Realistic/Modern The Visitor


Don't let the name scare you.
Thread starter #1,501
"Wait, hang on, hang on." Prescott held up a hand. "What guy did you see there?" He asked. "You saw someone else? Someone else came for you, or something?" He asked. "Shit, Pat. Let's just say I'm glad you're here and not in there." He went over and made a cup of coffee using the coffee machine, and then he walked over and handed that to him. "Have something to drink. Sit down and relax, play some music. Unwind and forget about the kids for just a moment, as hard as that may be." He said. "We can't let things get the better of us now - especially if there's someone out there that's out to get us." He said.

He thought.

"We're safe here." He said. "Unless someone followed any of us, no one knows that we're here. The only person anyone could really expect to find here is me. The department knows that eighty percent of the time, I'm quite the loner." He said. "I doubt they'll be able to predict where you guys are - especially if there's bent cops in there." He said, "They're going to be out for all of us for no doubt throwing a spanner in the works, but here's the thing, right? Me and Bridge were discussing it - Cameron's just the fall guy. An unstable mess of a man that's more of a liability than an asset. Whoever The Visitor is, we think he may have just sent Cameron out in a blaze of glory. He knows that the guy admires him too much to out him, but he also knows he's way too unstable to help him beyond what he's used him for. The guy's a nutcase, and the last thing any killer wants is a copycat killer who can't do the job right - that's exactly what Cameron is."

He stopped.

"If there was someone at the hospital, wasn't your brother there, too?" He asked. "Eric? Your brother? Or... Whatever the hell he is. There's so many of you I can't even remember." He said, "Look, idea... We need to go get Eric, too, and just get him to get out of there. He's probably worried about you." He said. "Let's go over what you found out from Cameron, and then... Pat, you need to rest." He said, "You stay here, me and Bridge can go get your brother, make sure he knows you're safe and that it's best to get out of dodge." He said.

"Sound good?" He asked.
"Same guy that circled my jeep when i was at the sheriff's daughter's house..." his voice was very hollow. It wasnt that hard to put a coffee in his hand. His gaze seemed glazed over just looking at prescott cautiously for a moment. "What got you to be mr. Positive all of a sudden?"

Wait. He rubbed the bridge of his nose. "Second thought. Don't answer buddy. Im good."

Bridget walked over and sat next to her brother rubbing his back. "Is this happening because of the sheriff patty?"

He shook his head. "No. Its that fucking article that came out. Delp...he said i had Marshall to thank....and I don't think they are going tobstop till i run out of town or I'm dead....and I am not running out of town. I promised those kids I woild be here. I promised Mrs. Jones. Her little girl was targeted. She was supposed to be victim 23....and those kids got her out. They saved one..."

Brisget grew very quiet and turned to Prescott. There was one kid that got away. This was new. How long was Patrick sitting on this? That waant the problem she guessed. Pat looked like he was close to drinking himself to a coma or jumping out a window. She never saw him this defeated before.

He rubbed his face and sighed. "Yeah...yeah good idea. Erics probably called mom and cant afford to have the whole crew rush down again. He needs to go back to Portland. Can yoi call him make sure hes just ready to head out so you arent wasting time there?"

"Yeah....yeah ill call him. do you know a kid was going to be a victim?"

"He violated her. He violates all of them...but marshall knows more than me. And hes gone. I cant ask him. Hes on vacation....and im here. Alone. And im going to die because i dont know what rhe hell is going on or what im even doing....its a shit position to be in....but" he shrugged.

She hugged him. "You are not alone. And no ones killing you. You are my big are rhe most resilient person i know. You have us....tom has your back. Ok? Me too."

She kissed the top of his head before getting up and calling eric's cell. No answer....

She called the hospital and tom and prescott sidnt hear the other end of the converaation. It started with a greeting a question about pat then her brother. A back and foeth unril there was a gasp as bridgrt broke into sobs....rhr phone dropping.

It didnt take a genius to figure out what was said. Id anyone in rhe world rifht now looked close to putting a gun in their mouth amd blowing their brains right now...

It wa Patrick Scruggs.


Don't let the name scare you.
Thread starter #1,503
"Yeah, Pat. We'll get Eric out of town and then we'll take some time out to gather our resources, figure things out." He nodded, "Things will be absolutely fine. You can stay here as long as you need, don't worry." He said. "It's best you stay here rather than go out somewhere else." He said, "And I mean it this time - there's no reason for you to leave here, so please, just take some time out. Rest, watch TV, just take a breather for the rest of the day." He said.

He'd seen that look of despair in someone before - he'd seen it when he looked in the mirror, many times throughout the year. He felt bad, and he knew that Scruggs needed a time-out. If he didn't get one, he was probably going to shoot himself before the week was up. That wouldn't be any good to anyone.

They'd get hold of Eric, and things would be okay.

They didn't get hold of Eric, but clearly they got some bad news.

She burst into tears, and that said it all.

Prescott turned away and put his hands on the back of his head, sighing. "Oh, shit. No." He said, quietly.

Eric was dead, wasn't he?

Definitely. Why else would she cry like that?

Eric had taken the bullet for Patrick. Literally. There was no other possibility, was there?

He didn't even know what to say. What could he say in this situation? He decided to have a dig through one of his cupboards instead, and eventually, he managed to swipe a bottle of vodka from in there. He was a vodka man himself, after all. Not a whiskey-drinker like Marshall.

He carried the bottle over and sat down, "Usually I don't believe in drinking, but... I think we could all use one." He said, and he took hold of Bridget's hand, but then instead pulled her to his side and hugged her.

"Guys, I'm... I'm so sorry."
It didn't matter how old you were when you lost your sibling, it was still one of the most crushing blows you could feel. The oldest Scruggs was 38, the youngest two 24. Between all eight of them, there as a fourteen year gap, meaning Mom and Dad were pumping out kids every 2 years or so. She remembered the days Eric would take Owen, Fallon, Patrick, Stephen and Margaret (I forget the third oldest girl's name and i'm purposely not including the oldest) in the back of a pick-up truck and drive to Saco Maine for a drive-in movie night. The first time was when he was sixteen and got his license. Margaret was fourteen and didn't care much about it, Stephen was 12 and aggravated they were watching a kid's movie. Patty? 10. He made a pillow-fort tent in the back of the truck for all of them to sit, smuggling the McDonalds past the drive-in entrance handing everyone their dollar burgers. Fallon was just only eight chatting away while her twin brother and herself were only 5. It was just 'A Bug's Life' but it started a tradition, that first night she curled on her brother's lap and watched like magic was happening.

