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/qst/ - Quests

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"You may be a smart girl, but you aren't a lucky one."

A young girl with a terrible affliction and a miserable fate, Delilah is flung into an uncaring world. A monster of a man gives an unrelentless chase and burdens too heavy for her shoulders make a difficult life even harder to bear. Will you be able to find happiness, or be swallowed up by the misery and hate twisting up inside?

=Links and Information=


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.
It feels like there are rocks dropping in your stomach and an angry grip squeezing your throat. The man on the other side waits patiently for your response, and it takes every part of you to squeeze one out.

"M-...My name is...i-is A-...Ashley..." You feel bad for using her name like this, but at the moment you can't focus enough to come up with anything else. "I d-...don't know who D-Delilah is...I'm one of Mr. Faraway's workers and I n-need to talk to him."

"Sound awfully young to be working at a place like that."

"W-What would you know?" You tell yourself to remain calm, to steady your voice and to try to sound more adult. "Now um, is Mr. Faraway there? I need to talk to him about uh...work."

"I'm afraid he's not here at the moment."

"Then why are you in his apartment?"

"Even if you weren't 'Ashley' then I couldn't tell you that over the phone. I'm sure you're used to this, but I need to hurry this up."

"I'm not the one breaking and entering into someone's place," You say, looking around the room. It seems doubtful and a rather stupid move for someone to try and break into a hotel like this. Maybe a cheap motel, but this place would notice something like that. Probably. "Do you know where Mr. Faraway is?"

"Only know that he's out at the moment.

The voice on the other end is unfamiliar to you, but it is easy enough to tell that it's a grown man. Looking towards the window, you try to think about what sort of message he could have from your grandmother and how he would have gotten that. The thoughts of ransoms and threats pop up and you begin to grow worried. With the way those men entered the house when you were there last time, you have no doubt that they could have easily done the same and carried your grandmother to who knows where. A wave of nausea washes over you, though you're unsure if it's from the thought of your grandmother in pain or from the fear of talking on the phone to an unknown man.

"Are you still there?" His question brings you out of the terrible thoughts, and you nearly drop the phone out of surprise.

"Er, y-yeah. I'm still here," You stare at the window, covered by thick curtains. The crack between them only just allows you to see what little light the morning offers right now, and you do your best to figure out how to handle this, "You said you had a message for this uh, D-Delilah girl from her grandma. You sound like the t-type of person who would k-...kidnap someone. Are you h-holding her ransome or something?"

"No. She just wants Delilah to know that she's okay."

"O-oh...! That's um...t-that's good then..." You try to hide your excitement at that, but immediately your thoughts go towards every possible scenario. This could be a lie, maybe he's working for Bower and doesn't even know where your grandmother is, and this is all just a lie to get you to fall into a trap. There is the sound of paper moving in place of the man's voice as you keep a look out, glancing between the door and window you continue to think about how and what you can get out of this call, "Why not go to her and tell the m-message in person? Do you always just talk to random people you don't know?"

"If you know where she is, then please go ahead and tell me. It might make my job a little easier."

"D-...don't think I could do that."

"Figured as much."

Your finger wraps around the curled phone wire in a nervous habit. If he really does have a message or any sort of news about your grandmother you want to hear it, but you are still on edge about this being some sort of ruse. Let your guard down and you'll have wasted everyone's efforts to protect you.

If it really is a message from your grandmother though, it could be vital information.

Do you want to try and get more information out of this man? It may result in him knowing who you are, but then you may also get some important information on your grandmother. Or should you just hang up on him now?
"Tell me more about that girl Deliah's grandmother."
Smooth talk to get more information, throw him off with a
"Is there reward?".
Tell him to have Mr. Faraway call us. If he asks, lie and claim Al knows the number.

Then call Sharron and tell her some guy's in her brother's apartment, going through his stuff and answering the phone like he knows too much.
Take a shit on the floor.
Wut? That came out of nowhere.
Hang up the phone
"Erm..." You look around the room, trying to piece your thoughts and ideas together. "It sounds like this is um, pretty serious. Is...is this girl's grandmother in trouble or something?"

"Pretty complicated information that I shouldn't be sharing with a stranger, don't you think?"

"It just sounds kind of weird is all. Is there like a uh...a reward for finding Delilah?"

"While I am sure that Mrs. Esposito would be more than willing to reward anyone that helped her granddaughter, I am afraid that at the moment she is unable to put out an official reward for her. Unfortunately, someone else has already put one up for Delilah in some of the local papers. I am pretty sure she already knows that the one in the paper is fake, but I'd rather not have other people try to call it in. It would uh...make my job rather difficult if she ended up with that person instead. "

You already knew about the reward in the paper, and how it's not for the sake of helping you. All of this could just be a huge setup, you have to remember that. Need to keep on your toes, always looking behind your shoulder, even if you want to believe that this man could be helping your grandmother.

"I uh, I imagine that could be bad," You try to swallow your fear, but it only gets stuck in your throat. "Wouldn't it be easier if her grandmother was the one out looking for her though? I uh, I doubt it would help to have a stranger out searching."

"Would probably make it easier, wouldn't it? It would make it much easier for people to find Mrs. Esposito too. It's crucial that she keeps a low profile at this moment."

"It sounds like this is a big mess, why not just turn to the police?"

"The Esposito family doesn't have too healthy of a relationship with the police."

That...is news to you, actually. You can't remember a time that you've really had trouble with the law before. Is he really talking about your family? Is this just another trick to make you feel scared?

"W-Why is that?"

"Anything beyond that is private information. If you have nothing else to offer me, then I have to go."

"R-Right, right. C-Could you just let Mr. Faraway k-know to call this number then? I um, I need to talk to him later. Just tell him Ashley-"

"Is calling from the Irongate Hotel?"

When he says this, it feels like your chest is being squeezed painfully so.


"Caller ID ma'am. That and a phone book helps."

Caller ID, you've heard about that before. You remember one of your classmates had that before you moved, it sounded amazing. The number of whoever was calling would pop up on a screen, and she would know who it was before having to answer.

"J-...just have him call me when he's back...!" It feels like you can't hang up face enough, and you try to calm your racing heartbeat. He knows the number of the hotel, but that's it. He doesn't know what room you're in, and he doesn't know who you are. Bringing your breathing under control, you dial Sharron's number. With each passing ring you hold a fear that another unknown man will answer, and you almost relieved to hear an answering machine.

"Um, hello Ms. Faraway. This is uh, Bunny. When you get this, could you let Mr. Faraway know that there was someone in his apartment? I called there just a few minutes ago, and some man answered the phone instead. It kind of sounded like he was going through some of his stuff too, but I don't know for sure. Um, thanks in advance." You hang up the phone and go back to the bed, weather on the TV. You can barely focus on that right now. It sounded like this guy was also looking for you too, but is he working for your grandmother? He said he didn't want you to get turned in for the reward Bower put out, but what if he was just saying that so he could be the one to turn you in and collect the money? And the whole bit about your family not having a good relationship with the police, is that true or was he just saying that too? Thinking about this alone is too much for you to handle.

This man knows where you're staying at too.

He doesn't know the room, but who's to say that he couldn't figure out if he wanted? Then again, he might think you are someone else anyways.

Walking around the room, you try to think but your head is too frazzled. You look at all the things left behind in here for you. Just a notebook and pen, a phone book, and a map of the nearby area prove to be of any use. The only thing you brought was your money, the credit card, knife, pepper spray, and of course the wig. With no other ideas on what to do, you take the map and look it over, really just glazing over the information.

Sharron's theater is only a short bit away, if you wanted you could get over there easily enough and see if Faraway is there. Just a quick trip, middle of the day, wearing the wig...could it work?

Your eyes fall on the word library, and you can now see that there looks to be one only a few blocks away. Looking over it more, you guess that it belongs to the university here. What that man said about your family still echoes, does your family really have trouble with the police...why?

You could go to the theater or the library easily enough, but you doubt you could do both. Staying here is always an option, but that means you're a sitting duck. You could try to find Faraway or Sharron, or you could try to find some validity of that man's statement. If he was right about the police then maybe it would make him a slightly bit more trustworthy, not that you would really know what to do with that. But knowing if your family has had trouble with the police could help you at least...

Do you want to try and go out or stay here?[/b
Go out, it would reduce our chances of being found
While it would be safer in the hotel than on the street, there being people here who'd definitely react if we screamed for help, we could pick up a change of clothes from a thrift store or something on the way.

Let's check the library and see if they have newspaper archives. Calling the police and asking for the criminal records of our parents and grandparents would seem... questionable.
Go to the library and read up on vampire lore.
It might be a bit scary, but you feel like it would be fine to go out to the library. You double check the location on the map, but decide it would just be easier to take it with. It's only a few blocks away, you can handle that. Middle of the day, busy part of town...anyone tries to lure or carry you away then you can scream for help easily enough. Even if you don't find anything worth looking for, then it will be something to do. You really don't want to spend hours in this room alone and bored.

In the mirror you make sure to hide away each of your black strands of hair beneath the brunette wig, feeling the fake hair trail past your shoulders. If you had makeup or something then you could try to disguise yourself more, not that you really know how to do makeup. If anything, trying to do that would make you look ridiculous and stand out further, maybe you can ask someone to show you how to do it later.

You make sure you are carrying everything that you need, taking extra care to make sure you are carrying the key. Sam's envelope lays on the table where you left it, one of the few things remaining in the room. Hopefully Lawrence will be able to drop your stuff off later, and more importantly you can see him for a bit. Of course it would be great to see anyone you knew right now, being alone is awful. You pray that he doesn't come by while you're gone as you walk down the hall, keeping an eye out for anyone who passes. Most of the people in the hotel are leaving, and you try not to linger too long. Getting to walk out in the slightly frosty air is nice, but you recall the talks of there being more snow coming soon. The heavy clouds covering the sky confirm this fact, and you hope that when it does happen you aren't out walking on the street.

Cars and people pass, most of them not paying any attention to you. Thinking about the date, you wonder if school is back in session for everyone. Someone like Ashley is in high school, she would have been in class instead right? She was also an intern, maybe she was allowed to be there instead of class. The only reason this concerns you is the fear of being caught for truancy. Someone would think something was off if you weren't in school, right? Not to mention that someone would try to call your parents or the school you're supposed to be in. Could you use a home schooled excuse? You're not sure if that would work, but you can't really think of any other reason you wouldn't be in class right now. If it happens then you will deal with it then, but you would rather it not be a problem.

The library is an older building, but it is kept in nice shape. Larger then you expected, the front is adorned with a large archway displaying the name of the university up front and steps leading up to it. A girl walks down the step, a student you assume. She looked to be Aria and Mabel's age, and you remembered they were in school. Mabel should be starting soon, shouldn't she? Unless her plans for that were ruined, but you hope that isn't the case. It feels like it would be your fault if that's the case, right?

You wait for the girl to pass you before traveling up the long stairs. Inside, you can see that the place is two stories, rows and rows of shelves around tables and chairs set up. A front desk is to the right as soon as you walk in. Passing by, you're afraid that the people working will ask what you're doing. An old lady greets you, but otherwise they pay no other attention. Not wanting to take chances, you slip behind some of the bookcases and away from their view. There are only a few others walking around, some sitting at the desks and reading. Good for you, the less people around the better. And honestly, you don't feel like someone would whisk you away from a library. Something about it just feels safe, even if it's no safer then outside.

Wandering the first floor, you try to figure out what each shelf is. Most of the books downstairs look to be non-fiction and periodicals for research. Over at the other side you can see there are large devices, and upon closer examination see that they are for reading microforms. You remember them from your last school, they used them to read newspapers.

You could use the microforms to try to read over newspapers from years ago. If that man was telling the truth, then maybe you can try to find something about your family and their connection with the police. Of course that would require a lot of shifting and it might not yield anything.

Do you want to use the microforms or try to find something else to read in the library?
>use the microforms
Might as well for convenience.
Let's go through the microforms. Maybe there's a mention of grandpa's car accident or something.
It might be boring, but it's not like you could check out books from here anyways. You'll just go through some of the papers from the past few years, scan over the headlines, easy enough stuff. If you learn something important then great, but if not then...at least you were able to pass the time.


You never realized that reading could be so boring. Starting with papers that are at least five years old, you have been scanning over the headlines and articles in the paper that has been running for the longest. Popular, plenty of pages...if something happened with your family then it would be mentioned here. There are some interesting stories that you come across, but as much as you like to read them you also think about how many more you would need to look through. And so through the papers, you travel through years and years of history with the town. You don't remember too much of what each thing said, they have all started to run together shortly after beginning this task.

