[a / b / c / d / e / f / g / gif / h / hr / k / m / o / p / r / s / t / u / v / vg / w / wg] [i / ic] [r9k] [cm / hm / y] [3 / adv / an / cgl / ck / co / diy / fa / fit / hc / int / jp / lit / mlp / mu / n / po / pol / sci / soc / sp / tg / toy / trv / tv / vp / x] [rs] [status / ? / @] [Settings] [Home]
Settings   Home
/qst/ - Quests

File: mq54.png (2.55 MB, 1625x2000)
2.55 MB
2.55 MB PNG
"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.
Last thread:
>Exploration progress of the compound is made, though tools or help are going to be needed
>Lawrence gets to stay with Del all day
>Del decides she's going to use that time to hang out with him
>Del starts have a weird, strange dream
As soon as you get the urge to approach the hunched over woman it’s like there was never anything else but you two. You, her, and the sprawling distance that now lies between you.

You are scared to approach her at first. The way she kneels on the ground and the frantic motions of her hand is enough to tell you that she’s destroying something in front of her, but that’s not what keeps you back. The fear you have is more akin to approaching a parent in a poor mood, where you would rather deal with whatever need you have instead of being a nuisance.

But you manage to move forward, eyes fixated on the long, tangled hair falling down her back and shoulders loosely. It doesn’t take you long at all to come stand a few short feet behind her- you two must have been closer than you thought.

“Shouldn’t have happened-”

The woman- or girl might be a better way to describe her- forces the words out through clenched teeth, punctuating the statement with a vicious tear. A white page, now crumpled and ripped in her hand, falls unceremoniously to the floor so that she can reach down for another.

She’s got anger, but there's also hurt deep in her voice. You start to reach out towards her but that childish hestitence makes you stop. Too scared to approach her yet it hurts your chest to listen to her.

As soon as a whimper leaves her shuddering frame the sorrow she has turns into frenzied and rough movements. These stops only when her pale fingers grab at the equally pale, blonde hair and her whole body falls over, gaps and cries being made through still clenched teeth.

And yet you’re still too afraid to approach, only finding the courage to kneel down and look at some of the pages she’s already tossed aside. You dare to pick up the closest one, maybe something that she had taken out much earlier. As you open the page the girl’s cries reaches out to the space between you.

“None of this should have happened…”
“I want to go back. I hate this. I hate it I hate it I hate it-”
“Why me? Why did it have to be me…?”

You bite your lip, afraid to speak out yet wanting to tell her that you understand those feelings. Instead you focus on the page in, smoothing it out just enough to see the image on it.

The image is unclear and blurry, looking like the printer put out too much ink in certain splotchy areas and not enough in the faded parts. All you can see is a teenage boy and girl, facing the camera and putting up big grins. The girl, you note, hair long and faint.

“Stupid, I was stupid. So fucking stupid.”

You get the feeling that the two in picture would be far more familiar if it was an older picture of them.

You also try not to think about her words too much. It hurts to hear her say them and it hurts when you start repeating them back to yourself.

“He’s in this because of me… I’m an idiot.”
The page crunches up between your hands as you try not to let yourself become overwhelmed. Your heart hurts and it feels like a heavy darkness pushing on your chest. And somehow you hurt more when her coherent words turn into desperate sobbing. Somehow it pushes you forward all despite how strange it all feels, how it’s always felt wrong to watch a grown up cry.

Like how it’s felt to watch your mother cry.

“It’s my fault…”

Her shoulders hitch up with the words, the rest of her body seizing up soon after.

“It’s-...it’s all my fault!”

Her words ring with ire now and her body rises back up, ripping at the book even more furiously now. This time she doesn’t try to hide any of her crying, reflecting on the same emotions steadily covering you.

“I’m sorry-” you force the apology for not being helpful like you wanted to be, for falling into the same emotional distress as her. “It is my fault.”

You had no intentions on saying that last part, the words tumbling out on their own. But now that they’re out in the air your mind races to things that have been your fault, finding reasons why you shouldn’t try to take back what you said. Things you know about, things that you don’t know about- there’s more than enough guilt to weigh you down.

Your legs shake as you try not to start crying yourself, all the emotions coming in at once. It hurts, and from that hurt you start to feel something red hot burn inside you too. The sorrow that you feel is followed hand in hand with anger over it happening in the first place, bitter regret over things you have done and for so many people getting involved. It’s an ugly mess of emotions and the sharp sound of another page being torn makes you snap.

“Stop it-”

For one moment you’re grabbing the woman’s shoulder. The next you’re kneeling on the ground, strands of blonde reaching far down your face as you stare at the book below. The frayed remnants of previous pages remain attached the spine, and one of the few pages remaining is left with a long tear down the side.

Right away you can recognize a picture of you and your mother, only a few short years after you were born. The scrap of paper that remains barely connected is furled up, hiding the other half of the photo. You start to smooth it back into place, ready to see the wide, toothy grin your father would give for these kind of pictures.

Your heart starts beating quicker in a bout of panic as you see angry, wild scratches and scribbles of black over the image of your father. For some reason your chest begins to feel tight, the angry fire extinguishing to the new wave of responsibility you feel. Right away you begin to repeating apologies to the defaced image of your father, trying to keep yourself grounded as everything around you begins to shake-
The first thing you notice is that you’re already sitting up and someone has a hold of your shoulders. Right away you begin to pull away, trying to pry off the fingers holding on as you try to figure out where exactly you are.

Your foot makes a rather solid, and unfortunate, connection to Lawrence’s chest in the struggle. Not enough to knock the wind out of him, but enough to let you wriggle free and to the far side of the bed. Once you see that you’re only in his room you start to calm down, hand over the brisk beating in your chest.
“What’s going on…?” you ask, still feeling very much on alert as you scan the room. Lawrence looks taken aback by this but shakes his head, pointing at you.

“Me?” When you take a moment to think about it, you remember that everything had just been a dream. A strange, strange dream that feels difficult to remember now but parts of the feeling still remain. “I guess I was having a nightmare…”

Lawrence nods right away and turns on the light, writing out a message for you.

When I woke up, you were sitting up in bed
I thought you were just crying but you started thrashing

“Thrashing?” You imagine what that must have looked like from his perspective and can just be glad that you didn’t have to be in his position. “I didn’t hit you or anything, did I? I mean, besides just now…”

I was scared you were having a seizure

“No, just a bad dream. That’s all it was…” You remain quiet on the details, about how exhausted you are now or how terrible it made you feel. If you don’t think about it then maybe little prickly, small burn in your head will go away.


Somehow you manage to go back to bed and wake up without kicking Lawrence again. In fact you wake up before he does, the blankets still warm from all his body heat trapped in. You take a few minutes to enjoy, it’s not very often you get to wake up with him still there or have to wait for him to get pulled away. He’s here for you and you’re going to make it the best day that you can.
Careful and sneaky you climb over him to leave the bed, quietly promising you’ll come back for him soon as he continues to sleep.

You shower and dress, trying to look nice without looking like you’re trying too hard. During this time you get the bright idea of surprising Lawrence with breakfast in bed, to get a jumpstart on your date and to apologize for kicking him earlier.

Camilla comes into the kitchen yawning once you’ve started the process, pieces of bread laid out on the cutting board in front of you.

“Oh, you’re awake so early!” she says, putting up a smile that doesn’t hide the dark circles beneath her eyes. “Are you cooking? What are you making?”

“Um well, since he gets to stay home I thought I would make Lawrence some breakfast and bring it to him. I’m just making one of the things we’d do at sleepovers, where you cook an egg in the middle of the toast…” You neglect to mention that you were trying to make a heart shape in the bread, both out of embarrassment for doing it and from the fact that you couldn’t get the shape right at all.

She nods excitedly, “That sounds very nice, I’m sure he will love it. If you would like any help though, let me know.”

Getting Camilla's help for breakfast would be pretty nice. Or, if you ask really nicely, she might help you get ready for your day with Lawrence.

That might be too much of a bother, but she might be fine with you talking about nightmare you had earlier while she’s in here.

