Realistic/Modern The Visitor

DrTrollinski

Don't let the name scare you.
Thread starter #2,951
"I was angry at that, too. He didn't need to like... Pick you up." He said. "I thought that I was kinda' harsh, to be honest. But oh well. At least it's over with now and at least something good is coming from it." He said.

Though he was still slightly bitter at Pat, which would be reflected when they saw each other again. The fact that he forced Riley out of her comfort zone like that just wasn't cool. And it didn't help him none, either. In fact, it was terrible for him. It just increased his anxiety. He tried to stop what Pat was doing, too, but that didn't seem to work. It was just one of those things where Pat was maybe going to have to pull Tommy aside at the airport to talk about. Not like they were going to get much of a chance before then, was it?

Either way.

"I still have to go to meetings, yup." He nodded. "But that's okay. Not a big deal at all. It's actually helpful." He said. It was, too - more helpful than a therapy session with Harper, he thought. "It won't matter if I take one session off for New York. Or I could just go to it early. Not a problem." He said.

He looked at her, though.

She met The Visitor.

He nodded, slowly.

"I think most of us have by now, Riley, and if we haven't? We just don't know it yet." He said. "And a guy with a dog did save Ryan. It makes what happened even more twisted, and that hurts." He said.

It did suck.

But there was nothing they could do about that for now.

"I like us different, too." He smiled.

He hoped no one could change what they were.

...

Pat got a text.

'Jack is just gonna scarf breakfast down and I'll drop him off. I'll be with you soon so sit tight. Remember what I said - not a large breakfast. We can get lunch after if we think we've got the stomachs for it.'

May as well be truthful. May as well introduce the idea that they'd find something nasty there before they actually went there.

It was better that way.

--

Yes, he did just insinuate that.

She jumped straight into that question, too. He just nodded. "Of course he did. Hitting us could only be entertaining for so long, Bridget." He said, "I don't know how bad it got with my brother. I know with me it never went 'all the way' but that doesn't matter. It was traumatic. I can still feel... What he did, to this very day." He said. "Every time I think back I think about how it tortured me. I couldn't take a bath without intrusion. Bedtime was a nightmare in its own right on some nights. He never did anything... Noticeable. Sometimes it was just, y'know..." He coughed, "A hand under the blanket, or something."

He actually gagged again, but he didn't throw up this time.

"Jesus Christ, I still remember when I went into the new house with the new family. I couldn't even use the bathroom without having a panic attack. If someone knocked on the door or if I thought about things for too long, I just... I shut down. And I know you say I'm gentle but I don't want to put anyone else through that." He said. "When he cries, Bridge... Shit." He covered his face again. "I wish I could stop it. It takes me back and I just crack. I..."

Jason was on his own.

He had to think about that.

"I might be able to do it. But we need to do it together. Just... Don't be afraid to push me out my comfort zone, just... I suppose give me warning before you do. Just so I can prepare myself." He held her hand and stared blankly off at a stall wall.

"Do you think he'll be happy with us?" He asked, quietly. "Do you think- do you think me and Jason will, like... Connect? Or am I destined just to be this... Shaking terrified mess for the whole time he's here?"

--

"He met the president? Wow." George chatted to him as he walked along with him.

Seeing mom cry, though, that was different.

He walked up with Scott and nestled himself in there, too. Scott's words only made her laugh - she smiled, she cried more, but she seemed happy enough.

"Yeah." George agreed. "Just 'cause we love Adam too doesn't mean we love you any different."

"Oh, you two." She laughed again, "What on earth would I do without you two sweethearts to make me feel better?" She turned to either of them and kissed their foreheads. "I'm not crying sad tears, Scotty. Just happy ones." She said, "What you did for Adam means a lot to him, and it means a lot to me, too." She hugged them both to her side, nice and tight. "Don't you worry about me. I'm a tough old girl. I can handle a little emotion here and there." She said. She sniffled and looked down at George.

"What did you want me for, hon?"

He held the pamphlet up to her.

"Can you sign this so we can be boyscouts in Portland, please?"

She looked at it and laughed. "Sure. But I'm going to be checking out that place before you guys can go there. That's the deal." She set it on the coffee table and immediately signed it.

Done and done.

George grinned at Scott.

--

While Adam and Kyle were chatting, Jack ran in with his MMA kit in a bag over his shoulder, all ready to go. Hair done and everything. He rushed to grab some pancakes which he started eating before he'd even managed to go and sit down anywhere. The kid was enthusiastic to get to his sport, clearly. Kyle just smiled. He didn't stop him. There was an important talk going on here that needed to be had, but all Kyle was seeing? Adam was giving him a funny look.

Oh, come on. Surely not...

He read the writing, then looked at Adam.

"Seriously?" He said, "Look it was a bit of everything. But with everything that had happened, you were new to the family, and for a long time it was just me and them. I guess I got distrusting, dominant, territorial. I'm sorry for that." He said. "Sincerely."

He looked at the jacket when it was held out to him and slowly took it.

He'd seen Adam in this a few times.

He smiled, though.

"Thanks, Adam." He nodded. "We may not have always seen eye to eye on things but you're a good man. And the fact that George already wants you as his dad... That says a lot." He said. "Sure, I didn't always put much effort in, but, there's always time to start." He said. "Thank you for everything you've done so far. I owe you a drink."
 
What Tommy didn't realize at the time, those sessions were going to be helpful because he had a friend in the actual walls helping him process the information that was being said to him and the group. Piper Whitman, psychiatrist. What an odd little dream of hers to have but she had it nonetheless.

The two love birds heard Jack sprinting down the stairs, Max's distinguished footsteps not that far behind.Riley pulled Tommy back up on his feet. "Alright, we don't have that much time. Now or never. We can still back out. No need for war, right?"

He was going to pull that brother or lover line on her again. She just kissed him before he could. "I had to try one last time, alright?"

Jack's soccer shirts were about to be swapped for baseball jersies, his balls replaced with bat, mit and baseballs, his pictures? Red Sox memoriablia. Jack's entire room was going to change. "What if we...only if we have time...print copies of your head and tape it over his MMA hero faces...but we do it where the tape doesn't ruin the poster when he takes it off, that's important."

Oh, Jack was going to kill them.
--
I haven't vomited yet.

Bold words, Patrick. Bold fucking words. But they were already set.

Guessing the box of donuts I got is out then?

Was it a joke Pat had donuts. Most likely, but you have to remember who Pat was as a person, if he said he got donuts even if it was for a joke, he most definitely got fucking donuts.
--
"Boyscouts for life!" Scott high fived him. Here came the hard part. Scott's face was still bright tomato red as Kate kissed him and held him tight. He could be brave. They wanted to make Adam feel better, but making Ms. Kate feel better was his priority too.

"IfUncleAdamisGeorge'sDadIwouldlikeitifyouweremymom." don't faint. Don't faint. "Onlyifyouwantto,I'mgoingtogetyoucoffee," He tried hopping off and running away after he said that.

Abort abort abort.
--
Kyle got a simple note that addressed two things.

It's ok. I'm a giant. I intimidate everyone.
Camping?


He patted Kyle's shoulder, one firm nice pat. Adam wasn't aware of his own strength half the time, this was one of those circumstances. This might have been one of those times. He had no ill will or anger at Kyle, he understood. He was a scary looking man. He did want to get to know him, Kate's first son. He was family too. He was never going to replace Kyle's father by any stretch of the imagination, but he was family too.
--
Bridget was going to find Tom's father and mother and she was going to burn them fucking alive. They did that to him? Her heart broke as the rocked Tom back and forth in her arms and just....just held him there. She wanted nothing more than to shelter her husband from the entire fucking world.

BANG

It was almost over with just that sound not that long ago...

BANG

Where he would only have just brief moments of happiness, brief moments realizing he climbed out of the hole of abuse only to get

BANG

That sound was going to haunt Bridget forever. She kissed her husband and forced his glassy eyed expression to look at him. "Tom. I want you to answer this honestly ok? Have you ever looked at someone where you wanted to strike them because they pissed you off, or they did something you didn't like?"

She already knew the answer.

"No, That's not you. Have you ever looked at a child like..."

she didn't finish.

"No because that's not you either. You never have and just because Jason is here doesn't mean something is going to switch in your brain. You are still you, honey. Jason would learn a lot from you, and I don't know if he wants to be with us....but he needs us right now. And you're going to be just as kind and sweet to him as you'll be to our own little nugget in here. I'm going to be with you every step of the way. You are not handling this by yourself. You are so much stronger and gentler than you believe yourself to be. It's going to be ok. I promise." She kissed him again.
 

DrTrollinski

Don't let the name scare you.
Thread starter #2,953
Brother or lover was exactly the line he pulled on her.

"Try all you want. My mind is made." He smirked.

There was one thing they were going to learn though - Jack took pride in his soccer stuff. It may have just looked like a seven-year-old's messy bedroom. It may have just looked like it was some kid who had thrown his trophies, shirts, and soccer balls wherever there was space, but believe me when I say that really wasn't the case. Jack had put these in particular spots for a reason, and they were about to unknowingly disrupt that.

The posters would be in good fun. He wouldn't mind that.

But when he saw that soccer gear in the morning? Oh, boy. Seeing it all replaced and moved around...

That was not going to be fun.

"We have time for that. I like that idea." He said. "We really need to be careful, though. I get a feeling that if we rip those posters he's literally going to kill us in our sleep." He said. He looked over to the gear that Demetrius Johnson had signed for him.

"One rule. We don't touch that." He pointed at the gloves and snapback. "That's special and I don't want to upset him. I think we should leave those, just to be safe."

