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=Thread 18=

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

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

=Links and Information=

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

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



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


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

Last Thread:>>309952
"John...!" You whisper, heart racing like crazy. "There's an officer coming over, just um...just go along with anything I say, okay?"

In response John mumbles something incoherent, hopefully along the lines of agreement. Placing his arm around your shoulder, you make him stand to shaky feet. Maybe the officer is just searching for a missing dog or something, you can just walk away and not have any problems.

"Hello, hold on a moment please."

Okay, that's not happening. John's eyes are open but it doesn't look like anyone is home yet, and you're certain you know the reason for that.

"A-Ah, yes?" You turn to the officer, the light coming to shine on both of you.

"We had a call complaining about someone suspicious hanging about the premise."

"Oh? I hope you find whoever it is then."

"The description we received matches your friend there." Glaring past the light, you can see that the officer is looking straight at John.

"Huh? What? D-...Daaaaad!" You feign annoyance as you look up at him, as if you've scolded him before. "I told you not to overdo it with the drinks again!"

"A-..ah....m-my...bad..." John mumbles, only the slightest bit aware of what is going on at the moment. "Did I g-...uh....what I...do...?"

"I'm sorry officer, my dad here must have had too much to drink at the party inside! I've been looking for him everywhere! He uh...he likes to run off sometimes!" You're hoping that the officer is buying your words, it feels wrong lying to someone like an officer.

"Public intoxication is against the law, ma'am."

"I'm sorry, my dad didn't realize how much he really drank! He's uh..." You speak in a hushed tone for dramatic effect. "He has a problem."

"Oh g-od...I do..." John laments as he sways on his feet. "I do...do haaave a pr-..problem...Jesus h-...help me..."

You were about to be amazed by John's ability to follow the role, but the tears in his eyes and dried blood to his nose gives away the fact that he is serious.

"Can I have a name, ma'am?"

"Oh uh, I'm...Bunny and this is my dad, John."

"I need a last name too."

"Uh..." Why don't you know anyone's last names? "T-...Talbot."

"Well, Ms Talbot, normally I would have to write up your dad here for disorderly conduct, but I'll just give you two a warning today since you were so polite. Make sure he gets home, and get that problem under control."

"Oh...oh! Yes! Thank you sir!"

The officer throws John a pity look before heading back to his car, and you carry John down the alley till you hear the car drive away.

"Okay, okay he's gone-...John, please stop crying. It's okay, you're alright..." You aren't really sure how to handle a man in this kind of state. Getting him to sit back on the ground, you look around again in a desperate attempt to locate Lawrence.

"Are you alone? What's going on, er...tell me what you can?" John looks more awake and lively now, but not by too much. As you watch him struggle with his thoughts you can see just how ragged he looks, much more then usual. When was the last time he slept, and not in some alley? You can't tell if there's blood or dirt caked beneath his fingers, but there's a growing suspicion that it may be both.

"Ah...Law...didn't show up. Waited for him but...uh...then I think I...fell asleep? Y-..no...yeah, that's what happened."

"Wait, Lawrence wasn't here? At all?"

"'less he just uh...sl-...slipped by me or uh...somethin'..."

You almost didn't notice John where he was sitting, if Lawrence was in a hurry then maybe he didn't spot him either...but why would he have been? There wasn't a rush to meet up with John, it shouldn't have been a big deal.

"Tried walkin'...ah to the end of the alley...make sure he wasn't lost but uh...t-...to be honest everythin' is jus' all a bit uh...h-...hazy."

"It's fine, are you um...alright?"

"No, but I'll live."

Looking around, you try to figure out a plan. Is Lawrence still in the area? He wouldn't have left without you, right? What about John...what should you do about him? He's getting better but you doubt he'll be 100% any time soon.

What if Lawrence comes back though? Maybe he'll come back around, and if you aren't here then it could be more trouble.

Should you stay put or go look for Lawrence? What should you do with John?
Stay with John and make sure he continues to be unmolested
Stay with John and make sure he's okay. Hell, maybe Lawrence is just circling the block.
You can't just leave John, not the way he is right now.

"Let's just wait here, maybe Lawrence will come around."

John only gives a small nod to this, attempting to keep calm as his eyes dart about. You're thankful for what light the alley is receiving, but you do wish you had a flashlight or similar on you.

"What's been going on? Have you and Sam been able to find us a new place?" You're not sure if you'll get any kind of real answer from him, but talking to John may at least help him come back.

"Sam? Sam...oh yeah...I know who he is...ah, where is he?"

"I don't know, that's why I was asking you."

"Right...right! S-...Sam is uh, he is..."

"Take your time."

As John wracks his jumbled thoughts for the answer you keep continuous looks around for Lawrence, hoping to see him come into sight at any moment.

"Sam is...somewhere, I think with...with Wa-...Warren? What's he doin'...with him though...ah jeez um..."

"Warren, he's that guy who was up front, right?"

"Yeah...him. Offered to uh...to help Sam? I think...I think so...we had some troubles with the other...other place."

"Troubles? Is...is that how you got hurt?"

"Some other group was...uh, was takin' up space there...got defensive when we c-...came up. Tried to...to work out a deal with them...uh, they thought we were some...some other group that they had...had...what's the word...tussled...tussled with."

You look towards his arm, where he has a hasty patch job done.

"Did they shoot you? What about Sam? Is he okay?"

"Sam...uh...black eye but...yeah...yeah he's okay."

If they shot John...you can't imagine how awful that situation was.

"Came back to the uh...the apartments. Told Sam...said to him wasn't good idea. Said it was uh...all we had to work with." John still seems all messed up and jumbled. "Told him...just like with uh...with Edward. Saw him talkin' to those strange...strange folks...tried to tell...tell Sam somethin' was fishy..." John begins to ramble at this point, muttering words not that you can't really understand.

You allow John to talk to himself as you look around again, trying to spot Lawrence. If he just passed by on the street he wouldn't really be able to see you...

Didn't he say that you could wait for him by the motorcycle? That might be an option too...

"Got anythin'...to drink on ya?" John pulls himself out of his senseless talking, rubbing at his neck. "Throat is just...parched as uh...as hell."

"I..I don't, I'm sorry." You still have the wristband on, you could go inside and grab him something but you're not sure if that's a good idea.


You try and consider the options you have right now, noticing that it would be completely dark if not for the lights from the building.

You could try and stick around here still. If you do that then maybe you can try and see about taking care of John's injuries...maybe. Of course you could make him stay here and fetch him something to drink, that may help him too.

Or should you go and wait by the motorcycle? Would it be smart to bring John over there? You would feel bad leaving him though...

What should you do?
Get him standing and steadied, and let's get him moved to the parking lot. This is still a nice enough neighborhood so we should be safe.

And we should probably not help John with his injuries right now, considering how high he must be. We still need to keep our wits about us.
Getting John to the parking lot should be easy enough. This part of town is safe enough, it's not like you have to worry about anyone trying to jump you or anything like that, right?

"Come on, Lawrence told me where we can wait for him...it's not too far. Can you walk?"

"Y-..yeah, just uh..." You help John stand to his feet, waiting to see if he will fall back down again. "Here, you can um...hold on to me if you need to."

John has to lean against you, managing to stumble his way down with help. Walking slowly, you keep an eye out for Lawrence and for cars. One passes by on the street, but it seems like most of the people are back inside.

Including Bower...

You push that out of mind and continue down the street towards the parking lot. On the sidewalk it's easier for John to walk, not stumbling and tripping as bad as he did in the alleyway.

If he wasn't hoped up on who knows what right now, you would offer to take care of John's injuries. Hopefully he can deal with them for now, he seems capable of walking well enough.

"So uh, we came here on this motorcycle-"

"How the uh...the hell did y'all manage to...to get one of those?"

"Um, we're just borrowing it, actually. From a friend of mine..." That sounds pretty weird, doesn't it?

"Long as y'all didn't uh...uh steal it..."

It takes far too long for your liking to reach the parking lot, the cars all still crowded about and packed in close to each other.

"We were um...let's see...uh..." You begin to search for the silver bike, not seeing it where you had originally thought it was. Panic rises in your chest as you look over the rows, not spotting any motorcycle.

"No way...did he drive away? Lawrence wouldn't leave us behind..." You start from the beginning of the lot, leaving John to sit on the curb as you search each row once more.


"Where is it...where's Lawrence..." You feel uncertain as to what you should do now, not having a plan for this. Why would he have left?

"Wait...is uh, is that it?" John calls you over, pointing across the street. Looking at the direction, your eyes fall upon the motorcycle parked around the block instead.

"That's...weird. Why would he have moved it..."

You look back at the cars behind you, trying to search for an answer.


"J-...John? Are um...are tinted windows uh...common?"

"What? Ah well...they're expensive if I uh...if I remember correctly..."

You take slow and careful steps back to the parking lot, looking at a car tucked away with the others. The dark blue color, the dark windows...

Wait, this car isn't the same model though. This is a Mercedes, and you're pretty certain the one that has been following you around is a Lincoln. Making sure there is no one else around you take a quick peek at the dashboard...

A picture of Bower and his wife rests in a small frame dangling from the rear-view mirror.

You instantly pull away and return to John.

Everyone is still inside...if you had to guess there's maybe half an hour or so before the event is over...

Wait, isn't Sharron supposed to be in there? If only you got to see her, instead of that terrible awful-

You need to think of a plan right now.

Lawrence must still be here, the motorcycle is after all. But where should you wait for him...here? You could wait over to where he is parked, but it's a whole lot less discrete. The block it's on looks like a small shopping block, just stores that have closed for the night.

You also have the credit card and your own cash though, if things get too awful then you can call a cab...

Damn, you wish you had found Sharron in there, maybe she would be able to help you.

Course you could always stay here, in the parking lot. Bower is parked over here, but if you hide away enough then there's a good chance he won't be able to see you.

Of course you have to think about John too...

