Speak & Listen 2

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DEATH IS NEAR

DEATH IS NEAR

“He’s in Belvyn.”

“And you didn’t even bother to tell me!?” I yelled through the phone.

“Sworn to secrecy.”

“Can y’all just stop with this secrecy bullshit!” I roared. “I’m going to visit him, Alan!”

“Do you want me to accompany you?”

“No.” I could feel tears coming. “Alejandro will be coming with so I’m good.” I replied as I combed my hair.

I had cut my hair to shoulder’s length. “Okay. But are you sure you’re okay?”

“Yeah. I’m fine.”

“So…Ricky Langford is dead.”

“Yeah…I heard.”

“Also, he died a few days after you visited Walter.”

“Walter and I are from the same neighbourhood. And he took a fall for me, so at least he deserves a visit or two.”

“Adrian…how long have you been visiting Walter?”

“How’s that important?”

“He covered up murder in which you were an accomplice to. He also, first hand, owned up to the murder you committed. He should be the last person you’re visiting!”

You can relax, he called from a phone booth!

“I can’t abandon him!”

“Yet you can’t befriend him, Adrian!”

“I have to go, Alan.”

I dropped the call. I joined the boys at the dining table. “Morning.”

Alejandro smiled. “Hey. Ready?”

I nodded.

“Do you want me to come with?” Gabriel asked.

“I think I’ll be good. Has he called again?”

He nodded.

My eyebrows furrowed. “What did he say?”
”David was right…it wasn’t dad. The Ghoul confirmed it to be some sick joke too. He just said it to make me mad at my father.”

“Basically, this guy is just a jerk who probably has no reason to do what he’s doing.”

“He could be hurting.” Alejandro shrugged.

“We all are, Alejandro. But we don’t go around killing people mysteriously. I mean, with such stupid reasoning, how is he intelligent enough to cover his tracks so well?” My jaws clenched.

“There are degrees to hurting, Adrian. We don’t all react so intelligently. But essentially, your father and his investigator are keeping a close eye on the case which means that you…should only worry about visiting Sebastian.”

I nodded. “Can we go?”

Alejandro, with a mouth full of oatmeal, nodded as he stood up to get the keys. Gabriel gave me a look with narrow eyes. I didn’t know what it meant, but I tried to ignore it. Gabriel was the embodiment of mystery anyway.

Alejandro came back with the keys. “All good.”

“I think I’m going to the cops!” Craig, while hyperventilating, trembled.

He was at the scene, inside Blue Sun, where his attacker attacked him with a mirror piece, almost killing him. The restroom still had mirror particles on the floor.

“Craig, I need you to calm down!” Plumegg pulled his hand.

“How could he do such a thing to me, Plumegg? I loved him!”

“He has done more cruel things to people, but we need to be patient.” Plumegg whispered to him

“Patient?! So we wait until he successfully gets away with murder again?” Terror filled his eyes.

“We wait for him to hit rock bottom that even if he finds anything against you, his voice becomes inadmissible in court. In fact, this is the time to get closer to him than ever before.”

Craig gave him a look. “Get closer to him?”

“Yeah. He still likes you, regardless of what he did to you. If you use that to your advantage…”

He scoffed. “You mean…seduce him?”

“Convince him that you’re over it. Convince him that you’re ready to leave things behind while gathering whatever truth you can about that night, including evidence that only links him to his murder and relation to other crimes.”

“Yeah. But why can’t I fucking remember what fucking happened!?” Craig punched the air furiously.

“It’s going to take time.” Plumegg whispered. “But now, I need us to get out of here. This is still a crime scene.”

“We have to find something!”

“We won’t find anything, Craig.”

“Why would you say that?” Craig sobbed. “There must be something…”

“Craig…”

“He always leaves things behind. He’s not so intelligent in hiding his own crimes…”

“CRAIG!”

“Or Alejandro, his boyfriend, probably covered all his tracks…”

In an instant, Plumegg exploded with a kiss, his lips against Craig’s. Craig froze for a long while before his hands could respond. When they finally could, he roughly pushed him off.

They stared at each other. Plumegg’s eyes filled with shame. “Shit! I’m so sorry about that.”

“Why did you fucking do that?” Craig’s fists clenched.

“I don’t know, man! That wasn’t supposed to happen.” Plumegg saw this, the clenched fists. “Dude, I’mma need you to calm down. It’s just a kiss…”

Craig grabbed him passionately before kissing back stronger. He held him even more firmly, more violently.

They descended to the floor as their breaths intensified. They didn’t stop. They didn’t mind the wet floor with glass particles. They were too connected to disconnect. Craig descended to his neck, where he passionately kissed him and made him release a few pleasant moans.

