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are you upset?
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Gracie clutched the duffel tightly against her chest; her dismal excuses for fingernails burrowing deeply into the canvassed bag as she listened to the scene play out behind her. It didn’t take a genius to figure out that the threesome wasn’t engaged in a friendly tea-party, happily sharing scones and talking about the latest trouble with the Jamis dickhead down the street. Tension was threatening to overtake her, the scene behind her practically ripping at the seams with animosity. She felt like she was on the outside looking in, watching her own events from the previous day acting out in front of her. It was crazy trippy.

Two-thirds of the Bizarro-Musketeers had been identified, though the third remained on the tip of her tongue, tangible but ultimately elusive. The identified boy was one of the Nicks, she’d have guessed Reid—it was dark— but she’d know that ear splitting voice anywhere. Nick LeMonde, a.k.a Flamer LeMonde, was so far beyond obnoxious that there wasn’t even a proper way to describe the levels of obnoxiousness dude had, like, hello, I don’t want to shake you’re freaking hand, so back the hell off. And she knew, it was hard not too. She didn’t care how many ‘girlfriends’ he had, though ‘beards’ would probably be a better title for them. Guy was a major fudge-packer—he could put Hershey out of business type of fudge-packer. Maybe Mr. Mystery was his secret showmance, it definitely seemed like it. On Nick’s part, anyway. His buddy didn’t sound gay, at least.

Gracie leaned back, not feeling the need to muffle her own breathing anymore as the voices of the trio rose. She let her head relax against the hard metal of the storage container at her back, still letting the conversation engulf her. Mr. Mystery was smooth. She could practically feel her panties flying down her legs as he calmed friggin’ Queen Hoe, Clio Gabriella. Like, hi, sorry to say, but Clio wasn’t even that freakin’ cute, come on now. Why would you even waste your time on her? Not only was she a major twat, a murderous twat at that, but you could’ve probably done over a pig’s head with a hammer a few times and it’d still be better looking than Clio Gabriella. Purple streaks? Really? Is this 1983? And those clothes, those freakin’ clothes. Oh you made them yourself? I could hardly tell. What material did you use? Garbage bags? Screw off, bitch—you’re nothing. Hell, maybe she could give Anna a call and have her hex that murdering whore into dust, she had it coming. It’d do her well to enjoy what was left of her life, because she was dying just like the rest of them—being a ‘player’ didn’t give her special privileges. Just a matter of time.

And that time was now, apparently. Whether it was the beyond sketchy conversation or the, y’know, threat to waste someone that tipped Gracie was up to interpretation, though. Instinctively, Gracie freed a hand from her death-grip on the bag and picked her rifle up from the hard ground, still hanging on every word erupting from behind her. She wasn’t going to be a dipshit this time, she needed to assess the situation; running around the island like a freakin’ rhino wasn’t going to work.

Whatever, she could be flexible. And seriously, to give credit where credit’s due, she handled that whole friggin’ situation over in the Fun Fair amazingly. Like, come on. Not only did she get what she went there for, but she also managed to metaphorically bitch-slap not one, but two trolls. Who else could say they did that? Not many, at any rate. The twinge in her heart as she thought of silly, silly retard baby stirred her back to reality. The heaviness weighing down on her because of the situation had yet to leave and she was beginning to think it’d never dissipate. She’d be walking around the island with a freakin’ sumo sitting on her chest—lovely. Whatever, she’d let Anna friggin’ Dinkley know the hell she put her through the minute she saw her again. Better not die before then, okay?

In the meantime, however, an overwhelming silence had replaced the raucous fighting of the trio following Nick’s order. Instantly, Gracie’s heart began pounding at her chest, practically blasting off the walls of the warehouse in the silence.




She began counting, not fully aware why she was doing it. Clio was a murderer, she didn’t care about Gracie or Gracie’s well-being, so why in God’s name was she worried about that whore? She didn’t care. She didn’t care.




In what was either a moment of sheer stupidity or overwhelming curiosity, Gracie shakily peered around her container—still not fully sure what she wanted to see. It wasn’t her choice, however, as Teo Weinstock—‘roid head to the extreme—had his beefy hands wrapped around Clio’s neck, slowing taking the girl’s life from her.




And then he let her go, just like that. He had her. He had her. Gracie wasn’t sure if she was disappointed, or what she was feeling. The game had to have been getting to her, the immense pressure finally break her down and turning her into Kyle and Clio, delighting in watching her competition—her competition? Seriously? Pull it together. For the love of God, pull it together. Who’s gonna take care of the kids if you go nuts, huh? If you can’t keep it together for yourself, think of them, please.

Clio whizzed past her head, running with a new lease of life toward the entrance. Behind her, Teo and Nick spoke with hushed words, just soft enough that Gracie couldn’t pinpoint what they were saying. For a moment, she sat there lost in her thoughts about A.J and the boys, the dire need to get back home to them suddenly becoming too much to handle. In an instant she stood up, pack and rifle in her hands and walked toward Nick and Teo.

They were strong. They could help her, with them she could get to the end—she was sure of it.

“I would’ve just killed her,” Gracie said, keeping her pace toward the boys “You’re better men than I am. Well, y’know, obviously.”

She stopped and flashed them a smile.

“Would you help me? I could use a snuggle-buddy. It gets cold at night, yeah?”

They were strong.

And dangerous.

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Twists and turns · The Warehouse