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Rising Phoenix Gaming

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  • Shadows of the Worlf: a Game of Personal Supernatural Horror
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About This Club

Semi-Open World Mystery Thriller Drama Set in Shelly Montana. Uses Everyday Heroes 5E Modern.
  1. What's new in this club
  2. Shay gave a noncommittal shrug. "Depends what I had going on and what I thought he could help with. Usually had him with me between four and eight hours or so. Over ten hours one day. Six days, no, seven I think, over two weeks. I picked him up and drove him home most times." She frowned, brow furrowing as her eyes narrowed. "He had me stop a ways back, and met me down the drive or walked up the way to his home." She hadn't known if Will was embarrassed about where he lived, or if it had anything to do with her being White. She and Laurie had lived in an Airstream trailer for a few years - she still had it by the house she had built - so she wouldn't have cared about where Will lived... other than showing him some easy home repair and maintenance skills, if needed. "About having no job, I dunno 'bout that, Lilz. He didn't offer, and I didn't ask, but I got the sense he had something going on. He couldn't always make it when I called, despite the need, so I figure he had some sorta side-hustle to help his folks out. You'd have to ask them though. Never spoke to 'em myself, just saw who I think were sisters of his standing in the yard a time or two." Shay offered Lily a grin. "Glad I could help. Hope you can find the kid."
  3. AJ's face was a grim mask. "Where were they found? Who's on the scene, and do we have a positive ID?" He fired off a quick series of questions, Jackson looks past the sheriff into the diner then back at AJ, "Out past the Glendale Colony, Mile and a half, just past the bend in the hiway but before you come to Brown road. Off the hiway about fifty feet." He runbs his chin, "No Id, boss, you're gonna have to see this. I ain't never seen nothing like. Not even over in Afghanistan. " A couple of Hutterites saw some smoke when they wen out to tend their animals this morning. They went to investigate found a burned out car and the bodies." " Luft and Shandorf are at the scene." "Ok, let's head out, I'll see if I can make anything of it, maybe those two will have a better idea once we get there. After that, I'll make the call, and decide what to do from there. Any real Forensics or CSI will have to come from Great Falls." Once it was decided he went to his vehicle and followed the directions to where the bodies were found. Jackson's words stuck with him, that this wasn't normal. That it was worse than anything he'd seen as a soldier. The drive out wasn't a short one, but gave AJ time to get his thoughts sorted. His meeting with Joe wasn't what he expected, but he had a feeling this would only be the first of many meetings they'd have. When he arrived on the scene he found the deputies there outside their cruisers, as he pulled up. There was a firetruck there, and clear signs that the fire had been put out. After quick greetings, he had them take him to where the bodies were. "The Bodies were here when you arrived?" They both nodded, and he looked at the corpses. He took note of the wounds, massive chest wounds, likely from a shotgun. Their hands were blown off, and they'd both been shot in the face at close range with a shotgun. He regretted eating, but was able to avoid retching. He moved from the bodies to another spot near the car, where there was more blood splatter, and then finally to the car itself. The Deputies followed, but at a fair bit away from their boss. He knelt down, and swore. "Damn." He saw the ground near where he knelt, but refrained from touching it. "Jackson, come see." When his deputy came over, he pointed to what he'd seen. "They were kneeling here, side by side, then they were shot, likely in the chest." The fire would have destroyed the bloodspatter on the car, but there was blood on the ground. "A smart killer would have gone the extra step, and put them back in the car, to make sure there was absolutely no way to find out who these people were. This wasn't a random killing. This was someone sending a message. The killer moved the bodies from here, well enough away so they wouldn't burn in the fire, and then shot off their hands and faces to obscure dental identification." His voice was cold, but they could hear the anger in his tone. "Crimes like this Don't happen out here, at least not before now."
  4. "I'm not a detective or bounty hunter or anything, but I do know what responsibility feels like and what it takes to step up. I don't see this kid just running away." Lily shrugged at that, covering a smirk with the file as she took it back and opened it again. There was just something so Shay about that nonchalant assertion that the kid might be gay because he hadn't ogled her tits as much as she thought he should have. "People can surprise you," she said. "We never really know what's going on in someone's head. Still, that's all good info. So he didn't have a job, didn't have money, but he needed his bike that much. Huh." She looked back at Shay. "How much work? Like...hours per day, how many days?"
