Jaws of Love


(Chapter 6)


All of this is mine!


~ ~ ~


Debra opened her hazel eyes only to find nothing in front of her. It was just a blanket of darkness.

She had no idea where she was or what she was doing here. She felt like she had been floating in this darkness for a while now. It happened every night. Everything would be black at first and then she'd see death. People were killing other people and then killing themselves. Then all the darkness would turn into a dark red wave, which would then wash over her. Before she could drown in that wave though, she'd wake up.

This was turning out to be one of those dreams. Only difference was that she wasn't seeing death everywhere. In fact, this time there was nothing but darkness. All the same, it scared her.

She was slightly relieved to find that she was still holding Portia, her favorite doll from childhood. She had been sleeping with her ever since the dreams started (Trip was probably jealous to see the doll was getting more attention than him but he hadn't complained once). True, she was a grown woman now and no longer played with dolls but Portia was different. Her dress was all dirty and tattered and her blond curls were tied in knots but Debra still loved her. She had been sleeping with her ever since the dreams started. Portia gave her a kind of comfort that not even Trip could provide. And in a place like this, she needed comfort.

"Portia, where are we?" She asked the doll. Portia just stared back with her bright blue eyes. "How the hell are we going to get out of this mess?"

"How cute.
You have a companion."

Debra loosened her grip on Portia and let her fall into the nothingness below.

"I've been watching you." A strange voice continued. Debra couldn't place it. All she could tell was that it was coming from a woman and it was coming from somewhere in this darkness. "You've been coming here every night."

"Who are you?!" Debra demanded. The air around her began to grow cold.

"Now, now. Your questions will be answered soon. In the meantime, I'm curious to know why you're trespassing."

"Trespassing? How can I be trespassing? It's *my* dream."

"Wrong. This is a world, *my* world, which you have stepped into. But I have a good feeling why you've been coming here. "

"What the hell are you talking about?"

The dark mist began to wrap around Debra's ankles as the voice continued to taunt her. Though scared, she stood her ground and glared at where she thought the voice was coming from. She also hugged Portia tightly, knowing her doll was the only thing that could give her some comfort in this unknown sea of storm gray air.

"I've noticed something about you. You're just like Lucy."

"Lucy?" Debra tried to think back as to who Lucy could be. Then she remembered. The murders started only a few weeks ago and the first so-called 'cannibal' was a girl named Lucy. She was found eating and drinking the blood of her boyfriend. Afterwards, she committed suicide. In her note, she mentioned she loved salty food and blood was very salty. That's why she had killed him. She wanted something salty to eat. However, everyone there was something else behind all this. Debra had believed this too and now she knew had a good feeling what did kill the girl.

"It was *you*?!" She exclaimed. The feminine voice started to giggle.

"Do you believe I'm the one behind everything?" It asked. "I didn't you'd jump to the conclusion that quickly. I didn't even say I killed anyone!"

"You're not going to get away with this." She seethed, blurting out the wonderful clichéd lines. "You'll be caught and you'll pay for what you did."

The voice just laughed.

"Look at you! You're getting all heroic and brave! That surprises me. After all, I saw you clinging onto a doll."

Debra turned red. She hated to admit that she sometimes held Portia whenever she was sad or scared like now. She could feel the scar on her back burning. She wished that she hadn't dropped Portia into that dark pool below her. Unfortunately, this made the voice laugh more.

"It's fun mocking you like this." The voice continued. "But hurting you would be the best thing to happen to me."

Debra just smirked. "What harm could you do to me? You're nothing more than a voice in my dream that's mocking me, like you said. You can't do a thing."

"You?" The voice was surprised. "Who said *anything* about me hurting *you*?"

Debra's smirk quickly faded to a frown.

"You care about him more than anything in this world. You'd do anything for him. You don't regret knowing his deepest, darkest secrets and you don't regret keeping them. It's good to be in love, isn't it? Likewise, you have friends who you'd also do anything for. You're also keeping their secrets." The voice lowered and the air grew cold.

Debra gritted her teeth. So that's what the voice meant! It wasn't trying to hurt her! It wanted to hurt her friends, which would in turn hurt her! Granted, this was a dream but it felt real.