“I have been waiting for a long time for this!” Plumegg whispered heavily.

“I forget how you always managed to get the truth.” Sebastian, with a smile, held my hand.

He was at the hospital. He looked pale and dying. He wasn’t so beautiful anymore. It was as if his skin was peeling off. His eyes had changed colour, his hair was more or less falling off and he trembled. He was severely sick.

“I only find it when I’m so desperate to find it. How are you feeling?”

“Embarrassed. I still don’t like you seeing me like this. Vulnerable and dying.”

“Hey…I’ve seen you in your worst moments. Even when we dated.” I laughed.

“Alejandro, could you give us a second?”

“Sure.” Alejandro nodded before getting out of the ward.

“Adrian…”

“Wait…let me start. I’ve lost so many important people in my life and I’ve understood why. Sebastian, I never understood why we left things as they were. I don’t understand why you let Niall and Katie and our age difference get to your head.”

He smiled a bit before frowning again. “Adrian…Niall never blackmailed me.”

“Of course he didn’t.”

“Wait…you knew?”

“Your reason didn’t make sense. Niall usually used people who he saw as weak. You’re stronger than what he can control.”

“I pushed you away…because I was becoming sick. I figured using Katie would automatically break us apart. Katie dumped me afterwards.”

“She cheated on you…in which she was cheated on by her closeted ex?”

He gave me a look, one that looked disappointed in himself.

“That was a lie too?” I sighed. “Wow, you really wanted me out of your life.”

“I wanted you to move on, Adrian.”

“Yeah…and how’s that working out for ya?”

“Not so good.” He laughed. “You really do play in forbidden playgrounds. But…you were my best friend when we dated. I don’t remember being so happy in my life before I met you. You…made sense.”

I smiled. “I loved you too, Sebastian. You were equally as loving and supportive and…as shitty as your reasoning may have been…I can’t waste any precious moments being angry at you.”

“So we’re good?”

“Uh huh.” I wept silently.

He smiled as he moved aside. “Come to bed with me.”

I scoffed before jumping into bed with him, lying on his chest.

“Being sick has its virtues after all.” He laughed as he kissed my head.

“It does.” I giggled too. “So what do you usually do here?”

“I read. If I’m bored of that, I take a walk around the hospital or watch cartoons.” He shrugged. “Sometimes paint.”

“Which one would you rather we do?” I looked at him

“I want to watch cartoons.”

“Of course.” I laughed.

We watched cartoons on the ceiling television. I laughed at him as he tried singing the Teen Titans Go theme song, but his voice couldn’t fully come out.

“Should we tell Alejandro that you’ll be here for another hour?” He grinned.

“Hmm...” I grinned back. “Eh, he’ll figure it out.”

We giggled. I cuddled more in his arms as he caressed my hair.

Flashback

We entered the mall. I forget how big and perplexing the mall is. Not monumental, just complicated to navigate.

It was the previous day, when David had planned to take me to the mall. But that wasn’t at the top of my mind that day. It was Gabriel’s strange mood towards me. Usually, he acted like a minor around me. Now he couldn’t stop giving me furious gawks.

We walked around trying to find a convenient clothing shop.

“Mrs. Simone.” David smiled as Jeremiah’s mother approached him

They seemed to be good friends. I honestly didn’t know. “Mr Spector. I almost thought you had forgotten about me.”

“Never.”

They shared a hug. “How’s Jeremiah doing?” David asked.

“Worse than usual. Today I found him vomiting alcohol in the bathroom. He’s always been a rebel.”

“The kid’s been through a lot. With the disappearances and the odd things going on, I’d suggest you give him time.”

“He has had all the time in the world. He’s just disrespectful. Firstly, he’d disappear for long hours in the middle of the night, next his room smells like a shebeen!?”

“Okay guys…I found my store. Meet you upfront in an hour?” Gabriel walked away.

“Okay?” Alejandro’s eyebrow furrowed.

“You noticed that too, right?”

He sighed. “It is probably the exterior environment. I feel pity for him.”

“What?”

“I assume it has to do with meeting Nate Sells. He was still grieving his late brother when they met and I don’t think the conversation settled well with him.”

“Oh?” I inhaled tensely. “I think you should follow him.”

“Good thinking. You stay with your father.”

I nodded as he disappeared into the same store Gabriel walked in.

I looked at David, who was smiling widely at Mrs Simone like an imbecile. “Dad, I’ll just walk around the mall and…”

“Yeah yeah, son. We’ll meet upfront?”

“Thought we should be spending this day together.” I whispered to myself inaudibly.

I disappeared as I walked around the stores, shoplifting some outfits with my eyes. I wasn’t in the mood for the exterior world.

