Shades

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Chapter 2: June 21, 1997

Saturday, 12:39 P.M.

Nearing the beach, Victoria looked through the window excitedly at the shimmering waves and the glistening of the golden sands. The smell of the ocean flooded in through the windows as well as the cheerful shouts of those running across the sand and playing in the sapphire waters. Further down the beachfront, the towering stage could be seen, the blaring of technological music from oversized amplifiers and the crowd of people around the structure screamed and cheered in an uproar of excitement, making Victoria even more eager to get there.

Finally reaching the beach and parking a little ways further than they’d been hoping, the family of three stepped out of the car and walked, or in Vicky’s case ran, to the beach. With her overwhelming exhilaration driving her, she darted towards the stage before being swooped up by her brother once again, “Wait up there lil’ sis! I know you’re excited and all, but you need to calm down and chill out.” He said with a chuckle, poking her belly. She giggled and covered her belly, not wanting to be attacked by the tickle monster again.

“Hey DJ!” Shouted a male voice from further ahead, making the siblings look over in surprise. Running down the beach towards them was a tan male about DJ’s age, his hair was long and dark brown. He wore a pair of orange trunks with cartoonish birds all over them and a pair of blue flip-flops.

DJ smiled and walked towards him, giving him a high five as they met a little further than midway, “Hey Jesse, glad you could make it.” He said with a grin.

“Of course dude, why wouldn’t I come?” He then turned his attention on Vicky and smiled, “What’s up Vicky? Been a while.” He said holding a hand out for a high five, Victoria quickly following up on it, slapping her hand into his as he laughed, “Alright!” he laughed.

“So did you do it?” He said with a slightly serious tone before Jesse chuckled and nodded, “Yeah dude, I got it covered.”

“What’re you two talking about?” said their mother from behind them as she walked up and took Victoria from DJ’s arms and smiled sweetly as she poked her nose, making her giggle. She made a giggle of her own and looked back at them, “Hello Jesse, how’re you?”

Jesse’s face held a dark blush when he saw Jane as he gulped, “H-Hey Miss Alexia, I-I’m doin’ alright…” He stuttered out as he rubbed his arm, a nervous habit that he had picked up whenever he saw their mother, as well as the sudden stuttering.

“I’m glad to hear that.” She said with a sweet tone as she looked down at Victoria, “You wanna go build some sand castles?”

“Yeah!” she said in excitement as Jane softly laughed and carried her further down the beach, past the two as Jesse followed her with his eyes.

DJ groaned and smacked him over the head, “Hey genius, no staring at my mom.” He said with an aggravated tone of voice.

“Huh, what?” he said coming back to reality as he looked at the sour look on DJ’s face, “… I was staring again wasn’t I?” he asked with an embarrassed expression on his face as DJ nodded, “Dude, I’m sorry! It’s just… Dude, your mom is so hot!”

“Please don’t talk about my mom like that. It’s creepy enough you’ve had a crush on her for the last, god knows how long. Hearing you say it is even worse.” He groaned as he kneeled down and opened the case, checking on his guitar. Sitting down on the heated sands, DJ began plucking the strings and then tuning them so they were in the right order and sounded correct to his specifications.

“I can’t help it man! She’s just so pretty and she’s so freaking nice too… And not to mention her bo— Ow!” he shouted as DJ hit him over the head once again. Much harder than before.

“Finish that sentence and you’ll be on a one-way trip to the hospital.” He said, his eyes shut as he began to play a minor scale, concentrating on the chords.

Jesse groaned, “Fine, I’ll stop. Jeez… Is it that bad that I like your mom?”

“Yes.” He responded almost immediately.

“But what if she--”

“She doesn’t. Not like that anyway.” He interrupted.

“Wow, thanks for the confidence boost bro…”

“Anytime.” He said with a snarky smile as he kept playing.

Suddenly, the feedback of the microphone from the stage rung out over the beach as a woman’s voice followed after, “Hello Seagrove City!” She shouted out as the crowd around the stage cheered loudly. “Glad to see we’ve got such a lively audience! So, today we’ve got some of the best bands your city can offer! Everyone’s a winner, but only one can leave as the Master of Music, and be awarded the trophy!” she said as she showed the 4-foot tall trophy with multiple musical notes all over it. DJ and Jesse looked over to see the trophy, a smile growing across their faces as they gave a fist-bump, “Competitors, come on up when we call your names, alright? First up we have Jared and Vanessa!” she said as she ran off the stage, letting a couple walk up with a single mic and both with acoustic guitars.

