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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.

=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.
Mini recap
>Delilah has encountered doors that she can't in with the key alone
>Weird chemical smell behind one of them
>Lawrence is supposed to be home for dinner

The locked door in front of you proves to be impossible to deal with for now. Already you’ve begun to make a mental list of things you’ll need to make checking out these locked away areas easier, or at least ways to convince Lawrence to lend a hand.

You should be feeling guilty about thinking up ways to break in to these locked away places but you don’t. In some way you feel compelled to. This place had belonged to your grandfather after all, which means it kind of belongs to you now. Being told where you’re allowed and not allowed to go is frustrating, you’re not a little kid anymore. If anything, being able to find your way into these rooms right under all their noses should prove that, make them see that you aren’t entirely helpless.

That’s what you’d hope anyways.

The harsh smell of chemicals hits you nose again as it wafts from the keyhole, a wave of random nausea passing over as you pull away. You walk away with another task added to your list- if you can figure out how to acquire some tools then you might not have to ask for help at all. While you look forward to the satisfaction of accomplishing that, you can’t help but think how it could be nice to do it with Lawrence. Or at the very least, watch him do all the hard work.

As nice as it is to think up any which way you could convince him to help with this super secret project, you promise yourself to not act like the damsel in distress. Right away.

Tools to pry open an old door shouldn’t be that hard to find in a place like this, right? Something to pry it open, that oil stuff they pour on rusty hinges- nothing that weird. And if you had to guess then you’d have to say they’d likely be in the garage or a maintenance closet.

When you walk past the halls you notice that your grandmother’s door is shut, but the light shining underneath lets you know it’s busy inside. You’d rather not think about what could be going on and focus on your new task at hand.

You scope out Crockett’s door, noticing that it’s open a crack. He’s mentioned before that you can come visit him if it’s like that, though you haven’t really taken up the offer.

It sure would be nice if you could walk in and ask him where the tools would be rather than sneaking around, and you wonder if you could.

You need to find some tools to help you explore better, risk sneaking around or try to bluff Crockett for them?
Hey Sue, Welcome back. Hope things have been well.
>You need to find some tools to help you explore better, risk sneaking around or try to bluff Crockett for them?
I would prefer to bluff, but I can't think of any reasons we'd need them. So we should just look for them on our own.
yeah this
You back away from the office and move silently. It’s probably just easier to sneak them out anyways, no questions asked. That just means you absolutely can’t get caught with them, which only makes this a little scarier.

The walk over to the garage has your heart racing and made it all the more difficult to look inconspicuous. With no one around to watch there’s no reason for the facade to fail and you slink past the garage door before anyone is any the wiser.

The half empty garage remains in the dark as you rely on the flashlight to show the way. Two cars remain parked inside, the walls surrounding them lined with boxes and crates. Some of it looks like it’s meant to be here and others looked shoved away for the sake of space. There’s a short work table the dips into the boxes, it’s worn down and wooden surface reflective of the heavy work it has gone through.

You notice the dark and long since dried stain that darkens part of the table. It slips your mind as you try to find something that would work for forcing open a door. There are plenty of screwdrivers and hammers and the like, and while close they aren’t quite the thing you need. Imagining it in your head, you think of something long and thin yet sturdy, something like a crowbar.

When the workbench provides none you start on the boxes nearby. Rows and rows of empty glass bottles rattle in one of the older boxes- the noise almost makes you drop them in surprise. Another box full of rags is far quieter but you can’t figure out why they would need so many of both.

Eventually you start to find random pieces of metal, most of them long and thin pipes. It’s past these and leaned up against a crate that you find it, a piece of metal that reaches from hand to elbow, a handle on one end and and a sharper wedge on the other side. If you can get this from here to your room without anyone noticing then you should be great. It’s not so big that you couldn’t hide it anyways, it’ll just take a little more digging.

It takes a bit of passing by boxes of chains and duct tape and more of the like before you reach a corner with normal garage items. Common sports equipment and lawn chairs, all pushed away and forgotten about at some point.

You find a tennis racket bag that would be big enough to conceal the new tool and you’re prepared to leave. That stops in an instant when the garage begins to open and you’re too scared to run for the door. INstead you hide back in the corner you had been, tucking away in the corner and its shadows as lights flood the garage. You keep a hand over your mouth and try to watch without getting caught.

On the driver’s side you spot Palmer stepping out, her head turned away from your direction as she talks with the person in passenger. From where you’re tucked in you can’t see who it is, but you can hear him.

“-actually relieved, gives us more time to prepare.” Crockett’s voice echoes in the small space.

“It’s probably for the best, yeah.”

It takes a second or two, but your brain puts together some pieces that almost make you gasp. You had considered going into his office earlier to ask for help with this since his door was open, but here he is pulling up now. You can’t remember seeing anyone going into the room while he was gone, the more and more you think about it the worse it feels.

You might have noticed someone sneaking through Crockett’s office while he was gone and you’re not sure if he would know about it. He might be thinking that you were sneaking around while he was gone, but he also might be glad to know that there was someone there.

Do you want to go and tell Crockett right away or keep that fact to yourself?
Well don't tell him right NOW.
But next time you get a chance, when you aren't trying to sneak a crowbar into your room.
For now stay hidden.
Definitely tell him soon. Wait until he's gone back to his room.

What's better than paranoia in a small group of people? An actual spy or traitor!

Why would anyone need to sneak through his stuff is the question. There are three reasons we are all here: Delilah, keeping granny alive until the heart transplant and covering up her old skeletons our enemies are trying to dig up
Despite how you might feel around him, this is something Crockett should know. There is such a short list of suspects that it could be, and the idea of a confrontation about it is terrifying. But if there is someone sneaking around…

Or sneaking in, somehow.