  5. "Right after you left, I didn't," Shay admitted wryly. "After a while, I did, but you really wouldn't have liked it. Now?" She pursed her lips and waggled a hand. "The scabs've healed and the scars are faded. I've gotten some perspective. But if you're gonna be around for some time Lilz, there's no big rush for that talk we're definitely going to have." Shay turned around at the flashing lights from outside, giving Lily an excellent view of her impressive profile when her shirt pulled tight. When the Deputy went straight for the Sheriff, Shay turned back to her ex, who was finishing up her breakfast. Her eyes fell on the other folder. There wasn't much more to say, but Shay was ready to leave yet. "Mind if I take a look?" Shay asked with a nod, more for something to do than out of any expectation she'd have something to add. Lily paused for a beat, then slid the folder across the table with a pair of fingers. Shay was a local and had worked all over and around Shelly. "If you like." Shay might look like she should have an OnlyFans account - and she had, though she hadn't taken it seriously and abandoned it years ago - but she was still just about the smartest woman Lily personally knew. She watched Shay as Shay idly flipped through the file, blue-grey eyes bright and incisive. "Huh." Shay was surprised as her gaze fell on a photo of a young man she recognized. She held the photo up by a thumb and forefinger. "I know this kid. Will. Will... Ducey." "Really?" Lily was equally surprised at the coincidence, but her investigative instincts went on point, eager for any info she could pick up. "How?" "It was last summer. His motorcycle broke down. I got called. I think he might have known my sister, they're about the same age." Shay gave a nonchalant shrug. "He didn't have the money for the parts or labour. He supports his mother and little brothers - y'know? - and really needed his wheels, so I cut him break." Shay made it sound like it wasn't a big deal, but Lily knew there was more to it than that. Shay had stepped up to raise her younger sister Laurie since she was sixteen, and while she was contemptuous of the lazy and selfish, she had a soft spot for those who stepped up, even if she tried to hide it. "I could get the parts for a better price than he could, and had him come with me on a couple of jobs in trade for the parts and labour. He got lunch most times too. Made too much for myself," Shay drawled. Lily wasn't fooled. "How'd he do?" "Well enough. Just grunt work, but he didn't complain no matter how long I had him hauling and moving shit or how heavy it was. Don't know if he was gay or not, he didn't say anything 'bout me being a white girl, and he glanced at my tits less than just 'bout any other guy his age. Or any age for that matter. Good kid." That might have sounded funny coming from a woman less than ten years his senior and who looked young enough to have been in high school at the same time, but Shay had had to grow up fast after her entire family save for her younger sister had died. Shay gave the rest of the file a cursory glance then shook her head as she handed it back to Lily. "I'm not a detective or bounty hunter or anything, but I do know what responsibility feels like and what it takes to step up. I don't see this kid just running away."
  6. Joe smiles at Andrew and continues on around the diner saying hi to everyone. Just about the time Andrew has had enough he comes back over to him. "Where you want to sit sheriff?" AJ nods and leads Joe to a booth. "Here is good." His eyes narrow. "Said everything you need to to everyone else?" Joe shrugs, "Just being polite. So what you want to talk about?" "You told me you had something to speak to the Sheriff about." "No," the Indian shakes his head, "I told you the spirits told me to come and talk to the Sheriff, I thought you wanted to talk to me." He looks puzzled, "You know The spirits usually tell me to come talk to Sheriff Donna, but they only said sheriff this time. Maybe the spirits just wanted us to get to know each other." He smiles broadly and sticks his hand out to shake, “Glad to meet you Sheriff." AJ reached out and shook his hand. "Good to meet you too, Joe. You can just call me AJ when we're like this." "Okay." AJ had no idea what Spirits he could be talking about, but he wouldn't insult him by denouncing his beliefs out of hand. They simply weren't part of his, but he knew they were important to those on the reservation. "Do you come to town often Joe?" Just then the food arrived. AJ was surprised when Joe's smile got even bigger. The Indian immediately started eating. After a couple of bites, he shook his head, "No Sheriff, I'm not the kind of Indian the town likes, so I only come when the Spirits say I have too." AJ dug in as well, enjoying the taste of food that hadn't changed in many years, it was always good. He found it refreshing that that hadn't changed. Joe's words though, drew a sigh. "One day, that won't be true. There won't be types the town likes, and those it doesn't." His words were somber, but said with a quiet conviction. Joe laughed "Sheriff Donna says the same thing. Still, you all live in towns with nice houses and good jobs. The Indian still lives on reservations in squalor. You know what the sad thing is Sheriff?" He sets his crescent roll down on the plate and leans