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/qst/ - Quests

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

You play as Delilah, an unfortunate young girl going through tough times.

Right now, we are currently playing as Lawrence!
=Links and Information=


Thanks to an anon, here is the pastebin of just the text. With threads purposely being misarchived, this should be available and accessible instead:
Melancholic Quest Collection 1 (1-4): http://pastebin.com/hTK0fQmd
Melancholic Quest Collection 2: http://pastebin.com/cX4HC6Q9
Melancholic Quest Collection 3: http://pastebin.com/sTuR8xJv
Melancholic Quest Collection 4: http://pastebin.com/RPwa7nEt
Melancholic Quest Collection 5: http://pastebin.com/DJ71TtFc
Melancholic Quest Collection 6: http://pastebin.com/xxCdZfx6
Melancholic Quest Collection 7: http://pastebin.com/7skcyeX0

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


Twitter; @Cowboy_Sue
Discord; https://discord.gg/8CCdcQ3 <--updated to be working
Chat room with me and other players. I answer questions, post sketches, and act cheeky.
"Alone for....little bit."

"But what am I supposed to do if something happens? If I'm all alone here and someone comes by..."

"Here. Let me...show you." You lead Delilah out of bed, taking her out to the hallway. A small outline of a square in the ceiling and the short cord that dangles from it waits above as you have her stand back a few feet, letting her watch as you tug it down. Cold air wafts down from the newly open attic, and you pull the fold up ladder that leads up inside. "Climb in...pull up." you explain to her, letting Delilah come over to look up. Feeling the cold from above makes her grimace, and she reaches out to make sure the ladder is steady.

"So just get up there and pull the ladder up? Is there any lights up there?" she asks.

"Small window. Pretty small...I wouldn't...fit."

"Okay," Delilah sighs, "But you can't take too long. You have to come back as soon as you can." She's more than eager to return to bed, leaving the dark and cramped attic for the much more welcoming bed. You ignore the urge to return to sleep, instead getting dressed and preparing yourself for meeting up with Crockett. Good news would be nice, but you aren't going to hold your breath for it either.

"If he ends up mentioning anything about my mom or grandma..." You button your pants, looking back at Delilah and realizing that she hadn't fallen back asleep but has been watching you. "Will you please tell me? Even if he tells you not to, will you at least tell me about that?" Not wanting to give a promise, you instead button up your shirt and come to sit on the bed.

"Need...anything? While out?" you ask, pulling on socks. Delilah shakes her head, pulling the blankets closer. "Try to...eat something. Heading out...behave." With a quick promise from her, you leave Delilah behind for the meantime. Double checking all of your pockets to make sure you've got everything you need, you leave the house and begin your quick walk. Leaving the warmth of the house for the outside is almost painful, but you just tuck your face away in the coat and head over to the corner store that's been around much longer than you have.

A small square building set at the end of the neighborhood, it's nice to see not too many people are mulling around it at this time. A weathered payphone waits outside and you soon find yourself standing in front of it, bent down to fit under the awning above it as the phone rings in your hand. The first two times go unanswered, finally having the other end pick up just before the third call gives up.

"Hello, Crockett speaking."

"Hello? Can you...hear me?"

"...hello? Anyone there?" You try to block the receiver from the wind, knowing that it's going to be doing little to help.

"Can hear...me now?"

"Hello? I might need you to speak up for m- oh wait, that you Lawrence? Been waiting for your call, ready to meet up?"


"Pretty sure that was a yes. Give me an address and I'll be down to pick you up as soon as I can."

It takes several tries to deliver the address to Crockett properly, the pressure to get it right growing as a woman stands in line behind you for the phone. After having to practically shout it several times into the phone, your message finally gets through.

"Sounds good, I'll swing around and pick you up-" The call comes to a sudden stop, having run out of time with the money put in. Annoyed, you hang the phone back up and move past the woman, not even bothering with an apology as you go to wait in front of the store. You do what you can to keep to yourself, trying not to look like any sort of creeper as look out for the car. Not many others pass by, most just stopping to come inside for a few minutes and leaving. A hunk of junk that looks like it might have more duct tape than metal comes and parks, Crockett stepping out and waving at you. Just wanting out of the cold at this point, you hurry over and cram yourself i the front seat. Empty cups and trash crunch beneath your feet, but the warm heater makes up for it.

"Sorry about the wait, had to let this thing warm up first," Crockett says as he begins to pull away from the store, "You doing alright?" The answer to that question is much longer and complicated than you'd like to deal with right now, so you just nod.

"Good good, and Delilah? She alright?"

"Yeah. At my...parents."

"Sounds good. Thanks for meeting up with me, this shouldn't be taking too much time." You look in the rear view mirror, seeing a bag sitting in the backseat. Your stomach churns at the thought of what lays inside, knowing that you will have to deal with it soon. "We aren't going far. I have a buddy with an office down here, let me borrow the keys while him and his wife are out on vacation. Going to set up there for a little while, least for a little while longer."


"Safe enough. I'm always packing heat and the office is in a pretty secure building. Shouldn't have to worry about any surprise visitors at the very least." Crockett remains silent for a moment, taking another look to the bag in the back. "This is going to be pretty grim for you, I know. It was for me too, trust me. I wouldn't really call it good news, but once we get to the office I'll let you know what we have to work with."

"Can't tell...me now?"

"Rather not. Kinda have to prepare myself for it too, you know? Plus, there's something I'll need to show you once we're there."

You don't blame him, the conversation with him on the phone was hard enough to swallow. If you don't take the rest of the news well, it's probably for the best if he isn't stuck in the car with you. As you both ride in silence, you begin to think of questions to ask him.

>Ask more about him and Delilah's mother
>Ask if he's getting paid for helping Delilah like this
>Ask if he thinks Delilah can live a normal life after this
>Ask more about him and Delilah's mother
>Ask more about him and Delilah's mother
>Ask if he thinks Delilah can live a normal life after this
"You know...Delilah's mom."

"Denise? Oh yeah, we go way back. Didn't really get to see her around much after she got married though, don't think that would have made her husband too happy. Used to get into all sorts of problem with that girl though," Crockett manages a quick grin though it doesn't last long, "Was one of the first ones to find out she was pregnant, I think even before her sister found out. Course Denise knew she would flip at the news, she didn't much like her sister's boyfriend. Those two were always butting heads every time I saw them, at some point she called me up to make a plan to have Denise break up with him. Course then the news of a baby came along and that changed this, she really didn't want Denise to get married under those conditions but I guess Denise thought that was what was best. Told me that she wanted to have the wedding before her stomach began to show, but I don't think that was all there was to it."

"Didn't like...Don?"

"Well, not like I hated the guy. He was likable enough, pretty spoiled though. Much smarter than me though, I mean he went and became a doctor. Lot more stability from him than a guy with a badge though, he was able to buy them a much nicer home than a salary like mine could afford." There's no hiding the bitterness in his voice, maybe not quite realizing that emotions have started to play into this story. "Guess money can't make a happy family though, huh. Sometimes heard about how it was over there, but the few times I talked to Denise after they moved it was over the phone and she kept telling me things were okay. Just told myself I was being overly protective- or jealous, depending who you asked. We never dated, didn't have the nerve to ask her or the courage to face a possible no. We were good friends, and I felt like I wanted it to become more than that but Denise was always the type who needed someone to lean on. I wasn't sure if I really wanted to be with her like that, or I was just that worried about her."

"Meet Delilah...before this?"

"Saw some pictures of her as a baby with Denise, but before all of this I hadn't gotten the chance to. If Denise had let me know how bad things were at her home though, I would have been more than ready to come in and take her and Delilah away. Especially after Don died... especially before all of this. Had I just been a better man about all of this and came in when I heard there were trouble years earlier, than maybe I could have prevented any of this from happening. Denise wouldn't be in the hospital like this and Delilah wouldn't have..." Crockett takes a moment, sighing as he pulls into the parking lot for one of the nicer and taller buildings in town. "I might not have been the best, but I wouldn't have mind raising Delilah like she was my daughter. I know I couldn't give them a nice big home like Don did, but I would have done my best, you know? But maybe things would have been worse with me, I don't know."

"After all...this. Would Delilah...live normal...life again?" you ask, watching as Crockett reaches back to grab the bag.

"Define normal," he says, "Will she be able to go to school again? Probably. Will she want to? I don't know, these are rough things she's been through. Not like Mrs. Esposito doesn't have the money to afford therapists and the like, but its not just something that will go away from her. If anything though, she'll learn how to live with it, and then she can try to get back on track."

"And the...blood?"

"...I don't know. I haven't mentioned that to anyone else yet, not exactly an easy topic to get into. If it turns out to be a real problem... Mrs. Esposito already had a doctor she trusts. Might be able to work with it, but I couldn't give you a definite answer either way. Let's head in now, up to the third floor."


The office is one of the nicer ones you've seen in this place, everything neat and tidy and having its specific spot. A nice thick desk with neatly stacked paperwork sits as the forefront, a few chairs waiting in front of it for clients. A television sits on a table across from the desk, a VCR hooked up and resting next to it. Crockett ushers you in, locking the door behind and placing the bag on top of the desk.