"You love that boyfriend of yours, don't you? I can see it in your eyes and in your soul." The voice murmured.

"Keep him out of this." Debra whispered dangerously. But she was frightened. From what it sounded like, the voice *could* look into her soul. If it knew that she had a boyfriend, it could find out what her fears and weaknesses were.

"I'll give you a fair warning." The voice said. "Back away from this. If you don't bother me, I won't bother you. However, if you choose to stick with this case, the consequences will be dire. I will make death come quickly for both, you and your friends. You've got two choices, my dear. Choose wisely."

And the voice began to laugh.

"Wait! Wait a minute! You can't..." Debra started to say but the voice faded away, still laughing. She felt her knees growing weak and she began to sink into the blackness. She opened her mouth to scream but couldn't. The laugh echoed in her ears as she sunk deeper.

Then she couldn't hear anything.

* * *

Debra sat up with in bed, hyperventilating and sweating like a cow on the way to be butchered. Her cinnamon-colored hair stuck to the nape of her neck and her pulse was racing. This latest dream was the worst and her scar wasn't just itching: it burned. She touched her shoulder blade and began rubbing the scar. She could put some cream on it but then pain could come back, worse than the first time. Portia had fallen off the bed and was lying face down on the carpet. Debra reached down and picked her up, straightening out her dress and fixing her hair before placing her on the nightstand.

Of course, she had a lot of questions. Why was she in bed even though it was evening? Why did she go straight to bed in the first place? And how'd she get home anyway?

*/I remember being in the park with Trip. And then I told him about my scar itching. Then we got up and he told me that we were going to get a head start on this mystery. /* She told herself. Slowly, she remembered the rest.

*/But I was too tired so I told him to forget it. I told him I wanted to go home and tell everyone else the news first. He was reluctant but he agreed. And as soon as I got home, I changed my clothes and went to bed. /*

Yes, everything made sense. Her visions were still burned inside her mind and she tried desperately to push them away. Much as she wanted to talk to someone about it later, she didn't want to *think* about it now.

*/I have to pretend like everything is normal until I talk to the others. /* She told herself. */I can't let it bother me. /*

Reaching over and taking a yellow hair ribbon sitting on the nightstand, she saw that it was now
six forty-five. It was a good thing that nightmare did wake her up. She had to make dinner soon. Lucky, it wouldn't take her long. She had some chicken and vegetables left over from the night before. Trip would probably complain about eating same thing two nights in a row but that was his problem. She wasn't in the mood to cook something new. She had the dreams and the newly discovered voice to worry about now.

*/You care about him more than anything in this world. You'd do anything for him. You don't regret knowing his deepest, darkest secrets and you don't regret keeping them. It's good to be in love, isn't it? Likewise, you have friends who you'd also do anything for. You're also keeping their secrets. /*

Debra winced. The more she wanted to forget the voice, the more she remembered it. Then she remembered the threat she heard before waking up.

*/I'll give you a fair warning. Back away from this. If you don't bother me, I won't bother you. However, if you choose to stick with this case, the consequences will be dire. I will make death come quickly for both, you and your friends. You have two choices, my dear. Choose wisely. /*

Debra heard something murmur next to her and shift positions. Looking down, she saw that Trip was lying in bed as well. Her boyfriend was sound asleep, his back facing her. He had the covers over his head with just a few strands of blond and brown hair sticking out from under them. Debra hated to wake him up but she didn't have much of a choice. Now was a good time as any to tell him about the nightmare, especially since it was fresh in her mind. She began nudging the lump under the covers.

"Trip? Sweetie, wake up."

Trip groaned in reply.

"Baby, I'm sorry. But it would be really nice if you woke up. I have to tell you something and I have to tell you now."

"Of all the goddamn times..." He murmured. So far, everything seemed normal. The voice hadn't carried its threat right away and that was a relief.

Debra sighed. Her boyfriend wasn't a bad guy but like most people, he valued his sleep. It wasn't surprising either. He went to school and studied all day. Then he started his night job, which could last till four in the morning. He usually took a nap just before dinner and hated being woken up for anything. Debra began pulling the covers down and ran one hand through her boyfriend's hair.