Good plan. If you touched those, there would be hell to pay.

--

Jack scarfed down his breakfast just as Max had predicted and immediately ran to hop into the front seat of Max's car. Max had time for a quick coffee and that was about all. He'd get something on the way back, maybe, but... Hey. It was for Jack. Jack loved his sport. It was only a fifteen-minute drive over to where Jack did all his MMA stuff. Max pulled up outside there and turned to the boy sat beside him, who was already eager to get inside. Max had checked this place extensively before Jack started here. He checked everything from the safety procedures, the fire exits, and the certifications of the teachers...

Right down to what the food was like, the kitchen, the bathroom, the showers...

It was all pretty pristine.

"Right." He looked at him. "I suppose this is it for now. You go off on your grand adventure, leaving your old man in the dust."

Jack shook his head and grinned, "Shut up, dad."

"Wow." Max leaned back and smirked. "Come on then, big guy. Give me a hug and a kiss."

Jack gave him a funny look. Kiss? Hell no.

But he did give him a big hug.

.. And promptly got a big kiss on his forehead.

He just accepted it. He was a tough guy, sure, but it was still nice. That was secret.

"Aunt Elena's gonna' pick you up in a couple of hours, okay? I need to go and help Pat with something. Have fun, son."

"I will." He opened the car door and hopped out. "Love you, dad."

"Love you too. Bye for now." He winked.

He watched him wander inside before he drove off. He made a beeline straight for Pat's place.

Once he was outside - in fact, he may have been at the hospital now, considering Alice still had to stay there for more surgeries and so on, but wherever he may have been...

'Outside. Bring the donuts but don't eat them all at once.'

--

George high-fived Scott, but Kate clocked what Scott said before he even finished saying it.

One arm looped around his waist as he tried to get out of there.

"Oh, you think you can just run off after saying all these sweet things about me?" She said. The tears flowed again. But they were extremely fucking happy tears. She properly sat him on her lap and pulled him into a big hug, planting one big kiss on his cheek.

And another on the other one.

And one on his forehead.

"Scott, there is nothing I'd love more than to me your mom." She smiled and stroked his cheek with her thumb. "And I'd like it very much if you'd be my son, too." She pecked his forehead once more.

But it was settled, Scott. The feeling was mutual.

--

"Camping?" Kyle said.

He scratched the back of his head. "God, I haven't been camping since I was sixteen, and that was..." He paused and sighed. "It was hardly camping, let's be honest. I'm sure you can figure it out." He said.

Hopefully it wouldn't have the same sort of theme in this camping trip.

"Well, hell. I'm down." He said. "If you think that's the best thing we could do... Sure. It's been a long time since I've gone back to basics and cut myself out from the world. I've basically lived in a city the past 4 years of my life so I would very much like to go somewhere for a change." He said.

Woud he regret it?

Nah, it'd be fine, he thought.

--

Good luck finding them, Bridget. They both died grizzly fucking deaths in prison. Deaths they deserved, no doubt. Tom knew they were dead but his parents' memories still lived on. It wasn't even his dad that was the primary abuser, physically and sexually. His mother played just as many parts in that. But it wasn't a motherly bond he struggled with. It was a fatherly one. He didn't want to be a father but he knew he had to try. Bridget was counting on him. He had to do it for her, for Jason, just to see how things worked out. He had a feeling they could do something great if they put their heads together.

At least he hoped so.

"Thanks, Bridge." He sniffled. He didn't want to kiss her immediately after throwing up, but he did pull her into a hug. "I've got nothing holding me back with you around. I think it's true - we're written in the stars somewhere. At least you are." He smiled. "Anyway..." He looked at his watch. "We should get back. Breakfast time soon enough. I'm sure Jason doesn't want to eat alone." He smiled.

And he had to give a folder to Fran.

"Hospital breakfast, or should we go grab something from somewhere?" He asked.

As for Jason, he woke up briefly and spotted Fran. She was unfamiliar, so he immediately shut his eyes and pretended to be asleep again.
 
Patrick stayed at Mercy Hospital that night and was there that next morning. His fingers still twitched, unresponsive to actual movement, but he had a hand and that was a blessing to count. He had to keep telling himself that it would work out. He might not have been able to close his fist whenever he felt anxious or freaked out, but it wasn't like it was going to drive him into another panic attack.

He would be fine.

The night consisted of him spinning stories for Alice in her hospital room. He told her the adventure of the three cops, sheriff, him and Max but it was all told PG style. She was told about Graine and his relation to the visitor, but Walter and what Walter had been through was left out. She was just told there was a little boy involved and he passed away that contributed to Graine losing his mind. That was probably something too much for Alice to have on her plate. Pat's amazing, terrifying dive was mentioned. (Charlie was in the room and asked if Uncle Tommy was there to help so Pat mentioned that Bridget and Uncle Tommy were on a super secret mission that he could ask his uncle about later. Which Charlie was going to, mark my words). Alice learned that they captured Graine, discovered more information and The VIsitor called him directly to get his cousin back. A little boy was captured and they made an exchange prisoner for prisoner. He didn't get into detail about what he had to do to make that exchange happen...for now he just wanted Alice to be proud of him. She could find out when he was older.

This morning Charlie and her were in the same bed, he was cuddling with her passed out. It was innocent enough. Besides...after everything that happened Pat wanted to speak with Mark and just get something off his chest. A card was left for Alice on the desk with a simple

Helping Max with more adventures. Be good with Mark and Reba today. I love you, kid.

He kissed the top of her head and left to get donuts. Not just any kind of donuts but the homemade ones from Portland's Congdon's. People travelled the state just to get these homemade badboys and the line was worth it. When Max pulled up, Patty got in shot gun, his aviators on...he put in a cd, a soundtrack already playing. It was hardcore 80s rock. "Cliches have truth in them, cops really love donuts. But considering we're both not cops anymore maybe its not even a cliché."

He opened the box for Max to grab one.
--
"Tom...just know...if this is something you really don't want to do, I can figure something else out for him...but I think you want this too. We'll just get through it together."

Vomit or no vomit, honey badger didn't care. She kissed him right then and there. Tom needed it, and she needed to feel close to him. "We're going to get through this, baby I promise. You are written in the stars too, don't put yourself down."

Bridget pulled her husband to his feet, wiping any dust off him. She hugged him then and just held him for a minute before she kicked open the stall and walked out with him. One man was in the middle of pissing and froze when he saw the two. He looked at Tom, Bridget and back to Tom giving a nod.

"Nice."

he probably assumed they were fucking in there, but whatever. She just winked at the stranger to solidify that opinion, Tom linked to her as they walked out.
--
Fran looked down at the boy and noticed he woke up, looked startled and then fell back asleep. "You ever seen the Incredibles, kid?"

Of course he had. It was Pixar and that movie was fucking amazing.

"You know how the superheroes had that old government guy in a suit helping him out? I'm that for Bridget and Tom over there. No need to get scared."

Speak of the devil they walked right back in. Bridget didn't know Jason was awake, so she sat back down, kissed his head and was gently replacing the pillow back with her arm as if she had never left.
 

DrTrollinski

Don't let the name scare you.
Thread starter #2,955
Alice loved all the stories. The best thing Pat could do for her now was associate everything she'd been through with something else. With something more positive, which was exactly what he seemed to be doing. Now, it was turning from 'my life is ruined and that man did something I can never take back' to 'I know it was bad, but a lot of good things are happening now, too' - She was beginning to believe that this fight was something they could win. It was something they could push back against. There was a chance for them, and that meant a lot. She was also beginning to see Patty and Uncle Tommy as even bigger heroes than she already saw them as.

What more could Pat want? The kid adored him.

She may have found out what really happened when she was older, but for now? It was important to protect what innocence the kids had left. They needed that. If there was one thing they had to protect, it was that. Because the kids were only ever going to get one childhood, so it was important to make the absolute most of that. It would set them up for the rest of their lives, so, they simply deserved the best.

Alice was still fast asleep when he left, all cuddled up with Charlie, so she wasn't aware of Pat leaving. She'd find out eventually, though, and Mark and Reba were nice. She liked Charlie's family.

Max, however, was right there waiting.

He took the donut from the box and nodded, "Good choice. I knew I couldn't expect some dollar store shit from you." He said. He bit into the donut and started driving straight away, basically.

"We can forget the cliches, kid, because this just went way above our paygrade." He said. "I did a loop back on Graine's name. Turns out one of them took the wife's name, or something. Either way, the name we've got linked to the house is the only one who owned it before Nathan Jones did." He said, "But the thing is? No records of any children. However, it's listed the woman died of childbirth, so there's a clash." He said. "Mueller is the family name. We have that." He nodded. "So, the mother, Carolanne. She died of childbirth. The father? He died of drowning, but the kids weren't ever listed on any public records." He said.

"That means no official birth certificates, homeschooled... These guys don't fucking exist, Pat." He said. "And we've not ever seen the sister, but we know she's dead. Apparently. We're going to try and find that out." He said. "That's why I warn you that this might get ugly. We can only take The Visitor's word for so much, but..." He sighed. "I don't know. That house might hold some dark secrets." He said.

He figured that was the most he could give him for now.

--

Tom and Bridget left the stall and that man looked shocked. That in itself was a confidence boost, really, and Tom could only laugh once they got outside. "I do want to do this." He said, "I don't want to push Jason out on his own. I'm not that cold and he deserves a chance. Right now it's just me I'm scared of, but, if you're sure we can pull this off together..." He nodded a few times. "I'm down for it. You know I am. We can make this work." He nodded.

Yeah.

