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/qst/ - Quests

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=Thread 14=

You are Delilah, a young girl with a strange affliction suffering in a world that does not care. A runaway living on the streets, you go through several hardships and struggles in an attempts to find peace and happiness for yourself. The world is not simply black and white, nor are the people living in it.

Can you push through all the misery that surrounds you, or will you fall to this gray world?

=Links and Information=

Story Thus Far (Raw and a mess, will work on cleaned up versions.):

http://pastebin.com/WnGZwK04 Part 1
http://pastebin.com/eGfGW8jV Part 2 (Part two seems to be somewhat messed up in addition to not being caught up. I will attempt to fix, but archives seem to be your better option for catch up)



Quick Glance (SPOILERS) The quick Who is Who and what Delilah has. Mostly accurate.:


Twitter; @Cowboy_Sue
Discord; https://discord.gg/0107qV9kiFDlUH9nY
Chat room with me and other players. I answer questions, post sketches, and act cheeky.

Last Thread;
First for shitposting
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Threadly reminder that Delilah is NOT:

...capable of going toe-to-toe with grown special forces
...a shonen protagonist
...prepared to commit wanton murder
...skilled with any form of espionage
...older than 13 years
...secretly hiding some innate superpower or something
...a vampire, despite prior coincidences
...sexually active

Also, we're in the state of Montana, in the 80's—not modern Japan.

ALSO, you brought this on yourselves. Don't complain about the weird shit you've been asking for since Thread 1.
>...a vampire, despite prior coincidences
It would be for the best if you had someone to discuss a plan with. You have no idea how any of this would work, what could go wrong, what you would need to do. At most you'll just come up with a pipe dream that will lead you into further trouble.

For now, it would good to think about the things that make you happy. At least give your mind a quick break from the bleakness and despair of the situation, even for a small moment.

There are so many things wrong right now but...there are some things that are okay too, right?

Like...Buttercup. Her and her stupid puppy face, the way her tongue always manages to hang out and loll about. The kids really love playing with her too, it's like you brought them some joy to their lives.

Getting dolled up with the girls is nice too, it reminds you of what it would be like if you still had friends.

And John trusts you, despite everything that has been going on. It makes you feel matured, like you aren't being coddled, that someone is listening and believes you so much.

Lawrence has been like that too...he doesn't try to shut you down or dismiss you away. He's trying his best to treat you like an adult...even though things have gotten a bit mucky in that sense...

No, think about just the positive things right now.

How, despite the amount of money put out on your head, that none of the group would hand you over for it...it's like...almost like they're family...

Except this one cares.

Maybe...despite everything...

You can still be a good person.

Tips of your fingers drag over your bottom lip again.

Even if you have been doing bad things...

You have no idea how much time has passed by while you've stood here in the water, but you know that they might be waiting for you to finish.

In a rush you finish washing yourself clean, thankful to notice that there's hardly any blood today. Maybe you're finished? You hope so...you want to keep this clean feeling for as long as possible.

As soon as you shut off the water you begin to miss the warmth it offered. When will be the next time you get to enjoy something like this?

No use thinking about it now, just be thankful you got to enjoy it at all.

When you exit the empty stall is taken up by another woman who has been waiting patiently. As you expected Mabel is already dressed and ready to go. It looks like Sarah has only just came out too, so at least you weren't the only one to keep her waiting. Pulling out fresh clothes you catch the edge of their conversation.

"-did it like, hurt?"

"When the needle first went through yeah, but other then that it hasn't caused me any trouble."

"Don't know I'd want one, but they're pretty nice to look at. Maybe I could convince her to get one..."

"Aria? No way, she's too much of a pansy to get something like this done. Well, maybe if it was a pink one." Sarah is pulling on her bra when you look over, and before her breast are covered up you catch the very glimpse of something...

Metal? On a nipple...? That's...weird.

"Here you are, thought I was gonna have to drag you out myself." Mabel changes the conversation effortlessly, and you snap your head back, hoping that no one noticed you were staring.

"Oh..y-yeah. Sorry about the wait..."

"Can't blame you. I never want to leave a hot shower, especially in winter." Sarah is pulling up her pants now, and on her hip you notice a tattoo. Two big roses crowded around a much smaller one, and the very top of letters poking up above her waistband.

AH, stop staring at her you weirdo.

You rush to get dressed, not enjoying the feeling of being naked at all. It feels like a stupid thing to admit but...looking at yourself naked makes you feel weird...

Maybe it's because there's all these other people around though?

Or is it because you loathe your body?

You cover up with your sweater before you can think any further about it, drying your hair with the towel the best you can before snapping up your jacket. It's going to feel even more freezing outside...

"So, were you wanting to go to the country club thing Saturday?" Sarah asks Mabel, pulling a brush through her hair.

"Yeah, I'd like to take Aria but man...school starts up in a bit and I just don't think I'm ready. I might have to study..."

"Rough. So far I've got Eric going, Sam is going to let me take Marilyn, uh let's see...I think Jessica is going to see her aunt again and I doubt the other kids could sit through something like that. John'll probably volunteer to watch 'em. Betty wants to go, uh..." Sarah looks over at you.

"What about you kid? Think you want to go on Saturday?"
Sure, might be fun. Might distract us from our own thoughts, too.

That'd be nice.
>...capable of going toe-to-toe with grown special forces
what about that one update where she grew wings and shit
Tell her yes but try to leave town ASAP
We want as few people knowing that we're leaving as possible so the bounty hunters and spies will have trouble figuring out our next move
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That wasn't sue you silly
Lulu. Sweet thang.
I haven't been here for a week or two.
What happened?
Literally nothing. We're still at the apartment place or whatever.
Buncha shit

We made out with Lawrence
Can we burn it down?

Please be fake.
Christmas, dinner theater, fled school, miscarriage, new year's eve, Lawrence gets tongue-punched in his word-maker.
Well, we were both off-our-asses high at the time.

And he got a Glasgow Grin so we were kinda trying to lick-heal the inside of his cheek.
>Can we burn it down?
If you vote for it :^)

>Please be fake.
It's true, we came on to him like some kind of cheap prom date
"Oh, sure. It sounds like it could be fun."

If anything, it will give you something to look forward. You haven't really thought about it before, but being on the streets has kind of messed with your perception of time.

Usually in school you would be waiting for the weekend, and then dreading Monday to come. Then there would be the waiting for a holiday or break, and then the wait for school again. But now you just go through each day and there hasn't been any kind of real event you look for. You just kind of...exist. Like you're just alive and passing the days for no particular reason.

You realize that you miss school, or at least the schedule of it...

Is that weird?


You stick close behind Sarah, letting Mabel lead the way out.

"Ah wait, you guys need to sign out!"

Before you can exit the man at the front desk calls out to you, Sarah cursing under her breath. Mabel remains behind to handle the situation while Sarah continues to push you outside.

It feels so much colder now...

Sarah walks you down the sidewalk a bit, just past the art shop.

"She'll come out soon, it'll be fine. Mabel's used to getting herself out of trouble." Sarah answers the question before you can ask it, leaning against the wall of the shop. You can see the inside through the front window easily enough, posters and canvases poking through rows and rows of gaudy beads trailing down the ceiling.

"Who would buy any of that stuff..." You ask as you eye a picture of a multicolored mushroom, a gradient of green, yellow, and red filling the inside while the rest of the picture is filled in with black. Looks pretty...gross.

"People who don't have anything better to do then to get high and stare at a wall for hours." Sarah has pulled out a dark lipstick, taking this time to reapply her makeup. You have just noticed that without anything on Sarah looks a whole lot more...approachable? Not that she scares you, of course, but you could imagine someone like your grandmother being wary.


Where is she? Has she came home yet? Maybe so...maybe she's trying to figure out why her door was left open...why the gun is missing...why dad's room is a mess...

Another thought hits you like a sucker punch.

Dad's grave is here, in this city.

You haven't gone to see it...you promised that you would leave him a gift every year as you watched his casket was lowered to the ground.

You never went back to that place.

You couldn't even keep a promise to your father...

"Hey, are you okay?"

You realize that you have started sniffling, trying to keep in your tears.

"Y-Yeah...j-just thought about something k-kinda sad..."

Sarah looks down at you with a tight lip.

"You were mentioning running away earlier."


"I'm not saying that it's impossible but...do you even have your birth certificate? Social Security Number?"


"You're underage too, even if you had all that information how would you find work? There's not many places willing to hire a young girl that doesn't even have her papers. And I'm going to guess you don't have a Swiss Bank account."

"Couldn't I like...work on a farm or something? Or just...odd jobs?"

"Not in winter, even if girls your age could get those jobs they usually hire a bunch of people in summer and lay them off after fall. Not very doable with our kind of winters, you know." Sarah looks at the street, her face twisted up as she thinks more. "And you need to go to school, at your age it would be easy for someone to turn you in for truancy. God, where would you even sleep? Outside? In this weather? This stuff lasts till like, May. You'll freeze to death...you need a home. A real home..."

It sounds like Sarah is saying this all to herself at this point, but her words sink in.

This really doesn't sound like something you could do alone...would it be easier with someone? What if you asked like...

What if you asked Lawrence to run away with you?

Would he even do that though? Would he be willing to?

Could you even ask him something like that...

"Sorry about the wait!" Mabel's voice calls out as she runs down the sidewalk, catching up with you guys. "Managed to get that guy to let me go."

"How'd you do that?" Sarah breaks away from her thinking, standing up and away from the wall.

"No hablo inglés. Su cabello se ve rara y su madre es un burro." Mabel feigns a confused and apologetic look as she reenacts the situation. "People always get so scared if you just break out the Spanish. He kept trying to get me to do the sign out sheet and ask for my ID but all I did after that was talk about the girl behind him."

"Way to go." Sarah seems amused by this and Mabel takes a moment to enjoy her little victory.

"Um...do you guys know where Mission Haven cemetery is?" You feel bad for breaking up a nice moment, but you can't stop thinking about your father's grave.

Mabel and Sarah have to discuss it a bit to remember which one it is, but you eventually get the directions for the graveyard. It's near the bridge, about an hour or so by bus.

"Are you wanting to go there now?" It sounds like Sarah is willing to make the detour, but you shake your head.

"I need to get him a present first." You try to present yourself as cheery, that you aren't feeling bad about it.


You feel really...high strung? Is that the phrase? Stressed...unable to relax. How annoying...


Sarah and Mabel are talking about school on the way back, but all you can think about is your father.

You can't go there and not bring him some sort of present...

It would feel wrong...like you were breaking your promise further.

What kind of thing should you even try to bring to his grave?
Seeds of white carnation and questions we don't expect answered.

Like who James Bower was when dad was alive.
>What kind of thing should you even try to bring to his grave?
A bible, some flowers, maybe a "Get well" card and your report card
You know what, let's toss in some pink and striped carnations, too.
A used tampon as a fuck you for leaving us alone in this shitty city
Your mind immediately goes to a toy or something but...that's pretty childish of you.

You can't be like that any more.

What would an adult bring? Flowers would be good...right? What kind would be the best to take though...

Carnations sound okay, they would look pretty at the very least. Maybe you could leave something else with them too, maybe something like...man, what would a grown up leave...maybe like a small Bible or something?

You've been so deep in your thoughts that you hardly notice the fact that you guys have made it back to the apartments. It's about...what is it right now...maybe two in the afternoon? Maybe you can find someone to go with you and then you can be free of this heavy weight on your chest.

Maybe you can feel a little better about something...


You head to the kids room, Mabel and Sam checking in with Sam. Lisa and Marilyn are sitting with Buttercup, trying to balance a number of paper stars on her sleeping snout. Jessica and the boys don't seem to be around, maybe she took them out somewhere?

"Made it back fine enough." Sarah announces, Sam snapping awake from his little nap.

"Uh...oh, welcome back girls." Sam stretches and wakes himself up, his eyes lighting up as he remembers:

"Oh, Sarah. Eric dropped this off during his break, he mentioned that it might be important?" Sam pushes himself up to grab an envelope off the counter, passing it over to Sarah. There's a printed address and insignia on the front, it looks professional.

Sarah goes ahead and rips the top open, pulling out and reading the letter right there. You are removing your coat when you hear her gasp suddenly.

"Oh...oh no..." Her hand has came up to cover her mouth, her eyes darting over the page.

"Are you alright?" Mabel is doing her best to not read over her shoulder. You feel concerned, you don't imagine it is easy to upset someone like Sarah.

"It's...fine. I just um, need a moment. Sorry...sorry." Her eyeliner is starting to run as she turns heel and walks out, presumably to her room. The ripped envelope has fallen to the ground, and you can't help but pick it up and look over the address.

St. Martin's Senior Citizen Resident Center

You can feel Mabel looking over your shoulder, reading over the words too.

"Oh man..." She breathes out, probably realizing what happened better then you do.

"I was hoping it would be good news." Sam adds somberly.

"Let me just go make sure she's okay, maybe Eric will get off from work soon." Mabel walks out of the room, and you hope that Sarah isn't in trouble.

"What happened?" You ask Sam, looking down at the envelope.

"If I had to guess...and I'm just guessing, don't go yelling this about..." Sam settles back into his chair. "But from where this is coming from and her reaction, I'm afraid that letter was informing Sarah of a death in the family."

"Oh..." You feel bad for her, you wonder who it might have been.

"It never gets easier, informing' a family that someone died." It sounds like he is speaking from experience right now and it just tugs at your heart in all the wrong ways. You place the envelope back on to the counter face down, hiding the text away.

"How was your day though? Still holding up?"

"Yeah, all good."

Sam is acting pleasant around you, and it feels weird. Like...you should be scolded right now or something.

"Do you know where I could um, get some carnations?"

"Flowers? Ah well, you could pick up some up at, ooh where's that store...pretty nice place. It's by some of those clothing stores, a few blocks east of the mall. Lady who runs it is a nice one. Why do you need them?"

"I um...I actually need to go visit a grave..."

"Ah, I'm sorry to hear that. I don't think there's any sort of holiday coming around so you should be able to get them easy enough. You could probably ask Lawrence too, I think that's where he went to get flowers the other day."

"Right, for Cl-...um, you know who." You catch your words and glance over at Marilyn. She doesn't seem to have noticed your almost slip.

"Yes, but he also got some for uh, well I don't know who. He mentioned they were for a grave though."

A grave...?

"Um...where is he now?"

"Just in his room. Right, John also mentioned that whenever you're ready for a lesson to just let him know."


Right, Self-defense.

You try to think about what you should do right now.

What do you want to do?
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>What do you want to do?
Let's check on Law first. If he's too sore to go, we can get the address for the florist and go on a trip with John. Maybe offer to bring Law something back.
This but make Law come anyway
If he's too sore he's just gonna be limping around and delaying his recovery. He should be resting and preferably without taking any more marijuanas.

Without us.
No he's our boyfriend he has to come with us or he's not gonna get any tonight
Calm down.
No. You.
"Can-...I'm going to go talk to Lawrence." You have to remind yourself that you don't need to ask permission to do things.

Well, you don't think you need to anyways.

It doesn't help that you feel weird about it, about telling someone like Sam what you are going to do rather then getting permission for it. It almost feels like you'll get in trouble for being so forward.

"Alright, he might be sleeping though. Come back if he doesn't answer."

You nod and go out to the hallway, knocking against Lawrence's door. You figure it would take a little bit for him to get up and over, you don't mind waiting.

You wouldn't, that is, till you hear the sound of someone walking down from the lobby. Looking over you see it's a stranger, talking to himself.

Hurry...hurry and open the door...

Once again you knock, this time more urgently and harder.

The guy is swaying as he makes his way down the hall, you feel your body freeze up.

You put your hand down to your pocket, ready to pull out the knife. Why can your hands move but not your legs?

You catch your breath as the guy passes from behind.

Nothing happens.

He doesn't try to touch you, talk to you, you're pretty sure he didn't even look at you.

The guy just heads down the hall, finds one of the doors that don't belong to any of you, and walks right in.


Okay, nothing bad happened. Just relax...everything is good.

You can't help but shove yourself into Lawrence's room as soon as the door opens.

"Ah...s-sorry..." You sputter out as you look back and see that you caused Lawrence to flinch in pain. He says nothing as he shuts and locks the door, leaning against it for support.

It's faint, very faint...but you can smell the very last remnants of last night.

You try not to think about it any further.

"Um, I hope you didn't get into too much trouble this morning..." You don't want to ask him for a favor right away.

Lawrence shakes his head 'no', but the look on his face tells you that there is more to it then that. He isn't going to tell you right now, is he? You would try to pry a bit, but since you have that favor to ask him...

"I um...I'm going to Mission Haven...the cemetery. My dad is buried there..." You look away as you say this, walking around the room a bit. "I'm getting some flowers to lay down on his grave, I haven't been able to go since we...um...since he was buried. Sam said you knew where the florist shop is?"

You look up as Lawrence walks over to the counter, placing his notebook down to write. Lifting his arm makes him grimace in pain, his wrist falling heavy against the counter.

Maybe he smoked too much and hurt his voice last night...well, hurt it more.

He pushes the note over to you.

Yeah, I know where it is. It's not too out of the way, just about a five minute detour. Do you need someone to come along?

Of course you want Lawrence to come with you. It's only been a few hours but you feel like that has been too long for you to be gone from him. You want to plan about things...no, you just want to be around him.

"It's okay, I'm going to ask John to tag along." You smile and can tell that Lawrence is surprised by your answer.

Are you sure? I can come along if you need to, I don't mind.

You keep smiling but your eyes don't match this gesture. You come over to where he is leaning over at the counter, poking a finger at a bandage on his arm.

"It's okay. I wouldn't want to drag around a guy who can't even take a step without crying right now." You poke your tongue at him to show that you are just kidding. "But you'll have to pay for not coming along. I'll decide a proper punishment later."

