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

File: MQ47.jpg (712 KB, 2000x1500)
712 KB
712 KB JPG
"You might be a smart girl, but you aren't a lucky one"

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

=Links and Information=


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

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


Twitter; @Cowboy_Sue
Discord; https://discord.gg/8CCdcQ3 <--updated to be working
Chat room with me and other players. I answer questions, post sketches, and act cheeky.
"Well..." The beating in your chest quickens but you smile through it, placing your grandmother's ring loosely over your finger. "What if I found someone nice to propose to now?"

To your surprise a hoarse chuckle leaves her lips, mostly strained breathing but the grin lines on her face tell you that it isn't too painful for her yet. "Are you going to... be the one to propose?"

"Maybe," you nod, "Does it not count if I do it?"

"Only if you do it on a leap day. Or at least, that's what the Irish say I believe." She closes her eyes, resting from the short conversation.

"Leap day..." you think to when that would be, frowning when you realize that the last one just happened last year. "Does that mean I'd have to wait a couple of years before I could?" You begin to wonder if Lawrence knew that back when you had brought this up to him, hoping he didn't just agree because he knew it didn't really count.

"That's just an old tradition. There's nothing really stopping you from it." Your grandmother opens her eyes again and looks over at you, studying your face with a half lidded gaze. "You seem so eager about it, I'm surprised."

"Ah hah, well um..." you try not to look away, hoping she doesn't notice how red you must be becoming. "I don't want you to worry about it. But there is someone-- there's a boy... I think if I end up marrying anyone it would be him. He's a dear friend of mine, but I don't know if he's got the nerves to ask me something like that. But if I asked him first, and he said yes then that's fine too, isn't it?"

"I don't see why anyone would have a problem with it," she breathes the words, "Aside from your age of course."

"But you just said I was almost an adult, right?" The ring presses against your palm deeper as your grip tightens around it.

"Almost dear, almost." As you watch her speak you realized this is the most you've seen your grandmother smile in years, a sight that almost feels foreign. But you remember that there was a time when she smiled at you all the time, even if it feels like forever ago, and you begin to feel a little better. "Don't rush things. Don't feel like you have to grow up all at once. There's still plenty of time to enjoy being young."

You nod, noticing the pauses between her words becoming longer the more she talks. "I'll try to."

"Good. I know it's a difficult thing, but I want to help with that." She takes a few deep breaths, steadying herself. "This friend you're so fond of though, do I know him?"

"He's a great guy-" you avoid outright lying to her, knowing you would feel extra guilty if you lied to your grandmother as she lies in bed ill. "I mean, he's a little rough around the edges I guess but that's fine. I like him anyways."
"I hope you'll introduce me to him someday." As your grandmother talks you just smile and nod, feeling a nagging sensation over not telling her that she's met him already. "Oh, I don't think I've told you yet. But when Camilla gets back she should ah...have something for you-" With her eyes closed tight and a grimace on her face your grandmother begins to clutch at the front of her shirt, prompting to jump out of the chair.

"Are you okay?!" The panic shows in your voice and face and you begin to look between her and the door, wondering where you should be.

"I'm fine..." she says when her body finally begins to relax, her hand still resting over her chest and lines traveling down her face as it scrunches up in pain. "I think it's just time for my medication...could you please ask Dr. Rizzo to come in here please?"

"Yes ma'am."

"I'm sorry about this Delilah," she sighs out the words, "I think I need to rest a bit more. I'd like to talk again later, if you don't mind."

"Of course!" You've already begun heading to the hall, not stopping till you find the doctor waiting idly a few steps away from the door.

"Grandma-!" you choke, "She n-needs you, I think her chest is h-hurting her..."

Without a word he shuffles to her room, pausing at the door for a brief moment. "Try not to worry, I know how to take care of her."

You nod, watching as he disappears into her room. Trying not to panic but failing to do so you wait by her door, hands clenched together tightly. It only takes a few minutes for Dr. Rizzo to walk back out, much calmer than you expected.

"Is she okay?" the words rush out right away, taking him for surprise.

"I told you, I know what I am doing." The sharpness in his tone drops when he speaks again, opening the door enough for you to look in. "She is sleeping nicely now, see? This happens occasionally, but there is nothing for you to worry about. Mrs. Esposito is older, but she is still going."

"I hope so..." It's all you can manage to say, but you no longer feel so on edge.

"Give her some time to rest. She told me that she would like to talk to you again later." Dr. Rizzo starts shuffling down the hall again, his gruff voice echoing in the hallway plenty loud enough. "While she is asleep I need to take care of some work for her. If it goes well then I should be able to see you again soon."

"Yes sir." you nod, unsure of what he means by seeing you again. You can't seem to recall if he mentioned having to do any more examinations or tests, and you really hope that isn't the case.
A dull pain in your palm reminds you how tightly you had it clenched, and looking down you see that the ring your grandmother had given. Pulling the chain from around your neck out you add the ring to the one Lawrence gave you, the two settling side by side. They return to resting beneath your top and you adjust to the new sensation as they rest against your chest. Knowing that you need to give your grandmother some quiet time you sneak off down the hallway, hoping to find someone else to talk to.


When you heard noises in the main room you were hopeful that Lawrence or Camilla had returned, but you come across Crockett pulling on his coat instead.

"Have a nice talk?" he asks, fixing his collar.

"Yeah, but it might have been a little much for her." You walk over to one of the space heaters set up in the room, kneeling by it as you feel the warmth hit against what bare skin you have. "I have to leave her alone for a while so she can rest."

"Ah, I see."

"Do you know when the others are coming back?" you ask, focusing on the low red glow in front of you.

"Palmer and Lawrence checked in with me earlier. Things are going fine for them, but it'll still be a bit before they can return. Cammy seems to be running a little late, but honestly I'm not too worried about her." Crockett stops to adjust his boots, allowing you to look over without him noticing.

"And where are you going?"

"Just gonna take a look at that broken fence, see what I can do."

"Oh, right. I remember you mentioning that." You turn away quickly as he stands up straight again.

"Yep, won't take me long. About twenty minutes maybe, then I promise I don't have to go anywhere else today. Ah, actually I'm glad I saw you before I went..." Digging through his pocket, Crockett fishes out a pair of keys and tosses them to you. Somehow you manage to catch, even if you feel like you looked dumb in the process. "Feel like doing me a little favor?"

"What is it?" you ask cautiously, looking over the small amount of keys on the ring.

"Just wondering if you would play secretary for me while I'm gone. The bronze colored key on there unlocks my office, if you don't mind then I would really appreciate it if you could sit at my desk and wait for the phone to ring." He puts up a sheepish grin. "Boring, I know."

"Am I supposed to answer the phone?"
"Only if one of a couple numbers calls. There's a short list right by the phone, just the possible numbers that Palmer or Cammy might try to call me with," he explains, "Palmer shouldn't be calling in unless it's an emergency, but it didn't sound like that would be a problem. Cammy might call to update where she is though, and I'd rather have you talk with her than let the machine get it."

"But what if there is an emergency?" You start to feel overwhelmed with the task, as simple as it is.

"If there's an emergency then you go ahead and let the doctor know about it. Especially if it's Cammy, he won't mind you barging in."

You understand, but still don't know how you feel about walking in on whatever that man has been doing in his office. Everything here feels so secretive and hidden from you, the idea of just walking in sounds outlandish. Camilla is his family though, and you'd rather let him deal with whatever scenario instead of trying to deal with it yourself.

"Okay, I can do that." The keys press against your palm, suddenly feeling like a lot of power.

"Great. There's some notepads and pens on the desk if you need to write anything down or waste some time. I won't be too long though," Crockett is trying to talk and head out to the garage at the same time, obviously in a rush to get it done. "Try not to go looking through my stuff too much. I've got everything important put away, and even if everything looks like a mess I swear it's kind of organized still. Just try not to go knocking anything over and we should be fine."

He's trying not to outright say it, but you know Crockett is attempting to ward you off from snooping around.

Try sneaking a look around the office while he's gone?
We shouldn't look through the office, he would notice something is not in the right place
Let's get our sneak on, without messing with anything.

It's our right as the birthday girl.
"I won't touch anything."

"I believe you," he laughs, "Appreciate this, just hang tight till I get back. Maybe we can see about making your birthday a bit more exciting."

Waiting till he's out the room, you search for the correct key as you walk towards the office. Despite having permission to do so it still doesn't feel right to unlock the door, but as they key slides in easily you remember that he specifically asked you for this favor.

Entering the black room you shuffle tiny steps along the wall, reaching out for the light switch and feeling relieved when you no longer have to stand in the dark. With a quick gasp upon realizing just how close you were to knocking over an uneven stack of boxes you take extra care walking away from the clutter, following the slightly better pathway to his desk. Having avoided disrupting the maze of boxes, you finally feel safe when you fall into the chair.

To your complete surprise the desk is cleared off, or at least much more than it was last time you were here. The phone remains in a place, and wedged beneath the corner you see the list of phone numbers scrawled by you presume Crockett himself. After deciphering the poorly and quickly written numbers for sure, your heartbeat quickens. If a call comes in you'll have to answer it, and no matter how much he tried to make it sound like it wasn't a big deal your anxiety doesn't rest.

Not breaking your sight from the phone you just wait for it to ring, to make you take responsibility for it. As the time passes you start to calm down, reading and rereading the list of numbers again. As a few minutes end up passing you find yourself leaning on the desk instead, mostly feeling bored at this point. With a sigh you look over the desk, trying to find anything to occupy your time. The half empty notepad and cup full of pencils and pens sit on the other side of the desk, and while you pull the paper over you really can't think about what you're going to do to pass the time.

"I told him that I wouldn't touch anything..." you mumble to yourself, tapping a pen against the table in an attempt to break the silence. With a sigh you sit up and look around the room, the curious and sneaky part of your brain working up a plan. "I didn't say anything about just looking though."

Giving a cautionary glance to the door to make sure you aren't caught red handed first you stand, looking around the room to figure out where to start first.
Starting with the corner closest you begin to peer into every open faced box, scanning whatever lies inside. Unfortunately for you most of it is boring or illegible, none of it holding your attention for longer than a few seconds. You can't imagine how someone like Crockett manages to dance around the stacks, as you feel the need to suck in your stomach at times just to make sure nothing topples.

It seems to be a wasted effort, as you begin to come back around the room and only managed to kill a few short minutes. Just to be thorough you finish checking the rest of the room, finding nothing as you expected. Anything juicy he would most likely be stored in the desk or filing cabinets you conclude, noticing the locks on the face of every drawer. Taking a look at the keyring again it's easy to tell what the several other keys are meant for, the drawer near you hand begging to be opened.

As tempting as it is you put the keys back, kicking yourself for wanting to keep your promise. Instead you'll be a good girl, you decide, and just sit down and doodle on the pages till Crockett returns.

More and more ink begins to fill the page as your hand starts to idly trace it around, your feet rubbing against each other in attempt to become warmer. You can't imagine working in such a cold room, and start to search for a tucked away space heater.

"He can't just work in the cold like this..."

You don't recall seeing one earlier and you consider running out and grabbing one from another room, then begin to worry about where you could put it. There doesn't seem to be any open space that you could really set it in here, unless the desk works. Desperate you start to look for an outlet, hoping that no one will be too mad if you borrow a heater for a moment-


The first ring nearly knocks you down and it feels like your heart is just ready to jump out, beating so quickly against your clenched palm. Another ring follows shortly, and you remember the reason you were in here in the first place.
By instinct you reach for the receiver, barely remembering the instructions before it's too late. Comparing the number on the screen to the ones on the paper, you try to figure out if Camilla or Palmer is calling.

