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Caraline Forrester

0 · 1,151 views · located in New York

a character in “A New York Life”, as played by LaurenAFI

Description

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Full Name:
Caraline Lauren Forrester

Preferred Name
Caraline, Cara

Age:
22

Birthday:
May 1st

Sexuality:
Heterosexual

Hometown:
Upper East Side of Manhattan


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Disposition:
In a lot of ways, Cara is your stereotypical rich girl. She has always been ignorant to a lot of the problems that "real" people face, and a lot of the time, comes across as being arrogant, ignorant, dismissive and entitled without even meaning it. She has a tendency to think that her normal is the same normal as everyone else, so complaining about how unworthy this building is of having her as a resident, when her co-residents can barely afford rent doesn't always make her look great. She's definitely materialistic, and loves having the newest and nicest of everything, but while she doesn't realize it sometimes, she is changing for the better lately. For most of her life, she was only friends with people who were exactly like her in appearance, financial status, and background. Being tossed into a building with more diversity in those aspects has done good for her outlook on the world and her knowledge of how the real world works.

She's wants to be compassionate and down-to-earth, and genuinely tries to relate to people's problems and offer advice, but she takes a little longer getting there because a lot of the problems that she has are so different than those of the people she lives with. It's hard for her to shake herself free from the mindset that she is better than these people. What might come off as her being arrogant or out of touch with reality is simply her not living in the same reality as the others. She really tries to understand where they're coming from and does have a lot of sympathy for them, but just as much as she wants to offer that support, she doesn't. It wouldn't mean anything for her to give her input when she doesn't fully understand their situation and her opinions don't hold any weight. Because of this, Cara tries to keep to herself. She definitely doesn't isolate herself and enjoys conversing with the others, but she doesn't throw herself onto people and doesn't come close to Holly's level of friendliness. By the others, she would probably be described as being positive and easy to talk to, but not overbearing or extremely friendly, because she doesn't consider anyone else in the building to be a real friend.

Likes:
Birthdays, vanilla scented things, iced coffee, lemonade, babies, alcohol, fruity drinks, dancing, swimming, warmth

Dislikes:
Cold weather, being out at night (if she's sober), beef jerky, her father, her stepmother, terrorism, cream cheese, wool sweaters, rodents, insects

Fears:
Terrorism, being cut off from her father's money (the only link she has to her "real world"), being infertile, STD's


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Background:
Caraline was born into a life of wealth and privilege led by her parents, Lauren and William Forrester. She was followed up with a brother, (insert name here). Being raised in the Upper East Side of New York meant that Cara lived the silver spoon life. The preschool she attended cost more than some colleges do. She went to the same elementary school as the children of billionaires and brushed shoulders with future politicians and actors and musicians.

Her mother was one of the 2,606 victims of the World Trade Center attack in 2001. Cara was a child at the time, and while not old enough to fully grasp the idea that her mother had perished in an unthinkable way, she knew that her mother was dead. She had been close with her mother, who had opted to raise her rather than follow the Upper East side norm of hiring a live-in nanny to deal with the 3 AM feedings and crying fests. It was only when Cara was old enough to start school that her mother resumed her top position at the law firm her father (Cara's grandfather) owned, and even then, for the short amount of time that she was working, she still made time for her daughter. The same couldn't be said for William, who, when he wasn't spending time at the investment firm he was the CEO of, or cashing in on the mass amount of shares from the technology company that his late father had passed down to him, was having affairs. He was doing so before his wife passed away, so needless to say, once she was gone, he moved on fairly quickly. Cara moved on from her mother's death as well. It was a tragic event, but she never felt responsible for it, it didn't cause her lifelong depression or ruin her chance at a normal life. It sucked, and no amount of nannies could ever replace her mother's devotion, but Cara was young enough where it became normal to live without her mother.

She doesn't realize it, but it did have a bit of an effect on her as she grew up. Not only did she lack her real mother, but when she turned seventeen, her father started dating their au pair, Alice. At this time, she had been living nanny-free for nearly three years, so her father suddenly hiring a twenty-one-year-old Swedish woman to care for her and her brother was absolutely strange and illogical. Sure, Cara had become a tad bit rebellious. She was out nearly every night partying underage with her friends, but her father wasn't around to parent her ever before, and she was used to disregarding his authority. Regardless, she didn't need someone only four years her senior babysitting her, and soon it became apparent that Alice wasn't there for Cara or her brother. Six months after moving in, William proposed to her. To say that Cara was caught off guard is an understatement. She had seen her father go through pretty, young girls on a monthly basis but none of them, especially not one who came from nothing, ever lasted. And yet, suddenly, he was marrying this one. Maybe it was because she was so young, or maybe it was because Cara really wasn't okay with the idea of her mother being replaced, but either way, she had it out for this woman, and in an attempt to run her out, made the possibility of the four of them living peacefully together impossible.

Cara was spoiled and used to getting her way, and as a last ditch effort, refused to apply to any colleges unless her father kicked Alice out. It was the seventeen-year-old version of holding her breath until her face turned blue if her parents refused to buy her the doll she wanted. Unlike that, though, this didn't work. Her father told her to go to school or get a job, because he wasn't going to let her rack up thousands of dollars on his credit cards, party all night, be disrespectful, and not try to advance her life. Although she was an average student in high school, she hated the idea of spending another four years in school, so after graduating, she agreed to get a job. The job, however, was just being a promoter at a nightclub, which meant that all she had to do was bring pretty girls to party with her, to make the club attract more men, and in turn, make money. She got away with doing this for two years, while telling her father that she was working as a "salesperson" for some made up entertainment company, before he realized that she was lying. She had been living in her own nice apartment in Tribeca at the time, and once the lease on that was up, her father refused to pay for it again. She had to get another job, this time at a coffee shop in the West Village, and her father paid for an apartment across the street. It definitely wasn't as nice as her last, and the fact that she has to share it with her younger brother who attends NYU only makes it worse for her.

Job:
Unemployed


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Height/Weight or build:
5'10, 130 lbs

Eye color:
Blue

Hair color:
Blonde

Other:
N/A

Face claim:
Lindsay Ellingson

So begins...

Caraline Forrester's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Makayla Wright Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Chanel Owens Character Portrait: Marie Casanova Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Caraline Forrester Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Ryan Forrester Character Portrait: Isaac Rankin Character Portrait: Collin King Character Portrait: Oliver Carver
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Thursday, November 26th, 2015 | 11:00 AM

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Makayla Wright Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Chanel Owens Character Portrait: Caraline Forrester
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A rush of heat burned her fingertips before she could yank them from the flat iron that unraveled her curls. Now two hours into the task and still not finished, she was beginning to regret the decision to even straighten her hair. As she sucked her finger, her phone slid across the dresser some as it began to vibrate. When the screen brightened and a picture of her mother surfaced on the phone, a quick surge of fear ran through her stomach as she sat the flat iron on the towel she had placed down. It wasn't so much that her mother had such power over her to make her afraid, but it was knowing the reason she was calling that made Chanel hesitate before gliding her thumb across the screen. Before she was able to get a word out, her mother beat her to it.

"Chanel, you were supposed to call back. Are you okay? You didn't call back," her mother said in her newly characteristic frantic way. She'd never really been a helicopter parent. Not so finicky. At least not before...

"Actually, Mom, I...uh. I think I'm going to stay in New York this year."

"What?" Her mother gasped. "But why? You didn't say anything."

"I know, I know. But I just got this new job, and the boss kinda hates me, and he wants me to work tomorrow, so I kind of have to. I mean, I don't have to, but if I want to pay the rent and have a place to stay and..."

"Chanel." Her mother said sternly, indicating that she was talking too much. Or at least she hoped that's what the tone signified, and not the fact that she could detect every ounce of lie she was telling. "You never said anything about a new job."

"Yeah, well." Chanel danced the phone in her hands a bit, staring at the picture that reflected. It was one of her and her mother about two years ago, a little before she'd moved out. Her heart clenched. "Look, I'm straightening my hair, and I kinda want to finish. I'll call you later, okay?"

"You know what I said about using that flat iron so much. It'll ruin your hair. Do you want your hair to fall out?"

"I think I'd look good bald actually. Mom, I'm kidding, I'm kidding," she said as soon as her mother began to panic. Another five minutes passed before she was actually able to hang up. Chanel sighed and grabbed the flat iron, running it down the fine pieces of hair near her ear. Part of her felt guilty, but another part of her felt relief. No, she didn't get a new job anywhere. Nothing came up. Her suitcase was still packed in the corner of the room, her train ticket bought and wasted. She'd packed a week in advance and bought the ticket two weeks early in hopes that it would prevent her from flaking. But here she was straightening her hair for nothing and avoiding her family. Then there was another part of her who told herself that they'd have just put her in a bad mood anyway. And they would have. It wasn't her fault they were so overbearing to the point of pushing her away. None of this was her fault. It wasn't.

When she finally finished, and now in a freshly bad mood, the room was a couple degrees warmer and her neck was already damp with perspiration. She pulled her hair up into a messy bun and unplugged the straightener. As she exited the room to get somewhere cooler before she sweated her hair out, she fiddled with her phone, looking for a distraction. She swiped through her messages before getting to Cara and it was then that she remembered Cara saying something about coming over. Chanel opened the fridge and dug out a breakfast smoothie she'd made the night before. It wasn't very filling, or all too tasty, but hours of unqualified google research told her that this small 'meal' would give her plenty of energy. It was bullshit, but she was too cranky to really care. "Hey. Is the offer still on table?" When Cara finally responded confirming the invitation, she quickly responded with "All right. I'll be over in a bit!" It was now eleven, and Cara was right down the hall, so she figured she could take her time. Besides, she had to mentally prepare for the day if she wasn't to project her shitty mood on others. Taking a quick swallow of her smoothie, she hopped on the kitchen counter and opened Instagram, losing herself in others' lives to distract from her own. Before she could be completely consumed, though, Makayla and Holly entered the room. Chanel smiled widely, putting her phone down. "Hey, you guys. Busy morning?"

Setting

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Character Portrait: Chanel Owens Character Portrait: Caraline Forrester Character Portrait: Ryan Forrester
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Cara could not believe that she was spending Thanksgiving alone. Yes, she had invited some of her neighbors over, but in her mind, it was still alone. It beat spending it on the other side of town with her father, stepmother and stepmother's family, but it still sucked. As of two weeks ago, she had been planning on flying out to Rhode Island with her boyfriend, to spend it with his family, but after sleeping with Nick, she abruptly ended that steady relationship, and was now left without any decent plans for the holiday. Even after extending the invitation to celebrate at her place to Makayla and Chanel, Cara was still desperately searching for other plans all morning. All of her girlfriends who lived in the Upper East Side were celebrating with their families, and many of them were celebrating on vacations out of state. By eleven o'clock, finding other plans seemed like a hopeless endeavor, but around that time, Cara realized that she didn't actually have any food to fulfill the dinner invitation that she has extended to a few of her neighbors. She liked to think of herself as a girl who could be domesticated, a younger and prettier Martha Stewart, if you will, but that wasn't really the case. Anyone with money could make an average apartment like hers look a little more upscale. It didn't mean that she was actually creative or crafty, just wealthy.

She definitely wasn't a chef, but ordering in on Thanksgiving didn't seem appropriate. At home, her family always had a personal chef prepare their Thanksgiving meal, but she didn't have that here, and she wasn't about to call her dad and beg to borrow the chef for a few hours, after she had made a huge deal about how she didn't want to celebrate with his new wife, who she would never see as family. She wanted a classic Thanksgiving meal of turkey and mashed potatoes and stuffing, and everything like that, and like she was with everything in her life, she wasn't going to settle for anything less than what she wanted.