"Go on, have a seat," he says, removing his coat and taking the chair behind the desk. "Don't worry about touching stuff, anything important of his should already be put away." You don't say anything, taking one of the adjacent chairs and trying not to stare too hard at what rests on the table. Crockett unzips the bag, pulling on a pair of gloves before removing the contents. You watch as he begins to stack VHS tapes on the table, each one in a protective bag and with information written on the label. Six of them rest on the table when Crockett finally sits back down, looking over the tapes with a gloomy stare. He digs around in his coat resting on the back of the chair, fishing out a silver flask and taking a good long drink from it. You accept the offer from him, taking the drink of whisky in a vain attempt to settle your nerves.

With nothing else to stall for time, Crockett leans forward and holds up one of the tapes.
"About a week or two ago, folks running one of the local drug rings were busted and their compound was searched. Course we found the usual; illegal narcotics, unregistered guns, forged papers for ID's and passports, cash from all over. Nothing too out of the ordinary. Course, some of the 'higher ups' in this drug operation had their properties elsewhere searched too. One of the guys, this man we'd been trying to nab for a long time...it turns out he was into more than just pushing drugs. A collection of pornographic pictures and videos were discovered at his place of residence, and the poor bastard who had to look through them discovered that most of these contained kids. They talked with the guy, and managed to get a few leads from him on where this stuff came from. Kept saying that he wasn't wrong for having them, that he wasn't the one hurting anyone-... Anyways, the guy had been buying or trading for this stuff. Turns out, there's a market for this stuff."

You were already feeling uneasy from all of this, but you try to remain calm as Crockett continues to explain.

"Now, this information hasn't been released to the public yet. There's still a lot of work before they can make the arrests they need to like they did for the drug ring, but this is what I know for sure. They were given the okay to raid one of the places that this guy had confirmed was a distributor, not the head of all this unfortunately but they were able to intercept a huge collection of this stuff. Lawrence, I'm talking about a crazy amount, it took days to tag and clear everything out of there. I do not envy the job of whoever has to look over all of this, trust me. Another job involved in all of this is identifying the people involved in these tapes, both the kids and the adults. Especially with the kids, they'll try and run the information through the same information we have with runaways. Now a couple of these have multiple er, scenes recorded on them, while some are just of one video. But all of these have a recording that takes place in the same room, most likely from several different days. They're technically still working on identifying the girl that is involved in all of these, but..."

Rather than try to explain the harsh truth, Crockett reaches in the bag again and pulls out photographs, looking through and pulling one out to hand over. "Most of these are stills from the tape," he explains, "Not so much of what's going on but of clues around the room that might be helpful. This is one of the clearest images of her that they could pull from them."

With your heart beating painfully loud, you dare a peek at the picture.

The wavy light hair is more than enough to make you flinch, but you look it over in order to confirm that it really is Delilah. Obviously a cropped image, you feel only a little bit of relief to see that her nightgown is still on. She looks to be laying in a bed, and though her eyes are only half closed it's obvious that she isn't aware of what's going on. Even in grainy black and white, it's not hard to tell that her body has been going through tremendous amount of stress. Not even begging for help, there's no way she could have even noticed a camera was pointed at her. When you spot the hand pulling at the bottom of her night gown you toss the picture back, grabbing at your chest as you feel a white hot pain sear through and dark red boil over your vision.

"I'm sorry you had to see that, I really am. There's not enough liquor in the world that will help me get through these videos, but try not to lose it yet. This might actually be the thing we needed."

"How? Fucking how?" you ask, hands twitching in need of getting this anger out.

"This is evidence. Think about it, if we manage to prove that it's Bower in these videos then what does that mean? Proof, we'll have proof and then that bastard can rot in prison. I wish I could say it was an easy task to do, but it's better than nothing." Crockett is trying to get you to calm down, and while the fire in your chest still burns you know that what he's saying is true. This is the best you guys have at the moment, and while you'd like to do nothing more than destroy these filthy tapes they are still necessary to keep around for now.

"Unfortunately, we don't have any clear images or solid indicator of the others involved in this, but that hasn't stopped us before. Though I don't think Bower meant for these to be released like this, they don't seem to have the same safety measures as some of the others do in their videos. It might take some work but...shit, this was what we needed. He's been doing his fair share of digging up dirt on Mrs. Esposito, it's been this constant back and forth between them now. He knows her husband had a hand in the drug trade and that there are still operations running under the family name, even if she hasn't been involved in that sort of thing for years. We've known that Bower was a real slime ball, but there wasn't really anything illegal and solid to bring up against him. Till now, that is."

"So...what now?" you ask, looking away from the desk and at Crockett directly.

"It's still a bit tricky, I have to admit. It might take some time before we can plant this on him, and there is still evidence that needs to be looked through. Not to mention, I'm still trying to smooth things over from the other night. Nearly spent a night in jail after you guys raced off, but I was able to take care of that alright enough. We've got another problem though."

"Of course."

"Seems like our local headquarters haven't been as on top of things as they should have been. Or rather, there's a bit of an inner struggle with the force that you won't see any of them talking about. You've got the folks that are just trying to do their job as legally as possible, and then you got the ones that are willing to bend the law around for the right price. While that could be a problem, that can also work in out favor. Like, for example, if a certain someone had a request to report them a a kidnapper."

"Wait. Am I...?"

"I was able to toss that request away. Don't really think you need any hints on who tried to pay to have that put in place though. Though Delilah's records are a big mess right now too. Delilah Esposito, depending on who you ask, is either considered missing or dead. Seems like someone really wants to push the idea that she's dead though."

"Read about...that. Paper said...she died. In fire. Found bones."

"Right, and that part was correct. They did find some charred bones belonging to a girl that would have been Delilah's age, but they obviously aren't hers. The damage on them makes it hard to get much else from it though, aside that she was probably from a 'lower income' family. Her teeth were a mess long before she died, I don't think Delilah even has any cavities."

"Why do...that?" you ask, Crockett pulling out a cigarette for himself. "For what...purpose?"

"Now, this is just speculation on my part..." Crockett breathes out the smoke, putting the pack on the table for you. "But if you were wanting to kidnap a girl, wouldn't you want to make sure no one was looking for her? Who's going to go out looking for a dead girl?"

The realization hits you hard, leaving you blank for words and thoughts.

"Could be wrong on that of course, but that's my best bet. Make her think she's dead and you've got free reign-" Crockett stops himself from going into it any further, obviously heated about all of this too. He takes a moment to calm down, digging in the bag one more time and producing yet another VHS. "This is what I wanted to show you though."

"No. I can't...watch that." You're appalled just by the idea that Crockett would show you something like this but he waves you off.

"I should have explained. This isn't like the other tapes. After finding out what was on these, I decided that it was okay for me to play dirty too. Been doing my best to keep an eye on him, and found out that he was having stuff done to his car. Wanted his windows tinted and a bunch of other adjustments, after he left it there I slipped the mechanic a couple of bills and looked through what I could. With my luck there wasn't anything in there that was too helpful, except for this tape. It was tucked away in the trunk, in a bag mostly full of clothes and other things that made it look like a get away quick kinda deal. Pretty sure this is just a copy of the original video but, just let me put it in real quick."

Despite being reassured that it isn't going to be like the videos on the table, you can't help but feel afraid of what will show up on screen. Fast forwarding the tape to where it needs to be, Crockett comes over and takes a seat next to you to watch.


Pointed at a wall decorated with printed photos of girls smiling and the edge of a bed in the scene, it's obvious that this is a bedroom.

'Okay, Kendra's is out of the way now." a young girl's voice that you don't recognize speaks from behind the camera, the one running the film.

'Now it's your turn!' Another girl speaks up from the side, playfully shoving a blonde girl in front of the camera. Once she regains her balance and looks up, you can see that this one is Delilah.

'Wait! I'm not ready yet!' Delilah squeaks, looking past the camera and at the girl running it.

'Come on! We've got to finish this for class! If you don't want to say anything, just move your mouth and I'll talk for you.' The girl that shoved her onto the scene giggles, the worried look on Delilah's face giving away that she doesn't want that to happen.

'Okay okay Um, here I go...' Smoothing out her shirt and pulling her hair back, Delilah stands up straight and looks at the camera directly.

'Hello, my name is Delilah Esposito. I just turned twelve last month, and I am in Mrs. Smith's class. And when I grow up, I want to go to college and um... I want to become a writer! And I want to find a boyfriend while I'm there, so that we can get married after we graduate. And after we get married, I want to become a famous author so we can buy a big house together and we can have a lot of kids. So um, I guess I want to become a good writer, have a nice husband, and have a big family. And those are my plans for the future-

'Maybe you can get married to Alex~'

'Ah! Don't say that on camera! We have to show this to the class...! Delilah goes off camera, off to get back at her friend for saying a possible crush's name out loud, but the film inexplicably ends as the camera girl begins to talk.

"I doubt this is the whole video, but it looks like the rest of it involves the other girls doing the same thing as her. Some sort of class assignment from the sounds of it."

You get up as Crockett is talking, coming over to the television and rewinding the film back. Once it's back to Delilah's introduction of herself, you let it play again. She's younger, but it's still obviously her. Smiling and laughing with her friends, you pause to look over the face of a girl that would later learn to fear the world.

"It'd be nice to see her like this again, but the best we can do now is keep her safe. You've been doing the best you can, and I really appreciate that."

"When, uh..." you stand back up, feeling how your eyes had begun to tear up. "Go to...grandmother's?"