Another ring spends a shiver down your spine as you reread the list over and over again, heart in your throat as you realize this isn't a number he had listed. Panic starts to set in, even though you know this means you aren't supposed to do anything. Curling up in the chair you wait for the ringing to stop, feeling as if it has continued on for far long enough already.

The ringing finally stops after what feels like forever, the answering machine clicking on instead.

Just as you start to feel relieved at avoiding anything too terrible you choke upon hearing the message begin to play out loud, a man's voice talking from the other end as he speaks into the recording.

Hey there, it's Buck. Just calling you with an update about the girls-

Trying and failing not to panic too much you look between the machine and the door, unsure if Crockett had planned for this to happen. It doesn't feel like you're supposed to be listening to this, but it's not like Crockett would know if you did. He'd probably want you to leave the room though, no matter how you try to rationalize otherwise. You start to get up, attempting not to hear much more before you can exit the room.

Turns out there's another one missing.

You stop at the door, hand hovering over the knob.

Stay and listen?
In for a penny, in for a pound.
We have to know. We've been in the dark for too long.
Listen in
Your heart is racing at a near deafening speed but you approach the desk again, the voice on the recording growing louder as you take a seat.

Ah, this one ain't recent though. Or at least, this girl was already missing a couple weeks ago. Don't know if you followed the case that closely but it's that Mary Anne Childers. Turned sixteen and then ran away from home a few days later, leaving a note just saying she wasn't happy. Course no one could understand why, cause she apparently loved her parents and was doing well in school. Wasn't getting bullied, wasn't involved in anything shady, no secret boyfriend to run off with. Really baffled everyone working on her case.

A runaway, you think to yourself, why would Crocket be involved with something like that? You couldn't recall him mentioning anything like that before, but as the heavy ring of keys reminds you there are plenty of secrets still being kept away.

Being sixteen though, this Mary Anne is rather close to your age, even if someone that age feels way older than you. That has to practically be an adult you decide, but you wonder if she'd be the type of girl to feel the same way.

Apparently they found some signs of forced entry on some a' the windows, but there were already police records of an attempted burglary at the house about a week or two before. Didn't look like there was anything recent either, and even though there were some of her clothes and a bag missing they found her purse and wallet still in the bedroom. Fishy as hell, but for some reason there wasn't any efforts out to look into it.

Kind of like you, now that you think about it. Though you also ran off with the filthy money stolen off that man- a thought that makes you retch- you could imagine her doing the same. Maybe she had to flee someone wanting to hurt her and only had a little of time to act. And she's older than you, so hopefully that means it would be easier for her to survive out on her own. Even though you don't have a face to put to the name you just want to believe that she was also able to run away, and now she's just waiting for the perfect chance to return home.

It might be too optimistic, but it's the only way you have to root for Mary Anne.

Which is complete fucking bullshit if you ask me. Nothing about this screamed 'troubled runaway' to me, but apparently one note is enough to call off a deeper investigation!
Right, the note. If she was unhappy at home then you doubt she'd want to return home in that case. The exact thought you had when you were trying to get away. The loud voice in your head screaming for you to get away from there, to go far far away and don't stop. A burning need for survival, which you feel fits that feeling well, something so strong and nearly unnatural that you were able to attack, to gather yourself and run away even when all you felt like you could do was curl up and sob.

But now as you think about it, you can't ever recall feeling something so intense before that night. There had been plenty of times after it, to take the offense even when it ended up hurting people badly. You quickly block out the gory memories, squinting through a burn in your forehead that slowly starts to ebb away to something more bearable. It may be something you've started to grow used to now, but you can't really imagine the aggressive and raw you've experienced are anything you'd have had a year ago.

Well guess what? They dredged up some junk off the river just a couple a days ago, and apparently they found part of a human jaw stuck to it. Kept pretty well cause of the cold, but most the teeth had been messed up before it was chucked. Whoever was in charge of taking care of that mustn't have done a thorough job though, cause they found about two teeth intact. Or maybe he left those intentionally, who knows? Ran the dental records and suddenly we've got a possible match for the 'runaway'.

You gasp at the news, covering your mouth up to keep him from hearing. Buck, whoever he is, can't hear you of course and continues with the long, dreadful message.

So now we've got a mess going on over here. We've got some guys wanting to look back into the case, cause who the hell thinks this is still some simple accident? Someone did that on purpose to her, and I really doubt that Mary Anne was the type of girl to go looking for the kinda trouble. But guess what? We still haven't gotten permission to talk to witnesses again, they've even refused to let us take a look at the jaw after she turned up as a possible match. There's someone here working from that bastard's pocket and I'd bet anything it's that rat of yours.

The word bastard sticks with, several faces that fit that description going by but only one sticking out the most. Nothing you can confirm yet, for all you know this is completely unrelated to you. It's the third time you've heard of a girl going missing recently though and, if you count what was found in the burnt down apartment, the second dead one.

Before you can even consider forgetting her name you grab a fresh paper, putting down her name and age. You put down what you remember from the girl mentioned on the radio, what little you remember of the girl you saw in the paper, and simply write 'girl in apartment' for the last one. Four different people on a list, and you don't even know if it actually means anything yet.
It's why I'm calling from this number, can't risk letting anyone dirty know that I'm passing this information on. They haven't even told that poor girl's parents about their daughter, ain't that fucked? Anyways, I've been talking long enough. Figured you want an update, even if it don't help you much. I'm gonna keep searching for any more information that might point us towards more clues, or if they found anything 'sides the jaw. If anything major comes up I'll find a way to call ya like this again, hopefully you'll be there that time. If not though I'm still set for our meeting, y'know how to reach me if you need to.

And after a few seconds of silence the recording clicks to an end, a red light now rhythmically pulsing to announce the new message.

It still feels like your heart is racing a mile a minute, but with the call ended it feels like you can maybe catch your bearings again. Leaning back in he chair you look over a list that is already far too long, the burn in y our head turning into a dull throb and a nauseated feeling rising. The body from the apartment is important, that one has no other way to be tied to anything but you. The other three go, maybe it's all just a painful coincidence. As sad as it is you know how many kids go missing, you've seen their numerous photos lining the section of the wall in the grocery stores before.

Crockett is involved with this newest girl, with Mary Ann. Her name now gives your throat a painful squeeze. The other two must be pure coincidence though, and Crockett's hastiness to keep you from learning more were probably just attempts to keep you from feeling scared. That how you hope it is anyways, you can't begin to imagine what terrible way these girls would be connected otherwise. Yet you still put them down on a list, an effort to remember them even if it's for nothing.
While you consider ripping up the paper and forgetting those dark thoughts you hear Crockett calling your name down the hallway, only to soon open the door and step inside. Flakes of snow still cling to his hair and moustache, his hands rubbing together quickly in effort to warm them.

"It's freezing out there, let me tell you." He grins despite the cold, some of the white falling from his face. "Not that it's really much warmer in here I guess. So how'd it go?"

"Ms. Camilla didn't call, neither did Ms. Palmer." Slowly you hide the paper behind your back, sneaky being your first instinct. "There um, there was a call though."

"Oh? Did you answer it?"

With a shake of your head you point at the answer machine, the red light alerting Crockett of the message.

"Ah, I see. Must have confused you then!" he laughs nervously. It wasn't something that he planned on, and as his eyes shift quickly between you and the phone it's obvious that it really wasn't a conversation you shouldn't have listened to. If he knows that you did then he wouldn't give you chances to come into his office like this again, and he'd keep things a secret from you even more.

He speaks up again, but you already know what the question is.

"You didn't happen to hear the message, did you?"
Just the first three seconds.
"Just the very beginning," you lie while forcing a straight face, "It started playing out loud but I didn't want to be rude, so I turned the speaker off. I think I heard the guy mention his name? Something like um, Barry or Buck..." Feigning ignorance, you really try to sell the fact that you didn't hear anything at all. "I don't think I stopped it from recording though, oh no I really hope not!"

Crockett makes his way over and you quickly sidestep away, trying to pretend that you aren't watching him mess with the phone. He picks up the receiver and starts to play the message, and while you'd normally be unable to hear the words properly this way you can still remember how it started.

Hey there, it's Buck. Just calling you with an update-

The message stops short when Crockett hangs up the receiver, his face more relaxed. "Doesn't seem like it got messed up. Sorry about that, I should have made sure call screening was turned off."

"It's fine." The weight of the paper weighs heavily, a reminder that it's really not. "How was the fence? Did you manage to fix it?"

"Wouldn't really call it a proper fix up. But it should make it a lot harder for something to come through." As Crockett talks to you he scribbles down a note for himself, and you take notice of the bandage wrapped around his left palm.

"Did you hurt yourself out there?" you point to the injury, watching as he stretches and closes his hand repeatedly.

"Just caught myself on a sharp bit-" he looks up at you, hand clenching up tight. "Oh, it's not bothering you, is it?"

Your brows furrow down at the question as you look down. "No, I wasn't asking cause of that. I just wanted to make sure you were okay."

"Ah. I'm sorry for assuming otherwise. Hope you aren't too mad at me for being rude," he chuckles, picking up the keys from the desk. "Thought I wouldn't blame you. I did make you work on your birthday, guess I need to work on my manners. Pretty sure Denise would be more than happy to agree with that." The smile falls from his face as he looks at you, instead leaning down to come to your eye level. "Hey, you feeling okay? Your face is looking a little warm."

It's only when he asks do you notice just how much you're burning up, only to make you even more flustered.

"It's n-nothing!" you stammer, the palms against your cheek attempting to hide your embarrassment. "I just hope the others get back soon."

"Soon enough," assures Crockett, "If you give me a moment to catch up in here and don't mind then I can keep you company till they come back. Unless you already made party plans with the doctor." He laughs with the last part, taking a seat at the desk.

"No. Or, at least I don't think so..." your cheek puffs out as you think about it, "He mentioned that he would see me later, but didn't really mention why."
"I'm sure it's not as awful as you imagine it is-" Crockett's ear turn towards the hallway, alerting you to the noise you can barely hear off from the distance. A voice calls out with it, and while you can't really make out the words it's obviously female. "Seems like Cammy's back. I wonder if she needs help carrying anything in."

"I'll go see!" you announce, happy for the chance to recuperate yourself. Carefully but swiftly you get to the door, slipping out to the hall. Feeling bad for being so eager to abandon him you stick your head back into the room, trying to keep your cool as you talk to Crockett. "I mean, if that's okay with you?"

"Go ahead. You've done more than enough. I'll come lend a hand here in a moment."

Giving him a nod you start back down the hall again, calling out to Camilla before you can see her. "Do you need help? I can-"

"Stop right there!"

Her voice rings out loud enough to make you stop in mid step, right before you can round the corner. Instantly you begin to wonder if something is wrong and you hadn't noticed, but you don't dare take another step forward.

"What's wrong...?" you dare to ask, afraid to even speak up.

"I'm not ready for you yet! Don't come out!" Camilla's voice sounds worried, but not as if there is a present threat. Rather she seems to be trying to hide something, the accompany noises of something heavy being set on the ground only further supporting that fact. "Just wait till I get this into the kitchen- Wait is Ace busy?"

