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Nick Moreno

0 · 1,913 views · located in New York

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

Description

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Name:
Nicolas Christian Moreno

Nickname:
Nick

Age:
24

Birthday:
January 24th

Sexuality:

Heterosexual

Hometown:
Los Angeles, California (0-2 years old)
New York, New York (2 years old-Current)

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Personality:
One of Nick's most notable features is that he carries a very relaxed and chill vibe to him. He's not the kind of person who gets stressed out very easily, and he likes to take things as they come and deal with them in the moment. He isn't one to plan ahead or worry about details, and he often just feels like things work out in the end, so there's no use in planning for them or becoming anxious over every last detail. Additionally, he's also a pretty flexible person. He's not strongly opinionated on most things and he won't argue with people about anything that doesn't impact him in an extreme manner. Given that, Nick isn't a hard person to get along with. He usually doesn't bother people that don't bother him, and has a tendency to appreciate silence and solitude, so it would be a rare occasion that he would deserve to be called "annoying". He tends to live in his head a lot, and though he's quiet, he's often thinking a lot more than he's willing to vocalize. While he was always an average student and would never be called intelligent more than the next person, he's not brainless. He thinks deeply and has an appreciation for philosophy, poetry, and art. It's not something he often vocalizes, simply because he's not the type to go around talking about his hobbies and interests, but they're there nonetheless.

There are some things that will set him off, and the top one would definitely be people hurting the ones that he loves. He has thick skin and isn't easily riled up when people attack his own character, but he can't stand to see people hurt the people he prides himself in protecting. He definitely has those instincts to look out for and protect people, and once he feels like he can relate and connect with you, he likely views you as a friend. Even people he only knows through his sales are often people he would consider to be friends. He isn't the type of friend who will be calling you daily to check in, but there's still something to appreciate about someone who will comp your weed if he knows you're having a bad day, or who will beat the shit out of someone who's been messing with you. Nick's that kind of guy... the type who doesn't always make his love for people well-known in obvious senses, but does hold his close relationships with people high up on his priorities list.

To an extent, his personality can probably, at least somewhat, be attributed to how much weed he smokes. Growing up, he was always a lot more goofy and energetic. Aging probably took some of that away, but the weed also helps him maintain his more stoic and calm demeanor. It's not something that he minds, really, because he loves being high, but he also is aware that when he's sober (which isn't often, lately), he has a lot more energy and interest in actually being productive than he does high. He does feel like he's stuck in a phase, where he started using marijuana as a coping method, and has now stuck with it out of routine and convenience. It wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't an expensive habit and if he didn't feel like just laying around and eating for more than half of the day. Right now, Nick doesn't have the need or motivation to break the habit, but surprisingly, he does have attributions and goals underneath all of the nonchalance and carelessness. He's just not sure what those goals are, exactly, at this point, but he does feel like he has the potential to do bigger and better things, and he knows that cutting down on his smoking would be a good first step in figuring them out.

ImageHistory:
Nick was the product of a one night stand between two teenagers who barely knew each other. His mother was a high school senior and his father was the older brother of one of her friends, who happened to be at the same party as her one night. They slept together and thought that that would be it, but the summer after she graduated, she found out that she was three months pregnant. She had slept with various boys that spring, so it wasn't until Nick was born that a paternity test was conducted and his father's identity came to light. Neither his mother nor his father's family could afford to take care of another child, and it wasn't like either of the young adults wanted that responsibility, but his father's parents refused to see a grandson of theirs be dumped into the foster care system. They legally adopted him, and for most of his childhood, he actually thought that they were his parents. It wasn't until he was a pre-teen that they explained their true relationship to him, and though it was odd and startling for such a revelation to be revealed, and shake up what he thought was his reality, he wasn't incredibly bothered by it. It didn't change how much he cared for them.

Two years after he was born, his grandparents closed up the bodega that they owned in Los Angeles and reopened it in Brooklyn, New York, where they raised Nick. Nick's family was always a part of the working class, so he never had much, but it was always more than enough for him. He was never a kid who asked for much, and he was happy with the small group of friends he had. He was an average student in school and planned on going to community college after high school, but his grandparents both passed away, three months apart during his senior year of high school, and it wasn't something that he could recover from right away. It sent him into a depression, and that was when he turned to drugs as his vice to get by. One thing led to another, and the forty grand his grandparents had left him as inheritance was gone within two years of him losing them. He took up dealing drugs to keep up with his marijuana habit and make cash to get by too. He spent a while couch hopping from friends apartments, once his inheritance ran dry, and worked as a busy boy part time, too. Once he really started claiming ground with his dealing, however, he was making enough money to pay the rent, and have some spending money leftover. He currently prioritizes his drug dealing as his main way of making a living, but he does bounce around through other entry level jobs too, and is currently working in the kitchen of Olive Garden in Times Square.

So begins...

