1. JessWrite
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    JessWrite Word Nerd & Proud! Contributor

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    Ominous Minds

    Discussion in 'Archive' started by JessWrite, May 6, 2013.

    Opening Word
    Before we get into the story we think its important that you all note this is a team effort from Kingtype and JessWrite productions. Unless you're super new we assume you know who we are as this RPG community is pretty close knit together. But nonetheless this is a 3 episode mystery epic. If you fancy yourself a good detective or simply like mind games we suggest you join. No in fact we challenge you to join to see if you can solve the mysteries and comprehend the twists that unfold in...

    Ominous Minds!

    Explaining the World
    This story takes place on Earth, 1931 America but in an alternate world. This a nearly perfect world. No racism, extremely low crime rates, never been a war, people do not age once they reach their prime (though they still die and can be killed) and amazing advancements in technology. Yes its truly an almost perfect world. But even with all the greatness of this world, human nature is still corrupt. At times there is crime and just recently one of the most brutal took place.

    The Stanfield Family
    Stanfield, the name that turns heads. Stanfield, the name that screams, "Success!"

    Anyone on the Chicago streets know of Richard and Flora, the couple who have the bucks in the bank and aren’t afraid to show it. Mr. Stanfield travels world-wide, bringing in beautiful treasures, while Mrs. Standfield is the envy of every housewife. Their renowned qualities equally shine through their four children, Lester, David, Stella, and Ruthie. To know a Stanfield, you are well on your way to being a step below them.

    But no matter how good something appears, the most tragic circumstance can destroy it all. The cold hand of Death has knocked on the Stanfield’s door…and isn’t waiting for an answer.

    The Story
    We shall begin this tale at a funeral. The funeral of Richard Stanfield. He was the head of the Stanfield family until he was brutally murdered by an unknown assailant. It is being held at the Stanfield family mansion. This act of violence of course left the community stunned. But now it is a time for grief. Many of the Stanfield's childhood friends and old business partners have come to pay their respects. But as the funeral progresses a stolen item shall lead a group of seekers on a journey through the streets of their city. (We cannot really afford to reveal a lot about the story)

    Setting
    This takes place in 1930s Chicago. But remember that it looks like modern-day Chicago, in fact it even looks futuristic when compared to today's Chicago. Extremely tall buildings have holograms as advertising and nobody is middle class, but the Stanfield's are by far the most wealthy in Chicago. As we stated there is very little crime. So things like bootlegging, mafia and various other things are nearly non existent. Though oddly enough the fashion and weaponry remain very much the same as the actual 30s. As this world is far more better off then ours the guns have only developed up to that point. Lupara Shotguns, Tommy Guns etc.

    Players
    You will play as a friend or former acquaintances of the Stanfield's attending the funeral.

    Episodes
    There will be 10 episodes and they won't be different RP's. Each Episode will start on here and end on here. Each Episode can last anywhere 5-20 days (Game time not in real life)

    Side stories
    You may have side stories. Of course just PM the idea to King or Jess first. But we strongly suggest that you don't even start developing a side story until Episode 3 is complete. Just so it fits better with the pacing of how King and Jess laid out the story.

    Bots
    Bots are basically the cell phones/computers of this world. They look like little floating metal orbs and can be used to surf the net, take video, take pictures, store information; like a mini super computer. The windows are in hologram and touch screen. You do not have to have a bot but we suggest you use one in this RP.

    Detectives
    Everyone in this game will pretty much be playing as detective as you will all be working on solving the mysteries that unfold. But there are two special detectives that have one special privilege over the other players.

    White Team and Red Team
    We are not allowed to discuss in detail, but yes we will be breaking off into teams of two in this RP.

    1st Detective and 2nd Detective
    These are the two players that shall have the special perks. Each of the detectives will head one of the different teams once sides are taken.

    The 1st and 2nd detective are the only players in the game that are allowed to speak to the GM about clues and ask for hints. All the other players in the game must look for clues and get there information from questioning NPC's and searching areas.

    The players (not the characters themselves but the player) that get put in the 1st or 2nd detective spot are allowed to openly debate with the GM's (either Jess or King) about the mystery and ask for hints. But the GM's are also allowed to lie to the detectives to throw them and their team off the trail.

    The 1st and 2nd detective shall be chosen by King and Jess after the first day or the first two days. We will choose based off your performances of detective work.

    Neither GM can be the 1st or 2nd

    True Detective
    Simple this is the true detective of the game. The GM's cannot directly lie to the true detective and must either tell him/her the truth or find other ways to throw them off the case.

    But unlike the 1st and 2nd the True Detective is actually the character itself communicating with the GM's and another difference is the True Detective has already been chosen. The TR does not have to reveal him/herself if the player wishes so. Also it should noted that the TR is not an ally to anyone and may exploit his position however he wants. The TR can also be an extremely helpful source of information and is never to above to completely cheat the other players.

    True Detective may also see part of the truth to every mystery in this game that there is.

    Your Character Sheet:

    Name:

    Age:

    Bio:

    Occupation:

    Personality:

    Appearance:

    Relationship to the Stanfield family:

    Other:

    (PM to either Jess or King for approval, before posting in the discussion forum!)
    -----

    RULES!!

    -No controlling other peoples characters.

    -No auto hitting

    -No God-Modding

    -GM's words are law

    -No auto solving the mystery.....not like you could anyway (We expect you to think! :p)

    -Please don't be extremely cliche and just put Detective down as your occupation. You can, but we just don't want everybody to do it.

    -Be nice in OCC but in the IC feel free to be a jerk

    -Keep OCC in the discussion

    And, the #1 rule you must live by:

    Have Fun!
     
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  2. losthawken
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    losthawken Author J. Aurel Guay Role Play Moderator Contributor

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    Approved
     
  3. Kingtype
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    Kingtype Always writing or thinking things XD Staff Role Play Moderator Contributor

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    Prologue


    How long has it bee now......?

    It doesn't really matter we guess. But what of the girl?....

    Did she survive the events that took place?....Or would it be better if I said will take place?

    Let us find out if the girl ever found the truth she sought.......

    .................................................. .

    Welcome to our domain True Detective. What do you make of this tale?......

    There was a response from another voice. "Its not the tale I'm interested in. In fact the only thing I care about is the girl. I need her help to be free."

    Well that's interesting why is that?

    "Well that's simple .................................................. ..

    .................................................. ......
     