"Um, not very-"

"Oh good! Fetch him for me, but do not think about setting a foot in here yet!"

You follow her orders, running back to Crockett and explaining the situation to him. Despite being in the middle of listening to the message from earlier he puts it on hold, coming out with and then leaving you behind in the hallway as he gives Camilla a hand. As tempting as it is to peek you resist the urge, waiting by idly instead as the two speak to each other in hushed tones and go in and out from the garage to the kitchen. Being alone like this makes you notice the headache more, but you try to focus on anything but it.

Eventually you hear Camilla speak to Crockett once more before her voice vanishes behind the kitchen door. Not long after he approaches you again, letting you know that it's safe for you to come out.

"What was that about?" you ask, looking around to see if there are any clues lying around.

"If I spoiled it then Cammy would kill me." The look on his face makes you nearly believe that he isn't kidding about that. "She'll do the same if I let you into the kitchen right now, so if you need something from in there please let me know. I'd hate to be on her bad side."

You're still listening, but your sight has become fixated on the new object still in the room. A guitar case rests against the couch now, older looking but still in good condition from what you can tell.
"Who does that belong to?" you ask, gesturing over to it.

"That? Cammy brought it, I think it belongs to her friend in town."

"Oh!" you come closer to the case, looking it over. "Does she play?"

"Not that I know of." Scratching at the back of his head and with an awkward smile he says, "She probably brought it because of me."

"You can play?"

"You sound surprised. Can't say I blame you though," he smiles, "Wouldn't say I'm anything more than amateurish. Used to play a lot more when I was younger, but never took it seriously enough."

"That's still pretty neat though. I can't do anything cool like that." You keep looking over the case, studying the little details on it.

It seems like you're stuck with Crockett again, at least for a little longer. And you are for sure banned from the kitchen, not that you really had a desire to go in there anyways aside from wanting to see what Camilla is up to.

You kind of want to ask Crockett to show you what he can do, but with how you've been acting around him it might be a little weird. It might be better for you to just go lay in your room till someone comes to get you, as rude as that sounds. It's not like you would really be lying if you said that it was for a headache though.

Ask Crockett to show you the guitar or go lay down for a bit? Or, since his hand is cut anyways, maybe you can be selfish and ask him for help in making your headache go away- enough to get through the next few hours anyways.
Go lay down. We can beat this headach without cracking.
"Um, do you think it would be okay if I went to my room for a little bit?" You run a hand through your hair, over the painful spots. "I kind of have a headache."

"You don't have to ask me permission for something like that."

With a nod you stand up straight again, feeling bad for this choice but knowing that it might be the better option right now. You catch sight of the bandage on his hand again, reminding you that Crockett was already worried that you might not be capable of controlling yourself. It's something you want to prove wrong, even if deep down you really would love to give in.

"If you guys need to get me though, I don't mind if you just come in. Er, maybe knock first before opening the door..." You don't want to appear antisocial, or like you're just running away to hide. That last part might be true, but you don't want him to know it.

"Understood. And if you need anything then you know where to find me." Crockett gestures around the room, the tone in his voice sound warm and friendly as ever.

Retreating to your bedroom and standing behind the closed door, you feel relieved to be alone but also saddened by the thought. Crockett didn't look that offended, and you only need a little bit of time anyways. Just long enough for you to calm down, to help your headache go away and come out a bit more functional than before.

With no better ideas you throw yourself on top of the bed, biting the pillow you grab and resisting the urge to scream into it instead.

This headache is nothing, you decide, it's certainly not the worst you've felt. It only feels so bad right now cause you were stressed out.

Or something like that, you really hate having to play a guessing game any time something is wrong with you.

Thinking about that isn't going to make the pain go away though, so you end up curling up in a ball instead and closing your eyes. Sitting in the dark doesn't sound fun, but keeping out the light from the lamp like this also seems to help a little bit. You focus on breathing, taking deep but slow breaths as you clutch the pillow against you.

As much as you didn't want to you end up dozing off, though it ends up being more fitful than refreshing.

But even with the tossing and turning you do, the only reason you open your eyes is the sensation of having your shoulder lightly touched. Turning over to look at who it could be, you're amazed to see a very familiar and welcomed face looking down at you.

"You're back!" you jump awake upon seeing Lawrence, who gives you a smile and a nod. Struggling for a bit to untangle yourself from the blankets and with groggy, ungraceful motions you manage to rise up to your knees and throw your arms around him. Looking to see if there was anyone else in the room is an afterthought, but as it turns out it's nothing you needed to worry about. So you squeeze Lawrence even harder, your face buried against him. "I missed you-"
Forcing yourself back so that you can breathe freely again you take a moment to try and think a little more rationally.

"There's nothing going on, right?"

He shakes his head, stopping to think about it for a moment before taking a seat next to you and writing out a quick note.

nothing bad

"Oh, do we need to go out there?"

Right away he shakes his head no again, quickly adding to the page Cam would kill me.

"So I need to stay in here?" you ask, getting a nod this time. Lawrence quietly promises that it's only for a little bit, but it doesn't really matter to you now.
You're so glad he's here, but you still feel the need to act sore at him leaving you alone like that. It's not his fault, you know that, but you can't help but feel like you need to get back at him.

"I just came in here cause I had a headache-" you explain quickly before turning your nose up and away from him, a pout on your lips. "If you'd been here though, you'd have known that you were supposed to knock before coming in first."

The snooty air remains as Lawrence writes out another note, and you barely allow yourself to look over when he passes over the message.

did knock. i think you were snoring too loud

"I don't snore...!" Any stone cold and refined act you were putting up vanishes as you turn to face him, face red from accusation. When Lawrence doesn't admit this is a lie you retaliate by getting up close to his face, sad puppy dog eyes coming out at full force while he -wisely- looks away so he doesn't have to experience them. "Come on, don't lie, I don't snore! R-Right...?"

The few seconds of silence and the blank look on Lawrence's face as he refuses to look over starts to make you worry that that might be the case, but eventually he breaks and looks back at you with a wide crooked grin you know that he was just kidding.

"You're so rude!" you laugh, unsure if you should try to push him away or hug him tighter. "Besides, you snore loud enough for both of us. I don't think it'd be okay if we both did it."

Lawrence seems fine with you just hanging off him like this, but his eyes spot something on the bed that makes you give him a little more breathing room. As he reaches for the folded up piece of paper half buried beneath the sheets you realize that it's your list from earlier. Before he has the chance to grab it you move quickly and snatch it up, holding it tightly in your palm.

"Ah, this one is mine actually." You stare at the page, wondering if this is something you can even share with Lawrence. As much as you'd hope that he'd tell you everything, you also don't think it would be past him to keep something a secret if he thought it was the best for you.

Share what you've been finding with Lawrence now or maybe hold on to it and talk about it later? It's a bit of guess on whether or not he'd try to help you on it or try to tell you that it's nothing to worry about. Or maybe you should keep your little investigation a secret for a bit longer, so you know you can work unhindered.
Probably best to keep it tight for now, at least until we have something... substantial. It'll be too late for them to object if we find a connection.
"Hey, you know what today is right?" You crawl behind Lawrence, shoving the paper into the drawer of the nightstand. He nods in confidence, not giving the page a second thought. "Did you know what day it was this morning?"

The second questions causes the look of assurance to fall from his face, and though he doesn't answer you know fully well what he would say.

You can't find it in you to try and bully him about it, instead choosing to stretch out on the remaining part of the bed with a stupid grin on your face. "It's okay, I didn't realize it either. As long as you're super nice to me for the rest of the day it'll be okay."

Feeling the shift of metal against your chest you shoot right back up, pulling out the necklace.

"Oh! Let me show you what grandma gave me earlier!" Holding both rings, you show off the one you were given earlier. You allow Lawrence to take it in hand, giving it a closer look. "It was her mom's wedding ring she said, and now it's for me. Well I mean, I don't think I'm supposed to use this when I married. Granny said she wanted me to keep it for good luck so I can get married to someone nice- I wanted to tell her that I didn't think that was going to be a problem or anything. Or I tried to anyways, and um...!"

Talking about this with Lawrence makes your face cover in a hot flush, something that wish you could make stop. He seems to notice it too, a smirk perking up as he tries to point out your cheeks. He just laughs quietly to himself when you take to hiding your face away in a pillow instead, letting you compose yourself again in those few painful seconds.

"Sorry," you eventually apologize through the soft material, "It wasn't this weird when I talked to her about it. But with you I get all tongue tied and dumb about it..." Seeing Lawrence's shoulders still shaking as he tries to stop laughing and fails to do so makes you feel just as embarrassed. Instead of hiding away you decide to action, retaliating by bringing up the pillow and attempting to cover up his smirk instead.

"Stop it!" you call out to him, easily having the pillow deflected away but refusing to stop. "It's your fault I get like this! You're not allowed to laugh at me anyways, not on my birthday!"

The crooked grin doesn't leave Lawrence's face as he continues to hold you back, wrestling the pillow back just enough to really make you work hard. It doesn't cease to amaze you that he can manage to do so easily with one arm while it feels like you're using all your strength, yet you can't find yourself stopping any time soon.
Or at least, you wouldn't had you not moved a little too close to the edge of the bed. You're caught and brought back up long before you manage to land on the floor, being put right back where you were by Lawrence. He seems to think that the little accident was enough to make you stop, but with guard down you manage to move right in and start hitting the pillow against him. Either he whispers it just loud enough or you manage to read his lips just fine, but you catch the word cheater as mild attack continues against him.

"It's not fair when you're way bigger than me!" you try to say without laughing, pushing the pillow against him one last time before giving up and just giggling. You're smiling, and while it wasn't as bad as easily you can still feel that the headache lingers. Nothing you can't ignore, you've been through worse. That's what you keep repeating to yourself, so much so that you barely noticing Lawrence is trying to get your attention before he stands up.

"What's wrong?"

He points to the door and a moment after you can hear Camilla's voice calling out from down the hall.

"Can I finally go out there?" you ask, feeling excited when he nods. You scramble to the door, trying not to let your socks slide around too much. Tempted to run out to see what Camilla could have possibly been doing this whole time, you wait with antsy bounces in your step for Lawrence to follow.

You really can't wait to see why she made you stay away, but at the same time you aren't sure if you should let your hopes get up that high.

One step out of the hallway and your heart skips a beat.

Camilla and Crocket both stand in middle of a room now decorated with a banner and streamers, the colorful paper looking so incredibly bright and warm against the gray they rest again. Right as you read the words Happy Birthday spelt out across the wall you're startled by a sudden pop and the appearance of a small confetti cloud brought on by the popper in Camilla's hand.

"Happy birthday Delilah!" she announces with a flashy grin, nearly looking more excited than you about this.

"I thought you were doing something in the kitchen?" you say, taking it all in. The furniture had been rearranged slightly, leaving more room in the middle. A folding table had been brought out too, a table cloth much nicer and older than it laid out on top. Little bowls and plates of snacks you're used to seeing are scattered on top, with a few that seem much nicer than what you'd usually see at a birthday.
"I was, cause I wanted to surprise you a little." Camilla looks ready to burst from excitement, reaching for another popper in a box set on the couch. "When Ace told me you were going to go lay down I thought it would be nicer if we took the time to set it up out here instead."

"We know that you knew something was up, but I hope it's still enough of a surprise-" Crockett says, flinching a bit as Camilla sets off another popper with a laugh.

