The True Emotion Games

(Just so you know, this has nothing, I repeat nothing to do with the Hunger Games. It just happens to have a similar name) When Tess's boyfriend Sam dies, she is broken. And when her ex goes on a killing spree of all of her family, aiming for her next, she feels she has nothing else to live for. But right before she decides to end it all, she joins the True Emotion Games, a competition set up by Love/Hate (after all, they really are the same thing). She now has a purpose, a meaning. Find out what the True Emotion Games are (it's in the prologue, you don't even have to read more, I swear) and how Tess copes with them in the True Emotion Games.

BTW, if you leave a comment telling me the name of your movella, I'll definitely read it! Please give feedback also, if you decide to read it. :)

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18. Chapter 16: Bloodthirsty Raccoons (not the way you think)

Chapter 16

Tess spent the entire rest of the day- that is, until it got dark out- with only Jackson and Charlie. The two of them showed Tess around Sillisbury, impersonating tour guide voices and making her laugh. They were all definite friends immediately. So Tess regretted having to leave. And she kept thinking about taking Jackson up on his offer. Quitting the road trip and staying with him for a little while before having Vee get her a house. But at the time she knew that she should make her decision, she knew that she couldn't leave Jason and Rachel. Tess was positive though that she would end up staying in Sillisbury eventually. They were sitting in the park, covered by blankets when the sunlight began to fade. Tess threw her side of the blanket off her and stood up. Jackson and Charlie looked up at her wordlessly.
"Guys, I think I better get back," she said slowly. Charlie immediately jumped up.
"No! You're going to miss the fireworks and the party!" she exclaimed.
"Fireworks and party for what?" Jackson and Charlie exchanged glances.
"Founder's Day!"
"What the heck is Founder's Day?" Tess asked.
"History lesson!" Charlie yelled loudly with a laugh. She pointed down at Jackson.
"Sillisbury has two founders. Annie Margaret Sills and Mason Edward Forbury. Annie's birthday is on December 18 and Mason's is on July 27. So we have two Founder's Days. One for Annie and one for Mason," Jackson concluded.
"History lesson over!" Charlie bellowed, clapping her hands once.
"And today is December 18, so..." Tess trailed off.
"It's Founder's Day!" the two of them supplied the rest of the sentence.
"So then where is this big celebration?" Tess asked.
"Haven't you noticed?" Charlie started.
"They've been setting up all day!" he finished. Tess looked around and then noticed that balloons and streamers and banners and Christmas-type lights were all around the park and the shops that surrounded it. The balloons and streamers were everywhere she could see and the banners were hung in every place they could, while the lights were wound around the trees and the stage place. She gasped.
"Wow. I am so oblivious!" Charlie laughed at Tess's remark.
"Just distracted," Jackson said instead.
"Will you stay?" Charlie asked. Tess looked between her and Jackson uncertainly.
"Uhh..." Charlie gave her a puppy dog face.
"Pleeeeease? It won't be fun without you!" Jackson exclaimed. Tess cracked a grin.
"Alright." The two of them cheered. "But I'm leaving right after that!" she promised herself.
"We're going to have so much fun! And you can meet everyone and we can all be best friends and there's food and fireworks and awards and..." Tess tuned out while Charlie rambled on about Founder's Day.  She wondered if running away from Jason had really been the right thing to do. And making Vee not let them follow? Was that really fair? She needed some time alone, though. But that kind of ended up as spending the day with Jackson and Charlie. Did she really have to go back? She could just stay here... But then she would lose Jason and Rachel as friends. Was that really worth it all? And now would they be mad at her for leaving? Most likely they would be. Or maybe Jason would back off because he realized it was the wrong thing for him to do and Rachel might get it because Tess would explain what happened. Or maybe they would just be full out mad that she disappeared without a trace and it would be the same under any circumstances. That was something to wonder about.
"And there are these bloodthirsty raccoons that come out right when the fireworks start and they always begin eating the newest people to Sillisbury. It a sacrifice ceremony, and I hate to break it to you, but you're going to be the first-"
"WHAT?!" Tess screeched, finally aware of what Charlie was saying. Jackson snorted with laughter and the two of them cracked up.
"I knew you weren't listening!" she exclaimed.
"Sorry. I'm just... Thinking about things." Tess sighed. Silence settled over them as they stopped laughing. Tess's growling stomach interrupted it. Jackson and Charlie looked at her pointedly. "I think I'm hungry," she murmured.
"I think Tess is hungry," Jackson repeated.
"I think she's hungry," Charlie said after. They burst out into another round of laughter.
"I'm hungry too, don't worry." Jackson rubbed his stomach with a grin. Charlie pointed at herself.
"Same."