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  4. JessWrite
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    JessWrite Word Nerd & Proud! Contributor

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    Episode 1: Day 1

    "I specifically told her 6 o'clock sharp," Lester said and flicked on his bot to reveal the time. "She's twenty-four minutes overdue.” Deep lines creased in his forehead as he glared at his siblings. The three of them were huddled in a far corner with the closed casket to their right.

    “I don’t know why you’re so surprised,” Ruthie said quietly. “You know Stella, she may not show at all.” Her eyes darted around the low-lit room, watching as the first few guests stepped through the doors. The expression on her face spoke more than words; clearly she was uncomfortable. Her initial shock upon hearing of her father’s murder hadn’t faded. She’d dreaded this moment; she knew how it would go. People she hadn’t seen in ages would share their heart-felt sympathy, believing they could ease the pain. But that wouldn’t bring Father back. Nothing could.

    Lester let out an annoyed groan, shifting his weight from one foot to the other. “I told her to be here so she should be here!” His flaming gaze turned on David. “It’s a funeral, not damn Hollywood!”

    Ruthie gasped. “Watch your mouth or Mother will hear you.” She cast a worried glance across the room where Flora was with her garden club members. To see the tears in Mother’s eyes made her own sting. Dumb tears, she’d had enough of them. Taking a step back from her brothers, she stared down at the elaborate red carpet. If only she could go up to her room and chat her feelings away. “Can’t we just forget Stella for now?” She muttered under her breath.

    Today was the funeral of one of Chicago's most wealthy man. Richard Stanfield had died....no he'd been murdered and in the most brutal of fashion. Many of Chicago's most famous people, family friends, old rivals and business partners had gathered in the family mansion to express their grief or silently gloat. The three siblings arguing in the back were the sons and daughter of Richard himself.

    David was silent as he listened to Lester rant on. He was always quiet unless he had something important to say. And he did. "Ruthie. We can't just forget about her. She's our sister and whether or not you or her like it, she is part of this family." He said as he sent a scowl towards Lester. David was shorter then Lester by a good deal and like everyone else in at the funeral was dressed in a black suit. He carried a black fedora under his arm and his eyes looked almost uncaring.

    Unlike Ruthie, David had gotten over his father's murder. Despite David regularly keeping contact with his parents he'd never been close to his dad. Though don't get him wrong he was deeply troubled by these events and to be honest a little freaked out at the way his father had been killed but so was everyone.

    It was a closed casket funeral as Richard's stomach, throat and chest had been torn open by what many of the doctors believed to be a dog's mouth but the cut's and the way everything had been it looked like a chainsaw had tore through him. David had been the only to stomach looking at the corpse when the hospital had called.

    The Mansion itself was large placed filled with all sorts of people all dressed in black. Rare items, large statues and furniture that had been shipped privately from other Countries. The only missing piece of course was the oldest daughter to the Stanfield family.....Stella.

    Lester sent a scowl right back to David, before turning toward the crowds. "Well then. Stella can exclude herself from the situation, but I will not. If you both will excuse me, I need to do my part." With that said, he stomped away with the air of a businessman.

    "Golly," Ruthie breathed, her eyes meeting David's. "Stella causes a scene even when she's not here, how does that work? I don't understand it...and I really don't like it."

    David smiled at Ruthie and patted her on the head. "Hey cheer up kiddo." He said giving the best smile he could manage. "Its gonna be a hard couple weeks. But you need to be strong.....for mom."

    Ruthie nodded, swallowing back more tears that threatened. "I know. But it's not fair. If we have to go through all this stuff, then Stella should too."

    David gave his sister the best hug he could. "Look she'll be here. Call it twin intuition." He said giving a smile

    Ruthie managed a tight smile back. "Fine, I'll take your word for it. But if she does show, she's going to get a good talk from me. I deserve some answers..."
     
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  5. Pheonix
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    Pheonix A Singer of Space Operas and The Fourth Mod of RP Staff Contributor

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    Lincoln Anderson

    His red Cabriolet rumbled up the drive, sounding like a tiger on the prowl. He pulled it up to the curb, killed the engine and got out, his bot trailing behind him. Then tossed the keys to a valet and mounted the steps that led up to the Stanfield Mansion.

    Why did the old man have to get killed? he silently griped. There went one of his biggest clients, he only hoped that his family would have the business savvy that old man Stanfield had. Otherwise, he'd have to reassess his entire game plan for Chicago. Finance was a fickle thing, always subject to the whims of the rich... and then sometimes they got murdered.

    Lincoln was a financier of the highest caliber, catering to the ultra wealthy, and becoming one of them himself in the process. Stocks and bonds, trusts and funds, that was his area of expertise. Clever ways of concealing the money of the rich that were perfectly legal, although perhaps not ethical, but that wasn't something that concerned him. Ethics were best left to priests and preachers. He was a banker, above all that.

    He stepped through the doorway, and his demeanor changed instantly. He went from looking slightly annoyed to having a countenance of the deepest sympathy and regret. He scanned the crowd of people, all dressed in black. He was about to make his way to try and find Flora Stanfield, the wife of the deceased or one of their children, but remembered that if he was to be proper, he had to find the guestbook first. It was sitting on a little table next to the door, and he walked over and, picking up the fountain pen, he scrawled his signature, Lincoln D. Anderson. His bot hovered next to his shoulder, scanning the room. Once he was done signing the book, he joined the bot.

    "Mr. Anderson!" he heard a gruff voice say. "It's been to long." He turned and saw an older man with white hair walking up to him.

    "Mr. Compton, it has been to long. I wish I were seeing you under different circumstances," Lincoln replied, shaking his head. "A real shame about Richard," he said, the picture of sincerity.

    "Indeed, makes a man worry about his own skin..." Compton replied. He was a client of Lincolns. Everything had been going well with his account for some time now, and when things went well, Lincoln barely saw clients. It seemed like the only time that they really wanted to talk was when things were going south. "Did you hear what they say happened to him?" Compton asked.

    "I prefer not to hear such distasteful things Sir," Lincoln replied, not so much from a weak constitution, but more from a lack of general interest.

    "I agree, all I know is that it was bad enough that they had to have a closed coffin," Compton said, pointing to the coffin. Lincoln followed his gesture and noticed the Stanfield heirs huddled in a corner near the coffin.

    "A real shame, a real shame," Lincoln said. "But say, I've been meaning to get in touch with you about trying a few new things with your account. Just to keep it on the up and up you understand," he said with a confident smile. "This isn't the time to talk about it though, perhaps we could set up an appointment for this week?"

