I hate knowing where I want the story to go, but now how to get there. ;)
The next day was spent cleaning the house. Adrienne hated that she had prior experience with cleaning blood stains up from the floor. All she wanted to do was stay curled up with blankets in a corner of the room she had slept in most of her life. She thought to herself as she scrubbed at the carpet that she could pick anywhere in the house as her room now. It was so empty. She had hoped Charlie would have stayed for longer, maybe she could have worn down his resistence, and they could be a family again, but...
It seemed that the Boxers being a family meant someone was always in trouble with the law, or on the run, or just plain far away. Maybe Charlie had the right idea. Kraftsbury was no good for her family. She had the money, maybe she should move somewhere far, far away. How hard could it be for a doctor to find work?
As she dumped the blood-tinged water from the bucket down the drain of the sink, she heard a knock on the door. Adrienne looked down at herself, and was in no condition to meet guests. She's thrown on an old pair of sweatpants that were almost more torn than whole, with a t-shirt that may have well been a Pollack painting, it was so splattered with paint. Her hair was tugged back into a ponytail, and what wasn't stuck up in every direction.
She resigned herself, and picked through her hair to try and make it even an iota more presentable. On the other side of the back door, she saw her fiance, Jeff. His black hair was combed, parted in the middle, and his clothes matched his hair, for the most part. A black dress shirt underneath his peacoat, and black shoes, but he wore dark khakis to contrast it.
When Jeff saw the state of his bride to be, confusion washed over his otherwise somber face. "Adge, aren't you ready yet? Where's Charlie, I'm dying to meet him."
Adrienne let him in without saying a word. Somehow she had forgotten today was the day of her father's funeral. Part of her wanted to not go, stay inside, and ignore the world, but she couldn't. She ran up the front stairs two at a time, leaving Jeff to stare at the strange damp spot in the dining room. She bounded back down the stairs faster than she went up, after changing into an outfit that wasn't that dissimilar from the one she had worn out to the caverns the previous night.
The funeral was much as one would expect, and Adrienne sat through, only half aware of anything going on. As the preacher gave his speech about what a wonderful man George Boxer was, all Adrienne could think of was where her brother was. She sat there numb throughout the service, unaware of what was going on around her.
Once the funeral service was complete, and she thanked everyone for coming, Jeff took her home, where he prepared a late lunch for the both of them. Not being the greatest cook in the world, his cooking consisted of chicken noodle soup from the can, but at least instead of the microwave, he actually used the stove.
While they sat there eating, Jeff picked his fiance's brain. "Sorry about this morning. I didn't know about last night. Are you ok?"
Adrienne poked at the broth in her bowl, shifting the noddles around with the tip of her spoon, trying not to think of anything with tentacled appendages. "I guess. I'm still processing. It's not every day some guy slashes his own throat..."
"What?" Jeff stopped her midsentence. "But I'd heard that Charlie was the one who...you know."
The spoon in Adrienne's hand dug into her palm as she clutched it tighter and tighter. Her lips thinned to the barest hint of a line as her eyes screwed shut, holding back the boiling anger within her. She knew things like this were coming, and she would have to deal with them for a long time to come, but today everything was still too raw, and she didn't need to hear this from the closest thing she had to family that wasn't of her blood.
The words that pushed themselves out of her mouth were spoken with slow, deliberate force. Each word spoken as its own, as Adrienne kept herself from shouting them. "It wasn't Charlie. Meyers did it to himself."
"That's not what I h-"
Adrienne threw her spoon at the table, where it clattered against the bowl and riccocheted off the table to the cold tile floor of the kitchen where they were eating. "I don't give a rat's ass what you heard! I know! I know what I saw, Jeff! I was there, it happened not three feet from me!"
He reached out to calm Adrienne, but she smacked his hand aside before it even reached her. "Hon, I know your upset," Jeff said while rubbing his sore hand. "But you can't keep protecting your brother. He's a big boy."
"Don't you dare talk down to me, Jeff. Not today. I am not protecting Charlie," she lied. She may not have been protecting him in the way Jeff meant, but she was protecting him all the same.
Adrienne had been protecting Charlie, looking out for him, for the better part of nine years. She saved him from their enraged father, she was a friendly face while he was institutionalised, she served as the one sole link he kept with the rest of the world. She was a stabalising force for Charlie, and they both knew it. He may not ever admit it, but that's how he was.
