucker and she was determined to get to the bottom of it. But first, she glanced up at both the boys in their own world and sneakily, she had her hand trail under the table. Keeping her eyes on the computer, she teasingly rubbed Wes’ leg. The one closest to her. She let her fingers walk up his leg getting ever so close to…

“Dicks!”

Wes really didn’t like to swear, it was uncouth and unbecoming. It wasn’t cool and didn’t make you tough. So something like dicks was a rarity for the young reporter. It had become harder to focus once he and Kylee had given themselves to one another. Being around her was like being a heroin addict in a crack den, the inevitable was always going to happen. Wes just had to try and get some work done before it did. He could feel her hand wandering up his leg and he allowed it to happen. Bad business.

“I mean no offence guys but you Edenridgers are all shady as hell,” He laid out a few papers on the already full to the edge table. These particular documents were interviews that Wes had conducted with certain residents of the town. He leaned back in his chair, locking his fingers behind his curly haired head. “Not one person I spoke to was forthcoming. There are way too many secrets and chess pieces in play here.” His eyes fell to her hand on his lap and a mixture of arousal and concern began to well up. Wes was a professional, he shouldn’t be mixing business with pleasure but Kylee was…

“Guys I get it, you’re fucking. Congratulations. Salutations. Buy the boy a biscuit,” Clay was onto his second sandwich and he had a mouthful as he spoke to the pair. “I saw this coming before you did but can we please just do some work? I literally have half an hour before I have to go to my real job.” The officer was usually a bottomless pit for food anyway but he had worked up an aperture thanks to his own new lover, the woman whose shop they were outside that very minute. She was probably in there, all sweaty behind the counter, waiting for him to sneak in there.

Wes was taken aback but not surprised. In the month that he had known Clayton; he had realised that the man had impeccable instincts. He was a fool, an idiot, a bro mcdouche but he just had a sense about things, not too dissimilar to Wes himself. It shouldn’t really shock him that Clay knew about him and Kylee. “Sure yeah,” He glanced at his lover before returning his gaze back to the papers and sliding them further into the table.

“From my interviews one thing I’ve managed to ascertain is that the broader generic letters are Charlie’s journals, verbatim. They are literal copies of his words. The personal ones, like the one Rey Gonzalez received, are still Charlie’s words but someone is going in and adding things. They’re also omitting some content too. The main focus seems to be on your class, Ky.”

Pulling her hand back because of the buzzkill Clay, Kylee typed a few things down before glancing at both men, “Well that fucking sucks. My class is over it. We don’t want to be the year with all this history and tragedy. It’s never ending. Then again, I guess it wouldn’t be my class if we didn’t get caught up with a terrible thing.” After reaching for her chai latte, the mayor’s princess took a silent and leisure sip before continuing, “If it was someone in my year it’s just really messed up. But it may not be. It could be someone who stumbled on Charlie’s journal and agreed with Decker’s sick ideals and beliefs. Maybe the villain of this story was like I’m going to finish what this kid started. Psychos don’t always need to make sense.”

“I doubt it’s anyone in your class” Clay shook his head as he leaned back in his chair and crossed his arms. “When the first letters started turning up Mrs Decker was interviewed. Charlie apparently always kept his journals locked away in a chest in his closet. When the officers went to check they were gone. Plus, Decker's room was untouched. Left the exact way it was when he was last in it. This means, whoever has the books, has had them since the massacre.” His eyes glanced up to the nearby Godmother window, he could see Cat going about her daily business and he was doing his best not to interrupt.

Wesley’s phone buzzed with the caller ID “DEX”, he looked at it for but a moment before stuffing it into his jacket pocket. “We can’t rule out Mrs Decker. She’s the obvious suspect and sometimes that’s also the right one. Then there’s his crew on the Southside, maybe a lover? We all go a little crazy sometimes and I didn’t know this kid but there seems to have been something magnetic about him”

As Wes talked, Kylee focused her keen gaze on Clay. She might’ve looked busy but she had noticed since the start of their meeting how many times her cop friend looked up and through the window. It was a lot. He wasn’t being subtle. At least not to her. She knew Clay had a heavy crush since forever on the woman inside there but he wasn’t this bad usually. There must’ve been new developments in his love life.