This is so frustrating...what should you do?
Avoid Bower, and remain hidden.
Commit the licence plate to memory and then hide where Bower or his goons won't notice you, but John could get Lawrence's attention.
It would be smart to remain hidden away, on the off chance someone would recognize you. Lawrence would be wise enough to check back here anyways, wouldn't he?

Looking back at the Mercedes, you take a moment to memorize the license plate. You'll write it down later when you get the chance.

You need to keep hidden away, but it should be alright if John is visible. The only one who should recognize him is Lawrence, and if you both hide away then he may not notice you.

"John..." You kneel down beside where he's sitting on the curb. He looks over at you, but it takes him a minute to register that you're talking.

"I need you to stay out here in case Lawrence comes by."

"Where are you goin'?"

"I...I have to hide. My...the guy who um...someone I know is here, and if they see me then um...it might not be good..."

"Alright...yeah, okay. I can stay out here for ya. Where are...uh...where are ya gonna go though?"

"Um..." You look back, seeing that surrounded one end of the parking lot are shrubs and a tree.

"Back there, I think if I hang around the tree it'll cover me fine, and then I can watch out from back there. Will you be fine up here alone?"

"Scared of the dark but ah...what was I gonna say..." John is trying to be funny, or at least snarky to show that he's fine, but his words keep eluding him.

"Er...yeah, I'll be okay. Just ah, keep an eye out on uh...on yourself too."

"I will." You promise him, and John throws you a sideways grin. You're about to go over to your hiding spot, but he calls you back.

"For I uh...forget. When we get outta this uh...this neighborhood..." He pats at his pocket. "I need to show you uh...how to uh use this tonight, understand?"

"Yes sir."

"Not in uniform, no need for the sir."

"Yes s-, alright."


You tuck yourself away, behind the tree and bushes. When you peek out the view is just enough to see where John is sitting and any cars that come or go from the lot, including any of those that pass by on the street.

It's a long and tiring wait, and you worry that John might fall asleep again. There are a few times where it looks like he might just fall over at any moment, but he manages to stay up right.

When the first group of people enter the lot there's a slight rush of fear over the faces you'll see. None of them are recognizable though, and that has never been more of a relief.

Soon the trickle of people turns into a flood, constant groups coming to their cars and driving away. Enough move away for you to spot Bower's car, remaining where it sat before. You can't help but glare at the awful car, wishing it would leave already but at the same time not wanting to see Bower anywhere near you.

The amount of cars left behind has dwindled, only a few scattered here and there. That awful blue Mercedes remains, and you feel anxious.

"-ere he is."

You can barely hear John, but you can see that he is trying to rise up to his feet. Does that mean he sees Lawrence? Maybe he's across the street...either way it would be good to go check.

Assuring that no one is watching you step out from your hiding place and walk over to John.

"Did you see him?"

"Yeah...yeah, pretty sure. Saw him uh...saw him standing at that corner 'ver there." John points to a spot near the motorcycle. You can see the very edge of someone standing around the corner, but you aren't really sure who it could be.

"Are you sure it's him?"

"Don't know anyone else who's uh...who's able to hit their head on the ah, the top of a doorway."

"Okay, um...I guess we can go over there. Here let me help-"

"Nah I ah...I got this..." You watch John stand to his feet, taking every effort that he can to keep steady.

"You should let me hel-"

"I got this missy."

"John ple-"

As he steps off the sidewalk John tumbles to his knees, holding his head.

"Ah just...just hold on a ah...a moment...light headed...dammit....dammit man, c'mon..."

You kneel down beside him, hand on his shoulders.

"I'll just go over there and grab Lawrence...are you sure you're okay?"

"Light headed is all...thirsty as hell too...been worse just ah...j-...just need some proper rest..."

"Oh dear, are you folks alright?" A woman's voice calls down the sidewalk, and as you look up you grow pale.

Bower's Wife.

She's alone, but that doesn't make you feel any better.

The woman is rushing down the sidewalk, the best she can anyways. She does look concerned, and looking past her you can see a small group of people standing outside the event center.

"Ah it's just um...my dad just h-had too much to...to d-drink..."

It's just a woman, why are you so scared?

This is the woman married to the man who hurt you though.

"Oh dear, he looks pale...and he's bleeding!" She stops a few feet away, and you can see John's hand come up to cup his nose.

"S-...shit...I'm fine missy...must have s-...stood up too quickly..." He whispers to you, trying to keep the blood from dripping out.

"That happens to him, dad is fine-"

"My husband is a doctor, I'm sure he wouldn't mind checking him over really quick."

"No! Er...I mean, we couldn't uh...couldn't afford that..." You notice droplets of blood on the sidewalk underneath John's hand. Looking back up, you have to keep from gasping when you see a large man start walking down the sidewalk, talking to a man at his side. He's still two blocks down, and walking rather slow.

"Oh no, don't worry about money. My husband loves helping out the community, and your father looks like he could use some attention, his hands are shaking..."

No, they're shaking because he's high off his ass.

"Are you okay too? You look rather pale, you're shaking a bit too. Is something wrong?"

No you are not okay, your husband is a piece of shit rapist.

"Um..." You glance back over to the motorcycle.

This woman obviously doesn't know who you are, but she is rather concerned about your situation. But...dammit, why did her sick monster of a husband have to start coming down this way? You have like...two or three minutes before his ugly face shows up...

What the hell should you do?
It'll be fine if dad can just... if he can just lie down for a few hours, and then we don't have to worry about fearing some... sadistic psychopath snatching us off the street or paying someone to, just so they could... do stuff to us again.

M-... maybe if we can just get dad to our... brother over there, though.
"D-...Dad j-...j-just needs to lay d-down for a little bit is all..." Your eyes are looking past her, at her husband taking his sweet time down this way.

"Oh no, you look like you could fall at any second, let me just call my husband down to hur-"

"No! No it's f-...fine! I just um..." You look over to the corner and then throw your eyes back to watch your approaching attacker. "I just need to get Dad over there to...to where my...my brother is! He uh...he'll know what to do..."

You stand to your feet, forcing John up. It's too soon for him to stand, but you hook his arm around your shoulder again while his hand holds back the blood. You're too scared to even smell it properly, all of your senses feel overloaded with panic.

"Wait, you shouldn't force yourself!"

"It's okay! We're fine!" You try to keep your voice calm and courteous, but as you see Bower coming ever closer you can't contain your anger. He's only a block away...he's so close...you can't let him get near you...can't let him see you...

"Hold on-"

"C-...Come on Dad..." You are already looking at the corner, keeping your face in that direction. He can't see you, Bower can not see you. "I'm...thanks for the help though..."

You are half carrying and half dragging John to the corner. At this point it doesn't even matter if it's Lawrence standing over there, you just want to be as far as you can get from Bower.

"-what was happening honey?"

That voice makes you sick, but you're thankful that it's getting further away as you continue to walk.

"What's ah...what's wrong?" John mumbles, unable to whisper properly.

"That...man. The one coming this way...that lady's h-husband..." You bite your lip hard as you wait for a car to pass, waiting to cross the street.

"He...he's the one who...who r-...raped me."

And he's standing only a few yards away from you.

John tenses up as you say this, his free hand clenching into a ball.


"Please, c-...can we just get over there? I...I don't want to see h-...him..."

"You better get me...me across the street quick then...m-...missy. I'll...I'll end u-...up..."

"We aren't...we can't do anything...n-...nothing." You're trying to talk about just this moment, but...there's not much you can do against him, is there?

How fucking awful...

You keep your hold on John, crossing over to the street. It's the same motorcycle you guys came on, Minnie's Bowie. But there's no one else on this street...

Wait, what if Bower drives this way? Dammit...

"Let's um...let's go in here..." You direct John to an alley, a small but cleaned up space between the two shops.

You nearly drop John when you spot Lawrence standing near the back, nearly hidden away by the shadows of the buildings.

"H-Hey! We're here!" You try not to yell, only wanting to grab his attention. He looks over, standing at full attention when he sees who it is. Taking another look at the street you decide it would be best if you went inside the alley anyways, for the sake of hiding away till you figure out what's going on.

"Bout uh...bout time we found him." John pulls his hand away briefly, his palm covered in red.

"Are you sure you're fine...?"

"Yeah...yeah. Think I just ah, just knocked myself funny. I'm...used to this..."

You grimace but don't talk any further about it.

Lawrence pulls out a flashlight, illuminating the way for you. Seeing John in his distressed condition, Lawrence takes over the task of holding him up and helps settle him against the wall. Rather then dirt this alleyway is concrete, but that doesn't make the snow any easier to deal with.

"Ah...I'm good now, thanks...thanks Law. Don't happen to have any uh...any water on ya, do you?" Lawrence shakes his head. "Damn..."

"I'll try and get you some soon, I'm sorry-"

"Nah, it's my fault missy. Ain't nothin' for you to feel sorry about."

John's words don't help you feel better about any of this, not with the condition he's in.

"Um, what about you? What happened?" You turned towards Lawrence, making sure to take some checking glances back at John to make sure he doesn't collapse. He's already begun to write an explanation, balancing the flashlight underneath his chin to do so.

I was waiting to go into the alley. There were people on the other side of the fence bringing in things for the party I think, and I didn't want them thinking we were doing anything weird back there.

Guess I look shady as hell on my own though. A cop car pulled up and I was worried about him pulling over and trying to talk to me so I tried walking off. Followed me for a while though, figured he would get off my tail if I went back to the parking lot and rode around for bit, maybe shake him off. There's been a lot of cruisers hanging around though, realized I don't have my license on me either. They like to stop people like me, so I pulled over in the closest place I could. Would have gone to the parking lot but they might have questioned me there, so I needed somewhere to duck into. Hung out in the coffee shop there till it closed, annoyed the owner but I bought his crappy coffee to smooth him over.

There's been a cop parked across the street for a while though, think he just left recently. I was trying to wait for him to go before I went looking for you. The party thing just ended about 10 minutes ago, didn't it? Where's Eric and Sarah?

