In The Concrete Jungle

New York, NY

0 INK

a part of In The Concrete Jungle, by Collapse.

None

Collapse holds sovereignty over New York, NY, giving them the ability to make limited changes.
1,190 readers have been here.
2,042 readers have visited In The Concrete Jungle since Collapse created it.

Setting

Default Location for In The Concrete Jungle

Minimap

New York, NY is a part of In The Concrete Jungle.

17 Characters Here

Lateefah Ekwensi-Hart [38] "I think there's a flaw in my code."
Roman Killens [29] The Intellect
Colton King [23] "When in doubt, drink a beer."
Oliver Mitchell [10] The Failure

Start Character Here »


Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lateefah Ekwensi-Hart Character Portrait: Colton King

0.00 INK




Image
╭━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━╮
L A T E E F A H ~ E K W E N S I - H A R T
"Just breathe. All you have to do is just breathe."

Outfit
Location|| Finn's Irish Pub
iPod|| Pompeii by Bastille
Mood|| Controlled


╰━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━╯







Once the air around Lateefah didn't smell rank enough (and that was saying something since she was in the female's bathroom and well, ladies weren't always as neat as people liked to think, to be quite honest), she took the time to wash her hands and dry them, checking her countenance in the mirror. She didn't look particularly sick, though the nausea was only just fading away. The clamminess was mostly gone, but she still felt hot enough to wet a paper towel with icy cold water to dab onto her skin just in case. She didn't need to look like something was wrong. Nothing could be wrong. Her ponytail was still in place, but she ended up feeling the need to take it out and style it again. Tighter, more controlled. That's what she really needed.

Control.

Jerking at the collar of her denim over shirt, Lateefah gave one last perusal of her attire - of her entire stature - before deciding that it was time to leave. The last thing she needed was Holly to burst into the bathroom loudly and cause a ruckus. Hell, the last thing she needed was Holly leaving the table. God only knew what she would distract herself with! And Lateefah had foolishly left her with Colton? It made her quicken her steps towards the door. Only for her to run into a waiting Colton. Lateefah's breath caught in her throat, just for a second, and the thoughts from earlier returned...and then she shoved them down and replaced them with an amused smirk.

"Hmmm...standing outside the girls' bathroom now, Colton? Hmmm...I could've sworn the guys' restroom is just a door down," she said, gesturing down the hall to the door. Soon after, a thoughtful expression - feigned - crossed her face before being replaced by the signature snarky one as she continued, "Then again, I've alwyas thought you were more pretty than hot. Maybe you're in the right line, babe."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lateefah Ekwensi-Hart Character Portrait: Colton King

0.00 INK

#, as written by Thunder
Image
Image
Although he knew it was coming, he was surprised when the women's restroom door opened and Tee appeared. He didn't let the surprise sit long on his face, especially since he had to dramatically roll his eyes at her quick comment about his presence. "Very funny, Ivy League. I was actually just trying to make sure that you were actually in there, and leaving me to watch your sister wasn't just some evil prank you were playing," he said, shaking his head before a sly smirk appeared at his lips. His eyes roved over her body, appreciating her form and how nice she always managed to look, before settling on her face. He liked how amused she looked as well, likely at her own snide remark towards him. He wasn't the type of guy to pick up on little things and Lateefah was also good at controlling her presentation and hiding her weaknesses, so he didn't pick up on how stressed she was. "Which, by the way, would have backfired on you, since I convinced her to stay at the table by herself, even with Cara and Brooklyn in sight. So... you're welcome," he replied, still lacking the seriousness in his tone to demand an actual thank you from her. He honestly didn't know if Holly had actually stayed at the table, but in his defense, managing to keep that girl in one spot for longer than a minute seemed to constitute some type of reward. And he was in the mood for his prize.

"But, now that I'm here, and so are you, and your sister is taken care of, shouldn't we savor the moment?" He stepped backwards and jiggled the broom closet's doorknob until it opened up. Nodding to it, he smirked. "Come on, Tee! You've been bailing on me every night this week that I try to get some alone time with you. I don't know if you've found yourself a new dude or something, but you'll never be able to convince me that he can get you to... to enjoy yourself, like I do," he said, only pausing to make his sentence more appropriate as an older man stepped past them and into the men's restroom.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Isaac Rankin Character Portrait: Kiara Moore Character Portrait: Oliver Mitchell Character Portrait: Cara Forrester

0.00 INK

#, as written by Bandit
Image
Image
Kiara brushed over Isaac's comment about not feeling alive, not because she didn't hear it or didn't emphasize for him, but because she didn't think she could give him any advice. He was clearly coming down from a high, and she knew how he was feeling, but at least from her experience, there was no way to combat that feeling. Nothing she could say would help, so she tried to keep the conversation moving without focusing on the bad. "Oh, come on, Cara's not that bad," she returned, when Isaac commented on how he hoped she wasn't trying to get Brooklyn to let her come back. Granted, Kiara had only been in the basement for four months, and only one of those included Cara living there too. However, she had never had a problem with the girl. She didn't know her story very well, and maybe it was stereotypical, but Kiara didn't think it took a detective to look at Cara, and know that she didn't grow up in the hood. She knew that poverty wasn't the only thing that constituted a bad life, but at the same time, she thought that she could have dealt with the neglect she faced at home, had her home been a mansion in the Hamptons. Whatever problems that Cara had had to have been laughable compared to what everyone else was facing. Her living with them was disrespectful in a way, because one could assume that she thought whatever minuscule problem she had was equal to theirs, but at the same time, she wasn't obnoxious.

"Besides, I didn't get a chance to ask her if she had a brother before she went MIA. You know I'm gonna be all over that and, hell, I'd take a sister too. Marrying is the easiest way to get into that life. It's a fact," she declared. For a girl like her, it seemed like it would be the easiest, maybe even the only way to get out of the circle of poverty. She didn't have a high school diploma or her GED, so she couldn't go to college. She didn't have the money to get her GED either. A high school diploma wasn't necessary for a lot of entry level positions, but it was for most of the reputable ones. If she wanted to, Kiara could've gotten a job at a fast food restaurant or something, but when it came down to it, she also didn't want to commit to a real work schedule yet. Nothing could be worse than how she made money now, and after every night of working, she vowed to look for a real job, but it never happened. She wouldn't be able to pass a drug test, and she wouldn't be able to wake up regularly to meet her shift requirements. She had an endless amount of excuses on hand, but Kiara really was going to try to look for a job, especially with the seasonal rush approaching, where it would be easier to get a retail job.

