Prompt #1

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                Prompt: Hi, in Cheating The Deck all the guys think that Ace is going to be the one to die first and I was wondering what all their reactions should be if he did?

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                They all told him he'd be the first. They all steeled themselves against it every time he went out.

                They weren't prepared for the moment it actually happened.

                                                                                                                ***

                Alexis was the first emergency contact in Ace's phone. He was the one called to the scene of the accident, he was the one who numbly identified the body, and he was the one who had to tell the others.

                He called Jonas from his old house. The guys weren't taking the news well, and Alexis had no desire to leave.

                "What's wrong, Alexis?" Jonas asked nervously.

                "Ace is dead." There was no emotion in Alexis's voice. "I need you to watch Micah for the night. Maybe two nights. I don't...We need to make arrangements."

                "Oh my god," Jonas whispered. "Alexis, what happened?"

                "He was leaving the bar, crossing the street. A taxi driver was checking his GPS," Alexis said. "He died before the paramedics could get there."

                "Do you want me there?" Jonas asked.

                "No. This isn't a good place for you or Micah right now. Please just...just watch him. I'll tell him when I get back. I'll get him through this." Alexis hung up the phone.

                He went up to his old room and sat on the floor, his door shut. He could remember the first time he'd met Ace. Ace had been a dirty, angry, homeless boy.

                Alexis had been heartbroken for him. He'd given him food, then friendship. Ace had always relied on Alexis more.

                "Dumbass," Alexis said quietly, wrapping his arms around himself. He didn't even get Ace's beanie. It had been stained in Ace's blood.

                What if Alexis had never left the house? Would Ace have been home? Maybe he wouldn't have gone to the bars so much. Maybe he'd still be alive.

                Alexis shook his head, hugging himself tighter. "Maybe" wouldn't bring Ace back. Alexis had moved out, Ace had gone drinking, the taxi driver hadn't paid attention. No one could change that. Ace Foley was a dead man, just a boy of 21.

                Alexis squeezed his eyes shut, but no tears came. He'd endured so much sorrow in his life, and now here was another loss.

                "I'm so sorry Ace," Alexis whispered. Even if it cost every penny he had saved up, he'd give Ace a good grave. He'd struggled to find a place to stay in life, and Alexis would make damn sure he had a good place in death.

                                                                                                ***

                Ike sat in his room, looking down at the family picture in his lap. In it, he and his brother had matching grins, and his parents smiled lovingly behind them. His mother looked so alive, so healthy, so strong.

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