Nick Moreno's Story

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Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Roman Killens
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One of the perks of Nick's job meant that he didn't work on anyone else's schedule. He was free to sleep in as late as he wanted or stay awake as late as he wanted, because he set his hours and had no clock to punch in on. There were certain clients who were only available at certain times for their deals, and Nick would go out of his way to meet them as planned, but in general, those were late night meetings where the darkness served as a sort of shield for their illegal activities. In general, though, he was never forced to be awake before noon, and though sometimes he was up and working before then, just because he felt like it, for the most part, he enjoyed sleeping in. During the winter months when it was brutal to be outside in the cold and bitter mornings, that was even more true. It seemed unbearable to be outside before noon, as if the sun was only just finally waking up at that hour too and offered just a little bit of warmth on those frigid days. Today was one of those days, with the predicted forecast offering a low temperature of twenty-seven degrees, and a high of thirty-six degrees. It wasn't one of those forecasts that had most people eager to leave the comfort of their warm beds, and it was only as the clock neared two PM, that Nick began to budge from his bed. Even then, he had only gotten up because he knew that he wanted to make a few sales to the kids at a nearby private high school after they got out of classes, and he was going to need a couple of minutes to get ready and out there in time. It took him less than twenty minutes to take a shower, get dressed, and sort out the bags he wanted to bring with him for his sales. On his way out of the apartment, he found Roman in the living room. It wasn't particularly odd for anyone to be up at this hour, given that most people were halfway through their day at two o'clock, but Nick was just used to being awake before Roman, so seeing him up and out of bed before he had been, felt odd in itself. However, it wasn't like Roman appeared to be doing much by the way that he seemed relaxed and comfortable on the couch, watching something that only required a quick glance for Nick to deem boring.

Though he easily could have walked out of the apartment without even acknowledging Roman, and it wouldn't have been perceived as rude or spiteful, given how easy and casual their friendship was, a quick time-check on his phone revealed that he had a good thirty minutes before the teenagers got let out of school, and it would only take him ten minutes to get there. With the expendable time, striking up conversation didn't seem problematic, especially since he had something to talk about, so it wasn't going to be mindless small talk. "Don't mean to interrupt you learning about the Aztecs or George Washington or whatever it is that you're watching this time, dude, but I forgot to let you know that Brooke texted me last night saying she wants to go out tonight. Said she took a day time shift at work or something, but she wants to go out tonight to 1 Oak, and that she can get us in for a cover of fifty each. I know that's fucking crazy money for just a cover, but you know I can't say no to going out with her, man. Not with how she's actually been giving me a chance again and shit, and I know she's not gonna want me to come unless you come too. You know, she wants to act like we're all just friends and then she'll think it'll be too weird if it's just me and her or whatever it is that she thinks. I'll throw you like thirty of your fifty if you come." Normally, he wouldn't have said that much, but he was a bit desperate to get to hang out with Brooklyn again. They had slept together on Christmas Eve and one more time since then, but other than that, she had never wanted to hang out with him again, unless Roman was present. Nick wasn't sure why exactly, but he felt like he was walking on thin enough ice as it was, that he didn't press it with her. As long as he was getting to be around her, he was happy, and if that meant paying fifty dollars plus thirty dollars of Roman's for a cover fee into a club, plus buying her overpriced drinks all night, than it seemed like something he just had to do. His wallet wouldn't appreciate it, but his mind wouldn't let him live it down if he said no.

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Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Roman Killens
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Roman had been up earlier today only because he'd worked late the previous night and had immediately gone to bed once he got home. So far the year had been okay, but really nothing spectacular, just busy and kind of a blur. After picking up another job, a waiting one, he'd been essentially consumed in working. After taking time off from fighting, he hadn't returned, more out of laziness than anything else. It wasn't so much that he wasn't in the mood to potentially lose his life, but the mere fact that he didn't feel like continuing to deal with the aches and pains that continued no matter if he was fighting or not. Because of that, he had to do something to make up for the deficit, and while it surely wasn't as stressful as possibly never getting back up from a bad hit, it innately took a toll on him. The general back to back movement unsettled him, only because it was reminiscent to his very scheduled upbringing. During his moments of down time, he used that to get high in one way or another. Only because it was the cheaper option did he drink more, but when he saw even the slightest bit of wiggle room, he rewarded himself with something more. Now he wasn't really taking party drugs like ecstasy for the social reasons, but really for personal ones. When he finally had time to himself, he liked being as far away as possible, and so today, on his day off, he'd stuck to routine and drugged himself with some Adderall. The reasoning this time was because he had things to do, errands to run. If he was hyper-focused, he would get them done faster. And when that didn't exactly happen, he sat on the couch hours earlier and turned on the television as he thought of what else he needed to do, but ultimately this led to him zoning out to the History channel until now.