DJ sighed, “So what number are we?”

Jesse shrugged and looked at the paper the woman had given him before the show, “We’re… Second to last, number 14. We’ve got plenty of time for the others to arrive, don’t sweat it dude.”

DJ sighed, “Alright. So what do we do until they get here?” Jesse shrugged and looked around, his eyes once again landing and locking onto Jane. His face burning a rose red once again as he just watched she and Victoria play in the sand. “Dude, any ide—Oh come on!” he groaned as he snapped his fingers in his face, gaining no reaction. He then sighed and whispered, “There’s a spider on your leg.”

“WHERE?!” He shouted as he leapt up onto his feet in a flash, ending with him slipping on the sand and falling on his back with a groan, “… There was no spider was there?” he said with a pained groan, looking up at DJ who shook his head, “… You’re a prick, you know that?”

“I have been told, but at least I don’t have a one-sided crush on my best friend’s mom.” He said as he crossed his arms and looked down at him, a smirk on his face.

He sighed, “Just help me up.” Jesse said as he held his hand up for DJ to grab and pull him up. DJ chuckled and grasped his fallen friend’s hand, pulling him onto his feet as he then dusted himself off, “Good thing we didn’t swim yet, or else I’d be even more pissed at you.”

DJ gasped and made a fake saddened expression, “You? Mad at me? Oh how would I live with myself knowing that you were so angered with me!” he said dramatically, raising his forearm up over his eyes as he smirked and raised it to look at Jesse who was obviously fighting the laughter rising up within him. Unable to hold it in any longer, the two broke out into roaring laughter, DJ putting a hand on Jesse’s shoulder to hold himself up. When they finally finished their laughing spree, DJ sighed and looked over to his mother and little sister now playing in the water, splashing at one another. “… Dude, you wanna go hang out with my sis and mom?”

Jesse looked at him surprised and looked behind him, his eyes widening as if everything had gone slow motion, seeing Jane getting splashed and splashing back. He looked at DJ and gulped, “Wait… Seriously?”

DJ shrugged, “Sure dude. But keep in mind that if you try anything with my mom, you’re going in that water and only three of us are coming out.” He said with a smile as he walked over to his splashing family, leaving Jesse with a scared look on his face as he gulped and chuckled, following behind DJ.

Jesse ran into the water and started splashing the duo of mother and daughter, the both of them laughing as they splashed him back, making him wobble and fall over from the force he was hit by. He stood back up carefully so not to end up on his backside again, splashing back at Vicky, making her giggle as she splashed him back as well, the two getting into a splash war of sorts.

DJ chuckled at the two of them but was then splashed by his mother who laughed and, in turn, was splashed back. She shook her head to make the water fly off, once again catching Jesse’s eye as he stared. Her sandy-gold hair whipped around as she shook, her bright, teal eyes slowly opening up as she smiled, the sunlight making every droplet of water seem like a small star as they flew from her beautiful alabaster skin. The waves behind her seemed to glow as she smiled at him, combing her fingers through her hair with a soft giggle. Jesse’s eyes widened at the sight of her before suddenly being pushed over and into the water, making him gasp for air as he came back up and looked at his whistling friend who feigned innocence of his action.

Victoria softly giggled before looking over to the stage and noticing a girl about her age walking up and sitting down with a large case. She wore a small purple bow tying her raven black hair in a ponytail and a white sundress, a white sun hat with a black ribbon around the top, a pair of sandals covering her feet partially, showing her violet painted toe nails that matched her equally purple finger nails.

Once she opened it, it revealed that inside was a large, weird looking guitar with a stick and string on top of it. She picked it up and positioned it between her legs and go ready, taking a breath as she began playing a soft, melody, slow and melodic. She then began to pick up the pace as the bow danced across the strings of the large instrument. Jesse groaned and leapt at him, tackling him into the water, both of them laughing as they pushed each other in and out of the water, splashing at one another. Vicky was brought back from her trance as she laughed and cheered, “Get him bro!”

DJ smiled and gave her a thumbs up before being splashed again, falling back into the water as they both stepped back and got ready to splash, “You’re going down Jesse.”

“In your dreams DJ!” He laughed as they ran at each other through the small waves, ready to splash before suddenly, they heard it.

“Entry Number 14, Rocking Records!” the woman on the stage called out as the crowd cheered, some girls in the audience screaming in excitement at the mention of the name.

