In The Concrete Jungle

New York, NY

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a part of In The Concrete Jungle, by Collapse.

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Default Location for In The Concrete Jungle

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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

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Setting

Characters Present

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

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Cara had never been really close with Isaac, and Kiara had been the new girl before she left, so she didn't know her that well either. What she did know had allowed her to like Kiara, though. She had a light, free way about her, despite being in such a dreadful situation. So, she offered the two a plain smile when they approached, but didn't respond with more than that at first. She could see it in Kiara's appearance that she was intoxicated, but from what Cara knew, that wasn't anything peculiar with the girl. Isaac... she was more wary about him. It related to her background, likely, but just knowing that he did "real" drugs, the hard ones, made her think poorly of him. It wasn't to an extent where she would ever be rude to him, and for the most part, she really pitied him, but if they passed on the street two years ago, she probably would have muttered to a friend about him looking like white trash.

She watched curiously as Kiara nudged Holly farther into the booth to make room for herself, before inquiring about what their plans were. Though she smiled, she didn't respond. It wasn't necessary because Holly was quick to explain that they were going shopping, and before those excited words were even out of her mouth, she was climbing over Kiara to go find Brooklyn... which gave Cara a perfect excuse to get away from Lateefah, now that she spotted her rummaging through her purse. She knew that meant that Lateefah was going to give her money, and though Cara was already pushing back in her chair, she relaxed for a moment when she joked about not having kids. It really did seem like Tee was Holly's mother. She was the person who was responsible for her, and who dealt with all of the craziness, and just the way that Holly interacted with her too, reflected how much she trusted Tee. Though Holly seemed to love and trust everyone, it was different with Lateefah. Cara didn't remember what it was like to have a mother of her own, but she felt like what Holly and Tee had was like a daughter-mother relationship. "I'll see if she'll eat later," she assured her, standing up now.

She couldn't actually leave the table though, because Lateefah's hand was out of her purse now. It was always an event that Cara was uncomfortable with, and when she saw the girl pull out a fifty dollar bill, she felt even more uneasy. She couldn't accept that money! Not to buy Holly something that she likely had no need for. Normally, she would have just accepted it for the time being, and then slipped it back into Tee's bag later that night when she saw her. In this amount, right before Tee departed to spend her night working this same, deadend job, Cara just couldn't do it though. Not when she was still feeling guilty about how this wasn't really her life, and how it was for everyone else. Cara considered that she was probably overthinking it. Tee would've just given her ten dollars and told Holly to hold off if they were struggling that badly, but obviously, they weren't in Cara's position. Not anywhere close. "Just give it to me later. I hate having cash on me," she insisted, pushing the cash back towards Lateefah. "Besides, I really don't even think we'll end up going somewhere to buy a vest, and you know she never gets like that with me. We'll have fun, and if she really needs anything, it'll be my treat. Okay? I missed her, treating her to a silly little vest is the least I can do."

Thankfully, Holly leaving gave Cara a reason to leave too. "I'm going to go grab her and then we'll probably head out through the basement. I'll let you finish that in peace," she said, first looking towards Isaac and Kiara who seemed interested in joining them, before winking at Tee who was back to eating. She didn't want Lateefah to shove the money back into her hands, or for Brooklyn to murder Holly, so she left Tee with a playful smirk and headed down to the basement. It was... strange to be back down there. Really strange, actually. Nearly everything looked the same as when she left, but she noticed that her area of the basement was now occupied by someone else's things. Brooklyn had preempted her for that, but a part of her considered that this wasn't meant to be. She wasn't supposed to be here anymore! And yet she was. And there was Holly's energetic voice forcing her to stop overthinking things, and hurry into Brooke and Nick's area without even acknowledging Colton. "It's okay, Holly. We can catch up with Brooklyn later. She looks really tired," she said, placing a hand on the girl's shoulder in hopes of being able to guide her away from Brooklyn just so they could leave. She was one of the people who actually found Holly and Brooklyn's interactions to be amusing. At least, the part before Brooklyn threatened Lateefah and Holly, and then Lateefah made it clear that she wasn't backing down, was amusing.

Setting

Characters Present

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

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ImageIsaac cut his friend a sharp look for throwing his 'feelings' into conversation. Somehow he always became the scapegoat of conversation starters, and he wasn't really sure why. Kiara got away with it, simply because she was too pretty to argue with. Besides, his glare didn't last long, because of course she was already mentioning food.

Holly was talking a mile a minute, and Isaac gave her a fond smile as he kept up with her train of thought. He was usually better at it, when he was high, but he still liked her enough to pay attention. She did, however, crush all of Kiara's dreams when mentioning a shopping trip. Not that Isaac doubted that activity wouldn't end with food, but it also wasn't a quick fix.

The redhead was off in a bundle of excitement that actually kind of made his head hurt, and Isaac remembered then just how hungover he was. The whiskey had helped take the edge off, but he was still coming down, and still felt like shit. He chuckled softly at Tee's words of wisdom on children, shook his head a little. "Thank God I'm gay and never have to worry about it." If he were straight, Isaac had no doubt he'd be abstinent. Children were scary as hell.

He sat back a little awkwardly as Tee and Cara talked money, and had to admit he did have at least a little bit of respect for the latter. At least she wasn't taking cash off someone who worked her ass off for it, even if it was for her little sister. That was somewhat admirable. She was gone next, after Holly evidently.