"Give me another day or two. Trying to play it safe, would like to secure a few more leads before we make the journey over, if you don't mind. You guys should be fine over there for a little while longer, right?"

"Should be."

"Glad to hear. Need to make sure there aren't any warrants out for us either, lot harder for me to work from jail. Plus, if we were unlucky enough to get nabbed with Delilah as passenger... I don't need to spell it out for you." Crockett packs up the tapes, pulling the one out from the VCR to join the rest. "I can take you back now if you want. There anything else I can do for you right now?"

>You've got a lot of money saved up, ask if Crockett could keep it safe for you
> Ask if you can keep the video you just watched
>You don't need anything right now
>You don't need anything right now
While the tape might be a nice gesture, it'd raise questions to which the truthful answer wouldn't be appreciated.

Maybe ask if he knows what happened to the group after the skirmish.
>You don't need anything right now
> Ask if you can keep the video you just watched
You shake your head, knowing that you need to get back to the house soon.
"Just a...favor."

"What is it?" Crockett asks, pulling his coat on. Taking the page from your notebook, you quickly wrote down your request and hand it over. "List of names?"

"Group we...were with. Want to-"

"You want me to check up on them? Alright, I can do that. My hands have been tied up for the past few days, but I can at least tell you if any of them were arrested or sitting in jail. You've got a name listed separately on here, any reason for that?" Crockett points it out on the page, "Michele Talbot...relative of yours?" You've already started writing down an explanation, passing it over as you take the cigarettes from the desk.

That one is different. I already know she's dead. I want a copy of her death certificate if possible

"That should be easy enough. Should be able to find this out for you when I come around for the two of you." Crockett locks the room once you both leave, walking alongside as he tucks away the list. "Be easier if I could call the house, or at least knew where it was. Might be a bit of a nuisance for your parents if I dropped by at three in the morning, but if that's our best plan that might be how it is. That alright?"

You jut nod, neglecting to say that you've already been enough of a nuisance to them.


"Just point out which way to go, I'll drop you off a block or two away just to be safe." The car sounds to have trouble starting at first, finally kicking on after some coaxing by Crockett. "Just keep laying low for the next day or so, and then we can head on over to Mrs. Esposito's."

"She okay?" you ask, remembering talks of medications before.

"Fairly alright. She doesn't like to keep a big 'staff' around, to put it. But she's got a doctor and nurse around, seems her heart has been giving her a bit of trouble recently. Nothing hospitalizing at the moment, wish I could say that isn't a worry. Not like she's just going to drop at any moment, but it seems that all this stress has started taking its toll on her. Can't say I couldn't expect it, I've already been getting my own share of gray hair from the past few weeks."

"How bad...is she?"

"Hard to say. Last time I talked to the doc there was talks about surgery, possibly even looking for a transplant-"


"From the sounds of it. Couldn't really tell you the finer details of it, all that fancy medical jargon flies over my head most of the time. If it's not something important for a crime scene then I'm probably not going to remember it, you know? But she's stable in the mean time, staying in one place is helping. Would really help with her stress when Delilah finally gets back." Crockett takes another cigarette for the road, offering another to you. "You know, she feels really guilty."


"Turning Delilah away that first time. Being so mean to her, she feels like it's her fault that it happened. Broke down in tears when she told me about it, especially after she found out what happened when Delilah left her doorstep. Awful to turn away your own grandchild, but I know she was still in pain over her son. Her and Denise always butted heads too, after he died it didn't really help their relationship. I can understand her being bitter, becoming a widow and losing her only child early has to harden your heart. And I doubt that she would have told Delilah to go away if she actually knew what was going on, but you know how it is. Kids are the best tools for bargaining, every parent learns that. Seen lotta messy cases in the past involving that sort of thing. An ex-wife won't let the dad take the kids out on the weekend unless he pays up, then keeps asking for a ridiculous amount. Dad ends up taking the kids by force...never a nice scene. And those poor kids never have a say in it, they start to think that it's their fault. Just a shame, you know?"

You nod, happy to take another free smoke. While that had never been a problem for you growing up, you'd known kids caught in the middle of divorces who went through similar.

"It's just one big fucked up mess," Crockett sighs, "Best thing I can do is help where I can. Called up the hospital Denise is at yesterday, she's still relatively fine for her condition. Don't really know about bringing her over to Mrs. Esposito's yet, but Delilah is our focus for now. You know, it's great that Delilah has someone like you around."


"After I heard about what happened to her, seeing her cling to any guy was surprising. But here you are, this huge and menacing looking guy with a gashed up cheek that she can barely reach, but she absolutely adores you. You must be her hero, huh? She's gotta love you." Crockett laughs at this, not realizing just how true that last part is.

"Helped her. Stuck with...me since."

"Must be nice. Wish I had a cute girl to hold my arm sometimes too, you know? Always too busy working though, it's a shame." It feels like there's other reasons for that, but you keep them to yourself. Instead, you just point out the correct path home for him, now beginning to wonder if you've left Delilah alone for too long. Not soon enough, the car comes to a rest on a street just a few blocks away from the house. You write down the number and address for Crockett before stepping out, barely stopping to watch him drive away in the other direction. You resist the urgency in your chest telling you to run back, though this will stops once you're close enough to see that your parents aren't back yet.

Sprinting, you make to the front door out of breath and fumble around trying to find the hidden outside key. You hardly take notice that nothing is out of place, focused only on making sure that Delilah is here safe. Normally you wouldn't be this scared, being gone for just a few hours, but this near paranoid feeling is a new one for you.

Greeted with the smell of cooking, you see your mother's keys at the table by the door.

"Is that you Jacks?" Peeking out from the kitchen, you can already tell that it's been a tough day for your mother. "Oh, welcome back sweetie. Bunny said you went out, everything fine?"

Nodding, you go to the couch. Looking at Delilah right now is going to be tough for you, especially after everything you just learned. You still don't know how to talk to your mother after last night, feeling awkward and uneasy just be her presence.

"I just got home about half an hour ago. Jacks dropped me off, he has to go over to get paperwork filled out by the people who did Michele's funeral... a lot of stuff. He should be back tonight. I'm just working on dinner for later, and then Bunny is supposed to help me with my quilt project. You're welcome to join later if you want." She's trying to keep cheerful, but there's no hiding the mourning that remains in her voice from just a few hours ago. Without an answer from you, she returns to the kitchen and you feel pathetic for not being more helpful to your own mother. The right thing to say or do escapes you though, they never teach you how to deal with someone in mourning.

Still feeling uneasy, you stand and head upstairs. The panic you feel doesn't fade away when you find your room empty, only to have it melt away as short arms wrap around from behind.

"Took you long enough..." Delilah mumbles, and though you're happy to see here there's still a tugging feeling of guilt. You feel scared to touch her though, remembering what kind of film the video tapes held. Knowing that there were other people out there watching what happened when she can't remember any of it and how there's nothing you can do to make it better right now hurts, and you feel guilty enough already knowing that there was a time that she was scared of you too.

But as she gives you a squeeze, you remember that at least for now, she trusts and apparently loves you.

"How was the visit?" she asks, letting you go. "Did he say when we were going to leave? Not that your house is bad or anything but... I mean, you know."

"Another day. Maybe two."

"Okay. I can wait that long. And Mom? My grandma?"

"Both fine." Rather than try and make her worry more, you keep what you heard about her heart a secret for now.

"Good. I'm glad to hear that. You um, look kind of tired. Should you lay down?"

"Just need...fresh air." Knowing that she's safe, you now need to deal with something else that has been burning you.

"Are you going out to the backyard? Should I come?" You shake your head, running a hand through her hair before pulling out your lighter.

"Just quick...smoke."

"That doesn't count as fresh air..." Delilah pouts, but you just play it off, heading back down before she can try to follow. You take a quick peek in the kitchen, seeing that your mother is occupied with a phone call in the kitchen. Before she can notice, you slip out to the back.


Sweat drips down your face, hands feeling raw and numb as they start to regain feeling. The bright red of your knuckles begin to burn, the tree in front of you showing a dent in its bark.

The anger you've been feeling still remains, but you've worn yourself out too much to do anything else with it. You really shouldn't be like this, taking your anger out like this does nothing but make you feel worse. But just thinking that multiple copies of those tapes might exist, that they were made in the first place-

Your fist hits the tree once more, the only target in the backyard that could take the abuse. Now of course you're going to have to come up for an excuse for your bloody knuckles, and you've really done nothing but tire yourself out, but it felt like it needed to be done. At least, for the sake of not reaching a breaking point. Heading back inside, you keep the top of your hands covered with sleeves, hoping to slip by both your mother and Delilah before they can fuss over what you did.

The kitchen is free of your mother though, a pot on the stove slowly bubbling away. You take this chance to slip to the bathroom, washing away the blood and dirt and trying not to let them look so obvious. Not that there's a lot you can do, they still look just as raw and red as before. Too exhausted to try and do anything more, a quick nap sounds welcoming right now. You go up, hearing your mother talk from the sewing room.

"Great, if you just hold that part out for me..."

"Like this?" Delilah asks, speaking to your mother as she had before. You stop in the hallway, listening to their conversation for a while longer.

"Perfect. And now I'll just do this real quick..." Delilah must be helping with the quilt, something that will at least keep her mind off things. You're ready to turn in for a nap, not hearing anything important as you walk into your room.