It doesn’t set well with you at all and you try to choke back the fear. Through the case it’s hidden in you can still feel how weighty the crowbar is and how, should you encounter the person sneaking around while alone, then you still have the means to defend yourself.

“I’ve gotta head in for tonight, let’s go ahead and get that list ready.” It’s only the two of them here but Palmer sounds so serious, almost angry by the way she spits out ‘list’. They’ll be busy for a bit and then when she’s gone you’ll insist that Crockett hears out your warning.

The pair take a bit of time to pack up and move out, the time leaving you frightened by being caught by them or the increasingly scary killer that you try not to form in your imagination.

You finally hear the door close and you’re free to turn on the flashlight to save you from the dark. Even more careful than before you step away from the mess you hid yourself in, tennis racket bag in hand.

With an ear at the door you listen to make sure the coast is clear, your heart beating like crazy when you do take the chance. It takes everything that you have to not run straight for the bedroom as you know that would only draw attention. Instead you calmly but briskly head straight that way, keeping your new found object hugged close.

When your eyes fall on the bedroom door you make a line straight for it, wanting nothing more than to get inside and stop sneaking around for now.

Hand reaching out for the door knob, your name is called from behind.

“Delilah? I am sorry, do you have a moment?”

Rizzo’s gruff voice sends goosebumps down your arm and his limping footsteps grow closer.

“Ah-“ you turn to face him, a smile forced on your face. The crowbar remains hidden behind your back as you reach a hand out to get the door. “Hello Dr. Rizzo! I am, sure we can talk for a second. Let me uh, I need to put something away real quick.”

The old man nods, none the wiser of your sneaky habits. It’s such a relief to hide the crowbar under the bed and you come back out to the hallway with a much clearer head.

“Okay, I’m good now.” You speak with a genuine smile instead of a nervous one now, though Rizzo looks at you with a troubled look that leaves deep lines in his face.

“I have been looking for you,” Rizzo starts to explain. And since you haven’t been anywhere that you should have been…

“Oh, I’m sorry about that. I was just cleaning up Lawrence’s room for him and stuff, were you searching for me long?”
“Only for about ten minutes, getting around quickly is a challenge. I was hoping to speak to you privately,” he says with his eyes glancing back in the room behind. At first you fear that he noticed something was up, but you can see now that he’s looking back for someone taller than you.

“Oh well, I am alone right now.” You motion back to the room to show that, “Unless you mean that we need to go back to your office-“

Rizzo shakes his head and, after a quick glance behind him, leans closer to you as his body allows.

“Can you keep this between us?” He asks first and you nod, fingers curling up as the instinctive need to hold the crowbar for safety returns.

“Is it about my grandma?” It’s hard to ask that but he shakes his head again to dispel the worst of the fears.

“This might be a bit of a strange question, but I need you to answer as honestly as possible.” Rizzo waits for you to nod in confirmation and your mind tries to form what kind of questions he could have.

“I’ll try,” you tell him while trying to brace yourself for what it turns out to be.

When he seems unwillingly to get the question out you grow increasingly worried, trying to think of what could be stumping this man, the one has has spent years in the underground and with criminals.

“You would not know of any money hidden away anywhere, would you?”

“Money?” you ask utterly surprised and Rizzo nods with a grim look. “What do you mean?”

“I just meant if you heard or saw money being put away somewhere, or if you have come across any where it does not belong.”

The question is strange and Rizzo seems to know this. There must be something up if he’s asking you about it anyways and you try to recall if there had been any instance.

At most all you can think of is what you found locked away in the secret safe, hidden below the floorboards and out of sight. It’s also something that your grandmother told you to keep a secret, that it was to be kept for an emergency if you needed it.

An emergency might be why Rizzo is asking you of all people though.

Do you want to mention to Dr. Rizzo that you do know there is money hidden away?
and cause i forgot to mention earlier to anon, yeah I'm doing okay. just need to get back into the groove
That money is our personal disaster fund, so no
Better not, and finding out of it is an emergency would seem suspicious.
You don’t look at Rizzo when you lie to him and say no, but you still manage to catch a glimpse at his devastated face anyways.

“None stuffed away in a drawer or hidden in a shelf?” he tries to clarify but you shake your head.

“I haven’t, I’m sorry.” You try not to look at him too much in fear that he will notice you’re hiding something. Multiple things, at this point. “I’m sorry I don’t know anything.”

“It is fine,” he says while trying to compose himself. His eyes still scream troubled even when the rest of his face returns to its usual calm state.”I am sorry I had to ask, I should not have. The stress must have started to get to me.”

You can’t imagine his job is easy in the slightest but you still feel compelled to ask, “We’re not in trouble, are we?”

“No.” Rizzo answers immediately and has a hand on your shoulder as he does. “I will make do with what we have, this won’t be a problem..”

All you do is nod in agreement cause you don’t know what else to say and Rizzo lets go. “Pretend we did not even have this conversation, yes?” He waits for a verbal answer.

“Yes sir, I promise I won’t tell.” You’re prepared for him to make you swear over and over again not to mention this to anyone else but he doesn’t. Instead the doctor looks fatigued, overwhelmed and even a bit lost, and he tries to hide it all.

“Thank you Delilah.” Rizzo starts to turn to leave but only takes a few limped steps before looking back, “Oh and, if you do notice anything strange… please come and tell me. Even if you think it is not anything big, I do not mind.”

“Right…” you nod, afraid to agree too quickly.