Isaac waited until she was out of earshot before looking at Kiara. "I love you," he started. "But I am way too sober to go shopping." He normally loved shopping, because he was gay with a capital G, but he couldn't handle it with the way he felt. Too many people, too much moving, even the bar was a little on the questionable side. As long as he sat still, his stomach didn't roll. He fully intended to hit the basement, pop some pills, and sleep it off if he didn't feel better. Lord knew he could use the rest anyway.

He leaned over and pressed a quick kiss to Kiara's cheek before he swooped the plate of mac and cheese off the table. "I will, however, be taking this. Have a good shift, Tee." He waved over his shoulder on his way down to the basement, happily digging into the mac and cheese. The more carbs he could get in his stomach, the better.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Nick Moreno

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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While the reason for her absence, that Cara had apparently given Holly, about being in Florida to visit her grandmother was better than stating the reality of where she had really been, it wasn't that much better in Kiara's eyes. She was a girl who had lived in low-income housing her entire life, with a single mother, a frequently-changing baby daddy, and a bunch of siblings. They were lucky if their food stamp money lasted them halfway through the month, and it was a huge occasion if any of them ever got something, be it clothes or a toy, that was actually new, and not some hand-me-down from a neighbor or sibling. Needless to say, vacations weren't a possibility in their household, and aside from moving from Philadelphia to New York when she was five, Kiara had never traveled outside of the state. So, the idea of Cara being able to pick herself up and, presumably, fly to Florida, on the spur of the moment, no matter what emergency situation her grandmother posed, just spoke of the "severity" or lack thereof, of her financial situation. Though it was something that could have rubbed her the wrong way, Kiara had no reason to take it personally, especially when she planned on Cara's wealth benefiting her. The dinner plans apparently weren't going to go her way, as Holly climbed over her to leave the table with her plate of food nearly untouched, signaling that she wasn't hungry, but Kiara wouldn't give up there. Holly was malleable. All she needed to do was whisper something in the girl's ear about the dessert that some restaurant down the block served, and she was sure she could add a little something onto the bill that Cara was covering. Especially with the vodka in her system, she was sure she could get away with it. So sure, that she didn't even tell Isaac he better put that plate of mac and cheese down if he wanted to keep his hands, when he grabbed it. She would let him get away with stealing what could have been her meal for now, but only because Cara left the table after officially extending the invitation to her and Isaac. Isaac declined it and disappeared with the food,

"Lord, if that child grew up in my house, I don't know what the fuck my mother would've done with herself," Kiara said, smiling, but shaking her head as she glanced towards the back of the bar where Holly, Cara and Isaac had been before leaving her range of sight. She either would have had one of her boyfriends beat it to death, or tossed it to Kiara to take care of it she was old enough. There was no way that Kiara would have been able to do what Tee does for Holly, though. That maternal instinct wasn't in her blood. "But, damn, if I were you, I would have her ass lined up to go to school an hour before the doors even opened. You'd get like, six hours to yourself for free. Now that's she's back, though," she continued, referencing Cara, "it's almost better, because it's like a free babysitter and you can make a buck off of it. I don't know why the fuck you're tryna unload your money to Malibu Barbie. Girl, you've got the perfect chance to cling to that bitch and make her drag you up the social ladder with her!" Her tone suggested that she was joking, or being playful at the least, but she wasn't really. Kiara's job forced her to toss a lot of pride out of the window, so it was likely that difference in their personalities that made it hard for her to see why Lateefah wanted to be independent like this. Plus, Lateefah actually had potential and qualifications and real skills that could allow her to be something on her own, in the real world. They were things that Kiara lacked, so in her mind, if she didn't find someone wealthy to leach off of, she was going to be living this life until she killed herself or was killed, lately with the former seeming more likely, scarily enough.

Setting

Characters Present

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

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L A T E E F A H ~ E K W E N S I - H A R T
"I don't want to ever be a charity case."

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


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Cara was too quick for Lateefah to insist that she take the money and Lateefah wanted to call the blonde back and demand that she take it. She didn't want to be some charity case and Holly wasn't one either. At the same time, Cara had moved too fast, Tee didn't want to be bothered if she went down there to see Brooklyn with the girls, and...well, fuck it. If Cara said she had it, then she had it. Shrugging, Lateefah slid the bill back into her wallet and then that back into her pocket, cutting her attention between food and her friends. Whom she would have to be leaving soon if that clock ticking nearby said anything.

She wound up laughing over a demure bite of pasta at Isaac's comment about being gay and not having to worry about babies. Her laugh followed him when he scooped up Holly's abandoned plate, leaving herself and Kiara alone. It was still surprising, or at least it would be to the classmates that told themselves that they knew the Lateefah that could be as debonair as the best of them, that she and Kiara got along. Then again, a mutual disdain for one individual could bring two enemies together. More than that, she liked the brunette. Liked her energy and the teasing she usually dealt with amusing enough.

Lateefah smirked at Kiara's own comment about having to watch after Holly before replying, "Probably down more than just a bottle of tequila, I'll tell you that much," Lateefah took a sip of her water as she listened to Kiara and damn it, if the girl wasn't right! Despite what Holly wanted, she should be in school. But...school wasn't for Holly, or at least the ones the girl had already been to. She was never comfortable there and Lateefah understood that. A girl like Holly needed support on a level that the typical education system in America didn't give her, not all the time. Or, if it did, it usually cost more money than Lateefah could shoulder every month. It was a relief, having Cara back since the blonde was the main one who could entertain Holly long enough so that she wouldn't seem too much of a bother to everyone else, but still...She should be in school. It was a thought that kept Lateefah up several nights, but not one she could bring into fruition. Not unless she had all of her ducks lined up in a row.

