Saturday, 14 July 2018

Chapter 66c - Gen 2 - Mint

After Crimson has looked over the rest of the article, and seen what profession his Grandfather does for a living, we stare at each other wide eyed.  He makes a quiet choking sound, then we both burst up into hysterical laughter at the same time.

The honourable Reverent Crimson Blaze ... he was a vicar, a parish priest, at the time the news article was printed.  Picturing Ruby as a holy man's daughter, who's behaviour is far from holy, is just too funny for words.

The harder Crimson laughs, the harder I laugh until we are both literally doubled up and having a fit of absolute hysterics.  The tears are rolling down both of our faces, and I am having to hold my stomach because I am getting a stitch from so much laughing.

It takes us both quite a while to get the laughter out of our system.

          "Oh well I guess that has blown it ... a man of the cloth is definitely not going to be accepting of his mixed berry Grandchildren is he!"  Crimson laughs quietly as he throws himself down onto the couch  "Aren't they the one's who shout the loudest that colour mixing is a sin in the eyes of Berry!?"
          "You never know unless you try .... and I'm sure you will be shown some forgiveness, after all you didn't ask to be created.  It is her sin, not yours, and she obviously named you after him.  That has got to earn you some brownie points."  I laugh
          "Yeah until he hears about Mom and Strawberry promiscuous behaviour, and the mess Maize got himself into with Coral."  we both start laughing  "Saffron being gay, Cherry's colourless husband and triplets won't go down very well either!!  Lets face it - mixed and colourless berries, adultery, fornication, promiscuity, homosexuality.  We have it all ... our family is full of sin!!  He will be fending us off with his cross and condemning us to hell!!"
          "Sin is in the eye of the beholder, and it is our duty to forgive ..."
          "Hey Mini Leaf ... please don't you get going all religious on me."  he chuckles
          "Fat chance of that when I am the ultimate sin ... two tone."  we both laugh
          "I seriously can't even picture my Mother, going to church, preying to the big man and being well behaved and all prim and proper!!"
          "Man I would love to have been a fly on the wall when Ruby went to confession ..."
          "Yeah ... Forgive me Father, because I have sinned ... again .. and again ..."  he starts howling  "I wander if she was sent away to the boarding school, for banging all the choir boys!"
          "Oh stop!!  I just had this vivid picture pop up in my head.  Picture a row of smiling choir boys ... Ruby on her knees in front of them ... but she's not singing or praying!!"
          "No because I should imagine her mouth would be too full of something else!"
This has us both cracking up again.  I can not help but be a little in awe of Crimson, as I watch him becoming hysterical again.  It is good that he can laugh and even joke about all this, rather than letting it upset him and dragging him down.

The bedroom door opens and Forrest walks in.  He stands in the doorway frowning at us both, sat on the couch laughing our heads off.

           "It is Daddy Leaf."  I laugh at him as he continues to stand watching us.
           "I thought I would come and let you know, we are back.  We have not found your Dad." he pulls a miserable face at me then starts frowning again
           "Okay."  I mumble
           "Your Mom wants to know if you want any lunch?"
           "No thanks.  We have eaten."  I smile at him before turning to Crimson  "Unless you want another sandwich?"
           "No I'm fine, we have a pizza date later remember."  he smiles at me
           "Are you two okay?" Forrest asks curiously
           "Yeah ... we are sinfully amused."  I laugh back at him
           "Oh Berry ..." Crimson starts choking  

Me saying sinfully, has Crimson roaring and he collapses into another fit of laughter.  I can't help but laugh at him.  Forrest doesn't because he does not know why we are laughing so much, he now looks even more confused.

        "It is unusual to see you two together."  Forrest frowns at me, as he glances at Crimson, and starts to watch him almost suspiciously
        "Not really.  We have actually been hanging out together quite a lot lately, but generally we are also with Wisty and Parsley."  I smile at him
        "It is just the two of us now we have both dumped our baggage!"  Crimson chuckles quietly
        "So what are you two up to?"
        "Don't worry Daddy dear I'm old enough to have men in my bedroom, and behave myself.  We are not up to any funny business if that is what you are thinking ... and if we were, we would be using handcuffs, taking precautions, and that door would be locked."  this sets Crimson off howling again.
        "No you cheeky madam, that isn't what I was thinking."  he laughs at me  "It's just that I wouldn't have expected either of you to be laughing right now after what has happened to Ruby and what is going on with Alpine."

            "Neither of us are the crying type."  I smile at him  "Besides Doctor Rock, isn't laughter supposed to be the best medicine?!"  I grin at him cheekily  "You should try practising what you preach Doc, it's good for your soul."
           "Seriously Mint, you are cracking me up!!"  Crimson starts howling again.
           "Don't push it young lady, and it's Doctor Leaf if you don't mind!"  Forrest smirks at me then starts laughing as he points at Crimson  "So what are you doing to him, to create this much laughter?!"
           "Nothing  ... we are now partners in crime and play detective."  he frowns at me  "We have been using the computers trying to track down Ruby's parents and siblings.  Crimson thinks they have a right to know she has faded."
           "So what's with all this laughter?"  he frowns at me
           "We've found something a little ... no ... very funny ..."  I glance at Crimson
           "Show him."  he smiles at me  "I guess Leafy could also do with a laugh right now."

I give Forrest the laptop, and explain we have found an old news article about Ruby from the boarding school.  We both watch Forrest as he starts reading.  He looks up a few times and frowns, then I see his face change, and he starts to laugh quietly.

        "Oh Berry!!"  he carries on laughing as he hands the lap top back to me  "Now I see why you might be laughing ... no disrespect Crimson, but Ruby, a vicar's daughter!!  She was not exactly the religious type.  It is no wander she ran away!!"
         "That is why we have been laughing so much!"
         "I didn't know Ruby's surname was Blaze, I always thought it was Red."  he frowns suddenly
         "You are not on your own with that one."  Crimson mumbles
         "Do you still want me to ask him?"  I frown at Crimson
         "Yeah, because I could really do with seeing both of them now."  he smiles at me

        "Daaaad ......." I smile at Forrest a little on the sickly side
        "Okay madam, what do you want?"  he laughs at me
        "Crimson needs to slyly check out both of his parents medical records."  he frowns at me then Crimson
        "Basically, we have found something a little dodgy with both of my parents."  Crimson smiles at Forrest  "I've asked Mango, but he won't let me look at medical records without something official, which takes time, and I don't have time as far as Mom goes, her funeral is in just over a week - and it could take weeks for the paperwork to come through."  he smiles  "If I could just sneak a look, it would help me a lot, and before you even ask ... no I won't be busting your ass.  I will be breaking the law with you - so we will be even."
         "I can access Ruby's medical records quite easily, but... your Dad is a little tricky .  He doesn't have a doctor in this town, his records are not based here - Apple Hill or Apple Falls, I'm not too sure which."
         "Really?!"  Crimson frowns at him  "I didn't know that."  he starts to look thoughtful
         "Explain .. what is dodgy?"  Forrest frowns at Crimson
         "Well with my Mom obviously, it is her surname.  On their marriage certificate her maiden name is Red.  I did originally want to see her records to find out her parents names and where she was born, to give us an idea of where to start looking for her parents.  However, I know that now and her parents names ... but I still need to see what her medical records are saying.  I was ten when that news report was printed, and for all I know, that missing persons report could still be valid, and she has lied to us about seeing her parents after we were born, when she said they disowned her."  he smiles at Forrest.  "We can't find any of Mom's papers at home, birth certificate, marriage certificate, passport etc, or any of Dads.  It is like she has disposed of them all, possibly to hide something.  I highly suspect that when I check the Red County data base, she is still going to be listed as a missing person ... why else would she hide and lie about her real surname?!  The authorities would have found her straight away, if her medical records had been legitimate, which makes me suspect that they aren't."
        "I see your point."  Forrest mumbles

      "You know yourself Forrest, your medical records are hard to hide and get away from.  I suspect if her medical records are saying her surname is Red, and her birthplace and parents do not tie up with what I have found on the Red County births register.  I think to wipe away her real identity she has to have obtained a false Identity or had her records fabricated ... which is going to bug me in a professional capacity.  She was only a teenager, so how, and where could she have obtained a false identity from?"
         "Well I can probably answer that question for you right now."  Forrest laughs quietly  "Gravel Rock.  If there is anything dodgy that you need doing in this town, like fake ID's, he has always been the one to get it done!!"
         "Yeah, me and Mint have both thought exactly the same thing.  I suspect he did Mom's dodgy shit, which might tie in with how the berry hole got to be Scarlet's creator."  Crimson frowns at Forrest  "Gravel being the dodgy bent copper, has that always been common knowledge in this town, because I've known him all my life, I worked with him, and none of us at the station had a clue, especially not me!!"
         "Yes and no.  It all depends on who you are and if he has ever done anything dodgy for you.  There was only ever a select few that knew the truth about him, unfortunately, I am one of them, but even I didn't know the half of it!!!  I knew he bent the law when it suited him, but I didn't realise to what extreme!!"  he laughs  "He had a runner - a front man ... which I think you know now.  Dodgy Swan - who has always been the visible criminal bad boy in this town.  Obviously people went to Swan, but it was Gravel who was actually behind him, doing all the evil dealings.  From what I've seen, learned and experienced, Gravel only ever revealed himself to those he could blackmail, use and abuse ... Mace, Turmeric, even me, we are prime examples.  While everyone else saw his squeaky clean angelic front."  
          "You was here when the school gang landed in town ..."
          "Yes I was ... but of course, Ruby landed way before they did.  The pregnant teenage run away, who was smuggled into town by our loveable orange nerd."  he laughs
          "So how is your memory, do you remember Mom coming here."  he smiles
          "Yeah, my amnesia has only wiped away everything before the day me and Granite got married."  he smiles for a moment  "So yeah, I remember Ruby landing.  I doubt anyone who was around at the time, can forget Ruby landing."  he laughs
          "Why  .... or dare I ask?"

