Not sure about this chapter... there sure is a lot of dialogue... But please tell me what you think in the reviews :)

-Katie

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The place on fourth street was small, and nearly empty. The lady behind the counter was reading a book, but jumped to attention when she saw them. "Melissa!" she cried. "It's so good to see you!"

"It's lovely to see you too Carol," Melissa said, reaching over the counter to hug her. Carol had brown hair that was on the verge of going gray, and was curly and fell all around her face. She was wearing a green apron with more than a few stains on it, but her smile was her most prominent feature. It was huge, practically from ear to ear.

Carol smiled even wider when she saw Candy. "I had heard you and Lauren broke up, but I didn't think you'd find a new girlfriend so quickly. I'll have to make sure she's a good fit!"

"Oh no!" Melissa cried. She glanced at Candy, alarmed. "She... We're not..."

"She denies that we're in a relationship, but it's only a matter of time. I'll win her over." Candy said, smirking as if she were serious.

Melissa looked like she were about to pass out.

"I'm joking Mel, let's get our seats."

Carol led them to their seats, a booth in the corner. They sat across from each other and for a minute or so neither said anything.

"I hope you aren't angry at me, I was only joking with you," Candy said quietly.

"Of course not," Melissa said. "I suppose it was funny as well... I just... Not that I don't like you or anything, but I don't want people thinking we're... you know, together. I'd rather we were only friends."

"I didn't want that either, I was only throwing it out there in case you did."

"Sure," Melissa laughed.

Carol placed tall glasses of ice water in front of them, along with menus and napkins. They spent a few minutes choosing from the menu, and then the conversation began again.

"Candy... Have you ever been in a relationship?"

"Oh no... I was too busy with earthquakes and the like." Candy replied, only half-joking.

"Oh," Melissa said, disappointed. "So, since we're not having an interview, you can tell me... You made up that tree, right? I mean..."

"No. I didn't make it up... I may have made it up thirteen years ago, but I did not make it up for this interview."

"Ok, well, do you think it's real?" Melissa whispered.

Candy sighed and rested her head on her wrist, staring into Melissa's eyes. "I'm not sure. It's... hard to know. Can I ask you something now?"

"Sure," Melissa said, faintly surprised.

"Why did you want this interview so much? Back when we were fighting a lot, why didn't you quit? You could have."

"I have never quit an interview," Melissa said. "Never. Besides, I needed the money."

"For what?"

"For... Now, Candy, you can't tell anyone. No one. But it was for a wedding ring." Melissa whispered.

Candy was quiet.

Carol came back with their food and two chocolate chip cookies that were, "on the house," and pretended not to be surprised that they were so quiet.

Then, once she was gone, Candy spoke again. "I found a wedding ring."

"What?"

"Back in France, in that house we were staying in. I told you about it, in the interview. Ariel and Aaron's old house."

The Wedding Ring Story

.

"Are you sure you want to do this? You don't have to." Princess said, slowly letting go of Candy and then stroking her hair softly and comfortingly. Candy leaned into Princess and nodded weakly against her shoulder.

"Yeah." She whispered. She left Princess's side but held her hand, and she entered the house.

The door groaned as it swung open, a faded green and falling apart. The windows were all smashed and glass was glinting on the floor. The sun had nearly fallen over the horizon, and it gave everything an unearthly glow. But instead of glaring, the sun gave off no warmth.

The kitchen's wall had completely crumbled onto itself, the roof sagging along with it, rubble piled in the sink and the kitchen tiles and the counters. The table had broken into half, splinters jutting out from the edges and strewn across the floor, and they were crushed under Candy's shoes when she walked through the kitchen. She ran her fingers across the cracked counters and the broken sink and the crumbling walls and the smashed glass, again and again until they were red and bleeding.

"Candy, don't do that," Princess said softly, taking Candy's hand and leading her away and into the small bedroom. Peter was already there, and was carefully removing the floorboards with his crowbar and small hammer.

Candy stood in the doorway, the face was burning from the tears in her eyes, and she didn't feel like helping them look.

In fact, she didn't feel like anything at all.

She walked away and into the big bedroom, which was a mistake but turned out to be a good thing.

She covered her face with her hands and just stood there wordlessly for a minute.

There was a small bed on its side.

A big bed.

The sheets were ripped and dirty.

The walls were scarred and the wallpaper torn, as if it had been a piece of paper and someone had ripped it up.

There was an ominous feeling of something missing. As if there should be people in that room, but there weren't and it felt wrong.

Candy stumbled over to the small bed.

She tried to move it, but it was caught on something.

She dug around in the floorboards, and it hurt her fingers but she didn't care.

She pried up all the floorboards with her bare hands until the bed came lose.

Underneath the last floorboard was a bag.

In it was a wedding ring and twenty golden coins and several necklaces and rings with rubies on the ends.

Candy let the treasure spill through her fingers like water.

Princess came into the room and Candy gave her the bag.

"Here," she said. "I want you to have this. Don't look until you get to China."

Princess was baffled but she took the bag. "We... We couldn't find the Spoon, but we're going to go. It's a hopeless cause. Are you coming?" She said, with a bit of pity in her eyes that Candy loathed.

"Yeah, just give me a minute."

Princess left.

.

Candy made sure not to tell the whole story, just the parts she liked the most.

She hated the other parts.

But Melissa still managed to appear lost in thought, even though Candy had hardly told her anything of value... she would wait to tell her the rest.

"Have you heard from Princess recently?"

"Yes," Candy answered. "We email, frequently. I haven't had the chance to reply to her in a while, though. Not since this interview started. Speaking of, how long do you reckon it'll take?"

Melissa paused for a moment before answering, and Candy got the strange feeling that Melissa was studying her face. "As long as it takes for you to tell your story. I'm just listening to it, you're the storyteller. And a quite good one as well."

"You think so?"

"I do... Well, most of the time I have to ask questions, and they answer... I've never had an interview where I just listen before. It's... an experience."

"Do you like it?"

"Yes. I... I didn't like it at first, but I'd say this is one of my favorite interviews so far."

"Not this interview, do you like interviewing in general?" Candy leaned forward and took a bite of her sandwich, chewing lazily as she waiting for Melissa to answer.

Melissa took her time in answering, leading Candy to think that whatever she answered with could very well be a lie.

"Yes," Melissa said finally. "Well... not all of the time. Some people can be quite rude," she looked at Candy pointedly, but Candy avoided her gaze. "But I love hearing their stories. We've had activists, politicians, celebrities, novelists, survivors of... all sorts of things, diseases, natural disasters, shootings..."

"Natural disasters..." Candy repeated, quiet. "Earthquakes?"

"Sometimes. Not many. Once or twice."

"Could I... read those ones?" Candy hesitated before saying it. She wasn't sure why, but it was somewhere in the back of her mind.

"Of course," Melissa replied. "Speaking of, we should just about get going. It's late. Did you have fun?"

"Definitely," Candy stood, Melissa stood, they hugged and walked out of the restaurant hand in hand, to the surprise of Carol, who was washing dishes.

The bell tinkled on the way out, and the door slammed shut.

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