He didn't hear Nick leaving at first, and only turned to him halfway through his conversation. Now that his attention was somewhere, he realized how stiff he was feeling. He'd been hunched over for a few hours now, his eyes straining towards the screen, and making even the slightest movement felt weird, but also relieving, like he'd been holding his breath without even realizing. When Nick had finished speaking, Roman leaned back against the couch, casting his chin up, and laughed heartily. Imitating Nick's accent, or at least attempting to, he said, "'I just can't say no to her, man. I can't do it, bro.'" Although Roman's reaction wasn't really appropriate in that Nick really hadn't said anything funny, but it was probably pretty clear that Roman wasn't really laughing at his request. Roman covered his face as he tried to compose himself before finally standing and stretching. Now he actually considered what Nick had just said, and although he knew he really didn't have any choice, it didn't change the fact that he didn't want to go, and because he was lacking a bit of a filter, he went onto say, "I actually really don't want to do that, but I guess twenty dollars to play third wheel isn't too bad, right?" He said, his smile wide enough to show that he was only joking and not being as passive as he tended to be. He wasn't so much against going out as he was going out when he didn't want to. Roman knew that if he went out tonight, he couldn't do what he usually did which was take some sort of drug and get blackout drunk. This wasn't out of responsibility and respect to Nick and Brooklyn, but really only because he'd done this the previous week, and while he was dangerously reckless, he was still ware enough to know his pacing. The past week had been tiring because his body was still recovering. He'd seen a documentary about it some time ago, and he had something to do with neurotransmitters, but for Roman it was just experience that told him what to do and what not to do. Of course, he could ignore this and go right on and find something to take, but he wasn't that desperate. He figured he could probably mix tonight if he really wanted to have fun, but right now, it didn't seem as terrible an idea as he would think it if he was completely sober. So while he wasn't exactly excited by the proposition, he wasn't opposed to it either.

"But yeah, why not?" he began as he reached for his phone and gaped when he saw the time. It wasn't like he had anything to do though, but he was still under the impression that only an hour at most had passed instead of a few. He rubbed his eyes as he looked back towards the television before pointing some and redirecting his attention to Nick. "Ancient Aliens, man. You ever seen this shit? It's bloody--" he started before shaking his head and miming an explosion around his head. Because he'd been watching television all day, he was only now realizing that he hadn't eaten yet, and his stomach was cramping in protest. "I'm properly starving," he said as he started to pass Nick before wrapping his arm around his Neck and guiding him along. "Look, when are you going to start enjoying your freedom? I've got to take you out and teach you how to live the bachelor life before your dick starts to sour," he said before pushing Nick away in a fit of laughter and moving towards the fridge.

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Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Roman Killens
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Nick was hungry but he didn't think he had enough time to sit down and eat. He didn't have any food of his own in the refrigerator at the moment anyway, which wasn't all that unusual for him. It wasn't smart given his budget, but he tended to order in or eat out more frequently than not. He wasn't a good cook and even when he did go grocery shopping for things like cereal and snacks, it only took one night's worth of munchies for him to eat his way through whatever he had purchased that day. He took a few steps backwards, but since he wasn't in any dire rush, he remained in the same room as Roman as they continued their conversation. "Nah, man, don't play me like that. You know if I wanted to get laid right now, I could." If he didn't feel like it would be awkwardly serious, something that didn't mesh well with his easy and casually flowing relationship with Roman, than he would have added more to that, about how he didn't want to be a bachelor, or about how he had already found "the one", and that his dick would sour being near anyone other than her. It would have been too romantic and cheesy sounding, even if it was something that Nick legitimately was thinking in his head. Even acknowledging that, that it was a real thought, felt weird, because Nick wasn't really the romantic type. He would readily admit that he was in love with Brooklyn to anyone who asked, but he wasn't the kind of guy who was great with his words or with expressing his feelings in any way other than the plain and simple way of stating them blatantly. He couldn't write heart-eye-invoking poetry or love ballots, and even on Valentine's Day and birthday cards to Brooklyn, he usually just used the card's pre-printed message as the content of the card, and wrote in the "Dear Brooklyn," and "Love, Nick" parts. If it was hard for him to get deep with the girl that he loved, he wasn't about to go there with Roman, especially not right after waking up, when he was stone cold sober. Instead, it was easier to respond in a similarly playful manner, one that didn't quite match the amount of jovial energy that Roman had put into his, but still lacking any real tension or aggression. It was said, more-so, with a bit of mock offense, and maybe a little bit of a playfully challenging tone too.