"It did just end, I mean like maybe...maybe 20 minutes ago? Sarah and Eric headed back during the intermission though. I told them I would go find you. Um...I went back there and found John, but this cop car stopped by too, actually. He let us off with a warning..."

You've never had to worry about police before, this is all new to you.

"Why are they so...like, nosy? I mean, why do you think they would try to pull you over? It's not like you were doing anything illegal." You could justify John being questioned by a cop, if only because of the state he was in, but why Lawrence? Wasn't he just standing around? That's not a crime...

We don't look like we belong here. There's certain parts of town that they like to keep 'clean'. They say that no one is allowed to camp out anywhere, but there's kind of this unspoken rule.

People like us, bums, are always pushed out of nice places. Even if they're just minding their own business there are some people who don't like the image they bring. They'll get pushed out to the crappy parts of town. Course sometimes you'll see groups busted there, but no where near as often in these kind of places. Ever wondered why you don't see people laying about? It's safe here, and that's because they always push out those who don't belong.

"They wouldn't actually arrest you just for walking around here, right? There's no way they could do that..."

There might be the occasional cop who'll find anything he can to pin on you and bring you to the slammer for the night, but most of them kind of threaten you with that instead. Course when you look like you belong on a wanted posted like me then you tend to get stopped a lot more often.

After you read this Lawrence prepares another note for you.

I'm sorry you had to panic like that. Should have planned on you getting out early. Are you guys alright though? What about John, he looks like a mess.

"It's okay, and he says he's fine..." You look back and see John give a bloodied thumbs up.

"But um..." You think back to Bower being there, but you decide not to mention it for now. John got angry, and you don't want Lawrence riled up either.

"But...what are we supposed to do now?"

I didn't expect us to get messed up like this. I still need to figure out what's going on with the group, but talking here might look suspicious.

Right...two men in an alley with a girl...

John looks pretty bad right now, even if he doesn't want to I think he needs to rest.

"You're right, it would be good for him to recover a bit. But uh..."

Looking at where the motorcycle is parked, you realize that the three of you can't all fit on there. Hell, you barely fit on there with Lawrence.

You begin to think about yours options...

You have cash and the credit-card, you could try to find a bus or a taxi for John, but should he ride alone? Should you send him off and you ride with Lawrence? You two can head over to Faraway's, but should John go there too?
Admit that it feels wrong to intrude on Mr. Faraway like this, but it's the only place we know of where we can safely bring John. It'd also take us out of this neighborhood.

We can take a cab with John so he doesn't... throw up or something.
John shouldn't go alone, not in his condition.

"I think we should take him to Mr. Faraway. He can rest up and it should be safe enough for you guys to talk there. I just hope Mr. Faraway doesn't mind that I'm uh...bringing another person..."

Like a cat bringing injured birds to a porch step...

Sounds like our best option. Better then hanging around in an alley like a bunch of dealers.

"Can we get a taxi this late though?"

Yeah, probably need to call one instead of trying to wait for one to pass, but we're in the nice part of town so there should be more then a few willing to stop by

"Call...oh, I think Sarah said there's a phone in the event center I could use. Maybe they'll still be open...ah, I gotta hurry over there!" You start to rush back to the street. "I'll be right back, you can stay here!"

Peering out, making sure the coast is clear, you rush out to the sidewalk and down the street. While you run you take a quick look over to the parking lot.

That damn man is standing next to his car, talking and laughing with his friend from earlier.


Didn't mom mention that there were a few times when he didn't come visit you alone?
And then when he was...was done that night, he was talking about...bragging about the terrible things he did with someone. What if...that's one of his friends...

Wait, what was he talking on? You didn't have a phone in your room...then again, that bastard is rich...isn't he? It looks like he can afford nice things, maybe he even has one of those...what are they called...mobile phones? The ones you can take everywhere?

You turn your attention back to the building.

Thinking about anything with that men makes you retch. It's hard, but you ignore him for the time being. You need to get over there before they lock up.


When you arrive, out of breath and panting, a man and woman are already starting to lock up.

"W-Wait...!" You try to get your words out calmly, trying to not scare them. "I...can I please use the phone?"

"Ah, we're wrapping up for the night I'm afraid." The man is the one from earlier, the one who was letting people in.

"Please, it's an emergency. My dad is sick right now, I need to call a taxi down to get us home."

"Oh uh..."

"Let her use it. There's a phone up front, we'll just have to lock the door again."

"Alright, come on in."

The woman gives you a smile while the door is unlocked.

They lead you to the phone over by a desk, and you have to take the time to look through a heavy phone book to find a service. As they put you on hold you notice that the two people are looking at you.

How out of place do you look right now? They're dressed like the other helpers were, but even then there's still this aura of...clean. Even if they aren't as wealthy as the guests today they have homes to go home too.


"Yes...um, there's a coffee shop across the street...we'll be waiting there...thanks!" You hang up the phone, securing your ride.

You're led back outside and you thank the two for allowing you access to the phone.

"It's no problem. I hope your dad gets to feeling better." The woman waves you off as you rush down the street again. You offer her a wave back, but her words sting for some reason.

You've been calling John 'dad' like it's no big deal, but you can't help but remember your own right now.

As you pass by the parking lot, you're more then relieved to see that awful Mercedes is gone. Now if you could never see it or the man who drives it ever again...

You return to the alley, Lawrence talking to John about something you can't exactly eavesdrop on.

"Okay, they said um...someone should be here in uh...in fifteen minutes. I think we need to wait outside though..."

I'll wait with you till it arrives. I'll drive back and meet you at Faraway's

Standing on the sidewalk, you feel rather exposed, though only because of what Lawrence told you about the police. John is desperately attempting to clean up the blood above his lip and on his chin, but this is proving difficult at the moment. The entire time he's muttering and chewing himself out, and while you feel bad for him there's not too much you feel like you could say that would help.

"If you get there before us, will you let Mr. Faraway know about what's going on?"

"Who is this guy ah...anyway? We're not bout to intrude into uh...into someone's house, are we?"

"No, it's his business."

"What kinda place does he ah...does he run?"

"A um....a gentleman's club..."

"...I feel like there are several questions I should ask, but if y'all think it's safe then so be it."

The bright yellow car can not pull up soon enough, and you feel the cash and card in your pocket. You don't like seeing the amount you have diminish, but you would also feel guilty about using Eric's card.

"Okay Lawrence, we'll meet you over there." You say as the taxi comes to pull up next to you. He waves you off before going over to the motorcycle, starting it up and pulling out.

You help John into the cab, greeting the driver as you do so.

"Thanks for coming out this way."

"Not a problem, ma'am." An older man, but he seems nice enough. He pulls away from the curb and starts down the street slowly.

"And where am I taking you two tonight?"

You're about to speak, but you think about the situation. If it was just John then maybe it wouldn't be such a big deal, but would this guy question your choice of location for the night?

You can either tell this man to take you directly to the gentleman's club or ask him to drop you off a few blocks away instead...which one should you do?
Claim to live just a bit down the street from... the place that used to be a woman's shelter, but now it's just men coming and going all night.
It would be safer to drop us off a few blocks away. If he ever betrays us, he'll only have a general location
"Um...can you take me to uh, what's the street name...it's a bit past Patterson..."

"Patterson? You're heading over there?"

"Y-Yeah, I live down the ways from um...from this place that used to be a woman's shelter." You grimace and try to sell your lie further. "But now it's uh...just a place for a bunch of greasy men to go in and out of. The whole street is like that now..."

"I hear ya. It's a shame, what everything is turning into." The driver begins to follow the route, and you sigh a breath of relief. You look over to John, leaned up against the seat and his head tilted down.

"You good...?" You whisper, not wanting the man up front to notice that John isn't in good condition.

"Yeah...I'm just restin' my...my eyes."

"Seems like everywhere you look now days, nice respectable places are practically turning into...into red light districts!" The driver continues talking, but you aren't really sure what a 'red light' district is, though you can make a slight guess.

"This used be such a nice, wholesome town! Then we allowed those...those Asians in and now look! Hardly anyone out there with a lick of sense, thinking they can just go out and do what they want when they want!"

"Y-...yeah." While you feel yourself agreeing with the second part of his speech, you can't help but dwell on the first part. Asians? What do they have to do with anything?

"Anyways, I would make sure you keep your pop close by with you. Did you hear what happened last week? A girl just a bit younger then you went missing. It's crazy, she was walking down the street with her mother and then she was just snatched up and carried away by a...a chink!"

...you don't know what the word means, but it sounds really harsh. John flinches when the man says that too, maybe you'll have to ask him what that means later. For now, you stay silent as the driver goes on a spiel about how this place used to be nice and wholesome, how there was hardly any crime and certainly no drugs at all, but then that began to change once all the gangs and underground rings popped up. You aren't sure how true any of this and only humor the man by making the occasional agreement.

None of this stuff makes sense to you, but maybe you'll need to ask about it later.


"This right? I don't see any apartments." The taxi comes to a stop, and while you can't see the Queen Bees from here you do recognize this as being close by.

"Y-...Yeah. I mean, we live kinda tucked away but this is close enough." John has fallen asleep during this time and you do your best to wake him up.

"Ah, I bet you're in those Sherwood buildings."

"Y-...yeah. Come on J-...dad." John's head shoots up, and looks about in a confused dazed.

"Where we..."

"Almost home, s-...silly! Ah, what do I uh, owe you?"

"Let's see...'ccording to my meter here I need about forty-one dollars from you."

"Oh...man. Okay, uh..." You pull out the cash from your pocket, trying to count it out. You pull out two twenties and a five and hand them over with a heavy heart.

"Thank you. Can I assume I get to keep the change?"

"Uh...y-...sure." Do you tip drivers? Whatever, what gets you back quickly.


The taxi drives away, leaving you supporting John up on the sidewalk. Bars and...lounges? What are you supposed to do there...anyways, bars and lounges line the street across from you, an occasional restaurant dotted between them. Those bright neon signs that don't look appealing at all...

It wouldn't be so bad if the streets weren't so busy. Mostly men, some walking alone and some in groups, passing by, entering and leaving buildings, talking loudly....most smelling like booze.