You become flustered by your choice of words at the end and quickly try to push it off.

"So um, if you could just give me the address for that floral shop please..."

The page with the scribbled on street and numbers are handed over to you, quickly folded up and slipped in to your pocket.

"You promise you didn't get into trouble this morning...?" All hints of teasing are gone from your voice now, hoping that you aren't annoying Lawrence by asking again.

He's quick to tell you no, but once again you don't believe it is as simple as that. You're about to ask him further but there's a large knocking at the door and it swings open.

"Alright! Law! Let's get th-" John stops as soon as he sees you, shoving his lighter away into his pocket. "Ah, you're back. How's it going?"

It sounds like he's trying to hide something from you.

"I'm fine...I uh, actually needed to ask you a favor though."

"Ask away."

"Can...can you take me to the graveyard? And a floral shop? I want to visit my dad's grave."

"Oh, yeah. I can take you there, no problem. Just gimme a second to get ready."

You nod and John leaves the room, shooting a quick look to Lawrence that says Later before the door closes. Lawrence moves to sit down, stopping several times as he tries. You give him a hand, though it does very little to stop his pain.

You want to ask him what happened this morning. You want to ask him about what happened last night and if any of that was okay. Maybe talking it out will help release some of this stress you have built up...

You say nothing more to Lawrence though, as you wait for John you just think about last night again.

The smoking and the kissing. You feel guilty about the smoking, but mainly because it feels like Lawrence got in trouble for it. You are still a bit confused about if that was a bad thing to do or not though, you keep getting these mixed answers...

The kissing though...that was bad, wasn't it? Would you feel as bad if you didn't like it? Were not supposed to like the way it felt when his tongue pressed against your lip, the tingles you felt when it tapped your own tongue? Probably not...you keep calling yourself an adult but you're not really one, are you? You shouldn't like stuff like that, you must be gross for trying to enjoy adult things...you doubt girls you age would try and push their tongue into another person's mouth...

Why did you have to like it?

Your face is burning red when John returns, telling that he's ready to go. You say good-bye to Lawrence, unable to look at him.

You shared an adult kiss with him and you liked it.



John finds the floral shop for you easily enough, a brisk enough walk. He's jaunty as usual, talking about how he might have found a way to make fresh soup at the apartments. You listen, but only half-way. You feel guilty still...this is stressing you out...

The shop is small, windows covering the front that show the overflowing display of flowers inside. It smells fresh when you walk in, several choices surrounding you. A middle-aged woman at the counter greets you as you come in, looking up as she is watering a potted plant.

John helps you find the carnations, only a few around to select from. It seems like most of them are wilted, just a bit too much for you to feel good about leaving them on the tombstone. There is a striped one available that looks healthy enough, and you feel fine with taking them. Your eyes catch a seed display next to them, several packets available. You know that these won't lost on the grave long, but maybe the seeds will sprout? You pick out a pink and white one to take. Those will look nice together when they bloom. If they do bloom...

You pay for all these at the counter, the woman placing a nice ribbon around the stems before passing them back. John offers to carry them but you insist on them remaining in your arms. You're able to take a bus next, and though John tries to initiate conversation you remain mostly silent, looking at the folds and amass of petals and leaves in front of you.

Why do you feel nervous? You're just visiting a grave, you aren't having to actually see anyone.

John nudges you when it's time to get off and you follow behind, tightly gripping the flowers. Near the bridge there isn't too much in terms of buildings and businesses. You can see the very edge of the warehouses in one direction, but in this area it is all mostly road. There is a section of town that is considerably older then the rest, not well maintained and somewhat secluded away. This is where your father lays, in viewing distance of the bridge.

The closer you walk towards the tall iron gates the harder your heart beats. Why are you like this? It's just a grave plot...

"Do you know where his is?" You snap out of your fear as John talks, his eyes dancing over the several rows of graves.

"Uh...kinda. It was close to those trees over there, I remember that. They were blooming when we buried him but I'm afraid I don't remember the exact position..."

"That's fine. Just gimme a name and I'll help you look."

"Don Esposito. He uh, he's buried by another Esposito..."

Your grandfather's grave. There should be a plot next to his, for that day that your grandmother joins him.

Most of the graves here are older then you are, belonging to people who have long since passed before you were born. If you remember correctly most people aren't buried here any more, they use one of the other grave yards since this one is so full. You're pretty sure your grandmother had reserved this plot for him a long time ago, probably when he was born.

Sure enough, with John's help you find the correct grave.

White marble and engraved words stare back at you.

The remains of your father.

In the cold earth, deep down...

Your father...no, his body lays away.

You can only stare at the marker of your father's death, that feeling of mourning rising up inside. The flowers shake slightly but you strengthen yourself and move forward. You lay the flowers down in the snow, looking down at your broken promise.

"I'm...sorry daddy..." You say this to dead ears. "I'm...I'm so sorry..."

What are you apologizing for....

The broken promise.

The terrible things that have been done to you.

The terrible things that you have done.

How nothing is right.

How it feels like nothing will ever be right again.

How you are no longer the good little girl he left behind.

How you were left behind, shoved to an uncaring world alone.

There's warmth and then a chill as tears stream down your face. You wipe them away the best you can, trying not to break down. You hear the seeds rattle around in your pocket and realize what you need to do.

Kneeling down, ignoring the wetness and the cold, you begin to dig into the snow and the dirt with your hands. It hurts and your fingers are starting to go numb.

"Do you need some help?"

"No...no, I need to do this. I need to let daddy know I can handle this...that I can t-take care of myself...t-that I'm s-strong..." Your tears are flowing down freely now but you can't help but say this with anger. You aren't mad at John though.

You're mad at yourself.


It's freezing and your fingernails are caked in dirt, but you manage to bury the seeds away. You pray that they will survive till spring, that they will be able to bloom. You remain kneeling there, looking at the gravestone once again.

Why did all of this have to happen?

Who is this...this James Bowers?
Why would he do all those things to you?
Wasn't he a friend of your father?

You're wiping away the tears with your sleeve and see a hand offered out to you.

John helps you back up and you try to hide the fact that you were crying, but you know that it isn't working.

"I know it's weird to ask, but I also know what could happen if I don't ask first. But, do you need a hug?"

You only nod and John briefly gives you an embrace and a shoulder to cry on.


Once you have composed yourself and said your good-byes the sun has begun to set and you know that you need to hurry back home.

You do your best to wipe your hands clean on your pants, a bit peeved at yourself for getting them dirty just after showering.

You sit with John on the bus, and while your shoulders are still heavy the burden you carry right now is lighter, if only by a little.

"Thank you." You offer up to him, hoping it wasn't weird for him.

"It's not a problem. Wish I could be that good and see pa's grave but...I'm pretty sure yours deserved the attention more."

You feel accomplished, going and taking care of this. It wasn't much but it certainly felt this way.

But you still have so much to deal with right now...

Why can't someone just...take care of all of this for you? Why is it all in your hands? You don't want all of this responsibility...

It makes you ticked thinking about all of this. You shouldn't be feeling mad though...right? Getting worked up just thinking about this...you need to relax yourself...how do people usually do that...

You have a bit of a ride and then a walk before you are back to the apartments.
Is there anything you want to talk to John about?
>Is there anything you want to talk to John about?
>"I hear there's an available male downtown, his name's Lawrence. Why don't you meet him?"
Ask if we can join him and Lawrence on the high ground
Since we sort of... share something in common with John, ask if it's weird to, like, do... stuff with someone else. Or to imagine it. Like, stuff that everyone says is nice, but just reminds us of the opposite.

Is it normal to feel... wrong because of it.
Ask if we can get high with him and Law. And talk about how to get out of the state
>invoking solo wing pixy in this thread

Those who survive long enough in the city start to think their invincible; I bet you do too bunny.
This then >>276922 and if he says no just play it off as if we were kidding.
You gotta stop doing this to Lawrence.
Eventually we're gonna get him killed.

And it sounds like a sweet release considering his Berserk-tier life.
Sitting next to John, the man who has survived war and massacre, who has killed and survived through so much...

It's hard to remember that he was a victim like you.

It does answer the question you had been thinking about before though. This doesn't just happen to girls. This isn't something that just men do.

"John..." You're looking down at your hands as you say this, then out towards the window. In the slight reflection the window offers you can see that he is looking towards you.

"What do you need missy?" He's smiling, he's always smiling. How can he keep that up? Maybe he handles this better then you. Maybe you're going to sound like a weirdo to ask this. But you don't know anyone else who has gone through this.

"Is it okay to...er, normal to uh..." You lower your voice, as you know that to anyone passing by the conversation would sound strange.

"Go on, ask away. I don't think there's anything you could ask that would scare me at this point."

You look at his reflection in the window before darting your eyes down.

"Is it normal to...to do stuff with someone...or to like...think about doing it. I mean um...that kind of stuff..." You really don't want to say the words, hoping that John is able to pick up on what you mean. "Everyone says it's supposed to be nice but it just...just makes me think back to when...when they happened to me and...those weren't nice. But at the same time I'm just...I'm just so confused..."

"You mean ah, getting close with someone?"

All you can manage is a nod, John pushing a hand through his hair as he thinks.

"I keep thinking about it and it just...I just feel wrong."

"That's understandable missy. It's uh...not an easy thing." You start to worry about this not being a good question to ask John. You feel weird about it, discussing something like this with him.

"Not a lot of people know how to deal with it. Lot of people don't realize that even if it seems like you're doin' good that there is still this burden on your shoulders your whole life. Course I imagine some people can carry that better but uh...not everyone, y'know. I don't know if I dealt with it the way I was supposed to but, if you want, I guess I could give you my two-cents."

You nod and John continues.

"You're gonna feel weird about it. No doubt about it. Maybe you'll hate it for a long time. I did, all my friends would talk about girls and get excited over their pictures but I couldn't help but have this feelin' of...nothing. Those pictures did nothin' for me. Course my friends thought it was weird of me, called me names and accused me of bein' gay. Couldn't let that happen, couldn't let them know that I was...different. Weak. I had to force myself to like it, but I didn't really.

Course that was only in public. Didn't have to worry about that none in my own privacy, but then I just...hated myself. Hated my body. I wasn't scared of girls or nothin', but I also just couldn't feel the way I was supposed to around them. I got into some uh...weird habits..." John grimaces and looks away as he says this.

"Tryin' to cope with how I felt. Tried dating girls during school though despite all that. They were nice but I just...could never get close to them. I uh, probably shouldn't be tellin' you this part but...well, at one point my senior year I got the chance to uh...do the deed with my girlfriend at the time. And I just...couldn't. Couldn't bring myself to do it. She was a pretty gal, nice, all that. But I couldn't stop thinkin' about all those years ago. Course I couldn't tell her why and she ran out, cryin' her eyes out cause she thought there was somethin' wrong with her, but really it was somethin' wrong with me. Tried again in college, kept tellin; myself that I...had to date. Had to find a girl. Convinced myself enough to end up getting married. She was the second person that I ever opened up to, told her about what had happened to me. It seemed like she was supportive about it, even tellin' me that it was okay when I couldn't uh...perform properly in bed. She got frustrated soon enough though, tellin' me that she wasn't the same person who hurt me, that I needed to get over it. She had needs and I couldn't fulfill them. It put some strain on the relationship and even though we were married it only showed by our rings. That's why she would uh...leave hers behind on the nightstand a lot..."

It sounds like John is heading towards a bad part of his memories, but he continues.

"Anyways, I was just...messed up in that aspect. Went through all those years trying to avoid anything havin' to do with that or I would try to convince myself that I was weird about it and just...needed to do it. Force myself to be normal. That I couldn't burden my partners with that information. I think I needed to talk about it though, needed someone who I could open up to and even if they didn't understand it completely just...have someone to tell me that it wasn't weird, that even if I was broken that I could work at being better. Could have had healthy relationships. Bit too late for me now. But for you?"

You look up at John at this point, seeing that he has a gentle grin and a wistful look to his eyes.

"It'll be an uphill battle missy. I won't lie to you. It'll be tough, you'll want to fight it, run away from all of it. Maybe you'll overcome it easier then you think but you'll never really be over it. It's something that stays with your forever. But that doesn't mean you can't learn to uh, take it back for yourself. You can learn to enjoy it, enjoy another person, enjoy yourself...to not hate your body. Don't let yourself get caught up with someone who tries to dismiss it either. If they really want to help you then they'll work with you through all of it. They might get frustrated but they should never blame you, force you to do anything you don't want. They should love you despite the sex, not because of it."

"Are...those kind of people easy to find."

The falter on John's face answers the question for you.

You look out the window again as you take in what he has just said.

Someone who would understand...

You feel bad about asking something so personal from John and you want to try and change the subject to something easier.

"Um...so you were going to do something with Lawrence earlier." You think back to how John had entered the room earlier.

"Ah ha...yeah. Was uh, just planning on some good bonding time with Law, y'know? Just something men do."

"You were going to smoke that stuff, weren't you?" Glancing over you can see John is looking away, trying to hide the look of being caught behind an innocent smile.

"Eh...don't know what you're talkin' bout mis-"

"Can I join?"

Your question has caught John off guard immediately, and while you presented it as serious you are just kidding.

...no you weren't. You hate to admit it, but you did enjoy it last time.

"Ah, I'm afraid I can't say yes to that."

"Why not?"

"Don't know how I would feel tokin' up with someone who can't even drive yet. Wait, how do you know what that was?"

Now you feel caught, like a rabbit in the headlight. Instead of answering you turn to face forward.

"I dunno." A quick answer, a quick lie. John is probably able to piece two and two together and figure it out, but you doubt he'll give Lawrence any trouble over it. Maybe you should change topics again though...

As you look out the window you can see that the bridge is slowly fading out behind.

"How do people get out..."

"The city?"

"Or the state..."

"That's a big move missy. Even for people with cars, movin' isn't exactly an easy process. There's a reason I've been stuck here. There's a few buses that take you out, but they don't go very far. Course someone with no experience would just say walk or hitch hike, but I can't say I recommend either."

"Why's that?"

"Well...aside from the roads there's a bunch of trees and forests and drop offs out there. If you don't stay near the road then you'll just end up lost, hungry, exhausted...probably dead. There's a reason they have a team of volunteers sweep through those places every year. Someone's gotta bring those bodies back."

"Then why not hitch rides? That should get you out of the state easy enough, right?"

John's face turns sour at this.

"You'd think that...but not many people wanna pick up hikers. It's a gamble, the ones who do stop. They're people who aren't going the direction you need or..."


"Well...the bodies they find out there aren't always from people gettin' lost."


"It's a hell of a thing to get up and move out. Why do you think so many people stick around here? If there was a way to make their situation better then they would have moved out a long time ago."

Before John can tell you any more the bus comes up to your stop and he ushers you out of the bus.

During the walk back you can see people crossing on the other side of the street, people who usually aren't the type to be out during the day.

"Do you think you can um, give me that lesson tomorrow?"

"The self-defense one? Sure thing, you just give me the word and I'll teach ya what I know."

Alright, good...you're getting what you need to done.


Inside the apartments you approach Lawrence's door, ready to knock. You can catch just the very whiff of that smell, from last night. You're hesitant to, but you also don't want to force John to stand there waiting for you.

If you need to you can always go to the kid's room to sleep tonight. Even if that isn't what you really want to do...

Lawrence comes up to the door after some time, and you embrace yourself for the cloud of smoke to roll out. None comes though, to your surprise.

"Ah, thanks for taking me John." You almost forget to thank him again as you walk in, John giving you a quick and casual salute.

"Ain't new big deal, missy. And I'll uh, hang out with you later Law."

Lawrence acknowledges John's rescheduling and shuts the door. Looking over you can see a cardboard tube with what looks like dryer sheets holding covering one end and held on with rubber bands. What's that supposed to be for...

"Um...how are you feeling?" You ask as Lawrence walks back over, hand around his ribs. He gives you a thumbs up, but you aren't really sure how you should interpret that when he still needs help to sit down. He pushes the cardboard tube away quickly as you settle down with him, trying to casually hide it away.

He writes you a note, and you have to remember what it's like to wait for his responses.

How about you? Did the visit go well?

"Yeah. It was fine." You leave out the detail of all the crying and pain you had felt. You don't want him to feel bad about not being there. As you look up at his face your eyes go over to his cheek. It looks like it's healing, or at the very least it looks healthy enough. Your eyes trail over further and there's that sense of shame again when all the memory of last night comes pouring in. You're quick to look away.

Should you even sleep in here tonight?

Why do you still feel so guilty...so dirty...

Still feels like you did something wrong, that you enjoyed something that you shouldn't have...

John's words come back up.

Can you make it okay though...could it ever be okay?

You feel all confused and mad and just a mix of everything right now...just calm down...relax...try to relax...

Just telling yourself to do it isn't helping any.

You can probably go to sleep in a bit if you want to. You can sleep in the kid's room too, but you aren't sure you want that either.

What do you even want right now...

What do you want to do?
Sleep, Cuddle THE LAW
Ask Law if last night was wrong. Apologize for... enjoying it.

For being a whore.

Promise we won't be weird if we can sleep with him again tonight.
>only faithful to law
/a/ pls
Harsh but does make sense

Is that all you're going to do?
The entire thread?
Don't bother reasoning with them, it'll just turn into an asinine argument.
Nah, I'll throw a suggestion next go.
Tell Lawrence you're going to stay in the kids room because you feel weird. Then run away from the group and never come back

No bully, faggots
I know I said to not bother, but could you at least present a reason for running away from the group, or are you just suggesting it over and over because you're pooper pummeled about something in the quest not going your way?
You must be in a lot ANAL AGONY if you're bothering after having told others to not bother, in addition to assuming that I'm mad over something in the quest. Tongue fucking Lawrence is one step closer to vagina fucking him which is ok in my book.
Aaand therefore you want Delilah to run away from the group?