While she wasn’t going to assume he and Cat Belmonte did anything, she did know whatever happened between the two could only be a positive development. At least for Clay. “Why don’t you take a picture? It’ll last longer.” A smug fell on Kylee’s clever girl face as her sharp stare darted at the cop. “Sorry for interrupting you baby,” She apologized to Wes yet never taking her eyes off of Clay, “You’re doing amazing. I just couldn’t help noticing Clay’s rose tinted glasses.” Bringing her gaze from Clay to the window, Kylee teased, “Oop, there the Kitty Cat goes. No longer in sight. Disappearing into her private office.”

“Can we just work please?” Clay huffed like a petulant child being bullied by a bigger kid. He now regretted helping Ky and Wes get together because now all eyes were on him. Cat didn’t want…whatever they were to be out in the public she yet. She was going through a divorce, she had her kids to think about and Clay understood that. Still it didn’t stop him from wanting her every second of every day.

Wes did find it amusing that Ky was teasing Clay so much. He was Mr Cool, a jack the lad type as the English would say. He had charisma and a good heart. He almost seemed unflappable. The reporter had her to ask the young officer about the shooting that took place a few nights previous where Clay had shot Simon Bordeaux in the leg in order to save Bailey Darensbourg. Surely that must’ve taken some kind of toll on him? If it did, Claytorn certainly wasn’t showing it. There was definitely something more to the cop than he had originally thought.

“Did you find anything out from your Dad’s office Kylee?” Wes swiftly changed the subject as his phone continued to buzz in his pocket.

“You know I’m just playing, Clay. I’ll always root for you and your dreams, even if that one seems a bit out of reach. Anything is possible,” Giving an apologetic smile to the cop, she looked at her boyfriend and shook her head ‘no’. “I’ve tried to visit but they’ve been busy. Also my dad has a look about him that makes me want to tread lightly. Especially since you and I are a thing. Heh.”

There was a brief pause as Kylee recalled Phoebe intercepting her and being really friendly, asking too many questions. “I know he isn’t happy with the letters but he’s the type to turn things around in his favor. He already started with that pep rally a couple weeks ago. I think I might need to either outsource someone to talk to him or talk to someone he associates with that isn’t part of his main peeps. Have you seen the Iron five? Have you seen my dad? They’re not people you just walk up to and say ‘hey how’s your day?’” Even with all that being said, she was afraid of her father intervening with her happiness too. Wes had no idea how… scary he could get.

Wes had heard stories of her Dad even though he had never met the man. He wondered truly how clean the Mayor was in Kylee’s eyes when as an outsider it was easy to tell the man was as dirty as they came. Perhaps this whole thing was a ploy of her fathers in order to secure votes? There’s a lot of power in fear, he should know.

“You keep working on your Dad, I’ll keep knocking on doors. Clay, you do whatever it is you do. Maybe sleep with Rhonda Decker, see if she’ll give you any more info,” With his phone incessantly vibrating, he got to his feet. “Really sorry guys it’s my brother, I have to take this” Wes popped the first out in the open kiss he had ever given Ky on her cheek before heading off a little ways down the path to talk on his cell.

“You got him all tangled up huh?” Clay smiled.

“I have to give credit where credit is due,” Kylee admitted, closing her laptop and sighing, “If it wasn’t for liquid courage it would’ve been a bust.” Looking back, over her shoulder, she gave Wes a moment's glance before looking back at Clay, “I really do like him. He has a genuine heart, but…” Kylee started cleaning up the papers and putting them in their designated folders, “He’s not telling me everything. Maybe you were right about not trusting him.” She hated her mind. She couldn’t just throw all doubt out the window when she was so hyper aware of the people she surrounded herself with. She hated knowing and seeing too much but it also was what protected her at the end of the day. “Whatever skeletons he has in his closet, he’s scared of us finding out. I don’t think he’s hiding it out of malice. I can tell he really likes you, and me, of course.”