The two stopped and looked at each other, “We’ll pick this up later.”

“Yeah, you’ll get your face splashed afterwards.” DJ said with a smirk. They then got up and walked past Jane and Vicky, DJ giving his little sister a soft kiss on the cheek, “Wish us luck Vi-Vi.”

She giggled and kissed his cheek back, “Good luck big brother!”

Jane then kissed DJ on the cheek and smiled, “Good luck.” She said before giving Jesse a kiss on the cheek as well, “To both of you.” She said sweetly as she picked up Victoria, “Let’s get a good spot to watch.” She said as Victoria cheered and laughed, hugging onto her as they walked into the crowd.

DJ smirked, “Ready to go Jesse?” he said, gaining no response from his bandmate, making him look over at Jesse, “Yo Jesse, you oka— Huh?” he said confused as he noticed the blank look on his face, touching his cheek where Jane had kissed him. He then grew a large, goofy smile, as if he was about to faint. DJ sighed and grabbed his arm, “C’mon lover boy, let’s get onstage.” He said as on the way, he grabbed his guitar from his spot and walked onto the stage with Jesse, still looking as if he was in a trance, making some of the crowd laugh.

DJ looked at him and groaned, flicking his nose and bringing him back to his senses, “W-What? Where am I?” he said in surprise, making more of the crowd laugh at his goofiness.

DJ rolled his eyes, “Go get on the tables genius.” He said as he made sure the notes on his guitar were still as he set them. Jesse nodded and ran back, pushing a pair of turntables up to the front of the stage, DJ plugging in his guitar as he smirked, “Ready?”

Jesse nodded back, “Ready as I’ll ever b--” he then saw two more people climb up onto the stage, a bass in one’s hand and a drum set being pushed up by the other, the other members of their band, “Hey, you two are late.” Jesse said with a snarky tone.

“Yeah, thanks mom. Serenity decided to take forever with her hair,” Said the bassist, Logan, as he set up.

The drummer, his sister Serenity, glared at him as she was getting ready to play, “We’re performing! I can’t go onstage with messy hair. You understand, don’t you DJ?” she said in a hopeful way.

“Huh? Oh yeah, hair takes a while.” He said dismissively as he strummed a few chords as a final check of sorts.

She smiled and nodded, facing back to her drum set as she took a breath and then started drumming quickly, ending by hitting the cymbals, making the crowd cheer before she grasped them and stopped the cymbals from ringing. She then nodded to DJ and Jesse who nodded back.

DJ sighed and smiled before saying, “1! 2! 1, 2, 3, 4!” he called out as Serenity began playing a simple pattern of drum strikes, quickly picking up the tempo. Next was Jesse who turned the sound up on his turntables and turning a few knobs, nodding to DJ to start as he began plucking the strings of his guitar, a distorted, echoed sound coming out instead of that of a normal electric guitar. The bassist then began to play along with DJ, matching him with the lowered sound of the bass as DJ began to sing.

To be the best, it’s not what it seems! One second you’re on top, the next you’ve sacrificed your dreams! To be smarter than the rest, you may strike it rich, but you’ll earn yourself some stress and life’ll be a real--”

Hey!” shouted the other three as they kept playing.

No money is worth your life, no fame is worth the strife, living like you’re on the business end of a knife! Follow your dreams, no matter how hard it seems, happiness may be hard to achieve, but you know you can do it as long as you believe!

Yeah!” they shouted once again.

As they continued their performance, Victoria watched in awe with an ear to ear smile on her face, an amazed sparkle in her eyes as she listened. Soon, they had finished, the beach flooding with cheers and excited screams as they all bowed and took their equipment off the stage, unplugging and pushing aside equipment as they walked off the stage. The moment Jesse and DJ’s feet hit the sand, they were quickly met by Vicky and Jane who gave them both hugs, “You were awesome!” Victoria said excitedly, looking up at the two, “You’re gonna win, I know it!”

DJ chuckled and picked her up, hugging her back, “Thanks little sis. I’m not gonna say we’ve got this in the bag but… I think we have a good chance, right Jesse?” he said turning to him.

“You did so well Jesse, how long have you been practicing?” Jane said in intrigue.

“Uh, well I’ve been uh… I started playing in school high. I-I mean high school!” He stuttered, groaning at his mess up, causing Jane to giggle, making him blush darker than he already had been.