Okay, definitely makes sense.
As you sit there, trying to think of what to do, you can hear Lawrence is clearing his throat a bit. It feels awkward, just the two of you sitting here like this.

He must feel weird about all of this too, right? He probably doesn't want to talk about it, out of sight out of mind kind of deal.

You could just get through everything without ever needing to bring up the subject again, push the incident to the back of your mind and lock it away.

"I'm sorry..." And here you go, ruining that chance. Lawrence has been looking over the bruises on his arm, content with just sitting there in silence.

Of course he's questioning what you're sorry about this time. It feels like that is all you do to him, apologizing for things you have done. Mistakes you have made. Being useless, a burden.

"Was last night wrong...? Did...did we do something bad?" Instantly Lawrence's face is clouded over with distress, and you regret bringing up the question.

You need to know though. All of these questions are just going to continue welling up inside of you, all this fear and confusion. Even if you don't like what the answer will be you need to get one.

Lawrence writes out a response, you stare at the ground as you listen to the sound of pen on paper.

You didn't do anything wrong.

I did.

I let that happen and I shouldn't have.

You read over the words, but they aren't really sticking with you.

It's not like he forced you to do it...

Just like the weed...

He only offered, and you accepted it.

"I took it though...I w-...wanted it to happen..." You bite at your lip. It reminds you of when Lawrence did it, except this hurts. "Doesn't that...like...make me responsible too?"

No, you shouldn't feel bad about it happening. The situation is all on me. I should have been the responsible one.

"Can I not be responsible?"

You can. But last night was a kind of situation where I shouldn't have let it happen, not the way it did. I could have came up with a better way for you to do it or just have left it alone. You didn't need to help.

"'You shouldn't have let it happen'...but...but what if I had wanted it..." Your voice shakes as you say this. "What if I had wanted it to happen?"

I shouldn't have let you do it.

"So then...I shouldn't be enjoying this kind of thing...that was wrong of me..."

Lawrence is trying to come up with an answer, but he looks stumped.

"I can't handle responsibilities..."

Still searching for an answer.

"I'm...I'm just a dumb...dumb whore for enjoying it...a-aren't I..." As soon as the vile word leaves your mouth you can't help but start to cry. Your hands come up to try and stop the tears, your chest feels so tight...it hurts. You hurt.

"I'm...I'm s-sorry I m-made you do that...I'm s-sorry I'm just a...a w-whore...I s-shouldn't h-have ta-taken the ch-chance and..and I shouldn't have enjoyed it..." You crumple down to the ground, burying your face away in the blankets as you cry.

"T-They were right about m-me...I...I am just a...a useless g-girl...I d-deserved it...I'm a w-whore who d-deserved it..." Your body shakes as the words tumble out, just repeating what was told to you.

This was wrong.

You shouldn't have done it.

You sure as hell shouldn't have liked it.

You're scratching at your chest. It hurts. Everything hurts. You're in pain.

Fingers pull across the ring hidden under your shirt.

You don't deserve nice things like that.

All you're good for is to be used and then thrown away.

You aren't worth saving, worth doing anything for.

You're worthless.

An completely worthless whore.

Your body is pulled to sit up, face drenched in tears.

"I'm...I'm a...a wh-"

Before you can say the awful words again your pulled in to Lawrence's chest. An arm wraps around your shoulders and a hand comes up to press against your head. It's a tight embrace, almost too tight.

That feeling of wanting to run away rises up inside and you try to push away.

"P-...please..." The harder you push away from Lawrence the closer you are pulled to him. Why isn't he letting you go...he knows better...

You struggle against him a good bit, till you finally feel yourself being released. Moving back you can see Lawrence is shocked at himself, but he mostly looks upset.

Right...you're not normal...none of this is...

"I'm...sorry..." You breathe out, no longer sobbing. The tears are still flowing freely, down your cheeks and to the floor.

"I'm sorry I wanted it to happen last night."

"I'm sorry that I...I enjoyed it...enjoyed it like a...whore."

"I'm sorry I'm...I'm this freak...freak that needs blood..."

That's not all you need.

"That...that needs help all the time. That's useless. That...cries a bunch. Makes mistakes. Hurts people..."

"I'm sorry for b-being...being a terrible person..." You can't stand to look at him right now. You want to be held now, even though you just pushed him away. You want comfort, you need it.

You don't deserve it.

At the edge of your vision you can see a hand extend out towards you. You do nothing to stop it as Lawrence moves in closer again. When his hand is near your face you can't help but flinch away and he stops, but...you want it. You want any sign of affection now.

"Please..." The shaky voice that comes out is barely above a whisper. You enjoy the way it feels when Lawrence brushes over your hair, his warm hand sliding down to cup your cheek. You can't stop yourself from leaning in to it, wishing for more of this comfort.

Lawrence complies and you are pulled against him again, this time less forceful. The way he held you earlier was like he was afraid too, like he was holding to you in desperation.

"I...I promise not to d-do anything weird tonight...I promise..." You can't help but grip at his shirt, trying to keep your voice from cracking too much. "So...please...please let me stay in here...let me s-stay with you..."


You lay on your side, head pressed up against Lawrence's chest as you try to calm down enough to sleep. You're no longer sobbing, but you do hiccup and sniffle, trying to catch your breath. The back of your head is patted and petted in such a way that feels nice, and after some time you hear Lawrence whisper to you.

"You're not...bad." His voice sounds raspier then usual, strained and sore. "It's okay...you liked...it. Doesn't make...you bad. Better that...you enjoyed it...then hated...it...right?"

You bury your face against his shirt, feeling bad about soaking it with tears but unable to stop yourself.

"But it's bad if you do..." Maybe your voice was too muffled for him to hear, as you don't end up with an answer.

It's okay...maybe you don't want to know.

You just want to enjoy yourself again.


You wake up violently as Lawrence leans up. You try to ask what's going on but the answer presents itself to you soon enough.

The door is trying to be forced open.

Lawrence leaves you where you sit, forcing himself to stand quickly to his feet. Each movement and sound makes your heart beat violently. Lawrence approaches the door and looks out. From what little you can see on his face you can tell that it's not someone you guys know.

Oh god...

You jump when the door shakes harder, as if someone has rammed their body against it. There's the sound of a man on the other side...he sounds drunk...maybe high?

You feel yourself seize up when Lawrence opens the door. You can see the chain is still attached though, only allowing him to look at the man on the other side.

"Ah...wha' tha hell...fukin' freak man...I'll go fin' a diffen' room. Fin' me a bitch..." The guy's voice slowly travels away and the door is secured once again. Lawrence breathes a sigh of relief, but you can't manage to calm yourself down. Even as Lawrence comes back, acting like it's no big deal...

You're shaking, heart racing.

It looks like Lawrence is ready to go back to sleep but...

You can't.

Even as Lawrence tries to let you know that it's fine, you just can't calm down enough. You try to force yourself to, curling up next to Lawrence again.

When light snores fill the air again you can't seem to do the same. You're not skiddish right now, but awake...so awake.

High strung.


Your mind is just...buzzing. Not in the nice pleasant way but with thoughts and fears.

You...want to cover them up. Mask them with pleasant things.

Trying to escape your problems...how pathetic...

Yet, you can't help yourself.

What do you want to do?
Women don't make sense so it's in character :^)

Sneak out and go for a walk outside alone for fresh air. The cold air should calm us down
Try to concentrate on our breathing. We're just afraid, not in any kind of danger.

We have Lawrence right here, he'll keep us safe so it's no big deal. We're just scared. Huddle up against him for warmth and safety, try finding a comfortable position in his arms.

What gives you the authority to veto another anon's vote?
Power is given only to those who dare to lower themselves and pick it up. Only one thing matters, one thing; to be able to dare!
Just calm down...it's fine. You aren't in danger, everything is fine. Even if that guy had kept trying to get in then...then Lawrence would have scared him off. Lawrence would have protected you from him, just like he's helped you with everything else.

It's fine.

You're fine.

Everything...is fine.

You focus on making your breathing steady, smooth. Calm. Just like it needs to be.

It still lingers, but your fear slowly begins to fade away. Your mind is still a mess, but it doesn't feel like your heart will leap out.

Just relax, you're fine. You're being held right now, that's nice. It feels...safe. Safe enough.

You would prefer to lay in a bed though.

Be in a real room.

A real house.


You can't help but toss and turn, feeling restless.

It feels like you want something, but you don't know what.

You turn to face the opposite way of Lawrence, your back against his side. You need to go to sleep, you really do. You need to train with John later, you can't be tired for that. Just...think about going to sleep. Not too hard, just...try to relax.

You feel an arm come over you and a chest pressed against your back. The feeling of warm breath on the back of your neck...the snoring...

Just Lawrence asleep. You remember how Jessica and Marilyn liked to do this in their sleep too.

Honestly...you don't mind it.

You press your body up against his, it like being hugged.

You try to focus on your breathing, his breathing, the soft snores...


[1/2] short one for a long wait, sorry. had to do grownup things.
As Lawrence moves from behind you slowly begin to wake up. It's morning now, and he's not racing up to his feet or anything...it's fine. This is fine.

He props himself up on his elbow, the arm that was around you coming up to touch over his stitches as he yawns.

"Hm...good morning." You say as you stretch out. He's still behind you, your back spooned against his front.


It feels nice getting to wake up like this, not having to rush away from doing anything. The air is cold, as it usually is. You clutch the blanket closer to your chest and instinctively burrow back against Lawrence's warm body.

Nice...this is all nice.

There is something weird pressing up against your butt though, maybe Lawrence has something in his pocket.

"Could you um...move whatever that is? It's poking me..."

Lawrence looks confused at this, though he is only half awake. You feel him pull away from you and shortly after he pushes you further away from him.

"Ow...w-what's the problem?" You turn over to face him, watching as Lawrence is struggling to stand. He's grimacing at his sudden motions but pushes through all of it. Did he hurt himself?

You look down and see that part of his pants is poking up more then usual, right at where his-

You turn beet red and turn away, letting Lawrence make his hasty escape to the bathroom. Before he disappears inside you can hear him mutter a quick sorry. Soon you hear the sound of rushing water from behind the door.

Did...you do something wrong again...?

Do you want to wait for Lawrence to come out or give him some time and find John?
Ask what he's doing in there real quick then get some CQC lessons from John
Why is he apologizing, it's our fault, isn't it? Like back at the motel? We did something weird even though we said we wouldn't...

M-maybe it's no big deal, Lawrence said this kind of thing happens, right? Maybe we can just... be casual about it. Ask if he... if he needs help otherwise we'll be over at John's.

Or this I guess
It's even a bit flattering that he'd get like that because of us isn't it
I-It means we must be a cute lady!
Oh god, we made him feel THAT way, even in our sleep? Maybe we shouldn't be sleeping next to Lawrence anymore... I wonder how he feels about it?
There's that overwhelming feeling of guilt again.

You stand to your feet, quickly shaking yourself awake as you come over to the door.

Pressing your ear against it, you can hear the sound of rushing water easily enough.

"Lawrence..." You call softly through the door. It feels bad as you continue to hear the muffled sound of rushing water.

"I'm sorry...it's my fault, isn't it? And...and I promised not to do anything weird again...I'm so sorry..." Your lip quivers a bit but you're forcing yourself to keep calm. You don't want to make him feel any worse about this, you've already done your damage.

You stand there a bit longer, just listening in. The water shuts off and you can hear Lawrence's footsteps coming back. You take a few steps back at the door swings open.

He only opens it part way, hiding most of his body behind it as he looks down at you.

Lawrence is still dressed, but you can see that he had been standing underneath the water.

"Ah...I'm..." You glance away as you say this. "I'm sorry..."

"Not your...fault." His voice is still sore, but with no other way to communicate he's forced to use it.

He's remaining rather calm about the situation. You should do the same.

"Is it my fault though? M-Maybe...maybe I'm just too c-cute..." You're doing your best to play this off, even if your voice and face gives away how you really feel. "I uh...I am s-sorry though..."

"Didn't happen...because of...you."

"Eh?" This throws you off a bit.

"This...kinda thing...happens...sometimes."

"W-Wait, you mean um...guys just get...r-randomly...um..."

"Hard." It's weird to hear such a normal word describe something like this, but it does rather fit the description you guess.

"So you guys just...randomly...randomly get hard...?" It feels dirty saying it, your face heating up from it.

"Y-Yeah...lot of...times in...the morning. Just...happens for...no reason. Wasn't...because of...you."


Oh...why do you feel kind of...


You're mostly relieved you didn't do anything wrong this time, the part of you that believes that anyways. But there's just the smallest thought about how...how you didn't excite him.

That's...awful of you...

"Um w-well...unless you need any help..." You notice that Lawrence freezes up when you say this, his shivering face becoming red.

"I'm...going to see John for a bit. If um...if you don't need me that is..."

What does that even mean? What are you trying to offer help with?

It takes a bit but Lawrence shakes his head and you decide to give him the privacy he probably needs.

"I'll um...see you later then."

You leave the room and stand in the hallway for a moment to gather yourself.

He said it wasn't your fault, but there is still that tugging feeling of it being your responsibility. But at the same time, you...almost wish it was? Cause...that means you're cute, right? Attractive? But if it wasn't because of you then...does that mean you aren't the right kind of nice looking?

You think back to how it looked. It wasn't...scary. Not really, not since it was hidden away in his pants. What...would Lawrence's even look lik-

Why are you thinking about that? You're pretty sure if you even saw one right now that it would freak you out too much. It does whenever you think about the...the previous ones. Is it normal to be...curious about that kind of thing though? Wouldn't they all look the same anyways?

Stop thinking about that. It's no appropriate.

Just...go train with John already.


John is already awake when you come knocking at his door.

"Guess you're ready to get to it?" He asks as soon as he sees you standing at his doorway.

"Yes sir."

"Drop the sir. No need for the formalities with me, left those behind in the military. Just uh, c'mon in. We can do some basics here at least." John motions you in, pointing at a half opened can on the counter.

"You eat yet? If you want you can have the rest. I promise I don't got any nasty germs."

You are rather hungry and pick up the can quickly.

Those stupid fish look back at your from inside and you slide it back.

"Er...no thanks..."

"Not a fan of sardines, eh? Well here, just uh...oh! Duh, here." John pulls out a plastic bag from his sack, passing it over.

"What are these?"

"Lil something I like to eat in the morning for extra energy. It's just uncooked oatmeal, peanut butter, and honey, but they taste pretty good. Eat what you want from them and they we can get started."

These tastes so much better then any fish could.


It's a bit awkward doing it in the apartment, but John shows you some self defense techniques. How shows you how to hold your stance, prevent yourself from falling or getting pushed back easy. You're shown the best places to kick to bring someone down; shin, knee, and groin. Easy enough...easy enough.

You get somewhat squeamish at the other things though. John instructs you on how to attack the face and neck and it gets...rather gruesome.

"Just remember missy. All is fair in a fight. If you need to, use your nails. Use keys. Whatever you have at hand. That sonofabitch has his face close enough to you? Take that opportunity. Mess him up good. Claw at his eyes, don't worry about what gets under your nails. Aim at his throat, if you don't have anything sharp then just hit. Hit him in the Adam's apple, side of the neck, back of it...where ever you can reach. Hit as hard as you can, and I guarantee that even if you don't knock him out then his grip on you will at least loosen. The nose is a good place too. Jam up with your fist, palm at the bottom of his nose, as hard as possible. Use your head if you need to, broken nose will stun anyone. And ah, lemme tell you jamming up hard enough on someone's nose could do a whole lotta damage, so don't hold back. Just, anything you do to the face, do it till there's blood. Got it?"


You don't know how well you'll do against a grown man, but hopefully you never need to try it for real....

John has to ask for a break, his back causing him some pain. You sit as he tries to take care of it, stretching and trying to work out the pain the best he can.

"Ah now...I don't want you to be scared of it or nothin'..." John takes a set down too, reaching in to his bag. Grandpa's gun is pulled out and he holds it up for you to see.

"Cleaned it up, got her ready for use. I'll hold onto it if you want me to, or I can give it back to you. But I figured, on the off chance you ever need to...I'll show you how to fire one. Alright? Can't shoot it in here of course but I'll find some ammo and a place for us to practice if you feel comfortable enough."


"Must've not been careful enough...got myself all sore already..." You can see that John has a hand near his back. He's been shot and burned. There's no way that can feel good...

You can't help but notice that John doesn't wear a wedding ring. Sam does though, and your mother and grandmother continued to wear theirs after their husbands died.

"Um...this is probably rude of me...but uh..." You've once again opened your mouth and spoke before realizing what a personal question it might be.

"Try to surprise me missy."

"You...said you had a wife. And you...you don't wear a wedding ring any more...is she...did she d-..."

"Nah, not dead. Remarried a couple days after she divorced me. Couldn't stand to look at that ring anymore so I just...tossed it into the water. Maybe if I'm lucky then some cute mermaid down there will pick it up and fall in love with me." John says this with a cheesy smile, but it doesn't make you feel any better about asking.


"Don't be. She was a real piece of work. Took the house, the car, my dog...she even took the ba-" John stops before he finishes that last word, eyes open and just staring off at nothing in front.

It sounded like he was going to say-

"The baby..." He mumbles to himself, confirming what you feared.

You don't want to pry him about this...you feel bad about bringing it up.

How do you want to change the topic?
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>How do you want to change the topic?
Ask if Sarah is doing okay.
Tell him the story of grandpa coming to America, how he fled the regime of some real... "porca vacca"? How he'd make jokes at the expense of the Italian military.

How he'd wanted to teach us to use a gun, a bit to dad's chagrin so the promise was we'd have to wait a few years.
You struggle to think of a way to bring John out of his mood. You can't help but think back to some of the stories your grandfather had told you. They never made much sense to you but...

