Quinn sighed when she pulled up to her house after school.
“Oh my god!” Stratus said from the passenger seat of the car.
The cops lined the street and they carried box after box of stuff out of Quinn’s house. Many neighbors crowded around, some even filming with their phones. Quinn parked her car on the curb and got out.
“Ah, Quinn. Here’s that warrant you wanted.” Cortez mocked her, handing Quinn the search warrant.
“You aren’t going to find anything.” Quinn glared at her.
“We shall see about that.” She smirked.
“You know if I didn’t know any better I’d say you just like giving me warrants, it’s not even my birthday yet.”
“Think of it as an early birthday present, to me.” she mocked.
Quinn pulled her polaroid camera from her backpack and snapped a picture of Cortez.
“I’ll add it to the collection.” Quinn waved the polaroid in the air to dry.
A cop came over to her and took the backpack from her hands. Quinn rolled her eyes at them.
“What’s going on? Stratus asked.
“What’s it look like? they got a search warrant.” Quinn snapped at her.
“They still think you did it?”
“Among other things.” Cortez butted into the conversation.
“Some people can’t let things go and admit when they are wrong.” Quinn shot at Cortez.
“Some people think they can get away with things if people just stop looking into them.” Cortez shot back.
“I’d say some people are obsessed.”
“I’d say some people are really good actors.”
The two held a glare. Stratus looked back and forth between them.
“Cortez, we found something.” An officer called.
Both Quinn and Cortez snapped their heads to the house. They looked at each other once more before they both took off towards the house. Stratus quickly followed.
Quinn cursed under her breath when she saw the couch and table still moved, as she had forgotten to move them back. The rug was moved, the cops had moved it and found the hatch.
“Congratulations you found my disaster bunker.” Quinn rolled her eyes.
Cortez grabbed her flashlight before heading down into the dark bunker.
“Was that always there?” Stratus asked.
Quinn shot her a glare that said shut the hell up. Stratus quickly closed her mouth.
“I’m gonna need your phone.” An officer went up to Quinn's hand outstretched expectantly.
Quinn grumbled and pulled it out of her pocket, slapping it down into the officer's hand. Now she only had the Polaroid camera in her hand. She took pictures of officers, her eyes darting around and watching their every move.
Stratus noticed that Quinn would get extra antsy every time they walked into her room. Her eyes darted there most of the time, but Quinn forced herself to stay put and seem normal.
“The hell is this?” Cortez shinned a light on the strange circle on the ground.
“We don’t know but we got pictures of it.” An officer said.
“We think this is some cult room.” Another officer said.
“Nothing else is in here.” The previous officer added.
Cortez shined her light around, examining the cement walls. She walked from one corner of the room to the next, just inspecting the area for anything. Her eyes landed on a tiny crack in the floor. It was a straight line. She bent down and inspected the spot.
“Got something?” an officer asked.
“I don’t know.” Cortez put a glove on and inspected the spot. When she touched the ground the floor wiggled a bit.
She set her flashlight down and used her long nails to lift up the slab a bit before getting a better grip on it and removing it completely. All the officers crowded around. She reclaimed her flashlight and pointed it into the secret hole.
Inside was a single candle. Halfway burned, wax pooled on the ground.
“The hell?” Cortez went to pick it up.
When she touched it a tiny spike sticking out on the side pricked her finger and drew a drop of blood.
“Ow.” She hissed.
Upstairs Quinn winced at the pain in her finger, looking to see a small speck of blood appearing. Her eyes immediately went to the open chamber that the cops were currently in.
“Everything okay?” Stratus asked.
“Yeah, everything’s swell,” Quinn said sarcastically.
Cortez picked up the candle and showed it to the other officers.
“Cult?” one suggested.
“Or some weird religion.” Another added.
“Bag it,” Cortez said.
They took the candle and added it to evidence.
After about ten more minutes the cops took all they could and left. Cortez came up from the “bunker” and looked at Quinn with a puzzled look.
“Care to explain?” she asked.
“Nope,” Quinn said.
“Right, well I never took you as the religious cult type.” Cortez shed her gloves.
“Cult?” Stratus looked at Quinn.
“It’s not a cult or a religion, It’s simply decorative.” Quinn narrowed her eyes.
“Well your decoration looks awfully cultish, you should redecorate.” Cortez snorted in amusement before leaving.
Quinn slammed the door on her and then quickly went down into the bunker. Stratus followed her down.