"Um, Mrs. Talbot..."

"You can just call me Del, sweetie."

"Er, right. Del...can I t-tell you something?" Delilah's voice becomes shaky, and you start to fear what she might be telling your mother right now. If it's anything like last night, you know that's the last thing she needs to do right now.

"Go ahead sweetie." You start to rush to the sewing room.

"It's about me and...and Lawrence." Immediately you stop in place, stepping out of view of the door to listen once more.

"Oh? And what about you two?"

"I...I know this is going to be kind of weird but he's...he's really done a lot for me."

"So I've heard..." your mother is listening carefully, you can tell in her tone.

"M-..More than I think you know. He's one of the best people I've ever known, he really is. And...and I think you should know that, your son is amazing. I um..." With a quick peek, you can see Delilah sitting in a chair in front of your mother, fiddling with the ring that hangs around her neck. "I don't think he believes it himself though. But he's so great and amazing and, since I'm here I thought it would be good to ask you if...if it would be okay if I...um..." Her face flushes with the thought, and you begin to worry about what it is Delilah might be asking.

>Let Delilah talk
>Go in and stop her from saying anything else
>Let Delilah talk
Or at least let her try for a few more seconds, it could be innocuous. Worst-case scenario, we walk in pretending we weren't just standing around the corner listening.
>Let Delilah talk
Stepping over to the side, you lean against the wall and listen carefully, ready to step in if needed.

Delilah seems to either lose thought or courage on what she wanted to say, several seconds passing before she speaks up again.

"Um, I don't think you seen this before..." she finally says, changing topics for now. "It's still kind of big for me to wear on my finger so I have to put it on a chain like this."

"Oh look, it's very nice looking. Did it belong to someone in your family?"

"Actually, it's new. Or I mean, it was when I got it for Christmas. I saw it in a jewelry shop, but there's no way I could have gotten it myself. And a few days after that I um...I wasn't okay. Something happened and I was kind of b-...broken for a while. They had to force me to eat cause I just felt like I wanted to d-die..." Delilah has started to mumble but tries to clear her voice before speaking up again, "So many people were trying to help me and I didn't want it. I was being s-selfish I guess, but it was getting bad. I don't think anyone knew what to do with me. And I think it would have lasted way longer than it did if it wasn't for Lawrence."

"What did he do?" your mother sounds surprised by this, no doubt remembering the night Delilah freaked out about your father.

"I don't really know how he managed to do it, but he bought the ring for me. I think he said something about donating blood or something, but I don't think that would be enough to buy it in just a couple of days."

"He actually gave blood?I almost can't believe it... When he was still going through rehabilitation in the hospital for his accident, they would need to draw blood at times or give him injections. He could barely stand to look at the needle, poor boy would go out of his way to avoid it."

"He did do it, more than he should have. It was Christmas Eve and I didn't get out of bed at all that day. But evening came and suddenly Lawrence comes back, all pale and barely able to stand. When I saw him I was terrified that he was going to pass out or d-... but then he pulls out this little black box from the same jewelry store with this beautiful ring inside and he's telling me that it's mine, that it's my present and I just couldn't believe it. He went through all this trouble to get something like this for me, just so he could help me feel better..." Delilah talks with shame over the event, embarrassed by what had happened during that time. "I don't know what he did exactly to get the money for it, just that he had to work so hard for it."

"Lawrence really has done a lot to help you, hasn't he? I'm so glad for that. I knew my kids were always good but it's so easy to find trouble from other people. You've been such a nice girl here, I'm sure you've been a good influence for him." It feels wrong listening to them speak about you, yet you're scared of walking away now and letting them know you were here in the first place.

"I don't know about that. There's been a lot of messes he's gotten in because of me, and he doesn't really get anything from helping me either. But he does it anyways, and I want to do the same for him. There's not a lot I can do, I'm pretty useless..."

"You're still young. You can't expect to be able to do everything."

"I still want to do what I can to help him, even if it isn't much. But there's something I want to ask you. I know it's probably weird, and you might say no and that's okay, but I feel like while I'm here this is something I should do." It's hard for you to guess what Delilah could possibly want to ask her, but you wait and let her go through with it.

"Go on sweetie, ask me anything."

"Lawrence has done more for me than anyone else I've ever known, and I need him. I need him so much, and I'm sorry if I end up taking him away from you again, I really am. But I love your son, I love him so much. I always want to stay with him, no matter what. I know he won't hurt me, like how other m-men have, and I don't feel like there's a lot of other people out there who are going to be like him. You're his mother and you love him, and I wanted to ask you if it'd be okay for me to love him too." Delilah stops just for a moment, speaking quickly now as she lets out everything she needs to say. "I'm serious about this too, p-please understand that. And even though I know I wouldn't be a good w-...wife, I love Lawrence so much that I know I want to marry him. It's selfish for me to want to t-take him away and keep b-burdening him, but I want to get better. I want to be able to help him like he helps me, and I want to be there for him, and I want to see him happy. And maybe f-finding someone else would make him happier, and that's f-...that's f-fine too..." She stammers here, and you can imagine that she's imaging this part with tears in her eyes. "But i-if I can somehow m-make him happy and l-love me too, then I want that. I want to be with Lawrence, and I hope that doesn't make you angry at m-me."

Biting down on an already raw and bruised knuckle, you're not sure the exact reason why her words hurt.
"Are...you asking for my blessing?" your mother asks, sounding astonished by what Delilah has said.

"Don't the guys usually ask for that?"

"I don't see what's wrong with breaking tradition sometimes."

"It would make me feel a bit better about it. I s-still have a lot of work to do, I still need to make him love me like that too. But if that does happen some how, if there's any kind of m-miracle in my life... but maybe I shouldn't say that. I think m-meeting him was enough of a miracle, it would be selfish of me to ask for much more..."

"Well, I think you're still a bit young for something like marriage," your mother laughs, not making fun of Delilah or what she said but rather the determination she had in saying it. "But if you love him, that's fine. You can't really ask someone for permission with that, especially their mother. Besides, I'm sure he needs a little more love in his life. He hasn't always been treated well by other either, and I know that can hurt. And from what I can tell, he obviously cares enough about you. If you keep him from getting into too much trouble and cook him some nice meals, then I bet he wouldn't have any problems marrying you. After all, I can already tell that you'll be a lovely girl when you grow up, and with the help you've given me around the house I can tell you'd be responsible. I'm pretty sure Lawrence could do with having someone like that in his life, maybe you shouldn't be too surprised if he ends up asking you first."

Your mother laughs again, not fully realizing just how deep Delilah's infatuation really goes. She doesn't understand that the two of you have already discussed this briefly before, or how there are nights where Delilah can't sleep without you next to her. If anything she thinks this is just a cute gesture that's bound to pass when Delilah gets older, but you can feel just how serious she is with this.

"So you really wouldn't mind if I did end up marrying him?"

"I suppose as long as he wants it too, and you're a few years older. Of course, he'll end up being older by that point too."

"That's okay with me, I don't mind."

"You're not too picky with him then, are you? Just do me a favor then and make sure he picks up after himself, he can make such a mess out of a room if you let him." You damn near run inside the room, wanting to beg your mother to stop egging on Delilah like this. To her it might as well just be playing along with some child's game, but to Delilah it's fuel for her goal.

There's a ton of folks out there much better than you, and it would just be yet another guilty stone to weigh you down knowing that she's settled with what little you have to offer.

"I'll make sure of that... Thank you for listening."

"Of course. I'm glad to hear that he's been helpful, I really am. Now, I bet you're tired of holding this big blanket up for me. Just a few more adjustments and we can finish in here, sound good?"

"Yes ma'am."

You nearly trip over your own feet, stumbling away to the isolated safety of your bedroom. Letting the door close behind, you open the window and try to pull out your lighter. It falls to the floor thanks to your shaky hands, and you follow it- slumping against the wall and sliding down.

It's so easy for you to try and brush things off, to tell yourself that they aren't important and really don't matter.

Delilah was absolutely terrified by the idea of talking with either of your parents last night, yet she managed to suck it up and talk to your mother about something like this. You can't even manage any sort of proper apology, yet you could hide away and listen as Delilah spilled her heart out like that.

You feel ashamed of yourself, for not being better for someone like her.
You feel ashamed for not being able to do more, for only being able to sit here and wait for stuff to happen.
You feel ashamed for messing up so much, especially when it really matters.

All you can do is get angry and hurt things, as evident by your hands.

You don't deserve to have someone love you as much as Delilah does.

Even now, all you can accomplish is sitting here feeling pathetic about yourself. If you were anymore of a sad excuse for a man, you could easily see yourself breaking down into tears from this.

The soft knocks on the door aren't enough to bring you out of this, only paying attention when you're called out to.

"Lawrence, are you in there? Can I come in?" Delilah speaks from behind the door, "Your mom is checking on dinner, are you hungry?"

>Let Delilah in, talk to her in private
>Go downstairs with Delilah, don't let her know anything is wrong right now
>You need a moment, ask for some space
>Let Delilah in, talk to her in private
>Let Delilah in, talk to her in private
Absentmindedly rubbing away at blurry eyes, you call out in a creaky and hoarse voice, "Come...in."