A few hours have passed, your back and eyes hurting from being bent over looking over this. Right now you are on the paper from some time in the 40's, June 18th. The front headline doesn't hold anything interesting, and as you look over the next pages it looks like this one may too be a dud. Starring at this print for so long as started to give you headache that has begun to grow steadily. A few pages back and you come across a headline that catches your eye.

Investigations of Alleged Drug Trade Continues

There have been quite a few of these kind of articles in your search, but the further you back you went the more they continued to dwindle. It seems odd now to see this, and you decide to give the rest of the article a quick look over. From the looks of it, the article is just talking about another warehouse sporting an undercover drug operation was discovered by police, and that it was linked with a huge bust from a few months prior. It lists a few names, of those who had been caught and are going to stand trial for these. None of them are your name, but two of them sound somewhat familar. Smith, but everyone knows hundreds of other Smiths. The other one hits you as being closer to home.


The only memory that comes from this is hearing your grandfather mention someone with that name, and you would laugh at how it sounded like 'gecko'. Grandpa seemed to talk about that guy quite a bit, but you can't remember much else about him. Aside from the fact that it was a man of course, and if you had to guess he was about your grandfather's age.

You can't stand to look through another paper though, and your stomach growling doesn't help. You put away all the films you checked out, thanking the student who helped you pull them out. Looking at your map, you try to see what is around. If you go down just a block there is a sandwich shop, and just a little bit out of the way is a thrift shop. You can get something to eat, and in case you don't get your bag soon then you can look for something to change into.

Walking out, you try to make yourself look as small as possible to avoid attention. The sandwich shop is easy enough to find, and unlike the library this building is new and busy. You're almost surprised to see that it's filled with 20-something year olds, but looking at the ram mascot you come to the conclusion that this place is styled for the college students. Instead of sitting at the blue booths, you order a grilled cheese to go.

The amass of people makes you feel nervous, but knowing they aren't likely to do anything is somewhat comforting. You pay for the food and walk out as quickly as possible, eating as you walk down the street. You finish eating before making it to the thrift shop, and once again notice that the front is adorned with the same colors and mascot as the sandwich shop. Inside is much less busy though, and you slip between the rack of clothes.

Right now, it's obvious that you're a girl. But maybe you could find really feminine clothes, stuff to help make you look like a different person. It might mean you would really need to learn how to do some basic makeup to complete it, but you never dressed like this before. It may help throw them off your trail and may help to make you look more adult.

Of course, there's the exact opposite solution. You could find some more neutral or even straight up boy's clothes to wear. They'll be looking for a girl, so disguising yourself as a boy should work too, right?

How should you try to present yourself, keeping the wig and looking grownup or trying to disguise yourself as a boy?
Time to become a reverse trap
>disguise yourself as a boy
Keeping it neutral has kinda worked out for us thus far, so it might be easier to stick to it, maybe a few pieces of boy's clothing, too, since those tend to be inexpensive. We can always take a page from Sarah's playbook and punk it up if need be.
It would be easier to get mistaken for a boy, as much as you hate it. You're not sure how much older you will look this way, but it might help you from warranting any unwanted attention compared to dressing yourself up. People are less likely to mess with you that way too, right?

Looking through the racks, you go towards the male side. You know most of these won't fit you properly, but baggy might be for the best. Despite knowing that looking more like a boy will help, you can't help but try to find the more neutral looking items. A thick blue sweater, the letters of the college written in big yellow letters MU across the front. It fits you loosely, but it does a good job at hiding your curves. A pair of jeans that aren't fitted to your body, loose and bulky on you too.

A belt to keep it up, a beanie to cover your head, and a pair of winter boots to finish it off. It will keep you warm, and more importantly it will help to keep you hidden. You pay for the clothes, handing over about 15 dollars before walking out with your purchases in the bag. While the thought of having to spend the rest of the day alone in the room is unappealing you also know that walking out like this would be pushing your luck. You were able to waste a few hours and get a change of clothes at least, but as you walk down the sidewalk you can't help but feel the dull pain in your head. You spent so long looking through those newspapers, it feels like you can't read anything else for a long time. Then again, if you could have read a book instead of boring headlines then that wouldn't be the case...


Getting back to the hotel goes easily enough, but you don't truly feel safe till you are back in the room and the door is locked behind. A folded up note rests beneath your foot, having been shoved in from between the space of the door and the floor. Opening it up, you instantly recognize the handwriting of Lawrence and eagerly read his message.

It looks like you weren't in the room, and I don't think it would be a good idea for me to stick around outside too long. I couldn't leave your bag here either, but I have it with me. I will try to stop by tonight to drop it off. Please do me a favor and don't go out on your own, it worries me.

Stay safe, and I will see you soon.

The handwriting looks shaky and uneven, as if he couldn't keep a steady enough hand. Still, he managed to put a doodle of a bunny in the corner and that little drawing gives you the hope that he is doing okay.

Folding the letter back up, you make sure that it's kept securely with the rest of your belongings. It doesn't feel right putting it next to your knife, but it will have to do for now. It's disappointing that you missed Lawrence, but at least now you know that he'll be back again later. If anything you can use it as a way to pass the time, something to look forward to. Lawrence will come by tonight, drop off your stuff and then you just have to wait till someone comes by tomorrow to pick you up. In anticipation of seeing him again you take a bath, both as a means to enjoy the warm water and to try and make yourself look nice. It's not like he will be able to stick around for long, but at the very least you can feel better about yourself.

Even if your hair was longer there wouldn't be much you could do with it, but you still run your fingers through in an attempt to make it look as nice as possible. the short and curled up locks are stubborn against your tries, and after several futile minutes you give up on trying. The clean clothes feel nice to wear, but as you arrange them it's obvious that you could be mistaken for a boy even easier now. It's for the best, just remember that. The sweater is soft at least, and you can appreciate how warm it will feel outside in the cold.

Sprawled out on the bed, you only half listen to the television. Thinking about Lawrence just reminds you about what you saw between him and Sharron. She gave him something and said it would be a good opportunity, but you can't wrap your head around what it could be. Adding that to the call you had this morning and the idea that your family has had trouble with the police, it feels like too much to take in such a short amount of time. What could your family have possibly done to get on the bad side of the law? As far as you know you guys were...you wouldn't say the best but you guys aren't criminals either, right?

Your head continues the light pain and you roll across the bed in frustration. It hurts, but only just enough to keep you from ignoring it. Closing your eyes, you drown out the sound of the television and just focus on the feeling of the bed. Soft and warm, you are going to miss it so much. Course you would give it up in a heartbeat if it meant not being alone. There are still several hours before seven tonight, and you just need to waste time till either then or Lawrence arriving. Wanting the headache to go away before either of those events, you allow yourself to take a nap for now.


The sleep you have is light and somewhat restless, you tossing and turning around the bed in attempts to get comfortable. Still, it's mildly better then just sitting around doing nothing for hours. All of this is interrupted by knocking at the door. Startled by the abruptness, you only stare at the wood before realizing it might be Lawrence. Nearly falling out of bed from your haste, you want to pull the door wide open for him. Caution takes you over, and standing on tiptoes you try to look through the peephole. Just too short, it takes plenty of reaching and standing on your very tiptoes to look out. You're surprised to see no one standing outside, and you begin to think it may have been someone at the wrong door. Looking around the best you can, you only just catch the edge of a bag, the same color as your own. Someone is holding it and has started to walk away from sight.

You're pretty sure that looked like your bag, it was the same color and everything. And there was knocking on your door on top of that, that means it was Lawrence right? But why is he walking away so soon? Does he think you aren't here again?

But...what if it isn't Lawrence? He left so soon after knocking, it doesn't feel right either.

If it was him, then he must not think you were here again and he'll think you're missing.

If it turns out that it wasn't him...could this be a trap?

Looking out right now might let you catch whoever it is, but it also makes you vulnerable to them too.

Do you want to take a look out, or play it safe and stay inside?
Now I must sleep, be back on around the same tomorrow I hate unpacking almost as much as I hate packing
Maybe if we make sure the chain or latch is secure, we can peek out. We can always slam the door shut and scream if something goes wrong.

And people would probably be averse to breaking in if we stabbed them in the hand or something for their effort, right?
>play it safe and stay inside
Make sure the door is secure and then see if it's Lawrence
Maybe one of the guests were looking at him weird or something and he decided to leave
Take a peek from the safety of the room
Making sure the chain on the door is in place and your pocket knife is handy, you unlock the door as silently as you can manage. Looking out the crack the door gives, you can spot the bag traveling down the hall, just the very edge of it. As it disappears past the range of your vision, you notice that whoever is carrying it is not walking straight. The sound of stumbling scares you, but you decide that it would be safe enough to try and take a better look. Unlatching the chain, you peer around the corner of the doorway.

Walking towards the stairs, you spot Lawrence standing with his hand braced against the wall.

"Lawrence!" You call out, unable to hide your excitement. He doesn't turn around or show any sort of acknowledgement to your voice, taking a shaky step forward before nearly falling to his knees. Checking both sides of the hallway to make sure you aren't missing anyone standing around, you rush up behind him.

"Hey, what's wrong?" You ask in a hushed tone, reaching out to grab his arm. As soon as you make contact with him Lawrence pushes you away with a sudden violent motion. Shoulder aching from this, you take steps back away in fear. There's a slight smell of alcohol, but not enough to make you think he would be drunk. When he finally looks over at you, it's like he isn't actually looking at you, just your general direction.

"L-...Lawrence...?" As you say his name he finally focuses on you, but the way he's holding himself up seems unbalanced. Lawrence reacts as if he finally sees that it's you for the first time, mouth moving to speak but no words coming out. "Wait, I can't hear you. What's going on-" He stops whatever silent rambling he's doing to cover his mouth, all in efforts to not get sick. It doesn't seem like he's drunk, but you can't really tell what's wrong with him either. Making sure he isn't about to lose his lunch all over the floor first, you reach out for his other hand. Not being pushed away this time you guide him back to your room, going slowly and still having to stop so he can regain his balance. The walk that took you only a few seconds takes minutes with Lawrence, and you almost shove him past the door in fear of someone seeing him.

You worry that he'll fall to the floor, but Lawrence manages to collapse on top of the bed. His limbs limp and your bag sliding to the floor, you're amazed by the fact that he could even make it those few feet in the hall. Looking over him, he doesn't look any more beat up then the usual. Pulling up a chair you sit next to him, looking over at the time. Just turning five P.M, you had been asleep for a few hours. The headache lingers, but not as bad as before.

"Can you hear me?" In response Lawrence nods but his eyes remain closed. "What's wrong with you?"

Once again his lips move, but no sound comes out. You're about to ask him to write it out, but you doubt he would be able to in his state. Moving the bag out of his way, you watch as Lawrence just lays on the bed. He's dirty, as to be expected, but other then that you can't pinpoint what's wrong. For now you chalk it up to drinking too much, but that doesn't feel like the right answer to this either. The television still playing in the background, you sit next to the bed as Lawrence, you presume, sleeps. During this time he doesn't move an inch, and there are times when you fear that he's not going to wake back up.

After an hour or so passes, you get up only to use the restroom. Walking back out, you are greeted with the sight of Lawrence trying to get out of the room. He's slightly better then he was before, but his movements are too uncoordinated to undo the locks.

"What do you think you're doing?" You move over, trying to push him away from the door in a panic. He tries to explain by speaking, but you shake your head. "I can't hear what you're saying!"

Lawrence clears his throat, coughing and choking the words out.


Do you let Lawrence leave or make him stay for now?
>make him stay for now
He can't leave now, he's all fucked up. He can stay here and get cleaned up, maybe we can grab him something to eat.

And he can make us feel not alone...
Make Lawrence stay to find out why he is going.
"No way," You say, standing your ground. The knob of the door is pressed against the small of your back, but you have no doubt in your mind that letting him go right now is a bad idea, "You're staying here till I don't have to worry about you falling over."

Lawrence attempts to argue against this, but his words are lost in the air and you refuse to move from place. If he really wanted to then he could easily move you away, but after what happened in the hallway he seems afraid to touch you. Giving him a stern look and a stiff lip, this works for your advantage and Lawrence retreats back to the bed. He's still not walking normal, and you're glad you made the choice that you did. You do wonder why he wanted, or rather needed, to leave so soon for but you'll try and get an answer out of him when he's sober. That is, if he will even give you a proper one. There's a creeping suspicion that whatever is going on, Lawrence will want to try and keep it a secret from you.