"Hopefully Tee is around." Kiara commented, agreeing that it was likely that the girl was around. She glanced back at the table Holly was at, watching as Cara left Brooklyn and approached it too. "Maybe today Tee will be the one to knock Brooklyn out like one of us has been needing to do," she commented snidely, but while offering Isaac a playful smile. She meant it, but luckily, Brooklyn hadn't pissed her off today to where she was actually feeling aggressive. "So everyone besides Nick and Roman are here, and I guess that leaves me wondering what you're up to. Besides drinking..." she started, taking his glass and sipping it, "Coke and whiskey, of course," she added, returning the glass and meeting his gaze.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Colton King Character Portrait: Cara Forrester

0.00 INK

#, as written by Writer
Image
Image
Holly frowned as Colton commented on her not eating the food. She was going to eat it, but not yet. It was too hot, or at least she guessed it was, since she hadn't even picked up a fork to take a bite yet. Plus, Lateefah wasn't back yet, and Holly didn't want to start eating and then get distracted by her sister returning. And if she needed another reason, she would blame Colton for distracting her. Not that the people walking past their booth weren't just as much of a distraction. The bright red t-shirt one man was wearing caught her attention, and had Colton not been in the way, she would have gotten up to tell the man that she liked it. Then there was a woman behind him with hair that was curly enough to remind her of the character Merida from the movie Brave. But, no, this woman's hair was a jet black color, and not orange. And her skin was loose and wrinkley, so she definitely couldn't be a Merida look alike. Who did she look like? Before Holly could continue that thought any further, she was focusing back in on Colton, who started taking again. He was saying something about the mac and cheese and her staying at the table to guard it, before her mind refocused on the music playing, just as the song switched. She didn't recognize it, but that didn't mean that her attention wasn't going to reign in on it for a moment before switching back to Colton. He finished by saying that he was going to get Tee, and Holly didn't object, for one, because she wanted Tee back, and secondly, because she wasn't sure what he had said exactly. Instead, her frown only intensified.

Feeling like this- confused, and lost, and struggling for control over her own thoughts, was so common to her, and yet it wasn't something that she was comfortable with. It was almost sickening how lost she could feel within her own thoughts sometimes. A lot of the time, she wanted to be able to focus, but it just wasn't possible. She would remember something that happened days ago, or a color would pop out at her, or she'd hear a snippet of a background conversation that was interesting, and her attention was gone. Mentally, it was rare for her to ever be in one place for longer than a minute.

"I am going to eat it," Holly murmured when Colton had already left, and that part of the conversation was long over. She was in an unusual mood right now. It was one of frustration and agitation, possibly a bit of tiredness since she had woken up early this morning, and if macaroni and cheese wasn't making her feel better, things didn't look good. Especially since Tee was working tonight and had shut down the possibility of them seeing a movie. The only thing she could think of that might do the trick, was talking to Brooklyn. As she looked away from the table and back to the bar, her line of sight was interrupted by a blonde walking towards her. Cara! That was something different. Holly hadn't seen Cara in months and didn't know if she would ever actually see her again. Seeing the blonde in fall clothes was different than the last version of Cara that Holly remembered, too.That was the one who always wore pretty dresses and bright summer colors. This Cara was just as nice looking, and it was the first thing that Holly commented on, despite leaving Cara's question unanswered. "I like your vest." She allowed Cara to hug her, and wrapped her arms around the blonde as well. She had a lot to talk to Cara about, so the first thing she insisted on, was that Cara stay. "You can sit here!" she exclaimed, pointing to Colton's chair. "Me and Teefah were saving it for you. She's in the bathroom, but she's going to be back very soon because she ordered us dinner and we have to eat it before she starts working." As Holly spoke rapidly, she reached out to touch the bracelet on one of Cara's wrists, because it was impossible for her to stay focused on what she was saying while there was so much "new" to be examined. "Did you leave because you had to go to college?" It seemed like a good explanation for Cara's disappearance, and was the first thing that came to her mind when she thought of someone she loved leaving.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Cara Forrester

0.00 INK

ImageImage
Cara smiled genuinely as she took a seat in the chair that Holly had offered to her. She knew that Colton had been sitting there moments before, but she doubted that he would get offended, or that he was even coming back. Since when were he and Holly friends? It was more likely that the tie between him and Holly fell upon Tee, who Cara still hadn't seen yet, but she didn't think it was anything to take note of. "Thanks, Holl," she said, in response to the compliment and welcoming in general. She laughed lightly as she took the girl and all of her bounciness and energy in. It was something that tired everyone, including Cara, out at some point, but she tended to have a lot of patience with Holly, and was actually missing this. The youthfulness and the pure happiness and appreciation for the littlest things was something that you didn't find often in people, nonetheless people stuck in their situation... or Holly's situation. Cara still felt bad about grouping herself in the same category as everyone else.

When Holly spoke about her and Lateefah needing to eat before Tee started her work shift, Cara could only imagine that mean that Tee was still waiting table. It made her feel worse, knowing that a girl who had put in an immense amount of work into her education, and had come out with an Ivy League degree, was waiting tables, when she had so much potential. It's not your fault! Just because you could have went to college, and never would have had to even think about loans, doesn't mean you need to feel bad that other people have issues! "College? Oh, no, I actually had to visit my grandma in Florida for a little while," Cara stammered, though she knew that Holly was probably the last person she had to trick into believing something. She tended to take things at face value and though it was probably dangerous for Holly, it was something that made life easier for everyone else. "But that's not important now! I'm just happy that I'm back and can hang out with you," she smiled. Happy wasn't exactly the right word for how she was feeling... but there it was again, with Cara knowing that she had no right to complain about where she was, because it wasn't the only option she really, truly had. Looking from Holly and then down to her food, she suggested, "You should start eating. I'm sure Tee will be back any minute, and you want to be finished by the time she has to work, right? Maybe if she says it's okay, you can come with me, and maybe Brooklyn too, so I can pick up some things I need since I'll be staying here again for a little while."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Nick Moreno

0.00 INK

Image

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?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Lateefah Ekwensi-Hart Character Portrait: Colton King Character Portrait: Cara Forrester

0.00 INK

Image
Image
Brooklyn had no desire to follow Cara across the bar, over to where Holly sat. She glanced backwards and watched Cara prance over to the redhead, but turned back around, uninterested, a moment later. Brooklyn couldn't say that she truly hated Holly, because despite the vibe she put off, she wasn't heartless. She saw Holly as being the same outgoing and cheerful and full-of-love girl that everyone else saw her to be, and those were all traits that were not hate-worthy. Brooklyn didn't like when the rambunctiousness, lack of boundaries and respect for personal space interfered with her life, and she didn't hesitate to snap at Holly when it happened, but she didn't hate her. She hated her sister for trying to intimidate Brooklyn for putting Holly into her place, but she didn't hate Holly specifically. Still, she wasn't going to go out of her way, leave her seat by the bar and purposely engage with Holly when she was still trying to nurse this resilient hangover of hers.

She shook her glass, which was now empty aside from a few ice cubes at the bottom. She could've ordered another one... and her body was telling her that that was the right thing to do, but it was half past three, not eleven o'clock at night. She wasn't trying to get drunk, just allowing herself to be awake while not feeling dead, and maybe it would take a few minutes to feel it, but she decided to give those first two drinks a chance to do just that. She left her empty glass on the counter, not even looking towards the other end of the bar where she heard Finn's booming laugh coming from, as she stood up. Finn was incredibly good to all of the kids in the basement, and his kindness had been extended to Brooklyn before any of the others. It wasn't uncommon for Finn to refuse to accept payment on drinks and food from some of them, especially the girls, but Brooklyn was at a point where she could afford to pay for her own things. Somehow, she always ended up spending enough where despite her good pay, she ended up with only a fraction of it by the end of the month, but regardless, she always forced Finn to take some of it. The couple of hundred dollars she would give him a month was nothing compared to what actual rent would cost her, and she doubted that it even covered the amount of free alcohol he let her have.