It looks like Rizzo wants to say more but stops himself, giving a thanks for your time and leaving you to be. You don’t relax once you’re alone, not till a few minutes have passed to let you clear your head. What he means by ‘strange’ is rather vague but you’ll keep it in mind.
Right now you’re determined to let Crockett know there was someone in his office, but you still feel the need to wait for him and Palmer to wrap up whatever it is they’re doing. And since you’ve been sneaking around so much while people have been looking for you today, you decide to sit on the couch and wait, right in the open where anyone can find you if they need to.

You take the time to update the crude little map, marking the places that you will need to visit again later and taking note of rooms you haven’t tried yet.

On the map your eyes fall back to the space marked as your father’s room. It makes you wonder what he thought about all this, if he ever felt as scared as you have.

It’d be nice to know how he felt about all of this, actually. Was he terrified ever, did he hate every moment of it? There’s no way he could have possibly enjoyed this danger, is there?

This wouldn’t have been something he could have accidentally stumbled across. He was born in it despite any attempts your grandmother might have made to keep him away. It feels like a miracle that it had managed to keep secret from you for so long, but everything around you seems to be turned upside down.

When your grandfather died you never once thought he would be leaving anything like this behind. Not that you could have, you were too young. Maybe the signs that he was into no good were always there and you never realized it.

All your memories of him are so happy though, there’s a pain in your chest when you try to think of any of his actions as being those of a crook.

And as all the images of your grandfather pass by you of course remember when he had died, the night that brought an end to those nostalgic thoughts.

You bawled your eyes out, that was expected. The second you were told that he was gone you started crying and didn’t stop till you fell asleep. During that time you can remember your mother being quiet the whole time, never once speaking up in the somber silence. She wasn’t close to either of your grandparents, so this was just something that she had to let pass.
It’s your father’s reaction that sticks out to you. He wasn’t happy by the news, of course not. By now you’ve seen people react to death with anger, despair, guilt- even just brushing it off like it was nothing. When your father heard the news about his dad’s death, you remembering him being;
Distant. He shut down emotionally and buried himself in his work, basically living on autopilot.
He looked cold and determined. After that his thoughts were always somewhere else. Even meeting his eyes he never really saw you, like he existed in a different world
It was different for you, that’s for sure. As a kid you expected people to have a reaction to death, grief or anger. Those were things that you could understand, you could see that they were hurting. Your father was different.

The smile left his face and took all the warmth with it. He didn’t speak a word to you that night, rather he went straight to his office and didn’t come out. You never saw him leave anyways, he even missed work days. It wasn’t that strange at the time, after all you were excused from school during the ordeal.

And it was fine at first. You desired his attention to help get through what was the worst day of your life at the time but thought he needed space. In the beginning you had tried, walking into his office in the middle of the night while hiccuping from the crying.

’Daddy?’ you sniffled with Ms. Buttons in arm. He was hunched over the desk, a mess strewn upon the usually tidy space. It was intimidating enough to keep you frozen at the door.

He didn’t respond though and you had to call again, your voice shaking the louder you dared to go. It either finally grabbed his attention or gotten to the point where he could no longer ignore you.

’Delilah-’ his voice was unintentionally stern and he wouldn’t look away from his desk. ’It’s past your bedtime sweetie, you need to go to bed.

The way he said it made you feel bad about going in the first place.

’I’m just um, I’m feeling sad…’ He didn’t bother to acknowledge that and you tried to get out the heavy feelings that were new at the time. ’My chest hurts when I think a-about g-...g-grampa… Will it s-stop?”
Still no response and you started to cry again where you were. All you had was the toy rabbit that smelt like grandpa’s house to hold onto and sob. That was finally enough to get your father out of his chair and you thought he would pick you up and say everything was okay.

Instead you were ushered out, asked in a monotone voice to return to your bedroom. That kind of behavior wasn’t something you were used to, not from you father. It lasted like that for a long time too. When he did leave his office it meant long days and nights away from the house.

Your mother thought this was a sign of him sneaking out around her back, as evident from one of their louder arguments.

’Dammit Don, you know I don’t like you seeing those people!

It wasn’t always that extreme. It almost made you cry in relief when he finally started talking to you again. It wasn’t the same as before, you can realize that now. It was like he was going through the motions, doing the bare minimum to keep you from hounding him for attention too much. Just smile and nod while you talked during the dinners he was there and that was justt enough for you.

Work was what got him to leave the room and keep going, not you.
“Whoa hey, you doing okay?”

Palmer’s voice makes your head jerk up and breath catch in your chest. The map in your hand gets shoved away in a groggy state. Your eyes burn and a stray tear falls down your cheek. The fog swirling around in your head lets you know that, somewhere along the way, you had nodded off.

“I’m okay, I’m just-” you sit up and feel a burn through your arms and legs. “- I’m a little sore is all.”

“Sore?’ Palmer questions but doesn’t stay on it for long. She tales the next next to you on the couch and starts to dig through her bag. “Well this is usually my napping spot, but I won’t charge you rent this time.”

A weak smile comes and falls from your lips. Instead of talking you watch as she continues to look through the bag. She finds what she was digging for and pulls out two rectangles in gold foil.

“I got those candy bars for you,” she hands them over. You look over them like you’d never seen chocolate before, though the label on it is foreign to you. “Was in a neat part of town earlier and thought these would do ya good.”

“Thank you so much!” Now you have a surprise to share with Lawrence later. A bribe, if needed.

“Glad you like,” she smiles.”Sorry that’s all you had to look forward to.”

“Ah well Lawrence is supposed to be back for dinner tonight-” You stop and hold the chocolate on your lap, “but this is great, thank you.”

Palmer nods and leans back against the couch, her lower body sliding further away as she moves. “I’ll try to remember you when I see stuff like that. Be nice to get a present once in a while like that, right?”

You agree, “It is.”

“Cabin fever not getting to you, is it?”

“Um… it’d be nice to go out, if that’s what you mean.”

