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Roman Killens

The Intellect

0 · 329 views · located in New York, NY

a character in “In The Concrete Jungle”, as played by predictmeifyoucan

Description

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Birth Name:
Roman Eugene Killens

Nicknames:
Roman or Killens by everyone
Ro by Holly, only because he can't get her to stop, and sometimes Brooke because she's Brooke

Age:
20
Date of Birth:
December 20

Sexuality:
Heterosexual

Job:
Street fighter

Origin:
Munich, Germany (0-3 months)
Cambridge, Massachusetts (3 months to 5 1/2 years; 11 years to 13 years)
London, England (5 1/2 years to 11 years)






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Personality:
Roman is, for the most part, a relatively quiet, underwhelming, and overall forgettable person. He is calm and introspective, perhaps a bit too much as this causes him to overthink things and take things to heart. To stay out of drama and because he enjoys his own company, he tends to keep to himself a lot of the times. This causes him to bottle many things up. However, although he might not say anything, sometimes his facial expressions can show a lot, and if they say anything, it's that he's usually un-enthused or aggravated by most events. He knows he has passive aggressive tendencies, and he tends to overly critique himself, but being critical is also a part of his nature, which is why it might seem like he's judgmental. Because he does typically stray into the shadows and disappears from most of the conversation, his standoffish personality doesn't come off as strong as could, but should he rub some people the wrong way, these subtle characteristics would be the reason why. However, should a stranger or acquaintance approach, he is far less intimidating and rude as he might seem while his mouth is closed. He doesn't enjoy being viewed as an aggressor, especially due to his occupation, which is another reason why he tries to stay out of any kind of basement drama. Still, he is aware of how he comes off, and although he doesn't actively do anything to counteract this, he also doesn't look for ways to exemplify his surface personality.

For those who do know him well, they would know that Killens really means no harm. Like just about anyone, Roman is more playful and actually quite goofy around them. He is more openly sarcastic around these people and as whole more like himself instead of being shy and intense. That being said, the collection of people who do see this side of him are few and far between. He tends to stick to the people he knows and doesn't venture out for new relationships, as he is not a proponent of change in any form. While he can have an aloof air that was likely instilled in him during upbringing, his closest friends are the ones who humanize him. This change can see be seen not only in how he behaves around them, but in his demeanor as well. He is, in general, more relaxed and more of a person around the people he considers to be his friends and family. It's not so much that he doesn't like people or that he thinks that he's better than them (although he might come across differently). Instead, it's simply that he doesn't know how to socialize with them, which inherently makes him uncomfortable. The way he deals with discomfort is through tension, and this can be seen in his stiff personality towards strangers.

Likes:
Killens is a bit of a foodie. Being tall and naturally lanky, he has a fast metabolism, and constantly fighting requires him to have a higher caloric intake. Nevertheless, he still eats more than he should. He prefers snacks to meals and his favorites are pickles, salted pretzels, and hot dogs. As he's typically drained for daily activities, he also enjoys sleeping and is almost childlike in his need to sleep so frequently. Roman also enjoys spending time by himself and will often times leave the basement for a few hours just to go find a park or a desolate shop. Sometimes he will also go to the library for the serenity and to read a few books, since he used to do that a bit when he was younger. Although he doesn't and wouldn't recognize it, he has somewhat of an addiction to painkillers that has worsened over the years. He is good at concealing the signs, mostly because he is in general not a very ostentatious person, but they are there, and he enjoys the relief he gets, both physically and mentally, when he takes them. Should he be out of these or trying to conserve the few he has left, he will smoke more often than he usually does for similar, although not nearly as good, effects.

Dislikes:
Killens dislikes confrontation almost much as he dislikes being wrong. These two together add to his passive aggressive personality when it comes to conflict. He doesn't like change and he doesn't like novelty whether that be in people, places, or things. He doesn't enjoy social interaction unless he knows the person well, and even then, after a while, he can easily become drained. He doesn't quite like living with so many other people either, but it's either that or the streets, so this part doesn't get to him as much. Only when the others start to annoy him. He also dislikes being in the middle of Nick and Brooke's little (or even big) fights as he's usually left having to pick sides and becomes the epitome of the saying "Damned if I do, damned if I don't." It also probably goes without saying that he doesn't like talking about his past and he never details any part of it, unless by accident in subtle ways.






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Arriving two months early while his mother was on a business trip in Germany, Roman was born into a life of privilege, luxury, and entrepreneurship. His father, Benjamin Killens, with plans towards becoming a management consultant while working under his own father's firm, and his mother, Emily Westin, of old money, working the corporate ladder of IBM both had very set career paths. When they weren't working countless hours a week, they were investing in stock and forming connections with others who had similar mindsets to them. Still young with ambition and greed, a child didn't fit into their mapped out life plan. They considered giving him up for adoption, but his grandparents insisted on taking him in and until the age of five, he was raised in by them Massachusetts.

It was between this time that his prodigy began to show. His grandparents noticed it of course, but when his quickened mental development was recounted to others, they were simply passed off as being overly proud grandparents. He began talking when he was only months old and had an incredibly memory, being able to recount things from years before even when he was no more than four years old. He would memorize numbers in phone books, read the paper with his grandparents daily, and could multiply three-digit numbers in his head by age three. Unlike other children, he had no interest in cartoons or toys, as he would quickly get bored. Instead he preferred going with his grandparents to their lectures, as they were both professors at Harvard University. Again, although he was fairly strange, his grandparents just thought he was very bright. It wasn't until he was about four years old that his grandparents decided that there was probably something more to his quirks and eagerness to learn. While sitting with his grandmother as she proctored a calculus test, which was given as a set of problems on a blackboard, he was caught in the middle of scribbling over it. His grandmother had yanked him away in a frenzy before looking back at the board and realizing that he had solved one of the problems. If there was any doubt before, there was none now. He can still recall being interviewed by a few college students for the school paper, and by actual professionals for the news. Once his parents discovered that their child was a prodigy, they forced his grandparents to send him back to England, where he was schooled until graduating at age ten.

His parents were far more protective and much more strict with Killens than his grandparents were. Both of them already beholding Type A personalities that thrived under pressure and overwhelming schedules figured their prodigy of a son would flourish as well. They expected the utmost out of him and he was punished over 'dumb, futile mistakes' as his parents would call them. Although they were very hard on him, and it led to him growing less enthusiastic over the years and more and more anxious, he still loved them dearly. There were moments where they did seem to care about him. Even though their style of parenting was questionable, they still attempted to be as much of a family as possible, perhaps a bit so much that it seemed forced at times. They would go out to eat frequently, albeit a lot of those times were business dinners and he was really only there to impress his parents' coworkers, and they would go on vacations, not so much to bond as to brag about their places of travel to their coworkers. After he almost lost his mother in a car accident when he was eight years old, things changed. His father showed an ounce more heart than he usually did, and his mother was also less cold. Even though afterwards she had to severely cut back on work, this was when Roman grew closer with both of his parents, although his mother mostly.

Most of his life was very superficial and professional. Full of rules and etiquette where dumb, futile mistakes were just that to any other person, but the end of the world to him. When he'd finished school when he was ten years old, he was no where near as excited about this accomplishment as he thought he would have been just a few years prior. There was still more schooling to do, of course. He was to attend university that fall until there was a fallout between his grandparents and his parents over his well being. After going to a few therapists, they agreed that it was probably best for his mental health to take it easy for a while. At first he was relieved until he saw how disappointed his parents were in him. So while under normal circumstances he would have been happy when he found out that he would be staying with grandparents for a little while, it felt more like a failure on his part. Still, Harvard felt familiar and more like home in some ways than England did. He rekindled his love to learn as he went back to attending classes with his grandparents. Everything seemed okay until he turned thirteen. His parents decided that he'd had enough time to 'play around' and that he needed to come back so that he wouldn't fall off track. He was schedule to begin classes after new year. Having had spent that New Year in New York City to celebrate his last New Year in America, Killens was waiting in their hotel room while his grandparents went to get a final Christmas present for him at the front desk. While he waited, the weight of everything hit him. In a panic, he grabbed what he could and stole some money from his grandparents wallets and took off.

The one and only way he'd survived the winter for so long was due to his wits, which were almost not enough to keep him alive. It was about March when he'd found a youth shelter and spent the next three and a half months there. It was during this time much of his anger had accumulated as did a need to prove himself. He found himself out on the streets more and it was this way that he ran into Nick who, admittedly, scared him for a little while. But quickly, perhaps a bit naively, he entrusted Nick and wound up staying with him. Although he was heavily dependent on Nick for a long time, he tried multiple avenues of getting money until his final resort wound up being street fighting. Although he hates it, he likes knowing that he can actually fend for himself and if not for the money, he continues to do it to prove to himself that he is still worthy or something, of living, and that he isn't a complete failure.


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ImageImageHeight:
6'2

Weight:


Other:
Has tattoos just about everywhere: arms, legs, back, hands, and knuckles
Hands are discolored and weak from extensive use in fighting; usually has them wrapped in tape

Face Claim:
Ash Stymest

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So begins...

Roman Killens's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Isaac Rankin Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Lateefah Ekwensi-Hart Character Portrait: Kiara Moore Character Portrait: Oliver Mitchell Character Portrait: Colton King Character Portrait: Cara Forrester

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Location: Manhattan, NY
Date: Friday, October 16th 2015
Time: 3:00 PM

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Lateefah Ekwensi-Hart

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Recently, Brooklyn seemed to wake up every day feeling more sick than the last, and vowing to never even sip alcohol again. That promise would be broken by the time that she managed to stand up without feeling like the world was spinning, and she was already trying to figure out what to order upstairs to combat her hangover. She could take a million painkillers and drink a case of Gatorade, but nothing killed her hangovers like more alcohol did. In her defense, she didn't spend all of her life completely intoxicated. On days like today, when she was only waking up around two o'clock, she would try to drink some water, gather a change of clothes, and go upstairs, not to the bar, but up another level, to Finn's private apartment. Brooklyn had actually lived up there at one point, and if any boundaries were set after she moved into the basement with Nick and Roman, she refused to acknowledge them. She had a membership at a gym down the block, and that was where she usually showered, but lately, she couldn't imagine waiting to shower until she got there. This was more convenient, so, Finn's apartment had become her first stop of the day, where she would shower and get ready for the day, even if like today, the day had actually started hours ago.