She didn't tell Cara that she was going back downstairs, and even as she headed back and briefly saw Lateefah and Colton chatting down the small hallway where the bathrooms were, she didn't utter a snide remark. She didn't have the energy for cattiness at the moment, and now that she was showered and felt clean, she decided that she might as well rest for a little while and let the hangover die off. With Holly upstairs, at least she could count on having peace and quiet for a few minutes, so long as Nick stayed away too. As she relaxed on her bed, she noticed that some of their storage containers were skewed differently than how she had left him. It was clear that someone had been rummaging through their things, and she could tell that it was Nick. It striked her as odd that she hadn't seen him up at the bar, but as she did a double take, she remembered that Roman's bed was now vacant. Nick must have come down while she was upstairs, woken up Roman, and the two were off together somewhere. It wasn't unusual, but Brooklyn decided that if she was in a petty mood later on, she'd use Nick running off without even checking in with her as a complaint against him.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Isaac Rankin Character Portrait: Kiara Moore

0.00 INK

Image
__________________________________________________________





ImageIsaac knew Kiara was right, rationally. He had absolutely no reason to dislike Cara...in fact, the handful of times that they'd spoken in the past, he hadn't minded her company at all. It was petty, and almost a little cruel, why he didn't. And, in all honesty, he didn't have a reason to not want anyone in that basement, either. They all came from different paths of life, no one deserved to be tuned away just "because". He sighed a little, put upon, his way of agreeing without having to actually admit he was being a brat.

Kiara's next comment made him laugh a little, run a hand through his hair as he looked over at Cara once more. She'd drifted off to talk to Holly now, which was no surprise. He had to admit, the girl was pretty, anyone in her gene pool would likely be attractive. Not to mention, Kiara was right about how to get into that lifestile. "Gay marriage is legal now," he agreed, "Wonder if I could get in on some of that action..."

It was a complete joke, of course. Isaac definitely wasn't marriage material. For one thing, the only commitment he could make - and keep - was to whatever drugs he could get his hands on. He for sure wasn't a romantic, and he had a horrible, masochistic need to spend all his 'crush worthy' energy on straight boys he couldn't get in a million years. It was a horrible cycle he'd been caught in ever since he'd lost his virginity. Romance lasted for a night, and nine times out of ten it was fueled by ecstasy, and half the time he wouldn't even remember it in the morning. Which reminded him that he probably needed to go get tested again...who knew who he did while he was gone.

His mood was starting to dip even lower before Kiara made her comment regarding Tee and Brooklyn, and he almost choked on his soda, which burned a little, before shaking his head at her. "Watch yourself, she can probably hear you..." Isaac was undoubtedly scared of Brooklyn. She was mean, and he was not good at handling harsh words. Last month he'd even taken to hiding behind Kiara when Brooklyn went off on someone, just to stay out of her eyesight.

He let go of his drink easily when Kiara took it, smiling when she 'guessed' his drink, because of course he was predictable. She gave it back, and he easily finished it off before running a hand over his face. "I just got in, actually. So I'm not doing anything other than feeling like death and regretting my life choices." Not that anything would change, either. He had pills downstairs, he'd wash that feeling away in half an hour or so, depending on what he decided to do with the rest of his afternoon.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Lateefah Ekwensi-Hart Character Portrait: Colton King Character Portrait: Cara Forrester

0.00 INK




Image
╭━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━╮
L A T E E F A H ~ E K W E N S I - H A R T
"Sweetie, I wouldn't trust you with my Prada and we both know I can't afford it."

Outfit
Location|| Finn's Irish Pub
iPod|| Pompeii by Bastille
Mood|| Amused


╰━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━╯







The left corner of Lateefah's mouth curved until her lips parted and she was snickering at Colton even believing for a second that she would leave him alone with Holly purposefully. Granted, their current interaction spelled nothing but good nature. However, Lateefah was far from unintelligent. There was no way in hell she would leave her sister with Colton for too long without worry. He would get too irritated fast and Holly...Holly might actually run away. And then they would all be in some kind of trouble because there was only so much Holly couldn't do on the streets of New York if she ran out because she was being emotionally overloaded. She did, eventually, give an impressed raise of her eyebrows at him being able to convince Holly to stay still.

"Hmmm...such a gentleman," she remarked on a purr, amusement dancing with the lilt of her voice, her smirk widening once Colton got to the gist of why he had come to the back of the pub. Which...of course, led to them. It wasn't a conversation she typically lived having at work. Particularly when Holly was but a ways away, the others were probably lurking around, and well...they were at her work. Off or not, this was where Lateefah worked and while a heated thrill raced through her at the idea of giving in for the first time this week, she really couldn't. Maybe for a few minutes...

...nope. Nope to the nope-ity nope nope.

Not here.

"Awww, don't tell me smooth as a rolling storm Colton King's been all hot and bothered all week cuz of little ol' me," she teased, left hand rising discreetly so that her fingers could trail up abdomen to his chest leisurely, taking a measured step towards the male while her eyes flicked over to the rest of the pub. She seemed to recognize the back of Brooklyn disappearing, but any of the others remained (hopefully) oblivious. Returning her gaze back to Colton, Lateefah smiled, bringing her face close to his, fingers creeping teasingly to the collar of the shirt he was wearing, eyes slightly hooded as she proffered, "How about this, hot stuff? You let me get through this shift, I'll see if I can convince Cara to take care of Holly for the night, and once I'm done, I'm all yours for the night." It gave her pause, fleetingly, that Cara was even in the vicinity, but Lateefah didn't give herself or Colton a chance to think on it any longer.

Without preamble, she fisted the collar of his shirt in her hand and then captured his lips with hers, the press of her mouth against his firm and heated. It didn't last long, but even Lateefah wasn't immune to the effects of not having had sex for the entire week. She'd just been really busy and honestly, she should not feel as alive as she did when she kissed Colton. Yep, not a thing she should feel and she should go back to teasing. Now. Pulling away, Lateefah took a breath before expelling it on a grin, releasing him and walking away, but not before tossing a, "That is, if you can last that long," over her shoulder before appearing back into the main vicinity of the pub.

Immediately, her eyes trained on her sister and the blonde she was seated with whom, she had no doubt about now, was Cara. Painting a smile on her face (and no, the smile did not also have something to do with kissing and teasing Colton at all), she approached the duo, sliding back into her seat and training the blonde with a seemingly unwelcome stare. At least, it could have been perceived as unwelcoming if the smile biting at the corners of her lips didn't spell out the warmth she held for the not-exactly homeless girl. "Well, if it isn't Princess Blondie returning to the rest of us peasants. We good enough for you now?" Her words weren't as biting as they could have been, but there was a residual sting from when Cara had left, and instead of acknowledging that, Lateefah turned her attention then to Holly. "Eat your food, Holly. It's going to get really cold."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Lateefah Ekwensi-Hart Character Portrait: Cara Forrester

0.00 INK

#, as written by Writer
Image
Image
Holly pulled her hand away from Cara's bracelet, in exchange for grasping her drink and taking a sip of it before speaking again. "Your grandma lives in Florida? I was born there, you know! It's warm there and that's where Disney World is, and there are beaches too, but I didn't live in that part of Florida where the beaches are. Why does she live in Florida and not New York?" Holly didn't remember much about Florida. Her time as a resident of the state spanned only a few years, and luckily, she had been young enough at the time where she didn't remember much of the neglect she ensued with living there. After moving in with her grandmother, she had returned to the state only one time, on a family vacation to Disney World. She was around eight years old at the time, but the eight years following had allowed much of her memories of the trip to escape her. She remembered that it was hot, that there was a pool with a water slide at the hotel, and that she had gotten lost at Magic Kingdom after wandering away from her family. That was all, really, and most of the stories that Holly liked to share of Florida or that specific trip were ones that she made up, but likely believed to actually be true.