          "I think you probably already have a very good idea."  he rolls his eyes  "I shouldn't really be saying this to you Crimson, because she is your Mother ... but, you think Strawberry's behaviour is bad.  She has nothing on your Mother at the same age."  he smiles awkwardly
          "Explain to me what she was like ... I am way past being offended by anything anyone has to say about her!"
          "Ruby was a right live wire and went through the boys and men in this town, like a whirl wind!!  It was practically a different one every day, and she didn't hide it either, she did it openly for everyone to see.   She caused a hell of a lot of trouble, even being pregnant!!  She was off the rails and it was almost like she was in self destruct mode."  he laughs  "Spicey was pulling his hair out with her, they were finding it very hard to control her!!  Spicey even said at one point if this is the way they have been carrying on or there are others like her at that boarding school - he was pulling Mango out of there.  I think the only thing that stopped him from doing it was because Lilly had been here in the school holidays, they knew Mango was a very sensible boy and Lilly was a nice sensible girl.  They could already see that Mango was getting very giddy over Lilly, and thought if he was going to be doing anything like Ruby, he would be doing it with Lilly and they trusted that they could be sensible about it."  he rolls his eyes  "I actually felt sorry for your Dad, even before he landed in town.  We all knew the story about the pregnancy and that there were three candidates for the babies Father.  By the time Sunny landed in town, he was pretty much a laughing stock, for getting himself saddled with Ruby.  None of us thought that their relationship would last five minutes.  Surprisingly she did calm down a lot after the gang landed, but I think you know like everyone else, her promiscuous behaviour has never stopped ... instead of doing it openly like she had been, she then started to do it secretly behind closed doors, probably to stop your Dad finding out."
          "Gravel?"  Crimson frowns at him   "Before or after me and Cherry were born, I don't suppose you remember seeing her with Gravel abnormally or excessively do you?"
          "Mmmm it's been too long ago now, for me to say.  At the time I was pretty much having my own relationship struggles, my head was all over the place, to notice what Gravel was doing. "  Forrest pulls a face  "But I would say, if Gravel did do what you think for your Mother, it is more than likely she dealt with Swan and didn't have a clue Gravel was behind it, unless what she was hiding was bad enough for Gravel to have a hold over her. "  he laughs  "As for her sleeping with Gravel, it was probably inevitable, we all had our chance, from the moment she landed in town to the day she faded, anyone could ride the town bike if they wanted to, and most took it."

            "So have you ever taken your chance?"  Crimson frowns at him, which makes me laugh
            "Hell no!!  I seriously can't believe you just asked me that question."  Forrest laughs at Crimson a little awkwardly
            "I'm not going to punch you or anything if you did!!"  Crimson laughs  "Or I'd have to knock half of the town out, starting with T!!"
           "I'm no angel obviously, but your Mother, definitely NOT!!"  he laughs  "Besides, I've always been gay remember ... and hiding Mel and what has been going on here was hard enough without complicating things!!"  he smirks
           "Leafy, you are as gay as I am, so that won't convince me that you haven't had a ride of the bike!"  Crimson laughs at him
           "Seriously, not that I have to prove myself, but, before my amnesia it wasn't just a child phobia I was dealing with.  According to Mango I also had a Cromophobia too.  An aversion to the colour Red.  I found my red school mate drown in the meadow pond when I was a child, and after that I hated the colour red with a passion.  I saw a red person coming and I walk away.  It was that bad that Mango tried to rota me and Cardinal Blush, who is red, on different shifts, just so his colour didn't get to me.  So your Mother I have always kept well away from."
           "I'm sorry Leafy, I was only pulling your chain!!"  Crimson mumbles awkwardly  "I didn't mean to make you think I was actually accusing you!!"
           "It's fine."  he laughs quietly
           "I'm just curious I guess.  Everyone tip toes around me and watches what they say.  Nobody will tell me just how bad she was, and who exactly she got her claws into.  I can't help but wander exactly what she put my Dad through!!"
           "They don't tell you, because you are her son!"  Forrest chuckles  "Really you are better off not knowing just how bad she was.  I'm sure you have enough bad memories of your Mother to keep you awake at night, without winding yourself up over who she has been sleeping with behind your Dad's back!!"
          "I guess."  he mumbles

         "Well, It looks like I will have to pay dodgy Swan a visit in the nick.  I might just have found something else to pin on Gravel, if we are actually on the right track with all this!"  he smirks then raises his eyebrows  "So Leafy, can you help me take a quick look at Mom and Dad's medical records."
           "Why your Dad's?"  Forrest frowns
           "Dad's records in Amber, contradict what we know.  According to his marriage entry here he was married to Mom, but according to the marriage entry in Amber Meadow, he was not married to Mom at all, but to somebody else."

I watch Forrest's face drop.  He just stands staring at Crimson in a strange way, which puzzles me, and I think Crimson too because he starts to frown at him suspiciously.

            "Leafy ... you know something don't you."  Crimson squints at Forrest
            "I ..."  he stutters and clams up
            "Mustard Maize."  Crimson just drops his name out then he watches Forrest face twisting.  There suddenly becomes an awkward silence in the room.
            "Dad you need to spit it out, because unless you haven't noticed you are being interrogated by PC Shine.  Even I can see your head is in turmoil right now.  Your face has just dropped you right in it!!"  I laugh to try and snap them both out of just intensely staring at each other.
            "You know Mustard Maize don't you."  Crimson squints at Forrest  "Of course you do, when he has been spotted visiting Mace in the house you own."
            "Have you spoken to any of your brothers and sisters about Mustard since you found out?"  Forrest frowns at Crimson.
            "Good!!"  he seems to sigh with relief  "So is it just you and Mint who knows about this?"
            "Yeah ... why?"
            "Give me your phone ..."  Forrest holds his hand out to Crimson who is just frowning at him   "Give me your phone!!"  he snaps loudly.

Crimson glances across the room to where he left his phone.  He jumps off the couch and picks up his phone off the desk, frowning at Forrest confused by his request.  Before Crimson can stuff it into his pocket, Forrest snatches the phone off him and stuffs it into his back pocket, then he pulls his own phone out.

          "Stay right there and don't either of you move!!"  Forrest says quite sternly  "I'll have your phone too."  he holds his hand out to me and I just numbly pass it to him.  If I didn't know he was my Dad right now, I think I would be scared.

Forrest starts to make a phone call and all we can do is watch him, wandering what is going on.  We watch as Forrest closes and turns the key to lock my bedroom door ... Me and Crimson just frown at each other.

We sit listening to the phone on the other end of the line ringing, when Forrest clicks the call onto load speaker.

          "Well, if it isn't our favourite green thing."  Mace laughs  "You must be desperate if you are phoning me!"
          "Shut up you idiot!!"  Forrest snaps  "I take it Granite is with you, seeing as you have just answered HIS phone."
          "Yeah, he is in the shower.  I'll get him to phone you when he's finish." 
          "No, you need to get him out of the shower!!  Crimson has found out about Mustard."
          "SHIT!!  How?!"
          "He's a detective ... I did warn everyone this would happen, but none of you would listen!!"
          "Okay you twat ... you was right ... what do you want, a gold medal?"  Mace laughs at him
          "Shut up you sarcy cow!!"  Forrest laughs at him
           "GRAN!!!"  Mace shouts  "Forrest, please tell me Crimson hasn't said anything to Saffy."
           "No, thankfully I caught him in time.  He is at mine with Mint, and hasn't had a chance to say anything to anyone."  he mumbles 
          "Tell me Mint knows too."
          "Yeah."  he mumbles
          "Shit this is getting out of hand!  So how did Crimson find out?"  he mumbles  "GRAN!!"  we hear him shout really loud again.
          "Poking around in the birth, deaths and marriages register trying to find his Mom's parents."
          "Just hang on ... he can't hear me with the shower running."  Mace mumbles.
          "Turn on the sink tap ... that will get him out!"  Forrest laughs
          "Awesome idea!"  Mace starts laughing really loudly

         "What's going on Forrest?"  Crimson snaps
         "Just hold on Crimson ... we will explain everything to you when everyone gets here."
         "Who's everyone?"

Forrest doesn't get to answer his question because we suddenly hear Granite screaming, which sets Mace off hysterically laughing.  Forrest starts to chuckle to himself.

         "You TWAT!!"  Granite yells  "What the hell did you do that for ... you know turning that tap on runs the water icy cold!"  he laughs sarcastically
         "Leafy told me to do it."
         "Yeah right ... stop trying to be funny Mace."  Granite laughs  "If you are after sex, you are going the totally wrong way about it.  My balls have just shrivelled up to the size of peas, from the shock, so you can forget it now!!  All you are getting is bent over my knee and a good spanking!!"
          "I bet you didn't know Gran has turned into a kinky fuck did you Leafy!!"

This has us all howling

         "Tell me Leafy is listening to this!!"  we hear Granite choke
         "Yes baby!!  We have a problem ... Crimson has found out about Mustard!"
         "Leafy you twat!!."  Granite's voice comes quite loudly out of the phone, which Mace must have passed him  "Thank you MATE ... I owe you one for reminding him about the taps!!"
         "It was my pleasure."  Forrest laughs
         "Yeah I bet!!"  he snaps  "Is it true, has Crimson found out?"
         "Yeah, I've got him locked up in Mint's bedroom, with Mint, they both know."
         "SHIT!!  Mint  too?"  he snaps  "Hang on ... what is Crimson doing in Mints bedroom?  I know you would love to see those two together, please tell me you have already been meddling to try and push them together!!"  he starts really laughs
         "GRANITE just SHUT UP."  Forrest virtually shouts as he turns away from us, I think in embarrassment.

Me and Crimson look at each other.  Crimson raises his eyebrows at me which makes me snigger.