Taking a seat next to the bed again, you watch as Lawrence leans over, elbows against his lap and face resting in his hands. A giant mess right now, and you have no idea how to help him.

"Can I like um...get you something?" You're not sure what you could bring to help him feel better, and as expected Lawrence shakes his head. Nonetheless, you get up and bring him a glass of water. He doesn't accept it, not looking up from his hands. "I'm uh...I'm glad to see you."

Nothing else follows your words, and you sit almost awkwardly. You're positive that Lawrence isn't drunk, but you've never seen him like this before either. Despite having questions you doubt you'll get any sort of cohesive answer.

"Need...need to...leave..." You can only just understand what Lawrence is saying, his voice low and almost hidden beneath the gruffness in his throat.

"Not right now you don't," It feels weird scolding him like this, but you're scared about what could happen if he left at this moment. "It'll be fine if you stay here for a few hours." Lawrence shakes his head, but you aren't going to let yourself be swayed so easily. Even if he begs to go out, you won't let him. Not till you can be sure that he'll be fine with walking, anyways.

"Just um, lay down and sleep it off or something. It'll be fine. I'll keep an eye out for uh...whatever." You get up to double check the locks again, knowing you can never be too safe with this sort of thing. Taking a peek out of the peephole, you watch as a couple walks down the hall but spot nothing else that would raise your guard. Now if only you could get Lawrence back to the way he usually is, then things wouldn't be so bad right now.

Lawrence took your advice, that or he collapsed, and is laying on the bed when you return. You think about sitting on the bed with him, but decide that giving him some space for now would be the best answer. Covering his face with his arm, you doubt that he's actually asleep but don't bother him further. From what you can see, it seems like his cheek is scabbing over. Looking closer it looks like three out of four of his stitches were removed, and not in a nice way.

"Um so...where were you going?" Watching Lawrence, he mumbles silently to himself. It was worth a shot, but you'll just have to try again later. For now, you keep a close eye on the time. As it gets nearer to seven the anticipation grows. You're mostly worried that you'll end up calling Faraway again and have someone else answer, what are you supposed to do in that case?

The time passes by after what seems like forever, but when the number seven finally shows up on the clock you leave your spot beside the bed to go make the call.

With each ring you grow even more nervous, gripping the phone tightly as you look back over to where Lawrence is laying. He's not getting sick or anything like that, it has to be a good sign. No one answers on the first call, giving you an answering machine. You hang up and try once more, only to receive the machine again. One more time you put a call in, doubting Faraway will answer.

Normally you wouldn't think twice about leaving a message, but you don't usually don't have to worry about people you don't know answering the phone. If someone was in there or came in they could easily listen to the message you leave behind.

Do you want to leave Faraway a message, and if you do how much information should you try to give him?
Let's not, there's no saying who might be listening, or if they're still in Mr. Faraway's apartment, just waiting for us to leave a message and say too much.
Don't leave a message
You hang up the phone before the machine can start a recording and call a fourth time, on the off chance that Faraway will answer. The moment you are greeted with the near familiar sound of the prerecorded greeting you slam the phone down in frustration. He didn't mean for you to go out and meet him, did he? That still doesn't feel like it was the right answer. There's always the idea that you weren't supposed to do anything at all and he was just trying to throw off whoever was standing in the room with him.

That thought doesn't settle well with you either, but you're drawing blanks on what else could be going on. You would try to talk to Lawrence about this, but at the moment he's too out of commission for anything like that. Whatever he's going through better get over quickly though, you can't handle being in charge if something happens. Looking through your bag, it seems like everything that you had remaining is here and accounted for. That's one small relief for now, even if it means you have to try to lug around the bag. For now you put the envelope that Sam gave you inside for safe keeping, doing your best to let it get bent. You'll make sure to give it back to Sam as soon as you see him, maybe you've been useful by keeping it.

Leaving Lawrence on the bed, you go to look yourself over in the mirror. You look fine, and it's not like he left a bruise earlier. If anything you just startled him, which isn't surprising from the way he has been acting. It would be better to not mention it later, you don't want him to feel bad about it. You're just thankful that it wasn't worse, you know first hand from your mother just how violent and irrational people can act when they're hopped up. Then again, maybe you could say the same about your father...

As much as you would like to find something better to watch, you leave the channel on the news as you come back to the bed. Feeling better about his situation, you take a seat on the bed this time. On screen a man talks about an accident that occurred just outside of town, right after the bridge. You pay attention to this, looking over the pictures and the eyewitness accounts as you mindlessly run your fingers over his hair in an attempt to be soothing.

From the sounds of it, a semi ended up tipping over while leaving due to black ice on the road. Dad had trouble with that once, you remember. You guys were going to visit grandma and grandpa and ended up leaving really early in the morning. The car ended up drifting across two lanes before he got control of the vehicle again, by that time you and your mother had already been in tears from the experience. That time there was no accident though, it sounds like five other cars were totaled from the semi truck and a whole heap of people injured. It's sad to hear, and the man goes on to warn people about leaving on the roads outside of town. Even if you did somehow have a vehicle to leave on, the warning scares you plenty. After that story it goes on to talk about a series of break-in and robberies in one of the cheaper neighborhoods, and then talk about the damage the previous storm had caused.

You pass the time with these, paying more attention then you had before. No mention about you or anyone you know, and that's a huge relief. Cutting to a brief commercial break, you watch as some local guy with crappy camera quality tries to sell off his used cars. Funny in an embarrassing way, you decide to just wait for the news to return. Next commercial for a local carpet place, just as low quality as the last one. Then again this is the local channel, it would make sense that these would be commercials for places near by here. When the next one does a sweeping overview for a plastic surgery clinic you can't change the channel fast enough. You didn't want to risk seeing the face of that terrible man or hear his just as awful voice.

You settle on the channel from last night, the family one. Right in the middle of a sitcom you know nothing about, but better then what the other channel had to offer. You bear through the annoying characters and jokes you don't understand, glancing down at Lawrence occasionally. On his cheek you can just see the faded outline of scratch marks, and on his hand the dark color of dried blood beneath his fingernails. It hadn't been an option, but the idea that he did this to himself seems more and more likely. His skin is holding together for now, but you doubt that it was time for them to come out. The sooner he gets to Sam and gets fixed up the better, that's all there is to it.

"Awake yet?" You keep your voice soft and quiet, watching for any signs of life. It's been nearly three and a half hours since you brought him in here, but Lawrence finally looks at you with the usual tired expression. Helping him to sit up, you pass over the glass of water and wait for him to finish. "How are you feeling?"

Wiping his mouth, Lawrence only offers a thumbs up, but it's better then before.

"Did you do that?" You gesture to your own cheek, watching as he reaches up to touch his in confusion. Upon feeling the missing stitches Lawrence races up to go confirm that they are missing in the bathroom mirror. He's still not completely coordinated, and in his rush he nearly falls. Following behind, you watch as he looks at himself in anger and panic. "I don't think it's uh...too bad. I mean you probably need new ones put back in but um...but it should be fine. Sam should be able to fix you up again."

To your displeasure, you notice that your headache from earlier has begun to grow. The stress of everything must be getting to you right now, you just need to try and ignore it.

Continuing to look himself over, Lawrence has a look of sudden realization on his face as he looks around the room.

"What's wrong?"


"Oh uh," You look over to the bright red numbers on the nightstand. "It's um...8:43."

Hearing this makes Lawrence go into a quick panic, and he rushes to the door. You're prepared for him to run out, unsure of how to stop him. Instead he checks all the locks, looking out the peephole before doing the same to the window.

"I think we're safe here, no one would really try to like...break into a hotel room, right?" Your words offer only the smallest solace to him, Lawrence collapsing in the chair. His hand is feeling around for something in his pocket, hidden away from view.

Do you want to ask Lawrence what is going on right now, or talk to him about something else and wait to ask about this later?
Lemme apologize from any typos from here on out, I have and will continue to drink tonight.
Maybe someone's been following him, or he knows something. What does he know, and no keeping secrets from us this time or we'll... do something to him.

Stuff and things.
>ask Lawrence what is going on right now
It might not be a pleasant conversation, but it's one that needs to happen.

Moving to stand in front of Lawrence, arms crossed and trying to keep a serious face, you look down at him.

"I want you to tell me what's going on," You make sure your voice doesn't waver while you speak, trying to show just how seriously you are trying to take this right now. "And don't think about hiding anything away this time." At this, Lawrence only shakes his head, and you know that isn't going to be easy. You can't back down from it though, and prepare to grill him.

"You can't hide stuff like this from me, if you're in trouble or know something then I have to know," Trying to look Lawrence in the eyes, he refuses to return the gesture back. Looking around the room, looking anywhere but at your face. His lips are moving again, but not being able to hear what he's trying to say begins to annoy you. "I can't hear what you're saying, either speak up or write it ou-"

"Can't...tell you..." Lawrence mumbles, and in addition to annoyance you start to feel angry.

"Yes, you can. And you will. If you're in trouble or something that's fine, but I have to know."


"Dammit, you can't do this to me," You bite your lip, trying to think past the headache. "We can't hide in here forever you know, I have to leave this in the morning."

Lawrence staying silent ticks you off more then him saying that he can't tell you. It feels like you're being ignored, and you hate that.

"I tell you pretty much everything, can't you do the same for me?" You also hate how upset you sound, irritation and bitterness dripping from each word. "This isn't something that you can really keep from me. You show up here all...all messed up and try to leave before I can answer the door, you tore out some of your stitches and didn't even realize it, and now you're freaking out about the time and won't even tell me what's going on? How is that fair?"

You're sending Lawrence on a guilt trip, and it appears to be working. In sloppy handwriting you are given a note rather then the job of trying to deciphering his words.

I was trying to do something to earn some money

but I fucked it up

"What do you mean 'earn some money'? What were you doing?" Reading the note over and over again, you try to piece together everything you've seen and heard the past few days. "It was something bad, wasn't it?"


"Then just tell me what it was then!" The paper wrinkles in your clenched hand, but Lawrence doesn't offer an answer. In instinct, you reach out and grab his shoulders, trying to force him to look at you. "Just tell me already, I...I HATE it when you hide stuff from me! I hate it when everyone else does it! I'm not dumb, I know something is up so just....just tell me already!"

Your eyes burn, like you're about to cry. The pain in your head is growing steadily, and you watch him awaiting anything, even if it isn't an answer. Any sound that isn't your damned heart beating in your ears. Before your voice had been normal, but you can't help as it raised up. Not shouting, but you're close to it. Anyone passing by the door outside could probably hear this one-sided argument and your desperate attempt to get answers.

"Lawrence!" This time the sound of your voice scares you, but you're riled up. You don't even realize how tightly you're gripping his shoulders till Lawrence reaches up and touches your hand. At that, you are reminded of a scene you have seen similar to this. How when your mother and father would yell at each other, how your father would get mad when your mother wouldn't say anything and grab her, shaking her to get a response. It was horrible to watch, and now you're doing the same thing.

Releasing your hold, you take steps back and away from Lawrence. Wringing your awful hands together instead, you try to calm yourself down.

"I'm...I'm sorry about that, I'm not angry at you..." It doesn't feel like much of an apology, and you are more then ashamed by your rash behavior. "C-...Can you please just t-tell me...?"

"...I can't." As soon as Lawrence says this you feel a sudden rush of nausea, and you run to the bathroom to hug the toilet as you heave over it. It's not enough to make you throw up, but you feel slightly dizzy and completely gross. Were you really that angry? It doesn't feel like it, and now your entire body just sort of aches. Waiting for the feeling to pass, you can hear Lawrence standing up from the seat. You doubt it's to get up and leave, but you don't want him to see you like this either. Jumping up, you shut and lock the bathroom door before taking you spot back.

"J-Just give me a second..." It's unclear if he can hear you mumbling, but you take some comfort at knowing he isn't leaving. Instead it sounds like he's moving to sit against the bathroom door waiting for you. You no longer feel like throwing up, but you still don't feel great either. Washing out your mouth, you look over yourself in the mirror. That was terrible behavior you showed out there, and you're just ashamed about it. Instead of going out, you slump to the tiled floor with your back against the door. It may not feel like you're going to throw up, but your head sure as hell hurts. It feels like the pain is spreading, down your neck and down your chest. Nothing big, nothing scary...just the dull pain.

"I'm sorry..." You say, hoping he can hear through the door. "I didn't mean to do that, I was just...I don't know. Being angry I guess."

Nothing comes from the door, and you decide to keep talking in the meantime.