forward, lowering his voice almost to a whisper, "When the Whiteman’s world crumbles and the Spirits Give the land back to the Indians . The Indians will treat the Whiteman worse than the Whiteman ever treated the Indian." Before AJ could respond to that, a flashing light caught his eye from outside. One of his Sheriffs cruisers was pulling into the parking lot lights flashing but sirens silent, it came right up to the door. AJ had been about to respond, his own desire that they find a way forward that's better for everyone. "Oh, this can't be good." He laid money down for the meal, and the tip. "I hate to cut this short Joe, but it seems I have to go to work. I'll buy this time, and maybe next time we won't get interrupted. Hopefully we get to finish our talk, and our meal." He gave him a genuine smile, even as he rose to leave the booth, and head outside to see what was going on. As AJ was leaving the diner, one of his deputies, Carter Jackson, was climbing out of the cruiser. Jackson was 24 years old had played collage football then did 2 years in the army as an MP. He was six foot two inches and built like a whisky barrel. He leaned on his open door and gave the area a quick survey to make sure there were no eaves droppers. “Morning Sheriff. We got us a couple of bodies.”
  7. Coraline liked to think she knew something about when to capture an image best, but it cost nothing to spare a little patience on someone else's turf. Besides, they were nice words, and her smile warmed up, especially with the offer at the end. It'd been... too long since she'd picked up a new friend, early in the longest year of her life to be honest, so she laughed when Ackley's pause for coffee gave her a breach to reply. "Sounds like a date. Never hurts to have a local eye to get to know an area," the athletic artist responded with her own undercurrent of laughter, "I've got a couple errands to run today, but I've got nothing else going on tomorrow morning onward and... Ooo." The server showed up with her food at this point, drawing a short happy noise of appreciation from Coraline. It may have just been diner breakfast food, but eggs and trimmings *was* eggs and trimming when you hadn't eaten yet that morning. She'd pay for it later with the right amount of exercise, but one thing she had learned that however unhappy you might be before or after a meal, you had no excuse to be unhappy during the meal. "Sorry. Yes. I've put in enough hours volunteering on Central Park Clean Ups to not treat all this like my own personal dumpster," she continued, gesturing out the window before picking up fork and knife in preparation to lay siege to her breakfast.
  8. " That's a damned good drawing of a wolf. Do you mind if I stop by your cabin later, to see if I could figure out where it came from, or where it went?" Ackley asked. His eyes occasionally drifting from Coraline's face to the drawing in the book. "You said you were an artist... if you are looking for scenes or landscapes, try at sunrise or sunset. The lighting then is spectacular. Especially at sunrise, with the world waking up. Just don't damage the wildlife or the landscape, or you'll see the business side of me." He laughs to break up the serious tone of what he just said. His eyes were alight with mirth. "If you need someone to help you find a good spot to find some nature, I'll be glad to help. I can also teach you a bit about what you'd find out here, danger-wise." He took a deep swig of his coffee, and waved down the waitress, looking for a refill, gave her a winning smile, and glanced back at Coraline.
  9. Coraline hadn't been thinking about moose when picking Shelly for her retreat, but it made sense. It was about as north as New York State, and there had been story on story about the good signs that the returning moose population showed, much as the animal was anchored as one of the three pillars of Canadianishness alongside hockey and maple syrup. Given the damage a deer could do to a car when getting hit, she had no intention of messing with something with something even bigger. She laughed, sliding her book over to the Ranger, "Well, it looked like the picture on the right, albeit darker in color and wet like it had just gone for a swim. If that's a coyote, I doubly don't want to see a wolf." She composed herself, eyes going slightly distant as she fortified her smile against a brush with her grief, "As for why Shelly, almost moved here 19-20 years ago, job offer for my Dad. Didn't come to anything in the end. But if he saw something in the town, couldn't be too bad."
  10. "Are you sure it was a wolf? They're not typically found 'round here. What did it look like? Could it have been a coyote or maybe even a very big dog? Of course it's not typical for a coyote to just wander up to a porch as well. Maybe it was the universe trying to tell you something... or maybe just trying to spook you." He laughed a little bit. "If I may suggest something that may help you with your art... stay far away from moose. They're bigger than you think, and stronger too. I just had to deal with the results of a moose being a bit freaked out by something... by replacing a large chunk of a fence. What brings you to Shelly? After all, we are kinda out of the way of... well... everything." Ackley smiled and watched Coraline for her reaction, and took a sip of his coffee.