If she didn't have a handful of dirty clothes and toiletries, she would have went directly from blow drying her hair and putting on makeup, to the bar where she was sure a gin and tonic would help her sort out this massive headache. Instead, she headed all the way back downstairs, and luckily for everyone, including Roman, who she noticed still asleep on the other side of the room, Nick wasn't back yet. It was nearing three o'clock now, so she had been awake for almost an hour, but when she was hungover, it took Brooklyn at least two hours to fully wake up, and even then, her "awake" personality wasn't bright and cheery. Seeing Nick would have catapulted her into bitch-mode, despite her unsure about what they were actually fighting about the night before. It was all a blur, but if it came down to it, she could find something to nitpick to get pissed off about. Maybe it would be the way that he didn't tell her he was leaving this morning, even though she would have clawed his eyes out if he did actually wake her up, or how she hated how he always reeked of smoke. If she wanted to start a fight, Brooklyn always found a reason to do so.

After returning her things downstairs, and noting that she needed to bring her and Nick's things to the laundromat sometime today, she headed back up to the bar level. On her way in, she made a pit stop in the bar's public bathroom to double check her makeup. Just in case Nick did come in, she wanted to be looking good, and more importantly, not hungover. Even though he was bound to know that she had been heavily intoxicated the night before, she hated how he could use that as something against her. How she needed to stop drinking because she turned into such a horrible person, and how she wouldn't know that she wasn't being that horrible person, because she couldn't even remember what was said. Within those few minutes, Nick had walked right past the bathroom and down to the basement, and Lateefah and Holly had arrived in the bar. She was off her game, with a headache that made even the dim restaurant seem too bright, so she didn't even notice the pair sitting at a table as she found a seat at the bar. Finn came over soon enough, but the hand she held up, telling him to stop before he had even started, was basically her universal sign that she was too hungover to engage in conversation before a drink. He read it and obliged, sending a gin and tonic her way a moment later.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Oliver Mitchell

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Despite it being just past three in the afternoon, he still felt like it was too early. After an exhausting night kept him out until four in the morning, Roman felt like he could have slept a good two hours more. Sometimes sleeping in this late was a big deal, though, as Holly had a tendency to wake people up at ungodly early hours of the morning. This was a slight exaggeration. To him, nine in the morning was borderline satanic, and sometimes she was up earlier. Now it was quiet though, and he wanted to relish that rarity for as long as he could, so he tried to ignore the thickening pain in his back that dragged him from his sleep. He buried his face in the mattress for a few minutes before he finally realized that he wasn't going to be able to get to sleep. Roman didn't move right away though. His muscles were already clenching around the bone, tightening and demanding some type of relief. Instead he just lied still for a few moments, resting his eyes as if he could trick himself into an extra hour of sleep.

Some footsteps came back from the stairwell. Roman looked over to see who it was, and once he saw that it was Nick, he flopped back on his stomach and groaned. If it wasn't for the emptiness of his stomach forcing him out of bed, he probably would have continued lying there, holding onto the warmth his skimp blanket barely provided. Roman slept in the corner of the room, just on the other side of the dividing wall that separated Brooke and Nick's space from everyone else's. There was something comforting in being enclosed, at least for him. Perhaps there was that lacking sense of exposure. Or maybe it was something else, who knows. Although he was rummaging through his things for some pain killers, he was still just as good as sleepwalking as his eyes were barely open and his movements were sluggish and zombie like. He found two pills and swallowed them dry before stiffly pulling on a shirt.

Roman sat facing the wall for a moment the way he usually did whenever he woke up. Getting up straight after waking was disorienting and overwhelming to him. He needed at least a few seconds to just sit and come to terms with his current life situation which, admittedly, hadn't really changed in the past eight years he'd been on the streets, but the weight of everything required him to at least have a moment to himself. Silently, he dressed and went to the bathroom. When he came back out he surveyed the room; mostly empty except now Oliver was sitting at the table eating Subway. As if on cue, his stomach contracted, and he remembered his need for something to eat.

Unabashedly, he had a taste for Starbucks. Brooke was the one who got him into it, and he wasn't ashamed to admit that he actually kind of liked it. While not a big fan of coffee--tea was his hot drink of choice--he still enjoyed it enough to frequent the place here and there. They did have tea on the menu, plus they had pretty good deserts. The only thing was that they were a bit out of his price range, as most things he bought were supposed to be before he decided to ignore it. After his manager took his portion of what Roman had earned the night before, and then once Roman set aside the two hundred he'd need for the next entrance fee, he didn't have as much as he'd like. He never had as much money as he thought he deserved given what he did for a living. He could make it work if he really wanted to. Like now. If he took a few days off, maybe three, to let his body recover, and just lived off, what, just over 15% of those earnings each day between matches? He could easily save about $275 and have just as much left over by the end of the month. But that wasn't going to happen. Never did and it never would. He hated many aspects of his life, and he complained about them, but he still remained sedentary. It was as though the prospect of getting out and doing something with his life was scarier than dying out here. It was stupid. Mindless. Self-contradictory. He knew. He knew. And just as such, he chose not to know. Instead he'd pretend that he was really stuck in every way possible as it was a far easier to put blame on a system than on himself. So that was what he did.

"Done for the day?" Roman said casually, the leftover sleep placing a scratchy bass in his voice. He felt to make sure that his cigarettes were in his pocket before pulling one out and balancing it between his lip. "I think I'm about to go eat if you want to come with."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Oliver Mitchell

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Nick had noticed Roman on his mattress, but assumed that he was passed out. The wall that separated he and Brooklyn's beds from the rest of them was thin, so he heard the shuffling as Roman got up and sorted himself out, and as Oliver came down. Nick didn't know it was Oliver from where he was sitting on his bed, but he was also sure that it wasn't Brooklyn. If it were his girlfriend, he'd already have a headache. Regardless, Nick wasn't in any rush to interact with anyone. He had around one hundred dime bags of weed, as well as a couple of bundles of pills in his backpack, and he needed to sort all of that out, especially before his luck ran out and Brooklyn did come down. He would have to hear about how he better not be packing the drugs anywhere near her stuff, because she didn't want to reek of marijuana, and how if he put this much energy into a real profession, maybe they wouldn't be in this position. Nick knew he was being just as dramatic as she could be, and he hated himself for not being able to let go off their arguments like he used to be able to do. He knew that by entertaining Brooklyn at all, when she was in one of her moods, was just a losing battle. It wasn't going to do him any good, because she'd never see his side of things, but it was also getting hard for him to deal with her snapping day after day and not doing anything. Things were simple when he believed that all of this was his fault, and that if one day he made a lot of money, she'd be the girl that he fell in love with, but he was beginning to think that this was her nature. That she was inherently hostile, and the possibility of that bothered him. Was he wasting his time in this relationship, or was he not being sympathetic to Brooklyn's needs, and the very large possibility that she was struggling with something more than just their relationship issues? He didn't know, and he was glad when Roman appeared to distract him from those thoughts.

"For the most part, yeah," Nick nodded as he snapped the large plastic container shut. Inside of it were probably five other plastic containers of different sizes, with the smallest holding the drugs, which were wrapped in one of his sweatshirts. It was a precaution he took to appease Brooklyn more than it was to protect himself from any legal consequences or anything of those sorts. He stood up, glancing to his bed, where one of the dime bags and his rolling paper sat. He was planning on smoking that, but if Roman was ready to go eat, he'd save it for later. "Alright, yeah, I'll come," he said, getting to his feet. He took only his wallet from his backpack before heading towards Roman. "Are you trying to get real food, or fast food and shit?" he questioned, not really having a preference with one over another. He was hungry, so a real meal at a cheap restaurant would be good, but so would ordering a bunch of even cheaper things from a fast food place. "Hey, Oli, Roman and I are heading out to grab some food. I'd tell you to come, but it looks, and smells, like you're already good," he said with an easy smile, when he found that the mysterious person he had heard earlier, was Oliver. He was seated across the room with a Subway sandwich that made Nick even hungrier than he thought he was before. "Let's take the alley," he suggested, once he turned back to Roman. "I owe Finn a hello, but I'm not in the mood to talk to him for three hours."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Nick Moreno

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"I've got more of a taste for real food to be totally honest." Roman knew that it was more economical to just grab a few pretzels as he usually did, but his aching was putting him into a sour mood that didn't feel like obliging to more sensible means of action. As they exited into the alleyway, Roman shook his head with a faint chuckle. "I'm never in a mood to talk to the bastard." While they walked, he rubbed the strain out of his neck, pivoting his head from shoulder to shoulder. It reminded him of how badly he needed to look for a new place to work. He wouldn't quit street fighting. Hell, he wasn't even entirely sure if he could, but he would at least like to have another source of income that didn't require putting his life on the line. It was hard though. He probably would have, or rather should have, done it long ago, but he knew that he was in the country illegally by now. He had no form of documentation with him, and even if he did, it would have been grossly expired by this point. So inevitably there was an air of concern when it came to getting another job. He only had but so many options that could possibly pay off the books, but he still kept pushing it off. The constant tug at his back pushed him to get over this bought of procrastination though. He knew that Brooke had previously worked at the diner and that it wasn't uncommon to get paid in cash as one of the lower positions.

"Have you seen Brooke today?" he said, just as a way to make conversation until they got to their destination, which he wasn't entirely sure of yet. He would realize too late after the fact that Nick probably didn't want to talk about her given the problematic--yet not surprising--state of their relationship. The cold pushed at the emptiness of his stomach and reminded him of how desperately he craved for heat. Had he remembered to bring a jacket, the day might have been more enjoyable. But there was a breeze that blew against his skin uncomfortably, making him look around for the closest restaurant that could appease his appetite. When they came across a place that looked decent, he stopped and looked at it. It was a little diner that seemed to be going for a retro 1950's theme with a jukebox in the back, black and white checkered floors, and plump red seats. Neon script letters decorated the floor-to-ceiling windows and vintage ads lined the walls. "This is quaint," Roman said as he pointed and turned back to Nick. "This all right with you?"

When they entered and sat in a booth closer to the entrance, Roman positioned himself so that he was facing the outside. This was typically his preference as he liked people watching. It wasn't that at this point in their relationship that silences felt awkward, but he still enjoyed looking at passersby to pass the time. A Hispanic girl with long black hair tied into a ponytail and bright red lips introduced herself as Fiona, stating that she'd be serving them today. After taking their drink orders, she disappeared into the back and Roman turned to Nick.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Nick Moreno

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Hanging out with Roman was easy. They were far past the point of feeling the need to make conversation just to avoid awkward silence, because by now, not much was awkward between them. They had extended past being roommates and friends, to being as close to brothers as Nick thought he'd get in anyone. With that, and the fact that both of them really preferred silence over unnecessary conversation, walks like this didn't take much effort. Occasionally, Nick would rant about Brooklyn, but it didn't happen often. For one, Nick liked to keep his problems to himself in general, and also, he knew that Roman and Brooklyn were very close friends at this point too. Though he could play the juvenile card and claim that he had known Roman first, so he was more of his friend, thus should always take his side, Nick wasn't like that. He respected that Roman was friends with both of them, and in a way, liked it. Aside from being able to hang out as a trio, he appreciated that Roman could hang out with Brooklyn too, because even if she wouldn't admit it aloud, Roman could sometimes get through to her and show her how irrational she was being.