"I really don't like it when stuff is kept a secret. It feels like I'm being babied or like...like I'm too stupid to understand or something. I just want to be kept in the loop, and I want to make sure everything is okay...that's all." As you talk you mess with the hem of your sweater, trying to distract yourself from everything awful. There's a long pause of silence, and you worry that Lawrence may have fallen asleep where he is before a note is slipped between the crack of the door.

I'm sorry

My head is racing and everything is a mess

Give me time to collect my thoughts

I'll let you know what's happening then

You still want to know right now, but this is a promise that he'll tell you in a little bit and that's good enough for now.

"...-e you." Lawrence's voice is hushed and you can hardly hear what he is saying. "Sorry."

Now the two of you have apologize, and it still doesn't feel okay.

You need to wait for Lawrence to get back to normal before he tells you what has been happening, what should you do till then?
Wash out the acrid taste from the back of our throat and drag Law to bed. Even if he won't tell us anything right now, we can at least not sleep alone tonight.
Sleep with Lawrence
Cuddle with Lawrence
Getting up, it feels like you can't wash out your mouth enough. The terrible taste remains in your mouth and your head continues to hurt, but there's nothing else you can do about it from in here. Bracing yourself, you let Lawrence know that you're coming out and he moves out of the way for you.

"Um, come on..." You grab his hands in an offer to help him up. Not that you would really be able to pull him up yourself, but it's the gesture that counts. "It's getting late, and you probably haven't gotten to sleep in a real bed in a long time." Lawrence looks exhausted and you feel the same way. He was only supposed to stop by for a short time, drop your stuff off and leave, but you are kind of glad that you won't have to be alone tonight. Of course you'll have to find out what sort of mess he's gotten wrapped up in too, but you'll have to deal with that when it comes.

You make Lawrence lay down while you turn off the lights. At his request you leave the small light by the bed on, giving a warm light to the otherwise dark room.

"No no, under the covers. Don't make me tuck you in," You say when you come over to the bed, pulling back the blankets and sliding in. "Take off your shoes and all that too, I don't want to have to feel your dirty boots while I'm trying to sleep."

Upstairs you can hear the footsteps of whoever is occupying the room, nearly silent from traveling down. You think about what will end up happening tomorrow. It would probably be unwise to leave here with Lawrence, and someone else like Sam will come to get you instead. Lawrence will have to either leave before you or hang around and away till he's sure someone came by, and then what? You have no idea, and the uncertainty is worrying. These thoughts come to a pause when Lawrence comes back to bed, missing his shoes and thick coat. It'd be nice if you have some soft night clothes to wear right now, but you're more then used to sleeping in your 'normal' clothes. Feels weird being in a real bed, a nice soft queen sized on top of that. You don't look up at him, still feeling bad for earlier. Instead you curl up, trying to enjoy your last night in the room. Despite your headache, you manage to drift off soon enough.


When you open your eyes, your arms are wrapped around Lawrence and you are facing his back. The light remains on, and the sound of pen going over paper lets you know what he's doing. Looking over at the clock, you can see only a few hours have passed, the bright red 2:37 shinning out. You try to go back to sleep, but you are focusing too much on the sound and movements of Lawrence writing.

"Is that for me?" You ask, letting him know you're awake.

"Not this...one," Lawrence pauses what he's doing for a moment to answer you. "Will get...yours later."

Not wanting to pry about this, you instead just lay there and listen to him write. Is he still trying to get something written to his parents?

"Are you feeling better?" That should be okay for you to ask.

"Alright enough."

"You sure?"


"I'm not bothering you right now, am I?"

"No," Lawrence is giving you short answers, but you're sure it's because he is trying to focus on what he's writing right now. You squeeze your arms around him tighter, and and his free hand comes to return a gentle squeeze on your arm. "You don't...bother me."

It sounds like Lawrence is either thinking about what to write next or pausing to give you attention. You remember what you promised yourself at the theater.

It's not exactly an ideal place for this, but you're also worried about when you might get the chance to do this again.

Do you want to ask Lawrence about marriage now?
Let's do it.

Ask him, I mean. Not sex.

And hold him close so he can't retreat from us.
take me im yours
This time will be as good as any to ask, you might as well get it out of the way.


"Hm?" He's not looking back, but you know his attention is focused on you right now. Knowing that suddenly makes the words catch in your throat, your chest feeling tight.

"I um...I have a q-...question for you. And I want you to know that I'm like...completely serious about it too, okay?" You wait for Lawrence to nod and try to come up with the best way to ask. Movies always show it as someone being in a crowded restaurant or a special place, the man going down on a knee and pulling out a ring when he asks...this is nothing like that. You guys are laying in a bed in some hotel, and you're the one asking. If he doesn't say no right away it's going to be because he doesn't believe that you're seriously doing this. "So you have to promise not to laugh or anything, got it?"

"No promise." Lawrence is trying to make things seem normal again, and you appreciate the effort.

"I won't tell you unless you swear not to make fun of me for it."


"No way, you have to promise that you won't!" You whine, and while it's nice to have a normal situation like this again you want everything to do well.

"Tell me...what it...is. Won't laugh." Lawrence promises, and you know that now you'll have to say it. Squeezing him tighter, you hide your face against his back and ask in a muffled voice. "Couldn't hear...what you...said."

Of course he couldn't, you were making sure you could actually handle saying it out loud first. With a deep breath you say it again, louder and clear enough for him to hear with all your confidence poured out in each word.

"I want to be your bride."

Nothing follows this, and you give another squeeze before getting up so you can look down at Lawrence.

"Will you marry me?" Your face has long since heated up, but you don't back down from it either. No wavering or cracks in your voice, this is something you want to do properly. Lawrence sits up, looking at you with an uncertain and surprised look.


"I want to marry you, Lawrence. Um...only if you would want to get married to someone like me, that is." You start to feel embarrassed at that last part, not prepared for rejection. Lawrence opens his mouth as if to say something but stops, looking wide eyed and confused as ever. It's not really normal for a girl to ask this, is it? Did you break some unspoken rule about this? Probably.

"N-...not really...the kind...of guy...you want...to get...married to..." Lawrence finally says, still reeling from your question. It's the kind of answer you expected to hear,and you prepared yourself for that.

"And I wouldn't make a good wife."

"Yes you...would-"

"Then you're a good enough husband for me." Saying that out loud feels surreal, but you are determined to get an answer.

"You don't...want to...get stuck...with me."

"That's a bit too late for that, I think. Anyways I um...I like being stuck with you," Lawrence seems to still have some difficulties accepting what you're bring up to him. Wrapping your arms around his shoulders, you look up at him, your eyes drawn first to the scars and then to his face. "I um...I love you, after all." There's still no response, but instead your are pulled in for a tight embrace. It isn't a 'no', but you still want a straight answer on this.

"I can't...give you...much."

"I don't need a lot."

"Nothing to...offer..."

"You're enough for me." You hope you aren't guilt tripping him, but rather letting him know that you understand what you're getting in to.

"Can't give...you a...proper wedding...or anything...like that. Isn't that...something you...wanted?"

"That's fine, I don't need that," You promise, trying to ignore the pain in your head. "I just want your answer."

"..." Lawrence looks scared to answer, but you aren't sure what else you could say to sooth him.

What are some promises you could make in exchange for becoming his wife?
I'll be honest, I took forever this time because I was too busy shitposting in other places.
I'll take your v-card for you

To listen and be there for him, or at least try. To respect and appreciate who he is, and what he'll do, and persevere when times get tough, knowing that we've gotten through some bad shit already.

To show him how lucky we are to have him in our life, how happy we are that he's brought light against the darkness and been warmth when we've been cold.

He's our lee of the stone.
Is that a reference to The Secret of NIMH?
You know it.
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There has been a significant drop in fanart posts since this quest started but that doesn't mean nobody's been drawing. Have a thing from back when we dyed our hair and I will return to lurking/drawing.
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"I just want to be there for you, like you are for me. Maybe I can't do a good job at being a support for you yet, but I want to try at least. And I don't want you to be alone when stuff gets bad. You're there for me, and I'll be there for you too, if um...if you want to let me," It feels weird saying stuff like this, but you want to show just how mature you can be. "And I don't want you to think you'll be alone or something either. I want to be by your side as long as I can, but only if you want me there. That doesn't bother you, does it?"

"No. Like having...you around." Lawrence admits, and you pull yourself closer.

"Then let me stay with you and um..." You fidget it around at this next part. "And I'll do what I need, you know? Like...everything a wife is supposed to do. It's for you, so I don't mind. And um..I'll get b-better about not freaking out during it too...I p-promise."

"I'll..." Lawrence struggles to speak, and each second that passes makes you lose hope in getting a yes. "Delilah."

"Yes...?" At this, Lawrence pulls you in almost too tightly.

"Will do...it." Your heart leaps at this, but he continues talking. "But only...after I...tell you...what's going...on. And then...you can...think about...it again."

"You mean why you were all messed up earlier?" Lawrence nods at this, and while it leaves a stone in your stomach you also willingly take this. "I don't think there's anything you could tell me that would make me change my mind."

You're given a kiss on the forehead, and wait as Lawrence writes out a note for you. The actual wait doesn't bother you, but there is the fear that Lawrence got into some big trouble that will ruin everything. The minutes pass and you try not to think about the worst case scenarios, finally feeling some relief when the note is passed over.

I was given the prospect of making cash, and I took it. Shouldn't have, but I was desperate. Relying on you to pay for things isn't okay, and working isn't too doable right now.

I've spent the day making 'deliveries'

I've been moving drugs, and have been getting paid for it. Not too much, but some cash is better then none

The place I went to before I came here thought I was shady. They were worried I was bringing them fakes or something, they weren't too sober. I tried it out for them, tried to prove they were real. Took them down with some alcohol, and I think that was a big mistake. I didn't know they would work like that, it scared you and I'm sorry

"So, wait...where did you get...." You think back to what Sharron passed over and what you had overheard in the hidden room. She wouldn't really be the kind to do something like that, would she? "Erm...w-why were you freaking out about the time earlier?"

I was just supposed to drop off your stuff and make one last delivery tonight. I missed the deadline, and now I imagine there's some pissed off customers and a bottle full of ecstasy in my coat

You're not really sure what that means, but you'll wait to ask about that.

"So what are you going to do now? Try and take it over to sell or keep it or what?"

Don't think I could get to those customers again, and the guy I was running these for would be pissed if I kept the pills or the money I'm supposed to bring back. I was just supposed to deliver them and bring back the payment, and then I would get a cut. I'm going to see William tomorrow and see if I can get some help selling them

A guy? Was he doing this for more then Sharron?

"What if you can't sell them?"

I'll take it back to the guy, he seems a little unhinged though. I'd rather bring him back money then say I missed a customer or something

"You're not going to get hurt, are you?"

"Going to...try not...to."

The idea that Lawrence is out there selling drugs for people sounds awful. There's a surge of pain in your head as you think this over. People who do this kind of thing are scary, aren't they? And you doubt they end up better in the end...and if this guy Lawrence has to see is as awful as he says...

Do you want to try and convince Lawrence not to do this, or let him try to sell the drugs? Maybe he could sell them anyways, but not go back to the guy...or just flush it all down the toilet. Never think about it again...

If you beg enough, then Lawrence will probably listen. What do you want him to do?
>let him try to sell the drugs
Pissing off the cartel would not be a good idea
Some friends are back in town, gonna go meet up with them for a bit!Sorry
Sell the drugs
>Sell the drugs after we OD on them. Fucking kill ourselves.

What kind of Wafui shit is this?
We should give Law money to pay the guy and throw the drugs away. Selling isn't worth the risk
It probably wouldn't help Law to tell the guy that some of the buyers had him try the ecstasy to prove the authenticity, and things sorta went downhill.

Even if he doesn't like the idea, we could maybe cover the lost delivery, so at least the guy is going to have his money. Those guys usually care more about that, don't they? At least in the movies, they do...

... if this involves Sharron, maybe it'd be easier to gain her pardon.
We could bring the E back to her as a peace offering
Even though it's hardly Lawrence's fault those guys didn't trust him
It's not a secret that people find him suspicious so this was almost bound to happen
Tossing the drugs away without bringing the cash to whoever isn't an option. That does leave you with a couple of options for now though, even if some of them won't make Lawrence too happy.

"How much do they like...cost or whatever? What are they expecting you to bring back?"

"Eight pills...twenty five...dollars each."

"That much for some pill? Jesus..." You do the math in your head. If he was to sell all of those, he would need to bring back two hundred dollars. Getting up and bring back your jacket, you pull out the roll of bills you carry and start to count them out on the bed.