They were a family and nothing could break that.

Except....someone did. Someone poured four bullet's into her brother's chest. Not one. Not two. But four. The same brother who stayed up with her to help her understand algebra and fractions. Who might have been a little...assertive with making sure you did well in school but was there after the Toby incident risking being kicked out of his med school program to beat the shit out of someone. (He wasn't alone. You mess with one Scruggs, you got the herd.) She dropped her phone and started to head towards the door.

"I need to go see him," came out in broken sobs. The idea that whoever did this would have expected them to come, to kill her or Patrick too didn't cross her mind...she needed to see him, that's all that mattered. She didn't feel Tom's hand, not until she felt unable to take another step forward as she was pulled back down.

"I need to see my brother!" she whacked his chest. Whacked it again, each hit the lightest taps you could possibly imagine, before she gurgled a cry and sobbed into his chest letting him hold her.

Patrick? Hadn't moved. Breathing and blinking seemed to be the only thing he could do. The vodka bottle presented at him wasn't looked at as he just stared at a blank insignificant spot in a distance at the apartment. His first thought was not 'Oh god...they nearly killed me.'

It was My choices lead to killing the ones I love.

Push the sheriff to do what's right. Coma.
Prove a man's innocence? Four dead kids.
Avoid being killed in an assasination attempt? Have your brother get shot in his place.

Why did he run? Why didn't he face that bastard? Why didn't he call it in as soon as he saw it. No...he was a coward who ran. Pretending to be hero.


Don't let the name scare you.
Thread starter #1,505
"No, Bridget, stop." He said, holding her shoulders. He let her swing and punch as much as she wanted, and he didn't much retaliate. He just let her let it all out, and that was all. As soon as she was done smacking his chest, he leaned in and hugged her tight, not allowing her to escape his grasp. He didn't want her to go and see the brother's body. He didn't want that at all. Did the little sister really deserve to go through something so horrible? He knew what it was like to lose every ounce of innocent you ever had. He didn't want that to happen to her.

""It's done, Bridget. It's done." He said. He had to comfort her - stop her - in whatever way he could. If he didn't, she'd do something she'd regret doing for the rest of her life - a visual that would be burned into her memory until the day she died.

She didn't deserve it. There was no other way to say it. Out of everyone he failed to protect, he was going to protect at least her.

He hugged her for... an unspoken amount of time, really.

"You want to remember him for what he was - not what he is now." He gulped. Would she remember her brother as a guy who bought joy to her life, or would she rather remember him as a corpse with four bullets to the chest?

The answer was obvious, he hoped.

It hit close to home. Maybe too close. But he kept it together for her sake and held her protectively. Let her cry it out, he thought.

No other words could be said, for now.
Otto trotted over pressing his snout on Tom Prescott's lap inbetween both Bridget and himself. Brady had jumped on Patrick's lap butting his head against the man's chest with no response.

Needless to say, Bridget didn't stop crying for almost 2 hours, until there was no more tears left to drop. That's when the phone calls started coming in. They were going to Bridget at first because it was assumed Pat was still recovering and resting. That first ring came and as Bridget tried to choke up a response to her mother, Patrick grabbed the phone.

There was zero emotion, complete detachment as he talked. He dealt with every member, being the good big brother...this was what big brothers did.

Those calls lasted a good few hours until eventually Pat couldn't take it any longer and turned off both phones. He placed them down, flipped the cap off of the bottle and drank straight from the handle. He handed it to Prescott and his sister, not really looking at them.

"You, Prescott and I are driving to Portland tonight. The funeral parlor is coordinating with the hospital to pick up Eric. Wake's tomorrow. Funeral the next day." Before Tom could protest he put his hand up.

"You are not being left alone in this town, Prescott. I'm not losing you too."

Bridget was quiet taking the handle and drinking it herself. "What do we know about this guy on a bike?"

"Not much, but I'm going to kill him." He said. If it came down to it, he'd kill anyone involved or aided in his brother's death. Fuck boys in blue right now...this was was an all-out fucking war and they were alone.


Don't let the name scare you.
Thread starter #1,507
Dogs were good at sensing sadness, sickness, and emotion in general - it was almost a comfort, feeling the dog's cold nose press against his lap. He held her close and reached down to pat Otto on the head, as well. He had some company that would at least not completely understand - a dog would always be happy, even if you looked at them and cried. They'd wag their tail, but, he reckoned they could feel heartache, too - How do you feel when a loved one cries? Quite simply, awful. He was willing to bet the whole reason dogs wagged their tails when their owner was crying their eyes out was because that was their own little attempt of getting them to be happy again, just as a person would do.

If Prescott had a tail, he'd be wagging it like fucking crazy right now, if that's the effect it could have.

A few hours down the line, Prescott was sat on the bed with Otto lying beside him, his head rested in his lap. He made sure he had Bridget beside him, too, and he sat there with a hand on her knee, with his free one rubbing Otto's head.

They wanted to kill the man. Of course. Standard - he wanted to, too.

"We need to take things slow here." He said, "Don't let your emotions get in the way of your safety." He said, "We'll find the man responsible, but right now, you're both upset - Let's go to this funeral and you guys can grieve all you need to." He said, "After that, we'll focus on finding him - They want us to get put on the edge, they want us to get sloppy." He said, "If he was after you, and he took Eric instead, he only did that to get at you - as much as I hate to admit that." He said. "He's expecting you to cruise the streets searching for vengeance, but let's face it," He said, "This guy's a professional. At least to some extent. He got in and out without making a sound, he didn't get spotted or caught, and he's got connections."

He rolled over and looked out the window, onto the street. Nothing going on out there.

"We should leave tonight and be careful on the way there. The sooner we're out of town without them knowing, the better."
Animals were very keen in that area, weren't they? Bridget was trying to process everything. As her brother talked and gave her the reprieve of contact she thought of every memory she could, reflexively. She tried remembering the last conversation with him. The last words he said to her.

He gave her a coffee. Black, just how she drank it. Asked how her trip to Greenland was. Teased her about Tom. Memorial Day barbeque. Get some sleep.

Get some sleep in a real bed Bridge, these chairs don't have proper back support and your spine wasn't meant to be that position for eight hours.