  11. Coraline looked up from her coffee and her sketchbook, one eyebrow rising slightly. Dark eyes gave him a half-heartbeat consideration before she smiled and semi-turned in her stool. She was put together but not over-dressed, just a hint or two of makeup to make the best of natural good looks and an attention to fitness. "You'd be right, Warden," she returned with a grin, "Coraline Hess. I'm renting one of the cabins at the edge of town for the next few months. You'll probably stumble over me on your beat since I plan to take in as much of it as I can." She offered one hand in greeting, gesturing with it after Ackley took it over her book, "Artist by trade, and wonderful as it is, the Big Apple's lost its shine lately. Hence Here as of three days ago. Anyway, Nature decided to find me this morning. Wolf about *ye* high showed up right on my porch. Is that normal out here?"
  12. Ackley smiled at Joe's advice, and nodded to the man before he walked away. Looking down the counter, he saw the young lady sitting alone, not particularly paying attention to anything except for her drink and the notebook she seemed to contemplate occasionally. He stood up from his seat, and made his way down the counter, finally stopped next to Coraline, taking a seat next to her. Glancing over, he noticed the nature of her drawings in what he figured out now was a sketchbook. "Sorry to bother you, but are you new to town? I'm Game Warden Ackley Heron. I help protect the wildlife and natural beauty of the area around Shelly, as well as a few other towns."
  13. "While you're in town, you should come over for dinner sometime and we can catch up." Lily nodded, her smile evening out a bit, but staying around her eyes and the corners of her lips. "I'd like that," she said. "I'm...me being here is probably mid-to-long term, if I'm honest. Even after he finally gets off his ass into a hospital, he's not going to be able to work anymore...and we'll have bills to pay, so..." She shrugged, then tapped her folder. "Plus, already got a case. Missing persons so...that could take awhile by itself." She cleared her throat and looked down at the case file for a moment. It felt awkward as hell, but...something had to be said. Lily wasn't sure if Shay wanted to try again, or just pick up where they'd left off, or cool it and be friends, or what...but right now everything they'd shared was haunted in her head. She needed to clear that. "Look, uh...I know we have things to talk about," Lily said. "Doesn't have to be now...but I just want you to know that I know, and that I'm not trying to put it off or distract you or anything. I'm just..." She finally looked up at Shay again. "...it's just really good to see you again. I...thought maybe you wouldn't want me to."
  14. Absorbed in the sacred task of preparing a proper cup of coffee, Coraline missed Joe's announcement and gesture, giving the invigorating bean juice an experimental sip before nodding in satisfaction to herself. It'd do. She reached into a pocket in her jacket, producing a much-abused notebook. Such books had short and violent lives, filling with to-do items from the front and sketches of unborn paintings from the back until they met at the middle and were replaced by the next condemned construct of paper, glue, and cardboard. This one had more of the former than the latter, a grim tally of the bureaucratic nightmare that was putting her father to legal rest months after his remains had been interred. Her mother was *still* getting bills and documents he needed to sign. The sheer remorseless, soulless grinding and pecking of that paperwork was yet another spur driving her to this tiny city in search of a new spark to reignite the flow of images pushing back against the To-Dos with Can-Dos just waiting for a canvas and pigment and a steady hand to be something great in the eyes of at least one other human being. The wolf, intense and fearless and huge and nakedly present as it had been this morning, found itself rapidly scratched out onto the left-handed side of one such back page. A pause to take a sip of her coffee brought another older memory into play, brought into play on the opposing right-handed page. Not a Shelly landscape but an alley with overflowing dumpsters lit by a flickering lightbulb. Not a looming lupine hunter, but America's only marsupial and contender for most-urbanized mammal, a possum caught dragging something reeking but still edible into the shadows by a 22-year-old Coraline Hess. It had frozen in sight of her, fur fluffing out to try and make it look bigger than it was in the face of her intrusion without abandoning its prize, matching dark eyes on her. She, sleep deprived and just wanting to throw out her garbage, had taken another step forward that late summer evening so many years ago and it had fled with a hiss and a whip of its tail. Checkmate. But today, here, she couldn't help but imagine the same confrontation with something big enough to ask itself the question 'Could I take her? Is she food?' without a plate of glass between herself and it. The athletic artist laughed to herself loud enough to draw the curious attention of one of her fellow lunch bar patrons before sighing and turning back to the contemplation of her coffee.
