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Candid Photographs

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Kait Warne stands outside, taking a drag of her cigarette as she watches her dog walk around the back garden of the house she shares with her partner, Charlotte Wolfe. “Come on, Alfie. Just wee for Mam, won’t you?” She sighs softly to herself before glancing up toward the stars, at least it seems to be a lovely night. She turns a little when she hears the back garden door to the house open again, “can’t sleep?”


Cole nods a little, “something like that.” Guinevere had sent him a text message, letting him know that she was on her way home and to unlock the back garden door so that she could sneak in unnoticed. “Uh...dreams. I have dreams that keep me awake some nights.”


She’s all too aware of that. Kait nods knowingly as she takes another drag, “at some point, you’ll learn which are worrisome and which are harmless.” She starts to smile a little, motioning toward Alfie with a wave of her cigarette holding hand, “or, you get yourself a dog so that you can blame late night fags and needing a breather on them needing to wee...which he still hasn’t bloody done.”


“I mean...I doubt I’ll be able to get back to sleep. Feel free to leave him with me.” Cole takes a seat on a lounge chair within the garden, smirking to himself as Alfie excitedly trots over to him. Cole gently strokes his hand over the soft gray fur covering his head. Really, Alfie doesn’t really appear as if he’d be anything other than a rough and tumble sort of dog. In actuality, he was gentle and loving, playful. He’d usually be following Lavinia around, getting into trouble with her.


Kait gives the teen a quick look over, realizing he’s still in his pajamas, not even wearing slippers or socks. He wasn’t trying to sneak out, at least. Kait takes one final drag before stubbing the cigarette into the ashtray on the garden table, “thanks, Cole.”


“Course.” Cole gives her a smile, waiting for the door to close before he turns to make sure she’s gone upstairs via a sight to the front vestibule through the kitchen window. He exhales a breath he wasn’t aware he was holding, “alright, Gwennie.”


Walking into the back garden a bit more, Guinevere looks down at her cousin, “how did you know I was standing there?”


“Your shadow from the street lights.” He mumbles, looking over at her. Cole sees the mussed state of her hair and her ripped fishnet stockings. He isn’t really sure what to make of her appearance, honestly. “Well, did you have fun?”


“It was an experience that I’ll never forget.” Gwen beams, exhaling as she leans her head back. She does a quick, excited spin. “They invited me out tomorrow night...and the night after that and after that.”


“Quiet down.” Cole shakes his head, “or you’ll give yourself up, you muppet.” He exhales slowly, “do you really think it’s a good idea to go out tomorrow night? We have school the day after.”


“You only live once, Wolfeboy.” Guinevere shakes her head, “and you’re wasting it. You’re doing your...internet thing, making money from that, that really what you want to do? Is that how you see your life?” She takes a seat next to him, “wouldn’t you rather have experiences than just...shuffle through day after day? Wouldn’t you rather experience music as you have never heard it the most interesting people you could ever lay eyes on with the most...bizarre names and clothing...”


“How do you know what was real and what was because you were blazed out of your mind?” Cole keeps a straight face, no smiling, no show of interest. “Vinnie hasn’t been feeling well, so she’s sleeping with Mum and Kait. I left your clothes on the bed in her room.” He’s glad when Alfie finally does his business.


“Cole, come on.” Gwen shakes her head when he stands, furrowing her brow, “what, do you think you’re better than me? You and your web show and money? You and-”


“Watch yourself.” Cole glares, “one word from me and all of your bullshit is over.” He gets up from the lounge chair, glad when Alfie seems to be at his side, “he’s too old for you...and you know that. My Mum’s girlfriend is a bloody detective, not to mention our Grands are-”


“Go ahead and snitch. We both know you wouldn’t.” Gwen starts to laugh a tad, “we both know you’ll stay silent because that means you wouldn’t have any friends.” She folds her arms, “you’d be alone and-”


“I’d rather be alone with no friends than have you dead.” Cole shakes his head, watching as she seems taken aback, “I’d rather you never speak to me again if it means you’re safe, you selfish fucking bitch.” He gives her one last look before finally going into the house.


Bernie Wolfe raises an eyebrow, watching her grandchildren when she was certain she heard yelling coming from the back garden. Loud enough for it to come through the glass of the windows. They seem angry at one another. Giving a quick glance to the bed, containing her wife.


Raising an eyebrow, Serena Wolfe watches her wife as the woman hovers near the windows, watching through the blinds. “Come to bed, Berenice,” she mumbles groggily, her voice deep with sleep, “you aren’t the neighborhood watch.”