That was it. The last moments of his life that she had with him was filled with menial crap. She didn't even say she loved him.

Patrick's last conversation? On a regular basis he met Eric at the hospital and they had coffee to check up. Mostly just big brother checking on kid brother shoot the shit conversations. His brother's last words

'Don't give your Captain alcoholism with your shenanigans, Pat.'

That was it. Patrick had to wonder what his brother's last thoughts were, last words. If he had to guess, Eric had no idea it was coming. He came in that room with a plan to get him sent to Portland wit the best care (and as condescending as it sounded to others it was just big brother trying to do the best he could and be around his siblings) and before he could fully ask who that man was bang bang bang bang.

There was some comfort in that. That he didn't have to beg for his life...he wasn't tortured. But whatever comfort that was small.

Patrick drunk from the bottle as Prescott talked. Hearing the confirmation that Eric only got shot as a consolation prize only made him feel further like shit. "I get it," the bottle half gone now. "Pulls distraction. Kids. Visitor. That. Fine. Whatever. I won't seek it but if I see that fucker he dies. I see the opportunity I'm taking it."

Bridget didn't argue, didn't try to appease to his morality. She was wiping her swollen red face.

So the three left quietly in the night, with two dogs...and atleast to their knowledge...leaving Millinocket was no high speed chase or disaster area, nothing came at them. It was going to be a long two hours. Pat sat in the back with the dogs as Bridget just had her hand on Tom's hand looking absently out the window. No words were said but her touch indicated...she was glad he was here....and she needed him, just like feeling the snout of a dog wiggling in close. You needed that too.


Don't let the name scare you.
Thread starter #1,509
It was indeed a long drive, but completely necessary.

The best thing about being so disconnected from emotions, from reality, from loss, was that you were often the one that could stand strong in the worst of times. You were that person who everyone could lean on, and you could only feel sorry for them - You couldn't often relate to what they were experiencing, you couldn't talk about your own experiences simply because they didn't mean anything to you anymore. They were just things that happened. A normal way of life for you.

That was how Prescott felt. He felt bad for Bridget and Patrick, but he didn't feel any pain.

He felt sorry for Eric. But he didn't feel hurt by it. He didn't feel anything. To him, without meaning to be disrespectful, of course - Eric was dead. He was dead, and that was never going to change. It was bad luck, wrong time, the wrong place. It happened. He wouldn't voice that, but... He didn't feel that sense of loss, the sense of regret and guilt - he just felt bad for Bridget and Patrick.

As far as he was concerned, it was completely normal to feel that way. There was no other way to feel. He didn't feel that way out of spite, it was just... The way it was, really.

They did arrive, though. They arrived where they'd stay for the next couple of days.

Even Prescott had to admit, it was good to be somewhere other than the hellhole they called Millinocket.

He walked alongside Bridget, and with how Pat was... He was concerned. He felt worried for him.

While they had the moment alone as they were walking, he did ask one thing - he was only going to do it if she thought it was a good idea.

"Do you want me to talk to Pat?" He asked, quietly. "I've seen people in his spot and I'm guessing I don't have to tell you that he's in a really bad place." He said.


In Canada, things were a different story, though.

They'd had a great day, even if it was only a relaxed one, they were free to do whatever they wanted, really, and that was the best part of it for most of them. Lots of unplanned fun, with Jack getting all the time he wanted to spend with his now-girlfriend, his dad, and Lacey. They had a great time, all of them, and as long as the kids were happy... I think the parents were happy, too. Elena and Phillipe did come and join them, of course. They weren't secluded all day. They even treated all the kids to ice cream, because why not, right?

And they treated the parents to cocktails. Though Lacey probably had a mocktail, I imagine.

Max had a surprise, though...

They had a couple of hours before the light show started. Plenty of time to get ready.

He told everyone else, just not Lacey. She had no time to get EVERYONE involved in this one. This time it would be just them.

"Lace." He walked into the bedroom, hands behind his back, "I've got something for you." He said.

He stepped close, and then he revealed the tickets.

He smiled.

"Courtesy of the older kids. They're babysitting tonight."

No time to plan, Lace.
That was almost heartbreaking in itself, to be shut off and shut down like that. Maybe things would change overtime with Prescott. Hopefully. No one wanted to be that closed off forever.

Bridget had never seen her brother this broken, prior to their news...this had only made it worse. He was always the one that made a joke out of something, he would find humor in the most ludicrous ways. Half the family probably expected him to get drunk and share stories of the shenanigans he and Eric got into...or the ones Eric bailed him out of it.

That clearly didn't look like it was going to happen. In no way did she blame Pat for what happened. He had no idea, and her brother was just trying to survive. Pat was still in the car as the two got outside Patrick's house. It wasn't in the best shape, and you could tell he bought a fix-er upper. (Really he was renting it from this really old woman and was keeping it afloat for her doing odd jobs for free for lower rent) It did the job for him, and it would do the job for the three of them for the next two days.

She squeezed his hand before pulling Tom in a tight hug. There was a sigh of relief and sadness. "Thank you for being here...for just being you." She said at first.

There was a nod. "I don't want to lose him too. I've never seen him like this. He's know...he doesn't give up." Bridge looked at her brother who was just staring off at whatever in the back seat. "I'm glad he got away. It wasn't his life or Eric's...we're dealing with a real sociopath." She stopped herself as she realized what he was saying. "You don't have to do anything that pushes something you're not ready to talk don't have to do that for us or for being here is enough. If...if you still want to I'll take the dogs for a walk, give you some space."
No time to plan at all. She looked at the tickets and she looked at Max. "You purposely waited until the ticket booth that sells these are closed, didn't you?" she asked.

Because her first thought was they couldn't leave the kids behind. "All the adults?" she asked. No Kyle and Brooke as a buffer. No, just Riley and Tommy.

And Riley did this...for them? Her heart warmed at that, she raised a good kid...and maybe their relationship wasn't as frayed or ruined as she believed it to be. "We can't leave them was ok when it was just those two and we had Kyle and Brooke, but George is only five. What happens if anything goes wrong?"
Love drunk was probably the best way to describe Riley and Tommy after his little surprise, if they were a little older or were adults that moment would have gotten Mr. Jones some action, just saying. Now the two were back in the hotel room, Riley still had her hand (specifically the one with the ring) linked with Tommy's as they saw Jack, Amy and George. George was more doing his own thing...but Riley knew a pink red blushing face when she saw one.