What do you tell Camilla?
>Getting Camilla's help for breakfast would be pretty nice. Or, if you ask really nicely, she might help you get ready for your day with Lawrence.

It was just a dream. Build a dreamcatcher
Can't hurt to have some help if she's up to it, anything can be a learning experience.

Nightmares come and go, hopefully this is one of those that go and stay go.
You face Camilla with hands clasped to beg.

“Yes please please please, I need some help!”

The pleading takes Camilla by surprise enough to make her snicker, something she does for only a moment before trying to appear professional again. “No reason to ask like that, I already said that I would.”

“I know,” you fidget at the request but still manage to ask, “But I need help making the best breakfast ever- or at least the best I can make.”

“Like I said, it’s fine.” It looks like she’s holding back from looking too excited, subding her smile as she comes to take a closer look at what you’ve already done. “This won’t be hard at all, I promise.”

“And, if it’s not too much to ask for…” It already feels like too much to ask from her but you only want things to go well today. “Can you help me figure out today? Just a little bit, I don’t want to bore him or anything like that.”

Already Camilla has gone to the fridge, examining the tomatoes she pulls out. “Sure, though I don’t know how much of a help I would be. I feel he and I would have different ideas about how to spend a day off.”

“What would you do?” You’re given the bunch of tomatoes, instructed to wash them off.

“I think I would go hunting.”

“Even with all the snow?” you ask over the running water. Camilla comes to stand next to you at the counter, preparing a cutting board and knife.

“Mhm, it can be really nice actually. I used to like to hunt chamois- they’re like an uh, antelope.” Camilla begins making thin slices through the shiny skin of the tomatoes, leaving you a pepper to also wash. “Not that I would mind hunting around here. Ah as I was saying though, that would be my day. Ah but, Lawrence? I don’t think he would have a good time with that.”

“I don’t think it would be any good for his arm,” you respond and she nods.

“Yes there is that-” she agrees before motioning you to switch her spots. “Here, I’ll show you how to cut this up and then you can do it.”

It’s intimidating and the knife she hands over to you feels far to big and heavy. Yet you take the dark red vegetable in one hand and begin to let the knife move in the motions Camilla showed you. You have to force the knife through at first but you start to pick up on it, much to her delight.

As you work at the cutting board Camilla finds a pan to pull out and prepare at the stove. “But even if his shoulder was better, I’m not sure he would have fun with it. At least, I have to say that you seem to hold your gun with more confidence.”

“Eh?” Your surprise almost makes you drop the knife and you quickly correct the mistake you made with the half done cut. “No, you’re just being nice now. He has to be way better at using one. Besides he’s an adult. I think he can handle it better than I can.”
Camilla shakes her head, holding a grin as she lays down slices of bread and uses a cup to make a holes in their center. “Give yourself credit. Being an adult does not mean someone is good at something. Just a little more time and practice and I think even he’ll be complimenting your shooting.”

“...my shooting?” You become red in the face, unsure if you would feel strange for that kind of compliment or wanting any sort of praise you can get. For a bit you imagine yourself at the range, landing all your shots in the bullseye and impressing Lawrence with your skill. It only makes you more flustered and barely avoiding slicing your finger.

“I think staying indoors would be best for him,” you say after concentrating at the task at hand. “He’s been running around a lot anyways so being in one place might be nice.”

“He might want to nap all day then.” Camilla might be partially joking but you start to fear that as an option.

You bring the sliced tomatoes and pepper to her, watching as she places them in the pan. “I’d like to spend time with him though…”

“I’m sure he’ll wake up as soon as he gets a smell of this,” reassures Camilla. “I know you’re all worried but I don’t think your friend is going to be too hard to please. I’ll help you figure something out though, don’t worry.”

With Camilla's help you manage to put together a breakfast much nicer looking than you would have accomplished. With her help flipping them in the pan, you manage to put slices of bread with their egg yolks in tact and not making a mess all over the plate, something you’ve grown used to when making it with friends.

A bright dash of red decorates the edge of the plate with the fried tomatoes and peppers. It’s not something you would have thought of, but you’ll trust her decision on it. It certainly smells good though, wafting off the tray you balanced carefully to his room. The smell isn’t quite enough to wake Lawrence up though and you have to put it aside to nudge him awake.

“Sorry-” you whisper as soon as he opens one eye to squint at you, “I’d let you sleep but then breakfast would be cold.”

Lawrence still looks asleep when he swings himself upright, but he easily accepts the tray of food you hand him.
“I hope it’s fine.” He’s already got a mouthful by the time you speak and you figure that as long as he wants to eat it so willingly, it should be fine. You only eat a little bit here, not having much for an appetite. Lawrence takes longer, eating slow as he continues to wake up.

You, on the other hand, sit on the opposite side of the bed as him. With a small wooden hoop in hand you take yarn in the other and begin wrapping the white color around the edge of the hoop. He gestures towards what you’re doing, confused as you expected him to be.

“This is just an old embroidery hoop,” you hold it up so he can see. “Ms. Camilla says the other half got broken, so I’m using this part to make a dreamcatcher.” The white yarn wraps tighter around the wood as you try not to think about why you’re making this in the first place. “When I’m done with it then I need to put it on the wall.”

Lawrence nods along in understanding, not needing an explanation for what it is as Camilla had needed. She was more than fine with giving you the supplies for it, even finding an assorted package of beads that you can add to it.

I don’t think your grandmother will mind you using these old sewing supplies she had said upon giving them over, along with a small box of other crafts that she thought you’d like to mess with.

For now you focus on the dreamcatcher, already feeling better about making it in the first place. You continue to wrap the yarn around carefully, making sure to cover every bit before pulling the yarn in a pattern across the center. The repeated motion is relaxing and reminds you of years before, when you would be sitting on the floor in another girl’s room and making these with your group of friends.

As you work on the dreamcatcher, you remember more of fun nights you spent at sleepovers. It’s something that you miss, the type of event you would look forward to all week while in school. It’s something that you doubt you’ll ever get to anticipate again.

You feel like breaking up the silence so that you can help Lawrence wake up. You feel like you could maybe talk about the previous times you’ve made dream catchers, back when you were younger and when things were normal. Happy memories, some of the few that still remain golden and warm in your thoughts.

Or, as the yarn slips from your hand as you lose concentration for a moment, maybe you should talk about less kiddish things. Maybe you can catch his attention better with a mature conversation.

Actually you’re sure he would listen either way. The thought brings a smile to your face.

What do you want to talk to Lawrence about as he eats?
Maybe if we make a dreamcatcher they'd large enough this nightmare we're living in will go away.

Talk about things we'd want to do when it's all over. How we'll stitch him an itchy and awkward Christmas sweater... And because he's so big it will take so long that he will have to wear it every day until Easter
Ask him if he likes hunting, maybe when he's better we could go.
You look at the wide, blank wall behind him and begin to wonder how many hoops you would need to cover the wall with dreamcatchers. If you did that, then maybe Lawrence won’t ever have nightmares either. If he even does, you wonder.

“I think there’s a couple more um, skeins? I think that’s what Ms. Camilla called it, more balls of yarn.” When you feel his eyes on you suddenly stagefright comes. You look down only at the pattern you’ve started to make across the center. “She said I could use any of that old stuff so I think I’m going to find a pair of knitting needles and figure out how to do that.”

Lawrence has you look up at him, giving you a short set of signs that only take you a bit to recognize. Make what?

“Well um, I hope it doesn’t ruin the surprise or nothing…” The yarn pulls taut and loosens repeatedly in your hands as you try not to let him know that you’re actually embarrassed to say it out loud. “But I was thinking about um, maybe when I figured it out I could make you a sweater or something.”

All he does is smile at the idea and you actually almost feel light headed. It leaves an overwhelming excitement and joy in your chest, one that makes you freeze up and leave you with scattered, wishful thinking. You almost want to be mad at him for making you feel so giddy just like that but you can’t be.

“Don’t g-get your hopes up about it or anything though!” The yarn starts going round the hoop quicker now as you try not to look like you’re this flustered. You stop to calm down and redo some sloppy craftsmanship, reminding yourself that an adult wouldn’t get all worked up like that. “I still gotta learn how to do it first and then I have to make sure it’ll fit you. But I don’t know if there would even be enough here for you- I bet I would need like a whole crate full.”

