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Alex Castoff

0 · 134 views · located in New York, NY

a character in “The Lost & Found”, originally authored by Sophiex, as played by RolePlayGateway

Description

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I was born under the name of:
Alexandra Elizabeth Castoff

You can call me:
Alex

I was born:
18 years ago

My birthday is:
April 1st

I was born in:
Binghamton, New York

I make a living by:
Flipping burgers at McDonald's




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My childhood was:
nothing spectacular but not tragic either. I've been a child of the system for all of my life but was lucky enough to only be placed in three different foster homes. I don't remember much about the first two, since I lived in them from age six months to two, and then two to four. When I was four, I was placed in a home in Queens with two other foster children, Oscar and Miguel. Even though they were biological brothers and were eight and ten years older than me, they accepted me as if I were a real sister. I spent a lot of my childhood idolizing the boys and even though they both separately "ran away" from our home by the time they were sixteen, they would still come back to visit me.

My brothers were involved in drugs for most of their teenage years and even though I heard the same spiels as every other child about how harmful they were, I trusted my brothers and assumed that they wouldn't do anything if it were really that bad. Besides, they always had lots of money to buy me toys and clothes that our parents couldn't afford on our government stipends, so the perks of their lifestyle seemed to outweigh that of the recommended one.

The most traumatic thing that happened was when my brothers were killed. I was only around eleven at the time, but biological or not, they were the closest thing to family that I had and knowing that they were gunned down by police was devastating to me. You would probably think that that would have been the warning sign that I needed to stay away from the life they lived, but it wasn't. It only pushed me to want to follow in their footsteps and show them that I was just as tough as they were. I felt like I needed to keep their memory alive.

I was drinking and smoking cigarettes by age thirteen and weed by fourteen. After being arrested for petty theft four times before entering high school, I was placed in an "at-risk" school program. Basically, it was a separate school for kids who the normal school felt would weigh down their reputation and other students and even though I resented the idea of school to begin with, the program was actually decent. I was able to graduate a year early and as soon as I had my high school degree, I was felt like there was no use for me to stay home. I was already seventeen and I knew that once I turned eighteen, my parents weren't required to even keep me anymore, so it seemed like the right time to go.

My boyfriend was twenty-two at the time when I moved in with him.

My life on the streets began:
when I was seventeen years old. I graduated high school and moved in with my boyfriend, Paul, who was six years my senior. He was addicted to the hard drugs but I was drunk in love at the time and was sure that I could change him. I didn't think that I needed to get him off the drugs altogether, but just enough where he could function and care about me. He only cared about the drugs though and after a while, I gave up on the futile pleads for him to stop. I knew I needed to leave, but had no where to go and knew enough to wait until winter was over before officially becoming homeless.

It was early March when I left his Staten Island apartment and never returned. I bounced around between friends' couches for a month and spent almost two more months in a women's shelter. The shelter wasn't that bad but in order to live there for free, I was required to be holding a job. One of the few places that would accept a teenager was McDonald's, so I applied and was accepted there. People make fun of fast food workers but the busy work doesn't bother me. It's easy and I make money, albeit not much.

That brings us to the present day, or at least a week or so ago. Now that I was in Manhattan, I used the little information that I had on my brothers' last whereabouts before they died and managed to track down some of their old friends. The majority of guys who knew them well were also killed in the drug raid but one of the neighbors said that two of the boys who lived with them missed the raid and were never caught, and that one of them still frequented the area to sell drugs to longtime customers. His name was Nick and although vaguely, I can actually remember meeting him a few times when I was a kid. Soon after my brothers left home, they found jobs at some restaurant and while they were still on semi-good terms with our parents, Mom and Dad would sometimes bring me there to eat and see the boys. Nick happened to work with them there but I only learned recently that he had been a part of their 'operation'.

I managed to track Nick down, only with the intentions of seeing if he had any of my brother's belongings that I could have as a keepsake, and I guess for reassurance that they were the good guys that I spent my life believing them to be. However, when he learned that I was homeless, he insisted that I move in with him and his friends.