“Mom, can I talk to Jesse for a sec?” DJ said with a smile as Jane nodded and took Vicky, heading to an ice cream vender on the boardwalk. He smiled until they were out of sight and then grew an annoyed grimace as he turned and looked at Jesse, “What is up with you? I know you have the hots for my mom, but jeez dude it’s like you just got out of 4th grade!” he said in an annoyed tone.

Jesse sighed, “I know, I’m a loser… But she just… Looks so freaking good… Plus, she came up to me and started talking to me this time, not my fault.” He said in a pitiful attempt to defend himself.

“… Yeah, I guess you’re right.” He said crossing his arms and giving a curt shrug to his friend.

“W-Wait, seriously?” Jesse asked in surprise, wondering why he took this so well. Well, before a fist was connected to his head.

“Hell no! Stop talking about my mom like that!” he said loudly, gaining the attention of not only their bandmates who had just returned from putting away the tables and drums, but also a few of the people walking around the beach.

Jesse blushed a dark red and growled, “Dude, keep your voice down! Do you want her to hear you?!” he whispered angrily.

“What am I not hearing?” Jane said as she walked up to them, holding a tray of ice cream cones in one hand and Vicky, holding two vanilla cones in her hands, nibbling off of one of them.

Jesse blushed and looked at her, “N-Nothing Miss Alexia, nothing at all!” he said nervously, rubbing his forearm. He then noticed the multiple ice creams and tilted his head.

She smiled and held the tray out to him, “Take one Jesse, I got one for all of you.” She said sweetly. The tray held multiple ice creams: one chocolate, a strawberry, and two vanillas.

Jesse, smiling brightly took one of the vanilla cones, “Wow… Thanks Miss Alexia!” he said as he started eating the ice cream excited and messily.

She chuckled and walked to the other three, “There’s some for you three too.”

“Oh wow, thanks Miss A!” Logan said as he grabbed the vanilla and the stopped short on eating it when Serenity glared at him with threatening eyes. He gulped and chuckled, putting it down and grabbing the chocolate, “Uh… I-I’ll take this one instead…” He said as he picked it up and backed off.

Serenity grew her usual smile and took the vanilla, “Thanks Miss Alexia~!” She said as she began licking the ice cream cone.

DJ took the strawberry and smiled, “Thanks mom, needed something to cool me down.” He said taking a large bite from the top of the frozen treat, half of the spiral of frozen cream gone already.

Jane smiled and tossed the tray away into a trash can, coming back and taking a Neapolitan cone from Vicky, taking a small bite from it, giggling as she looked down at Victoria, who had ice cream all over her. “Sweetie, you have ice cream all over your little face.” She said with a giggle.

Victoria blinked and started licking her lips, smiling innocently up at her, “Did I get it?”

Jane and the others laughed at this, seeing the ice cream still coating her nose and cheeks, even her chin. She then looked over to DJ, “I’m gonna take this little sweetie to get cleaned up. We’ll be back soon.” She said as she walked away with her once again.

Logan blinked, “Why doesn’t she just go to the water? I mean, it’s the same thing isn’t it?” he questioned, confused at the situation as a whole.

Serenity sighed and placed her hand to her face, “Just… Shut up Logan…”

DJ chuckled and kept licking the ice cream. He looked around and sighed, “I sometimes forget how beautiful the beach is…” he said with a calm tone as he sat down.

Jesse, Logan and Serenity sat down with him, “Well, being in the city will do that to you… Especially when we don’t get that long off…” Jesse said with a sigh as he stretched his leg out.

“Yeah… When do we go back anyway?” Logan inquired as he took a bite of the ice cream, making a loud groan, placing a hand over his mouth as Serenity rolled her eyes.

“How do you keep forgetting you’re teeth are sensitive?” she said in annoyance, having to continuously remind him of the fact.

“Sh-Shut up!” he groaned, “I’ll argue when I’m not in pain!”

“You wouldn’t be in pain if your brain wasn’t the size of a walnut. And I think even that’s pushing it…” She grumbled as she kept eating her ice cream, looking over at Jesse, a breeze blowing through his hair, making it gently wave as he watched the ocean. She blushed a little shook her head, quickly looking away and back to the ocean.

Soon, Jane and Victoria returned, their ice cream gone and Victoria cleaned up. They played a little while longer before suddenly, the woman from before climbed up onto the stage and called out, “Alright ladies and gentlemen, it’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for! It’s time to decide the winner of the Music Master Trophy and, a surprise reward for the winner~!” She waved her hand and a group of men walked onto the stage, the audience screaming and cheering in shock and joy, “The winner gets to be the opening act for none other than Psychosis!”