         "You have haven't you, you've been trying to play matchmaker!!"  Granite starts howling
         "No actually I haven't!!  We came home and found them together.  Whatever they are doing, they are doing by themselves so JUST DROP IT!!"  he snaps angrily  "We have more important things to be worrying about right now  ... Granite concentrate!!"
         "Leaf you kill me!!"
         "You did hear both me and Mace tell you .... Crimson has found out about Mustard!"
         "Yes I heard you!!"  he chuckles  "Can't you just fob Crimson off and throw him off the scent.  He has got enough to deal with at the moment ... he doesn't need this on top, and neither do Scarlet or Saffron.  Scarlet is already broken, even though Sunny was not biologically her Dad, to her he will always be her Dad!!  Finding this out on top of what she is already trying to deal with, could just finish her off.   Scarlet is worrying me enough,  but Saffy is really frightening me right now!!" 
          "Why is he frightening you?"
          "He has already started to cut himself again, because his head has totally gone.  We should never have let him leave the hospital after the suicide attempt.  We should have forced him into a stint in psych.   Saffy CAN NOT find out about Sunny and Mustard!!  I think you know, it could be disastrous!!"
          "I did think about trying to cover it up for a minute, but what's the point Gran.  It is too dangerous, especially for Saffron.  I am afraid it will blow up in our face if we don't deal with this properly!!  Crimson is training to be a Detective, he has found a lead, and he is going to keep digging until he uncovers all of the truth.  We can't stop him now!!"
          "So what are you suggesting we do?"
          "It is better if we all sit him down and tell it to him properly.  We can contain it then, if he goes off half cocked only knowing half the truth, it isn't going to take Saffy long to find out, and that is the last thing we need  Like you said it could be disastrous!!  We need to do what we did with Ruby, just because Crimson knows, it doesn't mean they all have to!!"

         "I suppose, we could try that again."
         "It is the only thing we can do to avoid another mega bomb dropping on the extended family!!"
         "I guess we had better round the troops up then!  We will come round to yours, it is safer than doing it here."  he mumbles  "What about Mustard?"
         "I think Mustard needs to be here.  I doubt Crimson will believe us otherwise, he needs to hear it from the horses mouth and see some proof, photo's and stuff."
          "Okay .. I'll get Mace to phone Mustard, while I get hold of T .. you track down Tapestry and expect us to land pretty soon."
          "I'm going to have to tell Mel, aren't I ... she's going to wander why I've got these two locked up in here and why you lot are landing.  I won't be able to hide it from her, she can read me like a book when I'm lying."  he mumbles  "and Meadow is here."
          "Get rid of Meadow, way too many people know already ... leave Mel till we get there, she will have to hear it when they do, which is not going to do her blood pressure any good."  he tuts   "I guess she will have to know, because we are going to have to keep Crimson at yours and away from Saffy and the others, until he gets the shock out of his system!!"
          "We need to hope we don't get the same kind of performance out of him as we did Ruby!!"
          "I doubt we will.  If it was Strawberry then yes, but not Crimson.  I'm sure he is sensible enough to do the right thing especially for Saffy."
          "I bloody hope so!"  he mumbles  "Tell Mel to get the kettle and cheese toasties on.  We shouldn't  be too long!"
         "Okay."  Forrest mumbles.

Forrest closes his phone and stares down at the floor like he is deep in thought.

         "Forrest .. you need to spit it out .. what is going on?"  Crimson snaps at him
         "You will find out as soon as they get here."  he mumbles
         "I would rather you told me now!!"  he snaps angrily  "You can't keep me and Mint locked up like this against our will!!"

         "I'm sorry Crimson, arrest me later if you feel you have to.  However I think you will probably be thanking me instead, for stopping you from doing something stupid, especially talking to any of your Brothers and Sisters.  That door will only be locked until the others get here.  You need to hear the whole story and all the facts before you react to it.  Everything we have done, was to protect you and your siblings from the truth and spare you from a lot of heartbreak."
         "You need to tell me ... spare us from what truth ...."
         "Please don't start bombarding me with questions ... everything will be explained to you properly when Granite, Mace, Turmeric, Tapestry and Mustard get here."  he frowns at me  "Unfortunately Caramel and Mint are going to have to hear it too, and like the rest of us, they are going to have to be trusted to keep it to themselves."  he rolls his eyes  "Crimson, we hoped that none of you Shine kids would ever find out, and now that you have, unfortunately we can't spare you from it.  I just hope you are going to do the right thing, by keeping it to yourself, and spare your siblings from the same heartache that you are about to face, especially Saffron."
          "I'm not going to like this am I?"
          "No unfortunately you won't."  he mumbles  "I need to go downstairs and get rid of my Sister.  You heard Granite, they are on their way, and as soon as they get here, we will be up to explain everything to you."
          "Just answer me one question then I'll shut up until they get here .... "  Crimson asks Forrests who just rolls his eyes and laughs  "I've heard Saffy mentioned a few times now by you, Granite and Mace, and I get the feeling you are trying to protect him in particular.  I highly doubt that the Amber marriage register is a clerical error, and you've kind of confirmed that between you keep mentioning Mustard.  Mustard is a bloke ... and you gay guys protect your own ... "
         "I'm straight remember, you have got the proof sat right next to you."  Forrest grins and holds his finger up which makes both of us laugh
         "Okay so I forgot for a minute, that you've been pulling the wool over all our eyes for the last twenty years ..."  Crimson laughs  "Oh fudge I really can not believe that I am just about to say this!!"  Crimson runs his fingers through his hair like he is suddenly stressed out.  "My Dad ... was he doing the same or a similar thing as you ... was he ... was he secretly gay?"
        "Yes detective, that is exactly what he was."  he mumbles quietly

Forrest smiles sympathetically. before he walks out the bedroom and closes the door behind himself.  I am already in shock as we sit quietly and listen to him turn the key in the door.

           "This has to be a joke, right?!"  I turn to stare at Crimson
           "Leafy didn't look like he was joking to me." he mumbles  "That conversation that we heard, sounded all too serious to be a joke!!"
Crimson stares at me wide eyed before he throws himself forcefully back on the bed.  He just lies there quietly for a moment, staring up at the ceiling, before he starts to hit his forehead with the palm of his hand.

          "Stop it!!"  I snap as I grab for his hand  "You are going to hurt yourself!"
          "Hurt!"  he laughs sarcastically  "What are a few slaps compared to the hurt that I think my Dad is just about to deal me!!"


Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Chapter 66b - Gen 2 - Mint

After leaving the kitchen we make our way upstairs.

I don't have to show Crimson the way to my room, as he used to spend a lot of time in this house with Cinnamon when we were younger.  Even though I can not ever remember him spending any time in my bedroom, which I shared with Fudge, he knew which door to open.

I follow Crimson into my room.  I am staring at my books underneath the television that are not in their normal place, and can already tell that Forrest has been in here cleaning and tidying up.  As I am not paying attention, I crash into Crimson, unceremoniously, when he suddenly stops dead in front of me.

                "Wow!!"  he laughs as he stands staring around the room

                 "This is my kind of room ... "  he laughs  "You have an office in your bedroom. ... I love it!!"
                 "Really!"  I laugh  "It generally annoys most people!!  Parsley used to hate it!!"
                 "It is probably just me.  I'm an ambitious workaholic, who doesn't know how to clock off.  I am well known for falling asleep at my desk or in the squad car.  I wake up and am straight back on the job.  Half the time I don't find my bed for days."  he grins at me  "With this set up, you can just roll out of bed and get straight to work, or visa versa, roll into it when you can't keep your eyes open any longer!!"
                 "Oh I do that quite often!"  I laugh
                 "So what do you do, constantly work from home?"
                 "Pretty much!"  I smile at him  "Journalism is not really a nine to five job.  News can break at any time, day or night.  It is more about the articles I produce not about the hours I spend doing it.  So my office hours are flexible, and I do tend to do most of my work from home."
                  "It's pretty cool!"  he smirks then suddenly frowns  "You are off duty right?  I'm not going to be reading my life story in print any time soon am I?
                  "Hell no!!"  I laugh  "I always ask before I start creating news articles."
                  "Really!"  he raises his eyebrows  "What about the naked woman in the divebar!"
                  "Oh don't!!"  I start laughing  "I'm sorry, the rules don't apply to Strawberry, when I can get a pound of her flesh!!  Both me and Tap have many scores to settle with your Sister, so we jumped on the opportunity to dish the dirt!!   Don't think we didn't have both Sunny and Mango tearing strips off the both of us because of it!"
                  "I still don't understand where her head was at!  She wasn't even drunk enough to have her dancing naked in a public bar .. for Berry's sake!!"  he starts really laughing  "I am just glad that Tapestry had the sense to warn them not to send me, when the force went in to arrest her!!  I was on duty that night ... I would have had nightmares forever if I had seen her dancing naked!!"  he chuckles
                  "I'll tell you where her head was at.  Even hating Tap's guts, trying to get her claws into a rich and famous rock star, that was her game.  When he knocked her back, she obviously must have thought he would not be able to resist her naked slut dance."  I laugh  "Tapestry walking away was the best part!!  I doubt many men would have."
                   "I'm glad he did, or I would have had to knock him out for hurting Crystal."  he chuckles quietly.