"I'm really sorry, sweetie." She whispered.

"Debs, you don't have to apologize twice. I know you're sorry."

Debra winced. Trip only called her "Debs" when he got annoyed or angry with her. She hated that name even more than she hated "Snooky". But now that he was awake, she could finally talk to him. She nudged him again, this time a little more gently. He replied with another groan.

"I had another dream." She whispered. "I thought you might want to know."

"Huh? You did?" Trip was now awake. He turned over to face her and gasped. "Snooky! What *happened* to you?!"

Debra was confused. "Huh? What do you mean?"

"Look at yourself in the mirror." Trip pointed to the mirror on their dresser and Debra saw her reflection. No wonder he was shocked. She looked like she had been through a carwash, a mosh pit, and a blizzard. Her skin had turned white like chalk and tears were drying on her face. Her hair was sticky and wet with perspiration. Sweat was also drenched all over her pajamas. Debra wanted to scream right there.

"I look like hell!" She gasped. She got out of bed and ran up to the mirror to closer look of herself. "Shit! I didn't think I was *that* ugly!"

"You're not ugly." Trip murmured, sitting up in bed. His look turned from annoyed to worried. "Seriously though, what happened to you? What did you see this time?"

"I...I..." Debra began to stutter. She opened one of the drawers of the dresser and began to fumble around for her hairbrush. Once she did, she began running it through her ponytail. "I don't know, baby! I'm still confused."

"Want to talk to the others about it?" He asked. Debra stopped and put the brush back down. She had been hoping to keep this a secret between her and her boyfriend. But now that he mentioned it, the thought of telling everyone else was good. Perhaps they would have an answer to everything.

"Sure." She muttered. "Just give me five minutes to change. Everyone else is probably home by now, aren't they?"

Trip agreed, getting out of bed and heading towards the bathroom. Debra fixed the bed up again and got out of her pajamas while he was in there. Rummaging through her closet, she found a yellow sundress to put on. She didn't want to go out wearing sweat-covered crumpled pajamas. They were her friends, all right, but even they didn't deserve to see how shitty she looked.

The moment Trip came out, they left their room together and headed down the dark hallway leading to the living room. They could hear voices as they came closer, assuring them that their friends had indeed come home.

"Help me undo my tie." Alex was saying, most likely to his girlfriend. Sure enough, they heard Rosemary let out a loud sigh and get up from wherever she was.

"You are hopeless! Honestly, what the hell would you do without me?" She demanded.

"I can't do everything, you know!" He snapped back.

"You're a man! You have to know how to take off your own tie!"

"I do! I was just having some difficulty!"

"Having some difficulty, my ass! How difficult is it to take off your tie? You put it on, for crying out loud!"

Finally, they made it into the living room. Rosemary had spent a sizeable amount of time cleaning up the place. The clothes that had been on the floor this morning weren't there anymore and the furniture had been dusted. The windows had been washed and

"Hi, everyone!" Debra greeted everyone, waving weakly. Trip just smiled in everyone's direction. The first person they noticed was Alex getting help from his girlfriend to take off his tie. He was a handsome young man with light brown hair and deep blue eyes, which were glaring down at Rosemary. She finally undid that tie and handed it over to him as if to say "There! Happy?"

"Hey, Deb." Cole greeted, sitting on one of the couches and eating a carton of strawberry yogurt. His eyes widened when he saw how terrible she looked. "Holy shit and cannelloni! What the hell happened to you?!"

Debra gave him a sheepish grin. "I was sleeping, Cole."

"You were sleeping?" Rosemary gave her a weird look. "It's way too early to be sleeping now." Then she grinned slyly. "Unless you and Trip decided to start early with the hanky-panky and whatnot. I bet this time you didn't use condoms! C'mon, fess up! How was the sex this time?"

Trip rolled his eyes. "You've been hanging around Dylan way too long, R.M."

"We all have." Alex sighed. "But seriously, why were you guys sleeping now?"

"We were tired when we got home." Trip explained. "We both crashed out on the bed."