"Where is a good place to eat here?" Tess asked. The two best friends exchanged glances.
"Well since the food won't be set up for Founder's Day for a little while..." Charlie trailed off.
"I know where we can go! I'll text some of my friends to meet us there too." Jackson pulled out his iPhone. Charlie gave him a strange look.
"Where?" she asked. "Oh! Good thinking!" She looked proud of herself. "I will text my friends too." Jackson stared at her.
"But you don't have any friends," he teased, his face completely serious though. She rolled her eyes and punched his arm lightly.
"Confusing me with you?" she shot back, batting her eyelashes innocently. Tess laughed. She and Charlie high-fived. Charlie pulled out her phone too and sent out texts to her friends.
"Okay, I'm ready," Jackson announced. Charlie whined in protest. He ignored her, and looked straight at Tess. "We can walk from here. It's only five minutes and my friends can be there at the same time." She nodded.
"Mine too!" Charlie chirped. They all got up and Jackson grabbed the blankets. He stuffed them into the backpack that he had brought along and looked up at the two girls.
"We all good to go?" Both of them nodded.
"Where exactly are we going?" Tess asked, biting her lip. His lip curled into a wicked looking smile.
"That's for me to know and you to find out." Tess rose her eyebrows. He laughed.
"Nah I'm only joking. We're going to this buffet restaurant called Allie Jay's that my friend's family owns. It's cool. They give us summer jobs there." They started walking in the direction of the sidewalk (in one direction lololol), like where 3C was. Tess breathed a sigh of relief.
"Phew! I thought you were going to go all creepy freaky on me for a minute." Charlie cackled.
"You don't know Jackson. He's always like that!" she exclaimed. Tess snorted. Jackson eyed her sharply. She laughed harder. They got on the sidewalk where 3C was and walked along it. The lights from inside all of the shops lot the way.
"So, Tess, how long are you going to stay here?" Jackson asked.
"Well after all the stuff tonight, I guess I'll call or text Rachel and then they can come pick me up. But I have no doubt that I'll be back here again," she told them without looking up. They were reaching a curve in the sidewalk that turned right. They walked in a straight line with Charlie on the left, Tess in the middle, and Jackson on the right.
"Oh." Both of them spoke at the same time. They didn't talk for a little while after.
"Have either of you ever been in love?" Tess blurted out.
"What?" Charlie asked sharply, seeming to be hateful towards the question and caught off guard. Jackson's eyes widened. Tess blushed.
"Sorry. I have no idea where that came from. Never mind." She sped up her pace, her head down.
"Tess, wait, no, it's okay!" Jackson jogged to keep up with her while Charlie hung back, walking slower. He caught her arm.
"Sorry. That was stupid," she apologized again.
"It's just... Not something to bring up with Charlie. Something happened a little while, with that, and she's still... Not okay," Jackson explained, his hands shoved in his pockets. She swept a long lock of hair behind her ear, having taken her hair down earlier after Jackson's attempt at braiding hair. The memory of that made the moment seem a little lighter.
"Oh. I don't really know where it came from, I just..." Tess said again. But she was lying. She knew where it came from. Her questions about the True Emotion Games. But she wouldn't dare ask it outright. Even so, she was sorry when she saw their reactions. Obviously, whatever Charlie had been involved in was bad stuff. Tess hoped it wasn't as bad as Trey. That was crossing the line.
"She'll be fine in a second." All of a sudden, another thought popped into her head.
"Who's Zee?" Jackson have her a blank expression. "I heard you guys talking when I was pretending to be asleep. I'm just curious," she explained more.
"Oh! Yeah, that's my girlfriend. Her name is actually Lizee but we call her Zee." He got a goody grin on his face just thinking about her. Tess giggled and poked him in the arm. "What?"
"You're smiling thinking about her." He blushed.
"She has that effect on me." Tess's heart melted. How adorable. They were the cutest couple she had seen in a long time, and she hadn't even met Zee yet.
"Hey! Guys, wait up!" Charlie yelled as she ran to catch up with them. Tess took a deep breath.
"Charlie, I'm really worry about that. I didn't mean to cross any lines," she told her. Charlie gave a grin.
"It's fine. I'm just one that can't let go easily." She spoke the words in an easy tone but something more powerful underlined it. Jackson elbowed Tess.
"I've found this out over a while. She just won't go away!" he murmured, loud enough for Charlie to hear, though. Tess laughed and linked arms with them. And this was right as they neared Allie Jay's. The windows that looked in we're super clean so she could see perfectly inside. The walls were white and magenta checkered. The floor was a dark tile. And there were a lot of people in there. It seemed like the type of place that was always filled with people, and always filled with a happy and warm atmosphere. Sure enough, a sign on the window stated that it was open 24 hours a day. Tess sighed. She could get used to a place like this.

 

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