She just nodded eagerly as Cara commented on eating, and Tee being back, and then went on to invite her shopping with her and Brooklyn. She would eat at some point, but right now didn't seem like a good time. How could she talk if she had a mouth full of food? Holly was too excited that Cara was finally, and suddenly back, that she didn't want to take a break to eat, even if her food did look good. "Yes! Tee will say that's fine, because she has to work tonight anyway," Holly insisted. She enjoyed shopping a lot, even when the shopping didn't actually consist of buying anything. Even in little corner stores, Holly easily found herself entertained with walking through the aisles and touching, examining, and attempting to convince Tee to buy her everything. Whether it was a piece of candy or some type of office supplies that she would never use, Holly always managed to convince herself that it was something she just had to have. With Cara, shopping was always extra fun, because the blonde actually let her buy things. It was never frivolous spending, and like Tee, Cara wasn't okay with Holly buying things that they had no need for, but she could get away with adding more things to the basket than she could in her sister's presence. That alone, excited her, and the possibility of Brooklyn coming along made it even better.

Lateefah appeared just as she finished her exclamation, and glossing over her sister's insistence that she start eating, she addressed Tee excitedly. "Cara was away all this time because she was visiting her grandma, Tee. In Florida! Like where I was born... Florida." She picked up her fork and began to stir her food absentmindedly, as she continued. "And she said I can go shopping with her and Brooklyn tonight, okay? Since you have to work?" She took a bite of her food after speaking, only to remember that she had stayed at the table all this time to guard not only her food, but Tee's too! "Aren't you gonna eat too? I didn't let Colton have any, and he was being really annoying. He said you loved him." The disgust was evident on Holly's face, but disappeared a second later, a clear indication that her thoughts were moving. She took another bite of food, sipped her drink again, and reached back for Cara's wrist. "Don't you like Cara's bracelet, Tee? When we have money again, we should buy all of your bracelets back."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Lateefah Ekwensi-Hart Character Portrait: Cara Forrester

0.00 INK

ImageImage
It was understandable how people could get overwhelmed by Holly. There was so much energy in her, that it really did seem impossible for the girl to control herself. For the most part, Holly didn't seem bothered by it. She had probably spent her entire life with such a flighty mind, that it was just what she was used to. Even when she seemed to ignore common social norms, as she was doing now, Cara didn't mind it. Holly was harmless, and usually amusing. Nothing she did was done with malicious intentions, and when Cara just wanted someone to distract herself with, Holly always made herself readily available. She extended her arm further down the table to make it easier to Holly to fiddle with the bracelet that was on her arm, but she made a mental note that she probably shouldn't have worn it, or the other pieces of jewelry she was wearing. Again, she hadn't woken up this morning and gotten dressed with the intentions of returning to the basement, but coming back wearing a designer bracelet didn't help her case. Holly was enthralled by it, or else Cara would have subtly slipped it off then and put it into her bag. She didn't want to seem showy, and though she guessed it was inevitable, she didn't want any attention on her just because she was returning.

As Holly seemed to focus in on her excuse for disappearing, Cara wondered if it was wrong to lie. It was just a white lie and it wasn't going to hurt anyone. She didn't want to have to explain to everyone that yes, she did have a suitable home that she could live in, and yes, her last three months were wonderfully normal while they were still stuck here. Maybe no one besides Holly would buy it, and even if they did, the fact that she'd be able to come up with money to fly to Florida to visit her grandmother on a whim didn't make the story that much more helpful, but it seemed like the best alternative. "I do remember you said that," Cara confirmed with a smile. She watched Holly's expression light up as she went on about what Florida was like, before questioning why her grandmother lived there, and not in New York. "She doesn't like the cold winters up here. She's scared that she's going to slip on the ice and break her hip," Cara explained, a small smile tugging at her lips. That was true, at least. Her grandmother had lived in New York for her whole life, but after her husband died seven years prior, she moved into the beach house they had in the sunshine state.

Only a moment after Holly insisted that Lateefah would be fine with her coming shopping that evening, the brunette appeared, and Cara could only offer her a meek smile. Holly would accept her back unconditionally, that much was already apparent. With Brooklyn, it wasn't that big of a deal either, since Cara had seen her multiple times since leaving. With everyone else though, and especially Lateefah, who she was actually friends with, Cara didn't know what she was supposed to say or do. She'd use the "visiting sick grandma" lie with her too, but she felt like she owed her some sort of genuine apology for just disappearing. Now didn't seem like the time, though. Lateefah made a sarcastic remark about it, and then Holly jumped in with her lie, so Cara just smiled. "It's not like that, Tee," she insisted in a light tone, almost playful, as her smile remained. She didn't press it any further, mostly because Holly continued talking. She listened as Lateefah told Holly to eat, and Holly ignored her, only to start eating moments later, and then tell Lateefah to eat too. The back and forth exchanges between the sisters was something that Cara had missed, but what caught her attention more was when Holly claimed that Colton said Lateefah loved him. It made her laugh audibly, and in an attempt to not have to focus on her bracelet, that Holly turned the conversation back to, she tried to push that one. "Don't tell me that you and Colton are a thing now!" she said, eyeing Lateefah playfully. Cara had slept with Colton a few times when she had first gotten to the basement. It was just for fun, an attempt for her to prove to herself that she could be "bad", and she had no feelings for Colton then or now. She wasn't pressing it out of jealousy, but more so out of amusement, because she was sure Colton was just being the same, overconfident jackass that she knew him to be.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Nick Moreno

0.00 INK

Image
"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.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Lateefah Ekwensi-Hart Character Portrait: Cara Forrester

0.00 INK




Image
╭━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━╮
L A T E E F A H ~ E K W E N S I - H A R T
"Whaaaaat? Me and King!? Never!"

Outfit
Location|| Finn's Irish Pub
iPod|| Pompeii by Bastille
Mood|| Neutral


╰━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━╯







Lateefah's eyebrows rose in acknowledgement as Holly excitedly supplied her with Cara's explanation about being absent, tossing a rather unimpressed look Cara's way. The smirk that she had on her face earlier when she first acknowledged the blonde was still there, but...but Lateefah knew there was some lie to what Cara fed Holly. Holly might have been oblivious to it, but Lateefah knew better. Knew that unlike everyone else, Cara had a choice. She could easily come and go as she pleased whereas Lateefah had to contend with what she could until she felt secure enough to try for better. It was one of those few things that irked her about her friend, this inability to see how easily she had life and how...unreasonable she was being trying to pretend like she was like everyone else. But Lateefah didn't call her on it. Instead, listening to her sister's insistence to eat and knowing that she needed to do so in order to not pass out while working, Lateefah ignored Cara's claim about the situation not being exactly what it was.

And she probably could have dug more into her food had Holly not let it be clear that Colton was surely not going to go the night without hearing her mouth. Did he...did he really? Lateefah shoved the forkful of pasta into her mouth and thanked her fucking lucky stars that Holly had returned to eating instead of asking for clarification for whatever fuckery Colton told her. But, seriously? What part of do not antagonize her sister - or tell her in any shape or form without Lateefah being present - did that dumbass not understand? Lateefah barely tasted the cheesy pasta as she had half the mind to find the asshole who was soooooo not trying to get laid tonight when Cara pressed her about it.