"Not a charity case, Kiara," she stated firmly. It wasn't that Lateefah didn't understand the validity of Kiara's surprising sincerity. Yeah, the laughter in the girl's voice shined through, but so did her seriousness and Lateefah understood it. She could use Cara. This could benefit her better than living with the others. They could have an actual home and yet...Lateefah's pride was too great at the moment. She would feel weak if she simply asked for help like that, especially from a rich girl - who was her friend, never forget that - who wouldn't have given two fucks about her life if they hadn't met in the basement. Asking Cara for help would be no better than returning to her grandmother's front door and Lateefah had too much pride for that. But she wouldn't be telling Kiara or anyone that any time soon.

On the last leg of her meal, Lateefah glanced at the clock, returned her gaze to Kiara, and then scooped up another forkful of food. "You should order something if you're hungry, my treat. I'll take it back to the chef in a minute."

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lateefah Ekwensi-Hart Character Portrait: Kiara Moore

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Kiara laughed at Lateefah's response involving downing tequila. She was surprised that out of all of the girls in the basement (besides Holly, who was high enough on life, and Cara, who she had stopped counting as being a part of the basement), Lateefah was the one who was the least involved in drugs and alcohol. She surely had a good excuse to be ready to get wasted by the end of the day, especially considering that a lot of them were ready to consume a few shots of tequila after trying to keep up with Holly for just an hour or so.

"Not a charity case!" Kiara mimicked Tee teasingly when she offered to treat her to something from the restaurant. Kiara honestly was okay with being a charity case, though. She didn't feel bad about taking handouts, and if the crowds that went to soup kitchens and all of the charity events didn't weird her out, and if there weren't so many hoops to jump through, she probably would go. She was just sick of hearing about religion and being forced to sit through services just for a bowl of questionable-tasting stew. She made enough money where she wasn't starving herself to a point where bones were protruding through her skin, and unless she got to that point, she'd stick to being a charity case outside of the actual charity world. She watched Lateefah glance towards the clock, and remembered that she had to work soon. Plus, Kiara still planned on joining the girls on their outing, and since she didn't want them to leave without her (which could reasonably happen under Brooklyn's influence), she stood up. "But I will say that I think you've gotta change your mindset, girl. It's not so much leeching as it is pulling some modern day Robin Hood shit. I'm about to be taking from the rich to help the poor, aka me, so if anything, I think I'm pulling some noble shit. You know, helping to balance out the world," she said, smiling but audibly more serious now. "And for the record, I already called dibs on Blondie's brother, if she has one, and her dad, so don't try to hop on that train when it comes around!" She smirked as she headed away from the table, but despite the playful way that she spoke about it, she was serious. Using Cara for some free food and perks of that sort wasn't harmful to anyone, since Cara seemed to have the money, and Kiara didn't have enough pride to feel like she was begging with Cara.

Rather than head to the basement stairs, she left the bar through its main entrance and waited outside for the girls to come. She really hoped that Brooklyn wouldn't be joining them, but she still wasn't going to let her presence deter her from coming. Having Lateefah there would have been helpful, since she despised Brooklyn just as much as Kiara did, and it was always good to have backup, but she felt like she could hold her own. Besides, right now, she was more interested in making her time worthwhile than she was in knocking Brooklyn's ego down a few notches.

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lateefah Ekwensi-Hart Character Portrait: Kiara Moore

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L A T E E F A H ~ E K W E N S I - H A R T
"I guess it's time to work."

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


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Lateefah rolled her eyes when Kiara threw her own words back at her and chuckled, shoveling the very last forkful of her pasta into her mouth. She grabbed a napkin from the table's dispenser and wiped at her mouth idly, meeting Kiara's gaze as the brunette continued to speak. Luckily, half of what Kiara had been saying was rather entertaining and instead of being able to be annoyed by someone telling her what she was doing wrong, Lateefah couldn't get rid of the amused grin on her face even if she wanted to. She didn't even dare smother the laugh Kiara earned upon declaring her "dibs" on the prospects of getting with Cara's possibly nonexistent brother, shaking her head as her friend walked away.

Once alone, Lateefah sobered up and quaffed the remaining bit of her water. Her shift was starting soon anyway. Rounding up the items left behind and reminding herself to come back with disinfectant wipes so customers couldn't say they had left a dinner seat, Lateefah got up and headed towards the back where she dropped off the dishes and such. Luckily for her, Iris was in the back waiting for her order to be ready. "Wassup, prom queen?" The blonde smirked back at her. "Nothing much, Ivy League. The crew gone?" Lateefah nodded, dumping her trash in the bin and placing her plate in the large sink. "Yep...and now you're stuck with me. For six long hours." She and Iris shared a laugh while Lateefah searched the area for the pencil and pad she would leave in the back so that she could jot down orders. "What ever am I gonna do with you?" Lateefah only cheesed at first before answering, "Love me, bitch." But it was only a second later and after a swipe at the fringe from her hair that refused to adhere to her ponytail and that had been tucked demurely behind her ear, that she spoke up again. "And do a girl a favor. I promise, it's nothing too serious. I just can't...buy...what I need when Holly's around..."