To: Chanel
Do you know how to cook a turkey? And where to buy one? I think it's just going to be me, you, Ryan, Kay and Holly. Maybe Nick too :).

To: Chanel
And then I guess Brooklyn too. Which means the future heroin addict might come too :/. UGH literally this is what I get for being nice and inviting Nick

To: Chanel
But yeah, I need a turkey that will be ready by dinner time. Where do people buy those? Let's do a Whole Foods or Trader Joe's run ASAP!

To: Ryan
Help me cook stuff for tonight :) <3?

After sending the three texts to Chanel, and one to Ryan, Caraline returned her attention to her full length mirror, where she analyzed her outfit choice for a moment, before deciding that it would have to do, and continuing to finish her makeup and hair.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Makayla Wright Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Chanel Owens Character Portrait: Caraline Forrester
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She couldn't really be too disappointed. She'd technically gotten to sleep in late, but it still feel like she'd just woken up since most of her time awake had been spent straightening her hair. So when Holly's burst of energy came full force, she couldn't say she was totally prepared for it, but she also wasn't surprised. Chanel opened her mouth to respond, only getting a "Well," out of her mouth before Holly disappeared into her bedroom and returned just seconds later, this time without shoes or her jacket. In that time, she took to glancing at Makayla who definitely looked like she'd just been out for some time, unlike Holly who was not sitting at the table looking completely unfaltered. It was strange how consistently energetic she was, albeit admirable to an extent, and Chanel tried feeding off of this positivity.

"Fruit Loops actually sounds pretty bomb," she said. And it did. She preferred Apple Jacks, but that wasn't what resulted in her saying, "I'm just gonna stick to this though," as she raised the hand with the smoothie in it. She kind of had an idea that no one was helping Makayla. She didn't like to pry or anything, but she'd feel kind of like she was mooching if she helped herself to some. Not only that, but she did have some of her own cereal. "Oh, awesome. I think Cara likes vanilla, so that should be good. I should probably figure out what I'm bringing, now that I think about it." Just as she thought that, her phone vibrated before her three times back to back. She raised her brow as she grabbed it. Speak of the devil."

She smirked and shook her head as she wrote back. "What did I tell you about dragging people, Cara? Let's go to Trader Joe's. I need to get some conditioner and some turmeric for a face mask I've been wanting to make. Give me like ten minutes and I'll be over." If they were to have this turkey done at a reasonable hour, they'd need to go now. Chanel grinned some at Holly as she jumped off the counter. "Because I straightened it. I like it like this for the holidays, but it took forever so I'm not doing this again for a while." After chugging the rest of her drink, she put rinsed it in the sink quickly. "I'm about to go out, so I'll hit you guys up later. Just text me if you want me to pick up anything while I'm out." she said. Normally she'd invite the two of them, but right now she sort of just wanted to hang out with Cara. After the conversation with her mom, she wanted to just worry about herself. And this turkey that was somehow going to be cooked within the next few hours. "Holly, you can tell me about the parade later on, all right?" she said without really waiting for an answer. She was sure she wouldn't hear about it anymore if something more excited happened between now and when she saw Holly next, but anything was possible. After taking five minutes longer than she said she would to get dressed, she rubbed her lips together to blend in her lipstick and was out the door with a final wave to the others if they were still in the kitchen. Within the next moment, phone in hand as she'd gotten a text message from somebody else, she knocked on Cara's door. As she waited, she thought back to Cara's earlier messages. She wasn't quite fond of Roman either, and she didn't have any particular opinion about Brooke, but part of her felt weird about not inviting them. Especially if Nick were to come. It wasn't any of her business or her place to decide who was invited, and maybe they had other plans, but she didn't know. It wasn't that dire anyway and soon she'd forgotten the whole ordeal and instead began obnoxiously drumming on Cara's door in some made up rhythm.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Chanel Owens Character Portrait: Caraline Forrester
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Cara heard the knocking on her apartment's front door, but she took a minute or two to answer it, as she needed to finish getting ready. "I'm coming, I'm coming!" she sang, grabbing her purse as she hurried out of her bedroom and to the door. Earlier texts had suggested that it was Chanel at the door, but with five people living in their apartment, Cara wouldn't have been surprised if it was someone else. She knew that Nick and Brooklyn were out, and so was Ryan, and she didn't keep tabs on Roman, so she knew it was possible that it was him knocking on the door too. As she neared it, though, she identified the knocking pattern as one that would be typical of Chanel and she smiled in relief. She wouldn't have minded seeing Nick sans Brooklyn, or Ryan on a normal day, but she knew that he was still annoyed with her for refusing to go along with their father's dinner plans. "Oh my God, I literally love your hair like that," Cara gushed as soon as she opened the door. "I'm telling you, you have to wear it like that more often. Literally flawless." She shut the apartment door behind her. There was no need to invite Chanel in or waste any more time. It seemed like hosting Thanksgiving was really happening, and it was already as last minute as it could be, so there wasn't any more time to be wasted. When Chanel responded with, "I'm not sure if charring my fingers is worth the look, but I've never had my priorities in check so, I guess we'll see," and a wink, Cara smiled but nodded. "So true, and you know I love your natural look anyway. Natural is so in."

As they headed down the stairs and exited the building, she continued talking. "But staying on topic, are you sure Trader Joe's sells turkeys? I'm sure they'll have pies and stuff too. Then what else will we need? God, I feel so domestic! Like a legit housewife! This is going to be fun," she continued. She wasn't as excited as she sounded, because this definitely wasn't her first choice plan for Thanksgiving, but she was trying to convince herself that it could be fun. She could engulf herself in that housewife vibe if she wanted to. It wasn't going to be a Thanksgiving she was used to, but it would be a Friendsgiving. Again, not exactly with her preferred group of friends, but Chanel was cool enough to not make her feel pathetic. And then Holly and Makayla would come, and she would be doing her good deed of the month, and maybe if she was lucky, Nick would come and Brooklyn would be working or something. People who were trashy enough to go to strip clubs in general probably didn't magically develop standards on Thanksgiving. Maybe her workplace really would be open and Cara could spend her first Thanksgiving (of what she delusionally imagined to be one of many) with Nick.

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Character Portrait: Chanel Owens Character Portrait: Caraline Forrester
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It was no secret that Cara was just as privileged as she was well off, and so by this point some of things she said didn't come off as surprising as they used to. And even still, Chanel was past the point of being shocked by some of things people said. While she didn't grow up nearly as well off as Cara did, she was still very fortunate for everything she did have. That included the suburban neighborhood she was raised in and the decent-for-a-Pennsylvanian-public-school education she'd received. But even with all that, it was nearly inevitable for her to be the token brown kid. It wasn't until middle school that'd it begun to bother her, and in high school where she began to pick up on the questionable things some of her white counterparts would say. By now, there weren't very many surprises. But growing up in a mostly white neighborhood, she still identified with that culture, at least partly. It wasn't until she'd tried her hand at black organizations in her one year in college that she really began to hang out with more people that looked like her. Even with them, though, she felt a distance. With Cara, there came a sense of familiarity. Cara represented not only the kind of people Chanel had associated herself with in school, but the kind of people she tried to be like without even realizing it. The discomfort that came with generally being the only 'splash of diversity' was so nostalgic that it was almost, ironically, comforting. Sometimes she wished it wasn't like that, but that didn't stop her from actually enjoying this fictitious persona that felt like a disguise whether she was around white people, or her own. Even with all that being said, it was hard not to glance at Cara from the side of her eye with the slightest brow raise. She might have been used to this, but that didn't mean she was exactly numb to it either. Chanel's released some of her frustration by rolling out her neck as if that would prepare her for the smile she gave Cara the next moment. "That's the spirit," she said as they walked.

"So the closest Trader Joe's is like a fifteen minute walk from here; on Avenue of the America's." She shouldered through a group of people who were taking up a large part of the sidewalk as she dabbled on her phone. "And they also sell turkeys pre-cooked at...like, four dollars a pound. It's in store order only, so we can do that and just pop that bad boy in the oven when we get back. I can also whip up a mean banana pudding, now that I think about. That stuff is like an aphrodisiac. Maybe you can share some with Nick," she said before nudging Cara some. Chanel quickly shook her palm through the roots of her hair and raked it back through the locks, taking notice of how easily it slid through her strands before remembering that her curls were no longer there. Flipping her hair over her shoulders and tucking it behind her ears, she actually enjoyed the way its new texture cascaded over her shoulders. Maybe she would straighten it a bit more, but right now her main concern was getting to Trader Joe's as soon as possible because she wasn't wearing gloves and her hands were properly freezing. "I'm just gonna start making a list while we walk. Call out whatever comes to mind. So I need some conditioner, because your girl is low and that shit runs at, like, five dollars. Banana pudding stuff. I have seasonings at home. Let's see, what else? Stuff for a salad...pies. Rolls, maybe? Is cranberry sauce still a thing? Also, do you have wine at the apartment? This is an important question, by the way. If you don't have wine, I might have to reconsider all of this and quite possibly re-evaluate this friendship."

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Character Portrait: Chanel Owens Character Portrait: Caraline Forrester
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Normally, Cara would have just taken a cab to the store, but a fifteen minute walk wasn't horrible, and though it was brisk, the sting of the cool air somehow felt refreshing to her today. It would likely wear off before they got to the store, but for now, she was content with walking She planned on buying a lot of things once they got there, so they would have to take a cab back anyway, so walking one way wasn't going to kill her. "Okay, yes, definitely a salad, obviously the turkey and banana pudding if you know how to make that... definitely a yes to rolls. I feel like those are just a staple, and I can deal with carbs when it's a holiday," Cara responded as Chanel began to list things they needed. When the girl brought up wine, Cara faked offense as she gasped dramatically. "What kind of question is that?! Of course I have wine, but between you and Makayla, I should definitely pick up a few more bottles." Cara hoped that stores other than Trader Joe's would be open in the area. While it was a holiday, this was also New York City, so no matter what day it was, you could usually find a store open at any hour of the day selling what you needed. "And some liquor too. Just in case," she added with a playful grin. She hadn't commented directly on Chanel's remark about Nick, but the knowing look in her eyes spoke that that remark somehow involved him as well. While Cara hadn't told Chanel about her night with Nick, she had always hinted that she liked him. Usually, it was just in little comments that she thought were universal feelings, just gushing about how attractive he was or how she didn't understand why Brooklyn took him for granted. Honestly, Cara was probably closer to Chanel where she should have told her over Makayla, but because she felt like Chanel was more on her level, she was also more concerned about judgement from her. Sleeping with someone else's boyfriend was obviously a bad thing to do, but Cara was the type of person who could not keep things to herself, and since she had to tell someone, she felt like less of a bad person saying it to someone who she felt like was far from a saint too. She didn't think Makayla was a bad person at all, and actually liked the girl a lot, but sleeping with Nick when he was dating Brooklyn still seemed less contemptible than selling her body for money like Makayla did.