At that moment, Suzanne entered the room and plopped down next to her boyfriend on the couch. Everyone noted that she had changed out of her work clothes and into something slightly more fashionable. She had on a white blouse that covered up the top part of her body and knotted right under her breasts. Her tight red skirt came up to her hips and down to her thighs. She was barefoot but her left foot had a silver ankle bracelet on it.

"Hey." She greeted them. Then she kissed Cole. "Don't eat too much, babe. You won't have room for dinner."

"Says who?" Cole finished off the yogurt and put the empty carton to arm of the couch. "I'll be fine, Suz. Don't worry about me."

"The elders are in da house!" Dylan flung door open and greeted them as he walked into the room...but Tiffany didn't. He turned around, noticed his girlfriend wasn't there, and sighed. "Dammit, Tiffy! How long does it take to say 'bye' to someone?"

"Who is she talking to?" Trip asked.

"Your sister. She's upset that she had to breakup her evening plans. But the shrimps have got something important to say...I hope." Dylan narrowed his eyes in Cole and Sue's (a.k.a. 'the shrimps') direction.

Suzanne glared at him. "Don't call us by that horrible nickname, Dylan. Neither one of us is short."

"Aw, but you're so cute and fluffy!" Dylan teased.

That comment irritated Cole. "Cute and fluffy? Do we look like rabbits to you?"

"So how's everyone been?" Alex began, letting out a sigh and stopping the argument that would have started.

"I have PMS and I don't like it." Rosemary muttered to start the conversation, shocking everyone with this comment. She was a normally quiet person Dylan looked at her strangely and shook his head.

"That does not surprise me, R.M." He replied. "Anyone else got a subject matter that's slightly more interesting than that?"

At this point, everyone turned to Suzanne and Cole. The two of them exchanged looks before Suzanne launched into the recap of her adventure earlier that day. She told them that Michael was in town and what happened to him a few days ago. The other six listened intently, namely Debra. Her scar started itching again and she began to scratch it. When Suzanne finished with her story, Cole spoke up.

"Now, you all know me. Sweet as I am, I am also a damn good computer hacker (don't ever tell my family that) and I have across some information about our friend here." Cole reached into his pocket and pulled out a sheet of paper. "After Sue told me what happened, I spent the remainder of the afternoon trying to find out everything about him. I have a good feeling where he's going to be tonight."

The others stared at him. What he said somewhat shocked them. They all knew that he could hack into computers with ease. They just didn't think he'd go ahead and pull up everything about this young man.

"You're crazy, shrimp." Dylan shook his head. "You're doing something illegal yet you make it sound like you're doing something good. I don't get it."

Cole rolled his eyes.

"Anyone in the mood to go to a strip club?" He asked, holding out the paper. "Here's the address if you want it."

"I'm in the mood." Dylan snatched the paper from his hand before anyone else could say a word. "I think I can make it up to Tiffany by taking her here."

"You cannot take a woman to a strip club." Alex sighed. "That's not an ideal date. You should know that!"

"Actually, Dylan has a point." Cole spoke up again. "I agree taking girls to strip clubs is a bad thing...unless she likes these type of places. But if two of you are there, he may not feel so intimidated. Plus if there's someone after him, you can both protect him."

"Yeah but will he believe them, honey?" Suzanne asked. "How about I go? He's seen me already."

"Nah, Tiffy will get jealous." Dylan shook his head. "Not to mention I'll feel better if I'm with her. No offense, Sue."

"None taken. But are you absolutely certain that Tiffany will agree to this?"

"Sure!" Dylan grinned. "She trusts me, right?"

No one bothered to answer. Cole gave him a few more instructions while the others listened. Debra still kept scratching her scar. Much as she wanted to tell them what happened, it didn't feel right. Perhaps later on she could. For now, she wanted to wait till Dylan and Tiffany came back from their strip club adventure.

"He's been going to the same place every night." Cole explained. "You'll most likely find him again tonight. But I want you and Tiffany to hurry. Time's a factor. We have to get to him before someone else does...and who knows? This 'someone else' may not be looking out for the young man's well-being."