"I'm sure there will be a girl there that'll strike your fancy though," he said, only now taking on just as much of a playful attitude as Roman had, when insinuating that Nick had been having a dry streak without him intending on doing that. "It's one of those rich white girl clubs, I guess. A bunch of Caras running around drunk, without the life-ruining consequences that fucking Cara bring to you. It shouldn't be a bad time for a 'bachelor' like you." Fancy clubs with cover fees and drinks that would cost you nearly twenty dollars just weren't Nick's scene, so it wasn't much of a surprise that he had never been to one of the most hyped up ones in the city. It was a lot harder for guys to get into clubs to begin with, unless they were taking on a minimum required bar tab, buying a table for the night, or had connections, and Nick lacked connections at any of those places, didn't have the money for tabs or tables, and just in general, didn't have any interest in that scene. Maybe it was because he had spent so much time at Finn's bar, but he was perfectly content with little dive bars like that, where he could drink a beer that was still over priced, but not horrifically so, and watch a sports game on a television. He didn't need to deal with blasting music, and floors that were sticky from a bunch of spilled drinks, or sweaty and drunk strangers bumping up against him on a crowded dance floor. The only times that he had ever been clubbing were with Brooklyn, but even then, he was more than okay with encouraging her to go to them alone with her friends, rather than him having to go as well.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Makayla Wright Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Roman Killens
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Brooklyn listened curiously as Makayla warned Holly not to use an attitude with her again. She had been home for less than an hour, and the majority of that time was spent showering, and resting, so she had not had the time to notice how oddly quiet it had been, or how Makayla had been relaxing without Holly hovering somewhere nearby. She did notice how the kitchen seemed particularly clean, but opted against commenting on it. It wouldn't have killed her to have commented with appreciation on how nicely Makayla had done, or how it had been nice, in general, for her to do all of that by herself, but she didn't like giving people credit that easily. It felt better to pretend not to notice, as if someone's small good deed simply wasn't good enough to receive praise. "She's right, Holly," Brooklyn said, not looking in either of the girls' direction as she busied herself with pouring a glass of water from the fridge. "You better always appreciate your sister. She does so much for you, and you should never take it for granted." The thought behind it was more personal than Makayla and Holly, as a fleeting thought of her own sister came into mind (and then was pushed out just as quickly). However, Brooklyn wasn't going to allow herself to get sentimental. More than anything, she brushed her own words off as being a "don't say I never warned you" type of situation, as if Holly were actually in risk of losing Makayla soon.

It probably would have made more sense to take the subway to the pizza place that Brooklyn wanted her food from, rather than walk there, twenty minutes in the bitter cold, but Nick liked thinking that he was more capable and more invincible than he actually was. He really had no excuse other than that, because he had a monthly Metro Card in his wallet that easily could have gotten him there in half the time, if not less. Additionally, with Brooklyn on his tail about getting there sooner than later, it made even less sense for him to walk there, but he did. In his defense, he had called in his order ahead of time, so by the time that he got to the small pizza joint, his order of three pies: one plain cheese, one sicilian, and one that was half meatball, half pepperoni, were all ready and waiting for him. The order was extremely excessive given that he only imagined that it would be himself, Brooklyn, and maybe Roman, eating, and the only thing that Nick could blame for that, was that he was at the peak of his high. Additionally, and in his defense, one of the guys who worked at the shop was a regular client of his, and "accidentally" only rang him up for two of the pies, instead of three. Still, spending forty-five dollars on food that easily could have cost ten didn't help Nick's reputation much.

He was much smarter on the way home, opting to take a subway that allowed him to return to the apartment in enough time that the pizza boxes still burned the tips of his fingers as they pressed against the bottom of the boxes. He called Brooklyn on his way back, and since she said that she preferred the idea of eating at her own place, that was where Nick headed. He wanted to drop back into his own apartment for a few minutes, mostly to leave his coat and belongings there, but after walking up five flights of stairs with arms full of pizza, he decided that the most important thing for now, was putting those pies down. He was too focused on the pizzas and getting to Brooklyn to want to chat when he saw Cara and Colton in the hallway, so he only smiled at them while walking by. Resting the three boxes on one hand, he used the other to knock on the door. While he waited, he texted Roman, saying, "Back w pizza if u want". It took only a moment for the door to be opened by Brooklyn, and Nick instinctively smiled when he saw her. "Sorry it took so long, but I made it. Roman here, already?" he asked as he walked in, knowing that it was unlikely, unless he and Brooklyn were already hanging out prior to his text just seconds before. His hands were both full again now, as he settled the weight of the pizzas between the two, so he offered Makayla and Holly a nod of his head and a smile as an impromptu greeting.

Brooklyn was the closest to the door when Nick knocked, and since she was expecting him anyway, she opened it for him. Though she was glad to see him, she was even more glad to see the three pies in his hands. It was definitely an excessive amount of pizza, given that one probably would have been all they needed, but she wasn't complaining. "No, he's being a little bitch like usual," she responded nonchalantly, taking the top pizza box from Nick's hands and setting it on the counter. It was the plain cheese pie, the one that she wanted, so after opening it up and seeing that, she didn't bother to help him with the other two pies. There was space on the counter for him to set it down anyway, so she didn't feel rude just jumping right into making herself a plate. "You can text him. Just tell him to lose the attitude on the way over," she said, continuing to act unbothered, because truthfully, she really wasn't bothered, but just simply being petty, which wasn't abnormal for her. "Holly and Makayla are eating with us too."