"I feel like pies are totally a staple too, so we'll get a bunch of those when we pass a bakery because I don't know what kinds people like. Oh, and I think Makayla said Holly's going to make cupcakes, but we should def get some other desserts too. And things like mashed potatoes, and like vegetables? And stuffing?" Cara was oblivious sometimes, but she knew better than to list some of the things that her family usually dined on on Thanksgiving. On the menu were always the classics, but it wasn't Thanksgiving unless her father's favorite caviar was served, as well as filet mignon for her grandfather and thousand dollar bottles of wine. "Oooh, I can totally bake cookies too, and you have to take a picture of me doing it so I can Insta it with a Martha Stewart hashtag," she added enthusiastically. "Why'd you end up staying in the city by the way? I know the idea of spending Thanksgiving with me is good enough to turn down any offer," she teased, "but did your family's plans fall through or something?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Caraline Forrester Character Portrait: Ryan Forrester Character Portrait: Oliver Carver
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#, as written by Lilac
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Tired was an understatement of what Ryan was feeling today. It was ironic, considering that it was a feeling he had desperately tried to avoid. He had pulled an all nighter earlier that week to finish all of his school assignments, so that from Wednesday until Monday, his schedule would be completely clear. School work wasn't weighing him down, but the stress of the holiday was. Ryan knew that compared to a lot of people, he had it good. Cara would dispute the claim, but they both had a home and a family to go home to on Thanksgiving. Their father and stepmother had planned to spend the week away in the Caribbean, and had invited Cara and Ryan, but at the time that the trip was being planned, Cara was dating some snobby rich guy, and was planning on visiting his family for the holiday. Ryan could have went with his dad and stepmother, but he didn't want to be the person keeping them from having a romantic trip, so he planned on spending Thanksgiving alone in the penthouse. His father agreed to still have their chef make him a meal, and Ryan had actually been excited at the idea of getting some alone time. He didn't hate living in the apartment that he lived in with Cara, Nick, Roman and Brooklyn, but he definitely missed having his own space.

A few weeks ago, though, Cara broke off the relationship with her boyfriend, and shortly after, their parents' trip was cancelled and their stepmother's family was now coming over to the penthouse for a few days. Cara had literally banned him from participating, claiming that he would be betraying her if he showed up to their father's house instead of spending the holiday with her. Ryan wasn't particularly in love with the young woman his father had recently married, but he didn't hate her. Definitely not in the way that Cara did. Being the good brother that he had always been, Ryan had agreed not to spend Thanksgiving with their family, but at the last minute, he caved. Roman hadn't been at the apartment for a few days, so RJ couldn't complain about not having space to himself, but he didn't want to sacrifice the holiday just because Cara was a brat. So, after his classes ended on Wednesday, he took a cab to the Upper East Side and spent the night at his father's house. It wasn't like the apartment he and Cara had was a third world country, but compared to the luxuries at their childhood home, it kind of felt like it, and after only one night back, he didn't want to leave. However, he had told Cara that he was just spending the night at a friend's apartment, and even by eleven o'clock Thanksgiving morning, she was already bothering him with texts, so he knew he couldn't stay. He left off with his father on the note where there was a good possibility that he might end up back there for dinner in a few hours, but that he wasn't sure yet, before leaving the building and hailing a cab to take back downtown to 14th Street.

To: Cara
Unless you're cooking toast, you know i'm no help. Want me to pick something up? I'm on my way home now.

To: Oliver
Hey man. I don't think I ever asked you what you were doing today. Going home for the holidays or you still in town?

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Characters Present

Character Portrait: Chanel Owens Character Portrait: Caraline Forrester
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As they walked, Chanel made sure to add pumpkin and sweet potato pies to the list. She knew that Holly and Makayla were bringing cupcakes, but she felt like having a backup 'just in case' wasn't a bad plan, and so she also wrote down 'Cupcakes???' After two years in New York, she still didn't entirely know her way around. It was just such a big place. This didn't necessarily bother her, and when she was alone, she realized her novelty a lot less, but with Cara, for instance, who'd grown up in the city, she found herself eyeing the girl to make sure that she was indeed going the right way. From the looks of it, she was. "You seriously need your own TV show. Some of the stuff you say, Cara." Chanel laughed before continuing, still giggling some. "Also, depending on if Makayla and Holly have finished their cupcakes, I might be able to use my kitchen to make some food; just to speed things up. You should definitely wait to do the Insta pic until everyone is there though. Make it seem more festive." Speaking of festive, did they need decorations? Like little pumpkins or corn or whatever it was that people put out around this time. When Cara unexpectedly, though understandably, brought up Chanel's staying for the holidays, she had to mask her unease. Family wasn't really a red topic. It didn't take much being around Chanel to understand that she had a relatively stable home life. It wasn't that she talked about her family all the time, but it was in small instances that accumulated. Nearly everything that reminded her of something either pertained to something that happened at school or something that happened with her family. If anyone was really paying attention, they'd notice that most of these familial recollections never surpassed her brother's suicide attempt in date. Other than that, she talked to her parents regularly. Less than she probably would like to, and much less than her parents' enjoy as she almost always hears how she never calls enough. It was just that sometimes the weight of her phone was almost as heavy as the weight of her guilt.

Because Chanel never really liked dwelling on the negatives in life, she tried not to bring up the bad parts of her own. If not to pretend they didn't really exist, then to force a false sense of perfection onto others. She relied to heavily on others' opinions perhaps, and so if they thought she and her home life were more normal than they actually were, she could more easily convince herself that it was the truth. Still, though, sometimes she did want to be able to vent even though to do that would mean to actualize everything she was avoiding. And to be quite frank, she was still too selfish to want to do that. While she loved gossiping, she was more nosy than anything, and even more eager to hear about other people's problems than talk about her own. So while she wasn't ready to open up to Cara about the real reasons she stayed home, she'd have had no issue with Cara talking to her about something equally as troublesome. Chanel reasoned with herself that it was just because she was a good friend, but her and her sub-conscious knew that this wasn't true. She reminded herself that she'd have to try to harder. As a sort of start to this reminder, she smiled, not really at anything or anyone. Chanel circled her tongue over her teeth before rubbing her lips together. The air was making them a bit dry, but she couldn't lick them less she wanted NYX Vamp-stained teeth. Her eyes hovered over Cara's figure and, for a second of second, she considered being honest. She ultimately decided against it. Maybe not because she didn't trust Cara; they'd never gone through a situation that really tested how strong and deep their relationship was. It was more so due to the fact that she didn't trust herself. She didn't believe she was ready to allow herself that therapy. She didn't trust that she wouldn't start using this as some sort of sob story and get reliant upon her brother's misfortune just to benefit herself. So, at least for the present moment, things would remain the same.

"Well of course your favorite dumbass forgot to get the ticket. I mean, I got a ticket. I told you this already. But I didn't actually check it until two nights ago--because I was supposed to leave yesterday--and it said my departure date was Monday instead of Wednesday. So I couldn't call them until Wednesday morning, and they ultimately said they couldn't do anything about it, not even give me a complementary ticket. Chanel inhaled deeply to accumulate enough air for the over-exaggerated sigh she let out next. It was somewhat shameful how she could so quickly come up with a lie on the spot like that, but it proved a useful skill. As her father always told her, take no skill for granted. She'd like to believe that included the less acclaimed ones. "I mean, I obviously got the wrong ticket as an excuse to spend the day with you, but that's my cover up," she said with her charismatic grin. As they broke through the crowds and wind, Chanel's eyes fell upon a boy on the other side of the street. He was well dressed with dark denim jeans and an expensive looking coat that suited his haircut just right. "I know what you can get me for Christmas," she said. "I want one of your Upper East Side boys. If not to have an actual boyfriend than to just have someone to kiss me on New Years. I want to ride more than just the subway next year. It'd be a lot better if his wallet were as big as...other things," she said with a suggestive wink before laughing her loud, memorable laugh. The thought of Christmas led her to remember that the holiday shopping season would go into full force tomorrow, for Black Friday. Well, technically it was in just a few short hours since so many store were now opening sales on Thanksgiving."Are you going Black Friday shopping?

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Character Portrait: Chanel Owens Character Portrait: Caraline Forrester Character Portrait: Ryan Forrester
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Cara responded with a small laugh at Chanel's comment about a television show. She knew she was dramatic sometimes, but she honestly wasn't sure what she had said that spurred the remark from Chanel. She continued walking with Chanel, tucking her hands into her pockets as the cold started to make her fingers sting. "Oh my God, that sucks. Your parents didn't even try to buy you another one?" she exclaimed. In Cara's world, such a thing would be as easy as that. She didn't think of Chanel as being poor or middle class. When she accepted her as a friend, she knew that Chanel wasn't someone she would have been friends with a few years ago, but now Cara felt like she had grown as a person and was more diverse, and Chanel didn't seem that different from her. She had good style, knew how to shop, loved fancy and expensive organic food, and knew how to take the best pretend-candid photos of Cara for social media. "Whatever, don't even worry about it. Family holidays are so overrated and we're going to have fun tonight," she said, waving her hand to dismiss the thought. Cara didn't know if Chanel's family holidays were bad, but she definitely was trying to convince herself that her own were overrated. It wasn't the easiest task to do. Cara's father was hosting Thanksgiving in the Upper East side, in their penthouse. It was in one of the nicest buildings in the city, with spectacular views of Central Park, and yet all of the amenities it offered didn't make dealing with her father and stepmother worth it. Cara was stubborn, maybe even more than stubborn, and she didn't want to see like she was okay with the idea of her father marrying that woman. As a form of protest, she refused to ever visit the apartment she grew up in when the woman was there, and she expected Ryan to do the same.

"I mean, I guess I could help you with that but honestly, Upper East Side boys are just as overrated as family holidays," Cara said, giggling a bit when Chanel mentioned what she wanted. Upper East Side boys really had never treated Cara poorly. She had never been in a relationship where she had been cheated on or misled. In all of her relationships, she had always felt like she had the upper hand. She was a pretty girl, the kind that you could bring home to your parents, and at the same time, she was wild and fun enough where you wouldn't end up disappointed after a night in bed with her. And she knew it. She knew that she was pretty and could get any guy by batting her eyelashes a little and flirting, and that probably helped her in being confident and in control of her relationships. She was always the one to leave her partner, sometimes for no reason, sometimes for a good reason, and sometimes just because she wanted to end it before they did. Her last boyfriend, Patrick, was an Upper East Side guy. His father worked at Cara's father's company, and they were introduced over the summer at a company party. He was cute and treated her right, so Cara entertained the relationship, but he was boring. At least compared to Nick. The shallow side of Cara would never date a drug dealer, or really, anyone with a net worth less than her own, but she craved the excitement that she felt like a bad boy like Nick possessed. Plus, Cara was the kind of girl who wanted everything, so someone being off limits or taken only made her want them more. And anyone with eyes could tell you that Nick was attractive.

She considered telling Chanel about what she had done with Nick in that very moment, but the girl brought up Black Friday shopping and it had Cara wrinkling her nose. "Definitely not," she responded, shaking her head. "Like, I don't get why people go through all of that hassle for stuff when they can just buy it any other day. People call me materialistic, and yet I would never deal with crowds like that." She didn't know the struggle of not being able to afford things at their normal price, or how sales like Black Friday sales allowed parents to buy their kids their dream gifts without going into major debt. "Why? Are you going to?" she asked, her voice chipper again, as if it somehow wouldn't be awkward now if Chanel said she was going to, after she had just bashed it. As they walked, she responded to Ryan's text message.

To: Ryan
nvm! chanel and i have it under control

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Character Portrait: Chanel Owens Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Caraline Forrester
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"Definitely not," Chanel said in response to Cara about Black Friday after the girl had promptly smashed it. For a moment, Chanel wasn't sure what Cara meant, but then it clicked. When she was a teenager, she used to make a big deal out of it and would want to get up as soon as she could so she could go shopping with her mom and aunts and cousins. It was kind of a family thing. Of course, many times her mother didn't want to get up early, and Chanel would always complain that the good sales were gone. She had never done it in New York, and quite frankly she was a little scared to, but if Cara was interested, she wouldn't have minded going. Pittsburgh was a big place, but there was a lot more in New York City. Asides from, going on her own would be pretty depressing. It'd just remind her of her not being with her parents, who she honestly did miss, but at the same time didn't want really want to be around. All in all, it was for the first that she spent tomorrow slightly hungover and in bed watching Netflix all day. "Even if I wanted to, I wouldn't know what to get. I've been pretty bad with the whole gift-giving this year."