"Um...back when my grandpa was still in Italy..." You really hope that this gets his attention enough, or at least distracts him.

"He came to America cause uh, I think he was escaping the army...er, their army? That he didn't want to work with the uh...what did he call them...a real porca vacca, he would say. And he would always make these jokes about the Italian military...he would say stuff like um...how'd they go..."

John isn't looking over at you, but you desperately try to remember what your grandfather used to tell you. Not that they really made sense...

"He would say, uh...'Do you know what the shortest book ever written was?, and I would say, 'No, what'? 'The book of Italian War Heroes'."

Of course this joke doesn't seem to funny to you but there's the slightest hint of a grin cracking on John's face.

"And eh...another one would be 'Do you know what you call a man with sun-burnt armpits?' And I would be like no, I don't know."

"You call him an Italian soldier." John finishes the punchline for you and you nod.

"That uh...that means they surrender a lot...right?"

"Pfft, yeah they do." John leans back up, looking like he is no longer stuck in what he was in before. "Grandaddy sounded like a pretty good man."

"He was. He died when I was little but I know that he would show me his gun once in a while, telling me that he would teach me how to shoot it. Said I would shoot so well I could land a bullet in the eye of a bird flying by. Uh, dad didn't really like the sound of it so Grandpa had to promise to wait till I was older before letting me try it out. It um...it's a bit too late for that though..."

"Well, I don't know about makin' you that sharp of a shooter. But I'll teach ya to put the fear of God in them." John looks over the gun, admiring the the form and design of it.

You smile a bit, but then you realize how true his words may be.

"Um...do you know how Sarah is...?" You decide that it would be good to try and check up on her.

"From what I heard, she had a death in the family. An uncle or a grandfather or something? She's going to be gone a lot the next few days to work with the funeral home and handle his finances and all that business."

"She seemed pretty sad about it...I mean, I don't blame her, but it's just..."

"Weird seein' her sad?"

"Yeah. She just seems so...tough and cool and...and strong."

"Everyone's got their limits. Some a lot more then others, but it's hard to find someone who doesn't break at somethin'. I think I would be kind of scared to be around someone who never broke down at some point, honestly. Ain't anythin' human about them."


You think back to the comic, the one with the blood sucking monster.

"Do...you think I'm human..."


"I...I have that weird thing with me...the blood thing...that's...pretty freakish. Isn't it? Maybe I'm not like...human any more..."

"Well, you certainly pass well for one anyways. Isn't that what matters?"

"I think I would rather know that I was human..."

"Humans are pretty weird too. Never know what's goin' on with them. What they're thinkin', why they do the things they do. Maybe it'd be better if you weren't one." John is doing his best to make you feel better and you appreciate it.

A frantic knocking and a calling for John pulls you both out of the conversation. It sounds like Aria's voice, and you help pull John up to his feet. He goes over and lets her in, her face in a panic.

"Where's Bun-" Aria looks behind and sees you, sighing a breath of relief. "Oh thank God..."

"What's wrong?" John concern matches yours.

"I...will explain more in a bit but um...for now." Aria directs the attention towards you, holding your shoulders as she looks you in the eyes. "Don't freak out, it's probably fine but...some of their wackos in the lobby seem to have been talking about your missing ad."

Your eyes fly open wide at the mention of this.

"Sam is going to try to find out more, but it doesn't seem like they realize the girl in the poster is you. They're too strung out and dumb to see the connection but, just in case they have then you need to stay inside. If it turns out that they think it's you then we'll figure something out but for now just...hold tight, okay? Stick with Lawrence for now, I already told him the situation."

You nod, your heart beating painfully hard.

"Shit...alright. Let's get her put away and then I'll talk with Sam. You got your knife on you?"

"Yeah...I always do..."

"I don't think they will try anythin' right now, especially if you're with someone. Try to remain calm, we'll get this figured out." John guides you out, Aria close behind. You cling to John's back the entire way, despite only being a few feet down the hall. Lawrence opens his door quickly and you shuffle in behind him.

"Alright Law, I'm goin' to try and figure out what's happenin'. If you need help just...y'know what to do."

You think about the guys out in the lobby, the ones who are usually there. They never seem capable of completing a full thought, always laughing and giggling at nothing, their bodies slowly wasting away as they poison it. If...if for some reason they tried to come get you...

You have no doubt that Lawrence would be able to keep them back, and if he has back up...

It...should be fine. You should be fine.

...you don't feel fine.

Dammit...this is just...just stressing you out even more...

"I um...guess you know what's going on, with those guys out there."

Lawrence nods, and you can see he has changed into dry clothes now.

Try not to worry about it. It's probably just a false alarm. I doubt those guys could even recognize their own reflection at this point

You can't help but scratch at your neck a bit as you think about this. There's that angry feeling growing in you again with no way to get it out. That feeling of hopelessness rides along with it. You don't feel...afraid so much. Just mad. Mad that is happening.

Lawrence pulls your hand away from your neck, the skin you were scratching feels raw.

"Ah...s-sorry. I didn't realize I was doing that..." You can't look him in the eyes right now. It feels awkward and uncomfortable in here, after what happened this morning.

All of these negative feelings are just mixing around inside of you.

You could talk about what to do, but you really don't have enough information to go on...

If anything it will make you more tensed.

You need to try and relax, even if it's for a bit.

See you guys in the morning
Focus on our breathing and tell Lawrence about our visit to dad's grave, abstracting from our panic.
Ask Lawrence if he'll run away with us. We'll never be able to be truly safe unless we get as far away as possible.
This and ask whose he visited if he doesn't mind

But you think we'll somehow be truly safe without any documentation?
These suggestions of yours stopped being funny long ago
Ok let's suck Lawrence's dick instead that'll calm us down XXDD see it's funny again!
Everyone vote to suck his dick!

Why are you doing this?
You make sure that you keep your breathing calmed, keep it slow and steady. No need to get yourself overworked, hyperventilate and cause more problems.

This is just...just a little speed bump. It's fine.

Closing your eyes you think about your breathing, keeping it in control. Keeping it in check, calm. Your hands come up and rest on your chest, feeling the gentle rise and fall, the rhythm of your breathing, the bump of metal underneath the shirt.

You'll be okay.

No one is going to let anything bad to happen to you.

Lawrence won't let anything bad happen to you.

Even if you cause...weird things to happen to him...

You open your eyes and see that Lawrence is leaning against the counter, arm holding his ribs again. He's looking at the ground, but when he notices you watching he looks up and offers you a small smile.

It's...fine. This is fine.

"I um...I took some flowers to my dad's grave." Talking about something unrelated to the situation might help take your mind off of things for now.

"It was hard, finding where it was. My grandpa's is by his, but there's this like, gap in the middle. I think it's for my grandma, so that she can be buried between both of her boys. I planted some seeds in the empty spot though, so that they can like...grow in the spring. I should have put some over on my grandpa's too though...maybe next time I will bring him something nice too."

You're kind of rambling now, but getting to speak like this is allowing you to relax somewhat.

"I think that the flowers will look nice, bring something nice to the place even though...even though there's death all over the place. That um...sounded weird though, didn't it? I just thought that...maybe it would be nice to bring something happy there. I just hope I didn't plant them too soon, it would be um...kinda bad if they didn't get to bloom..."

There's the sound of a baby crying. Cecilia. It alarms you a bit, but it doesn't sound abnormal. It takes some time but she is hushed down. You think back to Claire in the hospital and how Lawrence visited her. He also visited someone else...or rather a grave.

"What kind...of flowers...did you...take?"

"Hm?" You're pulled up from your train of thought. "Oh um...carnations. I planted uh, pink and white ones. The only bouquet they had that looked nice was um...this kinda multicolored one?"

"Striped. Those are...called striped."

"Do you think those were a good choice to take...?"

"Yeah. Those are...fine. Look...very nice."

"You...went to visit someone's grave the other day...didn't you?" You hope that wasn't too blunt as you watch Lawrence's eyes dart to the ground.


"Who did y-...I'm sorry, it's not my business to ask."

"It's fine. I was...able to...find out...where Michele...was buried."

You feel your heart skip a beat at her name.

"Needed to...leave some...flowers. To say...good bye...to her. She liked...orchids. Had to...find the...best ones...I could." Lawrence sounds somber, but not like he's going to cry or anything. You still don't know what to say in this situation.

"I'm sorry..." These words are starting to feel empty to you.

"Don't...worry about...it. I got...to say...my goodbyes."

That doesn't make you feel any better about it. You can see Lawrence's body buckle suddenly when he speaks again.

"What am...I going...to tell...our parents..." His hand comes up to cover his face. He's not asking you.

"Dammit...they don't...know. How am...I going...to come...up to...them. After leaving...for years...never talked...to them...before I...left. Never talked...to them....now. Can't bring...them that...news. That I'm...a failure. That Michele...is d-...dead. It'll...it'll break...them."

Lawrence's body is shaking a bit, but he looks back up, trying to keep face.

"Sorry...just...just realized...that. Don't worry...about it."

So that means they don't know what's happened to Michele or Lawrence? How awful would that be...being a parent and both of your kids go missing...

You can't think of the words to say to offer Lawrence some comfort, no idea on how to handle the situation.

If only it was easy to just...pick yourself up and run away from your problems. If it was just that simple...

"Um...you know..." You speak up when you feel like enough time has passed.

That's a lie, you have no idea how much time it takes to feel better from something like that.

If it's even possible to feel better about that...

"You should uh...should r-run away with me..." You can already tell that this is going to sound insensitive, but in your nervousness you can't stop it from coming out. "R-Run away with me and...and s-...s-start a new life t-together..."

What are you even saying? You're trying to play it off as if you're joking, but there's still part of you that would want that. You bite at your lip again, trying to think over this.

"You wouldn't...want to...stay with...someone like...me." Lawrence has that soft grin to his face, but there's that self loathing present.

"Why wouldn't I?"

"I am...no good."

"Why not?"

"Scary. Huge. Mean. Angry. No job. No future. Nothing to...my name. Ugly scars. Ugly face." Lawrence taps his cheek at this last part, and while he's trying to sound lighthearted it's obvious that this is how he feels about himself.

"Am...needy. Only good...for muscle. Doing dirty...work. Can't even...do that...properly. I want...more then...I can...give. Can't do...anything right. Just a...big failure." He looks over at you again, still smiling even if the rest of his face isn't.

"Too old...to be...a prince. To be...anything good...for you. Wouldn't be...good if...you were...stuck with...me. Couldn't..." His smile fades a bit at this.

"Couldn't...work. Wouldn't be...okay. Would be...selfish of...me to...try. Have already...been selfish...enough."

You had to go and make it weird again, make him feel bad about himself.

"Are you really too old or am...am I just too young...?" Does that question even make sense?

"Doesn't matter...which it...is. What matters...is that...it isn't...okay."

"Then I am wrong for wanting it...for liking it, right?"

"No...not your...fau-"

"How can you keep saying it's not my fault? If I want it and it's wrong then...then I am in the wrong. Or else it...it wouldn't be bad, right? You keep like...blaming yourself for all this but..." Your voice is angry, but it's not at Lawrence. Well, you do feel annoyed, but only because of how he keeps blaming himself.

"I'm not a little kid...I don't want to be treated like one. I want to...need to be like an adult now. I can't...can't go back to being a kid anymore. It's too late for that...it's been too late for that ever since that happened to me." You're just pulling this all out now, unsure if it makes sense or if it's right or if any of it is right.

"I can't go back to the way I was before...not after what I went through. I'm...I'm different from then, and it can't ever be the same no matter what anyone says. And besides why..."

Your lip has started to quiver as you think of this part, but you force yourself to continue, force yourself to keep your stance.

"Why is it so bad that I...I get to do something I like? It's...it's not hurting anyone and...and you let me do it, right? Then...then what's wrong with it? What's so bad about it? It's not like I'm f-forcing myself on anyone or...or hurting anyone. I...I just want to feel good...I just want to be happy again...and I can't be happy the same way I was before...I know I can't..."

You clutch yourself, trying to keep calm, support yourself to get through this. You're biting your lip hard now, keeping yourself from tears as you look up towards Lawrence.

"So either say it's my fault too and we can...can be wrong together or...or...d-dammit...I don't know...but stop trying to make it sound like I can't h-hold any blame for it either. C-Cause that means that you just s-see me as a kid and...and not like I can't m-make my own choices..."

"It's...it's not...that easy..."

That answer only makes you upset, angry, disappointed.

"Are you just...just forcing yourself to do these things for me then? Forcing yourself to do whatever it takes to make the...the useless little kid happy?" You can't keep the venom from dripping out of your mouth. "I don't want pity or...or fake affection...or...or..."

You want real love, real signs of someone caring.

Not just someone acting.

Lawrence is coming up to you, ready to pull you in.

"No! I don't need you to coddle me!" You turn and walk away from his arms, storming off to the other side of the room. You stare down a corner, your eyes burning, your head starting to hurt.

Why do you feel so angry? You should be glad that he's willing to do anything for you...

You're the selfish one.

His steps come up from behind you, but there is still some distance. A distance you are putting up this time.

"I just...w-want you..." You sob the words out. "I w-want you to be there for me, to take c-care of me, to...to give me what I n-need...to feel happy...to feel nice...to not feel...feel broken...I want to get better...feel better...b-become normal again..."

"I...I can't...give that...to you..."

"I'm asking too much..."

"No. I just...shouldn't be...the one...to give...it to...you."

"What if it wasn't bad? What if...if I was your age? Would that just...just make this all better?"

There's not an answer, and this just scares you more.

"I wish I was older then...I wish I could be just so I...I c-could have this..." You crouch down, huddled over in the corner.

"I don't care that...that you're older then me...it's...it's only...f-fourteen years? And...and I'll be...be eighteen in f-four more years..." You are trying so desperately to rationalize it in your head, to try and find a way for it to be okay. "When I'm...officially...an adult then it should be okay...right? I d-don't mind waiting for you...I don't mind waiting to hold your hand and k-kiss you without having to hide it if...if you don't mind waiting too..."

"People still...wouldn't like...me being...that much...old-"

"I don't care about the other people! They aren't doing anything to help me...help me get through this...if all they want to do is t-take away the thing that m-makes me happy then fine...t-they can get mad!" You feel livid, but it's slowly being replaced with desperation and sorrow.

"Delilah...please...calm down..."

"No! Why should people g-get to take away my happiness again? I've already had everything else taken away from me...why this too? Why are you trying to c-convince me? If...if you don't mind it then..." You can't wipe away the tears fast enough.

"P-Please love me..." You chew away at your lip again. "Please..."

"I can't...the way...you want. It's not...okay the...way you...want it."

"Then I am wrong...t-that's okay....I don't...don't mind being wrong. I don't mind...d-doing bad stuff with you..."

"You need...to become...a good...person."

"If I can't be a good person with you then I don't care." You sound like a child who has given up on the screaming part of a tantrum and has to resort to tears and curt answers.

"Do you...love me too...?" You're speaking so quietly now, barely a whisper.

"I..." Lawrence is struggling with the answer. It's just one word, one word that will either shatter the ground beneath you or lift you up.


"Then I don't mind having to do bad stuff with you. Hiding or running away. I don't care. I have to do that already..."

You try to put your crying under control, and you can hear Lawrence moving kneel right behind you.

"Please..stop crying."

"I'm not crying anymore..." You liar. "Please don't leave me like everyone else has..."

"I won't."

"Do you promise though? I...I don't want to be alone. I don't want to have to go through any of this alone."

"I promise."

He sounds tired but sincere, yet you still feel uneasy about it.

"You swear? No breaking it...you can't break it."

"I swear."

You want to believe this badly, but there's still that fear of abandonment in you. Lawrence must be able to sense it too.

"What can...I do...to make...you believe...me? To make...you feel...better?"
Stop trying to run away from it. We have to hide it from others, not each other.

... and stop pushing us away even if his erection is poking our butt.
OP here, sorry about slow update today. Apartment hunting sucks, but right now I'm getting me some devils lettuce so please behave till in back in a few hours!
If you really love me, then come with me right now, and let's leave town. Everyone just wants to tear us away from each other, even our friends, like Sam or John or Jessica or Mabel or Aria... ! They don't understand our love and they'll never let us be together! Go get my grandpa's gun from John and I'll get my stuff from the kids room and we meet back here ok?

Not this

"Please...I know that we h-have to hide it in public but...but when you can...when we're alone..." You're still crouched over, facing the wall as you speak. "Don't run away from me...don't hide. When you can I want you to..."

You want to be showered in affection.

You want to be given an unending flow of happiness.

You want all the worry and notions of being alone and unwanted gone.

Chewing at your bottom lip you turn to face Lawrence, the courage to do so slowly rising up.

"I want you to...to love me as much as possible...please...if that's um...not too selfish to ask..." As you say this you crawl over to him, arms around his shoulders as you collapse against Lawrence's body. You feel him embrace you back and it fills you with joy.

You're the only one he holds and touches like this, it makes you feel special...wanted...loved.

It would absolutely kill you to see him hold anyone else like this.

Not in just a hug but...with how tight he holds on to you...the fact he is holding on to you and no one else...more then just...physically... If you were to see him to do this with anyone else...

You would break

You need to keep him for yourself

You have to

Memories of your mother come flooding in, the talk about how she trapped your father...

How awful

"I promise." You can hear Lawrence speak up, and you pull away from bury your face against his neck and collar to leaning your forehead against his.

"Then...will you say it back...?"

Lawrence is searching your face for the answer to this, but you have a feeling he knows, that he just really wants confirmation.

"I love you." You say this both as an answer and as a statement, your hands clutching each other in your lap. Butterflies flutter away at your stomach, making you both excited and afraid.

You want to hear him say it back.

Hear it in his voice.

"I...I l-..." Lawrence's mouth opens and closes several times, his eyes darting away at the end.

