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Jem Hill

worth every bit of trouble

0 · 611 views · located in Los Angeles, California

a character in “Los Angeles Neighbors' Club”, as played by TheNewb08

Description



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JEREMIAH JAMES HILL

Jem, JJ, The Hill

DOB 05/23/1998.xxxxxxGENDER malexxxxxxSEXUALITY bisexual

ZODIAC SIGN geminixxxxxxOCCUPATION pizza deliver boy

QUOTE "I don't go looking for trouble. Trouble usually finds me." ~ J.K. Rowling

HEX CODE #679f06xxxxxx

SONG INSPIRATION "I ain't here for a long time... I'm here for a good time"

CODENAME The Heat



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GENERAL STYLE
Tall, Dark, and Handsome are the typical words used when describing Jem Hill. He towers over most people and his skinny frame doesn't lack muscular definition. His naturally black hair is kept gelled regularly. His appearance has always been a point of pride for the young man; he considers himself good-looking. His naturally, light green eyes stand out against his darker features. His green eyes can take on the color of sea foam if he is under bright lights. His style matches his personality: trouble. Jem never lacks a leather jacket or brown, work boots. He throws on a fitted shirt underneath his jacket and worn, distressed jeans. To top off his bad boy appearance, he has light facial hair covering most of his jaw and lip.



Imagexxxx@alwaysajem Imagexxxx@TheHillImagexxxx@JemHill



ImagexxxxxxxxxxxxxLIKES
The smell of Vanilla brings an instant smile to
his face. He loves it when a crush wears it. His
family, especially his nephew, Peter. Parties,
pranks, and basketball obviously. Slapstick
comedy. Summer, best party time. Leather
jackets. Rap Music. Country Music, a secret
love. Attention, who doesn't? The Magic
Treehouse Book Series, the only somewhat
educational thing he can read. Crime Shows.
Weekends. The Neighbors' Club. Snuggling,
Cuddling, he doesn't care who. Laying in the
sun. Piña Coladas. Singing in the rain, why
not? Confidence. Extra buttery popcorn. An
adventure. Being lazy. Napping with other
people. Tubing. Traveling the World. Aladdin
his favorite movie. March Madness. Elephants
xxxxxxxxxxxxxDISLIKES
Academics, he's more the athletic type. Drugs,
his father died because of this. Jem is a Drug
Free Advocate. The Gun Control Debate, if you
make guns harder to get then only criminals
will have guns. Anything anti-police. Reading.
Being sunburned. Dieting for Basketball. Oranges,
allergies. Lectures. Bad Parties or Pranks. The
colors, Orange and Yellow. Rumors. His brothers,
being away from home. Doing homework. Too
many choices. Super sweet foods. Cheap Beer.
Wasting Money. Overspending. Boring People.
Predictability. Expresso. Babysitting, except
Peter. Parent Teacher Conferences. Torture
Movies. Attention Seekers. Cold Pizza. War,
especially when Timothy is overseas. Customers
who won't tip. Leaving home. Being a failure.



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PERSONALITY
| SPONTANEOUS | CARELESS | ADVENTUROUS | IRRESPONSIBLE |

Anyone who knows Jem is aware that change doesn't effect him. Whether it's a friend moving away or just moving seats in a class, Jem finds a way to turn the change in his favor. He despises being stuck in a predictable cycle, always finding a new ways to do anything. The unknown has never been a fear for him and is confident when facing anew scenarios. He does things his own way, but it affects those around him. He doesn't always consider how his spontaneity will affect people, making him careless and irresponsible. He doesn't worry about life after high school like some people; instead, he finds happiness in having no regrets. Jem likes to say, "What's the point in living if you aren't having fun?" However, his fun-loving attitude makes him appear immature especially when he plays pranks and throws parties. Jem doesn't let his haters bother him. He knows who he is and if someone doesn't like him, they can go somewhere else.

Socially, Jem is superior to many people. He has never been afraid to approach a stranger and start a conversation, something his mother worries about. Jem loves to talk and share his thoughts, ideas, or anything that comes to his mind. He is used to being around a large group of people and is very people oriented. Jem inspires confidence in others and radiates his own self-confidence as well. He has many leader like characteristics, but his irresponsibility and penchant for trouble keeps him as more of adviser. He genuinely cares for other people; though it might not always seem like it, Jem wants his friends to be happy. Sometimes, his directness bothers his friends and others, especially when he's calling them out for holding them accountable to their actions. His upbeat personality wins many hearts, but the Los Angeles Neighbor's Club are his closest friends. Jem acts like an open book, but he doesn't like airing all of his secrets and dreams, knowing some are unlikely. Romantically, Jem has some experience, but lacks the ability to keep a girlfriend or boyfriend for long. Jem prefers to have a fun, crazy relationship with commitment, but no one has been able to be that for him. He's considered too wild and irresponsible or he's clingy for wanting strings attached. All he's looking for is someone who wants to have an adventure with him.




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YOU KNEW MASON?
Jem met Mason when they were assigned to work on a science project together. The two came to a impasse when Jem tried to make Mason do all the work. Mason was obviously the smarter of the two and Jem considered himself one of the dumber students in their class. The two of them bickered over the project when, finally, Jem gave in, working on his part of the project, with Mason's help. Their final grade was a ninety-nine, the highest grade Jem has ever received. The two became closer friends after that. Jem tries to keep Mason from being 'all work, no play.' Upon hearing about Mason's disappearance, Jem is trying to use his police connections to get the latest information.



HISTORY
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          Jem was born into a very loving, large family. He's the youngest of four boys and will forever be known as 'the baby.' Madeline Hill works as an accountant, a flexible job for the mother of four. His father, Daniel, was a police officer, specializing in the drug taskforce. Life at the Hill household was very hectic, but Jem never felt like he lacked love. He can remember playing basketball with his big brothers, his mom reading bed time stories, and his father kissing him good night, telling Jem even when he was angry with him, he still loved him. To Jem, friends come and go, but family is forever.

          Life changed drastically after the death of Jem's father when he was nine. Daniel was investigating a potential drug exchange area when he shot in the chest by one of the head drug lords in the area. Daniel was rushed to the hospital, but ended up dying later that evening. He died surrounded by his wife, Jem's sixteen year old brother (Adam), Jem's fourteen year old brother (Timothy), and Jem himself. His oldest brother, Paul, had been attending college in Texas when he heard the news. He tried to fly back, but didn't make it in time. The family was almost destroyed by the loss. Jeremiah and his other brothers began to get into trouble and Madeline didn't know how she could raise three boys by herself. Paul stepped up, moving back to Los Angeles, and finishing college online, so he could give his mother some support. Jem still causes trouble, mostly because of his bad luck, but with his family and the Los Angeles Neighbors' Club helping him, he recovered from his father's death. Jem visits his father's grave on holidays, Father's Day, his father's birthday, and on his father's and mother's anniversary day.

          After his father's death, Jem put all of his time into basketball, parties, and pranks. The distraction was nice and it was one of the few times all of his brothers could get along and be together. Paul works as a high school science teacher and has gotten married along with Jem's nephew, Peter. Adam is at Harvard Law school, becoming a criminal justice attorney and Timothy is in the marines, deployed often. Being the youngest, Jem felt like getting into trouble and throwing parties would get him attention. His parties are always a blast and no one ever leaves unhappy. Pranks are the same. He does it for a laugh, not to hurt anyone. Basketball is his favorite though. He's been playing since childhood and has always been on ever team. The sport offered him a way of putting his angry energy into something constructive. When he began to play in high school, he started meeting recruiters. Jem never thought of basketball as a career. Instead, he wanted to become a policeman like his father, go to college and major in criminal justice before enrolling in the police academy. Jem's received multiple offers and there's been talk he could be NBA bound. He doesn't know what he wants to do. A full basketball scholarship would help him play for his degree, but he didn't want something fun he did to turn into work.

          Currently, he is deciding between going to Texas to play for the Longhorns, the Duke Blue Devils, or Kentucky Wildcats. The main problem is he doesn't know how to tell the coaches that he doesn't plan on entering the NBA. Jem knows the NBA would be a amazing monetarily. His family has never been wealthy and they are struggling with his brother's student loans, family expenses, and paying off their father's funeral costs. Also, Jem has a had issues with Los Angeles Police in the past. He's been caught drinking underage, a troublemaker in school, and trespassing. Jem's worried he won't get accepted into the police academy should he pursue it. Right now, Jem just wants to have fun with his friends before they all separate. Mason's disappearance has made Jem's inner police officer come out. He's been investigating into every source, trying to find his friend. Jem's always been a positive person, but he has a bad feeling about Mason.

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.CREATED BY faceclaim
xx...PLAYED BY TheNewb08
FACE CLAIM Felix Bujo

So begins...

Jem Hill's Story

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Remy Solomon Character Portrait: Jem Hill Character Portrait: Jane Bennett Character Portrait: Summer Bass Character Portrait: Mackenzie Lovato

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The swish of the basketball going through the net was the only sound in the mostly empty gym. Jem did the layup again after what would've been the thirtieth time. Practicing was the only way Jem could stop thinking about Mason. One of his closest friends was missing and Jem was at a loss. He tried to remain positive for everyone's sake, but he couldn't shake the feeling of something bad happening. His father used to tell him after the first 48 hours, you were looking for a body. The thought of someone as a bright and young as Mason in a casket made him to collapse and never get up. Coach Whitmore, who was currently watching him, wouldn't have let him though.

"Kid, you need to stop. You'll exhaust yourself at this rate."

Despite being legally an adult, Jem would always be a Whitmore's kid. The man has coached Jem since he was a freshman, watching him grow into the basketball player he is now. Coach became a father figure in the boy's life after Jem's father's tragic passing. The two were close and Whitmore won't admit he shed tears over the boy's graduation.

"The Longhorns called to see where your head's at. The Blue Devils and Wildcats are wondering, too, kid. Jem, you have to make a decision-" "My friend is missing and all you care about is my stupid basketball career. There's more to life than just this ball." At the word 'ball,' Jem threw his basketball at the wall, hard. The muffled smack of the ball against the padded walls did little to satisfy Jem's annoyance. The game was fun, but he didn't want it as a job. His childhood ambitions of following his deceased father's footsteps was what he wanted. Policemen were the good guys and helped solve cases like Mason's. Jem's inner policeman came out after Mason's disappearance. His friends within the force offered him the latest information and offered him some leads they weren't looking into. It may or may not have been illegal, but Jem believed rules were made to be bent, not broken. Speaking of policemen, the LANC club was suppose to be interviewed today... shit! Jem hurriedly glanced at the clock on the wall. Damn! He was late! Plus he was going to bring pizza for everybody. His boss was sympathetic to what happened to his friend. Jem hurried out of the gym, passing his coach without a glance. His choice would have to wait.