You nod, a trying not to smile too hard. "This was very nice, thank you."

"Don't say thank you, we haven't even started yet!" Tossing the used popper aside, Camilla practically skips over to a small boombox, digging through a small box of tapes next to it. "My friend let me borrow many of her things for this, I will have to write her a very nice thank you card."

While she searches for the right kind of music to play the garage door opens, Officer Palmer coming in with a few grocery sacks in hand.

"Hey there birthday girl," she greets. You remember her from before, though now she stands here in civilian clothes. "Brought some more stuff for the party."

"Are you going to stay for it too?" you ask, trying to see what she could have brought in.

"I don't have anything going on for a couple of hours, so I figured why not?" Palmer grins at you before calling Lawrence over, handing over some of the bags. "Here you go buddy. Think I got everything on the list for you."

You're curious as to what his list could be, but Lawrence carries off the mystery bags into the kitchen before you get the chance to properly inspect them. Quickly facing Palmer again, you thank her for staying.

"No problem, I don't get to go to parties very often any more."

"Oh offiii~cer!" In a sing songy voice Camilla starts beckoning Palmer over, different cassettes and even a few CD's laying out on the ground. "Come help me choose music, I don't know all of these."

Palmer briefly rolls her eyes, leaning towards you. "She loves calling me that when I'm off duty, don't think you have to do that though."

You nod to show you understand and Camilla looks back and points to the kitchen. "Oh and Delilah, there are things to drink in there. I am afraid we don't have a cooler, otherwise I would have set them up out here."

"That's fine, thank you." The perfect opportunity to see what Lawrence might be hiding, you rush over to the kitchen door. You enter inside much quieter though, not letting the door make a noise as you try to take him by surprise.
It looks like he's just getting something to drink though, and aside from the abundance of grocery bags and the now empty boxes that were brought in earlier nothing really juicy catches your eye.

"Will you grab me a glass too?" you announce your presence, almost making Lawrence drop the cup he had grabbed. After throwing a dirty look at your smug face he pulls down another, setting it aside for you.

"Here, I'll grab us something to drink," you go to the fridge, looking at the various soda cans inside and trying to find the coldest ones. "Do you know what you want-"

Right as you ask there's a pouring noise from his direction, confusing since you hadn't seen anything over there for him to drink. Glancing past the refrigerator door, you catch the sight of Lawrence starting to fill his glass from a small liquor bottle. "Are you drinking?"

Lawrence quickly motions at you to hush, checking the door behind him. When no one enters he turns back, this time holding up the label so that you can see it better.

"Rum-" you make sure to whisper it, Lawrence nodding in confirmation. "Are you supposed to be drinking that?"

He shrugs a bit and nods, pouring a little into his cup.

"Then why did I have to keep quiet about it."

Caught red handed, he's forced to stop and scribble out a short explanation for you.

Cam will only let me have 1
she thinks I should cut back

"It isn't going to make you sick?" you ask, unsure of how to feel about it. He shakes his head, motioning for you to grab two cans of cola from the fridge. "So you're mixing these two up, right? I think I've heard of that before."

The amber liquid mixes easily with the darker soda, and if you hadn't just watched him mix it then you wouldn't have known there was anything else in there. You're ready to leave with your regular drink, but the bottle of rum gets offered in your direction.

"Wait, for me?" you whisper. Lawrence nods, mouthing birthday. "Would that be okay?"

if you want
its your party
wont go overboard

You stare at the bottle, trying to figure out if an adult would scold him, politely decline, or if it would be okay for you to have a little bit during your birthday party...
A little bit should be fine.
Like grandma said. We're nearly an adult so a bit little is fine.
Chug chug motherfucker
"Well um, I dunno..." you take a casual look around, trying to hide how excited you really are. When you look back at the bottle though you can't help but nod eagerly, trying to suppress the grin spreading across your face. "Just a little bit though, I have to be responsible with it."

It's obvious that Lawrence isn't carefully measuring it out, just like how he had poured his own. It looks like a generous amount, but you're too busy trying not to giggle in excitement as you keep looking between it and the door.

"Ah wait, isn't that too much?" you whisper rather loudly, watching as he gives it another quick dash. Lawrence looks it over, shaking his head as if to say of course not. It's a bit less than what he'd poured for himself and for all you know this is standard, so you don't argue against it. You rather excited to try it actually, fumbling with the tab on the can before getting it open. "And I just pour this on top?"

With his permission you pour the soda in, watching the foam fizz and rise up as the glass becomes full. "It's not going to taste gross, is it?" you ask, giving it a quick sniff. The usual sweet smell of cola is there and lingering between it you catch a whiff of something else different, the reminder of the rum mixed inside.

Lawrence takes a sip from his, taking it easily like it's normal cola. Knowing that there's only one way to get an answer for sure, you too take a drink.

The flavor of Coke comes first, which you should have expected. Soon after you get a harder taste, something else that you hadn't experienced in a drink before. It's strong, but the sweetness other sweetness in the drink helps you get through it easily. When you swallow there's a tingle in your head, and a warmth begins to spread through your chest.

"It's not as bad as I thought it'd be," you whisper in surprise, "It's better than that, what was it? That time you let me try the um, vodka I think. Do we need to finish these in here?"

He snickers at the suggestion, thumb pointing back at the door.

"We're going to take them out there? Won't they be able to tell?" You grip the glass tightly, taking quick little sips so that you don't have to worry about any spilling. The warmth remains in your chest between them, but occasionally you feel that tingle in your head again. It's weird but not wholly unpleasant.
Already waiting for you at the door, Lawrence doesn't look scared in the slightest. Instead he's got that big, crooked grin on his face as he tries to encourage you to walk out with him. It makes your heart race, or maybe it was when he first offered the drink, but the idea of the two of you sneaking drinks during a party is too good for you to resist. You nod for him to walk first, and you follow in his lead.

Music plays out from the speakers, something familiar enough. Camilla seems to have moved on to setting up another folding table in the middle of the room, Palmer giving her a hand. You don't notice Crockett anywhere and briefly wonder if something had come up. The constant worry that someone will discover that you two have alcohol keeps you too on edge to think about it right now though, and you just focus on keeping the drink nearby.

Once the table has been set up Palmer comes over, talking low and close to Lawrence's ear.

"Was that the right stuff?" she asks, getting a nod from him. Palmer looks back towards Camilla being busy and quickly takes a sip from his glass. She makes a slight face upon swallowing, buts nods with a smile. "Oh yeah, that's gonna help you sleep tonight."

When she glances down you can't help but feel in the spotlight, unsure of how you should answer if she asks what you're drinking.
"I hope you like Blondie," she says, "My niece really likes her, so I was hoping that it would be something you like too."

"Oh!" you're surprised and relieved, relaxing just the tiniest bit more. "Yeah, I love her. Thanks for picking it out."

"So I guess we're waiting a bit before cake and all that, but Camilla figured we could play a board game or something in the mean time. Please tell me you both know how to play Monopoly?" Palmer looks between the two of you, sighing in relief when she receives yes. "Oh thank god. She doesn't know how to play but insists that we do. I'm going to try to explain the rules to her and then maybe she'll stop with those damn-"

Another pop of confetti and the following laughter finishes her sentence, Camilla bouncing on her heels and picking up the box for the board game instead.

"Yes! Teach me how to play! I have always wanted to try!"

Palmer takes a moment to think about and sigh at the challenge coming very soon, stealing another drink from Lawrence before finally feeling prepared.

"Okay, just give me a few minutes. In the mean time though-" Palmer turns towards just you now, pointing towards one of the halls. "Ace got a call from the hospital. I think your mom wanted to talk to you. He's speaking with her right now to make sure everything is fine, but he did want me to bring it up. You don't have to if you don't want to and I don't think it's an emergency, but if you're up for it then it might be nice to talk with her a couple of minutes."

A conversation with your mother doesn't really sound fun, in fact it twists a knot in your stomach. It would be so much easier if you didn't have to deal with it, or if you just rushed through a quick amount of small talk. But if she actually managed to remember that today was your birthday, especially with how her head has been, it feels like this might be one of the few times her mind has been clear enough to think...
Talking with her might make her happy, which would be nice.
Sure, but I think we should keep it short. If we talk to her for too long she may get confused again.
“I think I should talk to her, at least for a little bit. I don’t want to make you all wait on me.”

“I understand, but you take all the time you need.” She might look tough, but Palmer talks to you so nicely that you’re almost not worried about this call.

You definitely are though and you look for some comfort in the warmth that spreads through you with another drink.

Lawrence gives you a quick squeeze on the shoulder, trying to encourage you.

“You can probably go wait by his office, we’ll be here when you’re done.”

The glass goes over to Lawrence, leaving it in his care while you get this over with. You feel bad for assume it’s going to be a gloomy event, and you promise to not let it show through while talking.

The office door is left up ajar, Crockett’s soft words barely coming through. You poke your head in, waving to get his attention.

“Uh huh...” he looks over at you, phone still in hand. Briefly covering the receiver, Crockett whispers to you, “Good timing— yeah, Denise. She’s right here, hold on a second.”

He relinquishes the chair for you, handing over the phone as you settle in.

“She seems a little more together today,” he whispers to you. “If it starts getting out of hand I’ll be right outside, just let call me in.”

You nod, bringing the phone to your ear. It remains quiet as Crockett walks out, leaving the door open a crack.

How to start this conversation is completely lost to you, and a small part of you just hopes that it won’t start at all.
[i]Are you there?[/i]

Letting the urge to hang up pass, you feel around your dry mouth to find the words to speak up.

“I’m here Mom.”

[i]I was scared that you wouldn’t come.[/i]

“I was just at my um, my party-“

[i]Party? For what?[/i]

You know how she’s been, yet that question still hurts your heart a bit. As you prepare to explain it to her she speaks up again, thinking about it in the silence you left.

[i]Oh, it’s your birthday right? It’s the twenty-first today?[/i]

“Yeah, that’s right. I’d forgotten about this morning actually.”

[i]I have this, this white board right here. There’s dates written on them, I think he wrote them...[/i]

You don’t really need to guess who ‘he’ is, guessing by how calmly she said it.

[i]I’ve been crossing off each day that passes, like he told me to. And today’s— today is the twenty-first?[/i]

“Yeah.” Just have to let her talk at her own pace, as slow and repetitive it might be.

[i]It says that today is G-... Giovanna’s birthday? I don’t know who that is- no wait, it’s yours right? He wrote that for you?[/i]

“I think so,” you glance over to the hallway, “That’s the um, that’s what I used to come to the hospital.”

[i]Right, right. I’m not supposed to use your real name, he made sure I understood that.[/i]

“Yeah, that’s my new name for a while. Where are you using the phone from? Is there one for the patients to use?”

[i]I don’t know, I’m not allowed to leave the room. I had to ask the nurse to use this one, she’s the only one that’s nice to me.[/i]

“Oh? What’s her name?”

[i]Her name? It’s... I don’t remember it. Wait I think it wrote it down here... nurse Scarlett.[/i]

“I know her, she was there when I came. She was nice to me too.”

[i]She sat and talked to me yesterday. Just a normal- ah, why are we talking on the phone?[/i]

It’s disjointed but you know that she’s at least trying. “Look at the whiteboard.” There’s a few seconds of silence from her as she looks for the answer.
[i]Birthday... Right, birthday. Happy birthday.[/i]

“Thanks Mom.”