“What is that?” Stratus asked seeing the symbol.
“Shit,” Quinn muttered, looking into the now empty hole.
“What was in there?”
“Just a candle, but it was passed down to me from my grandma, I hope they don’t break it.”
“Quinn this does look cultish.” Stratus shuddered.
“Well, it’s not. I just thought it looked cool.” Quinn covered the hole up.
“Has this been here the whole time?”
“Yes.” Quinn grabbed Stratus and forced her back upstairs to the living room, covering the hatch and moving the furniture back in place.
Then Quinn went to her room. Stratus followed after her. Quinn was kneeled down and fixing the carpet which seemed to be coming up a bit. By the time she was done fixing it, you couldn’t tell the carpet was even coming up in the first place.
Straus watched Quinn go around her house, looking in odd places that the cops didn’t look in. Quinn seemed to be checking if things were still intact. Her eyes scanned the area inspecting for anything missing or out of place. Stratus watched her silently as Quinn scratched at her burn scar frantically, seemingly not even realizing she was doing it.
“You okay?” she asked.
“Sure, it’s not like I’m now the number one suspect for murder and the cops think I’m part of some weird murder cult or anything, oh wait. They do.” She rolled her eyes.
“Well, you don’t have to worry because you didn’t kill anyone right?”
“Well no duh, but the bitch Cortez has it out for me.”
“Just relax, before you scratch your arm off.” Stratus forced Quinn to sit down on the futon in the game room.
“Huh?” Quinn looked to her arm before jerking her hand away and stopping herself from scratching.
“Everyone is innocent until proven guilty,” Straus assured her.
Quinn took a deep breath and relaxed.
“Quinn, this is the last I will ask it, but what is going on with you? Between you and me, you can talk to me. You’ve been acting off for days. Tell me, do you know something about the murder? Why is Cortez out to get you?”
Quinn stood up and ran her hands down her face, then she forced Stratus to stand up before she outstretched the futon into a bed and laid on it. Stratus cuddled up next to her.
“I know Cortez because when I was 10 years old, I was charged with the murder of my sister. Obviously, I didn’t do it, but with my family dying all around me I just drew in some unwanted attention. Cortez thinks I’m some psycho murderer, she’s been trying to prove I killed my sister for years.”
“Oh my god, what happened?”
“I don’t want to talk about it. That moment, it sort of changed me forever. I’ve never been the same since. I guess I’ve sort of become numb to the death, it’s why I’m not even sad Alice died. Just another name on the list of people who’ve died around me. I feel like maybe I should be sad, that if I showed more sympathy that the cops would get off my ass. But I just can’t, I’m just so cold inside.”
“Quinn that’s harsh. Thank you for telling me. You don’t have to pretend to be sad just to look innocent. Once the cops see you had nothing to do with this I’m sure they will move on.”
“I thought I escaped them. I thought I could run away and live here in peace. But then the first week I’m here that stupid fire happened. Seems like no matter where I go misfortune follows.”
“That was a freak accident. Don’t blame yourself for that. If anything it’s my fault. I should have never played that stupid prank on you.”
Quinn smiled at her before pushing some of Stratus strawberry blond hair out of her face. Then she moved in closer. Stratus felt her heart rate spike but remained composed.
“Can I ask you something?” Quinn looked her in the eyes.
“If I ran away would you try to find me?” Quinn asked.
“What? Are you going to run away?”
“Would you look for me if I did?”
“I don’t know, are you?”
They stared at each other, Quinn giving in first and turning over.
“Wait I’m serious, are you going to try and run away?”
“Try… so you would look for me.” Quinn turned to face her again a wicked smile on her lips.
“Don’t look at me like that, I’m being serious here.”
“I’m just kidding, I can’t run away and leave you behind.” She teased.
“You are such an asshole.”
“I know.” She moved in closer.
Stratus looked to her in confusion before Quinn pulled her in for a kiss. Again, Stratus was caught off guard, and again she was too stunned to do anything but stare wide-eyed.
Quinn pulled back and looked her in the eyes. Before slowly leaning in again. This time she waited for Stratus to initiate, just letting her lips rest against the stunned blonds. After a moment of shock and collecting her insides, which jumped around inside of her, she pushed their lips closer together.
Their lips connected into a deep passionate kiss. Quinn wrapped her arms around her neck and deepened the kiss. That snapped Stratus out of it. She pulled back, her face bright red. She covered her lips.
