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The following day we started looking all over for a clue, but didn’t find anything.

“What’s in here?” I asked, the only room upstairs we hadn’t been in. He shook his head. “Harry come on, you know by now you can tell me anything.”

“It was my room when I was a kid.”

“Why does it upset you? We looked in your dads bedroom here for clues.”

He frowned. “We’d always crash in here together. He’d read to me and we’d fall asleep.” I rubbed his arm. He sucked in a breath and opened the door. It was… it was adorable. There was a tiny little bed coming from the main wall, with rocket ship sheets with all kinds of police men, fire trucks, in little cartoons. He had the coolest little mobiles hanging from the ceiling, the walls were painted in black, he had chalk all over them. He walked over to the wall, running his finger tips down it.

“We um,” he cleared his throat. “We spent one day making every wall in chalkboard paint. We’d draw for hours in here.”

“That’s very sweet.” He nodded. I looked around, my heart acing. There was, in green chalk, Worlds best, coolest, funniest, talented son. Dad loves you more than anything. with a little heart beside it. I felt my eyes get watery. How could his dad say that, then leave?

“I don’t see anything,” he opened the empty dresser, and closet, kicking aside some of the old toys he used to play with. “Finny? What are you looking at?”

“Nothing,” I shook my head. He came over, he just stared, expressionless. “Harry-” before I knew it he wiped the sweet message off the wall, making it turn to dust. He let out a ragged breath and took off, slamming the door loudly behind him. I rubbed my face, so lost on this. I wanted to help, but I knew seeing that hurt, more than I understood. This was so hard, because I didn't know what to say or how to comfort him. It wasn't that talking of suicide freaked me out, sure, of course it saddened me, it was simply that I didn't know how to help someone cope. I came downstairs, seeing him on the couch, his hands laced tightly together, his chin resting on them. 

“It’s o-okay,” 

“Sorry for slamming the door.”

“D-Don’t be, it was justified.’ I kissed his cheek and leaned against him. I just wanted to give him space, and comfort him.

“Can we look for clues again? Please?” he got up; ignoring the pain he was clearly feeling. But who was I to force him to work through it? I had to support him. I don't think you can ever tell someone how to grieve. 

“Let’s think,” I tried to give him a warm smile. “Think about something, where would you spend most of your time when you were little?”

“We’d come up here, fish, but clearly he can’t put anything in the water. We’d…” he thought. “Oh shit, the tree house,” he grabbed my hand, dragging me out into the woods. “Up there.”

“You cannot go inside; it looks like a death trap.” The tree house was a very cool box kind of a thing, very simple. It looked like it should be condemned, it was falling apart. The paint was peeling, boards were falling through and hanging limply off. It looked like if I blew on it hard enough it'd fall down. 

“The hell I can’t.” He started climbing up, the steps broke under his feet. “Fuck.”

‘I’m lighter than you.” I pushed him away, starting to climb up the sides of the ladder that weren’t broken. I felt him wrap his arms around my waist.

“No way, it can fall on me, but not you.”

“Let go,” I shimmed away, and kept climbing.


“Oh it’s fine,” I climbed up and reached the little door. I pushed it open. “Yuck,” I muttered at all the dirt and old animals’ nests that were up there. “What do I look for?”

“Do you see an envelope or another box?”

I looked around; I arched my body over to look at the top of the door. There was a worn, muddy looking square envelope. I reached up, “Almost,” I arched my leg, standing on my tippy toes. I felt my fingers grab it, tugging it down. “Shit,” I lost my balance, and fell back. He caught me “Oh Lord,’ I breathed out in his arms, falling into his chest. He smiled.

“You okay?”

“Y-Yeah,” I shivered. He started walking me to the house, still holding me. I smiled, enjoying the ride. “I could get used to getting lugged around.”

‘Lugged? You make it sound like a big chore.” He set me on my feet inside of the house. I handed him the envelope. I brushed off some of the dirt on my clothes. He opened it up. “Good job Harry,’ he breathed out as he read aloud again. “You’re getting along just fine. Remember when I taught you how to ride a bike? You fell down so many times. I thought for sure you’d be on training wheels forever. You did something that really inspired me, you… didn’t give up.” He half whispered, looking so sad. I rubbed his back as he read in silence. “Your next clue is rather simple. Stiff is my spine and my body is pale, but I’m always ready to tell a tale.” He looked down at me.

“Do you have a study?” I asked after a moment. “Books have stiff spines.”

“No study here, back home in his room there are tons of books. That has to be it. There are no books here.”

“Too bad the next clue didn’t involve staying here. We drove forever.” I laughed.

“We can stay.”

‘No, no, we have to get you your clues.”

“No, we can take a break from this and talk about something other than me and my dad. We have till Sunday.”


“I really would rather just take a breath Fin. I can work on my drawings too.”

“Well, all right. What do you want to do in the mean time?” he looked around.

“Ever been fishing?”


“Ew, ew, ew!” I jumped. I learned I did not like the feeling of slimy lake fish. He laughed at me. “Take it!”

“Throw it back!” I threw far away from me, it splashed loudly. He cracked up. “You talk about the beauty and nature of Antarctica; I thought you’d love this.”

“Yes, a snowy part of Antarctica, sometimes I’d visit the parts where it wasn’t all snow but that was pretty rare. None of that involved slimy fish.” I shivered.


‘No, it’s fine; this is a new thing to try.”

He cast the line, I watched, leaning against the dock wall. He stepped behind me, a foot on either side of me. I leaned back, my head against his chest as he held me tight, in between his arms, both hands resting on the rod.

“Having fun?” he asked.

“Lots,” I smiled. “Tell me something no one knows about you.”

“Everything you know about me, no one knows.” His dimples peaked, he shook his messy curls.

‘Then something else, when did you start to paint and draw?”

“I started when I was about five. I was drawing all over. My dad actually put me in art classes at the community college when I was six.”

“You’ve been drawing ever since?”

“Ever since,” the line tugged. He quickly reeled it in, the fish flopping around.

“Let him go, he’ll die!” I jumped back farther into his chest, but it was like a wall. He didn’t even flinch or budge at my sudden jolt into his body.

“Oh calm down,” he undid it easily, and the fish swam away. “There, good?”

“Can we call it good on the stinky fish?”

“We can call it good.” He smiled and kissed my forehead. He packed up a tackle box.

“Hey, Harry?" He glanced up, letting me know he was listening as he put everything away.  "I’m really glad I’m your girlfriend.”

He met my eyes. “Me too,”

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