                  "Do you mind if I have a nose?"  he points over towards my notice board.
                  "No I don't mind, knock yourself out!"
                  "What is the fascination with the deserted warehouse in the middle of town?"  he mumbles as he glances through the papers pinned to the board  "It is almost like you have an investigation going on here!"
                  "I have pretty much!  It has become my obsession."  I laugh  "Not that I am getting very far with it, or that there is really much point to it now that I am moving to Berry Shores."
                  "So what are you looking for?" he glances over his shoulder at me 
                  "Basically, that place really bugs me!!  It is one big abandoned suspicious mystery ..."
                  "As well as one hell of an eyesore sat smack bang in the middle of town!!"  he laughs
                  "Exactly!!  Someone needs to do something with it.  That building or the land it sits on, could be put to some use to benefit the town.  Instead it is just sitting there empty, littering up the skyline, making this town look like a dump.  If I had my way, it would be demolished!!"
                  "I have always been led to believe it is a protected listed building."
                  "It is registered as a listed building.  Although, I don't understand why.  It is not like it is anything special that I can see or find.  It doesn't have any historical significance and it isn't an architectural wander ... it is just a plain and simple quick build concrete block, no different to any other warehouse."  I frown at him  "Has your job ever taken you inside the grounds?"
                  "No.  That place is a red taped nightmare for us!!  Especially at times like this, with Alpine missing, we have to get permission to enter the grounds to search them.  Then we will have a security presence escorting us around, so I've been told, it is ridiculous."  he smiles  "It is all very cloak and dagger if you ask me.  Not even the force has any clout as far as that place goes!!  I've always presumed because they are trying to protect the listed building."
                  "The place is as suspicious as hell with it's eight foot walls and all that barbed wire making it impossible for anyone to get over the wall and into the grounds.  Then there is the multi padlocked gates, that are also spiked and barbedwired to hell.  Twenty padlocks I've counted on that gate!!  You can see from the rusted gates, chains and padlocks and the overgrown jungle inside the grounds that nobody has opened or been through those gates in a very very long time!!"
                  "Yeah that is why we didn't bother to get permission when Tapestry and Honey were missing and now with Alpine.  You can see clearly nobody has entered the grounds from the gates, which is the only way to actually get in without fading yourself trying!"  he chuckles            

                  "Do you know who owns it?"  he frowns at me
                  "That is just the thing.  Some woman who faded over six hundred years ago."
                  "What?!"  he starts to really laugh  "Don't you mean sixty years ago."
                  "No, six hundred!!"  I smile at him  "If she was alive today she would be over 700 years old!"
                  "That can not be right Mint!"  he laughs  "There is no way that warehouse building has been there for over six hundred years!!"
                  "No it hasn't.  That warehouse was only built one hundred and twenty-one years old.  It replaced a warehouse that was demolished the year before.  In fact, there has been seven different warehouses on that piece of land over the last seven hundred years.  As soon as one comes down, a replacement springs up in it's place."
                  "So I take it, this six hundred year old woman owns the land rather than the building."
                  "Yes on paper she owns the land.  If she owns the land, she also owns what's on it, including the buildings."  I smile at him  "Something is very suspicious about that piece of land and especially the warehouses that have been built on it."
                  "What do you mean?"  he frowns at me
                  "Besides the mystery of who is actually controlling and responsible for that land today, seeing as the registered owner faded over six hundred years ago.   A woman who as far as I can see had no living relatives even before she faded.  Her story alone is pretty fascinating, if you want to believe that white berries existed until they were persecuted out of existence!!"  I laugh and he grins at me.  "Only one of the seven warehouses has ever been a working warehouse as far as I can see.  The first warehouse was a textile factory, until it was burnt to the ground in an unexplained fire.  All the other warehouses that have followed were built and never put to use.  As far as I can see they have all sat empty. just like this one does now."  I roll my eyes  "There seems to be a very strange reoccurring pattern happening, approximately every one hundred years, almost like it is being done on purpose.  ALL seven of the warehouses have been suspiciously registered as listed buildings the year they were built. They sit empty and heavily guarded by all the security measures, then all of them have burnt to the ground in unexplained fires.  All except for the one that is standing there now.  If this warehouse goes like all the others, time wise, we are about due for an unexplained fire."
                  "You are right, this does all seem very suspicious!!"  he smiles at me  "Would you mind if I helped you with this in my spare time?"
                   "That would be great!!"  I smile at him  "Another head on the case might breath some new life into it.  You might be able to find something I am missing, I just keep hitting brick walls with it now."

We leave the warehouse notice board, realising we have been distracted away from what we came up here to do.   We make our way over to the computer and laptop, getting our head into the mission of trying to find Ruby's family.

Crimson, logs both the lap top and computer onto the network of birth, death and marriage data bases, using his police logins.  I am quite fascinated with it, as they are usually not accessible to the general public as a mass.  Now I can access any town I want and have the whole world open in front of me.  For me it is quite exciting.

We work quietly for a while, me on the lap top and Crimson on the computer. 

                 "You know this town is crap!!"  he mumbles after only a short time.  "Nothing is ever done properly in this dump of a town."  he points at the screen and laughs
                 "What am I looking at?"
                 "Mom and Dad's marriage entry, and all the bloody blanks that should be filled in, that aren't!!  All that tells me is their names, dates of birth and the date they got married, which I already know!!"  he tuts  "It is ridiculous, you know at work we struggle all the time, it's like nobody gives a shit about administration in this place!!  As long as there is a record of them getting married - the rest doesn't matter to them."
                "Yeah I know, I have the same sort of problems with work sometimes.  Think about it, why should they bother.  It is not like the rest of the world gives a flying shit about what goes on in this town.  It is not like we have to answer to anyone!!  They just leave us here to rot and do our own thing ... which I guess we do."
                "I know, but still it's wrong!!  Its our history that they can't be bothered to preserve!!"  he tuts  "Take Dad for instance ... I now have to search the Amber data base to fill in his blanks - because I know where he comes from, so I can.  However, it is Mom's blanks that I need filling in and I don't know where she comes from and this marriage entry should tell me, but it doesn't because some mixed berry idiot has only done half a job!!"

                  "Chill!!  We will find her ... "
                  "Seriously Mint, just punch in the name Ruby Red, and just see how many there are.  Like all actually colour surnames, Red, Blue, Green ect, there are millions of them!!  Finding my mom is going to be like trying to find a needle in a hay stack!!"  he laughs  "We have to find her to find her parents ... by the time I bloody find them, she will just be bones!!"
                  "Crimson are you sure you should be doing this?"  I frown at him  "It can't be easy for you, your Mom has only just faded, and I think you know you are probably setting yourself up for a slap in the face when you do find them.  The chances of their opinion of colour mixing and mixed berries changing is very slim, otherwise they would be in your life already.
                   "Yeah I know.  I have already thought that myself."  he mumbles  "But I HAVE to find them, and do the decent thing, even if it is only for my own peace of mind!!"
                   "I can see that you are getting yourself worked up already.  You should be grieving not putting this pressure on yourself."
                  "What choice do I have!  They have a right to know and I wouldn't live with myself if I didn't at least tell them."  he mumbles  "Besides, if I don't do it, who will."
                  "I could do it for you, and I'm sure if River isn't busy, he would help me.  You know this sort of thing is right up his street."
                  "Oh I don't know ..."  he frowns at me  "Anyway Mint, you can't talk to me about not grieving.  Shouldn't you be getting yourself worked up into a state over Alpine right now like Fudge is.  Even getting upset over your break up with Parsley or getting angry over the only thing left of Cinnamon, his baby, has been tainted by my Mother and the evil phyco?"
                "I'm not made that way ... I'm better shutting myself off and doing something.  It's not often you will see me openly showing my emotions or crying, but it doesn't mean I am not feeling it or don't care!"
              "Exactly, the same way that I am ... so me doing this is what I need to do, because if it isn't this I would only be doing something else, like going to work."  he smirks at me as he wags his finger  "You are more like Leafy than you realise ... Mini Leaf!"  he laughs at me  "That guy never shows any emotion either!"

I laugh at him as I hit the return key, I had already put the name Ruby Red into the search bar ... I sit and watch as thousands of them flash up onto the screen, there are not millions like Crimson said, but close to 40,000, I can see when the search is complete.  Working through every one of them is going to take us MONTHS and we have less than a week.  Needle in a haystack is right ... at least if we knew which area she came from, it would give us a better chance.

I sit thinking for a moment, then I get an idea.  I pull up the news data base that I use everyday for work, and log in.  Just as I start to type in her name, Crimson starts swearing loudly.

          "WHAT THE HELL!!"  Crimson roars suddenly, making me jump.
          "What's wrong?"
          "I thought I would be able to find Mom via Dad seeing as his records should be and are complete the Amber end.  I just searched for his marriage records, and according to this he is not married to Mom at all."  he is really frowning at me as he points at the screen.
         "Are you sure you have the right Sunny Shine?"
         "Yes, positive, Sunny Sun Shine ... there is only actually one recorded in Amber .... his date of birth, place of birth, parents names ... everything is perfect and correct, except for the marriage records."  he flips a page  "Look there is his twin brother, Saffron, exactly the same date of birth, place and parents names  ... registered as deceased."  he flips the page back  "According to the Amber register, Dad was married to someone call Mustard Maize ... "  he frowns for a moment  "... exactly two weeks before the Sugar Valley register says he married Mom."
         "That has got to be a clerical error."
         "Even though I highly doubt it, I hope it is just a clerical error, because if this Amber entry is true ... he was committing bigamy from the moment he married Mom!!  His marriage to Mom would not have been legal or even real."
         "It's got to be a mistake ... otherwise wouldn't you have seen or had wind of this other wife.  How could anyone juggle two marriages without it being noticeable!"
         "Oh this gets worse ... it is a Husband not a Wife!!  Mustard Maize is male!!"  he chokes  "That definitely has got to be a mistake!!"

I was thinking that the name Mustard Maize belongs to a woman.  Crimson repeating the name Mustard Maize again, and saying he is male, sets alarm bells ringing in my head ... I know a man with that name!!
         "Mustard Maize .... Oh sugar ... I know a man with that name!!"  I laugh nervously, which causes him to really frown at me  "It is probably just a wacky coincidence, but I have seen a guy with that name, here in Sugar.  He is friends with Mace and Tapestry ... Jasmine is always talking about her Uncle Mustard."