~

Walking into the Bass household, arms loaded with seven boxes of pizza, was difficult. Not just because of the large pizza boxes, but seeing his friends look so downcast. Summer and Remy were curled up in a blanket, watching a ridiculous matchmaking show with blank eyes. Jane was wiping at some tears that ran down her cheeks. The three looked lost and Jem couldn't point them in a right direction. He set the pizzas down on the table in front of the TV, smiling slightly. He's never been comforting or great with words in serious circumstances. He was as lost as they were. Jem's eyes moved to the two officers, Officer Walker and Barnega. The male cop eyed him with distrust. Jem Hill is well known among the local police department. He is the town troublemaker, but a good kid who worships the police and works with the narcotics taskforce on drug free week at school. Officer Walker smiled at him, empathy present in her eyes. She worked with his father on a missing persons' case; a decent kid who got caught up with the local drug dealers. They found the kid alive, beaten to a pulp, but he's alive and well. Hopefully, the same would be said for Mason. Jem sat down next to the blanket covered duo, Summer to his left. He gave her the most hopeful smile he could. She needs some hope right now.



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The daily work at Expresso Express was lacking today. The usually busy coffee shop had a slow afternoon after the morning coffee rush. The morning shift was a nightmare for Kenzie since people didn't seem to appreciate her humor without their wake up drink. Honestly, she's surprised the manager hasn't fired her yet. Friendliness and perkiness was not her thing and she's heard plenty complaints from customers about the 'rude barista.' Said customers would receive a kick in the ass if Mackenzie had her way. Unfortunately, she didn't get her way. Fortunately though, many customers liked her spunk and would her quips to be hilarious. Many of the regulars do come for Mackenzie and her coffee art. Possibly, those were the only reasons she hasn't been fired yet. The lack of customers let Mackenzie focus on other things. She had no plans for college after high school, her best friend is moving to a far away college, and her other friend Mason was missing. God, she wished it was busy. Mason's disappearance was all anybody could talk about. The valedictorian went to super smarty pants schools, but never showed up and his car was found abandoned. It sounds like a great movie plot, but unfortunately, it was real. Mackenzie wasn't too concerned though. It was Mason. The smart kids never die in the movies.

~

Talking to the police was never Mackenzie's favorite thing to do.
"What was your relationship to the Mr. Bass?"
"We're friends, known each other since middle school."
"When was the time he contacted you?"
"Two days before he left. I told him his nerd heaven is waiting for him."

Officer Barnega was clearly annoyed with Mackenzie's tone and her lack of concern. Like Jem, she was well known by the police department as well. She wasn't loved like Jem. She was a fighter and didn't react positively when an officer tried to question her. She would've been a part of the scared straight program if she didn't have the LANC club. They kept her in line, mostly.

"Mrs. Lovato, you don't seem very concerned about Mason." Officer Barnega tried, and failed, attempting the good cop approach with the disrespectful teen. "Mason's probably fine. I don't see why you're wasting time questioning us."
"We just want to see if anyone could point us in a new direction. Did Mason have any enemies?"
"Mason's a golden boy. It's impossible to hate him."
"What about you? I've seen your file. Someone could've tried to hurt you through Mason."
Mackenzie rolled her eyes, exaggerating the motion. The officer was beginning to piss her off. She crossed her arms, glaring at the male cop.
"If someone was trying to hurt me, there are better people to target. I'm glad they sent missing persons' finest to investigate, Officer Barnyard."
Her sarcastic emphasis on finest was enough to finish her interview. The red face of Officer Barnega went well with his blue uniform. Mackenzie skipped out of the makeshift interview room, seeing Remy and Summer still in a blanket cocoon. Jem had arrived with pizza and was currently beside Summer, a hopeful smile on his face. Mackenzie, once again, rolled her eyes. Those two had it so bad for each other it was insane. Mackenzie was the first to grab a slice of pizza. She was starving! She went for her second piece when she felt Jem's eyes, judging her. Mackenzie could almost telepathically hear him saying, "Really?"
"What? I'm not gonna waste good pizza."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jodene K. Van Rompaye Character Portrait: Remy Solomon Character Portrait: Jem Hill Character Portrait: Jane Bennett Character Portrait: Summer Bass Character Portrait: Mackenzie Lovato

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Jo sighed impatiently. Her part-time job at Barnes and Noble really wasn't the busiest, but usually, it was consistent. Most of the time, Jo had something to do. Currently, everybody in bookstore was either reading by the benches, totally absorbed in their books, or wandering around, doing nothing productive of any sort. It was utterly boring.

Jo's shift would be over in precisely eleven minutes, though. To be honest, she wasn't exactly popular with the customers. She couldn't quite be described as rude, but Jo supposed she had always been a bit...insensitive. Blunt. Oblivious to people's feelings. This led to her coming off as harsh. Of course, Jo didn't purposely act cruel. She was just...brutally honest. Yeah.

But at the same time, the customers liked her. Not quite as a bookstore clerk, but more likely as a book recommendations specialist. Sure, it wasn't exactly her job, but by analyzing the each person's unique preferences and budget range, along with using her rather extensive memory on book plots, etc., Jo could find the perfect books for each and every customer. Well, most of the time. Everybody makes mistakes.

Fortunately for Jo, the eleven minutes passed by quickly enough. The redhead traded places with the Hikari, the Japanese girl with dyed blonde hair who was operating the next shift and headed out of the bookstore. She - along with the rest of Los Angeles Neighbors' Club, or LANC for short - was supposed to go to the Bass residence to be interviewed by a couple of detectives on the subject of Mason's recent disappearance. The police wanted to gather some information. Although Jo and Mason weren't as close as the latter was to Summer or Jane, the redhead did feel some concern when Mason didn't turn up at his school of choice. She just...wasn't the best at displaying that concern. Jo never had been good with emotions in general. It just wasn't her thing.

It was awkward, to say the least.

Well, for the cop. Jo was unfazed.

He and Jo were sitting across from each other, face-to-face, doing practically nothing besides the essential actions of surviving. Jo had an apathetic expression on her face, while Detective Barnega was clearly uncomfortable with the silence that resonated in the makeshift interview room. Finally, breaking the minute-long silence, Detective Barnega cleared his throat, sitting a little bit straighter.

"So," Barnega attempted to break the ice. "Ms. Rompaye - "

"Ms. Van Rompaye," Jo corrected immediately, her tone rather bland. "Similar to Ludwig van Beethoven, although his surname is usually referred to as simply 'Beethoven', van is still an important part of the name. And it's not pronounced rom-pay, it's pronounced rom-pie-yay."

There was a long pause after Jo's rather rude interruption, although she never found correcting someone to be rude. Barnega had a frustrated look on his face, as if he had dealt with enough rudeness for the day. Mackenzie probably turned him off. It was the reasonable explanation.

"Ms. Van Rompaye," Barnega tried again with a strained voice, emphasizing the first part slightly and correcting her pronunciation. His patience was running thin. "What is your relationship with Mason Bass?"

"Clearly we're friends," Jo explained rather efficiently, "although if you're not competent enough to draw that conclusion, I sincerely worry for the citizens of this city." Yup, Barnega was definitely annoyed.

"No worries, Ms. Van Rompaye," he responded, with a lilt in his voice. "The police force has gathered that already."

Jo clucked her tongue and shifted her position slightly. "Good, your performance is so far satisfactory," she said, clearly irritating Male Detective (although that wasn't her direct intention). "Other than that, we're academic rivals, but if you think I'm childish enough to sabotage Mason simply because I was salutatorian instead of valedictorian, then dear God, I worry for this city's police force."

Barnega looked ready to punch Jo in the face out of his frustration. Jo didn't blame him. "Alright then," he said in a tightly strained voice. "Salutatorian. Clearly not a suspect." Jo narrowed her eyes. He was doubting her, plain as day, anyone could see it. "How far were you from being valedictorian?"

"0.0017 of a point," Jo said calmly, refraining from straining her voice. "Not that it should matter. Just a hint, you're asking the wrong questions."

"Oh really, Ms. Van Rompaye," Barnega drawled. "And why is that?"

"You mean why you're asking the wrong questions?" Jo inquired in a light tone. "Oh, I don't know, maybe it's because you fail to actually comprehend the information you were given in the correct way?" Barnega had a furious expression on his face. "Oh, don't look like that. Statistically, 98.62% of the population are like you, it really isn't that rare." Yes, Jo could come off as a bitch, but to be honest, that wasn't exactly her intention. Then again, she preferred not to sugarcoat things.

"Alright, then!" Detective Barnega was smart enough to end the exchange right there without losing his temper - well, for the most part. "Moving on! When has he last contacted you, Ms. Van Rompaye?"

"One day, seventeen hours, and thirty-two minutes before he left," Jo responded immediately, ignoring Detective Barnega as he raised an eyebrow. The redhead had always been a rather precise person. "We spoke - texted, in fact - about our schools of choice. Stanford for him, Berkeley for me. Before you ask, there was nothing suspicious in his texts." Detective Barnega bit his lip; it was clear that he weren't receiving any useful information, considering the questions he's been asking.

"Do you think anyone would've wanted to hurt Mason?" he inquired, not particularly friendly. Jo shrugged, somewhat indifferent. Yes, she was concerned about Mason, but she wasn't good at conveying her emotions. The redhead probably seemed like she didn't care, although that wasn't the case.

"Really?" Jo scoffed. "The Mason Bass? He's Los Angeles' real golden boy." The redhead leaned forward. "Listen, while I'm not exactly socially or emotionally adept, I actually understand - well, somewhat - what's going out there. There are two types of golden boys. Those who hate the first type mainly hate him because he's liked by so many people, or they're jealous of his talents. The second type? Well, the second type is sincerely loved by the people around him. Even those who dislike him could never hate him enough to sabotage, kidnap, or throw him off his path to stardom, because the second type of golden boy just has that damn charisma. Mason's the second type. Statistically, there is only a 2.13% chance that anybody who knows him would want to hurt him. Balance of probability, if Mason was hurt in any way, shape, or form by another human being, they would most likely not know him personally."