"Brooke? She was asleep when I left this morning, and I haven't seen her since," Nick offered with a shrug. He could have went on, offered a snide remark on how he had opted against waking the beast that morning in favor of his life, and pushed on why Roman wanted to know. He didn't, though, and simply kept walking. He was really in the mood for that joint he had left home now, and the cigarette Roman was getting ready to put out had Nick craving even cigarettes at the moment. He was more of a marijuana smoker, mostly because for him, it was more accessible. He dealt the drug, so it made sense that he always had it on hand. However, when push came to shove, Nick wasn't one to turn down a cigarette if it would allow him to relax. He could have asked Roman if he could bum one off of him, but before he thought to, Roman was slowing down in front of a diner. "Yeah, this'll work for me," he agreed, following Roman inside. Aside from the fifties theme, Nick was sure that there food was just like any other diner in the area. It would likely be greasy and a bit overpriced for its quality, but good enough to hit the spot.

He fiddled with his menu, reading over each column multiple times as they waited for their server. Nick ordered a Coke when the girl came, and a few moments after she left, decided on a simple cheeseburger. He could have had more than that, maybe gotten an appetizer as well, but it wasn't in his budget today. He had dropped eight hundred dollars when picking up his supply today, and though he would make around fifteen-hundred dollars by the time he sold them all off, the payment had taken a toll on his finances. Until he started selling again tomorrow, or maybe even tonight, he would have to be more stringent about his money. That was especially true considering that he was planning on smoking a lot tonight to prevent another two-way fight with Brooklyn, and with that would come an even larger appetite later on that he would need to feed. "Why were you asking about Brooklyn? Did she say something about me?" Nick inquired, curiously rather than accusatory, after Fiona had returned with their drinks and taken their meal orders.

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Characters Present

Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Nick Moreno

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While he was incredibly picky as a child, now everything he saw on the menu jumped out at him. Of course, so did the prices, which weren't necessarily outrageous, but they sure would add up. He was already in trouble for not settling on going to one of the hundreds of hot dog stands that littered the streets of New York City. Coming here on its own was an indulgence, so he skipped the root beer float that he wanted and instead settled for water. When he tried to order off the kid's menu, Fiona only gave him disapproving look before he decided to change his mind. She attempted humor by suggesting fish and chips before Roman lied and said that he had a seafood allergy. Ultimately he ordered the chicken tender appetizer which was, admittedly, not much cheaper than the regular entrees.

Killens sunk into the seat, feeling the painkiller finally kicking in. Just as his muscles were decompressing, so was his mind. Dizzying fatigue washed over him so suddenly that he had to lean into his hand to keep upright. It wasn't necessarily a bad feeling, just abrupt, which could be disconcerting when he wasn't ready for it. As he was in the middle of enjoying the silence of his muscles, he realized that Nick was talking. "What?" he said prematurely, comprehending what Nick had said just seconds after asking. "When did I...? Oh, right. I was just thinking about how I needed a job, maybe at a diner or something, so she came to mind. She hasn't said anything about you," he told him. It might have been a half-truth, as Roman was sure that Nick had come up at some point since in the last conversation he had with her. Sometimes he had to tune her out, since it was usually about the same stuff, and because he never really wanted to hear it. "I should just steal some of your kids and get paid to do their homework or something."

Roman lazily looked towards the door when a rambunctious kid, no more than six, bolted through the doors with a man who Roman presumed to be the kid's dad trailed behind. The little boy jumped into one of the booths before excitedly going on about something that happened in school. Innately, the kid's energy made him think of Holly, and he grew drowsier. The aroma from the kitchen lifted with the music that echoed out of the jukebox and circulated through the diner. He was slowly losing his appetite, he realized. As he continued to wait, he stretched his long limbs out and yawned tiredly. "There's never enough space in these things," he said angrily, seeming to forget that he stood over 6 feet. Fiona came over for what seemed like the tenth time to refill Nick's drink and forget about his own.

"You need anything?" she said, the question seeming to be directed more at Nick than at Roman. He picked up his near empty cup and showed her. "Could I get more water?" Fiona turned to him and looked to contemplate the request before mumbling under her breath as she left, "I'll think about it."

Roman turned to Nick, smiling some. "I think she likes me," he said dryly, and after a moment, "At least you know if Brooke doesn't work out, Fiona's always here to bring you more coke."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Nick Moreno

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As Roman explained why he was inquiring about Brooklyn, Nick nodded understandingly. That made sense. Brooklyn had worked as a waitress for years, and only recently left her job. It actually coincided with her getting extra agitated. At first, Nick wondered if she had gotten fired, and that was why she was drinking so much. Waitressing had always been her "normal" job, the one that she used to hold over his head, as if she were the productive member of society, while he was the criminal. It wasn't like her job as a stripper was illegal, but obviously, societal connotations attached to it made it just as frowned upon as his line of work. Nick's opinions on it weren't much better, but who could blame a guy for disliking the fact that his girlfriend was a part of the sex industry? He never minded Brooklyn working as a waitress. She worked a lot, which he sometimes disliked, but she seemed to like it, and it wasn't like he had any control over what she did, anyway. He didn't know why she had stopped working at the diner, and whenever he asked, he always got some response about how maybe it was time for him to start pulling his weight financially, or how he shouldn't expect her to work two jobs just because he couldn't find one real one. So, by now, he had stopped asking. He knew better than to accuse her increasing drinking habits of being a motivation behind her quitting, because it was one of the things that she became the most defensive over.

When Nick had ordered his soda, he noticed the "free refills" note written on the menu, and was taking advantage of it. He appreciated the girl who was serving him, and supplying him with his much-appreciated drinks, but he really didn't put too much attention into her. In fact, he barely made eye contact whenever she came by to ask how they were doing. It was possible that she was into him, maybe even flirting, but Nick didn't notice. It sounded bad, but he had sort of trained himself not to notice. God only knew the amount of times that Brooklyn had snapped about him for checking out or flirting with a waitress when they went out to eat. In reality, he was never trying to do that, and doubted that it came across to anyone besides her that he was, but in typical fashion, he learned, and just did his best not to be anything but polite. "Eh, if me and Brooklyn don't work out, I think waitresses, strippers, probably brunettes in general and anyone with a name starting with the letter B will be off the table, dating wise," Nick returned with a small smile. If he and Brooklyn didn't work out, he was going to have to try a girl who was completely new, because if a girl seemed anything at all like Brooklyn, he knew he was going to compare the two, and the new girl would always lose. It was strange to say, considering how turbulent their relationship was, but no matter what, Nick loved her. Not in the cheesy, make believe way, where all of her flaws disappeared the moment that their eyes met each other, but just in the way that he felt like he could live with her forever, and be happy. "I guess waitresses aren't your type either," he commented, his eyes following Fiona as she helped a table on the other side of the diner. "Aside from that one night stand, that was really fucking random, no offense, are any other girls into you? You got any Ronda Rousey's where you work that're into you?" he questioned, jokingly as he absentmindedly played with the wrapper from his straw.

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Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Nick Moreno

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For the most part, Roman was quite good at not being emotionally provoked, at least on the surface. Many things got to him, but he tried not to let that be seen for a multitude of reasons. This time, though, he couldn't help but roll his eyes dramatically in response to Nick. So far, he had done pretty good with forgetting the whole 'Cara situation' as he liked to call it. Killens hadn't planned on telling anyone, quite frankly because it wasn't really anyone's business, but then especially after Cara just vanished. He had suspicions that what happened between them might have been the cause for her leaving, and if anyone knew about what happened, then they might suspect the same thing. Of course, it found it's way back to Nick, probably through Brooke or something. He wasn't sure, and he didn't care too much at this point since such occurrences had happened in the past, plus there was the fact that he'd gotten over the initial frustration of people knowing. Still, it wasn't his conversation of choice, but he did have to refrain himself from correcting Nick. He definitely wouldn't say that Cara was 'into him,' especially not after she ditched, but that was neither here nor there, he reminded himself, and to be completely honest, he didn't want it anywhere near him. But that was besides the point.

In the past, Roman had never really fared well with girls. Not because he didn't like them, because he did, but because he could never invest his time in them for too long. Few things excited him, but even when he did like a girl, he'd appear too disinterested for their taste and nothing would really manifest. Perhaps it was his pride or just the way he was raised where ostentatious affection wasn't a norm, but he could never really bring himself to love someone. Not romantically at least. He loved Nick, and he loved Brooke, but they had years behind them, and the love was clearly anything but romantic. It wasn't that he didn't want to, but the idea of it was daunting. There were so many expectations and ways to mess up, and he was too entitled, and selfish really, to want to compromise with anyone. Whenever a girl would come to him telling him they needed more, or that they felt like they were somehow a nuisance to him, Killens would either take it offensively or not take it all, and things would end. He knew it wasn't fair, and he knew that in all situations he was the main culprit which was why he just tended to stay away from relationships. For once, instead of being the first one to solve the problem, he was the cause of it, and that was threatening to him. Of all things, this was one he couldn't explain and didn't know how to fix, so when it was brought up, he shut down. Admittedly, it was frustrating. Sometimes he did want someone. Sometimes he did think about the future and wonder if the present him was the final version of himself. And while he wasn't totally dissatisfied with how he currently was, he didn't want to remain this way forever. He did want to have someone, or at least he thought so. Whenever he did fantasize about the possibility of finding 'the one', or hell, just anyone who could tolerate his reclusive personality, his mind would innately push it away out of discomfort.