"Can't...say it..."

You feel your heart squeeze up.

"Do you not...?"

"No...just...it's scary...to say...that."

"Oh..." The big man, afraid of needles and heights...

He is also scared to say a three words.

Of course you feel disappointed at not hearing this back, but you're trying to hide it the best you can.

Your hands are lifted up from your lap and pressed into a quick kiss before Lawrence presses an equally light and quick one against your lips.

"Sorry..." He whispers, the tingly feeling traveling from your lips and down your neck.

"It's um..it's okay..." You want to try and play this off, to not seem bothered by it. "That just um...that just means you owe me two favors now.one for not escorting me yesterday and now one for being afraid of a silly word."

There's a tug of a smile at the edge of Lawrence's cheek, but you both know that this upsets you greatly.

"You um...you can't push me away no matter what...e-even if you get h-hard and it pokes me in the b-butt..." You just want things to feel normal, to not make a big deal out of it, to not have to hear or to do the apologizing anytime one of you does something.

Lawrence turns a bit red at this, but he's much better at hiding it then you are. You earn a gentle thunk against the forehead and you're glad to accept it.


By the time the door knocks again you have almost fallen asleep. Face against his chest and an arm wrapped around your waist you were content with just laying there, taking a nap if it happened. You enjoyed listening to his breathing, to the sound of his heart. You think about how his scar is healing up, how the rest of him is. Hopefully you've been a help to him, even if it's been a weird ride through it all.

You begrudgingly let Lawrence go so he can answer the door. Sam stands there and invites you both over to his room.

Keeping a close clutch to Lawrence's shirt you walk as close as you possibly can to make it through the few feet of hallway.

Inside of Sam's room stands John, Mabel, and Aria. It looks like they have been sharing a serious discussion, one that you are now about to be part of.

"Alright, to get down to matters..." Sam comes over after locking the door and you have to remind yourself to not clutch as Lawrence's arm the entire time.

"John managed to talk with those bozos up front and it does seem like they had an interest in the ad. One of them mentioned how you had a similar face and would be the same age at the picture, but it seems like the others are too dumb to realize what a cut-and-dye job is. It ah...also appears as if two of them were thinking you were a boy." Sam gives this quick rundown, remaining standing on his crutch.

"I talked with Warren, it seems he was made aware of the ad. I couldn't get out any information on whether or not he knew you were the girl, but I doubt it. From the sounds of it they've discovered the ad rather recently, so the idea of big reward money is still fresh on their mind. If we're careful then we may not have a real problem at hand. I have been trying to find us a new place, a better one then this. I may have something lined up but it'll be quite a few days till that can happen..."

"Can't believe we're on our third place..." John mumbles.

"We can't dwell on that. We have to think about the now and the future. I'll work tooth and nail to get us place secured, but till then we need to be extra careful these next few days. If they realize what you're worth then it could get violent."

"We also can't let those jack-asses know where we go either, what a pain..." Mabel seems frustrated by all of this, and understandably so.

"We'll have to keep you inside for the most part to avoid having them look at you in the lobby and hallway but on the chance of things going sour..." Sam is staring down at you as he asks this.

"Even if it's just temporarily, do you have a place you could hide out at, for the worst case scenario?"

should be back to normal posting tomorrow!
M-... maybe, like, grandma's place? Those weird guys in the cars wouldn't go there twice in a row, right? Maybe grandma's even back...

Or maybe Mr. Faraway would be willing to put us up for a bit?
Looks like you misspelled "vote"! It also looks like you voted three times! Whoops! Sorry, but your votes will need to be invalidated.

Better luck next time!

Scope out Grandma's place first, maybe try staying there a day before bringing everyone.

I don't know if asking Mr. Faraway to put up this many people is a good idea. Though I also don't know how we'd fit everyone in grandma's place
I think Sam is referring to just Delilah, since she's the one at risk at the apartments.
>just Delilah

Rereading the last bit I believe that is very much the case, I'm dumb. In that case, either would probably work, though I feel that Mr. Faraway's place would be safer. Did he agree to help us out again? I don't remember.
No worries, and I definitely agree. If grandma hasn't returned, we'd risk squatters or her neighbors getting suspicious.

Back when we'd stayed the night at his place, Mr. Faraway offered to try and render us even the smallest of assistance if we found things to be going belly-up. So, say we stay in until Friday evening, we can sneak out while the others distract the guys in the lobby not too far gone on marijuanas and make our way over to his club.
"Um..." You try to think about where you could stay. You have some cash so a motel wouldn't be out of the question, but you need to try to save your money as much as possible.

"I can try to stay at my grandma's place but um...I don't know if she's back yet..."

Or if she ever will be...

What if she is still missing?

"But I think I would need to check it out first...I'm not sure if it's doable right now. Uh...oh yeah, and then there's Mr. Faraway. He's nice, and he's offered to let me stay there before but I don't think I can go over till Friday..."

"Alright, let's hope it doesn't come to that, but at least we have some sort of a plan. You know how to get to both these places?"

"Of course."

"Then it should be easy enough. I'd rather not have you split away from the group, but if it's a needed thing..."

"And it's not really like they would try to nab you off the streets- well, so long as it's like...a nice street." Aria speaks up. "I think even they would realize that trying to force a kicking and screaming girl to come with them would be like...really dumb."

"Seems like our biggest concern is keepin' her hid away till we can sneak her out. Shouldn't be that bad, specially if they can't two n' two together. Long as they don't get the jump on us I don't think fighting them off would be too terrible either." John thinks over the situation, probably imagining what kind of situation that would be. He sounds confident but it doesn't really reassure you.

"We don't want to go looking for trouble or anything-"

"I know Sam, I'm just...think' out loud."

This has probably been a huge stress on the whole group, even more then what they already go through.

And it's all your fault.

"I'm sorry you guys have to go through this..." You can't even look them in the face when you say this. "It's my fault..."

"Don't beat yourself up over this." Sam places a hand on your shoulder as he says this. "There's nothing you can do about it. This is just poor circumstances is all. Everyone goes through them-"

"Maybe not at the tune of 50 grand." Mabel receives a dirty glance from Aria at this. "Eh, I'm just sayin'. It's a lot of money is all, you don't see that number thrown around like that."

"...as I was saying. Everyone goes through tough times and it just seems like this is one of yours."

"It feels like it's been going on a lot longer then it should be..."

"Things can get better, even if it doesn't feel like it. Now I know it'll probably be pretty boring, but can I ask that you stay inside for the most part? We don't need to risk you being seen too soon."

"Yeah, I understand." You don't look forward to being confined away though.

It's almost like you're a princess being locked away in a tower...

"Me and John will be working hard on securing the next spot. Please do your best to hang tight till then. We needed to get this done for the group's sake anyways, this place is far from ideal." Sam's face turns to one of displeasure. "Last night I had a nice dream of cuddling a rather hairy lady, turned out it was just a rat."

"Oh, by the way Sam." Aria turns towards him. "There's that church even today, Jessica and I will take the kids there so they don't have to stay cooped up. I know they're going a little stir crazy..."

"Over on Belmont?"

"Um, yeah! That's the one! They're like...feeding everyone there too. Hot dogs or something, but I'm sure the kids won't complain."

"That should be fine then. I know they hate it here, being stuck in one room. Hopefully this won't be a thing for much longer."

"We'll have to let Sarah and Eric know what's going on too. I think she's dealing with the funeral stuff today, but when she gets back we should fill her in." John says. "Anyone know how the weather is supposed to be?"

"I think it's supposed to snow the next couple of days, but I don't think it's supposed to be like, hard or anything. Just annoyin'." Mabel sounds peeved by this, and for a moment you almost forget that you had been discussing what to do if you're recognized. You wish it could be normal conversations like this more often.

[2/3dammit, slightly too long]
"I'd rather deal with flurries for a couple of days then a big blizzard again. Keeps some of the weirdos off the streets too. Though I guess it is only some of them..." John fiddles around with the pack of smokes in his pocket. "You uh, you healin' up alright Law?"

Lawrence nods and John smirks, though you are able to see Sam shake his head a bit. What kind of scolding did he give Lawrence anyways?

"What about um...other people staying here? Do I need to worry about them?" You have to remember that your group is not the only one staying here, the thoughts of that man who had walked past you coming up.

"Most of them are staying in the other halls. We did our best to try and claim this one for ourselves but there are two empty ones at the end of this hall. I doubt anyone passing through will recognize you, so our biggest concern are the guys up front. Don't know why Warren lets them hang around..."

"He likes the company." John sounds like he's making fun of the guy. "Guy's so lonely that he doesn't care if it's just a bunch of junkies that don't remember his name half the time. I'm surprised Warren remembers his own name."

"You know he don't dabble in that crap."

"Might as well, the way he is? Keeps making fun of the other guys who fall into that stuff but that man will drink through a liquor store in a night if you let him."

"Wouldn't need to be like that if they learned how to take better care of the men fightin-...anyways, discussion for another day." Sam seemed really into it, like he has spoken over this kind of thing plenty of times before.

"Oh, by the way." Aria addresses you this time.

"I know it's going to suck, being stuck in this crappy place but is there like...anything you want us to bring back for you?"
Food, nigga.
We have to kill time, so something to read would be good. Eric might have an idea? He did pick up The Man of La Mancha, after all.
Whoops, took an accidental nap. My bad, my bad.
This, or some board games to play with the kids
"Um...maybe you could bring me something sweet?" You feel pretty silly for asking for something like that. "Or maybe uh..."

You need to think of something that will make you sounds matured and grownup, like you aren't worried about being stuck in a room like this all day.

"I also really liked the book Eric picked up for me. Maybe a couple things to read would be nice? And like...maybe something I can play with the kids later? Something like a board game or whatever?"

"Alright, sounds doable enough. We'll make sure to bring you back something at least."

You nod at Aria and notice that Sam has been talking lowly to Lawrence.

"-try not to get yourself hurt again, you hear me?"

Lawrence nods at this but Sam continues to give him a stern look, a warning. You're pulled away from listening in by John's hand on your shoulder. He leans in to whisper to you.

"I'll make sure we get a lesson on how to use that tomorrow, okay? I don't feel comfortable leaving it to you without any training or knowledge on it, and at this point it might cause more harm then good. I'm also going to see about getting some more bullets, but that may be difficult."

The gun, he's talking about the gun.

You nod and John pulls away, giving you a quick pat on the shoulder.

It would be smart for you to know how to use one, but the idea of it still scares you.

"Shoot, Sam I gotta-" Mabel looks down at her watch, jumping when she sees the time.

"Go ahead, you've more the helped enough. Stay safe out there." Sam nods her off and Mabel gives Aria a quick peck on the lips before rushing out. You can't help but notice that this action if less meaningful then it usually looks, like they just do it out of habit now.

"It's about time for us to go too." Aria mentions and Sam nods.

"We should probably head out too. Discussed everything we could for now, only thing we can do is to actually do something. Lawrence, I'm trusting you to use your best judgment while we're gone." Sam gets a thumbs-up from him before continuing.

"Right, eyes and ears people, remember that. Pay attention, and if anything even remotely suspicious comes up then don't be afraid to let us know. And you..." Sam directs this all on you.

"You just focus on staying hidden and quiet and just...how you usually are."

"Alright Sam, I can do that."

This should be easy enough, you just need to hang out...not draw attention to yourself. You can handle that...

You can do this.


You can not do this.

It's so incredibly mind-numbingly B O R I N G.

Only...how many hours even? Feels like forever, but it's probably only been two hours since you went back with Lawrence.

You tried to reread your book again, but after finishing it so soon it offers no extra joy. You managed to grab Matilda from the other room, but you feel bad about reading ahead without the kids. You get a few pages ahead and stop, not wanting to spoil yourself early.

Lawrence managed to fall asleep while you were reading, so instead of even getting the chance to talk with him the quiet is filled with snoring instead.

You try crocheting again, wanting to make a partner for your yarn monster. It occupies you for some time but without anything to listen to or talk about it is a bit boring. Even just listening to the radio would improve this, but you forget to grab it from the kid's room.

Not that you really had anywhere to go before, but being prevented from leaving has made you realize just how badly you would like to leave, to walk outside or do...anything.

You want to watch TV or listen to music or look at magazines or just...something.

"Rude..." You mumble to yourself when you look over to see that Lawrence is still asleep. Of course you don't really blame him. There just isn't much to do when you don't have a home. There's that worry about getting food or shelter or whatever but when that isn't happening...when there is downtime...

No wonder those guys in the lobby are always messed up...

The apartment isn't even big enough to explore, but you try anyways.

Through the dirty cabinets, the drawers, the shelves...

Not the fridge though, you're a bit scared of what you might find. What if someone left like...a lobster in there and over time it has mutated and-

No...that's dumb. Anyone living here wouldn't be able to afford lobster.

Still...the kitchen is inspected and done.

You go to the bathroom but there's not really anything to look over in here. Just the space behind the mirror which reveals dusty shelves.


Back to the living room...kitchen...bedroom area? It's weird how it's all one room, but that must make it cheap.

It also leaves less for you to explore.

Well, there is a closet at least.

You hold your breath as you open it, trying to prepare for the smell.

It's dusty and old but...that's it.

No, wait...there is something in here.

Just in the corner it's...

...a plastic cup.

B O R I N-

Oh, there is something else on the ground underneath it. Tossing the cup back in you grab the little square...what is it? Fits in the palm of your hand, plastic packaging, flat...there's something circular inside it. Pulling it out in the light you can catch the very edge of the word;

Weird...what is this for. When you rub your fingers over the edge of the circle you can feel that there is maybe a bit of liquid inside too? You kinda wanna open it but...

You close the closet, still holding the little plastic square. It also looks like it may have been part of a row? Like it was torn off from a row of similar ones...weird.

You can see that Lawrence is sitting up, finally awake from his nap.

Would he know what this is? For now you pocket it, coming over to sit with him.

Lawrence yawns, flinching when he opens his mouth just slightly too much.

"Finally." You say as you sit down in front of him, crossing your arms to show just how upset you are. "You fell asleep and left me all alone. It's been boring. Just...so boring."

"Gets...like that." Lawrence stretches out, cracking his neck in the process.

"Well maybe then you should do something like uh...the drawing! Finish the drawing!" Lawrence grimaces when you mention that, and looking around you realize that you don't see the drawing board anywhere.

"Still...at the...school. Couldn't...bring it...back...yet."

"Oh." Well, that goes your plan for something. With a frustrated noise you flop to your stomach, gripping the blankets in your hands. "Boring."

Lawrence lights up a cigarette, a normal one, and takes the time to enjoy it as you roll about on the blankets.

"I wish we had a TV and a VCR in here..." You look at the outlet in the wall in front of you. "Then we could like...rent a VHS from Blockbuster or something..."

"Need...electricity too."


"This is annoying." You grumble, laying on your back to look at the ceiling. "I wanna go outside..."


"I know that...that's why I'm not." You puff your cheek. "I want to do something...give me something to do."

"You can..." You await the answer, wanting a way to escape the boredom. "Stop...whining."

"I'm not whining!" You whine, facing away to pout again.

"Are too. Like a...baby." When you glance over you can see that Lawrence is smirking at this, enjoying the fact that it's bugging you when he says this. Even though you know a reaction is what he wants you can't stop yourself from letting it out. You sit up on your knees and face him, fists balled up.

"I am not a baby! I told you I'm an adult-"

Your words catch when Lawrence leans in close, his face right in front of yours. When you feel his cigarette flavored breath on your lips you can't help but blush hard, the sudden closeness catching you off guard.

"Say...it again."

"I'm an adult...er...a-almost anyways...that um...counts enough as not being a baby..." You feel the courage from your tantrum disappear, Lawrence smirking at your bashfulness.

Are you going to earn another kiss again? You hope s-

Nope, just another forehead flick.

"You're rude! So rude!" You say as you scoot away, in safety from his arm reach. Lawrence returns to his smoking like it was no big thing. How dare he still enjoy bullying you like this...

"You should be nice to me! You still owe me!" All Lawrence does is stick out his tongue at you, the silly gesture looks jarring against his scared up cheek.

"Well if you're just going to be a jerk then..." You pull out the square from your pocket and display it to Lawrence. "Tell me what this is!"

You're surprised to see Lawrence jump at the sight of it. It's just a little square, you doubt it could be anything bad...unless it's dirty...maybe you shouldn't have held it in your hands...

"Where...did you...get that?"

"I found it. You know what it is?"

Lawrence reaches for it but you pull it away easily enough.

"Nope. Tell me what it is." He's still sore, and so playing keep away with him is easy enough. Now you really need to know what it is.

"It's..." The corner of Lawrence's mouth twists up and he stops trying to reach for it.

"It's what?"

"...it's something...for sex."

Sex? This thing? You feel kind of weird for holding it now but...it is in plastic. It can't be dirty, right?

"How could this be used for um...s-sex?"

"It's...protection. Keeps...a guy...from getting...a girl...pregnant."

You can tell it's making him uncomfortable and you feel weird about it too, now that you know it's something for...for sex.

But there's still part of you that's curious.

Is that...weird? Should you still be wanting to know about this kind of stuff?

"How...how does it do something like that...?"

You've really put Lawrence in the spot light now, you can tell.

"It's...it's fine. You can tell me..." Can he? Or is that too weird?

Lawrence still looks uncomfortable, and you can only imagine how red your own face is.

"The guy...puts it...on before...sex and-"

"Um...puts it on?"

"His uh..." Lawrence points down at his pants, and while you know what he's suggesting you're still trying to figure out how something like this would...work.

"Oh...does it um, feel weird?"

"I uh...I don't...know."

Oh, that's right. He wouldn't.

You're still looking down at the packaging, only slightly less confused now.

"Uh...I know...weird question...but um...did you...ever get...the talk?"

"The talk...? You mean like the um...sex one...yeah?"