Officer Barnega was still scrawling down his last notes before finally asking another question. "Are you completely sure about that? There must be someone who despises him beyond belief. Despite your...guide on golden boys, every one of them is sure to have an archenemy of sorts." Barnega scoffed, leaning back in his seat. "A guy like that...if people like him as much as you say, surely he's played around with the ladies? You know, hook up, have sex, dump them on the street?"

Even Jo could've lost her composure at that statement. Barnega clearly didn't care much for this case. "Excuse me, Barnie," Jo said sharply, paying no attention to the flustered noise the detective made at the nickname, "are you sure you are a qualified officer? If you've cheated your way into your position, I wouldn't be surprised. Perhaps you've done some...less than chaste things with your colleagues? 'You know, hook up, have sex, dump them on the street?' You seem far from professional. Although I'm not the one to assume one's sexuality, a bisexual - or is it pansexual? I'm not sure - man like yourself wouldn't have too big of a problem with the police's...variety. It's a surefire way of climbing the ranks, quickly and easily."

Although Jo couldn't exactly be described as patient, she couldn't quite be described as easily triggered either. There were very little things in the world that could truly get Jo fired up, and to be honest, Mason wasn't one of them. But he was her friend, and Jo was not going to let Officer Barnie get away with a statement like that.

It was safe to say, that after that incident, Jo and a very flustered Officer Barnega finished that interview up as quickly as possible. Jo strode out of the makeshift interview room, her demeanor rather calm and collected, given the situation. She approached the fraction of the LANC club who were already interviewed leaned against the edge of the couch in a slightly awkward manner. She did try to be sensitive of her friends' feelings, but she wasn't exactly good at it.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jodene K. Van Rompaye Character Portrait: Remy Solomon Character Portrait: Jem Hill Character Portrait: Jane Bennett Character Portrait: Summer Bass Character Portrait: Mackenzie Lovato Character Portrait: Matthew Tate

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"My name is Julia and I am... six years... old and I go to ele-ele-elementary school?" The girl was uncertain as she strung the words together with a hesitant look at Matty "My name is Julia and I am six years old and I go to elementary school" she confirmed her statement. He broke into a smile at her efforts "Well done Julia, perfecto!" He pulled a golden star sticker from his pocket, reaching out to pop the star on her nose. She giggled and pulled it off, sticking it down onto her book. Julia Garcia was one of Matty's favourite students (Although, he didn't really have a favourite, they were all his favourites). She was 6 years old and a ray of sunshine. Over the past few days Matt had thrown himself into his tutoring sessions, finding solace in their smiles and smallest triumphs. Julia had been working hard at perfecting her English, and considering she had started off knowing very little, he was impressed.

The community centre was full of children running back and forward with parents calling out to their kids in rapid Spanish. Matty was set up in the corner of the large hall with a couple of beanbags and a desk strewn about. This was where he spent a lot of his time. He was paid to help a lot of the kids learn English by a community charity though mostly he showed up to lend a hand for the day in whatever anyone needed. He slouched over in his beanbag, scribbling down notes onto his book to remind him to make a small test for her next week. He preferred tutoring here to helping kids in his neighbourhood learn French. The community centre felt like a second home to him.

The sound of his phone buzzing broke him away from her triumph. He gave her an apologetic look as he reached across the table to find it. A reminder flashed on the screen, the words 'DETECTIVE MEETING'. He sighed sitting up. Julia sat up as well, pushing her book towards him. She understood that was his time to leave. "Thank you Matty" she grinned enunciating carefully. He lifted her book, tucking it in his bag before standing up. "I'll see you next Tuesday" He promised, pulling his coat on as well as his bag, sorting himself out. He turned to Julia's mother who was hunched over a desk with her husband attempting to fill out some forms. Matty waved to her as he left, receiving a small goodbye from her in response.

When he was tutoring, he didn't feel so alone. It was a distraction from the big issues he didn't really want to think about. As he threw his bag into the back of his car, he sent a quick text to his mom, letting her know he was heading to the Bass house. Both of his parents had been overly wary about their children's comings and goings since Mason's disappearance, constantly texting. He threw the phone the passenger seat and started driving. The drive felt all too familiar as he made his way back to his neighbourhood. He kept the radio low, listening out for his phone buzzing.

From outside, the Bass house looked like any other on the street, typical family home almost identical to his own. In fact, if he squinted, both of the houses looked the same. Outside of his own house, his brother was drawing on the path with chalk while his mother watched with eagle eyes from the porch. She'd been outside most of the time since Mason went missing, watching. She and Mason's mother always looked out for each other.

Inside, the Bass house was painfully quiet. Matty could barely mumble a hello to the rest of the LANC as he made his way through the house to where they'd set up the interrogation room.


-


"What's your relationship with Mr Bass?"

"Friends of course, neighbours, I've known him since we were kids, since I moved in next door"

"And how long have you known Mason for then, Mr Tate?" The question sounded almost accusatory from Officer Barnega. Matty shifted in his seat on the awkwardly. He wanted to be where the two detectives were, not being interrogated by them. He must have shown his nervousness as Detective Walker repeated the question, her tone less glaringly offensive and less sharp "Matthew, how long have you known Mason for?"

"15 years, well 14 years, 46 weeks and one day, but who's counting?" His joke felt oddly flat in his mouth. Walker gave him a small sympathetic laugh. At least he was pathetically funny. Officer Barnega gave him an odd look. Matty decided that he really disliked the male officer.

"When did Mason last talk to you?" He continued, steamrolling on. Walker seemed to sigh at her partner's lack of understanding for the young man in front of them. "Just before he left, he text me to tell me he was heading off. I was tutoring at the time so I didn't get a chance to reply, by the time I replied he wasn't picking up for anyone" The last part caught in Matty's throat. If he had actually replied maybe... no he didn't need to dwell on the maybes. He absentmindedly began twisting a beaded bracelet around his wrist, chewing on his lip. He worked up his courage to make eye contact with the detectives.

"You're a tutor Mr Tate? Where were you tutoring when he text you?" Barnega pressed. Matt had to suppress an eye roll. The detective was really grasping at straws. Matty leant down to root around in his bag for his business card, eventually surfacing to pass it to Detective Walker. She studied the card before nodding, passing it to her partner who dropped it onto the desk without a glance. "I was teaching a kid called Andrew... Andrew Paul, he lives a couple houses down from here, I didn't leave for another hour after he text me" They were probably trying to narrow down
"Now, i really want you to think about this one, Matthew, do you know if anyone would want to hurt Mason?" If Matthew ever became a detective, he'd prefer to be like Walker. She seemed to understand how to interview someone. Matty shook his head. "Mason's the golden child, the prodigy, surely there's someone" Barnega butted in. Matt frowned "Nobody disliked Mason, he was friends with everyone, if he did have enemies, they'd be our age... I doubt a 17 or 18 year old would particularly want to hurt a kid like him" He shivered "He's a goo-"

"Mason is a good kid, yeah we get the picture Mr Tate but this really isn't helping us find him. Interview suspended, you can go"

"Thank you for talking with us Matthew, if you remember anything you know where to find us"


-


Matty swore under his breath as he made his way back to the living room. It all seemed useless. The cops didn't exactly seem too bothered about Mason, Barnega was too flippant and asking the most generic questions. Walker seemed too sympathetic, like she was preparing them all for the worst. To be fair to her, at least it was comforting to know someone was thinking along the same lines as him. He had talked with Jem, they both knew the statistics.

He nodded to Mrs Bass as he passed the kitchen, offering her a small smile. She was still trying to keep busy, to distract herself just like the rest of them. "Mrs Bass, my mom says that if you need anything she can be over as quick as a flash, anything at all" He said softly. The woman shook her head with a slight smile "Thank you Matty, and tell your mom I said thanks too, now... go and hang out with the rest of them, they're still in the living room. Jem brought pizza"

"I will Mrs Bass-" He stopped for a second, about to continue, to say something hopeful but there was nothing really to say. She turned to talk to her sister and Matty stood awkwardly for a moment before making his way to the living room. An aura of solemnness clung to the air, punctured only by the smell of pizza. He dropped onto the floor leaning back against the table "Thoughts on Detective Grumpy?" He asked, attempting to make someone, anyone, smile "Think he has it out for us"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jodene K. Van Rompaye Character Portrait: Remy Solomon Character Portrait: Jem Hill Character Portrait: Mason Bass Character Portrait: Jane Bennett Character Portrait: Summer Bass Character Portrait: Mackenzie Lovato Character Portrait: Matthew Tate

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          "God, he found another one."

          The pounding in his head wouldn't stop, it just kept pounding, pounding, pounding, like the thoughts in his head. His thoughts didn't cease when he opened his eyes, only worsened in intensity when he found himself in a very unfamiliar bedroom with very unfamiliar people; without his safety net of little pills from an orange bottle, he skid back into the corner of the bed, his body settling into panic. "Hey, hey, hey, kid, it's okay. We're not gonna hurt ya!" The girl in front of him, wild blonde hair (like Summer) and tired but innately curious eyes staring at him, couldn't have been older than fifteen and had no business calling him a kid.

          "H-how'mi supposed to know that? You could be the ones that t-took me here!" Mason tried to sound intimidating but couldn't keep the helplessness from his voice. He'd been in and out for the last few days, wrestling with hunger and panic and wading in and out of consciousness. He was almost positive he had a concussion of some sort, but who knows what could be wrong when he's here- wherever here is.

          The girl in front of him sighed, and tested Mason by sitting at the end of the bed. There was another kid in the room, younger than the girl by at least four years, watching the door like a hawk. "Did a man offer to take you to a rest stop? To wait for the next bus, or to find some place to sleep?" The girl asked, her eyes probing him for answers. He didn't know why, but her gaze wasn't as threatening as before, and he can at least relax more since she was trying to help him. With a few stabilizing breaths, in out in out, Mason reached for the last memories that occupied his mind. He was on his way to Stanford, riding along in his truck listening to a playlist that Remy made for him, when his truck started slowing and he pulled to the side of the road. Then, "uh, yeah, a man stopped after my truck stalled. I was going to Stanford, I had orientation, he-he offered to take me to the gas station and then- well, now I'm here." Mason's voice drops at the end, his eyes adverting to his hands intertwining in one another painfully.

          "So you're the type of kid they send search parties for- he finally made a mistake." The boy finally piped up, turning to stare at Mason. Both of them looked to him like he was their saving grace, but he wasn't even sure he could save himself. Before he could let them down, let everyone down- there's a door somewhere that swings open loudly, a deep voice calling out. "Zoey? Charlie? I hope you haven't been snacking too much, I just brought dinner home."