“Whoa… Dude, if we could open for them, we’d be discovered for sure!” Logan said excitedly.

“Yeah! And I’d get to meet Randy X! He’s so cool!” Jesse said with equal excitement, biting his thumb as he waited for the MC to announce the winners.

“Alright! Hold onto your seats guys, ‘cause here it comes! The winners of the competition and opening act for Psychosis’ next show is…” The MC said with an excited smirk on her face, an envelope in her hands that she began to open up.

Logan bit his hand in anticipation, Serenity crossing her fingers with a hopeful look in her eyes. Jesse looked over at Jane who had a determined look on her face, his gaze gliding over to DJ who had his hand clasped together with Vicky’s own. She gently squeezed his hand to give him reassurance while he did the same, “We got this…” He said quietly.


DJ, Jesse, Logan and Serenity sat on the couch, all of them quiet and seemingly in a sort of trance. Logan had a pained look on his face as he gently rubbed his sister’s shoulder. Serenity, who was curled up on the couch, had her legs pulled up to her face, her arms wrapped around them keeping her legs in place as she leaned against Logan. DJ crossed his arms and sighed with a pained look in his eyes, and finally Jesse held his head in his hands, his face in his palms as he sat there silently. They all held a distraught look on their face, an ultimately pained look on Logan’s face. He sighed and looked around at them, “I’m sorry guys… If I’d just played harder… We probably could’ve--”

“Don’t blame yourself Logan, it’s not your fault…” Jesse said with an disappointed sigh as he patted his shoulder, “It’s mine… I should’ve made sure the tables were calibrated correctly or maybe I could’ve chosen a better tone or sound to go with the song…” Jesse said as he leaned back into the couch, the soft cushions bringing him a bit of relaxation.

Soon, Victoria poked her head in as she spoke, “DJ? Guys?” she said wandering into the room with a sheet of paper in her arms.

“Hey lil’ sis. You okay?” DJ said with a sad smile on his face, patting her head gently as she climbed up onto his lap and hugged him, “Hey, what’cha got there kiddo?” He said in interest as she handed him the paper, gently taking it from her as he looked at it, the others crowding around to see as they all looked upon it, all growing smiles upon their faces, slowly but surely. It was a picture of all of them playing on the stage in crayon, only being able to tell the figures on the paper by the names over their heads and the instruments they held. “This is awesome Vi-Vi… Thanks for showing it to u--”

“Th-There’s a letter on the back.” She said, interrupting him midsentence. He blinked and turned the paper over, seeing a letter in crayon, in the colors she had them in.

“Looks like she wants me to start.” Logan said as he read, “Logan, DJ, Serenity and Jesse, I’m really sorry that you didn’t win and get to play with Psychosis.” He read as he passed it to Serenity.

“But it doesn’t matter what those judges or other bands say. Cause you’re all awesome at what you do and I like to watch you play.” Serenity said as she covered her mouth, passing it to Jesse as she began to cry a little.

“Jessie is a great mixer, Logan is a really funny, awesome bassist, Serenity is amazing with the drums and most of all, my big brother DJ is crazy good at playing the guitar. All of you are really good singers too.” He said as he held the letter out to DJ, who gently took it from him.

“No matter what happens… No matter how many losses or how many screw-ups or what anyone else says about your music or you guys… You’ll always have me as your number one fan… Signed, your biggest fan and little sister… Vicky Alexia…” He said as he gently wiped the tears from his eyes and sniffed, smiling as he placed the paper down and looked down at her. All of them looked down upon the little blonde girl and hugged her tight, all of them shedding tears of joy, “Love you lil’ sis…”

“I love you too big brother… I love all of you.” She said as she leaned her head against DJ’s chest and then giggled, “But you’re all kinda squishing me.” She said as she tried to wiggle free of their arms. They all laughed and released her from their hold, letting her breathe a little as she giggled, looking up at them with her sweet gaze.

“Hey pouty puffs,” Jane said as she entered the room, wearing a pair of shorts and a t-shirt that was obviously too big for her with a large heart and a multitude of musical notes and such all over it, “You guys gonna stay for dinner?” She said trying to lighten the mood before Logan and Serenity stood up.

“Nah, I think we should be getting home… We need some rest and all that.” Logan said before Serenity nodded in agreement, still trying to keep back small tears walking out with her brother helping her calm down.