I saw a hippie store and walked in. Honestly, I had no idea what I was looking for, but by ‘hippie store’, I mean the aesthetic of marijuana, liberty and independent spirituality imagery. When I did, I instantly locked eyes with no one else but Craig.

I instantly turned back out and slightly jogged to whatever direction that was away from him.

“You know this is useless right?” Craig jogged right behind me. “We’ve done this before.”

“Then why aren’t you leaving me alone, Craig?” I whisper-yelled.

“Because I’m over whatever that has been making us fight. I truly am. And I’m sorry for the accusations I had been throwing your way. With my physio working out well and everything, I just want us to…pick up where we left off.”

My heart slowed. What was going on? “We…can’t, Craig.”

“Why not?” His eyes widened.

Why now!

Why is this happening now!!!

Yeah. Why don’t you just date him?” Sophia’s apparition smiled at me.

“I’m trying to…save you. Help you.” I responded with panic.

“You…you’re alright?”

Mia could be dead, wherever she is. Jeremiah will die from those drugs. I just died. Sebastian’s dying too. You’re most definitely not okay, honey.” Sophia cackled.

“Yes, most definitely.”

“Look…I get it. You think I’m probably planning to destroy you or this is an alternative plan…”

“Which it is.” Benjamin rested his arm on Sophia’s shoulder, smiling.

“...but I’m certainly over it. We can start now. We’ve never been on a date before, right?”

“We dated for a day!” I smacked my head.

“Sure. How about I take you to Jack & Jill? Now!” Craig smiled.

Aww. Isn’t this adorable?” Niall, out of nowhere, clapped his hands. The clapping was annoyingly inaudible to anyone else in that mall but myself.

“Now?” I panicked.

“Why? You don’t think it’s a good idea?”

“I…just don’t know how to feel about this. All this.”

Rage. That’s how I felt when you felt entitled to ending my life.” Niall smirked while folding his arms.

They were all behind Craig, mocking me. Sophia, Benjamin and Niall.

Disappointment. That’s what I thought when you proved to be capable of taking a life. Or afraid, that’s how I felt when I was recording evidence to prove that you are a cold-blooded murderer. You can’t even tell him the truth.” Benjamin shook his head.

Hurt, maybe? That’s how I felt when you rejected me as your friend. But then again, Mia might be dead and Sebastian is dying. In life, you get what you give. Who knows where the panic attacks William keeps on getting come from?” Sophia shrugged.

“Are you sure you’re okay?” Craig asked.

“No, I’m not sure. David is in the mall too and I think I may be lost.”

“Adrian…were you even listening to me? Do you even love me?”

“I did. I do!”

Yup. Even though you attacked him.” Benjamin smiled.

“But?” Craig sighed.

“HEY!” Out of nowhere, Abel approached us.

I could see an aggravated sigh escape through Craig’s nostrils. “Abel.”

Abel held my waist and kissed my cheek. “Babe, are you ready to go?”

Wow! Was I flustered? “Uh…yeah. You’re right. It was…uhm…nice seeing you…Craig.”

“Wait…you guys are a thing now?” Craig’s eyebrow’s furrowed.

If you say ‘yes’, you’d be not only lying about the Blue Sun incident, but you dating Abel. And you may fuck up this chance too.” Sophia shrugged with a smile.

“…I think we’re still...trying to figure that out.” I faked a smile and looked at Abel with eyes filled with terror.

“Oh. Well…I guess I’ll see you guys at school.” Craig walked away with a timid smile.

“Cool man.” Abel grinned as he gingerly walked me away from the scene.

“Oh my god! How did you know what to do?”

“Because I think he’s dating Plumegg.”

“WHAT!?” I whispered. “Why would you think so?”

“There are two cameras at Blue Sun that face the bathroom entrance and a side view to show who enters and leaves. Alejandro managed to destroy tapes linked to that day. But also, he managed to get recent tapes during the investigation period and seemingly, Craig and Plumegg went to the crime scene to pick up some evidence and...they made love.”

“And? Did they find anything?”

“No. And they won’t as long as you trust me.”

I sighed and looked at him. He smiled warmly as his hand slowly wrapped themselves around my waist. In the middle of the mall, I touched his sideburns with both my hands on either sides of his face. I was sure we were to kiss. “I trust you.”

“Good.” His hands unwrapped. “By the way, we’re not about to kiss in the middle of the mall. It’s definitely going to be much more special than that. Maybe at…Jack & Jill?” He mocked with a grin.

“Uh…definitely not.” I laughed.

“Wanna get out of here?” He gave me his hand.

“Now you’re talking.” I took his hand.

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