         "I've never come across him."  he frowns at me again
         "I have seen him at Forrest's house a few times, when I've been there hanging out with Bay ... actually he is yellow and gay.  I've even seen him taking Jasmine out."
         "This seems all a bit odd!!"  he frowns  "Where does he come from, because he doesn't live in this town."
         "Apple I think ... I'm sure Bay said he was a friend of Maces from Apple.  He was best friends with Mace and his wife, before he did his disappearing act."
         "Hill or Valley?"
         "Apple Hill."  Crimson turns back to the computer screen  "Like I said, it is probably just a wacky coincidence, there has to be more than just one Mustard Maize on this planet.  I presume the Amber lot have got his records mixed up and the Mustard Maize you are looking at comes from Amber .. I bet it is just a clerical error ..."  I start laughing  "Sunny was fiercely homophobic ... him married to a man ... that is just down right nonsense."
         "Yeah just like we would have thought Leafy being straight would be nonsense."  he laughs for a minute  "I don't know .... I am SERIOUSLY beginning to think something funny is going on here ..."  he mumbles as he turns to look at me  "This Mustard guy was also born in Amber.  He is the same age as Dad all but a few months ... and get this ... the marriage ... it took place in Apple Hill."  he starts to choke as he stares at me wide eyed  "I am getting a really nasty feeling about this ... they were both born in Amber ... married in Apple, why would they both come from Amber and get married in this neck of the woods?  Why would they live in neighbouring towns now?  That has to be more than a coincidence ... Dad worked in Apple, I always thought he spent way too much time there, he virtually lived in the place ... "  he starts to choke again, but he doesn't tell me what he is thinking.
         "Where did he work?"
         "The name of the company he worked for was Maize Engineering."  his eyebrows almost launch off his face  "Oh fudge!!"  he snaps as he turns back to the computer.

I watch him typing something frantically into a search engine.

         "What are you doing?"
         "Checking out the place where Dad worked.  Most places have a web page these days."  he mumbles as he starts to look over the page that he has just pulled up.  "Oh Fudge!!"  he chokes
         "I bet you can't guess the name of the guy who owns the place."
         "Mustard Maize?"
         "Yep!!"  he snaps  "Dad started working there not long after he left school and moved to this town.  He was working there for over twenty years ... you know I found it VERY strange that not one single person that he worked with turned up for his funeral!!!"  he stares away thoughtfully for a moment   "Oh berry ... why am I not thinking!!  I am so stupid!!  Mustard Maize, I also know that name!!"  he jumps up out of the chair, almost like he is having a panic attack.  "Fudge Mint ... why didn't I piece this together before now!!"
       "The guy who showed the Amber police, the tree which Crystals twin sisters remains were buried under.  He was an old school friend of my Dad's from Amber Meadow, as well as an old boyfriend of Dad's gay twin brother Saffron.  He remembered which tree Saffy faded falling out of ... that guy who just so happens to also be yellow, gay and living in Apple Hill now ... for berry sake I've even spoken to the guy myself .. "  his eyes are virtually popping out
       "His name wasn't Mustard Maize by any chance?"
       "Yeah it was ...."  he mumbles  "Oh shit!!  He also showed Tapestry and River where Saffron's grave is, when they went out to Amber with Dad's body."
       "Why did Sunny want to be buried in Amber?"
       "To be with his brother Saffron."  he laughs sarcastically  "Now I am beginning to wander!!  The guy on the marriage certificate. The guy who owns the place where Dad worked.  The guy who helped Amber police with their enquiries. The guy from Apple who is Maces mate .... the chances of them being four different people is virtually impossible in my book!!  There are too many Apple Hill coincidences for them to not be the same person!!"  he snaps  "I feel like I'm doing a damn jigsaw and all the pieces are falling into place!!  The finished picture is not pretty!!"
        "I think you might be right, because that is him!!"  I mumble as I point to a picture on the web page.  "That is Maces friend.  That is the guy I've seen at Forrest's house."
        "Are you sure?"
        "Yeah. I'm sure!  No girl forgets a cute face, especially when it is wasted on a gay guy!!"

Crimson is chuckling at me when he pulls out his phone.  While he is calling someone I turn my attention back to the news archives that I had been glancing through.  While I've been talking to Crimson I've scanned quite a lot of articles, but I notice that Ruby Red as a complete name have started to peter out.  So I punch in Strawberry Fields boarding school and quite a few articles pop up.

          "Mace is not answering his phone."  I hear Crimson mumble from behind me
          "Try Granite, Shale even El, chances are he will be with one of them."  I mumble  "Or Tapestry, he seems to be really good friends with that Mustard guy too."

I click on an article that attracts my attention, and what looks like a very familiar face jumps out at me.  I sit staring at it for a second, wandering if I am imagining things.  I start to read the article.

       "MINT STOP!!"
       "Look at that picture ...."
       "Yeah I'm just looking at it ... she looks like Ruby."
       "That is my Mom!!"  he squints at the picture  "That is how she looked at school, surely you've seen their old school photographs."
        "Yeah that's what I thought ... I've actually pulled up a news article from the boarding school in Strawberry Fields that they went to ... but look at her name"
        "Ruby Blaze ..."  he frowns at me
        "Ruby Red Blaze.  Red being her middle name not her surname."  I point to her full name lower down in the article  "And according to this news article, she has been a missing person since she was expelled from school, because of being responsible for starting a fire that caused a lot of damage.  They actually made a play of her surname Blaze, with her setting a fire!!"  we stare at each other for a moment.
        "That is definitely, my Mom.  Mom did get expelled ... I'm sure you've heard the story.  It was set up, Ice burnt down the music room, so that they could get Mom expelled and brought here because she was pregnant with us.  Before the pregnancy started to show and she got into trouble for colour mixing.  There being no red boys at the school."  he chuckles
        "Yeah ..."  I mumble as I point at the date of the article
        "Yeah, that's the year me and Cherry were born."  he pulls a face, then frowns 

       "She has had contact with her family since then, I'm sure she has.  She must have done, she told us they washed their hands of her because of me and Cherry being mixed berries."  he laughs  "I guess she did a runner from the boarding school and didn't tell them where she was straight away.."
        "You are a police officer, can't you check to see if she is still listed as a missing person ... because doesn't it seem strange that you thought her last name was Red when according to this it is Blaze."
        "Yeah I was just thinking that myself ..."  he mumbles as he jumps back on the computer  "I'll have to pop into work and check the missing persons database."

I open another news article that the search has thrown up relating to Ruby and the school.  I blink a few times when I see the date on the top of the news article.

        "Crimson look!"  I point at the screen.  Crimson was just about to make a phone call, but he stops and drops his phone on the desk.
        "Oh Fudge!"  he frowns  "I was six, nearly seven then!"  he continues to frown at me  "She told us she went to see her parents just after we were born ..."
        "Another lie?"  I mumble  "You don't think she is STILL missing do you"
        "The way my Mother sneaks and lies .... seriously I wouldn't be surprised at all!!"
        "Well at least we know where she came from now."
        "Where?"  he looks over his shoulder
        "Red County."  I laugh at him as I point to it in the text.
        "Huh!  That figures ... being red!"  he starts laughing  "Yeah on Mom and Dad's marriage entry here she is definitely down as Ruby Red ... not Blaze ... which is making her look as dodgy as Dad right now!!  Why would she NOT tell us her surname is Blaze?  Why hide it and tell us it is Red?"
        "Maybe because she was trying to hide something, her pregnancy and the colour mixing.  So she would want to hide her identity and whereabouts possibly .... what about if she lied to all of you and has never contacted her family since she left the boarding school ... what about if they STILL don't know where she is."
         "She wouldn't would she?"  he frowns at me then pulls a face

         "She lied about Saffron, Scarlet and all the affairs she's been having, her name, and I can think of half a dozen lies she has been called on over the years, so yeah ... I guess she could have."
         "I don't know, but I doubt she would have got away with hiding for long, she was a teenager and she might have covered her name up here by marrying Dad.  However, her medical records, she couldn't have covered them up or her true identity without getting a fake identification like Mace did, or having them fraudulently fabricated ...." he trails off and starts to look thoughtful
         "Gravel got Mace the fake ID didn't he."  I smile at him  "Gravel who is Scarlets Dad ... think about it!"
         "Yeah I just did as I said fake ID... Gravel popped up in my head too."  he pulls a face at me  "Scarlet did come pretty quickly after me and Cherry ... and Mom was in this town over a year before everyone else left school, so I guess it could be possible that Gravel helped her, for a price of course .. which was probably payment in kind, knowing my Mother, and the unexpected prize was Scarlet!!" he chokes but I can't help but snigger at what he has just said.  "I think I need to pop into work and check the missing persons database ... we could just be getting carried away here, and it's more likely she contacted them later, like she told us and her family really did not want anything to do with us because of being mixed berries."
         "Have you tried to search for her on the Red County data base?"
         "That is exactly what I am doing right now!"  he mumbles then smirks at me  "You need to quit journalism and join the force.  You would make a good detective, you've definitely got the brain for it ... and I think we would make a good team!"
          "Partners in crime!"  I laugh at him  "Not a bad idea, I've always had a thing for handcuff!!"
          "You kinky minx!!"  he starts howling  "Next time I see you, I'll have to remember to bring my handcuffs!!"
          "Only if I can wear your hat, PC Shine!"  I laugh at him
          "That can definitely be arranged ..."  he starts laughing

I know he's only joking ... but I wish!!

I continue reading another article dated four years after the last one we just looked at.  The photo on the articles is all too familiar ... because I have seen it before.  I jump up out of my chair, and run down the stairs after I've told Crimson I will be straight back.  I run into Dad's room and grab his photo album and leg it back up the stairs.

          "What you got?"  Crimson frowns at me
          "Alpine's photographs from school."  I mumble

I flip the pages until I find what I am looking for.  An end of year photograph of the whole gang together.