"What did you guys do at the park today?" She asked. She knew...she wanted to hear them say it. It was cute.


Don't let the name scare you.
Thread starter #1,511
"I will, don't worry." He said. "I'll talk to him, I'll make sure he's alright." He said, "Just to be safe... I think I'll have a word with him. I don't think it's a good idea to just let him mull this over himself." He said. "No need to thank me. It's my pleasure." He gently rubbed her arm, and as soon as she had parted ways, he took a deep breath and walked over to the car, climbing inside beside Patrick. He looked at him for a few moments, then he sucked in a deep breath and just started speaking.

"I guess I never really told you about my life." He said, "I certainly didn't ever tell you that I haven't seen my older brother since I was eight years old." He said.

He leaned right back.

"It hurt more to know he was more or less forced to leave, rather than that he chose to. Our parents were not kind people, but me and him were close." He said, "He was five years my senior, but, he practically raised me." He said, "For that first chunk of my childhood, he was the one who took as many of the beatings as he could manage. I got the brunt of it, though - it was worse for me. Younger, constantly growing - it always hit harder, always left the bigger marks." He said, "To be fair, I can't blame my brother for running away." He said, "You can only do it so much before you realize it's going to kill you one day. So he just ran, middle of the night, aged thirteen." He said. "Packed one bag and never came back. I don't know if he's dead or in prison or... God knows. Maybe he went back and killed those bastard parents of ours, without me knowing."

He paused, "I know that he did hug me the day before he left, told me he loved me. That was it, really." He said, "The last person I ever really trusted, until a couple of days ago." He said, "I remember I didn't even cry when I knew he was gone - I wasn't angry." He said, "I took a few more beatings - I got all of the anger that my brother would have taken, too."

He paused, "But you know what was funny?" He asked, "Only a month later, one long month, the police came along and arrested my parents. Took one look at me, my back, my face - they took me right out of there." He said, "I heard some hush talk between those guys, said they had a call from a payphone reporting a crime at my address. Said it sounded like a guy, but, they weren't sure. Said his voice was a little high-pitched, sort of voice you'd expect a young teenager to have."

He stopped there.

"Shit ain't easy, Pat." He looked out the window, "Sometimes family pay the ultimate price for us." He said, "We never would have got out of there if my brother didn't give up everything."


"Oh, it'll be fine." He waved a hand. "Kate'll tell George to behave. He's only little, and he's a quiet kid - He'll just play with Jack and Amy all night, and I'm sure Tommy and Riley will do a great job of looking after them, anyway. We'll just make sure they lock the door and don't let the kids go exploring, and make sure that they don't open the door to anyone unless they know it's us. If they have any doubts, or get worried about anything, just tell them to call the hotel room service, and then call us immediately after. Especially if they think there's something going on. Ain't no predators in the hotel with us but it's just a precaution - for emergencies, first dial 911, then the hotel staff, then us." He shrugged.

"But all of us are going to have a great time."


Jack smirked.

Amy went red.

"Amy's my girifriend now." He said.

And that was all it took to make Amy go bright red; she immediately looked away from them and looked at the floor, one hand going up and covering her mouth. She had no words.

Jack looked amazingly proud, though.
Patrick owed Prescott a bottle of Vodka...he had been drinking the handle quietly in the drive. It was next to gone. A quarter left. Let's just say, he'd be feeling it in the morning. He was Irish, like the potato, he could soak up vodka and retain it. Liver of the Gods.

As Tom spoke, his glassed gaze turned away from the window and then slowly at him. One, Eric and Pat, six years apart, it was still very close....and Tom and Pat? Five years apart. There was an eerie similarity to it all. Guess Tom could relate to admiring an older brother. He extended the bottle out. "Shit," He slurred out. "I thought you were helping the one of those gang members from Sopranos or some shit....fuck. Not now...obviously...but like three days ago yeah, pegged you for a rat.I am a douchebag. King of the Douchebags."

Tom needed the bottle more than him. Shit...that was heavy. "You're a fucking warrior. I broke with just one dude. One."

He let out a sad laugh, rotating his hand again. "I shouldn't have went to punch you....that was stupid. It's six years ago Bridge and Owen start college. Bridge is going to Northeastern University, my brother Steve gets this big fancy job in Financial District of Boston. First time us siblings venture off. We're unnaturally a happy family, Prescott...its weird. But sometimes too close? Anyway...Steve is doing entry level stock stuff, has a coworker, peer named Tobias. Real snoot. So we all call him Toby or Tobes. Tobes wants to get under my brother's skin, finds out about Bridget and conveniently meets her at a bar. Woos her, whole shebang. But he doesn't actually like her, he's doing it to piss off Steve....make him fumble at his job. It works too....they date for awhile and he takes her to a party by the peer, office party. Steve sees him slipping her qualudes. He gets her out, but since he decked Toby publicly at a hotel he lost his job."

He took a breath. "It's 3am we're in Portland. Eric's still in med school, he's a resident. Gets me up we drive down. Fallon's with us too. You haven't met her but don't ever get on her mean side. There's a reason she's able to handle herself in Vegas Tom. Steve's taking Bridge back to her dorm....and we sort of waited at the guy's house until he rolled out of cab shitfaced from the party beat the shit out of him." Pat then extended his arms, one was about an inch longer than the other. "I got my arm snapped in half with that fight so it grew a little when you were sort of around her that first day and then...I was wrong. I just thought back to what he put her through...that's on me. I was wrong."

It grew really quiet. As shit faced as he didn't take a genius to figure out why he was opening up to him about this. "Does it go away?" he asked. Tom knew what it was...that gnawing guilt. That paralyzing feeling of helplessness....from poisoness snakes or your parents....or from choosing a decision and seeing the consequences of it.
Lacey looked cautiously at the tickets trying to not get excited. Any babysitter she ever got was Mrs. Potts...and those nights away were not was business. It was always business with Foster. The concept of going out on your own was still foreign.

Yeah her and Kate talked about it but neither of them ACTUALLY fucking did it.

Now here they were.

"We talk to the hotel staff first floor. So they know. I want an employee to atleast know. I'll compromise that they don't have to check on them...but they have to know."

She looked at the time of the show, when it would end. "We come right back. No detours? No other surprises? Just...right back? Right?"