    "Oh, is that so?" Compton said with a gleam in his eye that always appeared when money was involved. "I'll have my girl give you a call and set something up," he said.

    "Sounds good chap, but If you'll excuse me, I'd like to pay my respects to the family," Lincoln said disengaging himself. The old buffoon would do anything he told him if it meant he could bump up his annual gains a tenth of a percent.

    Then, Lincoln started making his way across the room to where he had spotted the Stanfield children, saying polite hellos to other clients and acquaintances, he finally reached the Stanfields just a moment after one of them, Lester he thought, stormed off. Lester and his Stanfield City Bank were one of Lincoln's his biggest competitors in Chicago.

    "Hello David, Ruthie," he said. "I'm so sorry to hear about your father, you have my deepest sympathies." He said with a perfect facade of affected sympathy and sadness at as if it were the death of a close friend. He had not considered Richard a friend, merely a client, like all his clients. "I considered your father to be a dear friend."
     
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  6. TheLeonard112
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    TheLeonard112 Sūpākūru Senpai

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    Eddie Franklin Cartwright

    A black car was seen flashing down the street, it was going quite fast, over the speed limit. The news had shocked him, he had just learned of this, the very day he gets back. He just came back from college, and he learned this news. The black car's wheels moved quickly in circular motions, and they screeched as the car stopped at a red light. He laid his head on the car, his egg shell skin was rubbing up against the tire. He began to re-imagine what had occurred earlier today. He felt heavy, a good friend of his had been taken away.

    Earlier Today
    A young Caucasian man walked towards a building as if he was light as a feather. His light brown hair flowed in the wind with every single skip he took after another. Even with all this bouncing around in dark brown dress shoes, he still managed to keep his blue eyes on a building. His eyes shimmered with a luminous glow while looking at this building that had a holographic sign above which read "Isiah Cartwright Moving Co." His brown Hollywood slacks never touched the ground since he had the bottom of his leg holes folded perfectly. With his small looking physique, he looked as if he could skip forever.

    Once he actually stepped into the front door of the building he saw his father, Isiah Cartwright. "Hey Dad!" said the young man. "Hello, Eddie." said Isiah. He was slipping on a black suit on and had all black dress clothes on, otherwise. "Why are you dressing up, Dad? You look kinda dingy." said Eddie with a smile. Isiah put his suit on all the way and looked towards his son. "Oh yeah, that's right you just got back from college, you don't know." Isiah said in a gloomy voice. He was a big guy, but he seemed as if he was weak. "Don't know what?" Eddie asked as his smile turned into a face filled with confusion. "Mr.Stanfield is dead... I am on my way to the funeral home." Isaiah said rubbing his beard wishing he hasn't said it.

    Eddie stood there and his eyes widened. He had know Mr.Stanfield since he was a child, they were best friends. Eddie had grown up with him and to hear that he had passed shook Eddie out of his body. "How?!" Eddie asked almost raising his voice with his head down. "Murder." Isaiah said to Eddie trying to be honest with his son. "Where is the home?" Eddie asked raising his head. "The one by the library we used to always go to." Isaiah replied.

    Eddie busted through the door and jumped into his Black Lincoln K Series. He slipped on his grey overcoat and put on his grey Homburg hat. And speed off, and would probably beat his father there by a long shot.

    Present

    Eddie pulled his bot out of his coat pocket and looked at it intensely, almost with sympathy and sadness as it was a person. The moonlight then shined off of it and his silver band. A green light then bounced of the bot as he put it back away, and he realized the light was green and speed off again.

    Once he had actually pulled up into the parking lot of the funeral home, he tried tot act as together as possible. He began smoking a cigar before he walked into the building, it was unfitting for a nineteen year old to be smoking, but being around adults made him feel as if he needed to be grown. The entire situation had disturbed him. He walked in with the cigar in his mouth, took his coat off and signed his name in cursive on the guest sheet, "Eddie F. Cartwright"

    He then took of his hat and hung them both on a nearby coat rack, his bot began to follow him, and the gun he constantly carried around was left in his car. He coughed up smoke, while trying to handle this cigar. Tears were beginning to escape his eyes, then he looked over to the Stanfield siblings, he had met them only a few times, though he never knew them as much as he knew their father.
     
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  7. Love to Write
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    Love to Write I'm a lover of writing. What else is to be said? Contributor

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    Roland Stone

    "No, no, no. Flowers never go on the food table." Roland Stone reprimanded a server. "Bugs or dirt could fall off and we don't want a guest exclaiming in disgust when he bites into my wonderful desserts! Ruin my business you will." He'd been commissioned by the Stanfield family to bake for the reception after the funeral. "I want every flower arrangement put off the tables and elsewhere in the room. I don't care what your reception coordinator says. Flowers on near my wonderful food...gah!" Roland grabbed a handkerchief out of his pocket and wiped the sweat off his brow and large chipmunk-like cheeks, before rushing off to the funeral.

    Before he walked through the door into the main room where the ceremony was being held; Roland adjusted his too tight suit and made sure he had the appropriate expression on his face. Mr. Stienfeld had rarely associated with him, a simple baker, except to pay him his bill. But Roland knew the children. He'd watched them grow up the past 12 years. Many a dessert had failed their taste test when he brought them new recipies, but many had succeeded as well. His little taste testers, it made his heart ache to see how much pain they were in.
    Roland walked (more like waddled) over to the children. A rich man in a suit was already giving his condolences to David and Ruthie. He saw Lester storm by. That son had always been the hot headed one. Roland got in his path, not rudely but enough to hopefully get his attention. "Ah, Lester. Deepest condolences, my boy. Your father was good man. It makes my heart ache to see you children and your mum in such pain."
     
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  8. lixAxil
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    lixAxil Self-Proclaimed Senator of the RPG subforum. Contributor

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    What's more valuable during this times is the information
    Though it's also a risky business to play with it. Well after all, just as in warfare, having powerful weapons equals a higher danger. There are some who exchange information for money or other type of information in shady alleys, or bars. There are others who risk their lives to gain valuable information, and then they sell them to the information brokers in exchange of cash, or perhaps other type of recompense. On this era you can see a lot of mafiosi, gangster, thieves, even crazy murderers. But those who risk the most, and probably the most brave of al are the information hunters, they're not affiliated to any group, yet they're still in every moment and place. It's not their intention to engage into fights, yet their bodies and skills are lethal weapons. They won't say any word to a crying mother asking for empathy, yet they'll freely give words as soon as the dirty paper appears in front of them.