“I get it. Just hang on for a while longer.” Palmer lets out an extended sigh, “But other than that, how are you doing? Anything on your mind?”

Palmer has to be the one who knows Crockett the best here, you can always try to scope out more information on him. She’s also a cop and a bit more willing to talk to you about things. The string of missing girls might be something she knows stuff about, if you’re lucky you can learn something to help with your list. Or if she knows anything about your grandfather or father or maybe a whole line of subjects.

Do you want to ask Palmer about anything?
Just ask all those things. We're pretty much stuck on our own and Palmer is the only one who actually tries to talk to us
“A couple things…” you warn her and Palmer nods. She’s settled in for the long run and and you try to get a clear head for this. “If you don’t mind me talking about it I mean.”

“Well, I’d say it’s okay but you gotta ask the question.” She gives a warm smile and you take a deep breath.

“You’re a police officer-’ you feel stupid for stating the obvious and try to get right to the point. “I wanted to ask if um, if you knew anything about the girls around town that have gone m-missing.” The word ‘died’ comes to mind but you don’t have the guts to say it aloud.

It gets her attention the same either way, “Girls? We get plenty of reports of runaway girls or parents calling us cause their daughter snuck out somewhere without saying anything. You might need to be a little more specific.”

“Do a lot of girls run away?”

“I wouldn’t say too many, but there are a decent number. Problem is that we don’t always get calls about it, and when he do it’s from parents who find their kid or they came home.” Palmer pauses before continuing and when she does speak you can understand why. “Unfortunately, too many of the ones who do stay missing weren’t ever reported in.”

“Then how do you know that they’re…?”

The shadow over Palmer’s face clues you in on the ominous truth. “Those kids usually find themselves in trouble and in the back of our squad cars. Usually they don’t have a home to return to and it makes it easier for them to find trouble.”

The somber weight of the room pushes on your chest. “They find trouble… they find bad people.” You stare at your hands as your body hunches forward. “So um, does that mean a lot of them don’t get taken…?”

“You mean kidnapped?” Palmer shakes her head. “Usually that’s done by a family member, a parent or someone close like that. Pretty rare for it to be someone outside of the family or a family friend. Though I do think a lot of vulnerable kids are lured into running off.”
“Family and friends,” you repeat back, hands curling up into tight balls. “At least it means there’s not someone going out there and just t-...taking a bunch of kids.” If the list you have is just a sad coincidence of events then maybe you can lift this burden. Knowing that girls your age die is hard enough, you don’t want that guilt on you too.

“In that case they’d either be releasing their victims afterward or killing-” she stops there, letting you two sit in silence over the terrible idea. It makes your stomach lurch and without a word you two agree to move on from it.

“So-” your head feels light and you try to shake the sensation, “s-since you’re a cop, is my grandpa’s place illegal?”

She gives a short, surprised laugh. “You mean, is this allowed to be here? Sure, far as I know this is his property and this warehouse isn’t a deathtrap.”

“Does that mean there are like, others like this?”
“Oh sure. Not so much here, though you never know. The point of them is to be secret hideout after all.” Letting her head fall back Palmer looks up at the ceiling. “Though I think this was built with storing their ‘products’ in the first place.”

You ask, “Their?”

“Your granddaddy and his little crew. Now don’t go quoting me on this or anything…” Palmer sits up and gestures to the big, open space around. “I believe this part of the place was built first, just as a nice big storage unit. After your grandpa got sole ownership of it is when they started adding the more ‘comfy’ rooms, the kitchen and all that.”

You look around and try to imagine your grandfather working away in here. “How much do you know about him?”

“Not too terribly much, just bits and pieces. Stuff I’ve heard in passing.”

“What about my dad?”

A frown pulls at her mouth, “Even less, I’m sorry. Anything I really know comes from Ace and that’s really little.”

With curiosity piqued you ask, “Like what?”

“Let’s see her…” Palmer takes a bit to think, “He was a doctor, wasn’t he?”

You nod.

“Right so he worked as a doc till his resignation notice, can’t say there’s too much else I know.”

While you’re about to question if that’s really all that Crockett has told her, one little detail catches your attention. “Resignation? Doesn’t that mean quitting?” You shake your head, “My dad never quit his job-”
“Ah, see! I know even less than I thought!” She was quick to jump to that point and with a glance at her watch Palmer stands. “Sorry, and it looks like I need to head out now. I’ll see you later.”
“Wait please.” You’re frustrated to have this cut off early but there’s still something important you need to do right now. “Is Mr. Crockett busy right now? I have something important to talk to him about.”

“I don’t think he’s on a call or anything, but if it’s that important than just knock till he answers. It’s not an emergency, right?”

“No ma’am.”

Once you’ve said your goodbyes you walk right to Crockett’s office, the door closed but the light on inside. Doing them just loud enough to hear you knock at the door and wait. It takes some time and another round of knocking but you’re allowed inside.
“Sorry about the wait,” he apologizes, the lines on his face deeper than usual. Crockett falls back into his chair, legs splayed out in front of him as he closes his eyes to hide the messy desk. “Had to finish writing down my train of thought… What do you need?”

“I don’t need anything,” you whisper despite the isolation of the room. Navigating through the mess you stand on the other side of the table, leaning in closer when you talk. “Earlier today I was walking around and I saw your office door opened and the lights on.”

Already Crockett is on alert, “When?”

“When you were out with Ms. Palmer. I didn’t go check it cause I forgot you weren’t here, but after you guys came back…” You can see the stress gross on his already ragged face.

He’s been mulling over this as soon as you said it and somewhere in those scattered thoughts he remembers to ask, “Did you see who it might have been?”

Answering feels bad. “I didn’t.”