It was just something foreign to him. It was something that seemed to come so easily to everyone else except for him, which was also something he wasn't familiar with, and something he didn't like. He was used to being good at everything and not needing help. He was used to not messing up and being a step ahead. He was used to people looking to him in awe, wondering how he did things that to him were just simple and self-explanatory. With this came a leftover resentment towards his parents that didn't have the chance to reveal itself until after he'd ran away and realized that he was never going back. Until he realized that he had nothing to lose and could hate them for sheltering him, and feeding his pride for their own benefit, and for never giving him the kind of parental love that any child would need. He was still embarrassed for running and throwing everything behind because he did have everything, or at least he could have. The thought of it made him feel weak. But whenever he did sit down and think of why he felt so ostracized when it came to certain things, mostly with displaying emotions and love, he couldn't help but look to how his parents raised him. Of all the things they led him to believe were important, all of them very formalized and objective, forming deep relationships wasn't one of them. Networking was important, sure, but asides from that people weren't really good for anything else but to help you advance in the world of competition. They were only there to be used for your own benefit and perhaps he pushed people out because of this. Because he innately wondered what he would gain from spending time with them, how they could help him, and he always came up short. In his eyes, he wasn't sure why, but part of it came back to his pride. Even still, Roman couldn't help but wonder that maybe if his parents weren't so distant, all of this wouldn't be so unfamiliar to him. Maybe of all the things that came easy to him, one of the most universal things in the world could as well. But it wasn't like that, and he didn't really like to dwell on it because it brought back many unresolved problems he had and refused to deal with because they made him feel trapped, like now.

He shuffled in the booth, everything seeming to have shrunk all of a sudden. As he sipped on his water, the liquid apparently having lost its ability to hydrate him, he smiled and rolled his eyes some at Nick's joke. "Nah," he said. "No Ronda's." The matches were overwhelmingly male. He could recall on a few occasions girls fighting, but it was never taken seriously. The girls that were there were really only there for entertainment purposes, tending to cling to whoever won that night; understandable since it was a given that that guy was getting paid, which meant they would too if they went home with him. Of course, not all the girls there were prostitutes. Many were just friends of some guy's girlfriend who knew that many of the men there were looking for a good time once the matches were over. After years in the game, it was a given that Roman had at some point spent a few nights with these girls. He had his spells where he enjoyed it, and actually looked forward to it, since it was an easy way to alleviate any loneliness without there being strings attached. Then there were other times when he'd really only do it for looks, because everyone else was doing it, and standing out in those kind of environments wasn't always the best option. It didn't bother him like it used to. Being a street fighter wasn't really just fighting. Everything else that came with the job were pretty much negatives, but he'd numbed himself to them by now, and really didn't think twice about them most of the time.

"Thank God, since they'd probably kick my ass." Not realizing he was doing so out of discomfort, he reached for the salt shaker and fiddled with it in his hands. "But you know me: more of a lone wolf. I'd like to keep it that way. I try to stay out of it anyway since I don't want some guy after my ass because I fucked his girlfriend. New York's a hell of a lot smaller when you think someone's after you," he said with a smirk, although this got him to thinking how the city really did seem like it was condensing as the years went on. He knew his growing weariness for it was more so due to his life circumstances associated with living there, but he was still sure that he was getting sick of New York. "Sometimes I think about just leaving and dropping all this shit, but I don't know where the hell I'd go, or shit, how long I'd even last. I lucked out with you, but I'm not banking on finding another overly welcoming guy to take me into his basement with open arms. That sounds weird when you say it like that, but you know what I mean." When the food finally came he turned back to Nick, wanting to deflect the conversation off of him. "Maybe that's Brooke's problem. She's probably sick of being here. I mean, who wouldn't be?"

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Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Nick Moreno

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"Yeah, I feel you on that one," Nick agreed when Roman commented on New York being smaller than it seemed. He felt that way a lot, too. When he had first moved to the city, he couldn't believe how big it was. He felt so unimportant and lost in the masses of people. When he found his place, though, he sometimes craved that feeling of anonymity. To be able to exist, but have no social responsibilities. He was closer to that now than he had been before he lived in the basement, but there were times when even what he had now felt like too much. Brooklyn was less scary than a guy who wanted to murder him for selling him bad cocaine, but Nick had that same "lone wolf" instinct as Roman. It clearly wasn't as strong, since he was able to commit to a long term relationship, but sometimes he wished that he was more like Roman. He wished that he could be content with just being with himself, and not want more, because at the moment, he didn't know if that "more", if a real relationship, was actually worth it. It was likely just because he was going through a rough patch with Brooklyn, but either way, he could at least respect Roman's position on it.

He nodded again when Roman started to speak about how he sometimes considered leaving, but how he didn't know where to go. Nick didn't even stop his nodding when Roman considered aloud that maybe Brooklyn felt that way as well. He didn't have to question the validity behind the claim, because he knew better than anyone else that it was true. It was the stem of most of his arguments with Brooklyn. She wanted more, and felt like Nick needed to step up and give that to her, but he couldn't. Like her, he wasn't great at saving money, and he also didn't make enough where saving up was actually easy. He got by better than some of the others, but he also didn't spend tons of money on things he didn't need. Brooklyn made enough that she supported herself, so Nick's money mainly went towards the drugs he had to buy to resell. He had a cheap phone that he bought money cards for whenever he had extra money, since being able to contact clients was essential for his business. Aside from that, the rest of his money went towards food and basic need items. He didn't think he was reckless with his money, especially not when being compared to Brooklyn, who was always the one accusing him of being so.

Nick took a moment to appreciate the hot food that had been brought to their table, and finish off half of the new Coke Fiona brought, before responding to Roman again. "I don't blame her for being sick of it. I never have, but you know just as well as me, man, that if any one of us could get out of here, it'd be her. She makes at least a grand a week, dude, and you know that I'm not over here complaining about how she makes her money, even if sometimes it does feel disrespectful to me as her boyfriend. If she stopped drinking and spending money on shit she doesn't need, you know she'd be able to get a nice studio somewhere around here. She says she's sick of it, but she doesn't help herself, and... I don't know, yeah, an apartment would be better than this..." He paused, taking a large bite of his burger. "But this is easier for me right now. I can't throw down fifteen hundred a month for an apartment for us, plus utilities and all of that shit, especially when I have to deal with landlords and shit when I'm dealing. She knows I'd try to pull my weight if she wanted to go fifty-fifty on something, but... I don't know. You know Brooklyn. You know how she is." How demanding and selfish and unrealistic she could be. Even if they did get an apartment somewhere, Brooklyn would complain about how it was too small, in a bad part of town, or how she deserved a guy who could pay the bills. It wasn't like he didn't want to give her that... it just didn't seem possible right now, and maybe he was being selfish too, but he was comfortable with where he was in life right now.

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Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Nick Moreno

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Roman lazily nibbled on his food as Nick spoke, frustration settling on him as he realized that he'd completely lost his appetite. Not only that, but the sight of the food, and now the taste of it rubbing against his palate, was making him even more nauseous than he felt before. He swallowed the salty, grease-struck saliva down his throat, wondering why the act felt harder than swallowing the pills that induced his nausea. Killens looked back to Nick, trying to focus on what he was saying, but the queasiness in his stomach kept distracting him to other thoughts. Like who it was who sold him these pills. At this point, he wasn't incredibly picky with what he got, so he just jumped to whoever could get him what he needed the fastest. There had been a few times in the beginning when he'd gone to Nick for a hookup, but it didn't take long for Nick to refuse him. While undoubtedly annoying, Roman understood it. So now he just took what he could get. He knew a few people, most of them sketchy and questionable, but that was to be expected. Whenever he had a problem with whatever painkiller he was supplied with at the time, he'd blame whoever sold them to him, ignoring the possibility that he was likely a contributing factor. He took them more often than he should, and he tended to take them incorrectly. If he wasn't taking it with alcohol or weed, then he was taking it on an empty like he'd done today. This was more than likely the cause of his discomfort, and then the sub par food in front of him did nothing but aid it. Initially, the pills worked fine, but that also could have been attributed to his first supply coming from Nick. But after a while, his dependence for some type of pain-alleviating drug had increased while his tolerance had done the opposite. Inevitably, he needed more of whatever he was taking to get the same effects, but he didn't want to accidentally O.D. That fear of possibly not waking up, the same fear he had whenever going into a match knowing there was a high possibility he could be knocked out cold, and permanently, was enough to keep him at least somewhat in check. But he tried to take them as often as he could. He planned it out, and while waiting, he thought about them.

Maybe he needed something stronger. Something his system wasn't used to and wasn't trying to fight. He didn't acknowledge the very likely possibility that he had a general intolerance for the stuff. Instead he thought that maybe if he purged, this feeling would go away, but at the same time, in the back of his mind he knew that it would give him an excuse to take more. As he sipped on his water, which was now gone for the most part, he realized it was his turn to speak. "Yeah," he said with a groan that probably seemed to stem from the fact that they were talking about groan-worthy Brooke, and not the actual fact that he was starting to feel like shit. "Yeah, I know." Killens raked his brain for something valuable to say. Told himself to focus on something else, but his mind kept driving back to the situation at hand. His outward demeanor didn't accurately reflect how poor he was starting to feel. Slightly green, a little tenser and a bit distracted, but that was about it. Nothing else hinting towards the panicky, cramped sensation that he was in. He could have been psyching himself out, or he could have just been used to not showing much to reveal when he was in any kind of pain.

"Brooke is..." he said as he tried thinking of some fitting adjective and ultimately coming up short. Brooke, as a whole, was difficult. When it came to her personality and when it came to things like figuring her out, which he'd ultimately stopped trying to do a while ago, although sometimes he found himself still trying to pinpoint her. There was a time when like most of the people in the basement now, he strongly disliked her. Her confrontational personality made that easy, he knew. But he also knew that she was human, and he genuinely did believe her to be a good person despite her snarky comments and rough demeanor. He wasn't immune to her spite, though, as it was clear that Nick wasn't either. But after being on both sides of the fence, he had a feeling that any harm she posed to him wasn't malicious the way he perceived it before they were friends. Maybe it was foolish, maybe her intentions had changed as their relationship had, and then again maybe it was wrong. Still, he told himself that at this point she wasn't going to go out of her way to really try to hurt him. He knew that would also be extended to Nick. But still, knowing this, he found himself wondering on multiple occasions why she did behave the way she did, even towards him. After being friends for so long, he figured he didn't deserve any mistreatment, which now mostly came in the form of a mean jab should he anger her. It was frustrating, but it was also very involved, and at the end of the day he could really only blame himself for maintaining a friendship. But the point was that even after all the bad, there was still some good in her that prevented him from walking away. He knew, just as Nick knew, that there was some human in her, and maybe that was what fostered the excuses for some of her actions, even when they probably shouldn't be excused. There were years behind them that played a large role too, but there was also the simple fact that he did think there was something more to her that Roman couldn't really explain. Perhaps it was that lack of knowledge coupled with the good she's displayed that kept him still, but sometimes he wondered if even Brooke knew why she was the way he was. "Brooke is something. I think she knows all of this, she just..." He was quiet as he sought after the right words to use. "Chooses different avenues. I don't know."