    The man walked toward the funeral, apparently coming from nowhere. He wore a long brown coat that somehow made this grey day to look even more sad that it already was.
    His pants were brown too and they ended into black shoes. Perhaps the fact that he weren't using a hat made him look less like a cliche, and more like some drunk man.

    His name and relation with the deceased was asked...
    He refused to gave his name.
    He lied and said he was a friend of the deceased
    And he deposited a pack of bills in the pocket of the attendant.

    He made a gesture and after that he freely walked towards the scene, ready to write any notice or event into the white paper on his mind.
    After all, this was the kind of family whose secrets were rarely revealed, in the one the truth was always covered, and that hid many stuff within their hearts and minds.
    A perfect place to make money
     
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  9. Fan7asticMrFox
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    Fan7asticMrFox Contributing Member Contributor

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    The Lady in Red

    And here comes the rain. The weather showered with the bleakness of death, and even the mansion looked pale and dull. She sat in the back of the black cab, staring up at the marvellous building, admiring its craftsmanship and design. The pillars and window arches gave the place a regal touch, and with the entrance occupied by two doormen, it sure felt like she was being received by royalty. Then again in Chicago, the Stanfields were as close to royalty got without wearing a crown.

    The door of the cab opened and the valet held out a hand, and an umbrella. The lady stepped out with such grace, almost sliding out of the space, which most would describe as awkward. With a kiss to the young man’s cheek, the lipstick stuck and the valet melted underneath it; mumbling and smiling all at the same time. She was already making her way up the stairs, and he had to keep up, god forbid she’d get wet.

    Even in the blandest rain she stood out, never ordinary, always seen. All eyes were on her. Gorgeous, sexy… and dressed in red.

    Both of the doormen forgot themselves for a moment, jaws wide and staring. The oldest one brought himself about and remembered the occasion, but his tone was careful not to offend.

    “My lady, you do realise this is a funeral?” He said.

    “Oh, of course I do. What would make you say that?” The Lady in Red batted her eyes and pulled out a pouted frown.

    “It’s just… well… when mourning the dead the dress code is bl…” She placed a slender finger on his lips, silencing him in an instant.

    “I see your confusion. You are mourning a death...” She looked him up and down. “…so you are dressed accordingly. I on the other hand, am celebrating a life. And if you look at me…” And both men did, “…I am dressed accordingly too.” The pair could only stutter as she blew them a kiss and passed through the doorway.

    The smell had been what hit her first. The strong stench of brandy and smoke filtered through her nose, and it was almost like she was back at Philly’s Jazz Bar. Yet, no drink was in hand and no cigarette in sight; although there was one cigar. The red velvet carpet felt sticky and awkward under her heel, and the pews were an ugly brown. The walls were covered in Richard’s trophies and mementos, from the mounted bear's head to a framed picture of the two of them together. If the Stanfields did anything, it wasn’t modesty.

    From the moment she’d stepped in, heads had turned. She paid them no mind though, and bent down to sign the guestbook. ‘The Lady in Red’. And then she kissed the page where she’d signed. There would be tutting and whispers and gossip, but it’s just how she liked it. She didn’t do boring or plain. If something wasn’t intriguing, she wasn’t interested.

    After signing, she sat in the back row, chest pushed out, legs crossed and cigarette lit. As much as she wanted to pay grievances to David and Lester and Ruthie and Flora, she knew they wouldn’t want to be smothered. They would see her, in their own time.
     
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  10. Kingtype
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    Kingtype Always writing or thinking things XD Staff Role Play Moderator Contributor

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    David grimaced for a moment at seeing Lincoln. David didn't like Lincoln one bit but then again the reason was stupid. David didn't like bankers his brother was a banker and a good one. But ever since his brother became one bankers have always left him unable to communicate with them without it being odd. Of course David himself was pretty odd. "Thanks." David muttered nodding at Lincoln with a stoic face.

    He then turned to Roland and his face brightened quite a bit. But his eyes still held sadness. He saw him speaking to Lester so he decided not interrupt. So this left David standing in front of Ruthie and Lincoln looking quite uncomfortable.
     
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  11. Darkkin
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    Darkkin Reflection of a nobody Contributor

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    Location:
    Following the footprints in the sand...
    Piper Rhodes and Teddy Dentin

    A few hours earlier...

    Piper slid her key into the back door of her childhood home. Her mother had called earlier asking her to stop by. Knowing her mother was laid up with the flu, Piper was happy to oblige. "Mama." She called as she set her keys and the tureen of chicken soup on the kitchen table.

    "In the library, sweetheart." Anne Rhodes replied.

    Piper's delicate kitten heels clicked across the gleaming hardwood floors as she made her way from the kitchen, through the den and into the small library at the back of the house. Bright sunlight shone through the Tiffany topped windows, throwing a kaleidoscope of colors about the rooms. She drew in a deep breath, relishing the smell of home. Books, lemon wax, leather and the faintest hint of dusty paper.

    A happy, hysterical barking drowned out her mother's greeting as Piper rounded the corner. Widget came flying down the steps, ears flying, his tail waving manically. Reflexively, she stooped and caught the little black and white Papillon up before dropping into the chair facing her mother, who was stretched out on the deep, leather sofa.

    "There's soup on the table for you and dad for dinner. How are you feeling, any better?" She asked. "You certainly look better."

    Anne laughed, her delicate face unmarred by age. "Well thank you for the backward compliment, Pip. And yes, I am feeling better. Still not up to snuff, but better." She gazed fondly at her daughter, who was the spitting image of her twenty years ago, except for her wonderful grey eyes. Those she had inherited from her father. The combination of features was very fetching, and coupled with Piper's bright manner, it was easy to see why people were instinctively drawn to her.

    Piper was quick to notice a sudden shadow of sadness creeping into her mother's gentle expression. "What is it?"

    Anne pointed to a folded missive resting on the coffee table. "It's a letter from my family's attorney."

    Confusion marred Piper's expressive face. "What? You told me they were dead."

    Anne winced, her blue eyes shadowed with pain. "I think it would be more proper to say that my family said I was dead to them when I decided to marry your father. Since I never heard anything from them, I simply assumed they lost track of me over the years. It wasn't a huge loss, believe me, Pip."

    Piper heaved an unladylike snort. "Well, apparently someone was keeping tabs on you. How else could they have located you?" Shifting the jiggling Widget to the side, she snagged the letter off the table and began to read.

    Dear Madame: We regret to inform you of the passing of your brother Richard Stanfield. Visitation will be at the Stanfield Mansion...