"Let's hurry..." You're really talking to yourself as you direct John down the path. It's hard to, but you attempt to keep to yourself as people pass by. At one point John bumps shoulders with a man on accident.

"Hey! Fuckin'...watch where you're walkin'! Come back and apologize!"

"I'm sorry s-sir, dad isn't feeling too well..." You don't stop walking but you offer up the words for John.

"Big man, makin' his girl make up for his sorry ass-"

You don't stop walking and take John down the streets, around the corner, not stopping till you see Faraway's place again.

"We have to go through the alley. You holding up okay?"

"Just need a drink at this point. Might be ah...all I need."

A beat up and dirty police cruiser passes by on the street, and once it leaves you duck into the alley.

You knock on the door frantically, not stopping till you hear someone unlocking it from the other side.

"And...there you are." Faraway is standing at the door, looking down at the two of you. Behind him, down the hall, Lawrence is trying to look over his shoulder.

"Hello...I um...I had to bring someone else..."

"So I was told. Come on, get out of the cold."

Faraway ushers the two of you in, leading to his office. You greet Lawrence, who looks solaced at your arrival.

You help seat John to the couch, taking a good look at him in the light.

God...he really is a wreck right now.

"And this is John, yes?" Faraway asks, bringing over a pitcher and empty glass.

"Yes sir, that's me." John is more then happy to accept the water poured out for him, nearly choking himself on it as he drinks.

"Careful now. Of all the things that happen here I would rather not add drowning to the list." Faraway doesn't seemed too concerned about another person being brought along, but there is a falter in his face when he notices the dried blood beneath his nose.

"Thank ya...throat's been burnin; like hell. You ah...your accent, you a southern?"

"Georgia boy, born and raised till about fifteen. Family moved up here and then I've been stuck ever since. You sound like you're not from around here either."

"Came up from the south too, but I ain't no uh...ain't no peach."

"Will it be alright if John stays the night here?" You break up their conversation, wanting to make sure that everything is on the up and up.

"I don't mind. Course you keep bringing these men down here I might run out of room. Then again I could always start bringing them to my house." Faraway muses, and you aren't completely sure you understand.

This is the same guy who had a wife at some point...right?

"Ah Delilah, dear. Help me for a moment, will you? I asked for our chef to make two plates for our gentlemen friends. Will you help me bring them back?"

"Oh, yeah. Of course."

"Excellent, here. Follow me, and we'll be right back boys."

You follow Faraway out, walking down the halls. Before you enter the kitchen Faraway turns to speak to you.

"Now, this is a bit personal..."

"What is it?"

"Your friend there, John. He likes the uh..." Faraway taps the side of his nose as he says this. "He rather likes some snow, doesn't he?"

"He um...he's a veteran. I think he has some back problems because of it and sometimes he goes kinda...not loopy but um...sad. John likes to take something called uh...oxy?"

"Oh dear...I could recognize that he was on something. I'm glad it's not coke but...well. I'll keep an eye on him tonight. We've dealt with our fair share of those type of affairs."

"From...the girls or the customers?"

"Both. It's a rather hard life for most of the girls, and the customers do it because they have nothing better to do with their time and money."

That's pretty awful, isn't it?


Even though he asked for help, Faraway carries back both plates. John picks at the chicken and rice while Lawrence finishes his in a few short minutes.

While the men eat Faraway asks you about the event.

"It was uh...pretty boring, actually."

"I never have fun at them. Did you spot Sharron?"

"I didn't see her..."

"I don't believe she was presenting anything this year. If she was it would probably just be about the plays she helps some of the local schools put on... Anyways, I'm glad you made it back. I'll be seeing Sharron tomorrow for dinner, actually. I will make sure to ask her about that job for your friend."

"Thank you."

"Now, John. I have a spot for these two, but if you don't mind I would like to have you sleep in here. Would love to hear about where you're from, and maybe we can work on getting you patched up."

Lawrence looks at you confused and you imitate Faraway, tapping the side of your nose.

"Whatever you say, Mr. Faraway."

"Please, call me Al."

"Uh...Mr. Faraway?" You pipe up again, feeling bad for interrupting them. "Is Christian going to be in the room again?"

"I'm...afraid not." Faraway's face is somber as he says this. "It seems like his mother hadn't been able to pay the bills for the last few months...child services finally came by today. Poor girl has been a mess."


"Anyways, you should head to bed. I imagine it's been a long evening, and John here would probably like some privacy while we try to get him right side up."

"Er...right. Thank you, for everything Mr. Faraway."

"It's the least I can do."


You aren't sure how the morning will play out, but for now it would be nice to not have to think about this evening for a little bit. Pulling out the key you go back to the room you slept in. Passing by the door where you had slept weeks before, there is a slight crying coming through the wood.

She must really miss her son, you can't blame her for that.

The room is the same as you left it, including the boy's cot. There's a tinge of sadness at the thought but you try to push it away.

It's been a long evening, and you're more then happy to remove your boots. You really wish you could change clothes, put on some pajamas, but this will have to do for now.

Lawrence is quick to flop to the blankets, kicking off his shoes and stretching out.

Is there anything you want to do before bed?
Ask Lawrence if we should feel guilt for her son
Mentally go through a checklist to make sure we're safe, then huddle up with Lawrence for comfort and reassurance.

... tell him we wish the ride hadn't ended, at least then nothing would have gone wrong.

Do you mean sorry, or actually feel as if it's our fault the CPS took away Christian?
feel as if it's our fault the CPS took away Christian
It wasn't really all that much, all you did was attend a party but you kind of feel exhausted. No thanks to seeing...

God, what if he had seen you though? What if he had been right there with his wife?

Don't think about that right now.

You're safe here. Safe away from that man.

Bower has no idea what you look like right now, he has no clue where you're staying. Faraway and the girls would never let him touch you...
John wouldn't let any man like that hurt you.

And Lawrence...even with just him you would be safe, right?

"I'm going to sleep with you down here." You seat yourself next to Lawrence on the floor, feeling the difference between the cot and wooden boards instantly.

"Er, if you don't mind it anyways..."

"It's fine."

Quick to cuddle up next to him, you take solace that if you can't at least try to find a comfortable position in the cot then you can at least rest your head against Lawrence's chest.

"Um, I wis-"

"-told you not to put your hands there!" A woman's voice from the hall stops you, and though her voice is muffled behind the wall and door you can still hear her words.

"I'm paying for the night! I can damn well touch you where I want!"

"She said she didn't want you to touch her there! You have to respect her rules!" Sounds like there's another woman with her, the two arguing against a man.

"You shut it too, you had no problem with i-"

"I didn't, but she does! If she doesn't want it then she doesn't want it!"

"Who cares about that? You're a whore earning money, and I'm gonna get what I paid for!"

Their conversation sounds heated and though you aren't involved you can't help but feel afraid. It's almost like listening to parents arguing, but there's something else there...

She doesn't want to do whatever it is he's complaining about, and he wants to force her to.

Lawrence sits up and wraps an arm around you, but the two of you continue to listen to the commotion outside.

"Excuse me-....-need to-...please leave." Faraway's voice joins in to the conversation, though it sounds like he is much calmer about the situation.

"I paid, I'm getting what I-"

"If you don't leave on your own, then I'm afraid I'll have to force you out."

"What are you going to do fag-"

There's a silence that cuts the man off followed by something crashing to the floor, and you worry for Faraway and the girls outside.

"Do you think they're okay..."

Lawrence is looking towards the door, unsure if he should get up to help.

"-thank you Mr. Faraway."

"Sorry that it had to happen..."

"It's alright ladies, please go clean yourselves up and take a moment."

The girls mumble something else but soon enough you can no longer hear them talking and the normal lull takes over.

That made your heart race, but you remind yourself that it's fine, Faraway knows how to take care of his girls. Not to mention that it had nothing to do with you, you just heard that happen...you weren't going to get hurt either way.

You can't help but feel sorry for the working girls though.

This feeling grows when you look back towards the empty cot.

"I feel bad for his mom..." You say as you settle back down. "Having your kid taken away...but Mr. Faraway said she hadn't paid bills..."

Does that mean he wasn't living with out heat or water or electricity? Even if it wasn't winter you can't imagine how terrible that would be. Is he better off getting taken away like that? You were mostly asleep but he seemed pretty glad to see his mother, she must have treated him well enough anyways.

"You don't think it's my fault, do you?"

"What? Why do...you think...that?"

"It seems like bad things always follow me, maybe I'm just bad luck..."

Lawrence hugs you close as you sulk about this, his hand coming up to move the hair our of your face.

"Not bad...luck. Have been...good luck...for me."

"No I haven't, you've gotten hurt and had to move a lot because of me. Not to mention what I've put the rest of the group through...I'm like, the opposite of a lucky rabbit's foot."

"Nope. You're...mo chuisle." You can't help but grin as a few quick kisses are pressed against your forehead. "Very...lucky."

"Maybe it would be easier to have one of those rabbit's feet instead."

"Not as...cute though."

You like the compliments, but at the same time they are hard for you to accept.

"I'm sorry your ride got cut short today. I would have liked to keep riding, it was fun." You try to settle yourself down, prepare yourself for sleep.

"At least that way, if we never got off, then nothing bad would happen..."


You can't remember any of your dreams when you wake up, but you feel restless. Unease? Anxious? Not quite those, but just...antsy, maybe. There's still chatter coming from outside, meaning that the place is still running. Must have been asleep for only a few hours then.

Untangling yourself from his arm, Lawrence remains sleeping. You can't really figure out what's wrong with you. You're just kind of...what exactly? Kinda buzzing maybe, but it's not really that either.

You're kind of scared to, but you need to go to the restroom and you would rather not wake Lawrence up for that. Faraway told you it would be okay...it'll be fine.

Carefully you tip-toe to the door, trying to avoid the loudest floorboards.

It's louder in the hallway, and you can hear the mixing of male and female voices. Occasionally someone comes out, but no one gives you any trouble.