No one was going to snatch your kids in the middle of the night Lacey, that happened during the day...out in public. Obviously (And too soon of a joke for this writer to make. Zoe wasn't dead a month yet. Almost, though. Almost a month)

And lastly, he could see that her chest was tightening at this, like those moments you're afraid to jump out of a plane but you know you'll do it anyways. "You trust this right? This is the right thing to do? They'll be ok?"
"Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat," Riley feigned complete surprise but it was maddenly adorable. She poked Tommy's chest. "I don't think we're cutest couple anymore, Tommy. That goes to Amy. Darn...and we had that title for SO long."


Don't let the name scare you.
Thread starter #1,513
"Eh, we all make mistakes." He shrugged, "God knows I've made a few in my time - Mistakes can't be avoided, and more often than not, it's not usually possible to change them." He said. "It's just one of those things, pal. Bad things happen. We can either fight through them or give in - there's been times where I wish I had the ability to just give it all up, but it's not always that easy, is it?" He said. "The only thing I've ever known is fighting. Fighting, hiding, or running. I guess you could say I'm a born survivor to some extent." He said.

"I understand why you got defensive. Why you got hostile." He said. "In that case, seeing as you've already had that arm before, I'll try and avoid snapping it in four places." He smirked and gently punched Pat's shoulder, then took the bottle from him and took a gulp of it. "But you don't have to worry about me, Pat. I won't hurt her, and hopefully I've proved that now." He said, "I suppose you could say most people would view me as risky - I went through everything that I did, got beaten and abused by people I loved, and have the scars to show for it - Most people would assume my only intention now is to inflict that pain and suffering on someone else, but..."

He sighed.

"I can't ever let myself turn into that." He said, "My parents may have ruined my life to some extent, but, I'm a better uncle than anything else. My adoptive-family nephews are fond of me, I know that." He chuckled.

"I was adopted not long after the police took me away. I had a lot of nightmares and I struggled to adjust. My adoptive mother and sister were wonderful to me - it didn't matter what state I was in when I woke up in the middle of the night. They would always come running- My sister would tell me stories to calm me down."

"My dad and brother spent a lot more time with me during the day. I guess they didn't feel like they had the right to come and try and talk me out of my fears of everything that happened before. Which is fair enough." He said. "They were nice, though. At first the kindness was overwhelming. I wasn't used to it. I was used to people telling me and treating me as if I was no good. Having people suddenly... Love me and be happy to be around me was actually personality breaking." He said.

"It all caught up with me when I was a teen, though, and it all went downhill from there." He said. "I still don't very much like people touching my back. And I hate the song Bad Moon Rising. My dad used to play that all the fucking time." He shook his head. "Shit happens." He said.

"As for it going away? Not something I can determine." He said, "I spoke to a young man in a bar once. He said the whole answer to life, the universe, And everything... 42, right? In computer language, apparently that's an asterisk - And from a programming perspective? That means 'whatever you want it to be'." He said.

"And that's why I can't say if it goes away or not."


"Of course I trust it. Lace, nothing will happen. We'll only be gone a few hours- let's the kids have some fun without being swarmed by adults, too, So let's let them have this. It can't hurt." He said. "We'll just lay down the rules to the kids- we can't tell the hotel staff they're on their own because none of the kids are legally old enough to babysit." He said, "And no more hidden surprises to night. I promise." He said, "Let's just make sure the kids know the rules, we can check in every now and then if it makes you feel better, okay? Just text or call to see how things are." He shrugged.


"We're always gonna' be the cutest." He said, his cheeks going slightly pink. "You won't get it, though, because you guys didn't get to be boyfriend and girlfriend when you were seven." He said.

And the competition begins.

"So we'll always be the cuter ones 'cause of that."
"Instead of breaking it in four places, break this one once, and this one twice so maybe it evens out and I got same size arms again." He said. "But its gotta be like clean all the way through breaks or I'll just have funny looking arms." he appreciated the punch was on his good shoulder. Moving his arm still hurt like a son-of-a-bitch but he could do it.

He could move.

He got why Prescott was telling him all this. You don't just tell people this heavy shit without a reason for it. Pat wasn't doing alright. Not by any stretch of the imagination. How could anyone? He kept replaying what had happened, leaving Delp's room...going down the corridors and ducking behind a car the second he saw that fucker. Would it all have gone away if he confronted it then? Instead of running like a coward if he pulled a fire alarm instead, confronted him, quietly sneak and shut the hospital door locking him in there and calling the cops? Would any of it had made a difference besides him running like a scared piece of shit.

Instead he ran like a chicken.

Didn't help the Sheriff....

Lost four kids....

"Are you telling me all because it looks I'm about to blow my brains out?" He asked.

They were men after all, and talking about their feelings wasn't entirely normal. That he felt claustrophobic, paralyzed with any decision he had to make...defeated. Not like Prescott went into detail on how his parents beat the crap out of him, it was that unspoken part of it all. Just mention a run-away, and that it How it wrecked you inside.

Fact Tom did that...spoke volumes.

"I thought about it," now wasn't the time to lie. "Maybe still. But....I'm not going to. Means he got shot for nothing, you know? Means the Sheriff got whacked for nothing."

He looked down at his hand and flexed it again. "That 42 answer beat the top wiseass answer of the year, beat the shiv story I tell first timers in the holding cell. You might actually be developing a sense of humor, I think hell froze over."

The fact he was making jokes, albeit bad ones...meant he was doing better.

"Can you promise me something?" Pat asked. "I'm learning this killer likes us to make choices we aren't aware we're taking. If it looks like I'm in danger with Delp...don't save me. Figure out what is going on and stop that instead. Please?"
Did Amy think about Zoe right after her first kiss? Or during this exchange where Jack so confidently stated they were dating? What that conversation would have been like with her bestfriend?

Riley did think about those things. Even now, it was like seeing Zoe with her first crush, Amy would always serve as that positive reminder of what her kid sister might be doing now.

Right now, Riley was a little taken aback at Jack's statement. Was he ACTUALLY competing with her? "I mean...Tommy and I knew eachother since seven." Why was she trying to counter his argument? he was just a little kid. She didn't need to validate ANYTHING.