"I..." Lateefah really was going to say something, an excuse - a lie when she turned to Cara, officially putting off her response to Holly's ever-changing subject matter as they pertained to conversations. But she bit her lip, feeling herself about to say something...something definitely not excuse-like. More like I'm-obviously-lying-and-you-should-know-cuz-it's-obvious. And that was far from herself, so she took the time to sip her water before responding firstly to Holly. "If you go with Cara, then you need to behave. And yes, I do love her bracelets. Maybe if you promise me that you'll be good while you're out with her and Brooklyn, I'll give her money and you can buy a bracelet or two." She refused to fully acknowledge the fact that Brooklyn would be included in their activities or the loss of Lateefah's own jewelry, turning fully to her friend and sliding her fork through her food idly. "Don't even kid yourself. There is nothing going on between me and Chuck Bass' reject brother. He's not even my type." The words, while they flowed easily from Lateefah's mouth, felt...felt stale. And they were...wrong, to some degree, but she couldn't place why they felt wrong. But they were out and she wasn't taking them back and she really needed to eat and move this conversation along. "But what about you, blondie? Don't tell me you haven't snatched up your own little Ken Doll?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Lateefah Ekwensi-Hart Character Portrait: Cara Forrester

0.00 INK

#, as written by Writer
Image
Image
"I always behave, Tee!" Holly objected, tossing her sister her the best version of a frown that she could muster up when she actually wasn't actually angry. She looked towards Cara as she considered making a demand for the blonde to vouch for her always behaving on their outings, but decided against it. Holly was always as lively as she was with Tee, when she was with Cara, but Cara was patient enough that she rarely ever snapped at her. It wasn't like Lateefah did often either, but there was obviously a difference in the patience level of someone who had to deal with her 24/7, compared to someone who spent a couple of hours a day with her, if that. She didn't stop herself from responding to Cara because she expected Cara to say otherwise, though. Instead, she stopped speaking because Cara was asking Tee if she and Colton were actually seeing each other, before Lateefah shut that down. "Who's Chuck Bass?" she inquired. The name didn't seem familiar. Holly watched as much television as she was allowed when they lived with their grandmother, and at Tee's ex's apartment, but Gossip Girls wasn't a show that she was familiar with. She preferred movies over television shows. Surprisingly, it was more possible for Holly to sit in front of the television for two hours straight watching a movie, than it was for her to watch a thirty minute cartoon. It was why she liked going to the movies so much. She was able to sit through them and actually focus, with minimal fidgeting.

Aside from questioning this Chuck Bass character, Holly didn't linger on what her sister and Cara were saying much longer. She took a few more bites of her food and finished her glass of Sprite, before sliding the bowl across the table towards Lateefah. "I'm not hungry anymore," she declared. She turned away from the girls for a brief second as she searched the room again for something more exciting to do, but was brought back to the conversation when she replayed what the girls had been talking about a minute before. "Tee doesn't like Colton. He was lying, but she does like Nick, except Brooklyn likes him too, so she can't really like him. She said Brooklyn's a bad person." Her comment didn't have much of a purpose and jumped around from topics, but it reflected her thoughts at the moment. She realized that Brooklyn's bar stool was now vacant, and that didn't seem good. They were supposed to go shopping, which reminded Holly of Lateefah's promise that she could buy a bracelet, and then of Cara's bracelet, and then back to her vest. "Can you give me money so I can buy a vest like Cara's too? Or can you skip work tonight and come with us. I promise Brooklyn won't be mean to you, right Car?" The vest Cara was wearing was probably too thin to serve as a winter clothing essential, but Holly honestly would have requested anything that stuck out to her. The idea of Lateefah coming with them only made Holly more excited, and more so, antsy to actually go. She felt like she had been sitting in that booth for years at this point.


Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Lateefah Ekwensi-Hart Character Portrait: Cara Forrester

0.00 INK

ImageImage
Cara only smiled as the girls discussed the conditions on which Holly would come with her. She didn't jump in to reject the idea of Lateefah giving her money to cover the bracelets that Holly wanted. It didn't feel right, especially when she was trying to maintain the image that she was even just somewhat on the same level as them. With her luck, she'd accidentally end up coming across as being dismissive or like she was better than them. She knew that Lateefah was just being her typical strong and witty self by giving Cara a playfully cold welcoming, but she also understood it. Like always, she decided that she wouldn't actually use the money that Tee gave her, but she wouldn't outright reject it either. She'd just tuck it away and then give it back to Holly when the got back to the basement.

Lateefah shut down the idea of her and Colton being anything in a manner that was just as amusing as Cara expected it to be. While Holly seemed puzzled over the Chuck Bass reference, it brought a quick chuckle out of Cara, who knew exactly who Lateefah was talking about. "I don't think Colton's is anyone's actual type," she agreed. He certainly wasn't hers. Being a lazy criminal wasn't the most endearing occupation one could have, and his tendency to hit on any female didn't make him boyfriend material either. However, she would admit that there was something alluring there. For her, it had been the thrill of being with someone who was so wrong for her. It made her feel like she was getting back at her father, though it wasn't like the man had ever found out. Plus, no one could deny that Colton was very attractive. He had a rugged look to him, but he pulled it off in a way that didn't make him look dirty, so much as it made him look tough. She wouldn't have blamed Tee for sleeping with him if she knew it, but she never would have guessed that there were actual feelings there. It wasn't like Lateefah would even admit that to herself, so there was no way that Cara would have known, especially after being gone for three months. Besides, she thought that if there was something there, Holly would have known, and everyone knew that if Holly knew something, everyone else would find out soon enough too. "And... no comment on that," she added, after Lateefah questioned her about her own love life. She could tell Tee suspected her grandmother story was not entirely true, and admitting that she had spent the summer with her ex boyfriend would completely invalidate the story. She would probably confess and share the details later on, but the last thing she needed was Holly thinking she was a liar.

Holly was talking a mile a minute, something that Cara realized would take a little bit of getting used to again. She did, however, smirk, when Holly recalled Tee saying that Brooklyn was a bad person. That wasn't surprising. Even months ago, before Cara left, the animosity between Lateefah and Brooklyn was evident. She was honestly surprised that neither of them have killed the other, especially while Cara was gone. She always tried to be the one to mediate between the two, but neither of them ever wanted to compromise, and it allowed for sharp tension to be present whenever the two did interact. "I don't know if I can promise that," Cara responded, when Holly attempted to persuade Lateefah into skipping work by insisting that Brooklyn would be nice. Even if Brooklyn was nice, there was no guarantee that Tee would want to be nice to her either. She smiled at Holly, but allowed the smile to turn into a smirk as she looked towards Tee. "How are you and Brooklyn, though? Finally become friends?" Cara felt weird again, when Holly asked for more money from Lateefah, and tried to insist that her sister skip work, which meant that she wanted more money and for Lateefah to not make more money. "I don't think we're going to go anywhere that sells vests like this," Cara said, looking towards Holly with a soft expression. "I need to get blankets, and I guess a new mattress and things like that. We can look at the bracelets in Forever 21 if you want, but we should save vest-shopping until tomorrow, when we can go to a store that just sells vests."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Oliver Mitchell

0.00 INK

Image
Image

Oliver had woken up from a long nap. After such long day spent out on street, he crashed himself in bed. Throughout his nap, he had nightmares. It felt like years had passed inside his mind. Each dream was worse than the last, and each tormented him about his past living with his mother in the ghettos of Toronto.

"Why do you have those stupid dreams of moving to America?!" his mother Patricia yelled at him. "You're supposed to stay here, and help your mother like a good boy. Don't say that again or I will beat you!"