Setting

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Character Portrait: Chanel Owens Character Portrait: Makayla Wright Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Brooklyn West
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"Yes, yes, I've got it!" Holly insisted, her perky side staying strong after it's disappearance for the afternoon. She wasn't quite convinced that going to bed was the best option after she finished eating, but she knew that saying anything, other than confirming what Makayla had said, would likely land her in trouble. That was why she opted against reminding Makayla that she wouldn't have had an attitude if Makayla hadn't had one with her first. She was also hungry and excited for this pizza, so when Nick walked in with three boxes full of it, Holly's attention was redirected to that. "Hi Nick!" she greeted as she hurried towards the boxes of pizza he was setting down on the counter. Brooklyn had already opened up one, and as Holly peered into the box, she found that they were regular cheese slices, which was just what she wanted. "Can I have one of these?" she asked, looking to Brooklyn. She was tempted to just reach in and grab one but knew to have manners in a situation like this. "Isn't that funny, Brooklyn? Me and you like the same kind of pizza! We're like pizza twins! And also, I forgot to say it but I do appreciate Makayla. She's the best sister in the whole word, even when she's in a bad mood!"

Makayla watched Holly from the table, sipping her tea quietly as she watched Nick come in with the pizzas. She was more used to whatever he and Brooklyn were now than she had been initially after their breakup, but it was still strange seeing them as "just friends" or whatever they were, when they used to be close enough to be a married couple. Makayla had never envisioned Brooklyn as being the kind of girl who would go back to someone that cheated on her, even knowing how close she and Nick had been. She saw Brooklyn as being too strong for that, too independent, and more than anything else, too cold. She knew that she was being dramatic by acting like Brooklyn was cold enough to literally have no feelings, but she still thought that Brooklyn was good enough at turning off her emotions, to be able to do so in a situation like this. Cheating seemed like the ultimate betrayal to a girl like her, and though Makayla hadn't told Brooklyn originally for that reason, she knew that it had been true back then too, so it did make her feel a little weird for being the one to let Brooklyn know about the cheating. It would have been different, different in a better way, if Brooklyn had never went back to Nick, even as friends, because then Makayla could have justified her snitching as being some good deed in Brooklyn's benefit. Now, even though she knew she had done it for petty reasons, she was beginning to feel like it was even harder to convince herself otherwise, since it seemed like all she had done was cause problems for a few months, before things returned to normal. It wasn't that big of a deal, especially considering that the snitching had led to her getting a good job, but it still felt strange.

She was set on Holly going to bed in the next half hour, and though she was in the process of trying to get ready for bed herself, she knew that the easiest way to get to sleep tonight would be to smoke. Nick's presence was a good reminder of that, but Makayla had enough weed on hand to not need to actually ask him for anything. Thinking about the drug, though, reminded her of the plans that had fizzled out earlier, about her and Chanel smoking. Though Makayla was pretty sure that a girl like Chanel would be out and about on a Friday night, she figured that texting her couldn't hurt, and sent one saying, "Hey girl. Probably going to light up before bed if you're around! Np if not but we have to light up this week some time!!"

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Character Portrait: Makayla Wright Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Brooklyn West
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"Sounds good," he nodded, when Brooklyn claimed that Holly and Makayla were eating with them. He had definitely bought enough food to satisfy everyone's hunger, and given that the two girls were in the room, he would have felt obliged to offer them some anyway, if Brooklyn hadn't already done so. Her response to his question about Roman wasn't anything incredibly surprising, at least not in the sense of Brooklyn seemingly having tension with him, but he was curious about what it was that caused this attitude. As long as it wasn't being directed towards him though, he was okay with putting the questioning off until later. "I texted him a few minutes ago. Haven't heard back, but I figured you might've spoken him. I'm sure he'll be over here sooner than later, though," he said with a shrug. He was pretty certain that was how the night would play out, partly because Nick had already informed Roman of the plans, so unless the kid had taken one too many downers and was passed out, he would be alive enough to know that he had to come out later on in the night. Additionally, Nick assumed that if Roman had smoked recently, his munchies would make it all the more easier for him to smell and crave the pizza in the apartment across the hall. He hoped so, at least, because he really did want this night to work out, and he had a feeling that Brooklyn wouldn't be happy if it didn't go how she planned. Those plans included Roman, and even though it seemed like Brooklyn was upset with him right now, Nick knew her well enough to know that she would likely be even more upset (possibly just for the sake of having an attitude), if things didn't go how she envisioned they would.

Sometimes Nick wondered how Brooklyn got away with being like this. She got away with it with everyone, it seemed like. Nick certainly let it fly most of the time, and especially so recently, given that he didn't want to do a single thing wrong to ruin his chances of getting her back. Before now though, back when they were on the same playing field and he actually had a say and some leverage in their relationship, he was still very nonchalant about how Brooklyn acted. He gave in to a lot of her unreasonable demands, apologized when he had done nothing wrong, and allowed her to escalate situations between himself and her, and her and other people, without interfering. Roman did a better job at taking his own jabs at Brooklyn, but even he seemed to just accept that this was the way she was. It was her personality, and Nick knew that, but at the same time, he felt like that wasn't always a viable excuse to justify her behavior. It wasn't fair that she could be callous and cold and heartless, and for everyone to just shrug and say, "oh well, that's just how she is". It was especially unfair, when one considered that if someone treated her the way she treated them, she liked to make a big deal out of it, like she was probably doing with Roman right now, claiming he had an attitude, when whatever he did likely wasn't half as bad as whatever Brooklyn had done or said to him.