A shaky sigh leaves from behind his hand and you aren’t sure what else to say.

“It’s okay…” he mumbles before looking up at you. “I appreciate you telling me this. If you see anyone else messing around over here let me know again.”


“I uh-” Crockett is still overwhelmed by the news. You patiently wait as he gathers his thoughts again, watching as a grin is forced upon his face. “Well it might be good that you dropped by right now. Aside from that news, I mean.”

His smile does nothing to make you feel better.

“Why is that?”

“Cause it’s better if I get this conversation out of the way sooner rather than later.” Crockett sits back up and rests his elbows on the desk, “It’s a rather important too.”
He’s trying to beat around the bush, you can feel it. “I can handle it.”

“I know you can,” he nervously chuckles. “It’s just not a very fun question but we need to talk about what will happen if your grandmother-if the worst happens.”

You blood runs cold. “Did something happen? Is she alright? Is she d-”

“No no this is just a what if, preparing for the worst scenario-”

“Which means it can happen.” A tooth digs into your lower lip as you keep from lashing out too hard.

“It’s always smart to have a backup plan. Now I’m not trying to get you worked up or nothing, I just wanted a chance to get your opinion on this.” He gives you time to calm down, to relax your grip on the desk and nod for him to continue. “I know it wouldn’t be for that long. You’re fourteen already, but you still need a guardian. And if your grandmother is unable to take care of you-”

“I don’t want to live with Mom again.” The bluntness of the statement takes Crockett off guard but he tries to jump right back from it.

“I know things have been, well tough is an understatement, but things have been rocky between you. I know how your mother is and I agree, you shouldn’t have to live with her alone.”

He pauses, swallowing hard before forcing out the words. “I’m working on getting her out of the hospital but that might take some time still. When things get better and we don’t have to live like this, if Mrs. Esposito is unable to care for you proper…”

You brace yourself for his proposal.

”How do you feel about me being your legal guardian?” The question was hard for him to ask, you could see the fret in his movement. “I can take care of you till you’re old enough and okay with going out on your own. And if your mother returns home… I promise Delilah, I won’t let things get bad between you.
Hell no if that happens he can separate us from Lawrence
The question hits you hard and the answer flies out immediately.

“I can’t do that!” You’ve once again caught Crockett off guard with how desperate you spoke out.

“Why is that?” he asks with a genuinely lost tone. “Is it about Denise? Don’t let your mother scare you away from this-”

“It’s not just that…” you say, calmed down from the initial outburst. For a moment you considered saying that you’d rather stay with Lawrence, that you had been planning on that for a bit now. But you can’t say it like that, you know better. “I’m scared that I won’t be able to see Lawrence again. We went through a lot together and I don’t want to abandon him just like that.”
A relieved smile pulls on his lips and you can tell that he doesn’t understand what you really meant. “Well I understand you two are friends. It’s not like you wouldn’t be allowed to see him, he can come over and visit you.”

You’re grasping at the hem of your sleeves, biting your lip as you keep from blurting it out. He’s not just a friend but you can’t say that. All you can do is protest without explaining why and you know that’s frustrating to deal with.

“I can’t-... I don’t want to talk about this right now.” Your body cages up as you hold yourself, head shaking no. “My grandma is okay so I d-don’t want to talk about this right now…”

Crockett looks at you with poignant eyes as the rest of him tries to hide the letdown. “I know, I’m sorry for bringing it up like this. If you think about it a little more or if ah, you’d like to talk about plans about that then stop by anytime.”

You can only give a nod and back out of the office, not stopping once till you get to your room. For a while you try to mope in there, laying down on the blankets and squeezing a pillow to your face. It feels lonely in there and you end up relocating to Lawrence’s room instead. The blankets and sheets here offer more warmth and familiarity, if only because the smell lets you feel at ease.

As you roll about and hug the pillow he used last night you doze in and out with no clue over how much time has passed. You’re awake when the door open and while you jump to attention it’s a pleasant surprise to find Lawrence there.

He smiles at you from the door and walks in, beaming still as he removes his snow flecked coat. You remain in bed, seeing no reason to get up now.
“Is it that late already?” You look around groggy, worried that you had lost more time than you thought. Lawrence shakes his head and walks over, holding out his wrist to show you the time.

“It’s only four,” you read the time off the watch. When it clicks together you start to get up, a wide smile across your face. “Oh, you came back early! That’s so nice.”

He nods before you leap at him with open arms. It comes at a surprise but Lawrence catches you easily.

It feels safe and you try to forget about the anxiety of today. After a deep sigh against his shoulder you kick your feet to the floor to find ground. Lawrence lowers you down and you ask a little too late, “Did that hurt your shoulder.”

He insists it didn’t and does a good job hiding it if it did. The bed dips as he takes a seat, unlacing his boots. After the first falls to the floor he signs at you.

What you do?

“What did I do? Oh you mean what did I do today?” He nods in confirmation and you feel pride in understanding. “I just got to explore some of the other rooms today, nothing much really.”
He nods, believing that you were allowed in by one of the adults. Once the second shoe joins the floor Lawrence falls back on the bed, mouth stretched in a yawn as his eyes close.

It’s nice that he’s here now, but your smile falls as the conversation with Crockett comes to memory.

“I also talked to Mr. Crockett earlier,” you speak calmer than earlier. “He brought up what should happen if grandma doesn’t-... if something bad happens with her. And he wanted me to come live with him and my mom if she gets released.”

You keep looking forward but you can feel Lawrence’s eyes staring at the back of your head. It’s obvious that he wants to know how that conversation turned out.