These memories of his mother, that hard times she put him through, were haunting. The memories of her various boyfriends, how they would abuse him both physically and mentally. They took advantage of his mother, and subjected them to torture. Despite going after people with money, she ended up with the biggest losers. A variety of different kind of losers. Many of them were drug addicts, other went with alcohol. Most mixed the two together.

Oliver sleepily got himself out of bed, and headed upstairs. Once he got to the bar, he ordered himself a soda to help wake himself up. The man sitting next to him laughed, it seemed like a pussy thing to go to bar and order a non-alcoholic beverage.

"Why don't you get yourself a real man's drink kid."

"No thanks."

This was another downside of his predicament. He had to deal with lowlifes like him, who prefer wasting themselves away then thinking about what's real. Well, that describes a lot of his friends pretty well, too. At least they understand him, hopefully. Once he was properly woken up, he got away from the bar, ready to go about his day.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Isaac Rankin Character Portrait: Kiara Moore

0.00 INK

#, as written by Bandit
Image
Image
Kiara laughed when Isaac expressed interest in her plan too. "Shit, we don't even need to see if she's got a brother. I remember her talking shit about her stepmom, so I'll go to the source and make a move on her dad. You know I'm gonna hook you up once I find me a good sugar daddy like that," she reassured him playfully. She was joking around, but not because it didn't sound like a wonderful. Just because she knew she'd never get that lucky. The idea of marrying, or hell, even just consistently sleeping with, some old guy wasn't probably a fantasy for most twenty-two-year-olds, and it wasn't exactly Kiara's dream, but it was definitely the best option she had at this point. She didn't have to marry the guy. Continuing to work as a prostitute, just for that specific guy, would be fine too. It would allow her the security of knowing that she wasn't sleeping with a bunch of different people who could assault or infect her, and in her world, older usually meant better pay. Cara's dad would've been the perfect candidate for her. It was nothing more than something Kiara could joke about, because it wasn't like she'd ever meet the man. For now, if she wanted a quick fix to her money problems, she was going to need to try to get on Barbie's good side, or work again tonight. The thought of the latter made her stomach turn, but chugging the final gulp of vodka from her water bottle made it subside within seconds.

Isaac's reaction to her speaking of Brooklyn had her rolling her eyes, and punching him in the arm. She understood why he was scared of her, because Brooklyn was daunting. Kiara was feisty, but Brooklyn was fierce and arguably heartless. Maybe it was her strong jawline or something, but she looked like the time of girl who'd cut your throat open and then move along with her day as if nothing happened. It was something that Kiara recognized too, but she wasn't scared of Brooklyn anymore. She had dealt with too many bitches in her day to be scared of any of them, and the fact that Kiara was high on something or heavily intoxicated a lot definitely made her fearless act a little easier. "I hope that bitch hears me. Let her come and try me with her shit today and she's gonna see how we handle hoes like her where I come from." Brooklyn was the only person in the basement that Kiara had real problems with, and surprisingly, she found Nick, the devil's boyfriend, to be one of the nicest people down there. Thinking of him made Kiara's wallet feel even lighter, since she knew before the night was own, she was going to be buying weed from him. Over everything she took, including alcohol, marijuana was her drug of choice. It was a staple for her, something that she valued just as much as food and water, and at this point, she didn't even consider it to be a drug. It wasn't like there were any harmful side effects and it definitely didn't leave her feeling dead like alcohol would, the next morning.

"Hey, well, at least know that I'm in that boat with you," Kiara added when Isaac explained his day's plan, which included regretting life choices. Boy, did she mean that in more than just a short-term perspective. "But since neither of us have real plans, I say we seriously make a move and become Barbie's besties now that she's apparently back. You can bet your ass I'm not letting soak up all them benefits this time. Hell no! I was still the new bitch on the block before Cara left, and of course you were no help in giving me the heads up that she's our cash cow, but I'm not wasting this opportunity this time. Hell no! Come on, finish your drink, and then we're going to tell her how much we missed her!" Kiara had turned energetic and was going to be unrelenting, but really, she didn't think they had anything better to do. Even if she was somewhat joking about taking her friendship with Cara that seriously, she did figure that they could at least milk a free dinner out of it if they hung out with her.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Lateefah Ekwensi-Hart Character Portrait: Oliver Mitchell Character Portrait: Colton King

0.00 INK

#, as written by Thunder
Image
Image
Colton didn't really think that Lateefah was going to go for the idea of a quickie with him. He didn't believe that because he didn't think that she, personally, was against the idea, but just because she was too responsible. She wasn't going to leave Holly alone in the dining area of the bar, she wasn't going to fuck him in the closet of her workplace, and she wasn't going to be intimate with him when everyone was awake and could quite possibly walk in on them in the act. He knew that there was just as much lust in Tee as there was in him, and when she pressed her lips to his, it only proved it. She was probably partly doing it to keep him enthralled, to give him a preview of what she was promising for later, but he was sure that she got a thrill out of it too. Ever since she had recalled how poorly her ex had preformed in bed, Colton had made it a bit of a mission to make sure she got just as much out of the experience as he did. It wasn't just to make her happy, but to prove that he was as superior in bed as he talked himself up to be.

"I'm holding you to that promise," Colton called out as Lateefah headed back into the main area of the pub. She was right, that it was going to be hard for him to hold off until then, but he was going to get time with her tonight, whether it meant him pouring a bottle of Benadryl down Holly's throat himself. The kiss had lifted his mood substantially, and rather than follow Lateefah back out into the pub, he decided to leave their interaction at that. He would let her finish eating and then working, and wait to bother her again until he could really get her back for leaving him with just a kiss.

He didn't have the money to afford pub food right now if he planned on eating later, or maybe even grabbing a late night snack with Tee, so he turned and headed downstairs. On his way down, he passed Oliver, who was walking up the stairs, but he didn't say a word to the guy. Colton found him to be odd. Not just in terms of him not seeming to socially fit in with them down there, but just his demeanor in general. Granted, in the month the guy had lived with them, Colton couldn't recall having one real conversation with him, but he wanted to blame Oliver for that. Maybe he was just quiet, but Colton took it as being standoffish, like somehow, the guy thought he was better than the rest of them. Was it that he didn't drink alcohol? Did he want some sort of trophy for being straight edge? Colton didn't get it. It was one thing to live that lifestyle, and he had considered that maybe Oliver was a recovered addict or something. That was all good and well, but he got the vibe that Oliver didn't just not want to use personally, but that he frowned upon other people who did drink and use drugs. He supposed that the drug thing was understandable, but when you lived below a bar with nine people, seven of whom were actually legal to drink, what delusional version of reality were you living in to act like consuming alcohol was an act of blasphemy? Colton didn't get it, and honestly, he didn't care to know Oliver anymore than he barely did.