"What are...you doing?"

"One Eighty... one eighty five...one eighty nine..." You count out each one carefully, making a neat and tidy stack between you two. "...one sixty....one seventy..." You place the last of the bills, a bunch of wrinkled fives and ones to bring the count up to two hundred and hand them over to Lawrence.

"What do...you think...you're d-"

"Take this so you can pay off the guy or whatever."

"All of...your money..."

"Not all of it. I still have like...thirty bucks. And uh, Eric gave me his card for emergencies too but I'd rather not use it-"

"Can't take...your money," Lawrence tries to push it back to you, shaking his head. "Took this...job so...wouldn't have...to rely...on you...like this."

"And now you're in a bit of trouble," You aren't going to back down from this. "I'd much rather try to give you the money then have to worry about you standing in an alley and try to sell them, or whatever it is people do to sell stuff like that."

"That's...two hundred...dollars."

"I know, I counted it all out. This way you can take the guy his money, and there won't be a problem right? Just take this, and then you'll have one less thing to worry about. Does um...does he like...work for someone else we know or something? Maybe you could bring the ec-...et-...the pills or whatever to them later." You want to try and confirm that Sharron is part of all this without letting him know you had been eavesdropping. Holding out the bills with one hand, you start to scratch at the crook of your neck with the other.

"Maybe,...don't know...if she...would take...them," He's going to be vague about it, just as you expected. The thought of someone like Sharron being some big drug dealer sounds crazy though. Does Faraway know what his sister does? "Never been...directly part...of something...like this."

"And you shouldn't be any more! This kind of thing is dangerous! And they are always talking about arresting people for this kind of thing on the news all the time too!" You're scolding him, but only out of fear for his safety.

"Michele would...kill me...if she...knew," Her name makes you cringe, a flash of white hot pain in your head. Any time you remember her, it's laying in the bathtub covered in blood and the empty bag of powder thrown to the side. The same stuff you carry in your own bag, actually. "Always warned...me to...stay away...from this...life."

"It's not too late for you to fix it though. Just take the money, give it to the guy, and just be done with all this. I know you were wanting to make some money, but I don't want you to have to resort to this sort of thing. Take care of this and then maybe we can figure out what to do with the stuff..." Pushing the money into his hands, Lawrence finally accept the cash. His face gives away the dissatisfaction over this, but if it means keeping him safe then it's fine. You realize that Lawrence will have to walk around carrying them in his pocket. Having him bring them over to Sharron seems like the best idea, or if William could help 'get rid' of them later even. But you doubt that Lawrence is going to be strolling around one of the nice neighborhoods, and they've already proved willing to give him trouble before.

Do you want to carry the pills for him, or would it be safer to let him keep them?
>let him keep them
You carry them. You look like less of a drug dealer than Lawrence.
Sorry about the wait today, classes have just started up here how awful bleh
It'd be safer for everyone involved if we carry it, at least until we can meet Sharron. Explain what happened to Law and that we'd like him to not be involved in this kind of stuff because people don't trust him.

He looks like the kind of guy a cop would stop just for standing around. Having him be a courier... doesn't seem like a well thought-out plan.

... or maybe we could sell it to make the money back. Probably not, though. People would probably just rob us.
Let's us carry it. Makes the most sense.
"I think you should let me hold on to that stuff for now." You don't like the idea of carrying around a bunch of drugs, but between the two you're less likely to get stopped by a police officer. There's nothing illegal about Lawrence walking around with a lot of cash, but the idea that he could be caught with the pills and sent to jail is terrifying.

"Not going...to let...you hold...on to...them."

"Yes you are. If I get caught with them then I can just like...cry and say I don't know what they are or something. I don't think you could pull something like that off, no offense." You'd much rather not have to do something like that, but if it comes to it...

"No way."

"Yes way! I'll keep them in my bag, who's going to go through it anyways? I'll keep it on me, and I'll just like...hide them in a sock or something! No one would find them, and if they did then I don't think that would be the worst of my troubles at the moment," Realizing that your neck burns from your scratches, you pull away your hand and hope Lawrence doesn't notice. "And if I need to I'll just take them back to the theater...they'll um...t-they'll be safe there." At the sound of theater Lawrence looks shocked, and you do your best to cover the slip up. No need to upset him about this further, you doubt Sharron would be thrilled with the idea of you knowing about all of this too.

"...you're not...going to...mess with...them, right?"

"I'll put them in my bag and never touch them again."

"Not going...to talk...about them...either to...anyone, promise?"

"I won't say I word. I know how bad they are," That's a lie, you don't know much about any of this stuff. Better to sound confident then to let your naivety show through though. "No one will realize that I have them, it'll be fine." You've been able to carry around the powder Michele gave you for this long, carrying around a few pills shouldn't be a big deal. You wait as Lawrence digs through his coat, pulling out a small bottle.

"Wait a minute, isn't that just Aspirin...oh wait, are they inside there or something?" Taking the bottle from Lawrence, you notice that it feels full. Way more then eight pills...

"Hidden on...the bottom. Normal Aspirin...pills on...the top." Lawrence explains, and you have to stop yourself from opening it to look inside. If that's the case, what are the chances that he would actually get caught with them? Better safe then sorry though, and you bury the bottle deep away in your bag.

"Alright, they're safe in there...now you can take care of the money and we can deal with them later." You carefully set the bag back down, afraid that something could happen if you're too rough with it. What the hell have you gotten yourself into? Just remind yourself it'll be fine, it's not like you'll have to do anything with them. Get the pills settled, maybe even the powder and everything will be okay.

Moving back to the bed, the two of you sit in silence. It's a terrible situation, but this could have gone much worse. Lawrence is probably kicking himself over having to take money from you again, but you wish you could assure him that you don't mind. Maybe he feels like he's not being a proper man, having to rely on someone like you once again.

Messing with the hem of your jeans, you glance over at Lawrence's face. Where he took out the stitches himself is raw and red, better then when he first got them in but still not healed. He needs new ones put in soon, but you know that won't happen any time soon. You're about to offer to give him some help, maybe lick his cheek to help in what little you can but you remember what you had promised Sam.

He asked you to not do that, and while you wouldn't be drinking anything you doubt Sam would condone this anyways. But if it's to help Lawrence...

Do you want to go against your promise and try to help Lawrence's cheek, or wait and let him take care of it himself?

gotta head to class now
We... promised not to so Sam could observe the symptoms, so maybe he could figure something out... but he's not here. He can't learn anything about what's wrong with us if we're so sick we can barely leave the hotel.

And it's just a little bit. A slight relief. We'd... be sick again soon enough...
>try to help Lawrence's cheek
Sorry about the wait, class real quick.
it's okay.

>We should try to hold to our promise for as long as we can.
"Let me take care of that," You say, getting up from the bed. "Dad always said to keep stuff like that clean, you don't want it to get infected or heal worse. He was always really big on making sure all my scrapes and cuts were cleaned up properly. It felt kind of silly sometimes, but I guess it's better to be safe." From the bathroom you grab a hand towel, wetting the corner just like your dad would. He used actual cleaning solution, but your grandfather said that just water would be fine.

Holding Lawrence's chin, it feels silly as you tilt his head to the side. Dabbling the white against his skin, you notice him wincing beneath the gentle touches. You do your best to avoid the now empty bumps, watching the pure white become stained with the grime and dried blood. That might help to fight off some of the bacteria, but the open wounds aren't going to be too good.

It feels bad, breaking your promise to Sam. Knowing that Lawrence got sick and hurt from something you could have prevented feels even worst though. Besides, Sam will never have to know and it's not that much. It's not like he's bleeding now, and it will be a quick job. Nothing bad, you won't have to feel guilty about anything and you'll have done more to help.

"And you should uh...let me, you know...too." He doesn't know about the promise you made, if he did then there's no doubt that Lawrence would try to stop you. You'll keep that little fact to yourself, and it will be fine. Nodding in permission, Lawrence allows you full access. You focus just on where the stitches were removed, shuddering at how bad they must have hurt. It looks painful taking them out the normal way, you can't even begin to imagine tearing them out with nails. There's that familiar tinge of pleasure when your tongue runs over raw flesh, but nothing too crazy. It makes you wish for more, makes your head feel light, but it's hardly anything. Over and over the small area, you trace over it till you feel as if it's safe enough. Not that you're really sure when that is, but all you can do for now is guess.

"It looks pretty bad, did it hurt?" You ask, looking through your bag for something to cover the marks with. The ghost of a buzz staves off your headache for now, and you're thankful for that, even if it means you'll just have to deal with it even more later on.

"Stings. Not too...bad though." Lawrence wouldn't let you know how bad it really hurt, but asking makes you feel better anyways.

"Why did you do it?" There's nothing in your bag that you can use, not for his face anyways.

"Don't remember. Was itchy...or something. Just scratched. Think it...will heal?"

"If you don't mess with it any more then I think so. I can't say though...I've never seen something like that. You'll just need to talk to Sam about it when we see him," Looking over your 'work', trying to ignore the want for more, you realize that it may be a while before you two see each other again. "You're not going to stay here with me, are you?"

"Be best...if I...left before...it got...busy."

"You're probably right. It sucks though. It really really sucks," You're trying not to sulk, but it's impossible to hide your disappointment over the situation. "Stop touching, I just cleaned that."

Lawrence pulls his fingers away from his cheek, absentmindedly tracing over it. He notices your shift in attitude, grimacing as he thinks for a bit.

"Was going...to leave...now. But if...you want...I can...stay for...a bit...longer."

Go ahead and say good-bye to Lawrence, or let him stay for a while longer?
>say good-bye to Lawrence
It's probably best if he does leave early. As awful as it sounds, he's still a good decoy if that fake cop is looking for him to get to us.

We'll just stay and wait for Sam or whomever is supposed to collect us.
Don't say good bye, it feels too foreboding
Tell him to take care
And kiss
"No, it's probably for the best if you go now. Get everything out of the way, less people walking around all that," It's hard to sound happy about this, but you try your best. If he stayed you'd just end up staying up with him anyways. You need to show that you can handle yourself, that you don't constantly need to hold his hand, even when that's all you want to do. "Do you know who's coming by to grab me anyways?"

"Most likely...Sam. But keep...eye out." Not as much as you, but Lawrence has traces of loneliness in his words. At least you'll be out with someone, he's got to walk around all by himself. Watching as he pulls on his shoes and coat, you prepare yourself to say goodbye. Walking him to the door, the two of you just stand in silence. Opening your mouth, you prepare to see him off but it doesn't come out the way you want to. Saying goodbye makes it sound like you aren't going to see him again, and it breaks your heart. You have to be strong about this, prove that you aren't some little baby who can't do anything on her own.

"Um...so you be careful out there, okay?" You look up at him as you say this, and Lawrence just gives you a brittle grin. The corner of his mouth might always stay turned up, but that fake grin doesn't do a good enough job at hiding what's going on beneath. "Could you uh, lean down for a second?"

In an effort to poke fun at your height, Lawrence makes a big gesture of coming down to meet you at eye level, his face feigning a sign of annoyance at this.

"Little shorty." He says, flicking the strand of hair from your face.

"It's not my fault-" You try to defend yourself, but a head pat is quick to placate you. It's childish, but you can't help but like the way he ruffles your short hair. "Rude..."

"You are...short."

"I'll grow, just give me some time."

"Sure you...will. Maybe then...you can...reach my...shoulder," Lawrence grins more as he says this, seeing you pout at him. "If you...stand on...tiptoes...anyways."

"I'm tall enough! Erm...anyways..." Your face is red from the light bullying you've received, but it grows deeper when you take hold on the sides of his face and lean in to Lawrence. Just a quick smooch on the lips, and then you look him in the eyes to make sure he's listening. "You be careful out there, okay?"

"Should be...telling you...that."

"Well, I'm telling you that right now. Don't make me worry, and take care of yourself or else, okay?"

"As long...as you...do. Shorty."

"Shush. You better head out now." Lawrence nods in agreement, giving you one last hug before exiting out the door. You wave halfheartedly, locking the door behind. Returning to the bed, it feels even bigger now. Rolling around, you wrap yourself in the still warm blankets and do your best to fall asleep.


It's a restless and flighty sleep, but better then nothing. When you look at the clock you can see that it's already 10 in the morning. Not that you haven't slept in this late before, but you start to worry. Check out is at noon, only two hours away. Shouldn't someone be here by now? Of course they could stop by any moment, there's still two hours. You shouldn't expect them to come get you right away, there has to be a lot for them to do right now. Getting up and preparing, you make sure all your things are gathered and you're ready to leave. Putting the wig on, you tuck the locks away in a beanie to be extra safe. At this rate you're going to be a master of disguise, which under any other circumstance would be fun to say.