          The kids scurry out of his room, just as a man, the man, walked up to his open door. He didn't necessarily look threatening, but the situation they're in put Mason on edge, keeping to the back wall. "Oh good, you're awake."

          _


          Summer quickly found comfort when Remy slipped in beside her and her head rested on his shoulder easily. She could only nod at his comment, a spare tear slipping from her eyes. "I don't get why they don't- don't understand that Mason's... Mason wouldn't do this." Summer's voice thickened with tears she pressed into Remy's shoulder. Jane joined them, kissing Summer's forehead and sitting down with her back resting against the couch, letting out an equally thick "I love you", which was quickly returned by Summer.

          The LANC crew settled in one by one, the next being Jem who sat by her side. Summer fished a hand out of the blankets and held onto his without a second thought. Although their feelings for each other were complicated, she needed him, and wouldn't liet that confusion get in her way. "Thank you for b-being here, J." Summer sniffled out again, rubbing her thumb against his hand.

          Summer was equally thankful for Matty's attempt at lightening the mood, calling that asshole Barnega "Detective Grumpy". "I think he can go shove it." Summer muttered, turning her head to look back at the kitchen. The two detectives were hunched over the table, discussing files with her parents. Her eyes followed them as they rose from the table and moved to address the group of teenagers gathered by the couch. Judging by Barnega's lips set in a firm line, it seemed Walker would be doing all the talking.

          "First off, thank you all for coming to speak with us today. Any information on Mason can be crucial to an investigation like this," Walker starts, her smile full of hope that Summer just couldn't muster at this point, it was too painful. She remembered something Jem had said a while back, one of his stories about his father's cases. After forty-eight hours, they're looking for a body. "We trust that each and every one of you gave us all the information you could. For now, the best way you all can help us is being there for each other. Being your age is difficult, especially when you have to deal with a situation like this. Rest assured the Los Angeles' Missing Persons Unit is doing everything they can to find your friend. If you have information you remember at a later date, our information is on the table for you all to pick up."

          "So we just sit here waiting to see if whoever or whatever has Mason will give him back? There's nothing we can do?" Summer retaliates, her eyes red and glossy but her voice stinging. The female gives her a smile, a pitiful smile, and answers, "please. Just give us time, Summer. We'll find your brother."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jodene K. Van Rompaye Character Portrait: Remy Solomon Character Portrait: Jem Hill Character Portrait: Jane Bennett Character Portrait: Rosalie Owens Character Portrait: Summer Bass Character Portrait: Mackenzie Lovato Character Portrait: Matthew Tate Character Portrait: Jasper Owens

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ᴋɴᴏᴄᴋ. ᴋɴᴏᴄᴋ, ᴋɴᴏᴄᴋ.

"sᴀғᴇ ᴛᴏ ᴄᴏᴍᴇ ɪᴛ?" ᴊᴀsᴘᴇʀ's ᴠᴏɪᴄᴇ ᴡᴀs ᴍᴜғғʟᴇᴅ ʙʏ ᴛʜᴇ ᴡᴏᴏᴅᴇɴ ᴅᴏᴏʀ ᴛʜᴀᴛ ʟᴇᴀᴅ ɪɴᴛᴏ ʀᴏsɪᴇ's ʀᴏᴏᴍ. ᴡʜᴇɴ ʀᴏsɪᴇ ɢᴀᴠᴇ ᴛʜᴇ ᴏᴋᴀʏ ᴡɪᴛʜ ʜᴇʀ ᴏᴡɴ ᴍᴜғғʟᴇᴅ ʏᴇᴀʜ, ᴊᴀsᴘᴇʀ ᴡᴀʟᴋᴇᴅ ʀɪɢʜᴛ ɪɴᴛᴏ ᴀ ʟᴀɴᴅ ᴏғ ᴀᴘᴘʟᴇs ᴀɴᴅ ᴘᴏᴛ. ᴛʜᴇ sᴄᴇɴᴛ ᴅɪᴅɴ'ᴛ sᴛʀᴀɪɢʜᴛ ᴜᴘ sᴍᴀᴄᴋ ᴊᴀsᴘᴇʀ ɪɴ ᴛʜᴇ ғᴀᴄᴇ ʙᴜᴛ ʀᴀᴛʜᴇʀ ᴄᴀʀᴇssᴇᴅ ʜɪs ɴᴏsᴇ. ɪᴛ ʀᴇᴍɪɴᴅᴇᴅ ʜɪᴍ ᴏғ ᴀɴ ᴇᴘɪsᴏᴅᴇ ᴏғ sᴘᴏɴɢᴇʙᴏʙ ᴛʜᴀᴛ ᴋɪɴᴅ ᴏғ ᴍᴀᴅᴇ ʜɪᴍ ᴄʜᴜᴄᴋʟᴇ ᴜɴᴅᴇʀɴᴇᴀᴛʜ ʜɪs ʙʀᴇᴀᴛʜ. ᴏɴ ʜᴇʀ ʙᴇᴅ ᴡɪᴛʜ ᴀ ʙʟᴀɴᴋᴇᴛ ᴏᴠᴇʀ ʜᴇʀ ʜᴇᴀᴅ, ᴡᴀᴋɪɴɢ ᴜᴘ ᴏɴʟʏ ᴛᴇɴ ᴍɪɴᴜᴛᴇs ᴀɢᴏ ғʀᴏᴍ ᴀ ᴡᴇʟʟ-ᴅᴇsᴇʀᴠᴇᴅ ɴᴀᴘ, sᴀᴛ ʀᴏsᴀʟɪᴇ, ʀᴇsᴘᴇᴄᴛғᴜʟʟʏ ɪɴ ʜᴇʀ ɴᴀᴛᴜʀᴇ, ʜɪᴛᴛɪɴɢ ᴛʜᴇ ʙᴏɴɢ ᴡʜɪʟᴇ ᴀᴜsᴛɪɴ ᴘᴏᴡᴇʀs ᴘʟᴀʏᴇᴅ ɪɴ ᴛʜᴇ ʙᴀᴄᴋɢʀᴏᴜɴᴅ. sʜᴇ ᴡᴀs ᴛʀʏɪɴɢ ʜᴇʀ ʜᴀʀᴅᴇsᴛ ᴛᴏ ᴋᴇᴇᴘ ʜᴇʀ sᴘɪʀɪᴛs ʟɪғᴛᴇᴅ, ɪᴛ ᴡᴀs ʜᴇʀ ᴄᴏᴘɪɴɢ ᴍᴇᴄʜᴀɴɪsᴍ. "ᴡʜᴏᴀ, ᴅᴀʙs? ғʀᴏᴍ ᴍʏ ɢᴜʏ?" ᴊᴀsᴘᴇʀ ᴇxᴄʟᴀɪᴍᴇᴅ, ʀᴏsɪᴇ ᴍᴏᴠɪɴɢ ᴏᴠᴇʀ sᴏ ʜɪs ᴇᴀɢᴇʀ ᴀss ᴄᴀɴ ʜɪᴛ ɪᴛ. "ɴᴏ," ʀᴏsɪᴇ sʟᴏᴡʟʏ ᴇxʜᴀʟᴇᴅ ᴛʜᴇ sᴍᴏᴋᴇ, "ɪᴛ's ғʀᴏᴍ ᴍʏ ɴᴇᴡ ᴄᴏɴɴᴇᴄᴛ. ɴᴇᴡ ɢɪʀʟ ɪɴ ᴛᴏᴡɴ, ɴᴏᴀʜ." ʀᴏsɪᴇ ᴡʀᴀᴘᴘᴇᴅ ʜᴇʀsᴇʟғ ᴇᴠᴇɴ ᴍᴏʀᴇ ɪɴ ʜᴇʀ ʙʟᴀɴᴋᴇᴛ. ᴇɴᴏᴜɢʜ sᴏ, ᴛʜᴀᴛ sʜᴇ ʟᴏᴏᴋᴇᴅ ʟɪᴋᴇ ᴀ ɴᴜɴ ᴀɴᴅ ᴊᴀsᴘᴇʀ ᴅɪᴅɴ'ᴛ ᴡᴀsᴛᴇ ᴀɴʏ ᴛɪᴍᴇ ᴘᴏɪɴᴛɪɴɢ ᴛʜᴀᴛ ᴏᴜᴛ. ʜᴇ ʟᴏᴏᴋᴇᴅ ᴏᴠᴇʀ ᴀᴛ ʜɪs ᴛᴡɪɴ, ʜᴇʟᴅ ᴀ ғᴀᴄᴇ ᴏғ ᴀᴍᴜsᴇᴅ ᴛᴏʀᴛᴜʀᴇ, ᴄʟᴀᴘᴘᴇᴅ ʜɪs ʜᴀɴᴅs ᴛᴏɢᴇᴛʜᴇʀ ᴀs ɪғ ʜᴇ ᴡᴀs ɢᴏɪɴɢ ᴛᴏ ᴘʀᴀʏ ᴀɴᴅ ʙᴏᴡᴇᴅ ʜɪs ʜᴇᴀᴅ. "ʙʟᴇss ʏᴏᴜ sɪsᴛᴇʀ." ɪᴍᴍᴇᴅɪᴀᴛᴇʟʏ ᴀғᴛᴇʀ ᴄᴀᴍᴇ ᴀ sʜᴏʀᴛ ʟᴀᴜɢʜ ғʀᴏᴍ ʀᴏsɪᴇ. ɪᴛ ᴍᴀᴅᴇ ᴊᴀsᴘᴇʀ ғᴇᴇʟ ᴀ ʟɪᴛᴛʟᴇ ʙᴇᴛᴛᴇʀ, ɢᴇᴛᴛɪɴɢ ʜɪs sɪsᴛᴇʀ ᴛᴏ ʟᴀᴜɢʜ ᴀɴᴅ ᴀʟʟ. ɪᴛ's ʙᴇᴇɴ ʜᴀʀᴅ ᴡɪᴛʜ ᴍᴀsᴏɴ ᴍɪssɪɴɢ ᴀɴᴅ ʜᴇ ᴄᴏᴜʟᴅ sᴇᴇ ʜᴏᴡ ɪᴛ ᴡᴀs ᴀғғᴇᴄᴛɪɴɢ ʀᴏsɪᴇ. sʜᴇ ᴡᴀs sᴍɪʟɪɴɢ ᴀɴᴅ ʟᴀᴜɢʜɪɴɢ ʟᴇss ᴡʜɪᴄʜ ᴡᴀsɴ'ᴛ ᴀᴛ ᴀʟʟ ʟɪᴋᴇ ʜᴇʀ.