  15. Chin cupped in her hand, Shay listened to Lily with rapt attention, sometimes her lips twitching with amusement, a brow occasionally quirking with doubt. Once, she had wanted nothing more than to leave Shelly behind. But after the Fire, with no family left to keep that tie to Shelly, Shay felt a different bond to her home town. She wouldn't let the Fire chase her away, nor would she leave it behind, not when she had a home for her and her sister that she had built with her own hands. But that didn't mean she didn't want to see what was out there beyond Montana. Vegas. Sandy, West Coast beaches. Road Trip through the South. New Orleans and Mardi Gras. The great East Coast cities. European castles. Old Scottish Highland distilleries and the Guinness Brewery. More. And it looked like she'd really get opportunity... When Lily said 'kisomma' and smiled that smile, Shay's grin deepened, she couldn't help it. "I want to hear 'bout that stupid shit. I'll trade you the stupid shit people keep in or do to their homes." Shay shuddered. "Hoarders are the worse." She folded her arms below her breasts and pursed her lips. "Look, Lilz. I'm still pissed with how you left. But it's really good seeing you again." Her eyes danced, her grin teased, and her tone was way too casual. "While you're in town, you should come over for dinner sometime and we can catch up." Keen investigator she was, Lily could tell Shay wasn't just asking about dinner. It was a circumspect way to ask if Lily was seeing anyone without coming right out and saying it. And if she wasn't - or even if she was - they could see how the evening with. On the other hand, Shay was a more than decent cook.
  16. For his part, when Bunnee finally turned to Andrew, the young sheriff shrugged. He'd watched Joe leave him to go speak to the local Game Warden, and nodded. "We'll take an order of the scones if you don't mind, and I'll have hashbrowns and bacon with 2 cups of coffee." Bunnee nodded, and then Andrew went over to Joe and Ackley. "Morning Warden." he said pleasantly. The two of them were the law, such as it was. Andrew for the roads and cities, and Ackley for everywhere else. Andrew looked to Joe and smiled. "I ordered for us, so if you've said what you need to, I'd like to hear what you have to say while we wait."
  17. Lily sat back, thinking as she tore herself free of the urge to reach out and hug Shay across the table. She was expressive, and it was so easy to get swept up in her emotion, her drama, her life. Sometimes to the point of neglecting your own. "Well...it smells worse," she says, and cracks a little smile. "And it takes time getting used to having so many people around. Day and night, people to the left and right and up and down...and most of them seem to feel like because they're near you, they get to have an opinion about you. And...noisy. A lot of noise, all the time. It's just kind of a lot. Sensory overload. Everything's bright light, loud noise, sharp smells. I think I get why so many people feel so exhausted all the time." She takes a breath and holds it, keeping the scent of cooking beef and melting cheese and hot bread in her nose for a moment before letting it run free again. "No one cuts you breaks. You have to fight to take every step. Which is...again...exhausting, but I will say this much." Lily nods to herself. "...when you take that step, you feel it. Feel it in your bones. Every win. And even though people are tired and cranky and hard to deal with, underneath the thick skin they had to grow to stay sane, they're still people. Like you, like me. They've all got stories too, and sometimes...in a world where everyone feels like they have to talk all the time...just listening to someone's story is all it takes to make a friend." Lily smiles that easygoing smile of hers. "Also, people hire investigators for the stupidest shit, kisomma," she chuckled, accidentally dropping one of her old pet names for Shay.