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My best traits are:
Witty, clever, hardworking, self-reliant, observant

My flaws are being:
Crass, overbearing, careless, belligerent, manipulative

People would describe me as being:
an antagonist and a protagonist. Like everything, it depends on who you ask. On one hand, I'm independent and have learned how to take care of myself. I work hard and am happy with living a simple life. I expect very little from most people and in return, I don't go out of my way to help others. I guess I've just learned that in the end, we're all alone in this world and that's even more true out here. It's important to support yourself and look out for your own interests before anyone else's.
I think my most notable characteristic, especially to new people, is how crass I can be. I rarely censor myself and a lot of my comments can be ignorant and insensitive. While it would be nice to say that I don't intend for them to come out that way, I really do. I like to provoke people and especially when I'm bored, instigating situations or making people feel uncomfortable is a surefire way to find some amusement. Beyond finding entertainment at the expense of others, I do have a good sense of humor and can take what I dish. I'm witty and sarcastic and always enjoy a good joke.
If I had to choose my biggest character flaw, it would probably be how I can be very manipulative. I've grown a tendency to lie about things that don't even matter, so I don't really know why I do it. It's become a bad habit, I guess, so when I want something or want someone to feel a certain way, there are few boundaries that I won't cross to get my way. If I'm upset or even just bored, I sometimes feel like I need to make sure that other people feel even worse than me and will purposely go out of my way to stir up problems in their life. Like I said, a lot of it is so trivial and unimportant to my life, so I'm not sure why I do it either.

So begins...

Alex Castoff's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Alex Castoff

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#, as written by Sophiex
Alex had been growing tired of the shelter she was staying in. It was one of the few shelters that catered to women who weren't pregnant or mothers, but even so, they still had a bunch of rules that made her feel trapped. Every woman staying there had chores they had to do on a daily basis and were required to either be attending school full time or working in order to meet the program's requirements. "It's not about forcing you to do anything. Here at The Huntington House, we want to help you ladies build habits that you can take into the world with you. We want you to become independent and self-sufficient," her case manager claimed in her typical, scripted voice when Alex had first complained about how their rules seemed to be geared towards ignorant children rather than struggling adults. Most of the other woman were okay with the rules, probably because many of them had experienced "real" homelessness- the type where they would have no where to sleep other than park benches or bridge underpasses, so anything was worth a warm bed. Although the shelter accepted women between the ages of seventeen and fifty-five, Alex was one of the few woman under thirty living there and in her opinion, was the only one without some type of extreme mental illness too.

Another one of the shelter's rules stated that the woman had to be in the building by eleven at night throughout the week, and then by midnight on the weekends. The only exceptions were holidays and even then, they had to make arrangements prior to that day so the staff knew they would be coming back later than allowed. It was a rule that probably had good reason behind it, and it reminded Alex of how her foster mother used to say, "nothing good ever happens after dark!", but it also meant that she couldn't work the overnight shift at McDonald's, which paid an extra dollar per hour compared to the day shift. A few extra dollars per day probably wouldn't be a big deal to most people, but she was already only making around sixty dollars for every grueling eight-hour shift, so any extra money would be a blessing.

The shelter rules felt crippling, especially to Alex, who had spent most of her life doing whatever she wanted whenever she pleased. Her measly minimum wage job would never cover the rent, and nonetheless the down payment, on even a tiny apartment in a bad area of the city, so she had been stuck in the shelter for a few months. Today though, she had finally decided to visit the apartment where her brothers had been living when they were murdered. It was a shabby place in one of the housing projects and although Alex imagined that her brothers had lived as kings when she was younger, as she grew up, she assumed that their drug lifestyle wasn't as lavish as it seemed. The state of the building was no surprise and the demeanor of the people who occupied it wasn't either. There were a bunch of kids playing on the brown lawn outside of the building and scattered about were parents, mostly Hispanic-looking mothers, watching the children and more so, talking between themselves.