"Well, if today's your first day as a couple, you should celebrate with a date." Riley mused. "Movie night in the apartment." The two of them were babysitting, unknowing to Jack yet, they could make it a fun night for them.
"Ok," She nodded. "Ok. This will be fun. But if we're doing this, you're leaving the room. Can't have you see what I'm wearing until I'm ready, like an actual date night."

Date night. She smiled. "Max, is this our first date that didn't require a gun or company?"

Yeah, it kind of was. How in the world did he manage to knock her up before them doing a fancy date like this? Those Massachusetts girls, they were easy.

"You'll have to work for this," She teased motioning to her body. "I don't give it up on the first date. Not unless it's a special guy."


Don't let the name scare you.
Thread starter #1,515
"I'm in no place to make promises." He said, "But if it comes down to it, and that's really what you want, and there's absolutely no way to achieve an outcome where we can't save you as well as the other... Fine, if you really want me to make that call, I will - but you can bet your ass that if there's even the slight chance we can drag you out of hell, too, I'm going to try it. If you think I'll just leave you to die when there's the chance of getting you out of there... You're dead wrong." He said, "Pat, you deserve a life as well. You're not a bad man." He said, "For the love of god, don't do this to yourself - being a detective is a tough job but you need to learn how to eventually leave that shit at the door, alright?" He said.

He paused, then he sighed. He sipped the vodka. "We can't save everyone, and that's the sad truth about this job." He said, "I've been child murderers and serial molesters behind bars before - but you can't stop them. For there to be a crime, there has to be a victim. That's the sad thing." He said, "And there's always going to be someone who you can't help. Someone that takes the fall to make us know there's some bastard out there doing all of this shit." He said, "Maybe not in a case like this... I've never seen so many victims, no, but my point is... We can only do so much from where we stand. We aren't supermen. We aren't... We aren't indestructible. We can't predict everything that's going to happen." He said.

He patted his arm, "If we knew half of the things that were going to happen, things would be a lot different, wouldn't they?" He said, "But that's just it. The whole reason cops and detectives exist is because no one can tell what's going to happen, what crime will be committed, or what person's going to take a fall." He said, "I won't deny - as a hardened detective, I can assure you this is only going to get harder for us." He said, "The killer and all his friends will play more games and find ways to take digs at us, find ways to chip away little pieces of our willpower - but we need to find a way to fight back against that. We can't allow ourselves to be broken, no matter what." He said.

"For Eric, Scruggs. For the kids. We have to hang on. And most of all? For your future, too - You go on, meet a nice woman, have a few kids." He said, "Be happy, for god's sake - don't make the same mistake I've made in my life. Things for me are on the way up, but the years before now were... Lonely. Don't let that happen to you, okay?"


She hadn't thought about Zoe straight away, but, she had thought about her after. There was that brief moment of excitement where she told herself she couldn't wait to go home and tell her best friend about what happened.

But then she remembered. It took her by surprise.

All she could do was sigh - she didn't have the power to cry about it anymore, but, she knew what the case was. Her friend would never know - but she did like to imagine that she was watching over her. She hadn't spoken to Jack about what happened to her friend yet, though. She would, in time. It was still something she struggled to open up about, even to her family. She didn't like talking about it. She didn't even like thinking about it.

She was dreading school in September.

Unless Jack was there, but... She knew he wouldn't be.

(Don't speak too soon, Amy).

"Yeah, but, you didn't love each other when you were seven, so it's different." Jack said.

"Okay, dude, okay." Tommy laughed, "You guys can be cute all you want. We don't mind." He held Riley's hand.

The idea of a date certainly took his interest, though.

"A date! Yeah!" He said.

Amy didn't say anything, but she smiled a shy smile.

"A movie night would be so cool. We could have popcorn and hot chocolate and all the other stuff, too." He said, almost jumping on the spot.

He tugged at Amy's hand, "C'mon, we can go pick a movie." He said, and he practically flew out of the room with her.

Tommy looked at Riley.

"Can't say I was expecting that so soon. I thought Amy was at least gonna' be our age..." He shook his head and laughed, "Ah, well. Jack's nice enough, and Amy needs somethin' like that right now. Even if it is just hand-holding and shy cheek-kissing." He chuckled.


"I have to work for it. Oh really?" He looked her over, "You got amnesia or something?" He asked, grinning, then reached out and squeezed her arm. "Luckily for me, I work from home." He winked, "Don't worry, you can surprise me with a dress or whatever - I can't see you wearing it yet, I get it." He said, "How about later on, am I allowed to see you wearing nothing?" He asked.

He thought that was smooth enough.

And at least the kids couldn't hear them flirting like that. Everyone was having fun tonight.
Loved eachother?! Riley's brow was raised at that one. Was this really going on right now? Riley got the impression in that moment that Jack would be doing this often. She had to wonder if this was what having a brother was like. Very different than a little sister, let me tell you that much. Riley leaned against him watching the two run off.

"It might be something Amy really needs right now," riley pointed out. Zoe was gone, and the trauma Amy went have positive physical contact wouldn't erase the damage but it would help her mentally recover...just a little bit. Much like how physical therapy didn't repair the damage from shattered things, but it did improve the quality of life. "But let's find George, see if we can figure out something for him to do. Babysitting should be easy. We got this tonight."
Very smooth, Mr. Marshall.

She stepped in closer, "Depends how the night goes. If I invite you back at my place for some coffee," she leaned in to his ear. "Safe bet is yes, you will."

His earlobe got nipped. Little tit for tat before the night came. Lace then stepped back tapping his chest to leave. "Alright, go. Before it's not flirting anymore and we're changing shoulder dressing."


Don't let the name scare you.
Thread starter #1,517
Take it from Tommy, who had two brothers.

It was definitely different to having a sister.

His little sister was an angel with him - she was always so sweet and happy around him, no matter what, and she was polite and respected his privacy and always knocked at his door before he came in. She was wonderfully innocent.

Kyle and George? No knocking. They'd barge in whenever they felt like it - not so much Kyle anymore, but George. George was always willing to jump on Tommy to wake him up, too, but he was still a little too innocent to do anything harmful.

He was always down for a playfight, though.

"Good plan, let's go." He said.

And off they went to find George, who was quite happily sat on his own on the couch, playing a game on his mom's iPad but also dividing his attention between that and the TV. He was happy enough lying in what looked like a rather uncomfortable position.

But kids made it look comfortable, didn't they?

"Hey, bro."

"Hi, Tommy." He said, looking back to the iPad.

"Whatcha' playin'?"