“I could be.” Bernie replies cheekily, being unable to sleep herself. Her dreams consumed with finding her daughter in the bathtub and finding her daughter tied to a chair, both drenched in the young woman’s own blood. Both finding her too late. Always. This time, however, she knows she must have woken her wife a tad by climbing out of bed. “Sorry,” Bernie whispers, doing as told as she carefully climbs back under the covers on her side of the bed.


“Who was that shouting in the garden?” Serena instinctively wraps her arm around her wife, more than happy to become entangled in the blonde’s limbs. “They had better not be shouting at that sweet dog.”


Bernie knows exactly what she saw. She saw Guinevere looking as if she was returning from a bender and Cole giving her a verbal beating. “Nope, no shouting at the dog.” She begins to ponder whether or not telling Serena would be the best idea.


Her wife’s vague response only makes Serena more curious. She opens both eyes, gazing toward Bernie’s profile, lit perfectly in the pale moonlight, “well, if it wasn’t yelling at the dog, who then?”


“Seems Guinevere is following in her aunt’s footsteps by sneaking out of the house at night.” Bernie thinks of the story from her daughter’s book of when she had caught her attempting to sneak back into the house after her first shag, only slightly younger than Guinevere is right now. “Cole, though her usual partner in crime and I have no doubt she thought he would be tonight as well, let her have it.”


“And woke the neighbors in the process.” Serena sighs, rolling onto her back to look at the ceiling. “You know, I only ever caught Elinor once.” She smiles fondly at the memory, “I knew she was going out, but I couldn’t decipher her method. I’d search her room too early or too late.”


“How did you end up catching her?” Bernie actually really loves it when Serena brings up Elinor, little snippets of what would have been another member of the family they’ve created.


“Do you remember black salve?” When Serena says it, she notices a confused expression on Bernie’s face, “it’s used as a topical in order to draw out boils and...some pretended it was a treatment to skin cancer, wore away their skin.” She explains, “my mother, when I was a child, used to swear by it...for everything. It was either that or iodine depending on the size of the wound or...whatever have you.” Serena begins to smirk, “I put it all over her window sill, that way I’d either hear her complaining or I’d hear the faucet in the toilet.”


“Brilliant.” Bernie turns to her side in order to face her wife, grinning with delight.


“I won’t deny having a good...cackle as she stood at the sink, scrubbing furiously.” Serena sighs softly, her mind falling back onto the grandchildren, “I don’t like that Cole lied to us for Guinevere.”


“Did you think he’d do otherwise?” Bernie licks her lips, “partners in crime, remember? He’d only tell us the truth if he needed to, I reckon. Such as if she an unsafe situation.” She pauses, her hand tucked under her pillow, “and he wouldn’t tell us then, he’d tell Kait.”


“Kait?” Serena furrows her brow, glancing over to her wife, “you think so?”


“Impartial, familiar with situations such as...” Bernie pauses, knowing the thought might hurt her wife, “such as drug-addled teens...”


“Guinevere may remind me of Elinor a great deal, but her circumstances are different.” Serena shakes her head, “Jason and Greta are brilliant parents who are present for their daughter, not to mention how we’ve drilled into all of the grandchildren that drug use isn’t ever the answer.”


“Sometimes there isn’t a question to require an answer though, Campbell.” Bernie replies simply, sadly, “sometimes it’s genetics, sometimes it’s mental illness, sometimes it’s forced,’s just wanting to experience something different.” She licks her lips, “when Cameron was just starting medical school for the very first time, he made some stupid decisions, including drug use...though he may still deny it to this day, a mother knows.” Bernie smirks weakly to herself, “children, no matter how old they become and what lessons they were taught by others around them, need to learn from their own mistakes.”


“I know.” Serena whispers, turning back to her side to face Bernie, looking into her shadow veiled eyes, “doesn’t stop the worry.”


“No, it doesn’t.” Bernie leans in, pressing a soft kiss to Serena’s lips, “but it does give us time to prepare for the matter when it might occur.”


“Guinevere is...” Serena moves closer to her wife, feeling when Bernie finally wraps her arms around her torso, “she’s so much like Elinor. So curious, so driven, so stubborn. I think that’s what worries me most.”


“I doubt we’ll achieve anything from it, but we can talk to her about it tomorrow.” Bernie pauses, “to Gwen and Cole both.” Feeling Serena’s nod against her chest, Bernie knows how hard this is for her to suspect, but her instincts are rarely ever wrong.