Which was true, but also the only thing he really felt safe saying with these kinds of things. He didn't want to trash talk Brooke, which he knew Nick wasn't trying to do, but he also never really liked talking on subjects he didn't know well. And while he thought he knew Brooke well enough, he didn't know everything, and he wouldn't try to speak on it too much unless he had any real input, of which, today, he did not. Before he could get any farther into the conversation, his nausea reintroduced itself as he chewed on the chicken tender. He was eating as characteristically slow as usual, but the nearly fully plate of food was due to the fact that with each bite, he could feel his stomach cringe. His mouth had become acidic, and in one swift motion he spat the masticated chicken into a napkin before sliding out of the booth. "I'll be back," he said before disappearing into the bathroom. After five minutes he'd vomited some contents, but mostly air. It didn't take him long to situate himself since he never really allowed himself to get too preoccupied with things like this. He'd learned to move on quickly to the point that it was habitual for him to not want to dwell on any discomfort for long. So when he finally exited the bathroom, the nausea was still there in large, although some of his queasiness had gone. He sat across from Nick, reaching into his pocket before waiting for an answer. "Do you care to leave? I think this food kind of fucked me up. I'd get a sprite, but I don't feel like paying for it," he said as he pulled out exact change. Fiona hadn't come with the tab yet, understandable since the food just came out, but it was easy math to figure out how much it would cost. While he did want to leave because he was sure he could get a free soda off of Finn, he also wanted to get back so he could get to his pills.

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Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Nick Moreno

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Nick was content leaving the topic of Brooklyn where it was, so even if Roman hadn't abruptly excused himself, he wouldn't have spoken much more on it. There wasn't anything else to say, really. Roman was right, Brooklyn knew whatever they had to say, and it was just pointless to continue ranting over. Sometimes it felt necessary to get it out, and Nick actually appreciated that Roman didn't always comment very much. They were both quiet people, but sometimes Nick liked to be the one speaking a lot, and just having someone listen. He didn't do it often, but since it was something he didn't get to indulge in frequently in his relationship with Brooklyn, it was nice to have Roman as an outlet in that respect. Only around five minutes passed since Roman left the table, but in that time Nick had managed to clean off his plate, and finish his drink too. A couple other tables had been seated since they got their food, so unfortunately for him, Fiona hadn't returned to refill his soda for what would have been the fifth time.

He wasn't paying much attention to that, though, because a minute after Roman had disappeared, a group of young guys entered. They were all in their late teens, and Nick quickly recognized them as being a group of NYU freshman students that he had started selling to the month before. He was lucky to have a fair amount of connections on college campuses in the city, because while college kids actually tended to have less money than the high school kids he sold to, a lot of them were willing to put up their last dollar for a joint over something they actually needed. Nick knew the feeling (though there was a difference between the money that these kids parents gave them regularly running out, and him actually being homeless), but being a fair person, Nick had sold to these guys with the promise that they'd pay him the next week, when their parents sent more money. Well, that week came and went, and the fifty dollars that he was owed never made its way to him. In fact, none of the boys answered Nick's calls or texts. Fifty dollars wasn't the end of the world, and losing clients was annoying, but when they tried to fuck him over to begin with, it wasn't actually a real hit to his business. It pissed him off, considering he was trying to be a nice guy and all, but he moved on. Had anyone done this to him years back, when he was heavily involved in the real drug game, they would've had their skulls bashed in, regardless of it being a small sum of money, but Nick was over that stage in his life. He thought he would move on, being seeing their smug faces enter the diner before they spotted him irked him. He wasn't going to beat the living hell out of them like he wanted to, but he'd get his money back.

"I ordered another burger," Nick said when Roman suggested they leave. It wasn't true. Fiona hadn't been back to the table once, despite Nick's plate sitting vacantly at the end of the table. "So you go on. Just leave money for your share and I'll take care of the check and all when I finish." His tone remained easy and normal, partly because he didn't want Roman to feel like there was anything going on, to a point where he would stick around, and partly because Nick actually wasn't going to get enraged over this. So long as he got his money, he'd be fine.

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Characters Present

Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Isaac Rankin Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Lateefah Ekwensi-Hart Character Portrait: Kiara Moore Character Portrait: Colton King Character Portrait: Cara Forrester

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After letting out an amused exhale when Nick said he'd ordered extra food, Roman slid him his portion of the check and got up, giving Nick a departing pat on the shoulder as he left. Unlike on the way, the cool air was refreshing this time around. The crisp of the season tickled beneath his nose, but was quickly interrupted with the coming of vehicular exhaust and fresh asphalt. New York was a place of many people, sights, and--sometimes unfortunately--smells. His stomach was still unsettled as he walked back to Finn's, but inevitably he'd approached a pretzel stand, and inevitably he'd wanted one. It was one of his staples, and at this point he was sure 90% of him consisted of salt and dough. Had he not wasted money back at the restaurant, he would have indulged himself, but he wasn't entirely sure when he'd be working next, and he didn't want to use up all of his money so soon. If he was lucky, he might be able to get something small at Finn's. Like fries or something. Food was probably the best thing for him right now, as his stomach was holding nothing but the painkillers he'd taken not too long ago which were the reason for his nausea and slight vertigo. The sensation wasn't too overwhelming, as this had happened before, namely because he didn't like eating straight after waking. For once, he did wake up hungry, but had waited too long to put something in his body before the pills took effect.

When he was last in the basement, no one was really there, which was somewhat unusual. He was hoping it would be the same when he got there, but held onto his doubt the same way he held down the bile rising up his throat. When the ground took a sudden spin beneath his feet, he decided to sit down. Finn's was just a block or so away by this point, but he was convinced that if he kept going he'd vomit or succumb to the vertigo. For ten minutes, he sat and just breathed, catching bits and pieces of people's conversation as they passed. Roman reached into his pocket and lit a cigarette, wondering why he hadn't done so before. Immediately he could feel his body reacting, rewarding him for the damage he was ultimately doing to it. He picked up the habit when he was about seventeen. Or was he sixteen? It didn't matter really. He was starting to feel a bit more like himself, and as he looked in the direction of the bar, he figured he could make it, but decided to continue sitting because it was a nice day, and really he was just feeling lazy. The basement could get cramped very quickly, and although it was a place to sleep, he wouldn't really call it home; too little space for too many people with too many problems. It was why he went out when he could, just for the sake of being out really. There were obviously more people around him when he was out in the city, but the cluttered streets were a norm by this point, so they could easily be ignored, and it still felt more spacious out here--more anonymous.

As he was finishing his cigarette, a woman came and sat next to him on the bench. Although he was the only other person on it, she chose to sit closer to the middle, which was by default too close to him. He didn't refrain himself from cutting her a look, wondering why she couldn't scoot over. While he was being dramatic, and arguably just moody, he didn't think so. He liked his space and didn't understand why the woman was sitting that damn close when there was room on the side of the bench. This and the fact that he was done with his cigarette was enough to get him onto his feet and moving back towards the bar. Besides the little situation back there, the trip to Finn's was relatively solitary, and therefore relatively pleasant. The next couple of minutes to the pub passed peacefully and unbothered until he entered the slightly stuffy atmosphere of Finn's. It was no busier or emptier than it usually was, he noticed as he walked towards farthest end of the bar, a couple of seats from an older man with a scraggly beard and deep, protruding eye bags. He locked eyes with Finn and nodded him over. As he waited, he saw Kiara and Tee sitting in a both on the other side of the room. He sighed inwardly as he knew that wherever Tee was, Holly couldn't be too far, but as he glanced around, he didn't see--or more importantly--hear her. It was strange, but he didn't focus on it for too long, mostly because he didn't care, and and also because Finn had come to him. "What?"

"Can you spot me a sprite?" Roman said. Finn grumbled under his breath some before leaving and returning with a sprite. "Thanks," he said, beginning to wonder if he should've just leeched a drink off Finn instead of soda, although the former probably wasn't the greatest of choices. This made him think of Brooke, who was honestly just an alcoholic in denial, but was the reason why he half expected to see her at the bar. If she wasn't downstairs or out and about, it wasn't out of the ordinary to see her up here having a drink, although she had a steady supply for herself. This made him get off the stool after deciding to try his luck finding her. He wanted a drink because his unsettled state was putting him in a sort of mood. He'd take it with some pills to amp the effect, that was if Brooke wasn't in a stingy mood, or if she was even here. He had half the mind to ask Kiara or Tee if they knew, but he continued towards the back without doing so. As he opened the door to the basement, he was greeted with the sound of Holly's hyper, enthusiastic voice. He mentally prepared himself--which involved him trying to tune her out while he could and even considering going back upstairs--as he sipped on his sprite some more and went down the steps. First he noticed Isaac in his respective part of the basement, and Colton sleeping in his own. As Killens passed, he gave Isaac a quick nod of acknowledgement. If he'd been trying to pay attention, he would have noticed on the way down that the other voice besides Holly's belonged to Cara, but it had escaped him. "Hey, Brooke," he said as he turned the corner of the wall that separated Nick and Brook's space from the rest of the basement. He saw Holly leaning over Brooke on her bed, not unsurprisingly, but he also saw Cara trying to pull her away. What the bloody hell? Had he not spoken, he would've quietly turned around and left, but it was a bit too late for that. Instead, he recovered quickly and hovered against the wall, waiting for whatever was happening in front of him to be be finished so he could talk to Brooke, whom he was giving a look that could only be translated into "What the fuck is going on?"

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Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Cara Forrester

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When Brooklyn relaxed back on her bed, she did so to signal to Colton that she was done with this conversation. He said one more thing, trying to object to her assertion about him and Tee, but Brooklyn kept her eyes and mouth sealed shut, and a moment later, she heard him walk away. While she hoped that he would be the only interruption she would have to deal with, she knew that hope was too good to be true. Before she could sink back into a trance, she heard Holly's voice and it grew closer, with her name being audible in the girl's words. Fuck my life, was all she could think, but she knew she was lucky that by now, her headache had fizzled away and she was just feeling tired. She had just woken up a few hours ago, but tired was a state that she felt frequently, and a lot of the time, it wasn't even physical exhaustion, but more so, emotional and mental tiredness where sleep was the only escape.