"Oh, um..." He shuffled around and sat up, shuffling a little closer. "Angry Birds." He said.

"Oh, cool."

He looked to Riley. George was content, -
The invasion of privacy, constant competitiveness...yeah. Riley was not prepared. And when the news broke to those two that they were going to be living together and actually be siblings...well it was going to take an adjustment. A big long adjustment.

Riley plopped down next to him. "It's just going to be you, Jack, Amy, me and Tommy tonight. Anything you want to do buddy?"

Easy. George was incredibly content where he was and seemed happy enough. Riley was even more confident they had this babysitting gig all set and handled like pros.


Don't let the name scare you.
Thread starter #1,519
"Uhm... Nope. We can play a game, though." He said.

Easy enough.

"Or you can watch a movie with me and Riley." Tommy suggested.

"Okay." He smiled and nodded, "What movie?"

"You can pick one." He said.

"Sure, okay." He said, "So it's just us?"

"Just us."

"Mommy's going, too?"

"She is. But we'll have fun. Jack and Amy are gonna' be hanging out together, so you can chill with us."

He nodded and smiled, "What about Kyle and Brooke?"

"They're going with them. So it's just all us kids."

"That's pretty awesome." He said, and he scooted along closer to Tommy's side, promptly getting an arm dropped around his shoulders. He rested his head against the side of Tommy's chest and continued playing on the iPad. He was happy enough here for a little while. All snuggled up - it was clear that the younger siblings, including George, were very affectionate of Tommy. He was a good brother, or at least he tried to be.

As time went on, everyone got ready to leave - except the kids (and that was heavenly for them). With all the adults ready, it was just Max and Lacey now, and it was time for them to lay down the rules.

"You ready to go? We better go talk to the kids." Max said to her.
There was a fine line between sexy but appropriate and slutty. Alacia Miller tried finding that line. It had to be the perfect balance of Max wanting to tear her clothes off then and there but PGish?

(Let's be honest, she could wear a potato sack and he could be in that state.)

The makeup? Earth tone colors. You had just the right amount of brown eyeshadow and it made those blue eyes pop, her face still looked natural. Little black cocktail dress that fringed on the line of could be just a little too short but passable, jean jacket and of course, nice shoes. She still had long legs to die for and there was a limited time before her flat belly wasn't so flat anymore. Her bigger chest was now showing just a little bit more in that dress.

Stepping out of the room, she could see Amy and Jack already in the common area, little guy looked on top of the world. She was proud he listened to her.

Her daughter and Tommy were coming in with George. With the kids all in the same room she put a few twenties in Riley's hand. "Ok, that's for take out, and emergency."

"We're good," Riley smiled. "We got this. Text you probably every hour. Call you, Kate or Max if there is an emergency. Don't answer the door for strangers. Don't do drugs. Don't break anything. Don't order crazy room service stuff. We can do this, Mom."

One little kid was fine but three? Her daughter didn't understand that at a drop of the hat you could go from everything's ok to absolute chaos. That's how kids worked. "No leaving the hotel at all. You forgot that one."

"We were going to hop a bus to some random place in Canada, plans are ruined now."

Lace tried to smile at that but Riley HAD taken busses in the past without telling anyone.

She hugged her and kissed the top of her head. "Ok, I trust you. I love you so much, honey."


Don't let the name scare you.
Thread starter #1,521
"Well, I've told her already that you guys will be fine." Max said - they were promptly joined by the others, too, who took a moment to hug all the kids. First George, Amy, and Tommy - and when Riley was done, they'd hug her, too. "But you know what your mom's like, Riley. She won't take my word for it." He smirked, then he gave Lacey a gentle rub on the shoulder. "You take care. Have fun, but don't do anything crazy. Don't leave the little ones out too much, and don't let them do anything outrageous. Keep an eye on them and make sure before they sleep they use the bathroom and brush their teeth." He pulled Riley into a hug. "You have a good night."

Tommy looked at him and smiled, and nodded.

"Go on, you can have one, too." He opened his arms up.

"Okay." Tommy laughed, but he certainly didn't hesitate. He went straight forward and gave Max a hug.

Max looked down at George, "You want a hug, little buddy?"

He just nodded.

George liked Max, anyway. While he was doing that, Brooke and Kate and Kyle all hugged Riley goodbye, too. Oh, and Jack. They hugged him.

Max crouched and hugged George, patting his back, then looked at Amy and Jack.

"And you two. Come here." He smiled.

Amy went over and hugged him tight for a few seconds. "Have a good night, sweetie." He said, "Don't let Jack bully you." He teased and gently poked her side. She smirked and pulled away, and then Max finally had a hug with Jack. "And you, big man..." He poked his side until Jack more or less fell to the floor in laughter, but, he stopped there and just hugged him. "Have fun, son. Don't sit up waiting for us if we're late back."

"I won't."

I will.

"Love you."

"Love you too, dad." He said.

Max pulled away and stood up, then took Lacey's hand. "Come on, this show won't watch itself." He said.
Yes. She worried. She stoleaxs truck riding through Millinocket in her underwear to dind her kid. She worried.

Considering how she lost made sense.

Tommy got a hug. Nice and tight. "Keep that one in line," she teased gesturing to her daughter.

And if george and amy allowed it she hugged them too. Jack was last, getting his hair ruffled. "If you need a story tonight make sure you grt a good one from Riley. Shes great at crafting stories."

And thst was it. Lace took Maxs hand and let him lead her out. Riley felt a sense of relief when they were gone. "Ok, i will start making the popcorn. Tommy you ok with orsering pizza?" The money was held out for tommy to grab.

The first thing riley did was go to the kitchen and notice rhe popcorn bags were gone. Hmm. "Alrifht george. You and me sre going on a popcorn mission to the lobby downstairs. You ready buddy?"


Don't let the name scare you.
Thread starter #1,523
Of course George and Amy allowed it. Hugs for everyone.

"I know she has good stories." Jack said. "But I don't think I need one tonight."

"Oh, this is coming from the kid who said he won't be up really late?" Max looked at him.

Jack went quiet for a second.

"Just because I don't need a story doesn't mean I'll be up late."

"Oh, really?" He smirked, then ruffled his hair. "Shut up, you." He said, playfully, "Go have some fun. Make the most of it, because when we get back, it'll be back to going to bed early and having bread and water for supper." He joked, and with that, it was time to go. Light show. It would be great fun, he was sure.