  18. "Do? Do?! 'Course I'm gonna take the money," Shay exclaimed, practically chuckling in disbelief. "Me and Laurie get by, but from what I read, taking the settlement just means I can't sue later. Since I never thought there'd be any money in the first place.... " Shay gave a dismissive shrug. "Just wanna get down to Great Falls to get someone who specializes in stuff like this to take a look at it. Y'know, to make sure I'm not signing away my soul or whatever. As for what I'm gonna do with it...." Shay glanced to the side, staring out the window but not really seeing anything. Lili saw the lines of her throat twitch as Shay's jaw tightened, her eyes narrowing. Shay had cried at the funeral for her family. Lili had been woken by Shay caught in a nightmare with silent tears on her cheeks more than once. Shay wasn't what anyone would call reserved, but she was damned stubborn and did everything she could to look strong for her sister and give her as normal as life as was possible. Shay never cried in public. She looked close now. Her slender, strong fingers drummed a rapid staccato on the table. "Set up a trust for Laurie. Don't have to worry 'bout how to pay for college now, I guess. And when she graduates, well, she'll be able to do whatever she wants. Me..." Shay's throat danced as she swallowed, her low voice almost tremulous. "... I dunno. With Laurie at college, I can - I'll be able travel, finally. Maybe go to Berkeley after all." Shay gave a bark of laughter and shook her head, turning back to Lili. "'Kay, probably not that, not after hustling and working my ass off the last ten years, not sure I'd be able to sit in a classroom again. But a nice, long vacation someplace that never sees snow is totally gonna happen." Shay gave a deep sigh then rolled her shoulders to collect herself, interesting motions happening under her shirt. "It hardly seems real, saying it out loud." She finished her coffee then set the mug at the side of the table to make it easy to collect. "If it works out, cool. If not... well, my luck runs bad but we won't be any worse off. Enough about me. What've you been up to the last few years? What's it like out there beyond the borders of Montana?"
  19. Bunnee smiled again, "Coming right up." The diners owner tore off the ticket put it on the order board and head off toward the sheriff and Joe Spotted Owl. As he approached, Joe, who had been looking around curiously at everyone, suddenly stepped off rapidly toward where the game warden was seated. Ackley sipped at his coffee while waiting for his food, he had pretty much been minding his own business though he had noted the arrival of the Sheriff and the big Indian, and now that big Indian was heading right up to his table. "Hello game warden, the spirits tell me to tell you that what you think is not what is and that you should talk to that dark woman over there." Joe turns halfway and points at Cora sitting at the counter fixing her newly arrived cup of coffee.
  20. Lily felt the bottom of her stomach roll over a pit and drop for a second before hitting a new ground. That was...she was no financial expert, but even after fees and taxes and everything... It was a lot. "Well shit," she said softly. "That...is a number." Her eyes rose from the letter to Shay's eyes. "You gonna take it? I mean, you know me...usually I'd be all 'if they're offering this much it's because they're afraid you can get five times that in court,' but...I mean, that's a life changing sum right there." "So...what are you going to do?"
  21. Shay shook her head and shrugged a shoulder. "Ain't heard anything 'bout missing kids." Unless it was happening to kids in Shelly and parents at one of Laurie's games were gossiping, it wasn't likely she'd have heard anything. She nodded towards the Sheriff. "You might ask AJ. Sheriff Carmody, I mean. As for the settlement..." Shay pursed her lips, expression neutral, as she collected her manila folder. She opened it up and squared up the papers inside. The papers rustled as she flipped them over, looking for the right one. When she found it, she cocked her head, contemplating the numbers. Then she spun the folder around and slid it towards Lili. When Lili glanced down at it, Shay took up her coffee mug in both hands, savouring the fading warmth, tempestuous blue-grey eyes enigmatic as she watched the other woman. The sheet of crisp, creamy paper Lili was looking at was a breakdown of the total punitive and compensatory damages assigned in the class action suit, and the amount awarded to each plaintiff. One number was circled in red ink, in a hand much neater than Shay's handwriting, the crimson oval almost mechanical in its precision. $3,098,879.55
  22. For a second Lily almost felt that Shay was squeezing her heart instead of her hand. She'd expected some anger, maybe bitterness, after how things had gone before. And maybe it was still there, but Shay was leaving that to the side for a moment and Lily appreciated that...well...a lot. She squeezed back. "Thanks," she said. "Right now it's just...trying to get him to go to a hospital. We don't even know for sure what it is, or how bad it is yet. But...it's not great." Lily cleared her throat then put her hand on the folder. "I, uh...this sort of landed on my lap before I headed into town today. Just giving it a look. It's about some missing kids from the rez. Probably nothing you'd have heard anything about." "But you're getting a settlement for the fire? About fucking time." Lily let go of Shay's hand so she could take a drink. "What are they offering?"