Between eating Lawrence has to cover his mouth to hide his silent laughing. He shakes his head at the idea though, mouthing something about ‘not that big’.

“We’ll see about that,” you scoff. “I bet it’s going to take a super long time to make too. So that means when I do make it, you have to wear it no matter what. No matter how itchy and ugly it looks, you have to wear it.”

You can hear the breath leave him as Lawrence chuckles, the question of how long? on his face when he stops.

“If I make it for you for Christmas, you’ll have to wear it till Easter.” You say that confidently despite doubting your ability to complete such a daunting task by that time. “I’ll figure out how to do it too. That way you can have a nice present from me when we’re far, far away from all this.”

Another bold claim for you to make, one that makes Lawrence’s smile soften. Yet you remain solid with that statement, as there’s nothing more you want than for you two to be out of such a tangled mess.

You don’t want to bring down what’s supposed to be a nice day so quickly think of something else to bring up.
“Have you ever gone hunting before?”

It takes a moment for Lawrence to realize that you’ve switched gears so quickly and shakes his head. He motions the use of a fishing rod instead.

“Oh fishing? I guess that is kind of similar though.”

He nods and manages to tell you why he likes it.

“So you can drink and smoke during,” you repeat back and he nods. Instead of gesturing he writes out a short elaboration.

When I was released, would leave house to go fish
Sometimes drew water, or forrest around
Get lucky- sometimes see deer

“It does sound fun,” you agree. You think about Lawrence, way before he met you, sitting alone near the edge of a lake with a fishing pole cast and a drawing pad in his lap. That would have to be a pretty great thing for him and you want him to be able to relax like that again. “Do you think it would be alright if I came along with you?”

“Yes.” He actually takes the time to answer out loud and you get a dumb, giddy grin.

“Um-” You try to hide the red in your face behind hands as you repeat reminders to remain calm. “Me and Ms. Camilla were t-talking about it earlier, when I was in the kitchen. And she said I was good at using a gun so I think I’d like to try that with you too.”

Might as well camp he writes out after you couldn’t quite understand how he said it to you in sign.

“Camping?” you gasp in excitement upon reading it. “Yes, that’s perfect. I would love to go camping with you.” When Lawrence agrees you have to set aside the dreamcatcher to embrace him, forcing him to push aside the now mostly empty tray to accommodate you.

“I promise, I won’t try to make the sweater too itchy,” you promise him after all the big talk you made. You like how you can come in like this, arms around his shoulders whenever you want and not get pushed away. It makes you feel wanted he holds on to you too, and it’s a nice feeling. “I can’t promise on how pretty it’ll be though, so I’m sorry about that.”

You can just hear his voice beneath the breaths when he chuckles, finding it funny that you’re still caught up on that.
“Maybe I should make two,” you muse with your chin resting against his shoulder, looking at the headboard behind him. “One for you, one for me. Then we can wear them together for Christmas. Even if it’s itty bitty I hope that we can have a tree. We can put up lights and go see the nativity scenes together and everything will be okay.”

Without thinking about the likelihood of any of that happening you still let it play out in your mind. The warmth around and holding you close makes you feel safe and comfortable enough to just close your eyes and think about how wonderful that would be.

You open them again when the arms wrapped around your body begin to tighten, bringing you closer. “What’s wrong?” you whisper, one hand coming down to touch Lawrence’s forearm. He tenses up again and the rough voice in your ear draws back your attention.
“You. And me.” His voice speaks rough against your ear, and you remain quiet so he doesn’t have to strain himself further. Instead you nod along, listening carefully. Everytime he tries to speak up again he can’t, instead short scoffs coming as he seems sceptical of what he wants to say. But you wait patiently anyways and when he does finally speak up again it’s even quieter than before, like he didn’t really want to hear it.

“Elope?” you repeat back louder, covering your gasp with a hand when you remember what that means. “You mean us? Like us run away and…?”

He nods, trying to smile but his face scrunched in contemplativeness. The question feels strange and you’re pretty sure he doesn’t actually mean to suggest something like that.

“Take what...we can. Go away. Far away.” He looks at you closer to eye level now, hands on your shoulder so that he can keep your attention. “Take care...of you. Leave it...behind. All behind.”

While you had been excited by the the nice parts of his suggestion you had forgotten what exactly that would mean. It’d mean leaving everything and everyone behind, you wouldn’t be able to return to any sort of the normal life you had before. Away from anyone who had hurt you, away from anyone that has tried to help. As far as you can tell, that would mean starting over completely anew with Lawrence.

”What do...you think?” he asks, his eyes fixated right on you as he waits for an answer.
I want to. But that monster needs to be stopped. Will the others really keep trying if we leave? And his terrible employees who know what he's doing, and even pointed a gun at us... I need to know that they all get what's coming for them.

If he sends his hitmen after us in the forests...
Running from problems won't solve them.

If we can stop him who knows how many we'd save from being hurt by him
Monster needs to be stopped.
Grandma needs to be safe.
After that we can go with Law to the ends of the earth, but not with those two unknowns hanging over our heads.
You smile at the answer you want to give, but you know that it can’t be the right answer you give.

“I don’t think I realized how badly I’d like something like that till now.” Your eyes fall to the blanket below, your sight going unfocused against its patterns as the scene plays out in your head. Lawrence on a motorcycle, helping you up on the seat behind him before driving you away- like the end of The Princess Bride.You’d wrap your arms around him to hold on tight and ask him to drive you away. He’d say ‘as you wish’ in his own way, and then you two would go off towards wherever you decide.

“But I don’t think I can do that yet.”

Sniffling and adjusting the hair out of your face, you make sure to keep eye contact with Lawrence as you explain. There’s a sting in your throat as you speak again but you’re not crying, you somehow manage to hold yourself steady.

“There’s stuff we have to do here. I don’t know if I can run away from it.” You feel like you’d normally be falling apart thinking about this. But here you are speaking clearly and unwavering, it almost makes you feel stronger than you feel. “It’s like in the stories. The hero can’t run away from the monster. They have to stay and fight it, that’s the only way they can win. Besides if we don’t I think it would just follow us. And if that happen then I think things will get worse...”

The smile on your face isn’t forced at all as you finish. “We need to stay here and try our best first. And when we don’t have to worry about it following us anymore, then I’d like to. I’d love to.”

Lawrence either has to take time to process what you said or doesn’t know how to respond. You start to feel weird about what you said and start thinking that you should apologize for the way you put it.

Instead his chest shakes and you can see he’s just laughing at himself, his head falling down into the palm of his hand.

“Just...an idea.” Lawrence’s hoarse voice cracks as he smiles painfully. His nervous laughs turn it into a grimace and sits there, head hanging low as he seems to stare at his open palm. “Stupid. Idea. Couldn’t. Not now-”

Both hands come to cover his face as he quietly laughs at himself. You hadn’t meant to make him feel foolish and bad from bringing it up. It feels like there’s more to it then that but you can’t stand to see him in such a state.

You end up embracing Lawrence again, this time trying to be comforting. His hair brushes up against your chin, face still looking down when you approached without warning. The movement of his body becomes slow and steady again as he calms down. Whether that was what calmed him down or not doesn’t really matter, you still plan on giving him the best day you can.

“Uhm, you k-know…” In the time you’ve gotten to think about it, you start putting together a very important idea in your head. “If you want to actually um, elope then I guess that means that you do love me, ha…”
You regret saying that right away, putting him on the spot for something like that isn’t really going to help the mood. While trying to find the right words to apologize with you feel a slow and short nod against you.

An intense warmth spreads across your face and you stop finding out a way to apologize.


In the crispy, still cold you let free a couple of long breaths. It leaves a short cloud behind each time, fresh winter air filling your lungs in its place. The snow crunches beneath your boots with each movement too as it comes up to your shin in deeper areas. You keep where it’s shallow and only comes past your ankles, as you have no idea how much deeper it could get.