Whether it was her pale skin and unnatural light hair, or just her curious expression and wandering eyes as she slowly moved around them, something made her seem out of place and one of the women shouted, "what the hell are you looking for?" as she walked past. It caught Alex off guard, as she had been more focused on the sheer excitement of knowing that she was in the same area that her brothers had spent their last days in, than she was of her surroundings. Although the woman seemed annoyed with her, she didn't look threatening and with a bunch of kids around, Alex didn't think there would be any harm in approaching. Besides, she was eager to learn more about the area. She held up an old, crumbled piece of paper that had her brothers' address scribbled on it. Their mother had written it years back and kept it stuck onto the refrigerator with a smiley face magnet, even after they passed away. It was one of the few things she had taken with her after leaving home. "My brothers used to... live here. Oscar and Miguel Rodriguez. They were in apartment 3A."

After hearing the apartment number, the woman instantly looked over at the female who was sitting next to her, exchanged a skeptical glance and then returned her eyes to Alex. It seemed like even though years had passed, whatever had happened was enough to be memorable to these woman. She looked her up and down before making a decision and standing up. "Wait here," was all she said as she headed into the apartment building. Alex stood, semi awkwardly, in the same spot for a few minutes as she waited for the woman to return, and when she finally did, she wasn't alone. She appeared with a lanky man who had the whole "hardcore drug user" look going, and only wore a pair of cargo shorts. He had multiple tattoos scattered across his chest and forearms but Alex was fairly used to people who looked like him so rather than obnoxiously study his appearance, she met his gaze.

"You Oscar's sister? I fucking paid all my debt off to Cuarto a month after that shit went down," he said defensively.

Alex wasn't sure what he was talking about at first, but then it clicked. "Oh no, no. I'm not here for money or anything. I just wanted to see if anyone here knew anything about my brothers. Our parents... foster parents... don't talk about them much and I wanted to know what really... happened," she said, feeling somewhat uncomfortable at speaking about something so personal to someone she had known for a mere thirty seconds, but on the other hand, she felt like she had nothing to lose.

The man seemed relieved when she expressed her lack of care regarding whatever debt he had owed her brothers before they were killed. "I didn't know 'em good, just on a business level and shit. Come back around noon tomorrow. Nick Cuarto should be coming by to drop me something and you can talk to him. He was living with your brothers when it happened."

Alex couldn't believe what she was hearing. There was someone who knew her brothers well enough that he had been living with them at the time, who was still alive and she could talk to. She had come to the complex just for her own peace of mind, but this was more than she could have expected. Before she could thank the man, he was already on his way back into the building. The two woman had resumed their conversation so with a genuine smile, Alex turned around and back towards the street that would bring her to the subway entrance.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nick Cuarto Character Portrait: Alex Castoff

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#, as written by Sophiex
Today is the day. It was the first thought that crossed Alex's mind when she woke up that morning. Her excitement was temporarily stifled when she opened her eyes to find one of the three women she shared her bedroom with standing naked on the other side of the room, but Alex was fairly used to dealing with other people's strange habits. It was hard to be picky when you were living in a homeless shelter and the only other option was sleeping in a bridge underpass.

After showering and dressing, Alex went downstairs to the kitchen. It was her turn to help make breakfast but that was one of the chores that she really didn't mind doing. She cooked at work too, although that wasn't much more than dunking fries into hot oil and putting frozen burgers onto a grill, but she was fairly comfortable cooking. Besides, she didn't trust some of the other woman with anything that she planned on ingesting. Today's meal was scrambled eggs, bacon and toast and Alex didn't skimp on filling her plate to the brim. She normally didn't eat very much at all but she didn't plan on coming back to the shelter for another filling dinner tonight. In fact, she didn't plan on coming back at all. Her backpack was filled with her work outfit and the two other sets of clothes that she owned, and she took one of the plastic garbage bags from the shelter storage room and packed her pillow, blanket and hygiene products into that.