  23. Shay bit back a viperish retort. In a town the size of Shelly, who exactly did Lili think she'd be with? There hadn't been many people for her to pick from in the first place, and even fewer after Lili left. She was lucky if she got away to Billings or Missoula for a Tinder Date - read: Hookup - nowadays. But she knew Lili didn't really mean it that way. Shay let out a long breath, tucking a loose lock of luxuriant hair behind her ear. Then she arched her back and flashed a slow, lazy smirk that had guys chasing her since she was barely out of her tweens, despite coming out as gay more than a year before the Wildfire. "Thanks, Lilz." Shay gave Lili a blatant once-over, her grin widening teasing salaciousness. "You don't look so bad, yourself." The tinkling of the front door bell drew Shay's attention. Seeing the Sheriff - her older sister Teagan's boyfriend in high school - Shay gave him a nod, and a small salute with two fingers extended, before turning back to Lili. She took a sip of coffee, then played with the cup, spinning it around by the handle with her forefinger. "I've been getting by. Laurie's graduating this year. She got a partial scholarship to UM. I got the rest of her first year covered. Was still figuring out the rest, when the answer might have just dropped into my lap the other day." Shay nodded towards the folder she had left on the table, tapped it with a finger. "Seems like there was a settlement after all. The Wildfire, right? I didn't even know about it." She pursed her lips, but didn't elaborate. It still seemed unbelievable. "Will have to get down to Great Falls in a few days to get it checked out. Lawyer shit. Should probably look into what the Deem Corporation is too." Shay finished off her coffee, then stared down into the empty cup for a long moment, contemplating. After a while, eyes intent and mouth tight, she looked up again and reached across the table to give Lili's hand a squeeze. "Look, Lilz, you didn't say how bad it is, with your dad. But if you need anything, call me, 'kay?" Shay sounded awkward, almost grudging, but genuine. She had appreciated it, really she had, but in the aftermath of the Wildfire, she had hated how everyone had offered their help, with anything. That and the apologies, like they had something to do with her entire family dying in the Fire. Especially how most people hadn't actually meant it, it had just been the polite thing to say. But she more than most knew what it felt like to lose family. She wouldn't have made the offer to just anyone, but she would to Lili, despite still holding on to some hurt feelings on how they separated.
  24. Coraline half-turned in her seat. She took in the Sheriff for a heartbeat. Having seen the logo of the Shelly Sheriff Department emblazoned on its vehicles one or twice during her short stay, the athletic artist held them in the wary politeness she held most Police in, to be left to her business if she left them to theirs. She nodded her head respectfully once, smile holding politely, "Sir." She shifted her focus back to Bunnee, deciding to just roll with his compliment despite spotting at least one or two people in the dinner she'd easily consider far more runway material than herself, laughing lightly with a trace of her New York accent, "Yes, he is. I'll just go with the scrambled eggs and pancakes, Sir. That and a coffee."
  25. As AJ entered the diner behind Joe, he sighed slightly. He'd not expected him to greet Bunnee so loudly, but it was done now. He looked around at who was there, seeing Cora, who he knew to be new in town, and Shay was over talking to Lily, someone he knew had some issues with Shelly Law enforcement. He'd not been involved with the incident, but he knew it was a black mark on the department for how things had gone down. Finally he smiled, and nodded at Bunnee. "Morning Bunnee. I see you're pretty busy today." This was of course a good thing in his eyes, Bunnee was sorta like a focal point for Shelly, He was a constant that even after his time away, AJ knew he could count on Bunnee being the same as he always was. It was refreshing, in its own way.
  26. Bunnee nodded and gestured toward the bar, "Right this way Cora," and led her to the long counter that looked like it was still in the fifties with napkin holders, salt, pepper,and sugar shakers and bottles of Mustard Catsup, and various sauces on neat trays set where ever two stools could reach. While she took a seat he handed her a menu. "We serve the whole menu from open to close and if you want anything that's not on the menu I will try to accommodate." He grinned at her again and pushed his glasses up of the end of his nose as he glanced around the room and out into the parking lot. "Don't pay any mind to the stares," he said lowering his voice and leaning a bit closer to her, " folks around her ain't used to seeing someone as tall and beautiful and looking like they just stepped off a models runway." Back behind Cora the little bell at the door rang and a big booming voice called out. "Hey Bunnee, you got anyof those stuffed scones?" Looking at the door everyone could see a large Indian waving at Bunnee and a slightly embarrassed sheriff entering the diner. Joe Spotted Owl

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