Delilah peeks through the door first, be greeted by you leaned up against the wall, undoubtedly with red teary eyes and a stupid pathetic grin on your face. The moment she spots you, concern paints her face and doesn't miss a beat in coming to kneel down in front of you. "What's wrong? Are you okay...?" she asks, hands reaching up and ready to fix what hurts. "Do I need to get someone, do you need help?"

You shake your head, reaching out to push the hair out of her face. When your fingers come up to her cheek Delilah's eyes open wide and her head perks up, your hand being grabbed with both of hers as she looks it over. "What did you do?" she asks, looking over your knuckles. Your other hands warrants an inspection too, her eyes flicking back between your face and knuckles.

"Was stupid." Before Delilah can reject such a simple answer you move up and over to the nightstand to dig through the drawer. Pushing past the picture you pull out a dirty enveloped wrapped with a rubber band, your sad sorry and method for keeping the money you've made safe. Spreading out wrinkled bills against the floor, you add the money from Boyd to the pile. The entire time Delilah is eyeing the cash, amazed by the sheer amount seemingly coming from nowhere. "How much is... Jesus, how long were you saving this up?"

"Couple...weeks." She frowns at this, knowing that this would be a lot for someone like you to make in such a short amount of time. "For...you."

"What do you mean-" Delilah reaches out to count the money but this time you grab her hands, making sure you have every bit of her attention.

"If things...go wrong," you start to explain as you squeeze her hands lightly, "Can use...this. Find...apartment. You can...sleep inside. No more...street. Safer. Will work...real job. Take care...of you."

"You're not kidding, right?" she whispers, squeezing your hands back, "You've been saving all of this for us? You've been doing all of... of that so we can....?"

"As...backup. In case...plans fail. Grandma...best. She can...help most. But if...that fails. Have this. Won't be...on street."

"You really are amazing." Delilah whispers, trying her best to move forward but not to mess up the money with her knees. You don't mention that this was supposed to be your last resort, when all other and better plans had been exhausted. She needs to know that you are trying your best for her, to make up for where you've been slacking. Before she can speak up again, your mother's voice calls out from downstairs.

"Lawrence? Are you up the- oh!" The phone ringing goes on to interrupt her, and Delilah backs away so you can gather the money up again. Delilah waits patiently behind you, the money being tucked away to the drawer once more. Hoping to compose yourself better, Delilah steps in your path. Doing what she wanted to earlier, she stands on the tips of her toes to reach up and tug you down low enough to give you a quick kiss. She lingers there for a moment, letting you go and looking away.

"You should really cover that up," she points to your hand, "I think your mother would freak out if she saw it." You rub a thumb over, feeling the small open marks scattered across the skin, and pulling it away to find a smidgen of blood spread across the skin.

>Use the first aid kid downstairs
>Offer Delilah the little bit of blood from your knuckles
>Ask and offer Delilah more blood
>Offer Delilah the little bit of blood from your knuckles
At least to tide her over if she's... craving.

>Offer Delilah the little bit of blood from your knuckles
I have a really bad feeling about this but we are already on the path of codependency so lets keep this train moving shall we
"Want?" you ask, extending a hand to her. Delilah sounds ready to deny the offer but her eyes are too fixated on the red to ignore it, instead she sighs and nods. Not that there's much, but you doubt she is too picky right now. She holds your hand in place as she brings up the bruised skin to her mouth. As she clears away what she can you start to feel yourself calm down, almost enough to trick you into thinking that things might be okay. Without even thinking about it you offer up the other hand, this one the worse of the two. Once more Delilah holds on to it, finding each little cut.

As she comes to the end her hold on you becomes stronger, and rather than a lick you feel the very end of teeth pressing in against your skin. She stops before there's any break in your skin, but she doesn't let go either. Delilah looks conflicted on what she really wants to do, holding you in place with both hand and bite. You'd have no trouble pushing her off, but as you reach up with your other hand she flinches and the biting digs deeper. Not wanting to scare her off, you hold absolutely still in hopes that she will release you. Her teeth don't let off from your skin but she doesn't bite any hard either, her body starting to shake with her breathing.

You reach up again, slower than before, and reach for her face. Delilah wants to try and pull away yet is kept in place by the hand she's holding hostage, forced to let your fingers travel across her cheek. You pause here, making hushing noises here and there every time she tries to move away. Slowly you inch your thumb down, edging it down to rest on her chin and placing just enough pressure to encourage her jaw to open. There's resistance on her part, but the fight against it doesn't last long. The teeth life up from your knuckles, shortly followed by her mouth. Still shellshocked, Delilah continues squeezing the hand as she attempts to calm down. You let her take as much time as she needs, noticing that her breathing had become panicked and quick.

"I don't know what happened..." she whispers, "I th-thought I was d-doing good but then I... I wasn't thinking about it and then I...I was biting yo-" The floorboard outside your door creaks as it's pushed open, Delilah freezing up.

"Lawrence?" your mother calls out, "Are you in...here...?" In a panic you pull yourself away from Delilah, much too quickly and harshly for her. Her face flushes deep red and she covers her mouth, pushing past your mother.

"I don't feel good. Sorry." Delilah mutters as she leaves, soon followed by the sound of the bathroom door closing. By instinct you try to follow but a hand against your chest makes you stop in place.

"Excuse you!" your mother exclaims, the rare use of her scolding voice cutting in to you. You start to worry what she might have seen and the questions she's going to end up asking, ones that you won't be able to dodge from her. Whether it's the question of why she was licking your hand or why the two of you were shut away together in the room, you try to think of any excuse you can use right now.

"Mom, I-"

"You be nice to that girl!" she smacks you on the shoulder as she says this, hands on her hips as she glares up at you. "That sweet girl doesn't need you being rude to her right now!" She lowers her voice now, whispering as she tries to stand taller in attempt to meet you at eye level. "You know, she really does like you a lot. And girls her age are fragile enough, she doesn't need the person she has a crush on to make things worse!" You're left speechless, expecting something so much worse. Your mother smirks, something almost as bad as her scolding. "See? Now I bet you feel bad about whatever you did that made her run off like that. I know you boys can be a little dense with this sort of thing, but that's why I'm telling it to you. I know you've already been doing so much for her, but try to keep her feelings in mind, okay? A tender heart like that doesn't heal too easy."

You slowly come back from the shock, barely able to nod to show that you had been listening.

"Good. Now you wait for her and apologize, make sure she doesn't need anything. Then make sure you head back down, you look like you need something to eat." You agree, hoping another lecture doesn't await you later. Before knocking you wait for your mother to move down the stairs. As she passes the picture you hear her steps stop halfway down, a quiet sigh coming from her. Passing by the pictures of Michele must be even more difficult now, and it takes her some time to start moving again.

Trying not to startle her again you knock lightly against the door, waiting even as you don't receive an answer. Wondering if she might not have heard it you're about to knock again when Delilah pulls the door open a crack. "Are you in trouble?" she whispers.

"Have to...be nice...to you." There's a small flicker of a smile on her face, quickly falling again as she refuses to open the door any further.

"I got scared and I ran away...I'm sorry..." Delilah apologizes, "But I didn't want her to see me doing something g-gross like that, and I was scared of h-hurting you..."

"Didn't see...anything." You can tell that she's doing everything she can to look away from you right now. From the first floor you can hear the front door open and close, a conversation starting between your mother and father that is too far away for you to hear properly. "How's head?"

"It um, it doesn't really hurt anymore... But it kinda feels cloudy..." She shakes her head, trying to focus her vision now. "I don't think I can talk to anyone like this, I need to um...I need a little bit... I think I want to lay down or something"

"Do that." You feel an intense need to ask her more, to really make sure she is okay. But you can also tell that she needs some space right now, and that's something you shouldn't try to fight. Delilah thanks you but closes the door soon after, making you wish there was more you could do right now. You walk away from the bathroom but wait at the top of the stairs, not really prepared to see your father quite yet. Luckily their conversation doesn't seem to last long, your father slipping away to the garage shortly. Hearing yet another sigh from your mother, you decide that it would be best to offer her some company right now.

She sits at the table when you come in, papers sprawled out in front of her. "Oh, there you are," she says, looking up from the one she had been reading, "Jacks is back, if you couldn't hear. Not too happy right now, he said there's a lot we still have to go through. Apparently he has to make another trip tomorrow, how bothersome." You take a seat next to her, looking over some of the pages spread out. "They just can't make it easy on us, can they sweetie?"

You try to swallow the guilt you feel, not wanting to think about it or Delilah's apparent involvement with it all.

"How's your little friend? You apologize to her like I told you to?"

"Talked to...her. Head hurts." You feel a little bit guilty about lying to your mother, but it's easy for you to push past the feeling. "Gonna lay...down."

"Hmm... I wish I knew how to help her."

'Me too' is what you want to say, but you look towards the garage instead. "What's Dad...doing?"

"Like I said, he came back in a bit of a poor mood. I think he's trying to clear his thoughts right now, but you know how hard it can be to tell with that man..." your mother stares at the garage, sighing once more. "I know it might be a bit early for it, but I'm sure Jacks could use a drink..." The phone rings before she can offer another suggestion, your mother letting out an annoyed click as she goes up to answer. Getting up yourself, you walk over to the fridge and check the contents. Pushed near the back and behind other things, you find a a pack of beers untouched and waiting.

>Try talking to your father, bring him a drink
>Try talking to your father, drink with him
>You aren't ready to see your father right now
>Try talking to your father, drink with him
>Try talking to your father, drink with him
Without bothering to break any of them away, you grab the handle and take the entire pack.