It was going to take some time to believe it. It was going to take a lot of effort and she was going to have to show him that he was a gentle soul, and he'd need his hand held when it came to dealing with Jason a lot. At least for a little while.

But have faith. He'll pull through.

Jason, however, opened one eye when Fran spoke. "I've seen it."

She compared herself to one of the good guys.

He nodded. "Oh."

He shut his eyes again. He'd wait for Tom and Bridget to get back. They could say for sure.

So when she started moving his arms and everything to put her arm back there, he opened his eyes and looked up at her.

"I'm not asleep." He said. "I'm awake."

He seemed okay. A little sleepy, but okay.
 
"We both aren't getting paid, everything's above the paygrade." Patty joked only to get hit with the hard cold evidence of it all. The Visitor grew up in Tommy's house the house he first met Ms. Kate Jones.

Beautiful woman. It was like one of those crime books written by James Patterson himself.

"I mean we both know the kids drowned their father. That was probably where they ended the abuse they got from him, but then the damage was probably already done right? What do you think we're going to find there?"

Now he didn't want to touch the donuts at all. Whatever WAS in that house was dark secrets. he closed the lid. "I'm going to save these bad boys for later then. Alright, let's do this. No hospital trips this time. That's all I ask. I'm running out of places to get injured."
--
"Hey, hope we didn't wake you this morning then, buddy," Bridge gave a soft smile brushing the hair out of his face. She couldn't help herself. She was already treating this little pup like one of her own. Otto let out a bark as he was sitting at the end of the bed wagging his tail. "I was thinking, Otto needs a walk, do you want to come with us this morning to help out? Maybe grab some breakfast?"
 

DrTrollinski

Don't let the name scare you.
Thread starter #2,957
"I don't know what we're going to find and that's what scares me." He said. "For all we know, Tommy had the bedroom of one of the killers. Same for one of the other kids." He said, "Drowning, though? That would explain all the shit we've had happen with lakes and everything so far. It makes the most sense." He said. "We don't know that the father abused them but it's likely. The big one? As a kid he would have been huge. He would have been an outcast purely because of that. I'm talking adult-size by the age of ten." He said, "Someone that huge is huge all their life. They're the sort of babies that are born at 13 pounds and all of that." He said, "A guy that big, even if he was only fourteen or fifteen? He could outpower a grown man with ease. That's definitely what happened. And there's ways to make drowning look natural, no signs of struggle." He said.

"After that, it's obvious the boys just vanished. My theory? There was no family to give the house to, so, it went to the state. Because of the rise in property prices a few years back, a house with a pool was too much for most people around here to afford. Not only that, not near any big cities, so an expensive house like that wasn't even worth buying for most people. Hence why it sat on the market for ten years or whatever, before Nathan bought it." He said. "So, the boys don't officially exist and their whole family is dead." He said.

"No hospital. I'm strapped so if we see anyone in there that isn't meant to be, we can give three warnings and then blast them." He said. "So just be careful. Keep your eyes and ears open." He said.

It didn't take them too long to get there. Max was driving how he usually did - he didn't feel the need to rush this one, either, so he took his time. He knew that by the time they got there, Jack would have been long since done with his MMA, or at least close to being finished. They had 15 minutes to get changed at the start, then they had their hour of practice, then they had a chance to get showered (Max always told Jack to make sure he showered before he left - he took a little bottle of shampoo with him, some hair gel, and small can of deodorant. It was adorable), and after that, the place very kindly provided the kids with some food. Usually it was healthy stuff, with recipes being from all across the world.

On the way there he was telling Pat all about Jack's sports.

It helped distract him from the grizzly reality for a while.

They eventually arrived at Kate's house, though.

He went and unlocked the door and lead them both upstairs.

The first thing they saw was all the blood that Adam had left behind. There was a fucking lot of it, going right down the hallway to Amy's room. And the smell? Good lord. Max covered his nose. "Okay, right." He said, "I'm going to check out Tommy and Kate's room." He said, "I'll take a look in Kyle's, as well. Do you want to check Amy and George's?" He asked.

All of the room held some secrets.

And the grand finale was going to be deeper in the house. But for now, they had to comb through all of it.

--

Bridget was like a proud Mama Bird and Tom simply loved it. He thought it was adorable and sweet of her to treat Jason with such care. Maybe it was everything that he had been through that brought her so close to him, and then there was the hormones... That probably didn't help so much. Jason looked at her and blinked as the hair was brushed from his face. Affection was really warming, he thought. He needed it in a time like this, too. He shook his head, "You didn't wake me up, no." He said. "I'm okay."

He looked at Otto and reached out with his free hand, gently rubbing his head. He'd been a good boy and stayed with him practically all night. He was a good cushion to sob into for most the evening, as well.

Don't worry, Tom did take Otto outside during the night so he could pee or whatever. No need to make a mess in hospital.

He looked at Tom, "Morning, Tom."

"Hey, buddy." Tom tried not to sweat, but he did just a little bit.

"Was that chair comfy enough?" He asked, nodding to the chair Tom had slept in. "This bed was okay but not as good as my one at home."

"I'm sure we can fix that right up." He nodded, "You won't have to put up with it for much longer, hopefully."

"Hopefully." Jason looked back to Bridget, then sat up and stretched. "Yeah, I'd like to walk him. And I'm hungry." He nodded, "Just..." He looked around. "Just let me use the bathroom first." He said. He'd only just woken up, after all

Bridget noticed someone in a doctor's uniform at the door, too - it looked like he was here to speak to them. He must have had the test results in.

Moment of truth. What had Jason experienced?
 
"So the boys don't exist, they kill the father to be free but because they don't exist they run off to the woods....or something. Georgie's smart. He probably planned this for years right? How they would escape, how they were going to live. And when you got nothing but silence and isolation, you have a lot of time on your hands to just...think."

It was kind of scary. You had one dumb as rocks without an education and abused and you had a genius/sociopath that had nothing but time and study. It was a dangerous combination.

Pat enjoyed hearing all about Jack's life, it was great to be included. He talked about Alice and what done so far in such a little time that they had known eachother. He was really proud. She had probably one more surgery left but she was handling everything like a champ. She was a tough little girl and he finally got why his parents wanted so many kids, you know? He wondered if Fran thought about having more kids. Oh well, relationship just started not like he could propose that right away.

Entering Kate's home, the smell of Adam's blood hit them right away. "Jesus, that's enough blood to kill me. Adam's still fucking walking around right?"

He could see how the Delp brothers got treated like monsters. Adam was just like the giant Lenny but he was Superman to Lenny's Bizarro. The first room to check was Amy's. Fresh coat of paint, clap on lights, automatic lights in the closet. Recently renovated. The floors still had the same hardwood floors only...

One was loose.

Pat noticed the squeak when he stepped down. "Max, look at this." he said.

Already proving himself to be a valuable partner. Pat was grinning like a little boy inside. With his good hand, he pulled back the wood and there was an old leather bound journal. Evelyn Mueller. "We found something from the sister. She was here in this room." It was chilling to think that Amy was about to go through what the sister went through repeatedly in here. That she slept here every night without being aware.

He was glad he didn't have the donuts. Probably wouldn't eat them until much later.

The next room was George's. Not renovated. The wallpaper was still there. It was probably put in right when the house was going up for sale to make it look fresh. It was a neutral balanced color, so no reason to change it. But, well...Pat was curious. in a typical detective novel, there was always something underneath the wallpaper.

Red Rum right? Have the walls leaking blood. He couldn't tell. There was an aging corner and Pat peeled it back.

"Lenny was piccasso it seems." he said. He covered his mouth. Stick figures, sure that was fine....but there was a lot of blood and a lot of stick figures fucking eachother. Some 69ers, mutilated breasts, heads, bleeding from down there.

Yup. He was really glad he didn't have the donuts.
 

DrTrollinski

Don't let the name scare you.
Thread starter #2,959
Don't start thinking about having more kids just yet, Pat. We've got enough of them on the way as it is. It's going to be hard to keep track - and let's face it. Kyle and Brooke are in the perfect spot to start having kids at this point, so, best be ready for that. That can't be far off of all of this getting brushed up, seeing as the both of them are going to be making fat bank once they get fully settled down. They'd be financially stable - they'd already done all the travelling they could dream off, flying across the country during the summer and doing a whole number of things together. They'd had their wild days. Throwing kids into the mix was something they both wanted and discussed... And now it was getting to that point.

Either way. After a quick clear of the household, they were safe to go and check out what the rooms were like, to see if there was anything to find. And there was indeed. There was a lot to find. Or at least something decent in the way of evidence.

Pat called out to Max before too long. He'd found something, but he wasn't the only one.

Max was in Tommy's room and also found something behind the closet. He pulled that out and saw, 'Elijah Mueller was here.' carved into the wall with some sort of knife or a sharp object. It just went to show, didn't it? No matter how crazy someone was, they were a teenager at one point or another. And now they had a real name.

Not that it meant much.

In Kate's room, he only found things relating to the parents. It was tucked away deep in the walk-in closet that had obviously been there since way back when. He found an old photograph of the whole family, but, it was old. Back when they were all younger, when the kids were little. It was just stuffed away and slotted behind a panel in there. Family treasure and all. It wasn't much but it was something. Kyle's room didn't turn up anything. It was likely that was an office beforehand.

He went and saw Pat.

"We know the smart one's name, I think." He said. "Elijah Mueller." He nodded, "Anyway..." He looked at the diary, and then at the wall. "You've turned up some good shit. We'll read through this a bit later." He said. "Shall we check out the rest of the house?" He asked. "We need to check downstairs in the kitchen and the living room, then we need to go to the basement, as well. Who knows what sort of shit is hidden in this place." He said. "Then we can check the back yard, too, but I don't think we're going to see anything in there. We'll see." He said.