[i]I’m sorry I can’t be there.[/i]

“It’s okay, maybe-“ your hesitant to make a promise, but you grimly realize that she is likely to forget what you tell her anyways. “Maybe next year you can be there too.”

[i]Are you doing anything for it?[/i]

“Party,” you remind her. Whispering the next part, you decide to indulge her some. “There’s not a lot of people here, but it’s enough. My boyfriend is here too so that helps?”


Her reaction is one that’s surprised and wanting to know more, something that honestly makes you a little happy.

“Yeah, I’ll tell you more about him later. But it’s our secret, okay mom?”

[i]Our secret... I can do that yes. Just let me-[/i]

“You’re not putting it on the whiteboard are you?”

[i]No, everyone who walks in can see that. I don’t trust the doctors, so I’ve been trying to keep a secret list of things I need to remember.[/i]

“Yeah...” you look at the notepad still laying on the desk, “I’ve got something like that too. Um, mom?”


“There’s some people waiting on me. Is it okay if I wrap this up?”

[i]Oh, oh yeah that’s fine. I know I’ve probably been talking like a...my head is still a mess.[/i]

“It’s okay, it was nice of you to call. I’ll... I’ll see you soon.”

[i]Good bye, I love you.[/i]

You hesitate, knowing that you could easily just hang up and not worry about it. Somehow you manage to muster up a response.
“I love you too.”

You hang up with a heavy hand, starring at the phone as you think about whether you really meant it or not.

“Everything fine?” Crockett asks from outside, making you walk out to where he waits.

“Yeah, it went okay. Oh I hung up though, did you need to talk to her again?”

He shakes his head. “I already did, you’re the one she wanted to speak with. Thank you for taking the time to do that. Let’s get back to your party now, huh?”

You nod, ready not to think too hard about things for a while. Crockett leads you back, the two of you walking in to find four people gathered around the table.

Dr. Rizzo stands out between Camilla and Palmer, sitting with crossed arms and a stern, you swear grumpy, look on his face.

“It’s pretty simple, I promise-“ Palmer looks exasperated at this point, pieces of colorful squares clinging to her clothes. “Just try it and we’ll help you figure it out along the way.”

“No, [i]I[/i] understand how it works,” Dr. Rizzo responds, “I am not the one asking you to repeat everything.”

“I’m sorry!” Confused but determined Camilla looks over the instructions in hand. “I am just making sure I understand- I don’t know why this is so hard for me.”

Lawrence looks over as you return, pulling up a seat for you to take. The board has already been set up, now just waiting for the players to come.

“I do not understand why this is so difficult for you.” Rizzo grumbles at her.

“Are you playing too?” You ask him, still trying to get used to seeing him here.

“I figured it would be nice if I participated with your birthday today.”

“That is nice, thank you.”
“Hmm...” Camilla ponders her thought for a quick second before turning to the doctor. “I know, why don’t you and I be a team? If I play by myself then I know I’m going to lose right away.”

“Yeah, do teams!” Palmer encourages, “We can teach her how to play that way.”

“Fine Camilla.”

“Great!” She claps, scooting closer to him.

“You don’t want to team up, do you?” Crockett grins at Palmer as he takes a seat.

“Nah, I think I can’t handle myself.” The smile she returns feels devious, but you can’t quite place it.

Looking around, you fully realize that you’re about to play against a bunch of adults. As much as you’d like to believe you’re an adult, being pitted against them feels a bit stacked against you.

[b]Maybe you should look to teaming up too, or at least prepare to cheat if needed to. Or, if you really want to win, then maybe you should look to team up [i]and[/i] play sneaky...[/b]
Currently mobile posting, forgot that tags only wrk for the original thread IP
Team up with Lawrence. Then we'll be the ultimate team!
I want to team up, but Del really shouldn't have a problem playing by herself.
So instead Law will be our "strategic advisor".
Rolled 10 (1d100)

Rolled 34 (1d100)

and one more roll I need for monopoly
Rolled 54 (1d100)

If only monopoly was concluded with one dice roll. So many families saved from that ill fate.
As Palmer takes the initiative to play banker and count out the money, you lean in towards Lawrence and whisper.

“So I know I’m an adult and all—“ you look worriedly towards the others seated around, praying that they aren’t strategizing already. “But since it’s my birthday and all will you help make sure that I don’t lose that badly?”

He agrees to it with a handshake, solidifying the partnership. So long as he can keep you from looking too dumb against everyone else then it should be find you decide, picking out the dog token for yourself to use.

The rest of the tokens join yours on the starting square, money dealt out accordingly and the dice handed over to your hand.

“Usually we roll on who goes first,” explains Palmer, “but since it’s your birthday I think we can just let you go ahead and start.”

All eyes on you now, you glance over at Lawrence to make sure he remembers the promise just made. With a nod from him you shake the dice and begin the game.


You really tried your hardest to do well on your own, but when you start losing money without having any sort of assets on the board you turn to Lawrence for help.

Between turns you try to ask for advice, trying not to look like you’re completely relying on him to not go bankrupt.

When you realize that there’s a single $50 left in your savings and that the upcoming turn is more than likely to take it all away you tug on Lawrence’s sleeve, alerting him of the financial crisis you’re steadily approaching.

>we can share for now<

“Thank yoooou...” you hand over the fake money, glad to see it join in with Lawrence’s much bigger stack. “I’ll try not to do so bad anymore. I’ll pay you back. Um what should I do to stop losing money though?”

Lawrence writes out a quick set of short tips for you to use, a welcome relief along with the financial safety net you now have.
Determined to start doing better, especially as you see the various buildings scattered across the board owned by everyone else but you, the dice returns to your hands and you try rolling again with confidence.


“Come on, pay up.”

Dr. Rizzo waits with an open hand as Palmer fumes to herself, counting out the money she owes. Camilla waits next to him, cheerily counting and sorting out the big stack of colorful cash.

“I swear, I thought you were the one sweeping up all these houses earlier.” Crockett watches over from his seat, the top hat token sitting where his money would have been if he still had any.

“Well she did~” With a big grin Camilla adds the newest addition to the money pile, theirs dwarfing Palmer’s dwindling pile. “But we were kind enough to accept a few of her properties to pay off those silly debts.”

“Oh yes,” Palmer’s voice drips with sarcasm as she puts up a cold smile, “it was very kind of you to take all my best properties.”

“You didn’t have to give them to us~”

As Camilla takes the next turn for her and Dr. Rizzo you can’t help but feel at a loss. Crockett was the first to lose out all his cash, and while the other two have been going at it rather neck to neck you and Lawrence have barely been skidding by.

As it turns out, even real adults like him can do badly at a game like this.

Sure he’s made a few smart decisions here and there, and he’s certainly given you enough advice to keep going longer than you should have. But the only reason either of you two have managed to last so long is due to combining finances- even though you insist that you’re still two separate teams.

When the dice returns to your hands and rolls onto the table, you were fully prepared to have to hand over the rest of what little cash you have and admit defeat.

Upon landing on Free Parking though, you’re more than eager to collect the gathering Jackpot.

With the next few rounds of poor rolls and poorly executed plans to gain a footing in the game you spend through it just as quickly as you got it.

Lawrence loses before you, and only because he so graciously gave up the very last of the conjoined money so you could last a few more rounds.

It’s all for naught though, and you begrudgingly accept third place upon having to remove the dog token from the board.

There’s only a few short movement between the last two remaining metal pieces, and while you admire Palmer for putting up such a good effort she too is forced to admit bankruptcy before long.

Camilla looks around the table, checking to make sure no one else stands in their way. “So that’s it, we win?”

“None of us have any more money.” Having waited the longest Crockett looks glad to finally see the game come to an end.
“I’m a little surprised. Even when me and Ace were trying to buy out all the good properties first you guys never seemed to run out of money.” Palmer slowly starts to accept that she lost, not really pleased about it though.

“Wait, you two were working together?” You ask, not recalling them talking amongst themselves like you and Lawrence would do.

“A bit. Always figured that a victory for one of us would be just as good as for both of us,” explains Crockett. “Why I ended up selling all my spots to her. While I was still in then it was like having two rounds to buy property, and whoever ran out of money first would find a way to pass it off to the other.”

“When did you plan that?”

“Just while we were playing,” Palmer answers, “though I guess we deserve to lose for cheating like that.”

“You call that cheating?” Dr. Rizzo doesn’t sound impressed at all, Camilla bursting into laughter.

“You should have ‘borrowed’ from the bank like we did!” She giggles. “Easy to keep up funds like that.”

“Wait, you two stole...? Dammit, and I was the banker...” Palmer mutters, apparently unaware of the dirty dealings.

“Well we were playing to win.” The Doctor sounds to matter of fact about it, despite it just being a board game.

You lean back in the chair, hands over your face. “We should have played better...” you whine, Lawrence reluctantly agreeing. You start to reach for the drink only half full now, only to find that Camilla has grabbed it.
“I just want a quick sip-“

She takes a drink and almost immediately spits it out, her face twisting up from the unexpected taste.

“This isn’t... what did you put in here?”

You freeze up, trying to think about how you should answer. Camilla must notice your sideways looks over to Lawrence and places two and two together.

“It’s um...it’s rum-“

“It doesn’t even taste like there’s any cola in here at all!” She exclaims, looking at the drink with a disgusted look. “How could you let someone drink something so terrible?”

“I didn’t think it was that bad...” you mumble, still unsure if Lawrence is going to get in trouble or not. “I um, just wanted a special drink for my birthday.”

“Why not make her something then?” It’s been strange seeing Dr. Rizzo playing the game in general, but you’re even more surprised that he isn’t trying to scold you.

“I will have to.” Filled with a special kind of determination, Camilla stands from the table. “You need to learn how to properly mix things sir, this is much too harsh for a sweet girl. I’ll show you what sort of drink she should have-and don’t think I can’t tell what was in your drink too. I hope you enjoyed it because that is all your alcohol for the day.”
Lawrence throws his hands up in defeat, probably just glad to not earn more of an earful.

“I think I’m going to have to join you-“ Palmer stands too, “after all that I think I need something strong.”

When Camilla leaves out of earshot you lean against Lawrence, “I thought it was fine...” you mutter again, earning a warm and friendly ruffle of the hair from him.

“Ah, she forgot the glass.” Dr. Rizzo picks up the cup, giving it a quick sniff. The way his nose scrunches up doesn’t make you feel good, and he passes it over to Crockett.

“What are you- oh wow, I can already smell it from here.” Crockett takes it from the doctor, giving it another sniff just to be sure. “And you’ve been drinking from this the whole time?”

“Please don’t be mad.”

“Mad? I’m not mad. I think it’s fine for you to try something like this out on your birthday.” Carefully he takes a small sip, his mouth twisting at the taste. “Wait, so this is your drink right Delilah?”

“Yes sir.”

“And the taste really doesn’t bother you?”

The bitterness was there, but it wasn’t enough to stop you. You’d thought that maybe Camilla was overreacting, but seeing Dr. Rizzo’s and Crockett’s reaction makes you reconsider.

>Tell them it doesn’t really bother you, and hope that nothing seems suspicious, or lie and say that you’d rather have something sweeter?
Let's just admit it doesn't bother us. Can't be that big of a deal or else no one would make rum.