Once breakfast was over, Alex met with her case worker, Rachel Fisher. The two had never been very compatible but again, Alex wasn't in a place where she could pick and choose who helped her. However, today she went into the woman's office with a smile on her face and explained that she had found a place to stay. It wasn't exactly true but in Alex's mind, she was already sure that Nick would take her in to wherever he was living. It was probably a dementedly exaggerated thought of optimism and was fairly out of character for her, who was normally a realist at best, but when it came to her brothers, Alex has years worth of hope waiting on this day. If she was finally going to meet someone who knew her brothers well, she wasn't going to let him go.

Rachel sent Alex on her way with good wishes and information on the small bank account that the shelter had forced her to deposit a large percentage of all of her work earnings into. There wasn't more than a couple thousand dollars in it but in the case that something went wrong, it was comforting to know that she could afford a hotel room or something for a few nights. Alex was sure that she wasn't going to need to resort to that though.

She arrived back at the apartment complex about half an hour before noon and sat on a bench that was strategically placed a few feet away from the entrance to the housing complex. She could see everyone who came in and out, as long as they were going in through the main entrance. She refused to worry as time ticked by, mostly because she didn't have a watch or cellphone to confirm that noon had come and gone over an hour ago. It was a good thing that she had waited too, because by one-thirty, a young man entered the complex. He was the only person who had entered who appeared to be close to her brothers' age so Alex took the chance and left her perch to follow the boy inside. To her happiness, he headed straight to the apartment that she had visited the day before and after he reappeared from inside the building, she stopped him.

"Hi! Are you Nick Cuarto?" she asked, stepping in front of him. As she studied his face, she felt like she recognized him from somewhere. Years back, she would occasionally visit her brothers and the restaurant they worked at, so she figured that maybe Nick had worked there as well. "This is really random, but I was told that you might have known my brothers. Oscar and Miguel Rodriguez? They used to live here and someone said that you lived with them too." She wanted to say more, to ask him everything he knew about her brothers, but she already felt like she was babbling and wanted to give him a chance to speak.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Brooklyn Belle Character Portrait: Nick Cuarto Character Portrait: Alex Castoff

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Nick was the first one asleep the past night and he managed to sleep late that morning too. The stress of everything that had happened the day before must have worn him out because he woke up around ten and found Brooklyn resting peacefully next to him. He usually got up early on weekdays to meet some of the local prep school students on their way to school to see if they needed any drugs but he didn't mind missing a few sales today. He had a few small deliveries and then a big drop to make at an apartment complex downtown and that would bring in enough to compensate for the morning deliveries he skipped.

Because Brooklyn usually got back from work so late, Nick decided not to wake her when he finally pulled himself from the mattress. He grabbed a change of clothes and a small bag of weed, threw them into a backpack, and left the quiet warehouse. He walked a few blocks to an apartment building that one of her clients lived in and ten minutes and a bag of weed later, he returned to the streets now freshly showered. His next destination was a bagel shop down the street.

Normally, he would have checked to see if anyone wanted to get some breakfast but besides Brooklyn, he wasn't in the mood for company. He was definitely in better spirits than he was yesterday but oddly, he felt guilty for what had happened with Killens the day before. There wasn't a single part of him that felt like he had done anything wrong and he still blamed Killens for everything that went down, but he didn't think the animosity was fair for the others to have to deal with. They all lived in the warehouse together so even if a problem was only between two people, it affected everyone in some way or another. Nick wanted to believe that throwing Killens out for good would be the easy answer to their problem but regardless of how much anger he still felt towards him, he knew that one fight wasn't going to be enough to sever such a strong relationship.

After eating, he returned to the warehouse to find that Brooklyn was still sleeping, and although he wanted to hang out with her, he knew better than to wake her. He doubted that she would treat even him any better than she did to Holly when the younger girl woke her up, so he filled his backpack with today's deliveries and left. He normally would have sent Hailey out to bring them to his clients but he was making his weekly stop at the apartment building that he had lived in when he first started dealing and he preferred to go there himself.