It still wasn't a good enough reason, but Nick knew that somehow, this meanness just worked for Brooklyn. Maybe it was because she was pretty, and pretty people just seemed to be exempt from a lot of the social rules and standards that average people were held to, but maybe it was also because there was more to her than just someone who was mean. She wasn't nice by any means, but you could tell that she wasn't all evil. Like how she subtly welcomed Makayla and Holly to dinner just now, or how before their breakup, and the whole apartment change, she would sometimes wake Nick up in the middle of the night and ask him to go check to see if Roman was home yet, if she knew he had a fight that night (or the day before, if he hadn't come home between then and that next night). She wasn't all screaming matches and below the belt comments, and somehow, that made her likable.

Nick opened up the box containing the half pepperoni, half meatball pie, and slid a pepperoni slice on to his plate. Holly and Brooklyn were getting started too, so after grabbing a drink for himself, he looked to Makayla who sat beyond the counter he stood by, and at the table. "Makayla, what do you want? We have cheese, sicilian, meatball and pepperoni. Take your pick."

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Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Roman Killens
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It was already June 7th, and that was one more reminder to Brooklyn of how life felt like it had moved surprisingly fast over the past four months. She had found herself a part time day job at a restaurant, waiting tables, so maybe that was why it felt that way. She was busier than she had been used to over the winter, and being busy, and having more to do than working at night and sleeping all day made the days go by faster and faster. The increase in her work schedule meant that she was feeling a lot more tired as well, but it was a trade off that seemed worth it. The money made it worth it, and mentally, she was the kind of person who did better when they were doing things. It gave her less time to sit around and think about her life, which was a good thing, because thinking about her life always resulted in some strange mixture of feelings that always left her feeling unsettled. She would begin to loathe herself for ending up where she was. It wasn't like she was struggling, not financially, at least, but still, working as a stripper and a waitress wasn't something that you wanted to boast about, either. It wasn't something that she could do forever, and it wasn't something that she could ever put on a resume. When she got into this train of thought, she would always tell herself that she needed to go back to school. Pick a career path that could lead her into a stable life, like nursing or business management or even a lower level medical specialty, like a radiologic technician or something. At least if she had a degree or a licence in something, she would look good on paper. Somehow, she was convinced that having that would make her feel better about herself too, but still, that wasn't enough to get her to actually make a change in her life.

In her defense, after a traumatic transition into the real world, and after years of just knowing 'this' as her life, just waking up one morning and deciding to enroll in college wasn't something that would be as simple as that. Still, though, Brooklyn hated feeling like she was making up excuses for herself. She couldn't complain if she wasn't going to do anything to try and fix the problem, and that was why her disdain for herself was something that she kept to herself, lately. It was an internal conflict that she didn't want to have to explain to even her closest friends, because Brooklyn wasn't one who sought advice from anyone. It related back to how she hated feeling weak, and how she liked having all of the answers herself. It was silly; immature, even, but that was just how she was.

Just like the days were moving by quickly, Brooklyn was lucky that today's shift at work moved by quickly too. Five o'clock came sooner than she was expected, and as soon as the employees for the next shift showed up, she was clocked out, with dinner that she ordered from the kitchen already ready to go for her in a take out bag. The diner was less than a ten minute walk from her apartment building, so the bottom of the bag was still burning hot, even by the time that she made it up the five flights of stairs to her door. "Honey, I'm home!" she sang, her voice cheerful in a manner that was nearly mocking, as she knew it was out of character for her to be perky. "And I come bearing gifts. Chicken fingers for my five year old son, and lasagna for the neighborhood's favorite drug dealer," she announced, placing the takeout bag and her purse on the kitchen counter as she headed towards the bedroom that the boys shared and banged on the door twice. She really had no idea if either of them were even home, but she knew that even if they weren't, as long as she stuck the extra food in the fridge, it wouldn't take long after the boys got home for it to disappear. She wasn't always so generous, especially since while she did get the food discounted from the restaurant for working there, she didn't get it for free, but on days like today, where she had no reason to be in a bad mood, it seemed okay to be nice, for a change. Besides, even though the boys had been back in her apartment for a month or so, already, it still felt new and nice for things to be back to the old normal... even if they weren't fully back. "And you two bums better not still be asleep, or be drunk or high, when this bitch has been working her ass off all day. I will murder both of you if you come out here with bedhead, or reeking or weed or liquor!" she warned, giving one last bang to the door before returning to the kitchen.