Sitting on the edge of the bed you wait, the minutes flying by all too fast. Maybe someone other then Sam came by and they're waiting for you in the lobby. Going downstairs seems like the best option anyways, they could just be running late. You'd rather not have to explain to a clerk or cleaning lady why you're just hanging around the room waiting.

Assuring that you have all your belongings, you head out into the hallway. Carrying the dirty looking duffel bag makes you feel self conscious, but you try your best to fit in. The lobby is nothing special, but there is the breakfast nook and a waiting area of sorts. You eat breakfast, keeping an eye out for anyone you know. Failing to do that, you take a seat on the couch. A television plays, some morning talk show that old women like playing. It doesn't interest you in the slightest, and you try to look around without seeming suspicious. You're just waiting to get picked up, happens to kids all the time right?


Another hour passes and no body has came for you. It feels like the person at the front desk is starring, but every time you take a peek you can never catch them. Of course it looks weird, you've been sitting here alone. Still, you'll keep waiting you decide. It's only about to be twelve, there's still plenty of time.

When yet another hour passes, you feel anxious. This time you catch the woman working the front desk looking over at you, talking with another employee. Whoever is coming could be late, right? Sam gave you the envelope to hold after all, he wouldn't give you something that important if he was just going to leave you behind. The women in the back are starting to make you feel nervous though.

Should you stay in here for a while longer, or wait outside? Of course you could always try walking to the theater and seeing if either Faraway is over there right now...
>stay in here for a while longer
Stay and wait
Waiting a little longer should be fine. If no one's here in that time, we can go to the theater. Sam knows we could head there in an emergency, and this... sort of is?

Not really, but rather be somewhere Sam knows we would than aimlessly walking the streets.
You'll stay here for now. Not bothering anyone, not being in the way....you'll keep to yourself till someone comes to save you from this wait. The slight buzz you received has long since died, but so has the headache. For now, that is. Instead you can deal with the need to want more. Annoying, annoying as hell but at least you're not in pain. The amount of people passing by makes you nervous, and you find yourself ducking over to hide away from any wandering eyes. You'll have to keep an extra eye out though, no one else knows what you're wearing.

On the small couch across from you, a mother with a child and baby sits down. Looking over, you see a man you presume to be her husband checking out, bags at hand. Hiccups and growing sobs from the baby draw your attention back, watching at the mother attempts to calm him. The baby is passed over to the little girl, just old enough to hold the baby in her lap as the mother looks through the diaper bag. The little girl is trying her best to sooth her brother, cooing at him and humming. He doesn't stop crying, but it does seem to distract him for the time being. When the mother takes him back, you realize from the blanket over her shoulder that she's about to breastfeed the baby, and in embarrassment you look away. She's doing it in public, but it's not something you should be watching like a creep. All she's trying to do is feed her child is all. Your mother did the same, as hard as it is to believe sometimes. In the few pictures of her holding you, your mother always looked so exhausted and drain, like it was a big effort to do it. Not that you don't think it's a big thing for other mother's, but the way she looked in those photos was almost scary. Dark eyes, thin cheeks, her hair a mess...almost like she looked in the hospital. Oddly enough she managed to muster a smile in those pictures, even if they might not have been genuine.

You could have been doing something like this too. If you hadn't realized what was going on with your body, if you hadn't started bleeding again or taken those pills...

A little homeless girl, walking around with a bag on one arm and a baby in the other. What a sad thought.

The idea of it happening to you is terrible, but for some reason there's the tug of guilt in your chest. You start to feel nauseous again, leaning over further. Mentally begging for the family to leave and take the baby, you can't be thankful enough when they finally do leave you. Babies never bothered you before, you loved seeing them. But now? It's just another thing ruined for you.

Eventually the feeling passes, and you lean back up. The lobby has practically emptied at this point, and looking at the time on the clock doesn't make you feel any better. It's past noon now, and still no one you know has came by. You couldn't have missed them, right? No one snuck by, you didn't miss a knock at the door...nothing like that. You refuse to believe they could have abandoned you, even if the thought crossed your mind several times over. Lawrence is expected back there, and there's no way he could leave you behind either, right?

Thinking about your potential options, the double doors open and a lone man walks in. Nothing unusual about that, and no one you know either. Doesn't exactly looked dressed for this place, but who are you to judge?

"Excuse me ma'am, I was hoping that I could get some information..." Good, he'll take to the women and they won't pay any attention to you. The less you earn the better it will be. But if they do kick you out...where are you to go? The theater sounds like your best bet, even if that means you might miss them. Not much you can do if you're kicked out of here though. Racking your brain over a plan, you start to bite your thumb out of habit. "Do you happen to know if uh, one Delilah Esposito has stayed here?"

You damn near tear your nail off at this. Glancing back, you take a look at the man asking the front desk. You don't recognize him, he wasn't either of the two men from the apartment or the one who stopped by the theater. The idea that he could still be working for Bower crosses your mind, but how the hell would they have known to look here?

"I'm sorry sir, I'm not allowed to give out information regarding guests staying here."

"I know it's against policy but ah, you think I could maybe get a little hint...?" The man slides something across the table to the woman, and you look towards the door. You could leave now and no one would be the wiser.

"I could lose my job over this-"

"Ma'am, I can't usually give out too much but this is a bit of an emergency."

Gripping your bag tighter, you try to think of the best plan.

Leaving now while he's distracted might be the best idea. If you wait too long, then he'll be outside and you risk getting kicked out. On the other hand, he doesn't know what you look like and you aren't registered under your real name here, this could give you the chance to eaves drop...

Do you want to leave now or try to gather information?
Let's listen, hopefully get some kind of information.

As long as we don't cause any trouble or look too out of place, they have no reason to kick us out, right? Once this guy is gone and not hanging around out front, we can leave.
Eavesdrop, but be prepared to run if necessary
Ignoring the instinct to run, you crouch over in an attempt to keep yourself as small as possible. Just keep to yourself, and maybe you can learn some new information.

"Alright listen, maybe you can't give me a name and room number," The man continues, and you try to place where you've heard his voice before. "But what if I described this girl to you, maybe it can ring some bells and you can at least tell me if you've seen her walking around, that should be on the up and up. Right?"

"Um...I, I guess that would be fine." When the woman agrees to this you clutch your bag even tighter.

"Right, so let's see...she's thirteen, bout to turn fourteen. Pretty cute girl you know? Uh let's see, bout oh five foot. Blonde wavy hair, gray eyes, bit of a tan, take a look at this picture, any of this sound familiar to you?" You tuck yourself deeper into the jacket, making sure you don't look over at them.

"I'm afraid we go through a lot of people, would this girl be with her parents or...?"

"Afraid not. There's a good chance she would be traveling alone, or actually...I don't have a picture for him, but there's a guy she might have been traveling with. Have to go off the description given to me so just give me a moment," There's the sound of paper flipping and the man continues with the description. "This guy is in his late twenties, Caucasian, dark hair with some neck scruff going on, don't have an accurate number but he's apparently really tall. The kind to stand out in a crowd, uh...he's also a mute from the looks of it too. Ring any bells?"

"N-...wait, you said tall right? Like um, touching the top of the doorway tall?"

"That's the type of description I was given, yeah."

"Well uh, I believe there was this one man who fit that description. He left here quite a few hours ago though, way early in the morning. Um, the only thing that seems to be missing is that this guy had been all uh, cut up. The left side of his face was pretty messed up. One of the cleaning ladies told me about him coming in, she thought he was a tweaker. We looked all over but couldn't find him roaming, so I guess he had a room here. To be honest I was ready to call the police, he didn't look like the type of guy to stay here..."

"His face was messed up? Could you just give me a brief description about how it was?"

As the woman gives him a description, one of the maids comes by with a vacuum to clean up the carpet in front of you. She gives you a strange look, noticing that you have been sitting here alone. Rather then ask if you should move you decide to just pick yourself up and head out instead. It doesn't sound like there's much more information that you can really pick up for now without risking getting caught. While the man is distracted you walk out the double doors, standing out under the awning.

As usual the sky is covered in clouds, and the business from this morning has seem to come to a pause for now. As you start to walk away the double doors open from behind and the man walks out. You pause midstep, and he walks past you and to a car. No tinted windows, just a beat up Mercedes-Benz with a missing bumper waiting for the man. You hide behind the awning column, waiting for the engine to rev. When it doesn't, you take a peek to see what the deal is. The man is sitting in the front seat, hand out the window with a lit cigarette. From what you can see, it appears that he's looking over notes. Calming yourself, you walk out from the parking lot and to the sidewalk, glancing over to the car but not trying to look obvious. The guy pays no attention to you, but you don't feel safe till you are out walking towards the theater. Not too much traffic, but just enough cars passing to not make you feel alone. You kind of wish there was more people walking around, but this being an alright part of town makes it slightly better.

You forgot just how heavy the bag really is, and are forced to stop and allow your shoulders some rest from carrying it. Keeping an eye out for anyone you know, you feel...you don't know how to feel. Maybe this was the wrong idea, but what other choice did you have? If you stayed there all day the staff would grow more suspicious, they might have thought you were abandoned and called the police. Maybe you were abandoned...

Compared to the other parts, the empty store behind you is a strange sight for this place. Large windows that once held displays are now empty, showing you empty shelves and cobwebs. Looking down the street, the rev of an engine working too hard travels down the street. Looking back, you can see that it is once again the Mercedes-Benz. You stay still, holding your breath as you wait for it to pass. When it comes to a sudden stop and the man hurries to roll his window down you nearly choke, trying to look down and away.

"Hey, you! Excuse me!" The man calls out, and you look up from behind the beanie. "Ah, excuse me miss, sorry for being rude! But you were at the hotel back there, if I could just ask a few que-" He's cut off by the angry honking of a car waiting from behind, and as he starts to drive forward again he shouts one last thing at you.

"Listen, I'm just going to go park around the corner and then I'll be right back...just let me ask you a few questions and then I'll leave you alone...!"

You watch as the car travels down the block, turning around the block.

There's only a little bit of time before that guy comes back this way. If he's working for Bower then it seems pretty weird that all of his information is 'outdated', not to mention you've never seen that car around before. His voice is vaguely familiar too...

Doesn't mean you shouldn't be careful, but if he has some information for you...

Do you want to try and wait for him to come back and ask a few questions, keeping your face hidden as much as possible? There's an alley you can duck behind, you won't be able to talk to him but maybe you can at least look him over and see if he's someone you recognize. And of course, running away now is always an option.
>run away now
Wait for him to come back, but keep a hand on our pepper spray. Maybe we can put out a... what's it called, a red herring?

Put on Eric's glasses to further our disguise. We should probably try using another voice, too. This could be the guy from Mr. Faraway's phone, he figured out which hotel we were at, after all.
Pepper him when he gets close
We can hear him out and send him in the wrong direction
This guy might actually be working with or for grandma but there's no actually verifying that
Maybe we could point him in the direction of Bower's goons? Say we saw their car following a big guy sorta fitting Lawrence's description back in December, and we've seen it driving around real suspicious-like from time to time.

We could pit them against each other.
I could see that being interesting
Use this guy for our dirty work so to speak
The flight response is screaming in your head, but you stay in place. You can handle this, it will be fine. There have been times when you were in worse situations, this won't be a big deal. Feeling around, you find the glasses borrowed from Eric. Slipping them on, you hope they do the job in hiding more of your face. As the man comes down the street your hand reaches into the jacket pocket, wrapping around the pepper spray. If he figures out who you are then you'll just use this and take the chance to run. With each step he takes you go over the plan in your head, rehearsing it over and over again till all too soon the man comes up.

"Hello! Thanks for waiting," The man is slightly out of breath, having hurried from his car. You keep your chin down, but try to look over his features. About the same age as John, something in his thirties. He smells of stale cigarettes masked beneath cheap cologne, his clothes a wrinkled mess. If you were to guess, then you would say that both of you are well experienced in sleeping in the same clothes you walked around in all day. "Hope I didn't scare you off too much, but I just have some quick questions."

You nod your head, wanting to remain silent as long as possible.

"My name is Crocket, a P.I, but not that one," Crocket smirks at this, but the reference flies over your head. "Anyways, let me just get these out of the way and I'll be out of your hair."

Avoiding eye contact, you wait as Crocket flips open a notebook pulled from his coat pocket. He fingers through the pages, sprawls of messy notes on the pages that pass.