“He’s never even mentioned a brother before,” He mused. “I could’ve sworn he said he was an only child.” Clay liked Wes; he was a chill guy. Yet there was something he didn’t trust. Maybe it was because he was a reporter and he was a cop? Natural enemies really when a reporter twists the truth for their own gain. Wesley had no stake in Eden. He wasn’t from here. He stood out like a sore thumb in that stupid blazer he wore. Even the Northies didn’t dress that nice. Unfortunately, Clay’s instincts usually turned out right and his instinct now was telling him that Mr Silo had things hidden, things didn’t want his crack team of super sleuths to know.

“You want me to dig?”

Shaking her head, Kylee placed the folders on top of her laptop, “No that’s fine. If I get too worried, I’ll do it myself. I’m going to give him a little more time. For once, I want to believe what I have is a good thing.” Kylee didn’t regret her past lovers but it always led to a place that left her hurt and confused. Pierce was gay and he died in her arms. That was two times she faced heartbreak, one more painful than the other. Natalia was great but she had her own demons that clashed with hers. It was hard to focus on the Queen bee when Kylee could barely focus on herself. “Thank you though. I’m really glad we’ve gotten closer. I was a little scared after Roddy left. I don’t really have many friends.” Kylee’s expression saddened, and when it did she focused on putting everything away in her laptop bag.

“I know,” Clay looked at her soft face. He had known this girl pretty much her entire life and she always had this sad look on her face, like she was being haunted. When she was around Roddy, it was replaced with the brightest smile in the world. His cousin had asked Clay to watch out for his friend and he would. Rod was more like a brother to him and brothers take care of what they need to. It’s a shame he couldn’t do that for his actual sibling. “I’ve got you, Ky, whatever you need.”

Clay took a mouthful of his root beer and let out an enormous burp. The patrons around them looked disgusted and even Wes on the phone several metres away turned to roll his eyes. “I gotta take a shit,” he said nonchalantly as he got up to his feet. “Do me a favour? Stop teasing or I’m showing Wes your junior high prom photos. You know the ones.” Clayton grinned as he walked by the girl, lovingly propping her chin up as he did.

He waited for the Lad behind the counter to turn away before slipping around the other side and into the back office. Clay casually locked the door behind him as he gazed upon Cat feverishly working away. “What’s cookin’ good lookin’?”

Startled, having been hyper focused on bookkeeping, going over her finances, and seeing how much she could take away from her husband in the settlement, Caterina put her hand on her chest and aggressively whispered, “What are you doing in here?” She needed to get used to Clay’s spontaneousness. She needed to get used to… well, Clay being her man.

This would be the first time he’s gone into her office, which was a micro living space with bold colors like red/orange and blue/green shades to make the white walls pop. The atmosphere was peaceful, vintage, and natural. It had a daybed, coffee table, a small dresser-like side table, a desk situation, a mini fridge, and decor galore. For a small space, Cat made sure to make it her own. She spent more time than she would like to admit here and it was her home away from home.

Her desk had a mess of papers everywhere and if Clay wasn’t only paying attention to the woman of his dreams, he would notice peeking and buried under all the papers a Civil Service Test guide, sticky notes all over a notebook like a checklist of books she needed to read, and inside the notebook were extensive notes. Her own written study guide. She had told no one of her thoughts of becoming a police officer. It had been on her mind for the past six months. With the police exam creeping up, she decided to commit. If she passed, she could be a police officer by December. If she passed.

Standing up, taking off her reading glasses, Cat made her way to the deviant and crossed her arms, “Are you trying to get me in trouble?”

“I was totally stealth it’s fine.”

God’s favourite idiot found that sneaking around and stealing moments together was fun and exhilarating. Cat wasn’t the first married woman that Clay had slept with but she was the first that he was in love with. She was the first who wanted him back for more than just his body and attention. No matter how much serotonin hiding from the world gave him, he couldn’t help but long for the day he could sing upon the mountain top and exclaim that Cat was his. “If you want to get in trouble, I locked the door,” He teased.