Is rum really that bitter? I figured it was quite mild.
Varies, but it's a distinct bitterness. Especially some dark rums will stand out in a drink from their spice and burn.
Fair play. The more you know.
“It doesn’t bother me.” You look down at your hands resting against the table, your fingers fidgeting with each other. “Is it really that bad?”

“Wouldn’t think this would be something you’d like, seems a bit more suited for someone more used to drinking.” Crockett throws Lawrence a judging stare, something he pretends not to acknowledge. “But Cammy is a bit of a light weight-“

Dr. Rizzo shakes his head, “Understatement. If it tastes like anything besides sugar it is too much for her.”

“I’m sure she’ll make you something really special though. Kinda funny though, the way you talk about this being fine. It sorta of remind me of Denise...” He leans back in the chair, arms crossed as a silence falls. After a while you realize that it lays heaviest between him and the doctor.

Crockett glances over as Dr. Rizzo begins to pick up the game. “So uh, you two really were cheating the whole time?”

“Only when the opportunity came up. Do you not consider what you and the other officer were doing as cheating too?” Dr. Rizzo cocks an eyebrow at him. “Two if you conspiring against the rest of the players.”
“Nothing really against the rules against that,” Crockett chuckles, “Not in the same way as stealing is.”

“Well then, if you want to win then you might have to use some underhanded tactics.”

“Ah-“ Crockett groans, rocking the chair and balancing it on its back legs. “Getting lectured by a mobster, I really have fallen hard from the force.”

“Mobster...?” The doctor grumbles, stopping what he’s doing to stare him down. “I am as much that as you are a real detective.”

“I’m working on that, don’t worry.” Reaching into his pocket Crockett removes a small tape recorder, clicking it on in his palm. “I’ve got this now so I don’t have to take so many damn notes all the time, just like a real detective would have.” With the end of his line he clicks another button, playing back what he just said.

Dr. Rizzo just shakes his head. “You men down here like to act so cocky.”

“I wouldn’t call it cocky-“

With the two being busy with their back and forth you tug Lawrence to lean down, whispering to him. “Can I try yours?”

He looks surprised by the question, initially looking like he’ll say no. You hug his arm close to your body, chin pressed against so you can look up at him.

“Please, I just wanna know how different it tastes from mine.”

You give his arm a gentle squeeze as he considers it, letting your bottom lip quiver just enough.

The mostly empty cup is passed over to you as Lawrence looks away with a guilty look. After making sure that Crockett is still getting an earful about why he’s a cocky man you take a nice, long drink.

It does hit you harder, but whatever unpleasant taste you experience is overshadowed by the tingle that goes through your head. Stronger than before, it leaves a familiar chill down your spine that you can’t quite place. The warmth that spreads through is nice too, prompting you to steal another short sip. The tingle comes back again, much weaker than the one before.

You return the drink to the rightful owner, continuing to hug his arm as you feel the last of the sensation leave your head. It’s different but not awful, though you aren’t sure how else to describe it.
Lawrence’s other hand begins to move, managing to write while you keep his injured one still.

>planning on staying in pajamas all day?<

It takes a second, but you look down and realize that he’s right. And with you being the only one, especially so close to noon, it feels rather childish.

“Um, excuse me-!” You stand up, hoping no one else has notice. “I’m going to go change into something nicer.”

“We will be right here,” Dr. Rizzo nods, “I had figured this was going to be your birthday suit.”

Crockett scoffs, “You do know what that means right?”

Excusing yourself again before they can start going at it, you can feel the slight buzz in your head while walking.


You just change into something quick, hoping that they don’t think you’re silly for being in the PJs so long. As you double check your appearance in the mirror you catch sight of the bed behind you, a wrapped box laying on the blankets.

Wrapped up with newspapers instead of actual wrapping paper it’s still obviously a gift, a letter signed with your name on top. The handwriting doesn’t look familiar at first, but the more you look the more you see that it was carefully written out by Crockett. You take a peek inside the envelope, finding a folded up letter rather than a card inside.

>The letter is about a page long, do you want to read it now or later?
Later. Its part time now, present time later. I'm sure it can wait.
You close the envelope and return it back to where it had been. For now you’ll just pretend that you hadn’t seen it and you’ll open it all up later. It’s a bit strange that Crockett left it in here rather than give it to you in person, but you’ve come to expect people to do strange things for no real good reason.

The sound of a guitar greets you in the hall, growing louder as you return to the party.

Whereas he had been going back and forth with Rizzo when you left Crockett now sits with the guitar case next to him, instrument in hand as he plays around with the strings.

“Christ Cammy, this thing is way out of tune.” With a quick strum Crockett listens to the notes, his face reflecting his displeasure of the sour notes that follow. “When was the last time someone even looked at this?”

Camilla and Palmer has returned while you were gone, with the former watching him intensely.

“I have no idea,” she shrugs, “it might have been years.”

“You’re going to have to give me more time to fix this up then.”

“Hurry hurry-“ Camilla begins to nah him, stopping when she notices your return. “Oh there you are! Here, come look at what I made for you!”

She offers you the seat right by her, scooting closer to Palmer who has a wine glass in hand.

You take the spot, making sure you greet Lawrence as you sit.

Camilla moves a glass in front of you, a bright orange color that gives off a sweet scent.

“Ooh, what is it?” You ask.

“This is called a Bellini, its a cocktail from Venice,” Camilla explains as she grabs a wine bottle from Palmer. “It’s made with peaches, very sweet for a sweet girl. Let me add the last touch now...”

Carefully she begins to pour some wine into the glass. The soft gentle color is suddenly interrupted by the spread of the deep red liquid, the sudden contrast giving you a familiar shiver down your spine.

Once completed it’s given over to you but it almost feels too pretty to drink. You give it a quick sip, expecting the same feeling as earlier.
“Oh,” you look back at the glass in shock, “it tastes just like juice.”

“It’s pretty good, right?”

“It tastes really good, thank you!” You take another sip, but there’s no tingle in your head, not like before. It’s much more palatable than the one Lawrence had made, yet it just feels like something is missing.

“Much better than that awful thing he tried to give you.” She feels the need to sneer at Lawrence while she says this and all he does is raise his can of soda, one that you assume is just plain now.

“I mean, I would have drank it.” Palmer chimes in, swishing her own wine around. “But maybe only if I was planning on getting wasted-“

The sudden sound of a pluck and then snap interrupts her slightly before Crockett’s cursing.

“Ah dammit! I’ll have to mess with this later...”

“You better!” Camilla warns, “I’ve been waiting to hear you play.”

Palmer nudges her, “Wait hey, wouldn’t this be a good time for...?”

“Ah! You’re right!” She jumps to her feet, backing off to the kitchen. “Okay, no one go anywhere. Except you officer, give me a hand.”

“Only if you stop calling me that.” Palmer gets up anyways and once more the two return to the kitchen. They’re only gone for a short while this time, this time bringing out a cake in hand.

You’d seen fancy cakes before, the kind with fresh fruit and careful arrangements to make them look too good to cut into, but never at a birthday party before. “It’s so pretty!”

Palmer puts the cake on the table and starts digging through her pocket. “Just Wait one second-“

A lighter is produced quicker by Lawrence, something that Camilla gives him a scolding look for while she arranges candles around the top. It’s not long before they’re lit and it quickly dawns on you what is about to happen next.

Sitting through your peers singing Happy Birthday to you was easier when you were younger, but now you just feel thrust into the limelight as everyone signs around you. Everyone but Lawrence, who just taps and kind of hums along.
When the song comes to an end Crockett says, “Okay, now make a wish and blow out the candles.”

You try to think of a good wish to make, also trying to be quick with it as everyone is waiting. Camilla already has another popper in hand, just waiting for you to figure it out.

When you finally got it you think about it hard, repeating it over and over as you blow out the fourteen flames to the sound of clapping.


By the time the party comes to an end you’ve tired yourself out. It’s the most you had done in the past few days and you already start yawning by eight.

Even though it had mostly been talking after the cake it was still nice, you didn’t have to worry about anything during that time. It was sad to have to watch Palmer leave a few hours later, Dr. Rizzo soon having to return to his normal schedule in order to take care of your grandmother. You ask if you could see her again today, but he tells you that it might be better to wait till tomorrow. Even though she probably wouldn’t be able to eat it you still save her a slice of your cake, hoping she can at least appreciate the effort that went into it.

Crockett had been giving a hand to Camilla to help her with cleanup only to have a message on his pager send him running back to his office. You and Lawrence try to help, but it’s only halfway through when she brings it to a stop.

“I’ve been up too long-“ she yawns, “I would really like to sleep right now, I’ll finish this in the morning.”

“I get it, you did put a lot of work into this.”

“I’m glad you liked it. It’s your day to act like a princess after all.” Camilla giggles.

You keep hold onto that thought till after she heads off to bed, a grin still on your face. The idea of sleeping must be appealing to Lawrence too as he lays across the couch, or at least attempts to.

“I know the party is over and all...” you come to look at him from over the back of the couch, “but it’s still technically my birthday and Ms. Camilla said that means I’m allowed to act like a princess.”

Lawrence nods along, not disagreeing with any of it.

“Which means I get to ask you for anything I want right now, right?” You feel a little devious working that to your advantage, but at the same time it’s not something you’d get to do often. Or at least, this is one of the few times where it feels okay to be a little demanding.

Lawrence must have caught on to your plan. If he had simply nodded yes then you would have started asking him for a barrage of requests. Making him slow dance with you, letting you stay the night in his room, receiving a Hollywood worthy kiss, getting down on one knee and kissing your hand like a real princess— the list of doable and outlandish demands could go on as long as you’d want.

But he’s smarter than that, raising up one finger and indicating that you can ask for just one thing from him.
Not that you probably wouldn’t be able to get him to do some of your more reasonable requests, but you feel like this specific favor has to be the special one, the one he has to do his best with. As far as you’re concerned that’s fine, he can return to teasing you like before so long as he does this one thing.

>What’s your birthday request for Lawrence?
God this is rough...
I feel like I should push it, but with Del being...herself, i gotta retrain myself.
Let's go with spending the night cuddling in his room.
Sounds good. Time for Law to be the big birthday spoon.
"I get to stay in your room tonight, got it?" your finger comes to play with his cowlick, bending and moving the dark hair around. "And you can't do the thing where you take me back to my bed, I get to stay in there till morning. Got it?"

Lawrence doesn't argue against it at all, reaching out with his pinky to complete the deal.

"Are adults still allowed to make pinky promises?" you ask but return the gesture anyways and interlock fingers with him. "You're also not allowed to push me off the bed, or squish me against the wall, or hog all the blanket- especially that." He doesn't just nod along this time, the look on his face indicating that he might not be able to keep that last one.

"Well fine, if I have to fight you for the blanket then I want to do it in a clean room." You lean down closer, smiling as you treasure this bit of power you have. "I want to take a shower first and change, and then you should make your room more presentable for the birthday girl. That's part of the deal, you gotta promise." With your pinky still out you expect him to renew the promise with the new rule or to at least fight against it, but he closes the short gap between the two of you and connects it with a brief kiss.

"...!" It feels like your whole body has gone red and you cover up your mouth, scared to let any noise out. There's just a smirk on Lawrence's face when he sees that you're all flustered up sends you into a tizzy, and you aren't sure if you should be mad at him or act like it's no big deal.

You do either of those things, instead turning around and marching off. "That's a p-promise then!"