"Hello? Yes, this is Delilah." Your mother continues to talk on the phone as you head to the garage, her giving you a quick thumbs up before returning to the phone. "Er, sorry. I think you might have the wrong number-"

Beer in hand and trying not to think about it too much, you walk into the garage to join your dad.


You'd expected a work bench scattered with projects inside, or anything else that your father could have been working on by hand, but instead you're greeted with a strangely nostalgic green car. Circling around to the back, you see that it is a Firebird, something a bit older than you. The driver's door opens, the smell of cigarette smoke following as your father steps out. He stops halfway upon seeing you, looking around the garage briefly.

"Del in here?" he asks and you shake your head.

"On phone."

"She send you in here?" You respond this time by holding up the beer, caught off guard by catching your father actually smoking. "Well, passenger seat is open." He sits back inside, door closed, and you take the invitation to come in. The memory of this car continues to escape you as you come to sit in, the black interior even more familiar than the outside. "Going to share those?" he gestures to the beer and you place them in the spot between the seats, taking a can for yourself. Your finger waves over the tab, suddenly feeling strange about drinking with your old man. Both your parents had always been adamant about not letting their underage children drink, so much so that even now you feel like this is crossing the line. Your father doesn't seem to care, readily drinking away at his.

"You recognize this thing?" he asks, patting the dashboard.

"Sort of." You finally get into your drink, settling against the seat as you take a look around.

"Was your granddad's. First car he ever bought, back when this was new in '67. Never could afford one before then, but something like this was his dream. You and Michele used to ride along in this during visits before he died, course you were pretty young when that happened."

"Does it...work?"

"It does now. Thing was in storage for a bit, needed the engine replaced. Dad might've loved this car but he didn't know how to take care of it, couldn't help but want to show it off. Ended up revving it up too hard one day and spun a bearing. He couldn't afford to get it fixed before he died so it was just sitting around gathering dust. Been working on getting the new engine in, bit of a better one too. Went ahead and changed the tires too, didn't want to keep the whitewall ones he had on here. Changed the vinyl top too." He sets the drink down, leaning forward to turn the key on. The car rumbles to life, much louder than you expected. "Course Del thinks I went too zealous with it. Original engine was just a 300, but I managed to get a 428 for a pretty good price."

"Ready...to go?"

"Needs just a few more things here and there, but I guess if I really wanted to then I could have this thing out on the street once I get the insurance sorted out." He sips from the can, turning off the car again as he slumps back. "Didn't really plan on doing anything with this when I first got it. But I needed something to distract myself." This certainly wasn't around when you were here last, barely able to even remember the times when you and Michele had been crammed into the seats that seemed small even back then. You can't figure out what to say and turn to your drink instead, your father turning the key once more to flip the radio on. One of your father's Hank Williams Jr. cassettes starts playing as the two of you drink.

"Your mom tell you what's going on?" he tosses the empty can outside his door, pulling out another one to drink. "They got me running around in circles just trying to get approval to bring Michele back here. Going to head in tomorrow again and see if I can make any headway with it. Gotta try and see if they've got any of her things still, would be nice to get those back. Already got the pastor lined up for a service, even if they won't let us bring her back we'd still like to have one. We uh...we haven't told anyone else about it yet." your father's voice begins to waver but he hides it with another long hard drink. "You uh, you remember your grandpa at all?" he asks, running a hand over the steering wheel.


"Probably for the best. He could have a mean streak, let me tell you. Course I guess that's where mine came from. Like to think I wasn't quite as bad as he was." Your father sighs, scratching the back of his head as he replays the memory. "Though I could understand why you'd think otherwise. Didn't really say anything too nice to you that night, did it? To be honest, I'd have probably socked my dad in the face if he called me a fuck up too. Glad to know you could at least land a punch, might feel worse about it if it turned out you didn't know how to land a proper punch."

"I'm... I'm sorry..." you mumble, despite completely meaning it. "Sorry for...hitting you. Running off. Never called...never wrote. Made you...both worry."

"I shouldn't have done what I did. Doesn't excuse what I did, but it was hard for me to accept what was happening. Michele running off while we didn't know if you were going to make it or not in the hospital really put some gray in my hair, really thought we were going to lose both of our kids. Really felt like that when you ended up going...going away. Got pretty impatient with you a few more times than I should have, especially with your notes. Eyesight has been going bad for a while now, but I guess I didn't want to admit it at the time either. Too damn proud, you know? Try not to get like that, just makes you stubborn when you shouldn't be."

"Was too...angry. Out of...hospital. Couldn't...handle it."

"Who could? Know sure as hell that I couldn't. When we found out what you did to Charlie I, and I hate to admit this, but there were these few moments were I was proud of you. That son of a bitch hurt both of my kids and got away with it? Felt like justice had finally been dealt, but we ended up losing you again. If I taught you to do that then I have to apologize again, I've made a lot of mistakes. I'm sorry Lawrence, I'm sorry I couldn't have been there for you more when you needed it."

"I'm sorry-" you were so worried about this moment before, but now you can't stop it from tumbling out. "I couldn't...be better. Always in...trouble. Never did...anything good. Embarrassed...you and...mom."

"Don't say you never did anything good. We still let you back in the house, didn't we?" your father has the slightest hint of a smile, but it's enough to grab your attention. "You might not have been the top of the class or on a team for anything, but you've still done stuff to make us proud. When you told me that you were out looking for Michele I wondered why the hell I didn't just, assume that's what you were doing. Of course you would go look for your sister, that's the type of brother you are. Don't let anyone call you out on that, you tried and did what you could. There's not a lot more I could ask from you."

It falls silent in the car, interrupted just by the tape, but it's not an awkward moment. Instead, you and your dad continue to listen to the music, going through the beer one by one. The last song finally begins to play, you remember this track well enough, and your father finally speaks up again.

"You're going to end up heading out with that girl, right?"



"Not tonight. Soon...though."

"I see. Does your mother know?" It sounds like your father had long since expected this, even if he doesn't sound too pleased with it.

"Not yet."

"It's going to break her heart. Wish I could help you out there, but I couldn't really tell you the best thing to do. All I can do is just, offer what I can I guess, whatever that might be."

>You need money
>You need him to apologize to your mother for leaving
>You don't need anything else
>You need him and mom to stay safe
We've tried to take precautions, but someone's out to hurt Bunny and are willing to risk the lives of others to find her.

"You and...Mom. Stay safe."

Scoffing, your father turns off the car. "I should be the one telling you that." he says, stepping out of the car. "Well, help me gather up these cans now. Don't really want your mother knowing we finished this all off at once." You nod, feeling the slight buzz in your head. A bit different than usual, you doubt it is coming from just the beer.

It doesn't take long for you two to hide the evidence, the cans and ash from the car disposed of before your mother could ever figure out what happened. Doing this feels strange, not cause you're sneaking around but because you're sneaking around with your father. You toss the last can into the trash, a set of bikes pushed up against the wall catching your eyes. It really shouldn't surprise you, but it looks like they kept the same bikes you and Michele had rode back in high school. Just another reminder of how things used to be, you wait by the door as your father grabs the keys.

You enter the kitchen together, finding your mother dressed ready to go out and digging through her purse at the table.

"Oh, Jacks there you are. I was just about to come get you. The funeral home needs the check today so they can secure the plot-" as she faces him, your mother's nose scrunches up as she sniffs him, you receiving the same treatment shortly after. "How much did you two drink? It's not even five yet!"

"Just a couple, don't worry I'll come alo-" Not even waiting for your father to defend himself, she walks over and takes a look in the fridge.

"They're all gone!" she exclaims, closing the door with a huff. "There was a whole pack in here the last time I looked. You were supposed to just have a drink, not booze each other up." She strides back to the table, grabbing her purse and keys. "Well, I guess I can go alone. You two just hold down the house for me, alright? Shouldn't be gone too long, but the soup is ready whenever you guys are ready. Oh, and Lawrence?" Digging around in her pocket, your mother passes over a scribbled down note.

"There was a message on the answering machine for you," she explains, sounding confused by this, "I didn't recognize the voice or name, but I wrote down the message." As she goes to the front door with your father trailing behind, scolding him the entire way, you look over the message.

Call me back as soon as you can - Crockett

Hearing the front door close and your father return you shove the note into your pocket, watching as he goes to check the pot on the stove. "Well, we tried." he says, trying a spoonful. "Oh, right. Your mom mentioned that you should check on your friend, and to be extra nice to her. Sounds like you did something she didn't like."

"Sort of..." you mutter, "Borrowing...phone."

"Oh...? Okay, go ahead."

You leave your father in the kitchen, sitting on the couch with the phone at hand. Expecting to take several tries to reach him again, Crockett picks up after only the second ring.

"Is...Lawrence." you announce yourself.

"Oh thank god, I was worried I might have had the wrong number. Guess you got my message? Shit, gotta keep this short. Gonna be losing use of the office here soon, you're not going to have a way to contact me for a while. But the good news is that I'll be along to pick you up tomorrow, around ten at night. Make sure you're both ready to go by then, got it? I mean, waiting by the front door and running out the second you see my car. Was hoping we could have a little more time but- well, I'll explain later. Just remember. Ready to go by ten, not a minute later. And- well you know, that's the most important thing right now. I gotta load up my stuff now, I'll see you tomorrow then."