They were going to make a horrific discovery in the basement.
 
"Tom, you want to go with Jason to the bathroom?" Bridget asked squeezing his hand. She believed in him, he could do this. Taking Jason to the bathroom, just the two of them where he could make sure nothing happened to him. Well...that would be the first step. First step at building Tom's confidence.

She kissed his cheek just to give him that boost as well.

"Well, Jason. I hear Cocoa and Jones makes a mean breakfast. You want to head over there, then to the park?"

She saw the doctor standing there. Oh boy, she stood up and braced herself. She'd wait until Tom and Jason had left the room before bringing herself over to him. "Hi, I'm Bridget Prescott. Right there is papers for temporary custody signed so....I'm a guardian. What...what are we looking at?"

Better to say that sentence with Tom gone, thank God. She needed to somehow break it to Jason this was what they were doing and to be ready for the emotional impact.
--
"There's power in a name, Max. You know you can picture that smug face get wiped clean when he calls us again and we call him Elijah. Right? Worth it. Just to picture him silently stew that we're just a little bit closer than he wants us to be. Right? You're totally seeing it Max right? After everything this fucker put us through... that would be the tiniest of victories."

You had to wonder though. Was Elijah doing this to be known and recognized? He must have had some sort of complex problem. He was a ghost, no one knew he existed. To have that on your chest while you were just a child....that was hard. To grow up realizing that to the world, to the outside government you were nobody....

Why...you might just do about anything to become important. To become a God.

"Basement last, that one sounds the creepiest, Max, not going to lie.

The other rooms that they had searched didn't come up with much, except for the kitchen. Pat found a loose board in the wall and took out a bible. Flipping through the pages there were many pages that were dog eared and written on. Father was a religious nut and passed it to the kiddies. He doubted Georgie believed.

But Georgie would learn at a young age the power of faith and belief, how it could warp and corrupt a few people.

"Well, this should be some good reading," he tossed it to Max. "Let me know what passages were the sick fuck's favorite. I bet he was an old testament kind of guy. Old Testament God was a real bastard."

It was the basement though, the basement that had led them to something none of them wanted to find. Walking down, Kate had used it as storage, a ping pong table, couch, it was a game room as well. Kyle, Tommy, the kids probably spent many hours down here. Pat was knocking on the walls as he was walking by and stopped.

"This area's hollow. You think we should check it out?"
 

DrTrollinski

Don't let the name scare you.
Thread starter #2,961
Tom immediately froze.

He looked at her.

He looked at Jason, who was now looking at him waiting for him to answer. Oh god.

Jason nodded to her. "That sounds good, yup. I like the park." She said. "I've never been to Cocoa & Jones, though."

You're missing out, kid.

"Sure." Tom immediately coughed out. Jason hopped up from his bed. Seeing as his clothes had to be washed, the hospital provided him with some pajamas and some slippers. He got out of bed and slipped those on, then he walked to Tom and...

He took hold of his hand. He wanted an escort there, definitely. Bridget could see the moment that Tom froze, but, he tanked it. He smiled at her, unsurely, then looked at Jason. "All good?" He asked.

"Uh-huh."

"Well, we'll be back." Tom walked out of there, and yes, he was shaking a little bit, but, he was fine. He walked Jason to the very bathroom that he'd previously been crying in and let him go ahead and do whatever. He only had to pee, so, they wouldn't be gone for too long.

The doctor, however, held a bag out to Bridget.

"Those are his clothes." He said. "All washed and clean. Mrs. Prescott... Obviously, as you know, we did run some tests on Jason. We did a rape kit test, given the circumstances, and we took some blood and urine samples and everything just to make sure there was nothing else going on. I'm here to tell you that the results..." He turned a page over. Moment of truth. "They all come back as negative. Aside from some bruises and the cuts, he's fine." He said. "He's just going to need a lot of care after all he's been through. It's lucky he didn't shatter his orbital. Luckily, there's no damage to his teeth, either. If he experiences any vomiting, extreme dizziness... If he seems hard to wake up, seems slow in response, sluggish, disoriented... Make sure you bring him back right away, okay? No exceptions." He said.

He gave her another paper bag. "In the meantime, there's some painkillers in there. They're not anything too strong, but, it will help cope with the pain while the bruises and cuts heal. The blood on his clothes wasn't actually his, from what we could see. So, at first glance, it looks like Jason may have fought back against whoever he was taken by. Hard to say." He said, "Either way, he should be fine. Just take good care of him. I can refer you to a psychiatrist if you think it would be necessary."

They were all clear.

Jason hadn't experienced what they all feared.

--

They had a bible and everything. Good stuff.

"I think you're right." He said. He put the bible aside for now. "Knowing his name might mean a lot to him. Or it might not. He might want for us to find all of this." He said. "We don't know how likely it is. It's too hard to say with him, isn't it?" He said.

But now, the basement.

He didn't want to think about whether or not the killer wanted them to find all of this. If he did, then that was fucked up. All of this was here under their noses for how long, exactly? It made him shiver that Kate and her family had lived here. It made it hurt more. He didn't think he was ever going to be able to tell them that.

In the basement, though, he looked as Pat stopped while he was knocking on the walls.

"Well, hell yeah we check it out." He said.

He walked over to it and felt around on it. It didn't seem like there was any loose panels or anything, but...

"Come on now. There must be a way behind this without smashing it to shit." He said, and he went over and tugged on one of the lights on the wall and-

Something cracked.

A panel on the wall opened ever so slightly.

Max looked at Pat, then he walked up to the panel and slowly pushed it open.

He stopped as soon as he saw what was inside.

"Holy shit..."

A skeleton sat in a chair with candles (burnt out) all circled around it. The skeleton still had hair which had lost all of its color. It was still dressed. The clothes were covered in dry blood, but it was nothing but bones. There were old dried up flowers scattered around, and...

Fuck.

Loads of shit and symbols written on the walls, bible passages, a lot of sexual things. It was fucking crazy.

"I think we just found Evelyn." He choked.
 
It really was quite possible. A bible, a journal, a name all found conveniently in a rookie search. Maybe he wanted them to find this because after all? Elijah Wood had actually entered a game where it was a challenge. Pat pictured Elijah being one of those kids that had won chess every time. New opponent, beats them in a second. All the time. Except you could see the kid's excitement when there was a realization someone made a chess move you didn't predict. Finally....FINALLY....there was going to be a challenging game.

If this was planted, that was the feeling that Pat had crept that Georgie was actually excited like a mad man to have some interesting toys to play with.

Get it out of your head, Pat.

Max found the cracked door and when it was opened?

Pat threw up dinner right then and there. "Yup," he then vomited again. "Found her." Oh fucking god. The smell had just escaped and it was enough to cause a sane man to wrench, it was worse than sour milk. "Pictures of...we need to take pictures of the fucking wall."

And it was there, that they both saw it, fresh marker and something recent right for our boys in blue to see. Taped was a freshly cut rose.

Let the games begin, Max :)
--

Bridget covered her mouth and let out an audible sigh of relief. Oh thank god. Her hand was on her chest as she just let it all sink in. Jason was fine. Yes, horribly hurt and trauma was there.

But he was spared what all the other victims had been through. Thank God Pat did what he did...whatever it was. She nodded. "My brother-in-law is a child psychiatrist. Thank you though, I appreciate it. We live in Portland, but I'd like to have your contact information so if we do need to rush to the hospital for any reason you can give help them with what you saw here."

Fran's ears perked at the no rape part. "That's good then? She can take the boy home with her?"

It sounded like it. She knew just where to go too. Mom and Dad had extra beds, rooms and everything while Tom and her looked for a home up there. Plus they were going to spoil that kid the second they saw him.

"Thank you for all your help, Doctor." She shook his hand.

Fran and Bridge were waiting outside the men's room, Jason's clothes out of the bag and folded neatly. Otto sat by their side. Fran looked Bridge up and down and went. "You're pregnant."

"Wait how-"

"You're literally seeping Mother right now with all your behavior. Plus no one tears up that much."
 

DrTrollinski

Don't let the name scare you.
Thread starter #2,963
"Jesus..." He walked over and patted poor old Pat on the back. "Come on. We'll get what we need and then get the fuck out of here." He said. He had a walk around the... Remains. It was horrific. She hadn't been moved in god knows how many years, but, had this been some sort of shrine for... Whatever? Was this some sort of crazy relic of theirs? He just pulled out his phone to take some pictures of all of it when suddenly he saw...

The rose.

He reached down and picked it up. He immediately doubted everything they'd found. But some of it was too well hidden to even be... Y'know, planted. The journal was a maybe, but that looked old and worn so it was hard to say if it was really planted there by them or not. Maybe the bible was placed there. Or maybe it was all just left there waiting to be found. He didn't know. What felt like a victory was now quickly becoming a defeat and he didn't like that one bit. Maybe... Maybe they could get lucky and just find out that he wasn't expecting them to find the things that were really hidden.

"Motherfucker." He said. He took some photos of the wall, as close and as clear as he could get, and he took photos of the corpse, too.

He looked at her. Fuck. She never even got a proper burial.

"I'm so sorry this happened to you." He whispered.

He walked to Pat. "This son of a bitch." He held the rose out to him. "You see this shit?" He shook his head. "Come on, we should get out of here." He said. "You look like you need some air. You're not going to pass out on me, are you?" He asked. But only out of concern. Pat didn't look like he was doing so great. Which was understandable, really. They'd seen too much for one day.

At least he advised Pat not to have a large breakfast.