While you consider going quick so you could scold Lawrence about the mess in his room you decide that a little bit of privacy would be nice for both. You'll be spending enough time with him soon enough, almost enough to make up for not seeing him that much the past couple of days.

In the shower you come to remember the headache you had earlier, only to barely feel it now. It might come back in the morning but at least it won't get in the way tonight.

Standing alone in the cascading water leaves you plenty of time to think, letting you think back to the party. It wasn't something you had expected to happen, not in a place like this and certainly not in the middle of whatever this mess is. As nice as it was though you can't help but feel down about it too. Here you had a nice time and you hadn't even stopped to think about the people who weren't here, who you have no idea where they are or if they're okay. It's just something else for you to work towards, something that you can focus on right along with your secret investigation.
You return to your bedroom, wanting to wait till your hair is all the way dry and that you're presentable for spending the night with Lawrence. It might not really matter, but it does to you.

In the mirror you try to style and play with it, wanting to make it do anything to look cuter but failing at every try. Once more though your eyes get drawn to the present resting on the bed and since it's now later...

The package entices you to open it first but you stop and focus on the envelope first, remembering the letter that waits inside. Just like your name written out on the front Crockett had taken his time when writing, the words much more legible than his usual writing.

Happy Birthday Delilah
I'm sorry for making you feel too uneasy, I can tell that I've been too pushy in getting to know you
Just because I was close with Denise before that doesn't mean I can make you uncomfortable
Don't be afraid to tell me to back off, I'm still going to be trying to help you the best I can
I was going to give this to you in person, but I didn't want to be imposing
If it doesn't fit or if you don't like it that's fine, I wanted to make sure you received something today though
I know I'm busy often and one of the few people you'd feel comfortable talking with, but if you ever really just need to talk then I'll find the time for it
Thank you for being nice anyways, and I hope you have a good 14th birthday

You carefully set the letter back down, pulling the box over and opening that next. It only takes a little bit of digging to get to the inside and you pull out a neatly folded up, brand new coat. The tan material looks familiar, reminding you a bit of the one Crockett wears, but you pass it off as a coincidence. It feels really nice to the touch and you slip it on soon after. It's warm despite hanging off you a bit loosely still, the sleeves especially coming past your fingers if you let them.

Checking it out in the mirror now you feel like it's too nice, not something that you should be receiving. It couldn't have been cheap, all the fine little details catching your attention as you look it over.

Something pokes out from the pocket and you discover a photograph resting inside, the photo of your mother holding you as a baby. It's the same as the one from Crockett's office, or at least a copy of it. Looking over it and your reflection in the mirror once more you feel conflicted.

You could write him a thank-you note real quick and slip it under his door, let him know that you appreciate the gift. This kind of gift is something that really should be thanked for properly in person, if you can muster up the courage to knock on his office right now. It still feels awkward talking with him though, and you know the easiest option right now would be to forget about this till later...
We need to thank him in person. I don't need to argue my point. It's the only course of action that is right!
Thank that good boy Ace to his face.
As you look over the photo your chest starts to feel tight. There's no traces of singes on the edges, not like the one he has in his office. This one seems more worn down around the edges but other than that it's in good condition. You're already running out of the room when a somber thought about the pictures makes tears well up. You don't stop to cry, there's something much more important you need to do.

Running from your room to his office shouldn't make you so out of breath but you get to his door, panting and chest still feeling heavy. You knock for longer than you should but it brings Crockett all the same. "Delilah?" he asks all while looking disheveled and dazed, snapping to attention when he sees you looking up while out of breath and tears down your cheeks. He brings you in a bit closer with a hand on the shoulder, his other reaching behind his back as he starts looking up and down the hallway. "Is there trouble?"

You might have been steadfast on your plan but being brought this close to a man when you weren't expecting it sends a jolt of panic down your spine. When you reach up to pull his hand off he takes notice right away and withdraws his touch, backing up to give you that personal space again. He starts to apologize but you remind yourself why you came down here in the first place.

"No-" you scruff your hair in frustration as you try to keep your thoughts straight. It would have been good to plan this out first, but you just had to race down here at the first thought of it. It was stupid of you and now here you are looking dumb in front of him, or maybe he's thinking that you're just crazy-

"You're wearing the jacket."

You look up when Crockett says that, his face just screaming that he can't believe it. The fact that he was so worried that you wouldn't like his gift makes you feel awful but you remember why you're here and set to work fixing that.

"I wanted to thank you!" you blurt out, suddenly feeling all the guilt about avoiding him so much coming up at once. "This was so nice of you and I just haven't been like that to you. I'm sorry."

"Delilah," he sighs with a placid look on his face as he's able to relax again, "I hope you didn't think I was mad at you. You don't have to force yourself to be around me if it's too much-"

"No no no, it's not that! It's-" you stop before yelling out about the kiss but end up falling blank on how to cover it up. The photo in your palm comes back to mind and you hold it up, remembering what you have realized earlier. "I wanted to thank you for this too. This one and the one on your desk are the only pictures of me that I know aren't with...with him. Every single one of them are gone for all I know. All but these two...thank you. Thank you so much-"
The tears had started much earlier but the rest of you seems ready to cry now, and you have to take a few seconds to keep yourself from sobbing.

"Sorry..." you apologize once it feels like you can talk again, as hard as it is to keep a steady voice. "This one isn't b-burnt up like the other one, was it over there too?"

"It wasn't actually, it ah..." Crockett looks hesitant to continue but he's gone too far now, damned if he does and damned if he doesn't. "Denise and I wrote letters to each other sometimes, she sent that to me a little after it was taken. I figured you deserved the one in better condition though."

"So it's yours? You should have it then-" you try to hand it over but Crockett declines to, pushing your hand back.

"It's yours, I gave it to you as a gift. Fits just right in that pocket though, doesn't it?" he smiles wearily, "Might be better to keep it somewhere safer though."

"I'll take good care of it, I promise."

"I'm glad to hear that," he nods, "it's a really nice photo."

You nod and put it away in the pocket for now, running your hands over the front of the coat. "So is this, it feels so nice. I hope I-" Looking just past him and into the office you see another tan coat hung over the back of his chair and you suddenly remember why this one is so familiar. "Oh, this one looks just like yours!"

"Ah, almost." Crockett corrects you with a wag of his finger, making you smile a bit as you dry your cheeks. "Yours is in much better condition, smells a lot nicer too. It's like these two were made to be a pair."

"Is that why you chose it?' you start to roll up the sleeves more and try to figure out if you could manage to wear it now.

"Kinda. I know you're probably tired of hearing stories about me and your mom but see uh..." he stops, scratching the nape of his neck as he thinks about it. "Ah, maybe I shouldn't tell this story."

"Why not?" Now you're too curious not to know but at the same time you try to brace for whatever the answer might be.
"Well you see..." Crockett follows this with a sharp exhale but speaks up again with more confidence. "So Denise would have this habit of 'borrowing' my jackets from me. Every time we'd go hang out I'd warn her to bring one, but she would always forget. Or said she did anyways. So at one point when I was buying a new one for myself I ended up getting two and just giving her the other one the next time we met up. I know it doesn't really sound amazing or anything like that, but she really liked having matching jackets like that. Guess I could have tried to ask what you would've wanted, or at least gotten Cammy's advice."

Your head shakes no, "It's fine. I like it, thank you."

His smiles grows wider. "I'm glad. I was worried that I'd rushed things too much and made you think I was being a creep."

"It's my fault," your face dips down. "I've never been this rude to people before but I'm just... I'm different than before. But maybe I can keep changing though, so I can stop being such a pain for nice people like you."

"You're not a pain," he says firmly but kind. "You're Delilah, a wonderful young lady that I wish I could have met under better circumstances."

You feel all choked up but there's also part of a burden lifted. For all you know he was in the middle of something important yet he's taking the time to stand out here and listen, even after you've been less than friendly at times.

There's parts of you that want to explain what you had seen at the hospital so that you can kind of excuse your actions. You feel like if it was someone else you'd try to hug them right now, and maybe that would be the thing to help seal your apology. He looks happier now then when he did earlier though, so maybe it's better to play it safe and just end this conversation here.
We should end the convo here. Bringing up the hospital will dampen the mood. There will be a better time to talk to Ace about it, but right now is not the time.
A hug might be the right thing someone else would do, but it's not for Del. Yet.

Let's just end the conversation and get back on track.
Welp, mission complete Delilah.
Time to claim your quest reward, and get ready for beddy with your personal teddy.
"Me too..." you whisper under your breath before putting up a happier face. "Sorry for dropping in like this, I'll let you get back to what you were doing."

"Right. I'm glad I got to see you wear it once at least," he nods, "I'll make sure to double check on the size next time."

You say your good nights and head back, calmer and a little more level headed than before. It feels good to have at least thanked him, and while you might still be keeping secrets you rationalize that it's fine if he is too. At the very least you have kind of a plan to talk about it with him later, even if you haven't thought out any details past that. Now isn't the time for that, you're sure that there will be plenty of downtime to figure out all of that.

Right now though, you need to stop Lawrence from waiting. The jacket returns to your room, hung up carefully so that it doesn't leave any creases. The photo stays in the pocket for now, till you figure out a safer place to keep it. You give your hair one more vain attempt in getting it to do anything but it's far too stubborn and you leave it, just feeling excited that you get to do this at all.

At Lawrence's door you knock briefly before just opening the door, peeking in carefully first before just barging in.

"I'm here." you announce, slipping in past the door and letting it fall close. While it might not be the same clean as you'd have strived for the room is better than what you had seen earlier, the blankets and sheets even being arranged properly on the mattress.

Lawrence greets you from where he sits on the bed, sitting up at attention and wiping his mouth. A flash of silver ducks into his jean pocket but he otherwise seems ready for you to come in.

"Hmm..." you meander around the room while pretending to inspect it closely, "I guess this is clean enough for me to spend the night." It's hard for you to try and remain snooty like that and while you try to keep a straight face you just end up snickering too hard. "I hope you weren't too bored waiting for me."

He indicates that he hadn't been and points to the side you're supposed to go on. You come to his side of the bed and find a space just open enough for you to sit on instead. "What if I wanted this side?"

There's no argument over it as Lawrence moves over and gives you free reign to lounge right where he had been. The urge to lay there is irresistible and you decide to not to be nice and give it back as you get comfy in the warmth lingering.
"Thank you~" you beam, laying flat on your stomach as you enjoy just laying there. Lawrence makes repeats a small gesture at you, doing it over and over again till you can remember what he's signing.


Your head shakes no. "Not yet, I'm not ready yet-" The yawn that follows betrays that idea but you just giggle and pull the blanket around you instead. When you turn to face Lawrence you notice the same silver color from earlier poking out of his pocket. It's not a polite thing to do but you try to sneak it out with him noticing, resorting to snatching it up and away when he does notice.

"What's this?" you ask, holding it away from his reach while still trying to get a good look. Lawrence looks miffed but doesn't trying to wrestle it away, allowing you more than enough time to see that it's a flask. Glancing over at him briefly to make sure you aren't pushing it too far you unscrew the cap and take a sniff, the strong smell of the liquid inside giving a pretty good clue on what he'd been sipping on.

"Are you supposed to have this?"

Lawrence answers no, patting himself over trying to find his notebook. You hand it over from the nightstand, keeping a firm hold on the flask.