"Let's see..., guess I could start from the top. Have you heard of a girl named Delilah Esposito? She'd be about your height," You shake your head no to this. "Figured that much, but maybe you can help me out more. See, it's important I find this girl so any information I can gather is useful alright? If you think you know any of this just tell me."

"A-...alright." You lower your voice, trying to make yourself sound older.

"So, pretty easy to lose a girl like her in a place like this. No sweat, but maybe you can help me locate a friend of hers." He means Lawrence, you can already tell. "A man a bit younger then me, but much taller. Dark hair, white, mute...and possible a face wound? One of the...the left side of his face maybe?"

"Um...l-...let me think..." It would be easy to just turn this guy away, but you could maybe work this to your advantage. "I...I think I have seen someone like that around..."

"Really? Give me any information you have then." Crocket pulls the nub of a pencil from behind his ear, waiting for you to feed him information.

"So uh, it was a while ago. Like in...in December," You keep your voice low, hoping that it's doing the job. "He was um, walking over by Chancy Hill, where that old school is? I uh...I remember it being weird cause there was this car with dark windows following him...I think it was a Lincoln or something? I um...I go over there a bit sometimes, and I know that car has been kind of just driving around all...all weird and stuff. Like, scoping around or something."

Crocket is writing down each word you say, and you continue to look away.

"Alright, a Lincoln with tinted windows? Interesting...anything else you can recall?"

"That's pretty much it, k-kind of hard to um...to pick out a person in a crowd of p-people. Everyone is taller then me so that doesn't help much either..."

"Right, well this is all pretty good information. Thanks for your time," Crocket pauses his writing, looking down at you. His stare feels suffocating, and you try to hide yourself away. Each second that passes is filled with the prayer that he won't see who you really are. "That looks pretty heavy."

"H-...huh?" Crocket points down at your bag.

"It looks like you're carrying a lot. I'm in a bit of a hurry, but if you're heading somewhere near by then maybe I could drop you off? Hate to see you struggle with it."

You grip the bag harder. A ride would be nice, but this man...

Do you accept his offer? If you do, have him take you to the theater or somewhere else close by to it?
let's fuckin go for it, walking is way too much effort.
say somewhere close to the theatre tho just to be safe. maybe the plaza?
Sure, we're sitting in the back, though. Less chance of him being able to do anything, and we have better line of sight with the mace.

Somewhere close to the theater should be best, avoid giving him any... good information on our whereabouts.
Yes but sit in the back
"That's um...that's fine, if you want to anyways. Is it okay if I sit in the back? I get...carsick. Like, really bad."

"Yeah? That's fine, probably less trash back there anyways. Consider it a payment for the info, just follow me over here." Crockett motions for you to follow him, you insisting on carrying your own bag over. The mace hidden in your pocket serves as a reminder that if you situate yourself just right, you can get him to stop the car and leave. It's the middle of the day, he goes even a block off course and you'll have him regretting it. Those thoughts seem pretty severe to you, but there's no taking chances.

The car is just as beat up looking up close, and you notice that the handle on the passenger side is broken. Crockett has to sit inside and reach over to let you in, and with your bag near by you sit on the back seats adjacent from him. Any sign of something going wrong and you can easily reach him with the spray from here. You keep it on hand, shifting your feet around the piles of fast-food wrappers and discarded notebook papers. A crumbled up blanket is pushed to the side, and from the wear and tear the interior has you could safely guess that this guy practically lives in here.

"Alright, where to lady?" Crockett asks as the engine sputters to life, you pulling on the seat belt. It doesn't lock properly, but it might be for the best. It would be easier to run out that way, anyways.

"Um...can you take me over to uh....by Main? Where that bistro is?"

"I think I know where, close enough anyways. Hold time, this thing sometimes like to jump on me," As soon as he says that, the vehicle lurches forward. It near causes you to panic, but Crockett thinks nothing of it. "Thing isn't that old, but let me tell you it's been rode hard and put away wet. Pretty sure that's due to who owned it before me."

"And...who was that?"

"Dunno, some dealer I think. Bought this from a police auction, was a piece of crap then but I needed a new set of wheels. Kinda wish I'd save my money for something else, but what else can you do? Needed a roof over my head."

"You live in here?"

"Nah. Sometimes. Just went my work takes me out all night, easier to sleep in here and continue in the morning. Just be glad it's winter, this thing is a deathtrap during summer. Fan don't work," As Crockett drives he looks back at you in the rear view mirror occasionally. "Now, why is a young lady like yourself out alone right now? Shouldn't you be in class?"

"I'm...just here visiting. I have family here and I was just looking around...I was dropped off there by my parents and now my uh...aunt is going to meet up with me. I'm home schooled anyways so I don't need to worry about classes." Lie through your teeth, let it come out like it's no big deal.

"I see, so a visitor huh? Come from a place this big?"

"No. My town is smaller, a bit anyways. We don't have any of this um, cool stuff."

"Think this place is cool, huh?"

"Um, yes?" At this Crockett chuckles, and you aren't sure what's funny.

"Lot of people your age say that. They see this place and think that it's amazing. They see the bright lights and polish and think the whole place is like that. But then they move here and the underbelly sucks them in. Not everyone I guess, but this place has that effect. Like a tar pit, it can just suck you in and never let you go. Kind of what happened to me, and now I can't leave," You can't think of anything to say after this and Crockett notices, going back to quickly fix his pessimistic view. "Er, I could I guess. But that's so much work. At this point, I know this place. Don't like it, but it's familiar. I know I can get work here, sometimes. Have friends here, if I leave then I leave here alone. I'd rather have a cutie on my arm first, you know? Little less scary to go out to the unknown if you got someone by your side."

"Y-...yeah. I understand." You kind of do, anyways. For now you watch out the window, recounting the familiar streets. He's staying on the right path, but you grip the pepper spray just as tightly. Music attempts to come out through the static, failing it's battle to sound pleasant. Much better then pure silence though, and Crockett finally pulls in to park. A couple blocks down you can spot the top of the theater, and you prepare yourself to leave.

"Thanks for the ride." You say, trying to get out.

"No problem, just...can you do me a favor?" Hand on the door, you look back at him.


"This woman who hired me, Mrs. Esposito," Crockett pulls out a cigarette, lighting it and filling the car with smoke. "She's an old woman, and at this point she has very little family left. Husband dead, only son dead, most of her extended family...her granddaughter is all she has left."

"H-...how sad..."

"She might be cranky a lot, but she wants her granddaughter to know that she's sorry about everything that has happened so far," Crockett makes eye contact with you in the mirror, smoke drifting up. "And that she loves Delilah with her heart dearly." You grip the handle tightly, it feels like he's giving you a message of some sort.

"I...s-she sounds like a good grandmother..."

"She tries, even if it doesn't seem too hard. And right now, she just wants to know if Delilah is doing okay. You wouldn't happen to know, would you?" Does he know that it's you? It sounds like he's offering to rely a message of sorts...

Do you want to confirm to him who you are? Or maybe it's best just to give a vague message back, something to your grandmother if he really does work for her. Or maybe it's a trick and you should just leave now with out giving out any more information...
>it's a trick and you should just leave now with out giving out any more information
"I...I think she'll be okay."
be vague.
Don't give in and give a vague answer.
Be vague. Claim that if she's sticking around someone who sounds so scary as Lawrence, she'll probably be okay. Few people would mess with him. Probably.

If we see her, should we tell her her grandmother is looking for her? Or tell her to call her grandmother?
Interesting way of putting it.
It'd probably confirm his suspicion but he seems like a good guy compared to the fake cop from the theatre and the guys in the Lincoln
You would love to just tell grandma that you're fine, to go in person and let her know. But the risk of being wrong about this man is too much. Tell him who you are and then what? He shoves you in the trunk and drives you to your own personal hell. Have to play it safe, it's for the best.

"I...I think that girl is okay. F-For now anyways, um..." It feels like leaving a final message for your grandmother, and that you have too much too say and ask in too little of time. Not that you know when you might get to hear back from her again though. "If she's hanging around with this uh, big dude then maybe she's fine? Hanging around a s-...a scary guy like that would probably keep the weirdos away, right?"

"...suppose so. If this man is her friend that is..." Crockett trails off, putting pieces together in his head.

"And um, is this girl supposed to know that her grandmother is looking for her? Or like, should she try to call her?"

"Calling her house won't do too good. Mrs. Esposito has been relocated for the time being, it's important that her location is secret."

"I-Is she in trouble?"

"Of sorts. Pretty complicated matters, but she's safe right now," Crocket ashes the cigarette, pausing to rummage through his pocket. Passing it back, he looks back at your reflected gaze in the mirror. "If Delilah is any sort of trouble and needs help though, she should know to call this number and that I'll do what I can."

"Um, okay..." You pocket the already bent and smudged business card without looking over it, knowing there will be time to do that later.

"I can't legally force her to come along with me, by the way. Don't have that authority any more, means I got to have her come along willingly. I do understand why she might not be so willing to do that," His voice turns somber at this, bent cigarette between his fingers. "But let me say, thanks for not running away earlier."

"I-I've got to go now." You stammer, opening the door and fleeing from the car with the bag at hand. Crockett gives you a wave before driving off, and you feel the card between your fingers. It would be nice if you could trust him, he had every chance to drive away with you. Then again, if he wasn't 100% on who you were or if he wasn't prepared to drag you away, so many different and terrible plans for your capture. Still, if he was truthful then knowing that your grandmother is safe is one relief. Better then thinking about her tied up somewhere alone anyways. Still, you can't figure out why she would be in hiding and so secretive. If Bower would stoop to something like kidnapping then why not turn to the police? Even if she couldn't pin it on who was behind all of it, then wouldn't official authority be the best option? Then again, he also said that your family didn't get along well with the law...

No use thinking about that right now. All you can do is stew over the shreds of information you have, it's not like you even know if it's true or not. Hoisting the bag strap over your shoulder, you make your trek to the theater. The new weight on your shoulder almost regrets having the bag with you again, but at least you have everything on you. Everything that wasn't stolen, anyways. Your book would be nice, the pictures, your missing clothes....and Ms. Buttons. You neglected her, and now she's gone. The one friend that would have stuck with you through everything, and she's gone just like that. Being attached to a stuffed animal feels stupid, but you can't help it. Maybe if you see your grandmother again she can make a new one. Not that it'll be the same...

With the size of the theater building you aren't sure that your knocks could travel through well enough to catch anyone's attention. In the lot there's only two cars parked, one of them Sharron's. You persist, and the woman herself stands there at the door.

"Can I help you?" She asks, and the sound of footsteps alert the quick presence of Timothy.

"Mom, that's that one girl. The one who brought the kitty, remember?"

"Oh, it is you Bunny! I didn't recognize you, I'm sorry. Come on in, don't stand out in the cold." Sharron lets you in, dressed professionally as ever. You're a little shocked to see her boy here, with all that's been happening so far.

"Sorry to bother you...again. I just need somewhere to like...figure out what to do." You give a dry explanation, hoping that you don't have to hint at your fear of abandonment.

"Of course! We were just about to finish up for the day, want to come with me to the office? It's just where I store all my paperwork and all, but I just need to look over some numbers before I turn in for the day. Tim is going to a birthday party tonight and I promised to help chaperone." Timothy gives you a toothy grin at this, trying to walk even with you as you both follow Sharron.

No false walls, no secret passages, just a normal room with normal shelves and chairs. A small chest of toys and books rest in the corner, obviously a play area for the days Timothy tags along. He immediately takes his place again, starting where he left off in his fantasy world. Sharron gets to a large book spread out on a busy desk, copying down information from it.

"Just take a seat anywhere. Sorry if I don't talk much, this is so boring and tedious but it has to get done." You nod and sit, feeling bad that your dirty old bag is against the shiny wood. With both of them busy you feel awkward just sitting there, trying to think while biding your time. No solid plan of action yet, though a few ideas swirl about. You might not know where the majority of the group is, but you do know where at least two of them are, or should be anyways.

You remember Sam saying that John was in a VFW hospital, but he was supposed to be released any day now. You could go there and wait with him, or at least discuss a plan to find the others, but he might already be released. And if he's not out in a few days, you're still lacking a place to sleep. At least you'll be with someone you know.

Then there's the apartments. The last place you guys were, and if they aren't done moving everyone then that could be easier for you to get in contact. You might have to go alone or try to convince someone to come along, and there might be people there who knew Warren that might recognize you. There's no way you'd want to meet up with a bunch of his angry friends, especially if there's a reward for you out still.