--

"Yes, yes, I'm fine to discharge him." The doctor nodded to Fran. "As I said, just keep an eye out for any changes. If he seems overly forgetful, and the symptoms I said before... Any swelling under the eyes aside from the bruise he's already got, just make sure you call someone or bring him to your nearest hospital." He nodded. "All of you take care. Just call here and ask for Doctor Morris if you have any concerns. With everything that's been going I've been living here, practically." He said. Which was very true. He was running on very little sleep and eating and drinking only the minimal amounts. Poor guy could barely stand straight.

It would take a while to fix things up.

Meanwhile in the bathroom, though, Jason had just started washing his hands.

"Tom?"

"Hm?" He was stood there leaning against the wall just beside where the sinks were.

"How come you and Bridget got married in England?" He asked. Because yes, Tom did tell him the wedding story yesterday.

"Well, neither of us have been there before, and I always wanted to see Canterbury. Nice place."

"What's it like there?"

"Like here, but colder." He laughed, "Really good, though. It's definitely worth visiting." He said. "You ever been to England?" He asked.

Jason took a paper towel from the dispenser and started drying his hands, "No, but, me and my mom and dad went to Hawaii last year."

"Is it nice there?"

"Yeah. It's fun. It was so hot it made me sick one day, though."

"Well, I'm sure you'll be used to it for when you next go there, right?"

He shrugged. He didn't think he was ever going to go there again now that his parents were gone. He suddenly winced and wiped at his eye, the one that was black and blue with bruising. Tom looked at him.

"You alright?"

"My eye hurts." He whispered.

"Let me see." Tom ducked down. Jason turned and looked into his eyes; the bruised one was watering, and the eye was bloodshot and stained with red. "Yeah, it looks sore." He said. "We'll get some heatpacks. Putting them on it for a few minutes increases the blood flow, helps the bruising go away quicker." He said.

"Oh, okay."

"Ready to go?"

Jason nodded again and took hold of his hand once more. Tom was still going to take a while to get used to that.

But the trust was nice.

They walked out of the bathroom together and were met with Bridget and Fran.

"Hi." Jason said to them both.

"Hey, guys." Tom looked at the two of them. He looked at Jason's clothes and then looked at Bridget. He frantically shook his head.

Yeah, helping/supervising him while he got changed? Way beyond what he was comfortable of doing. You better take that one, Bridge. Tom still had to give something to Fran, anyway.
 
Just like that, Max could watch rhe lightbulb go off in Pats head. He might as well have been in a cartoon his young partner was that animated in his realization.

"You are right." Pat said straightening himself up. "She didnt havr one. Lets give her one." Pat eaited for it to dawn on maxs head too.

"We will call the press release her story. Give her a real proper funeral. It would become an event."

An event that Elijah might not be able to keep himself from. Come on max, you knew this was brilliant.
--
Bridget felt more exposed. Fran had just lrft her speechless.

"And now i get why you are backing out. Good. Little Prescott is important. You and tom done enough i will get alice off. My father id already horribly losing."

Fran grinned "i am a badass comeone say it. We all know i got this in the bag."

"Fran."

"Oh come on. If legal shit was an olympic sport id havr the gold. I pull out bureaucratic miracles like its nothing."

Bridget smiled "yeah you do good. Now dont tell anyone Im pregnant."

Speak of the devils the boys returned. Tom looked like he had run a marathon but it was all good. She kissed him and took jasons hand."alright buddy. We got your clothes. Lets get you changed and get famous pancakes in you. Did you know that is where tom took me put on our first date. But it got all distracted when q case came in."

Bridget walked with him telling jim the story as fean gave a devilish smirk. "You dog. Youre with child."
 

DrTrollinski

Don't let the name scare you.
Thread starter #2,965
He looked at Pat. He'd be lying if he didn't agree that It was a good idea. But he didn't know how well it would work out. The Visitor had been unpredictable so far and he didn't want to chance things too much. What if it all blew up in their face? What if he came out of nowhere and just... Killed one of them? What if he killed all of them?

At the same time...

What if he didn't?

What if things were different? What if it all went down exactly the way they wanted it to and they caught him? Or at least pissed him off to the point where he felt like he'd truly lost a battle?

He didn't know. He was clearly unsure.

But he smiled.

"That's a good idea, Pat. I say we go for it." He said.

He was down.

But what tricks did he have up his sleeves? Max would never know.

--

"If it's the place you had a first date then yeah we gotta go there." Jason said. "It's important that you finish the date but I'm gonna be there. So maybe it's not the same but you never know." Jason said as they walked along. Getting changed would be simple enough.

As they were walking he looked up at her, "Did you enjoy England, too?" He asked.

Meanwhile, Tom looked at Fran.

"It wasn't anything like that." He shook his head. "We just had to leave rather urgently on that date. Hey, it's not like he'd going to mind if it's a date location or not. He's..." He paused.

"Shit. I don't know how old he actually is." He said. "I didn't ask." He said.

He paused.

"Fran I have something for you." He quickly said. He pulled a USB flash drive from his pocket and held it out to her. "This is everything I could find on your father." He said.

He put it in her hand.

"Take it. You deserve it."
 
Oh he thought that she was insinuating....oooh alright. Now his response made sense. Fran lightly hit his shoulder. "No i mean shes pregnant now. Thats why you two are backing out. Funny hoe your mind went there though so you totwlly did it for the first time that day."

Fran wasnt wrong.

She blinked. Fran took the drive and held it in her hand. "Not going to lie....its going to feel good throwing that bastard in jail."

Fran hugged him but then went in her purse and pulled out two files. "I requested this informayion before we were friends. I was building a case to lock you in an asylum. Anyway....its what happened to your parents. You got an uncle by the way....hes in the same prison your father was at still alive. Delp."

She took in a breath. "Your father was going to be killed regardless but i think your uncle had somr thing to do with it. A guiding hand. Hes up for parol in a few years. I will keep an eye on it but you got a little six year old cousin another one landed himself in the hospital. Id just be cautious if this guy comes out and tracks you down."

Why woukd he track him down? Fran saw it on his face and pulled out a map of the delp land. "You and mark are worth millions of dollars. Names in your cousins name and you ywo are decent people you arent going to try and make a claim for it....but this guy? Just be careful."
--
"Toms told you everything i see." Brudget laughed. "I loved it. I proposed to him and then we just took the first international trip out of here."

Bridget paused taking in a deep breath.

"Jason...would you like to stay with Tom and me for awhile?" She asked. "I grew up in Portland and thats where tom and i are planning to live. I need help with Otto, youd get to help me train puppies. We want to take care of you....give you whatever you need."
--
"Really?"

Max thought he had a good idea. Holy shit. Pat was grinning like an idiot. Look out world pat scruggs was going to be a great fucking detective!

Or he thought so in his head.

"Lets call it in thrn. I will take care of all this background stuff. You just be prepared to nab this fucker after we flush him out."

They were smoking out a monster after all....and it couod all go to shit....but atleast they would have a fucking chance.
 

DrTrollinski

Don't let the name scare you.
Thread starter #2,967
"Oh. Right."

Maybe he went slightly red in the cheeks.

"Well, yeah, we do want to back out because of that. It's getting too dangerous now so we just need to get out of it all. We've already got things figured out, and now that we've got the custody of Jason. At least temporarily... Hopefully we can get him far away from it, as well. I know it's not going to be easy at all, not by any means. It's going to be a long road for all of us, I just..." He sighed.

"I just want to live a quiet life now. Me and my brother are going to start a company together, his little boy's gonna' help us run the show, of course." He smirked a little bit. "But yeah. Getting out of it as soon as I can." He said. "I think me starting a family has been a long time coming. It's going to take some time, I know, but... Hey, this might be the perfect chance t start."

He was shocked when she also had files to give him, though. Right after a hug, too.

He took them and looked at her, confused, and laughed at what she said. Get him locked up, huh?

But the contents of the files?

"Shit, Fran. If you told me a day earlier I probably would have fainted right there and then." He said. "I found out about my cousin. Or at least figured it out. This just sort of confirms it. I'll have to go and see him once we've got things figured out a little better." He said. "I don't know when I'll get the chance. Soon, I hope. I need to discuss it more with Mark. Not going to criticise you for trying to get me locked up, either. Only reason I gathered things on your dad was so I could get you pinned with judicial bias and conspiracy, and... Whatever else could apply in that situation." He said.

"Seems we were both wrong." He said. "As for the land... Well." He said. "We'll figure that one out, too."

--

As for Jason, he smiled at the story. "That's nice." He commented.

True love, he figured.

Either way, while he was in the room, just putting his clean shirt back on... Bridget asked a rather tough question. He slipped the shirt on over his head and looked at her. "Ummm." He said. "I mean sure." He nodded, "I guess."

He liked them, yes, but staying with them? That would be... Different.

Maybe it would be best to speak to him about this when Tom was there too, Bridge. Two heads are better than one.

"I'd like to help you with puppies." He nodded and put one hand to his mouth, chewing on his nail. "But things will be different, won't they?" He asked. "I'm nervous." He said.

He was honest.

He let out a gentle sigh. "I like you and Tom but I think Tom's scared of me. He's nice to me and everything and he's fun to talk to but he always shakes and acts all scared. And his hands sweat a lot." He said. "So... If I stayed with you, what would it be like? Would Tom not be scared anymore?" He asked. "Would things... Would I have to do different things, 'cause... I liked... I liked the way things were with my parents." He said, and maybe his voice dropped a tiny bit. He quickly wiped at his eyes.