“I said I couldn’t.” Deep breaths, you keep composed while talking. You keep focused on the doorknob across the room as you recount the event from earlier.
”He said that I could still see you, that you’d be allowed to visit. But I don’t want to just ‘visit’. I’d miss sharing a bed with you and holding your hand-” You’re not crying but your eyes must be getting blurry all the same, the light reflection on the door knob seeming to wiggle and then snap back into place. It makes you gasp when Lawrence leverages himself up and the whole bed shakes.

“I told him I couldn’t talk about it right then,” you say while looking over at Lawrence. His feet are square on the ground now and his back is hunched over, mouth hidden behind his hand. It’s hard to tell what he’s thinking and you begin to fear the worse.

“No matter what happens though I want to stick with you!” You turn to face him now, knees digging into the mattress as you lean over to peer closer at his face. “Good or bad, we can get by if there’s the two of us. Right?”

He doesn’t answer and your chest seizes up. You sit back up, giving space between you two again. “Wait Lawrence, I can come with you. You’re going to let me, right? You have to!” There’s a deep dread ripping through your chest now.

It stops when he looks up and you and nods.


“You promise?” A warm numbness washes over your chest.

“I do.”

A big smile of relief comes to your face and you release some jittery breaths. Lifting a hand up to Lawrence with a pinky raised you say, “I trust you, I just want to make it official.”
You two lock pinkies and everything starts to feel better again. No need to go talk about plans of the worst, not now. It feels fine knowing that you won’t have to be seperated.

Wanting to apologize for putting him through that you remember the chocolate bars Palmer brought you. “I got you a surprise,” you say, unable to keep it secret for long. Lawrence responds by nodding enthusiastically and pointing at himself.

Me too he mouths.

“So you brought something too?” While you were excited to show him what you got the curiosity over his present grows. “Well now, I wanted mine to be special! I wanted to surprise you today, you weren’t supposed to bring me something too!” You look off to the side and act grumpy at him but you don’t forget to mention, “Though I would really like to see what you brought me.”

The notebook is whipped out and you try to pretend that you aren’t watching him write.

Save one for tomorrow?

“Okay. So then today-” you nod and before you can do it first Lawrence asks the hard question.

A quick point at his chest and then at you he also mouths the words, Yours or mine today?
Give him his stuff.
It's chocolate, it might melt if we wait too long.
It's freezing both inside and outside, but yeah.

Give him his, Delilah is happy to do something for him for once even if it's just this
“Mine, I want to give you my surprise tonight.” You can leave his for tomorrow and give yourself something to look forward to. Lawrence stays in place as you stand up. “Stay here, I’ll go get it.”

You walk to the door giddy, stopping in the frame to look back at him. “And if you fall asleep I am waking you up, got it? You can’t go to sleep on me yet.”

He falls back on the bed and waves you off, pretending that he wasn’t listening. Back in your bedroom you find where you had put away the two chocolate bars, looking over the nice looking wrappings and excited to have something to give for once.

Wanting to make it even more special you look around the room for anything suitable to hide the chocolate away in. It’s not the end of the world if you don’t find anything but you take the time to look anyways.
When you pass the mirror you pause, running your hands through the wavy bedhead. It’s a bit embarrassing that Lawrence found you looking this way, it’s amazing that you didn’t also have droll down your mouth.

Rationalizing it as time that he can get a quick nap in, you take a seat in front of the vanity. The brush pulls through any of the tangled mess and you somehow manage to look a little less frumpy. At certain angles you can catch the sight of circles below your eyes. While you’d rather they be gone altogether you know that it’s been worse.

Your attention is pulled away and brought to your cheeks. The flushed skin brings attention to them and you start to imagine them being thinner, less rounded and more elegant. And the rest of you can finish growing out, and then you can stop looking at a child in the mirror.

With all the fretting you start messing with the wavy locks of black hair, trying out different ways of pulling it back and up. It’s easier to do this to someone else’s hair, trying to look in the mirror only makes it uneven and lopsided.

Balancing a bobby pin between your lips you continue to scan your face in the mirror, hands and fingers lacing through your hair to figure out what to do with it. There’s no special reason for it, you’re only giving him chocolate, but you still want to look nice.

Your mind wanders to other things you could do, if you had the supplies. Lipstick is always nice looking, isn’t it? He’d really have to notice when you walked in then-
Gray eyes meet gray eyes in the mirror and you stop what you’re doing. While you had butterflies in your chest thinking of all the ways to make Lawrence’s head turn you didn’t stop to think if that’s the best idea. You’d be asking for trouble, wouldn’t you?

You don’t like the feeling of people watching you. After all the hiding you’ve had to do so far it feels wrong to want to stand out. Superficial things like this should be far from what you concern yourself with. You’ve caught the attention of people before and it turned out bad, terrible, wrong. Dressing up is only going to cause problems-

In the reflection of the mirror you can see the doorknob turn. It holds in place and so do you, waiting for someone to walk in and say they need you for something. Then you remember Lawrence is waiting and you call out, “Don’t come in yet. You’ll ruin it-”

It would be good to collect yourself from those awful thoughts and you turn back, prepared for Lawrence to stand in the doorway.

The silence continues and you realize that the knob is still turned and the door left unopened. Thinking it might have started to stick you get up to check. Halfway over the doorknob snaps right back into place and the door still unopened.
“Wait, I’m not mad at you!” Worrying that your tone was too harsh you rush to the door, ready to apologize. Looking down the hall to his room you see no one.

A hand covers your mouth before you look up the other way and a woman’s voice whispers in your ear.

“Don’t freak out, it’s me-”

Fight or flight has already hit and you’ve begin scratching at the hands holding you. You’re ready to bite down but the hands release you and Brandi holds her empty hands up.