Once they were gone... It felt awesome.

Tommy nodded to Riley and took the money. "Jack, Amy? What pizza do you want? You guys wanna' share?"

"Pepperoni's my favorite." Jack said.

"Mine too!" Amy agreed.

Tommy looked at her, "Amy, I thought your favorite was-"

"Pepperoni. It's pepperoni."

Tommy smirked a tiny bit and shrugged, "If you say so." He said. "I'll get to ordering."

He went and sat down.

As soon as Tommy had his back turned, and Riley and George had left the room, Jack grabbed Amy's hand. "Come on." He whispered, and immediately? He ran straight to his dad's room.

He wanted to know more about his dad. What clothes he carried around, what cologne he wore, what sort of colors he liked - he wanted all of it.

Meanwhile, George had gone with Riley.

All the way downstairs, being a good kid and holding her hand all the way there. He didn't really separate from her, not at all.

Until they got out the elevator, where he was sure he heard something in the stairwell a short distance away.

As soon as they got the popcorn, he basically dragged Riley to the stairs. No way were they taking the elevator. He insisted he heard something and he wanted to see what it was - he said it sounded like an animal, or something, and curiosity got the better of him.

Two or three flights up, and yes, they found something rather interesting.

They found a cat.

Yes, a cat.

On the stairwell, lying on the floor, looking rather... Chilled.

It simply meowed when George met eyes with it. He was thrilled immediately - forget the popcorn. Even though they had it, this was way better.

"It's a cat!" He shout-whispered.

He crouched in front of it and reached out, stroking its head.

"It's a fat cat." He grinned.

The cat didn't seem to move. It just set its head down.

"I think it's hurt." George sounded more concerned than happy.

It did have a collar, but forget that.
Junior Mints.

Perfect movie night. "George, you want to pick a candy bar out for yourself? Call it a helper's reward?" She asked turning to him as she placed the goods on the counter letting the receptionist add it up. George, however, looked heavily distracted. He wasn't paying attention, but his hand was still holding hers. That's what mattered. Just for that, she slipped a reeces there as well. Couldn't go wrong with Reeces. She asked for a bag, and as soon as the receptionist flashed a smile giving her what she paid for, George yanked her her away.

"Kid slow down, what is going on right now?!" She had to ask. No answer, just up the stairwell, up a few flight of stairs to find a fat, high looking docile cat. Ahhhh fuck.

Riley bent down and looked at the collar. "Her name's Tina. Let's see if we can get Tina some help, ok?" The collar had a number too...riley called it.

"This is Ted, please leave a message."

"Uh...Ted? This is Riley Miller. You lost your cat and she's in the stairwell. She doesn't look that great so we're taking her to our room. Please call me at 339-227-2445. get your cat back."

George was right, the thing didn't look that great. Cats, if they didn't like to be picked up you'd get scratched to all hell. Riley put the grocery bag on the ground and took off Tommy's hoodie, enveloping the cat in it as she picked it up. "Grab the bag, I got Tina. Guess we're babysitting a cat too."

Whoever Ted was...he needed to call back for his damn cat.
The light show was a festival of activities for young and old alike. Spread across the city of Ontario, it was much more intricate than Lacey at first realized. They handed their tickets, and really it just let them have access to the street fair that was going on.

There was even a stage built at one corner of the street with acrobats throwing fire. That was a form of lights. Lace linked her arm with Max just surveying all of it. At the casino they advertized a lazer show inside. "Have to admit, this is kind of perfect," She said taking it all in. They all could do their own thing without looking like a bunch of adults crammed on a triple date.

Her kid had the planning genes in her just like her mom. It made her very proud.


Don't let the name scare you.
Thread starter #1,525
"Oh, awesome." George grinned.

Yes, the news of having a cat in the hotel room was simply the best thing, but, what they didn't quite know was that she was probably about to give birth like... Soon. They'd figure that out as time went on, though. For now, George was buzzing, and he took all of the shopping they'd done and ran all the way up the stairs - he was miles ahead of Riley, that was for sure. She was going to struggle to keep up with a kid with that much energy. He was excited, though. He couldn't wait for everyone to see what they'd found.

Tina was docile as shit. She loved being carried.

Meanwhile in the hotel room, Jack and Amy were in the parents' room while Tommy was ordering those pizzas (it was taking a while to get through. He was on hold but he got there in the end), Jack and Amy were having a grand old time. Mainly Jack, digging through his dad's stuff.

"Some of this stuff is so cool." Jack said, "I didn't know my dad had half this stuff." He grabbed his bottle of expensive cologne and sprayed some on his hand, then slapped it on his face and neck. "Awesome." He sniffed it, "Look, smell."

He leaned in close, and she did, too, sniffing his neck.

"It's nice." She smiled.

"He's got everything..." He said, "And ties, too." He pulled out a nice purple silk one and held it out, "Do you know how to tie a tie?"

"I don't know... I think so."


"Can you do it for me? I wanna' try it on."

She nodded and took the tie and looped it around his neck, then managed to tie the tie...

Into a knot.

Jack stood up and looked in the mirror. "Huh, that don't look right."

"No, it doesn't. Sorry." She grinned and shrugged.

"Eh." He took it off and stuffed it at the bottom of the case under all the folded stuff. "That's okay, and--" He stopped as he felt something hard at the bottom of the case.

He plucked out a jewelry box. "Huh, what's this?"

She rushed to his side to look, too.


"I think her words were... She wanted to give us something back for all the stuff we'd done, too." He smiled, "I was quite touched by that, but really? Let's be honest, 90% of that kid wanted a night in alone with Tommy." He chuckled, "As kids do. I can't blame her, really - her and Tommy are good together. Letting them have a night to themselves where they can watch movies and share secrets without worrying about us overhearing will do them good. Lets them be kids for a while, y'know?" He smiled. "That's the main thing. And here we are for some time - we'll make sure we stay out for a good long while. We'll enjoy the show, grab some food, too... You've got another one to feed." He said.

He walked along with her, but, eventually he stopped and turned to her. He looked at her belly for just a second, then his eyes came up to meet hers.

"Lacey, I haven't said it yet, but... I may be really scared, but, I'm... I'm really looking forward to this, too." He smiled. "We're writing a new chapter on our lives, and... Well, I'm glad you're the main character in mine." He said.

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