Despite her selfish tendencies, Chanel really did like giving people presents. Maybe not as much as she liked receiving them, but there was a unique joy and pleasure she got from stressing out at the mall and trying to envision the recipient getting the gift and determining if they would really like it. Of course, this in turn only spoke to her own personality and how she was actually taking the meaning out of Christmas by making a big deal out of presents. She tended to place too much value on material things, which in turn made this time of the year quite the hassle, especially with her being such a procrastinator. Chanel was quite used to living up to her parents expectations, of people thinking very highly of her, and she wallowed in that view, but she also crashed under it. However, that wasn't going to stop her from going to five different stores only to wind up at the first one she went to to get the 'perfect present' this year, just as it didn't stop her in previous ones. One of the reasons she enjoyed present shopping was because she got an excuse to go shopping. She could finally be reckless and not get judged because everyone was making stupid purchases around this time. In a way, she shopped for herself when she went out for others' gifts. She tended to get them what she thought they needed, but she would always convince herself that it was something that they really wanted, even if it wasn't entirely true.

"So have you officially invited Nick?" Chanel said, a bit randomly. She adjusted the hat on her head, now cursing the fact that she'd even put it on. It was bound to cause frizz, and since it was made out of cotton, it was going to soak up every ounce of moisture she had it in after her frying session this morning. "I mean, Nick without Brooke, because if you did, I'd love to know how you went about that since I can't really see him not bringing his girlfriend." They walked a bit more, Chanel now remembering that she needed to pick up some gloves. She had some back at the apartment, but she couldn't find them and it was a lot easier to just find another pair that she really wanted. Useless spending was was part of the Christmas spirit anyway, and she wasn't want to kill the holiday mood, even if it meant doing so to her credit score. "And you can shut me up with this next part if you want, but I will warn you that your attempts will be useless, but...does he know you're crushing? I mean, do you know you're crushing? Like, I don't blame you. That boy is a god send with that jawline and his everything else, but...I don't know. I'm just trying to vicariously live through your slightly movie-esque love triangle to make up for my lack of a life life, I guess," she said while wiping away a fake tear. "But Brooke is really pretty too," she said after another moment. She didn't realize that she was beginning to talk just to talk, but by this point it was really too late. She had woken up a bit more, and as she rubbed her hands together, her mood was brightening a lot more, especially with prospect of a fairly interesting, albeit somewhat shallow, topic."Your roommates are actually pretty attractive, Cara. Even the heroin addict is all right from a certain light. A very dim one, but a certain light nonetheless. You know who else is really cute on our hall? Collin. His parents did good on that one. I think him and Marie are having a little fling, though, because he's been over in the morning a few times. So I guess he's off limits as well. Maybe I'll just marry my pillow or something, I don't know."

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Character Portrait: Chanel Owens Character Portrait: Caraline Forrester
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"Oh my God, Nelle. Take that back and go get your eyes checked. That boy is not attractive, and definitely not when you throw in the fact that he's legit a heroin addict. I mean, basically, at least. I don't even need evidence to support that theory, like it's just written all over his body in all of those tattoos." It wasn't fair of Cara to call Roman unattractive, because that really wasn't the case. She didn't think of him as being her type, but he didn't have bad genes in the slightest. Additionally, it wasn't fair of her to call him a heroin addict. She knew he did some sort of drugs, but so did Nick, and that obviously wasn't enough of a deal breaker for her to be turned off there. Nick was just an exception in general. An exception to her socioeconomic rule, to her "no tattoos" rule, to her drug user rule... to all of it in general. Honestly, Cara didn't know if she was crushing on him in a real way. She didn't know if she only wanted him because he was off limits, or if she only wanted him because she had never been with a guy who wasn't clean cut, with a trust fund to fall back on like her. He seemed dangerous and exciting and new, and as Chanel pointed out, that jaw line could take anyone from a 0/10 to a 10/10 in an instant. Since Chanel had continued on with the conversation after the initial question about Nick, she didn't feel the need to respond to it immediately. "But yeah, Collin is cute. So is the other boy he lives with, the one who Ryan's friends with. Oliver, I think his name is. I could totally see you with Collin. Get Marie out of the picture and pounce on that!" she grinned as she nudged Chanel lightly with her elbow.

Part of her wanted to try to get away with just responding to those parts of Chanel's comments, or maybe trying to abruptly switch back to Black Friday, but there was the gossipy, scandalous side of Cara that also wanted to gush to Chanel about what she had done with Nick. On one hand, it was nothing to boast about, but on the other hand, sleeping with Nick was a bit of a conquest, especially when, like Chanel pointed out, Brooklyn was really pretty. "Okay, so I didn't know if I wanted to tell you this, and you have to promise not to judge me," Cara then began, grabbing onto Chanel's arm as she looked at her excitedly. "But I slept with Nick! Not even in a homewrecking slut way because he came on to me first, but I totally went for it, and like, it was so worth it." She released Chanel's arm to run her fingers through her hair as she spoke. "Like, at first, I kind of felt bad because Brooklyn and I are friends, but it's obvious that she's basically abusive to him and he's just not into her, like, at all." She didn't know how Chanel was going to respond, so out of nerves that came from a mixture of anxiety and excitement, she just continued to speak. "And yeah, I officially invited him. Or at least I think it was official. Maybe I should text him and see if he's definitely going to come. What do you think I should say? I don't want to be too pushy and desperate, so what about like 'Hey Nick! We're going to eat around 5 so if you're around, feel free to come hang out with us' and then a smiley face to just make it super casual?"

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Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Caraline Forrester Character Portrait: Ryan Forrester Character Portrait: Oliver Carver
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Ryan didn't get Cara's text until the cab had dropped him off at the end of his block, so he was relieved when she said that she didn't need anything. He wasn't sure that he could trust Chanel and Cara with planning an entire meal, since the former seemed just as... out there... as his sister, but he wasn't going to bother himself over it. He would have rather them come home with a fresh pizza from a pizzeria than a turkey and side dishes, and have to deal with a poorly-cooked meal from the two. If all else failed, or if his cravings for a real Thanksgiving meal just refused to subside, he knew that he could always just take a cab back up to the Upper East Side and eat with his father.

One thing that he hated about their apartment building was that there was no elevator. He wasn't lazy or nonathletic, but having to walk up and down five flights multiple times a day was a pain in the ass. It was one even more so when he was carrying his school books or grocery bags, which he luckily wasn't today. He had made it halfway up the flights of stairs when he received Oliver's text, but he waited to respond to his sister and friend until he was in front of 5C's door.

To: Cara
Alright, don't go crazy though

He knew his sister was going to go overboard, but at least now he could say that he tried to tell her not to. That was just the way Cara was, and had always been. He didn't know Chanel very well on her own, and while he wouldn't call her an enabled to Cara's behavior, she seemed to play along with it too in a natural way that friends would. Cara liked things big, so he was sure that if she and Chanel were out shopping, which is what they frequently seemed to do with each other, they would likely come home with enough food to feed a small village. He kept that in mind when sending his next text message to Oliver.

To: Oliver
Ahh gotcha, sounds fun. My sister's having some of the girls from 5B over for dinner I think. Feel free to stop by later if you're bored. I'm sure there's going to be more than enough food.

When the texts were sent, he found his key and made his way into the apartment. It seemed quiet, and as he moved inside, he noticed that Brooklyn and Nick's door was open, which likely meant that they weren't home. Cara's room was vacant too, but unfortunately, his own room wasn't. Ryan noticed Roman's form on the other bed in his dark room, so he did his best to be quiet as he took off his jacket and grabbed his laptop, and carried it out to the living room. He took a seat on the couch and flipped through the channels until he found a channel playing Parks and Recreation. It was one of his favorite shows, and he knew that he could very happily spend the rest of the day watching it. However, his father had spent the past evening going on and on about football, so Ryan knew that if he did end up going back there later that night, it would only work to his benefit if he at least watched one of the football games that were scheduled for today. Luckily, as he checked online, he saw that the first of the three didn't start until 12:30, so he had time to watch what he actually liked before then.

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Character Portrait: Chanel Owens Character Portrait: Caraline Forrester
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To say she was surprised by what Cara said would be an underwhelming statement. While her leading up to the big reveal already had Chanel on her toes, she wasn't expecting that. Her mouth opened to speak before just hanging agape, Cara filling in the silence quickly as she went on to talk about the text message she should send next. "How in the hell are you gonna go from 'Hey, Chanel: by the way I fucked Nick' to 'Smiley face or no smiley face?'" Chanel's tone was light, and there was a nervous grin on her face, but her bewilderment was still very present. She grabbed Cara's arm and looked at her wide eyed, laughing some. "Did you seriously sleep with him? When the hell did this happen?! And you didn't invite me? Oh my god. You slept with Nick?!" She squealed in disbelief as they neared the store which only earned her a few disapproving stares from passersby. To one person, she actually stuck out her tongue. "Okay," she said with a deep breath as they neared the store. She stopped in front of Cara and her look became more serious. "Let's take this step by step because my body was not ready for this piece of information. To start: I one hundred percent respect your sexual agency and everything, and if I'm going to judge anyone, it's Nick. But he is still with Brooklyn, right?" She began to walk into the store as she continued. "I mean, you need to give me all the details. What exactly happened? And how is Brooke abusive? Is she, like, hitting him or something?" She glanced over at Cara as she headed towards the produce section, checking the list she'd made on her phone. She picked up some carrots and onions and peppers; they could put that in with the turkey while it was heating to add some flavor.

"If she's really hurting him, you should seriously just sit down and talk to him. Like, real talk. I don't know why you thought I'd judge you. If anything, I'm judging Nick because why would you do that to a person? He's hurting you and Brooke, right? If he doesn't respect her enough to call it quits, then what does that mean of his view on you? But he has to trust you at least somewhat to do that, yeah? You could use this as an opportunity. What you need to do is talk to him. At least that's my opinion." It was somewhat surprising to Chanel that she was actually taking this a bit more seriously than she normally would have. It wasn't that she'd ever been cheated on, but it was kind of a strange position. This was a definitely a test--at least that's how she saw it. In New York, she was almost an entirely new person. She was given the chance to recreate herself, and as much as she wanted to gossip and congratulate Cara, she also wanted to seem like an okay person. Someone who thought of everyone and how they would be affected. Maybe she was more sensitive to this because for so long she'd ignored those who could easily be forgotten but equally affected by something.

Her opinion of Nick wasn't destroyed, and she didn't dislike him any, but she did want to have the whole story because this was a tricky situation, and it was potentially messy. If everything she said got into the wrong ears, it could completely damage her reputation. She couldn't have that. So as they moved towards the deli section, she looked at Cara sternly. While it might have looked odd on her usually cheery face, it felt more familiar than the smile she always put on. "Don't you fucking settle for some dude that's going to use you as a booty call, Cara. Fuck who you want, but if they try to get over on you, I will cause some damage, no matter how nice their jawline is." She shook her head as she inwardly rolled her eyes at the person in front of them for taking such a damn long time. There was no rush, but she hated waiting. Chanel pushed her hair past her shoulder and poked Cara in the shoulder. "What did I tell you about letting me ramble? I'll stop talking. You give me the details. And also, go with the smiley face," she said, referencing the text message Cara had been talking about moments earlier.