“Of course you did,” Cat strolled forward, easing into his bubble. Without hesitation, like she had done yesterday before they broached the topic of their first kiss, she let her hands trail up his chest until they were resting on his shoulders, “Don’t you have work?” Cat said in a hushed tone, still cautious of anyone hearing them. While she loved this time and attention, and the sex, the sex was fantastic, they still had responsibilities. They still had jobs and people to protect. In a tender way, not sexual, she pushed herself up and delicately pressed her lips against his, closing her eyes in the process. At his lips’ touch she radiated with happiness. It had been a long time since she looked forward to someone and enjoyed their company. Pulling away, but not too far, just inches, she lovingly brushed her nose against his and stared fixedly up at him with her serene hazel eyes, “Just because we’re dating doesn’t mean we should forget our priorities.”

Dating.

“I love that you said that, dating.” Clay leant in for another hit of his favourite drug as he kissed her again. He was living a dream come true with Cat right now and he certainly didn’t want to wake up from it. He wrapped his arms around her waist and locked his fingers at the small of her back. “I won’t forget anything, I’ve got patrol down on the Southside in an hour but I didn’t want to go without seeing you first.”

Before they were together, Clay would still stop by the shop to grab a sandwich before his shift, that was his usual excuse to see Cat. She always gave him the energy to tackle the tough day or night he had ahead of him. Now that they’d taken the step into a new direction together, the reason for seeing her wasn’t for energy, it was in case he didn’t come back. There was a war on those streets and not every soldier gets to come home. “You look busy so I won’t stay, just wanted to see you.”

“Well, yeah, I’m busy,” She sarcastically admitted. “How do you expect us to go public if I’m still married?” Giving him a quick peck, she pulled away, “I’m happy you came to see me! I lost track of time,” She paused and wondered if this was the right time to tell him that she was selling The Godmother. He seemed happy. She didn’t want to ruin his mood about her change in aspirations. There didn’t seem much of a point bringing up unnecessary information until they crossed that bridge.

“Oh, before I forget,” She paused once more and wondered if it would be too dangerous to have him over her place, instead of his. Then again, she lived for danger. Clay was her dirty little secret and she wanted to have fun with that. It wasn’t like her husband was home and the kids were gone… “My house is going to be so lonely this weekend,” She impishly grinned, “Could use the company.”

Oh she was bad. There was a safety in her coming to his place. Clay lived alone and away from the prying eyes of any of her friends; him going round her place? That was dangerous and he was definitely into it. The Cat that he had experienced over the past forty eight hours was something special. She had been the Kitty that he had loved all this time. She was so full of life, so full of energy. She was happy. Now he was a little scared because Cat was happy and it was because of him, Clay realised that he could dash just as quickly as they had found it if he got himself hurt or worse. Edenridge was a hellmouth after all.

“I’m working all weekend but leave a light on for me?”

“Okay…” Cat slowly, gingerly, teasingly unbuttoned her top. “And how about now?” She could make time for him. He went all this way to visit her after all. It was the least she could do. “Or you can go, the doors over there,” she smirked. Clayton had unlocked a side of Cat that had laid dormant for years. Around him, she could be herself and he’d still love her for it.

Goddamn. Cat loved to play games: of that Clay had become certain. He looked down as she undid her top and a shit eating grin crossed his face. He was so happy. “I’ve got time, always time for you, Kitty.” He pulled off her shirt and took the gorgeous brunette's lips between his. Physicality had very quickly become a staple in their young relationship. Yet sex wasn’t the only thing. The day prior they just talked and talked and explored each other’s souls in a way that neither had before. But yeah the sex was also fantastic. Clay turned Cat around and pinned her against the door. He began to kiss the nape of her neck. “You’re a bad influence on me, babe.”

“Uh-huh, says you who came here for a piece of cake,” Her hands slid down from behind her back, Cat was indeed a flexible woman, as she started undoing his pants, “Are you saying we’re bad for each other?” She whispered, glancing up at him from behind, before licking his lips.