ᴛʜᴇ ᴛᴡᴏ ʙᴏᴛʜ ᴛᴏᴏᴋ ᴀɴᴏᴛʜᴇʀ ʜɪᴛ ᴀɴᴅ ʟᴀɪᴅ ʙᴀᴄᴋ ɪɴ ᴛʜᴇ ʙᴇᴅ, ʙᴏᴛʜ sᴛᴀʀɪɴɢ ᴀᴛ ᴛʜᴇ ᴄᴇɪʟɪɴɢ ᴀɴᴅ ʀᴇʟᴇᴀsɪɴɢ ᴛʜᴇɪʀ sᴍᴏᴋᴇ ᴀᴛ ᴛʜᴇ sᴀᴍᴇ ᴛɪᴍᴇ. ᴛʜᴇʏ ʟᴀɪᴅ ʟɪᴋᴇ ᴛʜᴀᴛ ғᴏʀ ᴀ ᴍᴏᴍᴇɴᴛ. ɪɴ ᴀ sɪʟᴇɴᴄᴇ ᴛʜᴀᴛ ᴏᴛʜᴇʀs ᴡᴏᴜʟᴅ ғɪɴᴅ ᴀᴡᴋᴡᴀʀᴅ ᴏʀ ғᴇᴇʟ ᴀᴡᴋᴡᴀʀᴅ ɪɴ ʙᴜᴛ ɴᴏᴛ ᴛʜᴇᴍ, ᴛʜᴇʏ ᴡᴇʀᴇ ᴛᴏᴏ ᴄʟᴏsᴇ ғᴏʀ ᴛʜᴀᴛ. "...ᴛʜɪɴᴋ ʜᴇ's ᴏᴋᴀʏ? ʜᴇ ʜᴀs ᴛᴏ ʙᴇ, ʀɪɢʜᴛ?" ᴀsᴋᴇᴅ ʀᴏsɪᴇ, ᴛʜᴇ ᴘʀᴇssᴜʀᴇ ʙᴇʜɪɴᴅ ʜᴇʀ ᴇʏᴇs ɢʀᴏᴡɪɴɢ ᴀs ᴛʜᴇ ʟᴀsᴛ ʜɪᴛ sᴇᴛᴛʟᴇs ɪɴ. ᴊᴀsᴘᴇʀ ᴢᴏɴᴇᴅ ᴏᴜᴛ sᴛᴀʀɪɴɢ ᴀᴛ ᴛʜᴇ ᴄᴇɪʟɪɴɢ ʙᴜᴛ ʜᴇ ʜᴇᴀʀᴅ ʜɪs sɪsᴛᴇʀ, ғᴇᴇʟɪɴɢ sᴏᴍᴇᴛʜɪɴɢ ɪɴ ᴛʜᴇ ᴘɪᴛ ᴏғ ʜɪs sᴛᴏᴍᴀᴄʜ ᴀs ʜᴇ ᴀɴsᴡᴇʀᴇᴅ. "ʏᴇᴀʜ, ɪ ᴛʜɪɴᴋ sᴏ. ʏᴇ ᴋɴᴏᴡ ᴍᴀsᴏɴ, ʜᴇ's sᴍᴀʀᴛ." ʀᴏsᴇ ᴛᴏᴏᴋ ᴀ ᴅᴇᴇᴘ ʙʀᴇᴀᴛʜ ᴛʜᴇɴ ᴘᴜʟʟᴇᴅ ʜᴇʀsᴇʟғ ᴜᴘ ᴀɴᴅ ᴏғғ ᴛʜᴇ ʙᴇᴅ. ᴛʜᴇʀᴇ ᴡᴀs ᴀ ᴘᴀʀᴛ ᴏғ ʜᴇʀ ᴛʜᴀᴛ ᴡᴀɴᴛᴇᴅ ᴛᴏ ʙᴇʟɪᴇᴠᴇ ᴊᴀsᴘᴇʀ ʙᴜᴛ ᴛʜᴇ sᴇᴇᴅ ᴏғ ᴡᴏʀʀʏ ᴡᴀs ᴀʟʀᴇᴀᴅʏ ɢʀᴏᴡɪɴɢ sʟᴏᴡʟʏ ɪɴ ʜᴇʀ ʜᴇᴀᴅ. sʜᴇ ᴄᴏᴜʟᴅɴ'ᴛ ʜᴇʟᴘ ʜᴇʀsᴇʟғ. "ᴄ'ᴍᴏɴ ᴛʜᴇɴ, ʟᴇᴛ's ʙᴜɢɢᴇʀ ᴏғғ." ʀᴏsɪᴇ ᴛʜʀᴇᴡ ᴏɴ ʜᴇʀ ᴡᴏʀɴ ᴏᴜᴛ ᴡʜɪᴛᴇ ᴄʜᴜᴄᴋs, sᴘʀᴀʏᴇᴅ ʜᴇʀsᴇʟғ ᴡɪᴛʜ ʜᴇʀ ɢʀᴇᴇɴ ᴀᴘᴘʟᴇ ʙᴏᴅʏ sᴘʀᴀʏ ᴛʜᴇɴ sᴘʀᴀʏᴇᴅ ᴊᴀsᴘᴇʀ ᴡʜᴏ ᴅᴇғɪɴɪᴛᴇʟʏ ɪɴʜᴀʟᴇᴅ sᴏᴍᴇ, ᴀɴᴅ ᴡᴀs ᴛʜᴇ ғɪʀsᴛ ᴏᴜᴛ ᴏғ ʜᴇʀ ʀᴏᴏᴍ, ғᴏʟʟᴏᴡᴇᴅ ʙʏ ᴊᴀsᴘᴇʀ ᴡʜᴏ sᴛᴏᴘᴘᴇᴅ ᴛᴏ ᴛᴜʀɴ ᴏғғ ᴛʜᴇ ᴛ.ᴠ, ᴄᴀɴᴅʟᴇ, ʟɪɢʜᴛ ᴀɴᴅ ᴛᴏ ɢʀᴀʙ ʀᴏsɪᴇ's ʙᴀɢ ᴏғ ᴊᴇʟʟʏ ʙᴇᴀɴs.

ᴀғᴛᴇʀ ʟᴏᴄᴋɪɴɢ ᴜᴘ ᴛʜᴇ ғʀᴏɴᴛ ᴅᴏᴏʀ ᴛʜᴇɪʀ ᴍᴏᴛʜᴇʀ ᴘᴜʟʟᴇᴅ ᴜᴘ ɪɴᴛᴏ ᴛʜᴇ ᴅʀɪᴠᴇ ᴡᴀʏ ʀɪɢʜᴛ ᴏɴ ᴛɪᴍᴇ. "ʜᴇʏ ᴍᴜᴍ," ᴛʜᴇ ᴛᴡɪɴs ɢʀᴇᴇᴛᴇᴅ ɪɴ ᴜɴɪᴏɴ. "ᴄᴀᴜɢʜᴛ ʏᴇ ɢᴜʏs ʀɪɢʜᴛ ᴏɴ ᴛɪᴍᴇ?" ᴀsᴋᴇᴅ ᴀɪʟᴇᴇɴ, ᴄʟᴏsɪɴɢ ʜᴇʀ ᴄᴀʀ ᴅᴏᴏʀ ᴀɴᴅ ᴡᴀʟᴋɪɴɢ ᴏᴠᴇʀ ᴛᴏ ʜᴇʀ ᴄʜɪʟᴅʀᴇɴ. ᴛʜᴇʏ ᴀʟʟ ʜᴀᴅ ᴘʟᴀɴɴᴇᴅ ᴛᴏ ɢᴏ ᴛᴏɢᴇᴛʜᴇʀ ᴏᴠᴇʀ ᴛᴏ ᴛʜᴇ ʙᴀssᴇs ʙᴜᴛ ᴀɪʟᴇᴇɴ ᴡᴀsɴ'ᴛ sᴜʀᴇ ɪғ sʜᴇ'ᴅ ʙᴇ ᴀʙʟᴇ ᴛᴏ ᴄʟᴏsᴇ ᴜᴘ ᴇᴀʀʟʏ ᴛᴏᴅᴀʏ sᴏ sʜᴇ ᴛᴏʟᴅ ᴛʜᴇᴍ ᴛᴏ ɢᴏ ᴏɴ ᴡɪᴛʜᴏᴜᴛ ʜᴇʀ, ᴛʜᴀᴛ sʜᴇ'ᴅ ᴄᴀᴛᴄʜ ᴜᴘ. ʙᴜᴛ ʀᴏsᴀʟɪᴇ ᴛᴏᴏᴋ ᴏɴ ᴀɴ ᴇxᴛʀᴀ ᴇᴀʀʟʏ sʜɪғᴛ ᴛʜɪs ᴍᴏʀɴɪɴɢ ᴛᴏ ʜᴇʟᴘ ᴏᴜᴛ, ᴀɴᴅ ʙᴇᴄᴀᴜsᴇ ᴏғ, ᴊᴏᴄᴇʟʏɴ ᴀɴᴅ ᴇᴍᴍᴇᴛᴛ ᴡᴇʀᴇ ғᴇᴇʟɪɴɢ, ᴛʜᴀᴛ ᴀɪʟᴇᴇɴ ᴡᴀs ᴀʙʟᴇ ᴛᴏ ᴘᴜʟʟ ɪᴛ ᴏғғ. ᴏɴᴄᴇ ʙᴏᴛʜ ʜᴇʀ ᴄʜɪʟᴅʀᴇɴ ᴡᴇʀᴇ ɪɴ ʀᴇᴀᴄʜ ᴀɪʟᴇᴇɴ ʟᴏᴏᴋᴇᴅ ᴏᴠᴇʀ ᴛʜᴇᴍ, ᴛᴀᴋɪɴɢ ɪɴ ʜᴏᴡ ᴍᴜᴄʜ ᴛʜᴇʏ'ᴠᴇ ɢʀᴏᴡɴ ᴀɴᴅ ʜᴏᴡ ɪғ sᴏᴍᴇᴛʜɪɴɢ ᴇᴠᴇʀ ʜᴀᴘᴘᴇɴᴇᴅ ᴛᴏ ᴛʜᴇᴍ sʜᴇ ᴡᴏᴜʟᴅɴ'ᴛ ᴋɴᴏᴡ ᴡʜᴀᴛ ᴛᴏ ᴅᴏ. sʜᴇ ᴄᴏᴜʟᴅɴ'ᴛ ᴇᴠᴇɴ ɪᴍᴀɢɪɴᴇ ʜᴏᴡ ʜᴇʀ ғʀɪᴇɴᴅs, ᴊᴏᴄᴇʟʏɴ ᴀɴᴅ ᴇᴍᴍᴇᴛᴛ ᴡᴇʀᴇ ғᴇᴇʟɪɴɢ, ʜᴇʀ ʜᴇᴀʀᴛ ʀᴇᴀʟʟʏ ᴡᴇɴᴛ ᴏᴜᴛ ᴛᴏ ᴛʜᴇᴍ. ᴀɪʟᴇᴇɴ ᴛʀᴇᴀᴛᴇᴅ ᴍᴀsᴏɴ ʟɪᴋᴇ ᴏɴᴇ ᴏғ ʜᴇʀ ᴏᴡɴ, ᴀʟᴏɴɢ ᴡɪᴛʜ ᴛʜᴇ ʀᴇsᴛ ᴏғ ᴛʜᴇ ᴄʟᴜʙ. ʜᴇʀ ᴀʀᴍs ʀᴇᴀᴄʜᴇᴅ ᴏᴜᴛ ᴘᴜʟɪɴɢ ʙᴏᴛʜ ʀᴏsɪᴇ ᴀɴᴅ ᴊᴀsᴘᴇʀ ɪɴᴛᴏ ᴀ ᴛɪɢʜᴛ ᴇᴍʙʀᴀᴄᴇ. ᴛʜᴇ ᴛᴡɪɴs ʜᴜɢɢᴇᴅ ʙᴀᴄᴋ, ᴛʜᴇʏ ᴄᴏᴜʟᴅ ғᴇᴇʟ ᴛʜᴇ ᴡᴏʀʀʏ, sᴀᴅɴᴇss ᴀɴᴅ ʟᴏᴠᴇ ʀᴀᴅɪᴀᴛɪɴɢ ᴏғғ ᴏғ ᴛʜᴇɪʀ ᴍᴏᴛʜᴇʀ. ᴛʜᴇʏ ʜᴜɢɢᴇᴅ ɪᴛ ᴏᴜᴛ ғᴏʀ ᴀ ᴄᴏᴜᴘʟᴇ ᴏғ ᴍᴏʀᴇ sᴇᴄᴏɴᴅs ʙᴇғᴏʀᴇ ᴛʜᴇɪʀ ᴍᴏᴛʜᴇʀ ᴘᴜʟʟᴇᴅ ᴀᴡᴀʏ, ᴡɪᴘɪɴɢ ᴀ ᴛᴇᴀʀ ғʀᴏᴍ ʜᴇʀ ᴇʏᴇ. ʀᴏsɪᴇ ɢᴀᴠᴇ ᴀ ғᴇᴡ ʟɪᴛᴛʟᴇ sɴɪғғʟᴇs ʜᴇʀᴇ ᴀɴᴅ ᴛʜᴇʀᴇ ʙᴜᴛ ʙᴇsɪᴅᴇs ᴛʜᴀᴛ ᴛʜᴇ ʟɪᴛᴛʟᴇ ғᴀᴍɪʟʏ ᴍᴀᴅᴇ ᴛʜᴇɪʀ ᴡᴀʏ ᴅᴏᴡɴ ᴛʜᴇ sᴛʀᴇᴇᴛ ᴛᴏᴡᴀʀᴅs ᴛʜᴇ ʙᴀssᴇs, ᴊᴀsᴘᴇʀ ᴍᴜɴᴄʜɪɴɢ ᴀᴡᴀʏ ᴀᴛ ᴛʜᴇ ᴊᴇʟʟʏʙᴇᴀɴs.