    The letter floated to the floor. Piper's face was white with shock. Stanfield! Those Stanfields...? Her brain whirled as she struggled to find her voice. "The visitation is this afternoon and you're in no condition to leave the house."

    "I know." Anne admitted. "That's why I want you to go in my stead."

    "Please tell me you're jesting, Mama. I'll be tossed out on my ear before stepping foot across the threshold. I mean who in those circles has ever heard of the obscure Piper Rhodes?"

    Mrs. Rhodes' voice grew stern. It was a tone, Piper knew well. And it brooked no refusal. "Richard was the only member of my family I was ever remotely fond of. He supported me when I needed it the most. The least I can do is make sure that I have at least token representation at the visitation. You will attend."

    "What about my plans with Teddy this afternoon?" She dared to asked.

    A smile worked itself into Anne's words. "Teddy will be accompanying you. He and Lester are old school chums."

    Piper knew the battle was lost.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Teddy Dentin handed the keys of his black sedan over to the valet before going around to the other side to retrieve Piper, who now accompanied him under duress. It was almost impossible to tell, given her serene expression, but Teddy knew better. Her eyes had darkened with trepidation. He knew she was worried about someone making the connection between the Rhodes and Stanfield families. She just wanted to remain anonymous.

    As always she was as elegant and concise as a fashion plate from her polished kitten heels to the top of her freshly set dark curls. Her Chanel ensemble was stark yet striking. Perfect for the occasion. She provided a delicate contrast to his own neat, yet rangy appearance. His dark grey, three piece suit, pulled out on very rare occasions, was not his favorite. Usually trousers and a sweater were his normal attire, but Lester Stanfield was a friend of long standing. He owed him a little effort.

    "Ready?" He asked gently as he appropriated Piper's arm. She nodded, grateful for his support. She felt like an utter fraud, being here under these conditions.

    Teddy lead her inside through a throng of sombre faced people and headed for a figure standing almost as tall as he did. Piper recognized him. Lester Stanfield. She had seen him in passing, but had never been formally introduced. Now didn't seem like a good time to try. Content to let Teddy do the talking, she settled in to do what she did best. Study people.

    Teddy held out a hand to Lester. "Sorry to hear about your father. He will certainly be missed."

    Piper remained politely still as her bright eyes roved over the crowd. Mrs. Stanfield she recognized from pictures in the social pages. There was another son, younger than Lester and also somewhat shorter. And a blonde girl who looked utterly adrift. One of the Stanfield daughters? Probably the youngest one. Empathy flooded Piper. How hard was it, to lose your father at such a young age? Knowing how influential her own father was in her life, it wasn't hard to imagine the pain .
     
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  12. TheLeonard112
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    TheLeonard112 Sūpākūru Senpai

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    Eddie Cartwright

    Eddie saw as no one noticed his cigar. He put them out with his hand, now this didn't harm him in the slightest. He was used to pain being to a mover, so he got hurt frequently. He then walked slowly over to garbage can and dropped a cigar in. As he heard the rain start to fall outside, he also saw a beautiful woman walk in. She was dressed in all red and seemed to catch the eye of almost every other person in the room.

    "She's is quite a pip." he whispered to himself and the got his mind back on track. He was here for the mourning of his friend, and once he began to get sad again, he hoped to look back over to the woman to take himself out of the mood, but it was futile. His mind was now stuck on the loss of his much older friend.

    He let his eye wander over to where the siblings were and realized they were still talking to someone. He was about to build up the confidence to go over and talk to them, then someone else came through the door. It was a couple it seemed, they looked nice, the girl especially.

    Eddie took his hands and ran them through his hair, he was filled to the brim with despair. He saw his gather walk through the door, and he just waved and Isaiah waved back. Eddie stood up brushing himself off with his hands and made his way towards the siblings. He didn't want to be to offending, so he didn't want to appose himself.
     
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  13. JessWrite
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    JessWrite Word Nerd & Proud! Contributor

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    Ruthie and Lester

    Ruthie nodded politely in the man's direction, giving a simple, "Thank you, Sir." First of many to be said.

    Though inside she was wracking her brain for the man's name. She never did pay much attention to her father's clients, besides at the occasional dinner party. The mere fact of not remembering a name took away all focus from the scene around her. Possessing the unfortunate habit, Ruthie could only focus on one thing at a time, most definite in serious situations. And a name was serious information.

    She studied the man, from his dapper suit to his air of knowledge. Adults always seemed to have that about them, at least all the adults she'd met. While standing in silence, she went through the alphabet, thinking the first letter would spark her memory. B? Didn’t sound right. K? No. W? Nope. L? Maybe...

    Casting a glance towards David, she realized he wasn’t going to be any help here. Slowly, she looked back to the man and while fiddling with her dress sleeve, Ruthie's words fell out in a heap.

    "I apologize, Sir, but I…well, I sort of don't remember who you are. Care to remind me?"

    --------

    "Ah, Lester. Deepest condolences, my boy. Your father was good man. It makes my heart ache to see you children and your mum in such pain."


    Lester's scowl was still prominent as he came face to face with the short baker. Mr. Stone had been around since he was fourteen and unlike most his family employed, Lester liked him. Only because he made the best chocolate crepes in Chicago. But today was not his day and being cornered put him in an even fouler mood.

    He’d been angry at Stella since their conversation a few days prior. She hadn’t been particularly straightforward with him about coming, hanging up mid-sentence. For obvious reasons, he’d expected her to care that their father had been murdered. He’d expected her to care about the family. He too was guilty of not being up to term with his family, but he did love them, even if he didn't always show it. He soon came to the conclusion that if Stella didn’t show within five minutes, he’d call until she answered and tell her off good. The clock was ticking.

    "Yes, yes, I appreciate your sympathy,” Lester said to Roland, shifting his direction to the right. “I’d also appreciate it if you’d not block my path Mr. Stone, I have a family issue to handle…”

    He looked over the baker’s large head, scanning the room until he was met with a familiar face, an old pal. He'd recognize Teddy Dentin anywhere.

    Teddy held out a hand to Lester. "Sorry to hear about your father. He will certainly be missed."

    Lester gave a firm handshake in return. "Thanks, Ted.” His tone contrasted greatly to speaking with the baker. “I must say it’s good to see you again, despite the circumstances."

    Lester’s brown-eyed gaze roamed towards the young woman beside his friend. In one look he studied her, from her dark curls to her delicate figure. An interesting one she was. Turning back to Teddy, a smug smile tugged at his lips. "Who’s your girl, Ted?" Lester asked.
     