She didn't even have time to pull her pillow over her face before she could feel Holly right next to her, and then touching her. In a way, Holly's innocence and curiosity was endearing. She was so good natured and cheerful, and yet the charm of it wore off very quickly. After living with her for over a year, Brooklyn knew that her attempts to stop Holly from being Holly were futile, but it was also impossible for her to live with her without complaining. She wasn't patient or tolerant, and that was especially true towards people who had no respect for personal space or boundaries. Holly felt into that category more than anyone else and yeah, after hundreds of threats that she was going to cut her hands off if she ever touched her again, Brooklyn could never do more than yell at Holly. Even that was rare. Most of the time, she directed her annoyance and anger at Lateefah. As she slapped Holly's away from her head, she peeled her eyes open and found that Holly's sister wasn't in sight, so snapping about how incapable she was at doing anything was out of the question for now. Instead, Brookyln sat up again, but tossed her legs over the side of the bed. It was clear that she wasn't going to get any rest right now, and there was no point in wasting her time trying.

"Remember when I asked you to wait by the door if you ever needed me?" Brooklyn questioned, looking at the redhead carefully. She wasn't in a bad enough mood to be snippy with Holly right now, so her tone was more curious than angry as she asked. "And to keep your hands to yourself? Especially when I'm trying to sleep?" She knew that no matter how many times she tried to set boundaries, Holly would always disregard them. Brooklyn still wasn't sure if the girl actually did forget, or if she just got so consumed in her own excitement in the moment, that she just became far too impulsive. Normally, Cara's arrival probably would have been helpful but Brooklyn wasn't about to snap right now. She was actually considering going shopping, especially since she wanted to spend time with Cara. She did not want to deal with STD-infected Kiara, but that was a different story, and one that Brooklyn wasn't going to allow to ruin her plans.

"Tired?" Brooklyn repeated Cara's claim, questioning her description. She knew Cara was probably just trying to be helpful by leading Holly away, but the mock glare sent in Cara's direction reflected how much of a sensitive, petty bitch Brooklyn could be sometimes. "I'm sorry. Not all of us got to wake up and take an hour-long soak in our jacuzzi tubs today." She grabbed her bag from beside her bag, and not needing much more, took a step towards the pair, just as Roman walked in. "No time to chat, Roman," Brooklyn smirked after he greeted her with a look of confusion. Likely because of Cara. No, definitely because of Cara. Brooklyn could have taken the opportunity to put the two on the spot about their night together months ago, but in the moment, it didn't even cross her mind. "We're going shopping, right Holl?" She said, surprisingly engaging with Holly before the redhead had to initiate it. It didn't come without a small jab, but Brooklyn couldn't help herself. "I think we should stop at CVS on the way home. I want to pick up a nice, big bottle of that new candy kind of juice called Zzzquil for you to try tonight," she insisted, peering towards Holly.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Cara Forrester

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There was no way that Holly could have waited by the door for Brooklyn to acknowledge her before coming in. Holly didn't understand why Brooklyn insisted on such unnecessary things to begin with! It wasn't like she was touching anything... besides Brooklyn's hair... and it wasn't like she was going to bother anyone. Brooklyn was clearly already awake, so touching her when she was sleeping didn't see applicable now, and if Tee wasn't there to witness it, did it really count as not following directions? Holly didn't think so, and the fact that Brooklyn hadn't chucked something in her direction or cursed Tee's name made her feel even more relaxed in the space that wasn't hers. "You shouldn't sleep during the day time, Brook-Brook-Brooklyn! That will be one of the new rules in your book. No one is allowed to sleep during the day time except Colton because no one wants to talk to him anyway, and maybe Nick can if he wants to too, because we like Nick." Halfway through that, Holly wasn't even sure what she was saying, but she liked hearing her own voice and continuing to talk seemed more natural than stopping and thinking to her.

Cara appeared before Holly could busy herself with something of Brooklyn's and actually piss off the brunette, but surprisingly, Brooklyn didn't agree with Cara and send her off. She got out of bed, apologized for something and said something about a Jacuzzi. Holly wasn't really listening, but she caught the glare Brooklyn shot at Cara, and frowned. She didn't realize that Brooklyn was being sarcastic, but again, didn't have time to harbor on the thought for too long. She had shot up from the side of Brooklyn's bed where she had been sitting, over to the girl who was now heading towards the door, when Roman appeared. Normally, his presence would have excited Holly because seeing anyone usually made her happy. It meant that there was something new to talk about, and someone new to talk to. Roman was never particularly interesting, like Cara and Kiara tended to be, because he was pretty quiet, but that didn't stop Holly. Considering how much she talked, she seemed to make up for everyone else's lack of words when they weren't in the mood to entertain her thoughts. Now, Brooklyn dismissed him in favor of going shopping, and was being particularly inclusive towards Holly, so the excitement of seeing Roman was pushed to the side for now."Yes, Roman, she's right! No one has time to chat with you because we're going shopping!" Holly added, clinging to one of Brooklyn's arms with both of her hands with excitement. "And you are not allowed to come because we're going to buy vests and you would look like a turtle if you wore a vest!" She released Brooklyn, probably just before she was pushed off, and gravitated back to Cara instead. "Right, Cara? Even if he got a vest that wasn't green like yours, he would still look like a turtle. A red turtle or a blue turtle or a purple turtle who talks like he's Mary Poppins." Holly probably would have continued speaking to Roman, or rather, about him, had Brooklyn not addressed her again. Instinctively, she gravitated back towards Brooklyn with eyes wide with interest as she spoke of some juice that was like candy. "Does it taste like cotton candy? I bet Tee would like it."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Cara Forrester

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Cara was caught off guard when Brooklyn didn't object to the trip with Holly, and actually seem bothered that Cara tried to get Holly to leave her alone. She refused to believe that this was the new Brooklyn. Holly had probably just been lucky enough to catch Brooklyn in a good moment, because there was no chance that Brooklyn had suddenly shifted into someone who was tolerant of Holly's ways. She rolled her eyes at Brooklyn when she again, made a jab at her. For now, she'd let her have her fun but she knew that at some points, the jokes about where she came from were going to start getting old. However, she knew that even if she did express her annoyance, it wasn't likely that Brooke would stop. "Whatever!" she said, shaking her head in defeat. "But if you're going to come, you have to be nice. Not just to her, but to Kiara too!" Cara chimed in. She was lucky to get Brooklyn to be nice to Holly, but Kiara would be a different story, because at least Holly was nice to Brooklyn. Kiara, and Tee too, didn't take the animosity that Brooklyn directed towards them, so it seemed impossible for Brooklyn to ever have a decent time with them because she couldn't stand anyone being nasty back to her.

Cara spun around to head back out to the main area so they could leave, but the empty doorway was no longer empty, and instead, Roman stood there. Cara had no right to be surprised. It was Roman who had always lived here, and her who had disappeared without warning for months, but him being there definitely caught her off guard. The last time that she had seen them, they were having sex. She had managed to get by during the next day without running into him, and that night, she left the basement for good. She had gotten away without having to confront whatever that night between them was, but she clearly couldn't get away from Roman forever if she was going to be living with him. She looked at him like a deer in headlights for a moment, before deciding that she could at least try to avoid him forever. Upon deciding that, she peeled her eyes away from him and didn't even muster up a smile in his direction. She simply acted as if he wasn't there, and was lucky that Brooklyn brushed him off and didn't engage in a deep conversation with him. Cara was definitely frazzled, so she only realized that Holly was speaking when she asked for her confirmation, and even then, she was barely listening. "Mhmm, Holl. That's a good movie," she responded, thinking that Holly had been talking about Mary Poppins the whole time.

She took Holly's hand, deciding that now, they definitely needed to get the hell out of there. Passing Roman without a glance, she rolled her eyes at Brooklyn's suggestion, and Holly's obliviousness towards it. "We'll get you something else, but not that. Brooklyn's just joking," she shook her head. "So, tell me about everything that's happened since I've been gone," she said to Holly, trying to perk up as they headed out the side staircase that led into the alley. "Did you decide to keep trying with school?" Cara knew that Holly was very opposed to anything school related. On one hand, she couldn't really blame her. A lot of the city's schools that weren't private or in the very upper class neighborhoods were underfunded. Kids who were normal learners could sometimes be left behind, so someone like Holly, with major learning disabilities, was bound to be left behind. At the same time, getting her diploma was necessary if she wanted to do anything in like. Lateefah couldn't support her forever, or at least Cara didn't think it would be healthy for either of them for that to happen. Plus, she was sure that it would be easier for Lateefah to have and maintain a job more relevant to her interests, once one came along, if Holly was in school all day. It made sense, but Cara was also aware of how school was one of the very few things that could set Holly of. She was the happiest person you could meet most of the time, but with school, meltdowns seemed inevitable for Holly. At least, that was according to what Cara had seen the year before when Holly actually was in school.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Cara Forrester

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It was times like these where it was hard to believe that him and Holly were the youngest in the basement. Roman watched her with a quizzical brow as she went on about him being a turtle and sounding like Mary Poppins. Although he knew better than to be insulted by anything that came out of Holly's mouth, he still couldn't help but wonder how he looked like a turtle. When Cara hastily led Holly out of the basement and up the stairs, he was grateful for more than just one reason. Killens watched them leave from his peripheral, glancing back at Brooklyn as they went up the stairs and said, "Don't enjoy this."

When they'd finally gone, he sipped on his sprite, switching it to the other hand as the current one holding it was getting cold. It had been months since he'd seen Cara last, and after a few weeks had passed he was sure that he would never see her again. It was strange that she was here now, after all this time, since he figured she would have visited Holly or Brooke a while ago, but he didn't concern himself with those affairs too much. Roman wasn't aware that Cara wasn't just visiting though, which is the only reason he brushed off the encounter, although his face showed some signs of peevishness. "How kind of her to grace us with her presence," he muttered. It was less her showing up unexpectedly that bothered him, but the fact that she arrived in an outfit that was likely worth more than those in the basement collectively make in a month, Brooklyn aside. "Look, if you're going to CVS, get me some candy, and in return I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and say that you weren't behind this," he said, nodding back towards the staircase, where Cara and Holly had just been. He'd started to walk away before realizing why he came downstairs in the first place. "Right," he said, turning around once he remembered. "Give me some rum," he said as he leaned back against the wall.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Cara Forrester

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Brooklyn was often accused of being Holly's biggest critic, and it probably was true, but there were moments like right now, where she actually found the girl to be funny. It was worth noting that Brooklyn only cracked a smile when Holly had let go of her arm and was closer to Cara and Roman, as she bothered Roman. It was hard to get offended by the things that Holly said, because not only did everyone know that her intentions were usually pure, but the things she said were rarely real insults. Calling Roman a turtle would annoy him at most, and just because Brooklyn knew that she would be annoyed if the comments were directed at her, she found it funny. For some reason that was still unknown to her, Holly seemed to enjoy bothering her more than many of the others, so when someone else got their turn as her target, how could she not appreciate the moment?