"I think some of my friends did but um...I didn't. Mom never got around to it and...and I guess its too late for one now..." Your mouth twists up at the thought of that. Not that a talk would have helped you with what happened but...you did kind of find out the hard way.

"At school they kind of mentioned it. All they told us was that you needed a guy and girl to make a baby, and that the guy has uh...s-spuh...'s' something that a girl needed. But they um...they mostly warned us not to do it before we're married. That it would be a terrible thing if we did..." You know that the word was sperm, but you don't really feel confident enough to say it.

"Yeah...schools aren't...good at...teaching that...kind of...thing."

"I think maybe some of my friends knew? I'm not sure though, I was always too embarrassed to ask. I didn't want them to know that I didn't know...I didn't want them to think I was a baby..."

Maybe you should have asked them though...

"I know...it's kind...of weird...but are...do you...have like,...any questions...about that...kind of...thing?"
File: Innocent.jpg (73 KB, 653x584)
73 KB
Show us how it works!
show us where t-the spuh... the "s" thing comes from
and wear the circle thing so we can see what it's supposed to do!
Is sex really as "fun" as Aria said it was?
...Not really. We've had way too much experience by this point. Just make sure to tell us if we say anything weird.
Isn't it just going to... like, you know, fall off?

Do guys really just... get hard in the morning for no reason? Like... none?

There's... not really anything about the sex itself we're wondering. We've sort of gotten a very severe lesson on that matter. Except maybe if we'll ever actually get to enjoy it.
Yeah, this.
Disregard >>288030
"Where does it go?"

Fuck if I know what's going on, but I need to hop in here.
"Um..." Your eyes dart around as you try to think about that.

There has to be more to it then just...in and out, right? Otherwise how would people like...like Aria and Mabel have sex?

You feel weird imagining how the two of them would do it when Lawrence manages to snatch the square out of your fingers.


"Condom is...expired." He says, looking over it.

They can expire? It's not like food...wait, did he call it a condom? Huh, so that was a condom you found then. You feel a bit better at least having a name to call it now. Kinda.

Right...he's waiting for you to ask some questions.

There's...probably a lot you could ask him but you're only comfortable with asking a few. You don't want to make it too weird but you still...you're just curious.

"Won't that like...like fall off or something though? And it's just like...like a ring. How is that supposed to help?" You still can't really imagine how that...how a condom, would work.

"It's more...like a...sleeve. Covers the...guy up. Keeps any...of the...semen from...eh...entering the...woman." Lawrence seems more discomforted by all this then you are, honestly. Or at least, he's more flustered by this then you've seen him act before. You almost kind of enjoy seeing it from him, especially after all the bullying he has done to you.

Semen...wait that's the same thing as sperm right?

"That's um...the white stuff that comes out, right?" Lawrence nods and you scowl at the memory. "It tastes awful..."

You really only meant to say it to yourself, but when you say that last part Lawrence reacts like he was struck.

You think of more questions that you feel okay with asking.

"So um...do guys really just get uh...hard like that in the morning for no reason at all? It wasn't because like...I did something weird again or whatever?"

"Yeah...just happens. Not just...in the...morning either." Lawrence looks like he's remembering up a bad time. "Sometimes just...happens. Inconvenient...times. Like class."

"Did that happen to you?" From how frustrated Lawrence looks at this question you can already tell what the answer is.

"Not...often. Just...once in...a while. Would be...trying to...focus on...the lesson...or uh...fall asleep...and then...I would...just be...uh...'at attention'." He's looking away and scratching his clear cheek as he says this.

"Do you just have to wait for it to um...go back down?" You're trying to imagine the boy from the photo, sitting at his desk with a...

"Yeah. Can wait...for it...to go...down on..it's own. Cold water...helps."

"What about if it um...doesn't go down by itself then?"

"Sometimes...have to...uh...take care...of it...then..."

"Take care of i-...oh do you mean like, touch yourself?" You don't realize how casually you said this till Lawrence's reaction to the word. He's not looking at you but he gives a nod.

You think back to the talk Aria gave you.

"And...is sex really fun?" And once again you realize who you're asking.

"Ah sorry! I keep forgetting that you um...haven't done it...sorry..."

"It's okay. It's supposed...to be...good. There's...a reason...people want...to do...it."

From the way they had kind of talked about it at school you thought that sex was supposed to be some sort of thing you should only do when you wanted to start a family. It had never occurred to you then that people who couldn't make babies together could enjoy it or that people would just do it for fun.

"Do you think I'll ever get to enjoy it properly...? Is...that weird to ask? I'm sorry..." Your mind is just racing with different thoughts, all of them mixing together into a confusing muddle. "I just...people make it sound good and...and I want good things too...I'd need to do it if I uh...e-ever want a family anyways..."

You haven't thought about that for a while. The aspect of getting to start a family seems like a far off goal now but...it would still be nice, right?

Ah wait, that would mean that you would have to have sex with-

"Hopefully...you will. It's supposed...to be...nice. Feel nice. Let you...be close with...someone. And that...doesn't mean...you have...to go...all the...way the...first tim-" Lawrence stops himself from saying anymore.

Doesn't have to go all the way? That means there's more to it then just...just being inside of you.

"Do most people your age...er, have most of them already..." You feel bad for asking this, but you're so used to seeing people his age married or in a relationship. And since people in relationship seem to usually have sex then it's a bit weird that he hasn't...right?

"Most seem...to have...gotten laid...at least...once by...now." He's trying to answer this calmly, and he's doing a good job at it, but you can still tell there is that bit of frustration there.

"Why haven't you? That was rude, wasn't it? I'm being rude right now-" You cover your face with your hands in embarrassment at this. You were just letting the words roll out, not thinking about how they might be offensive. "I'm sorry Lawrence, I really am."

You feel yourself being pat on the head and you pull your hands away enough to look up at Lawrence. He pulls out another cigarette, ready to light it.

"It's fine. I just...never got...close with...anyone in...high school. Not enough...to get...to that...level. When I...went away...then it...was only...guys there. Don't have...a problem...with them...but I...don't roll...that way. When I...was released...I had...a hard...time trying...to talk...with girls. Anytime...I tried...getting close...I was...just scared. Scared of...that commitment. The closeness...of everything...is just...kind of...terrifying."

"Wait...are you scared of sex...?"


"No, just...what it...means, I...guess. I don't...want just...a cheap...one time...thing. I think...I want...to be...close with...the person...I do...it with. But then...I was...only ever...good about...pushing people...away. Pushing away...anyone who...wants to...be close...with me."

"You promise not to push me away though, right?"

"Yeah...I promise."

Right, that makes you special. You're special to him...good, that's good.

"Then...does that mean you'd want to have...that you'd have s-sex with me?"

You can see Lawrence's face turn white and then red at this.

"Um..I...I don't mean right now or anything..." You realize how blunt your phrasing was. "But if...if I ever get to that point then...does that mean you'd want to do it with me?"

It takes much longer then you expect for an answer, if you could call it that.

"I...if you...you...wait..." His hand comes up clenched to his face as he digs for an answer. You decide to change up your question a bit instead.

"Would you do it if I...I asked you for it?"

"..." You've once again stumped Lawrence, the unlit cigarette clenched tightly between his lips. Those are pretty heavy questions, aren't they?

"I didn't mean to make you feel uncomfortable-"

"I would...do what...I could...to make...you happy...but..but that's...a...that would...be..." It sounds like he's talking to himself now. While he struggles for the words you see the condom sitting on the ground next to him. Moving over you grab it and hang off of his shoulder.

You put him into this situation, but you can at least try to lighten the tone, right? Just some...some normal teasing. You'll try to bully him and he will flick you and it'll be like you never asked.

"Um...m-maybe you should just show me how this is supposed to work instead." You hold it between your fingers, trying to put on your best coy voice.

Lawrence nearly swallows his cigarette when you say this, dropping the lighter he has pulled out.

"Ah j-just kidding!" You quickly release your hands from him as he recovers from yet another difficult question.

"It was bad of me, I'm sorry I was...was just trying to bully you some...I'm sorry..."

You bite on your lip as you look down at the condom in your hand, feeling awful about what you just put him through.

"You're...okay. Just...surprised...me, is...all."

"I...I do kinda want to know how it's supposed to work but that...that's just weird, isn't it? I'm just...being a weirdo again."

"It's fine. Just...a question...like that...can be...a bit...uh..."



There's that awkwardness again, just hanging between the two of you. Lawrence finally manages to light up, this time choking on smoke.

Of course there's part of you that is scared of all this, but then there's the part of you that is curious. Which one is the 'right' one to feel, anyways? Is there just a right one?

You feel...weird...about all of this.

When you have sex the way you're supposed to then...does it feel nice like the kisses do? That kind of happy warm feeling? Those times were so painful that you can't imagine how they would feel nice at all. That just means you have to do it properly...right? Still, the idea of pleasure from that is a far off concept. Touching yourself is supposed to be good too, right? Enough for people to want to do it but...you haven't done that properly either then. Does it feel good in the same way you do when you get to have blood or like...like that floaty feeling from the weed? Probably not...

That swirling mess of confusion, fear, and curiosity roll around inside like a hurricane.

You...wouldn't mind feeling good by that kind of stuff but at the same time it feels like you might be scared...maybe if it was slow and gentle? Maybe...maybe then you could try enjoying yourself, enjoy sex, enjoy L-

Does he have any idea that you're thinking about that kind of stuff right now? You really hope not.

Dammit, why are you so fixated on this.

You shouldn't be interested in this kind of thing, you shouldn't be.

But...you still are...you still are having those weird thoughts...those...

Don't call yourself that again, that awful word. It's...it's fine if you think about this kind of thing. It's...fine if you touch yourself...Mabel said so. It's fine...to be curious about this, right?



You hate that word and...and you keep thinking about how everyone said it's alright but...it still comes up...

You're face is still red from all this, skin hot to the touch. The warmth has spread to your chest, to your stomach. You just feel confused and awkward and...just so weird.

"Um...Aria mentioned they w-would be back before dark..." Why are you bringing that up?

It's silent again and you still have a few hours alone in here.

What do you want to do?
>What do you want to do?
This >>288932, just fuck already god damn
Try not to engage the dark thoughts. Acknowledge it's there but just... don't react to it and it won't... sting? It's like a bee, just let it fly around.

Why did we have to be weird to Lawrence again?

... hide under the blankets and try to follow the warm feeling inside of us. What is that? Like, shame? Disgust? ... Love?
Resist urge to become an underage smut quest.

Basically what >>289219 said
This is a lot better than what I can come up with.
You fall back into the blankets, rolling around till you are hidden away safely underneath. It's not exactly private, but its more then enough for right now. At least you don't have to look at Lawrence. There's too much for you to think about right now to get distracted.

The smell of the tobacco comes into the air, and while you don't necessarily like the smell it is a familiar and comforting one.

That vile and awful word creeps back into mind, seeping it's toxicity throughout.

You know you need to stop calling yourself that, but you can't. It's just...there. Always there.

But maybe that means you can just ignore it instead? Like when kids use to pick on you at school, except you're the one doing it to yourself. You just need to remember what everyone has told you, how this is all fine, that you aren't doing anything bad or wrong.

It doesn't help the word go away, but you tuck it away for now. You shouldn't think about it, but rather this weird feeling in your chest.

It's...you don't know exactly...what is this?

Is it shame?

It can't be that. Shame usually makes you feel like...like you want to be swallowed whole and never have to see anyone ever again. Sure you feel embarrassed and pretty bad about what you had to talk to Lawrence about, but...you feel like you can face him again.

Maybe it's disgust.

No, not that either. Disgust makes you want to throw up, it also brings on those feelings of anger. Anger at yourself, your body...and the things people do. This feeling inside you is much nicer, gentle, warm.

Maybe...this is what it feels like to love.

The thought of the word brings on butterflies in your stomach. Do you feel this way because you do love Lawrence?

It makes you feel excited and nervous and...and scared. Scared that this might be taken away from you, that the one good thing you have will be ripped away.

You wish it could be a nice thing without strings attached, something you didn't have to worry about constantly.

But...this is nice, right? Nice enough to enjoy for now. You should try to enjoy this.

You love Lawrence and...you're pretty sure he loves you too. You'll hear him say it one day, but for now him being here is more then enough.

Sitting up, you keep the blanket draped over your shoulders and head.

Just...remember. You're special, special to him. You're allowed to get close to him, and no one else is. No one else can. This is just for you, only you.

You turn to look at Lawrence, watching as he puts out the butt of his cigarette.

"You don't like...hate me right now or anything, do you?" Of course he shakes his head no, and you take this as an invitation.

Holding the blanket high above your head you move over to Lawrence, facing him as you sit in his lap. You throw the blanket over the two of you, hiding away in the comforter. Lawrence is a bit confused by your actions, but allows you to do them all the same. Face to face and right up next to each other, it's warm together. Much more pleasant then the freezing room is.

"It's...like we're in a tent." You say, able to smell the smoke off of his breath. "We should go camping."

"Too cold...for that."

"Not now silly. When it's summer and warm. Right next to a lake. We can put up a ten-, wait, that's hard work. I can watch you put up a tent, and then we can have like...a camping adventure."

"Will get...chewed up...by mosquito."

"Um, no it will be fine. I'm kind of like one, right? I'll just...scare them away. I'll say um, No! Only I can have his blood!' And then they'll leave you alone." You feel weird, joking about it like this.

"But what...if you...bite me?"

"Oh well, it's perfectly fine if I do it."

"What about...bears?"

"Oh. No no no. No. That is all on you if there are any kind of bears."

"What about...skin walkers?"

"I don't know what those are and they sound scary so if you tell me I will hate you."

You can see Lawrence grin at this.

"Gonna...tell you."

"Don't! Don't you dare! If you do then I won't be able to sleep tonight and it will be all your fault!"

"Skin walkers...big and...tall crea-"

"Stop it! Don't you dare!"

"-come in...the middle...of the...night an-"

"No! Don't you tell me anymore!" You begin to shake at Lawrence's shoulders, hoping to give him a concussion.

Well, maybe not something that bad. But you would like it if he stopped.

"-rip off...you face...and wear-"

"No! AH! Jerk! Stop it!" You cover your ears, not wanting to hear anymore. That jerk has that stupid smirk on his face.

"You are just being so rude today! Just...so rude!" You bat at his shoulder as you say this. "Being a big jerk! You need to be nice to me, you know."

"Says who?"

"Me! Says me." And that's final, you think to yourself.

"Don't need...to listen...to a...little brat." You know he doesn't really mean it, but you can't stop yourself from reacting all the same.

"Rude! You are just...just the worst jerk ever! Mean and rude and...and you're the absolute wor-"

With his hands on your back it catches you off guard, but Lawrence quickly presses a cigarette flavored kiss on your lips. You instantly heat up, even more so when you see his smug smirk.

He knows it makes you flustered, that you still aren't used to it yet. You puff your cheek out and look away from him in a pout.

"You're still the worst..."

"At least...I don't...kiss like...a granny."

Yet again it's another thing said just to bully you, but you can't help but turn to face him, appalled by his accusations.

"I don't kiss like a granny! I mean, I might not be the best yet but...but I'm not that bad!" You think about your poor performance and rethink your statement. "I'm...not that bad, right? I'm getting better at it, aren't I?"

Lawrence's hands travel up your back and press you closer to him, foreheads touching again.

"Fine...you are...fine. Cute when...you get...shy." The way he says the last word sounds like he's teasing you again, that smug look still on his face.

"Jerk face..." You mutter, your hands coming up to cup his cheeks. Being this close you take the time to look him over.

"Stupid jerk eyebrows..." Your thumb comes up to rub over the scar on his eyebrow, the healed cut from years ago that have prevented the sliver of hair from growing properly.

"Stupid jerk eyes." Your thumb trails down to underneath his eyes, dark in color. The skin beneath his eyes are the same, the sign of never getting enough sleep. Slight worry lines have begun to form near his eyes, but they are faint.

"Stupid nose." Your finger tips travel down the bridge of a slightly crooked nose. It isn't perfect, matching the rest of him.

"Stupid jerk mouth that says mean things." Your hand continues it's descent, and you brush over chapped lips. You hold his bottom lip gently between your thumb and pointer finger, giving a gentle tug. You can feel his hot breath on your skin, coming and going as he breathes.

"Stupid beard." Lower yet again you go, trapping his chin next. The hair has once again begun to grow longer, making him look somewhat rough. You don't mind it though, don't mind that he doesn't keep it trimmed. Just another imperfect thing about him.

"Stupid jerk ways you go and make me worry about you." Your hand travels up his jaw and to his left cheek, his still healing cuts. He was scared to let anyone else see it before, but he went with you to discuss a plan anyways.

"It's ugly."

"It's fine." You say, your thumb dancing below the stitches. You don't want to see him hurt, but you also couldn't care what kind of marks and scars he had. It's still the same Lawrence beneath the thread. "It's not like it scares me. I don't mind it."

You lean in close and offer up those healing licks. No blood means that there isn't that rushing feeling in your head, but you do have that nice feeling in your chest to make up for it instead. You once again stop when you reach the corner of his lip, pausing where you are.

"Is...the inside fine?" You ask hesitantly, scared of being too forward.

"It's still...healing."

"Do...do I need to...?"

"It...will be...fine. Don't...worry about...it."

"I do worry about it though. I worry about you. I hate how you get hurt and how you make me worry." Your hands come back to hold his cheeks as you say this, hoping that he really pays attention to your words.

"I'm sorry. I will...try to...be more...careful." Lawrence's hands remain on your back, near your shoulder blades. The warmth from his touch is ever so nice.

"You better, or else I'll...I'll beat you up if you get hurt again." You can see Lawrence grin a bit at this. "I really will and I'll mess you up."

"Will you?"