When you finish in the bathroom bathroom, you notice that you still have that weird...feeling still. You're sure you've felt it before, it's strange...

Stepping out, you're taken by surprise to hear crying. A few doors down, at the end of the hall, one of the girl's is leaned up against the wall crying to herself.

You're not sure why she's crying, and you aren't really sure what you would say to her. Should you try to talk to her or mind your own business?
Talk to her
Make sure the hallway is safe, that we are, then slowly approach her and ask if she's okay.
You look back to make sure no one else is coming down this way before walking towards her.

"Excuse me..." You're not even sure if she would even want you to talk to her. "Are you okay...?"

Looking up at you, mascara trailing down her cheeks, she looks surprised to see you.

"What are you doing in here? You're just a kid."

"Mr. Faraway is letting me stay here, I'm um...well, I'm homeless." You hate admitting that last part, but no matter how you spin it that's the truth. You really don't have a home.

"That Faraway...he's always so strict with us." She wipes away at her cheek as she talks, smiling a bit. "But he's got a soft spot for girls, even if it doesn't seem like it."

You wish you had something to offer her, to let her clean her face up.

"I'm alright kid, just...just adult problems is all."

"I'm an adult." You say this looking at the ground, trying to sneak it in without sounding too bratty.

"Yeah? And I guess that tall guy with the uh, with the messed up cheek I've seen walking around, I bet he's your boyfriend too." She's joking, but you can't look her in the eyes at this.

"That's Lawrence, he's my friend."

"Ah yeah, I think I heard someone talking about Lainey giving him a big smooch. Thought he was a customer, then again if she drinks enough she'd probably try to do the same to Faraway, and we all know how that turns out." She's giggling a bit at this, but the memory of what that woman did with Lawrence still makes you feel weird.

"Um...I'm De-...Bunny, by the way."

"Faith, nice to meet you." She looks down at the makeup on her hand now, wiping it onto her outfit. You would say it looks like a nightgown, but it hardly covers anything. You're fairly certain she's not wearing a bra either, and her brunette hair is done up all nice. Or it was nice earlier, now it's kind of falling out of it's teased up-do.

"So uh, are you sure you're alright? I know I heard some yelling out here earlier, that was kind of scary...I don't know how you girls can like...stand up to those guys."

"Most of them aren't assholes, just lonely. That or they just want to pass the time and feel important cause they got a bunch of chicks by their side. Most of them are willing to respect a girl's boundaries too. Course once in a while..." Faith's face twists up at the memory of previous times, and you can only imagine what it's like. "Faraway does a pretty good job at keeping things settled though. I could hear that man from the dressing room though, what a tool."

You can't help but notice that Faith has some bruises on her wrists and neck. They're faint, but you have a feeling that they are being covered up by makeup.

"Was uh...did you have a bad customer tonight?"

"No more then the usual. Haven't made me cry in a long time. This..." She points at her face. "This is from my boyfriend. I mean...kind of. Haven't seen him in a few days. I...I guess I miss him..."

You doubt that.

"But I'm also just...I feel stuck. This isn't who I wanted to be, it really isn't. And now I just...can't escape it." Faith sniffs and rubs at her eye, straightening up. "Don't let yourself get caught in this, okay? Even if you think that you're just going to do it for a little bit or that you can just stop whenever you want....just don't even try this life."

"Um...what....what if it's the only thing for me? I don't really feel like I can um...I can do much better for myself...I mean, I'm already living on the streets..."

"You're young and you're not hopeless. It's gonna be tough, but you can get out of all this."

You appreciate her words, but there's also a feeling that she's talking more past the situation you're in.

"Go on and head to bed. There's not much good you can do right now awake, and I've got another customer in five minutes. I need to go clean myself up. Don't think there's too many guys that are a fan of the 'crying whore' look." Faith smiles are you more, but the happiness is only in her smile.

There's that awful word again.


You're a whore too

"I uh...I hope you have a better night..."

"Not sure if that's possible, but...I'll try. For you."

Faith straightens out her nightgown and you notice that in her free hand she's clutching an unmarked bottle of pills.

"Need someone to walk you back? These halls can get kinda creepy."

"Um, sure. That would be nice."

You don't say anything else, but it is nice to walk back with someone.

"Ah, figures he would put you up in here. Your friend in there too?"

"Yeah, he's there."

"That's good. Maybe he can keep you warm then." Once again she's joking, but there's truth in her words.


"Hope you can sleep on those things. First night I did my whole body just felt stiff."

"It's been....yawn...fine."

"Ah look at me, keeping you up. You're tired, go on and get some sleep."

"Yes ma'am."

"I'm no ma'am, but I appreciate that anyways."

You tell Faith good night before entering the room, locking it behind.

Lawrence has spread out, taking up most of the space. With a lot of effort and pushing you try to make yourself room again, but Lawrence is a big guy. For you, anyways...

You're still not all that tired though. There's enough light coming in from the cracks in the door, and sitting in the dark enough lets you adjust your eyes. You decide to pace around the room for a bit, try and tire yourself out. Walking between the boxes, your foot kicks at a balled up piece of paper, the one Lawrence threw at you.

Too curious for your own good, you pick up the paper and carry it closer to the light. You unfold it slightly, just enough to read some of the words.

-Mom I'm sor-

-never want things to tur-

-ad hate me?-

-iss her so much-

-eel like I'm doing something wron-

It looks like a draft of Lawrence's letter to his parents. He must not have realized which sheet of paper he ripped out.

Looking back, you can still see that Lawrence is fast asleep, his snores giving away his oblivion to everything else. It would be tough, but you could read this letter through the little light shown through the door.

That feels wrong, but you doubt Lawrence would tell you the things written inside anyways. Not to mention the fact that you're just...just too curious.

Do you want to read the letter?
We already feel sorry enough for ourselves, and Lawrence keeps acting like things don't get to him. If intruding on his privacy is what it takes to find out how he's feeling, then so be it...
>Lawrence is a big guy. For you,

you cheeky fuck

>Do you want to read the letter?

Let's read about the inner turmoil that he won't share with us
You don't feel good about doing this, you are trespassing onto something private of his. Lawrence isn't cold and emotionless, but it's obvious that he tries to hide things that bother him. If you had to guess he does this so you don't feel bad, but doesn't he realize that by not opening up with you it makes you feel...childish? Not exactly worthless, but like you aren't able to help him out as much as he helps you. He's a shoulder for you to lean on, someone you can cry to, and you can't offer him the same luxury back.

"Sorry about this," You whisper to yourself, unfolding the paper with slow careful motions as to not wake him up. The lined paper is covered in words, whole sentences crossed out and rewritten. It looks like he had started it off like a letter only to have it delve into rambling. Piecing together the words left intact, you can make out make out what Lawrence wanted to write.

Mom, I'm writing this to you because I'm either too much of a coward to see you face to face or because I have done something terrible and can never come home again.

I guess I've already done something terrible at home though, but I'm not man enough to come and try to fix things, so I guess it's both. I would ask if Dad still hates me, but I doubt you'll have a place to send a letter back even if you wanted to. It may be hard to believe, but I never wanted things to turn out the way they did.

After leaving home, I've been nothing but a failure. I thought I could find Michele and bring her back. I thought I could scratched out words make our family a family again.

I'm so sorry you have to hear it this way, but Michele has died.

I couldn't even find her soon enough, I couldn't bring your daughter home. My sister is gone, my best friend

I miss her so much

Mom I'm so sorry, I'm sorry that I'm such a fuck up

I'm homeless a bum nothing but a nuisance. I cant even take care of myself
this part is crossed out, but you can read it through the lines god help me, i have even tried to kill myself

you probably already do but please dont hate me mom ive done things you told me to never do got involved with things i never should have. i should have known better i dont know what's wrong with me

i always feel like I'm doing something wrong, i'm certain that I am

i cant even take care of a girl without fucking that up

she's relying on me, and ive already there's more words scratched out, but it looks like most of them are just repeated of 'fucked up' and similar phrases

There are more crossed out sentences underneath this, most of them too marked out for you to read properly

I don't know why she clings to me or why she say she says she loves me. I don't want to have her stuck with me. I don't want her to feel bad about the things she does or to have to ask if it's okay. I want her to do better then what I can offer.

But I also don't want to be alone

I feel selfish

I'm sorry that I've messed up so much, Mom.

The note is crumbled between your hands and hidden away into your pocket. Walking with slow and careful steps you make your way back to where Lawrence lays asleep.

The paper weighs so heavily in your pocket, and a conflicting notion rises from it.

Why does he hide all of this away from you? Does he feel like he's not supposed to show these kind of emotions? Are all men like that? Why is okay for a girl to cry and say what's bothering them, but not guys? Even when you were in school it was like that. If you or one of the other girls cried then everyone gathered around to try and figure out what's wrong. If a boy cried then he was told to man up, that he shouldn't let things upset him. You never gave that notion a second thought, but it's a rather awful thing to teach them, isn't it?

Lawrence's snores stop and his arm reaches out, feeling for someone who isn't laying there any more. He leans up, yawning and trying to see in the darkness.

"What's...wrong? You...okay?"

You can't help but think about what Lawrence might going through, the pain he's facing alone.

Should you even try to talk to him about the things you read, or let it slide and forget about it?
Forget about it, asking Lawrence about the contents would further complicate the situation
There's not really any way to broach the subject without mentioning the letter, is there? Just tell him we were restless and push him back down so we can huddle up to him for warmth and comfort.

... he knows he doesn't have to keep his emotions from us though, right? It feels like all we do is slap him in the face with ours. He... he doesn't have to keep squeezing his into a ball and pretend it's not there until it explodes.
"Are you okay?" Your words slip out easily, confusing Lawrence. You don't want him to know you read his letter so you won't bring it up, but you do wish there was a good way for you to talk about what's bothering him. Moving back to the floor, you push Lawrence down with a gentle hand.