And just as quickly as he answered the phone, Crockett hangs up on you. You hang up the phone miffed, still unsure how an urgent conversation could have gone by so quickly. But now you have a set time to leave, something that you had been looking forward to but now feel bittersweet about the thought. Coming to this house was hard enough for you, but saying goodbye yet again will be just as hard, if not worse.

Despite not needing to, you write down the time on your wrist. A little more than twenty four hours in this house, you try not to think about how your mother is going to take the news. You've come to realize that it'll be hard for your father too, even if he doesn't show it quite as well. You lean back against the couch, looking around the living room and wondering if this will be the last time you see this place. Too heavy of a thought for you to handle right now, you get up and head back to the kitchen.

"Has that girl eaten yet?' your father asks, pulling out a bowl for himself. "Del said to make sure she eats before too late. Why don't you run up and check on her?"

You're worried to see how Delilah might be right now but agree to it anyways, knowing that it would be wise to at least check up on her even if she doesn't want visitors. The time written on your wrist keeps your attention as you walk up stairs, standing in front of the sewing room door and starring at the number in confirmation. You and Delilah will have to leave at this time, regardless if you want to or not, and you can barely speculate on what the future may have for you.

The knocks you give yield no answer, and you dare to open the door to take a look in. Delilah is sitting hunched over, back to the door and one of the blankets draped over her. Keeping the cover close to her body, Delilah turns to face you with flushed cheeks. "You spooked me..." she complains lowly.

"Sorry. Sleeping?" you step in, closing the door behind you.

"No, I wasn't really doing much..." Delilah looks over to the side as you come to stand in front of her, holding the blankets even tighter. "Is something going on?"

"Crockett called." when you say this her head perks up, willing to look at you. "We leave...tomorrow. Ten...at night."

"That late? I guess it's fine..."

"Feeling okay? Face red."

"Y-yeah... My head doesn't hurt anymore and the room isn't trying to spin. I think I'm just feeling...weird now. I felt too awkward to walk out again..." You can hear it in Delilah's voice, feeling glad that she at least isn't in pain right now.


"Not yet. Maybe in a bit." she still sounds disheartened, you imagine from still feeling a mix of guilt and fear from earlier. It might be the beer thinking, but if this might be one of the last days i this house you'd rather not have to remember Delilah feeling miserable the whole time.

"Should do...something." you move to sit next to her, hoping she doesn't notice the smell of alcohol as easy as your mother did. "Have fun."

"Don't we have to get ready to go? I don't know if we should be goofing off..."

"We should."

Delilah shoots you a glare from the blankets, feeling even more annoyed when she sees your grin. "Like what? You know this place better than me...I'm more of a guest than you are..."

>Offer to watch whatever Delilah wants downstairs
>See if you can find your mother's record player
>The garage is big enough, teach Delilah how to ride a bike
>Offer to watch whatever Delilah wants downstairs

>Offer to watch whatever Delilah wants downstairs
>teach Delilah how to ride a bike
"Go down. Watch movie."

"You'll just fall asleep again, and then I won't be able to hear anything cause of the snoring. Well I mean, I guess it wasn't that bad last time, but still..."

"Won't sleep. Promise."

Delilah fiddles around with one of the curls in her hair, pouting slightly. "I already watched the one movie I knew down there, you'll have to choose something. And not something too boring or scary, please. If you start snoring again I'll hold your nose till you wake up..."

"Deal." You stand, Delilah remaining where she sits. Ready to help her up, you notice the patch of skin peeking out from a gap in the blanket around her hip. With how flustered and fidgety she's been, you start to worry that you might have walked in on her changing. "Will find...movie. Come down...when ready." You don't try to linger around more than you have to, quick to exit the room and return privacy back to her.

Now of course you're tasked with finding an appropriate movie for her to watch, knowing that the collection of westerns and over the top romance movies will make this difficult for you. And just as you expected, you look through and can't find anything that you feel would be suitable. You fear that anything with romance will be too risque and anything else would be too violent; the movie she already watched set to the side as you hope to find something suitable.

"Trying to find something?" your father asks as he comes from the kitchen.

"Movie. For De-...for Bunny."

"Yeah, don't think there's too much there that will entertain her. Er, you know what about that movie... that one with the cartoon mice that were German or Russian or something. Del was babysitting some of the kids from church and they left it behind, pretty sure we still have it. Not sure if that's too kiddish for her, but it might be better than nothing."

"Sure-" you get up from the ground, noticing that your father has taken a seat in his chair with food at hand. "Staying...to watch?"

"Nothing else better to do right now. Just waiting for your mother really. Check the that side cabinet there, I think the movie might be there."

You find the movie easy enough, An American Tail. and begun to worry about it being too young of a movie for Delilah. Hearing her come down the stairs, you decide to just grin and bear it. It'll keep her occupied for about two hours and you can make up for falling asleep to the other movie. As she comes into the living room you father gives her a greeting, Delilah stammering one back as she goes to sit on the couch. Letting the video play, you come to join her on the couch. With a pair of pants on now, she no longer looks as embarrassed as she had been earlier. The moment you sit down, Delilah tries to lay against you but holds herself back when she remembers that your father is down here too. She instead finds her spot just leaning against you, not too close but just enough for right now.


The mechanical cat at the end scares the hell out of you, and you try to figure out how this fit into a child's movie. You are unsure how your father was able to snore away at this part, finishing his meal early in the movie and falling asleep soon after. Paying too much attention on the movie, Delilah manages to sneak closer to you during it, her arms wrapped around you as you both watch the mice somehow make and operate this monster of a machine. Of course there's a happy ending for the mice at the end as they reunite with the son they lost.

"Oh good," she says, "I'm glad he found his family again. Losing your family like that in a place you've never been in before has to be the worst thing." With the credits rolling now, Delilah pulls away from you and stretches.

"Stayed awake." you remind her, sitting up.

"You did, thank you." Delilah looks back over to your father, still snoring away in his chair as she decides to whisper now. "I guess we should probably get our stuff ready to go for tomorrow..."

"Might be...best."

"Okay. Should I work on that now?"

"Sure. Make sure...have everything. If need...something...need to....know."

"Okay. Are you going to be doing the same thing?"

"Won't take...long."

"Alright. If there's something you need me to hold, let me know. Is okay if I go in the laundry room? I think I have something in the dryer..."

"Go ahead." Despite being your old home, there's not much really you would need to pack. Letting Delilah gather her items from downstairs, you decide to go up to your room to take another look around to see what might be good to take.


Aside from some extra clothes, there's not really anything you find that's worth dragging along. Tossing the clothes on the bed, you pull open the drawer next to the bed. The envelope of money comes out, tucking it away in your coat pocket for now. You look in the drawer once more, trying to remember what else you had in here.

The photo of you and Vanessa is missing, and even as you look in and under everything you can't seem to find it. Double checking all of your pockets, you watch as Delilah walks by with a small basket of her own clothes in the hallway. She gives you a quick wave before going to the sewing room, and a creeping feeling travels up your spine.

>Ask Delilah if she knows where the photo is
>Don't bring it up
>mechanical cat

mouse. That abomination was a mouse, sorry Don Bluth.
>Don't bring it up
If she has it you'll find sooner or later. If she don't, well do you really need it that bad?
>Don't bring it up
If Del took it, she probably has her reasons and we might get it back sooner or later.
You close the drawer and try to put the thought out of mind. With the few other items you do have, they all fit easily into a small backpack left over from high school. The money stays secured in your coat pocket, the only thing you actually need to make sure doesn't leave your side. With little else to do in your room, you go on over to where Delilah is. Standing at her doorway, you watch with her back turned towards you as she carefully folds and puts each of her clothes in a neat pile, the rest of her unorganized items set aside waiting to either be packed or tossed out.

She acts much calmer than just a few hours ago and you take a moment to examine your hand. Some of the indents from her teeth remain, though you doubt it will be the case for much longer. Delilah had freaked out about it, and rightfully so, but for some reason you hadn't gotten too worked up. Maybe it's cause you knew there wasn't much she could have done right there to hurt you, nothing that you couldn't have easily stopped anyways. Before the biting had begun the whole experience had felt oddly relaxing, making you wonder if you were just a bit too used to this. It was just a miracle that your mother hadn't came in time to see, there's not really too many ways you could explain the scenario to her.

"What are you thinking about?' Delilah calls to your attention, her looking up at you from the floor.


"You've been kind of standing there, I wouldn't have even noticed if I didn't turn around." Carefully, Delilah starts to place the clothes back into her bag. She's quick to hide all of her extra underwear and training bras at the bottom, hiding them beneath folded up pants and shirts next. "Is there anything you wanted me to carry? I should have room for some things."

You shake your head and go to sit at the desk, looking at the assortment of sewing needles and threads laid out on the table. Over to the side, spread out carefully on a rack, lays the quilt she and your mother had been working on. If there's anything unfinished on it you can't tell, the patterns and lines looking impressive for something your mother made on her own. You think back to the conversation that happened in here between the two, now beginning to worry if your mother was more encouraging on the matter than she should have been.

Arms slink around your shoulders and a nose presses against the back of your neck, Delilah taking a small break from her packing. "Did you get all your stuff?' she asks, leaning against you. You can't help but dare a look over at her pile of items, taking a quick look over on what is spread out on the floor. No sign of any photos, you begin to wonder if you simply just misplaced it.