You'd be imposing, but maybe you could stay with Sharron again or maybe even camp out by the theater. Lawrence and Sam both know about the theater, and if John is out so does he. You'd have to find somewhere to sleep around here though. You doubt Sharron would just let you in here alone. And of course there's her place, but that doesn't give a good chance for any of the others to come to you...

What kind of plan should you work out?
Trying to meet up with John seems the better option if Sam or one of the others don't come pick us up here.
Oh jesus christ I drank too much last night and am suffering for it please forgive me
This is fine
You'll see about waiting here for a bit, but your best chance might be with John. If he isn't there then you can come back here and think of something else. On that note, you really hope that John is still in the hospital. There's always Claire, you doubt they wouldn't visit her when they still have Cecilia. Still, it could be quite a while before they go to her again. For now you'll stay here, waiting for someone to come by and figuring out where John should be at.

"Could I borrow a phone book?" you ask, and Sharron tosses hers over. It takes some careful searching, looking under different letters and scanning over several lines of names and places, but you feel comfortable with the number you find. It's the only thing with the letters VFW in it, and even if you are wrong then they can give the name of any other possible place. For safe keeping you jot the number down, noticing that you've been steadily collecting phone numbers. Not that you want to call all of them, but it feels important that you keep them all straight. You wouldn't want to accidentally call Bower's men...when you get the chance to, it might be good to sort through your bag and make sure you are carrying around only what you need. If you can lighten your load then all the better. "Is there a phone I could use?"

"I'll take you over to one if you want to give me a moment, is it an emergency?" Sharron asks, not looking up from her work.

"Um, as long as it doesn't take too long it's fine." you answer, even though you would prefer to call right away. Being seen as a bother and a burden still scares you, and you'll try to do what you can to prevent being seen as either. When you look over at Timothy, he stops his action to give you a quick wave, not stopping till you return it. You expect another toothy smile, but he only looks at you with a studious expression.

"Gotta go potty." he announces, standing up to take care of business.

"Alright, head straight back. I'm almost done here." Sharron warns, Timothy giving her only the slightest bit of acknowledgement before running out of the room. He would love to play with Thompson and Clark, you think. Hopefully they made it to the new place okay, that everyone got there safely. The fact that they are practically breaking in to the place is troubling, and till you see the group again you won't feel good about it. "He keeps asking if you can be his sister."

"Huh?" you look up at Sharron. "You mean Timothy?"

"Mhm. He thought you had moved in when he saw you sleeping on the couch the other day. Always wanted a sibling, wants to a big brother he says. I think he's a little jealous since I have a twin, he thinks Al is the coolest guy ever. I don't see it though." Sharron giggles to herself about this, and you look back over to where he had been playing.

"Yeah. I used to be like that too."

"Only child?"

"Yes ma'am."

"That could get awfully lonely I bet. I might not have liked him every day, but growing up I was never alone. Shared a room with that jerk for a good thirteen years. Finally convinced our parents that we needed separate rooms. Al spent a good three years of his life living in that dirty garage before our older brother finally moved out of the other bedroom." Sharron seems happy recalling these memories, pausing slightly in her work.

"You guys had to share rooms?"

"Parents hadn't planned on twins. Or having a second child at all. Me and Al were just this big surprise for our parents. A happy accident as our mom put it." Happy accident, you've heard that term used before. A boy in class said it once and one of the other kids explained it to you. When parents didn't plan on a kid, but don't mind that they're having one. That would make you just an 'accident' then.

"Why didn't they just move houses or something?"

"Dad was just a mechanic, and our mom did odd jobs of cooking or cleaning for other people. There's no way they were going to spend the money on a new house just to have an extra room." Sharron laughs to herself at this, and you feel a bit confused.

"Wait, so they didn't like...own this place before you or something?"

"Oh no, no way. I wouldn't call them dirt poor, but they only just had enough money scrapped together to help get all three of us started for college when the time came." You had just expected their whole family to be like this, it's hard to imagine either twin coming from a humble life.

"How did you get this place then? It looks like it would cost a fortune..." You hope the questions aren't too intrusive, but you are also curious.

"It was a few years after university. Was looking around for work and I just happened to make some smart investments at the time, and here I am." The way Sharron says investments sounds off, just slightly. You think back to the pills in your bag...twenty-five dollars just for one of those. Someone could easily make money from something like that right? Not that you really understand why someone would be willing to pay that much, but if that's what Sharron was doing then you could see her being able to buy her house and the theater.
Thinking of, how did your grandfather make his money anyways? Grandma had the money from her family, but he made his own before marrying her. You never really cared to find out how when you were younger, but you find it strange that no one seemed to bring it up ever. And now the whole thing with the law...

Maybe you could ask Sharron about this stuff or if she knows about your family, you could get some information out of her. Of course if you did that you run the risk of her knowing that you found out her secret. Asking about indirectly could help, but then you might not get the answers you want either.

Should you ask her directly, try to dig for information without giving up that you know about the drugs, or maybe just talk to her about something else for now?
Won't hurt to try and ask indirectly
Use it as a tangent and try to gauge her reaction. Mention that grandpa probably did that too, made some smart investments. Maybe drop our surname.

He didn't need to, though, but he did it to impress grandma's dad, and maybe so he wouldn't have to rely on grandma's money. Sort of like Lawrence. We've been covering some of his expenses, and it makes him feel awful? That's why he went and did what he did, and even then we... patronized him.

But that's better than having his knees broken because some of the buyers made him... try the product and it fucked him up, right?
"So you had to work hard to get this place. That's pretty cool," you say, hoping that it doesn't come off as too obvious. "My grandpa did the same."

"Did he?" Sharron might just be humoring you, but it could be enough to judge her reaction to this.

"Yeah, he didn't have much when he came over here from Italy. Grandpa couldn't marry grandma till he like, established himself or whatever. I don't think her dad liked that she took on the name Esposito, but grandpa had enough money to take care of grandma on his own."

"Esposito? Did he come over from Italy then?"

"Yeah," you nod, "He didn't have much more then the clothes on his back when he arrived. I think it took him like...two years?"

"Do you still have that last name?" Sharron asks and you nod in response. "That's interesting. I think you mentioned moving here recently, so you might not know this but there used to be a rather high Italian population for this area. Er well, I guess there still is. Lot of the generation don't realize it though, a good amount of them ended up changing their last names or moving out."

"Wait, why is that?" you look back towards the door as you ask, keeping an eye out for Timothy. It would seem unlikely that Sharron would take about more 'adult' topics with him around.

"Now I'm not really the best at history, especially since I didn't really grow up in this area. But if I remember correctly, this place had quite a few of it's share of immigrants coming in. A good amount came in from Italy, and while most of them were just wanting to make an honest living, a few saw the chance to make some real bank with uh, less then reputable means. Now I think a good amount of locals were in on whatever was going on, but a lot of people blamed the immigrants. Smuggling, underground gambling, bootlegging, drug and alcohol...you name it, it was their fault. I think it got to the point were a couple of families were falsely accused or used as a scapegoat or something along those lines. This has always been one of those urban legend kind of deals, but there's even a rumor that a couple of people were jumped and killed simply for being immigrants. Course depending on who you ask this might not have really happen, but it's hard to tell. There were a lot of police cover ups back in the day, lot of them getting paid off to cover up a crime scene...from both 'sides' actually. Some of them needed the extra cash on the side and would turn a blind eye to a truck full of booze. But at the same time, there were a couple that were probably pretty prejudiced against the immigrants." Sharron sits in her chair now, looking at you as she talks.

"I'm sure a good share of them sat in jail for crimes they didn't commit. Shame really, with all that going on a lot of families ended up changing their names, if they didn't move away first that is." Sharron rambles on for a bit, and you think it over. You haven't really met anyone else with an Italian last name, yet the further back in the papers you read the more often they showed up. Even if what she was telling you was wrong, it is a bit strange that your name is now uncommon compared to years ago.

"That sounds pretty awful, I'd hate to have to change my last name in that situation."

"Esposito..." Sharron mutters, not paying attention to you as she thinks. "I'm sorry if this comes off rude, but your grandparents lived here right?"

"Yeah, grandma grew up here and grandpa came in like, his twenties."

"And are both your grandparents...?"

"Grandpa died a few years ago," you pick up on to what Sharron was trying to allude to, "He was in a car accident."

"Was there another car involved?"

"N-...no, I don't think so. It was kind of weird, but I don't remember much from it to be honest." It seems like Sharron is contemplating over this fact, though you aren't completely sure why. Looking to your bag, you remember what rests inside.

The pills and that mystery powder...

You could try to give them up to Sharron, you wouldn't have to worry about carrying them around any more. Of course this could alarm her, and she might recognize the pills. You might want to save them for Lawrence to deal with, but then you'll have to carry them around for longer.

But maybe you could ask her about the powder? She's an adult and if she's in the business maybe she could recognize the stuff. You don't have to say where you got it, but you'll at least know what you're carrying.

Or should you just not bring up either of the two...maybe there's something else you could talk about...
Don't mention them. Don't want to be accused to be a drug carrier now.
Ask her what they are
Not bringing them up is probably the safest thing rn
There's nothing that we could use as a reason to bring them up, so it'd seem more like we were deliberately confronting her. Best to just leave the subject be until the opportunity presents itself.
You decide to keep the drugs hidden for now. It doesn't feel right handing them over to her right now, and it would be easier if she didn't know you had them. Besides, it wouldn't be too good if Timothy walked in on his mother identifying drugs for you.

"So um, do you know anyone else with the last name Esposito?" you ask, deciding to dig out what other information you can while alone with Sharron. "I haven't really met anyone else with that name. I used to get picked on for it at school, they said it sounded funny."

"I think that's a fairly common last name over there, but here? I think I've met a person or two with that same last name...er, wait a moment. Esposito..." Sharron is cleaning up her desk now, repeating the surname to herself. "Esposito, Esposito...ah, wait." As the piece connects together mentally, her eyes light up with realization.

"What is it?"

"Your grandmother lives here still, right?" You nod in response, and Sharron wracks her thoughts for another second. "And is her name uh...L-something...Loretta, no wait. Lucille?"

"Grandpa always called her Lucy, but yes that's my grandma. Wait, do you know her?" you can't help the excitement in your voice at this, but you try to remember that this doesn't always mean it's a good thing. The door swings open and Timothy wanders back in, a troubled look on his face.

"Not personally, but I have heard of her. And if she's that Lucille, then that means your grandfather is..." Sharron is interrupted by Timothy standing by her legs, waiting for a chance to speak. "What's wrong bud?"

"I think there's water leaking from the roof..." Timothy admits, as if confessing that it was his fault. His mother sighs, a tired looking draping her face.

"Over by the restrooms? Looks like it's giving in over there too," From the sounds of it, this isn't the first time Sharron has had to deal with this problem. "This place may look nice on the surface, but it's pretty old underneath all the glamour. Nearly had one of the dressing room's ceiling fall in a few weeks ago from snow. Just another thing to add to the to-do list, but let mommy worry about that. We have a birthday to get you to."

"Um, sorry if this is weird but if someone was knocking on the door do you think we could hear them?" you ask, now concerned if you might not have paid enough attention while you were in here.

"If they came to the side door then we'd probably hear them eventually. What about you Tim, hear anyone try to come up while you were out there?" At this Timothy shakes his head, and you feel a bit better about that. They're about to leave, and no one has came for you yet. You have a plan to go to the hospital and try to find John, but now you have to wonder about staying here and waiting. It's not like you can ask to stay inside, but you don't want to miss anyone stopping by. The parking lot in the back is hidden from the street, but if Sam or Lawrence came by they would probably go to the side door, and then you could see them from there.

You could stay in the parking lot and wait another hour or two for someone to come by before going to the hospital. But if you asked now you could ask Sharron to drop you off at the hospital on their way over to the party...and then there's the option of walking over to the hospital now. The only advantage you would have for walking to the hospital right now is the chance of walking into one of the others in the group if they were coming down to get you. Still, as unsavory as it might be to walk that far with all your stuff it is still an option to consider...

What do you want to do?

sorry about the update schedule this weekend, been trying to figure our car problem ;_;
Let Sharonville drop you off for convenience.
If Ms. Faraway's route is by or near the hospital John's at, then it might be nice to ask for a ride.

We could try and leave a note by the door of some sort, something only those from the group would recognize.

Is it wrong to be suspicious of their motives or am I having red herrings?
Sorry about this, the car has been a pain to deal with, especially with school starting. A new thread should be up tomorrow morning though!

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