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Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Roman Killens
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Nick's life had not changed in any drastic ways, over the past four months, but changes did occur, and luckily, he was in a mindset where he could interpret them all positively. While he and Brooklyn still were not dating, and she still seemed adamant on reminding him that she wasn't the type of person to trust someone again, after they had hurt her, they were at least living in the same apartment again. Nick knew that he was lucky, and if he had anyone to thank, he thought that it had to be the guy that was fucking Cara. For one, the guy was probably doing a good job at it, since Nick wanted to connect her being nice and allowing him and Roman to move back into "her" space as having something to do with her getting laid more frequently, now. Additionally, her having a boyfriend meant that she was out of the apartment more than she was there now, and Nick believed that Cara being taken probably made Brooklyn feel better about the three of them living in the same space now, too. It wasn't like being in a relationship had stopped Cara from being willing to sleep with him the first time around, but Nick was sure that just like this time things were different for him, that they had to be for Cara too. She was happy, he thought, and he was more than happy to finally have things going his way again. While he still smoked more than he should, in the past four months, he had rid himself of the need to get blackout drunk at least once a week. He wasn't against having a few drinks with dinner, or before he went to bed, but the fact that he was happy just getting buzzed, and not obliterated, spoke to how much of a better place he was in now, mentally. In addition to the changes in his living location and his mental state, Nick had also acquired a second job. A legal second job. He was hired as an overnight stock associate at Kmart for three nights a week, and while on the books money didn't compare to drug money, having it in addition to the drug money made a difference.

He had not mentioned it to anyone, but over the spring, he had actually applied and was accepted to a technical school uptown, for their welding certification program. It was really a spur of the minute decision, one night when he was night and feeling self-critical over where he was in life. He had convinced himself that if he could become something, Brooklyn would automatically want to take him back. He didn't think that he was smart enough to go to "real" college, to study something that he had no interest in, and he had always been a hands-on learner anyway, so trade school seemed like the best route for him. One of the guys he dealt to had mentioned the school to him, after recently graduating and then obtaining a decent paying job, and because Nick didn't think he had any other viable options, he applied. What left him struggling though, was the amount of money the school wanted. They offered financial aid, and it was Nick's own fault for being lazy and not attempting to apply or reach out to the aid office for guidance, but he automatically assumed that it would be too difficult to obtain. This was a private school, which meant that it was for-profit and likely would force him to jump through a million hoops just to get a dollar's worth of help. That was what he assumed, at least, and though he still had time to apply for aid, he was in the mindset where he would need to come up with the ten thousand dollars in tuition for the first semester, by August. The salaries from his two jobs had left him with a little bit over two thousand dollars in savings after all of this month's bills were paid, but with just over a month left before tuition was due, the possibility of making eight grand seemed like nothing more than a fantasy. Shockingly, Nick didn't let that get him down though. He had been in such a pleasant mindset lately, that he insisted to himself that if he couldn't make the money to start this semester, he would postpone his admittance and start next semester, when he had all of the cash. A part of him rang in the back of his head, reminding him that it was possible that this stamina and motivation would be gone by then, but he tried not to acknowledge it. Nick was finally feeling good after falling into a depression for months, and he didn't want to even consider that he could get that low again.

He had been in the bathroom when Brooklyn got home, finishing putting himself together after taking a shower. Unlike Roman, he hadn't just gotten up. He didn't wake up bright and early, but still, getting up at noon, after working until four in the morning the night before, seemed like an accomplishment in itself to him. He had spent the past few hours finishing up some deals, before coming home and needing to shower, due to feeling sticky from the heat outside. It wasn't that bad, especially as evening began to set in, but walking around all day was bound to leave him sweaty and tired. A surprise meal couldn't have been more welcome, and the words that Brooklyn said had him hurrying as he ruffled a towel over his hair in an attempt to dry it, before getting dressed, and heading into the kitchen. "Dinner time, Killens," Nick smirked as he passed by his roommate who was standing outside of their room, looking like he was ready to crawl back into bed. "Brooklyn's doing something nice for us, A-K-A, we should be suspicious."

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Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Roman Killens
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Before Brooklyn had a chance to response to his half-interested question, Nick appeared in his line of sight. Because Roman was still only peeking through the door, trying to let in as little light as possible, he couldn't see Nick completely, and opened the door just a smidge so that he could see him. Being that he was still half asleep, and trying to rush this interaction as quickly as possible so that he could get back in bed, it took him a second to register what all Nick had said. Roman hadn't heard Brooklyn's declaration of gifts when she first came inside since he was still asleep, and he couldn't smell it from the kitchen yet either, so he was still mostly out of the loop in terms of what was going on, but he still half nodded at Nick's quip. "I am," Roman said, knowing that Nick's sentence didn't need much clarification for Roman to readily agree with him. Of course, Roman and Nick (but probably mostly Roman) gave Brooke more crap than she was actually worth, and not in a harsh way. Everyone, including Brooklyn, was well aware of the vibe she put out. Since Roman did know her past that exterior, he knew she wasn't all coal and ice, and he knew he hyped up her aggressive bitchy qualities more than her more subliminal, kinder ones. This was also the smartest move too, though, for the both of them. Neither were into chummy feelings, and Roman knew Brooklyn well enough to understand that if he wanted to shut down her moments of kindness, all he had to do was linger on it. But still, it was all in good fun, and interactions like this weren't so abnormal anymore.