Many of the residents who lived in the area when he had were still living there, so Nick made a few stops at surrounding buildings before eventually reaching the one he lived in. He was there to see Antonio who greeted him in the doorway. There exchange was quick: Nick handed him the zip and in return pocketed three hundred dollars. Antonio was clearly already high on something and didn't mention the girl he had told to come by today but he didn't have to because as soon as Nick stepped back outside, she approached him.

Before she even introduced herself as being Miguel's sister, Nick recognized her. She had a unique look to her, even when she was just a kid, and it only took a few seconds for him to match her with the younger version that he had met on various occasions. Miguel and Oscar spoke of their sister frequently but Nick never would have imagined that he would ever stumble upon her again, years after the boys died. Seeing her in person was surprising, to say the least, and although he knew that she wasn't related to the boys biologically, just seeing her face reminded him of them.

"Yeah, yeah," Nick said, a sincere smile appearing on his face after the girl finished talking. Her brothers had been the first people to take Nick in as real family after his grandparents died and he felt like her showing up right after he and Roman had a blowup had to be some sort of sign. He wasn't sure what, but it must be a good thing. Miguel and Oscar had looked out for him and now it was his turn to do whatever he could for their sister. "We had a place in here," he said, pointing back towards the apartment building. As much as he wanted to stay and chat, maybe even show her around, he knew better than to linger in an area where he had just made a deal. "Want to go grab a bite to eat?" he asked, then noticing the large trash bag that she was hauling next to her. "Here, I'll take that," he said, tossing it over his shoulder before heading down the street. "Why are you over here anyway? I thought your parents lived in Queens."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nick Cuarto Character Portrait: Alex Castoff

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#, as written by Sophiex
Alex was overjoyed when Nick agreed to talk with her and even invited her to get food. She almost felt the way she would when her brothers would show up after being away from their family's apartment for weeks, and take her to get ice cream or something. This time though, she had been waiting years, and not just weeks, for the special day, and here it finally was. She had so many questions to ask him but didn't know where to start. She wanted to know if her brothers spoke of her much, what really happened when they were killed, if Nick had taken any of their belongings and more than anything, she wanted reassurance that her brothers were the heroes that she always thought them to be.

Nick took her bag and began to walk. Like a puppy, Alex followed close behind. "Yeah, my foster parents still live there," she responded, making a point to note that they weren't her biological parents. Although the couple had raised her to the best of their abilities, after her brothers began to turn against their parents, she did as well. She didn't think her brothers would call them parents either after they kicked them out and nearly disowned them after they got in a bit of trouble. "I left after I finished school and I was staying downtown for a while, but I'm kind of... in between homes right now," she said. Although at some point she did plan on asking Nick if she could stay with him, even for just a few nights, she didn't want to talk about herself right now. That wasn't why she came.

She kept quiet for most of the walk to the restaurant but as soon as they had their food, she refocused on her original purpose for meeting Nick. "So, I wasn't even allowed at the funeral for my brothers since I was young back then and our foster parents were dicks, so... what happened? Before and after the night it happened, I guess is what I mean," she said. She wasn't sure if she wanted, or was mentally ready, for a play-by-play account on how the shootings had went down but she wanted to more information than she currently had.

Although she ate some of her food, she was still full from the large breakfast she had consumed a few hours earlier and the butterflies in her stomach made it harder for her to eat anything more. For only a moment, she shifted her attention from Nick and to their surroundings and managed to read a clock on the opposite side of the restaurant. It was a few minutes past two in the afternoon and Alex was scheduled to work the three o'clock shift. The walk to the subway would take at least ten minutes and the subway ride itself would be another half hour. Part of her considered just saying 'screw it' and not showing up, but she wasn't stupid enough to think that she could get by without the job. "Ugh, I have work and I really can't be late... is there any way that we can talk later?" she asked, already standing up from the table.