"All packed." you reply, feeling guilty about thinking she took it. Delilah continues to hold on to you, her hold becoming tighter. "I know I haven't done a really good job about showing it, but I really like it here..." she mumbles, chin resting on your shoulder. "Even your parents... They've made things nice here too." Despite what she's saying there's heavy remorse in everything she says, and you start to worry she's afraid of leaving this place and being away from safety again.

"Grandma's...will be...nice."

"I know," Delilah says as she hides her face against your shirt, her voice wavering, "I know it'll be nice..." Her fingers dig into your shirt in instinct and you feel the need to place your hand on top of hers in hopes of keeping her from slumping to the floor. You don't try to ask what's wrong yet, just giving Delilah a few needed moments to go through whatever is eating her up now.

"I'm terrible..." she says still pressed against your shirt, "I'm getting to stay in real houses and...and I like it and..."

"What's wrong...with that...?" you ask, feeling lost.

"When I heard Sarah and Eric were trying to get a new place, I f-felt so angry...I felt angry at them," she lifts her head up just enough to look forward, most of her still pressed up against you. "I was mad because they were going to have good lives again and leave the group... a-and now I've left them t-to deal with my mess while I'm sleeping somewhere n-nice and out of the cold and-" Delilah stops, eyebrows wrinkling down as she holds her head. After a long pause she speaks up again, saying "I feel like a big hyp-...hypocrite."

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"Think about...grandma." you swivel the chair around to face Delilah, "Then look...for others. They'll be...fine."

"How can you be sure?" she asks.

"Tough. They know...how to... hide. Stay safe. Been doing...for while." you reach out and give her hand a squeeze, "They've made...it this...long." It's easy to see that Delilah wants to try and argue about the matter but she doesn't try, instead directing her focus on the hand holding hers instead.

"Gram and Grandpa used to have a few houses when I was younger, I remember they were letting dad look at them." Delilah makes you hold your hand out flat, trying to place her palm directly in the middle of yours before pushing her fingers between the spaces in yours. "I think Grandma got rid of a lot of them after Grandpa died, but maybe she would still have a few left. And maybe if I ask her real nicely she can let us borrow one or something..."

"Ask her."

"I'll make sure to." While letting out a quiet sigh Delilah lets go of your hand, the tips of her fingers that had been resting against your knuckles coming up to rest against her bottom lip. "We're leaving tomorrow night, right? There wasn't anything else you were planning to do here, were you?"

"N-..." you stop, remembering that Boyd still owes you money and the time frame for you to collect it is getting smaller. Borrowing the car shouldn't be a problem, but actually getting the money you need from him might be.

>Go see Boyd tonight
>See Boyd tomorrow
>Cut your losses now
>Go see Boyd tonight
>Prep yourself for telling your parents you have to leave
Better than disappearing on them again.


Also if it even looks mildly shady with getting our cash cut our losses. Better down some drugs and out some free cash than down some drugs and arrested or worse.
Last minute announcement, but this month MQ turns a year old and in commemoration of this I'm going to be holding a non-canon and silly one-shot draw quest with Delilah as the MC, of course. I'll work on getting another update or two for current thread today, but once I get the one shot thread up I'll more than likely be focusing on that. Depending on how it goes and how much my hand tries to kill me during, the one shot may run between two and three days but should be wrapped up by the end of the thread. After that, I'll switch back over to the normal thread. Either way, link to the one shot will be posted here and in the general so keep an eye out for it!
"Once more...to Boyd's."

Delilah makes a face at hearing his name, crossing her arms as she says "Do you really need to go see that guy again? He's such a cree-... doofus. No offense, I know he was your... 'friend'?"

"Getting money...he owes. That's all."

"Oh, from the uh, stuff. Right." A piece of hair twirls around her finger, her whole body freezing up as the front door downstairs opens.

"Mom's back." you explain and she relaxes again. "Will go...tonight. Not long. Okay?"

"Okay, fine. I'll stay here I guess." It's not the answer she wants to give, but it makes things a whole lot easier on you. With the remaining hours of daylight dwindling down quickly you know that you should try to go on that way. Leaving Delilah to pack, you stop at the door to turn back at at her.

"Eat before...you sleep"

"Maybe," she mumbles, looking up and getting red in the face as she sees you waiting for a proper answer. "I will, I promise." You give her an okay and Delilah can't help but stick her tongue at you, her face falling back to contemplation when she thinks you are no longer looking. Downstairs, you see that your mother has joined your father in the living room. She's talking about the funeral service but has to stop several time to dab a tissue to her eyes.

"-the headstone should be coming in sometime this week or early next week, we'll need to call them tomorrow and let them know what we want etched on it." At your approach to the living room your mother sits up, tying to hide the fact that she had been crying just a while earlier. "Oh, hello sweetie. I just got back a little bit ago, got a little sidetracked on the way back."

"Something you need?" your father asks, noticing that you've got your coat on and pulled shut.

"Car?" you ask.

"Again? How long as you planning to stay out?" your mother looks behind you, trying to see if Delilah is going with you once again.

"Picking...something up." It sounds shady even to you, but telling them you are trying to go and collect drug money isn't any better of an answer either. Your father looks ready to question you further on the matter but the keys are handed over to you instead, the answer suitable enough for your mother.

"Just try not to stay out too late, okay? It gets icy out there on the road at night and it's harder to see."

"Yeah." you pocket the key, remaining where you stand as you look between both your parents. "Tonight. Need to...talk. Important." You turn and walk away as soon as you say this, leaving the house before they can try to question what the conversation might be about. Or rather, for your mother to guess what you need to tell her. Your father already knows you're leaving, but you doubt he'll try to let her know before you come back. That responsibility falls solely on you and it has to be done.

You don't waste time getting back to Boyd's and park next to his lone hunk of junk parked outside. Checking all around to make sure there's no one out and watching, you approach his door and knock. The lights are off inside, and after some time with no answer you start to suspect that he isn't home. You give one more knock, heading back to the car when once again there is no answer. The front door opening just catches your eyes before you drive away, and you rush back up to the front porch before Boyd can retreat inside.

Boyd's smell reaches you before he does, a stale mix of sweat and booze.

"Ah, wazzup?" Even with the sun low in the sky Boyd has to squint to look at you with bloodshot eyes. "Oh is you uh...Law! Law! How, how's it goin' man? I haven' seen you since uh...the last time." It doesn't take the beer can in his hand to tell you that he's still on the fender, you wouldn't be surprised if he forgot his own name right now.


"Huh?" Seeing that this is going to be a difficult conversation, you push Boyd inside and follow shortly after. You feel around for the light switch, illuminating the filthy kitchen up to show the mess that had accumulated earlier. "Sorry you missed the party. Was uh-, did everybody leave? Wha' time is it? I, uh..." He drinks instead of trying to finish his thought, the much easier task of the two.

"Money, Boyd." It feels dirty enough standing in here, much less touching anything by accident.

"Wha' money?"

"What you...owe me."

"I don' owe yo-...OH! Ah right I remember Law, was jus' messing with ya. Lemme uh...lemme find it..." Boyd bumbles forward, a crashing noise following as he manages to get to his bedroom. As you wait and try not to pay too much attention to the smell, a rather tidy looking box is set aside on the counter. Peering in, you see that it's full of electronics. You recognize a VRC rather easily, though there's another gray device in there you can't identify. Bored with waiting, you pull it out and see that it has a controller dangling off ot it, the words Nintendo Entertainment System written on the front. Stacked up inside looks to be games for the system, all of this pretty new looking.

"Tha's pretty sweet, ain't it?' Boyd comes back in from the bedroom, cash squeezed in his hand. He barely manages to hand it over, all but falling onto a stool as he grabs for his drink again. "Kids were talkin' bout how cool those were. Saw that stuff up for a good deal earlier, had to do it." As he nurses himself into a bigger hangover you place the game system back, thumbing through the assortment of bills. After counting it again and again, you see that there's only $47 here.

"The rest."


"Need the...rest."

"Sorry Law, all I got right now. Should get the uh, the rest in a couple days." You don't have a couple of days, but you know that trying to wring it out of him now is useless effort. Peeved, you pocket the money and prepare to storm out. "Oh wait, Law! Law man, before you go I've...man I've gotta show you this it's... just hold on. Lemme go get it ready..." Suddenly filled with excitement, Boyd somehow manages to blunder his way through the backdoor.

So much for getting your money's worth from all this, you knew this would have been risky business but you hadn't expected to get burnt like this. If Boyd wasn't such an impulse buyer, you could have had more, if not all, of the money he owes you. With the ruckus in the backyard you start to contemplate the idea of just leaving, but you look back to the box on his counter.

Boyd is fucking plastered, and you doubt he will even remember you stopping by.

Even if he does, it's not like you'll end up coming back here.

He spent your money on something else, you should do something to get it back.

>Take the whole box of electronics and pawn it off
>Just take the VCR to pawn off
>Don't touch any of the stuff
>Don't touch any of the stuff
As nice as it would be to have the last of the money, it's no reason to be a bastard. Boyd has little in his life but impressing kids, and while it's sorta sleazy, he ain't hurting anyone.
>Take the whole box
Especially if he has Super Mario Bros 3.

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