Back in the bedroom, neither of you talked further about the subject. Nothing about running away together or his response to your question. You cleaned the small mess from breakfast and acted like the conversation hadn’t happened. When you returned to Lawrence’s room he looked content with that, instead requesting a quick trip outside for fresh air.

Bundled up -something that Camilla double checked for both of you before letting you out- you look up the cloudy sky above you. The sun might not be out but that’s fine. It’s big and open out here and you forget any feelings of restriction. You end up stomping around in the snow, giggling to yourself.

You take a look back at Lawrence, who diverged away from you near the garage door. Far away from the doorway, and anyone who might try to peek through, you can still see what he meant by ‘fresh air’.

He has to protect the match as he strikes it but Lawrence manages to light his smoke up anyways. You know what kind of earful he would receive upon getting caught, but you aren’t going to dare tattle on him for it. Today at least.

Trying to act like you weren’t just spying on him, you lean down and roll up a handful of snow in your glove. You pat it into a nice, round ball as you try to step in the footprints he already left behind and approach Lawrence.

“Now you know the rules, you aren’t supposed’ta be smoking right now.” You come up speaking in your best sheriff impression to let him know that you mean business, but it reminds you more of John instead. You try not to linger on him right now.

Lawrence smirks at it, the smoke coming from the other side of his body as he hides it from you.

“But I guessin’ I could be nice to ya, this one time.” Rolling the snowball in your hands you add, “There’s just one thing you gotta do though.”

It’s you, Lawrence, and a wide field covered in mostly untouched snow. What do you do?
Snowball fight!
And once we win or he makes the mistake of quiting early, we have him give us a smooch as a reward for victory.
Get ready to ready to rumble!

Fnish with a snowman and snow angels.
Snowball fight
No quarter will be given on this battlefield
If Lawrence wants to play coy then you can too. Holding it down in one hand you pretend to wander off a bit, like you aren’t calculating the perfect moment to attack.

“If I win or you give up, you gotta give me a victory smooch.” He must be wondering what you could be talking about and you can see his hand moving to extinguish his smoke against the wall. While Lawrence is busy placing it in the cigarette box to save for later you take the chance to scoop up another handful of snow in the other hand.

Hiding both of these behind your back, you waltz a few feet away for safety.

“Psst, Lawrence~”

You call out to him in a sing songy voice, waiting for him to look up before throwing the first snowball. He manages to reach his hand out and break it apart but that only leaves his stomach exposed for the second one. By the time he’s caught on to what’s happening you’ve already begun scampering even farther away now. As you tread through the uneven depths of snow you make sure to prepare your next handful of snowballs.

The one thrown from behind whizzes past your head and into the snow past you. Looking back you can see that Lawrence has already prepared his arsenal. His which are, as evident by the leftover heap of his first one, much larger than yours.

He begins chucking then at you, moving closer as you let out a quick squeal and try to move away while not losing any of yours. Laughing as you duck out of the way another one you throw your own in retaliation. It hits Lawrence in his good shoulder but he shrugs it off and doesn’t give you a chance to rest.

Lawrence makes the mistake of throwing all the ones he made. You have to jump and leap and kneel through the snow in order to avoid them, laughing as loud as you want as each one misses you.

“You’re going to have to do better than that!” you shout, turning around with a wild smile as you still have an armful of snowballs. Lawrence starts to back up, kneeling down to gather up his new supply. You know that he’s been softening the blow of his throws, too scared it might just knock you over if he threw at full force.

While you appreciate the gesture, you show no mercy in return. You’ll use anything to your advantage to win your prize, no matter how ruthless you’ll have to be.

“I hope you’re ready for me to win! Maybe I’ll make you call me ‘princess’ before I claim my reward,” you giggle. Being out in the open like this makes you feel happy, even if you can’t think about leaving its fences. Your lungs may burn a bit from the cold air and physical activity- your body still remembers those months you weren’t active. You don’t mind though, the walls inside absorb any sound you make while outside your laughter is free to travel.
The only benevolence you show in the quest for winning is that you give Lawrence a few seconds between getting pelted by the next handful of snow. You also keep an eye at where they land, avoiding to hit him where it could hurt.

“Just give me a nice big wave when you’re ready to surrender!”

Lawrence gives up trying to rather more snow. He instead follows along the garage wall and rounds the corner, moving out of sight and barely avoiding the last snowball you threw. Retreating wasn’t in the rules though, you decide, and gather up your next batch.

“Can’t hide! You gotta give up, unless you want me to show you how to win-”

Biting your lip in anticipation you jump around the corner and blindly throw the snowball in front of you. It hits Lawrence square in the chest, only having to travel a mere foot or two to reach him. He doesn’t even pay it any attention and steps right in front of you, letting go the armfull of snow he had gathered right on top of your head. It turns out he can carry much, much more snow than you can. The freezing cold all around you makes the rest of your snowballs fall to the ground as you hop around, trying to brush off the snow and move away from Lawrence in case he wants to try attacking when you’re weak.

It proves to be a rather poor choice to make when you take a step back and your foot sinks into the snow well past your knee. And in an ungraceful, very loser-like manner you stumble and fall back into the deeper snow. While it’s a soft landing, you have to contemplate how you now have even more snow on you and lost your advantage in this fight.

Raising your hand up above the snow line you call out, “Help me out pleeease.”

You can hear his footsteps and imagine a smug smirk on his face when he has to come rescue you. When you do in fact see said smile looking down at you from above you have to fume. He kneels down and continues to look at you with the same expression all awaiting for you to call this his victory.

“Okay, I won’t hit you with another snowball,” you promise while gathering a small amount of snow in your glove. “But you have to carry me to safety afterwards.”

He rolls his eyes at how much you exaggerate for the last request but reaches down for you anyways. Lawrence lifts you free from the snow easily, setting you back on steady feet. Before he can walk away from the promise you reach up at him with your arms open, reminding him of what he still needs to do. So sure that he’s won, Lawrence doesn’t even notice the snow you have hidden in your glove when he lets you jump into his arms.

Making sure you have a good hold around his shoulders, should he accidentally let go of you during this master plan, your hidden weapon sneaks to the nape of his neck. You continue to act upset that you lost, frowning at him as he laughs.

Your hand presses the snow against the back of his neck and Lawrence instantly locks up, grimacing as his back straightens right up.
“Surrender or I’ll drop it down your jacket,” you warn and allow the snow to tread dangerously further. Lawrence looks pained to have to nod in resignation, though that might just be because you’ve got him under threat of ice down his back.


“A win is a win~” you muse, dropping the snow on the ground. “And winning means I get my prize.”

Lawrence looks away like he’s pretending to ignore what you’re saying as he carries you closer to the compound. From how his footsteps become more even you know he’s just looking for somewhere a bit more safe to stand, and you occupy your time by flicking off the bits of snow that cling to his facial hair. The white flecks stand out well against his dark hair, causing the pulled back strands to become slick and wet as the snow melts.

He comes to a stop and looks down at you, perhaps waiting for you to give off another victory speech. Or, more likely, he’s just waiting on you to initiate it. As nice as it would be to be surprised with something like that, you know that it might not be the best thing for you right now.

“Well-” you still get nervous about bringing it up yourself, there’s still a long way for you to go. “As the victor of this snowball fight, I demand the reward that I agreed upon. Um, pretty please…”

You close your eyes for it, waiting for him to meet you halfway. Contact with Lawrence makes your chest flutter but you remain calm during. It only last a bit longer than previous ones, but being out in the snow and carried like a princess only makes it more special.

“Okay…!” you announce upon pulling away, face red but otherwise okay. “I think I’m warm enough now, I wanna make a snowman.”


You don’t make Lawrence spend too long outside. After leaving one of the biggest snowmen you’ve ever made and your snow angels left in the untouched patches, you were ready to go in and warm up too.

Both of your coats rest on a coat rack to dry, a small puddle forming from the shoes also left behind. You left him behind in his room to warm up for a bit as you offered to make something warm to drink in return for beating him so badly. He gladly accepts the offer and now you stand in the kitchen, humming excitedly to yourself as the kettle on the stove heats up.
Unsure of where hot chocolate would be, you head out to find Camilla to ask. You don’t have to go very far, as you step out of the kitchen and find her walking your direction with a pile of thick blankets in her arms.