"I'm fine, I was just kind of restless." You still feel that way, but you're going to do your best to ignore it and try to get some sleep. Lawrence takes that answer easily enough and you rest your chin on his chest, looking back up at his face.

"But I still want to know if you're okay. I um...I always tell you when things are wrong with me and how I'm feeling but..." You take the time to figure out how to word this, how to keep the fact that you read some of his most private words hidden. "I don't think you ever get to like, do the same, you know?"

It feels strange, coming at this from the other side. Lawrence looks surprised by this too, and you hope that he doesn't suspect anything. Every move you make seems to cause the paper in your pocket to crinkle and ring out your guilt.

"I'm okay." That's not an answer you want to hear. Of course you want Lawrence to be alright, but you know that he's dealing with a storm inside.

"You know, it's alright to tell me when you're not feeling too good. I um...I may not understand it all completely...but I don't want you to suffer alone. Being a good um...a good g-girlfriend means like...listening to your problems and stuff, right? I want to do that, especially since there's like, not a lot else I can really do to help you."

You're given another kiss on the forehead, and though Lawrence has a small smile on his face there's the underlying hints of sadness. Why do people smile like that when they aren't really okay? It just makes it harder to tell what's wrong.

"Am fine. Just...tired."

"Of course you are, you're always running around. Always doing stupid stuff to get hurt."

"No, mean...tired like..." Lawrence can't come up with the word to express what he means, but you feel like you might understand anyways. Kind of.

"Maybe one day you won't have to feel like that, and everything will be alright." You wish there was more that you could do to help, but of course the solution eludes you. But perhaps it's not so bad that you don't have all the answers, it doesn't seem like the adults do either.

"Go to...sleep now."

"I'm tryin-"

Both of you jump as the door swings open, Faraway entering in a panic. He's about to speak when he looks down at where the two of you lay. You realize that the situation doesn't look any good and do your best to give him some space as Lawrence sits up.

"W-What's wrong M-Mr. Faraway?"

"I need your help Lawrence, quick. One of my girls, I think she was slipped something in her drink and she's not handling it well. Can you help me get her to my car?"

Lawrence jumps up to action and you scramble to your feet to follow behind them.

"Shouldn't you call an ambulance?" You ask, Faraway opening up one of the 'working' rooms. Two women are standing around another girl sitting on the couch, her limbs twitching and her eyes unfocused and glazed over.

"Mr. Faraway, she won't look over at us anymore!" One of the girls says as she moves her hand in front of her face. "She won't respond to her name either..."

"Oh god...is she gonna be okay? C'mon Alex...say somethin'...!" The other girl has already been brought to tears, tasked with holding her up right.

"I'm going to pull my car up front. Lawrence, please carry her out from the alley and meet me outside." Faraway rushes out of the room, and you look towards the table pushed aside. There are several cups on the table, one of them knocked over and the liquor spilt out. Lawrence carefully scoops the girl up in his arms, holding her head up.

"Careful with her!"

"Don't let her drop...!"

The girls flock about him as he starts to carry the woman out, and you can't help but follow.

The doors are opened for him and all three of you follow him to the alley, waiting near the street for Faraway's car to pull up. He steps out, car still running, and opens the back doors.

"Here, set her back here...come with me, will you? I'd like some help getting her back out- Oh! Girls!" Faraway turns to the two who came with you, allowing Lawrence to set the woman in the backseat. "We have an hour or so left but please go ahead and close up. If anyone complains go ahead and offer them a refund, talk to Alice about it and she'll help out."

"Yes sir-"

"Please make sure Alex is fine!"

"I'll do everything I can, now please go let the others know."

You stay as the two rush back inside and watch as they try to situate Alex in the seat.

"Can't let her head fall back...if she vomits she could choke...try to get the buckle around her..."

John is inside, and you imagine that once everything is closed up the girls will end up going home.

Do you want to stay with John or try to go with them to the hospital?
Get ready to join them, but decide against it because it'd mean risking getting spotted with Lawrence.

... and at a hospital of all places. Bower could have... friends there. Other doctors.
Stay with John
Ready to ask to come along by instinct, ready to follow them where ever they may go, you end up stopping yourself.

You aren't supposed to go out in public with Lawrence, that's how you will get recognized. It pains you, knowing that you'll have to limit yourself further with him, but it's better then the alternatives. It's better then you get caught or him getting hurt.

They'll be going to a hospital on top of that. Bower is a doctor, or used to be a 'normal' kind anyways, and mom said he brought his 'friends' along to come help. What if one of them was there and recognized you? Even if the chance is small, it just doesn't seem like a good idea to go with them.

"I'll...I'll stay here with John-"

"Damn, I forgot about you two. Ah let me think..." Faraway closes the door once Alex is secured in and begins to think. He's stressed, but you feel like this is not the first time he's dealt with this kind of situation before.

"I could let you stay here but...dammit, I can't afford to let people see someone other then me come and go from here when I'm supposed to be closed. If they catch me again I'll get fined into bankruptcy, and that's not even taking into consideration I have a young girl in a place like this...ah, here."

Faraway goes around to the driver's seat and fiddles with his key ring before placing one in your hand.

"Do you remember where I live?"

"I think so, yeah."

"Alright dear, this is the key to my house. Head out there when you're ready but try to make sure no one sees you leaving from here, and absolutely make sure you leave before it's busy outside."

"What happens if someone sees me leaving here?"

"I could just get into more trouble then I have time to explain- I need to get Alexandra to the hospital. Please take care of yourself." Faraway is already getting into the car as he says this, Lawrence getting into the front seat. He gives you a look, one that you can read as;

Be careful

You grip the house key tightly in your hand and nod, watching them drive away before scrambling back inside.

The halls that were once empty now have girls walking in and out, some escorting men out. You can't help but feel nervous at seeing so many men in one spot, you freeze up on the spot.

It's...fine. These are just...guys.

Just go to the office...hurry and you'll be fine.

As you push past the people walking about you keep your eyes on the ground, but you can tell that people are giving you strange looks. You can't enter the office soon enough, feeling safe even though it's only a door keeping you out from them.

Inside, a woman stands at the desk. Faraway mentioned a girl named Alice in charge, right? She greets you but continues to count out money. On the couch John is still asleep, oblivious to everything around him.

"You doin' alright?" Alice says, a girl coming into the room to bring her a short stack of cash. She takes it, writes down something on another paper, and adds it to the other pile.

"Me? I'm um...I'm fine. But is uh...sorry, I shouldn't ask..."

"Kind of scary, isn't it?"


"I wish I could say this is the first time something like this happened. Usually it's from the girl doin' it to herself, but a customer doin' it? Jesus...what did he think was goin' to happen..." Alice's face twists up at the thought. "Bastard...I hope Faraway gave him what he deserved."

"Do you think she will be okay though?"

"Maybe...I really can't tell. It wouldn't be the first time we had to deal with this kind of thing though..."

You decide to let Alice focus on her work, figuring it's important for her to put all her attention on the money.

Looking back at John, you can see that he's getting much needed sleep. You aren't sure how he will be if you wake him up right now, but it might be better to get to Faraway's house as soon as possible.

Should you try and let him sleep as long as possible, or try to get him up and leave as soon as possible?
Give him a few more minutes, we can calm down a bit ourselves and maybe most of the men will have left. Maybe we can time it so we leave with Alice?
We should try to leave ASAP.
I have been called to help my mother unit with a last minute fourth of July event in my hometown three hours away. I will attempt to get an update out before I leave but otherwise I will be out of commission for today.
Ah dammit, mother unit told me the wrong time so I need to leave ASAP ;_; I will see about getting an update written tonight when everything is done. I'm sorry about this being so sudden!
Sooner then later would be optimal for leaving, but you don't like being out in the hallway with all of those men, not to mention that they will all be out on the streets at the same time. If you had to guess then John needs as much sleep as he can get right now anyways. If you can, it would be nice to leave when Alice does.

You decide to sit on floor in front of the couch, ready to wake up John when needed. Hoping that it doesn't seem creepy, you watch as Alice does her work. It looks like she is handling it fairly well, different girls coming and going to bring her either cash or papers.

"Is that...hard to do?" You ask her, watching as she counts another stack.

"Can be, but I love doin' this kinda thing. Countin' money is almost relaxin' for me, to be honest." A rubber-band is fastened around the stack and set back down.

"Do you um...do you do this often?"

"Not every night. Just sometimes when Mr. Faraway has his hands tied up for the evening I'll step in to help. Trained to be a manager when I was younger, so it's kinda like I'm his assistant-manager."

"Oh that's...cool?"

"Sounds borin', I know." She smiles at you before looking back at the controlled mess on her desk. "You were that blonde girl that was here a couple weeks back, weren't you?"

"Eh? C-...could you still tell it was me?" Your hands come up to touch your dark hair, did you go through all of this for nothing?

"Well it isn't often that we have a teenage girl in here. Sometimes we get boys tryin' to work their way in as customers, but never a girl. Plus you still got that cute face still."

You can't help but move your hand down to your face, feeling over your cheeks. Not that you want to be called ugly, but hearing 'cute' still sounds weird to you.

"Is that you dad?" Alice asks, gesturing at John.

"Oh, no. My um, my real dad died. He's just part of my uh, my group."

"Group huh? Well I'm glad you're not alone. I was just askin' cause he's blonde too. That's where the similarities end though."

"I've been calling him 'dad' while I'm outside, does he really not look like he could be my father?"

"Eh, no one would question it. Your little cover up is fine, don't worry."

In silence you watch Alice work, noticing that John is moving about behind you.

"I'm nearly done here, you're headin' out too right?"

"Yeah, I was just kinda waiting for the hallways to clear..."

"I got ya. I'll walk you two out of the back if you don't mind, that way I can make sure everything is locked up tight."

"That sounds good, thank you- Oh, I guess I should wake him up then." You get up and face John, and you can see that his brows are furrowed and his face twisted up. Maybe he's having a bad dream?