ᴜᴘᴏɴ ᴀʀʀɪᴠɪɴɢ ᴀɪʟᴇᴇɴ, ᴊᴀsᴘᴇʀ ᴀɴᴅ ʀᴏsɪᴇ ᴡᴇɴᴛ sᴛʀᴀɪɢʜᴛ ᴛᴏ ɢʀᴇᴇᴛ ᴍᴀsᴏɴ's ᴘᴀʀᴇɴᴛs ᴡɪᴛʜ ʜᴜɢs, ɪɴᴄʟᴜᴅɪɴɢ ᴊᴀɴᴇ's ᴍᴏᴍ ᴡʜᴏ ᴊᴀsᴘᴇʀ ɢʀᴇᴇᴛᴇᴅ ʟᴀsᴛʟʏ ʙᴜᴛ ʟɪɴɢᴇʀᴇᴅ ᴀʀᴏᴜɴᴅ, ᴍᴀᴋɪɴɢ sᴍᴀʟʟ ᴛᴀʟᴋ. ʜᴇ ʜᴀsɴ'ᴛ ᴛᴀʟᴋᴇᴅ ᴛᴏ ᴊᴀɴᴇ ɪɴ ᴀ ᴡʜɪʟᴇ ɴᴏʀ ʜᴇʀ ᴍᴏᴛʜᴇʀ sᴏ ʜᴇ ᴡᴀɴᴛᴇᴅ ᴛᴏ ᴋɴᴏᴡ, ᴀᴛ ʟᴇᴀsᴛ, ʜᴏᴡ ᴛʜᴇʏ ʙᴏᴛʜ ᴡᴇʀᴇ ᴅᴏɪɴɢ ʙᴜᴛ ʙᴇғᴏʀᴇ ᴅᴇʟɪʟᴀʜ ᴄᴏᴜʟᴅ ɢᴇᴛ ɪɴᴛᴏ ᴅᴇᴛᴀɪʟ ᴀʙᴏᴜᴛ ᴀɴʏᴛʜɪɴɢ ʀᴏsɪᴇ ᴛᴀᴘᴘᴇᴅ ʜᴇʀ ʙʀᴏᴛʜᴇʀ. "ᴅᴇᴛᴇᴄᴛɪᴠᴇs." ᴛʜᴇ ᴏɴʟʏ ᴛʜɪɴɢ ʀᴏsɪᴇ ᴄᴏᴜʟᴅ ɢᴇᴛ ᴏᴜᴛ ʙᴇғᴏʀᴇ ᴛʜᴇʏ ᴡᴇʀᴇ ʀɪɢʜᴛ ɪɴ ғʀᴏɴᴛ ᴏғ ᴛʜᴇᴍ. ʀᴏsɪᴇ ɴᴏᴛɪᴄᴇᴅ ᴛʜᴀᴛ ᴛʜᴇʏ ᴄᴀᴍᴇ ғʀᴏᴍ ᴛʜᴇ ʟɪᴠɪɴɢ ʀᴏᴏᴍ ᴡʜᴇʀᴇ sʜᴇ ᴘᴇᴇᴋᴇᴅ sʟɪɢʜᴛʟʏ ᴀʀᴏᴜɴᴅ ᴛʜᴇ ᴍᴀʟᴇ ᴅᴇᴛᴇᴄᴛɪᴠᴇ ᴀɴᴅ ᴄᴀᴜɢʜᴛ ɢʟɪᴍᴘsᴇ ᴏғ ᴍᴀɴʏ ʜᴇᴀᴅs, ʜᴇʀ ғʀɪᴇɴᴅs. "ᴛʜᴇsᴇ ᴀʀᴇ ᴛʜᴇ ᴏᴡᴇɴ ᴛᴡɪɴs" ᴅᴇᴛᴇᴄᴛɪᴠᴇ ᴡᴀʟᴋᴇʀ ᴀɴɴᴏᴜɴᴄᴇᴅ ᴛᴏ ʜᴇʀ ᴘᴀʀᴛɴᴇʀ, ᴅᴇᴛᴇᴄᴛɪᴠᴇ ʙᴀʀɴᴇɢᴀ. "ɢʟᴀᴅ ʏᴏᴜ ᴄᴀɴ ғɪɴᴀʟʟʏ ᴊᴏɪɴ ᴜs." ᴛʜᴇ ᴍᴀʟᴇ ᴅᴇᴛᴇᴄᴛɪᴠᴇ sᴘᴏᴋᴇ, ᴀ sʟɪɢʜᴛ sᴀʀᴄᴀsᴛɪᴄ ᴛᴏɴᴇ ɪɴ ʜɪs ᴠᴏɪᴄᴇ ᴛʜᴀᴛ ɪɴsᴛᴀɴᴛʟʏ ᴍᴀᴅᴇ ʀᴏsɪᴇ ɴᴀʀʀᴏᴡ ʜᴇʀ ᴇʏᴇs. ᴅᴇᴛᴇᴄᴛɪᴠᴇ ᴡᴀʟᴋᴇʀ ɢᴀᴠᴇ ᴛʜᴇ ᴛᴡɪɴs ᴀ sʏᴍᴘᴀᴛʜᴇᴛɪᴄ sᴍɪʟᴇ. ʀᴏsɪᴇ ᴡᴀs ᴀʟʀᴇᴀᴅʏ ғᴀᴍɪʟɪᴀʀ ᴡɪᴛʜ ᴛʜᴇ ғᴇᴍᴀʟᴇ ᴅᴇᴛᴇᴄᴛɪᴠᴇ ʙᴇᴄᴀᴜsᴇ ᴛʜᴇʏ sᴘᴏᴋᴇ ʙᴇғᴏʀᴇ sᴏ sʜᴇ ᴡᴀs ᴍᴏʀᴇ ᴘʟᴇᴀsᴀɴᴛ ᴛᴏᴡᴀʀᴅs ʜᴇʀ ᴛʜᴜs ʟᴇᴀᴅɪɴɢ ʀᴏsɪᴇ ᴛᴏ ғᴏʟʟᴏᴡ ᴡᴀʟᴋᴇʀ ɪɴᴛᴏ ᴛʜᴇ ʀᴏᴏᴍ, ʙʀɪᴇғʟʏ ʟᴇᴀᴠɪɴɢ ᴊᴀsᴘᴇʀ ɪɴ ᴛʜᴇ ᴋɪᴛᴄʜᴇɴ ᴡɪᴛʜ ʙᴀʀɴᴇɢᴀ ᴡʜᴏ ᴇʏᴇᴅ ʜɪᴍ ᴅᴏᴡɴ ᴀʟᴏɴɢ ᴡɪᴛʜ ʜɪs ᴛᴀᴛᴛᴏᴏs. ᴊᴀsᴘᴇʀ ғᴇʟᴛ ᴜɴᴄᴏᴍғᴏʀᴛᴀʙʟᴇ ɪɴ ᴛʜᴇ ᴍᴀɴ's ᴀɴᴀʟʏᴢɪɴɢ ɢᴀᴢᴇ sᴏ ʜᴇ ᴛᴏᴏᴋ ᴏғғ ᴀғᴛᴇʀ ʀᴏsɪᴇ, ʙᴀʀɴᴇɢᴀ sʜᴜᴛᴛɪɴɢ ᴛʜᴇ ᴅᴏᴏʀ ʙᴇʜɪɴᴅ ᴛʜᴇᴍ ᴏɴᴄᴇ ᴛʜᴇʏ ᴡᴇʀᴇ ᴀʟʟ sᴇᴛᴛʟᴇᴅ.