“You’re the worst and I love it.” Clay deeply kissed his dream woman again as they fell into each other against the wall in her office. They were lost in one another as they had been for days. It was blissful.

Back outside Wes returned to the Scooby Crew’s table and smiled at his new girlfriend. “Sorry about that, where’s Clay?”

“Taking a shit,” Kylee responded matter-of-factly. With all the things packed up and the check paid, Kylee stood up with her laptop bag hanging over her shoulder, “It’ll be a while. Said something about diarrhea. Come on, handsome.” The mayor’s daughter turned on her heel to go beside her boyfriend before slapping his ass, “What’s next on our to-do list?” Kylee beamed up at him, trying to push her worry aside, “Oh, and I hope your talk with your brother went well!”

“Yeah it was fine. He just wanted to talk about some stuff,” Wes wasn’t used to the public displays of affection yet. He was trying because this was what Kylee wanted but it didn’t make it any less difficult. Not to say he didn’t enjoy her flirtiness. He was down for whatever she wanted because he just found himself desperate to make her happy. “I’ve got an appointment with the pathologist’s office later, so I’ve got some time to kill.”

“Well then,” Kylee hooked onto his arm, hating how vague he was being but giving him the benefit of the doubt. He wouldn’t hurt her, she hoped. He just didn’t trust her enough right now. She would need to earn it. “Let’s be spontaneous. Take me somewhere, anywhere. Your choice.” Her gaze wasn’t as playful as usual because really, as much as she was having fun with him, she wanted him to let his guard down like she did with him. Or at least communicate when she was being too much. Wesley made her more insecure about herself than when they weren’t together. Kylee didn’t want this to be another mistake on her list. She wanted him to really like her.

Ky was really trying. Wes was beginning to struggle to understand why she was even interested in him. He was not very forthcoming, about anything, anything at all. Yet here she was, trying to get him to take her somewhere special to him. He could do that easily if they were a few miles down the road in Pinehurst but he couldn’t do that; she couldn’t know that that’s where he was from. Maybe it was time to let her in? To give her something true and honest and something that wasn’t part of the performance. She didn’t know anything about him really, it was time she did.

“You’re gonna think this is super nerdy and leave me straight away but…” He scratched the back of his curly head and offered the woman a crooked unsure smile. “You wanna go to the comic book store?”

With this news, Kylee’s interest peaked. He got her attention and she giggled, “I didn’t know you were a geek! You totally don’t look like it.” Her hook on his arm tightened, “Yes, I’d love to but first I need to know, Marvel or DC?”

“Neither,” Wesley responded matter of factly as he began to walk with his girlfriend away from the Godmothers. “Don’t get me wrong, I love them both but I prefer indie comics. My Dad has his own comic, I also love this new guy, Spike Langley. His stuff is amazing.” He was trying to give her insight into him, something honest he could say that wouldn’t affect the way she saw him. “You ok with dating a nerd?”

“Nerd is such a subjective term,” Kylee let him lead the way, all the while paying attention to his every move, from small mannerisms to his tone, “My best friend calls me Velma. I get hyper fixated on projects - I have binders filled with Edenridge History when I was interested in some of the serial killers and just understanding the ‘root of evil’.” Kylee admitted, saying that last part dramatically. She truly believed if it wasn’t for the Carlisle family, maybe Edenridge wouldn’t be a bad place, “Wouldn’t you say that makes me a nerd too?”

“Absolutely,” Wes grinned at her own confession. She was more like him than she would probably ever know. As they smiled at each other, he couldn’t help but ponder something he sadly hadn’t before; what would happen when his work was done? Kylee and him would probably over, if not one way then definitely the other. “But you’re my nerd.”

“And you’re all mine, Wesley.”