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Character Portrait: Chanel Owens Character Portrait: Caraline Forrester
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As they made their way into the store, Cara didn't have to do much more than nod and occasionally giggle, because Chanel was holding the conversation together with her colorful responses. She didn't mind and she had to know that she was going to get a vibrant response from the girl. Not only was it just in Chanel's personality, but Cara had dropped a bomb that probably came out of nowhere. She was okay with not having to share the details for a few minutes, and followed Chanel throughout the store after grabbing a cart. She was paying attention to what Chanel was saying, but she tried to busy herself by grabbing things and tossing them into the cart as they walked. Most of it was random, useless things that didn't even apply to the meal they were trying to plan. She ended up with a container of strawberries, a bunch of bananas, a bag of seedless grapes, celery and tomatoes. Chanel had picked up some vegetables too, but Cara assumed that she had a purpose in mind for those. Once they reached the deli section and had to stop and wait in line at the counter, Chanel finished responding. Cara reached for the food in Chanel's hand and placed them down in the shopping cart before looking towards her with a smile, unsure of how to respond to all of her comments, and partly wishing she hadn't said anything at all. It wasn't like Chanel wasn't being supportive, because she had even said that she wasn't judging Cara, but when talking about it aloud, Cara realized that she was judging herself. It was harder to validate what they had done when she heard herself describing it out loud, but she tried to remind herself that it wasn't that bad. She wasn't that close with Brooklyn, and everyone on the fifth floor could probably hear how loud she screamed at Nick sometimes. Their relationship couldn't have been perfect. It wasn't like she was sleeping with a married man with children.

"I mean, she's not like abusive like really abusive, but you know what I mean. She can be... mean. I don't know! I just feel like they're not good for each other, and obviously he wanted more. It happened a few weeks ago, like right after one of their really big fights, and she stormed out to go to work, and Ryan and Drugged Up weren't home, and I was trying to console him at first, but then it just, like, happened. I don't even know how, but it was so good, Nelle. Like he was probably the best guy I've ever slept with. It's not like that though, like a booty call kind of thing. Yeah, he's still with Brooklyn, and he doesn't want her to find out, so I guess it's something we're just going to have to do when she's not around." The realistic side of Cara knew that Nick probably intended for it to be a one time thing, but if it had been that good for her, she was sure it had been that good for him too. She didn't see it as a booty call, though. Sure, she had broken off her very stable relationship just because of it, but it wasn't like she was waiting around for Nick day and night. She wanted more... but she wasn't that delusional to expect it to happen right away. She just hoped it would eventually. "So obviously don't say anything to her! Or anyone, for that matter. I told Makayla, but it's not like she's really relevant enough to tell anyone important. No offense to her, obviously." Cara wasn't really aware of Makayla's close friendship with Nick, but even then, she wouldn't have thought to be concerned with anyone telling Nick. It was Brooklyn finding out that she was worried about.

To: Nick
Hey Nick! We're going to eat around 5 so if you're around, feel free to come hang out with us :)

Now that she had explained herself and had Chanel's approval on the text, she sent it to Nick, and opened Ryan's without responding, since an answer didn't seem necessary at that point. When it was their turn to place an order at the deli, she let Chanel do the talking, since she still had no idea how this whole turkey thing worked. Chanel had mentioned something about it being a few dollars per pound, but Cara wouldn't have known how many pounds they needed or any of the specifics like that. She would eat the turkey, but ordering and preparing it weren't her specialties. "So, what other sections should we hit after this? Besides alcohol, what else is on your list?"

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Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Caraline Forrester Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Ryan Forrester
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(Collaboration with BurningBridges)


Nick took a moment to answer Brooklyn, trying to figure out what she meant, and then how to respond to it carefully. Roman wasn't an unusual or sensitive subject between them, but he was a mutual friend, and Nick didn't want to say anything that would come out wrong and get back to him. He knew that Roman wasn't outrageously sensitive either, and noticing all of this planning in his head made it more bothered with himself. It was like since the night with Cara, and the guilt that came with that, he couldn't help but to overthink every interaction he had with anyone. "I think... I think he's where he needs to be. I don't like the idea of him doing that shit either, but I guess the money's worth it for him. Worth it compared to whatever he'd make in a normal nine to five job." He knew that wasn't really true. It wasn't like Roman was rolling in money, but it was how he had survived for the past few years when his side jobs didn't work out. He wanted to add what he felt was more true, that not everyone was cut out to be real estate agents or teachers or nurses, and that even if Roman was destined for a more normal career down the line, maybe he needed this time to find himself, but he didn't. He knew that she would take it as him trying to claim that she was pushing him into something he didn't want to do, because Brooklyn had been the driving force behind him even trying to apply to normal jobs.

He was content with selling drugs. He didn't see himself doing it in his 30's or 40's, but Nick was a "live in the moment" kind of guy. He hated thinking about his future or how he was wasting away his youth when he should have been preparing for his future. It was just too much for him, but Brooklyn had been on him about it since they met, and after what he did with Cara, he felt like he was making up for it by finally looking for a real job. It was painful enough for him to do it, so he wasn't going to try to be some mentor telling Roman to get his act together when he didn't have his together. "I don't know, I think he'll find his way. Moving into the apartment was a good step for him. For all of us, really."

Brooklyn nodded, knowing that what Nick had said was probably true. Brooklyn's career wasn't conventional either, but at least she wasn't risking death every night by dancing on a pole like Roman was with his fighting. At the same time, it wasn't like she had any better job options to offer him, and if that was all he had to pay his rent, she couldn't expect him to just stop because it worried her. Especially not when she had never actually said anything to him about it. It just wasn't something that would come up with the relationship that she had with Roman. They were close friends, but serious things like that rarely came up in conversation. They usually kept it light, making jabs at each other, with Roman getting under her skin and her threatening to slap him if he didn't stop. "I feel like you should talk to him about it next time something like that comes up in the conversation. Bring up Marie, or someone he's slept with, and ask if he's looking for something serious. I know twenty-one is young to settle down, but a serious relationship might make him grow up a little bit. Learning about commitment and trusting people fully, you know?" She really did start the conversation with Roman's welfare in mind, but she couldn't help but to throw the last bit in with the same serious tone and expression she had on in the beginning. She didn't want to watch Nick squirm... but she did. "If he's there when we get back, hang out with him. I think I'll see if Cara needs any help with her little Thanksgiving party. I feel like I haven't actually hung out with her in a while, we need to have some girl time and catch up," she said, smiling then. Again, she made sure that her voice remained controlled, as if she didn't know anything and wasn't intentionally saying things to get a reaction out of Nick, but her eyes lingered on his face.

He nodded slightly when she mentioned hanging out with Roman, but verbalized an, "Okay, that works," a second after she brought up how she wanted to hang out with Cara. He did his best not to show it, but his stomach was in knots. Again, he didn't think that Cara was going to say anything to Brooklyn, and it wasn't like the blondes hadn't crossed paths at all in the last three weeks to a point where this would be the first time since that night, but it still made him nervous. "Lemme hit up Roman again," he muttered as pulled his hand out of his jacket pocket and grabbed his phone. The sight of Cara's name on his phone had his heart skip a beat. He knew it was worse to act suspicious and guilty, but he didn't know what her message was going to entail. With his luck, Brooklyn would be looking over his shoulder at the exact moment that Cara decided to be a crazy bitch and send him nudes or something. Luckily, as he slid the message open, it was just an invitation from Cara to eat with them that evening. He didn't even mention it to Brooklyn, and shot back a quick response as he sent another message to Roman.

To: Cara
cool sounds good.

To: Roman
lmk

The walk back to the apartment was only around ten minutes, and when they got inside, the first person they saw was Ryan who was sitting on the couch with his computer, watching television. "Hey Ryan," Nick said, offering the guy a small wave. The two definitely weren't close but Nick tried to be as polite as possible, considering that this had been his apartment before they moved in. "Is Roman home? Or your sister?" he asked, making sure to look back at Brooklyn at the second question, to somehow signal that he was asking for her.

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Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Chanel Owens Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Caraline Forrester Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Ryan Forrester
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They first started when he was eight, became common when he was ten, and gradually became more and more problematic afterwards. In the beginning, his nightmares were really just anxiety-induced. But now that he was rid of that part of his life, it made no sense that they kept coming back. They were no where near as frequent, or as violent, and in fact they hardly ever consisted of anything when they did happen. He rarely ever had actual dreams, and tonight--or that morning rather-was no different. For the majority of his time asleep, short as it was, he felt like he was holding his breath. His chest tightened and his nerves heightened. He felt fear without being frightened. A couple of times he was able to wake himself up, a quick gasp escaping his lips as though they were a result of him actually yanking himself awake. His heart was beating no faster from what he could tell, but it still felt the way it did before a fight; when he was on edge and uncertain. The temperature of the room also helped to keep him from drifting deeper into his slumber, bittersweet as that truth was. On the one hand he was incredibly exhausted, but on the other, his subconscious was warning him about drifting back off. While normally he would have gotten up to open the window so as to let in a nice breeze, today he did not. Instead, he lay accumulating tension in his muscles and sweat on the nape of his neck as he slept. That was until he felt something against him shortly after hearing a higher pitched voice which was undoubtedly Brooke's, but he was too disoriented to really register it right away.

He flinched at her initial touch, looking over his shoulder to see her. With a slight scowl, he curled back up, facing the wall, and tried going back to sleep. When she nudged him again, he swatted at her hand lazily and missed. Killens squeezed his eyes tighter in the hopes of getting back to sleep, but this only proved futile as in the next few seconds an abundance of light was cast on the room. Given that he wasn't sleeping that well to begin with, he probably shouldn't have been annoyed as he was, but it was that exact reason that had him in a bad mood and flinging his pillow sharply in Brooke's direction. "What the fuck?" It was clear that he was annoyed, but this didn't stop Brooke from smirking, seemingly unmoved by his frustration, and saying, "He's waiting in the kitchen, hurry up," and then leaving.

The calloused rigidity of his hands smoothed over his face as he yawned and stretched. He stayed there for another minute or so, listening to his heartbeat and the movement from outside. It was never in his favor to get up right away, let alone not on his own accord. He enjoyed just sitting and listening before actually having to get up, but it was nearly impossible to do that with the window closed the way it was. As he glared over at it, the stickiness that suctioned his shirt to his skin became more noticeable, and as he sat up with a groan, he took his shirt off, tossing it to the bottom of the bed. His senses were still heightened when he cracked the window and embraced the chill. It seemed to calm him enough to finally leave the bedroom at least somewhat less irritable, but it didn't stop him from glaring at Brooke. He hardly took note of the set up before him: Ryan on the couch and Nick doing something in the kitchen. When he found Brooke, he went over to her and looped his arm around her neck in a playful choke hold. "What'd I tell you about waking me up, huh?" he said. It wasn't uncommon for Roman to mess around with Brooke in this nature. While he mostly made verbal jabs at her, sometimes he did get physical, like now. Although his voice seemed more serious due to the fact that it was deeper with the remains of sleep lingering in his chest, he was never rough enough to actually hurt her. "Thought I told Nick to get you a leash," Roman said before finally letting her go, giving the back of her head a slight push.

Roman went to the fridge, looking inside for a moment before grabbing a leftover tomato and some beans from yesterday. After grabbing a plate, he placed a piece of toast in the toaster oven and leaned against the counter, finally pulling his phone from his pocket and seeing the seven messages he'd received. Three were from Nick and Brooke, and the other four were from Hannah, the latter of which he didn't bother reading at the present moment. Reading the messages made him smile somewhat and he waved his phone in Brooke and Nick's direction. "What lovely parents you two are," he said. Sentimentality wasn't really his thing, but the texts did get a small smirk out of him. He recalled what Brooke had said earlier when she was busy being obnoxious by waking him up; something about hanging out with Nick. He was sure that it was her doing since she was the one to come get him, and Nick would never be that pressed to hang out. That being said, he highly doubted that whatever play date she had planned didn't involve him smoking with Nick and Makayla, so he wasn't entirely sure what to say, or who to address--at least not right away. When his toast was ready, he plucked it out and began eating his breakfast. It wasn't a full meal. Had he had eggs and black pudding or even mushrooms, he would have had his full English, but for now, this would do. "I'm game," Roman said to Nick, nodding towards his phone. "When are you going?" He bit into the tomato, chewed slowly and swallowed before continuing. "So why is Brooke up my ass about hanging out with you today?" His question was directed at Nick, but he was giving a Brooke a look from the corner of his eye as he spoke.