That had Iris' attention and even as she balanced her plates in both hands, the blonde fixed her with a sharp stare made more penetrating because of the clear green in her dark eyes. "Lateefah..." Lateefah could hear the scold in the girl's voice and waited for her fellow waitress to step out of the kitchen so that the cook couldn't hear what they were discussing. Granted, going into more open space wasn't any different, but at least they weren't all people she knew and Lateefah could talk under the louder sound of some game on the television screen, a couple snapping at one another, a baby (who obviously just arrived) crying, and some older men yammering an old story at the bar. "It's nothing bad, I promise. I just need..." She gulped inaudibly. "A pregnancy test." If Iris wasn't great at her job and didn't value her paychecks as much as she did, she probably would have dropped the plates in her hand. Her eyes widened comically and Lateefah winced. "I swear to God - " Lateefah hurried to state, resolutely, "I'm not. I'm not pregnant. I know I'm not." And she really really had to ignore Iris' skeptical glare because she was not pregnant. Not in the slightest. She just had to cross it off the list of things that made her tired. Simple as that. "Look, I know I'm not. I'm just clarifying. So...please...do me this favor since I totally helped your ass when you were trying to cover with your boyfriend that one time and he barged up on in here like the Hulk." It was low of her to use that situation against the girl, especially considering that said boyfriend was far more abusive probably than Iris wanted to admit, but Lateefah didn't care. She needed the girl to do this solid for her and she would leave it alone. Iris seemed to debate it for a moment, handing her customers their food and telling him to call her over if they needed anything else. Once that was done, she returned to Lateefah side, sighed, and the nodded. "Fine. I'll get it to you before your shift is over. I get off at eight." Lateefah smiled, appreciative, and then headed to the newer customers with the baby that had started crying moments prior. She wasn't pregnant. She was fine. She was probably just tired and that was that. And now that she was going be able to clarify that she wasn't, she could focus on the important things.

Like doing her job.

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

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

.

Setting

Characters Present

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

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

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Kiara Moore Character Portrait: Cara Forrester

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It was pretty nice out today, so Kiara didn't mind waiting outside for a few minutes for the other girls. As she leaned against the side of the building, she craved a joint, but she knew that she didn't have time to do that now. Besides, she didn't really have the money right now to be smoking more than once a day, and she knew that she should save that one time for later. Hopefully, she'd be able to catch up with Nick at some point during the evening, and maybe he'd let her get a couple hits off of whatever he was smoking. For now, she would have to settle with the vodka that was beginning to make her empty stomach feel unsettled. Kiara had too much of a tolerance at this point to be alarmed by the feeling, but it wasn't comfortable either, and she cursed Isaac for stealing, what she now deemed, her food, and for not taking Tee up on her offer. Even though she was still outside of the bar, it was too late to go back in and take her up on that offer. Not because Kiara had too much pride, really, but because she heard someone emerging from the stairwell that came up from the basement, and a moment later, there was Holly and Cara.

Though they were a few yards away, she could hear Holly talking and she cracked a small smile at how random the girl was. She could literally make a conversation out of nothing, and seemed to come up with the strangest things to talk about. "I like sweatshirts better than vests," she said, answering for herself when the girls were close enough. "Vests don't keep your arms warm." The one that Cara was wearing, at least, seemed to serve little purpose aside from fashion. Kiara didn't know fashion well enough to even give an estimate on how much Cara probably spent on it, but if it's purpose was warmth, it looked thin enough where it shouldn't have been worth more than ten dollars. She pulled her hood over her and sunk further into the over sized sweatshirt as she looked towards the pair. "So, where are we going?"

Setting

Characters Present

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

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Though Cara and Holly had left the basement through the side staircase, Brooklyn went up through the main one. Normally, she probably would have taken the side one as well, to avoid having to deal with Finn, and people in general, in the bar. She wouldn't have been surprised if Nick was up there though, and while she'd adamantly deny in, Brooklyn was looking for a fight a lot of the time. When she felt like she had been wronged, she was eager for situations to unfold, and confrontations to occur because she wanted the apology that she felt like she deserved. For what? Brooklyn wasn't even quite sure this time. All of her arguments with Nick seemed to blend into each other, and for now, if nothing else, she felt like it was rude of him to go missing all day, even if she had been sleeping for most of it. He was the one who could make his own work schedule up, so she felt like it was more of his responsibility than hers to make sure that they were spending time together. Unfortunately, she didn't see him in the bar, and even more unfortunately, she crossed paths with Lateefah. "Shit, they still let you work here after you poisoned that other couple's food last week?" she questioned, barely loud enough for the family at the table to hear, as she passed by. She made eye contact with Tee for only a second, smirking as she did so, but not slowly her pace a bit as she headed past them and out of the bar. Finn likely wouldn't appreciate her comment, but Brooklyn just hoped (though doubted) that Tee's tip would be affected by it. Bitch deserves it! she thought, although what she had done to deserve it wasn't something that Brooklyn could come up with at the moment.

She had gotten a bit of spite out at Tee, so when she found Cara, Holly and Kiara outside, she decided against saying anything offensive to Kiara. So long as the girl kept her mouth shut and didn't bother them, Brooklyn hoped that she wouldn't even need to down any of the alcohol in her purse. She approached from behind Kiara, and caught the girl asking what the plan was. Though she knew the question was directed at Cara and Holly, Brooklyn didn't hesitate to make her presence known as she stepped past them a foot or so. "Let's go to CVS first. Holly, Cara's going to buy you your special juice for tonight, and I need some things from there, she stated matter-of-factly as she started walking.