Hopefully for the long haul.
Part 2 out of 3
Timestamp: After Lighthouse Part 1

@BrutalBx & @LovelyComplex




____________________________________________________________________

Shocked and a little confused, easily done of course, Clay opened up Cat’s phone which had no lock on it for some reason and he quickly texted Brook to say that Cat had left. Once the message was sent he shoved the phone back in her purse, he grabbed his jacket from Harry the bartender and followed the woman in white out of the Afterlife.

Once they had reached the car park, he placed his jacket over Caterina’s shoulders and handed her back her purse. “Hey,” He stood before her and locked his eyes with hers. “Don’t let him or her ruin your night. Let me take you back to town, we can do some carpool karaoke.”

“Fine, fine,” Adjusting his jacket, slipping her arms through the sleeves, so she was wearing it, Cat grumbled, “My night was only good because of you but whatever. Come on. Take me on a joy ride, Casanova.” Cat would apologize but she didn’t think she did anything wrong. Consequences were a thing. They fucked each other behind her back and she only returned the favor by almost breaking the woman’s skull in. “Fucking selfish prick,” She muttered under her breath.

Clay led her to his car. opening the passenger side door for the annoyed woman to climb into. Once Cat was safely inside the vehicle, Clay himself jumped into the driver's side and quickly pulled out of the Afterlife and turned left back towards Edenridge. He turned on his Bluetooth and Spotify, allowing the music to fill up the dead silence in the car.

His dark eyes fell upon the frown of his passenger; he hated seeing Cat like this and lately he had seen it far too often and it was breaking his heart. Taking a hand off of the wheel, Clay reached out and put his palm onto the back of Cat’s neck and comforted her with a soft thumb stroke against her cheek. “You know, I’m not just saying this but everyone in there was staring at you. Not cos of the bathroom but on the floor, Cat you were dynamite. I think every man, woman and in between fell a little in love with you.”

“Yeah, sure. I’m fucking worthless and let everyone down,” Cat didn’t turn to look at the driver. She just returned back to the depths of her mind, thinking of all her family issues, from immediate to outside that, and her never getting anything right. She had no purpose and no one understood how much she did for the family. “I don’t regret having Sofia, I just wished dad did not force me to marry him to cover face. I feel like I make the mistakes and I’m the one that is doing it all wrong, but when my siblings do the same exact thing? Fucking gold medal.” Tightening Clay’s coat around her, she continued to brood. Stupid. Her life was stupid.

Clay sighed through his nose as the car pulled past the “Welcome to Edneridge!” sign at the entrance to town. “I get that. I really do,” He stroked her soft face again. “Everyone seems to think that I’m put together, that I’ve had some sort of free ride because I’m a foundling. That’s bullshit.” He took a turn down onto Westwood. “You know, I am utterly alone in this world.” That was rewarded with a pout, but the lady beside him didn’t interrupt.

Clay’s voice wasn’t sad or dependent, it was casual, even jovial. “My parents don’t even know I exist. My twin and I do not get along and the one bit of family I was even remotely anywhere close to has left. I don’t have love in my life. Sex sure and that’s great but love, it ain’t paying me no mind but you Cat, but you,” He pulled the car to a standstill and took the keys out of the ignition. “Your kids, I guarantee, they may be mouthy little pricks but they worship you. They don’t think you’re a fuck up. Whatever you do, you’re just Mom and they’ll love you for it.”

For an idiot, he had a way with words. Resting one of her hands on his, the one touching her face, she leaned in on his touch, “I hope you’re right.” Sofia was smoking weed and either getting herself into dangerous situations just to tell her mom some juicy gossip or closing a door right in Cat’s face. Dani was reserved, drowning herself with music and her drawings. She didn’t say much, but she didn’t have to. Cat knew simply by her grades. Then there was her sweet Franco at the darling age of ten. He showed the most conflict but he didn’t come to her for anything. Instead he bottled everything up even though Cat knew he cried in his sisters’ arms every night. “I really hope, Clay. The idea of family is literally crumbling before them not only with their parents but… with a lot more. A lot more is happening behind the Belmonte walls.”

