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Hey guys! I'm back! Sorry for the delay between chapters >.< We went to the lake and between school starting up and work, I haven't had time to update until now. Sorry! Anyway, I hope you guys can forgive me :3 It wasn't that long of a break, right 
Now, enjoy! And if anyone can name either a) the suspect in the beginning of the chapter and b) the character in the very last shot (this one is a secret though, so I want to hear your guesses ;)), I will give you a cookie!
Hint: Both characters have been in an episode of Cause of Death (well, one is from a special, but whatever :p)


Ali hovered off to the side as Malachi apprehended a suspect that had just led the two of them on quite the chase. A large, obvious bruise surrounded Malachi's eye and a good bit of his forehead, caused by the suspect having gotten a good few punches in before taking off.
Ali couldn't help but feel responsible. He should have been watching Malachi's back, but he was distracted over what had happened with Dylan yesterday. He hadn't been paying attention and Malachi had gotten hurt. Had the suspect been armed, things could have been a lot worse.
Throughout the chase, he'd done numerous stupid things, mistakes, that he was lucky had not wound up with either him or Malachi injured or dead. Distracted, he knew, was not something to be in this line of work and if he thought he'd get out of this without getting hell from the captain, he was crazy.

Once Malachi had handed the suspect off to a few other officers to be taken back to the station, he turned to Ali and raised his eyebrows.
Ali pretended to play innocent, even though he was positive he knew that Malachi was about to ask what was going on with him. It wasn't like he could tell him anyway. Sure, Malachi was his best friend, but truthfully, that just made it all worse. You weren't supposed to almost kiss your best friend's sister. He was pretty sure that that went against the unspoken "bro code" or whatever he used to call it back in high school.
Malachi was still standing there with that look on his face that said he was waiting for an explaination.
"What?" Ali asked, widening his eyes in an attempt to look as innocent and oblivious as possible. It was obviously not working, however, when Malachi's unimpressed expression didn't waver, but instead grew deeper.
"You know what," Malachi replied, rather sharply, sounding more like Dylan than he had probably intended.
Ali couldn't help but frown at that. He didn't understand this. He'd been rejected by girls many times before, and yeah, it was usually a bruise to his ego, but none had ever affected him quite like this before. It was a foreign experience.
"You gonna answer me?" Malachi asked. It was obvious that he was angry. If anyone was supposed to make dumb choices in this team, it was Malachi, not Ali. Ali was supposed to be the one that followed the rules, did things the way they were supposed to. But today he hadn't, and that was not good for him. They were lucky to still be alive.
"Look man, I'm sorry. I've been distracted," Ali said, shaking his head and not offering any more explanation than that. He turned and began to head back to their own unmarked squad car, but Malachi grabbed him by the shoulder before he could get more than two steps away.
Ali turned around to face him, but didn't know what to say. He couldn't tell him about Dylan, he would kill him. However, Ali realized as he stared at his partner's expectant expression, the half truth wouldn't get him murdered, so that was what he went with. "I was with a girl yesterday and she took off without any warning or reason, okay?" It came out angrier than he had intended, as though he were blaming Malachi for what had happened. "It's just... Weighing on my mind, okay?"

Even though it looked as though Malachi were going to say something more, Ali shoved his hand away and was stalking away to the car. Malachi just hung back, studying his partner as he climbed into the car. He'd never seen him like this over a girl, it was strange. Whoever this girl was, Ali had to care an awful lot about her to let her affect him like that.

Shaking his head, Malachi walked over to the car and got into the driver's seat. He hated seeing his best friend like this. Hopefully he'd be able to work everything out with this mystery girl.

"You never stop believing in me when I don't know,
Who I am or what I'm supposed to be,
I don't give you no good reasons,
But baby don't give up on me.
Dylan stood on the stage of the now-empty theatre, closed for the day, strumming her guitar and singing softly. She didn't know why she'd chosen the song she had. It seemed almost cruel towards herself to play a love song while yesterday's events replayed in her mind over and over again.
The theatre was quiet and she was sure she was the only one here--every one else had to have been enjoying their day off--and the sound of her music echoing around the room was a comfort. Suddenly, without any warning, she changed the song, instead playing a slowed down version of Sugarland's Baby Girl.
"Dear Mom and Dad,
Please send money,
I'm so broke that it ain't funny,
Well I don't need much, just enough to get me through,
Please don't worry, 'cause I'm alright,
I'm playing here at the bar tonight,
This town is gonna make our dreams come true,
I love you more than anything in the word,
Love your baby girl.

With a sigh, she realized that at this point she really was just trying to torture herself and chose to put the guitar down and stand up. Perhaps a few minutes of doing something other than self-pitying through song would do her good.
"Why'd you stop?" The voice came from the stage door behind her, and she spun around so fast that she nearly tumbled off of the edge of the stage.
"Careful!" Junior exclaimed as she lost her balance, catching it seconds before she tumbled off of the edge.
It took her a moment, but slowly Dylan managed to slow her heart rate from the near heart attack. When she did, she looked up at her friend with quite the dirty look. "Damn it, Junior! You know I don't like people sneaking up on me!" The sound of her voice echoing off the sides of the theatres concrete walls made her sound even angrier than she really was.
"Sorry!" A look of pure guilt flashed across his face and he began to fidget uncomfortably. "I-I didn't mean to scare you, I-"
Dylan sighed and gestured dismissively. She forgot sometimes how sensitive Junior could be and that she often had to watch her temper around him. She blamed it on Taylor, Malachi, and now Ali. All of them were so used to her snapping at them that it was hard to remember that not all people could just roll their eyes at her or joke through it. "No, I'm sorry, I shouldn't have yelled. I just... Nevermind..."