Jesse stood up after they left, “I gotta go too. My folks are probably wondering why I’m still not home yet. They’re so freaking overbearing sometimes, but I guess it’s just their way of showing me they care.” He said as he patted Vicky’s head, see ya.” He said as he walked out and shut the door behind him.

Jane shrugged, “Alright, just us tonight my little sweeties.” She said with a soft chuckle, walking into the kitchen, “Hey DJ, could you come help me with this?”

“Huh? Oh yeah, sure mom!” He said as he picked up Vicky and placed her back on the couch, running off to the kitchen, leaving Victoria by herself. She sat upside down on the couch and watched the television, spacing out for a moment as her mind went back to the girl that she’d seen before with the large guitar-like instrument from before. She turned over and climbed off the couch, kneeling down at the table as she started coloring and drawing.

A little later, they sat at the table eating their dinner, Victoria still drawing and coloring, catching DJ and Jane’s attention, “Hey shrimp, what’cha drawing?” DJ said jokingly, gaining no response from Victoria, seeming to be concentrated fully on the artwork in progress. He blinked with a look of utter confusion on his face, “Hey Vi-Vi. Hello~?” he said in a sing-song tone, still gaining no response from the smaller girl. He groaned and walked over, poking her forehead and snapping her out of the trance, “You there sis? What’re you so concentrated on?” He said as he looked at the picture, his eyes widening a bit at the more detailed drawing of the girl on stage, the guitar-like instrument in her hands and playing. Though it was still a bit rough, it was a very good picture. “Whoa… Sis, who’s that?” he said impressed by the artwork.

She blushed and shook her head, “I… I don’t know her. She was at the music competition and she was playing his weird looking thing, kinda like a guitar but she played it with this thing.” She said pointing at the stick looking thing in her other hand.

“… Oh, you must mean a bass and a bow. Yeah, I’ve seen those before, their a pain to play… This is really good.” He said hugging her tight as he looked over her and at the picture of the girl playing on the page. Victoria smiled and then began to eat, picking up a piece of mashed potatoes off her plate. She looked up at DJ and poked his face, leaving potatoes on his nose, a confused look on his face as it changed to a small laughter, Vicky giggling back as he began to tickle her, “I’ll get you for that pipsqueak!” He said in a threatening tone, making her laugh harder.

Jane smiled and gently giggled at her children as they played before the sound of her phone erupting into techno music. She sighed and stood to her feet, walking picking up the phone in the kitchen, “Hello?” She said with an aggravated tone of voice, as if she already knew who was on the other end. “Yes sir, we were just going to have dinner with my children before I—Yes sir, I understand that but… Sir, I’m just…” She sighed once again in defeat, “Yes sir, I’ll be there soon…” She said placing the phone down. She walked out of the kitchen with heavy footsteps, the sound of her feet dragging across the floor partially.

Victoria and DJ glanced over to their mother as she softly sighed gazing at their faces, walking over to hug them tight, kissing their cheeks. “Mom, you’re going back to work aren’t you?” He said with a knowing tone in his voice as Victoria glanced up at her and gently sniffed.

Jane glanced down at her and kneeled down to kiss her forehead, “I’m so sorry honey… Please don’t cry. I’ll be back in the morning, I promise.” She said cupping her cheeks, looking into her watery eyes.

“Y-You promise?” Victoria asked with a soft, broken voice.

She nodded and held her tight, “I promise sweetie… Just be a good girl and get some rest so we can go play tomorrow, okay?”

Victoria nodded and hugged her tight, “You promised…” She said with a calmer tone. She then ran out of the room, the sound of her tiny footsteps skipping up the stairs.

Jane sighed and looked at DJ, “Take care of her while I’m gone, okay?”

“Don’t I always?” He said as he hugged her tight and walked over to the television and say down across from it, leaning back on the couch, his hands behind his head. She smiled and walked away and up the steps.

A few minutes later she climbed down the steps wearing her business suit, walking back into the living room to say goodbye to DJ, only to find him unconscious on the couch. She smiled and placed a blanket over him, kissing his forehead, “Good night Danny…” She said as she walked out of the living room, grabbing her keys and walking out the door.

A few hours later, the sound of sirens and a banging on the front door awakened DJ from his sleep. Standing up from the soft cushions of the couch he’d been resting on, he walked into the foyer, a heavy feeling in his chest as he opened the door, two policemen standing at his doorstep. Breaking the silence, the one on the left of him said, “Might you be Daniel Alexia?”

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