Setting

Characters Present

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

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Cara didn't want to question Lateefah's authority, because she knew that when it came to Holly, she knew best. Cara was able to handle Holly in long doses but even she doubted that she would be able to take care of her 24/7 like Lateefah did, and had been doing for years. While she guessed that it was possible that Lateefah told Holly she didn't have to go back, she was sure that there was more of a backstory there. It had probably been Lateefah's last option, but easier for her to do than to fight Holly every morning to go. It made Cara feel a bit guilty. She recalled helping out the year before, getting Holly off to school or picking her up if Tee was working an afternoon shift. No amount of bribes would ever make her like school, but at least when Cara had been around, she could make the hour before school less anxiety-ridden with a trip to a diner for breakfast, or buy Holly new pencils and folders every day if it made her feel better. Tee could do that as well, but Cara knew that it was easier for her to do, considering that she wasn't budgeting money every month. "Interesting," was all that she responded with, because she knew that going any deeper would probably irritate the girl. Plus, Holly had already returned back to the topic of vests, and it had Cara laughing at just how trivial of a topic it was for Holly to get hung up on. Cara considered just taking her vest off and giving it to Holly, if it would quell whatever it was in her mind that was keeping her lingering on this topic.

"I'm not sure wh-," she began, only to be cut off by Kiara answering Holly's question for herself. Cara smiled at the girl, appreciating and being reminded that Kiara too, seemed to be pretty good with Holly. She had always seemed to be a little brash, but Cara also knew that her remembrance of that trait might have been enhanced due to the interactions between her and Brooklyn. When those two weren't trying to kill each other, she actually seemed like a nice, fun person. "That's a good point!" she followed Kiara's reasoning with. "Maybe we'll find you a sweater or a jacket today. Something that you can wear in the fall and the winter when it starts to get really cold," she suggested. Kiara then asked about where they were going, and before Cara could explain that they were waiting for Brooklyn, the brunette appeared on her own and dictated the plans without asking for anyone's input. It didn't bother Cara, and she just hoped it wouldn't bother Kiara this early on either. She shook her head as Brooklyn reminded Holly of the sleep aid that she was apparently supposed to buy her, but didn't even comment on it, hoping that Holly would brush over it and forget it as well. "After that I want to run to Bed Bath & Beyond too," she added, taking Holly's hand as she followed Brooklyn down the street. "Maybe we can stop at Barnes & Noble too, and get you some cool books to read," she suggested to Holly in an overly energetic tone, hoping that that would outweigh the negative association she knew Holly had with reading.

Setting

Characters Present

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

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Holly had been focused enough on Cara, that she was surprised when she heard Kiara answering her question for herself. She made a good point, that vests didn't do a good job at keeping your arms warm, but it wasn't a good enough reason to deter Holly from wanting one like Cara's. "Yeah, but if you wore your sweatshirt under your vest, your arms would still stay warm!" she insisted, slipping away from Cara to hold onto Kiara's sweatshirt, as if to analyze if that was really keeping her arms warm either. Cara seemed to take Kiara's side, suggesting that they look for a sweater or jacket instead of a vest. Considering that Cara was sporting a vest herself, that made little sense to Holly, but she had been asking Lateefah for a new jacket. She supposed that getting one of those wouldn't be that bad, but in the back of her mind, she knew that if she saw a vest, she was going to still insist on that instead.

Before Holly could suggest that they stop for ice cream before starting to shop, Brooklyn stepped out of the bar and declared that they were going to CVS first. Holly didn't object to that, especially since Brooklyn already started walking, and Cara was chiming in about going to other places afterwards. Bed Bath & Beyond sounded fun, but Cara's suggestion that they go to Barnes & Noble for her didn't entice Holly. It just reminded her of Cara's questioning of her educational plans a moment before, and quickly had her shaking her head. "No, we don't need to do that. I don't want anything from there for me. But Tee's birthday is coming up! It's one of the days in November and she likes books. She gave her books away today because they're not really necessities like money and nail polish, but I think she likes them." Holly couldn't understand why Lateefah liked them, or why she had kept some of her school books for so long, but she considered that that might be a good birthday present. It wouldn't be one that she would be able to use too, which made it less attractive as she thought about it, but she redirected her thoughts towards Brooklyn mid-way through that thought process.

She pulled away from Cara's grip and quickened her pace to catch up with Brooklyn, who was a few steps ahead of them. "You're walking too fast!" she chided her as she grasped onto her forearm. "What are you going to get from CVS? Tomorrow will you stay awake during the day, since Cara's here now too? And are you going to go to work tonight, or do you want to stay and hang out with me and her and Kiara until Tee finishes working? Tee says the job you do isn't good, you know." Like most areas of Manhattan, you couldn't walk more than a few blocks without running into a pharmacy, so it only took a few minutes before the girls made it to CVS. "I'll help you find what you need, Brooke!" she exclaimed as she held the door open for the girls. She was sure they didn't sell vests here, and Brooklyn had been the one who seemed enthusiastic (at least, enthusiastic in terms of Brooklyn's emotions) about getting Holly some mysterious candy-like juice, so she thought she would be the best company today.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nick Moreno

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After Roman was gone, Nick waited a few more minutes in his booth, paid their check and thanked Fiona for the service. His interactions with her were still distant, and especially now so that Roman had pointed out that she was flirting with him, and since he had bigger issues to deal with. After she finished taking the boys' orders at their table, Nick headed towards them and casually slid into their booth, not minding as he shoved one of the kids farther in as he did so.

"Funny seeing you around here, Evan," Nick said, a relaxed smile on his face as he stretched his arms back comfortably in the booth. "Usually when my customers don't give me the money they owe me, it's because they died or ended up in prison before they could get it to me. And yet... here you are," he said with faked confusion. "I was eating lunch with my friend when I saw you mosey in here. Is this the new hangout spot or something?"