"Psst...John." You put your hand on his shoulder, trying to shake him awake as gentle as you can. "Wake up John, we need to leave-"

[1/3 I lied, here's an update before I leave]
"...N-...Nadia...!" John's eyes shoot wide open as he looks over to you, his body sitting up as he grabs your shoulders.

"N-...No John, it's m-"

"Where's Denys? Where's your dad?"

"John I'm not-"

"Wait...where are we? Shit did...did I fuck up? Dammit I can't-...I can't let you get taken away by th-...wait...Nadia? Is that you? N-...no, you're not her...where is she?" You're frightened, and this only gets worse as John shakes your shoulders. "Where is Nadia? Where is she a-...you're not her, right? Where is she?"

"I-...J-John p-please...!"

You're pulled away by Alice, who moves you back across the room.

"W-Wait! Don't take a-away Nadia! I-...I need to keep her safe! I n-need to-" John attempts to rush up to grab you, but only manages to trip over himself and falls to the ground. Slamming his fists to the ground a gross and violent sob comes from the collapsed man.

"N-Nadia....I'm sorry...! D-...Denys...I couldn't help h-him....I...I need to keep you s-safe...I can't let you d-...d-...oh god Nadia I'm so sorry...D-Denys...I couldn't do it...I couldn't keep your baby g-...girl s-safe...!"

A mix of a yell and a sob comes from John and it resonates a mix of fear and sorrow in you.

"What's wrong with him?" Alice whispers as he continues to sob on the ground.

"He's...he used to be a solider. He um...I think it scares him still sometimes...something about uh...PT-...PT- something..."

"Is he goin' to be okay?"

"I don't know...he spaces out sometimes b-...but I've never seen him like this..."

"Are we gonna have to get him to a hospital?"

"I um...maybe let me talk to him first-"

"Don't let him grab you."

"I'll be careful, just uh...just stand there I guess just in case..."

Alice releases your shoulders and you take small steps towards John. He doesn't react to you, only continuing to hide his face away and sob. With a few feet of distance you crouch down.


"I'm sorry...I'm sorry I'm sorry I'msorryI'msorryI'mso-"

"John, it's me...it's Delilah. Um, Bunny."

"I...Nadi-...n-no you said...you said B-...Bu-..." John pushes himself up, his face staring down at the floor still. "Right...you're not...not N-...Nadia..."

"Do you um...do you know where we are?"

"Ukra-...that's not right...this is...we're in America...in uh...in a b-building..."

"What's my name?"

"Nad-...no, Bunny. D-...Delilah."

"And um, where are we?"

"America...I'm back in America..."

"Uh...how long have you been here?"

"Couple...couple years now..."

"And after you beat me at uh...at Texas Hold'em, you said I was going to have to do what?" You figure it would be good to try and get him to think of current things now, help ground him back to where he's supposed to be.

"You were...uh you're supposed to...um..."

"I have to be your zo-...sous chef, and that I was goin-"

"You're gonna have to do a helluva lot of dirty dishes..." John begins looking around at the room, his eyes darting around to the different items around at it. His tired blue eyes fall on your face before he speaks again.

"You're Bunny..."

"I am."

"I'm back in the US."

"You are."

"O-...Okay." John tries to stand, his limbs and body a shaking mess. You have a slight hesitation, but you help pull him up. You can see his nose has begun to bleed again, only a slight trickle this time.

"Th-...thank ya for that...I d-...I didn't hurt ya, did I?"

"No, you didn't hurt me." You decide not to mention the fact that you were grabbed.

"Are you holdin' up alright now buddy?" Alice asks, pointing at his nose. John brings a hand up to the blood and grimaces.

"Yeah...I uh...just give me a moment please..."

"Alright, but I'm about to head out."

"Where's the bus station at?" You ask Alice, still supporting John up.

"Just down West, but I would be careful goin' over there, it's a sleazy place. Lotta hungover assholes gonna be tryin' to get home at this time."

That doesn't sound too good...

You could call a taxi, but you remember how expensive the one last night was. Walking to a safer station might work, but that means making John walk further. He doesn't look like he's still messed up on whatever he was on last night, but you have no idea how long it might take him to recover from his little episode.

How do you want to get to Faraway's apartment?

Now I have to go! see you players later
For both our sakes we should go for a walk. If Alice says the area is bad, she probably knows what she's talking about...
>How do you want to get to Faraway's apartment?
One of them undercover transport limousines/SUV/Convertible

Just kidding, take public transport
Travelling in a crowd is safer, public transport would be safer
Trying to catch a bus while surrounded by drunks and perverts seems unappealing so let's catch one from another stop
Taking a bus looks to be your best option. You don't look forward to it either, but walking to the safer station would be smart too. Standing with a bunch of drunks and perverts doesn't sound all that appealing to you.

"I'm going to walk over to the other station then."

"Are you sure you'll be fine?" Alice asks, securing the money away.

"Yeah, I have John with me-"

"I ain't no help to no one, missy." John mumbles, not realizing that he's saying this loud enough to hear.

"Alright, if you're just walkin' down to the next one over you should be fine. I'd walk with you but I'm goin' the other direction." Alice pulls on a thick coat, buttoning it up completely, and you realize how strange it is to see girls here covered up.

"It's fine, thank you for the help."

"I wish there was more we could do, it's hard seein' you guys havin' to go through this." Alice looks over you, mulling over her thoughts before scribbling on a piece of paper.

"This probably won't help you much, but on the off chance it might..." Alice hands the paper over to you, an address written down. "It's a set of apartments me and some of the other girls live at. Don't know how much we'll be able to help besides maybe a roof over your head for the night, but if things get too tough then maybe you can try stopin' over."

You pocket the address, right next to the keys and other items in your pocket.

"Thank you."

"Like I said, we can't really do much, but I guess that's better then nothin'. Anyways, walk with me. Gonna lock up now." Alice starts to walk out the office and you look towards John.

"Are you okay with walking now?"

"Yeah, I'd just grin and bear it anyways...let's just get to this place." John can't hide his anger, and while all of it is directed to himself you can't help but feel bad.

You wait by the back as Alice checks on the front, assuring that it's locked tight before looking through each room for any stragglers.

"All clear, let's head out."

You start to walk with John again but he pushes himself away from you.

"Wouldn't be a strong man if I have to hold on to a girl just to walk, would I missy?"

"I don't mind-"

"Gotta be a man and walk out on my own. Thanks for the help though." John tries to smile, but his confidence doesn't sit well with you. Still, you don't try to force him to accept your help and instead opt for keeping an eye out on him instead.

When John takes his unsteady steps outside you want to grab him again but do your best to hold back, Alice locking the door behind you.

"Okay, the second closest station is about uh...just go down the block, take a right and follow that road for a bit. You should be able to see it soon enough, I don't think it's too terribly far but it should at least give you a crowd that won't be puking up Jack Daniels on your lap."

"Down the block, to the right..."

"I know which one she's talkin' about, missy."

"Oh, right. Okay, that works." You'll let John take the lead, but mostly so you can focus on making sure he doesn't end up collapsing.


Alice says her good-byes, going down one end of the street while John takes you down the other way.

"Haven't been down in this part of town for a while..." He mentions, and you struggle to keep up the same pace as him. "Course last time I remember bein' down here I was probably sleepin' in an alley or two, never saw this place during the day too often."

"Sleeping out here would be awful...it's filthy and just...scary. I slept in an alley once but it was in nice place...still was scary though."

"It was pretty awful. Those few years were some of the worst in my life, I looked like those guys who are all bundled up with their cardboard signs, sometimes can't tell if they're alive or not..." John is thinking back to those times and the memories are taking a toll on him. "No one caring if you're alive or not, just wantin' you outta sight. It's awful, I mean I still don't have a job much less a home but at least I'm not wasting away and ready to fall over and die again."

You try to think of the words to say when John's face picks up.

"Ah wait a second, where's Lawrence? And that Faraway? Where are they? Where are we goin'?"

"Oh! Uh, I guess um...one of the guys ended up putting something into this girl's drink, Alexandra? And she didn't know and drank it and just...she didn't look good, I think her body was having a bad reaction to it. Mr. Faraway and Lawrence are at the hospital with her, so Mr. Faraway gave me the keys to his apartment."

"Jesus Christ...that's somethin'...it's fuckin' awful..." John stops in his tracks, thinking over something.

"Are you alright?"

"Yeah...just thinkin' is all...Christ..." John starts walking again, you tagging behind closely. You notice that his hands are a bit shaky but he's managing to stay up.

"I'm teachin' you how to use that gun, second we get to those apartments. Won't be able to shoot it but...let me go ahead and get this outta the way. You might not understand it all, but try to listen to what I'm saying very carefully, alright?"

"Yes sir."

"I will teach you how to use this for emergencies, but you need to realize that just because you're packing heat it does not mean you are automatically at an advantage. You don't know who else might be carrying their own weapon, or whatever weapon they have. People get scared when there's a gun involved, they'll do stupid things because they fear their lives. You might get someone who tries to run, but you might also get someone who'll try to rush you, do what they can to get that gun outta your hands. Bringing out a gun escalates a situation no matter what, and it won't always be in your favor. Takin' it out might just cause you more problems, so it is an absolute last measure kinda deal, and that ain't even goin' into what kinda legal trouble you might find yourself in if the men with badges find you toting it round."

"Okay..." A gun sounded scary enough as it was, and while you know this is advice to help you it doesn't help calm you down any either.

"Now missy, you can change your mind later, but I'm goin' to go ahead and ask you this." The bus station is within sight, and you know that once there's people around this conversation will have to be put on hold.

"Okay, what is it?"

"I'll show you how to use it no matter what, but it only has two bullets in it right now. Once you got the workings of it down, would you rather I held the gun or do you want to carry it?"
Letting John be in the possession of the gun while he is drunk would not be a good idea. We should hold the gun.
Letting John hold on to it seems the most prudent move. If we'd had it last night, God knows what'd have happened.
Not because I am trying to change your vote, but

John isn't/wasn't drunk, he was high the night before and right now he is just dealing with the aftermath of it plus previous injuries.
John should have the gun then, since that is the case.
"You should hold on to it, I don't know if I trust myself enough to hold it...the idea of shooting a gun is kinda scary honestly..."