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Character Portrait: Chanel Owens Character Portrait: Caraline Forrester
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Chanel listened to Cara as she spoke, but subconsciously she was elsewhere. The person in front of them was being incredibly annoying. It could have been that Chanel was just being impatient, but even the man's voice was obnoxious to hear as she spoke to the person behind the counter.How hard is it to order a damn bird? Chanel thought. With some forced up strength, she turned her head away from the man in front of them, knowing she would start looking peeved if she continued to dwell in his stupidity. When it was finally their turn, she went for the ten pound bird. While they waited, she glanced back at Cara and gave her a soft but disapproving look; the way her mother would do if Chanel said something that was funny but still inappropriate. "Be nice. I like Makayla; she's actually pretty cool. I can't believe you told her before me, though." As she was placing it in the cart that seemed to be filled with a bunch of random stuff, Chanel gaped at the weight. "What'd they do, give us a pregnant bird? Geez," she said. Chanel checked her phone, deleting the items on the list that they had in the cart."You get stuff for mashed potatoes? Oh, pies! We also need pies, but I don't know of any bakeries near by. Do you? They might have some here. Chanel pulled the cart from the opposite end, heading to the section that held her conditioner. She grabbed three bottles and remembered she needed turmeric. "Let's head back over near the seasonings."

As they walked, Chanel was quiet, which was slightly unusual, but when they approached the aisle she needed, she looked over her shoulder at Cara. "You need to keep those pretty legs of yours crossed and talk to that boy," she said. "Has he been, like, super weird around you? I mean, I guess not if he's coming to the dinner tonight? Oh, yeah. What'd he say to your text? Did he ever respond?" Chanel pointed her finger at the seasonings, drawing it left to right and down as though she were reading a book. After two run throughs, she finally came upon the little container of orange powder. "Here we go." She turned to Cara and shook the turmeric in her hand some before dropping it in the cart. "This is great with face masks. I have manuka honey at home, and some rhassoul clay. It's actually from Morocco, where my mom's from. Those together make an amazing facial treatment. You need to let me pamper you, especially with all these secrets you've got," she said playfully with a wink. Chanel knew very well that she had changed the conversation from what she had initially freaked out over. It wasn't that she wasn't interested--no, the exact opposite was true--but she did need to fathom it a bit more because, like she'd already realized before, this was a big deal. Not because Cara's involvement with Nick was problematic on its own, but because Chanel's reputation could very well be at risk. While she probably saw her role in the situation as being way larger and way more important than it actually was, it was innate for her to think of herself. So when she spoke to Cara next, she tried to make sure she was still kind in tone, but she also wanted to make it known that she wasn't trying to be silly anymore. Although her face wasn't angry or bothered, her smile was gone and instead her brows were raised curious and suspiciously, an air of caution and worry to her, as though Cara might be making a mistake. "Do you really think there was more to it that night? Between you and him, I mean. Because if so, and if Brooke's really so mean to him, then you have everything he needs, right? Just be nice to him. Don't even compete with Brooke because if she's really that bad to where he comes to you after something like that, I think you already have your foot in the door. You just need to help him realize that. Make up for the void that Brooke is leaving and I think it'll work out. Part of that will come from talking to him, at least, that's what I think," she said. "But be direct. No bullshit, and that's coming from someone who's mastered the art of bullshitting, okay?"

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Character Portrait: Chanel Owens Character Portrait: Caraline Forrester
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Cara hadn't gotten items for the mashed potatoes, so she darted away for a moment after Chanel brought that up to retrieve them. When she returned, she dumped them into the cart and followed Chanel with the cart. Surprisingly, Cara had momentarily forgotten that she was waiting for a response to Nick, but was relieved to find that he had answered when she pulled her phone back out. "He said 'cool sounds good period'," she said, beginning to type a response to him, but quickly deleting it and putting her phone away once again. She didn't think that a "perfect!" or "can't wait!" would be too harmful, but she also didn't want to come across as some stalker who cared that much. She wasn't paying as great of attention as she should have been as Chanel explained what she was picking up, but the world "pamper" definitely brought a smile to her face. "Oh my God, we really do need to do a spa day. Come with me and my girls next week! We made an appoint at the Caudalíe Spa down at The Plaza. I'll call tomorrow and tell them to add you in. They're massages are seriously to die for, and I'm sure they have whatever this Moroccan stuff is that you like too," she exclaimed, not giving Chanel a moment to say no as she finished picking out the items for her facial mask. Cara could appreciate the organic beauty rituals that Chanel was into, but she wasn't the type of person who could deal with putting things together like that. She liked organic things, but preferred to just save the time and energy and buy them in an already made formula. That way, if something went wrong, she had a company to blame, and not just her own carelessness or stupidity.

"And don't worry about the pies," she commented a beat later, as she pulled her phone back out. "I'll have someone take care of it for us." It wasn't as sketchy as it sounded. She took a moment to send a text message to one of her father's assistants, first confirming that they were still in the city today, and then asking them to make a few calls to the bakeries in the city to see who was open and could make a last minute delivery. Her father's firm frequently made large orders at some of the upscale shops in the city, so she knew the woman could pull some strings to help her out. Like her father, she had little regard for the fact that the woman technically didn't have to be working on a holiday, and probably had family plans of her own to tend to.

She hadn't responded to Chanel's first set of questions that were on the topic of Nick, but once they got online and Chanel brought it up again, it would have been too odd for her to have ignored them again. It had worked the first time, with the way the conversation was flowing, but now they were just waiting in line and she had to answer. "Ugh, I don't even know, Chanel. I'm just like, so bipolar with this. Like on one hand, he was so good and I can totally see us being a couple down the line, but Brooklyn is obviously crazy, so I know that's going to be messy. Like, even if I talk to him and tell him he needs to be the one to deal with, obviously she's going to come for me too. I knew she was jealous of me the day I met her, and I mean, I guess she had a reason to be now that I was right that Nick was into me, but still. It's just weird, because I don't know if it's worth it. Like, remember my ex, Patrick? I think I introduced you to him once, but whatever. He was a really nice guy, super cute, my dad loved him, and he was an investment banker or something, so he had his life together, basically. But I got bored, and I always get bored. Nick obviously isn't like, a guy that I would normally go for, but I get bored of everyone. I feel like I'm emotionally available or something. Ugh, it really sucks. Like, I like the chase but then when I win the prize, I'm already over it." Now, Chanel didn't need to be the one apologizing for rambling. "Like, I'm not going to get over it until I have it, so I guess I should just go for it anyway and talk to him like you said, but I feel like I would be a literal homewrecker if I had him break up with her, and then I dump him," she added, as if she really was in control of the situation that fully. As if she could snap her fingers, and Nick would leave Brooklyn and be by her side.

She was too focused on Chanel to acknowledge the cashier when it was their turn and she asked them how they were. Cara only pulled out her credit card and sat it down on the counter for the woman to swipe when she finished ringing everything. "And I know I probably sound so shallow for saying this, but I don't know if I'm the kind of person can look past him being...," she paused, unsure of what she wanted to say. Poor? A drug dealer? Uneducated (even though she didn't have a college degree either)? "That different from me," she eventually chose. "I don't know if I could ever seriously be with someone like that."

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Character Portrait: Chanel Owens Character Portrait: Caraline Forrester
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Cara, while perhaps daft on the reality of most peoples' lives, what with her large financial freedom, actually proved quite useful from time to time, like now with her offering of a spa date with some of other girls. Chanel eagerly agreed to the spa date, not only because it sounded luxurious, but because she was excited to hang out with new faces. She wasn't immediately nervous about meeting Cara's equally wealthy friends since she'd never had problems with fitting in before. There were few people she ever saw as out of her league, and being friends with Cara sort of self-validated her own ego. If she was already hanging out with a girl like Cara, who Chanel at this point believed to be pretty much on the same level as her, then Cara's friends weren't a problem at all. Of course, she thought as they moved through the waves of people and to the checkout line, there was no guarantee about whether or not her friends would be sweetly oblivious or raging bitches. Were it the latter, she still wasn't too concerned. She'd quickly shut down anyone who tried belittling her, but she would have to figure out how to do that without seeming like a raging bitch. She didn't have problems with being bitchy just because she didn't like it, because in fact she did. But she couldn't have Cara thinking there was some other side to Chanel, even if there was.

Chanel listened as Cara spoke the majority of the time, which only helped waiting in line move faster. She took notice of the blase manner in which Cara gave the cashier person her card. Chanel blinked and watched carefully as the man took Cara's card. She'd planned on paying for her own things, just because that was what she normally did, but she had no hesitation in keeping her money in her wallet once she realized that Cara was paying, which wasn't abnormal out all of her. It wasn't the first time it happened, and it made Chanel envious enough to actually admire it. In some ways she wished she were like Cara. She didn't crave the blonde hair or the blue eyes, but her status was enticing. Chanel could visualize herself in the same way, and although her spending habits were disastrous, she still had to be more cautious with her money than Cara ever would. Chanel's ultimate misfortune, as she tells herself and has told her parents before in a whining fit should they have ever not bought her something she desires, is that she is not as rich as her lifestyle craves to be. She believes she was born to roaming through the streets of New York City and living life with so few restraints that it was near reckless. Of course, her reality didn't stop her from trying to pretend best she could that she did live as close to that lifestyle as possible. And even though Cara had many things that she wanted--even as she listened to Cara talk about Nick, it was hard to keep her eyes from rolling after a while. Sometimes she wished she had Cara's problems--Chanel also enjoyed being spoiled. So she leaned back with a sly smirk on her face, and didn't mention Cara paying for everything, just as she was sure the girl wouldn't bring it up either.

"All right, all right, all right," she said when they were finally collecting the bags. "He might not be boyfriend material for whatever reason. You want a guy who has enough money to lick Benjamin's off your ass? I'm all for it, believe me: I am your number one supporter on that front--or back, in this case." She readjusted the bags in her hand, knowing for sure that they'd need to take a cab back to the apartment. "But maybe there's a middle ground? Like, maybe you could get close enough to him where he's willing to take a break from Brooke--and I mean, sometimes that's what you need. Not a break up, but a break. If and when that happens, you go in for the kill. And by the kill, I mean the D. Well, he'd be going into you, I guess, but that's a technicality." She shook her head as she realized she was getting off topic. "The point I'm trying to make is that he doesn't need to be boyfriend material in order for you to tap that, even if it's just momentarily. But...Damnit, Cara. I don't know either. On the one hand, don't drag him around--unless it's in bed and he's totally into that. But on the other hand, please fuck him, at least for Chanel." Once they left Trader Joe's, Chanel took the liberties of flagging down a cab. For a brief second she considered having Cara do it, knowing well enough that taxi's would damn near get into an accident to pick up a pretty blonde girl like Cara. While sometimes if she had a hard time getting a taxi she'd wonder if it was because of her, she knew that her male counterparts of the same shade or darker fared worse. There were times when Chanel herself would have to wave down a cab for them because it could be near impossible for them to get one. Today, not totally unsurprisingly, was an easy day for a cab. As one pulled over, she looked back to Cara. "Forget about Nick for now. We're going to cook the hell out of this bird, and then see how fast he drops his boxers or whatever it is he wears." Like clockwork, a mischievous grin rose to her face and she wiggled her brows suggestively after she spoke. "Ooh. What does he wear?"