He continued into the basement without a word and planned on settling into his bed to relax for a few hours. Even though he wasn't exhausted, sleeping would prevent him from wanting to consume any of his alcohol or waste any money on food for the time being. However, after only a moment on the mattress, he heard rustling from the walled off section of the basement that Nick and Brooklyn resided in, and figuring it was Nick, he headed over. Spending a couple of dollars on a joint to help him pass out couldn't hurt that much... but alas, when he turned the corner, he found Brooklyn laying there, and not Nick. "Damn, I was hoping you were Nick," he admitted, tucking the five dollar bill he had taken back into his pocket. "But, hey, even better. What do you say we make an exchange for some of your boy's weed? I'll give you fifteen minutes of 'The Colton Experience', and then you give me just enough to roll a blunt. Doesn't even need to be a fat one, I'll give you a discount," he offered, leaning against the wall with a provocative smirk on his face. He relaxed his form, but mentally knew that with Brooklyn, he needed to be prepared for a physical attack in instances like this, where he was purposely being a jackass.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Isaac Rankin Character Portrait: Lateefah Ekwensi-Hart Character Portrait: Kiara Moore Character Portrait: Cara Forrester

0.00 INK

Image
__________________________________________________________





Image"Yeah, you better hook me up," Isaac joked as he took another drink of his soda, setting the empty glass aside. It was hard joking about Kiara's job sometimes, because he knew how much she hated it. Having a sugar daddy in her position probably wouldn't be the worst of plans, but it wasn't exactly funny. Then again, when life sucked as badly as it did for them, laughing about it was sometimes the only thing they could do.

"Please don't go to jail for killing some homeless bitch," Isaac muttered, and then maybe set up a little straighter to figure out where the hell Brooklyn was and hope to god she didn't hear him. She didn't, she wasn't around, she must have gone back down to the basement or something. "Orange really isn't your color, and I'm not sure they'd let me visit you." It was a joke, of course, he doubted things would ever get that violent between the girls, but he still wanted his feelings on the subject noted.

His nose wrinkled up as Kiara's sights sat on Cara once more, and he shook his head even as he downed his spiked drink because he knew there was no way he was going to deny her. "I am way too sober to go over there," he complied. But Holly was there, Tee too, and he liked them well enough to deal.

"If all else fails, the hotdogs down the road are cheap and decent," Isaac muttered as he stood up, stretching out and then dropping an arm over Kiara's shoulder before they headed to the booth the three other girls were gathered around. "Hey Tee," he greeted with a nod, then let Kiara go to tug at the end of Holly's ponytail. "Hey Kiddo. What's up?" It took him a moment before his eyes finally dragged up to Cara, but his smile was genuine. He really didn't have a reason not to like her, so he could be nice. "Cara. Fancy seeing you around."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Isaac Rankin Character Portrait: Lateefah Ekwensi-Hart Character Portrait: Kiara Moore Character Portrait: Cara Forrester

0.00 INK

#, as written by Bandit
Image
Image
"I've had enough hot dogs in my mouth to last me a lifetime," Kiara muttered, a sly smirk finding its way to her face. It wasn't something that was normally a light topic, even for her, but sometimes she couldn't help it. If she didn't make a joke out of it, she'd probably kill herself over the pure horror of what she was actually doing. Plus, she really wasn't in the mood for hot dogs. Straight vodka wasn't going to sit well in her empty stomach on its own, and a cheap hot dog from a food cart would likely only speed up the process of her getting sick. It wasn't like she had many other options though. Her other plan would be fast food, and McDonald's wasn't made any better. She honestly wasn't banking on Cara taking them to dinner, but it was worth a try. Besides, even if she didn't get dinner now, being friends with the blonde had no down sides for the future. Kiara had seen how Cara treated Holly, and while she wasn't as undeniably cute as the redhead, she thought she could work her magic on Cara and at least get some pity points.

She followed Isaac towards the table that the three girls sat at. She slipped her water bottle, with was now empty, into the large middle pocket of her sweatshirt and put her hood down now. "Heeeeey ladies," Kiara sang, following Isaac's greetings. She squeezed herself into Holly's side of the booth, taking note of the plates of food in front of the sisters. Cara was sitting in the chair at the end of the table that she had seen Colton in earlier, and to no surprise (and Kiara's pleasure), there was no food in front of her. "I won't lie, Isaac was a little offended that none of you said hi to him," Kiara admitted, though it wasn't true. Isaac definitely didn't seem in a social butterfly mood today. She assumed that he probably would have preferred to have went downstairs and crashed in peace, but she wasn't going to allow him to do that just yet. "He'll get over it though. We both will, but hey, we might as well hang out with you guys now that we're here. What are you three up to? Pregaming for some big dinner plans?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Colton King

0.00 INK

Image
Image
Brooklyn was treated to a mere five minutes of peace and quiet before being interrupted. She wasn't a heavy sleeper unless she was going to bed drunk, so even in her close-to-sleep state, she was aware of the footsteps coming down the stairs. They didn't actually bring her out of her restful state, though. That came when those footsteps neared her space and Colton's voice forced her to peel an eye open. Although it would have been more likely that Nick would have been coming into their area, she knew it wasn't him even before looking towards the man in the doorway. Nick's footsteps sounded different than the ones that she now matched with Colton. Plus, she expected him to be coming down with Roman. Seeing Colton in front of her was less surprising than it would have been to see some of the others like Isaac or Oliver, but it wasn't anymore welcomed. Colton was amusing at his best, and completely irritating the other 99% of the time. Now, he fell into the second category.

He wanted some of Nick's drugs, in exchange for "The Colton Experience", which, knowing him, meant that she would be lucky enough to let him fuck her. She didn't like what Nick did for a living and had made it clear that she wanted no involvement, so she wouldn't have given Colton anything, even if he had offered her a thousand dollars. But sex? With him? As if that was supposed to benefit her? She knew that he knew he was out of luck, but she still scoffed at him in disgust. "Keep fucking dreaming, Colton," she said, propping herself up on her elbows to get a better look at him. "Kiara's the twenty dollar whore around here. Why don't you leave me alone and go see if she wants a turn at 'The Colton Experience'. I'm sure she won't even mind Lateefah's sloppy seconds." Brooklyn really hadn't seen anything more than Colton and Lateefah talking by the bathrooms, but like Colton, Brooklyn could also be provocative and appreciated moments where she could bother people, or at least incite a reaction. She didn't like Lateefah, and she didn't like Kiara, so insulting them while also telling Colton to get lost seemed fitting. It wouldn't have surprised her if he came back with some slick remark as well, but after speaking, Brooklyn relaxed back down on the mattress.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Nick Moreno

0.00 INK

Image


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.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Colton King

0.00 INK

#, as written by Thunder
Image
Image
"Come on, if I was fucking with Lateefah, I wouldn't be going for you. That girl would cut my dick off or some shit. She's crazier than you think," he claimed with a shake of his head. He was still smirking however. It was a look that was hard to shake when interacting with Brooklyn, or at least when interacting with Brooklyn and she was still lying down. Had he caught her in a bad mood, he probably would have been out the door already. Surprisingly, this wasn't a bad mood for Brooklyn. Colton didn't know her extremely well, not like Nick or Roman, but he had lived with her for three years, and that was a pretty long time. He had been down there during times when he was sure she was going to stab Nick and he'd have to figure out how to hide the body just to appease her, so she wouldn't kill him too. He always thought that she had that crazy bitch look... the kind of girl who seriously looked like she would kill you if fucked her over. That was probably being dramatic, but Colton knew that there were more boundaries with Brooklyn, and he didn't push all of them like he would with Tee to get a rise out of her. It wouldn't end well for him, and not just because Brooke would stab him. Also, because he didn't want to upset Nick like that. The guy was an easy person to live with, and in moments like now, was even more appreciated because he was chill with giving Colton weed for reduced prices or letting him pay him back a few days later when he had the money. He was no where to be found now, though, and Colton didn't feel like pushing Brooklyn any more by asking where he was, when she laid back down.