“I’ve told you before, Cat. Anything you need, I’ll be there,” Clay kept his hand on hers and on her warm face. “I can’t pretend to know what is going on in your life and I can’t promise any solution but what I can say is that you are an amazing person and that whenever you are struggling, all you need to do is call me and I'll do what I do best, be a distraction.”

He climbed out of the car and made his way to the other side to let Cat out. This was very obviously not her home. This place was small. a single story building that looked like it was once some kind of store based on its outward appearance. “So this is my place, it’s not Scott Street I know but it does the job. You want some coffee or some food? There’s a fantastic Korean joint a few doors down and they’re open all night.”

“You do know I don’t live with my dad, right?” Cat smiled before hopping out, almost stumbling over, latching onto Clay almost immediately, “Can you do take out? I don’t think I should be out anymore,” Playfully, purposefully, she dropped her weight to see if Clay would grab onto her.

Holding onto her tightly, Clay was inches from Cat’s face and every manly bone in his body was a screaming, burning, firing on all cylinders to kiss her. “Yeah I’ll get us takeout.” He walked her in his arms to his front door. He reached into the pocket of the jacket Cat was wearing and pulled out his keys so he could unlock the front door. “Get yourself comfortable. Get a glass of water, I’ll be back before you know it.” The front door opened up and he switched on the light, allowing the lady to enter before closing it and walking down the street to the food place.

Instead of getting water, Cat took a beer out of the fridge, slammed it against the counter to get the cap off, and then began drinking his alcohol. She didn’t know how much time she had but she was going to raid his things. She was Caterina Belmonte! The curious kitty cat! Where should she start… her gaze went from the living room to the bedroom door. A mischievous, impish grin fell on her face as she ran into Clay’s bedroom.

About ten minutes later, Clay returned to his barren home with the takeout. He glanced around the living room and saw no sign of Cat besides his refrigerator door hanging open and a beer being missing. He placed the food on the countertop next to a bottle cap as he closed the fridge door with his foot. He almost reached for his spare gun when he heard a rumbling from his bedroom but then he put two and two together. The police officer let out a soft chuckle as he placed his hands upon his hips and walked towards the bedroom door. “And what are you doing in here?”

“Wearing your shirt!” She showcased on her knees as she crawled on his bed. Her white dress (and nude plunge bra) was lying on the floor. “I don’t have pajamas, so this felt like the next best move.” She dropped from her knees to lay on her stomach, kicking her legs up and staring up at him, “Did you get the food?” She rested her face in the palm of her hands, her elbows lifting the weight of her head up.

This was some kind of agony. Cat Belmonte, the woman he had dreamt and fantasized about for years was in his bed, wearing literally nothing and giving him all the signals in the world. Was this the twilight zone? Where was Rod Serling? The fuck was happening? “Course I did,” Clay managed to muster. “You want to eat in here or you want to go to the couch?”

“You’re the boss! This is your house, sir,” Picking herself up, she got off the bed and made her way to him, smelling the delicious food, “Here or there?” She looked up at him, batting her eyes and smiling from ear to ear. The mood swings of Cat when she drank, she went from sadness to excitement to sadness again to anger to now, playfulness and desperate for cuddles. “Where to?”

Kiss her.

Kiss her you fucking idiot.

This is your fucking chance.

Before he knew it, Clay’s hands were gripping Cat’s waist and they were inches from one another. Inches. He could feel her breath on his face, the warmth of her body. This was different to when they were dancing earlier. There was no music save the song in their hearts. No prying eyes. It was Cat, it was Clay and they were alone together in a bedroom. “You are making it incredibly difficult not to kiss you right now,” He looked deep into her hazel eyes. The eyes that he had longed to drown in. “I don’t want you to do anything you’ll regret.”

Tilting her head, confused at what he meant, she wrapped her arms around his neck like she did on the dance floor but this time there were only two motives: to have his company and to keep him close, “Regret what?” Cat hadn’t realized until tonight but she was really comfortable with Clay, age difference or not, she could be herself, “You’re the one that brought me to your apartment, Clayton.”

Fuck it.