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Character Portrait: Chanel Owens Character Portrait: Caraline Forrester Character Portrait: Ryan Forrester
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After getting home with their groceries, Cara ended up leaving the apartment two more times. The first was just to go down the block to the liquor store, where she picked up a coupe hundred dollars worth of alcohol. The word "overboard" didn't exist to her today. She had never hosted a party at her apartment before (mostly because her friends would think she was poverty-stricken if they saw that this was where she lived) so she wanted to go big for her first party, even if it just was for some of her neighbors. The second trip was to CVS where she picked up sodas and juices to act as mixers, and some chips and snacks in case their turkey failed miserably. Cara had given that task (and most of the actual cooking in general) to Chanel, and had forced Ryan into participating as well. Her father's assistant had pulled through with the desserts, bringing over an assortment of pies, cookies and brownies from Magnolia Bakery, and Cara felt like that was her job. That, and figuring out how she wanted to set up the table. With a glass of wine in hand, she shamelessly spent a good portion of the next three hours arranging plates and glasses, and then pulling them away when she decided it looked "classless" or "disgusting". She watched countless Martha Stewart videos and scanned Pinterest, but she wasn't working with enough time and hadn't thought to run into Pier 1 or any home decorating stores while they were out. She was unsure if any would even be open, so by four-thirty, she decided that she would have to accept that this was going to be a party with standards no higher than its guest, and she worked with what she had to put together a very simple tablescape.

She had originally wanted the meal to be ready by five o'clock, but it was five o'clock now and the turkey wasn't even out of the oven yet. Ryan had taken over that job while Chanel went back to her apartment to cook something in that oven, and it was far easier for Cara to get impatient with her brother than her friend. Even after he insisted that it only had a couple minutes left in the oven, she felt restless. She had pushed back the time for Makayla and Holly to come over from four-thirty to five, and she knew she couldn't tell them to wait another half hour. So, she accepted the fact that she was going to have to socialize before they ate. That was fine. No matter how much shit she talked, she really did like Makayla, and Holly too. She had her wine, and that would definitely help, and Nick had said that he and Brooklyn were going to come out to hang out soon too. Things would be fine, she told herself. Maybe even fun.

"Hey, by the way, I invited Oliver and I think he's bringing a couple of his friends, so just make sure that you set a spot for four more people, okay?"

"Um... no, that's actually not okay, Ryan. Are you kidding me? Four more people this last minute? Tell them to head down to the soup kitchen, because they're not eating here," she scoffed before letting out a sarcastic chuckle as if her brother really had to be insane to suggest something like that right now.

"Come on, Cara. You bought a turkey that's big enough to feed twenty people, and four more people can't come? You really want that on your conscience; knowing that they didn't get to have a decent Thanksgiving dinner because of you?"

"I promise I won't lose any sleep over it," she reassured him.

Ryan rolled his eyes. This was all too typical of his sister, and the reason why she brazenly had discussed the dinner plans to Nick and Brooklyn, right in front of Roman, earlier, without inviting him. Ryan wasn't close to Roman, just like he wasn't close to Collin or Marie or Isaac, but he had enough of a heart to know that that was wrong. "They're coming, Cara. Roman too, or I'll take them back to dad's and we'll all eat there." He knew his sister was dramatic enough to think that threat would be a low blow, but he met her gaze with a challenging one of his own.

"Fine," she said after a long pause, turning away from Ryan and walking towards the island where she sat down in front of her phone. "Your leeching friends can come, but when they eat all of the food and Holly starves to death because of it, or when they stab her with an HIV-positive needle, you can lose sleep over that." Just as soon as she said that, she unlocked her phone to text Chanel the horrible update.

To: Chanel
So Ryan invited Roman AND the girl you live with AND Collin AND the two other weirdos he lives with. AKA all of our hard work was a waste, because we're basically feeding the salvation army's crowd. Literally unbelievable. This is what I get for being a good person. But more importantly, where are you? Bring over whatever you're cooking now!! Before I finish all six of these bottles of wine by myself!!!! Turkey should be ready in 5 and Ryan watched a Youtube video on how to cut it so hopefully he doesn't screw it up.

It was five o'clock on the dot. She was surprised that Makayla and Holly hadn't shown up a few minutes early, and at this point, aside from Nick, they were going to be her favorite guests, so she was looking forward to their arrival more than anyone else's.

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Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Chanel Owens Character Portrait: Caraline Forrester Character Portrait: Ryan Forrester
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Just as she finished winging her eyes, her phone vibrated. Chanel pulled the mirror close to her face, critically observing each eye to make sure they looked as similar as possible. Luckily, she was pleased, and it was good thing since she wouldn't have had a choice but to leave them how they were once she read Cara's text message. Shit! she thought. The banana pudding! She yanked her door open and rushed into the kitchen, an aromatic influx of banana and whipped cream filling the area. The scent beat against her face in a gust of warmth as she opened the oven and sighed immediately after--thankfully, it was a sigh of relief. The pudding looked great. A light brown on the top and not too soupy. Yes, this was perfect. She'd have to let it cool for a little bit, but judging from Cara's text, there wasn't much time for that. Afraid that Cara was already pulling her hair out, Chanel sent a text back as she went to her room to retrieve her shoes and make sure she didn't need to do any more touch ups to her face.

To: Cara
Okay, okay. First: put the wine down. Second, there's an upside to this! Roman's coming? Xanax for days. No stress necessary. Collin and Marie are coming? Probably gonna be too busy fucking. The other two whose names I can't remember are gonna be there? Just more people to see your beautiful face!!! I'll be over in three seconds. The pudding just came out and it's hot as hell (like you ;D). STOP DRINKING WINE!!!

Chanel's heart was pumping faster, but she didn't break a sweat. She fed off of this kind of pressure, at least during the holidays. What would the holidays be without the sweat and bustle? Well, maybe not the sweat so much. She was not trying to sweat out her makeup. The salad, mashed potatoes, and the rolls were all complete. She'd made a sweet sauce that her family always drizzled on their ham at Thanksgiving dinner. It was really nothing special. Just a very light syrup that was mostly honey, but still pretty good. At least to her. Chanel left the pudding on the counter, deciding she'd just come back for it. She grabbed what she could and headed out into the hallway. Once she was outside Cara's door, she realized that she hadn't thought this out completely through. Her hands were too full to knock, so she was left with using her forehead instead. After 'knocking' three times, a figure appeared near her. She glanced to the side to see Roman approaching before stopping mid-step, his brow gradually raising. "Um..." he said. Chanel opened her mouth to explain but he only held up his hand slightly to silence her. "No, just..." Without finishing his sentence, his just shook his head. After opening the door, he grabbed the bowl of salad that was balanced on top of the container of mashed potatoes. Chanel sighed at the decrease in weight and smiled widely at him. "Thanks," she said. He only nodded silently.

She followed him inside and placed the dishes on the island, just as he did. Much to her relief, the place wasn't overrun by a stream of smoking coming from the oven and it didn't smell as though something was burning. This might actually go according to plan. "I come with presents!" Chanel exclaimed. She smiled widely at Cara and Ryan as she readjusted the dishes on the counter. The girl was sitting at the island, glass in hand, looking like she could definitely use a pick me up. Chanel rounded the counter, wrapping her arm around Cara's shoulder. "This looks great, it smells great, you smell great. Honestly, I'm climaxing over how amazing this dinner is going to be. Also, you're beautiful and I love you. And I'm taking this away from you," she began as she took the glass of wine from Cara. "before you get so tipsy that Roman and I have to drag you to bed. Isn't that right, Roman?" she said, trying to be inclusive. He didn't seem to accept her invitation as he looked up from his phone with his brow raised. He glanced at Chanel and then Cara for a second before returning to whatever it is he was doing. "Okay," Chanel said. "Then stop drinking before I have to drag you to bed because you got too drunk. Now, what do you need to me do? I still have to go and get the pudding, but after that, anything?"

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Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Chanel Owens Character Portrait: Caraline Forrester Character Portrait: Ryan Forrester
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After texting Chanel, Cara had a quick change of heart on her outfit. At first, she had on a pair of dark jeans and a cream colored cardigan. It was simple and conservative, an everyday outfit for her. On Thanksgiving, she was normally celebrating with family in the Upper East Side which automatically would have warranted a fancier, yet still conservative outfit. Today's Thanksgiving was a whole new thing for her, so at the last minute, she decided she could change her style to fit the occasion too. It wasn't like her grandmother was going to be there to offend, and usually, when she dressed up more, she felt more confident and happy. Her hair and makeup were already done, so all it took was five minutes in her bedroom to change out of that outfit and into a textured black dress, with some black bracelets to match. It didn't scream Thanksgiving, but Cara thought she looked perfect, and if Ryan or anyone else wanted to make a comment, she would remind them that it was a long sleeved dress, and that it wasn't her fault that she had long legs that made any dress look short. She could claim all she wanted that the outfit switch was simply to boost her own mood, but it may have also had to do something with the sight of Brooklyn earlier. The girl was in pajamas, not done up at all, and yet she still looked attractive. Cara had an ego every day of the week, but like anyone else, she also had insecurities, and even considering the possibility that she was competing with a girl as beautiful as Brooklyn made her feel like she needed to step up her game.

When she finished dressing, she returned to the kitchen and found Chanel's text message waiting for her. Ignoring the last sentence, it was impossible for her to not giggle quietly to herself at her friend's message. Chanel was so... Cara didn't even know how to describe her. She was lively. A breath of fresh air. It wasn't like she was so different from the girls that Cara normally hung out with, to a point where she had nothing in common with her. If that were the case, Cara never would have considered befriending her in the first place. She was just different though. She had a level of energy that was different, and the way that she rarely seemed to let other people's bad moods discourage her from being positive was admirable too.

"Tick, tock, Ryan! It'd be great if the turkey was ready before Easter."

"Shit, Cara, would you stop acting like such a damn princess?" Ryan snapped. His voice wasn't as sharp as he wanted it to be because he wasn't a cutthroat person to begin with, but his sister knew how to push him more than anyone else. She was the definition of a princess, really. A girl who was coddled her whole life to a point where she either couldn't do anything on her own, or she just refused to because she expected other people to do it for her. She could be demanding, nasty and thoughtless, and today of all days, when he could have been sitting in his family's gorgeous penthouse inhaling a professionally made meal, he didn't have the patience for it.

"You ruined my party, so no," she responded, her face vibrant with the offense she was feeling. How dare her brother curse at her, when her bad mood was completely his fault?! First he invited over his misfit friends, and now he was trying to be Wolfgang Puck by pulling the turkey out and putting it back in every two minutes, as if it was really going to make that much of a different. Did he not realize they were on a schedule?

He rolled his eyes. Arguing with Cara was pointless, because she was so childish that she always had to have the last word. Another minute went by before his timer officially went off, and with a little bit of struggle considering the weight of the dish, he pulled the turkey out to rest on the top of the oven. As he had told Cara earlier that day, he was no chef. It looked good and it smelled good, but if for some reason it didn't turn out good, he wasn't taking the blame.