"Yeah. I've been learning how to fight. I'll knock you out in like...ten seconds."

"Can you...now?" Lawrence is only playing along, but you decide to roll with it.

"Yeah! Watch me." You hold up your fists in the small space between you, landing a slow and soft hit against his shoulder with all the fake gusto you can manage.

"Boom! You're down." You announce your victory. "Down for the count."

Lawrence remains sitting up and you puff your cheek.

"This is supposed to be the part when you fall over, and the referee comes out and does the count. You stay down and everyone cheers cause the cute lady won."

You weren't expecting him to, but Lawrence lays back, pulling you down with him.

"What if...we're both...down for...the count?"

"Um...I uh...I didn't think about that..." You try to come up with the answer, now chest to chest with Lawrence as you lay on top of him. "I think in that case its a uh...a draw."

You want to win though.

"But um...little do you know...I've trained with like...monks or something. So even though I'm down, I manage to pick myself up before the final count." You push up and off Lawrence's chest, sitting up above him. You raise your hands up in a fake victory pose. "And then the crowd cheers cause I like, won."

"You won." Lawrence lets you enjoy your victory, the blanket falling off from your shoulders. You feel kind of stupid about acting out that scenario, but at the same time you are glad that it isn't too weird for you guys again.

You look down at Lawrence from your perch on top of him, seeing that he's watching you too. Of course you realize where you're sitting, and the way you two are positioned. You've been below a man before, but never on top like this. You feel a bit scared with the realization of where you are sitting, but at the same time it doesn't bring up any immediate awful memories.

"I love you." You let the words tumble out easily, earning a hand caressing your cheek in return. You let your head turn to his hand, enjoying the feeling as you close your eyes.

This is nice, it's always nice with Lawrence. He does such nice things for you, to you. Makes those warm and fluttery feelings in your chest grow and spread through out your body. When you open your eyes again you look back down at Lawrence, seeing him calm and relaxed enough.

Are you being selfish if you deny him something like sex?

If he's just waiting for you to be okay with it then that means the wait and pressure are all on you. It would be frustrating, waiting for someone to give you something you have been waiting years for.

"I...I want to try..." You were trying to stay confident, but you have already begun to fail. You down to Lawrence, moving up close to his face.

"I want to...to try sex with you..."

"No you...don't." Lawrence is quick to respond, and you bite your lip again. "You...aren't ready...for it."

"You don't know that. I...I feel fine with you. You're nice and kind and...and not those guys. Not the ones who hurt me. It'll be fine with you, I don't mind. Promise."

"Delilah...please don't...force yoursel-"

"I'm...I'm not! Believe me, it'll be fine...I promise. I want to make you happy and...and if making you happy means doing this then...then that's fine with me."

"I don't...need sex...to be...happy."

"You do want it though, don't you? And...and that's what couples do anyways. I told you that...that I want us to be close when we can, when we're alone. And...and we're alone now..." You place your head in the crook of his neck as you say this, gripping at his shirt. Lawrence's hands come up to hold your shoulders and you close your eyes tight.


"Please don't push me away."

"I'm not-"

"You are. I just want to be close to you, please. Please let me show you that I can be...be okay." Your grip tightens. You already feel scared for either outcome, why did you do this? Everything could have been fine if you just didn't bring this up.

"Please...Lawrence, please let me try."

"I...I can't-"

"I love you..." When you say this you feel the hold on your shoulders tighten. "And I want to make you happy..."


You're moved over so that you're on your back, Lawrence's hands on either side of you as he hovers above. Already you can feel your chest tightening up just from this position, but you try to ignore it. Lawrence is looking over your face, probably searching to make sure this is okay.

It isn't though, is it?

You know it's not.

But still you're the one who wanted to try this, not him. Probably the only reason he's even trying to is so that you don't cry and throw a fit.

And already you are feeling regret from this.

Follow through...you need to follow through. After that little display you did you need to...need to try.


Ignore that and just...what are you supposed to do?

Lawrence leans down and gives you a kiss, another quick one. You need to get your breathing in check, in control. You don't want to let him know that you're scared, that you trust him, that is all fine.

He looks hesitant, but you bite at your lip and ask him to keep going with your eyes. Lawrence doesn't look thrilled about it, but he complies.

As you wish

He trails kisses from your cheek and down towards your neck. Why there?

When you feel tingles from the press of his lips on the skin there you can understand why. It almost feels too nice, like you should pull away.

Okay...this is fine. He's gentle, this is okay. If it's all like this then...it should be okay. Just relax and...and let him do the work for now.

You do flinch when his hand comes and holds your side. You shouldn't have, all he's doing is touching you.

"Sorry..." You whisper, trying to think about your breathing instead. Lawrence pauses here, trying to give you time to calm down. You don't really get better and you can tell he notices this.

"Please keep going...I'm fine..." You're lying fools neither of you, but still Lawrence tries. His hand drifts underneath your shirt, warm skin on skin contact. It's not so bad till he begins to move it, drifting over to your stomach.

"S-Stop...w-wait a second...p-please..." You open your eyes, looking down at where he is. His hand is just beneath your shirt, above your belly button. You need to remember that it's Lawrence touching you, no one else. Not someone who wants to hurt you or do awful things to you.

Remember, you asked him for this.


"K-Keep going...p-please keep going Lawrence..." You don't even try to lie this time, knowing full well that it won't do you any good.

Your chest begins to tighten ever so painfully as you feel Lawrence move his hand again, the very tips of his fingers entering below the waistband.

This...this is scary. It's going to hurt, you're going to be hurt again. It's just...there's no way this can feel good, right? There's no way, no way at all, this was a bad idea, why did you suggest this? No one wanted it...you aren't ready...aren't ready for something like this...you...you...

"Can't...do this." Lawrence pulls his hand away, sitting back away from you. "I...can't do...this. I'm...sorry."

"Why not-" You sit up too and see that you have already begun to cry.

"You aren't...ready. This...isn't okay. You're scared. You're too...too youn-..." Lawrence stops himself, looking guilty and exhausted.

"I'm sorry..." You wipe your face with sleeves. "I...I thought I could handle it if it was you...I really did...I'm so sorry..."

Your heart begins to slow back down again, now that you aren't in that position anymore. It was too similar to the time in the camping store...in that back room....

"Are you...okay?"

"I'll be fine...I'm sorry..."


"Sorry..." You force a small grin, but you are reminded how shame feels. "Are you...mad at me now? M-Mad that I tried to make you do something like that...?"

"I'm not...mad. Don't think...you could...make me...mad."

"T-...then can I have a hug? I think I could use one right now..."

You have a small moment of panic when you lay against Lawrence's chest, but you feel comfortable enough in this position...like nothing bad will happen. You've wrapped yourself up in the blanket again, your eyes feeling heavy after being teary. Lawrence strokes your hair as you try to recover from that, offering a nice touch now.

"I do want to get better..."

"You will."

"It doesn't feel that way."

"Was just...too much...right now. You need...to take...it slower."

You don't say anything else at this. Slower...you barely even did anything now. He didn't even touch your underwear or unbutton you pants. You freaked out when hardly anything even happened.

Yet, you were the one who asked for it.

This was all on you, you made him do that and nothing good came out of it for him.


"You'll...need to...hang out...with the...kids tomorrow."

"Huh? Why? Where are you going?" You look up at Lawrence, not liking the idea of him being gone.

"Have to...take care...of some...business."

"You...aren't going to go out and get yourself hurt or anything, are you?"

"No. It will...be fine. I promise."

"Good c-cause if you come back all messed up again I'll...I'll have to beat you up..."

Lawrence gives you a small smile at this.

It's...fine right now.

It maybe have gotten weird and terrible and awful earlier but...it's okay now.

You guys can deal with this.

That warm feeling is coming to your chest again, not as intense as before but it's slowly growing again.

"Thank you for trying anyways..." Lawrence gives you a squeeze in response.

There's probably only about an hour or so before Jessica and Aria returns.

Is there anything you want to talk about?

bedtime for me see you nerds in themorning my hands are freezing and i think my right pinky has gone numb
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fucking whore
talk to Lawrence about how you're a fucking slut and can't do anything right
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Just enjoy the warmth and intimacy. T-that's more important to Lawrence too, isn't it? Not feeling alone? Being wanted and loved?

... he's not expecting to, like... be rewarded with sex at least, right? He stopped... but would other guys have?
John said a relationship could work despite the sex
Yes. These.
"I'm sorry for th-, ah...you told me to stop apologizing so much. Sorr-...eh..." Of course you're for a loss of words, but it's fine. You just continue to lean against Lawrence, enjoying the feeling of being held again.

For now, this is enough, right? Just this feeling of not being alone, and being this close is okay...it's okay for you. You enjoy it, just being held like this.

Is it alright for Lawrence though?

He said he didn't need sex, but you aren't sure how true that is. Maybe...maybe it's not so much that he needs it...just that when...if it happens that it will be something nice for him? He could have easily continued, looked past your tears and fear and haven taken what he wanted.

Lawrence stopped though, he stopped before you had to ask him to. Stopped cause he saw how you were hating every moment of it, even though you had tried to tell him that it would be fine and that you could handle it. He wasn't even mad at you for it either, he told you that it was fine...that you just needed more time...to take it slower. He could have gotten upset, being so close to doing something he's waited years for and to just have you dangle it away. Well, you're pretty sure he's not mad anyways. Otherwise he is doing a good job at hiding it and it still willing to cuddle with you like this, so you don't mind. You'll just...have to make it up to him eventually...right?

Would other guys have stopped though? You have no idea...

Who would keep trying to have sex with a girl while she's crying her eyes out and hating every second of it?

You...know the answer to that, actually.

But...other guys...'normal' ones...would they have stopped? Would they have gotten mad at you for it?

Hopefully...you never have to find the answer to that question.

You bury your face against the space of Lawrence's neck and collarbone.

"You really should stop smoking..." You mumble, looking up at the scars on his neck.


"You do. I can still smell it on your breath." You trace over the scar again, over the bumps and curves of his neck. "This had to hurt a whole lot, didn't it?"

"You wouldn't...believe how...bad." Lawrence brings a hand up to his neck, pulling down his collar just enough to show it off entirely. "Lot of...blood. Thought...I would...die that...night while...I was...laying there."

"How awful...I didn't mean to make you talk about it."

"It's fine."

You notice that this scar is on the right of his neck, while his cut up cheek is the left.

"You got this when you were..." You continue touching his scar.

"Almost seventeen."

"And...you're how old now?"

"Twenty seven."

"Nearly ten years apart..." You mumble, trying to think about how his neck would have looked while healing. You take some notice that you are at least older then this scar is, even if it's only be a few years. Looking up you see the notch in his right eyebrow.

"How did you get that one?"

"Hm? Oh, eyebrow?" You nod. "When I...ten. Was...walking home...from school. Always...got picked...on a...lot at...that age. Boys from...school were...following behind...calling me...names and...other stupid...stuff. Didn't...react to...them so...they tried...throwing rocks. Ran to...Michele's school. Walked with...her and...they stopped...for a...while. One of...them threw...another rock...and accidentally...hit her. Made...me so...pissed. Ran at...the boys...and tried...to fight...them. Was dumb...there was...three of...them and...just one...of me. Knocked me...against the...sidewalk. Head hit...the curb...pretty bad...and got...cut open. Michele...had to...scare them...off for...me. Told me...not to...let myself...get hurt...like that. That she...would take...care of...any scary...boys cause...she was...the big...sister and...it was...her job."

You expect him to get sad as he tells this story, but Lawrence only has the slightest hint of sorrow behind the nostalgia of the event. Why does something like that make him feel happy, when it caused him to get hurt?

"When got...home that...day, Mom...was peeved...cause I...walked into...her kitchen...gushing blood...from my...forehead. Michele...talked about...how she...was going...to beat...the crap...out of...those boys...later while...Mom was...trying to...close up...my head. She always...made me...walk with...her to...and from...school after...that. Boys tried...to come...up to...me a...few times...but Michele...scared them...away every...time. Was...pretty little...kid during...that time...so I...felt like...I couldn't...do much. Told her...that when...I got...older that...I would...get stronger...and take...care of...her instead. Hated feeling...like I...was a burden. Course...Michele kept...saying it...was her...job to...take care...of her...little brother. It...was her...duty as...'first born'."

"Was it nice to have a sister? I'm an only child so...so I never got to experience siblings or anything like that.:

"When we...got along...it was...good. Siblings...fight a...lot. Especially...when they...are only...a few...years apart. Would fight...over front...seat in...Dad's car...what we...would watch...at the...movies...who's turn...it was...to do...dishes. Stuff like...that. Would make...her so...mad at...me. She would...annoy me...so much. It was...great. Would do...stuff just...to make...her upset...sometimes."

"So you were rude even as a little boy."

"Nah. Just...did stuff...to annoy...her. Was funny. Never anything...serious. Just...teasing kind...of stuff. One day...we would...be screaming...at each...other. Next day...she would...take me...to get...ice cream. Hardly...ever stayed...mad at...each other."

"You...really miss her, don't you?"

"Every day." The sadness you had been anticipating comes out all in this one sentence.

"I um....I really miss my dad a lot too. Even...even if he wasn't exactly the best." You hug him tighter. "I...I kinda miss my mom too...is...that weird? She's still alive and...and she wasn't ever really like a good mom but um...she's still my mother. She still gave birth to me and...tried to raise me anyways."

"It's fine...I'm sure...my parents...still miss...both of...their children. Even...if they...both were...mess ups."

"Don't call yourself that." You grip Lawrence's shoulders tighter. "I don't like when you say mean things about yourself. Try to be nicer to yourself."

That's big, coming from you.

Lawrence doesn't give you an answer, only a squeeze.

Maybe you both still have some work then...

That's fine, you can work on it together.

You notice that you still have that warm feeling inside you, the very edges of it tingling.

Is...that a normal feeling for this?

Well...it doesn't hurt, so it should be fine.

Your head is...kinda hurting, but it's only apparent if you focus on it. Nothing bad, very doable. Just ignore it. Ignore it like you have to ignore so much and it will be fine.

You look up at Lawrence, looking at his cheek. There's a slight gap now at the edge of his mouth, the skin tugged up by the stitch.

"And you're sure it's healing alright?" You ask, reaching up to place your fingers by his lip.

"Is fine."

"But what about the inside, are you sure about that?" Your thumb comes up and slips into that gap gently. You cringe when you think about, how just a few days ago, this skin was not attached to each other.


"I don't think you're going to help it by smoking."

"Don't think...smoking helps...with a...lot of...things. Still do...it anyways."

"That's why you need me here to make sure you don't do too many stupid things." You lean up close to Lawrence, pulling back the very corner of his mouth.

"Don't...need to-"

"No, it's fine. And I um...mean it, this time. Or I mean, I could like...spit in your mouth or something..."

"Um, shouldn't...do that..."

You're ready to try and reach the inside of his cheek again, kinda hoping that it feels nice again, when the door knocking stops you.

It feels like you have been caught doing something wrong, even though no one else can see what you're doing. It feels like your heart is beating out of control and you leap off of Lawrence. It looks like it took him by surprise too, but no where near as bad as you got. He gets up to check on the door while you try and calm yourself down.


It's only Aria, inviting you to hang out with them in the other room for a bit. You decide it might be good to give Lawrence some privacy from you, even if it's just for a little bit, and leave him behind.

Going through the hallway is a terrifying experience, and it feels like you can never get to the other room fast enough.

Inside Lisa is displaying the craft she had made today, big and bright and sparkly and...

"What is that?" You ask Aria.

"I don't know and we are scared to ask. Just tell her it looks pretty and she'll be happy."

Marilyn has a book at her lap, opened but she is watching as the boys try to figure out what exactly Lisa had made.

"Got these, by the way." Aria points to a small stack of books on the counter, three different ones. "We didn't know what kind you would like so we tried to get different ones."

"Oh, that's fine. Thanks a bunch."

"Bun in here? Good, we also brought you this!" Jessica stands up from where she has been lining up the kids coats nice and neat, grabbing a small plastic container. There had been other empty spots, but now only a single cupcake remains. You notice that she has Cecelia on her chest, in one of those baby harnesses.

"We uh, got this off the couple day old rack, but they tasted fine enough anyways." You thank Jessica as you take this, removing the cupcake right away. "So how was it here?"

"It's...it gets just...so boring, cooped up inside." You take a bite after you say this, the sweet frosting a welcoming taste.

"Well, sorry we had to leave you behind like that. The kids hate it too, but um...they're a bit harder to control then you are." Aria says, smiling.

"Where's Mabel?"

"Oh, she's covering Sarah's normal shift cause she's dealing with the funeral stuff. I think she should be back soon though."

Looking over you can see that Lisa is showing Buttercup her creation, all while trying to prevent the puppy from carrying off the prized....whatever it is to join her hoard.

"Sam and John still gone?"

"Looks like it, course Marilyn is freaked out any time Sam is gone for more then five minutes but they should be fine. Said they would be back before dark anyways." As Jessica talks you remember that she is going to be seeing her aunt on Saturday instead of going to the country club event. Aria should still be going though, and if you remember correctly then Marilyn is coming along too.

What would you like to talk about with them?
>What would you like to talk about with them?
Initiate orgy

Just kidding, ask for the dynamics of a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship out of curiosity.
Speculate if the next place is safer, if there's anything else we could do to hide from this... damn stalker, his thugs, and the desperate souls.

Consider finding out if Shannon might be in need of a make-up artist.
Do both of these
You know that, once again, everyone is going to have to pick up everything and move.

All because of you.

"Do you think the next place with be safe?" You ask, looking down at the cupcake.

"Well, it's not like Sam would let us stay somewhere unsafe. Like, I know this place is dumpy and scary but at least there's a roof, um kinda, and like...the doors lock and stuff. There's those creeps but for the most part they stick to themselves. Well, sometimes they think its funny to catcall...actually I can't tell if it's catcalling or not. Usually can't understand a word they say, which is fine with me." Jessica crosses her arms as she says this.