“I. I don’t like you like that.” She stuttered.
“It’s okay, no one has to know.” Quinn pulled her back into her arms.
“Quinn, I’m serious.”
Then she captured her lips once more.
To say that Quinn really liked Stratus wasn’t exactly right. She was enraptured with her, though she played it cool at first, letting Stratus come to her. She bided her time and waited for a chance to claim the girl she saw as hers. Because that is how Quinn felt about Stratus. Stratus belong to her and the two of them belong to each other.
She smashed her black painted lips against Stratus pink ones over and over. Their tongues lodged deep into each other’s mouths. Her hands raked her body, touching every curve, feeling every inch of skin.
Stratus was lost in a daze. She wasn’t sure why this was happening, or why she continued to let it happen. She was so confused. She thought she didn’t have any romantic interest in Quinn at all because that is what she told herself. Now she wasn’t so sure.
Part of her could never forgive or forget that fire. It was a scar burned into her soul. She would be lying to herself is she didn’t partially blame Quinn for the whole thing. That didn’t stop her from kissing back or running her hands up Quinn’s stomach.
“I can’t.” Stratus finally pulled back, breathless.
“Do what makes you feel good,” Quinn said, her eyes still locked on Stratus’s lips.
“This feels weird. I mean I don’t want to give you the wrong idea.”
“Think of it as friends with benefits if that helps.” She kissed Stratus’s neck.
Stratus let out a shaky breath and closed her eyes, becoming intoxicated by the feeling.
It was like Quinn had power over her, with every kiss, every touch, every breath, Stratus felt herself growing weaker and weaker. She couldn’t even remember what she was doing there in the first place, or what it was she was supposed to be doing, which was getting to the bottom of Quinn’s strange behavior. All of that just melted away with every kiss.
Quinn flipped their positions and forced Stratus onto her back before leaning down and kissing her neck again. Softly, so very softly.
Stratus moaned out loud grabbing onto Quinn’s shoulders. She turned her head and opened her eyes; a faint blue glowing drew her attention. It instantly snapped her out of her daze. She looked at the reflection of them in the Tv and saw a glowing coming from under Quinn’s flannel sleeve on her right arm. She gasped.
Quinn pulled back and looked at her. To play off her new discovery Stratus kissed her, grabbing her by the face and pulling her in for a big sloppy wet one. Quinn moaned into her mouth. Stratus grabbed the flannel in her hands and yanked it down Quinn’s shoulders. Exposing the top of her arm.
Quinn trailed kisses down her jawline and gave Stratus a better look, except now it wasn’t glowing anymore. She eyed it in confusion. She glanced at their reflection but again nothing out of the ordinary.
Quinn finally pulled back on her own, trying to catch her breath. Her face was red from flush. Her flannel hanging on her thin frame, her hair slightly disheveled. Stratus couldn’t help but blush at how cute she looked.
“Sorry, kind of lost control there for a moment.” Quinn sheepishly rubbed the back of her neck.
“It’s okay. It’s our secret.” Stratus went along with it.
“Yeah, our secret.” Quinn smiled before kissing her one last time.
“I should probably head home. Um, can you take me home?” Stratus sat up awkwardly.
“Of course.” Quinn nodded.
On the drive back to Stratus’s house all she could think about was what she saw. She thought about telling the others. She could hear it now, so uh yeah, we made out and her arm glowed, I think she’s a witch. They would probably laugh at her.
When she got home she, she gave Quinn a kiss on the cheek bye and then ran inside. Once inside she let Casper hop around a bit, and stared at her phone debating if she should say anything.
“What’s that on your neck?” Laken asked.
“What?” Stratus quickly covered her neck.
“I’m telling mom.” He mocked.
She quickly got up and looked in the mirror. A perfect kiss mark in black was on her neck. She felt her face flush.
“I’ll give you 20 bucks to keep your mouth shut.” She turned to him.
“30, and you have to clean Shelly’s habitat.” He countered.
Shelly is her brother's pet turtle.
“You didn’t see anything.” She pulled out 30 dollars and handed it to her brother.
“What kiss mark?” He said walking back upstairs.
Stratus sighed and quickly went to the restroom to wash it off. After that, she shut herself in her room. Her heart still pounding in her chest, the electricity still running through her veins. She would never be able to forget how Quinn’s touch made her feel.
As she thought about it, she closed her eyes and found her hand traveling inside her jeans.