ᴊᴜsᴛ ʟɪᴋᴇ ʀᴏsɪᴇ ᴛʜᴏᴜɢʜᴛ ɪᴛ ᴡᴏᴜʟᴅ ʙᴇ ᴛʜᴇ ǫᴜᴇsᴛɪᴏɴɪɴɢ ᴡᴇɴᴛ ғᴀsᴛ ᴀɴᴅ sᴍᴏᴏᴛʜ. ᴛʜᴇʀᴇ ᴡᴀsɴ'ᴛ ᴍᴜᴄʜ ᴛᴏ ᴛᴇʟʟ ᴛʜᴀᴛ ᴡᴏᴜʟᴅ ᴀᴄᴛᴜᴀʟʟʏ ʜᴇʟᴘ ᴛʜᴇᴍ ᴏɴʟʏ ᴛʜᴀᴛ ʀᴏsɪᴇ sᴇɴᴛ ᴍᴀsᴏɴ ᴀ ᴛᴇxᴛ ʙᴇғᴏʀᴇ ʜᴇᴀᴅɪɴɢ ᴏғғ ᴡʜɪᴄʜ ʀᴇᴀᴅ "sᴀғᴇ ᴛʀɪᴘ ᴍᴀᴄᴇ! sᴇɴᴅ ᴘɪᴄᴛᴜʀᴇs!! :D" ᴀɴᴅ ᴛʜᴀᴛ ᴊᴀsᴘᴇʀ ᴘʟᴀʏᴇᴅ ᴀ ʟɪᴛᴛʟᴇ sᴏᴄᴄᴇʀ ɢᴀᴍᴇ ᴡɪᴛʜ ʜɪᴍ ᴛʜᴇ ɴɪɢʜᴛ ʙᴇғᴏʀᴇ. sᴛᴇᴘᴘɪɴɢ ᴏᴜᴛ ᴏғ ᴛʜᴀᴛ ʀᴏᴏᴍ ғᴇʟᴛ ʟɪᴋᴇ ᴀ sᴍᴀʟʟ ᴡᴇɪɢʜᴛ ᴡᴀs ʟɪғᴛᴇᴅ ᴏғғ ᴛʜᴇɪʀ sʜᴏᴜʟᴅᴇʀs. ᴛʜᴇ ᴅᴇᴛᴇᴄᴛɪᴠᴇs ᴡᴇɴᴛ ᴏᴠᴇʀ ᴛᴏ ᴛʜᴇ ᴀᴅᴜʟᴛs ᴡʜɪʟᴇ ʀᴏsɪᴇ ᴀɴᴅ ᴊᴀsᴘᴇʀ ᴍᴀᴅᴇ ᴛʜᴇɪʀ ᴡᴀʏ ᴏᴠᴇʀ ᴛᴏ ᴛʜᴇ ʟɪᴠɪɴɢ ʀᴏᴏᴍ ᴡʜᴇʀᴇ ᴇᴠᴇʀʏᴏɴᴇ ᴡᴀs ɢᴀᴛʜᴇʀᴇᴅ. ʀᴏsɪᴇ ᴘᴜʟʟᴇᴅ ᴜᴘ ʜᴇʀ ʜᴏᴏᴅɪᴇ, ʜɪᴅɪɴɢ ʜᴇʀ ᴡɪʟᴅ ᴏʀᴀɴɢᴇ ᴄᴜʀʟs ʙᴇʜɪɴᴅ ɢʀᴇʏ ғᴀʙʀɪᴄ. ʀᴏsɪᴇ's ᴇʏᴇs ʟᴀɴᴅᴇᴅ ᴏɴ sᴜᴍᴍᴇʀ ᴡʜᴏ ʙʀᴏᴋᴇ ʜᴇʀ ʜᴇᴀʀᴛ ʙᴇᴄᴀᴜsᴇ ɪᴛ ᴡᴀs ᴏɴᴇ ᴏғ ʜᴇʀ ᴄʟᴏsᴇsᴛ ғʀɪᴇɴᴅs ᴡʜᴏ ᴡᴀs ʜᴜʀᴛɪɴɢ ᴀɴᴅ ʀᴏsɪᴇ ғᴇʟᴛ ʜᴇʟᴘʟᴇss. ᴊᴀsᴘᴇʀ ᴏɴ ᴛʜᴇ ᴏᴛʜᴇʀ ʜᴀɴᴅ ᴅɪᴅɴ'ᴛ ᴋɴᴏᴡ ᴡʜᴀᴛ ᴛᴏ sᴀʏ ᴛᴏ ᴀɴʏᴏɴᴇ ᴀᴛ ᴛʜᴇ ᴍᴏᴍᴇɴᴛ. ʜᴀᴠɪɴɢ ᴛʜᴇ ᴡʜᴏʟᴇ ɢʀᴏᴜᴘ ʜᴇʀᴇ ᴡɪᴛʜᴏᴜᴛ ᴍᴀsᴏɴ, ɪᴛ ᴡᴀs sɪɴᴋɪɴɢ ɪᴛ ᴀɴᴅ ᴊᴀsᴘᴇʀ ᴅɪᴅɴ'ᴛ ʟɪᴋᴇ ɪᴛ. ᴛʜɪs ᴡᴏʀʀʏ ᴀɴᴅ ᴀɴxɪᴇᴛʏ ʜᴇ ᴡᴀs ɢᴇᴛᴛɪɴɢ. ɪᴛ ɢʀᴇᴡ ᴇᴠᴇɴ ᴍᴏʀᴇ ᴡʜᴇɴ ʜᴇ ʟᴀɪᴅ ᴇʏᴇs ᴏɴ ᴊᴀɴᴇ, ʜᴇ ʜᴀsɴ'ᴛ sᴇᴇɴ ʜᴇʀ ɪɴ ᴛʜᴇ ᴘᴀsᴛ ғᴇᴡ ᴅᴀʏs sᴏ ʜᴇ ᴛʜɪɴᴋs sʜᴇ's ʙᴇᴇɴ ᴀᴠᴏɪᴅɪɴɢ ʜɪᴍ ᴀғᴛᴇʀ ᴡʜᴀᴛ ʜᴀᴘᴘᴇɴᴇᴅ. ʜᴇ ᴛʜᴏᴜɢʜᴛ ᴀʙᴏᴜᴛ ɪᴛ ᴛʜᴏᴜɢʜ, ɪғ sᴏᴍᴇᴛʜɪɴɢ ɪs ᴜᴘ ʜᴇ's ɴᴏᴛ ᴊᴜsᴛ ɢᴏɪɴɢ ᴛᴏ ʟᴇᴛ ᴛʜᴇ ᴅɪsᴛᴀɴᴄᴇ ɢʀᴏᴡ. sᴏ ᴡɪᴛʜ ᴛʜᴀᴛ ɪɴ ᴍɪɴᴅ ᴘʟᴜs sᴛɪʟʟ ʙᴇɪɴɢ ʜɪɢʜ ʜᴇ ᴍᴇʟʟᴏᴡᴇᴅ ʙᴀᴄᴋ ᴏᴜᴛ ǫᴜɪᴄᴋʟʏ ʙᴇғᴏʀᴇ sᴇᴛᴛʟɪɴɢ ᴅᴏᴡɴ ɴᴇxᴛ ᴛᴏ ᴊᴀɴᴇ ᴏɴ ᴛʜᴇ ғʟᴏᴏʀ ᴡʜɪʟᴇ ʀᴏsɪᴇ sᴀᴛ ᴏɴ ᴛʜᴇ ᴏᴘᴘᴏsɪᴛᴇ sɪᴅᴇ ᴏғ ʜᴇʀ, ᴄʟᴏsᴇsᴛ ᴛᴏ sᴜᴍᴍᴇʀ.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jodene K. Van Rompaye Character Portrait: Remy Solomon Character Portrait: Jem Hill Character Portrait: Jane Bennett Character Portrait: Rosalie Owens Character Portrait: Summer Bass Character Portrait: Mackenzie Lovato Character Portrait: Matthew Tate Character Portrait: Jasper Owens Character Portrait: Misty Navarro

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"Thanks mom." Misty says as the car comes to a standstill outside the suburban house, the woman at the wheel gazing past her daughter with a look of sorrow on her face.

"You offer Jocelyn and Emmett any help they need, alright." Camille Navarro tells her daughter, dark eyes sliding back to land on the face of her youngest daughter

"I will, mom." Misty replies, stopping short of rolling her eyes because it's really not the time for that.

"I can only imagine what they're going through..." Camille sighs softly, her lips pinching into a worried line. Misty lets her hand fall onto her mother's, squeezing the older woman's hand in hers briefly.

"I'll tell them you're coming over later?" Misty asks as she unclips her seat belt. Camille nods and drags her eyes back to the car and her immediate surroundings,

"Yes." She agrees, before her gaze catches the car clock, "You'd better get in there, you're late."

Misty nods, leans across the car and pecks her mother on the cheek, "I'll get a lift back with one of the others. Bye."

Misty pulls herself from the car, pausing to wave back at her mother only when Camille calls out a hasty "I love you" out the car window. Misty has no doubt that her mother is being extra protective since first hearing the news of Mason's disappearance, as if Misty is somehow more vulnerable to becoming the next vanishing child. Misty puts it down to her mother being extra sensitive about these things. Having dealt with a severe disease striking a family member, and living with the possibility of loss for so long, it's a shock when something sudden pulls a loved one out of your life. It reminds you to hold those you still have all the closer.