No one dared argue against that. Cole had a point. They sat in silence for a few minutes. Then Dylan just smiled, got out of the armchair, and opened the front door.

"If Tiff and I aren't back in two hours, I want the rest of you to torture the shrimps for the remainder of their lives." He said.

Cole and Suzanne picked up the pillows that had been sitting at both ends of the couch and threw them in Dylan's direction.

* * *

"Remind me again why the hell we are here?" Tiffany moaned. "Why can't we ask the others to be here instead of us? I have tests to grade! I promised Tabby that I would spend the evening with her cause I thought that you and the guys_"

"Grade your papers tomorrow." Dylan interrupted her. He watched as people kept coming in and out of the building. "Besides, I have plans to do stuff with you tonight. Tabby will understand."

Dylan, baby, I_"

"Don't whine anymore."
He said, pulling her close. She was surprised by the sudden show of affection but she loved it. "This is only a small portion of our date. As soon as we meet up with this guy, we'll leave him alone for a while and..." He paused.

"And?" Tiffany asked, arching her red eyebrow. She hated it when he ended sentences like that.

"I'm gonna take you away." He said, pulling her close. Then, smiling smugly, he whispered. "I'm gonna take you to a place that involves you, me, and plenty of action in bed."

Tiffany's dark eyes widened and she pushed him away. "You're nuts!"

Dylan began to laugh. "I was kidding, Tiffy!"

"You better have been. I still don't like this whole thing." Tiffany frowned. The idea of stalking a poor guy wasn't what she'd call a date. Oh yes, she wanted to help him. She wanted to get to the bottom of the mystery. But did the guy have to come to a place called "Moonshine Mamas"? From the looks of it, this was nothing short of a strip club.

"I'm going to feel so out of place here." She said, watching as some women, wearing skirts that went way above their knees and tops that covered only their boobs, saunter into the place. Tiffany, wearing a black sleeveless dress, her gray scarf, and black sandals, felt strange around these scantily dressed women.

Dylan just grinned, pulled out a cigarette, and lit it. "If it makes you feel any better, I think you look the prettiest out of all the girls here."

It did make her feel better but Tiffany was too disgusted by the cigarette to care about that. He had that ugly cancer stick clamped between his teeth, making him look unattractive. Dylan only smoked when he was depressed and alone. However, now that he was smoking in front of her, she felt slightly nauseous and uncomfortable.

"Take that piece of shit out of your mouth!" She snapped.

"Can't." Dylan blew out a puff of smoke. "I wanna blend in."

"Blend in?"

"Tiffy, look around you!
We're in a frigging strip club! There are people smoking everywhere!"

"Strip...club?" Tiffany could not believe this. So it was true! Of all places, this was where they were going on their date? Of course, it technically wasn't a date but it felt wrong. "Moonshine Mamas" was not a place where couples normally hung out.

"You don't know? The guy was spotted the last few nights hanging around this place. Chances are high he'll be back here again tonight."

Tiffany was puzzled. "After his girlfriend died, he's coming here? I thought he'd want to be alone or something."

"People get tired of being alone after some time, Tiff. This guy is just trying to get with life and get over his grief." Dylan explained.

"Yeah but...did he have to come to a strip club to get over his grief?"

"If he thinks it'll help him, so be it." Dylan shrugged. They stayed quiet for a few more seconds. Some girls walked passed them, dressed (or not dressed) for the night. Some guys began calling out to them and they just giggled. One of the guys turned towards Tiffany and winked at her. She quickly turned away and moved closer to Dylan. Oh sure, she could probably take the whole group of guys out. But the place, all loud and wild, was making her nauseous and weak. Finally, she couldn't take it anymore and let out all her complaints.

"I'm still disgusted by the whole thing! Why couldn't we have gone somewhere peaceful and quiet? We're high school teachers, goddamnit! Why can't this guy go somewhere that normal people who grieve go? Why does he have to come to a strip club? Why can't..."

Dylan had already grown tired of the complaints. He took one look at her, pulled the cigarette out of his mouth, and shoved it into hers. A shocked Tiffany just stared at him, horrified at what he had done. He just grinned sheepishly.