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  14. Darkkin
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    Darkkin Reflection of a nobody Contributor

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    Piper and Teddy: Back in the Day...

    "Who’s your girl, Ted?" Lester asked.

    Teddy's spine stiffened ever so slightly. Piper felt the subtle shift, a glimmer of warning in her luminous grey eyes. Catching her look, he flashed an impish grin, that died as soon as it was born. "Miss Piper Rhodes. We grew up across the street from each other. You might remember her father, Dr. Rhodes, an English Professor from the University."

    Piper twinkled up at her cousin and dug a pointed elbow into Teddy's midriff. "A pleasure, Mr. Stanfield. I wish the circumstances could have been better." Teddy winced as her bony little arm dug into his side, but his eyes held a wicked light.

    Brown eyes glinting with a faint trace of humor, Teddy continued. "If memory serves, he was the only professor to give you anything below an A. He really made you work to earn your grade." The lightness faded from his words as the enormity of his friend's loss settled in. "Remember, if there is anything you need, just let me know."
     
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  15. mmarage
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    mmarage The Detective Contributor

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    I walked through the doors, in a black suit, as soon as I had walked in I walked over to the guest register and signed my name and then walked to a quiet corner, looking at all of the attendees. "...How many of these people truly lost a friend? How many people here are quietly expressing their joy of his passing... it's sickening... that even though someone has passed away, in such a horrid way, that they only see some competition or someone they despise dead, how many of these people would congratulate, praise, and thank his murderer for getting rid of the competition?" I thought, I despised human nature such as that, I looked over at the few members of his family that I recognized. "...How many of them are truly upset about his passing...? How many of them are merely doing all of this to try and barely keep up the appearance of a perfect and happy family?" I thought, I didn't know him well, but I at least came here to mourn his passing, he had done me no wrong, and I held no spite nor jealousy of his higher standing, to be jealous of such things were petty and worthless to me, when he was alive, he was merely a well off man, all he was now was a victim to a deranged killer...
     
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  16. Pheonix
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    Pheonix A Singer of Space Operas and The Fourth Mod of RP Staff Contributor

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    Lincoln

    "Thank's." David replied to his expression of sympathy mechanically, almost with an air of distaste. That wouldn't do, Lincoln needed them to at least tolerate him.

    "I apologize, Sir, but I…well, I sort of don't remember who you are. Care to remind me?"

    "My apologies. It's been a long time since we met. My name is Lincoln Anderson, I run Chicago Mutual. Your father was one of my clients, a fine man. I had much respect for your him," he said, addressing both Ruth and David. "I was deeply saddened to hear of his, um..." for once, his words failed him. He'd almost said murder, but that seemed too crass. Death was fine, but still a bit strong. He pretended to clear his throat and finally said, "...passing. It was a sad day for all of us at the office," he lied. It had been an angry and frustrating day trying to decide how to proceed with the planned investments of Stanfield's money without the investor still in the land of the living.

    "I just wanted to say, if there is anything, anything at all that I can do for your family now, feel free to ask," he said in conclusion. There was no point in smothering the children when the one he really wanted to speak with was Mrs Stanfield, Flora. She was surely the one in control of the estate. Either her or Lester, and he desperately prayed that it was the former. "But I'll leave you now, and again, so sorry for your loss."
     
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  17. Love to Write
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    Love to Write I'm a lover of writing. What else is to be said? Contributor

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    Roland and David

    Roland tried not to take to much offense at Lester's abrupt manner but his tone and words hurt a bit. He huffed slightly and turned away from Lester as the young man went on to greet another family friend. He caught David's eye. The poor boy looked uncomfortable. Bad enough he was grieving. It was then Roland noticed a key member of the family was missing. Stella. She'd always enjoyed his lemon tarts. He'd made a batch just for her. Where was that lass? Perhaps her twin knew.

    Having forgotten the rude slight by Lester, Roland made his way over to David. "David." He said sympathetically. He held out a meaty palm towards the boy offering his sympathies silently with a sad smile. "Where is your sister? I made lemon tarts just for her."

    David stared at Roland with a blank expression for a moment and then smiled slightly. "Well Ruthie is speaking to Mr.Anderson.....unfortunately. But I assume you mean Stella. I'm actually not sure, but that's the reason why Lester stormed off." David said as he shook Roland's hand.

    "Ah. That would explain his fouler-than-should-be mood."

    "Hey Roland, thanks for being here and all."
    "Of course, of course!" Roland exclaimed as if it was preposterous to think he wouldn't have come. "I may not have known your father very well, but I do know that he raised some of the most amazing kids in America. I pray they find his murderer soon and bring that monster to justice." Roland's double chin quivered with anger, but a few seconds later he sighed and patted his pockets as one would when looking for a cigar. "Where's some good ol' black licorice when you need it, eh?"

    David chuckled a little. "Not sure I can help you with that one."

    "Ah, well." Roland shrugged. "Well, I should probably go pass on my condolences to your mum. Where, ah, is she?" He asked looking around. As he did he caught glimpse of the most beautiful dame he had ever laid eyes on. She stuck out like a glorious red rose in the midst of dead leaves. A beauty beyond compare. He subconsciously straightened his too-small suit and slicked his dirty-blond hair back with his fingers. "Gorgeous..." he muttered.

    David even took a moment to admire her before turning his head away in fear she might catch him staring her. "Yes she certainly is. I wonder if she's single?"

    Roland huffed in embarrassment and found the piece of licorice he'd been looking for. He stuck it in his mouth and chewed on it sullenly. He knew David had a 100% better chance with her than he did. Who would want a middle aged baker, three times as wide than the average person anyway? "Posh, shame on you Davy. And at your father's funeral." He reprimanded though his eyes twinkled teasingly. He clapped the boy on the arm. "I'm gonna see if I can find your mum. See you at the reception."
     
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  18. JessWrite
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    JessWrite Word Nerd & Proud! Contributor

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    Ruthie and Lester

    "I just wanted to say, if there is anything, anything at all that I can do for your family now, feel free to ask," he said in conclusion. "But I'll leave you now, and again, so sorry for your loss."

    Lincoln Anderson. She couldn't believe she'd forgotten that name. Ruthie managed another smile at his kindness as she remembered briefly meeting him, barely being in her teens. Her father must've invested with him...or something to do with money. She didn't pay much mind to where it all came from.