           "Look .. it is exactly the same picture."  I show it to him as I point to the one on the screen.
           "Oh shit yeah!"  he laughs  then frowns  "How did they get that photograph?  Dad has got that one."
           "They all have one don't they ... "
           "Oh yeah, its an end of year photo."  he points at the date  "I've never noticed that before because Dad has his in a frame and the date is hidden."  he smiles at me  "As they are all on the photo, I guess a teacher or photographer would have taken the picture."
            "I don't get it ... if she was still missing, when you was six, surely they would have questioned her school friends after she went missing, as they would have been the last one's to see her."
            "They should have done at one point."  he frowns at me  "If I was at work I could tell you, but I don't have access to the data base or case files from here."  he goes quiet for a moment as he thinks  "As they were still at school for a year after she went missing - I would say they questioned them during that year ... and at the time,  I guess they would have been covering for her.  As they helped to smuggle her here, they would have kept quiet because of the colour mixing, they could all have got into serious trouble for it."  he smiles at me  "If they all said she was expelled and they haven't heard from them since, and don't know where she is ... they might not have bothered to ask them again."  he shrugs  "We are just guessing at the moment and could be way off!!"

         "I've found another one ... she was still missing when you was errr ... ten."
         "Why am I not surprised!!"  he mumbles

          "Woohoo, I think I have found her!!  Oh Berry ... her parent's names ... Crimson and Scarlet ... her Mother's maiden name is Tart, which is Straw's middle name.  I would say I have found her!!"  
          "Yeah Crimson is the name of her Dad in this article."  I burst up laughing  "Oh Berry!!"
          "What?"  he frowns at me
          "Seriously ... you need to look at this ... you need to see what your Grand-FATHER does for a living!!"


Sunday, 1 July 2018

Chapter 66a - Gen 2 - Mint

The last few days have been hell, and I need something to switch my head off from it all.  So I decided to go to the library, in search of a new book to read.  Hoping that I will be able to lose myself in a world of fiction, for a while, and block out the reality of my life.

As I walk into the dingy library, the stale musty smell always hits me and turns my stomach, but I know after a while of breathing in the horrible smell, my nose will get used to it.  It would help if they opened the windows occasionally and let in some fresh air, but I don't think they ever do, not even during the summer months when it is sweltering in here.

I have to laugh sometimes, because I think I am the only person who ever uses the library in this town.  I glance over at the old woman sat behind the desk and smile to myself.  My smile is wasted on her, because as usual, she is fast asleep, probably because of the boredom of her job.

All I generally hear in this place is the ticking of the clock, which is occasionally drowned out by the sound of her snoring.  I always wander how she sleeps at night when she spends her whole day sleeping at work.  I don't even bother to wake her up any more to check books in and out.  I do it myself.

As I round the corner and walk past the main book cases in the centre of the library, I hear a clicking sound and somebody coughs.  This tells me that unusually, I am actually not alone in this place like I normal am.  I follow the sound to see who else is in the library with me.

I spot that one of the Shine twins is in here, sat on the old computer in the corner.  I can not tell which one because the twins both look exactly the same all but their eye colour, and I won't know which one it is, until he turns around.  As I stand and watch him, I realise it has to be Carmine, because Maizie is still in the hospital after his surgery.  I am very surprised that he is even out of the house so soon after his Mother's death, and because of the circumstances, I'm very nervous about facing him.

I have half a mind to just turn around and walk out of the library, to avoid him and save the hassle, not really in the mood to have him kicking off at me.  I have already had quite a few mouthfuls off Strawberry over the last few days, and they weren't pleasant ... anyone would think, I have faded her Mother hearing her carry on!!

Before I get a chance to walk away, he looks casually over his shoulder, like he could sense me standing here.  I am very surprised when he actually smiles at me, which I didn't expect, so I nervously smile back.

         "You can relax Mint ... I am not going to bite your head off!"  Crimson laughs at me as he swings around in his chair a little.

I am a little shocked that it is actually Crimson, and not one of the twins.  For a split second seeing the yellow eyes I was thrown and thought it had to be Mazie.  However, hearing his voice and taking a good look at his face, now I can tell it isn't one of the twins.  Crimson is wearing his hair in a different way, exactly the same as Maize and Carmine normally do, tied up in in two pony tails.  I can't help but stare at him, seeing how different he looks ... a hell of a lot cuter than I already think he is!!

        "I am not as stupid as my baby sister ... neither are the rest of us!!!"  he smiles at me  "I've already had Bay walking on egg shells around me because Straw has been kicking off at him, and like I told him, we know whatever Alpine has done, is not any of your faults .... so don't stress."
         "I'm relieved you feel that way ... I really can't face anyone else kicking off at me over it!"
         "Both of our families have enough upset going on over the Gravel bomb, especially because of Mom and Alpine.  The last thing we need to be doing is fighting between ourselves."  he smiles at me again  "She forgets your lot are suffering too, but you know Straw!!"  he rolls his eyes  "She has to kick off just for the sake of it, because she loves the attention and to let everyone know she feels hard done by!!"  he smiles at me  "I'm sorry she has kicked off with you."
          "I think it was inevitable, as you know I have always been her punch bag because of Parsley."
          "If my memory serves me right, you have always been her punch bag, even before Parsley."  he chuckles  "I heard you two have broke up and you are back at your Moms.  I'm sorry!!"
          "I'm not sorry!!  I was mad to go back to him in the first place!!"  I smile at him and try to change the subject with the first stupid thing I can think of to say.  "What have you done to your hair."
          "Oh don't."  he laughs with embarrassment as he runs his fingers through his hair  "It's Saffy and Carmine, they have been playing ... they reckon I look too much like Dad with how I normally wear my hair.  I'm upsetting them, especially Saffy, apparently."  he rolls his eyes
           "It suits you."  I smile at him
           "Thanks.  I see you've changed your hair too."  he laughs  "Although, every time I see you, you have it different.  What do you do, change it every day?"
           "Pretty much."  I laugh at him as he takes a quick glance at the computer screen then starts thumping the keyboard in temper.

          "So what are you up to, besides trying to break the keyboard?"
          "I am trying to hunt down my Mothers family, but I don't have a clue where they might even be.  I think they at least have the right to know she has faded and be given the opportunity to attend her funeral.  However, this old piece of shit is not being very cooperative.  The keys keep getting stuck down."
           "Probably because it rarely gets used."  I chuckle  "I thought you would do that sort of search at the station or at  home."  I frown at him
           "I'm on compassionate leave, and they don't really like us doing personal stuff at work.  If Cinn was here or El wasn't on maternity leave, then I probably would have done it at work, with their blessing.  The stand in chief is a right ass, so I dare not even ask!!"  he laughs quietly  "I have sneakily printed off a load of criminals with my Mothers maiden name off the data base, but I am hoping it is none of them."  he rolls his eyes  "I could have done it at home.  However home, as you can imagine, is very depressing right now, especially with Straw's carrying on!!  I just want some peace and quiet."  he grumbles.
          "I guess that was a hint for me to take a hike, and leave you in peace."
          "Hell no!!  Don't go!!"  he jumps up out of his chair, strangely he seems a little panicked.   "Peace from the tart and all the crying, is all I meant.  You are welcome to stay and keep me company, as long as you don't want to cry on me, talk about baby Cinnamon, Scarlet's biological Dad, Mom or Alpine!!"
          "It's fine by me!!  It would be nice to take time out from all the drama!!"  I smile at him
          "I doubt I am going to get anything done on that old computer anyway.  The noise it is making is putting me on edge ...  I am actually sat there waiting for it to blow up on me."  he chuckles
          "You could always come back to mine if you want some peace and quiet and a decent computer to work on.  I have a laptop you can use, and Forrest has just bought me a new desk top.  I also have a printer.  It beats you sitting there struggling and writing it all out by hand"  he smiles at me

          "I could even help you with your search, if you want, I have got nothing better to do.  I was only going to get out some new books and do some reading just to take my mind off everything."
          "Is it wise me coming to yours under the circumstances ..."  he raises his eyebrows
          "Yeah why not.  We are family remember, now even more than ever now we share our new little Nephew.  You are right, we shouldn't be fighting between ourselves."  I smile at him  "Even after everything that happened and was said, my Mom is just as upset over Ruby as the rest of us.  You won't get any trouble at ours!!  Mom is really worried this is going to split the extended family up ... so us hanging out together, we will be doing our bit for world peace."  I punch the air as I grin at him
          "Oh you idiot!!"  he starts howling at me
          "Anyway, Mom and Forrest are out with Meadow, they are driving around Apple, Raspberry and Sugar Falls looking for Alpine.  So we will have the house to ourselves for a while."
          "Lucky them!!  At least they can get out of this dump without breaking the law, because they weren't created from their parents sin!!"  he mumbles as he starts packing away the papers he has in front of him and shutting down the computer.
          "I guess you feel the same way as I do then.  I HATE being a mixed berry!!"
          "That makes two of us!"  he laugh quietly then grins at me  "Yeah I will come to yours if you don't mind, and your offer of help is appreciated ... Saffy, Maize and Carmine think I'm barking mad even looking for Mom's family, seeing as they turned their backs on all of us because we are mixed berries."
          "Yeah, as you probably know my Mom's family have done exactly the same."  I smile at him  "So I guess we might have this very same dilema to face one day, but I know where my brown Grandparents are roughly ... they are in Rocky Falls."

As soon as we get into the house, I ask him if he is hungry.  Even though he says he is not hungry, I feed him anyway.

We sit at the kitchen table eating a sandwich, while we chat about random stuff, avoiding our taboo subjects.  I laugh to myself as I watch him munching through his sandwich quite enthusiastically.