“Oh, there you are” she smiles. “I saw your coat by the door and figured you just came in. How was outside?”

“It was fun.”

“That’s good. Did he enjoy the breakfast?”

“He loved it,” you try not to smile too much.

“Excellent!” Camilla smiles back, unaware of just why you’re so happy right now. “Anyways, I was thinking that you would like one of these comforters after playing in the snow. I just dried them so they’re nice and warm.”

You accept the very topmost one, holding it to your face as you revel in the toasty sensation. “Oh yes, thank you very much!”

“Here, take another,” she gives you next one in line. “This way Lawrence can have one too.”

You accept this one too, all while trying to decide if you should try bringing one blanket so that you two can share or if you can just double up with them instead.

“By the way, Ms. Palmer left a gift for you earlier.”

“Oh?” you look over the bulking pile of blankets.

“Yes, I believe it’s some cassettes. They’re in a bag on your bed.” Camilla’s smile drops and her face becomes serious. “Ah by the way, I wanted to ask you something.”

“Yes ma’am?”

Her thin mouth twists to the side as she contemplates how to ask. “Well I’m just curious, have you been unable to sleep?”

The question strikes you as odd. “What do you mean?”

“Ah well…” she looks caught off guard, putting up a nervous smile. “I popped into your room last night to give you another heater since I figured it was cold but you weren’t in there and your bed was still made. I was just wondering if maybe you haven’t been able to sleep or if you’ve been taking naps somewhere else.”

While you haven’t gone out of your way to hide it, you certainly haven’t told anyone that you’ve been sleeping in Lawrence’s room.

Tell Camilla where you've really been sleeping or lie?[/i]
She didn't really ask WHERE we sleep, only IF and WHY.
So tell her we do have trouble sleeping and need...a change of location from time to time.
Half truths, don't wanna cause any awkward problems for Law.
We're not being interrogated, it's just an innocent question, and those are the easiest to fool.
>>3041336 has the right idea.
Put up a smile and pretend like you didn’t freak out about the question internally.

“Sometimes I do have trouble sleeping,” you nod. That alone looks to make Camilla worry but you keep up a cheery face. “I just need to find somewhere else to sleep sometimes, I’m sorry it’s weird. But it helps me.”

“Ah.” She readjusts the remaining blankets in her arms, busying herself as to not look like she’s still fretting over the matter. “I understand this place can get rather creepy. Is there anything in particular that makes you move out of there?”

“No, it’s just me.”

Camilla’s face remains grim as she looks down at you. “I understand, I hope I didn’t make you feel weird about it. I only wanted to make sure that you feel safe in your own bed.”

You nod again, “Thank you, I’m sorry if I scared you.”

“Only a little bit!” she laughs. Standing here as she is now, smiling and handing you warm blankets, she reminds you of a mother. It’s off putting to remember this is the same woman you saw fire a gun at another woman, how cutthroat she had been.

“Oh, before you run off.” Camilla motions back towards the coat rack and asks, “Would you do me a favor? I’ve got my hands full for a while but I would very much appreciate it if you could get Law to get his clothes ready to wash. I noticed his coat back there needed to go through too.”

“Yes ma’am.”

“Thank you,” she grins. “There should be a basket in the hallway already. Just put it inside the garage then, alright?”

You acknowledge her instruction and run off with the blankets she gave you, going right to Lawrence’s room. In your absence he’s nodded off on the bed, laying across it and being vulnerable to drop the comforters on him.

He doesn’t even jump, instead opening his eyes see what you left.

“These just came out of the dryer,” you announce as Lawrence unfolds one. Upon feeling how warm they still are he wraps it around himself and gets cozy in bed again/ Grabbing the laundry basket by the door you leave it next to the bed and point at it. “Okay but listen, if you decide to take a nap right now then I’m going to gather your clothes to wash.”

Lawrence ushers you on, a completely opposite reaction to what you would have had. Rethinking your approach, you remember how he had been sneaky outside.

“If you don’t help me though then Camilla might.”

This makes him begrudgingly sit up in bed, bracing himself to get up and do stuff. He yawns wide as he stands and pops his back, moving around at a leisure pace to toss the unclean clothes into their designation.

Once the basket is full you take the handles and balance the heavier weight between your hands. “Oh she mentioned wanting to wash your jacket too, should I add it?”

He nods and reminds you to save the cigarette carton in the pocket.
“Maybe if they get washed by ‘accident’ then maybe you’ll quit,” you tease as you leave the room. At the garage door you set the basket down and remove his cold, damp coat from the rack. Despite your parting words you make sure to pull out the carton, feeling the contents inside shifting around the mostly empty space.

Remembering it as something your mother and grandmother did, you feel around the other pockets to be sure they’re empty. This turns out to be the correct choice, as you manage to find some rather worn out and tightly folded cash in one pocket. Only about fort dollars or so, from the quick peek you take.

Another thing you save is the tin container of an Altoid pack, the logo faded and worn down from riding around. Thinking about the kiss outside and wondering if it you should try to push your luck, you figure that borrowing one just to be safe won’t be a big deal.

When a pill falls into your palm instead you nearly drop it in surprise. A couple of them follow with the first, about ten or so traveling in the can. The light blue color don’t remind you of any kind of pain reliever you’ve taken on your own, the numbers and letters on the side not giving you much more of a clue as to what they could be.

The container he keeps them in doesn’t seem to be to optimal and you wonder if someone like Rizzo would have really given it to him this way.

You’re curious about what it is Lawrence is keeping in here, you weren’t aware he was having to take any kind of medication. You’ve seen the container for the pain medication he takes for his shoulder in his room before, though you suppose that he could be carrying some with him. For whatever reason.

But still, you worry for Lawrence. Even if it's nothing more than you freaking out about some weird Tylenol knock-off, you'd like him to keep open to you about things.

Between considering asking Lawrence what these are for or taking one to maybe try to figure it out what it is on your own, you wonder if snooping like this is wrong. You hadn’t meant to, but now that you’re digging into something like this maybe you should just forget that you saw it and trust that it’s fine.

What do do with the blue pills?
His mother taught him to empty his pockets. Ask what they are. He's a grown man, he's big enough to answer a question
Calm down.
It's probably nothing, but we might as well give them back and simply ask what they are.
If he thought it was a big deal he wouldn't be so careless as to leave them in his pocket, so there's no need to overreact.
If he wanted to keep them a secret he should have been more mindful of where he put them.
No reason to freak out, they’re just pills. You return them into the tin, pocketing it with the rest of the contents from the jacket. The laundry is left in the designated spot- you can see now where a stacked washer and dryer rest in one of the cluttered walls of the garage.

Back in the bedroom, you walk in to find Lawrence rubbing his shoulder. He nods at you in a greeting, his face scrunching with a wince when he moves his arm the wrong way.

“Are you okay?”

Lawrence nods, mouthing the word ‘sore’ as he gives himself a soft pat to show you that it’s fine. You really hope that playing out in the snow didn’t inconvenience him too much, if only because you’re going to sound like a nag now.

Pulling the items out you tell him, “I brought the stuff that was in your jacket.” He waits for you to hand it over to him, his open hand reaching out at you.

The cash and cigarette carton goes into his palm first. He takes a peek into the carton before setting it aside, as if you would have taken or lost one its contents. It doesn’t seem like he’s expecting anything more and you have to draw his attention over when you hold up the Altoid can.

At first he reaches out like you’re offering one to him, but a closer look at Lawrence must recognize that its his. His open palm becomes a grab, one that fails as you step back in preparedness.

“This was also in one of the pockets,” you give the can a gentle shake now that you’re aware of its contents. The panic on his face flashes by as he attempts not to look concerned. His eyes remained glued on your hand- rather, the thing you hold in it. “I wasn’t trying to snoop, I swear. But the stuff in here… what is it?”

There’s a long pause as Lawrence looks from hand to your face and back again, his face neutral aside from the twitch of his eyebrows. He smiles and his body moves forward and you take another step back, preparing to play keepaway if you must. But Lawrence just grabs his notebook and holds up his explanation soon after.