"I understand, I'll keep a hold on it for now. Just let me know if you change your mind."

You nod and walk the rest of the way in silence. Waiting at the bench, John catches his breath, the brisk walk taking a lot out of him.

"You should eat something when we get there, you look kind of pale..." You doubt he'll collapse or faint, but you still want to be cautious.

"Normally I'd be against raidin' a man's kitchen, but I think I might have to agree with you." John reaches into his jacket, feeling about in his pocket. "Shit...I don't think I got anythin' on me for the fare-"

"I have it covered, don't worry." You pat at your own pocket, smiling and trying to make the situation feel more relaxed. It's hard to ignore the fact that once you get to Faraway's apartment you'll be taught how to shoot a gun.

"Sorry bout bein' so useless. I don't feel right relyin' on ya like that."

"It's okay. I'm just glad I don't have to go alone, it's not that much anyways." You don't feel bad about paying the fare for the two of you, but it doesn't look like it's settling well with John. He doesn't say anything else as he pulls out a cigarette, trying to light it up with an unsteady hand.

"Do you need help?"

"Not in the way you can give it to me, missy." John exhales this out with a cloud of smoke, the nicotine taking some of the edge off. You fidget with your hands, and though he didn't mean it that way you can't help but feel somewhat useless.

"Well if there is anything I can help you with just um...just let me know..." You mummer, unable to come up with any sort of useful thing you could do.

"I will, but it should be me steppin' up to the plate and takin' charge. Can't be relyin' on a little girl, no offense to ya or nothin'. Just...if I can't handle things then I ain't good for nothin'."

"You're helpful though."

"Yeah, when I ain't on the floor cryin' like some baby. Ain't exactly the shinin' example of a man, is it?" John pulls in a deep drag of the cigarette, leaving you speechless on how you could sooth his worries. The half smoked cigarette is pulled from his lips as he stands, smothering the end against the metal pole in the bench.

"Looks like our ride is here, try not to let me fall asleep if you could please." John says, putting the half spent cigarette back into the case. "Course, I don't know where we're goin' so it's not like it matters if I sleep, but maybe I can at least try to keep an eye on ya."

John is beating himself up and you don't know what you can say to make him stop.

Why are men so hard on themselves?


You pay the fare and find seating for the both of you. The bus is rather full, but looking around it seems to be filled with mostly normal people...at least ones that don't look like they would start trouble.

The entire ride is silent between the two of you, John looking down towards his feet as you pass the time by looking out the window. It's not that the outside really interests you or anything, but it feels better then looking at the ground or towards anyone else. Everything is passing by, but you allow it all to blur together. You pray to yourself that the Alex girl is going to be okay, but you're doubtful it will be something she can just bounce back from.

You are not entirely sure which is the exact stop, but seeing as you are on the nicer part of town you feel like it is safe enough to walk. John managed to stay awake the entire time, but that means he's been thinking to himself too, and you can only guess that he was stewing in his negative thoughts.

This time you're going to lead him around though, and show that you aren't helpless.


While the place you were dropped off isn't exactly new territory, you don't know it well either. Normally you wouldn't feel so bad having to back track and stop to figure out which way you need to go, but with John in tote it feels like every mistake you make in getting yourself oriented is a much bigger issue.

"Sorry...just, so sorry...I think it's this way..." You point back the way you came once again, realizing you took a left when you needed a right.

"Ain't no big deal missy."

It does feel like a big deal, and you have to stop yourself from cheering when you finally see the top of the apartment. You want to rush over there, to get off the streets, but you also force yourself to walk slow enough for John to follow behind.

Since you guys aren't coming in by car, you decide that going in through the lobby will be fine. With the look that the man at the front desk gives when you both walk in you can't help but feel embarrassed and regret that choice. Of course you're going to be given funny looks, this is a nice place and you guys look like the type to sleep on the streets. You don't look like the type, you are the type. Hopefully that doesn't have to happen again though...

The elevator seems the easiest for John right now, and you wouldn't mind it if the two of you didn't have to share with the old woman walking on with her dog. She takes up more room then the both of you, but you can't help but try to make yourself smaller at the elevator climbs up. You hope you don't smell too bad, but chances are you do. It feels like even her pure-bred...whatever it is, is judging you too. You can't help but miss Buttercup's stupid little face even more.

The doors open for your floor and it feels like you can't exit fast enough. The doors close to hide away the woman's face and you couldn't be more thankful for that. Now you attempt to remember which number is Faraway's apartment, the key clutched tightly in your fist. Your first guess is a lucky one though, and you swing open the door to come into the empty apartment.

"This his place? Looks nice, I guess. I ain't any good at this whole interior decorating business, my wife was all about that but I just wasn't any good at that." John comments as he walks in and you lock the door. Not knowing what else to do with it you leave the key on the counter for now, kind of scared to touch anything.

John doesn't seem to feel the same way, swinging open the fridge to rummage through it.

"Let's see...I wonder if he has..." John pulls back and looks around the kitchen, pulling out potatoes from the pantry. You only watch as he cleans them up, putting a pot full of water on the stove as he cleans and places the potatoes inside.

"We're gonna get us some hash or somethin'. Hope he don't mind us borrowin' a few of these, just gotta wait for them to get soft."

"John..." As much as you don't want to do this, you figure sooner would be better then later. "The um...the gun, please."


As the water begins to boil, you sit with John on the couch. The gun lays in his hands, and though the trigger is untouched you can't help but feel nervous.

"I don't want to hurt people..." You say as John starts to show you where to put your hands.

"You shouldn't have to, this is just for protection. Now, just hold this for a second, get the feel for the weight. Don't put your finger on the trigger yet, but don't worry about it going off either."

You hold the handle between both of your hands, the metal much heavier then you expected.

"Dominant hand first, so your right hand. Then use place your left hand on top, that's going to keep you steady. Keep your grip steady, that's going to be important. For now keep your finger away from the trigger, but stand up and aim it at the window and I'll fix your stance."

You rise up to your feet, turning to the window with a curtain drawn over. Holding up the gun in your hands you aim it, but nothing about how you are holding yourself feels right. John instructs you on how to brace your feet against the ground first, making you stand straight.

"Don't lock your elbows. Keep your arms stretched out straight in front of you, but make sure your elbows aren't locked or else you'll hurt yourself."

"Like uh...like this...?"

"Yep, now when you fire the gun is going to kick back, recoil. If you ever fire try and keep that in mind. The gun should stay in your hands as long as you prepare and keep your grip on it, try not to let it flail about too much. Another thing you should know is that a gun is loud, it's always going to be loud. You won't get to use ear protection in an emergency, but just prepare yourself for that too. Your ears will ring and so will everyone else's around you, but you can maybe use that for an advantage. That means you'll be smart enough to cover your ears if you see someone shooting too."

"Okay...so it uh...it shakes and it's loud...got it."

"Right, now with the trigger. When it's loaded you can just pull the trigger on this gun, pull the hammer, the part of the back, if you feel like it but it's not needed. Course you can always try cocking it and using that to scare someone if you need to. Only point the gun at someone you want to hurt, and only put your finger on the trigger if you know you want to shoot. Otherwise keep it towards the side. When you are ready to pull the trigger, do it in one smooth motion. Brace your entire body before hand, and of course watch your breathing. I don't recommend holding your breath, but if you can't keep it under control you might have to. Just try to breathe slow and steady though."

"And um...where do I aim?"

"Anywhere. If you're forced to use a gun then chances are the sonofabitch deserves the bullet anywhere you land it. Course when aim just try to hit his body, shoulders or chest or stomach. Anywhere that you're certain you can hit. Trust me, he get's some lead and there won't be much he can do. If he's up close to you and you're sure that you won't miss then try the legs, knees, wherever. Then he won't be able to chase after you, or at least he'll be slow as hell."

"Okay...I can do this...I can do this..." You try out the stance again, keeping your finger away from the trigger. A shake travels from your hands and down your arms as you realize that you know how to shoot a gun now. That you could easily kill a man with something like this.

"John...this scares me." You lower the gun, holding it out and away from you with one hand. "I'm...I'm terrified...that's so much p-...power..."

"That's normal that you're afraid." He takes the gun from you, sitting on the couch. "Fear over something like this is healthy. That means you know this isn't a toy, and that shooting it isn't just some easy thing. I don't want to scare you off from having to use this if you need to, but if you shoot a man with this then there is a good chance he can die. That's what they are built for...killing. They aren't just a toy you can swing around, they are a weapon. It's alright to be comfortable around them, but it's just as fine to be scared of them. As long as you know how to handle one then it's fine."

"O-..okay. I don't want to have to hurt or...or kill anyone but...I'm glad you showed me..."

"Here, one last lesson real quick. I don't have extra ammo, but I can at least show you how to reload this for the future."


You sit on the couch, the gun laying on the end table in front of you. John is working on the potatoes, frying them up now for breakfast. You can't keep your eyes off the metal or the trigger.

Even just laying there, it intimidates you.

A clatter from the kitchen pulls you back and you see John leaning up against the counter.

"Are you okay?" You ask, jumping up.

"Yeah...just not 100% yet...it's fine..." John does his best to reassure you, and though he isn't about to collapse you still worry about him.

When are Lawrence and Faraway going to come back, anyways? Then again, Faraway may be staying there to make sure that girl is okay...you hope they come back soon though.

You watch as John continues to cook, and you think back to his injuries.

They don't seem to be critical, but he's not in the best of condition either. And if you were to offer to help him get better, would his blood still be all messed up? Not that it matters too much, blood still makes you loopy anyways...

Maybe he'll be fine if you leave him alone, he was able to walk here anyways.

Do you offer to help heal John?[/b
Ask him if... whatever it was, is still in his blood, because we could... do that thing to help with some of his injuries.

We can hop around on one leg if it makes getting our help less... weird?

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