Which is exactly what Misty wants to do as she enters the Bass household. She catches the tail end of the detectives speaking with her friends, following the voices to the living room where most of the teenagers are gathered. Everyone seems to have gravitated around Summer, for which Misty is glad.

"Please. Just give us time, Summer. We'll find your brother." The female detective replies to the youngest Bass, though Misty doubts that the words offer hope to anyone that hears them. They're all worried for their friend, and only having Mason back will make Misty relax.

"Sorry I'm late." Misty says into the resulting silence, smiling weakly at her friends and offering them a nod in greeting. Then Misty's gaze turns from her friends to the two detectives addressing them, "I'm Misty Navarro. If you have to leave now, I can call you later?" she adds, having heard that they had left their contact information. "Though, I don't know much. The last time I saw Mason was a few days before he left. He was normal; happy, excited for his trip." Misty tells them, recalling the day easily. She had been joking with Summer about turning his room into a second closet when he was at Stanford. She remembers laughing at his teasing retort, and backing up Summer's assertion that Mason wouldn't need his room while he was away. Misty realises with a sick twist of her stomach, that he wouldn't need his room at all if he is... No, she can't even think of it.

On the couch Remy shifts closer to Summer, unwrapping one of the arms that is slung around his friend and patting the armrest on his other side to indicate that Misty should sit. She does, perching on the edge, but ready to stand again if the police officers wanted to question her now. Remy's hand seeks hers at the same time, and Misty takes it in her own and squeezes lightly, offering what comfort she can. Remy's doing the same to Summer, his other arm still hugging around their friend. No one had to go through this alone.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jodene K. Van Rompaye Character Portrait: Remy Solomon Character Portrait: Jem Hill Character Portrait: Jane Bennett Character Portrait: Rosalie Owens Character Portrait: Summer Bass Character Portrait: Mackenzie Lovato Character Portrait: Matthew Tate Character Portrait: Jasper Owens Character Portrait: Misty Navarro

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#, as written by Lilah
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As more and more of the Los Angeles Neighbours Club, which Jane really just referred to as a long winded term for her family, she somehow felt stronger yet still so sad. She could barley handle the looking at their faces. First was Jem and Mackenzie, coming in with pizza, bless their hearts. She couldn’t help but have a corner of her mouth twitch when Jem took seat beside her cousin Summer. It was only a matter of time before what Jane believed the inevitable to happen. Right now she was just overjoyed that Summer really had people who loved her around her. She had to be happy with at least that.

Next was Jo, one of the members of sub group ginger. Jane could almost imagine how she would have reacted to Officer Barnega. She most likely said something that nearly all of them would have wanted to say. Jane admired the girl in all reality.

After Jo was Matt. She nodded her head back to his comment about Barnega, and gave a tiny sad smile at her cousin’s retort back. She knew one day. Summer would eventually tell the cop that he could “shove it.” Directly to his face. She was surprised it hadn’t happened yet.

Then came the twins. Jane barley had a second to process coming face to face with Jasper after what happened before he walked out of sight with the detectives to be interviewed along with Rosie. Turning around to look at Summer, she said softly, “Summer, we’ll do something if they don’t, I promise.” Giving her a sincere smile, she felt the tears begin to well again as she continued “I’m with you one hundred percent. Whatever you want to do, I’ll do it.” This could be a dangerous promise, but Jane meant it fully. She would do absolutely anything for Summer or Mason. She would do anything just so Summer could have some peace of mind.

Turning back to look as the twins entered back in the room, Jane swiped her watery eyes again (thankful she wasn’t wearing mascara). As soon as she made eye contact with Jasper, immediately she went tense and averted her eyes to her hands that rested on her lap. God, why did she do such a stupid thing?

A couple days before Mason left, Jane had been at a party and had a little too many shots, mostly thanks to Rosie egging her on. And like most nights that happened, Jasper came to pick her up and drop her off at home safely. Except this time, Jane had to go and screw it all up. They had been sitting in the car in front of her house just talking about life and all the changes that were coming. Jane was rambling on and on, still very drunk, as she made a comment about how she was scared that these changes were going to effect their friendship and how she was scared they would grow distant. One second she was telling him how much she loved him and appreciated him and how he was her best friend, and in the next second she’d just leaned over and kissed him.

Now, it wasn’t exactly their first kiss, They’d had a fake wedding as young kids and had a funny peck then, but this was the first kiss the Jane had with him after realizing her feelings for him. She’d harboured a pretty big crush on him for over a year (truthfully, probably longer than that). Jane quickly had broken off the kiss and crawled out of his car with a rushed sorry and goodbye before running back into her house. She’d internally freaked out and called Remy, leaving a hysterical voicemail on his phone about what she’d done. After that, she’d gone to bed, and woke up the next morning to her father leaving them.

She hadn’t seen or really talked to Jasper since. It wasn’t even because she was avoiding him, she’d simply been so preoccupied with her dad leaving and then Mason disappearing that she hadn’t seen anyone outside of Summer and Remy. She’d realized soon after that she needed to talk to Jasper about it, to finally fess up possibly. She sure as hell didn’t want to lose him. If this whole Mason fiasco has taught her anything, it was that she couldn’t bear to lose the ones she cared about.

Taking in a deep breath as Jasper sat on one side and Rosie on the other, Jane bent her head instinctively to rest on Rosie’s shoulder. It took a second more for Jane to build up the courage that she wouldn’t have had to work up before in order to clasp Jasper’s hand softly.

Lifting her head back up as Misty walked in, Jane gave the girl a small smile before Misty spoke to the detectives. As soon as she sat down, the detectives were about to run out before Jane’s mom scurried out of the kitchen, thrusting a business card their way. Delilah softly stated, “If you can reach him anywhere, it would probably be this number.” Ah, her dad. Jane didn’t think he would be much help. Barnega nodded and went out the door a second later without a another word to anyone. Walker at least looked over at them and offered a final “We’ll let you know the second we find anything out” before slipping out to follow her partner. A five second beat passed before Jane muttered to the group, “I don’t think Barnega is a very nice man.

Jane’s mother rolled her eyes at the comment, before planting her hands on her hips. “Alright,, I’m running out to pick up Hugo from the airport. If you want anything while I’m out, you know how to reach me,” With that, Delilah left. Jane could tell her mother was trying to be strong. Her slightly wavering voice and the clearly tired circles under her eyes proved that she was struggling.

Slipping her hand from Jaspers as she stood up, Jane clasped her hands front of her, saying weakly, “I’ll take drink orders, does anyone want anything?” Jane just had to do something. Looking at Jo, she said “I know you won’t want coffee, but how about some peppermint tea?

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jodene K. Van Rompaye Character Portrait: Remy Solomon Character Portrait: Jem Hill Character Portrait: Jane Bennett Character Portrait: Rosalie Owens Character Portrait: Summer Bass Character Portrait: Mackenzie Lovato Character Portrait: Matthew Tate Character Portrait: Jasper Owens Character Portrait: Misty Navarro

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Jo lifted her head as Matthew Tate entered the living room, swearing under his breath. He nodded to Summer's mom as he passed the kitchen, smile slightly as he did so. The two exchanged a few softly-spoke words before Matty made his way to the living room. He dropped onto the floor, leaning back against the table "Thoughts on Detective Grumpy?" he asked, before continuing. "Think he has it out for us."

"I think he can go shove it," Summer muttered.

Jo scoffed in response to Tate. "He clearly doesn't care," she commented. "Just another group of teens to question in a pitiful attempt to gather information. If he's not capable of the amount of sympathy that comes with his job, then he shouldn't have become a detective." Barnega shot her a dirty look from where he was discussing things with Walker.

Time sped as the Owens twins finally arrived. Rosalie had narrowed her eyes at Barnega's sarcastic tone; good for her, Jo thought to herself.

After Detective Walker addressed the group of teens, Summer shot her a sharp retort. "So we just sit here waiting to see if whoever or whatever has Mason will give him back? There's nothing we can do?" the blonde's eyes were red and watery. Walker gave her a smile full of too much pity. "Please. Just give us time, Summer. We'll find your brother."

Misty Navarro, who had walked in just as Walker was finishing up her speech, gave the group a weak smile. "Sorry I'm late," the brunette said apologetically, interrupting the solemn silence. Misty's gaze turned to the detectives. "I'm Misty Navarro," she introduced herself. "If you have to leave now, I can call you later?" she asked, before adding, "though, I don't know much. The last time I saw Mason was a few days before he left. He was normal; happy, excited for his trip." Jo drummed her fingers on her leg as Misty summarized her knowledge of the situation.

On the couch, Remy shifted closer to Summer, gesturing towards the open armrest. Misty perched on the edge as she and Remy grasped hands. As soon as she sat down, the detectives were about to leave before Ms. Bennett scurried out of the kitchen, thrusting a business card in their direction. “If you can reach him anywhere, it would probably be this number,” she murmured softly. Jo's gaze immediately shot towards Jane. Ms. Bennett was referring to her father. Of course.

Barnega nodded stiffly and headed out the door without another word. Walker gazed at the group for a long moment before adding, "we’ll let you know the second we find anything out.” After the final sentence, she headed out the door after her partner.

A long moment passed before Jane muttered out, "I don’t think Barnega is a very nice man."

Jane's mother rolled her eyes as Jo scoffed quietly with disbelief. "No shit, Sherlock," Jo exclaimed. "Barney's more than 'not a very nice man', he's a total asshole." Jo looked at the group before adding an insincere, "sorry."

Jane's mother planted her hands on her hips. "Alright, I’m running out to pick up Hugo from the airport," she said. "If you want anything while I’m out, you know how to reach me." Ms. Bennett left after that. She was trying to be strong, but to put it bluntly, she was failing miserably. Her voice was faltering and the circles under her eyes were more prominent than blood red lips on porcelain white skin.

Jane clasped her hands tightly. “I’ll take drink orders," she said weakly. "Does anyone want anything?" Of course, Jane being Jane, she had to do something. Jane glanced at Jo, before saying, "I know you won’t want coffee, but how about some peppermint tea?"

Jo raised her eyebrow slightly, a tad surprised that Jane chose to speak to her out of everybody else. Sure, the Los Angeles Neighbors' Club were close, but Jane definitely had a stronger friendship with others - like Remy or Summer - rather than Jo. "I prefer black," she commented mildly, "but peppermint tea is fine as well." She paused before adding, "thanks." Normal people said thank you to that kind of stuff, Jo was sure of that.