With no weed, and only a few cans of beer that he was trying to save for later, Colton was bored and sober. He figured that he could sleep, that was something that he could always do, but it was so much easier after a nice blunt. As he headed towards his section, he stopped by Oliver's and rummaged through one of the guy's boxes. He didn't know much about Oliver, but one thing he did know, was that he was pretty scrawny looking. Colton didn't think of himself as being much of a bully (despite what some of the others thought), but if Oliver happened to have come down and gotten pissed off about Colton clearly invading his space, he would've punched the kid square in his face. It was obviously wrong, but Colton didn't care. Besides, he didn't find anything worthwhile in the box and left for his own mattress empty handed. As he relaxed onto his mattress, used to how thin and lumpy it felt, he couldn't get the thought of Lateefah's promise out of his mind. If Brooklyn wasn't behind that thin wall, he would have curbed his urges himself, but for now, all he could do was hope that he could fall asleep, so the end of her shift would feel like it was sooner than it did while he was awake.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Isaac Rankin Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Lateefah Ekwensi-Hart Character Portrait: Kiara Moore Character Portrait: Cara Forrester

0.00 INK

#, as written by Writer
Image
Image
Cara didn't seem to be so sure that Brooklyn would be nice to Lateefah, and even Holly knew that to some extent as well. Even if she liked to believe that Brookyln and Lateefah were both good people, and could both be nice to each other if they just tried, she knew that it likely wouldn't happen. It didn't stop her from wanting it to happen, or still wanting Lateefah to come along with them, but after Cara questioned Tee about her relationship with Brooklyn, she had moved on to address Holly. Though Holly had a fair amount to say on the topic of her sister and Brooklyn's friendship, or lack thereof, her thoughts shifted to Cara's words. "They sell vests at Forever 21!" Holly interjected quickly. Really, she had no need for a vest and if Cara hadn't been wearing one at the moment, she probably never would have asked for one, but it was on her mind now. "Tee knows all about clothes and they sell vests there, right?" She was pushing the topic for no good reason, but it was typical of Holly to have a flighty attention span, and yet manage to get hung up on certain things for a few minutes. Like why Tee loved mac and cheese, (with love being a complete exaggeration that Holly had somehow come to believe), or yesterday, how she had insisted her sister fix her purple nail polish multiple times throughout the day because she wanted to be perfect. Today, maybe it was going to be the vests. Or so it seemed that way until Kiara and Isaac approached them.

She was greeted by a playful tug at her ponytail by Isaac, and then by Kiara pushing her further into the small booth to make room for herself. Both had Holly frowning, though it wasn't a very sincere one. It was just a lot for her to process at once, when still accounting for the music, general bar chatter, television sounds, and all of the sights in the bar as well. "Cara was visiting her grandma in Florida!" she informed the two new people as she reached towards Kiara to slide her soda back in front of her. "That's where I'm from, and me and Tee went there one time too, but not to see Cara's grandma," she explained quickly, before sipping her soda. She looked at Isaac and Kiara but didn't notice anything particularly off about the two. Maybe it was because both of them were frequently drunk, high, or coming off of a high, or maybe it was because the bar smelled of alcohol already, so it was hard for her to completely pin the smell of vodka on Kiara. Either way, she didn't comment on their appearances, and tried to focus on the conversation. All it took was Kiara to say that she wanted to hang out with them for Holly to be on her feet, and stepping over Kiara to get out of the booth. "We're getting ready to go shopping!" she corrected Kiara as she moved. "I'll tell Brooklyn we're ready to go!" She was already scurrying away from the booth as she finished speaking, and moved quickly enough that she made it downstairs without being stopped.

"Oh, Broooooooklyn!" Holly sang as she reached the last step. She picked out Colton in his area but didn't even scowl in his direction, as she was too preoccupied with bounding towards the walled off area that Nick and Brooklyn slept in. "Brooklyn! Brooklyn! Brooklyn!" she continued on her way, before stopping abruptly in the open door space when she found the brunette on her bed. "Hi," she grinned, once the girl acknowledged her. "Me and Kiara and Cara and Isaac and maybe Tee are ready to go shopping and we want you to come," she stated, and by the time that one sentence was finished, she was hovering over Brooklyn's bed, reaching to touch the girl's hair automatically.


Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Isaac Rankin Character Portrait: Lateefah Ekwensi-Hart Character Portrait: Kiara Moore Character Portrait: Cara Forrester

0.00 INK




Image
╭━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━╮
L A T E E F A H ~ E K W E N S I - H A R T
"She's going to run you ragged and I don't feel bad about it."

Outfit
Location|| Finn's Irish Pub
iPod|| Pompeii by Bastille
Mood|| Tired


╰━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━╯







Lateefah only raised an eyebrow when Holly pushed her plate in Tee's direction, eyeing her sister intensely before relieving her of the examination. Holly's appetite was increasingly becoming a detail of contention in Lateefah's mind and all she knew was that the girl would either be really hungry later, or just not be bothered with food because of her excitement until tomorrow morning. Either way spelled a headache-in-the-making for Lateefah and that was the last thing she wanted. Migraines did not need to become a part of her regularly scheduled programming, thank you very much.

She did, react, however, when Holly suggested that she liked Nick which was a harmless thought, but as with a lot of things Holly said, they came out...not the way they were supposed to, lending to a very dry, I-might-choke-over-this-foolishness kind of laugh that escaped Lateefah's throat. She shot an alarmed look at Holly but focused on Cara to distract herself from her sister's need to consistently switch topics. "The day that happens is the day I'm checking in the loony bin," she said in reference to being asked about her relationship with Brooklyn. It wasn't particularly hostile every day, thank God, but...Brooklyn pushed her. Pushed limits Lateefah hadn't even been sure she had up until those points where Nick would almost find himself girlfriend-less...well, at least unless he sported boners for dragging around dead carcasses. Some people liked that kind of thing, right?

Luckily for her, and minutely she became grateful (despite the "bitterness" she was supposed to be sporting towards Cara for leaving) that Cara seemed to still have some kind of grasp on handling Holly. At least, in the way that Holly didn't seem too overbearing for her. "Yes, Holly, they do sell vests," she answered obligingly, though she knew Holly didn't really need her for that. It wouldn't have mattered if Lateefah had said no; the idea was in Holly's mind and yeah, she was going to flit to another topic in exactly 2.5 seconds, but the thought would still be there. To some degree.

In pursuit of fishing out some money for Cara to take with her for Holly, Kiara and Isaac had arrived and Lateefah gave them both a small smile while explaining, "They are going shopping. Some of us have work in the next few minutes." While looking through her wallet for a fifty dollar bill, Holly shot up out of the booth past Kiara, singing Brooklyn's name like it was the catchiest tune on all of the radio stations. Furthering the growth of Lateefah's headache, causing the dark-skinned woman to cradle her head in hand for a second. Groaning, she looked at the trio she was left with. "Word of advice, people. Don't have kids. They don't eat their food when you tell them to, but always want sweets. And they'll drive you crazy before you turn thirty." Lateefah didn't necessarily mean it, but the headache was speaking for her more than her love for her sister. With another heavy exhale, Lateefah handed the bill over to Cara, leveling her with a stare. "Don't let her drive you too crazy. Remind her that she'll get no ice cream for a month and you should be good."

Still with some time to spare before her shift began, Lateefah went back to eating some of her pasta, though it was a bit colder than the piping hot serving she had been served minutes ago. Not wanting to seem rude, she gestured to Holly's plate, "Don't know how you guys feel about germs, but all she did was nip at that for five seconds and declared herself full. All I know is that I'm not eating it."