Seven months ago he would have reeled at having to interact with them both together, but that tension has since subsided, although not enough for Brooklyn to get back with Nick. From Roman's understanding, Nick was taking what he could get, and he seemed to be doing better because of it too. Although Roman has a nasty tendency to shift from friendly to cruel like Brooklyn, albeit perhaps on a lesser overall extreme, especially when its for the purpose of maintaining his own validation, he also tended to assume more of a role in Nick and Brooke's life than they actually require from him. Subconsciously, he believes he's essentially Switzerland since they're both his friends; there's really no picking side, which is really find with Roman who's not into conflict, as contrary as it is to his nighttime job. Always playing neutral can be problematic on its own, especially when no one asked him to involve himself, but it stemmed from the fact that he hasn't had as a deep a relationship in the past as he has now with Brooklyn and Nick. As a child, he really feared making a mistake on just about anything. It became severe enough to where even the simplest of questions was almost paralyzing. Of course, Brooklyn and Nick don't bring any amount of fear to him as his parents did when he was a kid, but that need to please is still ingrained in him, for validation and peace of mind. It speaks to why he believes himself to be more important than he actually is at it relates to the other two, not necessarily because he's being selfish and just doesn't want to get involved in their conflict, but quite the opposite. He'd rather not risk upsetting the two people who he actually genuinely cares about, which is something outside of himself on its own. Them being cordial is much easier on his mind, and also made it all the more easier for him to say, "Kay, well, if you don't mind, I'm going back to sleep. Don't wake me up unless the flat is burning down."

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Brooklyn had not heard Roman's initial answer to her, and had only known to look in the direction of the bedroom down the hall as Nick headed into the kitchen, seemingly haven spoken to Roman on his way over. Roman wasn't in her line of sight when she did look over, so she assumed that he was still asleep, maybe, or just not in the mood to socialize. She didn't pay too much mind to it once she unbagged her own meal, a grilled chicken sandwich on a toasted baguette. It was topped with roasted peppers and mozzarella cheese, with french fries on the side, and though it wasn't something that she had ever ordered from the restaurant before, it definitely smelled good. "If I hate this, I'm eating half of that lasagna," she said to Nick, eyeing the bag container that he was pulling out from the bag, as she pulled a string of melted cheese off of her sandwich to taste. "Or I guess I'll eat his food. Is he still half-asleep? Or just stoned out of his mind?" Either option seemed fairly likely, and Brooklyn would not have been surprised if it was actually a combination of the two. Sometimes it bothered her that Nick and Roman both seemed so lost sometimes, tangled up in things that were only leading them farther and farther towards a bad life, but most of the time, she was able to reassure herself that it wasn't her problem. She didn't tell herself that in a way to be callous, or even to really relieve herself of any responsibility or guilt, but more so, because she knew that it wasn't her problem. She lived in a mindset where she took care of herself, and didn't expect others to take care of her, and because of that, she expected them to take care of themselves as well. It didn't mean that she wasn't human, and that she didn't worry and think about it sometimes, but it wasn't to an extent where she was actively trying to get either of the boys into rehab, or forcing them out of bed everyday when it was already late afternoon. It wasn't her business (usually), and besides that, she knew that just like they had their own devils to deal with, she had her own as well. She couldn't criticize her two closest friends for their lifestyles when hers wasn't completely pristine or by the books either.

After actually taking a real bite out of the sandwich, she decided that she wouldn't need to take from anyone else's dishes, because she was perfectly content with how her sandwich tasted. It wasn't a five star meal, but it would definitely due, and after a few bites, she turned to Nick with a random question. "Wanna go on vacation this summer? I've been in this city for too damn long." It was an impulsive idea, but a genuine question. Brooklyn only had a few thousand dollars in savings, so a major vacation was out of the question, but she did genuinely want to spend a few days outside of the city. Where, exactly, she wasn't sure. Being right on a beach would be nice, she supposed, but anything new and different would do. Neither she nor Nick had a car, so they couldn't take a road trip that way. They would have to either take a train, bus, or fly, with the former two seemingly like the most realistic options cost wise. Having no set destination in mind made it harder to even try and plan any aspect of a vacation, and until she knew his answer, she knew that there probably wasn't any use in trying to plan. Maybe inviting an ex-boyfriend on vacation was odd, but when it came down to it, Brooklyn didn't have any girlfriends who she was close enough to, who would want to do that. She would include Roman in the plans as well, of course, given that she didn't want Nick to think that this was her asking him to date her again, too.