Ever since Charlie had awoken to find their mother motionless at his feet, Adrienne had taken on the role that he should have. She wouldn't realise it for years after, but that was when it happened. It was always expected of the eldest, male child to watch out for the younger siblings in the family circle, but instead Charlie went away, and it was the youngest female that chose to take care of the family.
She had done so for over a third of her life, ever since she was 13. There was no way she was going to stop now, even if he was lost to her forever, if they never spoke again. The police would not believe her, most of the people wouldn't either, but she would never stop setting people straight on what happened that night with Richard. At least, in as much as she could tell them. There may have always been some lingering doubt over what happened with their mother amongst the townsfolk, but this time Adrienne had seen what happened, and she wouldn't stand for them bashing Charlie without cause.
"I am not protecting Charlie," Adrienne reiterated. "I'm telling the truth. Richard came in here, ranting like a madman, and did it too himself. I don't know why, and I don't really give a crap either. What I do know is what I saw."
"It's just so bizarre, hon, that's all. Why would such a kind, sweet guy like Richard was ever do such a thing?"
Everybody lies, Adrienne thought to herself. "How should I know? Maybe he got messed up in the war? Just waiting like a time bomb from post traumatic stress disorder? I know him and Charlie yelled at each other yesterday, that might have set him off."
Jeff shook his head. "I just find it hard to believe, that's all. We both went to meetings with the guy. I never would have thought of him as crazed, and especially not suicidal."
Adrienne wanted nothing more than to tell Jeff every detail. Especially Jeff, more than anyone else, even the cops. He was the one person she felt that maybe she could tell about it, until he said what he did, and at that same moment, Adrienne's eyes fell upon the hint of blue paint that had flecked off against Jeff's neck, from the chain that ducked underneath his shirt. She hadn't noticed it until that moment, but there was an emptiness to his eyes, and his skin was slick, but the house was cool.
They had met at a meeting of the Cerulean Order. It had never occurred to Adrienne all day long that such a meeting could have been anything more than what she had always thought it was. Now though, she saw the chain, heard his voice, and she had to wonder; how much did Jeff know? Was he there last night, as she was held captive? Or was he just a hapless pawn?
Would it be better to keep things to herself? Jeff might be a plant, trying to see how much she remembered. If she kept her mouth shut, they might think she was repressing it all, forgetting what she had really seen. Maybe that would make them leave her alone. On the other hand, he might just be innocent in all this, and in danger of being pulled into their thrall. Didn't he deserve to know the danger he was in by going to the order? Adrienne doubted it would go away just because Richard had passed on. They would pick a new leader, and offer help. Life goes on, even for cults.
Adrienne looked to her fiance, and a horrible thought crossed her mind. Her family, her mother's family, had been involved for some time in the Order, and now here was a member of their band, ready to wed and bed the latest in a long line of a very powerful family, that had strayed from the flock. Even the possibility of such an arrangement going on behind her back, plots about children she may not ever have, becoming pieces in plots of some cult turned her stomach.
As much as she may have wanted to tell her fiance the truth, as much as she hoped for the best with him, wanting him to be clean, and pure, and normal... Charlie remained her priority, he was the one she needed to look out for.
"Look, Jeff, I'm just way too emotional today, and I still need to go to the police station and answer some questions. I'd appreciate some time to myself so I can get that done. Please, just get out."
It was harsher than what she may have intended, but no less true. She was hurt, she was confused, and afraid that if Jeff didn't get out as soon as possible, she'd smash the bowl of soup beside her into his face.
Jeff complied and backed out of the room, grabbing his jacket, and leaving the house out the front door without a word. He knew not to push Adrienne, especially in matters concerning her family.
With Jeff gone, Adrienne went to the den and flopped on the couch, and turned on the tv.
Even the news would not leave her be. The top story interrupting everything she cared enough to try and watch was about her brother. They were giving the expected line about Charlie Boxer killing once more, spreading their disinformation and untruths to the masses of Kraftsbury and the outlying areas.
Just as Adrienne became too fed up to hear one more lie against her brother begin to stick, she gave pause. And things got worse.
"This just in; Charlie Boxer's grudge against the Cerulean Order may have extended beyond killing Richard Meyers. Police have just released reports that someone broke into the church that the Order was using as their shelter and headquarters late last night.
"Members of the group with nowhere else to go are offered a place to sleep, and some food for their time and help. Last night, this trust was betrayed as every sleeping person in the church was brutally slaughtered. Police continue their search for Charlie Boxer, now wanted for questioning in regards to over a dozen murders."