She only lingered behind when Cara and Holly left because she realized that she was going to need alcohol. She had rolled her eyes at Cara's comment about having to be nice to Kiara and Holly if she came. She was already making an effort to be nice to Holly, but Kiara was another story. She was complete garbage, and it had nothing to do with her lifestyle (even though Brooklyn never hesitated to use it as a topic for insults. There really was no specific reason for why Brooklyn despised her so much. Maybe it was because she was pretty, or because Nick seemed to like her, or because she had a mouth on her that could compete with Brooklyn's. Regardless of the reason, Brooklyn didn't like her, and if she was going to even entertain the idea of being civil to appease Cara, she was going to need alcohol. That was what she told herself, at least, when she could hear Nick's voice ringing in her head about how she drank too much, and how it was abnormal.

She rummaged through one of her plastic storage containers, not even looking in Roman's direction as he muttered something about Cara and then went on to talk about wanting candy from CVS. She was ready to tell him that he better keep dreaming, when he spoke again, and this time, with a request that was even more laugh-worthy. "You must be out of your fucking mind if you think I'm giving you anything," she laughed, looking at him with a raised brow after securing three mini bottles of vodka in her purse. There were times when Brooklyn was generous with her alcohol, but that was only when she was already so drunk that she didn't know what she was doing. If Roman seriously thought that he was going to get a handout of one of her most needed items when she was sober, he was probably in need of a brain MRI or something. "I only buy enough alcohol for myself. You know that," she said in a mockingly sweet tone. She only bought enough alcohol for herself, and yet the stash that she had in the container she was now closing was probably enough to keep her large habit fulfilled for at least two weeks. "Wait until your buddy comes back from who-the-fuck-knows-where, and maybe he'll run to the liquor store for you," she suggested, now on the verge of being sarcastic and serious as she stepped past Roman.

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Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Kiara Moore Character Portrait: Cara Forrester

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Holly was ushered out of Brooklyn's area by Cara before she even had a chance to see what Roman had to say to her. She frowned, but because Cara kept talking, didn't linger on it for very long. As they headed up the side staircase, Cara first asked what she had missed. That was a question that could take years to answer. She missed the day that she and Lateefah had chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast, or when they went swimming at one of the public pools but it started thundering so they had to leave early. She missed the time when Brooklyn screamed so loudly at Nick that Holly considered that maybe Brooklyn was mean, and the day when Roman had a bruise that was green and blue. She missed a million dog sightings, lots of mac and cheese and the infamous way-too-early morning wake ups from Holly, but when she continued and asked about school, Holly's train of thought ended abruptly. She was offended that Cara even brought that up. It was definitely dramatic to an extent, but school was one of the few topics that Holly didn't find to be entertaining. Even as a little kid, when the curriculum was nothing more than learning how to cut with scissors or trace letters, Holly struggled. It was impossible for her to sit still, to focus on anything, and to follow instructions. Despite what some teachers (and sometimes, her grandmother) thought, she wasn't an unruly child. She was wild and constantly distracted, but it was something that was, and still is, out of her control.

Medication might have helped, and it was probably suggested by school counselors, but her grandmother didn't think it was necessary. She wasn't going to have one of "her" children taking medication when she believed that all Holly needed was a physical reminder on why she needed to start doing well. There began the cycle of her strong dislike for school. She felt stupid in class, especially once her peers were old enough to realize how far behind she was in comparison to them. She felt stupid at home, where her family gave up trying to give her extra support and decided that she was struggling because she wasn't trying. More than anything, though, she felt hopeless. There were days when she really would try to focus in school or at home while doing homework, but it was just impossible. If she could keep herself trained on a worksheet for long enough to finish even a handful of its problems, they'd all come out incorrectly or she'd get stuck on a word she didn't know and have a mental breakdown.

That was how she was as a kid, and though she maintained much of her youthful demeanor, she's grown at least a bit since those years. Now, if nothing else, it'll at least be a little easier for her to recognize when she's the target of insensitive jokes by peers. At sixteen, she wants to fit in, and attending a normal high school with kids who had normal learning capabilities, when it sometimes took her ten minutes just to figure out what the words on a menu meant, just spelled failure. She knew it too, and at this point, straight up refused to attend. After school ended last spring, she told Tee that she was never going back, and somehow, she had thrown enough fits that Lateefah actually had given up trying to force her to go back this year. "Tee said I didn't have to," she declared, looking up at Cara warily as she tried to figure out what her intentions were to bring up such a dreaded topic. Before she could analyze Cara's face, she noticed her earrings, and was reminded of the bracelets she was allowed to buy, and then the vests, back to the shopping trip that she was supposed to be taking with Cara and Brooklyn and Kiara. As they stepped outside, she spotted Kiara ahead, where the alley met the sidewalk, and that distracted her from the missing Brooklyn. "Do you think Kiara likes vests, or just sweatshirts?" she asked Cara as they approached the brunette.

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Characters Present

Character Portrait: Roman Killens

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It was times like these where he was sure America was softening him. He'd spent his early childhood and all of his adolescence in the country, but the majority of his formative years had been spent in Britain and so he still strongly identified as being such. Even during his time in America with his grandparents he could recall just how heavily and obnoxiously English they were in the way they spoke and in their mannerisms and their prudent comparisons between their mother country and this one. It was almost laughable now thinking just how stereotypical they were--and as he thought about it it brought a small smile to his face--but it did have an effect on his mentality that he still carried with him today. One of the biggest things about growing up in a very traditional, very British household is that any kind of problem, whether it be physical or mental, isn't really addressed. Unless your arm is falling off, you just sort of brush everything under the rug. It's the reason his grandfather only went in to seek help after years of suffering from arthritis until he woke up unable to get out of bed. 'Nothing a little spit can't fix,' as his grandparents would always say. Whether this mode of thought was more due to place of origin or simple family values was up for debate, but Roman settled on the former. Acknowledging the ache that was reintroducing itself and then chasing the pills down with the sting of carbonation felt like somewhat of defeat--just a little.

Roman flattened himself over his uneven mattress, the familiar aged aroma greeting his nostrils as he tucked his face into the scratchy surface. Part of him was still tired, but then again there was always a tiny ounce of him that was. It wasn't always sleepiness. Sometimes it was fatigue from the night before which honestly could last days especially if he wasn't eating well, which, usually, he wasn't. Then it could also be due to stress, something that was inevitable with his lifestyle. That didn't just pertain to the fighting one; it extended to his circumstance of being homeless and living in a basement with nine other people. He used the term lifestyle intentionally although most would refrain from doing so since it implied choice and the availability of opportunity and mobility which wasn't always the case, and atypically ever was so. For him, though, it was the case. When he was lying like this, gritting his teeth against each other as his eyes traced the crack in the ceiling, he was reminded of choice and the one that he took. And for what? He still wasn't sure. His mother always said that failing to plan is planning to fail--its truth was felt heaviest now than it was before. Many times he'd ask himself what he was even thinking that night when he ran and the answer was that he didn't know. At that point, for the first time in his life he didn't have a plan. It was the reason he hardly lasted on his own before Nick came along, a truth that still unsettled him although he was grateful for it happening. His gratitude came from his heart but also from a feeling of indebtedness. Sometimes Nick's kindness felt like charity, a service to which Roman was indentured, and at no fault of Nick himself but rather Roman's fatalistic perception of everything. He turned his eyes hard across the room as if to force himself off the subject. Now was the time for the present, he reminded himself. Only the present.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Isaac Rankin Character Portrait: Roman Killens

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ImageOne plus side to living in a basement with nine other people was that they didn't actually like to spend that much time together if they could avoid it. So, during the day, the room was fairly empty. And even if someone was home, they were likely sleeping something off. So, before long, Isaac was left in silence.

Tee was working, who knew where Nick or Oliver was, and the girls were off in a bustle of noise that made Isaac even happier he'd declined shopping. It would have been fun, sure, but not in the mood he was currently in. Instead, he was happy to sit on his bed with only a sleeping Colton for company. It was fantastic, really.

He sat down, curled up with his old battered copy of The Catcher in the Rye, and had every intention of drowning in the nostalgia of the awful crush he'd had on Holden Caulfield as a teen. It was the perfect way to ignore the nausea still churning in his stomach, and the headache that refused to go away. He could sleep, sure, but it wasn't that bad yet. So yeah, he had a plan.

At least until he saw Roman out of the corner of his eye. Honestly, it'd become kind of a game at some point; 'how long can Killens be in the same room before you look at him?'. Isaac was aware it was vaguely creepy, and completely pointless, but he couldn't help the way his breath just kind of...stopped. And that weird desire to just be...near him. It wasn't even that he wanted more than that, really. It was like a schoolboy crush...he just wanted to sit next to him. It was almost unbearable, actually.

And Isaac would not look at him. Roman was probably just going to nap anyway, no need to go over there and bother him. Even if he did go over there, what would he talk about? Roman was a fairly quiet person, he didn't want someone like Isaac yapping in his ear without purpose. In all the time Isaac had been in the basement, they'd only had a handful of conversations. Not that that stopped Isaac from wanting to sit next to him at the bar...or hoping to catch his eye at some point, just for a moment. And Isaac would have to remind himself for hours later just what 'heterosexual' meant, to shut his stupid fluttering heart up.

Why was he standing up? When did that happen? His book was in his hand, thumb marking his page, because he'd realized at some point Roman was actually awake, focusing on nothing really, so why not go bother him? Since evidently Isaac had less control over his body than a seventeen year old. "Hey," he said when he reached the cot by Roman's bed, leaning on the wall so he could casually look at his feet. Oh, right, because he was a creeper who stared on his own time, and didn't take advantage of actually getting to look at the other male when in his presence? Made sense.

Isaac's fingers fiddled with the corner of his book for a moment while his brain scrambled to come up with something to talk about. He'd already opened his mouth, it was too late to back out now, or to change directions for the bathroom. Bored? No. Want a drink? still a little early, and Isaac wasn't sure if his stomach could handle another one. Hair of the Dog hadn't been a brilliant idea. Wanna share a joint? He almost laughed at the last one, but then it made him realize something.

He did actually have something he needed to talk to Roman about, though he'd planned to wait until the other man came to him, he did have the option. And they were mostly alone, so not a bad timing opportunity either. "I've got some of that stuff you like...if you're running low." Good. No pressure. All is fine. Isaac was pathetic, but that was nothing new.