“I’m sorry about that-” she whispers the apology right away, holding completely still as you take cautionary steps back. “I wanted to make sure you wouldn’t scream, I didn’t mean to scare you like that.”
In a harsher voice you whisper back, “Was that you at my door?” Your eyes look over her body in search of any kind of weapon. She looks clear from what you can see.

“Just now? Yeah, I’m sorry I didn’t mean to scare you.”

Looking down the hall you find no salvation, only you and Brandi in the hall. Lawrence is only a room away, but that’s not here.

“What are you doing out?” you try to look behind her while asking. “Did you sneak out?”
Brandi’s hands remain up as she gives a sheepish grin. “Only sorta. That nurse was about to take me out to shower and all but some buzzer in her pocket went off and she ran out. I’ve been waiting in there for a while now but no one’s come around.”

“Then what are you sneaking around for?” You continue to look around, growing steadily distressed.

“I told you, been left alone for a while now. Really, all I wanna do is go to the bathroom and freshen up a little bit, stretch my legs a bit.” Brandi’s hands begin to lower, her empty and open palms continuing to face you. “Not too unreasonable to ask, right?”

“Why were you messing with my room?”

“You kiddin’? Been stuck in one room all day and I hardly get to come out. All these doors look the same and it’s all sorta a mess…” she notices your unease and holds her hands out to you. “Look, I ain’t got nothin’ here. I’ll go right back to my little prison cell.”

Brandi smiles at you as she waits for your response. She isn’t saying anything but her eyes are begging you to remain quiet. You take another step back and create more distance between the two of you. It’s not that she seems dangerous right now and a bathroom request isn’t that weird, but your guard remains up.

What do you do, think fast.
Show her to the bathroom. What's she gonna do, kidnap us?
This isn't the Hanoi Hilton, she's allowed to go to the bathroom.

Ideally she doesn't try to find a way out.
Let her go but snitch as soon as possible while she's in there.
You swallow hard and nod, reminding yourself that things are going okay. There’s no need to go into any kind of panic.

“I can take you to it,” you offer. Brandi’s shoulders relax and her smile grows wider.

“Thanks, was worried you’d go and tell on me.” Her hands return to her sides and you pray they stay empty. “It kinda feels like I’m walking through some sorta dungeon in here.”

Under your breath you agree with the statement and motion for her to follow. With each step it feels like your heart is going to leap out from fright. Forget getting caught sneaking around alone, you can’t imagine what would happen if you were caught with her. It might be extreme but you can’t help but think about getting literally locked into your room. There’s no way you can hide or excuse this, thinking about it makes your head feel light.

“You’re the best,” she whispers. Not touching, but her body comes closer than comfortable behind you. It’s a relief to finally leave her in the bathroom, if only because you don’t need to hide her if someone comes. If this is all she really needed to do then you’d feel bad about her getting in trouble, it feels like basic decency.

Not that you aren’t cautious enough to take a different look. People can be sneaky and maybe this was her excuse after getting caught. Maybe there’s something she can do to prepare an escape and it’s all your fault for letting it happen.
It takes a couple tries of you working up the courage and backing out before you manage to walk into Lawrence’s room. One step in and you can already hear that he’s fallen asleep, you’ve been sidetracked long enough. You wouldn’t actually have gotten mad at him for doing so and those prior threats make you feel even more guilty about waking him up.

“Lawrence,” you whisper as he proper up on an elbow and pulls himself out of a hard sleep. In a dazed state he looks at you and smiles. It fades when he notices how on edge you are and he starts to rise up to handle whatever it is.

Hugging his arm to keep him in place on the bed you repeat the story Brandi gave you on why she was out in the halls. He was on alert before you even started explaining and you hold onto him even tighter.

“Please, can you make sure she gets back to the room? I don’t want her to get in trouble but I’m scared about her-” you stop before saying ‘escape’, the word making you think of her as a prisoner even more. “I don’t want anything bad to happen cause I didn’t tell anyone either though. All you have to do is take her back.”

You fear the confliction digging on Lawrence’s face. Releasing the grip on his arm your hands travel down to his instead, keeping it held between both of yours. “Please,” you pout, “If anything happens then I’ll take the blame. I think it will be f-fine though…”
He stares at your face and sighs. You are forced to let go of his hand when he stands and you feel scared that it didn’t work.

“Lawrence-” You’re stopped when he looks back, a strained smile on his face. By the time he reaches the door you’ve already caught up to him, something that he doesn’t really want. But you follow anyways, making sure he keeps his word. And on the chance that you’re good assumption of her was wrong…

It’s completely silent as you two wait in the hall. There’s a light on underneath and a gentle turn of the door handle proves it to still be locked. That still means keeping your guard up but you also worry that she’s not actually in there at all.

After a few minutes the door does open though and Brandi takes a peek out, grinning when she sees you. Turning the other way and looking at Lawrence almost makes her jump back in and slam the door.

“It’s okay,” you whisper to her. “This is my friend. He’s going to help you get back.”

“Your friend, huh?” Brandi’s head follows her eyes as they look him up and down before darting back to you. A few seconds of thinking pass and she chuckles, stepping out from the bathroom. A hand comes to wipe the remaining water from her skin, her face looking refreshed compared to a couple minutes ago. “Sure, if she vouches then I think I can trust ya. Was nice enough to ask your boyfriend to escort me.”

She laughs while your face burns up. You don’t get the chance to say anything before Brandi stiffles the noise, her dark lips grinning. “Sorry, I shouldn’t joke like that right now. But you know, smart on you. Maybe you would be good at this sorta thing.”
Those words stick with you as Lawrence starts to move ahead, not wanting to keep this out here for much long. Brandi follows and so do you, though he stops you right away. He points at the bedroom and you can tell that arguing about it right now wouldn’t be a good idea. Brandi gives you a little wave goodbye and you return it, a hand clutching at your shirt when you return to his room.