--

"What we do need to be careful of, though, is Kate." He said. "She can't find out that she had a body in her basement, so, how the hell are we meant to do that?" He asked. "If the police find out she has a corpse in her basement that's going to be just as bad. If it all comes back on her it won't work." He said. "But we can figure that out. We might be able to nail this bastard. We choose a church that's nice and exposed, nowhere to hide." He said. "We make sure we can work our way out of this without too much backlash, and finally... Well, we make sure we look after ourselves." He said.

"I don't want anything happening to you nor me, you hear?" He asked. "In fact, I want you to pack this in at the first chance you get. You've got your whole life ahead of you and a kid to worry about, too." He said.

It was all true.

"If you think this will work, Pat, it's all in your hands. You seem to know what you're doing." He nodded.
 
"Like I said, I doubt you and Mark are the kind of people sniffing for money and property. You should have a relationship with your cousins just to have a relationship with them. But your uncle? Who knows. Anyway that's a problem you have a few years to work on right," She nudged him. As for Jason Fran leaned back against the wall. "You'll make a good dad, Tom, you know what it's like to be in the belly of the beast and you got out of it. And don't be too hard on yourself, thinking you'll break him. You and I came from shit families. Well, yours worse, but we both ended up ok. Mark's got three kids who adore him, you helped save a woman give birth in an elevator. You can handle this too."

It was kind of funny, if you thought about it, that the two of them were about to be self destructive to eachother.

"We make better friends than enemies. I get it, Tom. I'm anti-social, you're protecting your brother. We both have experiences where its just easier to assume the worst in people. Ethan's giving me friendship lessons. I think they're working. He hasn't punched me from a triggered PTSD episode i might have induced so I say its working. PLUS I got your brother, not Mark, to kiss me. So definitely working.
--
"Oh honey," She felt her heart just melt and twist. "Tom likes you around, I swear. He...you know how most superheroes have tragic origin stories?"

She pulled Jason in when he came out and rubbed his back. "It's like that with Tom. That's his story to tell. He's just...scared. But it's ok. People get scared all the time and they end up ok. You don't change, just be yourself and it will all work out. And I know things are going to be different and scary for you too, so it's just important you stay honest and let us know....what are some things you liked to do when your parents are around? See if we can incorporate that."

It was going to be a conversation that Tom would need to be involved in, but this way at Cocoa and Jones, he had some time to really think about what he wanted to ask both of them instead of just being bombarded with it.
--
Overall it took about thirty minutes for Riley and Tom to switch out everything. No one caught them, no posters were ruined. His soccer gear was neatly tucked in Tommy's room.

They were good to go.

Riley and Tommy came downstairs to see Kate in tears hugging Scott and Adam and Kyle sitting together. It seemed they had missed out on some serious bonding.

Scott was still in tears wiping his face. "Well...George is my brother and Amy's like my sister...Tommy treats me like a brother so does Kyle...so...so yeah I do like being your son."

He was just surprised that Ms. Kate didn't hit him. He should have known better but his first thought as she went to snatch him was to whack him and he was immediately set at ease when she was kissing him over and over again. Riley nudged Tommy to see if he wanted to jump in too on this heart warming moment.
--
"See that will be the rub on the visitor. We have to move the body, so one we are basically ruining this whackadoo's shrine. And two? We are robbing him the chance to show this shrine to the world, we put the body in the cabin Arden stole the kids and we call it in. We spin and control the story."

As for him getting hurt?

"I don't know how well this plan will work, the goal of it is to smoke elijah out and give you a window to grab him. I got faith in you Max and I'll stay back, all I'm doing is setting the stage. Just make sure if he does show...we take this fucker down once and for all."
 

DrTrollinski

Don't let the name scare you.
Thread starter #2,969
"Thanks, Fran." He nodded to her. "It's just with everything that's been going on, it's hard to just... Settle into something like this. The past is a bitch, too. Bridget is right in saying that I'd never hurt a hair on that boy's head. It's not so much that. It's just..." He scratched his head. "You must get the same thing." He said. "When you see someone you care for, when you meet someone you seem to like or feel even remotely connected to... You must worry that your past is going to suddenly take over and make you fuck it all up? Or maybe that's just me." He said.

"Jason is a good kid. Talkative. Outgoing." He nodded. "He's sensible and he's been dealt some bad cards. I want to be part of helping him but it's just the past that scares me. Everything my parents used to do to me just comes back whenever I see him. The thing is I'm not like that with Charlie or Mira. I don't panic. I don't know what it is, I guess- I guess Jason reminds me too much of me when I was his age."

Maybe he'd never know what caused him to freak out that way.

"You'll be fine too, Fran. Social skills take time but you're getting there. All I ask? Don't rush into things and suddenly drop things on them when they're not expecting it. If you're doing or have done something, wait for the right time and just have a normal conversation about it. If you pile it all on at once, people feel pressured." He said.

He thought back to Jason.

"Do you know what the test results were for him?" He asked. "You know. The rape kit and the bloodworks and everything?" He asked.

Because yes. Tom wasn't there when the doctor told them.

--

"Oh. So Tom's like that?" He said. He thought about all the tragic superheroes he knew of. There were quite a lot. More than he could count. The one he remembered most was Uncle Ben's death in Spider-Man. That was the worst. Was Tom's story like that? He could only wonder.

He hugged Bridget as he was pulled in and stayed here for a minute. "I like you and Tom. And that's why I'm nervous because I don't want things to be different enough to make me not like you." He said. "As long as we..." He paused.

He sighed. He shut his eyes.

With a trembling voice he spoke, "As long as maybe we can watch TV together or go places together. And play games." He said. "And... Well, mom said on school nights I need to be ready for bed by eight and in bed by eight-thirty for my story. Can my bedtime still be that time on school nights?" He asked.

He really was trying not to cry.

"And bedtime stories. I'd still like those." He said. "And no mushrooms for food, and... um..." He shut his eyes tight.

"There's a lot of stuff. I can't remember it all right now." He sniffled.

--

"Don't you start crying too. If you cry as well then this is going to be a mess." Kate laughed and quickly wiped the tears from Scott's cheeks. "You're a wonderful little boy. I love having you around and you make all my days that extra bit special. You're perfect, Scott." She said.

She kissed him on the forehead once more and held him against her chest. If she could, she'd hold the precious little guy there forever.

Tommy nodded to Riley. He was definitely getting in on this.

He went up and hugged George, then his mom.

"Looks like Tommy's here to say hello as well." Kate kissed Tommy's head.

Tommy gently pulled on Scott's shoulder and got him to face him. He smiled.

"I guess that makes us officially brothers, then, right?" He smiled. He immediately hugged Scott, too. "You're a pretty awesome little brother, if that's the case. Just thought I'd say it." He patted his back.

--

"Alright. Have faith in me. Your plan on using Arden's shack definitely works. Especially if he has a basement." He said. "In terms of me nabbing him, just make sure you're readily available for backup if it's necessary. He might show up locked and loaded for all we know and I don't want to chance that." He said.

He looked back to the skeleton.

"So. Next challenge. How the fuck do we move her?" He asked.

He looked around.

"Is there like... a box we can put her in?" He asked.
 
"Tom, you were his age when you got adopted. Charlie and Mira are with their parents and you know they haven't dealt with anything super traumatic. But I don't know. You probably remember what you were like too, when you got adopted. You probably were skiddish and terrified of your new parents and," Shrugged. "Seeing Jason just brings that scared eight year old back to the forefront of everything. It's like reliving that transition all over again."

Fran, you had to wonder if she realized she was saying it this way on purpose. From her shrug and general attitude, she didn't connect how that would frazzle Tom. "Yeah, I get that way. Pat left me alone to take care of Alice and Charlie and I thought I was going to die. I don't remember my mom ever...hugging me, you know? I don't actually recall any sort of affection from my parents. So I get freaked out that I won't be affectionate enough or I'll say the wrong thing. I the vehicle that gets kids out of shitty situations, not the destination point you know?"

Dating Pat though, Alice was going to be a big part of her life. She wanted that...but at the same time she was probably going to fuck Alice up. She got it. She understood where he was coming from. She gave Tom a sidelined look as he mentioned not to bombard people with information, give it at the right time. "I just get so excited. I usually do all this alone, you know? And its the first time I can share a victory with friends. I get it though. I can be a bit aggressive."

As for Jason? "Just bruised up. They told Bridget to watch for signs of a concussion and everything but he wasn't raped. He was spared that. I still can't believe Pat negotiated with the killer but whatever he did it worked."
--
"No one told you? All we eat is mushrooms. For breakfast lunch and dinner, we even drink mushroom tea." She lightly bumped her shoulder against his and smiled letting him know she was kidding. It was actually truly heartbreaking that he was just scared of the little things changing.

"Bedtime stories, well, what sort of stories do you like listening to? Gotta make sure I come prepared." she said. "As for the other stuff, Jason, we'll adjust to you. Bedtime at eight or eight thirty. Whatever you remember we'll work with that. It's all going to be ok. I promise."
 

DrTrollinski

Don't let the name scare you.
Thread starter #2,971
"Well, I suppose you're right." He said. "He might be a little younger than what I was when I was adopted, but, I suppose it's more the concept that's harder for me to get past." He said. "I know it's not going to be easy to get past all this but I'm trying. He seems to trust me enough as it is, so, I'm going to try and... Y'know, keep that trust going." He said. "Bridget seems confident in it. She's doing a really good job as it is, actually, already treating him with such care and affection. She'll make a really good mom." He nodded. He wasn't going to reveal the pregnancy to her yet, but, little did he know that Fran already knew. That would have been interesting to find out about, really, that she knew all of that already.

But maybe he'd never find out she knew.

Who knows?