Clay gave in to every negative impulse in his body and pulled her closer, exactly as he did at the Afterlife and pressed his lips to hers. His first kiss with the woman of his dreams. He held her in his arms as he could feel the pure electricity fly between them. This was everything he had always wanted, everything he had always craved. The feeling he had was different to any other time, any other girl. He pulled away to look into her eyes again. They were glassy and cloudy. He couldn’t do it. He couldn’t do it to her. It was wrong.

“Food is getting cold. Let’s get comfy and watch some TV, yeah?”

The Siren was not easily embarrassed but this while she did expect, she didn’t expect it to be as intense as it was. Out of breath and covering her face with one of her arms, hiding how red she was turning, she nodded and mumbled, “Uh-huh.” What was going on? This was Clayton! She watched him grow up. They were ten years apart. He didn’t deserve this. He deserved so much better than her.

Quickly, she went past him to the living room, her heart racing. Jumping on the couch, she grabbed one of the pillows and hugged it. She wasn’t a teenager anymore; she shouldn’t be playing this dangerous, dangerous game. She was still technically married.

And yet why was she feeling so funny?

Clay ran both hands through his hair in frustration. Cat Belmonte was in his bedroom and he let her go. The fuck was wrong with him? He had a moral bloody compass that’s what. He closed the door partially as he stripped off his clothes and changed into a pair of shorts and a t-shirt.

He should’ve just gone straight home after work.

He emerged back into the living room where he glanced at Cat curled up on the couch. He made his way past her to the kitchen and unboxed the food he had gotten for them. His eyes were drawn to the one photo he had on the wall of the basketball team and David’s voice rattled around his brain, calling him an idiot for not taking advantage of the situation he was in. Clay tried to quiet the voices by clicking on the tv and heading over to Cat and the couch. He sat down next to her, placing the food in front of them. He wasn’t sure why but he decided to wrap his arm around the woman and pull her into his chest, as if he was protecting her from the world. He dropped a gentle kiss onto the top of Cat's head as they snuggled together.

When he pulled her in, she melted in his arm. After he kissed her forehead, she subtly glanced up at him as he stared at the TV. She never thought she’d have these thoughts of him but she wanted more. If she wasn’t scared to ruin what they had, she would kiss his neck and push him down. In all honesty, she was sobering up and she knew these feelings were entirely her own. Turning back to the TV, she closed her eyes, inhaling in and then out. She needed to be mature. She needed to act like the kiss never happened. Releasing the pillow, she reached for a container and a fork. Was it weird that she wanted to feed him? Probably. Focus. “What are we watching?” She took a bite of the food.

“I actually have no idea,” Clay squinted at the screen. He was trying to work it out but he was technically not really paying for his tv license. “I think it’s like a telenovela? I don’t know, I get three channels and they’re all in a different language.” He laughed a little as he naturally tightened his grip on Cat, his hand slipping beneath the hem of the t-shirt to touch her bare waist. He reached down for the food with his free hand and took a bite out of some prawn toast. “I’ve been following this though, apparently that chick has amnesia and her stepbrother is like claiming to be her husband or something I don’t know I failed Spanish.”

Nodding to Clay explaining the show, Cat’s mind was on nothing but him touching her. She and her husband hadn’t had sex in awhile. The only touch she’s gotten the past year or so was from her own hand. Keeping her eyes on the show, she put more food in her mouth, preventing herself from responding. Silence was the best answer because if she said anything right now, she would say how bad she wanted to fuck him. Her chest went in and out as she tried her damndest to watch the show. His hand was on her waist and it felt so good.

He reached behind the couch and pulled out a small throw cover, placing it delicately over Cat. Clay wanted to make sure she was as comfortable as possible. She was a lady of taste and luxury and the most luxurious thing in this apartment was his hair. He wrapped both his arms around the beautiful woman, taking in her scent and staving off the need to tear off that shirt of his she was wearing and giving everything he was to her. Instead they cuddled up together, watching a show neither could understand eating Korean food.

Clay Costigan was in hell.
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