Talking to Ryan and watching him potentially screw up her Thanksgiving had distracted her from Chanel coming in, and she only noticed her friend when Roman had walked across her line of sight to set a bowl down in front of her, and then heard Chanel's voice. His presence usually brought out a scowl from her, and Chanel's would usually bring a smile, so they evened each other out to leave her straight faced, and sipping her wine to keep herself from saying anything for the moment. She set it down as Chanel wrapped her arm around her, and then, decided to smile. It lasted for only a few seconds though, because Chanel insisted on acknowledging Roman, and the thought of her ever needing his help made her want to laugh out loud. The only time he would ever be touching her, nonetheless dragging her somewhere, was if he had put a date rape drug in her drink, and she was knocked out cold, or if he killed her. With how low she thought of him, neither of the two seemed too far fetched in her mind. She only allowed Chanel to take her glass because she knew she could pick it back up once the party began and everyone else started drinking too. "Get your pudding, get a glass of wine, and that's it. Ryan's got everything under control. Like I said, he ruined the night by inviting the cast of American Horror Story: Freakshow to dinner, so it's whatever. He's got it taken care of, and if we all end up with Hepatitis A through C by seven PM, I guess we're just going to have to live with it."

Chanel laughed, and reassured Cara that everything was probably going to be okay, reminding Cara of why she loved the girl once more. "But that's not going to happen, so we don't need to worry about that. The table looks great, the food is perfect, and everything's gone according to plan so far." It could have been a cute friend moment, with Cara standing up to give Chanel a quick hug before sending her out to get that pudding, but the resident drug addict had to look up from his phone and open his mouth, as if anyone had been talking to him. "She's right. Now the only thing you have to worry about is your attitude ruining everything."

Cara wasn't really used to being challenged, so when Roman had begun to bite back at her own biting comments months ago, she didn't know how to react really. Sometimes she'd just allow her mouth to hang agape, in an "is he really serious?" move. Most of the time, she'd come up with something to spit back at him, and if she felt like it was one of her weaker comebacks, she'd automatically spin away and roll her eyes, muttering something abut how he wasn't even worth her time. Between their different schedules, Cara spending a lot of time out of the apartment and Roman doing the same, the two weren't fighting 24/7, but when they were in the same room, they tended to be. Fighting wasn't even usually the word. It was just snapping back and forth at each other until one decided to be the bigger person and walk away. Cara wasn't in the mood to be that person today. She stood up and carefully pulled her wine glass back from Chanel, as if it was some weapon that was necessary in the moment. "Why don't you just leave before you ruin my night and yours?" Okay, that was definitely one of her weaker remarks, but it wasn't one that was supposed to kill him.

The way he responded only infuriated Cara more. He had the audacity to not only put his dirty, disease-filled hands into the salad and grab a leaf to chew on, but he laughed and said, "Now what fun would that be?" She was easily fired up, and bothering her wasn't a difficult task, so a scowl instantly appeared on her face. Chanel grabbed her arm before she could say or do anything, and interjected with, "Hey. I know it's the season of giving, but I'm gonna need you two to not go at each other's necks until after Chanel has had some bird, okay?"

"Fine," Cara responded, as if she would patiently wait until that time to kill him. She shot Roman a glare, feeling it intensify as soon as she spotted his smirk again. "But for the record, no one wants you here, so it's just embarrassing that you're staying. Literally so embarrassing for yourself." She turned away from him immediately at that, as if she had the power to just end the conversation, and took another sip of her wine before rolling her eyes towards Chanel, but meaning it to refer to Roman's behavior. "Be quick," she said, meaning when she went to get the pudding. "I really just can't even deal with this."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Makayla Wright Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Chanel Owens Character Portrait: Caraline Forrester Character Portrait: Ryan Forrester
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"Come on, Kay!" Holly said, rapping on the bathroom door that she sat outside of. Although Makayla had been in there for less than ten minutes while she showered, it felt like three hours to Holly. She didn't know why Makayla needed to shower now, of all times. They were supposed to be at Cara's and Holly had been expressing how excited she was to go all day. After they iced the cupcakes and taken a random trip downstairs to the building manager's apartment, she had gotten dressed in the outfit she had picked out for the dinner. It wasn't anything fancy, just a pair of black leggings, a sweater, scarf, moccasins, and a pair of $2 fake pearl earrings, but Holly was excited over it. After weeks of complaining about how every other girl in her school wore moccasins, Makayla had bought her a pair, but they were hard to wear walking through the busy (and dirty) city streets, so she really only wore them around the apartment. Being able to wear them out, without it really being "out", was fun for her. It was the first time she was wearing the sweater, so that in itself was something Holly could ramble on about for an hour. Cara had bought it for her a couple of days before when they were out at Forever 21, and the scarf had been a gift from Cara too, but one that she had given her out of her own closet, rather than purchasing it. It was new to Holly, and that was all that mattered, but she felt like it wasn't going to feel new anymore if they didn't get over to Cara's soon.

Holly's knocking had been persistent and loud enough for Makayla to hear it for the entire duration of her shower, but unlike most days, she didn't turn off the water for long enough to tell Holly to stop or that she would be done soon. She just didn't have it in her, and it didn't help that she was on the brink of sobbing as she attempted to scrub every inch of her body until her skin felt raw. It was a ritual that she endured every night after she worked, but it was rarely something that she had to do during the day. Prostitution was mostly a nighttime job for her. Doing it during the day was too risky, and there was a smaller clientele pool any time before ten at night anyway. She didn't know if she could call what she had done today, and what she did on a monthly basis, prostitution, but it didn't feel any different from what she did regularly at night.

Every month, Makayla was short on rent money. Paying her share of the $1500 was just impossible. With the cost of living in New York, her phone bill, and just the necessities she needed to keep her and Holly alive, she never ended up with enough money at the end of the month. Most of the time, she was lucky to have half of it. She had gotten by living in the building for close to two years through the agreement she had with the building manager. Whenever he was craving sex, he'd text her, and she'd end up in his apartment sometime that day. Normally, he worked with her to allow her to get there at night when Holly was in bed already, or before she left to work, when Cara had her, but there were times like today, close to the date of the month's rent being due, when he knew he had the power to get her on her knees the minute he was craving it. She couldn't say no unless she wanted to end up homeless with Holly, and today he insisted that he needed her there before five, because he was leaving to eat at a family member's house on the other side of town at five. When it was done and over with, all that she could think was that she was glad Nick's weed had been free, because she would have been more than upset if she had wasted money trying to lift her mood, only to have to endure the one thing that completely shattered it. Every single time. Selling her body to survive was the most dehumanizing thing she had ever done, but for Makayla, there weren't many other options at the moment. She desperately wanted to keep Holly out of the low-income housing units that they had grown up in because it only spelled bad news.

Needless to say, she was in no mood to be socializing after the thirty minutes she spent in his apartment, but she knew that she had to. So, she made sure that Holly was dressed and ready, and then hopped into the shower, hoping to use the few minutes of alone time to collect herself and rid herself of the slimy feeling that unwanted sex left her with. It didn't do much good, and as Holly's knocking and requests for her to hurry up only increased in volume, she knew she was just going to have to try to survive the night without killing herself. On the bright side, she was sure Cara was going to have alcohol, and that was the only thought that was strong enough to pull her out of the shower and allow her to get dressed before opening the door for Holly. "You need to learn how to be patient, Holly," she said, looking down at her sister who was sitting on the hallway floor. She wanted it to sound scolding, but she didn't have the energy to make it anything more than a monotone statement. She turned back into the bathroom and applied a quick layer of makeup and put her hair into a messy bun, because she didn't have energy for life at the moment, nonetheless dealing with her hair.

"I was trying to be patient, but you were taking too long, and Chanel already took everything out of the oven. I didn't want to be late," Holly explained as she got up and followed Makayla into the kitchen. Chanel and the majority of the food that had turned their marijuana-scented apartment into one that made Holly's mouth water, were gone, only making Holly feel more anxious. "Can I hold the cupcakes?"

"No, just grab the door," Makayla responded, taking the large plate of cupcakes from the counter as they left the kitchen. She didn't need Holly dropping them on the way over there, and she didn't have the patience to even humor the idea. A minute later they were outside 5C's door, and Makayla nodded at Holly to knock on the door. "I don't have it in me today to deal with any attitude, Holl, so be good or we're leaving," she advised. Again, her voice felt shallow, but Makayla meant it. She already wanted to crawl into bed and sleep for ten years straight, so Holly giving her a reason to leave this party was almost a welcomed idea at this point.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Makayla Wright Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Chanel Owens Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Caraline Forrester Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Ryan Forrester
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Somewhere during her short conversation with Roman, Brooklyn's mood had switched from okay to bad, and she didn't like that. She didn't really care about snapping at Roman, and definitely not to a degree where she would ever apologize, especially since he had been brazen enough to touch her phone, but she didn't like feeling so uptight in general. She knew that she had a reputation of being negative, pessimistic, a bitch, and so on. What others thought of her didn't bother her, but her reputation was primarily true, and it was the fact that she didn't feel happy a lot of the time that bothered her. She didn't care if she treated people poorly so long as she felt content while doing it, but lately, she hadn't been feeling content. Her only solution was to sleep, so after he left her room, she took a nap for a few hours. She woke up feeling a little better, and the long shower she took made her feel like the night might be bearable. She didn't want to give Cara credit for anything, but whatever they were cooking in the kitchen smelled good. When she had walked out their briefly after her nap to get a bottle of water, she noticed that Cara had picked up a ton of alcohol, so there was that too. She felt like she wanted to force Nick to go to the dinner instead of eating out like they normally did, to watch him squirm. He knew that he had slept with Cara, Cara knew that she had slept with Nick, and Brooklyn knew that too, but as far as she knew, neither knew that she knew. That meant that she had the upper hand and could toy with him and maybe even her a little bit. It could be fun, but with those thoughts came the reminder that this wasn't fun and games. Her boyfriend had cheated on her with Cara, so no matter how many mind games she played, she wasn't going to win. She had already lost.

When she returned to her bedroom after getting ready, she found that Nick had gotten himself ready too. She sat her makeup bag on her dresser before walking back towards him. His compliments were nice and appreciated, but the happiness in her smile didn't reach her eyes. She wanted to blame it on just still being groggy from her nap, but the shower had knocked much of that tiredness out of her. "Save that for later," she said before he leaned in to kiss her. She returned it, her hand gliding across the side of his face before she pulled away. "You still want to catch that eight-thirty movie, right?" she said as they left their bedroom and headed into the kitchen. The apartment layout was open enough where the kitchen and living room blended into one, so they had a view of everything but the bedrooms as they headed in. She was surprised to see that Chanel was the only non-resident of the apartment who was there. Brooklyn didn't know the girl very well. Nick had mentioned her once or twice as being someone that he dealt to, Holly had brought her up more than that in her conversations that Brooklyn always tried to put on mute, and she would occasionally see her in the apartment very well, but she didn't know her personally. Being cordial wasn't going to kill her though, so she smiled at her, Ryan, Cara and Roman as they stepped towards the island that they were all standing by. "It smells good in here," she commented, trying to sound as positive and cheerful as was possible without it seeming sarcastic. "And I definitely approve of this," she said with a small laugh as she separated herself from Nick and walked towards the counter where the bottles of drinks were waiting. She poured a 50/50 ratio of rum and Coke into a cup and was back by Nick's side a couple of seconds later.

When there was a knock at the door and she found herself being the closest person to it, she answered it. With her drink in one hand, she used the other to open up the door, unsurprisingly finding Makayla and Holly on the other side. Like Cara, Brooklyn wasn't sure how to treat her relationship with Makayla now. Before Makayla had told Brooklyn that Cara had confided in her about her and Nick, she despised Makayla. She annoyed Brooklyn for no real reason. It was petty and childish, but that was how Brooklyn was sometimes. Now, she felt like she owed Makayla, at least enough to be nice to a point where she'd do her best not to snap at Holly tonight. "Hey," she smiled, stepping aside so they could come in. "Happy Thanksgiving, Holly. Is that a new sweater?" She felt like she was biting off more than she could chew by actually initiating a conversation with Holly that had the potential to last thirty minutes, but she also knew the rum wouldn't take long to kick in.