13 ; Chapter Thirteen

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song of the chapter Hayley Kiyoko Cliffs Edge

As Freddie and I sat in the car for a couple of hours with the rain beating against the windscreen, we didn't talk about Pandora or the letters. He told me about his family, while I sat quietly listening to him. He talked about his dad's job with so much pride.

   "I think I started to want to join the police force when I was twelve. We were in the supermarket and it just so happened that my dad was off-duty when a guy in a ski mask came in and pointed a gun at the guy at the till," he started as he sifted his hands through his dark hair. He looked at me and his eyes were gleaming and I thought it was strange that he was talking about a situation that could have been dangerous with so much fondness.

    "Everyone was so scared but I barely had a time to even register what was going on before my dad managed to sneak up behind the guy, tase him and handcuff him. I actually reckon it was the shortest hold up in history," he laughed at that, his eyes crinkling at the edges as amusement swirled through his cobalt eyes.

    "Your dad seems like he knows what he's doing," I replied, at a loss for what to say. I knew that Freddie's dad was good at his job, but the fact that it felt like he didn't believe me when I said someone had been in the house was disheartening.

Freddie's happiness faded as though he seemed to realise what he was saying. It was only then as I looked at him side on that I realised he had a sort of designer stubble doing on. It was a good look on him.

     "I don't want to feel like I'm pressuring you into talking about it, but Viv, we need to." Freddie sounded apologetic as he referred to the situation in hand.

I sighed, "I know. I just needed a break, but I feel energised and ready to go," I said, smiling at the end as I attempted to make the air between us less tense.

Freddie smiled softly, "So I can ask you questions?"

I didn't want him to hear the slight resentment in my voice so just nodded, directing him to proceed.

   "I feel like Pandora is playing with you. She told you not to read them and then spoke about not wanting you to be the curious cat that gets killed. But she must have known that exact curiosity would have put you in this position. It's almost like some sort of test or a game - I'm not sure which one, but something feels off."

I pursed my lips as I thought about what he was saying. There was a valid point in his thinking, but at the same time I couldn't help but think that Pandora wouldn't do this to me. Pandora and I were best friends and you do not fuck with friendship like that, especially so sinisterly. 

    "I know what you're saying," Freddie replied after I told him what I thought. "But you have to remember that Pandora seems like a different person entirely in these letters, which is what makes me think it's a game. It's ironic in that this is literally a Pandora's box. As soon as you opened the first letter, there's been endless complications ever since. Misguided suspicions and a dead body do not make for a good mix."

   "But you're the one who said you thought she was murdered. You put this whole idea in my head, Freddie," I argued back and he grimaced.

    "I know but now I'm not so sure. I don't know what to think. Everything just feels so staged. It's like there's so many suspects - take her mom for example. You went to her house and she acted suspiciously. But what if her actions weren't suspicious, it's just that you're focusing and analysing everything because of Pandora?"

There was a short pause as I took in what he said. "So how do we figure out if it's a game or if it's real? How do we know what's real and what's paranoia?"

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