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Character Portrait: Isaac Rankin Character Portrait: Roman Killens

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He had been training his attention on a small part of the wall when Isaac came over. At first he wasn't sure if he'd actually heard anything, and so his response was delayed when he finally turned to see Isaac standing near him. He looked down to the book in his hand. Good choice. Roman had almost forgot that Isaac, or even Colton really, was in the basement. It would seem that much of the noise in the basement came from the girls; the boys tended to be more relaxed and quiet, which Roman was appreciative for. He didn't mind sharing a space with others so long as it was relatively easy to forget they existed in the first place. Isaac wasn't very loud himself and seemed to enjoy his own company which was why Killens was slightly taken aback by him coming over. They'd spoken before, but that could be said about everyone in the basement. And, like mostly everyone, he didn't really know the guy that well. The most involved interaction he'd ever had with Isaac occurred over the summer when he went to him for pills. Knowing he was pretty fucked up himself in that aspect, Roman supposed his luck couldn't be too bad in asking since Nick was no longer an option. It was awkward enough for him to even have to go to a near stranger for help, so he hadn't repeated the act since then.

Killens watched him with a slight raise of the brow as he began wondering what Isaac wanted. Although he made it a point for no one in the basement to know the extent of his past, that included his 'intellectual gift' for lack of a better term, he was completely stupid to Isaac's feelings towards him. This could be partly explained in Roman's own degree of conceitedness but just as it was hard for people to read him, sometimes he had difficulty reading other people. Of course, 'difficulty' was really just a nicer way of saying lack of interest. When Isaac finally mentioned why he came over, Killens wasn't quite prepared for what to do. He looked at him for a hard second as he wasn't entirely sure what the fuck he was talking about. "Oh," he said when he finally understood, remembering back to their exchange a few months back. Roman sat up and looked over to Colton instinctively, wanting to make sure no one else was around to hear. It wasn't so much that he was embarrassed really, but he didn't want people in his business.

His stash wasn't low just yet, by the grace of God. He really didn't need anymore but he convinced himself that he did. What he had had gotten him sick (he chose to ignore the fact that he was overseeing his misuse of the drugs), and not only that, but the cooler weather was making him ache more. Isaac probably had something stronger since there was no telling what else the kid could get a hold of. He told himself that he deserved this. It wasn't a problem if he was just trying to take care of himself, and Isaac was offering. But then he remembered reality and in reality he barely had enough money to last him until his next unscheduled fight. Killens sat up with a groan that was more due to his body's reaction to the movement and less due to Isaac. "Look," he said as he sipped on the sprite that was barely half gone. "If you're looking for quick money, so am I. I'd be indulging us both if I said yes, but I'm broke."

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Character Portrait: Roman Killens

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ImageSometimes talking to Roman was anxiety inducing, because he was never sure what he was going to get back. Or what stupid thing would come out of his mouth. Isaac was definitely the kind of idiot that would ask someone for the time only to be wearing a watch, because he had no game. It wasn't like it should matter or anything. Wasn't even like Isaac was trying to flirt...in fact, he spent their what - total of four, maybe, conversations being very aware of doing the exact opposite of flirting. Didn't matter much though. Talking to him still made Isaac's stomach tie up in knots.

But god that face, and that one raised eyebrow, and that unwavering attention as Killens tried to sort out the words that came out of Isaac's mouth and how exactly they applied to him. Isaac really should have stayed on his side of the room, where those wonderfully blue eyes weren't focused on him for entirely too long.

He was about to open his mouth again, to be more specific, when Roman finally got it. Isaac just smiled slightly and directed his gaze down at his book, because that was easier. It was a weird topic, and Isaac knew little about Killens, but he also knew that was because Roman wanted it that way. He was a private person, and Isaac got that, so he'd used the kind of vague wording on purpose.

Killens groaning was something Isaac really should enjoy, but it wasn't a good sound. It was a 'my body aches and it sucks' sound, which made sense, given Roman's career choices. His own eyebrow arched this time when the man finally spoke and Isaac just shook his head. "Nah, I'm solid in the cash department."

It actually wasn't a complete lie. He had enough money he wasn't worried about eating, and he had a pretty decent stash built up. Isaac liked having money, and was often very productive high, so he usually had a good handful of it from odd jobs. And nine times out of ten, if sex was on the table, Isaac could manage to score a free meal or his own free drugs at least twice a week. Just depended. "I honestly just have more than I can handle. Besides, I told you last time, I'm not a dealer, I'm not looking for money. Sharing is caring, Killens, that's all I'm doing."

That was a partial lie. Isaac wasn't a dealer, so he didn't sell product ever. That was a dangerous business and when one has a tendency to snort up his own product, best to stay away. He also didn't exactly 'share' with anyone else. He might give Kiara a bump on occasion if he asked, but Killens stuff...that stuff he went out of his way for. Because he was pathetic. And couldn't stop himself. He'd probably get anything Roman asked for, honestly. He didn't even care.

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Character Portrait: Isaac Rankin Character Portrait: Roman Killens

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Despite being an emotionally inexpressive person, when it came to some things, it was apparent--sometimes too apparent--what he was thinking. This mostly happened when he was being judgmental and was reacting too quickly to remain collected, or sometimes if he was just in a mood like now where he was too lethargic to really care about concealing what was going through his mind. So he didn't think twice when he raised his brow higher at the sound of Isaac saying he was good on cash. That was hard to believe, not because of Isaac himself, but simply because they were all living in a basement. It was clear none of them were very doing very well. Of course, Killens would just take Isaac's word for it and wouldn't prod him about it although his face clearly demonstrated some level of speculation, albeit it being somewhat unenthused speculation. Hell, if anything he was now more so curious about what Isaac did to be 'solid' financially. He wasn't knowledgeable about what the guy did to make money, and he didn't care for too much longer as it was just a passing thought and Isaac had continued to speak.

"Mhm," Roman muttered as he finished swallowing the rest of his sprite. He dangled his hand over his legs and spun the soda some, listening to the remaining liquid. The sound that played back was hollowed, the can itself light. As he thought about it, he remembered he wasn't entirely a fan of Sprite. It wasn't bad, but it was too carbonated--kinda hurt. If anything, he could at least be grateful for a little sugar rush, but that didn't apply to him. If he had too much sugar in one sitting, he'd just get really groggy and tired. The fact that he could still go for a nap right about now wasn't helping either. "Well, I don't know why you fucking care, quite frankly," he began drowsily, his words muffled by the yawn that escaped as he spoke. He took a moment to finish before proceeding. "But I'm not going to beg you to take my money."

He finished the last of his soda, deciding he'd just go ahead and discard it, just for the hell of it. He was relatively good when it came to keeping up with his things, although there were some hints of disorganization. There were times though, like now, where he felt the need to go ahead and get rid of any trash he had. Even though he could have just as easily gone up to the bar, he saw this as an opportunity to have a smoke and so decided he'd hit the alley instead. Roman stood up, stretching in the process as he placed a cigarette between his lips. "Just give it when you got it. So long as the others aren't around," he said as he grabbed his jacket and slipped it on, remembering that it was a bit chilly today. He glanced at Isaac and held the open pack of cigarettes in his direction. "For your services," he said. He was normally quite stingy about his cigarettes and really only offered them to Nick, but they both shared with each other, so it wasn't even too big a deal. The guy had just caught Roman in a relatively blasé mood which was why he didn't mind giving one. Besides, like Isaac said, sharing is caring.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Isaac Rankin Character Portrait: Roman Killens

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ImageWas it even fair that a person could raise a singular eyebrow that high? And why was it so damn sensual? Isaac couldn't raise his eyebrow that high...he could barely even lift one instead of both of them, and that had taken long hours of practice in front of the mirror. He was also letting his thoughts ramble distractedly, so his own much-too-emotional face didn't give away the fact that he knew Roman had caught him lying about the state of how deep his pockets went. At least, lying a little bit. Of course he needed money, they all did, they lived in a basement under a pub. But he didn't need it so bad he would starve, either.

He did know Killens well enough to know if the conversation just kept moving, the man wouldn't care enough to press the subject, and so the moment was over in mere seconds. Was he staring too much? He probably was. Probably focused a little too intently on the way Roman's hand fit around his cup, rolling it slightly so they could both still hear the swish of whatever liquid was still in it. Water maybe? Isaac didn't know. He wanted to know. Because he was hopeless. He really needed to get his life together. His eyes snapped back up when the man spoke again, and god how he wanted to admit that he didn't know why he fucking cared either. He really shouldn't. The way his heart jumped every time Roman even walked into a room lead to madness. And he was well aware of that. What he should care about doing was keeping his distance, not using every single excuse possible to talk to him. Straight boys would break his heart, without even being aware of it. He knew that.

Stretching was unfair. Really fucking unfair. And Isaac did not have the kind of self control to keep his gaze from drifting down Roman's body when he stood. The man had a nice build, obviously, he was a fighter...there were muscles that pulled in his arms, lean as they may be...and he was taller than Isaac, maybe a little lanky, but evidently that was the kind of thing Isaac was into. Why did he do this to himself? Oh and now they were adding cigarettes. Fantastic. Of course Isaac knew Killens smoked, a lot of them did, but it didn't stop it from being so. fucking. attractive. Also, he really shouldn't enjoy watching a boy put on clothes so much, but he did, he really did. It was just the way Roman moved. It was all too much to handle, really. Isaac barely even realized Killens was speaking, but managed to understand the words quick enough to raise his hand to his head and salute. Of course he wouldn't offer drugs when the others were around, he knew better. He did not know better than to use the hand his book was holding to salute, which was stupid, but whatever. Saluting was stupid in the first place. What was his problem?

He was just about to step off the wall and go back to his own bed - and probably groan into his arms for an hour, since Roman was obviously making to leave the basement and wouldn't hear - when the open pack of cigarette's being held his way stopped him. He didn't need one. He didn't even particularly like nicotine, which wasn't as smooth as marijuana, but...he was obviously too far gone to reject anything Roman was actually offering. So he took one with a smile and a nod, a barely mumbled 'appreciated', before sliding the slender tube behind his ear out of habit. He really had half the mind to say he'd be happy to join Killens for a smoke, but he squashed that down fast. For one thing, regardless of how much the man made him feel like a blushing teenager again, he wasn't. For another, he knew the guy liked his alone time, and he'd already trampled on that once. It was fine. Whatever. He could go back, finish his book, and in a couple of days when Roman was alone, he'd get a chance to talk to him again. He and his stupid, stupid crush could wait until then.