           "You did not do too badly for someone who said they weren't hungry!"  I laugh at him as he stares down at his empty plate.
           "Yeah."  he glances up sheepishly  "I have not really eaten much over the past few days ..."  he mumbles then laughs  "Not because I can not feed myself, I just haven't been able to face it!!"
           "I can imagine!!"  I smile at him sympathetically.
           "I didn't realise how hungry I actually was until I started eating this."
           "Your stomach growled when I mentioned cheese and ham, so I knew you was hungry, even if you was saying you weren't."  I smile at him  "Do you want me to make you another sandwich?"
           "No I'm fine."  he smiles at me  "Maybe I can order us in a pizza later, or I could take you to the Bistro ... a thank you for helping me with the search."
           "The Pizza sounds good as long as its ...."  he holds up his finger and buts in
           "Ham, Mushroom and Pineapple, I know!!"  he chuckles  "I've heard you and Parsley arguing over pizza toppings many times remember!"
           "Yeah that's my favourite!"  I grin at him, very surprised that he would even bother to remember what my favourite pizza toppings are.  "Not that I used to get it very often with him around!!" 
           "Forget him, you will get your favourite today!"  he smiles at me  "Thanks for making me eat!"
           "You are welcome."

Crimson, gets up and takes our now empty plates over to the sink and washes them up.  Unlike Parsley, it looks like Crimson is house trained!!

He comes back over to the table, and sits down opposite me, to finish drinking his coffee.

           "I know you said you didn't want to talk about it, but I need to ask you something."  I look at him sheepishly.  "When they do find Alpine ... what do you think the police will be doing with him."  I ask him nervously, expecting him to snap at me for bringing up one of our taboo subjects, but he doesn't.
           "He will only be charged with involuntary manslaughter.  Coal and Maize have both said they don't want to press charges.  I highly suspect, because of his brain damage, that he will be sectioned under the mental health act, rather than be punished by the law."  he looks at me glumly
            "So he is going to end up getting locked up either way."  I mumble
            "Unfortunately yes!!  However, he won't be going to prison, which is a blessing with his brain damage.  He will be placed in a mental institute, they are not the best places, but it will be a lot better than the alternative.  It will be more like he's in permanent hospice care."  he smiles at me  "Don't think because my Mother faded as a result of his actions, that I will be gunning for him!!  Regardless of what Straw is stupidly saying, we do all know it was purely just an unfortunate accident.  It doesn't seem right that he has to be punished at all." 
            "I am surprised to hear you saying that!"  I smile at him
            "Honestly I don't blame him for kicking off ... I kicked off at her myself and said some awful things.  Gravel of all people, and it has totally ripped us all apart and destroyed some of us."  he smiles at me thoughtfully   "I have known Alpine all my life, and I can't imagine that he would have deliberately faded Mom, even after she did provoke him to lose his mind, reminding him that Cinnamon has faded!"  he rolls his eyes
            "Yeah Tapestry told me about that ... what was she even thinking?"
            "Berry knows, but my Mother has always had a very selfish and spiteful streak!!"  he tuts  "The words came out of her mouth and I seriously hated her in that moment.  Before he even reacted to her words, we all knew what the consequences would be ... Alpine completely losing it!!"
             "It is all such a mess!!  Strawberry isn't helping screaming her shit!!"

           "Seriously Mint, just ignore her, everyone else is!!  Nobody is taking a blind bit of notice of her rambling.  All she is doing is making a fool of herself as usual!!  Unfortunately, she is her Mother's daughter, in virtually every way!!"  he rolls his eyes again
            "So only she thinks he faded Ruby on purpose."
            "Yes, she is the only one!!  If Alpine was here he would be just as upset as the rest of us, and how it happened, it was obviously accidental.  He didn't mean to fade her, its not like he beat, strangled, stabbed or purposefully went for her ... him throwing the furniture around in the room he was doing in anger.  Both he and Tapestry are well known for smashing things up when their heads go."  he chuckles  "It was just unfortunate that my Mother was in the wrong place at the wrong time.  If it hadn't been for Coal, it could have been both of our Mothers.  I'm glad Caramel only got off with a few bruises, stitches and she didn't lose those babies."  he smiles at me  "It could have happened to anyone of us in that room, Bay, Maize, Granite, Turrmeric, Coal, your Mother, Tapestry while he was getting Scarlet and the baby out of the room, me ... I was there too remember.   So I know he didn't do it on purpose and everyone who was in that room has given the same witness statement and said it was just purely an unfortunate accident."  he smiles
            "We are worried that the police might think he has done a runner and is hiding out.  Especially if it takes them a while to find him."  I tut  "They might even think that we are hiding him!!"
            "You don't worry about that, we know you aren't hiding him!!"  he smiles at me  "Both me and El know about his condition, so the force are well aware of it!!  We know he has just had one of his outbursts and breakdowns, over the baby and Gravel, and everything Forrest had to tell him about himself and his parents, with the blue coming out in the baby.  He was very upset, which is understandable.  It was a lot for anyone with a normal head to deal with, without having brain damage.  It was inevitable that Alpine would blow."  he smiles sympathetically
            "I just wish we knew where he is and why he isn't coming home.  It makes it look suspicious, like he is hiding out!!   He hasn't had his meds for two days either, it is worrying us sick!!" I mumble as I start to get a little upset.
            "I can imagine!!"  he reaches for my hand across the table.  I am a little surprised by the way his hand feels on mine.  My skin is tingling where he is touching me, and I can feel sparks of electricity running up my arm.  I wander if he feels it too as he quietly stares at our hands for a moment.

            "If he hasn't had his medication, he is probably wandering around somewhere not even knowing his own name right now, and that is probably the reason why he isn't coming home.  I doubt it will be long before he gets picked up.   The police don't think he is hiding out, because he doesn't even know what happened after he stormed out of the room does he.  He doesn't know Ruby faded, or that Coal and Maize were seriously injured."  he smiles at me  "Don't worry, I'm sure he will be home soon, safe and sound."
            "Has anyone ever told you how nice you are."  I laugh at him
            "Not lately."  he laughs back at me
            "Anyone else would have been kicking off in your position."
            "Only Straw is kicking off Mint, and what is the point!!  It was just an unfortunate accident and all the kicking off in the worlds is not going to change what happened or bring my Mother back is it."  he smiles at me
            "Wisty must have been pretty damn mad cheating on you and letting you go!"  I say out loud, not really meaning too.
            "Yeah well, it happens as you know yourself - Straw and Parsley.  I am never taking her back and Mr older married man dumped her too - so Wisty got exactly what she deserved."
             "Did you find out who he was?"
             "No, and to be quite honest I'm not interested.  It is probably someone in Rainbow who I will never have to know or see.  I put money on it being one of her Uni lecturers."  he smiles at me  "So what happened with you and Parsley?  I thought you loved him."
             "To be honest, I'm not even upset, and whatever feelings I had for him, are now completely out of my system.  I was stupid to go back there, and I am relieved it's over!!"  I roll my eyes  "We are just too different, it would never have worked.  He is lazy and has got no drive, and I don't think he will ever cut the apron strings and move out of his Dad's place."  I laugh  "I'm moving to Berry Shores and he isn't interested, so I quit on our relationship sooner rather than later.  Besides Straw is bugging him again and he doesn't get rid of her quickly enough for my liking  ... Strawberry is welcome to him!!"

            "Are you really moving to Berry?"  he grins at me for a moment.  "So am I, isn't that mad!!  Saffy and Atlas are moving out there after the trial, Maizie is going with them and taking Poppy, so I decided I'm going too.  There are far better job opportunities out there for me.  I can't go much further with my career in this town, and Berry is a lot better than this dump so I've been told."
            "Exactly why I'm going - especially the better jobs."  I smile at him
            "Are you going on your own?"  he frowns at me
            "No, I thought you would have heard ... the idea was Mom relocating because there is no hospice in this town for Alpine when he eventually needs full time care.  Me, Fudge, Mosaic, Mom, Forrest, Meadow, her kids, and Alpine .. were all supposed to be moving out there together.  Coal has said he also wants to come with us too."
            "Oh, so I suppose that won't be happening now, with what is happening with Alpine."
            "Oh yeah, we are still moving, regardless of what is happens to Alpine ... if he gets locked up, Shale says we can apply to have him transferred out there.  But I guess we might have to delay going for a while, until they find him and sort all this mess out."
             "Why have you suddenly started calling him Alpine?"  he frowns at me
             "Now if I say Dad, everyone asks which one, and I'm getting sick of it.  It is just easier to call both Forrest and Alpine by their names when I'm talking about them."
             "Yeah we have had quite a week of shockers ... Crystal carrying quads.  Gravel being Scarlet's real Dad.  Coal being your half brother.  Caramel being pregnant.  My Mom fading.  Saffron trying to top himself.  The secrets Caramel, Alpine and Forrest have been hiding, especially about their relationships .... but Leafy NOT being gay, having a child phobia and being yours, Bays and Fudges real Dad ... is right up there!!  I'm not sure I'm ever going to get over that one."  he starts to howl  "Although, looking at you now, it is so damn obvious that Leafy is your Dad.  It is hysterical!!"  he grins at me
             "Yeah I know."  I grin back at him   "I don't think any of us bothered to look past the gay thing.  I look at a female version of his face in the mirror every morning and still even I didn't see it."

We sit laughing at each other for a moment.

           "So how far have you got with searching for Ruby's family?"
           "Not very far.  I had only really just got started when you walked in."  he laughs  "I am totally blind at the moment  ... I don't have a clue where her family might even be.  They were never really talked about by my parents.  I only know her family name is Red and that she has two brothers and I think a Sister, but I'm not even too sure about that.  I could have just imagined her siblings, because we all think different things. "  he rolls his eyes.
           "Don't any of her school friends know?"
           "No.  I have asked Mango and his parents, but they can't remember where Mom came from, and neither does your Mother or Ice.  Lilly obviously doesn't have a clue because of her amnesia and there is nobody else to ask.  Prelude can't remember either, he is the only other one now that was around and close to them when they all left boarding school and came here.  Jazz, Dad and Cosmic have faded, Alpine and Lime are Awol so I'm stumped."  he laughs
           "Have you asked Turmeric .... "  he frowns at me which makes me cringe.  I'm now regretting even mentioning it.  "I'm sorry ... but I'm sure you know T and your Mom .."
           "Huh, yeah.  Now we know where Straw gets it from!!  Gravel, Turmeric and berry knows who else!!"  he grumbles  "I didn't think about Turmeric actually, good thinking bat girl ... I'll give him a call."   he smiles at me as he pulls out his phone.