"Oh, uh, Nick, man, hey!" one of the kids stuttered. The startled expression on his face made Nick want to laugh. In all of his years dealing, Nick did think that he earned a reputation of someone to be feared, but none of the people he currently dealt to knew that side of him. In fact, no one that he kept in contact with, aside from Roman and Brooklyn, knew that he had three men's blood on his hands. It was a part of him that he swore he would never return to, but he still found it to be somewhat amusing how much of his younger, inexperienced clientele seemed to instinctively associate drug dealers with violence. Apparently, it was something that they hadn't considered when cutting him off months ago without paying him, but the terror that was evident in the kid's expression told Nick that he knew he would be getting his money. "It's weird that I would see you here, because I was just telling the guys how I needed to find out how to get your number. The thing was that my phone got lost, and I couldn't recover my contacts or any--"

"You think I'm stupid, kid?" he interjected, readjusting himself quickly to be leaning against the table with his elbows. "Because, you know, I don't fucking appreciate it when little fucking punks like you take advantage of me doing 'em a favor."

"Man, it's not even like that. I swear, I would ha--"

"You owe me one hundred dollars. I want my fucking money." His voice was much sharper now, but his facial expression transformed from being cold and hard, into a smile when Fiona passed by, likely to check up on them before a glass at another table fell, and she continued past without stopping. The group had only actually owed him fifty dollars, but Nick thought that it was necessary to double the cost now that they had tried to screw him over. It would go down as an interest sort of cost.

Although Nick had been selling to three of the boys, he focused in on Evan. He remembered him as being the leader of the pack, and yet now, his confidence disappeared and he looked more squeamish than the other two. Perfect. "I- uh... I don't have any cash on me right now. Can we meet up later? I swear I'll come through with the money."

Nick could have sworn that the younger boy's hands were shaking as he scrambled to pull out his wallet to physically show Nick that it was empty aside from some credit cards and IDs. That, along with Evan's words, had Nick chuckling sardonically. "Come on, bro. You know I'm done playing that shit with you. There's an ATM across the street. You've got three minutes." Nick didn't even need to finish the threat, because the boys exchanged glances and the one next to Evan quickly got up to allow him to exit the booth. "That's what I thought," he smirked, turning back to the two remaining boys. "So, how are you guys liking New York?"
--
Around forty-five minutes later, Nick was back at the bar, and had chosen a table away from the bar since he wasn't really in the mood for general bar conversation. He was definitely in a good mood now. Though the tough guy act had been a bit of an act, he didn't feel bad for pulling it on those kids. It wasn't like he was doing it to steal from them or intimidate them into doing anything wrongfully. He was simply getting what was owed to him, and setting an example for any of those kids' friends who he sold to. After spending a hefty sum earlier that day picking up his load of drugs, having an extra hundred in his pocket made him feel a lot better about where he stood financially at the moment.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Lateefah Ekwensi-Hart

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L A T E E F A H ~ E K W E N S I - H A R T
"Not even worth the calories I burn thinking about killing you."

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


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If there is one thing that Lateefah has taught Holly (and partially, the others), it's that you don't disturb Lateefah when she's working. When she's reading, designing - if she's doing something and she seems dedicated to it, don't do it. Don't annoy her. Not unless you actually need something, like when the group was eating at the pub and Iris hadn't been on duty, but they didn't like the newer girl. It was understandable and Lateefah wasn't against making sure her friends were served. That was fine.

And then...then there was Brooklyn and the bitch was lucky that it wasn't the night of the Purge for surely, she would be Lateefah's first and only target. And she said only simply because she wasn't about to travel the insurmountable miles to reach the slut who birthed her. Nope, too much work and why? She could relinquish all of her anger and grief and hurt on Brooklyn's soon-to-be mutilated corpse. When the brunette made the comment over Lateefah's shoulder, right as she was making faces with the younger child, Lateefah froze. She couldn't even muster a shocked or frightened face, just simply froze. Soon enough, however, her expression morphed just as she turned to meet Brooklyn's taunting gaze as the bitch traipsed her little bony ass out of the pub as quickly as she had come. Nick don't need her, her brain immediately told her. Find him a new girl and kill this hoe. Won't even take long. Not like Lateefah had experience with committing murder, but it was a good thought until she realized that she was thinking way too hard about Brooklyn and death. Nope, the other girl - because she damn sure wasn't a woman if she could walk around doing petty shit like they were still in high school - would get hers. Later. For now, she had to do damage control.

"Don't believe her," she said quickly, noting the mother's slightly perturbed expression. The child looked extremely lost, glancing at both of her parents in confusion but otherwise, not comprehending what had happened. "I can get the chef to make you new plates, but I promise you everything's fine." It was probably just as petty as Brooklyn, especially since the other girl wasn't present to hear what she said, but Lateefah leaned closer to them as if what she was saying was a secret. "I'm sorry about her...it's just that...well, she's been recently diagnosed with a bipolar disorder and she's so used to not taking medication for it that...well, she forgets. I'll make sure to tell her caretaker to get on that immediately. So sorry that she had to disturb you like that." The family would probably never see Brooklyn again, Finn was not giving her an approving look, but the end-result - the understanding in their eyes - was enough satisfaction for Lateefah that she didn't have to feel too much like a bitch for what she had said.