Helps with stress

The answer surprises you a little, you were sure that it was going to be some kind of pain killer or muscle relaxer. “Stress? Are you sure you’re okay then if you gotta take stuff for it?”

It’s only for sometimes

“What do you mean?”

Just for times when nerves are shot

Take what I need and helps me get through those times

Lawrence writes and displays this answer while smiling at you, never once trying to just snatch it from you. He knows better than to try that. Doing so would only make you crack down even harder on the questions, though your mind swarms in trying to think of any more import ones.

Your fingers wrap around the tin just in case as you ask, “Did Dr. Rizzo give these to you?”

He was hoping that you wouldn’t ask a question like that, there’s no way to hide the flinch his entire body does. There’s no worry about him lying when his head shakes ‘no’.
He’s got enough on his hands
No need to make him waste time+money when I can take care of it myself
Dont want to rely completely on him either

The last point wasn’t something you considered before. If you two did have to leave and Lawrence still needed help, then having everything you need come from what could be a fragile source wouldn’t be smart.

You’re not stupid enough to assume he got these from a real doctor, but with everything you’ve gone through you doubt that some pills are the hardest thing to find. It at least looks like real medicine, at least as far as you can tell, and stress eating at Lawrence when you’re not looking should have been more obvious to you.

Not realizing how bad it must have really been for him makes you feel careless. To expect that he would be fine with shouldering so much responsibility is such a naive notion that you can’t stand to hold them hostage any longer. You hold the tin out to Lawrence, your fingers remaining wrapped around it as you consider if this is really okay.

The container lands in his palm and Lawrence does not hesitate to shove it away in the dresser drawer. As soon as it’s out of sight he’s calm again, reaching out for your hand to draw you closer.

“Secret.” he whispers to you. “Between...us.”


You get to sit on the bed next to Lawrence and watch as he writes out his response.

Dont want to let them control everything

Need some control for myself

Once again you share the sentiment with him, even if the current circumstances leave you less than pleased. You can understand why he would want that, being stuck here like you have makes it feel like you have less freedom.

And then you begin to consider the fact that Lawrence has orders to follow. He has to run around and act on someone else's word, whatever that has been. If this is his way taking control on one of the few aspects of life that can right now, then you can understand.

That doesn’t make you worry about him any less.

“I won’t tattle on you.” That’s the only answer you can give rightt now that would let Lawrence relax. You’re supposed to be making sure today is good and easy for him, saying anything else would stress him out.

Lawrence is able to smile in relief, a gesture you return far more half hearted.

Do you take his word on this and forget about it?
We'll take his word, but we can't take the word of whoever gave him the pills.
We're going to have to keep an eye out for any side effects, just in case.

Even Lawrence needs to be looked after sometimes.
You’re just going to have to look after Lawrence more, that’s all there is to it. It’s the least you can do after everything he’s been put through.

“I um…” It’s hard to stop looking towards the drawer so you stand up from the bed and right towards the door. “I think I have a couple of movies from Ms. Palmer. Let me bring them in here and you can pick one for us to watch.”

Out of the door you leave with a smile, but it vanishes once alone in the hall. All your thoughts race towards Lawrence and the new responsibility you have now. Are you going know when it’s time to intervene before it’s too late? Do you even know what you’d do?
“It’s helping him…” you mutter to yourself over and over in an attempt to set some of the worry to ease. Yet by the time you’ve reached your bedroom those scary ideas have only doubled down.

You find a paper sack waiting on the bed, a short stack of VHS tapes inside. “A real doctor would have prescribed it anyways.” Anything that you can hold on to to justify this as being okay, anything that’ll make you stop fretting so much.

It starts to remind you too much of John and his problem. You can remember that his were painkillers, something that started with an ‘O’. Remembering the strange taste it left in his blood sends a shiver down your spine.

It’s nothing that you’ve tasted in Lawrence’s though, not yet. Either he’s only recently acquired them or, the option you’re praying for, he hasn’t needed to take them often. Your stomach flips upon remembering how bad it got for John sometimes and you don’t dare let yourself imagine Lawrence in that same position.

“He’ll stop taking them when he’s better,” you promise yourself with the bag at hand. “He’ll stop taking them when everything is all better.”

While it’s nice that Palmer was able to get a little variety in movie choices you can already tell by the covers which one Lawrence would pick. Out of all the choices there was only one cover that had some man holding a gun and looking menacing in sunglasses.

But you were able to watch it with Lawrence and he was enthralled by time traveling robot man and his mission. There are violent scenes that would have made you looked away from the screen before but you -mostly- manage to keep your eyes on the screen.

“Well, did you like it?” You look up as best as you can with Lawrence resting his chin on top of your head. He nods but doesn’t move, keeping you in place as the credits roll on screen. The little TV you were brought has to sit on the floor in order to reach an available outlet, forcing you two to move to the concrete. But between two comforters, some pillows, a well placed space heater and the warm drinks you made it turns out to be a rather nice experience.

“I did too, I think.”

You unfortunately have to leave the blanket cocoon that you shared in order to reach over and begin rewinding the tape. As the noise speeds up and becomes louder you can hear a heavy sigh from behind.

Looking back you find Lawrence leaning against the frame of the bed, a scowl on his lips as he fidgets with his scruff. “What’s up?” you ask while the movie rolls in reverse on the television.

[I]Itching for smoke

Didnt get to finish last one[/i]

“Aha, right.” Your lips curl into a nervous smile since that was your fault. “Well do you want to step outside then?”

He shakes his head with a laugh. Dont want to stand in snow and get wet without jacket

Earlier was fun but dredging through it again after warming up inside isn't too appealing. “Yeah, that doesn’t really sound fun.”

Would just stand in garage but then get caught

“Yeah, I think Camilla would give you the worst scolding if she caught you in there.” You start thinking of alternatives for him, only wanting to be helpful. Oddly enough your mind goes towards they key you have and the rooms it can open. You even think about the tunnel, how cramped and weird it would be, but also secret and discreet. If he can fit in there comfortably enough anyways. It could be the start to showing Lawrence some of the secrets you’ve discovered on your own.

Offer to take Lawrence to the tunnel or tell him he’s out of luck?
Tell him he's out of luck.
Not cause we don't trust him, but he shouldn't be smoking anyway so it serves him right to be a little inconvenienced.
Too bad Lawrence, maybe next time.
And then he gets stuck in the tunnel and we have to go get help.

Sorry, Law.
“Sorry, but maybe it’s for the best eh? Maybe when you finally stop smoking for good then you’ll be able to win in snowball fights against me,” you pose with a puffed out chest and flexed arms. With a flamboyant flip of your hair you add, “But it might take a miracle for you to beat me really. So if you really want a chance at it then you better quit sooner rather than later.”

HIs lopsided grin shows that he’s not too grumpy about it yet. You wonder if abstaining from it gives him headaches too, not to mention how awful it feels to crave something so badly. It’s something that you can unfortunately understand, though you doubt the both of you would be able to give it up. Maybe the cigarettes if you can keep pestering Lawrence about it. But you? You don’t know what would happen if you never gave in to the thirst again and you’re scared to find out.

I’ll quit the habit eventually
dont know about cold turkey though

“We’ll work on it. You can consider today your practice run- you have to go the rest of day without another one.” That sounds fair to you and eagerly wait for him to agree.

Lawrence smirks as he writes out, doubt you could get it out of my hand, shortie

He has a point there but you aren’t going to give up that easily. You swipe the carton off the dresser, giving it a gentle shake to hear the contents move around inside. “Or I could always let a certain someone know that you’ve been going against doctor’s orders. She told you that for a reason you know.”

You take a peek inside as Lawrence rolls his eyes and nod, this has to be far from the first scolding he’s gotten about it. Whether you’ll actually go tattle or not is debatable but he doesn’t need to know that. For now you take count of what he has so you can make sure he doesn’t sneak any past you either.

Seven cigarettes tumble around inside. Well, five of them. Two of the papers inside look hand rolled and miss the orange filter end, one of them burnt halfway down from Lawrence smoking it outside. The two different ones smell funny compared to the tobacco but they’re off limits for the rest of the day too.