While he is talking to Turmeric on the phone, I give the kitchen sides a clean.  Forrest has a fit if we leave things lying around unclean and unwashed.  It is like living with Bay again, they are both obsessive neat freaks, which is pretty hysterical when my Mother in particular has to be one of the untidiest people I know.

            "No, no joy, he doesn't have a clue either."  he pulls a face at me as he stuffs his phone back into his pocket.  "Can you believe that guy is actually heartbroken!!  She never talked about her family to him either ... yeah I bet, they had far better things to do!"  he laughs sarcastically which makes me snigger.
           "Have you tried the boarding school?"
           "No there is no point .... we found out during Honey and Tapestry's abduction that the boarding school was closed down years ago.  I could apply officially for Mom's school records, but it will take time.  Time being something that we don't really have, its not like we can hold off her funeral forever."  he laughs quietly
           "I take it you are the only one who thinks you should find Ruby's parents and siblings, seeing as you are doing this on your own."
           "Only Cherry agrees that they have a right to know.  She has her hands full with the triplets, as well as she is worrying herself sick over both Saffron and Scarlet.  She is spending as much time as she can with both of them, so she doesn't have time to help me."
            "She is not coping is she, Scarlet."
            "No ... far from it.  It was always going to be hard for her with Cinnamon faded, but the Gravel bombshell just made it impossible for her to cope with.  Mom fading hasn't really helped much, especially as we were all livid with her when it happened."  he pulls a face  "I guess you know Granite and Mace are looking after baby Cinn right now, while Crystal, Saffy, Slate and Bay are trying to pull her out of the state she is in."
            "Yeah, I know she is at Taps and has moved in with Granite, which I was really surprised by at first, the last thing I thought she would have wanted was reminding of is that family."
            "Yeah well we all know that Granite and Shale are not Gravel, and they are a good family that have actually suffered from his evil madness more than most of us.

            "The Rocks are pretty tight as a family, and most families have a bad apple in them, unfortunately Gravel is theirs.  I think ALL of us are really struggling to look at that baby right now except for Granite, he has Clay too remember, and he is very happy to be gaining another Neice and baby to look after.   Scarlet and baby Cinn being with Granite is probably the best thing for both of them right now. Saffron, Bay and Slate are there, and when we were kids if you remember, she was pretty close to the three musketeers who are pretty much back together again.  Her being there is also giving Saffron something else to focus on rather than his own problems"  he smiles at me  "At ours, Straw would not have done Scarlet any good, and as far as babies go, I'm useless.  Being the eldest, I have a funeral to arrange and all her shit to sort out.  Maize doesn't stop crying, you know how over emotional he is.  For Maize this has brought Dads grief back with them going so close together.  He in particular is not coping very well with now being parent less.  So we wouldn't have been much help to Scarlet ... she is in the best place right now."
            "What is happening with the house now both Sunny and Ruby have gone?"
            "Strangely everything was left to only me, the house and money ... which I find very odd, even if I am the oldest!!"  he rolls his eyes  "I guess She couldn't even be bothered to put the effort into making a decent will!!"
           "That is strange, when there are seven of you!!"
           "Yeah, I know!!  I would like to believe that she was too upset to make a proper will straight after Dad faded.  He's only been gone a month.  Maybe she intended to do it at a later date, when she felt better.  None of us could have dreamt that she would follow him this soon!!"  he frown  "Although she has been acting very strange since Dad faded.  She was far from heartbroken, which you would expect after over twenty years of marriage.  Not that you could tell most of the time that they even liked each other, let alone loved each other!!"  he chuckles  "She has been very angry since he faded, and I haven't quite been able to work out why!"

            "So what are you going to do with the house and money.  I'm not sure, if I was in your shoes, that I would be comfortable with that situation. Especially keeping it all, when my siblings had nothing!!" 
            "No I am far from comfortable with it, and am annoyed that she has put me into this situation!!  Obviously all my siblings are upset!!  Not because they are bothered about the money, it is the principal of it and the message it sends.  They feel unloved and rejected by it.  It is like a final insult for them from her.  She probably thought, or knew, that I would not keep it all for myself, and that I would play the peace keeper.  The peace keeper being what I have always been in our family."  he rolls his eyes  "Me, Saffron and Maize don't need the house, with the three of us moving to Berry.  Scarlet is moving to Cherry Hill with Granite.  Carmine and Cherry have their own houses. That only leave Straw.  She is going to move in with Carmine, so I can sell the house and split all the money seven ways.  It is only right that all of us get an equal share of everything.  I was going to split it eight ways and give Vanilla Honey's share, but Tapestry has told me not to.  It is not like Vanilla will ever be short of money in the future with his career.  So I'm splitting it all between the seven of us."
            "You are cute!!"  I smile at him  "Most people would have just taken all the money and ran!  Legally you could as it was all left to you."
            "Yeah well, I'm not made like that.  The last thing I want is all of my Brothers and Sisters being upset and falling out with me!!  Now with Strawberry I can see the appeal, I would get some peace from the tart, but not all the rest!!"  I normally would have laughed at what he has just said about Strawberry, but something else he has said is bugging me.
             "Did you say Scarlet is moving to Cherry?"  I frown at him
             "Yeah ..."  he winces  "I'm sorry, I've put my foot in it haven't I.  I've obviously beaten Scarlet to it ... she was going to talk to your Mom about it today.  I'm sorry!!"
             "It's fine if she was going to tell Mom!!"  I smile  "I worried for a second that she is planning to move away without telling us and cut us out of baby Cinn's life!"
             "Hell no!!  She would never do that!!"  he smiles  "She realises moving to Cherry might make seeing him a little awkward for you all.  She feels really bad about it, but it is something she needs to do!!"

           "She needs to get out of this town and start a fresh life with her Rock family, who she has a right to get to know, especially Clay.  She will be out there with Bay, and baby Cinn's life will be a lot better in Cherry than it ever will be here.  The reason why Slate is taking Amber to Cherry and why Maize is taking Poppy out to Berry, to give them a better life than this dump ever will!!"  he grins at me  "Besides if your family are moving to Berry, Scarlet moving to Cherry actually makes the situation better.  You will be much closer to each other than you would be if she stayed here!!"        
          "Yeah, Forrest said it is only a two hour flight between Cherry and Berry.  It is even a drivable journey, if you don't mind spending a day doing it!"
           "See."  he smiles at me  "You and your family have nothing to worry about!!"
           "I guess not."  I smile at him  "How do you feel about the people that you will be leaving here when you move to Berry?"
           "Obviously I am going to miss some of them like crazy, family and friends ... especially Cherry!!"  he looks glum for a moment   "Just like I guess there are people that you will miss."
            "Yeah, it is going to be mad not having people like Mango and Tapestry around."  I chuckle  "What about your Grandmother?"
            "We did ask her if she wanted to come with us, but she is happy staying here.  She has Carmine, Cherry and Strawberry still, and it is not like we will never come back to visit or lose touch."  he smiles then chuckles  "Besides, according to Tap and Crystal, Gran has something going on with Tap's purple Granddad!!  Bed sharing and colour mixing has been mentioned."
             "Seriously!?"  I choke on a mouthful of coffee.
             "Don't say a word!"  he wags his finger at me  "I don't even want to imagine it!!"

We both sit laughing at each other.

         "So what was you actually doing on the library computer?"  I ask him
          "I was trying to search the birth, deaths and marriage register.  Mom and Dad got married in this town, so their marriage certificate should tell me something."
          "Her birth certificate should tell you her parents names and where she was born."  I frown at him  "Wouldn't it just be easier to look at that."
          "Yeah it would if I could find it!!"  he laughs  "We have turned the house upside down looking for it, but do you think we can find it.  We can't find any of Dad's papers either, their marriage certificate, their passports.  It is like they have all vanished, which is annoying!!"  he looks at me thoughtfully  "Like I said she has been acting very strangely since Dad faded.  It is almost like she has thrown it all away.  The only thing we could find is all of Honey's papers, which I've given to Tap for Vanilla."
           "What about her medical records?"  I smile at him and he starts laughing
           "I've already tried that one!!  I'm a police officer who has recently arrested and banged up his own yellow Grandfather for his crimes ... so Mango and Ice are very wary.  They wouldn't break the law to sneak a peek for me, without something official, and that takes time."  he rolls his eyes at me
           "I don't know if he would, but I could try asking Forrest when he gets back.  As long as you promise not to arrest him."
           "At this moment in time, I'm up for bending the law myself, if it helps me find them quickly."  he laughs quietly  "So no if Leafy does look for me, I won't be busting his ass, I will be grateful."
           "I guess we should go up to my bedroom then, and kill some time while we are waiting for Leafy to come home."  I laugh at him as he raises his eyebrows at me
           "Oh right!"  he smirks at me  "Is my luck in?"
           "My computer, printer and lap top are in my bedroom obviously ... "  I laugh at him  "I wasn't trying to drag you into my bed!!  So no your luck isn't in."
           "Typical!!  Always Mr unlucky me!"  he starts laughing  "Come on then, lead the way to your computer, Mini Leaf.  I have Grandparents to find."

                 "Don't you start ..."  I laugh at him as we both move away from the table.  "Tapestry is now constantly calling me Mini Leafy."
                 "Well you are." he laughs as we head towards the living room  "Some detective I'm going to make, if I never even spotted it.  Just like I never spotted that my own brother Saffron is gay!!!"
                 "You are not on your own with either of those two ... neither did anyone else."