She leaped off the stage and sat down on one of the chairs near the back. Much to her disappointment, Junior followed and sat beside her. It wasn't that she didn't like Junior--he was one of her best friends and she loved him a lot--but if she was going to talk to one of her friends right then, she wanted it to be Taylor. She was upset about a guy, and she just really wanted another girl to talk with right then.
Junior didn't seem to get it though. "You seem sad," he stated. When she looked up, she could see that he was studying her face a little too closely, forcing her to look away. She hated it when he did that, it made her feel so self concious.
"Yeah, well, I am," she replied, giving the chair in front of her a solid kick as though she could blame it for her inability to understand her own feelings. She liked Ali, she knew she did. She wanted him to kiss her, still did in fact. But she couldn't. Everytime she so much as considered the possibility of a relationship between them, the memories plagued her mind--what had happened to her father and how heartbroken it had left her mom. She couldn't do it. She couldn't go through what her mom had. Subconciously, she began to grip the armrests so hard that her knuckles turned white.
Junior glanced down at her hands and nodded. "Yeah... I, uh, noticed..." he muttered, beginning to fidget again. "Do you, um, want to talk about it? Maybe?"
Dylan shook her head. "No offense, Junior, but this is one of those things I would rather talk to Taylor about."

"Oh, yeah, I understand." Junior nodded some more. He kind of looked a bit like a chicken when he did that. It was something that Taylor and Dylan sometimes teased him about. "But, y'know, Taylor doesn't always give the best advice"--that was true, and Dylan knew it--"so, if you want to talk to me, I wouldn't mind... Only if you really, really want to though."
They sat in silence for a good few seconds--Dylan staring at the seat in front of her in thought, Junior watching her patiently--before Dylan finally just decided to throw it out there. She trusted Junior. She knew he wouldn't judge her for being afraid. "It's a guy..."
"A guy?" Junior repeated, his way of urging her to continue.

Dylan did just that. "I-I don't know how I feel about him... I think I like him, but... I'm scared." The words just seemed to tumble out of her mouth and she winced, hating how vulnerable she seemed to sound. At least this was Junior she was talking to. If she could be vulnerable in front of anyone but Malachi, it was him.
"What're you scared of?"

Dylan took a deep breath and kept her eyes trained on the seat in front of her. "He's a cop," she said briefly, as though that would explain everything.
Junior stared at her for a moment or two--she could feel his eyes on her even though she wasn't looking at him--before he cleared his throat and spoke again. "You know, you don't really need that guy. If he really wants to be with you, he'll chase after you. But if he doesn't, there's a ton of guys out there that would want to be with you..."
"Great advice, Junior," Dylan replied sarcastically, turning to look at him, only to find him sitting closer to her than she would have liked. She raised an eyebrow in confusion and begna to inch back slightly. "Er..."

The tips of Junior's ears turned red and he moved back as well. "Sorry. I just... I... Never mind, it's not important." He began to pull on the bottom of his shirt, as he always seemed to do when he was nervous about something. Dylan couldn't imagine what it was though.
"Okay, now it's your turn to talk. What's up?" she asked, bluntly. She wasn't a particularly curious person by nature--that was Malachi's job--mostly, she just wanted to get off of the topic of Ali.
"You'll laugh."
"Me? Laugh?" Dylan pretended to be surprised. The truth was, it took an awful lot to make her even giggle. Again, they settled into a comfortable silence while Junior thought. In order to make him feel less uncomfortable, Dylan stared straight ahead instead of right at him.
It wasn't until she felt a light touch on her hand--the one still gripping the arm rest as though her life depended on it--that she turned back to look at him in surprise. The touch hadn't felt brief, like he was just trying to get her attention. It felt more like when someone wanted to hold your hand, and it seemed very un-Junior like. She immediately released the arm rest and jerked her hand back, choosing to place it instead in her lap.

It didn't take her long after that to realize just what was going on. Why he tended to stare at her for longer than he should, why he'd given the "advice" he had, why he had just touched her hand like that. She looked down at her lap and closed her eyes. Don't do this, Junior. Don't make this awkward, she silently pleaded.
But, of course, Junior remained oblivious to Dylan's begging. He took a deep breath, then looked away. His ears were redder than Dylan had ever seen him, and if he kept pulling on the bottom of his shirt like that, he was going to rip it.

"Dylan, I-I know this probably sounds really weird but... I-I really like you. Like, like like you. And... And yeah..."
Dylan winced. Maybe it was the way Junior was speaking, or maybe it was just the fact that it had been so long since anyone had said anything like that to her, but she felt like she was in high school all over again, and she hated it.
And the worst part? Now Junior was staring at her with those big, innocent eyes, and she didn't have any idea of what to say. A rejection speech was something she'd never thought she'd have to give.
Because the truth was, she didn't like him back. No matter how hard she tried, she couldn't see him as more than a best friend.
But she couldn't hurt him. She couldn't tell him that. So she did the one thing she always did in times like these.

She ran.




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