Setting

Characters Present

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

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Kiara was glad that once they started walking, Holly clung to Brooklyn a few paces ahead of her and Cara. Surprisingly, though, she didn't even take advantage of her few minutes alone with Cara to spark up a conversation about her home life, and if she had any brothers... or cousins... or just wealthy friends. Just when she thought that this little trip was going to improve her mood and wallet, the alcohol in her stomach started acting up, and she wasn't sure if she would even make it to CVS without her body rejecting it. Ironically, as she walked, trying to focus on her eyes not blurring up and keeping her mouth sealed shut just in case, she was craving more alcohol. It was like instinct for her, that once anything mildly inconvenient happened, she needed a bottle or alcohol or a handful of pills to put her back into a mindset where none of it mattered, or sometimes, and even better, where none of it was real. She loved the drugs that made her feel like she was floating, and where she wasn't really sure what was real and what wasn't real. She rarely could afford the good ones like that, though, and right now, she knew that there was no way she could take a hit to her wallet like that. Hell, as they approached the CVS and she saw a Wendy's across the street, she was second guessing whether she even had enough money to spare on that. But her stomach lurched once again, and Kiara decided that food was necessary. She drank so much that alcohol rarely made her this sick when it was still fresh in her stomach. It was usually the morning after, or at least a couple of hours later, when it really started to bother her, so she guessed that what she was feeling now was a mixture between hunger and the alcohol beginning to bother her. It wasn't like this was a very unfamiliar feeling either.

"I actually just saw a friend across the street who I've been trying to catch up with. I shouldn't be over there long, but if you guys finish without me, don't wait." She was glad that it was just Cara who she was speaking to, because she was sure that if Brooklyn wasn't already inside, she would reassure her that they wouldn't have waited regardless. If Holly was there, she would have gotten a million questions about where she was going, and possibly even a request for her to be allowed to tag along. It was easier this way, and Kiara didn't even mention that she was going to get food because she didn't want Cara to feel like she had to give her money in this way. Kiara had no problem accepting money, but she didn't want to be a beggar. There was a different between accepting handouts and hinting for them, than actually straight out requesting them. Her stomach twisted again, and forced her to spin away from the door of CVS without waiting for Cara's answer. She wanted that food in her stomach before the alcohol came up, and before she convinced herself that she didn't need to waste her money on food right now.

Setting

Characters Present

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

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"Alright, then maybe we can go to pick out something for both of you," Cara nodded, as Holly shot down the idea of getting books for herself, but suggested that they get some for Lateefah. Cara didn't think of herself to be nearly as intelligent as Lateefah was, and she wasn't much of a reader herself, so she didn't really plan on buying books for Tee. If she gave Holly free reign on picking out the books, she would sure they would be ones far too juvenile for Lateefah, or ones about dogs or celebrities, or something that would entertain Holly more than her sister. She kept the idea of shopping there as a possibility though, because she did want to try to help Holly get back on an educational track. She knew it would be a long shot, and maybe she was overstepping her boundaries to even attempt to do so, but it seemed like it could only benefit Holly. Maybe she wouldn't see it that way now, but it would. She needed a degree if she wanted to be anything in life. Well, she needed a degree, or she needed the financial security of a trust fund, and they all knew that Holly would not have the latter.

Cara didn't mind the silence that she was granted when Holly hurried to catch up with Brooklyn, and she and Kiara were left a few steps behind. She didn't really knew Kiara well enough to strike up a conversation, and she probably wouldn't have wanted to anyway. There wasn't much to say, and she was already dealing with enough of an inner monologue inside of her head as she thought about what she was doing. Coming back here was her only option, or so she had told herself hours ago when she had stormed out of her family's penthouse in a fury. She wasn't treated properly or respected at home, and it wasn't like she had her boyfriend's place to crash at anymore. Her father refused to finance an apartment for her unless she was going to school, and not only was Cara not motivated enough for college, she also just didn't want to go to spite him. She wanted to run her life her way, and if he wanted her to go to college, than that was exactly what she did not want to do. It was so petty and it was clearly only hurting herself. Her father and his wife would be jetting off to Maui the next morning, and here she was... heading to CVS to buy things to turn a corner of a basement into her home. It wasn't a fair trade, but Cara just couldn't run back there. Not after she had stormed out like a brat, and not after that bitch had tried to act like she was the ruler of her house.

Cara was ready to follow Brooklyn and Holly into CVS, but was stopped by Kiara as she stepped into the doorway. The girl's face definitely looked paler than it had a couple of minutes before, but Cara didn't think very much of it because again, she didn't know her well enough to be certain that she seemed off right now. "Oh, okay," Cara nodded as she explained that she was going across the street to meet a friend, and that they didn't have to wait up for her. She hadn't minded Kiara's company, and knew that she would be a good person to distract Holly with if Brooklyn reached her limit and snapped, but she also knew that at least now, there wouldn't be a cat fight between her and Brooklyn in CVS. That was a good thing, at least.

With Holly off with Brooklyn, Cara headed to down one of the aisles and picked out some basic things. She filled her basket with items like deodorant, a toothbrush and toothpaste, feminine care products, Advil, hand sanitizer, lotion and so on, before running into Holly and Brooklyn on the makeup aisle. She did need makeup products, and she knew it was bad, but she decided she would hold off until she could get to Sephora later that day or tomorrow. "Did you want to get a new toothbrush, Holl? They have the cool electric ones here," Cara suggested, pulling the toothbrush she had selected from her basket to show Holly. She glanced at Brooklyn with a smile that bordered a smirk, trying to figure out how close she was to leaving them to go do her own thing. Holly wasn't crying, so that seemed like a good sign.