Palmer gave it to me
Just need some to sleep

You give the metal container a quick shake, feeling the liquid inside slosh about inside. Once more you take off the cap but this time you take a short and cautious sip. It has a different smell then the rum from earlier and it certainly tastes different, and while it leaves your mouth burning a little bit you still enjoy the warmth it leaves behind.

"Here, you can have it back-" you say, feeling it too cruel just to keep it.

There's something appealing about sharing a drink in secret with Lawrence like this. It's definitely different than when he simply given you the mixed drink from earlier, but trying to be sneaky like this somehow feels exciting. You're sure that it'd be easy to convince him to share a few sips before going to bed. Maybe you wouldn't do this by yourself, but with Lawrence it feels like you could get away with it.

Then again this is a little secret that you get to keep for him, even if you don't make him share then you can at least exercise your birthday girl rights and tease him.

Or you could try not acting like a mischievous brat -as fun as it is as times- and just take it easy till you fall asleep.
Some inquisitive bullying might be a good idea, needing alcohol to sleep doesn't sound health.
Make sure we get in nice and close, he won't be able to resist spilling his guts that way.
Route all power to bullying array and lock targets on the Wolfman.
Lawrence takes back the flask gladly, putting it away after another drink for himself. This time he's smart enough to put away in the night stand where you can't reach but it's a bit too late for that.

You come in close and rest your chin and hands on top of his good shoulder, bringing you in close enough to smell the lingering scent on his breath. "Having trouble going to sleep?" you ask innocently enough, "What's wrong, scared of the dark?"

His shoulders shake with a quiet chuckle, giving you the answer to that question.

"It's okay if you are, I'm not judging," you say with a toothy grin. "If you need someone around to make you feel safe then maybe I could come in here and keep you company, if you ask nicely. Unless that was your plan all along, hmm?"

Deep down you almost hope that that's the case, it would be great if Lawrence invited you in here more often rather than you asking permission every time. That notion goes away when he asserts that he is not afraid of the dark.

"If you say so. I think the dark is pretty creepy here." As you try to think of why else he'd need to drink your eyes start to trace the bright white scar on his throat and ever so carefully and slow your finger begins to go over the lines too. You can feel his heartbeat beneath your fingertip and as it starts to quicken you start to think about how fragile he feels like this. "Well can you at least give me a hint why?"

Lawrence turns his face away, hand over his mouth to indicate his silence on the matter. You refuse to just accept that and plan to force the answer out- even if you have to resort to some drastic measures.

"Well..." the rest of your fingers come to rest against his neck, feeling his Adam's apple press against your palm. A few moments like this pass before your hand moves to his other shoulder and you're hugging around him instead, "You wouldn't be drinking cause you're sad, right? I know some adults do that."

It's a bit of a blunt question, one that catches him off guard. The smile he puts on is more somber than usual but he shakes his head and promises it's not that.

"Not that either? You're making this really hard for me." At this point you're leaning completely on him, your body pressed against his close enough that you can feel every rise and fall of his chest. As the red begins to deepen on his face you know that this is pushing what either of you two are used to yet you're still persistent on getting an answer. "I am glad that it wasn't that though, I'd have to figure out how to make you smile again-"

You're breathing against his neck at this point and while being like this is sending your heart racing it's not accompanied by the feeling of wanting to run. The word thrilling comes to mind, as does a rather devious plan. Normally you'd feel too hesitant to try something like this but it is your birthday so that must mean that it's fine.
"If you don't want to tell me that's fine..." you search the bare skin on his neck for the perfect spot before moving in for it. "But I won't stop till you do!" And just like that you begin to attack the warm skin with your lips, leaving as many kisses as quick as you can. The sudden movements startle Lawrence but all you're really doing is tickling him, or at least that's the plan anyways. It'd be really fun if you could leave lipstick marks behind like in the movies but you have to make do with an invisible trail, trying to make sure you cover whatever is available for you to reach. Carefully across the front of his throat while being mindful of the scars, traveling up his neck and letting the hairs on his jawline poke against your lips.

It's a lot more fun than you had expected and you begin to consider continuing even if he does spill the beans.

When his hands finally come up you prepare to hold on tighter so he can't pull you away early. They come to rest flat against your back, making you think that he's going to let you continue tickling him like this. Lawrence brings a hand to cover your mouth shortly after, easily keeping you from getting free and continuing your efforts. Using both of your hands you manage to break free and mustering up the biggest pout you look back up at his face, keeping his hand hostage against you in the meantime.

"Pretty please Lawrence," you start to lay the begging on thick now, remembering to bat your eyelashes a few times to really bring it together. "You know I won't tell anyone, unless you don't trust me..." That last line was a cheap trick for you to use and you very well know that it's not true. Probably. But the pitiful act is the final straw that breaks his silence, Lawrence nodding in defeat. You give him free use of his hand again and try not to let him see your celebration smile.

You sit next to him expecting a note to explain it all but he ends up pulling the hair out of the way and behind your ear so that he can whisper it instead.

"Calms...me" It's more of a struggle than usual and it's difficult to understand even in this quiet room.

"The alcohol does?" you ask, feeling his head nod right by your face.

"Heart..." he motions the second word by patting his chest quickly, likening it to how it had been beating faster. "Keeps...awake."

You worry about the answer. "Is that normal for you?"

Not that the alternative would have been a better answer but Lawrence's face tells you that it's not.

"Happening-" he pauses for a bit before deciding to continue his response. "More...lately."

"But drinking helps?" you glance over to where he hid the flask, feeling worse about taking it like you did. He motions that it does a little bit but you believe that's a lie or at the very least an understatement.

You chew at your bottom lip, unsure if you should try to ask him more about it or if you should be polite and drop the subject in favor of actually going to sleep now.
File: NewJacketDel.png (142 KB, 547x777)
142 KB
142 KB PNG
Actually part of a WIP for the next OP but I figured it would be nice to post a Del pic anyways
We got what we wanted.
Give our big man one last smooch, and head to sleep.

Cute as always Sue, thanks for your continued hard work.
Let's not push him, he probably knows better what works for him. Rizzo would probably step in if it was really bad.
You don't like the sound of it at all but if Lawrence isn't acting like it's a big deal then you won't either- for now.

Being this close together on the bed and with him talking softly already you can't help but feel the need to whisper now. "You can sleep tonight though, right?"

He nods with a small smile. "Not...hurting." Lawrence's hand still rests on his chest but you don't suspect that he's lying right now.

"I'm glad." Suddenly you feel a bit overwhelmed with being this close to him. Not with fear or wanting to run away, but realizing how close and alone you are with someone that makes you feel happy like no one else has before. It heats up your whole body and you take the initiative to break the prolonged contact. You shuffle around on the bed till you can manage to crawl your way under the blankets and sheets. "Then I'm ready to sleep if you are," you invite him under by holding up part of the blanket. After briefly scolding him for trying to get in with his street clothes still on and then promising to look away while he changes into something more suitable you're finally getting your birthday request.

"Umm..." The confidence that was present when you first came in steadily starts to slip away as you deliberate on the question you have. Of course Lawrence can see just how nervous you are, and you muster up the last of courage you have left. "I know I asked to sleep in here with you, but I can have one more um, request since it's still technically my birthday right?"

Lawrence thinks about it, making you think that he's tossing the idea about back and forth. Despite how you should already know the answer you wait with baited breath and with a growing worry that this is the time he'll say no. The anxious look on your face makes him break the facade and he nods, looking like he'd want to say of course.

You try not to look too excited and glance away from him, hands clasped together in your lap as you try to act like it's not a big deal. "So since you're letting me sleep in here and all and I'm like your um, you know... ah, it would be a little silly if you didn't give me a proper goodnight kiss wouldn't it?"
The brief seconds of silence are enough to scare you off from the question and you prepared to tell him that it's fine, you were just joking. Out of the corner of your eyes you can see him nod in approval and the panic starts to become giddiness instead.

"J-just a goodnight kiss!" you say to Lawrence even though it's really just a reminder for yourself. Being just a bit too short sitting there you end up turning to face Lawrence while kneeling, bringing yourself up closer to face level with him. Maybe one day it won't be but even getting ready for a quick smooch like this makes it feel like your blood is pumping faster. Exciting and even a little scary still, but he looks cool and calm as ever.

Watching him like this is probably part of the problem and you find the trust to wait with closed eyes and lips slightly puckered. As you wait there you begin to feel dumb for doing this too soon but the thought leaves when the warmth of his breath brushes against your face a moment before he connects the kiss.

It's enough to send your heart racing like crazy and the wonderful kick that travels from your head and down your spine.

Immediately your body responds with trying to push the kiss in deeper and your hands come up to hold him in place by the shoulders. It's once you start counting that you realize what it feels like you're doing. No sight or smell of blood nearby, yet it just felt like your body is acting like it. Like you'd chase Lawrence down right now if you'd have to and while it's not exactly the same as when he's giving to you there's still an intense feeling of wanting to have him.

You're scared by the feeling and it makes you pull away, leaving you to catch your breath while warm tingles go down your center.

Lawrence doesn't look scared though. He almost looks surprised by you ending it so quickly, his nicked eyebrow cocked up in questioning of what you're doing. It's nothing something you want to scare him with and you really don't want to believe that you'd attack him either. The urge you were feeling is gone now as your thoughts begin racing in a thousand directions and none of them coherent.

"Bed time now...!" you blurt out before laying down and turning away. The blanket comes up close as you hold it around your body, trying to hide your face away as Lawrence sits there trying to figure out what just happened. It feels safer when you the lights finally come off and your death grip on the blankets begin to go slack.
Lawrence settles in behind you and from what you can tell is ready to sleep on his back. Despite what just happened you can't help but become needy once more.

"...it's okay if we cuddle too, right?"

With a quick adjustment your back is soon pressed up against his front and you hug onto the arm Lawrence has draped around you. Admittedly it takes some getting used to it and you aren't sure if it'll be too close for you to handle or if the terrible feeling will return again. Neither happens though and it actually feels like this is okay.

In the mostly quiet dark you only hear Lawrence's breathing, his snores subdued as he lays in this position. It's hard to tell how much time has passed but when you don't fall asleep right away you start to whisper to him.

"Are you asleep yet?" you wait, hearing his breathing hitch for a second before he shakes his head. You're fairly certain that was a lie but if you woke him up anyways then you're going to take advantage of it.

"I wasn't too rude today, was I?" Once more you wait, this time feeling Lawrence shake his head. "That's good, I was worried that you wouldn't like me anymore if I was."

He gives you a quick squeeze this time, assuring that everything is fine.

You stay quiet for a little bit now, not really wanting to bring up the next thing that's eating at you. It feels like you won't be able to sleep unless you do, as unpleasant as it is.

"A lot of bad things have been happening to people cause of me..." you whisper just loud enough to hear, "...was it really okay for me to have fun today?"

He nods. "Yeah."

You can feel your eyes start to burn up. "Even though we don't know where our friends are?"

Lawrence squeezes you closer to him and you know that this isn't the best time for this. He stays awake as you start to calm down, raspy but gentle hushing noises as you sniffle and hiccup for a moment. You feel sad about it, but there's something just comforting enough right now that makes you feel calm.

You don't try to ask anymore questions as your eyes start to feel heavy now. "I love you Lawrence..." you whisper at some point, not really noticing as your eyes flutter and you fall asleep faster than expected.

Calling it end of thread, new thread will be up around Sunday or Monday
Amazing thread Sue, thanks for your hard work as always.

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

[Enable Mobile View / Use Mobile Site]

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