    "Thank you Mr. Anderson, I'm sure we'll manage. But without Father, there will probably be...changes." Her voice suddenly grew soft as her father's death loomed over her once more. And the fact that she was talking to an adult...alone, soon pulled her out of her bold change of attitude. "Yes, you...can go. But, thanks again and all. It was, um, nice of you to come." She continued to fiddle with her dress skirt, folding it into pleats between her fingers.

    -----

    "If memory serves, he was the only professor to give you anything below an A. He really made you work to earn your grade." The lightness faded from his words as the enormity of his friend's loss settled in. "Remember, if there is anything you need, just let me know."

    Lester nodded. "How could I forget my hardest year of University?" His eyes flicked to Piper. "Your father is a tough man to please, but I owe him for it. As they say, success comes with a price and at times that means lack of sleep." Lester chuckled, but after a moment his face grew solemn at his ongoing thought of Stella.

    "Thanks again, Ted. But what I need is for that Hollywood sister of mine to show up. Don't know what the hell California put in her little mind but selfishness. She's put me through quite enough and she's bound to hear it." Lester fumed, but noticing the expressions of Teddy and Piper, his face dropped.

    "My apologies, that was out of line. Please, go converse with the rest of the company, we'll catch up later Ted." Lester tipped his fedora to Piper with a grin. "And nice meeting you, Miss Rhodes."
     
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  19. TheLeonard112
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    TheLeonard112 Sūpākūru Senpai

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    Eddie Cartwright

    Eddie kept his eyes on the siblings, and he noticed that many of their company was beginning to leave their presence. "I better dangle my way over there, or else someone else will beat me there and start yabbering." he said under his breath. He wanted to greet the siblings on terms that he could actually understand them more, last time he had saw them he was much younger and it was for a short period of time. Looking over to the lady in red and everyone else, he felt sort of unordinary. All these business men, and beautiful women, what was he just some small time worker. He stood up quickly and began walking steadily towards the coffin, with his bot trailing behind him. He looked kinda strange compared to how everyone else was dressed up, but he had arrived to the home in a hurry, just getting the news as soon as he got home.

    Once he got up to the siblings he began to open his mouth, he was quite nervous and it could be well seen in his eyes. He almost began to shake but he controlled himself to not look like a fool. "Hello folks." he greeted. "You may not remember me, but my name is Eddie Cartwright. I was a friend of your father's and I think I met you all once when I was about this high." he said putting his palm about four feet off the ground. "I was the little mover boy, I would always see your Dad every few weeks whether it was my Dad doing your's a job, or him coming to see me. He was like a father to me too, but I could never imagine your pain." after he said this he almost regret it, but he was too caught up in the moment to think, he was glancing back to the coffin every few seconds after looking at the siblings, trying not to be disrespectful.
     
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  20. Darkkin
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    Darkkin Reflection of a nobody Contributor

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    Piper and Teddy: Moods

    Lester tipped his fedora to Piper with a grin. "And nice meeting you, Miss Rhodes."

    Piper gave him a bright, honest smile in return, but her mien quickly reverted to solemn as she and Teddy merged back in with the crowd. She almost flinched when she saw the woman in the brilliant red dress. What is the world coming to when women show up to a funeral looking like that? Good grief... Stricken she glanced at Teddy.

    Teddy watched was Piper's expression turned ominous. Following her line of sight, he too, saw the woman in red and pretended to let out a long, slow, silent whistle. He felt daggers slicing into him and couldn't help prodding Piper just a little. "Do you know her?"

    Her grey eyes flashed with fire and ice. "A relation of Lilith's if I recall correctly."

    Teddy swallowed a laugh, but his eyes twinkled. Even his sunny Piper had stormy days and this one was gearing up to become a typhoon. Deftly, the professor steered her through the crowd, heading for the two younger, Stanfields, with whom he had a nodding acquaintance. While they waited for their turn to pay condolences, Teddy whispered in Piper's ear. "You do realize that we are going to have to speak to Mrs. Stanfield, as well."

    She nodded. "I know, but I'm an obscure little nobody, why would she even trouble to ask my name, let alone recognize it? It happened more than twenty years ago."

    Teddy didn't get a chance to respond. The man in front of them, Lincoln Anderson, another the professor knew by sight, moved to the side allowing them forward. His brows scrunched as Anderson disappeared into the throng, giving him an the appearance of a storm cloud. Combine the expression with his imposing size and lesser mortals had been know to quiver in fear.

    Piper jabbed him with her elbow. The last thing he needed to do today was traumatize an already shell shocked teenager. Teddy grunted. "What was that for?"

    "You're acting like a Neanderthal. Pay attention."

    Wry appreciation softened Teddy's craggy features, as he made a mental note. Slowly he stepped up to Ruthie and held out a large hand. "Hello, Ruthie. You probably don't remember, but I'm an old school friend of your brother, Lester. Teddy Dentin. I was sorry to hear about your dad. He was a good man."

    Piper followed right behind with gentle, heartfelt murmur. "I'm sorry, Ruthie. Truly. I don't know what I'd do without my dad." Her misty grey eyes were bright with understanding.
     
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  21. Keitsumah
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    Keitsumah The Dream-Walker Contributor

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    Jacob (aka Jay)

    I can't believe that he's gone, and he was such a good client. Jay thought mournfully, tipping his hat to the woman who opened the door to the mansion for him. His plain brown eyes were glazed with pain, but he firmed his expression and headed towards the children. They would remember him -he'd always been the one who was crazy enough to try and fix whatever strange electronics came into their hands. Most of the time he had actually succeeded.

    "Hello Ruthie, Lester. How are you two doin'?" he asked, giving the two kids timid smile. He was pretty average in appearance, and easily forgotten about, but that only gave him an advantage when he was ignored. It gave him the edge he needed when following possible suspects, as well as when he did any . . .unusual jobs.
     
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  22. Exzalia
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    Exzalia Contributing Member Contributor

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    Those who knew him little were quickly by fits of giggles told apart from those who knew him well. More guests arrived to bid him fair well, strange guests. First dressed in black a solemn looking man with oversized shoes, then a bearded lady pretty to look at were it not for the hair on her chin that went down to the soles of her feet, After that a well mannered Gorilla which outfitted with a top hat, tux, and monocle quietly tipped his hat at the mourning ladies.

    Signing with his hands he reminded the girl coming after him to mind her manners. That girl nodded though it didn't stop her from sticking out, at least the others were dressed in black, she still had her stage cloths on, but what could she do? she could afford no other, at least she had the good sense to hide her tail, though it did make a noticable pump in her crotch, Wich drew more stifed giggles from the ones who knew him little, the poor people going blue trying not to blurt out in the middle of the funeral.