Setting

Characters Present

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

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{Collaboration with Writer}
It was her luck, that even with Cara here, Holly would still want to bother her. One would have thought that Cara coming back after three months would have warranted at least an hour's worth of Holly's attention, with further questioning on where she was, or even just comments about the jewlery she had on, or what was in her purse. But no, Brooklyn had clearly done something horrible in a past life, because there Holly was, literally clinging to her at one point during their walk to CVS. She supposed that she was lucky that pharmacies seemed to be rampant in New York, because before Holly could really piss her off, they had found one. Brooklyn didn't wait for Cara and Kiara, who had paused at the door, though as she got a food feet in, she realized that she should have, because lo and behold, Holly was following her yet again. Really, she knew that if she truly despised Holly as much as she claimed she did, she wouldn't have come on this trip at all, or at least would have waited for Cara to come in, to make sure that she occupied Holly while Brooklyn did her shopping. She allowed the redhead to come with her, or more accurately, lead her, because there was some part of Brooklyn, deep, deep down, that appreciated the liveliness. Even on the worst days, Holly's presence held some purpose in at least reminding Brooklyn that there was light in the world. That not everyone was as selfish and cruel and out to get her as she sometimes liked to believe.

"What are we gonna buy?" Holly asked. She was walking a few paces ahead of Brooklyn through the front of the store. She made it past two of the aisles, uninterested in the things she saw down them. Momentarily, she had forgotten about the Zzzquil that Brooklyn had promised, and was sure that she and Tee had been to this CVS before, which meant that if she walked to the last aisle, she would find the one with the candy.

Brooklyn didn't answer Holly right away as she focused on reading the signs above each aisle, and trying to remember what she had needed, exactly. Honestly, she preferred shopping when she was drunk. She was more reckless that way, but she liked being able to spend her money without feeling guilty about it. On sober trips like this, she would buy the lower quality store brand makeup and then, in a few hours, get pissed off because those same fake eyelashes refused to stay on her eyelid for more than five minutes. She'd end up stopping at a real makeup store on her way to work, and spend double what she would have spend originally, just because she was in one of her "fuck it" moods, where she'd snap at Nick for not even offering to buy them for her.

"I need to buy makeup. You're not buying anything unless your sister gave you money," Brooklyn responded as she grabbed Holly by the back of her shirt to prevent her from turning down the next aisle. She redirected her to the cosmetics aisle, and knelt down in one of the sections as she tried to find her products.

Holly didn't get discouraged when Brooklyn stopped her from reaching her favorite aisle, because hanging out with her was still fine. Plus, she was sure that Tee gave Cara money, and that she would get her candy before they left. And her vest. She would have to find an employee to see if they sold vests here, just in case Forever 21 was out. Holly doubted that, though, since Tee confirmed that they did sell vests there, and Tee was always right. She went to a really, really good college, and that meant that she was smart and always right. "Do you like spending a lot of money?" she questioned, automatically playing with Brooklyn's hair when the girl knelt down in front of her to look through the makeup. "I want to get your job so I always have money to spend on things."

"Shhh," was all that Brooklyn said. She officially hated her sober self, as she realized how stupid it was to be fighting herself over spending an extra dollar fifty on eyeliner from her preferred brand, over the poorer-quality one. She kept the better one in her hand, grabbed a tube of mascara and a couple of pairs of fake eyelashes, and stood back up. She could have purchased a few more things, but they weren't necessities right now (at least not to her sober self), and she also wanted Holly to stop touching her head. "You won't need to get a job once your sister becomes the next Donnatella Versace. Isn't that what her life plan is? Be homeless for a few years then hit it big as a fashion designer?" Brooklyn mocked, glancing at Holly briefly as she led Holly out of the aisle, and towards the one with sleeping aids.

"I don't know what that is," Holly frowned, as Brooklyn referenced the designer she was comparing Lateefah to. She followed her through the store, surprisingly focused on the brunette to an extent where she wasn't even touching everything they passed, or trying to come up with a reason for why she suddenly needed the products. "And we're not homeless! Not like real homeless people who live in boxes. Tee's going to get us a real apartment by Christmas," she declared. She really didn't think they were homeless, because the basement counted as a house, and they weren't like the dirty, sick looking men that they sometimes passed on the streets with cardboard posters requesting money. That was what homeless was. They were just saving up money until they could afford a nice apartment, or at least that was what Tee had been saying for the past year.

Brooklyn could have laughed out loud at Holly's insistence that Lateefah was set on getting them out of the basement by Christmas. She should have appreciated the idea of having that bitch and her annoying sister out of there, but the idea of her moving out before Brooklyn made her want to laugh and cry at the same time. That would just push Brooklyn over the edge. She knew it was, because to her, Lateefah was the lowest of the low. For no real reason, really. Brooklyn just felt like she was better than her, and that she deserved more than Tee did. If she achieved Brooklyn's dream before she did, when Brooklyn had been the one living on the streets for far longer, than she figured she would just have to kill herself. Or kill Lateefah. There would be no other way to cope with that. Before she could utter some nasty response to Holly to make sure that she knew that her sister had to be smoking crack if she was serious about that, Cara appeared, and after meeting her gaze for a second, asked Holly something about toothbrushes. "You better get one for her sister, and Kiara too. God only knows how dirty those bitches' mouths are after sucking all that dick," she advised in a serious tone. Without waiting for the backlash, or typical Cara roll of the eyes that she was sure she would get, she spun away from them without an explanation and continued to the aisle she was destined for. After a quick scan, she found the sleep aid she wanted for Holly and hurried back to where she left the girls. "Let's go."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Roman Killens

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

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

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Isaac Rankin Character Portrait: Roman Killens

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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