The candybars wait on the desk as you wait anxiously on the bed. You don’t know if Lawrence would let everyone else know that she got out or if Brandi could have been plotting a way out. Either scenario is unwanted and waiting to know is driving you mad.

Luckily the wait isn’t too much longer. A few minutes pass but Lawrence returns, calm and unharmed. That eliminates one fear and you’re quick to ask, “How did it go?”

Easy, he nods. You hope that if he did go and tell someone that it would have taken him much longer to come back and you try to take his word for it. Giving him another round of thanks for doing that, you try to focus on the surprise now.
“Okay, close your eyes.” You wait till he has done so, Lawrence sitting his eyes closed and hand open. After you set one of the bars down you announce that he can open them. “Surprise! It’s just chocolate but I um, thought you would like it. Hope that wasn’t too much of a letdown, hah…” It’s a bit embarrassing to have made a big deal out of it and you try to look away to avoid any looks of disappointment.

Your skin heats up after a short kiss is left on your check and you’re left fumbling with your own wrapping instead.

“I’ve n-never had this kind before,” you sit up straight while saying that, trying to act like the little gesture didn’t completely swoon you.

Both of you agree that the chocolate is good and continue to sit together, breaking off squares to eat. You save part of yours for later while Lawrence looks fine with popping another bite into his mouth once in a while.

“Remember, you need to eat dinner too.” He has to stop from laughing at the fact that you’d even think he wouldn’t.

“Do you have to go out tomorrow?” you ask and he shakes his head no. Immediately you ask, “Is there anything you have to do?”

Lawrence thinks about it again and shakes his head. On paper he writes, Doc has to check out arm tomorrow

You try not to act too excited when you ask, “Does that mean we can hang out?”

When not getting checked out

It’s such a nice surprise and you can’t help but try to plan what you’d want to do tomorrow.

He looks rather tired right now so you don’t want to stress him out further today. You’ll even make sure he gets good sleep tonight so you can be with him for most of the day.

As for what you should do during that time, you wonder if it should be spent productively with him or if you should enjoy the fact that you have Lawrence for the day.
Give Law a hug, maybe a smooch if you're feeling confident enough and tell him you'll see him in the morning. He's gonna need his rest.
As for us we need to make sure everything is set up for date night tomorrow.
We need the movie player working, and maybe we could make him a nice lunch.
This is actually really exciting, finally some nice is happening.
“If you’re here tomorrow then we gotta do stuff together,” you say while crawling closer across the bed. “It can be like a date day, can’t it?” When Lawrence nods in quiet agreement the warmth in your chest spreads.

has to be here he writes.

“I know that,” you beam at him. With so many things to plan now it’s hard for you to keep your thoughts straight. “We’ll have a great day together, just the two of us.” When he agrees again you can barely contain your excited giggling. You let it happen and move down to embrace him where he lays on the bed. One of his hands comes to rest between your shoulders in a gentle hug back.

“This is so exciting,” you muse to Lawrence, “We can do stuff that’s actually fun. And I’ll try to plan it out too so you don’t have to worry.” It almost makes being stuck here feel okay. It’s going to go by far too quickly though, you can already feel it.

No sense in ruining the mood though. You busy your thoughts with plans of what you could set up later, trying to work out ways you could make this dreary place feel romantic. Though maybe that is possible, as you look at Lawrence’s face and your face feels warm. With arms wrapped around his neck, your face down in embarrassment but eyes still looking up locked on him, you allow that nice happy feeling to lead.

“Um, if you don’t mind…” your words trail off and eyes dart off to the side, the beating in your heart racing like crazy. It stops when you decide to go in and just do it, your eyes closed tight as you lean in to give a kiss.

The tension in your body starts to unwind when he returns the motion back. Your boldness only allows you to press lips together and that’s about it. Despite that your foot kicks up and when it ends you’re left lightheaded-- this time enjoyable.

It might not have been what he was planning on doing but Lawrence lets you stick around, bearing through the list of ideas and questions that you run by him in preparation of tomorrow. After a drained Camilla popped into the room to let you two know that she had her hands full, you and Lawrence enjoyed leftovers in the kitchen together.
You know that he’s tired and even though you could stay up for several more hours, you don’t pester Lawrence about going to bed early. Instead you put on pajamas and join him for sleep. He allows you to sleep in the crook of his arm, the rest partially wrapped around your shoulders makes everything feel safe. Going to sleep in the cold is hard and you weren’t that tired to begin with, but in the warm strong hold next to Lawrence’s chest you manage enough.

Everything around is black when you start walking, yet you can see your legs and hands. There’s no destination in mind, only that you need to move forward.

In the black you spot three figured, their forms growing closer and further away from one another as you get closer.

Each has their back towards you and none of them look over once you come to stand in the center. They move and mutter, but seem unaware of one another.
There’s a young woman to your right, a towhead with long hair and a high school jacket on. Pieces of paper are falling to the floor as her hands pull and tear at whatever she holds in front of her. Her actions are frantic but her grunts are frustrated, sad.

To your left there’s a man hunched over in his chair. His downcast face removes obscured by dark shadows and he mutters to himself, sometimes followed by the sound of spinning and a click. You feel torn between approaching this man and being scared by him.

But the last person, the one who is straight ahead, he stands tall. There’s little that you can see from behind, but you can already feel how confident he is. You catch the corners of his smile when he looks around and there’s some kind of strange familiarity with him, like you’ve seen him before. The deja vu only grows stronger when you catch a glimpse of the gun he holds in his hand, held casually at his side.

The instinct guiding you earlier tells you to approach one of these three. You walk towards-
>Walk towards the girl.
Because why have nice things?
The girl. Dreams are weird.

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