    "terribly sorry for the interuptions, we have just come to pay our respects to the dear master." The head mister said to all who stared his white hair sticking out at an odd angel. Raki, the woman who looked to be only five years old walked up to Kubi and held her and.

    "I'm going to miss him Raki, he always did like seeing me perform." She said with a thick accent with sounded like a cross of several strange languages from the east.

    "I will too Kubi, I will too." Raki replied, sounding very japanese. "although I don't think I have ever felt, so out of place, or so awkward in all the years of being part of the circus. Let's make sure not to stay too long."

    George signed in response "Oh yes, we wouldn't want to seem indecent."
     
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  23. JessWrite
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    JessWrite Word Nerd & Proud! Contributor

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    Ruthie and Lester

    Ruthie gave a sigh of relief as Mr. Anderson turn to leave. Golly, she hadn't realized she'd have to actually...speak with her father's friends. She'd expected her mother or Lester would do most of the talking. Still it was a polite gesture, although it continually reminded her of the present, unfortunately.

    "Hello folks." he greeted. "You may not remember me, but my name is Eddie Cartwright. I was a friend of your father's and I think I met you all once when I was about this high."

    Ruthie looked up to see a friendly face, a few years older than her. He rambled on about his friendship with Father. Ruthie could barely keep up, he talked so fast. "Thanks, E..." She started, only to be interrupted by the approach of two more adults, a man and woman.

    The man stepped up to Ruthie and held out a large hand. "Hello, Ruthie. You probably don't remember, but I'm an old school friend of your brother, Lester. Teddy Dentin. I was sorry to hear about your dad. He was a good man."

    The woman followed right behind with gentle, heartfelt murmur. "I'm sorry, Ruthie. Truly. I don't know what I'd do without my dad." Her misty grey eyes were bright with understanding.


    Ruthie swallowed a lump in her throat as the impact of their words set it. More tears stung at her eyes, but she blinked them away. Politely she accepted Teddy's handshake, putting her small hand in his. "Thanks Mr. Dentin, I...I appreciate you being here." Her blue eyes turned on Teddy's companion. Her dark curls reminded her of Stella, but her persona seemed to be a gentle, sweet spirit. Very not Stella. "Thank you both..."

    And then, another man interrupted.

    "How are you two doin'?" Ruthie turned on her heel, but was grateful to finally recognize a face. Jay. He was the only man besides her brothers she could actually have a full conversation with, most often about how to upgrade her bot. Ruthie beamed, giving her most genuine smile that day. "Hi Jay, am I glad to see you!" she said, chosing to ignore his question. "Been working on anything new?"

    -----

    Meanwhile, Lester watched from a distance, pondering what to do. They had only a little longer to wait on Stella before the events began. He groaned, shaking his head. That girl sure was gonna get it from him...

    His bot lingered over his shoulder, a black metal orb. He put a finger to it, opening into his contacts. Stella's name soon appeared and Lester gave it a hard tap. As the number processed, a low monotone rang...and rang...and rang...

    And rang.

    "Hello, darling, I am truly sorry I can't speak with you personally. Can't be everywhere, as you know, I'm a very busy woman! Please leave me a message and I will get back to you as soon as I possibly can. Don't forget to smile today!"

    Lester hung up without a reply and tried again. He tried three more times, but came out with nothing. Clenching a fist, it took all he had to stifle his anger, his heart pounding fiercely.
     
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  24. Kingtype
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    Kingtype Always writing or thinking things XD Staff Role Play Moderator Contributor

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    "Hey Jay." David said giving a friendly nod. He'd always gotten along with Jay pretty well but as with most people David wasn't a very talkative man. In fact once he gave Jay a friendly pat on the back he walked away from Ruthie and the various other people he hated crowds. His Bot flew out of his pocket and started following him on its own.

    David was happened to the head of manufacturing them and in a way he considered Bots some of his best friends.

    .....................................................................

    Another man entered the room. He wasn't dressed in black but instead a green suit. He didn't wear a hat but his black was neatly combed but the suite he war was a bit tattered but completely destroyed. He didn't sport a tie but instead overalls. He was suspenders which of course went around his shoulder. He was of average height but he didn't look like he was there for any reason. In fact he only looked 16 maybe a little older.
     
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  25. Darkkin
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    Darkkin Reflection of a nobody Contributor

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    Piper and Teddy: Ghosts

    Piper shifted restlessly beside Teddy more than ready to make herself scarce. She had spotted old Mrs. Hardings, the housekeeper who had overseen the domestic working of the mansion when Anne was young. Piper knew she looked like her mother, people remarked on it often enough, including her father.

    Tugging Teddy along in her wake, she ducked out of the reception line and headed for the main hall. Her heels clicked hollowly on the marbled floor as she hurried toward the nearest empty room. The library loomed large and ominously silent directly across the way.

    Teddy smothered a groan as he followed her into the library. Of all the rooms in the house, why did it have to be the library? Being a long time friend of Lester's, the professor knew the house and its contents well, including a certain portrait hanging above the library fireplace. Anne Stanfield may have married against her parents' wishes, but she hadn't been banished from memory. Her likeness still graced the wall of her elder brother's favorite room.

    The only difference between Piper and that painting was the color of the eyes. Anne had the Stanfield eyes, dark blue. Piper had inherited her father's eyes, a unique, starry grey. Of the two, he knew Piper was the more taking because of her sweetness of expression. It was disconcerting to see her in a dither. There wasn't much that could knock her off her stride, but this funeral was doing just that.

    He deposited her in a wing chair near the fireplace. "I'll see if I can find you a cup of tea." He dropped a quick kiss on her dark curls. "Don't worry, everything will be fine." Three strides saw him to the door and back into the throng.

    Restless and anxious to be gone, Piper began to pace before the cold, empty hearth. Lost in her own tumultuous thoughts she didn't hear the approach of another visitor. The newcomer's words took her totally by surprise. "There you are, Stella. Your mother has been fretting about you."

    Piper whirled to face the older lady, her face white with horror. "I'm sorry, ma'am, but you have me confused with someone else."

    The puffy faced matron gaped, speechless at Piper, her buggy eyes passing from the girl to the portrait and back again. "It's a ghost! " She shrieked, bolting out into the hall. "A ghost! The spirit of Miss Anne back from the dead!"

    Piper dropped into the chair, her knees too weak to support her. The situation was too ridiculous not to laugh at. She buried her face in her arms and laughed until she cried.
     
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