"You can share a victory with us whenever you want, Fran, but victories are best celebrated when you take time with them. Victories are no fun if the celebration's over within 30 seconds." He smiled. "You'll get there. We can consider this whole day a partial celebration for the victory you had with Jason." He nodded. Speaking of Jason, though, Tom had the best news he'd heard all day. He'd escaped something most horrendous.

"Oh, thank god." He wiped his face with both hands. "I had the feeling he was in the clear judging on the way he acted, but... You never know. People take it differently." He said, "Thank fucking Christ or whoever it is watching over that kid." He said.

He looked around, "I'm going to have to thank Pat when I next see him." He said, "And Fran... Thank you, too." He said, "I know it probably seems like not a big deal to me right now, what you did - but it is." He said, "I know that if things didn't work out and Jason got tossed into care, before too long it would devastate me. I'm glad you could get something figured out basically overnight. You're a real miracle-worker." He said. "You should spend some time with us at some point soon. All three of us. It'd give you a chance to get to know Jason and I think you deserve a little bit of a break, too." He said.

"I think over breakfast we're going to be discussing... The current situation with him, so it'd be best if it was just us there for now. But maybe we could do something together soon? You're practically family, too."

--

Jason smiled a little bit. Jokes were always good.

He quickly wiped the tears from his eyes and stood there hugging her for a moment. For now he didn't really want to let go. He felt safer like this. He felt less exposed and more... 'Needed'. He'd end up just becoming more of a mess if he let her go now, and let's be honest - no one needed him in that position. No one wanted him to fall to pieces. God knew that Tom would fall apart the moment he started bawling again.

You haven't seen the worst of it yet, Tom.

"I like all kind of stories." He sniffled. "We can... talk about this stuff a lot to make sure we get it right." He nodded as an attempt to reassure himself.

"Things will be okay." He sniffed. "And I get two pillows on my bed, right?" He asked.

All was well.
 
"Two pillows?" Bridget pretended to be aghast. "Don't you need a mattress too? Who just sleeps on two pillows?" He got a poke to the belly and Bridget was loving every minute of just teasing him and playing with him. One thing they were going to do was go to the police station and get permission to take Jason's belongings. She'd probably hire a service, get the entire house boxed up and in a storage unit for Jason to access anytime he wanted. When he was eventually an adult and told them he was going to move out, he would appreciate the dining room set he grew up with, the living room set, all of it just waiting for him to start his life again.

What they would discover was that his parents had rewritten their will when the events of the murders kept on accumulating. They wrote it that if they died, all their wealth and belongings would go to their children. You bet your ass Fran already secured it so the state didn't try anything funny to claim Jason's home or anything like that.

Big F.U to the Visitor and his property schemes.

Bridget's arm was wrapped around the boy as she just held him there. "Alright, let's go find Tom. You know, you could totally take advantage of this. Go, 'it's normal for me to have icrecream every day for breakfast' and Tom and I wouldn't be any wiser." Yes, she was giving him permission to sneak one or two of those in there if he wanted to.

Within reason.
--
"Just don't pull a Pat and go 'Oh look I have to use the bathroom' and dissapear for a few hours. He did that with Charlie and Alice and I nearly fainted."

Oh Fran, you don't know the half of it.

She nodded giving Tom a hug. "We'll do something in New York. My cousin's going. I didn't scare her off yet!"

Just then Bridget and Jason walked back in the hallway. "I'll leave the three of you two it. I have some files to sift through thanks to a detective."

Bridget smiled at Tom, "You ready for pancakes?'
--
Where to put the body. Not like they could shove it in max's truck and-

-lightbulb.

Patrick pointed at the freezer down there. Kate probably used it for frozen pizzas, meats, there was a lot of mouths to feed after all. "We put her in that box right there, I bet you there's frozen stuff already in there, we put it ontop of her and we just put this bad boy in the back of your truck. Easy. God forbid anyone stop us along the way htey are just going to see food on top. I'm going to be honest with you max, if you led with us carting a skeleton into the woods today I might not have come."

He paused.

"Ok I still would have totally come but you get the point. Today's gotten weird."
--
She called him perfect. Poor little guy immediately broke into sobs. "I w-wont c-cry, M-m-ms. K-kate." he stammered inbetween tears trying to keep himself together. It was too much, but all in a good way. He was trying to think back what he and his father would be doing today if he was still alive. One of the last memories he had of his father was Dad coming home and going to work in the basement. He had called Scott down there in a rage and the boy refused to go down, he hid in the cabinets below the sink. It didn't take long for his father to figure out where he was, flinging the doors almost off the hinges and ripping him out. He kicked Scott a few times in the chest demanding to know what happened to the cats that were in his freezer.

You see, sometimes his father liked to freeze an animal alive in a freezer box before he operated on its carcass with his surgical weapons. Scott heard the meowing while dad was at work and freed a mama cat and her four kittens. One nearly froze and he hugged it close to his chest for an hour before letting them all back outside. Dad wasn't happy he disobeyed him and went and touched his belongings.

You want me to give you attention instead, is that it?

He stabbed Scott in the shoulder with a blade dipped in snake juice.

Fine, you made your choice. I could have been alone in my office all night but you're so fucking desperate for attention.

Now here he was being told he was perfect, a good brother and good son and it just didn't commute. He just hugged Tommy and wept a little. "O-ok....G-g-george and I w-want to m-make su-sure yo-youre h-happy."
 

DrTrollinski

Don't let the name scare you.
Thread starter #2,973
At first Jason's heart stopped and he was sure that asking for two pillows crossed the line, but when he looked at Bridget and saw the smile on her face and heard her words, he grinned back at her and nodded. "Obviously I need a mattress and a blanket." He joined in on that one at last.

He would no doubt appreciate her getting the belongings of his parents for him. That was a long way off, though. He didn't need anything of that. The only thing he needed right now were things from his room and something to remember his parents by, then he'd be sailing.

Just wait for the important moments. Wait for him to say he loves you, Bridget. Wait for the night where he sleeps through without a nightmare. Wait until he really looks up to you and looks thrilled to see you proud.

It's going to be those moments that matter the most.

He had one last hug with her and then took hold of her hand, ready to go.

She was very right about how he could use that against them, too.

He was going to try that soon.

--

"I won't pull any tricks. Doing something together in New York would be fun. And you see? I told you it would work out with your cousin. I don't know why you were just a Negative Nancy about it." He joked and playfully nudged her shoulder.

He looked to Bridget and Jason.

"I'm always ready for pancakes."

"With lots of syrup." Jason chipped in.

"Now you're speaking my language. Let's go."

Once again he froze when Jason took hold of his hand again but... He'd be okay.

--

"I wasn't exactly expecting to find this, Pat. I could be taking on an army and I know you'd still show up. Don't give me that." He smiled at him.

The freezer idea certainly worked though.

He looked at the freezer and sighed.

"This is going to feel so fucking wrong but at least it's for a good cause." He said. He looked at the skeleton that was basically held together purely by time and... dried up tissue.

"You know she's going to fall to pieces as soon as we move her, right?" He asked. "We need to put some rubber gloves on and make sure we get all the pieces together." He said.

--

Poor little Scott. It was a happy sad spot to be in. Not only could he doubt his own perfection, but with all the love they'd showed him here? The conflict of 'I've spent my whole life thinking I was terrible when I might actually not be' was now there.

That in itself? That would hurt to think about. Especially when it was your own father that put that crippling anxiety in your head.

"Honey..." Kate reached over and stroked Scott's cheek, but...

She'd let Tommy handle this one.

"Aw, dude..." Tommy rubbed Scott's back. "You kidding? You and George make me happy all the time. You don't need to try and do that all the time. I'm happy with you guys just being you." He squeezed him close to his chest and moved him so he was sat on his lap.

Tommy knew how to comfort a kid. He had two younger siblings. He was an expert.

"You're a real good kid and you being part of this family, being my brother? It's one of the best things to happen to this family in a long time." He said, gently rocking him.

Tommy's hug was a lot like Kate's. Warm, loving... but his had an element of shelter and protectiveness behind it. Feeling safe in Kate's hug was natural. But with Tommy? You could really feel that 'I'm going to put my everything in to keep you safe't just emitting from him.

It showed Tommy had been through a lot.

But it showed he cared.

He rested his chin atop Scott's head and just continued rubbing his back and rocking him. Tears streamed his own cheeks.

"This family's future is going to be bright." He said to him. "I just know it."
 
Scott was just a little boy who grew up in pain and misery holding onto his innocence as much as he could. When he was older and he could better express what he had been through he would tell his uncle that one of the only reasons he made it through those dark times was because of him. Boy scouts had been his saving grace. Where he felt fear and anxiety when his father told him to do something, he felt love and a need to not let his uncle down when Uncle Adam asked him to do something. His uncle took him out for icecream for the first time, would take him to the movies, showed him what love and respect was. There was something ironic with the hunter showing a little boy how to love animals vs. the veterinarian.

Definitely ironic indeed.

He remembered once just about a year ago, he was on a hunting trip with his uncle. Uncle Adam was about to shoot a deer, but he lowered his gun when he saw that it was a mother taking care of her baby. There was a mountain lion stalking just short and his uncle had shot that creature instead. He turned to the boy and asked:

You know why I did that, Scott?
Umm...cause there's a baby?
Right. Good boy. You'll learn the woods too, this area shouldn't have mountain lions in it, there are public hiking trails here and someone could get hurt as well. Just five miles north of here, that's where they usually hunt and stalk, and that's closed off from the public as a reserve for them. We're going to hike up there today, see if this cat was a mother too, make sure we take care of those babies.
To kill them?
No, come on, up on the shoulders I'll show you.