“Don’t worry, I’m not going to toss them away.” You hand the box back to Lawrence’s waiting hand and then wag your finger at him, “Just remember that I already have a count of what’s left, so I’ll know if you break the rule.”

Lawrence nods in agreement and you try to hide your growing grin. Nagging him doesn’t feel nice but with this you have to call it tough love. But now you need to start being sweet to him again and you have the right thing to do that. At least, you hope he’ll like it.

“Hang tight, I got a surprise-” The VHS stops rewinding with a loud click and Lawrence starts laughing at how you jumped and gave a yelp in surprise. You make a face and stick your tongue out at his continued amusement before leaving in a huff. Once he can’t see you the facade drops and you smile to yourself, thankful that you can do this in the first place.

“...I don't know if I can do this. I’m no good at it.”

Lawrence looks down and helps adjust your hand and grip before encouraging you to continue. You try not to get discouraged but it’s hard not to when he makes it look so easy.

“Auck, I don’t know how you manage to do this…”

You stare at the silver vase and teacup set laid out in formation on the desk, then down with a bleak expression at your attempts to draw the scene. Everything is either leaning, the wrong size, or too smudgy to make out. While you had been excited when Camilla had first showed you the bright colors of old pastels that had been stored away, your attempts at using them has left you detested.

Lawrence’s page, on the other hand, makes you feel even worse about wasting the art supplies.

“I thought you said that it would be too hard for you to do anything good,” you grumble while taking a look at what he’s done so far. He looks at you confused, as if that isn’t the case. He’s had to stop and rotate his shoulder around several times and give his arm a rest, but even in his limited state Lawrence has managed to blow you out of the water.

Of course you’ve demanded help and tips from him, which he has been gracious enough to take the time to show you despite your efforts not improving.

“No matter what I do I can’t get any of the stupid handles to look right. And look, you even have the light reflections drawn and everything!” You point out one of the many nicer things he has accomplished, focusing on anymore might make you give it up all together.

Takes time, he tries to tell you through your sulking. Seeing that the advice isn’t reaching past your stubbornness Lawrence gins and points at himself and your drawing pad.

“You want it?” you ask offering it up to him, which he refuses.

On the edge of his paper he writes in bright blue, do you want to try drawing me?

“What?” your teeth grit at the idea, “No way, it’s going to look so awful.”

You don’t know that

Holding up your picture you point to one of the teacups, “I can’t even draw one of these right without looking like it’s melting. I don’t want to waste these pastel things if you can use them better.”

He shakes his head to try and tell you it’s fine, and you once again start comparing his excellent use of lines and colors and everything artsy to the muddled smudgy mess on your page.

With your spirits down by the attempts so far, do you want to try drawing a portrait of Lawrence or request that he makes one of you?
If it would make him happy to see us try, we should definitely give it a shot.
It may not look the best, but it might be valuable to him despite the quality.
And that's what's important.
Might as well try to draw him.
It's not like he's expecting the mona lisa or anything.
You’re not excited about it, but you still turn to a fresh page. “Okay I’ll try, but you have to promise not to get mad about how it turns out.”

Lawrence is already pulling a chair a few feet away from you. He takes a seat but starts waving you down as soon as you’re about to start. “W-...what is it?” you’re nervous about somehow messing up already but he starts pointing at the chair.

“How should you sit?” you receive a nod in return and start chewing at your lip. “Uh, I dunno. Nothing that would make it harder for me I guess.” Back when Lawrence had first did that portrait of you, he had taken the time to pose you with attention to even the littlest detail. Now it feels like you should be doing the same and, somehow, a vague image comes to mind.

Where you’re remember this pose from escapes you at the moment but it’s the only thing you can come up with right now. You instruct Lawrence, waiting as he sits up right in the chair. One hand holding onto the arm of the chair and his other hand holding his chin.

“Is that comfortable?” You wait for his yes before getting ready yourself, picking up the gray color to begin. It’s hard to remember the various tips he had given you prior but you try to get by with what you can remember. Lawrence is mostly able to relax like this, his stoic expression fitting the gesture well.

The further you go along the more you pay attention to the little details about Lawrence. The notch of missing hair in his eyebrow, each pronounced bump on his knuckles, his black hair dipping down the center of his forehead and the strands that have moved out of place during the day. You even try to add the details in his eyes, the glimmer of a warm brown where it catches the artificial light and how they look intense even in a neutral expression.

How the short hair criss crosses down the nape of his neck, the shallow lines that form around his mouth and eyes when they move, the stretch of cloth over his arm- you try to take note of all the little things. But in taking all of it in, you start to think about those features on someone else. There’s no doubt that you’d be terrified to be alone with someone so much taller than you, with someone who can make someone hurt easily with his own hands, scattered scars that only only add to the sense of danger.

Lawrence catches eyes with you and grins, wanting to see your progress but not willing to move and mess it up.

It doesn’t matter what he looks like, you know that he isn’t someone who would hurt you.


“...do I have to?”

Lawrence nods and you clutch the drawing pad closer to your chest. You’ve done all that it feels like you could have possibly have done at your current skill level and it still doesn’t feel good to show off. But he did sit there completely still for you, now you got to hold up your end of it.
Bracing yourself, you turn the page towards him and close your eyes so you can avoid seeing his disappointment. “I’m so sorry, I promise you don’t look that weird for reals!”

When you take a peek Lawrence’s teeth are flashing in a smile and you feel all the more bashful of your work. “Remember, you aren’t allowed to make fun of it either,” you point out. “It’s not my fault your face has a lot of angles and stuff…”

He just keeps smiling, holding the page back to you and pointing at one of the bare corners. It feels silly to, but you leave a signature in that spot.

“You’re not going to keep that, are you?” You grimace when he nods and refuses to hand it back. Which is smart of him, you wouldn’t want him holding on to such an amateur thing. “I know you would have been able to draw yourself way better than I can.”

He responds by holding up the picture next to him, letting you compare side by side. Your face grows warmer as your forced to see your shoddy recreation. Looking at the picture from a distance, your brain finally manages to remember where you had pulled the idea for the pose in the first place.

“Um, you know, it’s kind of funny.” You squint at the page, making the image blurry enough for you to think of the original picture in its place. “I wasn’t really thinking about it in the beginning, but I think that’s the same pose my grandpa is doing in one of his photos.”

Lawrence has a pleasant look of surprise on his face at that, waiting for you elaborate about it further.

“I think I saw it around their house when I was little. It was black and white and my grandpa was younger in it, wearing a suit and all. I think he had a wine glass in his hand though-” you giggle a bit when Lawrence nods in agreement that that would have made the pose better. “And he was in this nice wooden chair with a super intricate back, I have no idea where it was taken though. For all I know now, that could have been here.”

It’s actually strange to think about your grandfather walking through here. Knowing that he would own something like this or have his hand involved with dirty deals is crazy to believe now too. It makes you wonder just how much was really kept from you.

Of course there could have been a lot that you never picked up on, the things that didn’t make sense to you or never seemed like a big deal.

“You know, thinking about it now that photo is a bit more eerie to think about. Who knows what kind of work he was doing at that time?” you say that with a smile but begin considering the darker implications. The man you looked forward to seeing so much turned out to be a criminal-

Well, you could say the same about Lawrence. Only difference is that he served time for his crime, while you’re fairly certain that your grandfather was never behind bars. Probably.

Do you feel like talking about your grandfather more?
It doesn't matter if he was a criminal.
He loved you and his family, and never showed any evidence to the contrary.
You can understand if people talk bad about him for what he's done, but to you he's your loving grandfather, and that's all that matters.
A man who loves his family yet could have been a monster to others?

That sounds too much like the used car salesman.

Let's avoid the subject until we can see a bigger picture of who exactly was grandpa
It's doubtful we would get anywhere, except maybe concocting some terrible idea of who gramps was when he wasn't a family man.
“I don’t know what all he might have been up to before, but when I look at any of those pictures all I see is my grandpa. My grandpa who liked to cook and dance and laugh, that’s all I can remember about him” You smile wide to hide away any of the darker, intrusive thoughts that might try to come. Those days you had with him are precious and you’d rather keep them that way.