"Baby, you complain too much." He said, shaking his head.

Tiffany frowned, plucked the cigarette from her mouth, threw it to the ground, and stamped it out with her toe.

"You are so dead when we get home." She fumed. Dylan just stuck out his tongue at her.

They waited until the majority of the people standing outside were in. Then they followed. Dylan had warned Tiffany not to do anything stupid while they were inside. He knew it was her first time in a strip club and she would be feeling nervous enough to ruin their plan. He also told to act like she was another customer, not his girlfriend. People would look at them strangely wondering why a couple had wandered into a strip club of all places.

As soon as Tiffany stepped inside, she disliked everything about it. No, it had nothing to do with the fact that there were half-dressed women on stage and men ogling them. It had to do with that fact everything was so bright, she felt like she was in the center of the sun. The lights flashed all brilliant colors, making it hard for her to see what was going down. And the music was loud as well. To top everything off, the loud hooting from the customers was making her ears ache. This couldn't get worse.

When the manager, a sleazy looking man with a crooked smile and enough grease in his hair to run a car approached them, things became worse.

"So who's your preference tonight?" The manager asked.

Tiffany looked confused. "Preference?"

Dylan shot her a look and then turned back to the owner. "I'm looking for someone sexy, sweet, and fun. Oh yes, and she has to have moneymakers that'll make my hormones set themselves on fire. You have anyone like that?"

While Dylan was busy trying to get a girl, Tiffany was busy looking for Michael. The guy had to be here. Her brown scanned the entire place but all she saw was bright lights and several scantily dressed people. The music was so loud that it made her head hurt. She kept squinting, searching through the crowd of customers and alcohol glasses, but could find no sign of him. Giving up on this whole thing, she looked in towards the entrance...and caught site of Michael Appleton getting ready to enter.

Unfortunately, Michael caught sight of her and turned away. He began to run again.

"Hey, wait!" Tiffany screamed and ran out of the building before Dylan could stop her. People began talking and staring at the open door. She kept apologizing to the people she ran into but kept going after him. The dancers had even stopped, wondering *just* what had gone on. Dylan smiled sheepishly at the confused manager.

"Sorry about that. Give me a second please. I'll be back." He mumbled and then hurried out the door himself.

Tiffany was still chasing the guy down the street. Unfortunately, fast as she was, her sandals were making her feet hurt. She began calling out to him, begging him to slow down and listen to her. Her thighs were burning. But she didn't want to stop. As Cole had said, time was a factor and the sooner she caught up with him, the better.

Michael ran from her. He didn't know why but he could tell she wasn't on his side. It felt like the night he ran from Ash. He had been running for his life then and he was running for it now. He turned into an alley, hoping that he could lose the redhead, and anyone else that was after him. These buildings had stairs along the side, after all. Maybe he could make his way up to the top one of the buildings...

"So *you're* the guy everyone's been talking about!"

The comment was enough to make Michael stop in his tracks. He looked up to find Dylan, sitting on the stairs, an amused look on his face and a newly lit cigarette held tightly between his fingers.

To Be Continued...(don't you hate me when I say that?)

- - -

I am SO sorry this chapter was long! I wanted to make up for the boring first chapters that I wrote earlier. Believe it or not, it was actually supposed to be longer. Then I trouble where to end it. Well, here it is...and I am dead tired! *collapses on desk*

~Author's note: Sometime later on, I have thought about making lemon scenes in this story. HOWEVER...the lemon scenes WILL NOT be posted on FPN. In other words, I'm going to do what Midori with her "White Tiger, Jade Concubine" story. You don't need to read the lemon to understand the story. It's like an extra thing I'm adding. Anyway, I have a profile over at another site that posts NC-17 called AdultFanfiction.Net (the URL is on my profile).

Speaking of which, does anyone know how to make a website or would like to host one with me? I'd love my own website but I'm too stupid to know how to make one.

-Coming up...more action, some revelations, etc. No lemon or extreme romance scene yet. I'll leave warning when I do.

-You know the routine. This is fiction and if it seems somewhat like reality, it's coincidence.

-All this here is mine. Copyright to me, Carter Tachikawa!


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