That mountain lion was a mother of three cubs, Adam had called animal control when he found them and the two stayed and the mountain lion cubs were then sent to a wildlife reserve where they would be protected. His uncle taught him compassion and love while his father only showed him cruelty. It was now a switch in his world where every once and awhile he'd get the compassionate breaks in his life to it now being a constant and the breaks were the gloom and doom. Scott would adjust. He was a strong little boy. Being told that he was one of the best things in their family? Oh god, it was a lot to take in.

It was a lot to live up to, but Scott would manage. He just hugged his brother and nodded into his chest before eventually hopping off. "B-breakfast. We sh-should eat b-breakfast."
--
This would be where Tommy would get a letter from Adam's friend.

Jones,

Checked out your website. Smart kid, you got an observant eye and moral focus. I can can tell you're passionate about what you see and do. Don't lose that. It will set you apart from the dime a dozen reporters in this industry. Adam suggested lunch, but I'm going to do you one better. How'd you like to follow me around for a day, see a story start to finish? Cell's at the bottom of the card.

I'll see you soon.
-Sarah


P.S Took the liberty of calling your new middle school and community college. Did you know that you can leave school early once a week for work-study and take a college community course if its deemed necessary by your employer. Internships fit under that umbrella. I'd talk to your mother about getting the permission slips and signing up before the school year starts. I'm looking for interns, but if I even accept an application from a kid in Maine and work remote with him, he's going to need to take Introduction to Journalism on Fridays 1-3pm if you catch my drift ;)

Tommy was going to find not just her cell number at the bottom but the community college information with phone number and his middle school phone number. Things were looking brighter for you, Tommy Jones.
--
"We're both going to burn in hell," he thought out loud realizing that yes what they were doing was weird, creepy and on some levels just wrong. But Evelyn deserved a decent burial instead of being this fucked up shrine in the crawspaces of a wall. They were going to give her that. Lucky for Max, Pat was a doer and a planner. He told his friend to wait here and in minutes he had gloves for the two of them and a blue tarp. To make sure everything stayed together the two wrapped the skeleton in the tarp first and used that to pick her up. They didn't have to physically touch her and whatever came apart stayed confined. You had wonder if Pat had done this before.

Did Max really want to know if Pat had done this before. Probably not. They put her in the freezer, put the food ontop of the freezer and lifted that bad boy up carrying it out to the truck. Driving to Ardens was quiet. No one stopped them, no one even seemed to notice what they were actually doing. That in and of itself creeped Pat out. How easy it was for them to carry and move a dead body without anyone batting an eye. Was this what criminals thought when they were committing an act.

The stage was set back at Arden's cabin and later that day the call would be in. Police would come, forensics all of that and the story would break the news that afternoon about Evelyn Mueller found.

The visitor would see she wasn't found where she SHOULD have been found and the news caster said funeral services would be held two days from now for a nation grieving and dealing with the madness of the Visitor in this small town. You had to wonder how irate he was to have his family history...not told correctly as it was being shared to the public. What was going through his head at that moment. Time would tell.

Max and Pat were in his truck just watching the police circus go over everything they put there and watching the domino effect take place. "She'll get a decent burial now. that counts. Alright, two days. Be ready, this is probably going to be our only shot at pissing him off enough that he strikes without thinking for the first time in his life. That's our window. You think you'll be ready to take him down?"

Ready or not...plan was already in motion.
--
You got this Tom, be brave and be bold.

Cocoa and Jones wasn't packed thanks to the antics and murders that were happening, but it still had that homey feel. Otto was allowed in being a service dog, sitting right next to jason on the floor, his head on the table looking up at him with begging eyes. Otto wasn't dumb, getting all those treats told him that Jason would bend the rules and give him all the treats all the time...and as his ears drooped and he let out a soft whine....he was really pushing that treat expectation.

"Otto, no begging." Bridget smiled drinking her mango ice tea. Otto just gave her a grunt and then continued to beg. She put her hand to her chest and looked at Tom. "I already lost him to Jason. He's chosen him as alpha over me."

Big breaths, she took Tom's hand and looked at him. "So, I told Jason that we wanted to take care of him I figure...this is a good time to just talk about it. First thing, this week Tom's going to be in New York City, all of us will. He's youtube famous for beating up my brother. There's going to be a lot of changes for all of us but it'll all work out."
 

DrTrollinski

Don't let the name scare you.
Thread starter #2,975
Scott may have been just that. He may have been one of the most vulnerable kids these guys knew, but the thing was? No matter how vulnerable he was, he was going to be supported by everyone under that roof, and then some. In the space of a couple of weeks he gained some very important things. Things that can be the make or break for most people. And some of them were things that every child deserved and/or wanted. Just to name a few...

1. A mom.
2. Three brothers (one of which was his bestest friend ever).
3. A sister.
4. A happy home.
5. A positive future on the horizon.

And most importantly?

Love. Affection. Motivation. Confidence.

He was being given a lot. A lot of things he needed. And Kate and the family would simply never stop giving that. Tommy now? Seeing him all sobbing and... God, just that emotional over the whole thing? Tommy was going to become very protective of him now.

"Breakfast sounds like a great idea." Tommy let him up and faced him. He crouched down in front of him and reached up, gently swiping some tears from his face. "Come on. You don't want to end up crying into your pancakes, do you?" He grinned, and he gently poked his stomach in a playful manner. "Let's go eat, bro." He ruffled his hair and made his way towards the kitchen.

And it was when they were in the kitchen that Tommy saw his letter.

At first he wasn't sure what it was, but, then he saw the name on it, then he saw the opening lines... She liked his website. His heart stopped beating, he was sure. He kept reading. She was talking about interns and- INTERNS. SHE WANTED INTERNS.

Community college, and... Leaving school early. College courses. Remote work. Intern.

She was even offering for him to come and ghost her for a day. What the fuck. What the fuck. What the fuck.

Oh my god.

He got to the bottom and saw all the numbers and he grinned like an idiot. "MOM." He said, and immediately ran to her, "MOMLOOK."

"What? What is it?" She laughed, and she looked at the paper. She took a few moments. "Oh my god." She smiled and ran a hand over his head. "You want to sign up for that, honey?"

"UM, YES?"

He couldn't contain his excitement.

"Sure. I'll get the consent forms for you." She said, "Let her know."

"THANKYOU." He hugged her as tight as he could manage.

"It's not me you need to thank, I don't think."

Tommy literally sprinted into Adam. For once, he probably believed that Tommy was capable of knocking him over. It was there and then that Adam got the biggest hug he'd had off of Tommy, and that? That had to feel good.

"Adam you're the best." He blurted out, still grinning like a fool. "You're the absolute best. Oh my god I love you." He squeezed him, putting his head against his chest, "This is like, the best day of my life." He said. "Thank you."

While he was hugging Adam, he held the letter out to Riley. She supported him all this way. She needed to read it, too.

--

"Burning in hell? More like cursed." He said. "Just remember Pat, if for some reason your dick falls off later on, you'll know why. We've upset the spirits." He said. "I know she deserves a proper burial. But something about this just doesn't feel right." He said. "You know when you get that feeling at the bottom of your stomach that it's just bad news? She deserves to be put to rest, but... In this line of work, it's things like this that are sometimes better left untouched." He said. "If anything she deserved justice." He said. "Graine said she died of sepsis, or something, meaning that she had a very slow and painful death. The poor girl was deliberately denied medical attention, probably because they'd abused her so much that it wasn't safe for them to get her treated. She deserves that more than anything else." He said.

"To think she was only eleven." He sighed.

Looking at the bones made him think of a girl similar in age. Riley. It really fucking upset him, actually, knowing that this... Hell, it could have easily been her instead if The Visitor got what he wanted. What the fuck would he subject her to?

And soon enough, the whole plan was kicking into action.

Bingo.

Arden's place was the perfect set-up. It was the perfect scapegoat. Tommy and Kate never had to know what their house held. It was fine now. Max just watched it all unfold and there was something about it that felt good. Something still made him feel uneasy, but, they did just move a corpse. A pile of bones, more than anything else. Pat seemed to know what he was doing, as well, which made him question Pat's background.

"I'll be ready to take him down, I think." He nodded. "I'm just... Worried, Pat." He said. "I'm worried how much we're going to annoy him. You need to promise me that after this gets out, we keep a close fucking eye on our children, and on everyone else's. The town's going to suffer some serious retaliation, and we might, too."

--

Brave and bold. Right.

Tom was sat there in the restaurant with them, and for now all seemed to be going well. Jason seemed happy enough sat across from them, Otto at his side. Jason looked down at him and cupped his face with his hands, "You can have a treat soon, boy." He whispered to him, and he smiled. Otto made him happy.

And seeing Jason just plain happy kinda' made Tom happy, too.

Tom felt Bridget take his hand. Her words took him off-guard but he nodded.

"I see." He said, then looked over to Jason who had focused on them now, too. Jason had a big glass of orange juice for his drink.

"You're YouTube famous?" Jason immediately asked. "How famous?"

"Like... Millions of views. Millions. I don't know the exact numbers." Tom said.

"So you're like... You're like... Uhhh... PewDiePie?"

"I don't know who that is, kid, sorry."

"Nevermind." Jason smirked and shook his head. "That's cool, though."

Tom looked at him.

"Anything got you worried, then?" He gulped.

Jason looked at them both, then down at the table. Making eye contact in this conversation would be hard.

"Can I still do my sports?" He asked, "I do swimming and archery and I'd like to keep doing it, but... I know it costs money for me to do it, so..." He shrugged, "So if I can't do it I get it. But I'd really like to." He said.

That was worry number one. One of many.
 

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