"Catcalling...that's like, where they say stuff about you, right?"

"Yeah. And like, I'm not saying I completely hate it."

"Me neither. I can appreciate a good compliment once in a while, you know? Someone calls me beautiful while I'm walking down the street and it's kinda a like, self esteem boost. What I don't like is when they say nasty stuff, or like...follow you or expect something out of you. If they compliment me and accept a thank you then it's all fine and dandy. When they start talking about how they wanna take me home and uh...well, there's a fine line between being nice and a creep. And those guys are a mile past that." Aria looks over her nails, and just like Sarah she has hers done. Of course her nails are clean, trimmed, shaped, and French-tipped rather then just slathered in black paint.

It's easy to see how someone like Aria would get catcalls, she's so feminine and pretty. Someone that you would have trouble approaching if you weren't on friendly terms with her already, if only because you would be intimidated by the status she seems to hold.

Jessica is the same way too. A different kind of pretty, yet more then enough to earn compliments from guys. Or...women, you guess.

Either way you feel a bit...inadequate in that situation. You doubt you would get any kind of compliments. Would you even want that? It means that people are looking at you, enjoying the way you look...it's kind of creepy. But at the same time...the compliments would be nice. You...think so anyways.

"So you um, like to do makeup and stuff, right Aria? Well I mean...duh but um...you want to do that for a job, right?"

"If I could that would be great. It's been my dream to do that, ever since I was a little girl."

"Well...what about um, stage make-up? Like for plays and stuff?"

"That kind of stuff is bit flashier then what I usually do but uh, totally doable. Why?"

"I know, well kinda know this lady who owns this um, theater house. Maybe I can...ask her about a spot open for you?"

"You land me a spot like that and I would like, owe you my life." Aria sounds excited by this, and you feel kind of proud for getting her like this.

Now you just need to like, actually see if you could get her a job.

"I remember doing plays in middle school." Jessica says. "I wasn't any good at acting, but it was still fun. I was better at like, singing though, so once we did this musical. It was kind of a mess, but I had to do all the singing parts for the main character behind stage. You could tell that she wasn't very good at lip-syncing though. It was so funny watching her try to keep up though."

You smile as she tells you this, going back to the, only slightly, stale cupcake.

As you finish the sweet, you remember that both of these girls have been in relationships before...

"Um, what's it...like to date a boy...er, like...how should it be? Does that make sense?" You ball up the empty wrapper in your hand, looking between Aria and Jessica.

"Like, what should a relationship be like?" Jessica stops thinking about her middle school years to address your question.

"Yeah, I guess."

"Well..." Jessica begins to think this over. "I haven't really been in like...a healthy one, so much. But I guess that means I know what like, one shouldn't be like."

"That uh, works too."

"In that case, don't date anyone who you wouldn't be a friend with first. Like, if you wouldn't normally find yourself hanging out with them then it's probably not going to be much better as a relationship. My boyfriend had been a bit of a jerk, and I don't think I would have been around him if he didn't ask me out. That was a mistake."

"Yeah, like...you don't have to be friends or know each other that well to start dating, but you should be like, comfortable around them like you would be with friends. And you shouldn't feel scared around them or feel like you have to tiptoe around them."

"Definitely. Don't let them make you think that you're like, lesser or below them. You can be dependent but you shouldn't feel worthless. It's a relationship not an ownership. You owe each other stuff like trust and respect, and if you aren't getting that then it's no good. Shouldn't have to worry about like...being pressured into doing stuff either."

"There's a difference between you making a sacrifice in a relationship and being forced to do it. If you want to change or do something for the sake of it and you're okay with that then it's fine. They can maybe ask you, but don't let them force you to do it. There's a difference between asking you to do something and being made to do it."

"Yeah. If they try to guilt trip or pressure you then it's no good. That's how I ended up giving it up, cause I was made to feel like if I didn't then I was being selfish. If you aren't comfortable with doing something then don't force yourself to. But uh, don't try and hold it out as like...a reward either. That's just as selfish."

"Just, make sure everything is honest and safe, trusting...um lets see...Make sure you're happy. Don't force yourself to stick through something you hate, even if it is a relationship. It will just make you even more unhappy in the long run. Learn when to cut it off if needed, and don't feel bad about it."

"And just, think of them as a friend then like, a boyfriend. If they can't be your friend then how can they be anything more?"

This is a lot of information for you to take in, and you feel...slightly overwhelmed. You do your best to try and remember all their points, to file them away.

You should feel...safe, happy, comfortable...

It's...okay to make sacrifices on your part, but don't feel pressured to...

Don't...let them guilt trip or force you to do something but....also don't hold that as a reward...

You...feel like you got most of this down. Even if it doesn't all quite click into place yet.


"Hope we didn't scare you too much."

"Little late for that, I think."

You jump a bit as you hear the sound of sirens outside, stopped in front of the building. This seems to alarm everyone else too, as you all face the direction it is coming from. Rather then passing by it stops and you hold your breath.

"Aria...do you think they're coming in here...?" Jessica whispers, her hand behind Cecelia's head.

"I have no idea, we just...need to hold tight and see..."

The seconds and minutes pass by painfully. It doesn't seem like...anyone is coming in though.

"False alarm?"

"Maybe they're here for something else then...it's not the first time they came by."

"What would happen if they caught us here?"

"I...I don't know, Jessica."

This scares you greatly. You can't wait to get out of this place, to somewhere better.

"Um...anyways, Bunny." You turn your attention away from the wall and look back at Aria.

"I'm staying in here tonight with the kids, and I just wanted to know if you were planning on sleeping in here or not."
I think we should stay. It'll be less boring
We need some distance from Lawrence after today's events
We're probably gonna sleep with Lawre-... in Lawrence's room.

Unless he objects.
We could stay and read to the kids but we'll probably end up in Lawrence's room
"I'll stay and hang out in here with you guys but um..."

"You'll probably head back over to Lawrence's room, right?"

You feel embarrassed that Jessica could guess what you were going to say, but it is the truth.

"I mean, unless he doesn't want me in there, anyways. Do you guys mind...?"

"Nah it's fine. I mean, this place doesn't really scream sleep over central. I'm just glad we aren't Sam." Aria makes a face at this. "I would absolutely die if I woke up next to a rat."

"Wait...did he really wake up next to a rat?"

"That's what he said. I wouldn't put it past this place..."

You cringe at the thought.

"Buttercup is probably doing an alright job scaring them away though, I bet they take one look at her and go running with their tail between their legs-" Jessica turns to look over at the puppy. Lisa is holding up a cracker just inches above her nose. Buttercup rises up higher and higher to reach it, only to fall over on her back and roll about in confusion as Lisa takes the treat for herself.

"Er...maybe not..."

Lisa looks up, her cheek puffed out from the food in her mouth, and her eyes light up when she sees that everyone is paying attention to her. She grabs her...art project...and rushes over.

"Oh no..." Aria mutters under her breath.

"Just...just remember to call it pretty and that's it."

You realize this warning has once again been presented to you as Lisa shoves her creation in your face.

"Bunny!" She's almost shouting, standing on her tiptoes in attempts to get her art as close to your face as possible.

"Er, yes Party Princess?"

"Look at what I maaaaade!" She flourishes the craft, putting it into your hands.

"Ah yeah, it's very nice and prett-"

"Guess what it is!"

You feel Jessica and Aria flinch next to you. You're cornered now, aren't you?

"Oh well it's um...obviously...a..." You look over the sparkles and glitter, the macaroni and ribbons, the Popsicle sticks and...is that a beetle glued on too?

"Yeah? It's a-?" Lisa is bouncing at her heels, ready for your words of praise.

"Um..." You try to look over at Aria and Jessica for help, but there is none to be found. You are forced to look back at Lisa, her face filled with excitement.

"...it's a very pretty...a pretty..." You mumble some gibberish.

"Whats did you say?"

"I was just saying this was a lovely-" Once again you speak some incomprehensible words, looking over and displaying her artwork back at her.


"Oh, would you look at...Clark." You decide an aversion would be the best thing to try next. Clark looks up from the Hot Wheel car he was playing with, Thompson forced to stop his own car.

"What bout Clark." Lisa has to say each letter of his name hard in order to get each of them out properly.

"He's...ready to become my pageboy. Look at him!" You walk over to where he is sitting up, his face showing his confusion and fear. You place Lisa's art on the counter casually, kneeling down and patting Clark on the back, smiling at Lisa as if you are displaying him.

"I um...I d-don't know what a pageboy is B-Bunny..." Clark stutters to you, his face red.

"I don't either, just play along." You whisper to him. "I'm a princess and you're my pageboy, got it?"

"Uhm...y-yeah. Yeah! I'm uh, P-Princess Bunny's pageboy! I do...things..."

This is more then enough to distract Lisa from her previous endeavor, who rushes over to grab Thompson.

"Tommy!" She's trying to whisper but failing to do so.

"Hey what? Don't hold me so hard!"

"You has to be my um...page...turner...boy thingy."

"What? No way man!"

"You haaaaas to!"


"I'll tell Jess where um...where you keeps that maga-"

"I am going to be the best freaking pageboy. Ever." Thompson covers up Lisa's mouth as he says this, forcing enthusiasm through clenched teeth and sweating.

As you try to discuss what the duties of a pageboy are, you can see Marilyn tug on Aria's sleeve and whisper to her. Marilyn looks upset, and if you had to guess it's because Sam isn't back yet.

"Um...Marilyn!" You call out to her, standing up.


"You have to be princesses with us." It sounds ridiculous when you say it, and you feel even more ridiculous saying it in front of Aria and Jessica. "It'll be totally cool."

"That...sounds totally lame."

"No! It's not lame!"

"Maybe if you're like, five."

"Okay listen, you are just being rude-" You can see that she still looks upset, and is probably just acting out from fear of Sam being gone. "Um...would you rather us...read that book out loud to them again? I bet they think it's like...really cool that you can read so well."

Marilyn doesn't look interested at first, but she nods slowly.

For a bit longer you continue to act out Party Princesses with Lisa, Clark and Thompson at your beck and call. Clark is more then willing to do what you ask, though you of course keep tasks as simple as petting Buttercup or making you a city out of books.

Lisa shows her true tyranny and Thompson displays his stubbornness in equal amounts.

"Bow to me."


"You has to! You're a pageboy!"


"Do it!"


"Jess! Tommy is hiding th-"

You have to stop Thompson when he tries to tackle Lisa, Jessica intervening in the process.

Eventually you decide it is time to start reading again. For being a good pageboy you allow Thompson the honor of sitting next to you, while Lisa claims your lap with no regards if you want it or not.

You and Marilyn take turns reading the pages, and while she is a good reader she is much slower then you are. There are a few times when you have to help her out with larger words, or stop and explain to the kids what it means, but it's a nice reading session anyways.

"Sleep time." Lisa announces after some time, yawning loudly.

"But we're not done with the chap-"

"Sleep." Lisa looks up at you. "Time."

"Um...yes Party Princess."

You let Lisa out of your lap and watch as she gets up and walks over to the bed, collapsing on top of all the blankets.

"Dummy, why can't she stay awake for a few more pages." Thompson is annoyed by the story being stopped by her, but you can't help but notice that he is fighting off a yawn.

"You um...have a nice reading voice..." Clark says this almost too quietly for you to hear.

"And you're a good pageboy. Even if we don't know what they're supposed to do..."

This makes Clark beam but also turn a deeper shade of red.

You assist Jessica in getting the kids ready for bed, though you don't really do much. Aria is brushing and putting Marilyn's hair up in her usual bun.

"Who taught you to do this every night?" She asks, brushing through the long black hair.

"My bà nội, erm...granny did. She used to do this when I spent the night over at her and Pappy's house."

"Well it's a nice habit. It keeps your hair nice and tangle free."

"It doesn't look weird, does it?"

"No, I think it's beautiful."


Jessica thanks you for the help putting them away in bed and giving her time to talk to Aria. Now that Marilyn is taken care of, Aria has Cecilia in her arms instead, feeding her.

"I needed to talk about my visit to my aunt on Saturday, just in case anything happens. Are you sure you want to sleep over there?"

"Yeah- I mean, that's not weird, is it?"

"No, I just heard that Law's room is pretty cold. And just...kinda gross. I don't think anyone good was staying in there before."

"It's fine. I'm just really glad that those sirens were nothing...they were nothing, right?"

"Probably. I think if anyone was going to storm in here then they would have done it a while ago."

"Um...John and...you know, aren't back yet..."

"I noticed, but they might just have been held up a bit. They really need to get this new place secured."


"Um, anyways! I'll see you to the door then, miss Party Princess Bunny~"

"Thanks Jess..."

Jessica stands in the doorway, watching as you go back over to Lawrence's room. You knock on his door and hear him walking back, and you wave good night to Jessica. She waves back and waits till you are safely inside before retreating back to her own room.

Once again you can smell the stench of the 'special' cigarettes. Lawrence coughs a bit as he locks the door, and you can see the nearly empty pack laying open on the counter. There is a half smoked ciga-...blunt, sitting inside. The smoldering end has been mashed down in an attempt to smother it.

"You alright?" You ask, facing Lawrence as he walks past to hide away the guilty box.

He only nods, tucking the pack away.

"I'm ready to go to sleep then...if you don't mind."

"Sure you...want to...sleep in...here?"

"Why wouldn't I?"

"Gonna...get up...early in...the morning. Will have...to wake...you up...and move...you back...over before...I leave."

"Oh...um, I don't mind. It's fine." Right, he's going to be gone for the day he said. You wish he would tell you where, but you don't feel as if it is your place to always be prying into his business.

You decide to change clothes in the bathroom, flash light balance precariously on the sink edge. You're not entirely sure if you are comfortable changing in front of Lawrence yet...

You decide to wear your casual dress, it's almost like a nightgown, right? It's thick enough to keep you warm and long enough to cover you to your knees. It might be more comfortable to wear then shirt and jeans again.

You still miss having a real bed to sleep in when you wrap yourself in the blankets. Maybe you won't have to sleep on the floor for much longer...but you have no idea how your situation would change for that to happen.

"Coming to bed too, right?" You ask for where you lay, watching as Lawrence is leaning against the counter, looking down at the ground. He nods, but doesn't come to join you yet.

"Um...those sirens earlier were pretty scary...I thought they were here for us or something."

"Scared the...hell out...of me."

"Me too."

You decide to try and sleep now, hoping that Lawrence will come to join you soon enough.

Falling asleep is rather easy, but you do wake up when Lawrence comes down to join you.

"Need to be more gentle..." You mumble, upset that you're awake now.


"It's okay, I forgive you." You turn to face him, smiling. Lawrence seems distracted, as it takes some time for him to realize that you are looking over at him. He offers you a quick grin back but it quickly fades away.

You do your best to fall asleep instead of worry instead.

You're walking down a street, just down a familiar neighborhood that you can't put a name to. No one else in sight, just you are your lonely self.

You come across a bed, just laying in the middle of the road, and against better judgment you go to investigate.
It's your bed, from the apartment.

There's a small lump underneath the cover, maybe it's Ms Buttons?

You peel it away, and instantly fat and greasy arms fly out of the spot, grabbing at you. Of course you struggle, doing what you can to get away. The hands are hurting you, touching and pulling where ever they please. The dress you are wearing is ripped to shreds, leaving you in your underwear and scraps of cloth. As you look around you see that there are several faceless people gathered around, watching you.

"H-Help me..." You beg, your voice unable to come out as more then a whimper.


"Don't let...don't let this happen to me..."

They do nothing to stop your assault, your helpless body pulled into the bed. The hands continue to touch your body anyway they please, bright purple bruises and welts coming up from their touch. It hurts, you hurt, you hate this, you just want this to stop.

The bed begins to swallow you up, ready to whisk you away to where the hands wish to take you, to where they decide to continue hurting you.

Your vision obstructs and though you try to scream, nothing comes out.

When you're freed of the darkness, you find yourself sitting on another bed, in a bedroom of some sorts.

"Please don't hurt me any more..." You cry, your hands coming up to grip at your arms. You expect to see your flesh have that ugly purple and blue color, the bruising and the scrapes.

None of it is there, and though you sit in your underwear you seem no worse then before. You realize that the hands are gone, at least the ones that were grabbing you are. Instead someone else has their hands on your shoulders, holding you much more delicate then what had previously happened.

Okay, you're okay The voice tells you.

Your eyes travel up, slowly going up from the view of a stomach, a wide chest and shoulders, a neck...

The left side of the neck is dripping blood from a deep cut it has, pooling down the skin and to the bedsheets.

"You're hurt."

It's okay

"I can fix it."

You don't need to

You don't listen to the words from the man and bring your face up to his neck. You latch your mouth to the cut...

Your teeth come next.

You push him to the bed, but he doesn't try to stop you. He let's you do this.

You're a beast, biting and drinking away at his neck.

By the time you realize what you have done, it is too late, and the hand that once held you fondly falls limp.


You wake up to your heart beating rapidly, tears in your eyes.


You feel scared.

Scared about the hands coming to grab you again, to toy with your body.

Scared by how you lost control.

"Oh god..." You cry, curling your legs up to your chest as you begin to sob and shake.

"Oh my god..."

You're absolutely sobbing now, wanting to both run away and feeling stuck in place with fright.

It takes little time for Lawrence to wake, him sitting up instantly when he sees that you are crying.

"I had a bad dream, it reminded me of a painful memory but what's worse was the part where I ended up hurting you because I couldn't control myself."
We had a nightmare about losing control, but so much worse than back in the bunker.

Hands tearing at our clothes and... touching us everywhere. People just... watching. But then we were safe and we... hurt Lawrence, didn't we?


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