Clapping your hands you leave a slow falling and colorful cloud of dust in the air, wiping any remnants on your pants. The less time you have to linger on those thoughts the better. “Isn’t it past the time for lunch? I’m starving,” you give a light fib. Not much of an appetite today but you can still share another meal with Lawrence. “If you want to put those colors back in the box, then I can figure out what to make.”

You give him a cheeky smile at leaving a little bit of a mess for him. Lawrence acts annoyed by it but can’t keep the facade strong enough when you leave a kiss on his cheek. The grin that breaks his face catches in the corner of your eye as you turn to leave.

“Meet me in there when you’re ready!” Your own smile remains even as you walk past the cold walls.


While searching in a panic to figure out what to make, you were lucky enough to stumble across a package of gnocchi. The name rings some bells right away and after nibbling on one of the dumplings previous memories of them come flooding back. It’s nothing fancy, you follow the instructions on the back to boil them. As for what to serve with it you can’t quit remember what went with it. You take the best guess you can, pulling out butter and a white block of cheese to try something yourself.

Tomatoes from earlier, spinach, garlic, whatever seasonings taste like they might be fine- you gather it all as you hope that what you end up putting together works.

With a cutting board on the table and knife in hand, you begin slicing the tomatoes into slices. You remember Camilla’s guidance from earlier and keep your fingertips tucked away. The red flesh of the tomato glistens in the light and you’re fixated on the vibrant color. The silver of the knife passes through several times and you grab a fresh one to work with again.

Your mother cooked, sometimes, but that’s not who you remember doing it.

”Don’t cut your fingers!”

In hindsight, shouting such a warning was a poor option. A young child doesn’t take the time to think about that though. You watched your grandfather slice the onion at hand and you became worried.

Your grandfather, amazing as always, only laughed it off.

“There’s no need to worry. Here, come look.” He even brought a chair next to him so you could see the counterspace and, more important, the cutting board. He held the uncut half of the onion in hand and pointing at you to look. You gulped in fear as he readied the knife, holding it in place as he drew your attention to his other hand.

“See how I am holding it?” he explained, the knife tip pointing at his tucked in fingers. “If you hold them like this, then there is no fear of getting them. Pretty easy, no?”

He started slicing the onion to prove how effective it was and you had to nod in amazement. “Whoa-” You were enjoying watching him make tiny white cubes but your eyes began to water. “Ah, grandpa! My eyes hurt!”

While you couldn’t see him you could certainly hear his deep laugh.

“Daniele, you’re not being mean to her are you?” Your grandmother’s voice called from the other room. He just laughed harder and picked you up easily, leading you to the sink.

“Of course not! The gattina just found out why you always cry while cutting onions.” He sat you down next to the kitchen sink, allowing the water to run and helping to clear your eyes. When you could stand to open your eyes again, your grandfather was looking at your face up close.


“What?” you became worried as he pondered, your short fingers reaching up for your face. “Am I okay?”
Your grandfather broke out into a long grin, “Yep, your eyes are still blue. I was worried they would look like onions.” As a child, hearing that your eyes were in fact not turned into onions was a huge relief.

“That’s good. Onions are icky,” you said with a wrinkled up nose. “I don’t want my eyes to look like that.”

“Don’t worry Delilah,” he chuckled, “Your eyes are still like an early winter sky. Very, very pretty.”

“Yours don’t look like that.”

Your grandfather nodded, “No, they are dark aren’t they? You didn’t get them from me.”

That made you wonder who did and you had to sit there to think about it. “Um, grandma’s eyes don’t look like that either. Hers are like chocolate.”

“That’s a good way to say it.”

“Um… and daddy has eyes like you. Black-” you took a closer look and rethought the answer. “Or are they brown too?”

He nods along, “They look black, don’t they?”

“Then um…” You tried to think about who else could possibly have eyes like yours, but only a single option remained.

“Me and mommy have the same?”

“I’d say so, close enough anyways.” From his pocket he pulled a kerchief to dab your cheeks, drying off what tears had escaped. As his hand adjusted your face to the angle he needed his voice rumbled from above, “They suit you well. Speaking of Denise, how has your mother been?”

It’s not a question they asked often. You’re not sure if he was actually asking because he cared or if he was just being nice. Didn’t matter either way to you. You’d get dropped off when your parents would be in a big argument and that day was no different. Your father dropped you off here, giving some quick excuse that he and your mother were ‘working things out. Now you know that just meant he would drive to the hospital or, now that you think of it, probably anywhere else that wasn’t with your mother.

Your father would always tell you how things were okay, that your mother was just going through a mood. He would try to cheer you up during the drive over and so you had always looked forward to the car trips with just you and him.

Your mother, on the other hand, was always a mess of emotions. Bitter or annoyed or listless- there were many things your mother was other than happy.

Before you came to your grandparents house that day, you last saw your mother as being…
Despondent and lifeless.
Negative emotions were one thing, but the complete lack of anything at all genuinely worried you.
”Quietl,” you answered. “She hasn’t been doing anything. Sometimes she lays in bed and sometimes it’s on the couch.”

“Oh?” he looked surprise, “Is there a reason for that?”

“I dunno,” you shrugged. It was better that she was quiet, you couldn’t sleep when they were yelling. “Is she sick?”

“That’s why I was asking you,” your grandfather gave a nervous chuckle. “If I had to guess though, I wouldn’t say it was that.”

That only confused you more. “What is it then?”

“Nothing that you should have to worry about.” Your grandfather picked you back up, talking quiet so that he couldn’t be heard from the other room. “But maybe try to take it easy on your mother, okay? I know that your daddy can pretty stubborn.”

You nodded along, wanting to agree to what he asked even if it was a difficult task. Both your grandparents had listened to your young complaints about her, your grandmother especially being the one interested in every little detail.

“Ah look, you’re about to fall asleep in my arms now!” Your grandfather walked you out of the kitchen, holding on to you closely, “After lunch, you can take a nap in our bed if you want.”

“...okay.” You agreed only because it got to be in their much bigger bed with all the pillows. Then again, your grandfather always knew how to make everything better.

The knife hits the cutting board harder than you had meant for it to. You have to set it aside for a moment, rubbing your blurry eyes clear.

You stand carefully on the bed as you adjust the dreamcatcher hanging above it. Whether it’ll work tonight or not is something you’ll have to find out tonight, the thought of it failing making your stomach uneasy.

Sometime after lunch more snow had fallen and you had to layer up underneath your pajamas. All the extra blankets you might need to get through the night lay on the end of the bed and all you’re really missing is Lawrence.

Of course you can handle him being gone to shower, you’re not that crazy. But you don’t want to waste the time you have with him today more than you have to. You try to preoccupy yourself with a book that Camilla had brought in with a few others from outside. Something about a ring that some other fantasy people are fighting for- you’d like it better if you didn’t feel so anxious.

You don’t keep your clothes in here, that would be too obvious. During your back and forth between bedrooms you were intercepted by Crockett, who approaches you with a sullen cloud in his eyes.

Denise says she needs to see you tomorrow, he had explained, already prepared for your skeptical then worried response. She wouldn’t tell me why, but she’s not in danger or anything. I couldn’t get her to elaborate further, I’m sorry.

So I guess I have to go? you sulked. You still might have if it was a choice, and while Crockett didn’t outright say it you could tell what the answer was. Are you taking me tomorrow then?

Can’t, I’m afraid. Crockett’s pout explained why he was so bothered by it in the first place. Doesn’t have to be long, just go in and see what she needs to tell you. Easy, nothing to worry about.

While the choice on going or not was out of your reach, he at least asked you who you’d want to go with.

Between Lawrence, Camilla and Officer Palmer to take you to the hospital, you asked to go with….
Of course we want Lawrence to go, but he probably still needs rest.

So let's go with Camilla, but don't tell her she's the second choice
Lawrence would make us stick out like a sore thumb, probably best to go with Camilla.

Delete Post: [File Only] Style:
[Disable Mobile View / Use Desktop Site]

[Enable Mobile View / Use Mobile Site]

All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective parties. Images uploaded are the responsibility of the Poster. Comments are owned by the Poster.